Monthly Archives: March 2019

Sky in the Deep – Blog Tour Character Q&A and Excerpt

Sky in the Deep had its US release last year and was all over bookstagram so when I was offered the chance to read and review ready for its U.K. release tomorrow, 26th March 2019, I jumped at it. I’m so happy to be kicking off the tour along with Sammy Shelf.

Please find below a Q&A with Eelyn and Fiske the two main protagonists, a hint of what’s to come with book two and an excerpt plus a mini review from me.

Please let me know below if you know of any Eelyn and Fiske fanart. I NEED it!!!

Synopsis

Part Wonder Woman, part Vikings – and all heart!

Eelyn is a seventeen-year-old warrior, trained to fight fiercely alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, god -decreed rivalry against the Riki clan, her life is brutal but uncomplicated. Until the day she witnesses the impossible on the battlefield – her brother, fighting alongside the enemy – the brother she watched die five years ago… Shocked by the sudden realisation that her brother may be alive, Eelyn loses her focus and is captured by the opposing clan. Now, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbour is an enemy, and every battle scar they wear is possibly one she herself delivered. But when a ruthless clan who are settling in the valley raids the Riki village, Eelyn’s desperation to escape is heightened when it’s rumoured that her beloved Aska clan have been decimated by the same horde.

She is given no choice. She must put her faith in Fiske, her brother’s friend who sought to kill her the day she was captured. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and find a way to forgive her brother while daring to put her trust in the people she has been taught to hate and who she has spent her entire life killing.

About the Author

ADRIENNE YOUNG is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee.

Sky in the Deep is her debut novel

Character Interviews

Eelyn

What does Sigr mean to you?

Sigr is the north star of our people.

What is your favourite memory of your brother Iri?

Training together for our first fighting season as fighting mates paired for battle. I’d spent my entire life looking up to Iri and it was the first time I really felt like his equal and also the first time I thought maybe he saw me as one.

Complete the phrase – The Riki are:

… all the parts of me I didn’t know.

Fiske in three words

Strong. Silent. Sure.

Fiske

What does Thora mean to you?

Thora is fury and fire but also the mother and caretaker of our people.

Favourite childhood memory?

The first time my little brother Halvard pulled a fish from the ice on his own.

Complete the phrase – The Aska are:

… the greatest threat to everything I love.

Eelyn in three words

Wild.

Question for Adrienne

What should we expect from the companion novel The Girl the Sea Gave Back?

The Girl the Sea Gave Back is a new standalone that takes place ten years after Sky in the Deep. It follows the story of Halvard when he is eighteen years old. We will see a lot more of who he is and his memories of growing up on the mountain with Fiske as his father figure and we will also meet a new clan who will threaten the peace they’ve found.

Extract from Sky in the Deep – The Ghost

I thought of my father. His soil-stained hands. His deep, booming voice. And my home. The fire flickering in the dark. The frost on the glade in the mornings.

I stood, pressing my fingers into the hot wound at my arm and saying Sigr’s name under my breath, asking him to accept me. To welcome me. To watch over my father. “Vegr yfir fjor,” I whispered.

He slowed, watching my lips move.

The furs beneath his armor vest blew in the damp breeze, pushing up around his angled jaw. He blinked, pressing his mouth into a straight line as he took the last steps toward me and I didn’t run. I wasn’t going to be brought down by a blade in my back.

The steel gleamed as he pulled the sword up over his head, ready to bring it back down, and I closed my eyes. I breathed. I could see the reflection of the gray sky on the fjord. The willow bloomed on the hillside. The wind wove through my hair. I listened to the sound of my clansmen raging. Fighting in the distance.

“Fiske!” A deep, strangled voice pierced through the fog, finding me, and my eyes popped open.

The Riki before me froze, his eyes darting to the side where the voice was coming toward us.

Fast.

“No!” A tangle of wild, fair hair barreled into him, knocking his sword to the ground. “Fiske, don’t.” He took hold of the man’s armor vest, holding him in place. “Don’t.”

Something twisted in my mind, the blood in my veins slowing, my heart stopping.

“What are you doing?” The Riki wrenched free, picking his sword back up off the ground and driving past him, coming for me.

The man turned, throwing his arms around the Rikiand swinging him back.

And that’s when I saw it—his face.

And I was frozen. I was the ice on the river. The snow clinging onto the mountainside.

“Iri.” It was the ghost of a word on my breath.

They stopped struggling, both looking up at me with wide eyes, and it dove deeper within me. What I was seeing. Who I was seeing.

What I Thought

For me this book lived up to the hype. It was a slightly slow burn but I suddenly found myself totally invested in the lives of these characters.

The violence is brutal – Vikings people – not namby pamby killers but chop off their heads and stick them with an axe types. I loved this setting and its grit made a great change to the fantasy worlds I usually read.

This is Eelyn and Fiske’s story and how they grow to see past their differences and respect each other’s culture. A timely narrative, and an imperfectly perfect pair.

A huge thank you to Sarah at Titan for gifting me the copy of the book in preparation for this post, and of course to Adrienne and her characters for their replies.

Special Edition Book Pre-Order Process Wishlist

After a few slightly stressful book buying situations recently I thought I’d suggest what I’d most like to see here. I’m aiming to talk generally and not name names although I’m sure those in the know will know what inspired this post.

Anything that is limited edition is likely to leave some people empty handed – be that tickets to events, concerts, collectibles, books etc. FOMO is real.

My main issue around all this links to capitalism though and that there always seem to be people who manage to get hold of those restricted items seemingly with the intention to sell on at a profit. I’ve noticed that there are steps being taken to solve this, limiting sales to one item per customer. Trying to prevent resales for concerts etc but still we have issues and more could be done. (Just to note people that initially buy for themselves and sell on at a later date for various reasons this doesn’t apply).

It’s tricky because I feel hypocritical writing this because I’d love to be able to sit back and go I don’t care I’ll just go on in half an hour to see if there are any left. This is because I am invested in some things – experiences, collectibles, special edition books – especially when they have added prettiness. I’m slightly less bothered about exclusive numbered editions but slap a sprayed edge on something and ooooh.

Here’s what I would love to see happen although I realise some of this is very unlikely to. It’s a wishlist that would require action from different parties.

Publishers to – in advance – list all the pre-order special editions of an upcoming book before they go on sale so that consumers can be fully informed and can choose the edition(s) they most want to purchase (and in which priority). e.g. tell us about all the sprayed edges, bonus chapters, signed, numbered, exclusive covers etc.

The particular books that have inspired by this post have a number of editions that have all been released with some yet to be determined. I know not many of us can afford to get all editions of every book so this leads to either frequent cancelling of orders, or the later high resale prices because people know there was demand so keep duplicates specifically to sell.

Pie in the sky – have one super duper awesome version and allow pre-orders and create this issue to demand (plus extras for people that come to the party later). Wouldn’t that be lovely. But like I said capitalism doesn’t work that way.

Proper notice (Ideally at least a week) on when special editions are going to be available (for this recent book it was less than 24 hours if you count an author announcement and just over an hour if you count the vendor official newsletter e-mail).

An exact time for the release. People do need to plan lives around these things – as much as we love books / other stuff like work, family etc get in the way. Rude! 😉

Clarity over the ordering process. Can you order just by the website or by phone, e-mail etc too. Transparency about how this is managed. Certain amount limited to each ordering process?! Making sure infrastructure is in place to manage this for popular titles because the last thing you want is to turn round and have to cancel orders. That does not a happy customer make.

Vendors having adequate infrastructure to support sales of very popular titles. This would include things like:

Having websites that can be prescheduled to release a listing without need for manual input.

Buying in extra server capacity for these types of releases with queuing systems (e.g. like sites like Cursed Child or Popcultcha have).

If errors go on for longer than an hour postponement to the process is made (again to be re-set at specific announced time) to allow issues to be resolved. I’m sure all our refreshing didn’t help the website crash but equally whilst there was still hope of things being fixed and fear that the books would sell out very quickly if they were we just weren’t going to step back to allow it to be resolved.

Alternatively Vendors could even consider a raffle type process where people could submit pre-order requests over a 24 hour period via different processes (phone, e-mail etc) that they get randomly picked? Those who are unsuccessful are offered alternatives and allowed to cancel if that isn’t suitable.

On numbered issues in particular. That when a numbered issue of the first in a series is purchased that buyers get first and exclusive option of that same numbered edition of sequels in the series.

That we all try to remember that the customer service people we are dealing with, the authors who have no control over this process, and the fellow fans, that are just as excited as us, are all human and that we treat each other with respect. I hope that companies value when their employees have had a tough day and debrief or better yet send them off to happy hour.

Life isn’t fair. There will always be people that will be unsuccessful despite all these steps but there are fairer ways to implement things.

Just my thoughts. My way to process.

What do you think. All pie in the sky? Anything practical in there? Any other ideas?

Happy Special Edition Book Buying People. Tomorrow may the odds be ever in your favour.

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New Suns – Speculative Fiction by POC collection – Blog Tour Book Review

Synopsis

“There’s nothing new under the sun, but there are new Suns,” proclaimed Octavia E. Butler.

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Colour showcases emerging and seasoned writers of many races telling stories filled with shocking delights, powerful visions of the familiar made strange. Between this book’s covers burn tales of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and their indefinable overlapping. These are authors aware of our many possible pasts and futures, authors freed of stereotypes and clichés, ready to dazzle you with their daring genius.

Unexpected brilliance shines forth from every page.

What I Thought

As with any short story collection there will be stories that you love, many that you like and a couple that just don’t quite hit the spot (at the time of initial reading at least). When the former two outweigh the latter you are onto a winner and that was the case here.

Speculative fiction is always as much about the here and now as it is about visions of the future. A number of the stories provide such good political commentary that Trump will want their authors federally investigated! Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire (E. Lily Yu) – a take on the Emperors New Clothes conjured up scary naked visions I didn’t really want but provided brilliant political satire.

The stories were an eclectic mix which is what you hope to get with mixed representation. Here we also had mixed presentation. From an euthanasia tourist holiday infomercial script to fairytales, ghost stories, gang warfare – there is something to suit everyone. I guess I was expecting a little more straight science fiction but enjoyed the variety of fantasy and slightly more contemporary feeling pieces. Even the couple of stories that didn’t quite hit the spot for me were lyrically written and just because the meaning was not immediately apparent to me doesn’t mean they won’t jump out at someone else. As readers we bring so much to what we read and current preoccupations jump out more readily.

My two favourite stories were:

The Freedom of the Shifting Sea (Jaymee Goh). With echoes The Shape of Water this is a f/f love story with feminist themes.

The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations (Minsoo Kang) is written as an historical paper on a peace treaty orchestrated by two translators who don’t quite translate what is being said by the violent rulers going head to head. I particularly liked the add on commentary about not looking enough at the female perspective and I’d actually really want to read the translators story in real time.

Do you like reading short stories about the macabre and unusual? Then pick up New Suns and step into the unknown.

Check out the rest of the blog tour and see which stories other people highlighted.

I was gifted my copy of New Suns for the purposes of providing an honest review. All opinions are, as ever, my own

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