Cover Love: Venturess by Betsy Cornwell

cover love 

I'm such a huge fan of this cover.  Like Mechanica before it, it's colorful and soft and glittery, the perfect backdrop for a fairy tale.  The title is a beautiful intricate clockwork text (and you can bet it'll look 10 times cooler as raised foil), and the colors are all perfectly matched.  Plus, the details!  My beloved horse Jules, glitzy and sharp.  That whispery fairy city in the background.  It reminds me of old-school fantasy covers.  Although the tagline placement is a little meh, a little too even, I just can't get over the GLOW.  

Excited?  Check out my review of Mechanica in the meantime 


ARC Review: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

review         book

I'll Meet You Theretitle: Gemina
author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
pages: 672
format: Paperback
buy it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
rating: 4/5 (from hated to loved) or 7/10 (all books I've ever read)
recommended for: Fans of Red Rising by Pierce Brown, Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich, and The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid.
Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The saga that began with Illuminae continues on board the space station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of BeiTech’s assault. Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter, Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum may be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival. The fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

in depth

  • Illuminae re-energized the young adult sci-fi scene with a gritty plot, snarky characters, and a found-footage style quite unlike your typical space novel.  Gemina doubles down on the formula with two new heroes, plenty of blood, and beautiful drawing by the masterful Marie Lu herself.  With elements of Dead Space, Interstellar, and Alien, it's a xxxxing mindtrip of a novel.  

  • Meet Hanna, feisty daughter of the Heimdall jump station commander.  Meet Nick, sexy snarky tattooed criminal with an immature sense of humor.  Meet Ella, silver-tongued computer genius who controls the whole game from her wheelchair supercomputer.  Throw in a bunch of xxxxxx mercenaries, a mysterious hallucinatory beastie, and let the chaos ensue.  

  • The story picks up immediately after the events of Illuminae, and it's just as fast-paced.  With mercenaries trying to destroy last book's survivors, the only hope is three teenagers running around the ship causing mayhem and throwing gears in the works.  It's like Home Alone, except the traps are deadly and there's imminent danger of everyone and their brother being blown to xxxx.  A periodic countdown and short chapters keeps the action tense and breakneck.  I swear I was holding my breath half the time, scared to xxxx and claustrophobic while Hanna and Nick made escape after narrow xxxxing escape.  

  • The formula has been established, so that was a bit of a drawback.  While Marie's drawings (which aren't in the ARC but which I ogled in the finished copy) are beautiful as xxxx and a welcome addition, the rest of the stuff (text conversations, kill lists, video transcripts) is par for the course once you've read the first book.  Which is fine, it's just not revolutionary anymore.  In fact, Gemina almost follows the same structure as Illuminae, from the characters (fierce, badass girl, snarky guy, supergenius backup) to the plot twists (like, really, you can only get away with that once!).  So that was a little disappointing.  I wasn't surprised anymore.  It was also a little draggy in the middle, too many video transcripts instead of the stronger, pithier elements. 

  • That said, it's a xxxxxxx solid book.  Nick is xxxxxx adorable (I think I like him more than Ezra), Kady (who is way better than Hanna; let's face it, Hanna is just okay) and my dear beloved AIDAN make squeal-inducing cameos, and there's enough action and intensity to get your heart pumping double-time.  There are also a few wrinkles thrown in, beasties and quantum physics, that bump the stakes up even higher than they were.  I was pretty impressed by the authors' obvious care in researching time and quantum theory.  It might not satisfy a physics Ph.D. (I don't have a xxxxxing clue), but it's sharp enough to feel authentic, like they're not just xxxxxxxxx you.  

  • I can't quite give this five stars, because it felt so much like Illuminae in a different skin, down to the same twists.  Yes, I'm still harping on that xxxx.  That said, it's a kickass sci-fi that deserves it's own xxxxxx techno soundtrack.  Kaufman's and Kristoff's signature razor-sharp snark, brutal realism, and touch of whimsy makes Gemina a memorable addition to the science-fiction canon.  You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll dig your fingernails into your palms out of sheer xxxxxxx anxiety.  

  • And then you'll stall on those last heart-wrenching pages, knowing that you have a whole xxxxxx year until the sequel.  

        in a sentence

        Gemina is a brutally intense, starkly witty follow-up to the found-footage masterpiece that is Illuminae.   


        will i read this author again?  Yes, both of them. I still need to finish Nevernight...  
        will i continue the series?  Can I just have it now, please?  

        Note: I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for a review. The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.


        Author Interview: Destiny Soria, author of The Iron Cast

        author interview                destiny soria

        I'm so pleased to have Destiny Soria today at Sarcasm & Lemons!  She was kind enough to answer a few questions about her debut novel, The Iron Cast.  Check out my review here! 

        The idea for the Iron Cast hemopaths to draw power from their "afflicted" blood is unique. What inspired you to create this form of magic?

        I loved the idea of a magic that was channeled through the creative arts, but I also wanted it to be grounded somewhat in science. (“Somewhat” being the key word here.) So that’s when I decided on the idea of an unidentified element in hemopaths’ blood that activated their special talents.

        What was the most difficult part of writing Iron Cast?

        Probably the revisions between my first draft (which I wrote during NaNoWriMo) and the draft I sent to my agent. It was such a horrible, meandering mess and trying to edit it into something readable was truly daunting.

        Which scene or character was the most difficult to write? Which was the most fun?

        I’m terrible at writing romance, even when it’s very, very light. I blush furiously the whole time and have to take frequent breaks to writhe awkwardly. There’s not a lot of romance in Iron Cast, but a lot of awkward writhing went into it. I probably had the most fun writing the banter between Corinne and Ada. My friends and I exchange more quips than a sitcom, so it was very natural for me to write.

        How did you go about making the 1919 Boston setting feel authentic?

        Research, research, research. I also watched a lot of movies and read a lot of books set in the 1920s.

        Race and privilege is an important theme in the book. What do you hope readers take away?

        The problems of racism, sexism, and classism from a century ago feel so familiar because they are still very much problems today. Everyone is responsible for checking their own privilege, educating themselves, and pushing for better communities and a better world. As Mad-Eye Moody would say: “Constant vigilance!”

        What was the process like for Iron Cast from conception to publication?

        In order: exciting, exhausting, overwhelming, exciting again, petrifying, depressing, exciting again, overwhelming, exhausting, more exhausting, exciting, exciting, exciting, petrifying, exciting, sleep.

        If you can say, what's your next project like? Do you think you'll do more historical fiction or go in a different direction?

        I’m working on a YA fantasy right now. Can’t really give any details at the moment, but hopefully soon!

        What books have you enjoyed recently?

        I can’t stop fangirling about The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, which is out 2017. It’s a historical queer European road trip and you need it in your life. I also really enjoyed Crooked Kingdom, like basically everyone else who reads YA.

        Thanks so much for sharing with us! Final question: what do you hope to see more of in young adult books?

        Thanks for having me! And strong, complicated, healthy, uplifting, kickass female friendships ftw.

        Destiny Soria writes Young Adult fiction. Her debut novel, IRON CAST, will be published by Abrams/Amulet in Fall 2016.

        Destiny lives in Birmingham, AL, where she spends her time trying to come up with bios that make her sound kind of cool. She has yet to succeed.

        Website | Goodreads


        Top Ten Tuesday: Ten books to creepify your Halloween (and some movies)

        top ten tuesday                halloween

        Hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  

        Want to help support your broke blogger so she can host more giveaways and give swankier prizes?  Click the book covers.  If you like the book and choose to purchase it from Amazon, a little bit of the proceeds goes to Sarcasm & Lemons!   

        Get ready to scream.      

        c.j.'s selections                         ten ten ten

        And the Trees Crept In - Dawn Kurtagich 

        Silla and her sister become the prey of a watchful wood, supernatural stranger, and haunted house in this eerie-as-hell horror drama.  

        Movie pairing: The Awakening 

        Dead House - Dawn Kurtagich 

        Two sisters are the same person, or are they?  Their secrets could unlock the truth behind a series of brutal murders in this found-footage thriller. 

        Movie pairing: A Tale of Two Sisters 
        The Girl From the Well - Rin Chupeco 

        Meet the legend behind Samara.  A boy sees the dead.  A ghost hunts for her killer.  Bad things are happening in a small Japanese village.  

        Movie pairing:  The Ring, Ringu (watch 'em back to back for extra points)    

        The Accident Season - Moira Fowley Doyle 

        In a family drama that's more eerie/atmospheric than scary, a girl and her siblings and friend are caught in a mystery of disappearing classmates, houses that speak, and family secrets that won't stay buried. 

        Movie pairing:   The Visit  

        A Madness So Discreet - Mindy McGinnis 

        A girl imprisoned in an asylum by her deprave father finds an unlikely ally in a dashing criminal investigator--and an unlikely profession in analyzing the minds of the most vile murderers.  

        Movie pairing:   Se7en 

        The Girl With the Wrong Name -  Barnabas Miller 

        Girl meets boy.  Girl is mistaken for another girl.  Girl helps boy find missing soulmate.  Girl unearths a suspicious disappearance.  Girl finds that perhaps meeting boy wasn't an accident after all.  

        Movie pairing:  Dark Places 
        We'll Never Be Apart - Emiko Jean 

        A night of horror and death lands two sisters in an asylum: one, a murderer; one, almost a victim.  But as one sister searches for the other to exact her revenge, she learns that the secrets of her own past are catching up.   

        Movie pairing:  The Perfect Host 

        The Devil in the Corner - Patricia Elliott 

        A girl becomes caretaker to an older woman in this chilling Victorian tale of murder and madness.  Because the shadows in this place talk, and no one can be trusted. 

        Movie pairing:  The Orphanage  
        The Murmurings - Carly Ann West 

        Everyone thinks Sophie's sister killed herself, but Sophie doesn't believe it.  The only way to find the truth is to piece together's Nell's last days in the asylum, and find the truth behind the voices in her own head.    

        Movie Pairing:  Possession 
        The Unquiet - Jeannine Garsee 

        A girl struggling with Bipolar Disorder is haunted by the ghost of a murdered student.  But as she digs deeper, she's forced to question whether she's truly being haunted, or whether she's losing a battle with her own mind.   

        Movie pairing:  The Taking of Deborah Logan 

        Your turn!  What bookish horror do you love? 

        Bonus Movies 

        It Follows
        The Babadook 
        Dead Snow