SKY’S END by Lesley Young

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by Lesley Young

Book Blurb

A secret she must never share. A secret that two warring species are determined to control. A universe’s future at stake.

Twenty-year-old Cassiel Winters joins Earth’s new space academy in hopes of finding her brother, one of Command’s top pilots and her only family, who’s been reported MIA. But she quickly realizes she may not be cut out for life in space, where female cadets are outnumbered, competition’s fierce, and she’s already failed her hand-to-hand combat test once.

Even the station’s most respected officer, Lt. Damian King, probably can’t help Cassiel pass the second time around-so why is he so interested in her progress? ¬†If only one of her freaky deja vu visions would offer an answer instead of mysterious messages like hide.

When Cassiel’s manipulated into a perilous mission, she encounters a warrior species bred to protect the universe from an even greater threat. And she learns that her secret visions are at the heart of it all.

Now Cassiel must fight to control her own destiny and race to save her brother-even if it mea ns pretending to be the pawn of Prime Or’ic, the cold-as-steel Thell’eon leader. Even if it means risking her life, facing hard truths, and making the ultimate sacrifice.

My Review

Owl Rating:

This was a great book ūüėÄ ¬†I watch a lot of sci-fi but I’m just now getting into reading sci-fi and I can honestly say I think this was a great way to start. ¬†I mean, I’ve been reading Dystopian books since before they were popular as well as Urban Fantasy etc…but straight sci-fi not so much.

One of the things that drew me into this story was the voice. ¬†I’m a big fan of voice. ¬†Like a character’s voice can make or break a story for me. ¬†With Cassiel, I was in LOVE with her voice from the very beginning. ¬†It popped off the page in such a way that I felt like the scene was unfolding in front of me. ¬†I thought her voice was fresh, young, and I loved reading all her inner thoughts and such.

I also really like the world Young created. ¬†I felt it was believable and I didn’t feel like she watered things down. ¬†Sometimes sci-fi can be such a tough genre since it’s so rich that it can just go right over people’s heads but Young did a great job of balancing the backstory and explanations of the world with the present.

Oh, and the action. ¬†Boy was there action. ¬†I thought Cassiel was such a boss. ¬†I love me some strong/kick-ass heroines and I definitely thought Cassiel fit that bill. ¬†Plus she was funny, maybe she didn’t mean to be but there were definitely some very funny situations throughout the book (or at least things I thought were funny).

The only thing that didn’t quite jive with me, yes I said jive, was the romance. ¬†That’s probably mostly because I’m a real nitpicky romance in books person. ¬†I often would prefer the kick-ass heroine without her needing to have a love triangle. ¬†For me, some of the romance seemed unnecessary. ¬†I didn’t understand where it came from, its purpose, and so forth. ¬†However the action, plot twists (oh, yes), and of course Cassiel overshadowed that part enough for me to still love the book!

A huge thank you to Samantha Lien from JKS Communications for letting me read and review the book. ¬†This is a 100% honest review, and I’m so glad I got the chance to read it. ¬†It’s truly wonderful.

So, go buy yourself a copy today (the link takes you to the author’s page). ¬†I don’t have any comp titles for you but if you’re looking for a fast-paced read, a great, funny, and realistic, kick-ass character, and some Sci-Fi elements then SKY’S END is the book for you! ¬†Also, FYI I felt lie this was a YA/NA crossover. ¬†Oh, and there’s going to be a sequel!!!

Note of clarification:¬†My rating of this book is technically a 4.5 but since I rate in owls, and I don’t practice animal cruelty there are four owls up there ūüôā

What are some amazing Sci-Fi books you’ve read recently? ¬†

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

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ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill

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by Cristin Terrill

Book Blurb

“You have to kill him.” Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She‚Äôs tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present‚ÄĒimprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

My Review

Owl Rating:

I. Loved. This. Book.

When I was asked if I wanted to read & review this book, I immediately said yes. ¬†I was becoming really interested in the “New Wave” of YA Time Travel books and wanted to explore one of them myself. ¬†So ALL OUR YESTERDAYS came at the perfect time (timing really does play a big part in everything). ¬†Speaking of time, wow. ¬†Like WOW. ¬†So the book starts out so strange yet captivating. ¬†You have a feeling you’re not in “our time” but that’s about it. ¬†I LOVE it when authors trust their readers, this book is a prime example for that trust done well. ¬†When you’re jumping from time periods, when there are gaps in the story, you have to trust your reader and your reader must trust that no matter how crazy things get, you’ll set it “right” in the end.

OMG. ¬†So, yeah. ¬†I was completely in the dark from page one (practically). ¬†And I loved it because the story, the writing was so good that I had to keep reading. ¬†Speaking of opening pages that hook you, writers this is a book to add to your “to-study” list. ¬†Em reeled me in from the beginning because I had to find out why she had to do what she had to do, what was up with the instructions, who were these people around them (I mean “The Doctor”, come on…answers please), what happened to our world?!?!?!

Oh and then Marina and James…I’m not sure I can say anymore (without spoiling) but so many feelings. ¬†Okay this is spoilerly but not really at all (I know, I’m making no sense..basically if you want to be 100% in the dark instead of 99% don’t read). ¬†Most people when there’s time travel don’t introduce past characters to their former selves for fear of interrupting the time continuum but in this book it works so well. ¬†And the romance, well nothing puts the pressure on romance more than time travel and…yeah…I’ll just let you read the book yourself.

I think the one thing I really liked about this book, aside from the action and adventure and romance though was the characters. ¬†I still can’t believe this is her debut. ¬†It takes a truly talented writer to have characters interact as she did. ¬†Displaying their past and present selves, the growth they all make/changes they will inevitably make. ¬†It’s crazy good. ¬† Even though it was dark time, there was still hope, the characters held hope within them. ¬†Hope that they could change things and that their yesterdays wouldn’t lead to such a dark present.

I just want more, more backstory, more of the characters, more of both worlds/times. ¬†But I guess that’s a sign of a book well done because I could see myself immersed within the worlds Terrill created over and over again. ¬†I also think she did a great job with keeping up the action and not frontloading on the backstory. ¬†Again, that trust aspect was key to the book’s success in my mind. ¬†That’s a big part of what made me give it my five owl rating. ¬†Trust me when I say you’re going to want to read this one folks ūüėÄ ¬†It comes out September 3rd so look for it in bookstores then or pre-order it today!¬†(link goes to author’s website)

In addition, the author has created this absolutely ahmazing ALL OUR YESTERDAYS  prequel web series.  It leads up to the beginning of the book so go for it although I will warn you it will make you want the book NOW.

**This is a 100% honest review, I received the book from Publicist Samantha Lien from JSK Communications to read & review**

Oh, and speaking of wanting the book now. ¬†I do believe I’m giving away one copy of the ARC of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill. ¬†The ARC is not to be resold, it’s for your personal enjoyment, although I hope you’ll post your review. ¬†It is for people living in the U.S. ONLY (sorry, but I’ll have future giveaway that’ll include people living internationally as well).

all our yesterdays

This is what the ARC cover looks like, different from the final one but still very cool!

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

What’s your favorite “New Wave” subgenre within YA or any book category???

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

ANNOUNCEMENT: Kelsey Macke‚Äôs DAMSEL DISTRESSED Cover Design Contest!

Hi-ya! ¬†Today I’m pleased to announce a wonderful contest from Spencer Hill Contemporary!!!

Now, obviously I’m biased, (since I’m a marketing intern there) BUT I can honestly say this is one of the coolest contests and marketing ideas I’ve seen (like #1). ¬†Don’t take my word for it though, read the announcement below!

Kelsey Macke’s DAMSEL DISTRESSED Cover Design Contest

Kelsey Macke’s DAMSEL DISTRESSED (Spencer Hill Contemporary, 2014) is the story of Imogen Keegan, a seventeen-year old girl who has been stuck in a cycle of clinical depression, self-harm, and baked-goods-addiction since her mom died seven years ago.

The book, DAMSEL DISTRESSED, is equal parts hurt and heart, and is held together by Imogen‚Äôs journal entries of poems, doodles, lyrics, and the ‚Äúback stage‚ÄĚ musings of a theatre-loving girl who is so much more than the sum of her parts. ¬†Imogen‚Äôs journal is part of the prose, but the line between fiction and reality blurs when readers have the ability to use their computer or mobile device to access all kinds of interactive online content.

The cornerstone of this supplemental content is the album of real life songs, written and performed by the author as part of the band, Wedding Day Rain called IMOGEN UNLOCKED.

The inside of the book is highly interactive and driven by the readers’ experience.  The creative team wants nothing less for the outside of the book as well!

So, in the spirit of community and collaboration, we’re having a cover contest!

The DAMSEL DISTRESSED cover contest will be open from August 16th until September 22nd, 2014.

We’re so excited to see all of the incredible ideas you have that will tap into Imogen’s story.

There will be three rounds, each narrowing the entries, and culminating in a public vote for one of three top slots! Additionally, ten semi-finalists will win a $10 itunes gift card and a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card. The grand prize winner will not only earn the design commission and a copy of the book once printed, but will also have the opportunity to design the album artwork and swag!

If you or someone you know is eager to dive into the world of publishing design, this is a great opportunity to grow a portfolio and get paid! ¬†For full details on the contest, including all terms, conditions, and instructions for submitting your design, visit www.damseldistressed.com¬†(it’s a pretty cool site)!

Also, check out the video!

Kelsey Macke

Kelsey Macke is a twitterphile, (@KelsNotChels) and enthusiastic Nerdfighter.  DAMSEL DISTRESSED is her first novel.  You can also visit her at www.KelseyMacke.com.

See, now isn’t that the coolest ūüôā ¬†I hope you artsy types enter, I can’t wait to see the designs!

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Following Your Heart

As writers we’re taught to take critique. ¬†Forget that, as humans we’re taught to take critique. ¬†From a very young age, most of us were taught that we’re not perfect. ¬†That adults know what’s best. ¬†The more and more we learn this, we teach this, the more and more we create this society that is taught to seek out help rather than to search first within themselves.

There’s this very good Ira Glass series “On Storytelling”, (part 3/4 being “the best”). ¬†In which he talks about how we as creative types have this sense where we know what good, what great is because we have damn good taste. ¬†However there’s this disconnect because we’re not to the point where we can create that good/greatness.

As someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety (still dealing with this one)–btw, if this is you, authors Veronica Roth¬†& Claire Legrand have some amazing posts on this, you should read their entire blog (no, seriously)–it seems even harder. ¬†There are times when I want to follow Neil Gaiman’s timeless words of wisdom “Make Good Art” as well as the Nike slogan (& one of my mottos) “Just Do It”. ¬†However, it’s like there’s this mountain, no, maybe like a barbed wire, electrical fence blocking me. ¬†So naturally, as Veronica Roth talks about, we’re drawn to listen to others to help us dig ourselves out.¬†¬†Critiques become more than just that, they become words we live by. ¬†We live to please, we want to please, and opening ourselves up like that can end up shattering every mental defense we’ve built up over the years. ¬†Which is why, though I love WriteOnCon, I made the conscious decision to only put my WIP up, not my finished stuff, and even that though amazingly helpful, was a bit detrimental.

Why I am saying all this? ¬†(Don’t I know blog posts are supposed to be short & sweet…haha, if that’s what you’re looking for you should probably stop following my blog ;))

I’m saying this because no matter how helpful people are, they’re not you. ¬†It honestly doesn’t matter if they’re a professional. ¬†(Although, if it’s your agent or editor and you trust their opinion (which you should), it might do to put their comments aside for a while and re-review them later when your head is clearer.)

I’m saying this because I recently had a little twitter chat with writer Adrianne Russell where we talked a bit about how a project can become overedited. ¬†And, if you’ve been following this blog for a while you might know that HEIR OF ISIS (formally BLOOD OF ISIS) has been through a lot of editing & revising, even when I probably should’ve just put it down and let it rest. ¬†At the suggestion of an agent I admire, I hired a freelance editor who while amazing, had some changes I tried to make work yet they weren’t what I wanted & what my story needed. ¬†Well, it took me until now to realize that. ¬†Her suggestions were great, just not right for my story.

However some of her pointers were spot on, as were the pointers of a few people who beta read the MS after another round of revisions. ¬†I¬†don’t know who I’ve been trying to write for, “the market”, agents, editors, readers, I really can’t say (combination most likely) but what everyone picked up on was what I knew all along, some things seemed forced. ¬†So what I’m trying to say is that you HAVE ¬†to follow your heart. ¬†Had I, I might’ve saved myself all of this. ¬†(However I’m trying this no regret thing so I’ll just say, my experiences have helped shaped my present, and I might not be where I am without them :))

Listen to others, but stay true to yourself. ¬†If someone else wants you to write a Paranormal Romance when what you really want is a Contemporary then stick with it. ¬†Who cares if Vampires are hot (which, btw, they’re not). ¬†It’s important to get feedback on your work, but it’s equally important to be careful who you send your work to for feedback and of how much you digest without first evaluating its worth, its need, in terms of your story.

Funny thing is, I have requests currently out for that manuscript so I guess I’ll be waiting to see what happens. ¬†For right now, I’ll focus on the MG. ¬†But when the time’s right, I plan on revisiting HEIR/BLOOD OF ISIS, and writing for myself, the damn good story I want to write. ¬†It’s going to be a challenge, yes, but in the end, it’ll make me happier and truthfully (especially with nerves like mine) that’s all that matters (or should). ¬†Give readers the story you can’t live without, and that’s how you’ll gain them. ¬†Don’t let yourself think for a minute we all want what’s hot. ¬†If anything, we’re probably tired of it, but, since no one (or barely anyone) is writing anything else, we’re stuck with it. ¬†And it sucks. ¬†By doing yourself a favor, in the long run, you’re treasuring your readers’ time. ¬†I can’t speak for everyone but I read books to experience new things, worlds, etc…if the books available all start to sound the same, why would I read them? ¬†(This is why I rarely pick up books from the YA “what’s hot” (or whatever it’s called) shelf, I don’t want what B&N says is popular I want damn good books, books I usually find out from my Twitter peeps (writers, agents, etc…who have some pretty good taste). ¬†This is also why there are ongoing series I’ve been reading for years even though they’re not “hot” anymore…the good shit wins, always. (in my book))

You become a trendsetter by breaking the current one, not by following it. ¬†So when in doubt, remember that & always follow your heart ūüôā

Have you struggled with following your heart?  How have you overcome your doubts?

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Sea of Monsters was… alright.

I just got back from seeing Sea of Monsters, the film adaptation of the second book in the Percy Jackson series, and I have to say, it wasn’t that spectacular. ¬†On one hand, I loved it, because I loved the books. ¬†Also I like seeing film adaptations, i usually don’t mind creative liberty, as long as it’s still good. ¬†That being said, this time, they might’ve gone too far.

Now, I’m not saying I didn’t love it. ¬†Like I said, I did. ¬†What I’m saying is the creative liberties taken, were too much for me to ignore. ¬†Normally, I’m fine. ¬†The movies of a series shouldn’t be exactly like the books. ¬†I get it, filmmakers are trying to reach a wider audience, there’s more of a production cost, therefore more profits have to be made for a movie to be called a success. ¬†To be honest, I liked the first movie. ¬†However, now that I’ve seen this one, I’m not so sure if that was because I was super excited to see one of my favorite books on the big screen or if it was because it was actually a good movie.

I will say this, the acting…so much better. ¬†Since The Lightning Thief, we’ve seen Logan Lerman in Perks of Being a Wallflower, which I thought he was amazing in. ¬†Maybe, action movies just aren’t his thing. ¬†Also, Grover just needs to stop with the side comments. ¬†It was cute in the first movie, but now, it’s just getting weird & annoying. ¬†As for Annabeth, I feel like she’s almost becoming a weaker, more minor, character. ¬†I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan, Hermionie, Katniss, Tris Prior, all the way. ¬† I prefer my women strong. ¬†I’m not saying she needs to be superwoman, but all of the sighing and hugging, and such…come on, girl. ¬†I don’t know what happened, or why Hollywood thinks “girl sidekicks” need to be so dependent, but Annabeth was NOT like this in the books. ¬†She’s the daughter of Athena, goddess of wisdom and strategy (among other things)… do better Hollywood.

Back to the plot.

No, just no. ¬†I didn’t like the fact that they aged the characters in the first movie. ¬†You know, like I said, I get wanting to appeal to a wider audience, but people of all ages read Percy Jackson. ¬†And technically it’s Middle Grade. ¬†The aging threw everything off, they changed the prophecy to the child turning 20 not 16, and all these things happen that weren’t supposed to happen until the last book. ¬†No, I’m not kidding at all. ¬†It makes everything less believable. ¬†It didn’t sit right in my head. ¬†It was almost as if instead of a flowing full-fledged movie, there were choppy scenes that individually were great but together, not so much.

It’s sad, because I’m afraid this franchise might not have much of future. ¬†The movie just hit theaters, and the theater I went to is a pretty popular one…it was almost empty. ¬†I think the first thing that needs to happen is directors, producers, etc…need to stop trying to find the next Harry Potter. ¬†Yeah, I said it. ¬†I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. ¬†It. ¬†Was. ¬†My. ¬†Childhood. ¬†You cannot replace it, you will never beat it, not for me, or most of us who grew up with the books/movies. ¬†As a writer, that’s something you learn quick. ¬†Not necessarily just in relation to Harry Potter but with anything. ¬†Stop trying to become another author, another book series. ¬†To each his own. ¬†Percy Jackson needs to be Percy Jackson. ¬†You know what Harry Potter was so damn successful? ¬†It stayed true to its audience. ¬†JK Rowling made sure there were British actors, also it didn’t veer that far from the books. ¬†It was a widely popular series which is why the movies had such a large, even larger, appeal. ¬†It makes sense. ¬†Percy Jackson, for those of us who loved it as a child or love it now, has its own intrinsic appeal. ¬†The people on the team should remember that and give us Percy Jackson, not Harry Potter (I have all of those, I can watch them anytime). ¬†We love the mythology, Rick ¬†Riordan’s stories are so rich, the movie was bland. ¬†The other thing about Percy is he wants to be in both worlds, not just Camp Half Blood, I didn’t like how he was already at camp. ¬†There’s worth in trying to expand your audience, but if the audience it originally attracted doens’t love it then you’ve got a problem. ¬†I know kids love CGI, 3D, and all that stuff. ¬†They might not be as bored with it as I’m getting, but just you wait. ¬†Kids aren’t stupid, it won’t take long.

The Percy Jackson movie adaptations need a revamp, maybe not with a new cast, etc… but with a fresh set of creative ideas. ¬†I know these movies can be so much better, if they’re allowed to be. ¬†Also, give these actors some acting lessons, and some better lines. ¬†That being said, it’s still a great story, a cute, funny, daring one, that says a lot about friendship, family, proving yourself, and ultimately creating for yourself the person you want to be. ¬†So maybe, critiques aside, that’s what’s really important ūüôā

Have you seen the movie yet?  What did you think?  Also, what book to movie adaptations are you looking forward to, what are your favorites?

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

P.S. Tyson was great, (hands down, my favorite) though…I wish they would’ve given that subplot more umph, it, everything was too rushed.