domenica 24 gennaio 2021

Review: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Aurora Rising
The Aurora Cycle #1

Published: 7th May 2019
PublisherKnopf Books for Young Readers
Number of pages: 473
Format: eBook
Source: Bought

From Goodreads:
From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They're not the heroes we deserve. They're just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

My Review

This book was just the perfect concoction of funny characters, incredible setting, action-packed plot and such a sarcastic but incredibly flowing and captivating writing style. I've never heard of these authors before, even though their books are quite popular... but wanna know something funny? I always get a little suspicious when books are written by more than one author because this makes me confused about how much there is of one and the other. I've never read anything by Amie Kaufam or Jay Kristoff singularly so I actually don't know who has the most merit of creating such an incredible work, but they did it!

I loved this book from the very first pages! You know how it works with certain books: there is love at first line and then there are those who slowly creep under your skin. With this one, it was definitely an instant connection and an instant need to discover more about what was happening to Aurora and how the craziest, funniest and clumsiest squad of space would manage to survive this journey. The style of these authors combined, certainly made the magic. I immediately recognized a familiarity and a capacity to involve the reader directly, so strong, that I felt attached to Tyler from the first moment he addressed me with that sweet yet funny character of his. 

I have never read books set in space, so the fact that I felt completely new to this world, while I usually feel like I've already read everything there is to read out there, certainly gained another great score from me. Everything felt new: the modernity of the Academy, the technology with which the squads traveled, the Void that allowed them to cross the Galaxy in the matter of hours! It was all fascinating and incredibly catchy for a newby like me. I loved the storyline, which the authors introduced from the very beginning and that they managed to keep as the main focus through all the book, despite having little adventures and obstacles that just make the plot richer and more entertaining. But another thing that made it all for me, was definitely the variety and attractiveness of the protagonists of this galactic journey. I loved all of them! They're all different and yet they complete each other with each of their particular features. I really enjoyed the focus the authors put into making the diversity the center of these characters' friendship as it was heart-warming and sweet to see them getting to know each other and accepting their flaws. I was seriously tempted to buy the second book immediately - because I really can't wait to be reunited with Scar, Aurora, Ty, Zila, Cat and Khal - but at the same time I thought: "How am I supposed to wait till book 3 - yet unpublished - if I immediately devour book 2?!". That's the kind of addiction this book gave me, the one that forces you to rationing stocks in order to survive.

So. This book totally surprised me in the most positive way. I can't wait to buy book 2 and I'll be sure to check out any other works by these brilliant two authors, who undoubtedly win 5 big fat stars from me!


venerdì 22 gennaio 2021

Book Blitz: V.O.L.T. by Dawn Brazil

Village of Lost Things
by Dawn Brazil

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: 30th October 2020

When seventeen-year-old Samantha learns her boyfriend died, she is throttled with grief. Comatose for three months, she wakes –standing in a line, in a city called VOLT – Village of Lost Things.

Sam’s life has been a series of the universe crapping over her desires. When she learns Ryan is waiting behind the thick forest that leads to this city, she’s more than skeptical. When you have nothing left, you accept scraps. VOLT is Sam’s scraps.

Except, Ryan isn’t where he’s supposed to be. VOLT’s promise of a sweet reunion appears as likely as being tied to a hog and dragged around the moon.

Eighteen-year-old, Joe, is an egotistical, whiny Momma’s boy. He has a knack for verbally eviscerating those around him. That’s Sam’s evaluation of him when she meets him in VOLT. He lost his mother months ago and comes to VOLT often. Because of his knowledge of the city, his mother makes him Sam’s official guide to find Ryan.

Fifteen-year-old Ferris has a borderline personality disorder. Several years ago, he lost his mother also. He’s been in VOLT the longest and might be a great addition to aid them in finding Ryan. Or stop them from killing each other. He just needs to remember who he is – which seems difficult.

Finding Ryan is Sam’s last effort to reconnect to a life teetering by a string with an anvil attached. She must decide between the living and the dead, and if she were keeping tally, she’d be closer to a corpse than a teenager.

Read the first chapter!

Patience isn’t a virtue I possess.

Telling the truth is also questionable. But I attempt both on occasion.

Ryan called earlier to say he’d received letters from his two top schools. He’s bringing them by so we can open them together as soon as his shift ends at the car wash. 

I grab my cell and hit the backlight. It’s five-thirty. His shift was over three hours ago. I punch the phone back to its spot on the mahogany end table. I’d call him again but it goes straight to voicemail, and torture’s not my thing.

I plop on our massive sectional in the family room and pretend to watch TV, my attempt at drawing my mind away from the letters and the threat of loneliness they represent. The last time Mom checked in on me, I wasn’t able to tell her what I was watching, though. Glancing at the TV now, a slender man with a ridiculously wide-brimmed cover treads across a desert road. It’s a western, I guess, which is preposterous. I’d never watch a western.

Like a fish caught in a net, I squirm, uncomfortable in my true skin. An idle mind combined with me is prime territory for trouble. I’ve got to move around—keep busy—or I’ll fall prey to the crap that gets trapped in my head.

With my long legs, I pace from the black sofa to the bay window overlooking the front of our house. I peer out for the tenth time in the span of a few minutes.

My gaze travels to the portly clouds and not the driveway. I promptly pull my eyes down and refocus my attention on finding out why Ryan has gone MIA. The driveway…you’re looking for Ryan in the driveway.

Our lawn is bare and in need of watering—dying from lack of nutrients and care. Weeds suffocate the delicate fuchsia flowers that once blossomed like proud depictions of the beauty inside the house. The beauty that, save for a few photos, provide evidence of what the occupants of this house were.

San Diego! Stay focused, Sam.

My rambling mind eventually allows my eyes to find the driveway. I’m hopeful Ryan’s beaten-up car will come gasping to a stop.

It doesn’t.

The only thing visible is that ugly, muddy-colored tabby cat. Perched beneath the tree in the middle of the yard, it scratches its backside and stares at me. The cat and I aren’t cordial. I have a collection of bruises from feeding it to prove it. Ending the vicious cycle makes the most sense. Yet, I can’t fathom the thought of it being alone and hungry.

I always tell myself I’ll wear gloves next time it comes around. I always forget. Pain is a searing reminder that I’m still here—life still clutches the soul I possess.

So, maybe, I don’t mind the scratches so much. I’ve never met a person content with being a zombie, but I guess you don’t really meet yourself. You just are. You’re not

given an option of who you want to be—you simply exist. Most hope, as I do, that their meager existence isn’t swallowed whole by the universe.

“Come on. San Diego.” I run my hands through my tangled mass of thick curls as I spin away from the window. My patience wears thinner than the floors in our craptastic house. Plunging my right index finger into my mouth, I bite the nail. My mother always reminds me to be a lady. ‘Ladies don’t bite their nails,’ she says. This would be the absolute wrong time to start listening to her; I bite my nail to the nub.

No one chooses to be alone in life. They want some form of companionship. They want friends, family, or even an animal…. When we are denied this simple human desire, our minds rebel. Or maybe just mine. Sanity is a personal condition. We aren’t privy to other people’s crazy, so I have no point of reference for how others behave in these situations.

My lip trembles as my mind slips to the possibility of aloneness again. I slam a fist into the idea. Not exactly what my therapist recommends, but this method works for me.

The coppery taste of blood rests on my tongue from my bitten nail. Disgusting. I race to the kitchen to grab a drink to cleanse my mouth of the repulsive taste. The screen hatch opens and slams closed as the bottle touches my lips. San Diego!

Anticipation unfurls in my abdomen. The oink of a baby piglet sounds beside me. I wipe away the moisture on my hands—from the water bottle and my frayed

nerves. I ignore the oink from the piglet.

“Samantha,” Ryan shouts as he enters. I roll my eyes at his use of my full name. I scramble from the kitchen, through the breakfast room, run head first to the sofa, and dive on it before he enters.

“I’m here.” My breaths burst loudly into the air, threatening to reveal my secrets even as I attempt to regulate my quickening gasps. When did the Denver house grow?

The senseless part about me running around like a sailor from marriage is he already knows how anxious I am for this information. Yet, he took longer than the earth’s rotation around the sun to get here.

“Hey Pea.” He strolls into the room with a gathering of lavender lilies and two manila envelopes in hand.

He pushes the flowers toward me. “You really, really shouldn’t have.” He releases a soft chuckle and hands the flowers to me. “You know it’s kind of not my thing. I mean, they’re pretty, but…” I stare at them. Am I supposed to put them in water now or something?

“Actually,” he says, with a fully committed grin that makes my heart leap in my chest like it wants to meld with his. “I know you don’t care about flowers. I thought they were appropriate, though. They’re a symbol of our relationship. It means, returning to happiness. The guy at the flower shop explained it.”

“Returning to happiness. So, you anticipate bad news.” The flowers are whatever

but they can’t replace him. Nothing can. I shove the flowers to the ottoman in front of us. “I always associate lilies with funerals. So, yeah, your message is kind of lost behind my images of crying and gnashing of teeth.” I thrust my left index finger into my mouth.

“Wow. Nasty.” He pulls my finger from my mouth and shakes his head in disapproval.

“Can we do this now?”

“Stop whining, Pea. It’s not like you.” I frown at him. His returning grin is a glimmering beam from the sun as you step out of a cool pool. Without a thought, I return his smile.

“I have two envelopes,” he says. “One from Yale, one from Harvard. Which should I open first?”

“Um.” I purse my lips. When is anyone ever ready for bad news? Not I. The envelopes he holds contain the report of our future—either together, or apart. So I’m justified in my freaking out.

The tiniest oink sounds to my left. I cut my eyes to the intrusion. Nothing’s there, as usual. Satisfied, I glance back to my future.

“Let’s not procrastinate,” I say. “Open the Harvard envelope first.” I wipe away the sweat that accumulates on my palms and take a deep breath. It doesn’t matter whether he’ll be joining me at Harvard in the fall or attending somewhere else. Our

love can endure a four-year hiatus while we educate ourselves. Right? Yes.

“Harvard it is.” He places the Yale envelope on the mahogany side table and takes a seat beside me on the sectional. His hand collapses around mine. He squeezes tight. I can feel this. This is real. The universe can’t conspire against us in this situation.

I need this. Him. Or…

“No matter what school we attend, I’ll always love you. Always be there for you.” His smile plays at the strings of my heart like I’m his instrument. He manipulates my feelings as no other ever has. I don’t mind the manipulation. It’s a welcome reprieve from the strangling imperfections of life that devour me.

While other seventeen-year-olds might cringe at the thought of loving someone forever, we are unabashed in our love.

I’ve known him my entire existence. First as neighbors, he arrived six months before me. We became playmates (forcibly, initially, by our parents), and later, classmates in school.

Our families’ social engagements assured us many opportunities outside of school to interact. When we entered our final year in junior high, we could no longer deny our feelings. We’ve never regretted the decision.

Faced with the possibility of being apart for the first time in our lives, I give the threat the respect it deserves.

I have an all-consuming fear of it.

Chapter 2

“You okay, Pea?” Ryan asks, leaning forward and placing an unruly strand of dark brown hair behind my ear. Pea is the name he gave me after everyone began to make the comments we were ‘peas in a pod.’ I’m the pea; he’s the pod.

I shake my head because my words are trapped behind the bulge forming in my throat.

He’s the pod because he holds us together in every possible way. A day in which the entire world simply ceases to exist seems more plausible than a day in which I can’t see him. The thought of us being a part for weeks, months, is unbearable.

I stomp down the voices in my head—as much as possible—so I can hear his announcement. He opens the letter, slowly, in reverence of it—as if wanting to keep the manila envelope as a keepsake. Ripping the envelope from his hands, and risking the paper cuts from such a task, sprints through my mind.

The voices in my head are quiet as he reads, but a soft oink rises around me. As usual, I ignore it.

Very slowly, he continues to read… to himself.

“Come on, seriously. Am I supposed to be reading your mind right now?”

“It states here,” he says, not looking to meet my inquisitive gaze, “You and I will get married, as we planned, as soon as we graduate from school. It also says, I will love you until the day you die. This is not a report of your future.”

My lips fall apart as realization twists in my gut—we won’t be together. I right myself quickly so he can’t tell how upset I am. He rips open the letter from Yale. His eyes flash to mine. By the upward curve of his mouth, I can tell this letter contains good news for him.

Not the news we had hoped for, but his hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. He will still attend a prestigious university. Just not with me. I smile at the lemony pungency of the news.

“Come on, Pea, today should be a day of celebration.” He pulls me beside him on the sofa. I fall back against the giant cushions, spent and weathered like I’ve been baked in the scorching Texas sun. He hovers over me with a determined expression. With no warning, he plunges his long fingers into my side and wiggles them repeatedly until I gasp for air.

“Okay. Okay!” I squeak out between bouts of laughter. He laughs, sounding like an old car spluttering to a stop. “Let me be sad for a sec.”

“Nope. Can’t do it. Let’s go.” He grabs my hand and pushes me to the front hatch.

My feet follow of their own accord. I don’t want to languish all summer with frivolous emotions that will get us nowhere. Emotions are useless. My feet move, but my heart remains on the couch in shocked suspension.

As I step off the front porch, the sun is masked behind murky clouds threatening

rain. Just my kind of day for a celebration.

A colossal, feathery cloud blossoms in front of us. Hidden inside the cloud, barely visible, is a pink squiggly tail.

What the Florida? Leave me alone. I shut my eyes and grit my teeth. The cloud is gone when I open them. Sighing, I continue to the car.

We reach his 1991 blue, two-door Honda Civic parked in the driveway. He looks over at me with piercing hazel eyes, like this look alone can extract all my darkest secrets.

I smile, despite the rise of fear attempting to overtake me. Silently, I slide into the passenger seat and clasp my hands for support. I shove the trepidation behind my other insecurities, but my knees knock, and my heart beats fast, and my breaths burst too loud.

A pig oinks once.

Everyone tells us it will take less than a year to break up if we attend different schools. Less than a year. The words ring in my head, mocking me.

“Stop, Sam,” Ryan orders me from behind the wheel. He’s always so perceptive when I’m lost in the maze of my own mind. Unfortunately, I get lost there often. “If anyone can make this work, we can. You know that. How can you doubt how much I love you?” He glances at me for far too long and not at the road ahead.

“Watch the road. And I don’t doubt your—”

“Then you’re having your own personal doubts… about yourself?”

“No, it’s not like that. I—I …I don’t know. I’m scared. I’m not as confident as you are… but you know I love you. I’ll be the epitome of confidence tomorrow. I promise. I won’t waste our last summer.”

Distorted slivers of a memory flash through my mind—my hands are up, pointed at the billowy clouds, and they’re covered in crimson droplets.

The lie is intruding on life. Or… life is intruding on the lie. Or…

I push the intrusive memories of loss so far to the back of my skull, hopefully they’ll vanish amongst the thousands of electrical synapses in my brain. I reach over and entwine my fingers with Ryan’s.

I peer at Ryan’s hand engulfing mine and smile. His touch is a warm cup of caramel coffee on a fall evening.

When I cut my eyes toward his, I don’t see him. I see a black Hummer barreling toward us with a speed not ideal for stopping at a red light. The truck roars ahead with an anger that creeps into the marrow of my bones. It isn’t going to let us pass. It’s not going to stop.

“San Diego. Stop!” Ryan’s arms flail wildly, trying to shield me from impact, caring nothing for his own safety.

Tires protest their trip on the road, my heart slams into my ribcage, and my lungs reject the oxygen I attempt to fill them with.

A thundering ricochet vibrates through the car as metal smashes into metal.

About the author

I read words. I write words. I love words. Words have so much power, I understood this at an early age so story-telling has always been a part of my life. After college, I tried my hand at a few different careers paralegal, customer service, sales. Yeah, I shouldn't have. Now, I'm following my passion and doing what I love. I write Young Adult urban fantasy, science fiction, and romance novels. I live in Texas with my husband and three kids and my endless imagination.

Book Blitz created by: YA Bound Book Tours 


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