‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2016 With Monica Tesler

‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays is a special seasonal feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which some of my favourite authors help me to celebrate the spirit of the season and spread a little holiday cheer. So, pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle in by the fireside as they answer the question: “What does the holiday season mean to you?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!


About Monica Tesler

Monica Tesler is the author of the Bounders series, a five book science fiction adventure series from Simon & Schuster. The second title in the series, The Tundra Trials, released on December 13, 2016. The first book in the series was released in paperback with the episodic title Earth Force Rising on the same date. Monica lives outside of Boston with her husband and their two boys.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads


When I think of the holiday season, music fills my mind. I nod along when people complain about radio stations queuing up Christmas tunes the day after Halloween, but the truth is I love it. I get in my car alone, turn up the volume, and sing at the top of my lungs.

While I was growing up, my mom would drag out the Andy Williams record early in December, and we would dance around the kitchen, excited that it was finally “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” I know every word to every song on that album by heart, a fact my kids would definitely corroborate.

When I moved out on my own, I acquired some of my own favorites thanks to Josh Groban, Kelly Clarkson, and even Bare Naked Ladies (featuring Sarah McLachlan). There’s really nothing that gets me in the mood of the season more than music.

Really, though, it’s not the albums or the playlists that strike the Christmas chord deeply in me. It’s the piano.

My earliest Christmas memories include my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother playing carols on the piano, surrounded by a crowd of family and friends singing along. My mother doesn’t play anymore, but the muscle memory for Silent Night hasn’t left her fingers. She still sits down at our wooden bench and hammers out a lovely rendition of the classic carol to kick off our night of holiday music.

For years I was the primary designated player. I have two well-worn music books that I’d play from cover to cover as my family gathered around the piano and sang. We wouldn’t win any singing awards, but “loud and proud” was my grandmother’s motto, and we continue in her tradition.

Now, both of my boys have taken up the mantle. Between the two of them, they’ve mastered half a dozen songs. The three of us take turns on the bench. I fill in the blanks with the standards they’ve not yet added to their repertoire.

Sometimes, when my kids are at school, and I’m in my festive, holiday-decorated home alone, I’ll sit at the bench and play. It takes me back across the years. I can almost hear my grandmother’s voice rise beside me. Christmas music is past and present, peace and joy. For me, it’s the essence of the holiday season, and the closest I come to the true meaning of Christmas.

Title Earth Force Rising (Bounders #1)
Author Monica Tesler
Pages 400 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre & Keywords Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Published December 13th, 2016 by Aladdin
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Bounders have always known they were different, but they never suspected they were the key to saving Earth.

Thirteen years ago, Earth Force — a space-military agency — discovered a connection between brain structure and space travel. Now they’ve brought together a team of cadets, called Bounders, to be trained as elite astronauts able to pilot ships that can travel across the galaxy in an instant.

Jasper Adams can’t wait to join the first class of Bounders, but when he arrives at the space station, nothing is as it seems. Security is sky-high, and Jasper and his new friends soon realize that Earth Force has been keeping secrets — one of the biggest being a powerful, highly-classified technology that allows the Bounders to teleport through space without a ship. Only Bounders can use this tech, which leads Jasper to a sinister truth — humanity is facing a threat greater than any they’ve ever known, and Bounders are the ones standing between their planet and destruction.

Will Jasper and his friends rebel against Earth Force for hiding the truth, or fulfill their duty and fight for their planet? The fate of Earth may rest on their choice.

Title The Tundra Trials (Bounders #2)
Author Monica Tesler
Pages 288 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre & Keywords Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Published December 13th, 2016 by Aladdin
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Jasper learns that secrets can strain even the strongest bonds as the Bounders adventure continues in The Tundra Trials.

After discovering that Earth Force is waging a covert alien war, Jasper and his friends return to space and continue their training. This time, Earth Force brings them to the remote planet of Gulaga, where the cadets compete in the Tundra Trials: a grueling pod race across the planet’s frigid landscape.

But when their pod leader asks Jasper and Mira to secretly test a dangerous new technology that will take their Bounder abilities to the next level, the kids begin to suspect that there are rifts within Earth Force. The worst part? Jasper must keep the truth from everyone — even his own pod mates.

When Earth Force prepares for an attack against the aliens, the kids are tasked with a treacherous mission. With their loyalties torn, will Jasper and his friends once again fulfill their duty and fight for their planet? And if they do, will the secret tech work as planned or lead their enemies to their doorstep?

One response to “‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2016 With Monica Tesler”

  1. Alexa S. says:

    This is lovely, Monica! Music is something I certainly associate with the holiday season. I love listening to Christmas music <3
    Alexa S. recently posted…Alexa’s Best of 2016: Young Adult & Middle Grade BooksMy Profile

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