book reviews, spoiler free

Harley in the Sky

Book Review

38326343._SY475_Harley In The Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Rating: XXXX

Published March 10th by Ink Road Books

“I love the circus. I love the mystery, and the wonder, and the way every act transports my soul into another dimension. I love the way it makes me feel as if the world is in reverse and upsidedown all at once – like there’s starlight beneath my feet and the ocean above my head, and every impossible dream can come true with a single whisper.”

Harley Milano has dreamed of being a trapeze artist for as long as she can remember. With parents who run a famous circus in Las Vegas, she spends almost every night in the big top watching their lead aerialist perform, wishing with all her soul that she could be up there herself one day.

After a huge fight with her parents, who continue to insist she go to school instead, Harley leaves home, betrays her family and joins the rival travelling circus Maison du Mystère. There, she is thrust into a world that is both brutal and beautiful, where she learns the value of hard work, passion and collaboration. But at the same time, Harley must come to terms with the truth of her family and her past—and reckon with the sacrifices she made and the people she hurt in order to follow her dreams. 

As you may have seen from when I posted the cover reveal for Harley and a Book Tag (have a go yourself and you could be in with a chance to win a set of art cards from the book!) a few weeks back I was lucky enough to be a part of the Street Team for Akemi’s newest book and had the chance to read it early. I adored Starfish and Summer Bird Blue and I was so pleased to be given this chance, although I’m not primarily a contemporary reader Akemi’s books just seem to have this spark and this energy to them and she’s become an insta-buy author for me.

First of all, I haven’t been to a circus for years but the moment we see both of the circuses in this book through Harley’s eyes I find myself filled with the wonder and magic of it all that Akemi has captured so incredibly well. She really manages to anchor you into Harley’s point of view which I think is vitally important for a character who makes rash and sometimes hard to understand choices but put in her mindset it’s much easier to rationalise the seemingly irrational thoughts. Harley is, at times a difficult character but as a teen who often tried to run away (thankfully with much less success)  and who to this day still makes decisions based too heavily on strong, fleeting emotions I feel like I got her and that a lot of us possibly used to be her to some extent.

The cast of characters, Harley included, is a wonderfully diverse mix of cultural backgrounds and full of colourful personalities who are hard not to get immediately attached to, I particularly loved Dexi and Vixen! I found Vas an interesting character and thought he played mysterious stranger well, with all of the information about his past and motives coming out in a way that wasn’t exactly hidden but forthcoming due to Vas purely being a private person which was a nice touch.

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Although for me the characters really make this book the plot is still an enjoyable one and although a little predictable at times, especially the romance I still enjoyed it immensely and although there are certainly some wonderful and painful moments I found it a much lighter read than Starfish and Summer Bird Blue making this a bit of a comfort read for me, especially the around the middle of the story. Don’t let my words fool you though, there are still definitely some tough moments (trigger warnings include depression, mood swings, heart attack and references to suicidal ideation).

One of my random, favourite things about this book that didn’t fail to make me smile every time was the sheer amount of “nerdy” references. ‘Nerd’ culture is, I think, more popular than ever at the moment which is brilliant but other than the occasional mention of Harry Potter I haven’t seen it reflected in many books (this may be because of my habit of not reading a lot of contemporary) and it was very enjoyable, it also seems me and Akemi have a lot of the same taste in fandoms!

Harley in the Sky is out March 10th (in just three weeks) so make sure to get your pre-orders in and get ready to visit the Circus with Harley!

 

Tags

Harley in the Sky, Circus Book Tag

tag Thursday

One of my most anticipated releases for 2020 is out in just 47 days! Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman (author of Starfish and Summer Bird Blue) is out on March 10th and let me tell you I’ve been excited for this beautiful gold book for a good while now! In-fact you might remember my cover reveal post last year when I became a part of the street team. I’ve now read an advanced reading copy of the book and let me tell you, folks, you are in for a treat so don’t forget to pre-order!

I decided to drum up some extra excitement on the run-up to release by creating a Harley in the sky/Circus themed book tag! I won’t tag anyone in particular as if you see it and like, you are more than welcome to have a go yourself (please link back to me in your posts) and you could be in with a chance of winning a set of Harley in the Sky art cards! Don’t forget to also check out all of the other lovely challenges that have been going on and are yet to come!

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RingMaster – What book introduced you to your favourite genre? 
I’m not actually sure what my favourite genre is, either fantasy or Sci-Fi I think. I know for fantasy the book that introduced me was “The Two Princesses Of Barrmere” by Gail Carson Levine. “The Other Boelyn Girl” by Phillipa Greggory introduced me to Historical Fiction and The Vampire Diaries by L.J Smith introduced me to paranormal romance/YA in general but for some reason, I can’t pinpoint a book that got me interested in Sci-Fi which I think was a progression from watching a lot of it on TV and in video games instead.

Acrobatics – A fast-paced read.  
Starsight by Brandon Sanderson is the first book that comes to mind, there are some quiet moments but there are some absolutely adrenaline-filled moments whenever Spensa gets in a cockpit.

Clowns – A book that made you laugh. 
I’m someone who will often cry at a book but I very rarely laugh at them while I’m reading so this one took a fair bit of effort to look back on but in the end, I remembered this PERFECT moment in Finding Home volume two by Hari Conner that had me in absolute fits. Poor Janek.

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Knife thrower – A book that had you on the edge of your seat.  
Obsidio by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I think I had my jaw gritted for most of this book, all of the books in the Illuminae trilogy have had me on edge really which I think is brilliant considering the kind of format it’s presented in. The third one though just felt like all bets were off and anything could happen which is why it was the one I picked for this answer.

Tightrope Walker – A book you just couldn’t put down. 
Sanctuary by V.V James.  This book was a fantastical wild ride that felt almost physically painful to have to stop reading for any length of time. If you haven’t read it, folks, you seriously need to get on it.

Ventriloquist – A book with a great twist. 
*Brings out a list of Lauren James books*
Seriously though, I have to pick just one?

I pick The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James, it’s just done so SO well. The particular twist I’m referring to is a fairly big revelation that I kicked myself for not seeing coming after it blew my mind at 2am, but it’s set up so well and looking back there are so many little clues sprinkled around and it just made so much sense, that’s a great, well-crafted twist to me and this one nails it.

Magician – A book with a magic system you love. 
I have a lot more to find out about it but I love the “creatures” in A Discovery of Witches with the witches, Daemons and Vampires, not just the differences between them but also how we get to see a more scientific approach (to a degree) to the point where they can tell a witches powers, which they seem to inherit genetically from analysing her blood. I’ve only read the first book but I can’t wait to get further into the series and find out more!

Static Trapeze – Best or Worst Cliffhanger. 
Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff. I haven’t decided if it was the best or worst cliffhanger yet but it was definitely one of them. The whole third quarter of that book was insane and the end was just…

I’m so glad that I only had to wait a few weeks between Godsgrave and Darkdawn because I would have lost my mind if I’d had to have waited a full year.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tag and that you’re looking forward to the release of Harley in the Sky just as much as me! You can add it on Goodreads here and you can preorder from Amazon here and Waterstones here (but don’t forget to support your local bookstore if you’re able).

 

 

 

book talk, spoiler free

Harley in the Sky Cover Reveal

It’s been SO difficult to keep this secret the past couple of weeks but as a member of the Harley in the Sky Street Team I was lucky enough to see the cover for Akemi’s newest novel a little earlier and I’ve been in love with it ever since! Harley in the Sky is the next book out by author Akemi Dawn Bowman, award-winning author of Starfish and Summer Bird Blue follows a multiracial teenage girl who dreams of quitting school to become a trapeze artist in her parents’ Las Vegas circus, against their wishes, prompting her to join a rival circus. There, she grows close to a handsome musician and performer—while untangling her family’s complicated past and present.

Would you like to see the cover?

 

 

Are you sure?

 

 

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I love the mix of yellow and bronze, the silhouetted figure, that absolutely gorgeous font and the beautiful stylised pattern in the background that just SCREAMS circus tent to me. You can add Harley in the Sky to your want to read on Goodreads RIGHT NOW.