Books · REVIEWS

Deadzone (Horizon, #2) by Jennifer A. Nielsen

“…if we’re going to be a single team, then we’re going to function like one.”

The survivors have made it out of the jungle, but they may be sorry they ever left when they stumble upon a whole new ecosystem, populated with entirely new threats. And the greatest threat of all may come from within. Because one of the kids is changing . . .

The seven-book series begun by #1 New York Times bestseller Scott Westerfeld only gets bigger and bolder under the frenzied imagination of bestselling, critically acclaimed author Jennifer A. Nielsen!

Book Links: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads | Publisher

Personal Thoughts:

Deadzone is a survival story with a video game vibe and mystery, that will keep young readers at the very edge of their seats.

Those of you who have visited this blog for some time probably know that Jennifer Nielsen’s The Ascendance Trilogy is a favorite middle grade series of mine. It’s one of those fantasy books I love to read and reread. Which put Jennifer Nielsen to my auto-buy list. I’ve been looking out for her latest releases, hoping that she’ll create a new character like Sage/Jaron of The Ascendance trilogy. But in this new book of her, Deadzone, I didn’t actually expect a character like Jaron. Since the series is basically a collaboration from different authors, I know that Jennifer will have to continue the previous author, Scotte Westerfeld’s story. Which only means, same characters to play and expand for Jennifer.

Team Killbot – Kira, Yoshi and Akiko are still stranded in the arctic rift, trying their best to survive. Together with other survivors they have to cross the Blood Sand with the hope to finally find safety and answers. But crossing the Blood Sand is not an easy task. There are dangers and risks involved which may cost not only their energy and sanity but also their lives.

For a sequel of a series with different author from the previous book, Deadzone offers a same feel of read. Jennifer Nielsen continue the story from Scott Westerfeld’s Horizon with ease. She manages to deliver the same urgency if not more engaging. Unlike with the prequel, Jennifer doesn’t have to set-up the ground for the storyline anymore, giving her more space to push the story forward. Which she successfully did by giving readers and the characters new playing grounds, and more difficult battle to face.

With relatively diverse characters, Jeniffer weaved a compelling story in this sequel. The characters are not only struggling to survive the situation they are into but also each of their personal issues. Moly had to embrace her leadership role for the team Killbot; Yoshi has to accept his mother’s reason for sending him to Japan; while Kira and Akiko has some language barrier that they need to overcome in order to contribute more for the team.

Overall, Deadzone is a solid follow-up to Scott Westerfeld’s Horizon. Jennifer Nielsen not only moves the story arc forward but also set a higher stakes for the characters.

* This review is based on an ARC received from the publisher, Scholastic Press Philippines in exchange for my honest opinion about the book.

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Celebrating Debutantes · FEATURES · Giveaways · Interviews

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski (Author Interview + Giveaway)

I’m thrilled to welcome new author Heather Kaczynski on the blog as part of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 blog event. Heather answered few questions for me about her upcoming debut YA novel, Dare Mighty Things.

Dare Mighty Thingwill release in October but you can pre-order your copies now.

Following the author interview is Heather Kaczynski’s author bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to pre-order copies of Dare Mighty Thing. And if you would like the chance to win a signed advance readers copy of Dare Mighty Thing, Heather is giving away one below. Just enter the rafflecopter form a bit further down in this post. I hope you guys enjoy the interview.

Interview with Heather Kaczynski

What’s your journey so far to writerhood been like? What inspired your debut science-fiction novel, Dare Mighty Things?
Like most writers, I’ve been writing stories since childhood. I never finished a story until I graduated college. Before then, I’d started numerous original stories and fanfiction but always petered out once I got past the beginning. This time, I really sat down and made myself finish something I’d worked on and off for years. I told myself: “You’re finally out of school, you have a regular work schedule and nothing much else to occupy your time – no more excuses. If you’re going to be a writer you actually need to finish something.” So I finished it. And the next book I worked on became Dare Mighty Things.

DMT was inspired mainly by where I live – the home of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and Space Camp – and my love of space and sci-fi adventure stories. I’m very passionate about science and encouraging girls to pursue STEM education, as well as all the exciting things the space program is doing and where we’ll be in the next few years. I tried to be as realistic as possible about the science of what’s currently possible or may be possible in the near future, but this book focuses on a girl with a dream and how she works hard to achieve it.

What kind of research went into crafting Dare Mighty Things? Did you read a lot of books about space or other science related materials?
I definitely did! My educational background is in biology, not space science, so I was really starting from square one. I read a lot of astronaut biographies and books about physics. My two favorites were MY DREAM OF STARS by Anousheh Ansari and PACKING FOR MARS by Mary Roach. Also tried to read a lot of Neil deGrasse Tyson to get a good baseline for the laws of physics (so I’d better know how to break them, ha!)

I also went on a behind-the-scenes tour of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and interviewed an astronaut about what it’s like to leave Earth.

Dare Mighty Things is the first book in a planned duology. Did you know it was going to be a two books when you first write the story? Do you already have longer story arcs outlined?
When I first wrote Dare Mighty Things, I knew I had too much story for one book. For a time I thought it needed to be three, but then realized selling a trilogy would be quite difficult, and luckily I found ways to distill everything the story to only two books – which I think made it much stronger. I didn’t have book two entirely plotted, but I did already have the main conflicts and even the plot twists in my head from the beginning. It was a bit of a cliffhanger ending, so I was hopeful that we’d be able to sell the sequel also, and luckily it worked out that way.

What was the biggest change you made to the story before it reached an agent/editor/publisher?
Deciding where to end it. Since I’d always planned to have two books, my main issue was figuring out where to cut my one story into two pieces. It was originally much longer and ended almost in the middle of what is now book 2. Then I cut it too short, making for a very sudden and surprising cliffhanger – this was softened and slowed by my editor so that it’s not so jarring. I think we found a good happy medium.

Many writers tells how their characters take on a life of their own. As you wrote and developed Cassie, is their anything about her that surprised you?
Strangely, Cassie didn’t change much from her first draft. I was initially reluctant to include much of a romance, but kind of forced one because I thought it would be expected of by readers. I came late to the realization that it wasn’t working because Cassie was on the asexual spectrum and I was trying to make her something that didn’t go with her nature. I think I’d always kind of known that, but I had to let her be who she was.

Aside from being a half-Indian, what makes Cassie special for you to tell her story?
I don’t share the same background as Cassie, but there’s a lot of myself in her personality. I was very competitive when I was younger, and dare I say, maybe a little arrogant too. In the book, Cassie follows a similar path that I did as I matured in humbling herself, albeit in a shorter period of time. Cassie also comes to realize she may be demisexual (she begins the book identifying as ace.) And though I don’t currently ID myself the same way Cassie does, a lot of her experiences and feelings are modeled after my own. She’s also very brave, boldly going after what she wants in life – in this way she’s my opposite, as I was always very anxious as a child and afraid of doing the most basic things. Writing her that way was very cathartic and freeing for me, as I’d always wished to be able to go through life the way she does – without fear.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I just want to keep telling exciting stories about adventures in space – and hopefully inspire and entertain people along the way.

And lastly before we end this interview, can you please share to us your favorite scene or line from Dare Mighty Things to intrigue and tantalize us before the book hit the shelves in October.

Here’s a quick line where Cassie reflects on her genetic engineering and her ambition:

“My genes were expensive. I was an investment….My parents didn’t just expect perfect; they had paid for it. It used to bug me, their level of expectation. But not anymore. I wanted the same thing they did: to be the best.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather writes books for teenagers and other people who like books about teenagers. They’re usually about teenagers saving the world, because she really believes they can.

Heather never got to go to Space Camp, so she had to settle for writing about it. After graduating cum laude with a degree in biology, she returned to her first love of books, and now works in a library near NASA. She lives with her husband, their daughter, and way too many books. She’s not nearly brave enough to go into space, but she did twirl a fire baton in high school.

She’s represented by Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency.

Find Heather

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: Dare Mighty Things
Author: Heather Kaczynski
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover, eBook, Audio

THE RULES ARE SIMPLE: You must be gifted. You must be younger than twenty-five. You must be willing to accept the dangers that you will face if you win.Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Gupta’s entire life has been leading up to this—the opportunity to travel to space. But to secure a spot on this classified mission, she must first compete against the best and brightest people on the planet. People who are as determined as she to win a place on a journey to the farthest reaches of the universe.

Cassie is ready for the toll that the competition will take; the rigorous mental and physical tests designed to push her to the brink of her endurance. But nothing could have prepared her for the bonds she would form with the very people she hopes to beat. Or that with each passing day it would be more and more difficult to ignore the feeling that the true objective of the mission is being kept from her.

As the days until the launch tick down and the stakes rise higher than ever before, only one thing is clear to Cassie: she’ll never back down . . . even if it costs her everything.

Book Links

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Chapters | Goodreads | IndieBound

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • Pre-order copy of Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski

The Rules:

  • Open International where Book Depository Ships
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends September 16th, 2017
  • Prize will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.

Celebrating Debutantes · FEATURES · Giveaways · Interviews

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski (Author Interview and Giveaway)

Welcome to another feature of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 event. Today I’m thrilled to feature new author Chelsea Bobulski and her debut fantasy/mystery novel, The Wood. The book will hit the shelves in three (3) days, and I can’t wait for everyone to get the chance to read this riveting book.  If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet you still have time to place your order from your favorite book store.

If you’d like to know more about the book, check out the book’s description. If you’d like to catch up with Author Chelsea Bobulski online, her social links and author bio follow the interview. And if you would like the chance to win a copy of the book, just enter the rafflecopter form a bit further down in this post to be enter on the giveaway which is open international.

A huge thank you to Chelsea for taking the time to answer all my questions, I hope you guys enjoy!

Interview with Chelsea Bobulski

Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as a new author?

My journey has honestly been a dream come true. It took me five years and five books to get my first book deal after deciding I wanted to pursue traditional publishing (before that, I only wrote for my own amusement, never daring to dream that I could someday walk into a bookstore and see one of my books on the shelves). My full publishing journey up until getting that first book deal was a very long process, with a lot of twists and turns that would take waaaay too long to detail here, but if you would like to read more about it, you can check out my blog post, My Journey to Publication. Post-book deal, my journey has been everything I could have ever hoped it would be. My editor and my entire publishing team have been so supportive. THE WOOD would not be the book it is now, the book I intended for it to be all along, if it weren’t for their expert guidance.

The Wood has an intriguing premise – enchanted woods, time travel, portals, and guardians. Where did you get the inspiration for the story?

I would definitely say the main inspiration came from two of my favorite things (the history nerd in me that hopes for the possibility of time-travel, and a lifelong connection to the woods that I can only describe as a primordial and ancient urge to return to nature whenever I can—Side Note: I’m a big hiker, but not a big camper, to which my husband will attest. I enjoy the woods so much more if I can go home, or to a nice hotel with a shower, at the end of the day). Both of these pieces of me must have come together subconsciously in my brain, crafting this story and my main character, Winter, while I was off doing and writing other things. I have no other way to explain how Winter’s voice came to me fully-formed one day while I was free-writing for fun. It was like she’d been there all along, waiting for me to tell her story. I free-wrote the first fifty pages of THE WOOD just listening to Winter’s voice, letting her guide the story (pages that have not changed much at all from first draft to final product, other than the inclusion of a new scene). It was at fifty pages that I stopped and realized I should probably plot out the story my main character was trying to tell me before I totally lost track of it. But at its heart, THE WOOD is a mixture of all my favorite things, blended with a very deep and urgent need to escape to the woods from time to time and bask in its beauty.

How did you maintain the atmosphere of mystery throughout the story?

Maintaining the atmosphere of mystery throughout the story was very easy for me because I didn’t even know what was going on half the time. It was as if Winter and I were discovering the mystery together. Of course, I knew the most important things, but there was a lot I didn’t know. Both of my main characters, Winter and Henry, were very sneaky, only showing me their secrets on a need-to-know basis. I remember getting really frustrated one time and shouting at my computer, “Just tell me what you’re hiding!!” (Really glad no one was around to see that). There were plenty of times when they would reveal something important to me mid-drafting that I didn’t see coming, as if they were throwing a bone to the poor writer trying to tell their story. This isn’t typical of how I write—usually I plot out quite a bit of the story, leaving just enough wiggle room for unexpected surprises (because if I plot out the entire book point by point beforehand, there’s no more discovery inherent in the process and I lose all of the excitement and passion for writing it)—but THE WOOD was not a typical book for me from the moment I wrote the first page. It definitely took on a life of its own, which may also be why there is such an atmosphere of mystery surrounding it!

Do you have a method for creating your characters, and what do you think makes them believable?

Character is the most important part of a book to me, both as a reader and as a writer. As a reader, I need to connect with the main character on a deeply personal level in order to enjoy their story. It’s the same for me while writing. I have plenty of plot ideas for future books swimming around in my head, but until their characters step forward and really show me why their story is important, I can’t begin to write them. I need to be able to get under the skin of my characters. I need to analyze them and figure out their deepest desires and fears, their goals, their motivations, the past hurts that define their internal conflict, the situation they find themselves in that defines their external conflict—I think it’s just so important to know your character inside and out as much as possible before you start writing, because it’s amazing how discovering things about your character can really affect the plot, and vice versa. If you’re like me, there are things you will continue to discover about your character as you’re drafting, but it’s so important to understand why they’re doing what they’re doing and how they feel about it. I tend to find that it’s only when you understand your characters on this deeper level that they reveal even more of themselves to you. This is also what makes a character believable, what makes them feel fully-formed in the reader’s mind. The other extremely important thing that makes a character believable is giving them flaws. No one wants to read about a perfect person doing perfect things, never failing, never growing, never changing. It just doesn’t make for an interesting story. Even if a character is a perfectionist obsessed with doing everything perfect, digging deeper may reveal the dark past that has inspired these tendencies, the stains that continue to bleed into her current life—that’s where the story is. Not the perfect things the character tries to do, but why she’s doing them, and why she won’t be able to keep up the façade for much longer.

Love the cover art of The Wood. It looks dark and sinister. Did you have any say in the cover and title of your book? How important do you think they are?

As much as we try to not judge a book by its cover, I do think it’s very important that a cover convey everything the reader will find in your book in an eye-catching way—that is, after all, what’s going to make a reader curious enough to read the description of your book and/or the first page. I was so, so fortunate to get the cover of my dreams right off the bat. My editor sent me the concept, and the second I saw my cover, it took my breath away. Rich Deas, Feiwel and Friends’ creative director, came up with the perfect cover to convey the tone and atmosphere of THE WOOD in that single leaf, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. Seeing this story become an actual book and flourish under such an amazing team has just been a total dream come true.

If you could go back in time and tell young Chelsea one thing, what would it be?

“I know things aren’t easy right now, little one. I know there are days when you feel like your whole world is crashing down around you. Like you’re alone in a limitless ocean, barely treading water. Hold on, keep breathing, because all of those dreams you’re praying for, the life you someday hope to live, it’s all going to come true. You are going to be blessed beyond your wildest dreams. You are going to be a published author, and you are going to be blessed with an amazing husband and a beautiful daughter. You are going to be living your best life, and it is going to be amazing.”

And this is definitely what I would tell anyone going through difficulties, especially as a teen or as an adolescent, since that can be such a hard time when you don’t have any control over your situation, whatever it may be, and when you can feel very lost or alone, especially as you are trying to discover who you are vs. who other people expect you to be. Just know that it does get better, and that if you work hard for it, you will be living your best, most amazing life. So keep your chin up, chase your dreams, and don’t look back. You’ve got this.

Where do you see your work going after the release of The Wood? Any other project we should look forward to?

I have a few secret projects I’m working on right now. One is a YA in a similar vein as THE WOOD, and the others are fun, new age groups and genres for me that I’m really excited to be working on. No news I can share yet, but I hope to be able to soon! 🙂

Thanks for having me!!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chelsea Bobulski was born in Columbus, Ohio, and raised on Disney movies, Broadway musicals, and Buckeye pride. She graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in history, and promptly married her high school sweetheart. As a writer, she has a soft spot for characters with broken pasts, strange talents, and obstacles they must overcome for a brighter future. She now lives in Northwest Ohio with her husband, her daughter, and one very emotive German Shepherd/Lab mix. Her debut young adult novel, THE WOOD, will be published by Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan on August 1, 2017.

Find Chelsea

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: The Wood
Author: Chelsea Bobulski
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: August 01, 2017
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

After her father goes missing in the woods that they protect, Winter tries to seek the truth in what happened, why the wood is changing, and what it all has to do with the arrival of a mysterious stranger in this thrilling YA debut.

When Winter’s dad goes missing during his nightly patrol of the wood, it falls to her to patrol the time portals and protect the travelers who slip through them. Winter can’t help but think there’s more to her dad’s disappearance than she’s being told.

She soon finds a young man traveling in the wood named Henry who knows more than he should. He believes if they can work together to find his missing parents, they could discover the truth about Winter’s dad.

The wood is poisoned, changing into something sinister—torturing travelers lost in it. Winter must put her trust in Henry in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost.

Bobulski’s eerie debut is filled with friendship, family, and the responsibilities we choose and those we do not.

Book Links

Amazon | B&N | BAM | Book DepositoryIndieBound | Goodreads | Publisher

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • Copy of The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski

The Rules:

  • Open to International where Book Depository Ships
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends August 19th, 2017
  • Prize will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.

Books · REVIEWS

The Ship Beyond Time (The Girl from Everywhere #2) by Heidi Heilig

“…whenever you try to change something, you sacrifice something else.”

Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her father has given up his obsession to save her mother—and possibly erase Nix’s existence—and Nix’s future lies bright before her. Until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves. But her relationship with Kash—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—is only just beginning. How can she bear to lose him? How can she bear to become as adrift and alone as her father?

Desperate to change her fate, Nix takes her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is what it seems—not even her relationship with Kash. Nix must grapple with whether anyone can escape her destiny, her history, her choices. Heidi Heilig weaves fantasy, history, and romance together to tackle questions of free will, fate, and what it means to love another person. But at the center of this adventure are the extraordinary, multifaceted, and multicultural characters that leap off the page, and an intricate, recognizable world that has no bounds. The sequel—and conclusion—to the indie darling The Girl from Everywhere will be devoured by fans of Rachel Hartman and Maggie Stiefvater. Includes black-and-white maps.

Book Links: Amazon | B&N | BD | Goodreads | Publisher

Personal Thoughts:

Heidi Heilig sailed once again in this sequel of her time travel series, The Girl from Everywhere. Amira/Nix and her crew are back in The Ship Beyond Time for more journey, searching for the biggest question of time travel about changing history and fate – Do we decide our own fate or is it simply a predetermined path?

Can Amira change her destiny to save someone she love?

I come aboard reading this sequel with less expectations especially with all the issues I have from the first book. If not for Kashmir and the hope to get answers or explanations to at least few of my questions from the The Girl from Everywhere I’m not sure I’ll be coming back for more. But my curiosity win as usual.

The best part of this book (aside from Kashmir and his point of view) is how all the events are interconnected. Sometimes I view those events as circle or loop which are all linked to each other in some way. And analyzing them just form lots of questions (more on that later) than answers. The events are all interconnected, every decisions counts, and they are all part of a grander plot. Which makes me appreciate the intricacy of all these connections. Heidi Heilig must have done lots of research and outlining, not only weaving the imaginary world to the real ones but also interlacing each events.

Remember the main conflict from the first book? About the possibility or erasing Amira’s very own existence if his dad tried and save her mom. Well, that conflict doesn’t really work for me because of Kashmir – an imaginary character from mythical land who exist as real and living boy in the story. (Check my explanations from my review of the first book here for more details.) I did wait for some explanations for that in this second installment, and Kash actually have some thoughts about it but there was never a clear answer. Just one of the many unanswered questions I have from this series.

“If you can create a myth, why not a man? Am I merely a figment of some cartographer’s imagination? Or did you make me up when you arrived?”

Then there’s also the time traveling part. I won’t go into details about the rules of time traveling. I cover more than enough of those from my review of the first book, The Girl from Everywhere. Instead, let’s discuss the classic question I mentioned above, about fate and destiny. Are we the masters of our own fate? Amira travel the length of mythical land looking for answers about changing her destiny with the belief of saving Kashmir. She cannot accept a future where she will lose Kash, to the point of losing the time she was supposed to enjoy with him.

“That’s why you want to know you can change things before you commit.”
“You watched your father chase your mother for years, and you wished he didn’t love her. What will you do to my memory when I’m gone? Will you chase it like a dragon? Or will you banish it like smoke?”

Amira dreaded the future that she forgot to enjoy the present. Unlike Kash who even doubting his very own existence manage to appreciate what he has.

“I won’t let fear of tomorrow steal joy form today.”

Heidi Heilig challenged her characters about the cause and effect of our choices, the ramification of our actions, and how destiny play a huge role in all of these. Amira went to this mythical utopia to find answers in saving Kash, but in doing so she actually triggered the events that led to her loss. Which is just one part of the connections I mentioned above. If only I can enumerate all them here without spoiling. But trust me, those parts are the best, especially in the end where everything is laid out.

“Every choice has a cost, Miss Song. The real question is whether or not one is willing to pay it.”
“No, Blake. The real question is whether it’s worth the price.”

So, Amira doesn’t actually changed her destiny. In the end she still lose someone she love. Which means destiny cannot be altered. If that’s the case, then it brings conflict to Kashmir and Blake’s dream. During their stay in the mythical utopia, there are events that explain Kashmir and Blake’s dream which are actually altered reality – something that happened but was altered somehow. And only navigators remembers what really happened in those events. Those parts are contradicting. They bring more conflicts than answers. Which means we are back to square one. Is fate can really be altered or are we just treading the same line where our destiny ends? Unfortunately, The Ship Beyond Time cannot answer that question. I guess, it’s really up to the  readers what they want to believe.

Back to Amira and Kash. These two went through a lot. Their internal struggles, relationship issues, and overall character development is really the heart of The Ship Beyond Time. Though I missed the other characters who all take a few steps backward in this last adventure, I still enjoyed Kash and Amira’s story. Surprisingly, there’s no love-triangle involved. Blake is not much of a competition as I expected him to be, especially with how the first book ended. So we only have Amira and Kash trying to navigate their own sea of issues both as a couple and individual. Kashmir is questioning his own purpose and existence. While Amira is struggling not only with her destiny of losing someone she love, but also becoming like her father. She is afraid of losing control, of giving in to love and end up like her father – whom we see from the first book as someone obsess in getting his wife back.

Overall, The Ship Beyond Time is imaginative, exciting and entertaining read. Not everything is explained, but that matters very little especially when you are lost enjoying sailing with characters like Amira and her diverse crew aboard the time-traveling ship, Temptation.

Celebrating Debutantes · FEATURES · Giveaways · Guest Post

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: Resurrecting Sunshine by Lisa A. Koosis (Playlist + Giveaway)

Celebrating Debutantes 2016 Second Wave

Happy Monday to all!

Here’s a perfect way to start the week! Listen to all the songs below from the playlist of Ressurecting Sunshine by Lisa Koosis.

Her choice of songs will surely tap your mood if not touch your soul. I’ve been listening to the playlist myself for quite a while and it makes me more excited to meet Adam Rhodes in Lisa’s debut novel, Resurrecting Sunshine when the book hit shelves in October 1st this year. If those set of songs tells even just a bit of Adam’s story then I think I will love the book.

Following the playlist are some information about the author, Lisa Koosis along with places where to find her online, as well as the book’s description and where to get copies of Ressurecting Sunshine.

And be sure and check the bottom of the post for all the details on a how to win an advance readers copy of the book plus bookmarks.

Here’s Lisa with the playlist for all of us!

Resurrecting Sunshine Playlist

Thank you so much Lisa for creating the playlist of Ressurecting Sunshine for us.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author-lisa-koosisIn high school, much to the dismay of her guidance counselor, Lisa Koosis traded AP English for a creative writing class and a class in speculative fiction. She never looked back. Lisa is a member of the SCBWI, an ambassador for National Novel Writing Month, and an active member of her local writing community. Her short stories have been published widely. When she isn’t writing, you’ll probably find her out walking her dog, or chilling with her cats.

Find Lisa

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Blog | Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK

resurrecting-sunshineBook Details:

Title: Resurrecting Sunshine
Author: Lisa Koosis
Publisher:  AW Teen
Publication Date: October 01, 2016
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

At seventeen, Adam Rhodes is famous, living on his own, and in a downward spiral since he lost the girl he loved. Marybeth stage name Sunshine was his best friend from the days they were foster kids; then she was his girlfriend and his band mate. But since her accidental death, he’s been drinking to deal with the memories. Until one day, an unexpected visitor, Dr. Elloran, presents Adam with a proposition that just might save him from himself.

Using breakthrough cloning and memory-implantation techniques, Dr. Elloran and the scientists at Project Orpheus want to resurrect Marybeth, and they need Adam to “donate” intimate memories of his life with her. The memory retrieval process forces Adam to relive his life with Marybeth and the devastating path that brought them both to fame. Along the way, he must confront not only the circumstances of her death but also his growing relationship with the mysterious Genevieve, daughter of Project Orpheus’s founder. As the process sweeps Adam and Marybeth ever closer to reliving the tragedy that destroyed them, Adam must decide how far he’ll go to save her.”

Book Links:

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads | IndieBound

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • Advance readers copy of Resurrecting Sunshine by Lisa Koosis & bookmarks

The Rules:

  • Open to International
  • There will be one (1) lucky winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends October 3rd, 2016
  • Prizes will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each second wave feature post!

CD2016 Second Wave Collage

 

Celebrating Debutantes · FEATURES · Giveaways · Interviews

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: Genesis Girl by Jennifer Bardsley (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Celebrating Debutantes 2016 Second Wave

I’m so pleased to welcome author Jennifer Bardsley today to the blog as part of Celebrating Debutantes 2016. Jennifer debut novel, Genesis Girl is one  of my anticipated book this year with its unique and interesting premise that caught my interest. And it so nice to have a chance to ask Jennifer few questions about the book and her writing.

To know more about Jennifer Bardsley and Genesis Girl, check the author’s bio and book’s description that follows after the interview, as well as links where to find Jennifer and where to buy copies of the book.

Also, don’t forget to check the giveaway at the bottom of this post for a chance to win Genesis Girl swags!

Interview with Jennifer Bardsley

Your debut novel, “Genesis Girl” has a unique and interesting premise. Where did you get the idea for the story?

I wanted to write a YA book that had never been done before. That meant no werewolves, no vampires, and no games that involved kids risking their lives for reality tv shows. A concept that seemed unique was teenagers who had never been on the Internet. I was also inspired by an ugly part of history. In the seventeen and eighteen hundreds young boys in Italy were sometimes castrated in the hopes that they would become famous opera stars called castrati, who were capable of hitting the highest notes. In the Sci-Fi world of “Genesis Girl,” Vestals have their digital footprints castrated in the hopes they will become celebrities.

“Genesis Girl” features a unique and dynamic world involving digital technologies. What were some of the difficulties in world-building the story’s settings? How did you deal with them?

One of the biggest problems I had to solve was figuring out how Vestals would actually keep themselves off the Internet. Imagine how hard it would be to prevent your picture from ever being uploaded online. You’d never be able to go anywhere because you’d always be afraid of photo-bombing somebody’s picture, or worse, that your picture would be snapped and shared against your will. Part of the Vestal world is that they live in their own communities their entire lives in order to protect their privacy. That’s why I sometimes say Blanca is a Sci-Fi Amish girl.

In “Genesis Girl” digital technologies and Internet plays a major part in the story, for an author like you what do you think is the advantage & disadvantage of Internet or social media?

A huge advantage of the Internet is that I can connect with readers on The YA Gal Facebook or on Instagram every time I turn on my phone. The downside is that it’s hard to know when to turn my phone off. I always feel like I’ll miss something important.

In your opinion, are we headed for a dystopic or utopian future? Why?

Ask me after November’s election. Kidding! No, seriously, I think that we are headed for a bright future, and I’m not just saying that because I grew up on Walt Disney. Technology is bringing people closer together and that gives us the enormous opportunity to make the world a better place.

Now that your debut novel is out, how has it changed your writing life?

This summer I’ll be in the editorial process for “Damaged Goods,” the sequel to “Genesis Girl.” That will involve juggling the promotion of book one, polishing book two, and driving my kids around Seattle from swimming lessons to day camp.

Is there anything you can tell us about the next book in the Blank Slate series, Damaged Gods?

Without giving away spoilers. “Damaged Goods” dives into how the Vestals interact with their Chinese counterparts, the Guardians.

Thank you so much for interviewing me! It was lovely chatting with you!

Thank you so much Jennifer for stopping by today and for taking the time to answer all my questions above.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author Jennifer BardsleyJennifer Bardsley writes the parenting column “I Brake for Moms” for The Everett Daily Herald. Her debut YA novel, “Genesis Girl” will be published by Month9Books on June 14, 2016, with the sequel releasing in 2017. “Genesis Girl” is about a teenager who has never been on the Internet. Jennifer however, is on the web all the time as “The YA Gal” with over 20,000 followers on Facebook, and 15,000 followers on Instagram. On Facebook, she hosts the weekly instant book club called #TakeALookTuesday where YA Gal friends geek out, share pictures of what they are reading, and chat about books. Jennifer is a member of SCBWI, The Sweet Sixteens debut author group, and is founder of Sixteen To Read. An alumna of Stanford University, Jennifer lives near Seattle, WA where she enjoys spending time with her family and her poodle, Merlin.

Find Jennifer

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


Genesis GirlABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: Genesis Girl
Author: Jennifer Bardsley
Publisher: Month9Books
Publication Date: June 14, 2016
Pages: 280
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the Internet. Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint has made her extremely valuable and upon graduation Blanca, and those like her, are sold to the highest bidders. Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeals are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable. By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online.

Book Links:

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | IndieBound | Goodreads

 

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • Genesis Girl SwagsGenesis Girl Swags Giveaway

The Rules:

  • Open to International
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends September 8th, 2016
  • Prizes will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each second wave feature post!

CD2016 Second Wave Collage

 

Books · REVIEWS

The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling

The Loneliness of Distant Beings

“…this is the way things are. You know they can’t be any different. The only person you hurt by kicking against everything is you.”

‘It is that quick, it is that strong, it is that beautiful. And it is also totally impossible.’

Even though she knows it’s impossible, Seren longs to have the sunshine on her skin. It’s something she feels she needs to stay sane. But when you’re floating through space at thousands of kilometres an hour, sometimes you have to accept there are things you cannot change.

Except that the arrival of Dom in her life changes everything in ways she can barely comprehend. For a while he becomes the Sun for her; and she can’t help but stay in his orbit. Being with him flaunts every rule designed to keep their home in order, but to lose him would be like losing herself.

In the end they must decide what is most important: loyalty to the only home they’ve ever known, or to each other?

Book Links: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads | iBooks

Personal Thoughts:

The Loneliness of Distant Beings is a space opera novel that tell the story of Seren, a teenager who lives in a spaceship called Ventura, along with a whole community who follows rules and protocols assigned to them. Their jobs are assigned according to their skills, their homes are assigned based on the location of their work, and their life partners are chosen by the system that ensure genetic diversity and continuation of the human race. Most of them just go with it, never question the system nor the order and the rules but not Seren, especially after she met and fall for a young man who isn’t her assigned life partner.

On its surface, The Loneliness of Distant Beings is an affecting romance, but beneath the romance is a story of society trying to survive in outer space with all the rules and regulations that keeping them intact.

Kate Ling descriptions of Ventura spaceship and the life aboard in it is vivid and easy to follow. The world development is pretty flowing and absorbing making the story and situation easily believable in-spite of the outer space settings. The space settings actually reminds me of the novel/TV series The 100, while the controlled society reminds me of dystopian novels such as The Giver and Divergent.

“Funny that you never believe what people tell you about fear until you feel it for yourself.”

Seren maybe hard-headed and stubborn but those qualities actually makes her stronger than other characters. Her stubbornness makes her brave enough to question the order and the rules that they insist to them. She’s the only one who think and act of going against the system and the people who run it in order to have the life she wants. Her plans are not perfect, but at least she tried to do something. Even at times when I think what she is doing is idiotic or unreasonable I still root for her.

Captain Kat as the villain is very effective on her role. She’s strong enough to make readers believe that she is capable of harming Seren and Dom which add tension to the plot. She’s also a complex character, because in-spite of all her villainy act, she actually believe that what she is doing is right. She’s a victim of a system – a system that she and other like her believes as the key to the survival of humanity. She is willing to sacrifice few in order to save majority of her people. Sometimes cruel and unfair but she actually think that what she is doing is for the benefits of the community.

“…sometimes life can seem unfair, but things are as they are for a reason.”

Then there’s Ezra, Captain Kat’s son and Seren’s fiancée. Though the story mainly focused on Seren and Dom’s relationship, Ezra actually play an integral part at the end of the book, which for me is a huge deal. I find his character more interesting than Dom and I wish there’s more of him and his background in the story. As a son of Captain Kat, with all the privileged and top level access he has, I’m sure Ezra has interesting stories to tell.

Overall, The Loneliness of Distant Beings is a well-structured, thought provoking, and easily accessible science-fiction novel. If you don’t mind reading the romance which basically out-weight the science-fiction part then I’m sure you will enjoy this space opera novel with its interesting world and interesting take on lack of free will and making choices.

*  This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Hachette Children’s Books UK in exchange of honest opinion.