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Young Adult Book Review – ISAN (International Sensory Assassin Network) by Mary Ting

ISAN (International Sensory Assassin Network #1) by Mary Ting

ISAN (International Sensory Assassin Network #1) by Mary Ting

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
The world has changed.

Scientists warned it would happen.

Meteors devastated the Earth. World Governments developed plans to help surviving citizens. The United States disbanded and salvageable land was divided into four quadrants—North, South, East, and West—governed by The Remnant Council.

Struggling to survive, seventeen-year-old Ava ends up in juvenile detention, until she is selected for a new life—with a catch. She must be injected with an experimental serum. The results will be life changing. The serum will make her better. To receive the serum Ava agrees to join a program controlled by ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network.

While on a mission, she is abducted by a rebel group led by Rhett and told that not only does she have a history with him, but her entire past is a lie perpetuated by ISAN to ensure her compliance. Unsure of who to trust, Ava must decide if her strangely familiar and handsome captor is her enemy or her savior—and time is running out.

 

 

 

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My Review
Mary Ting’s dystopian world envisions a planet pummeled by meteors, destroying life as we know it. Two generations later and science has surpassed anything their ancestors could have imagined thanks to resources those meteors brought to the earth. Fragile governments have sprung up and a power struggle is firmly in place. Enter ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network. With a secret formula known as Helix, teenage assassins are sent out to eliminate any threats to peace before they become a problem. Pulling girls from foster homes and juvenile detention system, ISAN promises a better life for troubled youth, but they soon realize they’ve traded one hell for another. Ava is an orphan with a rough past, but she takes to the Helix serum especially well, giving her abilities the other girls don’t have, propelling her into a leadership position, one she doesn’t feel she’s earned. Still, she does her best to nurture and support her team on their missions. This is her life, training, eating, killing. At least until she starts receiving mysterious messages from someone on her computer. When she’s kidnapped while on a mission, not only is her world turned upside down, but her entire identity as she learns painful details about a past she can’t remember.

Plot
The plot is amazing. I couldn’t put this book down. It moves from the opening page through to the end. There were so many unexpected plot twists that kept me needing to find out what happened next. The primary plot isn’t really Ava’s, it’s Rhett’s. His goal is to get Ava back. But because it’s told through Ava’s point of view, the goal wasn’t completely clear until at least halfway through. By using this technique, the author keeps us in the dark, along with Ava, so we truly experience the backstory as it unfolds for Ava. This was a brilliant technique that kept me on my toes!

Characters
Ava is tough, but not to the point of being hard to like. From the opening pages, I loved her loyalty and her moral center. Even as an assassin, she has a conscious that tears at her. Her team is a blend of friends and adversaries that must form a cohesive unit during missions, which makes for some really great conflict. The leadership is intriguing and mysterious, meaning anything is possible at this point. As Ava learns the secrets of her past, readers are left to wonder who we can trust. Rhett, as the forgotten love interest, is everything you’d want for Ava. He’ll do anything to get her back, except put her at risk.

What I Loved About ISAN
1. World Building.
 The dystopian future Ting creates is a joy to behold. Rich details bring it vividly to life.

2. Kendrick. His toys for the assassins are a thing of beauty and straight out of the best spy movies.

3. Ava. She kicks butt and takes names, but she is loyal and has a strong moral code — everything I want in my teenage assassins.

4. Rhett. He’s tough and badass but his tender feelings toward Ava makes him swoonworthy.

5. Surprises. There were a lot of surprises throughout the book that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Bottom Line
A fantastic young adult dystopian with cool tech and swoony romantic subplot.

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About the Book
Title: ISAN
Series: ISAN #1
Author: Mary Ting
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Pages: 330
Genre: Young Adult SciFi/Dystopian
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AUBarnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound | BAM!

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Author Mary Ting

Author Mary Ting

About the Author
International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres and her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.

Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.

Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry..

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Where to find Mary Ting
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – HELIX (ISAN) by Mary Ting

HELIX Blog Tour

HELIX (ISAN #2) by Mary Ting

HELIX (ISAN #2) by Mary Ting

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
Alliances are forming. The resistance is growing. Everything is about to change.

With her memory still fragmented, Ava returns to the International Sensory Assassin Network (ISAN) to find the twin sister she never knew she had.

But as Ava hunts for information, she finds herself tangled in a web of yet more lies and conspiracy. The Helix serum may not be required to access her superpowers, and the number of male assassins—previously considered too volatile to tolerate Helix—is growing in every territory.

The more Ava uncovers, the more of a threat she becomes to ISAN. Her only salvation may be to join the rebels—if she isn’t killed first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
HELIX picks up where ISAN left off, but this time we get both Ava’s and Rhett’s points of view. Rhett is reeling from having to let Ava go, again, and Ava is still frustrated and confused from her three days with Rhett and his friends. Back at ISAN, she’s once again a reluctant assassin, doing what she’s been trained to do while seeking the truth, her memories, her father, and a twin she didn’t even know she had. With ISAN pursuing Rhett and the other rebels, life outside ISAN is no safer than it is inside for Ava. Although he let her go, Rhett is determined to get Ava back, and this time for good. With a perfected Helix serum, ISAN is now made up of both males and females, creating a more complex dynamic as Ava begins to untangle an intricate conspiracy. When her memories begin to return, emotions flood her, threatening to drown her and keep her from achieving her objectives.

Plot
War is coming. That much we know. But figuring out who is on which side and who can be trusted is just one of the many areas author Mary Ting excels at. The plot is expertly woven with backstory, major and minor subplots, and more than a few twists. Just as with ISAN, the story moves at a fast pace and kept me turning pages long into the night. I finished this book in just three days.

Characters
All the characters I fell in love with in book 1 are back with more depth and development as their stories continue. Getting Rhett’s point of view this time was an extra treat that I savored. New characters, including Zen, Chloe, and Payton all add so much to the complex relationship structure, driving conflict as well as contributing to some really great moments. One in particular between Chloe and Rhett early in the story was the perfect scene to show us everything we need to know about Rhett’s honor.

What I Loved About HELIX
1. Ava.
 I love her even more than I did in ISAN. She’s both tougher this time around and softer around the edges in a way she wan’t before.

2. Rhett. Sigh…. His love for and loyalty toward Ava are swoony, but he’s more than just a romantic lead. He’s got his own goals and arc beyond his feelings for Ava.

3. Tech. Kendrick’s Q-worthy tech would make James Bond weak in the knees.

4. Twists. Just as in ISAN, there are plenty of twists that take the story in another direction at the most unexpected moments.

5. Plot. Another page-turning story from Mary Ting that was impossible to put down.

Bottom Line
A pulse-pounding sequel in one of the best dystopian series out there.

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: HELIX
Series: ISAN #2
Author: Mary Ting
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Release Date: May 12, 2019
Pages: 376
Genre: Young Adult SciFi/Dystopian
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AUBarnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound | BAM!

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Author Mary Ting

Author Mary Ting

About the Author
International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres and her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.

Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.

Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry..

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Where to find Mary Ting
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Book Blitz – Teaser + Giveaway – SKIN HUNTER (Skin Hunter Series) by Tania Hutley

SKIN HUNTER Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for SKIN HUNTER, the first book in the young new adult dystopian science fiction series, Skin Hunter, by USA Today bestselling author Tania Hutley.  See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive teaser, and details on her giveaway.

SKIN HUNTER (Skin Hunter #1) by Tania Hutley

SKIN HUNTER (Skin Hunter #1) by Tania Hutley

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: SKIN HUNTER
Series: Skin Hunter #1
Author: Tania Hutley
Release Date: June 18, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Science Fiction
Link: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
She didn’t want to do it… But she was desperate.

Trying to escape the dangerous streets of Old Triton, the buried city, Milla takes the ultimate risk. Could a dead girl’s identity be her way out? A ticket to a richer, brighter world high above the muck and gloom of her old life?

Now she’s part of a high tech contest, with a prize beyond money, fame and everything she has ever known. A chance to become something… new. But if anyone finds out who Milla really is, she’s dead.

The other competitors come from privilege, their faces and bodies tweaked to perfection. Rich and handsome Cale could be the most dangerous of all. Why is he so interested in a scarred, ugly “sinker” like Milla?

To survive, she needs to be brave. To win, she needs to evolve.

Just try and stop her.

Skin Hunter is an upper YA science fiction novel – a futuristic, dystopian thrill-ride with a spark of romance.

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SKIN HUNTER Teaser

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SKIN HUNTER Teaser

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Author Tania Hutley

Author Tania Hutley

About the Author
Tania Hutley is a USA Today bestselling author who loves sci fi movies and wishes she lived in the Whedon-verse.

Tania also writes sexy contemporary romance using a top-secret pen name. She could tell you what that pen name is, but then she’d have to turn you into a chicken.

 

 

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Where to Find Tania Hutley
Goodreads | WebsiteFacebook 

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Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – NORTH TO NARA (Crimson Sash) by Amanda Marin

NORTH TO NARA Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for NORTH TO NARA, the first book in the young adult dystopian sci-fi romance series, Crimson Sash, by Amanda Marin. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

NORTH TO NARA (Crimson Sash #1) by Amanda Marin

NORTH TO NARA (Crimson Sash #1) by Amanda Marin

About the Book
Title: NORTH TO NARA
Series: Crimson Sash
Author: Amanda Marin
Publisher: Inkspell Publishing

Release Date: March 20, 2019
Genre:
 Young Adult Dystopian Sci-Fi Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

Synopsis
Neve Hall has always admired the good works of the civil servants who brought prosperity back to the Nation. She especially respects the Sufferers—empaths who, with the help of technology, anonymously bear others’ troubles for them. But when her assigned empath is abruptly retired, she uncovers certain secrets. Like the identity of her new Sufferer, Micah Ward… and the fact that behind his kind smile is a life filled with loneliness and pain.

The closer Neve grows to Micah, the more desperate she becomes to protect him from a cruel and gruesome fate. But in a world where only a few are allowed the luxury of love, saving Micah comes with a price: Neve must choose between her loyalty to the Nation or her heart—a decision that will take them both on a race for their freedom, and their lives.

 

 

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NORTH TO NARA Teaser

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Excerpt #4
There’s hurt and anxiety in Micah’s eyes. He’s trying to understand the reason I’d put our secret at risk. He thinks I’ve betrayed him, I realize. He thinks I’ve told them—that I’m leaving him to the mercy of Isla and the director without even warning him. And the idea of him wondering whether I might be capable of doing that to him upsets me more than anything.

“It’s not what you’re thinking, Micah, I swear—”

“Then why? Whatever it is, just tell me so I can help.” He’s begging me, with his sad, stag’s stare, not to break him.

My eyes burn, and silent tears boil over as I remind myself of my reasons. The way he limps from time to time. The fact that he’s not going to get better, only worse. The agony of knowing that I’ll someday lose him—and that I, as one of his Sieves, am partly to blame.

“It’s because I just can’t do it anymore, Micah,” I tell him, wiping tears from my face. I turn away so he won’t see me cry like this. “I won’t make you Suffer for me—not when I have the power to keep you from experiencing pain.” My body shakes with the torment of it all, but then I feel his hands on my shoulders, offering comfort, no longer afraid of me.

“It’s more than just my duty to Suffer for you, though—I want to do it,” he tells me softly. “I want to ease your pain, Neve—you, above all people. I would do anything for you. This is nothing.”

“I know you would—I never questioned that,” I tell him as I try to calm down. “But something’s happened now that I know you—it was different before, when I didn’t.” I struggle to find the words to explain—to help him understand in a way that will make sense to him. “Just as you want to ease my pain, I want to ease yours.”

I turn to wrap my arms around Micah’s waist, and there’s a strange glint in his eyes, like he’s peering into my heart and recognizing a bit of his own inside it. I’ve reached him. He sighs, and when he opens his mouth to speak again, his voice is quiet and strained.

“If you really mean that, you’ll come back to the Center,” he says. “You have to keep your appointments, Neve. They’ll get suspicious if you don’t. They’ll find out…”

He pauses, and I see conflict registering in the worried lines that form across his forehead. Once we put words to what we are, we can no longer deny it. But Micah pushes down his fear. After a moment, he squares his shoulders, tucks a loose strand of hair behind my ear, and finishes his sentence.

“They’ll find out about us.”

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NORTH TO NARA Teaser

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Author Amanda Marin

Author Amanda Marin

About the Author
When Amanda was a child, her father traveled frequently for business, always bringing her back a book as a present. Whether she was getting lost in the pages of a tale about far-away knights, girls with supernatural powers, or kindly giants, she was quickly hooked on stories.

Over the years, Amanda has followed her own yellow brick road of reading and writing, and although her adventures haven’t involved sword fights or saving the planet from certain annihilation, they have involved jobs in scholarly publishing and marketing, a modest amount of travel, and a lifelong love of novels.

Amanda holds degrees in English from Salve Regina University and Boston College. Her favorite things include Starbucks lattes, lazy summer afternoons at the beach, and books with characters that make you go “awww.” She lives in New Hampshire with her family and furbaby, Snickers the Poodle.

Where to Find Amanda Marin
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | FacebookInstagram | Amazon | BookBub

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Giveaway
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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – THE RULE OF MANY (The Rule of One) by Ashley and Leslie Saunders

THE RULE OF MANY Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for THE RULE OF MANY, the second book in the young adult dystopian series, The Rule of One, by Ashley and Leslie Saunders. See below for information the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on their giveaway.

THE RULE OF MANY (The Rule of One #2) by Ashley Saunders

THE RULE OF MANY (The Rule of One #2) by Ashley Saunders

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: THE RULE OF MANY
Series: The Rule of One #2
Author: Ashley Saunders
Publisher: Skyscape
Release Date: May 3, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
Born to a death sentence in a near-future America, rebellious sisters herald a revolution—if they can survive.

Twins Ava and Mira Goodwin defy the Rule of One simply by existing. The single-child law, ruthlessly enforced by Texas’s Governor Roth, has made the sisters famous fugitives and inspirations for the resurgent rebellion known as the Common.

But the relentless governor and his implacable Texas State Guard threaten that fragile hope, as Roth consolidates his power in a bid for ultimate authority.

As Ava and Mira relinquish the relative safety of their Canadian haven to stand against Roth, new allies arise: Owen, a gifted young programmer, impulsively abandons his comfortable life in a moment of compassion, while Zee, an abused labor camp escapee, finds new purpose in resistance.

The four will converge on Dallas for a reckoning with Roth, with nothing less than their destinies—and the promise of a future free from oppression—on the line.

Disobedience means death. But a life worth living demands rebellion.

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Excerpt #2
MIRA

Limos and luxury cars line the extensive circular driveway, stuffed with partygoers ready for the welcoming bash. Mrs. and Mr. Cross have already arrived with much fanfare from their son and his doting employees. I wonder if Ciro’s sisters are here.

I hear him get on the microphone, introducing his unwitting parents onto the stage of the overflowing banquet hall, the governor of Alberta and the mayor of Calgary looking on from the front row.

Everything’s falling nicely into place. If only the man of the hour would show.

I look at my watch: 7:30 p.m. He’s late. Ava’s knee bounces furiously, as if she can shake out her anxiety.

“He’ll come,” I say.

From our hideout in the corner of the foyer, shadowed and easily overlooked, we have the best seats in the house. A perfect vantage point to see and be unseen. Ava scans the budding festivities through the glass walls on our left. I keep my eyes on the glass windows straight ahead, seeing past the dazzling flares from the cars’ headlights, holding out for the first glimpse of the president.

A string quartet begins to play, and an electric energy pulsates through the hotel, enlivening the crowd around us with a giddy exhilaration, and I can’t help but feel it too. Eager, I spring to my feet. I pace up and down our tucked-away corner, checking the time, watching Emery from across the room, waiting on her signal.

“Do you hear that?” Ava asks. She stares up at the ceiling. I move beside her as we listen to the muffled roar of whirling blades slicing the air somewhere above the building.

“A helicopter,” Ava says.

“He’s here.”

We look to Emery, who stands near the entrance, her gaze locked skyward. Guests file past as she removes a headscarf from her pocket, drapes the silk over her distinctive curls, and pulls it into a tight knot at the back of her neck. She folds her right arm over her chest, our cue to move.

I feel, rather than see, Barend steal into place behind us, our long shadow, as we push to the end of the foyer. Pawel detaches himself from the crowd and crosses our path as he follows Emery out the front door. “Lots of luck,” he whispers earnestly. Like luck has anything to do with it. It’s all up to us.

Our target is the oversized clock that consumes the entire wall alongside the vacant concierge desk. Ava stops before the number six, and we slip behind a false door and stride side by side down an empty staff hallway. Three right turns, two left, a final door, and we’re outside.

There are no lights behind the hotel and no people. The night is chilly and moonless, but we find the footpath we were directed to take and make our silent way to the small grove of trees just twenty yards out.

Ten paces in, Ava and I turn from the path and weave through the evergreens until we spot the narrow clearing that is to be our stage. We position ourselves in its center, shoulder to shoulder, and wait. Somewhere to our right, concealed within the trees and darkness, Barend stands guard.

When told of the plan, Emery immediately authorized the private rendezvous. She knows pleading our case face-to-face with the president is the only way. Cameras and screens provide a barrier, Emery said. The media paints you solely as American rebels. Let him see how human you are. With Pawel at her side, Emery is to meet and escort the president here, while Ciro entertains his parents and guests, keeping them safely ignorant inside the banquet hall.

The minutes tick off, and Ava starts to shiver from either the cold or nerves. Or is that me shivering? Ava and I brought no weapons with us, to show good faith. No guns, no knives. Just us, with our naked conviction and hope.

This could be our last stop, a final end to the endless chase. A place to plan and plot and devise our crucial counterattack.

Ava nudges me with a sharp elbow. She points to the trees in front of us. Two distinct shapes emerge, a faint silhouette floating behind.

“Ready?” I whisper needlessly. Ava tightens her jaw, and I ball my hands into white-knuckled fists. I take a big gulp of air and exhale slowly. My breath comes out in swirling smoke, reminding me of a dragon. There’s a fire inside me, and suddenly I feel warm and calm. One look from Ava and I know she feels it too.

We’re ready.

The outlines become faces and bodies. Emery appears first, then President Moore, with Pawel a few steps behind. I stare at Moore, transfixed, my eyes glued to the man who can grant us refuge.

He stumbles forward, as if his own eyes have not yet adjusted to the dark. I search his every feature, looking for any hint of surprise, or shock, or understanding. But his face, though startlingly attractive in the starlight, is blank. Indifferent.

“President Moore,” Emery says, “this is Ava and Mira Goodwin.” He looks at us cross-eyed, his round eyes squinting as he takes us in. We all stand motionless, awaiting his response.

“You don’t look identical to me,” the president finally states, his thin voice magnified in the still night air. “One of you’s slightly taller, the other rounder.”

The leader of the free world opens with an insult. My first reaction is to defend my identicalness. Surprising, when all I’ve ever wanted is to be seen as different from Ava.

“Sir—” Ava and I speak at the same time.

The president laughs. “Ah, there it is.” The ground spins as he turns to leave. “This conversation will be moved to a different setting. Just the twins and me.”

Barend detaches from the shadows. Pawel and Emery enclose my sister and me. Ava grabs my arm, her grip tight enough to bruise.

“We do not agree to any change—” Emery starts, but Moore shouts over her.

“Security!”

Everything shatters, all plans and expectations smashed to pieces.

A gunshot rings out, then two more.

“Run!” Emery yells.

The last thing I see is Ava’s face, twisted in fear and fury.

Then something covers my eyes. My mouth.

I’m thrown over a bulky shoulder, the deafening sounds of a helicopter growing louder with every footfall. With every one of my muffled screams.

I’m shoved against something solid. I reach out, arms flailing, but there’s no one beside me. Ava.

I feel the chopper lift into the sky. Two spinning blades taking me higher and higher away from Common ground.

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Get Caught Up on the Series

Book 1: THE RULE OF ONE
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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Authors Ashley and Leslie Saunders

Authors Ashley and Leslie Saunders

About the Author
Hailing from the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders are award-winning filmmakers and twin sisters who honed their love of storytelling at The University of Texas at Austin. While researching The Rule of One, they fell in love with America’s national parks, traveling the path of Ava and Mira. The sisters can currently be found with their Boston terriers in sunny Los Angeles, exploring hiking trails and drinking entirely too much yerba mate.

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Where to Find Ashley and Leslie Saunders
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – THE RULE OF MANY (The Rule of One) by Ashley and Leslie Saunders

THE RULE OF MANY Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for THE RULE OF MANY, the second book in the young adult dystopian series, The Rule of One, by Ashley and Leslie Saunders. See below for information the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on their giveaway.

THE RULE OF MANY (The Rule of One #2) by Ashley Saunders

THE RULE OF MANY (The Rule of One #2) by Ashley Saunders

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: THE RULE OF MANY
Series: The Rule of One #2
Author: Ashley Saunders
Publisher: Skyscape
Release Date: May 3, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
Born to a death sentence in a near-future America, rebellious sisters herald a revolution—if they can survive.

Twins Ava and Mira Goodwin defy the Rule of One simply by existing. The single-child law, ruthlessly enforced by Texas’s Governor Roth, has made the sisters famous fugitives and inspirations for the resurgent rebellion known as the Common.

But the relentless governor and his implacable Texas State Guard threaten that fragile hope, as Roth consolidates his power in a bid for ultimate authority.

As Ava and Mira relinquish the relative safety of their Canadian haven to stand against Roth, new allies arise: Owen, a gifted young programmer, impulsively abandons his comfortable life in a moment of compassion, while Zee, an abused labor camp escapee, finds new purpose in resistance.

The four will converge on Dallas for a reckoning with Roth, with nothing less than their destinies—and the promise of a future free from oppression—on the line.

Disobedience means death. But a life worth living demands rebellion.

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Excerpt #1
AVA

“You’re back,” I say, rising from my bed. Everyone in the room stands, acknowledging Emery as leader of the Common.

She wears her signature look: an unstructured, slightly oversized yellow coat that ends at her knees. Her rich nut-brown hair is short and wild like Einstein’s, and she’s taller than everyone in her small entourage. The more I’ve studied Emery—my mother’s childhood best friend—during my stay here at the Paramount, the more I’ve discovered she’s not the perfectly straitlaced leader I’d expected her to be. Looking closely, I can see the rough edges that hint at the woman she was before having to bear the weight of being the rebellion’s leader. The leftover holes from a double eyebrow piercing above her left eye, the way she bites the inside of her cheeks when she’s angry, as if withholding a fiery reaction. A poorly healed scar just below her collarbone. It all makes me like her even more.

Emery studies the room, her intent gaze passing over all the young faces eager and willing to carry out her orders, however small. We’re all unified in the reason we’re here with the Common, so far from our homes, and I find an unhappy comfort in the shared white-hot pain of loss. And the anger that comes with it.

“It’s good to see you all again,” Emery says. She nods to each of us in greeting. “May I have the room? I need to speak with Ava and Mira.”

The Games Club immediately disassembles, Barend directing everyone out into the hall. He shuts the door and turns on his heel, returning to his post inside our room.

Three members of Emery’s inner circle remain at her side. They’re all Elders, members who’ve been a part of the Common the longest. Their faces are hardened with world-weariness, and although I’ve never spoken to any of them personally, Pawel tells me they’ve each seen the inside of a prison cell more than once.

The door opens, and a young woman who looks a few years over twenty strides with pure confidence into the room. She stands a short distance from the group, unchallenged by Barend. She must be a new recruit, and an important one if she’s included in Emery’s close circle. The young woman’s jet-black hair is pulled back tightly into two French braids, highlighting her dark eyes with their long, intense lashes. If the eyes truly are a window to the soul, hers has taken more than a few beatings.

Mira clasps Emery’s shoulder in welcome before asking, “Did you find him this time? You’re back early—did something go wrong?”

Countless missions to rescue my father have led to nothing but disappointment. Wherever Roth is hiding his former Family Planning Director, he’s making damn sure he’ll never be found.

All four Common Elders lower their heads. Something did go wrong. Horribly wrong.

My stomach drops like a heavy anchor cut loose into the sea.

“What happened?” I demand, stepping forward. His execution date has been moved up. The Guard caught wind of our extraction plans and changed his location . . .

Emery raises her head, biting the inside of her cheeks, hard. “It’s with great sorrow that I have to inform you of your father’s murder,” she tells us straight. “I am sorry that we could not get to Darren in time.”

He’s dead. My father’s dead. I’ve learned to always prepare for bad news, but I wasn’t prepared for this.

Through a haze of salted tears, I lurch backward. Mira catches me, and I hold on to my sister tight—our combined strength the only thing that keeps me from shattering against the floor.

“No, no, no . . . you said Roth wouldn’t kill him!” I cry. “You said he wouldn’t risk turning the people to our side!”

“What about the stay of execution!” Mira says in disbelief.

“The official statement from the Governor’s Mansion is that it was a suicide,” Emery says. “Roth made a speech, weaving a story that Darren hanged himself with his bedsheets during the night, leaving behind a note detailing his great regret for his traitorous crimes against his country and its people.”

A cold panic rushes through my body, and I feel faint. Mira shakes uncontrollably beside me. I turn to my sister, and both our green eyes scream, Lies!

Father would never, never take his own life. He would fight until the bitter end to get back to us.

“The note said his greatest shame of all was raising illegal twin daughters who turned into dangerous traitors themselves.”

Roth is using our own father against us. Bile rises to my throat, and my knees falter.

Emery seizes both our shoulders, pulling us close, making sure we listen.

“We know both the suicide and the note are bullshit. We know just before sunrise, Roth entered Darren’s cell and shot your father in cold blood.”

I try to break free of Emery and my sister. I can’t breathe. I need space for my heartache, but Emery grips my shoulder harder.

“Listen to me. We have the surveillance video. Your father’s killing will not be buried. Roth’s corruption will be exposed—another link in his chain of lies. Your father will continue to help the cause even in death, as your mother did.”

“The video could be fake, too, just like the suicide note. He could still be alive!” I find myself pleading.

The new recruit with the French braids steps forward, shaking her head. Her eyes soften with sympathy. “I wish that were true.”

She pulls something from her jacket’s inner pocket and carefully opens her palm: a metal capsule the size of my fingernail.

Father’s microchip.

“I was held in the same prison as your father,” the young woman explains, her steady voice struggling to break through the fog of despair that separates me from everything else in the room. “While the Common arrived too late to rescue your father, they were able to rescue me.”

Who is this person? Why was she imprisoned, and how did she gain access to my father’s chip? It’s always a never-ending maze of questions.

“Scan the chip,” Mira says, her voice hollow.

Barend produces a microchip scanner from his duty belt—he always seems to have the necessary tool or weapon—and hands the device to Emery to scan.

Ping.

A death record pops up on the chip scanner’s screen:

Name: DR. DARREN JAMES GOODWIN

Status: DECEASED

Cause of death: SUICIDE

Burial location: UNKNOWN

The only thing I have left of my father is this tiny scrap of metal with his blood still on it. Where is his body?

I want to scream.

“It’s Darren’s chip. It has been authenticated,” Emery declares with full conviction. “Skye Lin has been fighting for the Common’s cause for half her life. She turned a Guard at the prison, who gave her the chip and surveillance video in the midst of our rescue mission.”

Skye Lin. The assassin who poisoned two states’ Family Planning Directors and made an unsuccessful attempt on my own father’s life. I’ve never seen her face; after she was arrested in Dallas five years ago, Roth banned images of the teenage murderer across all media outlets. Before Mira and me, criminals were not lionized in Texas; they did not become famous. They were thrown in dark cells and never heard from again.

“I didn’t know your dad was a member of the Common,” Skye insists. “I wasn’t trying to kill him. I was trying to kill his office.” The Family Planning Division.

With that, she turns and walks out, leaving Mira and me drowning in confusion.

“I want to see the surveillance video,” Mira says from beside me.

Taken aback, I turn to face my sister. “You want to watch our father’s murder?”

“I have to see it for myself.” She looks up at me, her eyes red and glassy with anguish. “We were raised on so many secrets, Ava. I just have to see.”

I shake my head. “I can’t.”

As I move to leave the room—I need the open air; the hurt inside me suddenly seems too large for this crowded space—Emery holds up her hand to stop me.

“We leave for the Common’s headquarters in the morning—Paramount Point Lodge. You both are needed there. I can explain more tomorrow, but for now take the time to grieve.” She lowers her head in a respectful bow. “Your father was a brave man.”

Chills run through my body. Rayla had said those same words.

He wants a better future for you both.

I close my eyes and remember Father’s greatest lesson: it takes iron to sharpen iron. Metal bullets forged my father’s death into a cast-iron weight that sits at the bottom of my heart. To be brave like my father, I must endure the painful process of honing. I must become so sharp that no one can touch me or mine again.

“Show me the surveillance video,” Mira demands once more.

“It will not be easy to watch, but the choice is yours to make,” Emery says.

Visions of my father tied helplessly to a chair, Roth standing over him with a gun, a smug smile on his lips . . .

No! I rip open my eyes and push past Emery, away from my sister. Barend gets out of my path, allowing me to throw open the door, and I stumble into the hall alone. Without any clear direction in mind, I head toward the stairwell. Anger clouds my vision; my knees are shaky, and I lean on the wall to stay standing. My entire world feels upside down, spinning out of control.

Bam. My shoulder slams into someone, jolting my body back upright.

“I’m sorry,” I say automatically.

But sharp-edged things don’t apologize. They just cut right through. I steel myself and keep going, not looking back, continuing to drag my wobbly legs down the hallway to the exit.

“No, I’m sorry,” a tentative voice says behind me. Pawel. “I’m sorry about your dad. I just heard the news.” Intensity seeps into his words. “At least he died for a reason. You can be proud.”

His words shoot at me like bullets, a gut shot with no exit wound, and I stop short. I wrap my arms around my waist—like that could stop the bleeding—and peer inside the room Pawel just exited.

A group of kids, no older than eleven or twelve, huddle on the floor around a tablet screen. Barend would be livid if he caught them with this smuggled technology. As I wonder fleetingly what their punishment would be for risking the Common’s safety, one of the kids’ heads tilts to the side, giving me a full view of the screen.

My father’s face is splashed across an underground virtual newscast. The kids watch, enraptured as a computer-generated anchor with blue hair and violet eyes gives a breathless account of how the disgraced Family Planning Director shockingly took his own life out of shame.

“My brother says it’s all a conspiracy,” a girl with a high ponytail says. It’s Ellie, Pawel’s adopted sister. “A Goodwin would never give up.”

Another girl spies me standing in the doorway, her breath catching in her throat. She nudges the boy sitting beside her, and the entire group turns to stare at me, their mouths slightly open in reverence.

“Our parents sacrificed themselves for Ellie and me too,” Pawel says quietly. A crushing sadness marks his face at the memory. Pawel’s four-person family was illegal, even if Ellie wasn’t related by blood. Whatever hardships he experienced that led him to the Common will haunt him the rest of his life.

All at once my sharp edges soften with empathy.

I flick my gaze back to my own father on the newscast. They chose a photograph of him in his stately dress uniform. He looks strong and proud and so violently alive it hurts.

I scan the youthful faces of my unexpected audience. Ellie rises and holds out her forearm, fist curled into a tight ball, like Mira and I did at the end of our hijacked newscast. She’s petite but fierce, her oval-shaped hazel eyes reflecting her tremendous appetite for defiance at such a young age.

Everyone around her stands and does the same.

Tattoos, drawn with identical dark ink, cover their right wrists, each one a unique emblem of their own resistance: a charging bull, two thick parallel lines, a scorpion ready to strike, a beautifully patterned sun with a face inside.

Next to me Pawel lifts his shirtsleeve, revealing his own tattoo of a tree with thick roots sheltering the letter E.

Our spark worked. The flame of revolution spread like wildfire just as Rayla said it would, and now even the next generation can feel its burn.

My heart races wild inside my chest. I hold down my wrist, fist clenched.

“Resist much,” I say.

“Obey little,” their voices answer in unison.

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Get Caught Up on the Series

Book 1: THE RULE OF ONE
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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Authors Ashley and Leslie Saunders

Authors Ashley and Leslie Saunders

About the Author
Hailing from the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders are award-winning filmmakers and twin sisters who honed their love of storytelling at The University of Texas at Austin. While researching The Rule of One, they fell in love with America’s national parks, traveling the path of Ava and Mira. The sisters can currently be found with their Boston terriers in sunny Los Angeles, exploring hiking trails and drinking entirely too much yerba mate.

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Where to Find Ashley and Leslie Saunders
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – NORTH TO NARA (Crimson Sash) by Amanda Marin

NORTH TO NARA Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for NORTH TO NARA, the first book in the young adult dystopian sci-fi romance series, Crimson Sash, by Amanda Marin. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

NORTH TO NARA (Crimson Sash #1) by Amanda Marin

NORTH TO NARA (Crimson Sash #1) by Amanda Marin

About the Book
Title: NORTH TO NARA
Series: Crimson Sash
Author: Amanda Marin
Publisher: Inkspell Publishing

Release Date: March 20, 2019
Genre:
 Young Adult Dystopian Sci-Fi Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

Synopsis
Neve Hall has always admired the good works of the civil servants who brought prosperity back to the Nation. She especially respects the Sufferers—empaths who, with the help of technology, anonymously bear others’ troubles for them. But when her assigned empath is abruptly retired, she uncovers certain secrets. Like the identity of her new Sufferer, Micah Ward… and the fact that behind his kind smile is a life filled with loneliness and pain.

The closer Neve grows to Micah, the more desperate she becomes to protect him from a cruel and gruesome fate. But in a world where only a few are allowed the luxury of love, saving Micah comes with a price: Neve must choose between her loyalty to the Nation or her heart—a decision that will take them both on a race for their freedom, and their lives.

 

 

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NORTH TO NARA Teaser

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Excerpt #2
I have no way of knowing if my attempt to keep pain from Micah has worked—I don’t, at least, until a couple days later, when he visits me again in the butterfly exhibit. We walk around the museum corridors once more, this time in a different direction, on a different floor—through an exhibit on horses. And we talk.

“Did you suppress things this week at the Center?” He asks this almost immediately, after he tells me the director still hasn’t made a decision about his punishment.

I bite my lip and glance away, trying to distract myself by examining a prehistoric drawing of a pony. If I admit the truth, Micah might ask me more questions. He might ask why I did it. And even though I know the answer—because I think it’s cruel what the Nation has done to him, because I like being near him, and because I almost certainly care more about him than I should—the idea of telling him all this scares me.

“Yes,” I say, my voice small and timid. “How did you know?”

“It felt different this time,” he explains softly. “It was easier. Less painful.”

I look up at him again. “Then I’m glad,” I tell him. “That was what I hoped for.”

He pauses, and I see the confusion in his face, the way it knits his eyebrows closer together. He’s never had a Sieve suppress feelings to protect him before, I’m sure. He’s only ever had them take from him. He doesn’t quite seem to know what to make of it.

“You know you don’t have to do that, right…?” he asks.

“I know.”

Micah’s quiet a moment as we continue walking, probably guessing correctly the reasons for my suppression, whether I say them out loud or not. I’ve been paper-thin to him since our first Suffering session, after all: he’s always seen through me. Then, as we round a corner, his hand brushes against mine. His fingertips gently graze against my knuckles, testing to see if I pull away.

I don’t.

Instead, I slip my hand into his.

And he smiles.

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NORTH TO NARA Teaser

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Author Amanda Marin

Author Amanda Marin

About the Author
When Amanda was a child, her father traveled frequently for business, always bringing her back a book as a present. Whether she was getting lost in the pages of a tale about far-away knights, girls with supernatural powers, or kindly giants, she was quickly hooked on stories.

Over the years, Amanda has followed her own yellow brick road of reading and writing, and although her adventures haven’t involved sword fights or saving the planet from certain annihilation, they have involved jobs in scholarly publishing and marketing, a modest amount of travel, and a lifelong love of novels.

Amanda holds degrees in English from Salve Regina University and Boston College. Her favorite things include Starbucks lattes, lazy summer afternoons at the beach, and books with characters that make you go “awww.” She lives in New Hampshire with her family and furbaby, Snickers the Poodle.

Where to Find Amanda Marin
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | FacebookInstagram | Amazon | BookBub

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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – ALIEN MINDS (Dimension Drift) by Christina Bauer

ALIEN MINDS Blog Tour

ALIEN MINDS (Dimension Drift #1) by Christina Bauer

ALIEN MINDS (Dimension Drift #1) by Christina Bauer

4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
DIVERGENT meets OCEAN’S EIGHT in this urban fantasy heist!

On my seventeenth birthday, I wake up in the hospital to find I just survived a sketchy but terrible accident. My parents stand by my bedside—both are beautiful, wealthy, and super-nice. They tell me that once I leave the hospital, I’ll attend the prestigious ECHO Academy, where I’ll churn out equations for the government along with my mega-smart peers.

So, I’m living the perfect life.

Then why does everything feel all wrong?

My parents, my house and even ECHO Academy…none of it fits. Plus, what’s up with Thorne, my brooding yet yummy classmate who keeps telling me I need to remember my true past, which seems to have included a lot of us kissing? That’s one thing I’d really like to remember, except for the fact that I’m pretty sure Thorne is hiding a ton of nasty secrets of his own, including the fact that he may not be from this world. But considering how my own past seems alien to me, it’s not like I can judge. Plus, Thorne has dimples. That’s a problem.

And worst of all, why does it feel so yucky to work on these calculations for the government? It’s all supposed to be part of ECHO, but my heart tells me that I’m helping something truly terrible come to pass. Thorne seems to think that kissing him again will release my real memories.

Maybe it’s time to pucker up.

“Appealing and engaging. Love the strong female character!” – Arlene’s Book Reviews

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.

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My Review
I finally dove into Christina Bauer’s sci-fi/fantasy adventure series with ALIEN MINDS. While this is book 1 in the Dimension Drift series, the characters and worlds are well-established from other, connected, series. That is evident from the opening chapter. Though I’m new to this world, Bauer does a great job of balancing the plot with world building so that even a newbie like me can grasp the nuances of the setting without being bogged down by details that detract from the story. When 17-year-old Meimi awakes with no memories, she knows something is off about the story she’s been told. She may not remember who she is or anything about her past, but she’s sure the doctor standing in front of her is evil. Just as she’s sure the tall, brooding guard, Thorne, assigned to her means something to her. She just isn’t sure what. When the doctor slates millions of people for execution for being “undesirable” and demands Meimi help him accomplish his goals, she’s determined to thwart him while pretending to go along with his plan. This sets up a wicked game of deception that rivals some of the best heist movies I’ve seen.

Plot
The story revolves around Memi’s plans to prevent the destruction of innocent human lives while remaining alive herself. Told in dual points of view from Memi’s and Thorne’s perspectives, we see flashes of Meimi’s life before her mind wipe through Thorne, and insights into how she thinks through hers. Despite her memory loss, she is who she is, and her spunk and intelligence shine through. Teaming up with people from Meimi’s past, they plan the ultimate act of defiance and bravery to save the world. Strong subplots include Meimi’s battle to regain who she is and Thorne’s battle to win back her feelings for him.

Characters
Meimi is a strong protagonist who inherently knows right from wrong and will risk everything to do what is right. Thorne is a tortured soul with a secret – he’s an alien, and oh yeah, son of the ruler of the omniverse. These two shouldn’t work, yet they are linked in a way that is more than just mutual attraction. Meimi is witty, sarcastic, and driven. Thorne is dark and brooding. Both are well-developed and a joy to read. The evil Dr. Godwin is more of a cartoonish character, though. Evil for the sake of evil. While he makes for a good bad guy, he’s not as developed as he could have been. Supporting characters, twins Zoe and Chloe, Fritz, and the others are more complex and nicely round out the cast.

World Building
This is where the story really shines. The alien world, dystopian Boston, alternate dimensions, and the technology are extraordinarily well constructed, and the writer’s ability to paint vibrant pictures with her words brings this amazing omniverse to life.

What I Enjoyed About ALIEN MINDS
1. World Building.
 Some of the best world building I’ve read in a long time.

2. Meimi. Her sarcastic wit is a blast to read.

3. Tech. The technology that populates this world is as engaging as the characters.

4. Sticking it to the Man. Their goal of beating Godwin at his own game is something we all can root for.

5. Thorne. His devotion to Meimi is both sweet and swoony.

Bottom Line
A fun, action-packed adventure with amazing world-building and fun characters.

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

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About the Book
Title: ALIEN MINDS
Series: Dimension Drift #1
Author: Christina Bauer
Publisher: Monster House Books
Release Date: April 23, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Fantasy/SciFi Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

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Author Christina Bauer

About the Author
Christina Bauer thinks that fantasy books are like bacon: they just make life better. All of which is why she writes romance novels that feature demons, dragons, wizards, witches, elves, elementals, and a bunch of random stuff that she brainstorms while riding the Boston T. Oh, and she includes lots of humor and kick-ass chicks, too.

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.

Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter

Where to Find Christina Bauer
Goodreads | Website | Newsletter | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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