Thursday, 2 July 2015

WAY DOWN DARK by JP Smythe

There's one truth on Australia. You fight or you die. Usually both. Imagine a nightmare from which there is no escape. This is a hell where no one can hide. This is a ship of death, of murderers and cults and gangs. This is Australia.

Seventeen-year-old Chan's ancestors left a dying Earth hundreds of years ago, in search of a new home. They never found one.

The only life that Chan's ever known is one of violence, of fighting. Of trying to survive.

But there might be a way to escape. In order to find it, Chan must head way down into the darkness - a place of buried secrets, long-forgotten lies, and the abandoned bodies of the dead.

Seventeen-year-old Chan, fiercely independent and self-sufficient, keeps her head down and lives quietly, careful not to draw attention to herself amidst the violence and disorder. Until the day she makes an extraordinary discovery - a way to return the Australia to Earth. But doing so would bring her to the attention of the fanatics and the murderers who control life aboard the ship, putting her and everyone she loves in terrible danger.

And a safe return to Earth is by no means certain.


As soon as I received this book--thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy--I was intrigued. I love the cover, and the blurb sounded even better. So, I was super excited about receiving a YA book that I hadn't heard about but sounded so interesting.
 
Chan lives inside a ship that's hurtling through space. It's called Australia and is filled with people of all ages. Everyone is trying to survive under the very restrictive conditions. There are many stories and myths on this ship, but the one that is always carried down is about its origin. Hundreds of years ago when planet Earth was dying, the humans sent a bunch of huge ships into space so they could find another place to live.
 
Australia has been travelling ever since, and the ancestors of those who escaped live inside a multi-level metal monstrosity with no windows and no real indication of where they are. The days are signalled by dimming lights. The oxygen is maintained by the arboretum--where they have trees, grass, fruit and water to keep them going. The top level is always pitch black and the bottom is a dark, endless Pit.
 
But survival within Australia is tough. There are a number of dangerous gangs, but none are as deadly as the Lows. Not even the creepy and mysterious Pale Women who live in the dark and try to spread their faith are as much of a threat. Survival is a daily struggle, and when Chan's mother dies it becomes even harder. Riadne kept their levels safe and the gangs stayed away, but with her gone there's no telling what will happen next. 
 
Chan now only has Agatha, her mother's friend, but in order to survive she needs to stand on her own. Otherwise she'll be seen as weak and the Lows will destroy her. And so, her mother's end brings about Chan's own story.
 
But the Lows have a new psycho leader with plans of her own. Now that Chan's mother is dead, the Lows run riot and their savage takeover begins. As much as Chan tries to keep her promise to her dying mother about being selfish and not dying, it becomes increasingly hard to stay true to her mother's last request. Because when the rebellion starts from below, no one's safe and unless Chan starts exerting her own brand of violence, everyone will die.
 
OMG. This book was amazing! I didn't know what to expect when I started reading, but I didn't expect to be so totally hooked that I didn't want to leave this very brutal world until I reached the end. And then, when I did reach The End, I wanted more. Seriously, that ending is a killer!
 
Chan is an awesome character who tries so hard to keep her promise, but can't when she realises that what she really wants to do is help others. Funny how her mother spent her adult life being feared while also helping others, but then expects Chan to do the opposite. But she can't ignore her strong instincts, and that leads to a lot of brutality, pain and heartbreak. I loved how she wanted so badly to help when people were being attacked but just couldn't save everyone.
 
This vicious world is brutal, but realistic. There are many awesome things about this book. The worldbuilding is so good and doesn't take long to understand. The twists and turns totally shock you when they're revealed. The secrets are deep and very dark. The truth is unbelievable. And the reason why the ship is called Australia is SO darn clever.

Seriously, this book is incredible.
 
Way Down Dark is an awesome, action-packed adrenaline ride that'll take your breath away. The action doesn't stop, the brutality is constant, and the fight for survival will keep you on the edge of your seat. It will also have you cheering for Chan, Agatha and Jonah as they struggle to live in an enclosed, hostile environment with nowhere to go. There's a bit of everything in this story, but one thing that never stops throughout is just how heart-stopping it is. As the layers are slowly revealed, you just can't help but realise how brilliant this book really is.
 
I LOVED this book SO MUCH. It's definitely one of those stories that'll stay with me for years!
 
Can't wait to find out what happens next.


Way Down Dark, July 2015, ISBN 9781444796322, Hodder & Stoughton

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW by Trish Doller

 The Devil You Know
 From critically-acclaimed author Trish Doller comes a powerful new psychological page-turner perfect for fans of Lauren Oliver and Sara Zarr.
 
Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it's just the risk she's been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.
 
A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.


I received the hardback edition of this book last week--thank you Bloomsbury Australia--and was instantly interested in reading this story.
 
Arcadia, or Cadie as everyone calls her, lives in a small town in Florida with her father and very young brother. Since her mother died, she's been taking care of everyone while attending school and working at her father's store. So many things slipped away from her after she lost her mother--grades, soccer team, boyfriend, ambitions. She's just too busy with her everyday responsibilities, which includes practically raising her four-year-old brother, while her father is mostly absent.
 
The night she's invited to a campfire party, she decides to throw caution to the wind and attends. Here she meets a very cute stranger who she invites to the party on a whim, but when she stumbles on his cousin she's instantly smitten. Matt might be good looking and charming, but Noah is a whole lot more. He's scarred, tattooed and sets her blood pumping. Plus he happens to be a really nice guy who isn't shy to share his troubled past with her.
 
Cadie is instantly attracted to him, and ends up agreeing to go on a road trip to Disney World along with another girl who used to be her friend before she became a passenger in her own life.
 
Now, she's determined to shed all responsibility so she can seek adventure with her newfound friends while camping in the wilderness. Even after her friend bails on her, Cadie stays with the two cousins. What starts out as a thrilling adventure into the unknown, and an escape from her confined life, turns into a life and death situation that has her double guessing herself and desperate to figure out who to trust...
 
Wow. This book is a fast read, mostly because the story sucks you in right away and keeps you turning the page until you've reached The End. It's also easy to get annoyed with some of the rash decisions Cadie makes during her story, but at the same time it's easy to put yourself in her shoes. After all, she's lost so much during her young life and hasn't been able to live the life of a teenager so it almost feels like she's catching up for lost time.
 
It's just unfortunate that she gets caught up in a totally insane situation and that others around her have to pay the price.

What I loved about this book was how much growth Cadie shows during the story. She might be careless and totally ignores a lot of the signs that crop up along the way marking the obvious danger she's getting herself into, but she also allows herself to evolve while never really forgetting who she is. I especially loved the way she spoke about her mother, and how she loved her brother so much she never really stopped thinking about him.
 
The Devil You Know is a brilliant and very atmospheric YA thriller featuring a smart girl doing some really stupid things in her quest for adventure. Cadie is a great narrator that frustrated me at times because she makes some pretty dumb decisions, but in spite of that I never stopped liking her. I never lost interest in her story. No matter what she did, I was still in the moment with her and even excused her behaviour at times. How could I blame her from wanting a break from the noose of responsibility tied around her neck? Why would I be angry with her because she wanted to feel alive and chase adventure? And there's no way I was going to question the way she feels when she meets someone who understands her on a deeper level than anyone else ever has.
 
And by the way, I loved the ending! After all the awful things that happen, I was worried about how Cadie's story would end. Yeah, well, I didn't need to worry because I loved how everything turned out.
 
This is an awesome book that explores what happens when someone is bound by so much responsibility at such a young age that one day she just has to spread her wings and find her own way. Even if it leads to some deathly consequences that will alter her life.
 
I'll definitely need to read more books written by this author. :)

The Devil You Know, July 2015, ISBN 9781619634169, Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Monday, 29 June 2015

Hey, June is almost over!


Can you believe it? Yikes!
 
Well, it looks like this is now my go-to pic whenever I blog. But how can it not be? I mean, it pretty much captures me during winter: a robe-wearing, book-reading, tea/coffee-drinker who breaks up her hibernation for daily walks. :)
 
Seriously, though. These cold months just don't agree with me. I've been feeling a little under the weather. I'm constantly clogged from nose to throat, keep sneezing, and feel like I'm catching a cold. Which is bizarre since I got the flu shot several months ago. 
 
It's very uncomfortable, but there's not much I can do really. Doctors have already told me several times that there's nothing wrong with my throat or nose, it's just something I need to live with.
 
Yeah, well, sometimes it's easier said than done.
 
Anyway. Let's concentrate on the good things.
 
Last Friday I filled out the blurb and cover art forms for HELL OF A RIDE. That's Lavie's story, in case you forgot. ;) It's always exciting to dream up different versions of a cover and then look up pictures to give the cover artist a peek into what you see inside your mind. Funny thing is I've found that the cover artist I work with at Samhain Publishing always comes up with something WAY better than what I imagined. I really (really) hope that I get Kanaxa again. She's made most of my covers.
 
I also found out that Lavie's book will be released next year, probably around spring 2016. That's the American spring, so we're looking at autumn for us people in the Southern Hemisphere. :P
 
I'll be sure to post the blurb once it's approved, and of course will share the cover when I get it. I can't wait to see this one! In the meantime, I've got my fingers crossed for Willow's story. It's on submission at the moment, and I'd love for her tale to be published as well. That would wrap up all the stories I've written in this world.
 
Well, except for that 50k in-between story that fits (and ties in) Sierra's last book and Lavie's book. But that's another story...
 
The thing about Lavie and Willow's stories is that they're Sierra Fox spin-offs that demanded to be told. Seriously, I couldn't write anything new until these persistent women told their stories. They're also (kinda) companion books that make up a series--or duology--that's called Elsewhere. Why did I call it that? Well, the events of Sierra's series take part in a fictional suburb in Sydney, but Lavie's takes place in multiple locations and Willow's is in an actual coastal NSW city. I wanted to do something different for them. Besides, I thought Elsewhere fit perfectly. While Sierra's story is here, Lavie and Willow's is Elsewhere... but in the same world.
 
Makes sense, right?
 
Last week I didn't binge watch anything new. Thought it was best not to get stuck into anything since my daughter's going to be home for a bit. Haven't decided what will become my new lunch-break show yet, but I'll think of something. ;)
 
I did read, and think a lot about the stories I want to write once RECAST is finished. I get really excited at the prospects and really need to brainstorm before I lose the thread of the many tales I want to tell. So many possibilities, so little time...
 
Oh, and we finally watched FURY ROAD. While we all liked it, none of us loved it. It was good, but not amazing. I mean, sure, it's visually beautiful and there are plenty of kick-ass women in it, but there were just too many plot holes. Too many things didn't make sense. And although I think Imperator Furiosa was an amazing character--seriously, I would love to watch/read her origin story because you just know it's heartbreaking--the movie just wasn't as awesome as I expected it to be.

I think the hype built it up WAY too much. It's also a shame that because Hollywood is seriously lacking in the Female Characters That Are Real People Department, when one does come along (no matter how mediocre it might be) we latch on.
 
Hollywood needs to get their act together and stop being so sexist. Movies with female leads DO SELL. People want to see good characters, and women can be amazing characters. Plus they'll definitely sell. Just look at the book industry and see how well heroines sell. Seriously, man, get with the times! It's the 21st century FFS.
 
Well, have a great week!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

13 DAYS OF MIDNIGHT by Leo Hunt

Luke's just inherited 6 million... And eight ghosts who want him dead.
 
When Luke Manchett's estranged father dies suddenly, he leaves his son a dark inheritance. Luke has been left in charge of his father's ghost collection: eight restless spirits. They want revenge for their long enslavement, and in the absence of the father, they're more than happy to take his son. It isn't fair, but you try and reason with the vengeful dead.

Halloween, the night when the ghosts reach the height of their power, is fast approaching. With the help of school witchlet Elza Moss, and his cowardly dog Ham, Luke has just thirteen days to uncover the closely guarded secrets of black magic, and send the unquiet spirits to their eternal rest. The alternative doesn't bear thinking about.
 
 
As soon as I received this book and read the back, I knew I would be interested in this story. I mean, it mentions necromancer and murderous ghosts and revenge! Besides, check out that cover, it's so cool. I couldn't wait to get started...
 
Luke Manchett is an average 16-year-old boy who's on the rugby team, hangs out with the right guys, and has a crush on the popular girl. Well, everything on the surface seems normal, because at home things aren't so average. His mother suffers from terrible migraines that keep her tucked into bed every other day, and his father has been MIA for years.
 
So the day he receives a letter telling him that his father--the man who's known for a variety of paranormal shows--is dead and he's inherited a large sum of money, he meets with his father's lawyer and... pretty much signs his life away.
 
Luke's focus was on the money and what it would mean for his mother and him. He wasn't expecting all the other things that come along with the inheritance from his estranged father. Like the creepy old book he can't open, some weird rings, and a bunch of ghosts! Yep. He's now got what is called a Host attached to him, and although all he wants to do is get rid of them, it soon becomes obvious that these freaky spirits want to be released from their bindings.
 
And to do that, they plan to kill Luke.
 
Now Luke has to come to terms with the fact that his father's left him with a paranormal mess. Actually, his Dad wasn't a very nice man at all. He abandoned his family on his quest for supernatural power, and then enslaved eight ghosts that now plan to get revenge by hurting Luke and the people he cares about. So he becomes determined to find a way to stop them.
 
The only person who can help him is a not-very popular girl from school. Elza Moss has the second sight and can see ghosts, plus she has some other witchy talents. But can two teenagers outsmart a bunch of old and very creepy ghosts led by an ancient dead necromancer before Halloween?
 
I had a total blast reading this book! It's packed with supernatural goodness, some very creepy situations, a main character who starts out very self-absorbed and ends up being anything but, a very cool and quirky girl who isn't scared of anything, and an adorable dog called Ham. I also loved how necromancy was portrayed in this book.
 
13 Days of Midnight is an awesome and wickedly imaginative YA urban fantasy book that now has a permanent place on my Keeper Shelf. It's a fun adventure that'll hook you in right away and keep you glued to the page until you reach the thrilling end. And then you'll want more. I definitely want to read more Luke, Elza and Ham adventures, because Mr. Berkley will be back.
 
This turned out to be such a cool book. Fun, fun, fun! Loved it.

13 Days of Midnight, July 2015, ISBN 9781408337462, Orchard Books

Friday, 26 June 2015

Interview at SF Signal!


Hey, how are you today?

The other day Andrea Johnson from SF Signal interviewed me. I always love popping in when Andrea interviews me because she comes up with great, fun questions. This time we chatted about my latest SFR release, my upcoming UF release, and some of my reading habits.
 
You can check it out HERE.

Have a great weekend!
 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had my eye on this book for a while, so I put it on hold at the library. Problem was, 60 other people did the same. LOL. But it was eventually my turn to borrow it.

As soon as I started reading, I was hooked. I mean, how could I not be? The main narrator--Rachel--is still hung up on the husband who left her two years ago. She's also a hopeless drunk who just couldn't stay on track. Well, except for the train track, because she rode that every single day. Even though she'd lost her job MONTHS AGO.

Then we meet Megan. A woman who is so bored with her life that lying and cheating becomes her thing. Not to mention that she has some seriously dark secrets.

Oh, but there's more.

Enter a woman called Anna, who is now married to Rachel's ex-husband. Actually, she was Tom's mistress for a while before he left Rachel. Anna's now a wife herself, and a mother, but she's more concerned about the picture-perfect family they look like from afar than what's really going on.

The night Megan disappears, the lives of these three women intertwine. One was so blind drunk she can't remember what she saw and why she got hurt. The other starts getting paranoid. And of course, one of them is missing.

I loved this book! It was deliciously messed up. The characters, the story, the conclusion... hell, even the locations are messed up because of these people.

The writing is outstanding. It gripped me from the first word. Even though three women share the narration and all three are several degrees of fucked up, each POV felt/sounded different. The one thing they all share is how self-absorbed and unreliable they all are.

This story is what makes me look forward to thrillers! When they're written well, man. This is a great example of a complicated, gripping and super dark story that surfaces from a very simple topic: sociopaths. ;)

Great book!

View all my reviews

Monday, 22 June 2015

New week, so I thought I'd drop in...



As you can tell from last week's posts, I've been catching up on some reading. Mostly I've been reading intriguing books, but yesterday I finished one that was disappointing. :(

There's nothing worse than reading the next book in a series that I like and not enjoying it. Sometimes it's enough to put me off the rest of the series. Or I might read the next one but if that's still not as good, I'll definitely drop it.
 
Too many books, not enough time.
 
So, did you all read about my news last week? Yay.

Lavie's occultish and very demonic road trip story--HELL OF A RIDE--is going to be published by Samhain. I don't have a release date yet, haven't even filled out the art and blurb paperwork, but I'll keep you posted. I did, however, fill out the art form for RECAST, Volume 2. Once again, no set date but it's still exciting to get the ball rolling, right?
 
The last time I popped in I mentioned that I was watching BITTEN and was almost finished Season 1. Well, I've now also finished Season 2. Yep. I'm all caught up and I have to say that I really like this series. I did have a few issues with casting and then in S2 some of the characters were completely different to the books, but I got over all that. Seriously, that's what happens with all adaptations. Characters get changed, killed off, left alive, look nothing like I imagined, and sometimes are even mixed together... but that's okay. I just enjoyed watching what the TV show writers created, and it's damn brutal, plus action-packed and has your emotions running high.
 
So, I'm definitely a fan and will be tuning into S3 when it starts. I'm already watching S3 of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. What show can I binge on next? ;)

That reminds me that I didn't mention we've finally caught up on the last 6 eps of THE WALKING DEAD S5. Yeah, I don't know if you remember but hubby and I were having a real problem with the direction the show was taking. We weren't happy with the events that followed after the Terminus storyline was finalised. It felt like the writers were trying too hard to make the show something that it wasn't by shoving surreal metaphors all over the place. :/

I'm glad to say that they found their direction again and I really enjoyed how they wrapped up the season. So, we'll continue watching TWD, and will give FEAR THE WALKING DEAD a go. Even if I still hate that name. Yeah. It had gotten to the point where we were seriously considering giving up on the show. We're kinda close to giving up on GRIMM too, because the last five or six eps in S4 were ridiculous.
 
Well, the writing hiatus continues but my mind is filling up with a bunch of ideas. I'm feeling very inspired and have started a new journal. A place to jot down all my ideas, the stories I'd love to write, and just my general thoughts about writing.
 
I feel like I'm going through an unexpected writing transition right now. I'm not sure if it's because of my new publishing situation, or the fact that the two series I've invested so much time in are now so close to being finished. Whatever it is, I'm going with the flow because it's got my brain buzzing with new possibilities. I'm so open to inspiration right now that a pretty or eerie picture can spark a new idea or snippet.
 
It's an amazing feeling.
 
This is my daughter's last week of Term 2, before she has a two-week break. The first week will be just us, but hubby will be home during the second week. I'm looking forward to it because he deserves the break and he'll be home for my birthday in July. Yay.

Anyway, have a great day!
 

Sunday, 21 June 2015

WICKED CHARMS by Janet Evanovich & Phoef Sutton

Lizzy Tucker is happy to work quietly at Dazzle's Bakery, preparing delicious treats for the locals. But her partner Diesel is all about the hunt. Right now he's tracking down a famous pirate's treasure, hidden somewhere along the coast of New England. This bounty contains much, much more than gold and jewels: it's also the hiding place of the powerful Stone of Avarice.
 
Lizzy and Diesel aren't the only ones searching for the Stone. Some greed-driven seekers are willing to kill for it, or even make a deal with the devil. And one of those dangerous seekers looks a lot like Diesel's deceptively charming cousin, Wulf - who also happens to desire Lizzy herself...
 
 
The Stephanie Plum series is one of my faves and I enjoyed the first two books in this series, so I was looking forward to getting stuck into this one. 
 
Lizzy lives in Marblehead Harbor in Massachusetts, and works in the successful Dazzle's Bakery in Salem. She makes some awesome and very delicious treats--her cupcakes are especially good. But that's not all she does, she also has a bizarre and special talent. She can find some very powerful Stones that relate to the seven deadly sins.
 
With the sexy Diesel by her side, she's trying to locate these stones before Wulf does. The man is Diesel's cousin, looks like an alluring vampire, and is usually trying to beat them to the stones. But this time, the trio might have to work together because when Lizzy discovers an old skeleton in the local Pirate Museum, it turns out that it might lead to the latest stone.
 
What follows is an insane adventure filled with havoc, deaths, kidnapping, a pirate's booty, betrayal, underground tunnels, the sought-after stone that inspires lunacy in so many, more death, and a very rich man who believes he is destined to become the demon of Avarice, Mammon. Problem is, this man has also offered Lizzy a publishing contract for the cookbook she's been trying to sell.
 
Throw in a little sizzling chemistry between Diesel and Lizzy, and it's a sure recipe for destruction.
 
Wicked Charms is a fun new instalment in this series. It started out well enough, and even drew a few laughs out of me, but there was something missing. Let's just say that it felt like there were a few missing ingredients from Lizzy and Diesel's adventure. I unfortunately think that it's starting to lose some of its charm. :/
 
There was just something about this book that kept me from enjoying it as much as I enjoyed the others. Also, why did they change the covers? They were so pretty before. This one is very bland and doesn't represent anything that happens in the book.
 
Wicked Charms, June 2015, ISBN 9781472225467, Headline Review

Thursday, 18 June 2015

PIECES OF SKY by Trinity Doyle


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Pieces of Sky by Trinity Doyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG. This book... made me sad, made me cry, and filled me with hope.

My daughter actually read it last week and told me it was a great book, so I couldn't put it off any longer. And I pretty much devoured it. It's amazing!

Lucy used to devote most of her time to swimming. She has trophies, medals and ribbons, but since her older brother died she hasn't been able to go in the water. The first time she tries she actually has a panic attack and then refuses to go in the pool or the beach. This isn't as easy as it sounds because she lives in a coastal town.

She loved her brother--idolised him, really. He taught her how to do almost everything and she misses him like crazy. Since he died a few months ago, the whole family has been falling apart. Her father doesn't see anything but work, her mother can barely get out of bed, and her aunt is trying to keep everyone together.

Lucy distances herself from swimming and ends up hanging out with an old friend, Steffi. And that's how she meets Evan. A nice boy who just moved from Sydney. She instantly likes him, no matter how much she tries to distance herself because she's such a mess. And so, she keeps existing. But when she finds her brother's mobile phone and someone keeps sending text messages, she tries to figure out who it is... and realises that her brother had a few secrets.

This book is amazing. The writing style is intimate and draws the reader into the middle of this family's grief instantly. I found myself riding the rollercoaster of emotions with Lucy. All the lows and sadness that grip her daily, as well as the highs she reaches when she lets herself breathe again.

Another thing I loved about this book was the location. And the awesome Aussie feel. Not to mention that I got a kick out of the scene where Lucy and Evan go to Sydney, because I live near the suburbs mentioned. :)

Anyway, this is Trinity's debut novel and it's a beauty! There might be a lot of heartbreak while reading Lucy's story, but it's all worth it.

BTW, the cover is so pretty!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

TRUDI CANAVAN THIEF'S MAGIC BLOG TOUR


http://www.trudicanavan.com/2015/06/thiefs-magic-blog-tour/
 
Q&A WITH TRUDI: 

1)      Why Fantasy? 

I’ve always been fascinated by stories in which people could do impossible things. As a child I loved fairytales and myths, and I was always attracted to childrens books with ‘magic’ in them. I suspect I was always that child who constantly asked, “But what if…?” Then when I was eight I saw Star Wars and I decided I wanted to make movies when I grew up. Movies with something like The Force in them. I declared this to an adult – probably my favourite teacher – who told me that I should write my ideas down.  

Six years later I read The Lord of the Rings and realised that what I really wanted to do was write about magic, and I’ve been doing so ever since.  

2)      When you're busy writing, what is your 'writer uniform'? 

Anything but pajamas! Though whatever I wear has to be comfortable, it can be as relaxed as tracksuit pants through to a nice skirt or dress. It often depends on what else I’m doing that day. If I’m leaving the house it’s definitely not going to be tracksuit pants, but if I’m planning to work in the garden it might be.   

3)      The idea of a sentient book is intriguing, where did it come from? 

Long ago I had a conversation with some other writers about whether you can write an exciting story with a character who is constrained to one place – or even has no body. I’ve wanted to explore that idea ever since, but my initial plan was to have a character imprisoned somewhere but with a magical spy glass so they can observe the world. With Vella, the sentient book, I’ve done the opposite: she has no body but she can move around with the help of a whole person. 

4)      I noticed that you wrote a Doctor Who novella, so who's your favourite Doctor? 

Yes! It was absolute treat to write it! My favourite was always Tom Baker, because he was the Doctor I associated with the show as a child, but after having written Salt of the Earth I’m torn between him and Jon Pertwee. And I allow myself to have a ‘new doctor’ favourite: Matt Smith.  

5)      Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?
A Plotter to the extreme! I not only write out a detailed outline of a books plot before I start, but if I have multiple point of view characters I’ll create a spreadsheet to track how their subplots align, and when I come to write a scene I’ll write a short outline of it so I am sure it’s going to work. Part of the reason is I have RSI and don’t want to be typing any more than I have to. The other part is that I find the anticipation of a coming pivotal scene keeps me excited and inspired during the necessary lead-up chapters.
Though I do allow some roominess in the plot for playing with the story. Sometimes my outline simply says “something causes them to run into each other” or “around about now war is declared”. And every now and then I’ll have a brilliant idea and change the plot a little to incorporate it. But the endings of my books have always been set in stone before I begin.
Thanks for the questions! And for hosting my blog tour. 
 
Thanks for answering my questions, Trudi. Loved your responses!
 
 
THE BOOK:
 
International No.1 bestselling author Trudi Canavan returns with her most powerful and thrilling adventure yet.
 
 https://www.hachette.com.au/Books/detail.page?isbn=9780356501116
In a world where an industrial revolution is powered by magic, Tyen, a student of archaeology, unearths a sentient book called Vella. Once a young sorcerer-bookbinder, Vella was transformed into a useful tool by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. Since then she has been collecting information, including a vital clue to the disaster Tyen's world faces.

Elsewhere, in a land ruled by the priests, Rielle the dyer's daughter has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the Angels. Yet she knows she has a talent for it, and that there is a corrupter in the city willing to teach her how to use it - should she dare to risk the Angels' wrath.

But not everything is as Tyen and Rielle have been raised to believe. Not the nature of magic, nor the laws of their lands.

Not even the people they trust.
 
 
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WILD HEARTS by Jessica Burkhart

Wild Hearts
Enjoy Wild Hearts and the other standalone titles in Bloomsbury's contemporary If Only romance line centered around an impossible problem: you always want what you can't have!
 
Brie Carter's father's land development business has taken her family all over the world, but as soon as they arrive at their new home in Lost Spring, Wyoming, the town turns out to protest. They don't want a new hotel if the resident mustang population will be displaced or hurt as part of the deal. Then Brie meets Logan, a gorgeous local who has a special connection to the mustangs, and she is immediately drawn to him . . . and the horses. However, with Logan's father leading the protests and Brie's father refusing to budge, it's clear that their parents are heading towards an all-out war. Can Brie and Logan find a way to save the mustangs and be together? Or is their love doomed from the start?
 
This new title in the If Only line is the perfect summer read and proves that love flourishes in the wildest places!
 
 
I've had a very mixed reaction to most of the If Only books. While I absolutely adored WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN--which was the first one I read--I just couldn't get into the others. So when I received this last week I was a little sceptical. Still, I decided to give it a go, and before I knew it I'd hit page 107.
 
So, yeah, this one totally worked for me. :)
 
Brie Carter does a lot of travelling because her father is a land developer who gets contracts all over the country. This time she's headed for a small town called Lost Springs, in Wyoming. On her first day, before she's even reached the house her family will be staying in, she meets a jerk while trying to photograph bison. A very cute jerk who seems to be everywhere.
 
The one place she was hoping he wouldn't be was protesting the hotel her father is building. Most of the residents are against the structure going up because it affects wild mustangs who will be displaced by the build. And one of the strongest protestor's happens to be Logan's dad--that's the jerk's name. Except, the more she sees Logan, the more she realises that he isn't a jerk.
 
Logan McCoy is a hardworking guy who looks out for his family and is deeply concerned about the horses that will lose their home once the hotel goes up because he has a personal connection to them. The more she hangs out with him, and another local girl called Amy, the more Brie realises that the mustangs are something she's deeply concerned about too. She's never had her own calling, and now that she's found one she's determined to do whatever she can to pursue it.
 
Her newfound passion leads to following a dream she didn't even know she had. But it also gets her caught up in a strong relationship with an awesome guy, and an even stronger friendship with the nicest girl she's ever met. Now Brie knows how hard it's going to be when she has to move again, because it will happen. It's just a matter of time...
 
I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this story! Brie's a really easy narrator to get caught up in. She's not some silly girl who falls for the first cute cowboy she sees. She's actually someone who is very close to her parents and has always kept people her age at a distance. She never wanted to become best friends with anyone--like she does with Amy--or fall in love with a guy--like she does with Logan--but in Lost Springs she can't resist both. And this leads to a lot of lies and situations that slowly unravel before she can stop them, but she never stops helping her father's business.
 
Wild Hearts is a wonderful book. On one hand it's a fun, light-hearted YA romance about giving into first love. And on the other, it deals with the very serious issue of the effect that humans have on wild animals when we continually build around them. I loved Brie's voice and got caught up in her struggle, but most of all I liked that even though she lied many times it wasn't just because she was selfishly wanting to spend time with a guy, but because she was honestly trying to help horses that don't have their own voice.

There was something really noble about Brie, Logan and Amy.
 
I enjoyed this book SO much that I'm willing to give more If Only books a go... ;)
 
 
Wild Hearts, July 2015, ISBN 9781619632592, Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

I have some news!



Do you remember that Lavie spin-off novel I kept talking about? You know, the one starring the demon hunter Lavie Grye from my Sierra Fox series? Well, I have some awesome news about that book...

I signed another contract with Samhain Publishing!


Yay.

This is actually my tenth, so it's super exciting.

So exciting that the other day we celebrated with cake:

 
This is also my first road trip book, so I can't wait to share it with the world.
 
Now that the announcement has been made, I suppose I should tell you what the title is.
 
Lavie's stand-alone book is called...
 
HELL OF A RIDE.


 

 
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