Hello, world! How’s your weekend? I hope you had a fantastic time! Haha, mine wasn’t exactly exciting because I caught a cold last Friday and had a terrible sore throat, runny nose AND a fever. 😥 But gladly, I slept through the past few days and now I feel much better. 🙂 Therefore, I decided to share something more exciting than the other bookish news I posted previously!
The biggest difference for today’s book blitz is that I’m actually going to read and review this book SOON (within 1 or 2 weeks) because the whole story sounds fabulous and ahh, just wait until you read the first chapter, which is right DOWN BELOW this post! 😀
As the title inferred, I’ll be highlighting this beautiful, cosmic YA Sci-Fi novel called Colliding Skies, written by (the 2018 debut author) Debbie Zaken and published by the one and only Oftomes Publishing. (P.S. In case you’re not familiar with this publisher, it’s created by the booktuber, Benjamin Alderson @ Benjaminoftomes.)
Ok, enough chitchats; let’s get started, shall we?
Before we take a look at the synopsis, could we all please take a moment to appreciate how EXTREMELY OTHERWORLDLY, EXTREMELY GORGEOUS this cover is?? Like, whoa, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so beautiful, no, even “beautiful” isn’t enough to describe the striking charm of this baby. No kidding, I could stare at this cover for an entire day without doubt. 😀
What is COLLIDING SKIES about?
Since Skye Reilly can remember, she has been looking up to the stars. With high school graduation upon her, her telescope in one hand and her college acceptance letter in the other, she has life as meticulously mapped out as her star chart. That is, until the Celeians arrive and she meets Ethan, an alluring alien. Ethan collides into her like an asteroid, causing a gravitational shift in Skye’s trajectory and hurling her life into a cataclysmic collision course of interplanetary proportions.
The Celeians promise many things. An end to disease, global warming, and famine. The knowledge to help humankind. Despite the suspicions surrounding the intriguing aliens and rising anti-alien protests, Skye gives Ethan her trust, and eventually her heart. The very heart he could stop with a lethal electrifying touch of his hand.
When the Magistrate, a council of alien leaders, threatens to put an end to their interspecies relationship, following her heart could cost Skye her life and the lives of everyone she loves.
Not even light can escape the pull of a black hole.
And the book is pitched as…
…which is perfect for me because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE The 5th Wave trilogy (though not the third book) and I’ve heard great things about this TV series, Starcrossed. *Duly noted: Squeeze some time to watch this show!*
One more step towards the said sneak peek…
Alright, alright, you’re in for a treat *finally*!!!
A PERFECT FIRST date is supposed to end with a perfect first kiss. My first date with Taylor Manning ended with the beginning of the battle for the human race.
I’d been crushing on Taylor since the start of senior year. Sitting beside him on a picnic blanket under the moonlight with the nerves bouncing around my stomach like tiny rubber balls, the fate of humankind was the furthest thing from my mind.
“Did you enjoy the tour?” Taylor leaned in, pulling out a leaf that must have gotten caught in my hair.
“Yeah. This place is amazing.” I glanced at the sandstone Corinthian columns standing grandly in the meadow. The moon, large and lustrous, turned the exotic plants and flowers of the National Arboretum into a magical forest in the middle of Washington D.C.. Taylor had arranged for a full moon tour just for the two of us, followed by a private picnic that we were now enjoying. From the fancy plastic plates and champagne glasses that looked real enough to break, to the elegant napkins, every little detail was perfect.
Really? You didn’t mind the four mile hike? Not exactly your average date.”
I flashed him a smile. “No. That’s why I liked it. I’m a bit of an outdoors girl, especially at night.”
“At night?” He lifted a curious eyebrow and his lips twitched slightly. “Should I be concerned? Are you like a vampire tracker or demon hunter?”
I laughed. “No. You’re safe. What I mean is, I like to look at the stars.” I glanced up at the dark sky. “Look.” I pointed to the canopy of stars over our heads. “See that W over there? That’s Cassiopeia the Queen.”
“Where?” Taylor’s brows scrunched together while his gaze followed my finger.
“There. Just west of us.” I traced the constellation’s shape in the air.
“Oh, yeah. I see it now.” His eyes focused on the dimly lit shape in the sky my index finger was on.
“It’s called that because it kind of looks like a crown. It’s a great constellation to know when you’re trying to find the harder stuff, like the Perseus double cluster or the Andromeda galaxy.” I bit my lip to stop my inner geek from rambling. “I mean, if you’re into that stuff.”
His gaze fell from the sky to me. Curiosity warmed his eyes, the corners of his mouth twisting into a smile. “Well, it sounds like you’re into that stuff.”
I lifted my shoulders. “My dad is kind of a space geek. He used to take my brother and me stargazing as kids.”
“Hence, the name Skye?” he smirked.
“Yeah, I guess I got lucky he didn’t name me Ursa Minor.” A nervous giggle escaped my lips. The way he looked at me with those brown eyes, rich like butterscotch, sent the tiny rubber balls rocketing in my stomach.
“Do you still stargaze a lot?”
Darn it. A trick question. The answer was: all the time. But Taylor was this cool, kind-of-a-loner guy. Smart, sure. After all, he was taking AP Physics with me this last semester of senior year. That’s how we started talking. Still, sounding like I had a Mr. Spock costume in my closet (It was my dad’s. I was just storing it. Maybe.) was probably not the impression I wanted to make.
“Sometimes. You know, for my dad.” I raked a hand through my hair, letting the dark tresses fall over my face, and looked down. An array of cheese, fruits, salads and sandwiches laid out on the green blanket. The perfect opportunity to steer the focus away from my geekgirling and tease him for a change. “So, the private tour and a picnic. I’m guessing they don’t do this for everyone. One of the perks of being a Capitol Hill brat?”
A sheepish grin flitted across his lips. “Yeah, my mother is on the Board of Directors. She gives them a nice contribution every year.”
“Right. Must be a sweet life.” The town of McLean was mere miles from the nation’s capital, and like many kids in my school, Taylor came from D.C. elite. Me? Not so much.
“You have no idea.” The corners of his mouth twitched as he glided the back of his hand across my cheek. His fingers traveled from my jaw up to my lips.
My insides tangled. Our eyes locked and my breath caught in my throat, waiting for the kiss that was about to come. But his face tensed, and he let me go.
“Skye, um, there’s something I need to tell you.” He lowered his gaze and grabbed the half-empty bottle of water next to him.
Disappointment swelled through me, squeezing the muscles in my stomach.
Darn it! I shouldn’t have gone full-on geek like that.
I looked down at my half-eaten turkey sandwich, hoping he couldn’t see the fire of humiliation on my face.
“You know how I told you we moved because of my father?” His fingers clutched the water bottle so hard the plastic crackled.
My head snapped up. So this wasn’t about me geeking out? Taylor’s father was some high-ranking lieutenant that had been appointed to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I still didn’t get what his dad had to do with him not kissing me.
“Well, that’s not entirely true. I mean, it’s true. My father is a top-brass Lieutenant General in the military. Sixth generation West Point graduate. We transferred here from Boston two years ago for his job. But there’s more to it.” He rubbed the back of his neck and took a deep breath. “I ran into some trouble in my sophomore year. Got kicked out of boarding school for crashing into a teacher’s car. I was drunk, well uh, I was drunk for most of that year.” His gaze went to the water bottle still in his hands, his fingers tapping on it hard. “So my parents put me in rehab. When my father was appointed to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it seemed like a good time to move.”
“Rehab? Oh.” My mouth was as round as the ‘O’ sound coming from it. I swallowed hard. “Like the kind for drugs and alcohol.”
His face strained. “Mostly alcohol. Drugs, not really. Drinking was more my thing. My way of rebelling against my authoritarian father, to quote my therapist. But I’ve been clean and sober for two years.” His gaze met mine. “Listen Skye, I like you and I want to be honest. I get it, though. You’re like this…and I’m ….” He waved his hands around, gesturing to himself. “I guess what I’m trying to say is, if it bothers you, I get it.”
I cocked my head and looked at him. “Wait. What exactly am I, and what are you?”
“You’re…” His lips pressed into a thin line, but his eyes warmed into that golden brown. “Kind of perfect. And I’m not.”
A rush of heat glided through my belly and up my neck. “You think I’m perfect?” Even after my geekfest?
He didn’t answer, but the smile tilting half his mouth sent a small meteor shower of nerves blasting inside me.
I swallowed. “Are we talking about something that’s in the past or in the present?”
“Long past,” he said without hesitation, his eyes fastened on mine. “I did some pretty stupid things and was in a dark place for a while. But I’m never going back.”
I stared at the handsome boy in front of me, eyes warm under his cropped, dark hair. Maybe his past wasn’t perfect, but the honesty on his face told me more about him than his past did. “Then, it doesn’t matter, does it? And you should be proud of yourself. Not ashamed. It takes a lot of strength and courage to overcome what you did and even more courage to own up to it.”
His grin widened, until it reflected my own. “You sure? I mean, I kind of thought you’d never want to see me again. You’re an all AP classes, straight-A student future Astrophysicist.”
“You take AP classes, too. And are you calling me a nerd? Because you know, we nerds have pasts.”
His eyebrow jerked up. “Really? What’d you do time for? Stealing a library book?”
“One? Please. Who do you think swiped all the Astronomy Today magazines from the Monroe High library?”
We laughed. When our gaze met again, his eyes became pools of smoldering caramel. He cradled my face in his hands, lingering so close I felt the warmth of his breath. My head reeled from the anticipation. His lips brushed mine, magnifying the meteor shower inside me. My mouth molded itself to his, as his fingers curled around the nape of my neck and laced through my hair.
A crashing boom split the night, causing me to jump away from Taylor with a gasp. My heart, already beating fast from our kiss, sprinted in my chest. I pressed a hand against it, feeling silly for being startled by a little thunder.
“Holy shit,” Taylor muttered from beside me.
I turned to him, but he wasn’t looking at me. This time, it was his eyes that focused on the sky. A colossal, cylinder-shaped black cloud headed our way. Deep rings encircled its edges, twisting and turning as they covered the city in a murky haze.
“My God. What is that?” I stared at the powerful storm barreling toward us.
A strong gust blew, filling my nostrils with the scent of wet earth. Wind whipped my hair in my face. Leaves and debris whirled around us. Lightning struck in the distance one after the other. Thick drops of rain began to fall, soaking our clothes and hair. We got up to make a run for it when more lightning bolts struck, illuminating the belly of the storm in an eerie blue glow.
“Did you see that?” Taylor shouted over the thunder. “There’s something there. In the cloud. Like a plane or something.”
I squinted at where Taylor was pointing. For a split second, there was a tiny flash of red light, like that of a plane. But in a blink, it was gone and all I could see through the heavy rain was the massive onyx cloud swallowing the city.
“Come on, let’s get out of here.” Taylor helped me up.
We packed up the picnic basket and ran back to the car through the pummeling rain.
With the behemoth black cloud hovering over Washington D.C., we headed back to McLean. From a distance, the storm looked like a monster twisting in the sky, with its glowing blue light emanating from within the bulging, murky mass —a monster about to suck the city into oblivion.
The torrential rain and lightning followed us all the way to my driveway, making the thirty minute drive a little taxing. We sat in the car, listening to the heavy drops beating against the roof, the wind swirling outside. Taylor looked out the window. The lights in my house were on. Despite my reassuring texts, I knew Mom and Dad were waiting for me to get inside. Taylor turned to me, his hair still damp from the rain and a lazy smile on his lips. “Go with me to prom.”
“Prom?” My eyes widened. Not because he asked as a ginormous storm was about to hit, but because…prom.
“Yeah, you know, prom. A formal gathering of high school students, typically at a hall or other venue where they dance under the ever so watchful eyes of adult chaperons? Why do you look so scared?”
My lips pressed into a tight smile. “I know what prom is. I just…Isn’t it a little lame?” Or rather, I was lame. I was good with telescopes and star charts. Not people and dancing.
Taylor smirked. “Okay, so you’re not into the whole prom thing. But I like you, and I want to go with you.”
“Wait.” My gaze narrowed in on him. “Is that why you arranged the moonlight tour and the picnic? To ask me to prom?”
He lifted his shoulders, a smile curling his lips. “I guess I probably should’ve checked the weather for monster storms, huh?”
The laugh that escaped my throat evaporated in the heat of his gaze. He pushed back a lock of wet hair that had stuck to my face and pressed his lips to my cheek. “Come on, Skye, go with me to prom. If it’s so lame, we’ll make a quick appearance and bail.” His mouth glided to my jawline, moving inch by inch closer to my lips. My resistance began to melt.
“Promise we can leave at any time?”
I gave him a questionable look. “You were a Boy Scout?”
His lips were behind my ear, and I felt his sly grin. “Yeah, just before I was a juvenile delinquent.”
Resistance officially gone. “Oh, all right. I mean, since you went through all that trouble.”
He kissed me again. His mouth, hot and soft on mine, drowned out the growing storm. He pulled away, his eyes bright, and turned his head toward the window. The rain pounded the windshield faster than the wipers could go. The winds were so strong, even the heavy oak tree in the front yard was having trouble holding its own.
“Let me walk you in, it’s crazy out there.”
“Are you going to be okay driving home? It’s like a hurricane is about to hit.” I gave him a worried look. The rumble of thunder reverberated around us.
“Yeah, I’ll be all right. Come on. We’ll make a run for it.”
We reached the front door soaked, the portico offering no shelter from the winds hurling even more water at us. Taylor kissed me softly on the lips, the drops of water running from our hair down to our faces. “Goodnight, Skye.
“Text me when you get home.”
“I will.” He planted a kiss on the top of my drenched head and ran back to his car.
I stood there for a second watching him, the rain pelting down, the thunder crashing over and over. The force of the winds looked like they could take him with them.
I hadn’t taken more than a few steps into the foyer before Mom appeared with a towel.
“Skye, thank heaven you’re home. I was so relieved when I saw you pulling in. This storm is insane.”
“Yeah, tell me about it.” I dried my face and wrung my hair with the towel. The drops of water falling from my clothes saturated the woven rug.
“Oh, honey, go change and I’ll make you something hot to drink.”
I bounded upstairs and changed out of my wet clothes. When I came back down, my parents and Chase, my brother, were in the family room watching the news on TV.
“How bad is it?” I asked, staring at the giant black cloud on the screen.
“Bad,” Mom said. “They say it’s the biggest storm to hit D.C. in a hundred years.”
We watched the reporter, his raincoat doing little to protect him from the hammering rain. Behind him, only parts of the Capitol building could be seen under the strange blue glow of the lightning. The famous D.C. skyline was buried under a murky veil. Even the towering pillar of the Washington Monument, normally visible on the cloudiest of days, had disappeared. The drenched reporter shouted into his microphone, but his voice was swallowed up by the roaring winds. Captions scrolled across the screen.
“The Washington Metropolitan Area and Northern Virginia are under a State of Emergency due to an enormous Supercell thunderstorm. Weather specialists have never seen a storm of this size and magnitude form so quickly. Within a matter of minutes, the entire Washington, D.C. area was engulfed by this gigantic cloud. Winds are over one hundred and fifty miles an hour and grapefruit sized hail is falling, causing damage to cars and homes. The severe conditions are preventing rescue and relief authorities from accessing the area at this time. Most of the city is without power and phones. The President and his family have been evacuated to safety. Everyone is urged to stay in their homes until further notice.”
“Dad, do you think the storm will destroy the White House?” Chase was doing his best to hide it, but I could see a hint of fear on his thirteen-year-old face. Just then, he looked more like Mom than usual—the same small face, blonde, wavy hair and hazel eyes.
“It’s survived catastrophes before; it’ll survive now. It’s the human casualties I’m more worried about,” Dad answered. The concern on his face crinkled the corners of his eyes. Green, like mine. At the worried glances Chase and I gave him, Dad added, “It will be okay. We’re in the safe zone of the storm.” He turned to me, doing a poor job of biting back the smile forming on his lips. “So, Skye, how was your date?”
“Dad, seriously. Do we need to talk about this now?” I stared at the screen.
He shrugged, the same amused grin still plastered on his face. “Seems as good a time as any.”
“John, stop teasing her,” Mom said.
“Oh, come on, Mom,” Chase joined in. “It’s not like Skye has a date every week…or year.”
I let out a sigh. Dad loved to tease me about as much as Chase loved to joke about my non-existent love life—or almost non-existent. “My date was fine, thank you.”
“Fine? Ouch! Back in my day, if a girl described a date as ‘fine’…”
“Okay, Dad, no.” I held up my hands, as if that could somehow stop him. “I don’t want to know what it was like back in your day. It was fine, okay? More than fine. We’re going to prom together.”
“You’re going to prom?” Chase’s eyebrows jumped almost to his hairline.
“Yeah, prom. Why is that so hard to believe?” I snapped at him.
“Prom, huh? So you really like this Taylor.” Humor coated Dad’s voice.
I let out a loud sigh. “Mom, please make him stop.”
She laughed under her breath. “Okay, that’s enough torturing her.” Then she glanced at me, a too happy smile on her face. “But I’m glad you’re going to prom.”
I gave her an unabashed eye roll, and we continued watching the news in much-welcomed silence. The story was breaking news on every channel. Television anchors interviewed meteorologists and experts on climate change offering all kinds of theories, but no one could explain the bizarre natural phenomenon. Supercell thunderstorms were common in the Great Plains, not the Northeast.
When the news became repetitive, I went to bed, but the relentless thunder and strong winds that shook my window made it hard to sleep. I was lying under the blanket reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for the hundredth time when I heard voices filtering in under the crack in my bedroom door. I put the book down and listened to my parents’ low, frustrated voices. Tiptoeing on the hardwood floors to my parent’s room, I flattened my back against the wall. I could hear them; their bedroom door wasn’t fully closed.
“You can’t go out in this kind of weather,” Mom argued with Dad.
“I have to. I can’t just ignore orders from the head of the CIA and the Director of National Intelligence.” Dad sounded calm, but an edge carried in his voice.
Something was wrong. Dad may have worked for the CIA, but he was hardly Jason Bourne. He was a scientist.
“This is crazy. Where are you going?” Mom asked.
He let out a deep sigh before responding. “I can’t tell you. I’ve been instructed not to.”
I couldn’t see Mom’s face, but I felt the sudden fear take over. It mirrored the one rising inside of me.
“I really don’t like this, Jonathan. Putting yourself in danger. What could they possibly need you for that can’t wait until it’s safe to travel?” Her voice bordered on pleading.
“I don’t know. I’m sorry, but this is important. Honey, everything will be fine. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
She sighed in defeat. “Just promise me you’ll be careful.”
I tiptoed back to my room and sat on the edge of my bed, dread anchoring me in place. What kind of research was urgent enough to bring Dad in during a raging storm? I was about to grab my phone from the nightstand to message Taylor when the screen lit up with his incoming call.
“Have you seen anything unusual?” he asked before I could get a word out.
“Aside from the supersized storm clobbering the city? Yes. My dad was just called into some urgent meeting with the Director of National Intelligence.”
A long pause came through the line.
“Hello? Are you still there?” I asked.
“My father just left to meet with the National Security Council. What does your father do again?”
“He’s an aerospace engineer. He like, breaks apart enemy weapon aircraft systems and puts them back together to see how much of a threat they are.”
“Enemy aircraft? Like planes?”
I remembered the light I’d thought I’d seen in the cloud. But no plane could survive a bombardment of lightning and grapefruit-sized hail. “Do you think it’s the same meeting your father is in?”
“It’s definitely the same. The NSC is the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Director of National Intelligence.” He paused, tension building up on both sides of the line. “I’m telling you, there was something in the cloud. Maybe not a plane, but… What if this is some kind of attack?”
“Like terrorists?” My throat went dry.
“Your father is a weapons expert, the President was evacuated, and top levels of the military and intelligence are being mobilized. What else could it be?”
“But storms aren’t man-made.” This had to be some sort of freak natural phenomenon.
“Skye, does that look like a natural storm to you? My father said something about red lights.”
“Red lights?” I wandered to the window and peeled the curtain back. The lightning in the distance lit up the night sky while Taylor’s words twisted my stomach into an uneasy knot.
“Turn on the television.” Taylor’s shaking voice broke the tense silence echoing in my ear. “What do you see?” The words stumbled out.
I turned to the small flat screen on my wall, flicked it on, and stared at the image: the onyx cloud with its voluminous rings draping the city, its unnerving blue glow the only light in the sky.
“The same storm.”
“Look for it. Do you see the flashes of red light?”
The kink tightened around my stomach while my eyes searched the screen hard for the pulse of red I’d seen on our picnic. And then I saw it, a short flicker. So fast, I couldn’t be sure I’d seen anything at all. But a second later, it flashed again. This time I gasped.
“Oh, my God, Taylor, you were right. There was something there all along. What if it’s some kind of chemical warfare? And why isn’t there anything on the news about this? We can’t be the only ones who see it.”
“I don’t know,” he responded. “But whatever this is, I think we’re about to find out. The storm’s weakening. You see the clouds dissipating at the bottom?”
The bottom ring did appear to be getting thinner. The stone pillar base of the Washington Monument was now visible under the blue flashes of lightning, which were also weakening. Just then, a row of red lights flashed illuminating two large, circular vents at the bottom of what looked like a concave metal shape.
Taylor cursed. “No way. No effing way.”
“What is that?” A cold shiver ran down my arms, making my voice tremble.
“I know this sounds crazy. I know how impossible it is, but the lights, that metal thing…The storm is a smokescreen.”
He took a sharp breath. “Skye, this isn’t a terror attack. It’s an invasion.”
(From: Oftomes Publishing’s Post)
Last but not least, you could now pre-order Colliding Skies and send a proof to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to win some GALAXY inspired treats as shown in the picture below! How awesome is that?
*sigh* I really hope this book does live up to my expectations! I’ll definitely share my thoughts about this one when I’m finished! ❤
What do you think about this book/cover/sneak peek? Are you interested in this book? Have you added to your TBR on Goodreads?
Until next time,