Once, in the desert country of Miraji, there was a Sultan without an heir. The heir had been killed by his own brother, the treacherous Rebel Prince, who was consumed by jealousy and sought the throne for himself. Or so it was said by some. There were others who said that the Rebel Prince was not a traitor but a hero… In the final battle for the throne, Amani must fight for everything she believes in… who will triumph???
First of all.. I love Jin.. This was a great conclusion to one of my all-time favourite trilogies. Just as great as the first instalment, Rebel of the Sands and the second instalment, Traitor to the Throne this story really took me back to the desert and my love for the Arabian nights tales and stories of djinn, battle and magic. Following on from “Traitor to the Throne” it picked up nicely, even a year later, it brings back memories of the first 2 stories and I was able to immerse myself so quickly into this book. Although parts of the story slowed down to gear us up for something significant – like the final show down – it was still fast paced and there was always something happening in each chapter, parts even made me ‘wide eyed’. This final instalment, this final battle for the throne, was a stunning conclusion that gave me closure on the characters I came to care about, it tied it up so neatly we know of each character’s destinations in the end and it also answers that compelling yet dreadful question – who will survive and who will die? I am so sad this series is over, I thoroughly enjoyed all three books!!!
Hint hint, nudge nudge to the author: I would LOVE to read a Novella about Jin or Ahmad *wink*
Special thanks to Allen & Unwin publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy.
The first of a new YA fantasy fiction duology inspired by Norse mythology
Valkyries have one responsibility: to return immortals to the afterlife by slaying them.
As a Valkyrie, Malin has always known that the balance of the world rests on her ability to carry out orders. But when Malin discovers that her mother spared the life of an immortal who was destined to die, her world is thrown into chaos. Malin not only wrestles with the knowledge that her mother might not be who she thought—she’s also thrust into the path of a gorgeous blue eyed guy named Asher who needs her help slaying the rogue immortal who destroyed his family. The balance of the world is at stake. And, as Asher competes with Malin’s ex for her love and loyalty, so is her heart….
This was a pretty good read – YA fantasy fiction with elements of Norse mythology set in current urban times. At first I thought it was set in time of myth until Malin pulled out her iPad LOL! I found this book to be a fast paced read full of interesting plot twists with diverse characters. I also liked the ending as yes the ending gives you a cliffhanger but holds you enough for to wait for the second instalment. Interesting characters and relationship dynamics too. I say this is one for fans who love the hybrid Norse mythology with urban fantasy.
Special thanks to Pan Macmillan Publishers for sending me a review copy.
Unearthed When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying’s advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered. For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study… as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don’t loot everything first. Mia and Jules’ different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance. In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race’s secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race. (Goodreads)
Our thoughts This book is filled with nonstop action. It has the exciting adventure feel of Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider. The story follows a dynamic, loveable duo Mia and Jules on deciphering a secret message of the Undying whilst exploring an alien planet that the government is trying to profit from. This story is mostly about survival and explores themes of ethics, choices, trust and courage, I was immersed in the story from chapter 1. The fact that the story is set on another planet very similar to Earth makes the setting relatable whilst still managing to make the reader feel the “alien-ness” of the planet due to reminders about breathers. The cliffhanger of this book was absolutely crazy. I need book 2. – NJ
This book really lived up to its pitch – an action packed novel that is like Indiana Jones meets Tomb Raider in Outer Space. Following the adventure of Amelia and Jules who meet by chance on another planet but have their own agendas when they team up. It was a lot of fun to read, non-stop action, plot twists and witty dialogue, all up it was entertaining, even for someone like me who isn’t all that into sci-fi stories set in space. Both authors did a fantastic job collaborating on this one!!!
Exclusive Q&A with Amie and Meagan!!!
How did you come up with the premise of “Unearthed”? Back in January 2015, we were on tour together, and we were spending a rare afternoon off in our hotel room, pretty much collapsed. Tour is tiring! We found an Indiana Jones marathon on TV, and we both adore all things Indy, so that was our afternoon sorted. We’d been talking a lot about what we’d write next, and slowly, the idea of a tomb-raiding adventure (in space, of course) came together.
I’m curious to know how two authors collaborate to write one book. Do you get together to come up with characters and ideas for the plot then something each to compare? We work together at every stage – we brainstorm the setting and the start of the plot together, we figure out the characters that would fit into it best, and then we start fleshing out the character we’ll each write. Ideas get tossed back and forth and tweaked and improved so often that we usually have no idea who came up with what.
Author collaboration would be a rewarding experience but are there be any challenges in a collaboration? How did you overcome these challenges? By far the hardest part is being in different timezones – we wish we could chat even more than we do! But we email constantly, we text every day, we often jump on video chat to brainstorm (and just have a chat, we’re friends as well as co-authors) and we come up with lots of ways to stay in touch.
If “Unearthed” was to become a film adaptation, would do you picture playing your main characters on screen? We have our fingers crossed for this, because Sony and a production company called Cross Creek have actually got it in development! A fantastic director called Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, The Edge of Tomorrow) is attached. We’re actually not supposed to talk about who we’d cast, because we don’t want to cloud the waters in case the characters are cast – you never know your luck!
For writers who are thinking of engaging in an author collaboration, what would be your best piece of advice you could give to them? We’d advise them to communicate a lot, and check they’re both on the same page about everything they can think of, from how quickly they’ll work, to what they’ll do if one of them needs to take a break, to what they’ll do if they have different ideas about where they’ll take the story, and so on. It’s always easier to figure this stuff out in advance than later on, when it’s actually causing a problem. We’ve been friends for so long, and writing together for so long, that we know each other inside out, and it makes a huge difference!
This was one book that had me on the edge of my seat as I was gasping, cringing and rapidly turning the page to simply know what happened next. The plot was interesting as it follows the story of a young girl, Shalia, who is a proud yet naive daughter of the desert and after many years of war with another tribe/kingdom, she was used as a pawn via an arranged marriage with the king of the opposing tribe as a means to bring peace to both worlds. Shalia’s betrothed, Calix, the king, is motivated by a strong desire to kill all who identify as Elementae – magical people who have powers that can control the elements: earth, air, wind and fire.
So the question is, when two worlds become one family, what becomes of the proud, naive daughter of the desert when she is crowned queen as a result of this arranged marriage and learns of her new husband’s plans then later discovers her true self once she is thrown into this whole new world?
I found it was interesting to follow Shalia’s perspective during the story and how she grows as a character when taken out of her world of order and thrown into a world of chaos where, for her, it’s sink or swim – follow what is expected of her to retain peace or question everything, be true to herself and risk war. Does she thrive or just manage to survive?
This story is dark and it does take you on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. For some of the themes covered, I would be more likely to recommend this to older YA readers, adults who enjoy fantasy fiction stories or who, like me, LOVE stories set in the desert. This had a great plot, is fast paced and it even confused me when I was trying to decide where my loyalties were during the story. I would love to read the sequel!!
Many thanks to Bloomsbury Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
As I am sitting here writing this 2017 wrap up, I am wondering – where did the year go!?
2017 was once again, a great success for Read3r’z Re-Vu and in 2018, we will be entering our 9th year!!! Next to getting our hands on some fantastic reads this year, a most honourable achievement is how much we have grown as a network. Read3r’z Re-Vu continue to network with authors, publishers and reading enthusiasts who become such great friends and it’s amazing to see the growth and the friendships formed over a common bond – the passion for reading. It’s been so much fun at our monthly sessions hanging out with well read friends and getting to know authors and their writing journeys. Attending bookish events and book launches throughout the year was also a highlight.
Many thanks goes to the authors who spent their time with us this year by attending our sessions and exclusive events as special guests. It gave members such a unique and memorable experience. Many thanks to Krystal Sutherland (author of “Our Chemical Hearts” and A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares”) who was the first author to join us this year as she joined us as special guest for our March session and who also had me emcee her book launch for “A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares” at Kinokuniya Bookstore.
Many thanks also to E.R Murray (author of “Caramel Hearts”) who, whilst visiting Australia all the way from Ireland, had a special lunch with us at Volcanos Steakhouse. It was amazing to learn all about your writing journey and life in Ireland.
To author Garth Nix, (author of newly released “Frogkisser!” thank you for joining our Read3r’z Re-Vu special: Author in Focus session at Galaxy Bookshop. We had so much fun with you that day, thanks so much for the Haigh’s Chocolate Frogs and for giving away Frogkisser! audio books and an advance review copy of “Have Sword, Will Travel
Lynette Noni, (author of “The Medoran Series“) thank you so much for spending time with us over high tea while you were in Sydney during the Sydney Writers Festival. We had such a great time chatting over tea and cakes with you!!
To Wai Chim (author of “Freedom Swimmer”) thank you so much for joining us for our July session, it was so insightful learning about your inspiration to write Freedom Swimmer.
James Bradley (author of “The Silent Invasion”) thankyou to you also for joining us as special guest at our September session, it was great to chat all things books with you!!!. Many thanks also goes to author Brittany Riley, author of (“Enchantment”) who also joined our September session as an attendee. To Gabrielle Williams (author of “My Life as a Hashtag”) lunch with you at the New York Metro was amazing, thank you so much for joining us while you were visiting Sydney from Melbourne.
To Marita Smith (author of “Convergence”) and the wonderful Harbour Publishing House team who visited Read3r’z Re-Vu over afternoon tea at The Coffee Club all the way from Ulladulla – thankyou also Marita for the homemade cookies!!
Special shout out goes to our creative partner – The Curio Boutique, created and owned by the ever so talented NJ!!! Thank you so much for partnering with Read3r’z Re-Vu and sponsoring prizes from The Curio Boutique for our session giveaways. We are so honoured to be such great friends with you and we are so proud of your creativity and talents!!! Also, big congrats to you for hosting your very first stall this year at the Allen and Unwin YA Fest!! It was very exciting to be there to support you and we hope to see you running more stalls in the future and really look forward to your 2018 creations.
To all the publishers who take a chance on us to consider, read and review their books as well as help organise for the authors to attend our sessions, thank you so very much!!! It’s great to be affiliated with great Australian Publishers and we really look forward to continue working with you in the New Year.
Read3r’z Re-Vu Members – session attendees, online members and blog followers, thank you so much for always engaging with us and for your enthusiasm that keeps this network alive!! 2017 was a great year for books and here is a list of titles some of our session members have noted to be their 2017 book of the year…
As for me.. like everyone else.. it really is a tough choice!!! “Nevermoor” by Jessica Townsend was such a great read.. so was “Wreck” by Fleur Ferris, “All Rights Reserved” by Gregory Scott Katsoulis, “The Crown’s Fate” by Evelyn Skye.. “Flying Through Clouds” by Michelle Morgan had a very personal connection for me.. Just some of the great titles I had the pleasure of reading this year and I am psyched for the 2018 new releases!!!
From the bottom of my heart, I want to send you all much love and many thanks to you all for making Read3r’z Re-Vu, the 2017 season such a great success!!! Wishing you all the very best for the festive season and many happy returns for a happy new year!!!
Well, 2017… that’s a wrap!!! -Annie
This is an exciting new adventure filled with diverse characters, strong heroes and heroines and wild creatures!!!
Scales of Empire follows the story of Corporal Jian Choumaliis who on the mission of her life time as security officer/soldier on one of Earth’s huge generation ships, fleeing Earth’s failing ecosystem to colonise a distant planet. The ship encounters a technologically and culturally advanced alien empire that is led by a royal family of dragons. The empire’s dragon emissary offers her aid to the people of Earth, bringing greater health, longer life, and faster-than-light travel to nearby stars. But what price will the people of Earth have to pay for the generous alien assistance?
Firstly, I want to advise all Kylie Chan’s fan base to take their minds away from her previous works in the White Tiger series as this is a completely different to the series. Go into this as a whole new world – an epic intergalatic adventure set at a time when Earth is facing their downfall and soldiers are sent out to space to colonise other planets in order to save humanity. The first installment of a new series, I find this to be very promising and a series worth investing in. It is a story full of action, drama and suspense and takes a unique step with such diverse characters that include dragons and special talents that can either make or break humanity. I found this to be a lot of fun to read and mildly paced so I was able to enjoy the world building and character profiling but was kept on the edge of my seat with action and plot twists. Scales of Empire really took me out of this world – into another realm of Kylie Chan’s imagination and talent and I enjoyed it as much as I did the White Tiger series. I am really looking forward to reading what happens next…
Special thanks to both author Kylie Chan and Harper Voyager Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review. Keep reading for the blog exclusive with author, Kylie Chan!!!
“Scales of Empire” is very different to your previous published works – could you please briefly tell us how different this story is compared to your previous work? (Spoiler free of course) It’s a major departure from the Chinese martial arts and gods-and-monsters of the Dark Heavens series. This is hard science-fiction – with a Kylie Chan twist – and it’s set in the future. There aren’t any mythological creatures involved although I do have dragons – as aliens that have been visiting Earth for eons. It’s a space opera with multiple species of aliens, inter-planetary political machinations, and a lot of fun exploration of the nature of species and how they would relate to each other in an interstellar setting.
What was the inspiration to write “Scales of Empire” and how many are we expecting in this new series and when can we expect the next instalment? All the ideas have been swimming around in my head for years. This will be three books, and I’ve mapped out the second and know exactly where it and the third one are going. I can’t believe you are asking for the next one before the first one is even released! The first book – ‘Scales of Empire’ – will be out in February of 2018.
The world building is quite unique and the characters are quite diverse in this story, what sort of research went into your world building and how did you come up with the characters/how they develop throughout the story? As usual I’ve done a vast amount of research. Global warming and its aftermath are a big issue for the population of Earth, and I had to investigate colony ships – how many people do you need for a viable population? – and the nature of warp drives and interstellar travel. If you can’t communicate over Star Trek’s beloved ‘subspace’ instantaneously – how do you communicate when messages travelling, even at the speed of light, will take hundreds of years? Closer to home, I’ve drawn from people I know (in poly relationships) and people I’m close to (who are bi, or of mixed race) to create characters that are deeper and more complex than the standard ‘space marine’ trope.
If your book was ever turned into a movie or a TV series, can you think of who you would want to cast as the characters of your story? I don’t usually attempt to ‘cast’ my story because I know that casting is way more complicated than that – but what I do is to visualise what someone looks like while I’m writing the book. It will sometimes ping when I see them on the screen. For Jian, I see her looking very much like Sonequa Martin-Green, the lead of Star Trek: Discovery. She has that same no-nonsense attitude. For Richard, I haven’t seen anyone recently that pinged the visual for me. And of course the dragons could be played by anyone!
How did you structure your story? Did you target a certain amount of words per day or use post it notes or info dump in a journal during your writing purpose? I try to write a certain number of words every day, I do have a word target. And I have found that agonising about not reaching that target is pretty much a sure-fire way to ensure that I don’t. I carry a notebook everywhere with me and have a laptop beside the bed – I write a lot of my stuff when I’m half-asleep. I structure the story in my head: I know the outline of it, and how it will look in a general sense. The details come to me and it’s like filling in a sketch. Sometimes the images that fill the sketch are entirely unexpected and then I know the end result will be good.
When you’re not writing or reading, what would you be doing? I’m at the beach! I just moved to the Gold Coast and it is wonderful. The artist definitely produces more words when immersed in salt water.
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especiallyher.
My review If you love Harry Potter then you’ll love this book and will be up until 3am in the morning not wanting to put it down just like I did! Sophie just like Harry Potter grew up in the human world and well it’s an interesting twist with the boarding school she ends up going to where it’s more like juvie for the supernatural, but the things is that Sophie actually doesn’t know how to do any magic yet. Follow on her journey to making friends, making enemies, getting into trouble, saving her friend, dealing with a boy crush on someone she can’t have and let’s not forget the evil groups that want her and her school mates dead. A fun filled series that I’m eager to keep reading about.
I’m going to say ages 8 and up but I think anyone at an age that can understand the imaginary and loves books about magic will love this book. Also great for Harry Potter fans who love stories about teenage witches and even twilight fans will enjoy the vamipire and other mythical beings elements in this book.