Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Just Finished Reading... These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner

Overall, this book was really great, don't get me wrong about that, and I will definitely read it again at some point in the future once I'm finished with the series. But it started off at an 'oh my GOD' level of awesome, with the ship crashing and working out how Tarver and Lilac were going to survive, deciding to get to the wreckage, and all the expected angst. Although the characters were 17 and 20, so you would have to expect some of the usual teenage inner monologue, I actually felt like this was one of the best YA/NA books I've ever read in terms of the characters not getting in the way of themselves, or descending into whinging annoyingness. I feel like Tarver and Lilac handled themselves pretty well considering the circumstances, while staying true to their characters.
But somewhere between Tarver recovering from an infection and the end of the book... I'm still not quite sure if it just lost me, or the story lost momentum. Whatever happened, the result was the same in that the end left me feeling a little deflated. The ending was definitely original, I'll give it that, but it almost felt like it was in a completely different tone to the first half of the book. It also felt a little rushed, like the build up kept increasing and then the end just happened in a blur that stopped a little suddenly. Nevertheless, this is still by far the best book I have read in over a year, and I truly wish there were more sci-fi books like this on my bookshelf.
From a technical side I thought the writing was flawless, easy to read, paced wonderfully, keeping me immersed, and thankfully, my pesky internal editor switched off. 

I can't wait to read the rest of the books in this series, and hope they will continue to be as fantastic as These Broken Stars. 
Also, this is another book I would love to see made into a movie. 
Oh, and one last thing... How gorgeous is this book cover? I'm pretty sure that's going on my list of best book covers ever. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Top That: Rewarding Start to 2016

So I have been very slack in compiling some good news in regards to my books the past few weeks... one book in particular: Atrophy.
I always felt and hoped that Atrophy was different from anything else I'd ever written, and hope this is just the beginning of many milestones.
Onward! Atrophy closed out the year by making several lists on Goodreads. The two most notable I'm going to mention today are "Best New Sci-Fi Novels You've Never Heard About" where Atrophy is currently sitting at number 5, and "Best 2015 Sci-Fi Romances" where Atrophy is currently sitting at number 4. Damage Control also made the best new sci-fi list, hovering around 10 at the moment.
These made me excited enough, but earlier in the week, when the annual Sci-Fi Romance Galaxy Awards were announced, I was blown away to find out Atrophy had won an award in round 2, given the title of the "Keep Me Up All Nighter."The judge's final comment was "I knew I would buy the rest of the series, should there be more books. No doubt at all. These are the best new characters of 2015 for me."
I had checked out the Galaxy Awards in previous years and discovered some great new sci-fi romance authors, but it never even occurred to me that any of my books might make the list this year.
Finally, while I entered Atrophy into the Aurealis Awards myself (which is the biggest speculative fiction award in Australia), I also found out a few weeks ago that it had been nominated for a Ditmar Award, which is the biggest science-fiction award in Australia. I'm up against some really big-name authors who are like pillars of the Australian speculative fiction/science fiction world, but its still great to be in the running and see my name sitting there next to theirs. Both awards are announced in March, and even without winning, it would be a thrill just to get shortlisted!
So Atrophy has made a great start to 2016, and with Quantum and Diffraction coming out later in the year, I'm excited to see what the next twelve months have in store!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Just Finished Reading... On a Rogue Planet by Anna Hackett

I wouldn't hesitate to say that Anna Hackett is currently one of the top sci-fi romance authors. There's no need to worry about slogging through grammatical errors, confusing paragraphs, clumsy sentence or spelling mistakes, while her stories and characters continue to engage and entertain book after book.
Beware for anyone starting On a Rogue Planet: make sure you clear your schedule for the day and have a few coffees in preparation for a late night, because you will not want to put this book down.
I've read a few cyborg romances where the man/machine struggles with his humanity and coming to understand love and how to be with someone in an emotionally healthy relationship, but Anna has blown all of those out of the water.
Xander was a perfect mix of strength, vulnerability and turmoil, while Mal was tough, brave and resourceful without being over-the-top obvious about it, or straying toward masculine.
Best of all, this isn't just a romance with a sci-fi setting, there's an intriguing and suspenseful story here that stands on its own merit, taking us on a desperate journey across a wide universe.
I haven't managed to read all of the Phoenix Adventure books yet, and while they were already on my to-buy list, this book has definitely moved them up to "need-to-buy-NOW."
Really looking forward to finding out where the Phoenix Adventures are going to take me next, and highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a perfect mix of sci-fi, romance, action and adventure.