Posts Tagged ‘Sci Fi’

Hold Back The Stars

Katie Khan

Carys and Max have ninety minutes of air left.
None of this was supposed to happen.
But perhaps this doesn’t need to be the end…
Adrift in space with nothing to hold on to but each other, Carys and Max can’t help but look back at the well-ordered world they have left behind – at the rules they couldn’t reconcile themselves to, and a life to which they might now never return.
For in a world where love is banned, what happens when you find it?

What are your overall thoughts?

Despite the old adage about book covers and judgment, I’ve admitted more than once that that I’m a sucker for a pretty cover. I was powerless to resist when faced with Hold back the stars. It’s absolutely beautiful. With is hand drawn stars and character silhouette, it perfectly reflects the books content. Some of the stars are picked out in foil so that the stars actually twinkle- total book porn for book magpies like myself.
But even for me, a beautiful cover alone does not a purchase make, the blurb had completely ensnared at high stakes, Sci fi, love story and Hold Back The Stars quickly went from compulsive one click purchase to top of TBR.

While my love for the aesthetics of the book are clear-cut my feelings for the content are a little more complicated. I’m a total sucker for romantic love stories, caught breath, tentative, tension fill touches and impassioned declarations of love totally float my boat. Hold Back the stars is not a romantic love story and my pre conceived notions about the kind of love story I was going to read almost made me quit the story half way though.

Due to the peril the characters find themselves in it is understandable that they would want to look back at the significant events of their relationship and the events that led them to their current predicament. Like in life the significant events are often the more upsetting and unpleasant ones. While I appreciate that this is in keeping with the story and the dramatic device of the looming disaster, as a reader it made connecting with the characters and their relationship harder. If had been shown a few more tender moments of their relationship, it would have been easier to relate to the characters and the choices they made for themselves and each other, however with hindsight I can recognise the authenticity of the authors choices to the story being told and my own preconceptions about what that story would look like.

In the end it was the tension-building countdown that kept me turning the pages and my determination to finish was rewarded with a unique and surprising final third.

What was your favorite aspect of the book?
The concept is what drew me to the story and ultimately it was the concept that kept me reading.

I thoroughly enjoyed the world building. I liked Khan’s unique take on the utopian society and its effect on the individual. The concepts felt well conceived and grounded in logic, in so far as a post apocalyptic utopia can, not just pulled from thin air to act as a dramatic device to get the characters to a certain point.

Who was your favorite character and why?

This is the sticky point for me. As well as my love for fluffy romance the main thing that attracts me to stories and keeps me reading are the characters. For the most part a story can be set anywhere, in any time, be fast or slow paced, contemporary or fantasy, and I will enjoy it if I can relate to likeable characters.

Neither of the protagonists was particularly likeable. In fact, it was my absolute dislike of Max, the male protagonist, and his actions that almost has me giving up on the book midway through.

As a result this wasn’t an easy read for me, however the rest of the book, and the subsequent actions of the characters, made up for this and having completed the book and stepped back to review the story as a whole I can see why the author made the choices she did.

Would you recommend this book?
Yes, surprisingly, despite my inability to really connect with the characters and their love story, I still really enjoyed this story. The dramatic devises held the story together and had me racing to turn the pages late in to the night. The final third of the book surprised and delighted me.

Verdict: Leave your preconceptions on earth to fully enjoy this page turning, unique, concept driven love story.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: January 2017
Format: Hardback
Pages: 304
Genre: Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own copy
Challenge: Debut author
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Blog Tour: The Inventory: Iron Fist

Today we have the pleasure of hosting Andy Briggs as he answers some of our burning questions about his latest novel, The Inventory: Iron Fist.
Iron FistThe Rules: if you find a secret inventory of utterly deadly battle tech.
1) Do not try it.
2) Do not tell anyone.
3) Do NOT let thieves in behind you.
What’s more secret than top-secret? The Inventory. Home to the deadliest inventions the world isn’t ready for. Invisible camouflage. HoverBoots. Indestructible metals. Plus a giant creature of chaos: war robot Iron Fist. No one has ever broken past the state-of-the-art AI security system. (Seriously, most bad guys have no idea this stuff is even there.)
Problem 1: the security robot wasn’t ready for a gang of kids wandering in.
Problem 2: they’ve ONLY brought the ruthless Shadow Helix gang in behind them. Seriously dumb, but it’s a bit late for ‘sorry’.
Say hello to trouble: the Iron Fist is in the wrong hands!

Let’s start off with the basics, what made you decide to write The Inventory: Iron Fist?
The Inventory was a place I had thought about for a long time. It came from old comic books, or rather the classified ads they had at the back (which they sadly no longer do) offering x-ray specs for sale or mind reading caps or instant muscles. They were fabulous devices that always prized my pocket money out of my hand, and inevitably what arrived in the post was often a sad piece of cardboard that didn’t work. Of course, I knew the real reason I wasn’t receiving the gadget was because of a massive government conspiracy that placed these amazing devices in an underground vault to keep them out of the hands of the likes of me. Thus the concept of The Inventory was born. What if…? which is one of the best questions a writer can start with.

So far, what book have you enjoyed writing the most?
Ooh, that is such a loaded question. Of course I MUST say it’s this one! But that’s not entirely true because everything you write gives you something different. I’m lucky that I get to write TV shows, screenplays and comics too, so I have the opportunity to write across a massive range of genres and formats.
Last year I wrote my first non-fiction book, HOW TO BE AN INTERNATIONAL SPY (Lonely Planet), which was amazing fun, and a completely different experience to writing The Inventory. When I wrote the rebooted TARZAN series it was a joy to swing through the jungle, ride elephants and explore the savannah – both on the page and for research – giving me rich experiences I would never otherwise have had. Thinking about it now, The Inventory is the polar opposite of Tarzan – high-technology, set mostly underground, and not a parrot or chimp in sight. That in itself gave me a thrill as I was exploring new territory, this one set in the world of science.

If you could live in any one of your books, which book would you choose?
I am a self-confessed geek, and I love gadgets and gizmos. For me, living in The Inventory would be like Christmas day every day… if I was allowed to play with all the tech. But, like the hero of the book, Dev, I would probably grow very frustrated if I was told it’s all hands off. In that case, I would love the opportunity to jump books and live in the tropical paradises that form the rainforests of Africa…

If you could live in any book in print, which book would you choose?
If you had any doubts of me being a nerd, then I will erase them right now: The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Why? Because I would have the chance to explore an entire universe carrying only an eBook, a towel and a fish in my ear. So, okay, the earth may have been destroyed, but there is plenty more fun to be had out there…

What is your writing space like? Is it your desk? A library? A café?
I have a home office that is bedecked with toys, action figures, comics and other items designed to occupy my time when I am supposed to be writing. However, over the years I have discovered that when I have the onset of writer’s block, a change of location always helps. I have a small library space at home with a fish tank that provides yet more hours of distraction, and I tend to get more done there. I can’t work with other people about, so cafés are out of bounds for me if I want to get any work done. I prefer to have relative peace, a movie soundtrack blasting out to inspire me, and a pint of tea by my side.

What is the best piece of feedback you’ve ever received?
“Don’t run over the dog,” was a rather terrific piece of advice given to me on my first driving test. I failed the test, but the dog escaped (it was a textbook emergency stop). I also remember working on a movie with my brother in which we were told “This story is so great, we’ll use it as a sequel!” – unfortunately the first movie was terrible and flopped. But the very best piece of advice was given to me by my amazing English teacher, Mrs. Cross, while I was in Junior school: “That was a very imaginative story, you should write another one.”

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
It’s an old tried and tested piece of advice: don’t give up, finish it. I don’t simply mean write a book then spend the rest of your life trying to sell it – that’s unlikely to ever happen. I mean write a book, then another, then another… maybe write a TV show or something else to change your pace. Find something you feel comfortable with. You may want to write a book, but it maybe, frankly, awful. However, you could have had huge success if you’d only taken the idea and developed it as a screenplay. I tour around the country quite a lot and one of the most common phrases I hear is “I’ve started writing a book,” – you seldom ever meet somebody who has finished writing the book. And, if it is your first book, I recommend shoving it in a dusty drawer and writing another because that one will be better in every way. You can always go back to book one and rewrite it!

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Andy Briggs is a screenwriter, producer and author of the Hero.com, Villain.net and Tarzan series. Andy has worked on film development for Paramount and Warner Bros, as well as working with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee and producer Robert Evans. With a strong social media following, Andy tours the UK regularly, doing festival, school and library events. To learn more about Andy and his work visit his website here alternatively you can converse with him on Twitter (here)

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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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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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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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Buddy Review: Vicious

V.E Schwab
viviousVictor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

Posted by Faye and Caroline

Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date: January 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 340
Genre: Sci Fi, Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline and Faye
Source: Borrowed
Challenge:None
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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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Bookish Brits: These Broken Stars

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner
these broken starsIt’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.
Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.
Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?
Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

Posted by Caroline

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date:December 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Science Fiction
Age:Young Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Netgalley November
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A Writer’s Role, A Father’s Responsibility

We are delighted to host the latest stop on Jeff Norton‘s blog tour for MetaWars: Freedom Frontier.

MetawarsThe thrilling final instalment of the action-packed METAWARS series.
With the Guardians and Millennials eliminated, Jonah and Sam are left to fend for themselves. When they discover their enemy, Granger, is also on his own they take the ultimate leap of faith and join forces to survive…and save humanity. The future of the world on and off-line is at stake and Jonah will not stop until he prevails.
Even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice.

One of my favourite things about walking into a bookshop with my son (Caden, aged four) is when he spots one of my books. “Dadda, look, your book!” he squeals, often accompanied by a feverish pointing and jumping up and down. But the satisfaction is tempered with sadness, since I know he’s years away from enjoying the book himself.

We’re still in the picture books and early readers phase, and while I would never wish this precious time away, there’s a part of me that waits with anxious anticipation when he can read the first MetaWars book on his own. It’ll probably be in about four to five years, depending on what type of reader he develops into, and assuming he’s not in a rebellious phase by then.

But in the books, I paint a bleak picture of the future: global population over ten billion, food and water shortages, resource constraints, and a phenomena whereby most people choose to hide out in a virtual world instead of facing the real one. Beyond the entertainment value of the story – essentially a chase thriller – I wonder if he will ask me why I didn’t do more to change the future? If the world he grows up into starts to resemble the fictional one I’ve created (and scientific consensus suggests that this is likely), then he’ll be right to accuse me of complacency of character and appeasing the forces that damage our environment.

As a parent, part of my job is to project my children from the world, but more and more I wonder whether it’s also my responsibility to create a better one for them to grow into. I don’t think I knew it consciously, but that’s the question that I was grappling with when writing The Freedom Frontier, the fourth and final book in the MetaWars series. What can I do to make the world better for my children? Now that the series is over and I’m due to move onto other projects, the question still lingers.

Caden is four now, and I expect he’ll make his way into the world in about fourteen years or so. That gives me fourteen years to find an answer that satisfies both of us. That’s not a lot of time.

Post by Jeff Norton

jeff nortonJeff Norton is London-based writer who dreams up big, immersive worlds and fills them with page-turning stories and awesome characters. Sometimes he writes by himself, sometimes he creates stories two co-write with his friends.
A reluctant reader as a boy, Jeff strives to create stories that will turn reluctant readers into lifelong ones.
Before writing full-time, Jeff managed the Enid Blyton literary estate. Jeff moved to London from Los Angeles where he’d developed and produced the critically acclaimed interactive movie Choose Your Own Adventure, based on the best-selling books.
Originally from Canada, Jeff lives in London with his wife and two young sons. Norton is the author of the MetaWars saga from Orchard Books. The final installment, MetaWars 4.0: The Freedom Frontier publishes 2nd January, 2014. Find Jeff on the web at www.jeffnorton.com, twitter at www.twitter.com/thejeffnorton and facebook at www.facebook.com/thejeffnorton.

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