The City in the Middle of the Night – Blog Tour + Author Q/A!

by Charlie Jane Anders

I’m a massive Charlie Jane Anders fan, from the days where she was running io9.com. I devoured her short fiction and fell in love with her spellbinding novel All the Birds in the Sky. So when I had the opportunity to join the blog tour for her newest book, The City in the Middle of the Night, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

My expectations were set incredibly high, and yet she still blew them all away: I binge read the book in less than two days, and even after finishing the last page I’m still caught there, and can’t get the story out of my head. Not that I want to: as I digest the book, I’m seeing more, understanding more, and loving it more.

Summary

A new book from the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Charlie Jane Anders. On a planet that has never-changing zones of day and night, time means only what the government proclaims, and lost souls and disappeared bodies are shadow-bound and savage. One such pariah, sacrificed to the night, forms a bond with an enigmatic beast, and will rise to take on the entire planet–before it can crumble beneath the weight of human existence.

Musings

Set on January, a planet tidally locked with its star, the city of Xiosphant lies in the strip of habitable land along the terminator. To the one side, the heat of a planet baked under a neverending sun. To the other, the frozen desert of a world that has never seen sunlight. In the strip of twilight in between, human colonists have established a great city, self-sufficient, a testament to survival. But in order to thrive, one must live in a dystopian nightmare.

In order for the city to work, people must all sleep at the same time (between shutters up and shutters down, a curfew punishable by violence), eat the right food at the right time, work, live, die, at the same time. Timefulness (mindfulness of the time of day) even saturates their language, as the conjugation you use depends on what time it is. You day to day life is mapped out, as well as the entirety of your life ahead of you.

In the midst of all this, lives Sophie, a quiet girl from the dark side of town, attending university on a scholarship she earned for her distinguished studying, desperate to avoid the life her social class has laid out ahead of her. There she meets Bianca, a beautiful affluent girl who dreams of changing the world. Together, they might make a difference.

Like with All the Birds in the Sky, Anders takes idealistic youth who want to change the world, and bring them face to face with reality. Sophie is dragged through a traumatic experience that almost kills her, and she deals with the aftermath for the rest of the book. Bianca’s own reaction to this violence is with more violence, hoping to make change through revenge. These characters motivations are so real they feel like your own.

There was so much to love about this novel. Not only was the worldbuilding so perfect that I was fully immersed from the first page, but I couldn’t help but be attached to Sophie and the other characters that crossed the page. Especially Mouth, a nomad born on the road between the two major cities on January, is the last of her people, and struggles to fit in anywhere.

But what connected me most with this novel was the theme of culture. As a girl born in one country, raised in another, by parents who come from neither, my own culture comes into question every stinking day. And through City, Anders explores what it means to be uprooted, how cultures are built, or how they are forgotten. As the characters perspectives on their own place in the world shifts, I found myself exploring my own feelings of cultural identity through their different eyes. It felt so deeply personal, like a conversation held between me and the book.

Some fit more in the rigidly defined society of Xiosphant, where their lives are controlled, but they are comfortable. Everyone has food, a home, a future. No one speaks about the past, and it’s disconcerting to bring up your heritage, where your family was from on Earth. And then you have a polar opposite in the other major city, Argelo, which is more like an open-air bazaar, a libertarian paradise only with the real consequences such a free-for-all would create. Time there is impossible to tell, and heritage is embraced, along with new ideas, art, and music. And in the middle, there is only the road, a dangerous place where being alone means certain death.

And in the end, after Anders explores what it means to belong to a society or culture, she goes deeper – and asks you what it means to be human. The so-called ‘crocodiles’ which the humans of January hunt and fear are the native intelligent life of the planet, and they have their own culture and world. Are we visitors on their land? What kind of colonists are we, friendly or cruel? The last part of the novel is beautiful and distinct: it feels like you’re drifting in a dream, going beyond the human experience. And it was so… hopeful. It made me want to be so much more than I am right now.

There is so much more the author explores through this book, I feel as if I need to reread it right away to see what I might have missed. This is a story of control: how our control has ecological consequences and human ones. It’s a story about our need to have someone to believe in, or believe in us. How our idea of the person we love may be quite different from the person they truly are, and how it is so hard to admit when we have been betrayed by a person we thought worthy of our trust.

This book was the perfect read for me: great science fiction with a cool science-based premise (I’m an astrophysics masters student working with a planetary science supervisor. This book is gold.) and complex exploration of humanity and culture, a question that I struggle with myself. It feels as if the author was writing just for me.

A quick question to Charlie Jane herself!

Readcommendations: It’s been three years since the release of All the Birds in the Sky. How has the writing experience been different for you in creating The City in the Middle of the Night compared to AtBitS? Have you found it ‘easier’ in the sense that you have already published, or has it been more complicated because of the critical acclaim your last book received? Were there differences that surprised you?

Charlie Jane Anders: It’s been such a crazy whirlwind! I’ve been just amazed and blown away by the response to All the Birds in the Sky. Makes me really kind of nervous about putting out another book and having to live up to that buzz. On the other hand, after spending years writing novels that never got published, it’s great that I can now come up with a new book, and it actually appears on shelves.

Massive thank you to Titan Books for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour, and providing me with a copy of The City in the Middle of the Night. I also want to thank them for putting me in touch with the author, and thank Charlie Jane Anders for not only answering my question, but also for writing this remarkable book.

Winter of the Witch

Winternight Trilogy, Book 3
by Katherine Arden

BRB, I’m crying because one of my favorite series of all time is over, and despite a perfect finish I know I’m going to miss Vasya so much that it hurts.

I half don’t want to write this review, because I don’t want to admit that this series is actually over. The final book was such a perfect conclusion, so beautiful, so painful in all the best ways, that I feel I want to hug the author and thank her for leading me through such a wild range of emotions. It feels like the perfect fairy tale, only better because this time, the girl wins.

Summary

Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to the bestselling Winternight Trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias, the seen and the unseen.

Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers—and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, stronger than ever and determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasya will uncover surprising truths about herself and her history as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.

Musings

“I have plucked snowdrops at Midwinter, died at my own choosing, and wept for a nightingale. Now I am beyond prophecy.”

Just like the books that came before it, this is a novel about religion and horrible things people are willing to do in the name of it. It is a story of old beliefs and new, of courage in standing for what is right. It is a book about family and doing whatever it takes to protect the ones you love. And it’s a story about being a woman in a world where your gender is a prison, taking action, taking control of her life, and saving even those who told her she wasn’t capable of anything. In the final book in this series, Vasya becomes the very thing men fear and despise: a witch. And she saves the world.

This story picks up right after the events of The Girl in the Tower in Moscow, the city has burned but was saved by Vasya’s quick thinking and Morosko’s waning power. But now Konstantin wants Vasya dead more than ever, and a certain bear named Medved is happy to aid with the chaos in any way they possibly can. But with Vasya standing up to both the bear and the king of winter, she’s made herself a third power in this war, and has more to fight for than ever before.

This book is a battle scene. A massive war, between the old beliefs and the new religion, between two brothers caught in an eternal fight for power, between the Russians and the Tartars, between Vasya and herself. The author pulls from a lot of historical events, making the story feel more real than a simple fairy tale. It’s so masterfully crafted that I could almost believe Arden was there herself. And yet, despite all this, it still captures the magic and whimsy of classic storytelling.

While I felt a little like there wasn’t any doubt for Vasya, ever – as hard as they sounded, her victories always seemed so certain – I think it added to the sense of tradition to the story. And I’m a little wary of how Vasya won Morozko back from his captivity, but hey: if this book had been any more perfect, it would have probably punched a hole in the universe.

Do yourself a favor and grab this magical trilogy, your life will be all the more beautiful for it.

The Guilded Wolves

by Roshani Chokshi

What a fun little gem of a book! Having just read Six of Crows for the first time only a week ago, I found the resemblance startling – but in form only. The story is rich and fast-paced, with all the magic Chokshi brings to her books. It was exciting to see her take the magic of her usually Indian inspired novels and bring them to Paris, nothing lost in the transition. Her rich worldbuilding and colorful detail made this book a joy to read.

Summary

Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

Musings

Chokshi has created an alternate Paris where magic is commonplace and the Order of Babel retains control. Babel pieces hidden from the world allow forgers to create beautiful and dangerous items, which give this alternate world technology similar to ours. It is here, in the lavish hands of the order, that our story takes place.

The crew of this Oceans-Eleven-Meets-Indiana-Jones-with-Magic book is diverse and easy to relate to:

Séverin, the heir to the third house of the French Order of Babel, stripped of his title due to nefarious reasons and politics. He owns a hotel, L’eden, and secretly runs heists to steal the most remarkable forged objects the world has ever seen, along with his team.
Laila from India, with an ability to read people’s history while holding an object of their possession, with an amazing talent for baking and one of the best dancers Paris has ever seen. (Can she be my best friend, please?)
Enrique, the Spanish/Filipino historian with a great sense of sarcasm and who occasionally remembers how to act human.
Zofia the mathematician/engineer of Polish Jewish descent, kicked out of university for her dangerous magical affinity, who only seems to tolerate people and would much rather ber tinkering.
Tristan, the recluse botanist, and who is a very recluse sort of person, with his gigantic pet spider he seems to love more than anyone else.
And unoficially, Hypnos, heir to another French House, a French aristocrat of mixed race, which doesn’t sit well with his peers, making him defy expectation at every turn.

Together, they need to solve the clues to basically save France, using their own set of skills. It involves cunning, deceit, and a fair bit of math, along with amazing forged gadgets a bit à la James Bond with a scoop of magic. You get to know each of the characters just enough to relate to them, though I wish I had more time to know them more. If I had one disappointment to say of the book, it would be that it was too fast: in some places, it got confusing because the action piled up and the points of view were all over the place, and it could have been paced down to show us more about the characters and their past.

All and all, I’m getting the hardcover. This book is sure to be a hit and I can’t wait for the sequel!

Expected publication: January 15th 2019 by Wednesday Books

But I still have no idea why the book was called The Gilded Wolves 😛

Reaper of Earth

The Artifact Reaper Saga #1
by Jen L. Grey

It’s been a while since I read Paranormal YA, so I was very excited when the author Jen L. Grey send me a copy of her new release, Reaper of Earth. The book was fast paced and fun, perfect for lovers of Urban Fantasy and Young Adult fiction.

Summary41591694

Hidden abilities, haunting memories, and one confused girl.

I’m a reaper. Death should come naturally to me, but it doesn’t. And the abilities I am able to conjure are forbidden by my kind. My parents try to hide my abilities, but when the elders assign my first target, they order my parents to stay back.

Now I’m on my own, with no one to protect me, no idea what I’m doing, and no control over the powers I’m supposed to keep hidden.

I should have known this would blow up in my face.

Now my family name is ruined, and I have to fix what I’ve ripped. I’m not sure I have what it takes. Now the fate of my entire kind is on my shoulders, and I’m the only one who can make things right. But if I mess up again, it won’t just be my family that I break–our entire world will be ruined.

Musings

Reaper of Earth is fast-paced and highly entertaining. It has everything you need in a paranormal novel: a relatable protagonist, the fight between good and evil – and those caught in between – and a quest worth fighting for. If you need a quick read as exciting as any TV show, then this is the book for you.

I really liked Christina, aka Chris, the 19 years old Reaper-in-training. On her 20th birthday, she’ll be expected to become a full-fledged Reaper and be able to take on her tasks of reaping souls without the help of her parents. The only problem is, she seems to have an affinity for doing just the opposite: bringing people back to life. Which is not what any proper Reaper should be doing, especially not if she wants her parents to have any chance to ever be Elders. As a character, she’s very relatable, and her struggles are ones we’re keen on following.

The plot was really fun and interesting, though short! I felt like it cut off right when things were really going to get started. I’m looking forward to reading what happens next!

 

Wayward Stars

Starswept #2
By Mary Fan

Every once and a while you get a book so perfect, it hits every high note. Literally. When I read Starswept last year, I was blown away: the story was compelling, the plot was unpredictable, and there were such amazing twists that I was continuously caught by surprise. So when the author said there were ARCs available, I pounced; and let me tell you, it’s going to be so hard to wait until February for when I finally talk freely about it!

Spoilers for Starswept from here on out. Treat yourself to a copy then come back here!

Summary

Sing your truth. Defend your dream. Defy your stars.

A month has passed since Iris joined an underground rebel group to save Dámiul from the brutal prison he was sent to for fighting back against his world’s oppressive system. Here, conformity and compliance are enforced through telepathy, and Earthling performers are brainwashed into absolute obedience.

Word of a merciless crackdown on those who sympathize with their cause leaves both Iris and Dámiul yearning for action. Determined to liberate her kind, Iris volunteers to return to her former patrons and covertly recruit supporters.

A raid on their hideout catapults her plan into action sooner than expected and forces her to leave Dámiul behind. After persuading the authorities that she’d been telepathically manipulated into helping him, Iris assumes the role of a dutiful musician while secretly spreading whispers of a possible uprising among her fellow performers. But the authorities always seem to be one step ahead, and anyone who defies them is swiftly mind-wiped.

Soon, Iris is forced to confront a horrifying fact: there’s a traitor among them. Desperately clinging to her cover, she races to find out who before her true loyalties are discovered—and the search leads her to an unthinkable answer.

Musings

Wayward Stars picks up a month after Iris went into hiding with the rebels, a wise move from the author as she puts us right back into the action. From the very first chapter, the book catches you off guard, setting up to be one kind of story and instead spiraling into another. The author has such a skillful way of building you up to an event you might think is predictable, then swerving away at the last minute, just like in the first book (you know the twist, I mean!).

Unlike the first book, focusing on Iris’s discovery of the Karys’il manipulation, Wayward Stars focuses on the fight against it. The rise of the abolition movement is something we all want, but it comes at a steep price, not to mention is incredibly dangerous. Iris and her growing team of artists and Adryil must live in the shadows, facing the dangers of leading a revolution. 

Both Iris and Dámiul go through extreme growth in this book. While I want them to be happy and cute and to get to go on normal dates, we know that’s not the focus of this story. They’re put through so much, and they change as a result, leading to exceptional growth. I can’t wait to see how they’ll be at the end of this. 

As for the rest, I don’t want to give it away. Suffice to say the author brings the same magic back to the page as she did in the first book. The love of music and the fight for freedom coming together in beautiful ways.

I highly recommend this series for anyone who has a passion for the arts and a head in the stars. It’s beautiful, poignant, and one heck of a thrill ride. 

Expected publication: February 2019 by Snowy Wings Publishing

Destroyed

The Untamed Series #4
By Madeline Dyer

If you haven’t read the Untamed series yet, you’re really missing out. This dystopian set in Africa pitting sci-fi against spirits is one of my all-time favorite series and one which I recommend left and right. So when I got the opportunity to Beta read for the author, I was more than thrilled. Dyer’s epic conclusion to the Untamed series will leave the reader trembling and shaking. What an adrenaline rush, what a roller coaster of a book!

(Spoilers for the first books from here on out)

32828471Summary

LOVE. DEATH. SACRIFICE.
THE LAST NIGHT HAS BEGUN.

Seven Sarr, the most powerful human in the world, is alive—and she’s on the run from her enemy. With the Dream Land gone, the Gods and Goddesses dead, and the Untamed’s number of Seers at a record low, Seven knows her people must attempt to work with the Lost Souls—including the most volatile and dangerous spirits—if they’re to have a chance of beating the Enhanced Ones once and for all.

But when the Enhanced impose a new threat and Corin’s life is at stake, Seven must make her hardest choice: save the man she loves and let her people perish, or allow Corin’s death so the Untamed can survive.

Locked into a tight countdown to her own demise and solitary entrapment within a torturous realm, Seven must make her decision quickly. Her Seer powers are the strongest, and her death will end the War of Humanity once and for all. When the new morning dawns, the world as she knew it will be gone. What—and who—will be left behind is up to Seven.

Will her love shape the future of the world?

Musings

After the jaw-dropping ending to Divided, a lot of questions lingered about the new shape of the world. And it looks grim: the gods are all dead, the dreamland, destroyed, and the survivors of the massive seer battle are few and far between. Seven must lead them all to safety, knowing that the end is near, for better or for worse.

It’s impossible to put down this book. So much happens, and so quickly: Seven must try to rally the remaining Untamed while learning to balance her new incredible power, but it seems to hopeless. You can feel the oppressiveness of a dying world, and the feeling that the end times are really here. Time itself seems to be unraveling. We meet new characters, pockets of Untamed surviving the only way they know how. Seven is faced with tough decision after tough decision, trying to lead her people through the worst possible times.

Seven has grown so much since we first met her, all those books ago, learning her mother had just died at the hands of the Enhanced. She’s stronger now, and incredibly powerful, but at the same time, she’s just as scared and uncertain as any teenager. She struggles with the weight placed upon her but does what she must, showing true bravery – while not always being the wisest. Her relationship with Corin has also grown, though it’s tough to maintain an air of romance when the world is ending.

There are some truly mind-blowing moments. Certain characters reveal secrets I never saw coming, and per usual Rayleigh is up to his mind tricks, but more intense than ever. We never know who to believe –  if even Seven’s own mind can be trusted. An incredible price must be paid to save the Untamed, if only she’s willing to pay it.

And the ending… that ending… I had to read it over three times to be sure I saw what I saw really did just happen. I need more people to read it so I can freak out with them about it!

Destroyed is the epic conclusion to one of the most exceptional dystopian series of the decade. Brilliantly plotted and complex, it is a powerful finale that will break many a reader’s heart.

All I can say is: bring tissues. You’ll need them.  But not for what you think!

Expected publication: November 20th 2018 by Ineja Press

 

The Mortal Word

The Invisible Library #5
By Genevieve Cogman

Readers of this blog will know how obsessed I am with the Invisible Library series, from the very first book! I have loved following the adventures of Irene and Kai as they work as spies for the greatest library in the universe, which works to control the balance of the multiverse by stealing important books from parallel worlds. Every book just gets better and better, and book five is no exception, topping the series as their best adventure yet!

39169409Summary

In the latest novel in Genevieve Cogman’s historical fantasy series, the fate of worlds lies in the balance. When a dragon is murdered at a peace conference, time-traveling Librarian spy Irene must solve the case to keep the balance between order, chaos . . . and the Library.

When Irene returns to London after a relatively straightforward book theft in Vienna, Bradamant informs her that there is a top secret dragon-Fae peace conference in progress that the Library is mediating, but that the second-in-command dragon has been stabbed to death. Tasked with solving the case, Vale and Irene immediately go to 1890s Paris.

Once they arrive, it seems that the murder victim had uncovered evidence suggesting that he may have found proof of treachery by one or more Librarians. But to ensure the peace of the conference, some Librarians are already hostages in the dragon and Fae courts. To save the captives, including her parents, Irene must get to the bottom of this murder—but was it a dragon, Fae, or even a Librarian who committed the crime?

Musings

It’s impossible to say exactly what genre this book is. While the series is bookmarked as being historical fiction, The Mortal Word is part murder mystery, political thriller, and paranormal all at once. The balance between the Dragons (who stand for order) and the Fae (for chaos) is coming to a head, and if Irene doesn’t do something fast, the entire world is in danger.

The plot is so complex and intriguing that it never feels predictable. Irene must lead a team of people from each faction to solve the murder of a Dragon delegate, to discover who was trying to sabotage the peace treaty. Remove the word dragon, and you’d think you have a political novel on your hands. Finding the answer isn’t only difficult from the way the murderer covered their tracks, but also because the answer could make or break peace among worlds.

I loved this new installment. I loved the new depth to Irene’s relationship with Kai (total OTP) but also getting to see Vale again, and meet some important players on each side of the conflict. What I love about these books is not only how much I relate to Irene – I feel like she was written just for me – but how much the characters grow from book to book, making them all so realistic and deep.

The Mortal Word also shows how strong Cogman is as an author: a single tipping point with so many consequences it would snowball and put the universe at risk, that’s not an easy thing to write. It involves fully understanding the complexities of the factions she created, and fully drawing us into it at the same time. The way Irene not only has to solve the mystery but simultaneously worry about how every step she takes will influence the balance of power and the result of the treaty – that as masterful.

I just heard there will be possibly 8 books in the series, and I just can’t wait. I need book six right now! The author continues to grow and develop a powerful universe, and I know each book will be even better than the last.

Expected publication: November 27th 2018 by Ace

B-Side

By Jannis Jones
Based on the screenplay by Jannis Jones and Jason Rohan

Every once and a while I like to pick up a book that is outside of my usual genre. While I’m usually an SF or Fantasy fan, it’s always a treat to find a well thought out crime novel, something to get my mind racing and heart pumping. B-side was that book for me: intriguing and wildly engaging, it transported me to California and right into the lives of two fantastic women reeling through tragedy. And it was epic.

51f4ad12bk3lSummary

So many ways to spend your anniversary night. Praying your partner survives a vicious assault by an unknown attacker is not high on the list, but for LAPD detective Mara Bays, this is the reality.

Theories abound – a gay hate crime, a random assault, a revenge attack – but no leads. When her personal connection shuts her out of the investigation, Mara must rely on her colleagues to handle the case. 

Musings

This book was initially written as a screenplay, and the strengths of that medium remain: reading it was like watching a movie. Very dialogue heavy, the complexity of the characters unfolds through their conversations, their mannerisms, their little tics. Through this, you can sort of guess the ending, piece together the clues, but when the ending finally arrives it’s massively surprising.

While the author breaks the rule of showing not telling, because of the screenplay feel, it doesn’t feel obtrusive. In fact, it allows us to ‘see’ what happens all the more vividly. The author also doesn’t over describe her scenes, which allow for the mind to take over. It’s an easy book to read thanks to it following ‘movie’ rules: short, intense, with bright and memorable characters and scenes. It also allows the reader/viewer to see LA through many different perspectives, creating a full picture of the beautiful – and the bad.

But what we’re here for is the story, and while it is simple, it was still unexpected. The author manages to reel you in because you care so much for Casey and Mara from page one: you want to know why this happened, and you are as dedicated as Mara to follow through. Unlike the detective novels I have read in the past, it feels like a police procedural and more… personal. I don’t know if that’s the word for it. But it’s not cold like a mystery, and not chilling like a thriller, it’s dramatic and vibrant and human.

I highly recommend B-Side to anyone who enjoys a good whodunnit, but also to fans of contemporary fiction, as it packs an emotional punch!

Salt for Air

by M.C. Frank

Readers of this blog probably already know how much I adore M.C. Frank’s books. Her No Ordinary Star series is as beautiful as well crafted poetry and addicting to boot. So when she announced Salt For Air, with Greek mythology meeting the Little Mermaid, I shot it right to the top of my TBR and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

Summary40119041

Greek mythology meets The Little Mermaid in this delicious fantasy novel about a quiet, nerdy girl who meets a mer prince in her bathroom. Perfect for fans of The Heroes of Olympus and the Lux series.

Seventeen-year-old Ellie dreams of mermen. She writes fanfiction about them and spends time in underwater kingdoms in her imagination, trying to escape the sad reality: she is an orphan. And not only that, but she’s bullied every day at school -she’s a nerd, she hates sports, she loves books and she used to be overweight. What’s not to bully?

One day, the bullies go too far. They try to drown her, but at the last minute an otherworldly creature shows up in the water. He keeps her breathing and tells her to live: “How will you be able to save anyone if you can’t even save yourself?”

She thinks it was a dream, but the emerald-eyed merman boy who rescued her appears in her school the next day. Is he really the exiled prince of an ancient kingdom that’s on the brink of utter destruction? And is he asking her to save him? Or is something far more sinister and deadly lurking in the water that surrounds her little Greek town?

When myth and reality collide, can love save their lives?

Musings

When I first started reading the book, I was a little nervous. Very quickly we see the traditional tropes of insta-love and an awkward bullied kid becoming the center of a fantastical plot. And then the author INSTANTLY turns these tropes right on their heads. Boom. You are now reading an entirely new book: darker, more dangerous, and where the stakes are very, very high.

From that point on, I was sucked in and could not put the book down. Never knowing who could really be trusted, if Ellie was safe or in terrible danger with these otherworldly strangers. If I was her, I probably would have run away screaming. But Ellie is a special kind of protagonist: full of hurt, loss, and constantly bullied, she shapes herself daily. She worries about who she is and what she has become – and this was without the Mer prince.

The supporting characters were fantastic. I adored Lei most, but Maia is a close second. Both are strong warriors who won’t let anything get between them and the people they protect. All together, they’re perfect #squadgoals.

I absolutely loved not only the incredible character growth but even more the outstanding worldbuilding. Frank takes the Greek myths we know and love, and stitches them into her complex narrative in such a way that they shine in a whole new light. Adding that to the author’s own Greek upbringing and love for her home, I want to hop on a plane right now.

“If you die for me, I’ll kill you.” – Salt for Air, M.C. Frank

One thing that makes this release even more phenomenal is knowing how much the author and her book have been through to get so far. An early version was plagiarized, the author bullied, the book put on hold as everything seemed to go south. The author even wrote this heartbreaking piece here on her blog. Salt for Air almost didn’t get published.

The author took all this pain, the bullying, and wove it into the story. Knowing the real-life events that transpired, I could feel this as I read, the anger, the hurt, all so real. But even if I hadn’t heard about the ordeal Frank went through, I would be able to see the raw vulnerability she presents in this book. Her words are personal. They are deep. They come from truth and resonate with power.

It seems Frank has concocted the perfect recipe for a fantastic book: Take the love of home + myths that shaped her + true pain and vulnerability + an amazing plot = an unforgettable novel. This is putting it mildly. I was crying at many points as I read it, my heart broken and mended over and over again.

I really could go on and on about this book. About how Ellie breaks every mold you have for a character like her. How the twist in the middle of the book is so beautiful and gut-wrenching at once. How brilliant Kai’s world is, especially when we find out what the way is really about. There is so much to love about this book, you just need to read it for yourself.

A powerful new book with brutal honesty, fiercely vulnerable writing and a magical, swoon-worthy romance!

Expected publication: October 23rd 2018

Preorder now!

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Holy cow, everyone! I just finished reading Salt for Air by @mcfrank_author's and I just… wow. It's SUBLIME, inside and out. I don't even know where to begin with the review because I'm so blown away! Frank pens a novel where Greek mythology meets The Little Mermaid; tackling massive themes such as bullying, loneliness, and isolation. It's powerful in a way most YA is afraid to be: it doesn't hold back! October 23rd can't get here fast enough! 🐋⚡️🌊🧜‍♀️🛶⚔️ #books #book #read #reader #instagood #writer #bestoftheday #bookworm #photooftheday #writer #literature #bookish #bookishfeatures #bibliophile #bookstagram #booklover #booknerd #bookphotography #instabook #bookstagramfeature #booknerdigans #bookaddict #yalovin #ireadya #saltforair #mermaid #ocean #mcfrank #mustread

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Curie

Curie (Adaline #3)
by Denise Kawaii

In the past few days, I’ve told you about how addicted I’ve become to the Adaline series. Hooked from the first page of book one, it took me all of four days to devour these three books. Curie is the best of the series so far, and boy was I lucky to have an advance copy! Especially after how Biocide ended. If you’re not already into this series, pick it up now. And best buy all three books at once so you’re ready when you hit those cliffhangers!

Summary41590909

When 62 emerges from Adaline, he thinks his troubles are over. But will he be accepted by his rescuers?

The moment Boy 1124562 is rescued from Adaline, he’s thrust into a strange new world. It’s a land of off-grid outlaws, irradiated desert and a new species: Women. As 62 navigates the matriarchal society that’s dying out just beyond Adaline’s borders, he discovers an unsettling truth. The outside world is not the peaceful safe-haven of his dreams. 

There’s a second cloning program, a war-torn town, and a mysterious enemy lurking beyond the horizon. Is it harder to hide within the confines of a mechanized society, or to weather the storms brought by politics, a poisoned environment and Mother Nature? 62 is about to find out.

Musings

Spoilers here on out for the first two books!

At the end of Biocide, 62 and a handful of other abnormals are rescued by Blue and led to the outside world. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, 62 can finally discover the world he had only seen through dreams – but now, he can never go back. Those who leave Adaline can never return, would be shot if ever seen on a patrol. The book picks right up as 62 leaves his old life behind and embraces life on the outside.

Curie answers so many questions we’ve been asking since book one, namely – why? Why does Adaline grow boys? What happened to the outside world? Where are all the women? Why can’t they dream? (I loved the answer to this one. It made so much sense that it turned my suspension of disbelief into pure, grounded contentment. I mean – of course that’s why.)

The outside world isn’t an easy one like Adaline. it involves work, hardship, disagreement. But all the while, 62 is still this eager child we’ve grown to love. He is so thrilled to discover grass – making some pretty silly mistakes in the process. He’s confused by meeting girls or trying to understand how to eat. Discovering snow leads to a hilarious segment which I laughed for ages. Watching him discover what we take for granted had me grinning as I read.

We have new answers, but also new questions. Namely, who are the Yousa? And why are their demands so particular? Through ancient books and new friends, 62 pieces together the world’s past and tries to make sense of his place in it. While dreaming isn’t exactly prohibited, it’s seen as an oddity, like walking around with three arms. It’s not safe to be different, and 62 once again struggles to fit in.

In my mind, Adaline and Biocide could have been a single book. Curie turns the series so on its head that it can be seen as a turning point in Adaline. It’s so different: we can see it as an almost apocalyptic novel, with people struggling to build a culture, to get along, to find out which resources are valued the most. Having a child in such an adult world brought this sharp contrast between innocence and decay.

I need book four RIGHT NOW. The ending left me with so many questions – I shouldn’t have read the preview because there are even more! Whatever am I going to do in the meantime?

Expected publication: September 21st 2018 by Denise Kawaii