Goodreads Fantasy Week and a Kindle Countdown Deal

What’s better than fantasy week? Getting cheap/free books during fantasy week!

Yes, you read that right. This week is the Goodreads Annual Science Fiction and Fantasy Genre week and I’ve got just the thing to celebrate with: A YA Fantasy novella with rogue reindeer and evil clauses: The Deermaster.

So, in honor of the awesome service Goodreads provides to readers and lovers of scifi/fantasy everywhere, The Deermaster will be available as a Kindle Countdown Deal from 24 August, 2018 until 31 August, 2018! That means MASSIVE savings on an awesome book! Who can beat that?! The sooner you drop by, the cheaper you get the book, so don’t delay!

But wait! There’s more!

To sweeten the deal even more, you will also be able to get my romcom-scifi short story “Out Of This World” for FREE during the last two days of August 2018! Because embarking on out-of-this-world adventures is what reading books is all about!

Happy Spring! (if you’re in the southern hemisphere, like me), or happy Fall! (if you’re not) 🙂

And most of all, happy reading!

Remember the three Rs:  “Read, Review, Recommend”.

 

 

Book review: I see London, I see France

CAUTION: Spoilers ahead!

In 2017 I had the incredible privilege to undertake a great European road trip with my husband and parents. For nearly four weeks, we hopped from country to country, ticking things off our bucket lists at every stop. Mom wanted castles and culture, dad wanted nature and walking, my husband wanted to bump fists with statues of musical greats and visit their homes, my own pleasure is art, literature, fairytales and magic. We all wanted wine, great food and to experience something new together. And we did, everywhere we went.
But while backpacking, or road-tripping, through Europe is the adventure of a lifetime for anyone, what makes it life-altering is not so much about where you go as it is about who you go with. Which brings me to I see London, I see France by Sarah Mlynowski.

The book follows first year college (university) students/best friends Sydney and Leela on their great European adventure.
This is the trip they’ve both been dreaming of ever since they started reading books as teenagers. They have a bucket list of their own to work on, complete with stinky cheese and high tea, but they also have to budget to make it through four and a half weeks of traveling.
Each of them also come to the experience with an extra piece of baggage: Leela is recently broken up with her college boyfriend, with whom she was supposed to go on this epic trip. Sydney leaves behind an agoraphobic mother with her sister who, despite having grown up in the same household, just doesn’t get what it takes to take care of someone who fears leaving the safety of their own environment. The story is told from Sydney’s POV, and everywhere we follow her, so does her guilt over abandoning her fragile mother and teenage sister. But it is only for four and a half weeks, she constantly reminds us, and she said she’d go straight back if either of her selfish family members can’t deal with her absence.
Speaking of selfish, the really selfish person is Sydney’s best friend and travel partner, Leela. Not only does she count on Sydney to do all the planning, but she repeatedly changes her mind about where to go and about who she would or wouldn’t like to share in the experience. That is because, despite the breakup that caused Leela and boyfriend Matt’s plans to fall through, Matt and friend Jackson follow in Sydney and Leela’s wake on a trip of their own. This complicates matters to no end and is also the main plot-twist in the book, because it turns out Jackson is both easy on the eye and an interesting, if not exciting, travel companion, and Matt and Leela have unfinished business. Throw in selfish Leela’s jealousy over Sydney’s new college friend, Kat, and you’ve got yourself a story with plenty of intrigue, twists and turns and a few OMFG moments to boot. But it wasn’t the story so much that had me riveted. Not that it wasn’t riveting, it was. It was just that, truth to be told, once Sydney and Leela started going places, trying new foods and experiencing new countries and cities, I was there again, or for the first time, experiencing Europe as though it was as new to me as to the two characters portrayed in the book. And I thought what a marvelous job Sarah Mlynowski had done with the thing that some would consider secondary to the story; the traveling. At every twist and turn in the book I thought: ‘Poor Sydney! If only she could have done this with her mother like I did,’ or ‘Poor Leela, if only she would see how much work her friend put into trying to make this trip awesome for her,’ and I walked up narrow staircases with them and snapped selfies of great tourist attractions with them and when I put the book down, it was as though I had just returned from Europe again with my family, who had trusted me so completely to plan a trip that on the day we left for Europe, they still had no idea where we were off to. And it was magical and romantic and new and exciting and fun. Lots of fun. Both times.
So if you haven’t done the Great European Adventure yet, choose your travel partner(s) carefully. And read ‘I see London, I see France’. You can call it research. Or you can just experience the great European adventure, which is what this book is. Don’t go to Europe and act like Leela. Be the better friend, the traveler who is open to new experiences, the person who eats the snails even though they look disgusting. And if you ever go see a sex-show in Amsterdam, don’t be the idiot who gets up on stage with the performers. Be the idiot who takes video proof to show that you were there, then deletes it, to show that you care.

My travel companions, waiting for the bus in Florence, Italy.

Happy travels!

A short story about my home town, Rustenburg

When I was a little girl growing up in Rustenburg, I was the only girl living on our street. There were boys aplenty, though, and I soon understood that if I simply watched them play cricket and rugby and cowboys & crooks and cars, I was going to miss out on some of the best years of my childhood. So I was known as a bit of a tomboy. A girl among boys. Playing with their toys. Playing with Hot Wheels cars in the dirt or racing against them on ancient consoles while eating peanut-butter sandwiches. Those are the childhood memories that stick with me most: the way we looked at those cars and imagined the real thing, the speed at which a toy car could be launched into the air on a homemade ramp with a little bit of help from a rubber band, the cities we built with cereal boxes and plastic crates. I grew up loving those cars and what they represent, and at least in that way, my new short story, Hot Wheels, is an homage to my earliest associations with Rustenburg. The N4 highway came much later, and later still the ghosts of memories of those lost too early.

Hot Wheels is centered around a toy Hot Wheels car and the way such a small thing can sometimes touch a life or shape a future. It’s a story of loss, of grief and guilt, but more importantly, it’s a story about motherhood and it is now available on all major digital platforms for free for a limited time. Not too limited though, so share the news. There’ll be plenty of time for your friend, lover, brother, mother, grandmother, colleague and neighbour to download their copy.

Check out the links below to get your copy today, and as always, if you liked what you read, please rate and review at your preferred outlet!

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Amazon (USA):

Amazon (UK)

Scribd

Smashwords

Indigo

Have a great weekend! Drive safely.

My short stories now available on Scribd!

If you’re a reader, which I sincerely hope you are, then you’ll have heard of Scribd by now. If you haven’t, here’s the low-down: Scribd is a subscription service for all things bookish and a lovely way to pay a little for a lot of reading material. Each month, for only $8.99 you get *unlimited access to their large catalogue of books, magazines, audiobooks and documents, which can be accessed from your phone, tablet or computer at your convenience! And now, to make the deal even sweeter, my short stories are available for Scribd subscribers both in Afrikaans and English! The full “Nuwe Stories” short story series (Afrikaans Edition) is available for your reading pleasure. The series consists of three anthologies: Nuwe Stories, Nuwe Stories 2 and Nuwe Stories 3, each comprising a collection of Afrikaans language short stories from millennial writers such as myself. And of course my own short stories are there too. Look out for “Onder die Brug” (Nuwe Stories), “‘n Kis vir Boel” (Nuwe Stories 2) and “Utopia” (Nuwe Stories 3).

Nuwe Stories, ISBN 9780798156448. Now available on Scribd!

Nuwe Stories 2 – ISBN: 9780798164627. Now available on Scribd!

Nuwe Stories 3, ISBN: 9780798167987. Now available on Scribd!

If Afrikaans isn’t really your thing, I have a special treat for readers of the slightly more widely spoken English language. My latest short story, “Hot Wheels“, is now also available on Scribd.

Hot Wheels: A Short Story. ISBN: 9780463642849.
Now available on Scribd!

So get clicking and start reading, and remember, if you liked what you read, review and recommend!

Get your Scribd subscription here. Click on the book names above to read each book on Scribd.

Happy reading!

“The Deermaster: A Christmas Novella” free ’til Christmas Day!

Christmas has always been my favourite time of year, not only because it brings together family and friends and reminds us to be humble, thankful and charitable, but because Christmas is that time of year when one can really feel the air crackle with magic. The magic, for most of us, lies in the Christmas spirit, the excitement that surrounds preparing to have friends and family over and, most importantly, the reasons why we choose to celebrate: what we believe.
In my new Christmas novella, The Deermaster, Chris Claussen wishes Christmas could be this straightforward, but for the inhabitants of Snow Falls, Christmas holds a different meaning altogether. Only one person can be The Deermaster, but what if he is completely ill-equipped for the job and non-committal to boot?
This Christmas, follow Chris Claussen and Carol Stern into the perilous North Pole, where nothing is what it seems and simple acts of goodwill can be more dangerous than a pack of starving wolves in sub-zero temperatures.
Get your copy free on Kindle from 21 December, 2017 until 25 December, 2017 and be sure to share! To make this Christmas extra special, I’ve designed a gift-certificate that will allow you to gift The Deermaster to friends and family for Christmas. Please remember though, The Deermaster will only be free for downloading until the 25th of December, 2017 at midnight PST or in South Africa until 10:00 on 26 December, 2017.

Click below to preview, “buy” and share The Deermaster. This book is also available in paperback format. Click here to buy it.

Click on the image below to open the gift certificate, which you can then download, email or print for friends and family! Do you live in the UK, Australia, Canada, or somewhere else? Send me an email to christina *(at) christinavandeventer.com and I will happily send you a gift certificate for your respective Amazon Online Market. *Replace with @

Last, but not least, have a wonderful Christmas 2017!

‘The Boy With The Coin: A Short Story’ Free on Amazon Kindle this Star Wars day!

Perhaps it would have been better if the boy had a lightsaber, but he doesn’t. Coins have greater value to fatherless children. Or perhaps it’s simply because lightsabers are probably, kind of, a little too sci-fi for this particular tale. Nevertheless, if you download ‘The Boy With The Coin’ today, or tomorrow, it is a sign that the force is strong within you!

Also, the story is about an old man, a young boy, and, maybe not very surprisingly, a coin! ‘The Boy With The Coin’ is free on Amazon Kindle on 4 and 5 May, 2017. It is always free on Kindle Unlimited.

‘A Ghost In The Darkness: A Short Story’ free this weekend on Kindle and KindleUnlimited

We’ve all known that kid in school. Every school has one. An angel. A kid who is perfect, loved by the teachers, adored by the students. But if every school has an angel, there is usually a demon hiding in its shadows. At St. Joseph’s Academy for Boys it is no different. And the angel brings out the worst in the demon.
Read my new short story, ‘A Ghost In The Darkness’ to find out what happens. It’s available for free on Kindle today (03/04/2017) and tomorrow (03/05/2017). It’s always free on KindleUnlimited.

‘Out Of This World: A Short Story’ free from Amazon Kindle

Anyone who has ever planned a wedding knows that doing it right is a little bit like becoming a grandmaster in chess: you have to know everything that can possibly occur and be prepared to overcome it. If you’re the bride, chances are that you’ve had your dream wedding mapped out in your mind for the better part of a decade by the time you finally get your big day. Which is why nothing can go wrong. But sometimes all the careful planning in the world can not prevent things from going off kilter. This happens to Jane in my new short story ‘Out Of This World’, which is free from Amazon Kindle for a limited time only. See the link below to get your copy. Your honest feedback, on Amazon, Goodreads or otherwise, would be greatly appreciated!

Travel blog: Jökulsárlón

There are few places in the world quite as magical as Svinafellsjökull, where you can get up close and personal with glacial ice that was formed millions of years ago.

There are few places in the world quite as magical as Svinafellsjökull, where you can get up close and personal with glacial ice that was formed millions of years ago.

Jökulsárlón means ´Glacial-river lagoon´ in Icelandic, but it´s far cooler than the name suggests. Ever seen those National Geographic specials where large pieces of glaciers tumble into the water? What about those shots of seals, sunbathing on the ice? You can view all of that, and more, at Iceland´s Jökusárlón. But sometimes, when you travel, the things that you can´t photograph make for your greatest memories. Find out why by reading my travel blog about my first visit to Iceland, first published by wesaidgotravel.com.

Bobby: Man’s best friend as you’ve never seen him before

 

Also available for Kindle at Amazon

I was introduced to Elizabeth Pienaar at the NB Books Authors’ Party earlier this year. A small, beautiful blonde woman with an open face and infectious smile. She was easy to talk to, even easier to listen to, as she is smart, well informed and a good conversationalist. That was my first impression, before we started talking shop.

What are you working on/getting published?

A new book, about to be released, she said. A Young Adult book called Bobby.

Young Adult? I had read only the week before that a multitude of American authors are suddenly finding themselves ranked as YA writers without ever having intended their work for that market. Did you write it as such? I asked.

She hadn’t, but it had become labelled during the publishing process. Labelled for teens, so it could be sold to teens.

What’s it about?

It’s about a dog, told from the dog’s perspective.

Pretty much the perfect elevator pitch, I thought. She hadn’t even needed two minutes. One sentence had me hooked.

Fast Forward two months.

In a charming bookstore in the heart of Melville, the lights are on tonight. Laughter flows out of the two entrances to Love Books at the Bamboo Centre on Rustenburg Road. Leopard’s Leap wine glows in every glass. Beautiful food disrupts happy conversation. In the midst of it all is Elizabeth, taking it all in. They are all here for her, but what they really came for is the book. A book, based on true events, inspired by the life of one creature that many would count insignificant. A dog. An animal so easily taken for granted, overlooked, forgotten. For the lucky few who understand, an animal which should never be taken for granted, overlooked or underestimated.

Elizabeth understands.

She speaks with mirth about her method as a writer, about discipline and belief. She speaks about Bobby, the real Bobby, with great love, from heartfelt remembrance. She looks with reverence to the couple who gave Bobby his final home. Arthur and Ingrid. They are among the attendees.

When she reads from her book, my signed copy burns me through its brown paper bag. I could have bought it a few weeks ago on Kindle, but then I wouldn’t be reading the real thing. Then I wouldn’t be able to hold the paper copy in my hands with the same anticipation, the same first-read jitters.

The cover is beautifully simple. A girl and a dark-coloured Alsatian with hazelnut eyes. A book that every dog-lover would pick up. A book that everyone else might pass by, not knowing what they missed.

 

“People coming, people coming to look!” Elizabeth Pienaar – Bobby

 

I met Bobby on page one. I’d heard about him, read snippets about him, but until I met him I couldn’t have understood the immensity of his presence. Bobby embodies every look, every wag of the tail, every yelp, or bark or whimper of every dog who ever lived. Bobby is the book you read to your children so they can understand the importance of being kind to animals. It’s the book you give to someone who’s been unfortunate enough to have to deal with the loss of a beloved companion. It’s the book that was written expressly to remind us that dogs are not pets, or protectors or mere companions. Dogs are family. And if you treat them right, they’ll love you more than is humanly possible.

Bobby tells the story of a dog who loses his human to death. Afterwards he is repeatedly abandoned by his caretakers until he ends up in a care facility, awaiting adoption or death. Along with so many of his kind waiting for someone to notice them, there is no knowing which of the two will come first.

On the other side of the special barrier, a young girl finds it hard to overcome her grief after losing her dog to Cancer.

Elizabeth Pienaar understands the human condition. She understands what grief is, that everybody deals with it in their own way and that it often defines who we become. In Bobby we have to deal with a new form of grief, a new understanding of our own reactions to the grief of others, whether they are human or not.

This book is not just for teenagers. Young Adult is not an apt label. It should have been labelled more distinctly. It should have been labelled “For humans”. It should be sold in pet stores, at shelters, by breeders and vets. Anyone with a beating heart should get a copy of Bobby. And since you’re going to the bookstore anyway, why not grab one for your friend, sibling, parent, grandparent or boss?

Get Elizabeth Pienaar’s fantastic debut novel (R120) at your local bookstore or buy it from Amazon via Kindle. Also available in Afrikaans as Bobbie. To learn more about the author, visit her website at: elizabethpienaar.com