Posts Tagged ‘Dystopian’

Blog Tour: The Out Of Orbit Series

We are delighted to welcome self published author, Chele Cooke

dead and buriedYou are an inmate, not a medic. You should get used to that.”
On the planet Os-Veruh, the native Veniche have endured a decade under the oppressive rule of a race of invaders, the Adveni.
When Georgianna Lennox, a Veniche medic, discovers her childhood friend has been sold into slavery, she seeks help from a revolutionary outlaw group.
As Georgianna’s struggle to save one life ignites a battle to liberate her homeworld, is she about to discover that it is better to be dead than ‘buryd’?

Where is your favourite place to write?

I really want an office. I think, if I manage to go full time, I’ll need to make myself an office somewhere. At the moment, I write at a small desk in my bedroom. Forget all that house with a garden and a dog stuff… I just want an office I can organise.

I do like my little desk and it’s currently my favourite place to write. I have spreadsheets and character lists pinned up on the wall in front of it, and with nothing else to distract me, it’s easy to get in the zone there.

Are you a plotter or a panther?

A plotter. Definitely a plotter. I pantsed for almost ten years and rarely finished anything. Then, one year for NaNoWriMo, my friend and I switched. I had to plan, she had to pants. That was the first year I completed NaNo, and now I have about 10k in plots, chapter plans, and character information before I write a single word of the manuscript.

Alright, let’s be honest… I have about five different projects with full planning done, just waiting to be written. I might have a bit of a plotting addiction.

Who is your favourite character and why?

Of my own characters, or someone else’s? Either way, this is an evil question.

Other people’s characters: I’m going to go with Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby. I love the fact that he’s removed from the main story and how much we see of his character through his reactions to the things going on around him. That whole book is filled with morally grey characters, and Nick is no different.

Of my own characters, I’m going to have to go with Dhiren Flynn. I fell in love with him unexpectedly. He was supposed to be a character who was around for five or so chapters at the end of book one and the beginning of book two, but instead he took over and I couldn’t push him aside. He’s fiercely protective and, like Nick Carraway, morally grey on how he goes about it. The more I write him, the more I find out, which is so much fun to write.

What made you decide to write a sci-fi series?

I never really thought I’d be writing Sci-Fi. Growing up I was always more of a Fantasy person. When this story came along, it wasn’t that I’d intended for my next project to be Sci-Fi, it just happened that it was the most fitting genre. My Sci-Fi is definitely more on the Dystopian end of the scale. I focus on the characters and how the events change and shape them.

Once I started writing this series, the ideas just kept coming. Now, I’d say about sixty percent of my ideas would be classed as Sci-Fi, though usually they’ll have other elements mixed in. One of my works in progress is a sci-fi mixed with a nineteen twenties circus and some western elements. They’re all a bit different.

Do you know what is going to happen at the end of the series? – don’t tell us, we’re just curious if you know!

I’m currently planning the final book, so while I’ve had the destination in my head since the beginning of the series, I’m now working out exactly how I’m going to get there without hitting too many roundabouts or traffic jams.

There are certain scenes I know I want to have, and subplots that need to reach a specific conclusion, but the meat of the final book is still up in the air.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author? Especially from a self-published perspective?

My biggest piece of writing advice is to remember that what works for one person won’t work for everyone. Never feel bad if what works for you doesn’t work for someone else, just keep doing what works for you.

As for self-publishing, my advice is not to rush it. Take your time and do things to the best of your ability. Hell, this works for writing too. Don’t feel like you have to put out a book every six months just because that’s what some people are doing. Take the time to get your book properly edited and covered professionally, to do the proper marketing and give your book the best start it can possibly get.

Also, when it comes to writing and self-publishing, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The Indie community is incredibly friendly. They will celebrate your successes and help you through the rough patches (because most likely, they’ve been there already.) People say writing is a solitary process, but in this day and age, you have a much better support system. Don’t be afraid to use it.

Thank you for the wonderful questions! These have been really fun to answer, and I hope you’ve got a little more insight into my writing, and me in general.

Interview questions by Faye

chekecookePart time author and full time fantacist, Chele Cooke is a sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal author living in London, UK.
While some know they want to write stories since childhood, Chele first started writing as a teenager writing fanfiction and roleplaying. Before long playing in other people’s worlds wasn’t enough and she started creating her own. Living in San Francisco at the time, she found a lot of inspiration in her favourite city, some of which can be found in her books.
With a degree in Creative Writing, Chele’s first novel was published in 2013. She currently has three books published: two books in a sci-fi series, Out of Orbit, and the first book of a vampire serial, Teeth.

To find out more about Dead and Buryd, the first book in the Out Of Orbit Series, check out it’s Goodreads page here. Dead and Buryd and two of it’s sequels, Fight or Flight and Rack and Ruin, are available to buy now from Amazon.uk (here) and Amazon.com here.
Giveaway

Chele is hosting a giveaway to celebrate her Out of Orbit tour!
The prizes include;
A full set of Out of Orbit series in paperback and a £25 Amazon giftcard
Ten ebook sets of the Out of Orbit series
To enter the giveaway visit Chele’s website here

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TTT: Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the wonderful, list making gurus, The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they publish a new Top Ten list and invite their fellow book bloggers, bloggers and bookworms to join in.

I’ve done one Top Ten Tuesdays and like to think I didn’t completely botch it so here’s my second attempt!
I tried to put on my mentor/teaching hat. When teaching my students (and I do genuinely have students) I aim to be honest, fun and enthusiastic. So with this post I’ve made a mixture of things that would be just for fun, thought provoking, educational and all 3 put together. Here’s hoping a disaster did not come of it!!

1 – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Yup I’m going old school!!! This amazing woman and her literary achievements need no introduction. The style of writing is one that is sadly being lost, especially now with increasing texting and shorthand with stuff such as OTT, TBH and (my personal favourite – not) OMG!!! Aside from the fact that the story itself is wonderful, full of characters that reflect a truthful representation of the time, and there are several themes aside from the most obvious romantic one; the choice of words and language is simply beautiful and something I would like more to appreciate. The woman uses no swear words and yet her tongue is sharper than any string of profanities, her wits are fast and cunning, ruled by a cool and pensive mind that thinks before acting something that too many of us have long forgotten by speaking before ensuring the brain and mouth are properly connected! I think a lot could be learned and it is a masterpiece that should not be forgotten.

2 – Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling

I believe this series equally needs no introductions. Who hasn’t heard of Harry Potter, and who wouldn’t happily write an essay on it dissecting any number of characters, themes or just let the imagination run wild!!!
I remember a school friend of mine, with whom I was not in class with sadly, who actually had Harry Potter on her syllabus and I was sooooo jealous!!!!
I would also like to point out that I could rather easily use each Harry Potter book to fill this Top Ten Tuesday post but I won’t. Just saying though :p

3 – Splintered series by A.G.Howard

Ok well it’s no secret that I love this series very much, all you need do is read my previous Top Ten (Tuesdays) Fairytale Retellings. And not just from an amazing plot line point of view. I think this series has a lot of potential from both a literary point of view as well as storyline. I cannot praise A.G.Howard’s genius, style of writing, narration technique enough and the effort that went into planning the words as well as the characters and their thoughts. This series would make a fantastic adventure for any class to dissect any which way they like from any point of view!

4 – The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Yes my English teacher would be very proud of this choice of mine. This is a book that when I first bought it for my own syllabus at school I thought I was going to get bored stiff. And to be fair initially I did. This is a book that I never would have picked up of my own accord off of any shelf, in any bookstore. But my very own amazing English literature teacher made me appreciate it and the narrative depths and themes it reached in the creepy dystopian world not fair away from our own, created by Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid’s Tale holds a special place on my syllabus and bookshelf, not only for the endless theme possibilities and narrative stances any reader can take, but because of what it represents to me. Being able to turn a book that I would have never picked for myself, into one that I thoroughly enjoyed analyzing and appreciating on a literary level, is a rare gift for most literature teachers, and I would hope that someday I can achieve this.

P.S. I now hold this book in high esteem and care for it a great deal. I highly recommend it for those who want more than just another dystopian novel with a good story, it’s for those of view who wish to read into every colour, every expression, every gesture all the possibilities of what Margaret Atwood was actually meaning and hinting at.

5 – Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

I’m taking another leaf out of my teacher’s classes (in case you hadn’t noticed, I loved reading and dissecting themes, narration styles and passage analysis from the word go lol). I picked this book for the simple reason that I thought the difference between it and it’s screen counterpart would be a good example of the variations between the two, and how little changes can drastically alter the bigger picture and significance to the story. Zombies who can fall in love raises a variety of themes ranging from religious, to social etc but throw in a few varying twists and well you have a whole new set of delivered meanings! I felt Isaac Marion was trying to give us more than just another zombie story. I think perhaps an underlying gentle reminder to enjoy life, and that love is what fills us and separates us from the insensitive cold empty corpses. But that’s just my opinion. Watch and read, and you may come up with a whole new theory of your own. Discuss…

pride and prejudiceharry potter 1splinteredthe handmaids talewarm bodies

6 – Do No Harm: stories of life, death and brain surgery by Henry Marsh

Ok I’ll be honest I haven’t read this book yet but it’s almost at the top of my TBR pile and fast climbing. I figured that aside from adventure, drama, period drama and paranormal I should have some in depth emotional reading going on. And I thought this would do the trick. Written by a brain surgeon and with each chapter a particular case that hit him strongly, made him stop and think, I thought this would be perfect. I’m a total sucker for Grey’s Anatomy so I was totally sold! I thought this would be the perfect read for some emotional searching and philosophical inner turmoil.

7 – Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Eeeeeeer I have a confession to make about this one. I kept thinking about what I would want to be on my syllabus and this book kept popping back into my head no matter how many times I pushed it aside. I studied it myself right at the beginning of secondary school and I’m not entirely sure why but it struck a chord with me. Something about the particular dysfunctionality and polar opposite characters who somehow though manage to survive together and make it work got me hooked. I’ve done several passage analysis on this novel and there’s always something to be found hidden among the language styles, scenes, actions and choice of words. It’s hard to explain but I felt this book deserved a spot on my list. For those of you who have read it hopefully this will make more sense to you :p

8 – Stardust by Neil Gaiman

I thought we were overdue for a not-so-serious choice lol!
I discovered stardust initially as a film and absolutely loved it!!! And when I then found out it was based on a book…. well the love just deepened.
Stardust is an amazing and thrilling story that has something in it for everyone. Some magic, some scary parts, adventure, pirates, fighting and romance. And if that none of that appeals to you, well then the chance to imagine and see Robert DeNiro in a pink tutu should be reason enough!!!
I loved this story in both forms and picked it because I thought every student reader could find something in it to fall in love with and relate to.

9 – The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde

Well I figured we were due a little more darkness and horror. I’m trying to be sensible and keep romance, adventure and horror equally balanced here :p
The Picture of Dorian Grey is a very interesting tale and each reader will find his own interpretation of the curse, it’s purpose or lack of and indeed the mystery behind it all. This is a novel that has left authors and readers alike puzzled for a longtime and to be honest there is no right or wrong answer. One of the few lessons I truly learnt in literature is that no opinion or interpretation is incorrect or wrong so long as you can back it up.
So bring it on. What’s your interpretation of Dorian Grey and his creepy (I think we can all agree it is creepy) picture? Thoughts anyone? You there at the back speak up!

10 – Finding Sky by Joss Stirling

I thought I should finish on a high note and on something that I personally identify with, something that represents me. I have fallen for a lot of books and their tales (all of the above included in varying different ways) but this is one of my all time favourites that I simply cannot get away from. This story is basically me in a book essentially. It’s simple, sarcastic, short and sweet and with some magic.
I picked it as my final choice because I think it’s important that whilst you’re learning that you don’t forget who you are and what opinions are your own, ensuring that others do not rub off on you simply because you’ve heard it enough times. I would encourage all readers, students and learners to stick to their guns, thoughts and opinions.
Learning is serious, but it’s also about having fun and staying true to yourself.

do no harmof mice and menstardustpicture of dorian greyfinding sky

And on that note I wanted to add a little bonus. Being the amazingly cool teacher that everyone wants *cough cough modestly cough cough* I would let every pupil pick a book of their own choosing that they feel resonates the most with them, that they relate to or that they just simply enjoy time and time again. They can make this choice provided they can justify their reasoning and attempt to put into words what it is that keeps drawing them back for another read.
And with that….. Classed dismissed!!! :p

Posted by Prudence

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Finish It February 2015 : Week One Round Up

FinishItFeb1

Personal Target: Finish/get up to date with four series

Books read this week: One

Total books read: One

Series completed for challenge: One

General feedback: Although I have only managed to finish one, already started, book and read about a third of my second, I am really pleased with my progress. After a bit of a reading slump (pregnancy tiredness and newborn sleepless night will do that to you!) I am glad that I have to have managed to carve out some time each day to read.

Faye’s week: You can read all about Faye’s progress over at her personal blog A Daydreamer’s Thoughts here

Other Participants: Michelle at Fluttering Butterflies (here) has set herself the challenge of finishing as many series as she can, from a VERY impressive TBR pile. As of this morning she had crossed two titles off of her list.

deliveranceDeliverance (Defiance #3) by RJ Redwine
Everything hangs in the balance, and nothing is certain: Rachel has been kidnapped by enemy forces and is being taken to Rowansmark while Logan, imprisoned and awaiting trial, is unable to leave Lankenshire. Separated from each other and their Baalboden comrades, each must find a way to achieve what they desperately want: to rid their world once and for all of the Commander and the tech that controls the deadly Cursed One.
Fighting through her pain and embracing the warrior she’s become, Rachel will do whatever it takes to escape her enemies’ clutches and join Logan in his fight. But when she learns a secret that changes everything, she realizes that escaping Ian and his tracker friends is no longer an option if she wants to save the people she loves. Instead, she’ll have to destroy Rowansmark from the inside out—if she can survive the journey through the Wasteland.
Logan needs allies if he wants to thwart Rowansmark’s power grab and rescue Rachel. But securing allies will mean betraying his beliefs and enlisting the help of the man he hates more than anyone: Commander Jason Chase. Driven by his fierce love for Rachel and his determination to make their world safe, Logan may be just the weapon the city-states need to defeat the Cursed One.
But as Rowansmark bears down and uneasy alliances are tested, will Rachel and Logan’s love for each other be enough to surmount the unbelievable odds against them?

When I first decided to embark on this challenge there was no doubt in my mind which book I was going to pick up first. I’d actually started reading Deliverance as soon as the pre-order landed on my doormat, but due to my afore mentioned reading slump I hadn’t managed to finish it.

It was so very easy to get back in to the story, and in to the world C J Redwine has created and I adored being re united with Logan, Rachel and their friends.

At the end of Deception (Defiance #2) the group was a mess,they had experienced devastating losses and the challenge ahead of them appeared insurmountable. I love how CJ wasn’t afraid to break her characters emotionally and physically and show us the gritty reality of their actions. They were allowed to dwell and regret decisions, grieve for their losses, celebrate their achievements and slowly rebuild themselves, all without interrupting the pacing of the story.

What I have really enjoyed about this series is the character development. When we first met Rachel and Logan they were already strong but inherently flawed characters. Over the course of three books we have followed as the challenges they faced have shaped them as individuals, as a couple and as a society. In the case of Deliverance I particularly enjoyed how C J manipulated you in to empathising with the antagonists motives, even if you can’t agree with their methods.

Verdict: A fitting and exciting end to a fabulous series.

Publisher: Atom
Publication Date: August 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 480
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own copy
Challenge: Finish It feb

Currently reading: Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy #3) by Sarah Rees Brennan

Posted by Caroline

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Divergent

Veronica Roth

DIVERGENT_B_Format_UK.inddSociety is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue, in the attempt to form a ‘perfect society’. On her Choosing Day, Beatrice Prior renames herself Tris, rejects her family’s Abnegation group, and chooses another faction.

Beatrice Prior lives in a dystopian future world, in a city surrounded by The Fence, keeping everyone safe from whatever lies behind. Her world is divided into 5 groups or ‘Factions’ based on desirable traits and created as a consequence of the war that got them landed behind The Fence. People who blamed the war on selfishness joined Abnegation, those who blamed the war on dishonesty joined Candor, and those who blamed the war on weakness joined the ‘warrior’ Faction, Dauntless. Stupidity, Erudite and aggressiveness, Amity.

The Factions do not mix and live very different lives. Beatrice lives in Abnegation she has been born into that Faction and has always seen herself as a misfit for the faction, their ability to totally forget themselves and their needs and to always help someone in need. Even small things like looking in the mirror are named vain and therefore selfish. Beatrice’s brother Caleb has got it down to a tee. He always helps the elderly person across the street and feeds the Factionless (those who have nowhere to go or have been kicked out of their faction). He belongs in Abnegation whereas Beatrice thinks she doesn’t.

As Caleb and Beatrice are both 16 they have to come up to their Choosing Ceremony where they pick whether to leave their Faction to join another or stay. Beatrice doesn’t know whether she wants to stay with her family or go.

Her Mum and Dad are both important members of the Abnegation society. Because they put their needs before their own, Abnegation are trusted to run the Government. Beatrice’s Dad works alongside Marcus who is getting a lot of questions thrown at him about the soundness of Abnegation’s teachings because Marcus’ son transferred to Dauntless the Warrior Faction 2 years ago and they are blaming Marcus for beating him.

Beatrice has to take an Aptitude test to see which Faction she has the best qualities for. She does the test and finds out she has an Aptitude for Abnegation…and Dauntless and Erudite. Having an affinity for more than one Faction is dangerous and means that you are hard to keep under control. “They call it Divergent”. You can’t tell your family, friends or anyone. You’re in a lot of trouble and have to try and pick the right Faction with no help whatsoever from the Aptitude Test. Beatrice surprises everyone with her choice…

A new name, new friends and a new life but with extra enemies and an elusive instructor who is mysterious and scary but also protective.

Please excuse me while I hyperventilate.

Okay, that over let’s proceed to the book. It is very good. If you get the chance to read it, it is strongly recommended.

Verdict: Teen Fiction! Woo! It’s a really brilliant book and will get you really excited. Fast-paced and thrilling. Not suitable for under 12s.

Reviewed by Daisy (13)

Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: February 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 489
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Daisy
Source: Own copy
Challenge: None
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Four; A Divergent Story Collection

Veronica Roth
fourTwo years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.
Newly christened “Four,” he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.
Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.

What were your overall thoughts on the book?
When I heard about this book, I was sure it was just going to be another way for the publishing house to get money and so I was wary of reading it in case it didn’t add anything to the story. I also assumed the book was Four’s perspective on certain scenes that occur in Divergent but that is not correct. Instead Four tells the story of this character’s history. It is how he became Four and what lead him to the start of Divergent and I have to admit, I really enjoyed it!

What was your favourite aspect of the book?
Quite simply, the writing style. The way Veronica Roth writes is one of the reasons I fell so in love with Divergent. She has a style that pulls you in and makes you just feel all the emotions under the sun. Her style is easy to read while also being descriptive and full of depth. I loved being taken into her world again and it was fabulous seeing it from Four’s perspective as well! Which, you know, is another great aspect of this story!

Who was your favourite character and why?
I feel that the fact this book was about Four, this should be an easy question to answer but instead I’m a little torn. I loved getting to know Four better but I also felt many different wonderful emotions upon other characters creeping up, like Tori, Amar, Zeke, Uriah, and -ofcourse- Tris. But I think I’ll probably stick with Four because, well, he’s Four. And if you don’t know him, read the Divergent series now!

Would you recommend this book?
Yes and No. If you’ve read Divergent and really liked Four then yes, you will love this book. However, if you didn’t like Four then no, stay away from this book (but I’m sure you’ve worked that out for yourself!). If, on the other hand, you haven’t even read Divergent yet, then don’t read this book yet. Only read it once you have read and loved the first book in the series! This book maybe a prequel but it definitely needs to be read after the series. Or at the very least, after the first book.

Summarize in one sentence. (Verdict)
This book is the perfect way to dive back into the world of Divergent, Veronica Roth’s writing, and to be reminded of why Four is just such an incredible character that you wish was alive and with you right now.

Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: July 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 208
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: None
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Self Published Sunday: Glaze by Kim Curran

We are delighted to welcome author Kim Curran to Self Published Sunday. Not only has Kim taken the time to answer our questions, she has also provided us with an excerpt from Glaze and a fantastic giveaway!
GlazePetri Quinn is counting down the days till she turns 16 and can get on GLAZE – the ultimate social network that is bringing the whole world together into one global family. But when a peaceful government protest turns into a full-blown riot with Petri shouldering the blame, she’s handed a ban. Her life is over before it’s even started.
Desperate to be a part of the hooked-up society, Petri finds an underground hacker group and gets a black market chip fitted. But this chip has a problem: it has no filter and no off switch. Petri can see everything happening on GLAZE, all the time. Including things she was never meant to see.
As her life is plunged into danger, Petri is faced with a choice. Join GLAZE…or destroy it.

Glaze is your first self-published novel, was there anything in particular that prompted you to make the decision to self-publish?

Initially, I had hoped Glaze would get your normal, traditional publishing deal. And my agent sent the book out to a handful of publishers with that intent. However, it quickly became apparent that they either had something similar in the pipeline or they had doubts about the market for YASF. Combined with this was my realisation that the topics in Glaze were (sometimes eerily) starting to happen. The social network in GLAZE is accessed via a chip in the brain that creates an optical overlay – and I’d written it before I’d heard a thing about Google Glass. The first chapter features a riot in London – and it was written long before the London riots. And I realised that I was going to have to move super fast to ensure the book stayed topical. And that’s the beauty of self publishing. I was able to move as fast as I liked.

Plus, I really loved the idea of trying a new approach to publishing. And Glaze seemed to be the perfect book to do that with. It’s about disrupting the establishment after all 🙂

Glaze is a truly scary look at social media, where did your initial inspiration come from?

The initial spark came from watching this TED video on the Filter Bubble.

http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles

In it, Eli Pariser talks about how the filter through which we experience the internet is so designed around our personal interests that, in an attempt to be totally relevant, it risks cutting us off from the wider scope of topics. This really scared me, as it’s something I do personally: if someone on Twitter tweets something I don’t agree with, I unfollow them; if someone on Facebook bangs on about topics that don’t interest me, I defriend them. I started to wonder how this might work if it was done on a social level. If all of our relationships with each other and with our society was controlled and ‘filtered’. And so the idea for Glaze was born.

Prior to the start of Glaze, Petri is already socially isolated, how important was this to the decisions she made throughout the novel?

For me it’s Petri’s desire to ‘belong’ that is the main thrust behind the whole book. She’s an outsider looking in on a world that feels out of reach. And in my teenage years (and still today) I felt that intently. Even when surrounded by friends, I felt someone how isolated. And all it would take would be one of those days when everyone seems to have ‘in’ jokes that you don’t get and that sense of isolation could become crushing. And so I wanted the network to become a metaphor for that experience. It’s the ultimate ‘in crowd’!

I liked the fact that they had a physical barrier on the use of social media in schools; do you believe that the abundance of teenagers using smart phones affects their education and social interactions?

That’s a really fascinating question. There’s a genuine fear that our ‘always on’ culture is affecting our attention span and our ability for prolonged thought. But then, people said the same thing about books! Of course, smart phones and access to social media is changing the way we consume information and how we interact. However, whether that change is negative is unclear. I think it’s just change. And that’s a neutral thing.

What I really do worry about, however, are the changes that are taking place in our education system. It feels to me that we’re moving to an old fashioned view of what it means to be educated. Which is to have your brain stuffed full of facts and figures. For me, education is so much more than this. It should be about sparking a passion for ideas and encouraging young people to question their world and what has shaped that (whether that’s history or physics). And it’s this attempt to erode that space to ask questions that I think it the real danger in our schools!

Is there one form of social media that you personally cannot live without?

I wouldn’t say live without – as I do often wish someone would save me from myself and ban me from the internet! But I love Twitter so very much. Since going freelance to focus on my writing it’s become my work chat, my social group and my source of news and gossip.

Glaze, as mentioned above, is a little bit terrifying, I admit that while reading Glaze, I felt a little bit uneasy about accessing my own social media; did you experience this while writing it?

Absolutely! I started to question the motives of everyone I interacted with online. And I got the sense that everything I was sharing online was being watched (because IT IS! ☺ )

This paranoia was combined with the fact that as I was writing it, it all seemed to be coming true! I was sitting in an office in East London when the riots broke out. And that was after having written the riot scene at the beginning of the book. Then all the news about GCHQ started to break. And finally, Google Glass was announced and I started to get seriously worried someone was hacking my brain!

Is there one message you’d like readers to take away from reading Glaze?

Question who is in control of your information.

Which five words would you use to persuade someone to read Glaze?

Argh! This is so hard.

Try a twisty, thinky, tech-thriller. 🙂

What have been the most rewarding and most challenging aspects of self-publishing?

The whole process has been incredible! I thought it was going to be so isolating but the truth is it’s been one of the most supportive and collaborative experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve been really lucky that an imprint called Jurassic London got excited about the idea of Glaze and wanted to publish limited edition hardbacks. And so I was able to work with Jared Shurin – the editor there on that. Glaze was also edited by Amy McCulloch at Puffin, plus I had amazing copyeditors and proof readers. And so I had a team of people around me to help make the book better.

And then, when I reached out to bloggers #TeamGlaze was born and I was overwhelmed by the excitement and enthusiasm. It’s been such a humbling experience and I sort of feel that Glaze belongs to everyone who’ve helped me in that journey.

It’s also been really empowering to take control over my career. Ultimately, all the choices made, have been mine. Which is terrifying, but also really rewarding.

Honestly, the only challenging thing was making the decision to do it. Which was a really tough one. I thought people would judge me and think I’d somehow failed. But the support I’ve had has blown me away.

Can you tell us anything about what you’re currently working on?

I’m just finishing up the final edits on Delete ¬– the final book in my Shifter trilogy. And I’ve started a new book for young adults that I am so exceptionally excited about I can hardly sleep. I can’t tell you much about it, beyond the fact it’s tonally very different from anything I’ve written before. It’s a series of letters between two girls and…actually, that’s all I can say without giving it all away. The working title (exclusive here) is We’ve Only Just Begun. So, watch this space! 🙂

Excerpt

I sit on the least damaged of the seats and start to swing. The rusting chains are damp from the morning’s rain but the seat is dry, which means someone has been here before me. Kiara climbs up on the warped, burnt-out seat and pushes back and forth, her long, dark hair splaying out behind her, then catching her up on the upswing.

We swing in silence for a while.

‘What’s it like?’ she says.

‘What’s what like?’

‘The blank chip. Can you feel it?’

‘Not really. At first, I could see the company logo, floating in my eyes. You know, like when you stare at the sun too long. Three faint triangles drifting around. But I don’t even notice them now.’ I look down. I was hoping that I’d feel something with the chip. Get some kind of feed. The time and date. My location. Something. Anything. But after the logo faded, there was nothing.

‘You know, you’re lucky.’

‘What?’ I look back up at Kiara flying back and forth.

‘Glaze. It’s not all that. I’m thinking of having the chip removed.’

‘What? Why?’

She leaps off mid swing and lands badly. I jump down and try to help her back to her feet. She sits in the mud and laughs.
‘Are you OK?’ I ask, meaning the ankle she’s cradling.

‘No, not really.’ Her smile fades. ‘I mean, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.’

I know she’s not talking about her ankle.

‘You remember when I was off school last month?’

‘With glandular fever?’ I say.

‘Yeah, only it wasn’t glandular fever. Unless you can get that from a stomach pump.’

‘What are you on about?’

‘I tried to kill myself.’

She says it like it’s perfectly normal. Like she’d just tried a new nail varnish. Or she has a crush on someone. I find I can’t breathe and slump to the floor next to her.

‘Oh, don’t worry,’ she says, leaning back on her hands and looking up at the clouds. ‘I did a really crappy job of it. Apparently it’s really hard to OD on ibuprofen. Who knew?’

‘Kiara, I… I… Why?’

She closes her eyes and tilts her head back further, as if she were sunbathing. Only there’s no sun out today. ‘The doctors say I’m depressed.’

‘Well, duh!’ I say. ‘Award for stating the obvious goes to the doctors.’

‘I guess. But I always thought being depressed meant feeling sad all the time and not being able to get out of bed. But I don’t feel sad. I just don’t… feel. Anything.’ She sits up again and rubs her muddy hands on her skirt. ‘I used to care about things so much, you know? My art. Music. But now, it’s all noise. And without it I feel empty. And I didn’t want to go on feeling empty.’

‘I wish I knew what to say.’

‘Don’t worry. No one knows really. Mum says I’ll get better soon. That it’s a phase. Dad’s ignoring it, pretty much, trying to carry on as normal. He can’t cope with the fact I’m not his happy little Kiki any more. My doctor wants me to take some pills. “Happy pills”. He actually called them that. Literally. Happy pills. Can you believe that?’

‘And you don’t want to take them?’

‘I don’t know. I don’t really know anything any more.’

‘Has this got anything to do with Pippa?’

Kiara laughs. ‘No. Poor Pippa. Can you imagine her dealing with this?’

I laugh too. But it comes out as more of a groan. ‘Yeah, she’d make a right drama out of it.’

‘No, it’s not her. I can’t even remember why we were friends in the first place. No, it’s just… life, I guess. My life. It really does suck.’

I turn away and sigh. ‘Tell me about it.’

‘I’m sorry I’ve been such a bitch to you lately, Pet. I wanted to tell you, I really did. But…’

‘It’s fine. I get it.’ I hate to admit it, but I’m kind of relived.

We both sit and watch the clouds float past overhead.

‘So, what’s that got to do with having your chip out. I mean, can you even do that?’

‘Apparently there’s a clinic you can go to. It’s not as easy as having it put in. But nothing ever is, right?
‘And you’re going to?’

‘Maybe. It’s weird. Since I got chipped I’ve felt shrunk, somehow. Lost among all those voices. I don’t know what I really think, about anything. You know, what my opinions are.’ She presses her hand to her chest. ‘I’m stretched out in all directions spread too thin. Like a pancake person.’ She laughs again, and this time, it sounds a little more like her real laugh. ‘But it could just be me. Mum did always say I was contrary.’

‘Why don’t you turn it off? Then when you feel better you can go back.’ I can’t get my head around the idea of someone choosing not to be on Glaze. Especially when I know I can’t. Like Ethan.

‘Yeah, but I’d only turn it back on again. I have no willpower.’ She shivers and wraps her arms around herself.

‘You want to come back to mine?’ I say, standing up. ‘Zizi will be there, though. She’s working on some big project.’
‘Won’t she go totally Metro for you bunking off?’

‘Nah, I’ll tell her I’m taking a stand against patriarchal institutions or something.’

‘Your mum’s cool.’

‘Hmm. Too cool.’

‘I have to be home normal time or Mum will call the police.’

‘We still have a couple of hours. And I’ve had enough of the police for a lifetime.’

She takes my hand to get to her feet then tucks it under her arm, linking us together. ‘What was it like? Being arrested?’ Her eyes light up and I realise now it’s the first time I’ve seen them like that in too long.

Kim PicDublin-born Kim Curran is the award-nominated author of books for young adults, including Shift, Control and Delete.
She studied Philosophy & Literature at university with the plan of being paid big bucks to think deep thoughts. While that never quite worked out, she did land a job as a junior copywriter with an ad agency a week after graduating. She’s worked in advertising ever since and is obsessed with the power of the media on young minds.
She is a mentor at the Ministry of Stories and for the WoMentoring Project. And lives in London with her husband and too many books.
To find out more about Kim and her work visit www.kimcurran.co.uk
To view the full tour schedule visit A Daydreamers thoughts here

There is a tour wide giveaway during the tour.
The prizes include;
Hardback copy of GLAZE signed by the author and cover designer
Signed copies of Shift & Control
Glaze Bookmarks
Glaze badges
Meet with Kim Curran or Skype chat if not able to come to London.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Bookish Brits Buddy Review: Fearsome Dreamer

Laure Eve

fearsome dreamerThere is a world where gods you’ve never heard of have wound themselves into hearts, and choice has led its history down a different path.
This is a world where France made a small, downtrodden island called England part of its vast and bloated empire.
There are people here who can cross a thousand miles with their minds. There are rarer people still who can move between continents in the blink of an eye.
These people are dangerous.
And wanted. Desperately wanted.
Apprentice hedgewitch Vela Rue knows that she is destined for more. She knows being whisked off from a dull country life to a city full of mystery and intrigue is meant to be. She knows she has something her government wants, a talent so rare and precious and new that they will do anything to train her in it.
But she doesn’t know that she is being lied to. She doesn’t know that the man teaching her about her talent is becoming obsessed by her, and considered by some to be the most dangerous man alive

Posted by Faye and Caroline

Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: October 2013
Format: Hardback
Pages: 384
Genre: Dystopian, Speculative Fiction
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye and Caroline
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: British book
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Enders

Lissa Price

EndersSomeone is after Starters like Callie and Michael – teens with chips in their brains. They want to experiment on anyone left over from Prime Destinations -With the body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn’t want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save her life – but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena’s memories, too . . . and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body?
No one is ever who they appear to be, not even the Old Man. Determined to find out who he really is and grasping at the hope of a normal life for herself and her younger brother, Callie is ready to fight for the truth. Even if it kills her.

Lissa plunges us straight back into the action following on from Starters. Callie may have brought down Prime, the organisation putting electronic chips into young people (Starters) so they could be rented out by Enders (the older generation) for their use and pleasure. But she is still not safe; her chip, and those of others, can still be accessed, and as she discovers, their mind and bodies can still be controlled. Callie has an additional problem because her chip has been altered and is the only one who can be used to kill others. She is a hot commodity and The Old Man is still after her.

Callie is desperate to get the chip out of her head, she is worried that Tyler and Michael aren’t safe and she is trying to get over the fallout from her relationship with Brad. On top of all that is the voice she heard that could be her Father, whom she thought had died in the Spore Wars. With so much going on in her head Callie is conflicted but as determined as ever to try and keep everyone safe and to try and win her freedom. But then she meets Hyden and everything changes again as she seems to have found someone to help her in her quest to finally bring down the Old Man. However things, as ever, are more complex than they first appear.

There is no doubt that this book is gripping, the plot races along and there is little time to catch your breath as we go from one revelation , plot twist or piece of action to another. The new characters are well drawn and the old ones further developed, although at times I would have liked a bit more depth on Callie’s feelings this is hard to do when the action just keeps on coming. There was plenty in this that kept me guessing and I really enjoyed Lissa’s ability to create characters or situations that appeared to be one way and then turned out totally differently. I can’t give away any more plot without spoiling it, but I did find the ending satisfying and realistic, especially in the way that not everything was resolved, just like real life!

Again part of the interest in this story was the questions it causes you to think about with the disparity between old and young people, the development of technology and its use and abuse being just some of the issues that are touched on.

Verdict: This was an exciting, action packed conclusion to this story.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Doubleday Children’s
Publication Date: December 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: none
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Finish It February: Week Four and Challenge Roundup

FinishItFeb1
Personal Target: Finish/get up to date with four series

Books read this week: Three (but only one for the #FinishItFeb challenge)

Total challenge books read: Four challenge books

Series completed for challenge:Three

Overall feedback: Although I didn’t manage to fulfil my personal target for this challenge, I am really happy that I did managed to read four books, finishing three series and making a small dent in my personal TBR pile.

I feel really positive that I took the month of February to prioritise those books I have been desperate to read, which have unfortunately sat languishing on my shelves and gathering dust.

I have been really please with my book choices, falling very quickly back in to their distinctive worlds, and remembering what it was that I loved about the series’ in the first place.

I am hoping to continue to finish/get up to date with my in progress series over the next few months and I would definitely consider abandoning the review TBR again to prioritise my “own books”. But, for now I am determined to make more time for my own TBR alongside my review commitments. So, although the challenge is over and I have returned to scheduled programming 😉 my current audiobook choice is Sarah J Maas’ Crown Of Midnight, one of my #FinishItFeb picks.

The Fall (The Glimpse #3) by Claire Merle

the fallLondon, in the not-so-distant future. Society has been divided into Pures and Crazies according to the results of a DNA test.
But seventeen-year-old Ana, whose father invented the Pure test, has uncovered a recording with dangerous evidence that the tests are fake. Ana has escaped her father and made it to the Enlightenment Project – a secluded protest group living on the outskirts of the City.
Back in the arms of Cole nothing is simple. Some in the Project believe her presence jeopardises their safety, others interpret her coming as part of their prophetic Writings. When the recording Ana stole goes viral, the Project comes under attack. Now Ana’s father isn’t the only one looking for her. She’s come to the attention of Evelyn Knight, the Chairman of the Board – a powerful woman with a sinister plan. Ana must take greater risks than ever to unravel the truth and discover the secrets that lie beneath the Pure test. But unlike her father, the Chairman doesn’t want her safely home. She wants Ana’s spirit crushed, permanently. And she will destroy everyone Ana cares about to do it.

I love duologues and I really need to read more of them. They are the perfect solution for readers like myself who want more, more, more from their favourite characters, who wish to be re submerged in familiar worlds, who enjoy the anticipation of waiting for the next instalment. BUT without the agony of years of commitment to reach a conclusion, of series fatigue, of memory loss, filler, and the predictable formula of trilogies. I’m happy to have some questions left unanswered, to imagine my own epilogues, to be left wanting more without the expectation that I will receive it.

The Fall delivered just that. It was a great second instalment to a book I really enjoyed. A second, essential, economical part which moved the characters and story ARC forward, which answered the essential questions from the original and allowed me, the reader, to imaging my own endings. It made me want to go back to the first book and rediscover the story, and as a two book series, it is something that feels achievable despite my busy blogging schedule.

Verdict: I throughly enjoyed my time back in segregated London and I will be looking out for more from Claire Merle and investigating more duologues.

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: June2013
Format: eBook
Pages: 368
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book

Posted by Caroline

To learn more about Finish It Friday and to join in visit our link up post here. To follow the challenge on Twitter search for #Finishitfeb

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Cover Reveal: The Illusionists

We are absolutely delighted to be a part of this fabulous cover reveal for The Illusionists, by UKYA author Laure Eve.

ILLUSIONISTS_PBA shocking new world. A dangerous choice. Two futures preparing to collide…
Having left White behind her in Angle Tar, Rue is trying to make sense of her new and unfamiliar life in World. Its culture is as baffling as is it thrilling to her, and Rue quickly realises World’s fascination with technology can have intoxicating and deadly consequences.
She is also desperately lonely. And so is White. Somehow, their longing for each other is crossing into their dreams, dreams that begin to take increasingly strange turns as they appear to give Rue echoes of the future. Then the dreams reveal the advent of something truly monstrous, and with it the realisation that Rue and White will be instrumental in bringing about the most incredible and devastating change in both World and Angle Tar.
But in a world where Life is a virtual reality, where friends can become enemies overnight and where dreams, the future, and the past are somehow merging together, their greatest challenge of all may be to survive.

The Illusionist is the sequel to Laure’s Debut novel, Fearsome Dreamer and it is to be published by Hot Key Books in July. To learn more about Laure and her work, visit her Goodreads author page (here).

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