Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #110: Starflight

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week's WoW is...

Starflight by Melissa Landers

Title: Starflight (Starflight #1)
Author: Melissa Landers

Release date: February 2nd 2016
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She's so desperate to reach the realm that she's willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he's been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world--and each other--the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe...

I already know that Melissa Landers writes amazing YA sci-fi (go read Alienated if you haven't already), so of course I know I'll love this book. Also, isn't that cover just beautiful? Simple and stunning at the same time.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Review: Light of Day by Allison van Diepen

Title: Light of Day
Author: Allison van Diepen
Release date: November 24th 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: ARC
Pages: 309

Source: Publisher

Like any other Saturday night, Gabby Perez and her best friend, Maria, are out dancing. But this isn’t just another night. When a mysterious stranger warns Gabby their drinks have been drugged, she hurries Maria home. Sure enough, the next day, Maria can’t remember a thing. Gabby’s shaken by their close call. And she’s not going to stay quiet about it.

She opens up the airwaves on her radio show and discovers an even worse truth: the guy who drugged them was going to force them into prostitution. Then Gabby’s friend Bree never makes it home from a party, and Gabby fears the worst.

Gabby reaches out to the guy who saved her, the gorgeous stranger she knows only as X. As they dive into the seedy underworld of Miami, searching for Bree, they can’t ignore their undeniable attraction. Until Gabby discovers the truth about who X really is and the danger that surrounds him. Can their love survive the light of day?

Light of Day is a companion novel to On the Edge, as both books are set in the same world and feature similar premises. But this can be read as a standalone, even if you haven't read On the Edge. I've read both, and I think I enjoyed this one a little more.

Gabby is introduced to the seedy side of the city when she takes it upon herself to find her missing friend, who has apparently become part of a prostitution ring - according to the mysterious guy Gabby meets one night at a club. He introduces himself as X, and agrees to help Gabby find Bree. But as Gabby goes deeper into things she has no idea about, she realizes how much danger she's in. And that X isn't exactly who she thought he was.

Gabby struck me as quite naive, similar to the female protagonist of On the Edge. She has a good sense of morals, though, and a lot of courage. Gabby and X work well together, and though we don't get to know much about X, I really liked what we saw. He's not an undercover cop like Gabby assumed he was, and that was pretty obvious from the beginning. X is part of the connection between the two books, and towards the end we even get cameos from the protagonists of On the Edge, which was awesome.

I definitely could have done without the high school drama, though. It took away most of the seriousness of the issue of the plot, which is the sex trafficking of girls in Miami. There was pettiness and bitchiness and other random high school issues. I liked Gabby's high school friend group and the Zombie Apocalypse Survival Club (I think that's what it's called), but that setting would have worked better in a lighter-themed novel.

There were a couple of surprises and twists that were unexpected, so I was glad about that. But like I said in my review for On the Edge, I wish there was more on the trafficking premise and what the Destinos gang is doing to help. Too much of the novel's focus was on Gabby's high school and her romance with X. On the whole, though, I liked reading Light of Day and I hope the author writes more books set in this world.

*Thank you to Megan at HarperCollins International for sending me an ARC for review*

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #109: Glass Sword

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week's WoW is...

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Title: Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)
Author: Victoria Aveyard

Release date: February 9th 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

The thrilling second book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen trilogy follows Mare Barrow on her mission to defeat the traitorous Maven.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness of her own heart.

I'm all kinds of excited for this book! Red Queen was one of my favourite YA debuts ever, and I really hope this'll be just as mindblowing as its predecessor.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Immortal Heights Blog Tour: Author Interview + Giveaway

Greetings, book lovers! Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Immortal Heights (The Elemental Trilogy #3) by Sherry Thomas. I have for you an interview with the amazing Sherry Thomas and don't forget to enter the giveaway below! Thank you to Rockstar Book Tours for letting me participate. Check out the full tour schedule here :)

In a pursuit that has spanned continents, Iolanthe, Titus, and their friends have always managed to remain one step ahead of the forces of Atlantis. But now the Bane, the monstrous tyrant who bestrides the entire mage world, has issued his ultimatum: Titus must hand over Iolanthe, or watch as his entire realm is destroyed in a deadly rampage. Running out of time and options, Iolanthe and Titus must act decisively to deliver a final blow to the Bane, ending his reign of terror for good.

However, getting to the Bane means accomplishing the impossible—finding a way to infiltrate his crypt in the deepest recesses of the most ferociously guarded fortress in Atlantis. And everything is only made more difficult when new prophecies come to light, foretelling a doomed effort....

Iolanthe and Titus will put their love and their lives on the line. But will it be enough?

With The Immortal Heights, Sherry Thomas brings the acclaimed Elemental Trilogy to its breathtaking conclusion.

Release date: October 13th 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Check out my review of The Immortal Heights HERE!

Interview with Sherry Thomas

Firstly, I want to say how excited I am to have you here on City of Books, Sherry! The Elemental Trilogy is one of my all-time YA favourites, and it's a series I would reread over and over again. How does it feel to have finally completed this YA trilogy?

Hi, I’m thrilled to be here! Thank you for having me.

I finish a book multiple times, because that happens to be the inefficient way I write, draft after arduous draft. And I always revise from the beginning, because what takes place at the beginning has impact on everything that follows. As I result I’m always in a desperate time crunch as I reach “The End”—and never quite happy with it.

The draft of The Immortal Heights that went to copyedit actually had a lot of stuff rushed over and only half an epilogue—the copyeditor was like, What’s going on? So when I got my copyedits back, I did another round of substantial revisions. And as usual, when I reached the end, two minutes before I had to turn it in, I was already making notes for further changes needed when printed galleys came back.

When the galleys came back, I wasn’t looking forward to reaching the end, because there the maximum amount of work awaited me. And then the oddest thing happened. I had to stop along the way to fix various things, but those last few chapters I read all the way through. And they were fine. They were better than fine: I had tears running down my face as I turned the final page. 

And I sat stunned for a bit as the emotional impact of the ending, of the entire epic, washed over me.

It really was the most wonderful feeling.

To me, the Crucible is the most intriguing aspect of this series. How did you come up with a concept like that?

Before I took to describing the trilogy as Harry Potter with cross-dressing, I used to say it’s Harry Potter meets The Matrix.

In The Matrix, Neo trains in a virtual reality software program called The Construct. Inside the Construct you can have all different kinds of environments. I always thought that was the coolest thing and wanted an equivalent for my story.

That equivalent had to be a book, cuz I love physical books. And fairy tales were pretty perfect, since they were often dangerous and filled with all kinds of difficult terrains and terrible monsters. What could be better?

Though they have their fair share of disagreements, Titus and Iolanthe always struck me as a great team. How easy or difficult was it to have them work well together despite their equally strong personalities and often clashing opinions?

It might be difficult for them, at times, but for me that’s one of the most rewarding things about writing this trilogy. I didn’t want these books to be boy books or girl books; I wanted them to be stories about a pair of equals. About two young people who were truly partners in every sense.

And the thing is, you don’t become partners without a process of figuring each other out. So I throw all kinds of challenges and setbacks at them, and watch them fall apart, fall out with each other, and then find their way back to working together again.


Did any of the major characters in the series stray significantly from what you'd originally expected them to be like?

I don’t usually know what my characters are going to be like until I’ve written a lot about them.
For example, Kashkari, introduced at the beginning of The Burning Sky, was a bit of a cypher. I didn’t know much more about him than the readers did and that was okay for The Burning Sky, because he didn’t have a major part to play.

But then as I got into The Perilous Sea and The Immortal Heights, his role grew bigger and bigger, until it became pivotal. And he gradually turned into a fully fleshed out person as I learned more and more about him.

And that’s how it works for me. Instead of having characters who turn out differently from how I envisioned them, my characters are like Polaroid pictures that start out blank and take a while for clear, full images to emerge.

Do you have any book or series recommendations for YA fantasy lovers?

The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner.

What are you working on right now, and do you have any plans for writing more YA?

I am working on the first book in a historical mystery series for the adult market. But I definitely plan to write more YA. My editor and I are hashing through a story idea together and I’ll get back to working on it as soon as I turn in a decent first draft of the historical mystery.

Thank you so much for answering my questions, Sherry! I can't wait to read more books from you :)

About the author:

Sherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed romance authors working today. Her books regularly receive starred reviews from trade publications and are frequently found on best-of-the-year lists. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA® Award.

English is Sherry's second language—she has come a long way from the days when she made her laborious way through Rosemary Roger's Sweet Savage Love with an English-Chinese dictionary. She enjoys digging down to the emotional core of stories. And when she is not writing, she thinks about the zen and zaniness of her profession, plays computer games with her sons, and reads as many fabulous books as she can find.

Sherry’s next book, The Immortal Heights volume three of her young adult fantasy trilogy, will be available fall 2015.

Author photo by the lovely and talented Jennifer Sparks Harriman at Sparks Studio.

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