Monday, 23 June 2014

THE GIRL IN 6E by A.R. Torre

Deanna Madden, aka Jessica Reilly, hasn't touched another person in three years. She hasn't left her apartment. She makes money from performing to webcams on a sex site, where her clients pay $6.99 a minute for her time. She's doing alright. The dollars are piling up in the bank. She's the number 3 model on cams.com. And she hasn't killed anyone for years. But when Deanna sees on the news that a little girl called Annie has gone missing, the story rattles her carefully ordered world. It's uncomfortably similar to the dark fantasy of one of her most disturbing online clients. She's convinced he's responsible for the girl's abduction - but no one will listen to her. So, after three years, Deanna finally leaves the apartment. And this is what happens...

 
Last week, I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book from Hachette, and couldn't wait to get stuck into it. I was intrigued from the moment I read the blurb. I also really liked the cover.
 
Deanna Madden--or Jessica Reilly as everyone knows her--is a recluse. She hasn't left her apartment in three years. She has everything she needs delivered to her by a hot UPS guy, conducts all of her business online, and even maintains several professional friendships that way. She's also very successful at what she does and makes a lot of money by performing sexual acts via webcams.
 
Oh, and there's another reason why she doesn't leave her apartment--she doesn't want to kill again.
 
She meets all sorts of people in this business, and is actually rated as the third most popular model on Cams.com. Her apartment is a living space, a hoarding place, and a film studio with high-tech equipment to provide the best camera angles and audio to all of her paying customers. The sexual acts she performs and is forced to watch are just part of the job. She's hardly surprised by the large number of fetishes or requests made on a daily basis. But sometimes, someone comes along with fantasies sick enough that she needs to scrub it all away afterwards.
 
That's what happens the day a man asks her to dress like a young girl and starts calling her Annie. This guy's fantasies are horrible, depraved and Deanna keeps talking to him only because she hopes that by sharing these thoughts, he won't actually hurt any children.
 
However, the day Deanna finds out a little girl called Annie Thompson has disappeared in Georgia, she knows that she can't ignore the similarities. She has to do something more than place an anonymous call to the helpline. She has to actually leave the apartment. She has to face the world she's been hiding from and hope that she can stay in control long enough to save the girl's life.
 
While she's at it, she might be able to satisfy the never-ending itch that refuses to go away...
 
Wow. I was blown away by this story. Deanna is an amazing character. On the surface it's easy to assume that you'll dislike her because of her profession and the violent thoughts that keep her awake at night. But once you get to find out more about her and who she really is, you slowly realise that she's not a bad person. There were some pretty severe consequences in her past that shaped the way she is and what she craves. That she's managed to keep it together for years and locks herself up for the safety of others, also shows that she's not a bad person at heart. Sure, she's got some dark desires and psychotic problems, but at the end of the day she's willing to risk everything to save an innocent life.
 
I also really liked the touch of romance. Jeremy is such an interesting character. A man whose interest in the mysterious girl he delivers packages to gets him into some pretty dicey situations. It was sweet too, because in spite of everything, he takes Deanna for what she is and tries to reason it out, rather than trying to change her.
 
This book hooked me in right away. Though I have to be honest, if you're squeamish about sex, profanity or violence, this is probably not the story for you. But if you enjoy a twisted thriller that pushes the boundaries and then topples you over the precipice of sanity, then this is a book you have to read.
 
The Girl in 6E is many things:  dark, intriguing, shocking, tragic, visceral, cheeky, sexual, and sad. But at the core it's a well-written thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The suspense gets so thick that I couldn't stop turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next. This is an excellent book that I would recommend to anyone who isn't afraid to read something different. A story so unique and honest that you'll soon realise that the eroticism isn't an issue at all.

Loved it!
 
The Girl in 6E, August 2014, ISBN 9781409155171, Orion

Sunday, 22 June 2014

TOP SECRET TWENTY-ONE by Janet Evanovich

The dead ends are turning into dead bodies. Stephanie Plum is getting desperate. She's running out of leads in the search for Jimmy Poletti, who was caught selling more than cars out of his New Jersey dealership. Even Joe Morelli, the city's hottest cop, is struggling to find the criminal wheeler and dealer.
Stephanie's No. 1 temptation, Ranger, is also struggling. There's a killer in town with a personal vendetta against him. If Ranger wants to survive, he'll need Stephanie's help - and to reveal a piece of his mysterious past. Death threats, highly trained assassins and highly untrained assassins are all in a day's work for bounty hunter Stephanie Plum!
 
 
Let me start by saying that I absolutely LOVE this series. It's one of my favourites, and I always look forward to the next hilarious book. So, as soon as I received this from Hachette last week--thanks so much, btw--I got stuck into it.
 
It all starts when Stephanie helps Ranger nab a guy called Gardi, so he can be sent back to Miami. His capture goes well and Ranger's men take him back to Rangeman HQ so he can be put on a plane the next day. However, everything goes to hell when Gardi contaminates the Rangeman building with radiation and it's shut down indefinitely. 
 
At the same time, Stephanie takes on the case of looking for Jimmy Poletti--the used car salesman who's been doing some pretty serious illegal stuff on the side. However, finding him is turning out to be a challenge...because his buddies are all turning up dead. Then Randy Briggs enters the scene. Briggs is annoying and rude, but he was Poletti's bookkeeper so he knows all about Poletti's dirty secrets, which now makes him a target. As much as Steph dislikes the guy, she agrees to help keep him alive after his apartment is blown up.
 
Of course, Briggs staying with her also makes her a target because wherever he goes, a rocket eventually finds him. Before long, one is shot through her living room and Stephanie has to move in with Morelli. While staying with her sort-of boyfriend isn't a problem, dragging Briggs with her is. Yet, as dangerous as this bounty is turning out to be, it doesn't compare to getting the attention of a Russian assassin who's got his 'eye' on Ranger.
 
As if this isn't enough, she's also got to deal with several other cases that refuse to co-operate, a grandmother with a bucket list that includes getting revenge on Morelli's scary granny, and the feral Chihuahua minions allegedly terrorising Stark Street. Oh, and then there's that pizza with a very peculiar secret ingredient.

If Stephanie can stay alive long enough to find out if Poletti is in fact responsible for killing all the dead bodies, and can avoid being killed by an assassin, she might just get the chance to find out about Morelli's bucket list. ;)
 
Top Secret Twenty-One is another awesomely hilarious instalment in this super fun series, but like usual, it puts Stephanie in some pretty scary situations.  But she always keeps a level head, and somehow ends up coming out even. I've said this before, and I'll say it again: I love how Janet Evanovich throws Stephanie into some pretty horrific situations, but somehow still manages to inject the story with enough light-hearted situations that I always end up cracking up.
 
I seriously loved this book and was laughing out loud constantly. I can't wait for the next one.
 
I don't think I'll ever get sick of Steph & Co. This series just keeps getting better and better.

 
-----
 
This book also includes the prequel short story for the Fox & O'Hare series, called PROS AND CONS: This introduces us to Kate O'Hare and Nick Fox. One of them is an FBI agent obsessed with finding the conman/thief. The other is a criminal marstermind who gets off on being chased by an attractive federal agent while scoring a lot of wealth along the way. It was a fun intro!
 
 
Top Secret Twenty-One, June 2014, ISBN  9781472201614, Headline Review

Saturday, 21 June 2014

SFR Brigade's 3rd Midsummer Blog Hop - Starry Nights



www.sfrcontests.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-sfr-brigade-3rd-midsummer-blog-hop.htmlHi, and welcome to my SFR Brigade 3rd Midsummer Blog Hop post! :)

I really enjoy writing character driven SFR stories, and often find inspiration during starry nights. I love looking up on a clear night and gazing at the shining stars while letting my imagination run wild. How many times have I wondered what's out there, beyond our planet? Or created a scenario that took a character out of their world and into space to search for adventure, or even freedom? Too many to remember.

I can probably blame Star Wars for influencing my imagination from a very early age.

These thoughts, questions and inspiration led me to create my RECAST series. A Sci-Fi world filled with humans, aliens and AI, all trying to get on with their lives. Even when things get hectic or dangerous.

The world in which these characters live is filled with habitable planets and moons, space stations. Most of these places are accessible via space travel into the stars... but what would happen if there was one particular planet run by a tyrant who has banned space travel for most? That's a theme I've explored in both CLASH and SHIVER. But all three stories share one common thing: each features the hero and heroine outside, under the night sky, forced to face obstacles.

They might want to be together, but there are always issues and battles to overcome under dark skies on starry nights...

What about you? Do you ever find yourself staring up at the stars and fantasizing about the unknown? Do you ever wonder if we're really alone?

Thanks for reading! 

 RECAST SERIES
http://store.samhainpublishing.com/recast-series-170.html?osCsid=6add3e99bb08f9c6eff449e45d6f812f
First there was a space cowboy in Wither.
Then, a shapeshiter in Clash.
Now, there's an arena warrior with a bloodlust problem in Shiver...

RECAST, VOLUME 1 
will be available in print from Samhain Publishing in September.

(This volume includes WITHER & CLASH)


MY CONTEST:

I have another SFR book...

Things aren't always as they seem.

I'll be giving away three eBook copies (mobi/pdf) of PROMISE
All you have to do is leave a comment here with your answer to the question/s I asked in my above post.
Don't forget to check back here on June 26th to find out if you won and how to claim your prize!


ENTER TO WIN BLOG HOP GRAND PRIZE:

1st Prize
Tales from the SFR Brigade, Heart of Stone, Her Cyborg Awakes, Anja's Star, Silver Strife, Corwint Series 4 Book Gift Pack, Earth's Requiem, Alien Blood, Starwoman's Sanctuary, one book from Jessica E Subject's SFR backlist (ONE ebook title out of the following: Alien Adoration, Alien Admirer, Alien Lover, An Unexpected Return, Another Night Another Planet, Celestial Seduction, Crash Landing, Hey Santa, His Alien Virgin, Made For Her, Never Gonna Let You Go, Never Gonna Desert You, Never Gonna Say Goodbye, Satin Sheets in Space, Sudden Breakaway, or Unknown Futures), LodeStar Series Books 1-3 (Stark Pleasure, Creed of Pleasure and Captive of Pleasure), Reunion trilogy, Terms & Conditions Apply, Wreck of the Nebula Dream, Starheart, Kuralon Rescue, A Matter of Trust, Earth's Blood, Roman's Gold, Wolf Born, The Marann, Nightfall, Unrequited, Butterman Time Travel Inc., Legend Beyond the Stars, Hathor's Legacy: Outcast, Removed, Midwinter Crisis, Shlyer: Finding Home, Boyfriend's Brother, Surviving the Trap, Captive, Tower in the Woods, Catching Red, Underlighters.
 
2nd Prize
Tales from the SFR Brigade, Heart of Stone, Her Cyborg Awakes, Anja's Star, Silver Strife, Corwint Series 4 Book Gift Pack, Earth's Requiem, Alien Blood, Starwoman's Sanctuary, Tangled In Time, Terms & Conditions Apply, Escape from Zulaire, Lana's Comet, Heart's Bounty, Glad Hands, Nikolai, The Trial of Tompa Lee, The Tribulations of Tompa Lee, The Midas Rush, Prime Obsession, Daughters of Suralia, Morning Star, Hey Santa, Tower in the Woods, Catching Red, Underlighters, Alex Wales:Promise, Recast trilogy (Wither, Clash, Shiver).
 
3rd  Prize
3 separate winners each receive Tales from the SFR Brigade, Heart of Stone, Her Cyborg Awakes, Anja's Star, Corwint Series 4 Book Gift Pack, Hey Santa, Tower in the Woods, Catching Red, Underlighters.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 16 June 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour


The other, I was tagged by the awesome author, Robyn Bachar.

So here's my post:

1)     What am I working on?

Right now I'm the middle of a bunch of things. I'm in the process of wrapping up edits for the last book in my UF Sierra Fox series. A STITCH ON TIME will be released in October and is the fifth book featuring my spook catcher heroine and the demonic freaks trying to destroy her. We're almost done, just one more step to go. And then I can concentrate on writing other stories. :)
 
I've also been brainstorming and writing down snippets for three different novel ideas I would like to write (very) soon. Two are  actually Sierra Fox spin-offs, and the other is a dark, futuristic UF I've been wanting to write for years.

Oh, and I'm also revising a (secret) novella. I finished the second draft yesterday.


2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?
 
Well, I have my own voice. And always have some sort of supernatural element in my stories. I can't help myself, I just love those supernatural creatures too much not to include them. ;)

 
3)     Why do I write what I do?
 
Pretty much because I have no choice. There's no way to shut off the ideas and characters that constantly hound me. O_o I love writing in a variety of genres, but mostly love to tell stories with a dark edge, a little mystery, some secrets, and the supernatural.

 
4)     How does your writing process work?
 
Every story is different, but mostly I get an idea and let it simmer inside my head for a while. That's when the snippets, images and details start popping up. So I write everything down. Once I know the characters and their world, I start to brainstorm and research. I find that whenever I do this, all the pieces start to fall into place.
 
That's when I'm ready to tell the story.
 
I write fast first drafts because the story usually pours out of me so quickly all I want to do is get everything down. I continue to take notes during this process, and even after it's over. I then put the first draft aside for a while, before diving into the second draft. During this stage, I usually have a love-hate relationship with the story, but persevere to The End. After another small break, I'm ready to tackle the third/final draft.
 
This is when everything really comes together.
 
One last read before submitting it means I don't need to look at the story again. Well, until the editing process. ;) 
 
It's hard work but I love writing, so it's also a lot of fun!
 
 
That's it for me, but the Blog Hop continues next week with:

Cora Zane lives in an area of northern Louisiana known as "out in the sticks". A former PEARL finalist, she is the author of Wicked TemptationWicked Obsession, and the Werekind Werewolf erotic romance series. Her short stories have appeared in various erotica anthologies including The Dirtyville Collection, Coming Together: Hungry for Love, Never Say Never, and  Morning, Noon, and Night. A shy and obsessive creature, when she's not writing, Cora spends her time browsing bookstores and watching old horror movies.

Crystal-Rain Love resides in the South with her three children and enough pets to host a petting zoo. When she's not writing she can usually be found creating unique 3D cakes,hiking, reading, or spending way too much time on FaceBook. Slightly obsessed with David Cook and Supernatural.
 
 
So check them out!

Friday, 13 June 2014

APPLE AND RAIN by Sarah Crossan

Apple and Rain
When Apple’s mother returns after eleven years of absence, Apple feels whole again. She will have an answer to her burning question – why did you go? And she will have someone who understands what it means to be a teenager – unlike Nana. But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother’s homecoming is bitter sweet, and Apple wonders who is really looking after whom. It’s only when Apple meets someone more lost than she is, that she begins to see things as they really are.
 
 
On Wednesday, I received this awesome package from Bloomsbury Australia:
 
 
Inside was the ARC for an upcoming YA book that sounded intriguing.
 
So, yesterday morning, I grabbed it with the intention of reading the first chapter to see what it was like... I ended up reading the whole thing before bedtime. Yep. It totally hooked me as soon as I started.
 
Apollinia Apostolopoulou, or Apple as everyone calls her, doesn't like Christmas. It always reminds her of the Christmas Eve when her mother left and never came back. Although she hates the season, she foolishly hopes that her mother will one day return during Christmastime. Of course, it never happens so she goes through the motions with her Nana and father every year. Even if she hates her stepmother.
 
Apple leads a sheltered life. Her grandmother doesn't let her go anywhere on her own, and even picks her up from school even though she's in Year 8. So when her mother actually appears out of nowhere one day, telling Apple that she's come back to England for good, she can't believe it. She wants to spend as much time as she can with Mum, even if Nana is sceptical about her daughter's return.
 
When things start falling apart--Nana doesn't approve of Mum trying to take Apple away, and her best friend leaves her behind for someone else--Apple decides she wants to live with her Mum.
 
However, as soon as she moves in she discovers a house almost devoid of furniture and a room with bunk beds. One of those beds happens to be for a 10-year-old girl. Rain is Apple's half-sister and she's a little weird. For starters, she still carries around a doll she's convinced is a real baby. This habit means she gets into fights at school. What's worse is that Mum actually encourages Rain's fiction, hoping the phase will pass by keeping her at home from school. 
 
At first, Apple doesn't mind the imperfect conditions of living with her mother and sister, because all she cares about is her biggest wish coming true. She's always longed to have her mother back and now that she is, nothing is going to spoil her return. Even though Mum keeps having parties, and then starts taking off for auditions and meetings, leaving Apple to look after Rain. But she doesn't mind, and looks after her sister. Even when it means she too starts skipping school.
 
But when disaster strikes, Apple realises she's just a glorified babysitter/cook/cleaner for a woman who clearly has no real sense of responsibility.
 
I loved this sad, yet hopeful story about a young girl who is so excited to have her estranged mother back that she's willing to do whatever it takes to keep her happy. Even turning her back on the loving grandmother who raised her. It's heartbreaking to watch Apple's unconditional love towards the woman who abandoned her, and even now has come back because she has ulterior motives. It's not that her mother is evil, just that her priorities are askew and her whole life driven by her desire to be an actress.
 
Apple goes from a life of being constantly monitored by her grandmother, to becoming the adult of the house and all the responsibilities that entails. While she loses an important friendship, she gains two much more important ones: Rain and Del. Her younger sister has issues and is in desperate need of proper care and attention, and they soon become close while finding comfort in poetry. And the quirky new boy in school turns out to be a lot more than just comic relief.
 
Apple and Rain is a wonderful, heartbreaking coming-of-age story about unconditional love and the strength of a young girl willing to do whatever it takes to keep her family together. But it's not all sadness and heart-wrenching pain, there are also moments of pure delight and happiness.
 
I really enjoyed this book! 
 
 
 Apple and Rain, September 2014, ISBN  9781408857717, Bloomsbury Childrens

Friday, 6 June 2014

Looooong Time No Blog



OMG. Seriously.
 
It's been ages since the last time I posted an actual update...
 
I just checked and it's actually been almost a month. I mean, sure, I've posted several book reviews and a Q&A. I even posted about the print release of ON PINS AND NEEDLES, and the blurb for Sierra's last book. But an actual post... My gosh.
 
So, why have I been MIA from my own blog? Well, May was a very busy month. I completed A STITCH ON TIME R2 edits. And then got stuck into the TORN FROM THE SHADOWS print galley. Followed by the FLE for ASoT this week.
 
Yep.
 
Wow, listing those three things doesn't capture just how time consuming those three things were. LOL. But trust me, they were. And also mentally exhausting. But you know what? I loved every minute of it because I got to spend more time with Sierra & Co. It's very exciting to have so many SIERRA FOX releases going on this year. Love it! :)
 
It's hard to let go of Sierra and her world...
 
Anyway. I actually finished the FLE this afternoon and sent it back to my lovely editor. Now there's only one more step to go: reading the ARC. I can't believe we're SO close to finalising her series. It's sad, and exciting.
 
Asides from that, I've been reading a bit, doing other stuff and trying to stick to my workouts. There's just not enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do. O_o
 
I've also got several stories simmering inside my brain. Snippets and scenes pop in at random times, but I haven't had a proper chance to write everything down or even brainstorm. Better start doing that, or I'm going to risk losing some of it. Which sucks. Trust me, I know because it's happened before.
 
Now I'm looking forward to enjoying the long weekend with hubby, daughter and kitty.
 
Have an awesome one!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Print Release: On Pins and Needles


The third book in my Sierra Fox urban fantasy series is now available in print!
 
It's just as beautiful as the other two.

Love it!

All it takes is one freak to turn everything into a demonic ritual.

Sierra Fox, Book 3

 Sierra Fox can’t catch a break. Her relationship with werewolf Jason Papan is going great, but someone’s still trying to kill her. After a death prediction, she becomes even more paranoid. But there are too many things going on in her life for her to dwell on just the one.

With her biological grandfather’s help, Sierra is about to find out exactly why the demonic-obsessed freaks want her. Meeting the half-sister she didn’t know she had throws her into a new lot of trouble. The teenager suffers a supernatural problem that makes her a target, and when teenagers start turning up dead, Sierra realizes the case leads to her sister.

As Sierra finds herself in the thick of the murder investigation, and the target on her becomes harder to avoid, she has no choice but to face her darkest fears and accept that to overcome the looming threat, she’ll have to embrace the darkest of her powers. Or that death prediction might just come true…
 
 
Warning: Spook catching: never gets any easier, neither does trying to avoid being killed by a shadowy organization. Always expect the unexpected—dangerous vampires, poltergeists and demon-obsessed freaks. At least the werewolf is pleasurably safe.
 
 
 
 
 
 

CHASING STARS by Helen Douglas


Chasing Stars

The boy Eden loves just saved her life. Now she must save his.
 
To do so she must make a huge sacrifice. Eden can never see her friends or family again, as she travels a hundred years into the future. But the dangerous risk Ryan took to rescue Eden has been uncovered, and now Ryan faces exile . . . which will leave Eden separated from him – the one person she can’t live without – and stuck in the future. She must fight to save both of them.

 
I absolutely loved AFTER EDEN, so I was curious about this book.
 
Eden and Ryan met while he was trying to stop a friend of hers from discovering a planet, and fell for each other. But when Ryan returned to the future, Eden was killed by a cleaner as a consequence of his failed mission into the past. So he spent months trying to get back in time to stop her death by breaking time travel rules. And he does, but another cleaner follows him back to 2012 to capture him.
 
All they want is to be together, but the cleaner is willing to do whatever it takes to return Ryan to the future so he can pay for breaking the rules. However, Eden gets taken into the future too.
 
As soon as they arrive, Ryan is arrested and Eden is sent on her way. But she doesn't know anyone in the future and soon becomes the latest news trend, as well as a pawn in a power struggle that has nothing to do with them. With the help of Ryan's friends, Eden tries to get used to this foreign time...while hoping that justice is served and she can get the boy she loves back.
 
But things never turn out as planned...
 
You know, I was really looking forward to this and I actually enjoyed the beginning. I got caught up in Ryan and Eden's story, as they become fugitives. But as soon as they get caught and arrive in the future, something shifted for me. At first, it was only a few things, but before long I started to lose interest in the story and didn't understand a lot of the time Eden spent in the future. Actually, the only reason I kept reading to the end was because I wanted to know how the story was going to end.
 
Unfortunately, everything that made AFTER EDEN such a compulsive and wonderful book wasn't captured in this one. I didn't care as much about the characters, the world, or the unfolding events. There was something missing. I just wasn't hooked this time around, which is a real shame. :( 
 
Chasing Stars turned out to be a well-written book that didn't capture the awesomeness of the first instalment. I really wanted to love it, but I just couldn't.


Chasing Stars, June 2014, ISBN  9781408828700, Bloomsbury Childrens

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Q&A with Lucy Saxon



Take Back the Skies
 
Check out my Q&A with Lucy Saxon...
 
 
1. Hi and welcome to my blog, Lucy! So, your pen name is Lucy Saxon. Is it a coincidence that you share the same name as the woman married to the Master, or is it a conscious choice?
 
That was definitely a conscious choice! Back when I started going to conventions, I met my friend Harry IRL for the first time when he was cosplaying the Master. Obviously his name being Harry, my name being Lucy, he started calling me his wife, and thus I became Lucy Saxon! I used the name online for years, to the point where half my friends forget it’s not actually my name, so when it came to publishing it seemed only natural to go with it. Especially as my real surname gets misspelled so often!

 
2. I've seen some of your Cosplay costumes online--they're awesome, btw--and was wondering when/how you got started? Oh, and do you have a Cat outfit already made?

Thank you! I got started after that first convention, spending time with Harry and some other online friends. They were all in cosplay and it looked like loads of fun, so the next con I went to, I got a cosplay together for it! Everything just escalated from there, and now cosplay takes up at least 75% of my waking thought, and a decent portion of my wallet, too!
 
I don’t have a Cat cosplay ready, no; I’m actually going to be cosplaying Fox, which I’m really excited for! My friend Lisa is cosplaying Cat, and some of our other friends are looking to cosplay the rest of the crew. It’s going to be amazing.
 
 
3. I read that you wrote TAKE BACK THE SKIES during NaNoWriMo.  So I'm wondering, is that the only time you've taken part, or have you written other books during the fun and frenzied month of November?

I’ve done NaNoWriMo every year since 2008, and am aiming to continue to do so, though I have no idea if I’ll have time this year what with actual publishing stuff going on. The first couple of novels will probably never see the light of day, but there are a few I’m hoping to revisit in the future! NaNo makes it easy for me to set aside a long period of time to get some serious writing done, so I really hope I can keep it up.
 
 
4. I read TAKE BACK THE SKIES over the weekend and loved it. I thought I spotted some influences--1984, Doctor Who in particular. Are you inspired by particular books, movies or shows?

I’m inspired by all sorts of things when I write, and a lot of the time I don’t realise I’ve been inspired until someone reads some of my work and tells me it reminds them of something. I think with Skies I was inspired by a lot of the dystopian fiction going around at the moment, and also the steampunk elements of Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices. It’s hard not to be inspired, when there’s so much available in the form of books and film; creativity inspires more creativity!
 
 
5. Without giving away any spoilers, what can we look forward to in future books of this very interesting series?
 
Lots of travelling! The series is unusual in that it will have a different set of characters in each book, with each being set in one of the countries of Tellus, moving across the map. So the timeline will shift around, and you’ll get to meet all sorts of people and their different cultures within the world of Tellus. I’ve got some interesting plotlines planned for this series, and I really hope people will enjoy them!


Lucy, thanks so much for answering my questions.

If you'd like to know more about Lucy, check out her website.

Also, you can read my review of her debut book below...

TAKE BACK THE SKIES by Lucy Saxon

Take Back the Skies
Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.

So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all...

 
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book from Bloomsbury, and was intrigued by the concept. So I decided to give it a go. I'm really glad that I did.

Catherine Hunter lives in Anglya. She's the daughter of a government official so she's living a privileged life while the common people suffer hard lives. This also means she's never considered for Collections, which other kids thirteen and over are forced to face. Except, her life isn't as peachy as most think. She might have pretty, clean clothes, food to eat and a lavish home but her father is a strict, mean and violent man. He barely tolerates her, and is anticipating marrying her off to the son of a fellow government man.

Her mother has been sick for years, bedridden and always sleeping. So the only real companionship she has is with the family servant and mecha, Sam. She maintains him and has conversations with him, but doesn't have much interaction with anyone else. That's why she spends most of her days sneaking out of the house and looking for adventure in the streets of Anglya.

The day her father is going to make her arranged marriage official, she decides to run away. She chops her hair off, takes a few belongings and stows away on a skyship called the Stormdancer. When she gets discovered, she pretends she's a boy and the crew actually welcome her onboard. As long as she's willing to help out, there's a place for her with the small crew. As the days go by, she starts to really like and even care about the crew members--especially the handsome scoundrel, Fox. But what will happen when they find out she's really a girl?

On her travels with this smuggling crew, she visits another country. One that is supposed to be at war, and that's when she figures out that the propaganda being broadcast back home is all a lie. The government is manipulating the news and by telling the people there are ongoing wars in other parts of the world, they keep the common people poor and take their children for Collection to serve in this fabricated war. But if there isn't a real war and they're still taking kids, what are they really doing with these children?

That's when Cat's adventure leads back to Anglya. In a desperate attempt to find out exactly what the government is hiding, they sneak into the building and discover not only the horrifying truth about the kids, but that her father has a deeper role in all of this than she could have ever imagined...

I got into this book right away. Cat might have been born into privilege and wealth, but her struggle is one anyone can relate to. She just wants to belong, to help people and feel like she's a part of something bigger, something that really matters. And when she meets the crew of the Stormdancer, it's almost like everything she's ever wanted to achieve clicks into place. Not only does she find a new family, adventure and danger, but also discovers love.

A bunch of strangers willing to give her an opportunity to prove her worth teach her more about life, love and truth than her father ever did.

It's just a shame that in the end, she's forced to once again face the one thing she was trying to escape. I'm not going to say any more than that, but I will say that Lucy Saxon does something in the conclusion of this book that is very brave, because some authors would have shied away from the heartbreaking events. But it's written very well, and winds up affecting the reader as deeply as the characters.

Take Back the Skies is a fun and wild adventure into a fantasy world that becomes more vivid with every new word. It's a fast-paced story filled with tension and danger, one that kept me turning the pages as fast as I could because I wanted to see what was going to happen next. The cast of characters is great and the worldbuilding strong. Cat is such a likeable character that I felt her heartache when her adventure comes to an end and she comes full circle.

This is a great book!
 
 
Take Back the Skies, June 2014, ISBN  9781408847657, Bloomsbury Childrens

 
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