Saturday, 30 January 2016

ARC Review: The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

The Abyss Surrounds Us (ARC)
By: Emily Skrutskie
Pages: 288
Published: February 8th, 2016
Published by: Flux
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley
My Rating: 5/5 stars

Sypnosis:
"For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.

There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.

But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. And she's not about to stop."

I received this as an advanced reader's copy from NetGalley and Flux in exchange for an honest review.

The Abyss Surrounds Us was my second full-length novel of the year and boy, if my reads keep being this amazing, 2016 will definitely be my best year of reads. Why? Because The Abyss Surrounds us was absolutely stellar and deserves my very solid rating of 5/5 stars due to its amazing characters and relationships which were unfolded throughout the story. 

Let's start off with the amazing characters in this story who were all so diverse and well-written. Our main character, Cas Leung, is Chinese American with a Cantonese background who is super bad-ass and can train these huge turtle monsters called Reckoners. She begins off as shy and not well outspoken, but by the end of the novel, she's developed into a strong human who speaks out about what she thinks is right. Not only could I relate to her on a very personal aspect, but I could easily see her reasoning behind every action she took. The rest of the side characters were as equally diverse and well-written as well, ranging in different backgrounds and ethnicity.
Drawn by the author herself, some of the side characters from The Abyss Surrounds Us!

Ooooh! And guess what?? This book has a queer characters and a main lesbian couple! The first that I've read in a YA novel! Very exciting especially since it was written very well! The romance was a slow burn one where I was shouting things like "JUST KISS ALREADY" multiple times throughout the book! To avoid spoiling it, least be said, the romance and relationships were amazingggg and I can't wait to see it develop in the next book!


I personally really liked the world-building in this novel! I found it very intriguing to see how our world has changed to become the one in The Abyss Surrounds Us. Oh, this is sort of a future!Earth where the water levels have risen! Yes, so very intrigued, though, I will be awaiting the sequel for more world-building!

I think my only complaint about this one is that I felt it was a little short. At only 288, I was able to finish this one in less than three sittings and was immediately craving more. I mean, AT LEAST WRITE IT LONGER IF IT'S THIS GOOD.
  
Final Verdict:
The Abyss Surrounds Us was so, so, so good. An adventurous of a girl finding understanding for those who she thought were her enemies for all of her life, and grows to defend herself and those she love. It will definitely be one of my favourite books I read in 2016.

THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US releases on February 8th, 2016.


Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The Island by S. Usher Evans - Cover Reveal

Introducing the brand-spankin' new cover for The Island, made by Anita over at Race-Point.com.

  TheIsland_eBook_600x900

About the Book
Prince Galian is third in line to the throne, but prefers his place as a resident at the Royal Kylaen Hospital. When his father urges him to join the military to help reclaim their colony, Galian is forced to put aside his oath to Do No Harm and fight a war he does not believe in. 

Across the great Madion Sea, Captain Theo Kallistrate dreams of a day when she is no longer bound by conscription to fight for her country's independence. But when the Kylaens threaten, honor and duty call her to the front lines to fight off the oppressors. 

When an air skirmish goes wrong, both Theo and Galian crash on a remote island hundreds of miles from either nation. Grievously injured, Theo must rely on Galian's medical expertise, and Galian must rely on Theo's survival skills, to live another day in a harsh and unforgiving terrain. 

Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive? Or will the war that brought them to the island tear them apart? 

The Island is the first in a new romance trilogy by S. Usher Evans, author of the Razia series and Empath. Preorder Today for Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover and more! 
 

Preview

Galian_KylaeLogo_h500

Galian

I landed with a soft thump on the sandy beach a little ways from my plane, and immediately dropped to my knees, releasing a loud breath. My hands shook and my heart pounded, but I thanked my lucky stars that I was alive and had practiced parachuting out of my plane a few extra times during my training.

Once my pulse returned to normal, I stood and released myself from the parachute straps, leaving the long trail of lines and white parachute laid out on the beach. I approached the wreckage of my plane. Pieces of it lay in a long trail as it had skidded across the sand. I picked up a metal piece that had a bullet hole in it and then tossed it aside.

Besides the nose and engine being smashed to smithereens, the back of the plane was fine. I cracked open the back hatch and pawed through my emergency supplies. I found everything—including the medical bag Dr. Maitland gave me—to be intact. Again, I thanked whatever was up there looking out for me. Of all the outcomes that could've happened from the battle, crash-landing on an island with my supplies was better than most.

A burning smell reached my nose, and I stepped back, searching my plane for any sign of fire. Then I noticed the black column of smoke rising up from the treetops.

Despite everything, worry knotted in my chest. What had happened to the other pilot? I hadn't seen another parachute. Was he even still alive? He was my enemy, but still a fellow human being. I couldn't help but hear Dr. Maitland in my ear.

I don't have the luxury of differentiating between Kylaen and Raven patients.

Guilt gnawed at me. I looked down at the medical bag and sighed. Dr. Maitland was right—I was a doctor first and a warrior second. Shouldering my bag, I stumbled off the sandy beach onto the firmer forest ground.

The trees were tall and thick and everything around me was green. It was late summer, but there was definitely a chill in the air since I was so far north. I was thankful for my extra layer under my jumpsuit.

I walked into a clearing, covering my nose from the smell. One of the two wings had been shorn off in the crash and was the source of the black smoke. The rest of the plane was mashed and mangled some ways away. I saw the pilot in the cockpit through the shattered glass, and his helmeted head hung motionless. I was sure that he was dead. I couldn't see how anyone could have survived such a crash.

And then he moved.
Theo_Ravelogo_h500

Theo

I woke slowly, the sound of unfamiliar animals coming to me first, followed by a cold breeze. As I tried to move, pain shot up from every corner of my body. I looked up at the blue sky, barely visible through a thick canopy of trees. I smelled leaking fuel, and wondered if my ship would explode or if I'd bleed to death first.

I relaxed into my seat and prepared for the inevitable. Even if the Raven government sent a search party for me (which they wouldn't), I doubted they'd come in time to save my life. Still, I took some solace in the fact that I killed another son of that mass murdering king.

A noise startled me and I turned my head slowly to find the source.

I couldn't believe my eyes. The stupid princeling was alive and standing in front of my ship.

Fear and anger gripped at me. How was it possible that I was badly injured and he appeared to be walking just fine? I hated that the last thing I was going to see in this world was Prince Galian standing in a clearing, his pale skin flushed and his eyes sparkling with…amusement?

I was dying and this guy was laughing at me.

"What's so funny?" I snarled through my helmet.

"Serves you right." He was smirking as if he had something to smirk about.

"For what?"

"Shooting me down. Looks like you're in worse shape than I am, too."

"Go to hell."

He laughed again and hoisted himself up onto the broken nose of my plane. I was in too much pain to fight back, and my gun was nowhere to be found.

"Yep," he observed, with a smirk on his face. Up close, he was every bit as handsome as I'd seen in pictures. "You definitely got what you deserved. Shouldn't have shot at me."

"You shouldn't have invaded my country."

His eyes widened for a moment and I thought I'd finally done something to wipe that smile off his face. To my supreme annoyance, he tilted his head back and let out a throaty laugh.

"Oh, you are witty," he said, nodding. "And technically right. But it wasn't my decision. I was, as they say, just following orders."

"And I was just following orders when I blew your ass out of the sky."

"Aren't we at an impasse then?" He seemed to be enjoying this conversation. He looked down at the side of my ship and read the inscription. "Theo, huh? Well, you must be a pretty high ranking pilot then. I hear the Ravens only allow you to put your name on your ship after you've survived plenty of battles."

I moved out of anger, but the pain in my legs came roaring up my body. "Please let me die in peace," I asked, unable to look at him.

"Oh, you aren't going to die today."
3d_HRDcover_transparent_600 
Preorder today for Amazon Kindle, Paperback, and Hardcover.

 

About the Author

S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in Pensacola, Florida, she left the sleepy town behind for the fast-paced world of Washington, D.C.. There, she somehow landed jobs with BBC, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Television before finally settling into a "real job" as an IT consultant. After a quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided consulting was for the birds and rekindled a childhood passion for writing novels. She sold everything she owned and moved back to Pensacola, where she currently resides with her two dogs, Zoe and Mr. Biscuit. 


Check her out on the below social medias!


Or subscribe to her newsletter here.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Literary Heroines (Freebie)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish over here. Today's theme is actually a freebie, so I've decided to do my "Top Ten Literary Heroines." Let's spread some girl power, shall we? ;)

10. Katniss Everdeen


9. Inej Ghafa


8. Lyssa Peate / Razia


7. Cas Leung


6. Safiya Fon Hasstrel & Iseult Det Midenzi


5. Linh Cinder


 
4. June Iparis


3. Celaena Sardothien / Aelin Ashryver Galathynius


2. Hermione Granger


1. Annabeth Chase



Thank you for reading this week's Top Ten Tuesday! I hope you enjoyed this week's meme featuring my top ten literary heroines! What are some of your favourite ladies of literature? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Tuesday! :)

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Book Review: Double Life by S. Usher Evans

Double Life
By: S. Usher Evans
Pages:244
Published: June 12th, 2014
Published by: Sun's Golden Ray Publishing
Format: e-book
Source: iBooks
My Rating: 5/5 stars

Sypnosis:
"Piracy is a game. How much are you worth?

Since she was a little girl, everyone - from her father to the Great Creator himself - told Lyssa Peate the same thing: she's worthless. But when she becomes the pirate bounty hunter Razia, she can see the price tag on her own head. Employed by one of the four pirate syndicates, she uses bank transactions and her considerable wits to capture rival members. At least, she would be if Razia's boss ever gave her a chance. It's a man’s world, and all she’s allowed to hunt are purse snatchers while she languishes on probation.

To pay the bills, she's stuck in her old life as Lyssa, discovering and analyzing distant planets and selling them for cash. She's doing just enough to stay out of trouble, pretending to be continuing her father's mysterious research while away for long periods of time. Her slimy boss is always asking questions and even assigns one of her younger brothers, Vel, to intern with her. Already struggling to keep the balance between her double lives, she tries everything to rid herself of the kid...

...until the universal police mistake Lyssa’s intern for Razia's hostage."

Add DOUBLE LIFE to Goodreads right here!

I'm a huge sucker for a good sci-fi adventure, so after immediately reading the sypnosis, I was hooked! Pirates? Bounty hunting? And a good internal identity crisis? I'm in! I read this book in the span of five days which is pretty good considering school has been overwhelming me. When I finished it in French class, I absolutely freaked out and needed the next one. And with that, I rate Double Life with an amazing 5/5 stars.

I was able to relate to Razia so fricking much; her struggle to prove herself to among a society dominated by men, and the fact that she was leading a double life really hit home to me. Her ambitious and stubborn personality was like looking at myself in a mirror. It was just such a refresher after having to return to school and exams and such. It let me take a step back to enjoy the story, as well as reflect on myself. I loved reading about her struggles and how she managed to overcome them.

I also loved the bounty hunting aspects of the book! I loved watching Razia figure out how she was going to capture certain pirates! Ever since watching Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, bounty hunters such as Boba Fett really started interesting me, and S. Usher Evan's take on this concept with a competitive game aspect really, really had me intrigued. (I'm a competitive person okayyyy.)

In addition, I loved the world-building aspects. While they weren't as in-depth as I'd like them to be (especially with explanations on the Great Creator), it was enough to properly enjoy the story and the experience with Razia.

Also, I loveddddd the side characters! Vel, and Sage were just so snarky and lovable. Two total dorks who love Razia and genuinely care for her well-being (more than she does for herself). The relationship Razia has with her brother, Vel, is like a mirror image of my own relationship with my brother, I cry at how much I can relate to these character. And Sageeeee!!! OMG I love him and his (not-stated but it has to be) undying love for Razia.

Final Verdict:
Overall, you should really, really pick up Double Life. I can't guarantee you'll love it, but at least for me, it was a amazing tale of truly finding yourself while making lots, and lots of mistakes. But trust me, picking up this book won't be a mistake

(And as of right now, you can pick up Double Life for free as an ebook! Just So why not try it out? You may or may not become an addicted mess like me...)

Double Life? More like Double My Reading Time for the sequels!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I've Recently Added To My TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish over here. Today's theme is "Top Ten Books I've Recently Added To My TBR." I'm hoping to read these soon since they look super interesting. You peeps seem to have good tastes.

10.The Falconer



9.All Fall Down



8. Captive Prince



7. Red Rising



6. Scorpio Races



5. Zodiac



4. Orphan Queen



3. Falling Kingdoms



2. Alliances



1. The Square Root of Summer



Thank you for reading this week's Top Ten Tuesday! I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the books I recently added to my TBR! What are some of your new additions? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Truthwitch Tuesday Recap - January


This is sadly going to be the last Truthwitch Tuesday recap, as Truthwitch was released on January 5th and the promotion train is coming to a close. Buttttt, BOY THERE'S BEEN A HELL LOT OF STUFF TO CATCH UP ON. Okay, let's begin shall we?

First off, Susan's website has been topped off with all of the Truthwitch Tuesday videos and chapter excerpts from Truthwitch! Maybe you missed one of them one week? Well here's the list!
Also, maybe you missed the glorious book trailer for Truthwitch (made by the amazing Sooz herself!!), so here it is embedded below for your viewing convenience:


In addition, Sooz has up three (yes, I said THREE) exclusive excerpts from the book! So in case you haven't received your copy of Truthwitch yet (I know some international friends as waiting...), you can read the first two chapters (Chapter 1, and Chapter 2) and an excerpt of one of Sooz's favourite scenes!

There's also a hell lot of cool other stuff on Sooz's website such as fun quizzes and interesting facts. So I'll just leave this here for you... thewitchlands.com 

Okay, and then on January 5th, TRUTHWITCH RELEASED!! Even though I've probably said this a billion times already, CONGRATS SOOZ!


Because I mean honestly??? How cute are you??? Could you get any cuter???

Anyways, that aside, we began the #TenDaysofTruthwitch! So many different challenges, here's a brief schedule below:


Lots and lots of fun! The #PassTruthParty was a blast!! Missed it? Don't worry here's a link to the ENTIRE video! (X) (And guess what??? That was my question being answered first!!) 

And get this!!! SOOZ AND TRUTHWITCH WERE ON THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING LIST AT #4!!!!! Seriously. CONGRATULATIONS SOOZ!!! I'm so so so proud of you! Keep slaying! ;)


Now we all know what's gonna be on the cover for Windwitch! ;) (Credit to Nicola - @thewickedpowers)


We also just had our final #ClanChat... at least for now. ;( Hannah (@artsy_mae) has a recap on the quiz Sooz had during #ClanChat right here. Lots and lots of fun to celebrate the release of Truthwitch in the UK!

And with that, this will be my last #TruthwitchTuesday recap for a while. I'm so happy and sad that the promotion train is coming to a close. I loved helping to promote for the release of Truthwitch, but the thought that the book has actually COME OUT now makes me feel so proud that I've cried happy tears wayyy too many times to count. I've met so many amazing people and had so many laughs on this journey, I'd once again like to thank Sooz for allowing me to be on this journey with her. I literally don't know where I would be right now if I didn't stumble upon Truthwitch when first getting on Twitter. Thank you.

So hopefully there's going to be #WindwitchWednesdays when it comes closer to Windwitch's release date? You'll probably see me doing some more recaps if this happens! ;) I already can't wait for next year to come any faster!

Thanks for reading, and I hope this was a great way to sum up what has happened in the world of Truthwitch during the past month! Are you excited for Windwitch already? Let me know in the comments below!

Once again, congratulations Susan on Truthwitch's release! :)

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn't

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish over here. Today's theme is "Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn't." There's a lot of them...

10. All the Bright Places




9. Soundless




8. The Rest of Us Just Live Here




7. Red Queen




6. An Ember in Ashes




5. The Wrath and the Dawn




4. Winter




3. Fierce Reads Tour Books




2.Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens




1.Illuminae




Thank you for reading this week's Top Ten Tuesday! I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the books I didn't get to in 2015. Hopefully I'll be able to read all of these this year. What were some of the books you meant to get to? Leave them in the comments below!

Happy Reading! :)