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Book Review + Giveaway – EXTINCTION OF ALL CHILDREN (Extinction of All Children) by L.J. Epps

EXTINCTION OF ALL CHILDREN (Extinction of All Children #1) by L.J. Epps

EXTINCTION OF ALL CHILDREN (Extinction of All Children #1) by L.J. Epps

4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
A young adult, fantasy novel about a teenager who is the last eighteen-year-old in her territory. There will never be another child; every baby born after her has been taken away. Everyone wonders why she survived.

Emma Whisperer was born in 2080, in the small futuristic world of Craigluy. President Esther, in charge for the last twenty-two years, has divided their world into three territories, separated by classes—the rich, the working class, and the poor—because she believes the poor should not mingle with the others. And, the poor are no longer allowed to have children, since they do not have the means to take care of them.

Any babies born, accidentally or willfully, are killed. Emma is the last eighteen-year-old in her territory; every baby born after her has died. Somehow, she survived this fate.

During the president’s Monday night speech, she announces a party will be held to honor the last child in the territory, Emma Whisperer. Emma must read a speech, expressing how happy she is to be the last eighteen-year-old.

Emma doesn’t like the rules; she doesn’t believe in them. So, she feels she must rebel against them. Her family doesn’t agree with her rebellion, since they are hiding a big secret.

If this secret gets out, it will be disastrous, and deadly, for her family.

During Emma’s journey, she meets—and becomes friends with—Eric. He is one of the guards for the president. She also befriends Samuel, another guard for the president, who is summoned to watch over her. As Emma meets new people, she doesn’t know who she can trust. Yet, she finds herself falling for a guy, something which has never happened before.

After doing what she feels is right, Emma finds herself in imminent danger.

In the end, she must make one gut-wrenching decision, a decision that may be disastrous for them all.

“Fans of dystopian fantasy will devour this book. L. J. Epps writes a story that, while dealing with heavy subject matter, is still a light, enjoyable read. This dystopian fantasy novel ignites the imagination, and is a must read for fans of The Hunger Games and the Divergent Trilogy.”
—Kristina Gemmell, Beta Reader

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My Review
I’m a sucker for a good dystopian tale, and one involving the extinction of children has such incredible possibilities, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into this. Emma Whisperer is the last child born in Territory L (lower class). Someone had to be the last child born when the president decrees that those in the lower class do not have the resources necessary to raise children. But that doesn’t stop those who lost children or younger siblings from hating Emma for something she had no control over. Because if a woman happens to get pregnant even after all the precautions and birth control provided by the government, the woman is forced to carry that baby to term, only to have the baby executed and the woman send to prison. It seems over-the-top cruel at times, until I remember all the horrors I read in THE HUNGER GAMES and THE HANDMAIDS TALE. There are a lot of similarities to both of those stories as well as DIVERGENT. In addition to Territory L, there is Territory M (middle class) and Territory U (upper class) where people aspire to move to, though it’s not rare and not easy to qualify. As time goes by, Emma discovers she was the last child allowed to be born for a reason. As she uncovers even more secrets, she is more determined than ever to change things in her world. For everyone.

Plot
While not action-packed, the plot does move at a steady pace. There were a few intriguing twists that kept me turning the pages despite the lack of action. Even the climax seemed to wrap up too quickly, and that’s one of my only real complaints with the pacing. The main plot centers around Emma and her place in Territory L. Her inability to go with the flow and buck the system at every turn lands her in jail for 30 days where she discovers a lot more than she ever realized about the inner workings of her government. She also meets several young male guards who challenge her in different ways, all of which she is ill-equipped to handle. The first of a trilogy, THE EXTINCTION OF ALL CHILDREN ends with a satisfying conclusion to the book, but with enough anticipation for what comes next, that I’ll be reading the next book in the series for sure.

Characters
The story is more plot driven than character driven and that shows up in the character development. The themes are dark and the characters have a hopelessness about them that carries through the story. No deep flaws are overcome at this stage and no real growth happens yet. But I suspect we’ll get that in the next couple of books in the series.

What I Enjoyed About THE EXTINCTION OF ALL CHILDREN
1. The Concept.
 What a great idea for a story. It has all the elements of the worst dystopian world, including a protagonist I can root for and an antagonist I love to hate.

2. Twists and Turns. More than a few surprises caught me off guard and in several times I was sure I knew what was going to happen, but it turned out I was wrong.

3. Emma. There’s nothing lovable about her, but Emma’s rough edges and harsh exterior are exactly what she needs to survive in her world. She’s part Katniss, part Tris, and part Offred.

4. Theodore. Emma’s brother is both annoying and sweet. The way he respects authority, even an evil regime, is excusable when you realize his family is the most important thing in the world to him.

5. The Settings. The entire Territory L is drab, bleak, grey, and you never lose sight of that through the author’s scene settings.

Bottom Line
A solid start to a dystopian adventure

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About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: EXTINCTION OF ALL CHILDREN
Series: Extinction of All Children #1
Author: L.J. Epps
Release Date: June 3, 2016
Pages: 250
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Rating:
4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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About the Author
L.J. Epps is a lover of all things related to books: fiction and nonfiction novels, as well as biographies and autobiographies. She has also been known to sit and read comic books from cover to cover, several times over.

Over the last few years, L.J. has written several manuscripts; her mission is to publish all of them. She enjoys writing fiction in several genres, including contemporary romance and women’s fiction, as well as young adult dystopian, science fiction and fantasy. She loves to write because it immerses her into another world that is not her own.

Where to Find L.J. Epps
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – EXTINCTION OF ALL CHILDREN (Extinction of All Children) by L.J. Epps

EXTINCTION OF ALL CHILDREN Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for EXTINCTION OF ALL CHILDREN, the first book in the young adult dystopian series, Extinction of All Children, by L.J. Epps. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

EXTINCTION OF ALL CHILDREN (Extinction of All Children #1) by L.J. Epps

EXTINCTION OF ALL CHILDREN (Extinction of All Children #1) by L.J. Epps

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: EXTINCTION OF ALL CHILDREN
Series: Extinction of All Children #1
Author: L.J. Epps
Release Date: June 3, 2016
Genre:
 Young Adult Dystopian
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
A young adult, fantasy novel about a teenager who is the last eighteen-year-old in her territory. There will never be another child; every baby born after her has been taken away. Everyone wonders why she survived.

Emma Whisperer was born in 2080, in the small futuristic world of Craigluy. President Esther, in charge for the last twenty-two years, has divided their world into three territories, separated by classes—the rich, the working class, and the poor—because she believes the poor should not mingle with the others. And, the poor are no longer allowed to have children, since they do not have the means to take care of them.

Any babies born, accidentally or willfully, are killed. Emma is the last eighteen-year-old in her territory; every baby born after her has died. Somehow, she survived this fate.

During the president’s Monday night speech, she announces a party will be held to honor the last child in the territory, Emma Whisperer. Emma must read a speech, expressing how happy she is to be the last eighteen-year-old.

Emma doesn’t like the rules; she doesn’t believe in them. So, she feels she must rebel against them. Her family doesn’t agree with her rebellion, since they are hiding a big secret.

If this secret gets out, it will be disastrous, and deadly, for her family.

During Emma’s journey, she meets—and becomes friends with—Eric. He is one of the guards for the president. She also befriends Samuel, another guard for the president, who is summoned to watch over her. As Emma meets new people, she doesn’t know who she can trust. Yet, she finds herself falling for a guy, something which has never happened before.

After doing what she feels is right, Emma finds herself in imminent danger.

In the end, she must make one gut-wrenching decision, a decision that may be disastrous for them all.

“Fans of dystopian fantasy will devour this book. L. J. Epps writes a story that, while dealing with heavy subject matter, is still a light, enjoyable read. This dystopian fantasy novel ignites the imagination, and is a must read for fans of The Hunger Games and the Divergent Trilogy.”
—Kristina Gemmell, Beta Reader

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Excerpt #1
I take in a deep breath before walking into my family’s house. Our brick home is around a thousand square feet. My father says since it is on the smaller side, it takes a lot less money to heat and cool. The back of the house is like a forest, and the front of the house is on a dirt road with lots of gravel. As soon as I reach the front door, I notice the stench of beans lingering in the air, making the room smell as if a skunk has run through it.

“You’re late,” my brother, Theodore, says. “You know dinner is at six.”

He shoves my arm. He has on dark clothing that mirrors my own.

“Whatever,” I say, rolling my eyes. Another stupid rule. “It’s almost eight.” I glance at the brown clock on the wall. “Shouldn’t you be done?”

“We had to stop what we were doing and watch the box,” he says, then he gulps down a bottle of water.

His Adam’s apple moves in and out, while the bottle crinkles in his hand.

“Yes, the announcements came early.” My father rises from the dining room table. “I’m sure you heard them.”

He walks to the living room where I am.

“I did.” I lower my eyes.

“Where were you?” Mother asks. “We were worried.”

“I know, and I’m sorry, but I’m fine. I watched the announcements from the supply store.”

I know they worry about me, but I also know they won’t ask how I ended up at the supply store, or ask why my jeans are dirty. There is a more pressing question they want to ask.

“Did you see her?” my mother asks.

“Yes,” I reply.

Now that is what they really care about.

“How was she?”

“I guess as good as she can be.” I shrug.

“What does that mean?” my mother asks with a frown. “You’re not giving me any details.”

I sigh. It was the same questions every time I go to the wooded area. Another sigh follows because my heart saddens, seeing how old my mother looks. She is only in her fifties, but I can see the gray strands in her dark hair instantly becoming grayer every time we discuss this. Even when I bring back food, my mother is too tense to eat. Day by day she is growing thinner.

“Emma, answer your mother,” my father says, looking at me with slanted eyes.

“If you want to know how she is, why don’t you go and see her yourself?” I snap back. I’m tired of the theatrics. But it was a stupid question. I know why they can’t go. They aren’t strong enough or fast enough.

“You know your mother moves too slowly. She would never make it there,” my father says, echoing the very words in my head.

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Read the Rest of the Series

Book 2: JOURNEY TO TERRITORY M
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Book 3:JOURNEY TO TERRITORY U
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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About the Author
L.J. Epps is a lover of all things related to books: fiction and nonfiction novels, as well as biographies and autobiographies. She has also been known to sit and read comic books from cover to cover, several times over.

Over the last few years, L.J. has written several manuscripts; her mission is to publish all of them. She enjoys writing fiction in several genres, including contemporary romance and women’s fiction, as well as young adult dystopian, science fiction and fantasy. She loves to write because it immerses her into another world that is not her own.

Where to Find L.J. Epps
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
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Blog Tour – Playlist + Giveaway – UMBRA (Dimension Drift Prequels) by Christina Bauer

UMBRA Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for UMBRA, the second prequel in the young adult fantasy/dystopian series, Dimension Drift Worlds, by Christina Bauer. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, the book’s playlist, and details on her giveaway.

UMBRA (Dimension Drift Prequels #2) by Christina Bauer

UMBRA (Dimension Drift Prequels #2) by Christina Bauer

About the Prequel
Title:
UMBRA
Series: Dimension Drift Prequels #2
Author: Christina Bauer
Publisher: Monster House Books
Release Date: March 27, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Dystopian
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

Synopsis
“I have not found an author that I adore the writing style of this much since Jennifer L. Armentrout. The world that this author created was amazing.”– Brittany’s Book Reviews

A prequel novella to the new series from USA Today’s ‘must read YA paranormal romance’ author, Christina Bauer.

One day, eighteen-year-old Thorne will be the Emperor of the Omniverse, the single being who rules countless worlds. Trouble is, his father Cole–who’s also the current Emperor–is a sadistic freak.

In fact, Cole won’t even keep his promises to the very humans who got him his throne.

Thorne won’t stand for it. He decides to travel to the human world and make good on his father’s promises. What he doesn’t count on is falling in love….

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As part of the launch tour for my new book, UMBRA, the lovely folks at Adventures in Writing asked me to share the tunes that inspired me while writing this particular novella.

So without further ado, here are my top five songs!

Tune Number Five. Love Spreads by the Stone Roses

“Let me put you in the picture, let me show you what I mean. The messiah is my sister, ain’t no king man, she’s my queen.”

In UMBRA, we have an intergalactic prince, Thorne, who thinks he will never be fortunate enough to find his transcendent (the girl he loves through so many parallel realties, their bond bleeds into his current universe.) This song captures the feeling he has when our guy meets a certain Meimi Archer.

Tune Number Four. Renegades by X Ambassadors

“All hail the pioneers.”

Both Meimi and Thorne love to build new tech and this song celebrates makers everywhere. I listened to it obsessively while writing this series.

Tune Number Three. Zero by Imagine Dragons

“Hello, hello … let me tell you what it’s like to be a zero.”

Almost every time I write a book, I end up obsessing on a fresh Imagine Dragons song. This time, it was Zero. Thorne is the kind of guy who’s very open about his limitations … yet he never gives up. This song really captures that spirit for me.

Tune Number Two. I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons

“I will wait, I will wait for you.”

Without giving away too much, I’ll just say that this song is all about Thorne. Read the book and you’ll know what I mean!

Tune Number One. Hazy Shade of Winter by The Bangles

“Look around, leaves are brown, and the sky is a hazy shade of winter.”

Much of UMBRA takes place in a future version of Boston, MA that is a hot dystopian mess. This song really captures that spirit. Plus, it’s a classic 1980’s chick rock song, so YEAH.

So there you have it—my top five tunes while writing UMBRA! I hope you enjoyed this list and I hope to return on a future book launch!

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Dimension Drift Series

“I love how Bauer manages to add some awesome new world building to each of her books.”Woven Magic

This new series is perfect for: fans of urban fantasy, action & adventure, cool science, evil corporations, forbidden romance and hot new classmates who may or may not be aliens.

Dimension Drift Worlds
1. Dimension Drift (April 2018)
2. Umbra (Winter 2019)

Dimension Drift
1.Alien Minds (Spring 2019)
2. ECHO Academy (Spring 2020)

More series from author Christina Bauer: Beholder (YA Dark Fantasy), Angelbound (YA Urban Fantasy) and Fairy Tales of the Magicorum (YA Urban Fantasy)

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Author Christina Bauer

About the Author
Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.

Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby..

Where to Find Christina Bauer
Goodreads | Website Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
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Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – OFF PLANET(Off Planet) by Aileen Erin

OFF PLANET Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for OFF PLANET, the first book in the young adult dystopian series, Off Planet, byUSA Today bestselling author, Aileen Erin. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

OFF PLANET (Off Planet #1) by Aileen Erin

OFF PLANET (Off Planet #1) by Aileen Erin

About the Book
Title:
 OFF PLANET
Series: Off Planet #1
Author: Aileen Erin
Publisher: Ink Monster
Release Date: March 19, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Synopsis
From USA Today Bestselling Author Aileen Erin 

In an all-too-plausible future where corporate conglomerates have left the world’s governments in shambles, anyone with means has left the polluted Earth for the promise of a better life on a SpaceTech owned colony among the stars.

Maité Martinez is the daughter of an Earther Latina and a powerful Aunare man, an alien race that SpaceTech sees as a threat to their dominion. When tensions turn violent, Maité finds herself trapped on Earth and forced into hiding.

For over ten years, Maité has stayed hidden, but every minute Maité stays on Earth is one closer to getting caught.

She’s lived on the streets. Gone hungry. And found a way to fight through it all. But one night, while waitressing in a greasy diner, a customer gets handsy with her. She reacts without thinking.

Covered in blood, Maité runs, but it’s not long before SpaceTech finds her…

Arrested and forced into dangerous work detail on a volcano planet, Maité waits for SpaceTech to make their move against the Aunare. She knows that if she can’t somehow find a way to stop them, there will be an interstellar war big enough to end all life in the universe.

There’s only one question: Can Maité prevent the total annihilation of humanity without getting herself killed in the process?

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Excerpt #2
I’d never been happier to be home as I was that night. Roan had paid the exorbitant cab fare and then left on foot for Starlite as soon as I’d entered the apartment building. He’d asked me to join him, but the close call with the cop was almost more than I could handle. All I wanted to do was hide in my darkened room for the next day or ten. But as I approached the front door of our apartment, voices seeped into the cement-lined hallway.

For a second, I dismissed them, but Mom’s voice rose above a deeper one, and I stopped walking.

We rarely had anyone over at all and never at this hour. Something was going on, and it couldn’t be good.

I tiptoed the rest of the way, pressing my ear to the door.

“I tried to contact you. I really did.” Mom’s voice was muffled, but I could make out her words. “But how could I know if he’d come for Maité after all these years?”

It felt like something slithered around my chest and tightened. Someone had come for me. But who?

Between the next three heartbeats, a few scenarios ran through my mind.

One. The cop from earlier had sent another officer to bring me in, but STPF didn’t move fast, especially for an idiotic ticket.

Two. SpaceTech had found us. Two of Earth’s Most Wanted. But if that were true, then there would be fighting and screaming and the sounds of my mother begging for them to leave me alone.

Then the third idea came, and I took a big breath.

There was only one other possibility. They were here. The Aunare were here. I’d stopped dreaming years ago that my father or the Aunare would show up to rescue us. I wasn’t sure what this meant except that my life was about to change in a huge way.

The fluttering in my stomach started small and crescendoed into thousands of flying butterflies. I wasn’t sure if it was excitement or nerves, but specifics didn’t matter.

Better face this now.

I slid my backpack off my shoulders and unlocked the door.

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Author Aileen Erin

Author Aileen Erin

About the Author
Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd–from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.

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Where to Find Aileen Erin
Goodreads | Website Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
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Cover Reveal – MIMIC (The Prodigy Chronicles) by C.L. Denault

MIMIC Cover Reveal

Author C.L. Denault is revealing the cover to MIMIC, the second book in her young adult scifi dystopian romance series, The Prodigy Chronicles, releasing March 22, 2019. See below for the cover, information on the book and series, the book’s trailer, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.

MIMIC (The Prodigy Chronicles #2) by C.L. Denault

MIMIC (The Prodigy Chronicles #2) by C.L. Denault

About the Book
Title: MIMIC
Series: The Prodigy Chronicles #2
Author: C.L. Denault
Release Date: March 22, 2019
Genre:
 Young Adult Science Fiction Dystopian Romance
Links: Goodreads

Synopsis
In 2012, one cycle of an ancient calendar system came to a close. Humanity predicted its downfall, but it wasn’t the end of their evolutionary climb. It was the beginning.

Willow Kent is discovering that life as a second-phase prodigy comes at a price. Trapped in the London Core, her choices are limited, made difficult by her forbidden romance with Reece and the presence of a new commanding officer who establishes harsh rules. With unpredictable skills and a growing distrust in her birth parents, she is struggling to play the Core’s game. But when opportunity arises in the form of a mysterious shapeshifter, Willow realizes there’s more to her own evolution than meets the eye. She soon learns that keeping secrets is a key move, and the more dangerous they are, the greater her need to evolve into the powerful prodigy nature intended her to become.

But those closest to her have their own secrets, and her status has made her an easy target for betrayal. Who will she turn to, when nothing is as it seems?

 

 

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Trailer

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Get Caught Up on the Series

Book 1: GAMBIT
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & NobleiBooksKobo

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Author C.L. Denault

Author C.L. Denault

About the Author
C.L. Denault is a speculative fiction writer who loves dreaming up tales of adventure and intrigue. A former systems analyst, she gave up her nerdy code-writing skills to care for her family (including a son with special needs), and currently lives among the vast stretches of cornfields in Illinois.

Writing and working out are her biggest passions, along with drinking coffee and watching sci-fi. When she’s not hanging out with her husband and kids, she can usually be found at a library or tucked away in the shadowy corner of a hip coffeehouse. She’s also been glimpsed sneaking into her garage, late at night, to work on her time machine.

She enjoys connecting with people—especially those from other planets, nearby dimensions, and the future. To find her, just visit her website or social media pages. Or use a Stargate. Whichever is easiest. .

Where to find C.L. Denault
Goodreads Website | Facebook Twitter | Instagram

Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – A SOLDIER AND A LIAR by Caitlin Lochner

A SOLDIER AND A LIAR Blog Tour

A SOLDIER AND A LIAR by Caitlin Lochner

A SOLDIER AND A LIAR by Caitlin Lochner

4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
In a world on the brink of war, four superpowered teens must learn to work together for peace in Caitlin Lochner’s action-packed debut novel, Soldier and A Liar.

Lai Cathwell is good at keeping secrets. As a Nyte, a supernaturally gifted teenager who is feared and shunned by the ungifted, this skill is essential to survival. Orchestrating her own imprisonment to escape military duty has only honed her ability to deceive others. But when rebels start attacking the city, Lai is dragged back into the fight with a new team of Nytes.

Thrown together with Jay, a self-conscious perfectionist consumed by the desire to be accepted; Al, a short-tempered fighter lying for the sake of revenge; and Erik, an amnesiac hell-bent on finding his memories and his place in the world, Lai realizes she’s facing an entirely different kind of challenge–one that might just be impossible. But if this team can’t learn to work together, the entire sector will be plunged into war.

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
I wasn’t sure what to make of A SOLDIER AND A LIAR at first. It starts off slow and the characters are difficult to relate to, but I’m glad I stuck it out. The story and character development really picks up at about the 50% mark and takes off after that. Lai Cathwell is 17-year-old superpowered soldier. She and fellow young adults, Al (Johann), Erik (Mendel), and Jay (Kitahara) form an unlikely team of enhanced humans known as Nytes, on a mission to take out an elite squad of rebel Nytes determined to overthrow the Etiole government. While Nytes have powers, they are shunned for them, treated as second-class citizens at best. Lai wants acceptances and equality for Nytes, while the other three each have their own reasons for accepting the mission. With four different motivators, to say they’re a team would be a massive overstatement. Trust is hard to come by and suspicions run high. As their leader, Jay wants cohesion and solicits Lai’s help to make that happen. The more Lai learns about her teammates, the more she both likes them and distrusts them. But they’ll be forced to work together, whether they like it or not, to prevent all out war.

Plot
I think the primary plot is about the mission and stopping the war, but it feels more like it’s abut the relationships between the four Nytes as they get to know each other and grudgingly begin to trust one another. The action scenes are really well done, but they don’t drive the plot as much as the interpersonal scenes do. And it’s those scenes that made me care about the outcome of the action scenes. There’s also a budding romance between Jay and Lai always simmering just below the surface. This relationship came across as forced initially, but as with the rest of the book, it hit its stride about halfway through.

The Characters
The characters are my favorite part. Watching shy, socially awkward Jay try to navigate his attraction to Lai, Lai’s heavily armored exterior giving way to friendships, Erik’s selfishness giving way to something more, and Al’s standoffishness meld into someone I could identify with was what made this story really work for me. The author has created deeply authentic characters that are initially tough to get to know, but evolve with time at the same pace for us as they do for Lai. By not trying to force us to care early on, the author does us a favor and allows the reader’s feelings to grow organically as the story progresses. There are a lot of secondary and tertiary characters, who only make sporadic appearances, so I found myself flipping back to reread the scenes where they were first introduced.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About A SOLDIER AND A LIAR
1. Scene setting. The author has a way of bringing her settings to life in this world where people live in underground sectors to protect them for dangers above ground that only Nytes can survive. The descriptions are so vivid, I had no difficulty immersing myself in this world.

2. Friendships. The relationships between the characters develop over the story, so that the reader builds the same relationship at the same time as the narrator.

3. Super powers. This isn’t your typical superhero story, but the powers the Nytes possess are no less fun and shape the story as much as anything else.

4. Equality. Whether it’s Sneetches with stars upon thars, the color of one’s skin, or being a Nyte or Etiole, everyone wants to be seen as equal, and this classic theme is well done.

5. Lai. She’s fierce, independent, and just vulnerable enough to make her a heroine worth rooting for.

Bottom Line
A different take on superheroes and dystopian adventures with strong characters.

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: A SOLDIER AND A LIAR
Author: Caitlin Lochner
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: February 19, 2019
Pages: 301
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian/SciFi Romance/Adventure
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

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Author Caitlin Lochner

Author Caitlin Lochner

About The Author
(Um, so, wow bios are hard.) I studied creative writing at the University of South Florida and used my BA in words to become an English teaching assistant in Tokyo. I’m in love with storytelling of any kind, but especially in the form of books, manga, and video games. If you ever want to talk nerdy, I am VERY down.

 

 

 

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Where to Find Caitlin Lochner
Goodreads | Website | TwitterInstagram

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Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – LOSING NORMAL by Francis Moss

LOSING NORMAL Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for LOSING NORMAL, a stand-alone young adult dystopian adventure, by Francis Moss. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on his giveaway.

LOSING NORMAL by Francis Moss

LOSING NORMAL by Francis Moss

About the Book
Title: LOSING NORMAL
Author: Francis Moss
Publisher: Encelia Press
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Adventure
Release Date: November 5, 2018
Link: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
Everyone we love, everything we know, is going away… and only an autistic boy can stop it.

Alex knows exactly how many steps it takes to get from his home to Mason Middle School. This is normal.

Alex knows the answers in AP math before his teacher does, which is also normal.

Alex knows that something bad is coming out of the big screen in his special needs class. It’s pushing images into his head, hurting him, making him forget. Alex pushes back, the screen explodes, and nothing is normal any more.

Giant screen televisions appear all over the city. The programming is addictive. People have to watch, but Alex cannot.

Sophie, the sentient machine behind all this, sees the millions and millions of eyeballs glued to her and calls it love. To Sophie, kids like Alex are defective. Defectives are to be fixed…or eliminated.

 

 

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Excerpt #3
Chapter Ten: Alex

Even inside the abandoned old house, we smelled the fires. Sara and I would go out walking, early in the morning, before the Calliope Guardians started patrolling. Yesterday at 7:38 AM, I saw three firemen in the fire station on the boulevard, sitting on a red GMC 3500 EMS truck, watching a Calliope television broadcast on the wall. Sixty-one meters down the street, smoke was coming from the front windows of a little white and blue house. This was normal now.

Later that afternoon, Sara and I walked the four hundred and five steps down to the little convenience store, which was still open. We pulled down our baseball caps when we passed under the big Calliope screen on the roof, which has video surveillance in it. I felt it, probing, looking, but it mostly doesn’t bother me now, unless I get too close. Sara just walks faster. I think she’s dealing with it better than me.

“…incidents of vandalism have decreased markedly, according to reports from across the country. The President, seen here at a Rose Garden press conference, announced today that he intends to lift the state of emergency as soon as next week.”

There was no one in the store, and almost nothing on the shelves. We found two overripe apples and a squished package of bread. I wanted to leave some money, but Sara looked at me with her right eyebrow raised, which I knew meant I’m acting stupid or crazy. We went back to the old house. On the porch of the yellow house at the corner, a woman in a black tee-shirt was sitting on one of the raggedy easy chairs, looking at a picture book, then looking up. She saw us walk by, but didn’t say anything. Like me and like everyone, she was probably trying to remember who she was, who she used to be. This was also normal now.

When it got dark, Sara lit candles and the one lantern we have, because the electricity goes off a lot. We each ate one apple and I had two slices of bread. Then Sara locked the doors and fell asleep on the couch. I laid down on the cot. I dreamt that I was flying, and I heard a woman’s voice that sounded like my mom. “It’s time to come home.”

The next morning, there was an engine noise outside on the street, and I peeled back the newspapers that covered the front window to look. A white van with the Calliope logo moved slowly down the block. I woke Sara and we went out the back door and down the alley.

We walked on the dirt middle section of the boulevard where the trolley tracks used to be. It’s twelve blocks, which is three thousand four hundred sixty-seven steps away from the house. The red brick library, which I had been to a few times, was closed. The broken glass front doors had plywood on them, where someone had spray-painted, “Help Us.” Above the doors was a giant Calliope video screen, ten meters tall, eighteen meters wide. I pulled down my blue baseball cap with the New York Yankees logo and looked down at the cracked sidewalk; Sophie was looking for me.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the giant screen.

“The Melonian army is four parsecs away, and traveling at twice light.”

“That doesn’t give us much time, Jim. We’ve got to move the fleet now.”

Fifteen people stared up, gape-jawed, watching. When I looked at it, the images dissolved into colored lines and shapes coming at me, washing over me, trying to make me forget. I looked away.

A gray-haired man, wrapped in a dirty green blanket, walked toward us, playing a sad tune on a soprano saxophone hanging from a colored strap around his neck. A pony-tailed man turned away from the screen and frowned. He put his finger to his lips and made a shushing sound. The old man ignored him, walking closer. Other people turned away from their dreams to look.

“Quiet!” someone said. The old man stopped playing, picked up a piece of asphalt, and hurled it at the screen. The asphalt bounced off, leaving a square of dark black pixels in a bottom corner of the screen. People yelled, dodging the rock as it fell to the ground. The old man stood in front of the screen and began to play his sad tune.

The movie stopped and a card appeared on the screen: ATTENTION. A woman’s voice said: “Attention. Public safety violation. Public safety violation. Under Emergency Order 56, you are required to stay where you are. Remain calm.”

We walked away.

A white van screeched to a stop at the curb. Two men wearing black jump suits got out, grabbed the old man, took the saxophone from him, and threw it in the street. They tossed him in the back. The van drove off. Another white van pulled up and two men stepped out of it, holding shiny black devices with antennas. They were looking for me and Sara.

We ran.

I am trying to remember who I am. I am Alex. I am Alex.

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Author Francis Moss

Author Francis Moss

About the Authors
Francis Moss has written and story-edited hundreds of hours of scripts on many of the top animated shows of the 90s and 00s. Beginning his television work in live-action with Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, he soon starting writing cartoons (“a lot more jobs, and also more fun”), staff writing and freelancing on She-Ra, Princess of Power, Iron Man, Ducktales, and a four-year stint on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, writing and story-editing more episodes than you can swing a nuchaku at.

One of his TMNT scripts, “The Fifth Turtle,” was the top-rated script among all the 193 episodes in a fan poll on IGN.COM. A list of his television credits is at IMDB.COM.

Francis, in partnership with Ted Pedersen, also wrote three middle-grade non-fiction books: Internet For Kids, Make Your Own Web Page, and How To Find (Almost) Anything On The Internet. Internet For Kids was a big success, with three revised editions and twelve foreign language versions. He’s the sole author of The Rosenberg Espionage Case.

After high school where he grew up in Los Angeles, Francis had one dismal semester at a junior college, and then enlisted in the Army. He became a military policeman and served in Poitiers, France, falling in love with the country, taking his discharge there and traveling around Europe (including running with the bulls in Pamplona) until his money ran out.

He attended the University of California, Berkeley and became active in the civil rights and anti-war movements, still managing to earn a BA and an MA in English lit (“the major of choice for wannabe writers”).

Francis is married to Phyllis, a former music teacher and active viola player. They have a son, a daughter and one grandson. They live in Joshua Tree, California.

Where to Find Francis Moss
Goodreads │ Website | Facebook

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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – WAYPOINT (Waypoint) by Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins

WAYPOINT Blog Tour

WAYPOINT (Waypoint #1) by Deborah Adams and Kimberly Perkins

WAYPOINT (Waypoint #1) by Deborah Adams and Kimberly Perkins

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
How far will they go to restore the power?

It’s been lights-out for three months and society is already falling into chaos.

Teenage tech-genius Simon Harper and his team of fellow gamers have been searching for the cause of the outage since it went down. Simon and his twin brother West are often at odds, but when the key to restoring power drops into their hands, they’ll risk everything and join forces to bring it back.

Descend into an epic, young adult adventure, featuring family and friendship with a heart-skipping side of romance by debut authors Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins.

Mysterious deaths and disappearances are piling up, and unknown enemies are everywhere. As the brothers make their 500-mile journey to Waypoint they’ll have to decide who they can trust, and which secrets can be told.

“Thanks to its tantalizing pace, well-established consequences, and complicated character development, this novel is worth writing home about. I didn’t feel ready for it to end.” -Independent Book Review

 

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My Review
I need to start off by saying this is the first book in a series. It wasn’t obvious from the description, so I wasn’t expecting the ending, but now that I know, I’m anxiously awaiting the next installment. Told from four third-person points of view, this is a little different than most young adult dystopians. Instead of a single protagonist, we have four, although Simon seems to be the main character. Twin brothers Simon and West inhabit a world without power, similar to the TV show Revolution from a few years back. West is a classic player with good looks and swagger to match. Simon is a nerd among nerds, living inside a role-playing game he accesses through power he generates with solar panels, something that must remain a secret. When a mysterious man is killed in front of Simon, he’s given information that may allow him to turn the power back on. He and West embark on a journey to Washington DC, only to be separated almost immediately. While West is at home in the wilderness, Simon is out of his element. Each winds up with a traveling companion, Riya for Simon and Alex for West. Both girls provide a romantic element as well as the foil that each boy needs. Along the way, all four encounter danger and learn a lot about each other and themselves.

Plot
The plot centers around Simon and West meeting up in DC to turn the power back on. Several subplots feed the main plot, but they’re minor. With four points of view, we get a lot of insight into their journeys. The authors throw everything at them, one setback after another, at a pulse-pounding pace that kept me turning the pages long past when I should have been doing something else. While this is primarily a plot-driven tale, the authors do a good job with character development which feeds into the story well.

The Characters
The characters are where this story really shines. All four main characters are deeply-drawn and complex in ways that enhance the plot. I loved all four of them, and even though at times their goals conflicted with one another, I never stopped rooting for all of them. West and Simon couldn’t be more different as twins, and yet that bond is strong, making them realize how important they are to one another. Alex and Riya were as different from one another as Simon and West, but they each bring something to the relationship that the brothers desperately lack, rounding out this foursome to perfection.

Top Five Things I Loved About WAYPOINT
1. The plot. Young adult dystopian is my favorite genre. I love dark worlds that are recognizable, peppered with characters who are still trying to figure out themselves much less the world around them.

2. Angsty love. Not one, but two romances with enough angst to satisfy even me.

3. The characters. I can’t pick a favorite; I love them all. Like two sides of a coin squared, they balance each other out.

4. Action. There’s plenty of action, adventure, and suspense to keep me riveted to the pages.

5. The ending. Normally I’m not a fan of cliffhanger endings, but the authors crafted a satisfying conclusion to this portion of the story while leaving me on the edge of my seat for more

Bottom Line
A wonderful young adult contemporary romance that examines how social anxiety can transform someone from the inside out.

Disclaimer
A pulse-pounding young adult dystopian page-turner!

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About the Book
Title: WAYPOINT
Series: Waypoint #1
Author: Deborah Adams and Kimberly Perkins
Publisher: Rocket City Publishing
Release Date: December 1, 2018
Pages: 296
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: GoodreadsAmazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AUBarnes & Noble | Kobo

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Authors Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins

Authors Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins

About the Author
DEBORAH ADAMS and KIMBERLEY PERKINS are friends and coworkers. They share a love of coffee, literature, and teenagers saving the world. By day, they work for a defense contractor in Huntsville, Alabama as the HR Director and an Excel-wielding Analyst, respectively. By night, they build worlds with words and devour stories. For more information about Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins and their foray into writing, check them out on social media.

 

 

 

 

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Where to Find Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins
Deborah Goodreads | Kimberley GoodreadsWebsite | Kimberley Twitter | Deborah Twitter

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Giveaway

WAYPOINT Giveaway

 

Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – SCYTHE (Dimension Drift Worlds) by Christina Bauer

SCYTHE Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for SCYTHE, the first prequel in the young adult fantasy/dystopian series, Dimension Drift Worlds, by Christina Bauer. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

 SCYTHE (Dimension Drift Worlds Prequel #1) by Christina Bauer

SCYTHE (Dimension Drift Worlds Prequel #1) by Christina Bauer

About the Prequel
Title:
SCYTHE
Series: Dimension Drift Worlds Prequel #1
Author: Christina Bauer
Publisher: Ink Monster, LLC
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Dystopian
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

Synopsis
Truth time. I go to a Learning Squirrel High School. Don’t judge. 

On second thought, judge away. Learning Squirrel is one step above attending class in a junkyard. But what do you expect? Everything’s made out of garbage these days. At least, I have my freelance work to keep Mom and me housed, clothed, and fed. How? I’m your regular high school science geek for hire… only my work manipulates space-time. These gigs pay really well, but the government wants people like me dead. Good thing I’m super careful about hiding from their detection systems.

Then I screw up a job. Badly. My house slips into two-dimensional space-time. It only lasts for a few seconds, but the move still sets off about a dozen government alarms. If they track me down, Mom and I are good as dead. Long story short, I need to pay someone off, hide the evidence, and keep us safe.

“Fans of A Wrinkle in Time can’t miss Dimension Drift!” – Christina Trevaskis, The Book Matchmaker

Unfortunately, that means asking the Scythe for help. He runs the local underground crime scene and has absolutely no conscience. Or I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. It’s hard to think straight when a guy’s that hot in an evil Mafioso kingpin kind of way. More importantly, he’s a crime lord who can conceal my slip-up with a few clicks on his minion’s computer keyboards. But the Scythe has his price. In this case, he wants me to finish a certain dimensional prototype for him in twenty-four hours. I can do it, but it might mean Learning Squirrel High gets blown up in the process. Oh yes, and there’s also my new hot classmate who may or may not be an alien… and he says he’ll do anything to help me.

This job won’t be easy, but I’ve gotten out of worse scrapes. Maybe.

“Bauer’s unique voice blends magical fantasy, swooning romance, and a bucketful of teenage sass.” – Booklist

Dimension Drift Worlds
1. Scythe – new extended version with extra content!
2. Umbra (Spring 2019)

Dimension Drift
1. Alien Minds (Spring 2019) 
2. ECHO Academy (Spring 2020)

More series from author Christina Bauer: Beholder (YA Dark Fantasy), Angelbound (YA Urban Fantasy) and Fairy Tales of the Magicorum (YA Urban Fantasy)

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Excerpt
“Here’s what happened,” I say. “The Ozymandias factory slipped into two-dimensional space-time for a little while. It’s showing up as a nuclear blast to the Authority because no one’s gone 2-D before.”

“I don’t like Merciless crawling all over my part of the state, Meimi. The Scythe pays big money to stay off grid.”

“I’m sorry. Mom wanted to work the drift and—” I stop myself before saying anything about aliens or finding Luci. “—I guess we got caught up. Please clean things up for me, like you did with RCM1.”

Muscles flicker along Fritz’s thick neck. “Not so easy this time, Meims. You’re coming to me with a major science crime and all of twenty minutes to cover it up.” He narrows his eyes. “And all because you flipped an entire factory into two dimensional space-time.” Fritz presses some buttons on the top of his desk. “Did you hear that, boss?”

My stomach seems to tumble through the floor. Fritz has been transmitting our conversation to the Scythe.

A crackle sounds over the intercom. A deep, silky voice fills the small room. “Bring her in.” I’d know that tone anywhere.

The Scythe.

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Author Christina Bauer

About the Author
Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.

Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby..

Where to Find Christina Bauer
Goodreads | Website Facebook | Twitter

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Book Review + Giveaway – STAR-CROSSED by Pintip Dunn

STAR-CROSSED Blog Tour

STAR-CROSSED by Pintip Dunn

STAR-CROSSED by Pintip Dunn

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
Princess Vela’s people are starving.

Stranded on a planet that lacks food, Vela makes the ultimate sacrifice and becomes an Aegis for her people. Accepting a genetic modification that takes sixty years off her life, she can feed her colony via nutrition pills. But her best friend is still getting worse. And she’s not the only one.

Now the king is dying, too.

When the boy she’s had a crush on since childhood volunteers to give his life for her father’s, Vela realizes her people need more than pills to survive. As tensions rise between Aegis and colonists, secrets and sabotage begin to threaten the future of the colony itself.

Unless Vela is brave enough to save them all…

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
An intense young adult dystopian romance filled with impossible choices, longing, loyalty, and above all, love. When seventeen year old Princess Vela is caught sneaking food to her best friend, her entire future is jeopardized. But the leadership sees something in her and offers her an opportunity to prove herself worthy of taking over her father’s position of Ruler when he passes. Vela and her sister, Blanca, are each challenged to show they have what it takes to lead their people, despite their weaknesses. Vela is compassionate to a fault and Blanca is logical and analytical at the expense of compassion. Each princess is forced into a situation that tests their limits in ways neither is prepared for.

Plot
The plot is intricately woven with subplotting that made this a “can’t put down” book for me. While I found some of it predictable, the author’s writing and the characters she created made me need to know what happened next. Dunn drew me into her world, which is richly built, and made me care about fictional people in a way I haven’t in a long time. I wanted a different ending, but the one I got was both gut-wrenching and satisfying.

The Characters
Well-developed and incredibly real, Carr, Vela, and the rest of the cast were real to me, and I loved them wholly, never wanting to the story to end. Carr is what every book boyfriend should be with a deep sense of family loyalty and strength, with a poetic side that made me swoon. Vela was everything I want in a young adult heroine. Her compassion for others and sense of doing the right thing at any cost made her one of my favorite young adult protagonists of all time.

Top Five Things I Loved About STAR-CROSSED
1. Vela. She was by far my favorite character of 2018 and in my top five young adult protagonists of all time. She’s warm, loyal, loving, and compassionate with a strong sense of doing the right thing. Her love for her family, her best friend, and Carr made her utterly relatable.

2. Carr. Ahh, what can I say about the dreamy boy who would give his life to save his sister? There is so much to him, but the way he cares not only about his sister but Vela, too, makes him worthy of Vela’s love.

3. Impossible choices. Vela is put in charge of choosing the boy who will die to save her father’s life, but when the only boy she’s ever loved, Carr, puts himself in the running, she finds herself in a situation with no good outcomes. This is the type of situation that makes for page-turning conflict.

4. Dystopian worlds. My favorite genre because anything can happen and nothing is ever as it seems.

5. The ending. Oh my God that ending. It gutted me but it made me FEEL.

Bottom Line
An outstanding young adult dystopian tale that will reside among my favorites for years to come.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: STAR-CROSSED
Author: Pintip Dunn
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Science Fiction Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

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Author Pintip Dunn

Author Pintip Dunn

About the Author
Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B., and received her J.D. at Yale Law School.

Pintip’s novel FORGET TOMORROW won the 2016 RWA RITA® for Best First Book, and SEIZE TODAY won the 2018 RITA for Best Young Adult Romance. Her books have been translated into four languages, and they have been nominated for the following awards: the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire; the Japanese Sakura Medal; the MASL Truman Award; the Tome Society It list; and the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her other titles include REMEMBER YESTERDAY, THE DARKEST LIE, GIRL ON THE VERGE, and the upcoming STAR-CROSSED and

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Where to Find Pintip Dunn
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Entangled

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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – THE SPONSORED by Caroline T. Patti

THE SPONSORED Blog Tour

THE SPONSORED by Caroline T. Patti

THE SPONSORED by Caroline T. Patti

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
Don’t break the rules…

Max Winter is a janitor at a ritzy boarding school. He’s supposed to keep to himself, mind his business, stay quiet about the things he sees, sweep the floors, and under no circumstances is he to have any contact with the residents. Now, Max will break every last one of those rules when he meets Ace Valentine.

Don’t follow your heart…

Ace Sloane finds out she’s on the wrong side of a war she no longer believes in fighting. Now, she’ll risk everything to get her life back from the people who stole it, including getting too close to exactly the wrong boy.

Don’t get caught…

Grey Winter lost both parents in a fire that should’ve killed her as well. A “miracle baby,” Grey is sent to live with her Nana who should have told her the truth about who and what she really is. Now she’s at the forefront of a cover-up, all-out manhunt, and the object of one boy’s interest she doesn’t want or need. It’s up to Grey to connect the dots and bring an end to the secrets and lies that have caused so much pain and suffering for so long.

 

 

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My Review
This is a great scifi/dystopian told from two points of view, a generation apart. First person present is Grey Winter, a teen girl with the ability to self heal. Through a series of flashbacks, we get the third-person point of view of Max Winter, Grey’s father. The two stories run in parallel through most of the book, but it’s clear they will end up converging. This is a unique twist on young adult romance. Both characters are teens at the time their stories are told and both include romances, making this a two for one if teen romance is your thing. But it’s so much more than that. There’s plenty of action, a huge mystery, and enough secrets and revelations to keep me turning the pages. The story starts off with a bang as Grey intervenes in a robbery, putting herself between a bullet and the owner of the bodega. Unfortunately, this also exposes  her ability to the boy at her school she likes the least. But there is so much more to Grey and Julian than one unfortunate incident.

Max Winter is the janitor at a prestigious school for The Sponsored, a group of kids who get the best education available in exchange for giving up their life choices to the government. Lowly janitors and Sponsored are not allowed to mingle, but with any good dystopian romance, rules are made to be broken. As both stories unfold, we learn everything is both more and less than it seems and secrets and lies run deep.

Plot
A two-forked tale, the plotting of both are expertly intertwined. As Grey attempts to keep her abilities a secret, live her life, and fight a budding, but dangerous, attraction to Julian, we see Max and Grey’s mom meet and fall in love. It’s more than just a romantic backstory, though. We learn all the secrets of The Sponsored through his eyes. A captivating storytelling approach that I absolutely loved!

The Characters
While it took me a bit to warm up to Grey, I loved her. Her penchant for keeping everyone at arms’ length initially seemed to include the reader as well, but over the course of the book, she lets us in. She’s wounded, damaged, and so incredibly easy to root for. The rest of the characters, Nana, Max, Ace, and Julian are well-developed.

Top Five Things I Loved About THE SPONSORED
1. The plot. Well told and kept me engaged from the opening scene.

2. Grey. She is a complex heroine with so much heart, I just adored her.

3. Dystopia. One of my favorite genres and the author’s take on a near-future society was utterly plausible, making it all the more terrifying.

4. Action. From the opening pages, there is just the right amount of action to keep the story moving.

5. Romance. Two separate romances means twice the angsty love!

Bottom Line
Wonderful dystopian romance with a storytelling twist.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: THE SPONSORED
Author: Caroline T. Patti
Publisher: Month9Books
Release Date: September 12, 2018
Pages: 330
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian SciFi Adventure
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | GooglePlay | BAM! | IndieBound | !ndigo | The Book Depository

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Author Caroline T. Patti

Author Caroline T. Patti

About the Author
Caroline T Patti is the author of The World Spins Madly On and Too Late To Apologize. When she’s not writing, she’s a school librarian, mother of two, wife, avid reader and Green Bay Packer fan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to find Caroline T. Patti
Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Giveaway
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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – OUT OF SIGHT (Progenitor) by Matthew S. Cox

OUT OF SIGHT Blog Tour

OUT OF SIGHT (Progenitor #1) by Matthew S. Cox

OUT OF SIGHT (Progenitor #1) by Matthew S. Cox

4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
Most Citizens hold Outcasts in dim regard, but Sima never expected they’d throw her off the planet.

In 2411, overpopulation has spread a plaque of filthy, congested city to the corners of the Earth. Government has raised corruption to an art form, and no one hears the cries of those left to die in the dark passageways of civilization. Following the End of Nations, people cling to the only division left: social status.

Since running away from home four years ago, she’s managed to stay a step ahead of death―or worse. At sixteen, she’s getting too old to survive from begging, despite her best effort to pretend she’s younger. Worse, the sidewalks teem with little kids edging in on her turf, monopolizing Citizens’ charity with their wide, pleading eyes and genuine innocence.

A chance meeting with suspiciously nice cops leaves her more confused than ever. Between deadly gangs, unforgiving security forces, and a terrifying madam eager to exploit a girl her age, merely getting older is the biggest threat to her life. With no good choice to make, she risks the least of three evils.

Sima thought her life on Earth had been dangerous…

She hasn’t seen anything yet..

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My Review
Traces of DIVERGENT blend with PASSENGERS and LOST for a dark, action-packed scifi dystopian adventure. Sixteen-year-old Sima is an Outcast on future Earth where Citizens live an easy life and Outcasts struggle for daily survival. Sima begs for enough food to be able to live another day, but at sixteen, she’s no longer a cute waif, and is envious of the younger kids who still tug at the heartstrings of the more fortunate. The first third of the book is devoted to her day-to-day survival, until she’s wrongly associated with anti-government forces and arrested. Instead of prison time, she’s offered a chance to participate in the Progenitor program, although the details of what that means to her are a bit murky. With more trepidation than excitement, she agrees, which thrusts her into another world, where survival means something else entirely.

The writing is fantastic. Cox’s descriptive style conjures vivid imagery that stimulates the imagination. The world’s he conjures are fully developed and filled with environments and characters that bring the reader deep into the story. The technology and world building is superb and kept me rooted in Sima’s story.

Plot
The story takes a while to get going. However, there is enough action to keep the reader invested. We’re nearly 30% in when the inciting incident takes Sima from her “normal” life and thrusts her on her journey. She spends an inordinate amount of time musing over her choices for survival. Over and over again like a merry-go-round of the same three options, until finally a fourth option is presented to her. But instead of making a decision for herself, the choice is made for her, so she enters her new life kicking and screaming (and sobbing and whimpering).

The Characters
The story is about Sima. We spend the majority of the book inside her head. As a street rat, she pushes others away, preferring to go it alone. A whole host of minor characters interact with her, some superficial, but most with as much depth as Sima herself. Sima has a rich backstory and complex character. She annoyed me at times with her constant whimpering and sobbing. I can certainly understand her emotions, but I was hoping for more of a Katniss or Tris type character. She does transform, but it’s definitely a three steps forward, two steps back type of journey.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About OUT OF SIGHT
1. The writing. Vivid and unique, peppered with analogies that create stunning mental images.

2. Dystopia. I love a good story about a fallen civilization, and the dark future Cox envisions is layered and intense.

3. SciFi. While not strictly a science fiction, there is so much futuristic technology that it transcends genres.

4. Character development. Yes, it’s slow to come about, but Sima evolves into a young woman who learns what it means to care for someone other than herself.

5. Action. There’s no shortage of action and adventure throughout the story.

Bottom Line
A dystopian adventure with science fiction elements packed with action.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: OUT OF SIGHT
Series: Progenitor #1
Author: Matthew S. Cox
Publisher: Division Zero Press
Release Date: August 13, 2018
Pages: 395
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian SciFi Adventure
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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Author Matthew S. Cox

Author Matthew S. Cox

About the Author
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.

Hobbies and Interests:
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it. He is also fond of cats. Awards: Prophet of the Badlands (excerpt) – Honorable Mention – Writers of the Future.

Where to find Matthew S. Cox
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN by Jessica Redmerski

EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN Blog Tour

EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN by Jessica Redmerski

EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN by Jessica Redmerski

4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
Thais Fenwick was eleven-years-old when civilization fell, devastated by a virus that killed off the majority of the world’s population. For seven years, Thais and her family lived in a community of survivors deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. But when her town is attacked by raiders, she and her blind sister are taken away to the East-Central Territory where she is destined to live the cruel and unjust kind of life her late mother warned her about.

Atticus Hunt is a troubled soldier in Lexington City who has spent the past seven years trying to conform to the vicious nature of men in a post-apocalyptic society. He knows that in order to survive, he must abandon his morals and his conscience and become like those he is surrounded by. But when he meets Thais, morals and conscience win out over conformity, and he risks his rank and his life to help her. They escape the city and set out together on a long and perilous journey to find safety in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Struggling to survive in a world without electricity, food, shelter, and clean water, Atticus and Thais shed their fear of growing too close, and they fall hopelessly in love. But can love survive in such dark times, or is it fated to die with them?

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My Review
Set after an illness and the events that followed wiped out half the country’s population and civilization as we know it, Thais and her family manage to survive in a rural town in what used to be Kentucky. But lawlessness and greed are everywhere and soon raiders upend an already upended life and send Thais and her sister into the wilderness. They’re soon caught by raiders and taken to Lexington City where women are more prized than gold. They are ranked according to looks and worth and sorted for a life as workers, wives, or whores. There is no equality and no freedom. Thais is desperate to get her sister out, although to where is still huge unknown. But remaining in Lexington City will be a hell all its own.

Atticus is a soldier in Lexington City responsible for sorting Thais and her sister. He’s filled with self-loathing and a desire to change things for the better. His views on the new fallen world are best summed up in his inner thoughts.

But in every good person there is something dark waiting to take the reins. Now here we were, Evelyn and Atticus, a whore and a murderer, succumbing to that dark part of us, because that’s how life was.

Something about Thais sparks a desire in Atticus to battle back against that darkness and maybe redeem his soul. If he can protect her and her sister, maybe he’s not the animal he believes himself to be. When things spiral out of his control, he has no choice but to get Thais out of the city where survival is even more precarious and betrayal is everywhere. Somehow these two find mutual respect in one another that gives way to something more.

Plot
The plot moves at a fast pace from the opening chapter. Scenes are short, and alternating points of view keep suspense high and prevents the story from stalling. However, starting in Chapter 24, the author throws in the alternate point of view in bold parenthesis. This practice is jarring, ripping me from the story each time. These points of view are completely unnecessary to the flow of story, so I began to ignore them when I came across them.

The Characters
While I’m sure this was written as a plot-driven story, the characters steal the show. Atticus is a fascinating, intense character who I felt the author was much more comfortable writing than Thais. Thais is also well-developed, but she comes across as almost two people as the story develops. She’s tough and determined early on, but slowly becomes dependent upon Atticus for her survival, losing some of that grit that made me love her in the beginning.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN
1. Atticus. He’s brilliantly crafted.

2. Dystopian. I do love a good fallen civilization.

3. Unhurried love. I love how the author doesn’t rush anything between Thais and Atticus.

4. Character development. Both Thais and Atticus undergo tremendous development throughout the story that is a direct reflection of the circumstances they’ve been put in, making it very organic.

5. Realism. While this is a young adult novel, the author doesn’t sugar coat the realities of life in a post-apocalyptic world, from rape, cannibalism, violence, and prostitution, a dark world is not made less dark just because the characters are young.

Bottom Line
A character-driven dystopian in the best sense of the word with remarkable characters and a solid plot.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN
Author: Jessica Redmerski
Release Date: August 28, 2017
Pages: 657
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble

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Author Jessica Redmerski

Author Jessica Redmerski

About the Author
Jessica Redmerski is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and award winner who juggles several genres of fiction.

She also writes as J.A. Redmerski.

 

 

 

 

 

Where to Find Jessica Redmerski
Goodreads | Website | FacebookTwitter

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Cover Reveal + Giveaway – UMBRA (Dimension Drift Prequels) by Christina Bauer

UMBRA Cover Reveal

Monster House Books and author Christina Bauer are revealing the cover for UMBRA, the second prequel in the young adult fantasy/dystopian series, Dimension Drift Worlds, releasing January 29, 2019. See below for the cover, information on the book and series, preorder links, and details on her giveaway.

UMBRA (Dimension Drift Prequels #2) by Christina Bauer

UMBRA (Dimension Drift Prequels #2) by Christina Bauer

About the Prequel
Title:
UMBRA
Series: Dimension Drift Prequels #2
Author: Christina Bauer
Publisher: Monster House Books
Release Date: January 29, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Dystopian
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

Synopsis
“I have not found an author that I adore the writing style of this much since Jennifer L. Armentrout. The world that this author created was amazing.”– Brittany’s Book Reviews

A prequel novella to the new series from USA Today’s ‘must read YA paranormal romance’ author, Christina Bauer.

One day, eighteen-year-old Thorne will be the Emperor of the Omniverse, the single being who rules countless worlds. Trouble is, his father Cole–who’s also the current Emperor–is a sadistic freak.

In fact, Cole won’t even keep his promises to the very humans who got him his throne.

Thorne won’t stand for it. He decides to travel to the human world and make good on his father’s promises. What he doesn’t count on is falling in love….

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Dimension Drift Series

“I love how Bauer manages to add some awesome new world building to each of her books.”Woven Magic

This new series is perfect for: fans of urban fantasy, action & adventure, cool science, evil corporations, forbidden romance and hot new classmates who may or may not be aliens.

Dimension Drift Worlds
1. Dimension Drift (April 2018)
2. Umbra (Winter 2019)

Dimension Drift
1.Alien Minds (Spring 2019)
2. ECHO Academy (Spring 2020)

More series from author Christina Bauer: Beholder (YA Dark Fantasy), Angelbound (YA Urban Fantasy) and Fairy Tales of the Magicorum (YA Urban Fantasy)

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Author Christina Bauer

About the Author
Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.

Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby..

Where to Find Christina Bauer
Goodreads | Website Facebook | Twitter

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Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – THE GATHERING (The Uprising) by Bernadette Giacomazzo

THE GATHERING Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for THE GATHERING, the first book in the adult dystopian adventure series, The Uprising, by Bernadette Giacomazzo. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

THE GATHERING (The Uprising #1) by Bernadette GiacomazzoTHE GATHERING (The Uprising #1) by Bernadette Giacomazzo

THE GATHERING (The Uprising #1) by Bernadette Giacomazzo

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: THE GATHERING
Series: The Uprising #1
Author: Bernadette Giacomazzo
Release Date: March 31, 2018
Genre: Adult Dystopian Adventure
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
The Uprising Series tells the story of three freedom fighters and their friends in high — and low — places that come together to overthrow a vainglorious Emperor and his militaristic Cabal to restore the city, and the way of life, they once knew and loved.

In The Gathering, Jamie Ryan has defected from the Cabal and has joined his former brothers-in-arms — Basile Perrinault and Kanoa Shinomura — to form a collective known as The Uprising. When an explosion leads to him crossing paths with Evanora Cunningham — a product of Jamie’s past — he discovers that The Uprising is bigger, and more important, than he thought.

 

 

 

 

 

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Excerpt #2
Introduction

Jamie

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be the center of attention.

I had it before. And I have it again, now.

But for entirely different reasons.

My name is James Randall Ryan IV.

My nearest and dearest call me Jamie.

My father, who is (well, now, was) not amongst my nearest and dearest, called me Jimmy. I hate that nickname, and when he died, I thanked every God in Heaven that I never had to hear it again. I wish I could say I otherwise missed the old man, but, unfortunately, I would be lying to you.

And I wouldn’t lie to you.

Not these days. And not about that.

But when I was onstage, I was known as Ivan Sapphire – glam rock god, sex symbol, pussy connoisseur, Dionysus in leather pants, Jesus Christ in sunglasses, High Priest of the Bacchanalia, Son of a Bitch of a Preacher Man.

I was all those things, and more.

I was the lead singer of a band called Faust.

We – myself, William Lynn on guitar, Jordan Barker on bass, and the Reverend Tom Newman (yes, he really was an ordained minister – granted, he got ordained online, but that’s just as valid of an ordainment as any other) on drums – played a balls-to-the-wall, blistering brand of rock’n’roll that earned us accolades, fans, fame, and a lot of money.

New York City was, at first, just our home. When Faust first started playing together, it became our playground. And by the time our careers were in full swing, New York City was ours for the taking.

Like any other band, we paid our dues in the beginning: playing Tuesday night open mics in dive bars with no name, getting tossed a $20 to split four ways at the end of the night, having to slog it out at a job the next day while nursing a Pabst Blue Ribbon-induced hangover – a job that we didn’t want to be in, in the first place, because we were on the fast track to rock stardom, even if only in our own minds.

I remember the night that all changed, though. I see it clearly in my mind, as though it all happened last night.

It was a Friday night at the legendary CBGB. We were opening for a pretentious, shoe-gazing hipster rock band. I wish I could remember their name…Ars Poetica, I think it was.

But it doesn’t really matter now.

At that time in New York City rock’n’roll history, our brand of music had gone out of fashion. Gone were the days of leather-clad lesser rock gods and their songs of hedonistic excess – in our place were unshaven, unkempt navel-gazers who sang music to slit your wrists by. This was the soundtrack to your Prozac-induced manic-depressive state, kids – 50% less pussy, 100% more bitching and moaning!

Brooklyn hipster pieces of shit.

We opened for Ars Poetica because Hilly – the legendary owner of CBGB – wanted to give us a fair shot, but knew that most people were there for Ars Poetica. He figured, with all things being equal, he’d be able to earn us a few extra fans if we had a chance to get in front of their crowd.

He told us that, of the hundreds that paid the $25, with a two-drink minimum, we’d be able to get a few new converts.

Ten, maybe.

If we got lucky.

He kept insisting that we should remain optimistic, but realistic.

And if we did well, he promised, we would be able to have a headlining show on a Friday night; prime real estate for a New York City rock band to obtain, at that time.

And take home $100 to split between the four of us as a consolation prize.

Hilly.

May he forever rock’n’roll in the afterlife.

The night came, and we stood before the crowd – wall-to-wall people, as far as the eye could see. The faces all seemed to blend into one another – men and women, black and white and every shade of tan in between, long hair and short hair in every color of the rainbow.

It was the finest representation of the old New York that so many people had come to know and love. The great American melting pot. The rock’n’roll dream come true – the music serving as the great unifier of people from the world over, and our performance, a communion of souls. Take, and eat – for it is my body of work, and it will be given up for you.

I remember feeling so nervous. I remember standing up on that stage – that filthy, piss-ridden stage that felt like it would collapse under my feet any minute – with Willie, Jordan, and Tom – my three brothers-in-arms – and looking out into the crowd to find a friendly face.

Although it didn’t happen often, if I ever got onstage and found myself feeling nervous at the prospect of performing for a maddening crowd, I would often look out into the audience and find a friendly face to sing to for most of the night. Sometimes it worked – just as many times, it didn’t – but either way, it would end with me ending up with Mrs. Right Now, with her pretty little skirt – often two sizes too tight – torn off and tossed in the back of our van and her shirt around her ears, followed by proclamations of eternal (or, at least until one or both of us got off) love, heavy panting and sweating, and various bodily fluids splattered to the walls, the floor, the seat cushions…anything that was within arm’s reach, really.

Paradise by the dashboard light, as the old song goes.

That poor, stinking van.

It wasn’t that I was a man-whore, so much that I was ready and amenable to whatever was nearby that was equally ready and amenable.

And who wouldn’t be, really, in the same circumstances? You mean to tell me that any straight, red-blooded American man who has been granted access to every size, shape, and flavor of pussy on the island of Manhattan will think of being a monk?

I think not.

And if there’s one universal truth about musicians in general – and lead singers in particular – it’s that we get into the business of music for one reason: pussy. The fame is nice, if you can get it – the money is definitely nice, if you can get it – but we get it all because, at the end of the day, we want prime-cut tenderloin pussy, and that, you can definitely get.

But that night, the friendly face I locked onto would rock my world in a way no one had ever done before.

Angelique.

I knew, from the minute I laid eyes on her, that I would never want anyone else ever again.

And I never did.

Seeing her inspired me to play like I’d never played before.

Oh, we were never terrible – in fact, left to our own devices, we were incendiary – but that night, we played as though the world was burning down around us. We sang the soundtrack to the apocalypse, caterwauling and squealing and throbbing and pounding our way through the lyrics and music as if it was our last night on Earth.

New York City was a big, beautiful bitch, and she was ours for the fucking.

And we fucked her but good – hard, long, slow, all night long, and we were all left panting and sweating thereafter.

We tried to set the night on fire.

And we succeeded by orders of magnitude.

And by the end of our set, we not only had the audience leaving CBGB with us – leaving barely anyone behind for Ars Poetica, those poor, navel-gazing, wrist-slitting fucking Brooklyn hipster pieces of shit – but I had Angelique’s number in my phone.

Hilly gave us the Friday night headlining slot the following week.

Angelique gave me her virginity after that show.

And thus, began our rocket ride to the top.

The press started to come out in droves to our shows after that first fateful headlining show. Article after article, and photo after photo, came out to tell all of New York City about us. We played every envied stage on the island of Manhattan: CBGB, The Continental, Arlene Grocery, The Bowery Ballroom, Mercury Lounge, Joe’s Pub, and The Bitter End.

Once, twice, three times around the island, and back again for more.

The Pirates of Happenstance. The High Priests of Chaos. The Lords of Misrule.

We sold our souls to rock’n’roll, and our bodies to the New York City rock scene.

It was amazing.

They lavished us with every accolade they could imagine, and even some we’d never heard before: Willie and I were the New Millennial Glimmer Twins – Batman and Robin with Les Pauls – Genghis Khans on a savage panty raid. As a collective, we were known as the four horsemen of the rock apocalypse, effectively rendering every other genre of music in New York City completely redundant. We were the best rock band in captivity – the buck-skinned prophets of a dying brand of cock-rock, fueled by illegal drugs and cheap beer and late nights and early mornings and starving ourselves for days on end (sometimes because we weren’t hungry, other times because there was nothing to eat, and still other times because illicit drugs are a hell of an appetite suppressant…).

We were equal parts savages, sinners, saviors and saints.

We were all those things, and more.

It was all said, written, blogged about and photographed, documented for all of prosperity and placed in a time capsule for history to be the judge.

Let history be the judge of us, and condemn us to a life of Hell, because we experienced Heaven on Earth.

The whole thing started with rock’n’roll, and then it was all out of control.

And it was all true.

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Author Bernadette Giacomazzo

Author Bernadette Giacomazzo

About The Author
With an impressive list of credentials earned over the course of two decades, Bernadette R. Giacomazzo is a multi-hyphenate in the truest sense of the word: an editor, writer, photographer, publicist, and digital marketing specialist who has demonstrated an uncanny ability to thrive in each industry with equal aplomb. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, People, Us Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and many, many more. She served as the news editor of Go! NYC Magazine for nearly a decade, the executive editor of LatinTRENDS Magazine for five years, the eye candy editor of XXL Magazine for two years, and the editor-at-large at iOne/Zona de Sabor for two years. As a publicist, she has worked with the likes of Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and his G-Unit record label, rapper Kool G. Rap, and various photographers, artists, and models. As a digital marketing specialist, Bernadette is Google Adwords certified, has an advanced knowledge of SEO, PPC, link-building, and other digital marketing techniques, and has worked for a variety of clients in the legal, medical, and real estate industries.

Based in New York City, Bernadette is the co-author of Swimming with Sharks: A Real World, How-To Guide to Success (and Failure) in the Business of Music (for the 21st Century), and the author of the forthcoming dystopian fiction series, The Uprising. She also contributed a story to the upcoming Beyonce Knowles tribute anthology, The King Bey Bible, which will be available in bookstores nationwide in the summer of 2018..

Where to Find Bernadette Giacomazzo
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – THE GATHERING (The Uprising) by Bernadette Giacomazzo

THE GATHERING Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for THE GATHERING, the first book in the adult dystopian adventure series, The Uprising, by Bernadette Giacomazzo. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

THE GATHERING (The Uprising #1) by Bernadette GiacomazzoTHE GATHERING (The Uprising #1) by Bernadette Giacomazzo

THE GATHERING (The Uprising #1) by Bernadette Giacomazzo

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: THE GATHERING
Series: The Uprising #1
Author: Bernadette Giacomazzo
Release Date: March 31, 2018
Genre: Adult Dystopian Adventure
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
The Uprising Series tells the story of three freedom fighters and their friends in high — and low — places that come together to overthrow a vainglorious Emperor and his militaristic Cabal to restore the city, and the way of life, they once knew and loved.

In The Gathering, Jamie Ryan has defected from the Cabal and has joined his former brothers-in-arms — Basile Perrinault and Kanoa Shinomura — to form a collective known as The Uprising. When an explosion leads to him crossing paths with Evanora Cunningham — a product of Jamie’s past — he discovers that The Uprising is bigger, and more important, than he thought.

 

 

 

 

 

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Excerpt
Chapter Thirteen
Jamie

I saw Emperor – looking like a hot air balloon, sounding as ridiculous as ever – blathering on about his personal Reichstag fire, and laying the blame of the explosion squarely at the feet of myself and my brothers-in-arms.

“…and it’s these traitors of the state – the threat to the security of my Empire of the United States of America – the defectors of the Cabal who go by Jamie Ryanand Basile Perrinault and, my greatest betrayal, Supreme Allied Commander Kanoa Shinomura…” he hollered into the microphone, which seemed to reverberate throughout the city.

At the sound of Kanoa’s name, the Cabal members below the balcony slammed the butts of their guns on the floor in rhythm. I knew that rhythm all too well – it was meant to be a war cry for those of us in the rank-and-file of the Cabal – but, to the untrained ear, it sounded like a machine gun going off…which was exactly the point.

But I couldn’t help but sneer at the accusation that the blast that nearly killed Evanora and Tommy was somehow our fault. He’d spent decades trying to catch us and failing miserably, yet in the same breath, believed we were inept enough to set off a blast that took no lives and could be cleaned up during a balmy New York evening. And he managed to sell this ridiculous belief to the crowd, no less.

“Let’s make something clear, asshole,” I muttered, “if it had been me and the boys that lit your shit up, you wouldn’t be standing here today.”

Despite the absurdity of the accusation – and despite the obvious absurdity of the accusation – the victims of psi just grunted along, agreeing with everything and anything that came out of Emperor’s mouth, in part because they didn’t know any better (they were psi victims, after all), and in part because any disagreement with what Emperor had to say was met with a fierce, painful punishment.

“His Word, Before All and Above All,” I muttered. “With liberty and justice for no one, so kiss my peasant Old New York ass and take a breath mint afterward, unless you like that funky aftertaste…”

My voice trailed off as my eyes focused on a strange woman on the balcony.

At first, I couldn’t discern who she was – she looked like someone I’d seen before, yet someone I’d never seen before.

Her hair was a garish white-blonde, stringy and lifeless, and pinned tightly behind her head with a set of black ceramic chopsticks. Her makeup was almost cartoonish – cat-like black eyeliner and matte black lipstick sat atop a ghostly white foundation. Even her outfit was a hideously hilarious cultural appropriation – a black silk kimono paired with a set of black stiletto heels. I’d seen Old New York 42nd Street prostitutes, with terrible heroin problems, sell the “Asian coquette” look better than what I’d seen before me now.

“Who the actual…” I began, hesitantly, unable to process who I was seeing before me.

And then it hit me, all at once, who she was.

For the first time in a long time, I was literally speechless.

When I could finally find my voice again, it barely came out in a whisper. “Rosie,” I squeaked.

I walked into the Ludlow Street apartment I shared with Angelique and was instantly greeted with the smell of a meat dish that, I would later learn, was calledcarne asada.

“Angelique!” I called out over the loud sizzling of steak as I kicked off my black Frye boots and set my matching acoustic guitar down. “Where are you, my love?”

“In here!” she called, out of sight, from the kitchen, where more clanging and banging sounds echoed over her voice.

I began walking through the apartment, shedding layers as I went along until I reached the kitchen wearing nothing but my black leather pants and a mischievous smile. I was hoping to have a little appetizer of crème d’Angelique before dinner, but when I reached the kitchen, I realized – much to my chagrin – that we weren’t alone.

Angelique, her hair tied back into a messy ponytail, was wearing a tight, white, see-through shorts jumper and a matching white apron. She was standing next to an unfamiliar-looking woman with a matching messy ponytail, but whose thick chocolate brown hair stood in sharp contrast to Angelique’s thin flaxen locks. The rest of her, too, was in stark contrast to Angelique, but not in a bad way – she was olive-skinned, in contrast to Angelique’s pale white skin; she was curvy, in contrast to Angelique’s ectomorphic figure; she was fiery, in contrast to Angelique’s ethereal nature.

They were standing side by side, working on something that smelled simply delicious. Angelique was mixing flour, sugar, and garlic powder, and her friend was adding melted butter and salted water to the resultant powder, then kneading it until it formed a dough.

“Am I interrupting something?” I asked as I walked behind Angelique, wrapped my arms around her waist, and kissed her neck, breathing in her scent of lilacs as I did so.

She smiled, then took her index finger and bopped the tip of my nose with the flour mixture. “Hey handsome,” she said, beatifically. “We’re making something special for you for dinner. We’ve got carne asada in the pan over there – we’ve got some arroz con gandules in the rice cooker – and we’re making…wait, girl, what’s this called?”

Arepas,” her friend said, smiling as she continued to knead the dough between her hands, her silver thumb ring glistening in the light of the dusk as she did so.

“Right, arepas,” Angelique repeated. “Ramira here is teaching me all her magic ways – she says this is the exact dinner I need to make if I want my man to marry me.” She giggled, then elbowed Ramira, who giggled along with Angelique.

I couldn’t help but giggle, as well, as I unentwined myself from Angelique and walked over to Ramira to properly introduce myself. “I’m going to be stuffed fordays with all this delicious food, so it’s only right that we become friends,” I began, extending my hand. “Hi there. I’m James Randall Ryan IV, I somehow lucked out enough to convince this lovely lady Angelique to be my girlfriend, and it’s a pleasure to meet you. You can call me Jamie.”

Ramira smiled, then shook my hand with two of her fingers, taking care not to smear the wet dough across my palm. “Well, my name is Ramira Diaz, Angelique is my best friend, and it’s a pleasure to meet you too. You can call me Rosie, though. Everyone else does.”

I sat under a wilting star magnolia tree and stared, intently, through the open window of a room that had to be Rosie’s dressing room. She peeled her black silk kimono off and turned her back to the frameless window, exposing her prominent ribs and shoulder blades as she did so. The sight of her suddenly-bare, emaciated frame shocked me, especially given how pronounced her curves were in our younger years, and tears welled up in my eyes yet again.

In the decades since Angelique and my son had died, I could count the number of times I’d cried on one hand. In the past 72 hours, though – as I realized that my best friend’s kid, and my best friend’s girlfriend, were alive and well, and that the Uprising was bigger than I’d ever imagined – the tears came quickly and flowed easily, and I couldn’t decide if this was a sign of strength or weakness on my part.

Rosie slipped a shimmering white camisole over her emaciated frame, which she then tucked into a pair of white linen slacks. I couldn’t get over how thin she’d gotten, then wondered if this was by her own design, or if she was under orders from that evil husband of hers. No way would Jordan be cool with this, I thought to myself. On his fucking grave would this go on. On his fucking grave. And wouldn’t you know it – here we are, on his fucking grave.

I saw Rosie leave the room and begin to head down a flight of stairs, and I took that as an opportunity to get her alone, away from the rabid Cabal and out of sight of the vainglorious Emperor. She’d taken a few steps away from her building, and into Emperor’s Park, before passing by the wilting star magnolia tree that I was hiding behind. It was only when I saw the back of her slicked back, perfect ponytail – what a difference from the one she was wearing when we first met, I thought – that I saw the opportunity to get her alone and began walking behind her.

            “You’ve come a long way from making arepas on Ludlow Street,” I said, tapping her on the shoulder when I finally caught up with her.

She spun around, her face scrunched up in fear, and for a split second, I thought she was going to hit me. But just as quickly, she relaxed as her eyes registered who owned the disembodied voice. “Jamie,” she whispered tearfully. “You’re here. You’re alive. I didn’t realize…”

“How the hell did you not?” I asked, furrowing my eyebrows and side-eyeing her. “Your damned husband has been hunting me for decades.”

“I knew that,” she said, taking ragged breaths. “But just the fact that he was never able to take you alive led me to believe that you were…you know…” Her voice trailed off.

I wasn’t convinced, and I continued to stare at her intently as I scratched my left cheek, which was now beginning to show the first signs of salt-and-pepper beard stubble. “First of all, why the hell are you talking like you’re Queen Elizabeth? Second, let me just state it for the record: you give your asshole husbandway too much credit if you think he can take me down.”

Rosie bit her lower lip, then shifted her eyes down. I put my hand under her chin and tipped her face up, forcing her eyes to meet mine as I tried, desperately, to search for a sign of the Rosie I once knew. “Rosie,” I whispered intently. “It’s me. You don’t have to hide from me.”

Her face was a blank slate. “My name is Rose. Rose Cunningham,” she said with flat affect.

“Oh, bullshit,” I whispered, even more intently. “Whatever happened to ‘call me Rosie, everyone else does’? What happened to that woman who was makingarepas in the kitchen with my Angelique?”

That got her attention, and her deep brown eyes flashed with fire as she balled up her fists and began swinging at me. “You shit! You bastard! You did it! You almost killed my baby!”

I ducked, bobbed and weaved, avoiding each blow as I carefully tried to talk her down from the ledge. “Rosie! What the hell are you talking about? I didn’t do that shit! I swear!”

She continued to swing at me. “Yes! Yes, you did!” she squealed tearfully, repeating the same “yes, yes” with each swing, her voice getting louder each time.

“Do you want to knock it off before the fuckin’ Cabal finds us, Rosie? The fuck is wrong with you? Jesus Christ!” I was shouting despite myself and began scanning the landscape frantically for Cabal soldiers that would have undoubtedly heard us, all while bobbing and weaving like a prizefighter to avoid getting punched in the face.

She swung even harder and squealed even louder. “You tried to kill my baby! Just like you killed yours!”

That line finally got me to react, and I had to steady my breathing to stop from clocking her in the mouth. Even in the throes of the worst of my Faustian behavior, I never hit a woman, and neither did any of my bandmates – the thought of violence against a woman, let alone a woman we’d loved, didn’t even cross our drug-addled minds.

Instead, I grabbed her wrists and forced them down to her sides, holding them in place at hip level as she struggled, trying to hit me, until she finally began whimpering in defeat.

“Now you listen to me, Ramira Diaz, and you listen well,” I began, angrily. “You may have forgotten everything you were and are, but I sure as fuck haven’t forgotten a goddamn thing, and let me rest assure you, I never fuckin’ will.”

Her lower lip was trembling, her eyes were watering, and it became evident that she was on the verge of tears. Still, I continued. “So, let me get a few things out of the way now, so we’re not confused. Number one: that blast? It wasn’t me. It wasn’t anyone tied to me. It wasn’t anyone whose name I can even spell. Because let me assure you, again, that if it were me, or anyone tied to me, we’d have burned down the entire fuckin’ city, even if it meant killing ourselves in the process, and wouldn’t have left a survivor anywhere on this God-forsaken island.

“Number two: you know goddamn well I didn’t kill Angelique or our baby. Now I wear their death on my heart every. Fucking. Day. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in twenty fucking years, from the day they were killed, because I can’t get their murders out of my mind. There are times I wish I was dead, just so that I don’t have to live with the guilt of their murders, but no, here I am, and ain’t that a fuckin’ bitch from Hell. I’d give all the money in the world to have my Angelique back. I’d trade my life for Jordan’s any day of the week. And my son – my only legacy – never had a chance at life, and you think that’s all fair?

“Number three – and this is the most important part, Rosie, goddamnit, you’d better fuckin’ listen to this if you listen to nothing else: remember that promise I made to you in the hospital room? All those years ago? Because I fuckin’ do. And that’s why when Evanora and Tommy came down the Bowery after the blast, and I realized who she was, I made sure she was safe and clean and warm…”

Rosie looked shocked. “Wait. She came to you?”

I searched her face, trying to see if I could register where her loyalties lie before I continued to answer the question. For some reason, however, I couldn’t make it out. I even tried to read Rosie’s mind using a gentle form of psi, but I still couldn’t read her mind at all. It was like trying to probe a brick wall. So, to protect Evanora – and the rest of us – I chose to cover my tracks. “Yeah,” I said airily, “she mentioned something about listening to Uprising Radio.”

The name of Uprising Radio registered some type of recognition with Rosie, and her eyes lit up slightly. “My baby has heard Uprising Radio?”

“I don’t know for sure,” I continued, still adopting an airy affect, “but I’m pretty sure that’s what she said.” Using my Cabal training, I put a mental wall between my thoughts and Rosie, mostly because I didn’t know how much training she’d had in the psi arts, and I wasn’t sure if she, too, could read my mind. And if, God forbid, her loyalties lied with that pathetic excuse of her husband, I could at least protect, if not myself, then the whole Uprising movement.

I made sure the wall was firmly in place before I continued. “I think I’ve heard Uprising Radio a few times, but I don’t know much about it, who does it, or anything of the sort.”

“Yeah,” Rosie said, hesitantly, behind a mental brick wall of her own, “I have no idea, either.”

We were calmer, now – our breath was steady, our thoughts were collected, and Rosie’s fists were limp. I finally felt confident that she wasn’t going to try to hit me again, so I loosened my grip on her wrists.

But I suddenly found myself unable to let her go, so I slid my hands from her wrists to her hands and grabbed her fingers lightly. I was overcome with emotion.

“What is it, Jamie?” Her voice was cracking.

I exhaled loudly, then drew in a ragged breath. “Do you think about him, Rosie? Do you think about Jordan at all?”

She closed her eyes and allowed the tears to fall as she exhaled shakily. “Every day of my life,” she said softly. “There’s not a day that goes by that Jordan doesn’t cross my mind. Every time I look at Evanora – every time I hear her laugh – he comes to my mind. Sometimes, she gives me this look – you remember, Jamie? You remember when Jordan would hear something that was just too stupid for words, and he would get this look on his face, like, ‘were you dropped on your head as a child?’” – and to this, I gave a half-smile and a nod – “and now, she gets that look. And that one eyebrow” – she took her finger and drew on her left eyebrow – “it would just go up like…like…”

She dropped her hand as her voice trailed off, her eyes filling with tears.

I nodded my head, closed my eyes, and sighed. “Fuckin’ guy,” I said, opening my eyes and looking at Rosie. “So. You didn’t see me, right?”

Rosie smiled and winked at me. “Ivan Sapphire? Please. Get over yourself, rock star.” She squeezed my hands one last time for good measure. “I’m going to leave now. I’m not going to look back because I don’t want to see where you’re going. This way, if someone with bad intentions against you asks me if I know where you are, I can answer honestly when I say I don’t know. But just because I don’t look back, doesn’t mean I want to see you go. I need you to understand that, Jamie Ryan. I don’t need you to over-analyze things that don’t need over-analyzing. I need you to let me go, Jamie Ryan, and I need you to know that I love you, and I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”

She finally let go of my hands, gave me a slight nod, then turned and walked back to her home. I watched her, silently, keeping the promise I made so long ago to Jordan Barker and didn’t leave what was once known as Central Park until I saw, for sure, that she was safe inside.

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THE GATHERING Teaser 1

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Author Bernadette Giacomazzo

Author Bernadette Giacomazzo

About The Author
With an impressive list of credentials earned over the course of two decades, Bernadette R. Giacomazzo is a multi-hyphenate in the truest sense of the word: an editor, writer, photographer, publicist, and digital marketing specialist who has demonstrated an uncanny ability to thrive in each industry with equal aplomb. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, People, Us Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and many, many more. She served as the news editor of Go! NYC Magazine for nearly a decade, the executive editor of LatinTRENDS Magazine for five years, the eye candy editor of XXL Magazine for two years, and the editor-at-large at iOne/Zona de Sabor for two years. As a publicist, she has worked with the likes of Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and his G-Unit record label, rapper Kool G. Rap, and various photographers, artists, and models. As a digital marketing specialist, Bernadette is Google Adwords certified, has an advanced knowledge of SEO, PPC, link-building, and other digital marketing techniques, and has worked for a variety of clients in the legal, medical, and real estate industries.

Based in New York City, Bernadette is the co-author of Swimming with Sharks: A Real World, How-To Guide to Success (and Failure) in the Business of Music (for the 21st Century), and the author of the forthcoming dystopian fiction series, The Uprising. She also contributed a story to the upcoming Beyonce Knowles tribute anthology, The King Bey Bible, which will be available in bookstores nationwide in the summer of 2018..

Where to Find Bernadette Giacomazzo
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – THE DOCILES (The Secret Archives Trilogy) by Valerie Puri

THE DOCILES Cover Reveal

Welcome to the book blitz for THE DOCILES, the first book in the young adult dystopian series, The Secret Archives Trilogy, by Valerie Puri. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on their giveaway.

THE DOCILES (The Secret Archives Trilogy #1) by Valerie Puri

THE DOCILES (The Secret Archives Trilogy #1) by Valerie Puri

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: THE DOCILES
Series: The Secret Archives Trilogy #1
Author: Valerie Puri
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Release Date: July 12, 2018
Link: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis
Walls are meant to keep the monsters out…

Deep in the forest there is a wall where no wall should be. Behind it live the people of the Commune, the last remnant of human kind.

Jennie Caraway has lived behind the wall her entire life, certain that it protects her and her brother from the lemerons, ravenous undead monsters whose only desire is to kill – and feed.

Jennie’s peaceful existence is shattered when she uncovers a secret organization whose purpose threatens to destroy not only Jennie, but her entire world. The Order has a deadly mission, and they will stop at nothing to see it completed.

Jennie and those closest to her must expose the evil truth before they are killed – or worse.

 

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Excerpt #2
Sash
Sash smiled as he recalled his transition into adulthood. He’d chosen his own path and proved how useful he could be to the Order. He had been doing this work ever since the day he walked away from the burning remnants of his past life. His technique had been polished over the years. He learned how to control his rage and do less conspicuous work. After all, he couldn’t burn down every building he did a job in just to cover his tracks and make it look like an accident.

Some of his targets were not so lucky as to be killed. What awaited them was something worse. Eleanor Townsend was one such target. His usual sneer crept over his lips as he thought about the hell she would soon be trapped in. She hadn’t screamed when he bagged her, though. Pity, he thought. Sash loved when they screamed.

He reached the end of the long dark tunnel. He stood before a thick steel door with a single, dim light flickering above his head. He made a fist and banged on the cold metal two times. He heard shuffling behind the door, and a strip of metal at eye-level slid away to reveal a small, rectangular window. A set of eyes masked behind tinted, round goggles peered out at him, surveying the load hoisted over his shoulder.

“I’ve got another one for processing,” Sash said.

The metal strip slid back into place covering the tiny window. Sash heard the grinding sound of metal scraping against metal as the gears were engaged to unlock the door. It swung inward to grant him entrance.

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Author Valerie Puri

Author Valerie Puri

About the Authors
Valerie Puri has always had a lifelong interest in all forms of artistic expression. She has tried her hand at many things, yet she always found her way back to reading and writing. With inspiration everywhere, she finally put pen to paper (or rather, fingers to keyboard) with the intent of publishing her stories.

Writing has always come naturally to Valerie, and for a time she even worked as a technical writer. She continues to hone her skills by having at least one writing project in the works at any given time. Her true passion lies in the freedom that comes with writing the stories that pour from her imagination and real life inspiration.

Valerie believes that the experiences we have in life are just stories waiting to be written.

 

 

 

Where to Find Valerie Puri
Goodreads │ Website | Facebook │Twitter

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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – AN IMPOSSIBLE WORLD by S.P. Cervantes

AN IMPOSSIBLE WORLD Cover Reveal

Welcome to the book blitz for AN IMPOSSIBLE WORLD, an adult dystopian romance, by S.P. Cervantes. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. And for a limited time, you can pick up the eBook for just $0.99.

AN IMPOSSIBLE WORLD by S.P. Cervantes

AN IMPOSSIBLE WORLD by S.P. Cervantes

About the Book – Just $0.99 for a limited time!
Title: AN IMPOSSIBLE WORLD
Author: S.P. Cervantes
Genre: Adult Dystopian Romance
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Synopsis
What would happen if terrorism spread and hate took over? What would the world become?

Isabella (Belle) Grey trained her entire adult life to protect those around her––training that would prove invaluable in her quest to make a new life. Forced to live in an impossible world, terror was not only outside the walls of her protected community but also raged behind the walls of her very own home.

No longer willing to put up with her husband’s drunken abuse, Belle made the desperate decision to run away from the safety of her community and escaped alone into the broken world beyond.

Chased by death as bombs exploded in the distance, her next decision could not only save her life but could potentially bring light back into her darkened soul.

When faced with the impossible, Belle found strength in an unsuspecting stranger who set her path in a new direction––one she never considered.

Fear. Love. Revenge. Strength … all come together in this epic tale of fate and survival.

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Excerpt
Keagan

I protect my own.  That’s all I’ve ever done, and that’s what I’ll do until the day I die.  I also don’t change my mind once it’s made up.” He hovered over me setting me on fire in ways that confused me.  “And I’ve made my mind up about you.”

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Author S.P. Cervantes

Author S.P. Cervantes

About the Author
S.P. Cervantes is the author of the acclaimed contemporary romance A BROKEN FAIRY TALE series. The series allows you to connect with a group of friends and their triumphs over tragedy. “Dust to Dust” is a suspenseful stand-alone romance that introduces readers to this close knit group of loyal friends. “Wished Away” is an emotional romance that should be read before the Bad-Boy romance, “His Jar of Hearts”.

S.P. highly acclaimed romance called “The Wife” is now available.

S.P. is also the author of the highly rated Young Adult Romantic Fantasy trilogy Secrets of Shadow Hill. “Always and Forever”, “The Prophecy”, and “War of Wizards” that has been described as “Twilight Meets Harry Potter”. It’s not your typical romantic fantasy.

S.P Cervantes lives in Orange County, California with her husband and three children, where she is a teacher. She enjoys spending time with her family, writing, reading, and running, but is always thinking of an idea for her next novel..

Where to Find S.P. Cervantes
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Blog Tour – Guest Post + Giveaway – STRICKEN by C.K. Kelly Martin

STRICKEN Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for STRICKEN, a stand-alone middle grade/young adult dystopian adventure with a scifi twist, by C.K. Kelly Martin. See below for information the book, buy links, an exclusive guest post by the author, and details on her giveaway.

STRICKEN by C.K. Kelly Martin

STRICKEN by C.K. Kelly Martin

About the Book
Title: STRICKEN
Author: C.K. Kelly Martin
Publisher: CBD
Release Date: January 27, 2018
Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult Dystopian Adventure/SciFi
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | !ndigo | BAM! | IndieBound | The Book Depository

Synopsis
Naomi doesn’t expect anything unusual from her annual family trip to visit her grandparents in Ireland. What she expects is to celebrate her thirteenth birthday, hang out with her friends Ciara and Shehan, and deal with her gran’s Alzheimer’s. What she finds is a country hit by an unexpected virus that rapidly infects the majority of the Irish population over the age of twenty-one.

Amnestic-Delirium Syndrome (ADS) starts off with memory loss, but the virus soon turns its victims aggravated, blank, or violent. Naomi and her friends must survive on their own, without lucid adults, cut off from the rest of the world, until a cure is found.

But there are whispers that ADS is not terrestrial, and soon Naomi and her friends learn the frightening truth: we are not alone.

 

 

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Guest Post – Cover Love
Seeing a new book cover for the first time is always exciting for an author– it’s a visual representation of your work that will (hopefully!) have an immediate impact on whoever sees it.  Stricken is my first middle grade book and my first book cover that wasn’t a photograph. Those things alone made me giddy. An original cover illustration!

The first I saw of the Stricken cover art was a black and white sketch that I instantly fell head over heels in love with. Canadian visual artist Nick Craine adapted Bruce McDonald’s, Dance Me Outside and Hard Core Logo into graphic novels and his illustrations have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The New Republic.

To me it’s no small thing that Nick Craine also designed the best book cover I’ve ever had. I’m in absolute awe of main character Naomi’s defiant posture atop an overturned car. Seeing Dublin’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street (a place central to the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Irish Civil War of 1922) pictured behind her gives me a thrill every time I see Stricken. If you ever go to Dublin, there’s no way you’ll visit the place without seeing O’Connell Street and O’Connell Bridge, which spans the River Liffey. The Stricken cover vividly portrays more than a familiar city street though; it shows a place in trouble, a place where life has been turned upside down.  It makes me want to snatch up the book and find out what happens within the pages, even though I’ve already read it. It’s a cover that sets up delicious expectations, which I dearly hope I meet.

I was twenty-one the first time I landed in Dublin, but there was something about it that nearly instantly felt like home. That makes this book and its fabulous cover very special to me.   I can’t thank Nick Craine enough.

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Author C.K. Kelly Martin

Author C.K. Kelly Martin

About the Author
Long before I was an author I was a fan of books about Winnie the Pooh, Babar, Madeline, Anne Shirley and anything by Judy Blume. Throughout high school my favourite class was English. No surprise, then, that most of my time spent at York University in Toronto was as an English major—not the traditional way to graduate with a B.A. (Hons) in film studies but a fine way to get a general arts education.

After getting my film studies degree I headed for Dublin, Ireland and spent the majority of the nineties there in forgettable jobs meeting unforgettable people and enjoying the buzz. I always believed I’d get around to writing in earnest eventually, and I began writing my first novel in a flat in Dublin and finished it in a Toronto suburb. By then I’d discovered that fiction about young people felt the freshest and most exciting to me. You have most of your life to be an adult but you only grow up once.

Currently residing near Toronto with my Dub husband, I’m an aunt to twenty-one nieces and nephews, and a great-aunt to two great-nephews. I became an Irish citizen in 2001 and continue to visit Dublin as often as I can while working on novels about young people.

My first young adult book, I Know It’s Over, came out with Random House in September 2008, and was followed by One Lonely Degree, The Lighter Side of Life and Death, My Beating Teenage Heart and sci-fi thriller Yesterday. I released Yesterday’s sequel, Tomorrow, in 2013 and put out my first adult novel, Come See About Me, as an ebook in June 2012. My most recent contemporary YA books, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing and Delicate, were published by Cormorant Books’ Dancing Cat Books imprint in 2014 and 2015.

Where to Find C.K. Kelly Martin
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – BEFORE DAWN by Elizabeth Arroyo

BEFORE DAWN Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for BEFORE DAWN, a stand-alone young adult science fiction dystopian adventure by Elizabeth Arroyo. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

BEFORE DAWN by Elizabeth Arroyo

BEFORE DAWN by Elizabeth Arroyo

About the Book
Title:
BEFORE DAWN
Author: Elizabeth Arroyo
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction/Dystopian/Adventure
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon FR | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Synopsis
Survival rule number one: eat before being hunted.

In a world infected by violent hybrids, survival comes with its own set of rules. Sixteen-year-old Zoe is an expert at breaking them.

While Zoe has abilities she cannot explain, just getting through another day without being killed is a challenge. She has survived since her mother’s murder with help from an unexpected ally, Morph.

Morph is part of the Arcane, an elite force of teenagers from an Alliance of space stations. After the Arcane are destroyed in an explosion, only Morph and his brother survive. They are sent on a new mission to capture a dangerous hybrid.

Morph is torn between duty and his attraction to Zoe. With threats to the planet from above, Morph knows Zoe’s chances are limited. Trying to save her could be a betrayal to the Alliance.

When Zoe recovers memories of her mother’s death that point straight to the Arcane, she realizes Morph might be the real enemy.

As more mysteries are brought to light, telling friends from foes becomes difficult. For Morph and Zoe, the world is more dangerous than ever. And trusting each other is the key to them living to see another day.

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Excerpt #2
Morph wanted to apologize for leaving her and let her know that Shyla had him by his manhood. He wanted to apologize for Jace. Recently, she’d allowed her emotions to dominate her actions. She’d snap whenever he tried to talk some sense into her. Stubborn to the core. He couldn’t bring out the words before she pissed him off.

Like now.

Slinging the bag over her shoulder, she headed for the exit.

“Don’t,” he warned. “Stone’s pulling sentry duty.” If Stone detected movement it would send a highly volatile cylinder to the perpetrator and exterminate them. Only it probably wouldn’t kill Zoe. It’d destroy itself in the process and he liked the bot.

“Call it off,” she challenged. Her hand already on the doorknob.

“Just relax,” he ordered, but that only sent her edging into the drop off.

“Call it off. It’s the only one you have left.” She turned to meet his eyes and let out a breath just before she opened the door.

Cursing, he pushed the off button on his wristband to keep the bot from committing suicide. “Stay here,” he ordered Glam and sprinted after Zoe.

Being depleted of energy didn’t stop her from charging down the seven flights of stairs. She rushed outside, into the dawn, and abruptly stopped. He slammed into her and quickly drew her into his protective embrace before she lost her balance. This close to her, he lost his words.

She gently pushed him away. Her amber colored eyes did something to him he never wanted to forget. It made him whole.

“Why did you even come back?” she whispered.

He cupped her cheek and she leaned into his touch. All the reasons why he couldn’t tell her how he felt, why he couldn’t wrap her in his arms and kiss her, flooded to the surface. Attachments would get him killed. She was a hybridhe killed her kind. He needed to take her to Mecca, to be tested. She, like Archer, seemed to be a new version of hybrid. She could never join him on the Phoenix, and he had to go back. It was the only way to save Jace. It’d be wrong to explore their feelings when he knew how it would all end.

“I have to go back,” he whispered. He didn’t have to tell her what he meant. She knew. It was written all over her face. She stiffened and pulled away. He almost wanted her to argue with him, to challenge him to stay. She didn’t. She never did. Instead, she sucked in a breath and walked back inside.

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Author Elizabeth Arroyo

Author Elizabeth Arroyo

About the Author
Born and raised in Chicago and the youngest of five, Elizabeth spent most of her younger years as an avid reader with a wild imagination which led her to write her first manuscript at the age of fourteen.

Influenced by the gamers in her household and her love of action adventure, Elizabeth delved into the realm of science fiction and wrote her first full-length science fiction/dystopian YA novel—Before Dawn—acquired by Ellysian Press in 2016.

Elizabeth is the author of the Second Sign and the Second Shadow, a dark YA paranormal romance series, (Sapphire Star Publishing, 2013), and Darkness, a YA paranormal thriller, (Indie-Published, 2014). She has a short story published with SQ Magazine, and advice on her writing journey can be found in The Write Path: A Compilation of Letters, (Amazon Digital Services, Inc.).

Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her family, listening to music, and binge watching her favorite shows.

You can reach Elizabeth at her website www.elizabetharroyo.com, Twitter, and Facebook..

Where to find Elizabeth Arroyo
Goodreads | Website | FacebookTwitter

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