Review: Free to Fall by Lauren Miller

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Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 13th 2014
Format: e-book

What if there was an app that told you what song to listen to, what coffee to order, who to date, even what to do with your life—an app that could ensure your complete and utter happiness?

What if you never had to fail or make a wrong choice?

What if you never had to fall?

Fast-forward to a time when Apple and Google have been replaced by Gnosis, a monolith corporation that has developed the most life-changing technology to ever hit the market: Lux, an app that flawlessly optimizes decision making for the best personal results.

Just like everyone else, sixteen-year-old Rory Vaughn knows the key to a happy, healthy life is following what Lux recommends. When she’s accepted to the elite boarding school Theden Academy, her future happiness seems all the more assured. But once on campus, something feels wrong beneath the polished surface of her prestigious dream school.

Then she meets North, a handsome townie who doesn’t use Lux, and begins to fall for him and his outsider way of life. Soon, Rory is going against Lux’s recommendations, listening instead to the inner voice that everyone has been taught to ignore — a choice that leads her to uncover a truth neither she nor the world ever saw coming.


My rating: 4.5 stars.

I can say one thing: My love for this grew a lot since the beginning.
I liked the characters and the thought that the author was trying to convey.
Perhaps because of this thought, this book is one of the most realistic dystopia I’ve ever read.
And the characters! I really love them and I cannot lie.
Rory is very smart and amazing girl. I like that she knows what she wants and does not deviate from that. Such a heroines are always aroused my respect.
North… Well, it’s North. On the one hand he is the typical YA book male character, but on the other he’s not. Barista, hacker… Well, I think a lot of persons will be in love with him.
And Hershey. I love these kind of girls. I like that the author does not expose her in too negative light. She did not deserve this.
This book is full of puzzles, mazes, conspiracy and adventure.
I ‘m really glad that my hands flew to the book. Dystopian novels are my weakness, and this one was no exception.


Here is my fan-art for this book:

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Interview: Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl from Everywhere

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So, all those who subscribed to my blog, you know how I love the debut authors. They are wonderful and lovely and I’m always so glad to chat with them.
Now I present to your attention author, whose book I want more than chocolate cake. (Seriously, I’m ready to fight with the lion and the flood for the ARC. So if you have it, I warn you: keep your eyes open).
I sincerely hope that you will enjoy all the things I’ll show you today!

*drum roll*
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Heidi Heilig’s debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City to nineteenth-century Hawaii to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. The Girl from Everywhere, the first of two books, will dazzle readers of Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman.

Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.

In The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility with witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, and enchanting romance.


1) Were there any funny stories while you worked on The Girl from Everywhere? Or maybe, at that time, the book had a different name, which now makes you smile?

Actually, the story of the title was pretty funny. My working title was The Good Ship Temptation, which kind of made it sound like a mish-mash of a jolly good English novel about sailors who keep hailing the queen, and a hardcore romance novel. Neither of which is right. So, I came up with five options for titles and held a poll among my friends. THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE won by a wide margin of Facebook “likes.”

2) What inspired and/or helped you in the process of writing?

My first inspiration is always coffee. The second is a good doughnut. Music comes in third. But beyond those, I took inspiration from the books that my father liked to read to me when I was young. He would read everything, from the Epic of Gilgamesh to Egyptian history to native legends–which of course inspired the fact that the ship can travel to mythological as well as historical places.

3) Can you share your most favorite quote from your book? If it’s too spoilery, then your favorite quote from another book.

One of my favorite quotes from my own book is: “The one thing I could never buy was more time.” Because that’s true of all of us!

4) How long did it take you to write your novel? What was easier to write: the beginning or the ending?

It took me about a year to write, and I feel like most of that was rewriting the beginning. Beginnings are tough for me because you have to grab people right away but also build an entire world from scratch. It feels like pulling an elephant out of a hat. But I have a document of all the cut material from the book and it’s about 600 pages long. So i wrote almost a thousand pages in a year, and most of them were wrong.

5) If right now someone told you that he can perform any of your three wishes, what would you then wish for?

I’m a big believer in social justice, so I’d wish for an end to oppression. Then I’d wish for a cornucopia–Althea’s Horn–the endless bounty that could feed the world for free. Lastly, I’d wish for the ability to fly because WHO WOULDN’T?

6) If you could, would you write a letter to Nyx? If the answer is yes, what would be the main theme of the letter?

I would write a letter, and I would tell her that even though it may not seem this way, her father–the captain–loves her, and so do I. We are both her creators, and we haven’t given her the easiest life. But she is the best of both of us, and we know she can meet whatever challenges we throw her way.


I’m so excited about this book, that I made a fan art to it!
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Thank you, Heidi! You’re amazing. I’m very glad that I have the opportunity to communicate with you.


6qtnLTl6Heidi grew up in Hawaii where she rode horses and raised peacocks, and then she moved to New York City and grew up even more, as one tends to do. Her favorite thing, outside of writing, is travel, and she has haggled for rugs in Morocco, hiked the trails of the Ko’olau Valley, and huddled in a tent in Africa while lions roared in the dark.
She holds an MFA from New York University in Musical Theatre Writing, of all things, and she’s written books and lyrics for shows including The Time Travelers Convention, Under Construction, and The Hole. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their pet snake, whose wings will likely grow in any day now.
Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads

Some amazing 2016 titles and 5 Reasons to Preorder them as soon as possible

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All books are good, but there are books in which you fall in love at first sight (hello, bookish insta-love).
So I decided that I’ll give you a list of books I haven’t read, but they definitely forced my heart to beat faster.

1) The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig 

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Five reasons to preorder this as soon as possible:

1. You see this? I mean, DO YOU SEE THIS COVER? BECAUSE THIS COVER IS EXCELLENT.
2. Even if this book had the most ugly cover in the world (which is generally unrealistic, but let’s assume), I would still have bought it just because of this title. I’m freaking Doctor Who fan, don’t touch me, I’ll bite.
3. Time-travel ship! As if the ship alone is no longer cool. BUT TIME-TRAVEL. THAT’S A THING. OH YEAH.
4. It is set in nineteenth-century Hawaii.
5. Amazing dude aka Hot Persian Thief. Heidi definitely decided to spoil us.


2) The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry 

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Five reasons to preorder this as soon as possible:

1. THIS COVER OH MAN.
2. I think this is the most elegant title since Shakespeare’s poems.
3. “Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife”. I’m in. I think, you are, too.
4. TIME TRAVEL!!!
5. I’m pretty sure that this book will break my heart, but I love such books. (c) Your Masochist


3) Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto

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Five reasons to preorder this as soon as possible:

1. I want to eat this cover. I don’t want to do such things so often.
2. It’s a western!
3. There are some cannibals.
4. And revenge obviously.
5. And the heroine has a mechanical arm. I’m a huge fangirl of Fullmetal Alchemist, I can’t miss such a thing.


4) Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers 

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Five reasons to preorder this as soon as possible:

1. Cover! I can’t, I just love all the covers.
2. “With shades of The Godfather and Romeo and Juliet…” Holy freaking yass.
3. Assasins!
4. Romance!
5. Vengeance!!!


5) Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie 

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Five reasons to preorder this as soon as possible:

1. Cover lust. I mean, look at the ashes. And at the jewel.
2. The world is very similar to the tsarist Russia.
3. MC sees auras.
4. And she must protect the king.
5. And my radar senses political conspiracies. And hot guys.


6) Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan 

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Five reasons to preorder this as soon as possible:

1. COVER *gasps*
2. MC is blind. That’s cool, because disability diversity.
3. Darkness. A lot of darkness.
4. It reminds me of Rapunzel. With darkness.
5. And it’s by Sophie Jordan! She writes excellent stories, imho.


7) Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

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Five reasons to preorder this as soon as possible:

1. “The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?”
2. The purple, white and green colors on the cover are from the genderfluid flag. That’s so cool!
3. How many YA books about gender fluids and in general about people with gender dysphoria you know?
4. Punk.
5. I know, you need this book in your life. Trust me.


8) When We Collided by Emery Lord 

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Five reasons to preorder this as soon as possible:

1. Mental illness.
2. Emery Lord.
3. “Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart and Jandy Nelson”
4. This perfect cover.
5. Another book to break your heart.


Thanks everyone for reading! I really hope that you like this list!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

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‘Waiting on Wednesday’ is a weekly meme that was created at Breaking The Spine. Thank you for this.

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Heidi Heilig’s debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City to nineteenth-century Hawaii to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. The Girl from Everywhere, the first of two books, will dazzle readers of Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman.

Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.

In The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility with witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, and enchanting romance.


About this author

Heidi grew up in Hawaii where she rode horses and raised peacocks, and then she moved to New York City and grew up even more, as one tends to do. Her favorite thing, outside of writing, is travel, and she has haggled for rugs in Morocco, hiked the trails of the Ko’olau Valley, and huddled in a tent in Africa while lions roared in the dark.
She holds an MFA from New York University in Musical Theatre Writing, of all things, and she’s written books and lyrics for shows including The Time Travelers Convention, Under Construction, and The Hole. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their pet snake, whose wings will likely grow in any day now.

Website
Twitter

Review: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

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Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: March 10th 2015
Format: ebook

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.


My rating: 5 mirror stars.

“The pain of what happened – it won’t last eternity.” A lie. I knew very well how pain could last, and fester, and shape a person in unnameable ways.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to your attention one of my favorite reads of 2015.
Why? Well, let’s look.
Interesting plot and rich and colorful description of the area and fights – ✓
Well-written world – ✓
A delightful, courageous, responsible and clever MC with flaws – ✓
Nice love interest – ✓
I devoured this book in one gulp. Magic, politics, conspiracies, espionage, vigilante (!!!) … Anyone find in this book something exciting.
Though some things were far too obvious, I don’t think that the author is trying to make a secret of it that much.
This, in fact, the whole trick: you do know about what the heroine does not know, and therefore you have to helplessly watch her actions and bite your elbows. Omomnom.
Bravo, Miss Meadows.
I’m pretty sure that many people who read this book found that ending really gross.
Oh, yes, it is cruel.
A hell of cruel. Like The Mark of Athena by Riordan, in my memory cruelest cliffhanger of all.
So be prepared in advance *evil laughs mixed with hysterical cries*
Yet go. And read this book.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

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‘Waiting on Wednesday’ is a weekly meme that was created at Breaking The Spine. Thank you for this.

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Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, as he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and his very public fall from grace.

The only antidote to all this venom is his friendship with fellow outcasts Travis and Lydia . But as they are starting their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. The end of high school will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is happy wherever he is thanks to his obsession with the epic book series Bloodfall and the fangirl who may be turning his harsh reality into real-life fantasy. But Dill’s only escape is his music and his secret feelings for Lydia—neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, Dill must cope with another ending—one which will rock his life to the core.

Debut novelist Jeff Zentner provides an unblinking and, at times, comic view of the hard realities of growing up in the Bible belt, and an intimate look at the struggles to find one’s true self in the wreckage of the past.


About this author

Jeff Zentner lives in Nashville, Tennessee. He came to writing through music, starting his creative life as a guitarist and eventually becoming a songwriter. He’s released five albums and appeared on recordings with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan, and Lydia Lunch, among others.

Now he writes novels for young adults. He became interested in writing for young adults after volunteering at the Tennessee Teen Rock Camp and Southern Girls Rock Camp. As a kid, his parents would take him to the library and drop him off, where he would read until closing time. He worked at various bookstores through high school and college.

He speaks fluent Portuguese, having lived in the Amazon region of Brazil for two years.

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