Review: The Other Side of Gravity

Synopsis: My name is Maxton and I’m a trader.

I live on a soulless planet where gravity, oxygen, and everything else are sold to the highest bidder on the black market. People are sold on the black market, too. You have to work really hard not to become one of those people. Pay your taxes, keep your friends and family close, and more than anything else—don’t get caught by the Militia. But all the rules changed for me the day I found her.

My name is Sophelia and I’m a stowaway.

I’ve been a slave for almost as long as I can remember. Waiting for the one day, one second, for my proprietor to turn his head so I could run and never look back. Now I’m on the run. And on a planet where no one is on your side and people would turn you in for a good meal or a piece of a silver, being on the run on Landu is the last place you want to be. Until he found me.

I won’t survive without him.

I can’t breathe without her. 

Rating: 5/5

Thoughts: *I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.

Oh. My. Gosh. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that I’ve really enjoyed. I’ve been so busy with schoolwork and finishing up my high school career that until recently, I’ve had to put this blog on hold. I’m pleased to be back with new book reviews, as well as new content.

The Other Side of Gravity is a book that I made time to read during my studies. I would sneak a few pages during dinner, before going to bed, or between long study sessions. With some books, this would have never worked, but this fast paced and action-packed novel kept me on the edge of  my seat whenever I got a chance to read. 

The plot of the novel is quite interesting, and the narrative features both Sophelia’s and Maxton’s alternating point of views, which allowed for different insight on the same events. In some novels, this can be a bit annoying, as the same events are described by both characters, but in this novel, the point of views pick off where the other left off for the most part, with repeated sections only for the sake of clarity or to show drastically different ideas. 

There were plenty of quotable moments, and I made sure to capture many of them with the highlight feature of my kindle for future reference. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Because your soul, on this soulless planet, sticks out like one star in a starless sky. And it’s beautiful.”
  • “He said that people don’t make mistakes, they just make a learning curve for everybody else.”
  • “You are worth more than what is in your pockets. You’re worth what’s in your mind and what’s in your heart.”

These quotes encompass just a small fraction of the lovely lines and dialogue that inhabit this novel. The author’s way with words certainly shines, especially in the dialogue between Maxton and Sophelia.

Speaking of the characters, they were actually quite believable. Maxton is the perfect blend of respectful, realistic, and daring. He’s a black market dealer who knows what he wants and needs for his family, but also knows that other people’s lives are important as well. He’s compassionate, and just the person that Sophelia needs. 

Speaking of Sophelia, she’s simultaneously broken and strong, with a quick wit, a protective shell, but also a sense of duty and justice. Both characters are definitely characters who could be looked up to as role models for teenagers. 

I’m excited to see where this new series will go, and I can’t wait to read the second book. Shelly Crane obviously knows her craft, and creates intricate and intriguing worlds and characters that come to life in the reader’s mind. Fans of Marie Lu’s Legend and Veronica Roth’s Insurgent will love this book.

Review: Creep Con by Kim Firmston

Synopsis: Feeling like an outsider in a new city and at a new school, Mariam finds that her love of comic-book superheroes overlaps with the interests of a new friend who is otaku, crazy about manga and anime. Together, Mariam and Tya plan their costumes for the big fan convention. Mariam is comfortable with her choice of character, partly because as Haruhi, she can dress in a costume that doesn’t bare too much skin.

When Tya can’t go to the convention, Mariam is relieved to meet up with some boys who are dressed as the rest of the group from Haruhi’s manga. Rick, dressed as Haruh”s love interest, insists that Mariam spend all her time with him, doing things that their characters like to do and playing out their romance. When he tries to physically force himself on her, Mariam realizes that Rick is taking the game way too seriously, but how can she escape his attention?

This novel explores the appealing world of comic books and graphic novels that has growing numbers of young people exploring role playing and attending fan conventions. 

Rating: 3/5

Thoughts: *I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.

As a fan of anime, manga, and comic books, I felt at home with this novel. Many recognizable shows and characters, such as Haruhi of Ouran High School Host Club and the countries of Hetalia, were mentioned, some of which even come to play big roles in the plot. 

Despite this book having references to things that I’m interested in, it fell short for me in a variety of ways. 

The plot was very slow at the beginning, and it felt like there was less of the actual Con than Mariam’s personal life, which consists of her extremely over protective mother, (even my mom isn’t that over protective!) her new friend Tya, who gets her interested in Anime, and her trying to keep in contact with her old friends via video chat. The characters seemed to be mostly stereotypes, with the sweet, yet manipulative prince charming, the overly-excited

To be honest, Mariam felt like a bit of a push-over. Sure, she was dealing with manipulative characters (Rick, and to some extent, Tya,) but she should have had more of a backbone in order to keep from doing things she wasn’t comfortable with. I believe that she could serve as an example of what not to do, such as leaving crowded areas while in dangerous situations and always going with a friend in crowded unfamiliar places. She was our main character, and she seemed to be a very flat character. There was nothing about her that really made me want to root for her, and I didn’t feel any connections aside from our shared love of comics and anime. 

Still, I won’t say that it wasn’t a good book. There were plenty of amusing pop culture references and it’s definitely an eye opener for people who go to cons. No matter what they say about cosplay and consent, there are always people who will abuse the fun of the con and ruin it for others. People planning to go to cons will probably learn a bit from this book. 

Fans of Gamer Girl by Mari Mancusi will enjoy this novel, as well as anyone who wants to read about Comic/Anime culture and conventions. People planning on attending a con in the future will find this to be an enlightening cautionary novel. 

My Favorite Book Cover Trends

They say to never judge a book by it’s cover, but a visually appealing book cover usually has some sort of affect on the books we read. There are certain trends in the creation of book covers that sometimes tell you what type of book you’ll be getting. A book cover for an woman’s romance will look very different than a young adult paranormal novel. I decided to examine what I personally love in a book cover, and to share it with you all.

4. Eyes. Staring, Unblinking Eyes.

If you browse the free ebooks of Amazon or the the user created covers of Wattpad or Figment, you’re guaranteed to find a good number of eyes on the cover. As common as they are, I can’t shake my love of these covers. They’re overdone and almost stereotypical. (I bet that if a cover has an eye on it, some character has specially colored eyes. Oooooh.) Still, I’ve had my share of putting google-imaged searched eyes on my short stories and posting them online. *Cringes* I can’t discredit that a staring eye does draw me in a little bit, before immediately unsettling me.

3. The (White) Girl in a Pretty Dress

No one can deny that these are some gorgeous and attention grabbing covers. Featuring pretty (white) girls and envy-inducing ball gowns, these novels appeal to the female young adult audience. The issue that people often have with the “Pretty Dress” trend is that the pretty dresses often have nothing to do with the novel’s actual content (though novels like those of the Luxe series and Wither do feature dressy ball gowns. I think that the reason why I love this common and at times over-done cover trope is because it’s just nice to look at the pretty dresses and feel just a little more royal than usual. This trend, like most covers, does suffer from not having many POC on the covers, but that’s partially the fault of the actual text as well.

2. Symbolic Objects

There’s nothing like a simple, relatively basic book cover featuring a symbolic image of something from the novel. Whether it be Katniss’s Mockingjay pin in THG or the actual circus in The Night Circus, these covers often feature a dramatic element of the novel’s plot without giving anything away. I like the subtle nature of this trend, and that subtle, yet still important nature will lead us to the last trend:

1. Graphic, Contemporary Novels

This is my favorite YA Book Cover trend is definitely the trend that I often see with YA contemporary novels. Though the covers can range from bold and colorful to subtle and subdued, most books of this trend are still inviting and interesting to look at. Think of The Fault in Our Stars, or The Sun is Also a Star. These novels are perfect for reading on the train or in public, as the cover is so plain…ly bold. The cover itself doesn’t say as much about the book as other trends and tropes do. Trust me, I could go on all day about why I love these covers so much, and I have plenty more examples that I might share in the future.

That’s it for today, Starlight-Readers. What’s your favorite book cover trend? What’s your all time favorite book cover?

Review: We Own The Night by Ashley Poston


As a candy store employee by day, and mysterious deejay “Niteowl” by night, eighteen-year-old Ingrid North is stuck between rock ‘n roll and a hard place. She can’t wait to get out of her tiny hometown of Steadfast, Nebraska (population three hundred and forty-seven) to chase her dreams, but small-town troubles keep getting in the way. She can’t abandon her grandmother with Alzheimer’s, or her best friend Micah–who she may or may not be in love with.

But for one hour each Saturday, she escapes all of that. On air, she isn’t timid, ugly-sweater-wearing Ingrid North. She’s the funny and daring Niteowl. Every boy’s manic pixie dream girl. Fearless. And there is one caller in particular– Dark and Brooding–whose raspy laugh and snarky humor is just sexy enough to take her mind off Micah. Not that she’s in love with Micah or anything. Cause she’s not. 

As her grandmother slips further away and Micah begins dating a Mean-Girls-worthy nightmare, Ingrid runs to the mysterious Dark and Brooding as a disembodied voice to lean on, only to fall down a rabbit hole of punk rockstars, tabloid headlines, and kisses that taste like bubble tea. But the man behind the voice could be surprising in all the right, and wrong, ways.

And she just might find that her real life begins when Niteowl goes off the air.

Rating: 5/5

Thoughts: *I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.

As of this late, contemporary, post-high school, pre-college books are officially my thing. Saying goodbye to the past, embracing the future, and experiencing new things are all part of my near future as I prepare to graduate from high school (I’m graduating today, actually!) and leave to college next year, as they are part of Ingrid North’s life in this novel. While our lives are very different (I attended a large school with a graduating class of about 700 versus her class of 30-ish students, and I run a book blog, as opposed to her saturday night radio show) I think that the experience of making big life decisions and letting go of the people you’ve always known is one shared by many people in the 17-19 age range.  

In addition to making big life decisions, there’s also the concepts of unrequited love, unaware love, and family love. I won’t say how or in who, but the relationships that Ingrid forms with those around her are very realistic. There are fights and moments of irrationality and dark emotions, which is so much better than in some novels in which the friends never fight. There are real life issues as well, such as grief, bullying and health issues. This novel isn’t just about Ingrid’s radio show; it’s about her experiences just after high school graduation, which just so happens to include her radio show and potential internship.

Speaking of the that, author Ashley Poston expertly balanced the different aspects of Ingrid’s life, making sure that her family, friends, and radio show all got their time. Additionally, the band Roman Holiday, which I just found out is from the companion novel to this book, called The Sound of Us, is interwoven throughout the book, be it through suggested hints during the radio show, or actually mentioned by the characters. We Own the Night is actually the “sequel” to The Sound of Us, but rest assured that you don’t need to read them in any particular order! You’re not missing out on anything. I am excited to actually read the Sound of us, though. It’s next on my TBR list!

All-in-all, this book is great for those in the transition period after high school, or for high school seniors ready to leave the nest. Fans of Cori McCarthy’s You Were Here will love this contemporary young adult novel. 

Be sure to pick up your copy when this novel comes out next month on June 28th! For now, add it to your Goodreads TBR list!