Book Tour - S.H.A.Y. by Christina Leigh Pritchard @teeny120 + #GIVEAWAY


S.H.A.Y.


Series: The Almost Series, Book 1
Author: E. Ardell
Published: August 6th, 2016
Pages: 88
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction, Novella, Genetic Engineering


Source:  I received this book for free from YA Bound Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.


Blurb:

Shay is scientific experiment #318. Science may have created her, but she refuses to allow it to blind her to the difference between right and wrong… 

Synthetic Hominid Assumed Youth (S.H.A.Y.) is eighteen years old, which means she has completed Phase One: Developmental. Shay no longer requires the assistance of her Optional Human Parent, Darla, who has guided her in the process of discovering her morality. Shay loves her easy, charming life aboard the marine research facility and doesn’t want it to change. 

Phase Two: Experimental. All S.H.A.Y. ages 18-20 will experience loss… 

Darla shouldn’t have to die because of an experiment. The thought of losing the only parent she’s ever known is too much. Determined to make sure the scientists at the facility don’t get their way, Shay entraps Darla in a transport device to escape across the Miami Border. There, on the mainland, law enforcement will keep her human parent safe. 

Escape Mission: Failed… 

Shay crashes into one of the lone keys off the coast of Florida, abandoned to all humanity, except for the stranger who drags her ashore. Shay must get Darla to safety or she will die of radiation poisoning trapped inside the freeze portal, but Shay can’t do it alone. 

The boy who found her, an Ersatz Reproduction Intelligence Clone (E.R.I.C.), is her only hope. He has adaptation skills she needs to complete her mission. Eric was created by the same scientists who want to kill Darla, though. She tries to keep their interaction strictly business, but it’s hard to hate him. He’s flirty, charming and not to mention devastatingly handsome. 

Shay must put her trust in Eric’s hands if she wants to save Darla from her fate. It may be worth her heart, but will it be worth her life?


Excerpt:
 

S.H.A.Y. argues with the E.R.I.C.

“Well then, I’m not going to get in the water.” I bent over, snatching my clothes. He helped me, handing me my shirt. I snatched it from him. “I’ll just wait up here for you to get back.”

He laughed, poking me in the stomach. “Look, creampuff, I’m not going in without you.”

“Oh yes you will, or I’ll—”

“You’ll what? Talk to yourself some more?”

I narrowed my eyes at him, stumbling as I tugged my pants on.

“You’re the one who needs my help, remember?”

“You make me sick.” My shirt slipped down over my head and I struggled with the buttons.

He smiled. “Take your clothes off.”

“Don’t tell me what to do.”

Amie groaned. She stood beside me, rolling her eyes. “You’re just creating more and more sexual tension with the E.R.I.C. Soon, you’ll forget all about your Darla and I’ll have no human mother for S.H.A.Y. 319.”

“I won’t!” I unzipped my pants again. “I’ll do whatever it takes to save them both.”

Eric backed away. “Whoa, there, I was just teasing you.”

“I’m not talking to you.”

He rolled his eyes. “Right, I forgot, you have others here with you.”

“I’m not doing this for you, you’re the enemy. I’m trying to save my, my—”

“You’re trying to save your ‘what’ exactly?”

“It doesn’t concern you. Just follow me into the water. That way, we can get started.”

“Are you hitting on me?” His eyes widened. “I enjoy a little banter and all, but—”

I shoved him. “Like I’d ever flirt with you.”




About Christina Leigh Pritchard:

Christina Leigh Pritchard was born and raised in South Florida. Her first stories were written at the age of nine in spiral notebooks and in the various diaries she kept. Since she's upgraded to a computer, she's completed over fifty books, including her ALMOST Series, signed with Limitless Publishing.

Christina Leigh Pritchard is still going strong with many more to come! Her genre's include science fiction, dark fantasy, young adult, drama, suspense, historical romance, multicultural, comedy, poetry and many more. 


Book Review - Sun and Moon by Desiree Williams @DWilliamsBooks

Sun and Moon


Author: Desiree Williams
Published: April 28th, 2016
Pages: 255
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Clean Romance


Source:  I received this book for free from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.


Blurb:

There is nothing in life that eighteen year old Zara craves more than her freedom. Stolen from her home in Cadrebia at the age of eight, Zara has spent more years than she cared to admit as a slave to the Tankadesh courts. Her days are filled with protecting the princess, while she spends nights entertaining the king and his officials with her mastery of weapons. Any spare moment in between, she plots escape. 

Yet her hopes for freedom come to a crashing halt when a stranger arrives bearing the mark of her assigned lifemate, and he threatens war if she isn’t turned over into his care. But a lifemate is not part of the plan. Her dreams, of choosing her own path and being the master of her own will, weaken as her Moon seeks to claim his Sun. 

Is it possible that this stranger, with gentle blue eyes and a ready smile, didn’t come to be her new master? That there could be more to his tale? 

Zara soon finds that neither her captivity nor her parents’ deaths were mere random attacks. And by returning to Cadrebia, she may have put the future of the royal line—and her Moon—in jeopardy. While Zara breathes in her first taste of freedom, her enemies move in, seeking to rob Cadrebia of its blessed prophecy. 

To keep what she holds dear, Zara must rise above the pain and uncertainty to claim the lifemate assigned to her, or more than her freedom will be stolen this time.


My Review:

When I signed up for this review, I wasn’t sure how I would react to the story. Lately, it seems that every book I pick up has left a bad taste in my mouth, but not this one.

What a refreshing read!

First, I’d like to start with the writing. It’s crisp and beautiful. Desiree weaves emotion and small bits of detail in nearly every description and dialogue. Even though Sun and Moon is a fantasy, there isn’t the massive amount of world building with info-dumps of description. Desiree masterfully weaves her world building along with her character’s growth and development.

“Embrace the rain if you can, Jaedon. My father used to say it was a blessing that touched your whole body but could never be held in your arms.” - Sun and Moon by Desiree Williams

Although I loved the writing and the world our heroine finds herself in, I found that – at times – it seemed to be too “happily ever after”. If it weren’t for the political conspiracy and the scattered bits of action, I would have found the story to be very Disney. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but I tend to enjoy a bit more intrigue.

“If pain was the Light Giver’s purpose, she’d rather do without” – Sun and Moon by Desiree Williams

One of my favorite aspects about Sun and Moon is how faith is woven throughout the story. The citizens Cadrebia worship the Light Giver, who protects, guides, and assigns life mates to those who are devoted. The heroine, Zara, struggles with her faith along with her fear of others. It was refreshing to see her come into her faith, allowing it to heal her wounds so she can accept the love of others (and to show love in return).

“That was her free will – her choice to work righteousness where evil sought to prevail.” - Sun and Moon by Desiree Williams

Zara is a character that I rather enjoyed. Actually, I enjoyed every character. Some were a little too perfect. *cough* Jaedon *cough* BUT all of the characters have chances to grow and develop. So, I allowed myself to look over the sugary-sweetness that is main characters and their romance. Zara’s growth was the most profound. Her journey was both difficult and easy – I know, it seems crazy to say that, but I can’t think of a way to describe it.

If you like a light fantasy with squeaky clean characters and romance. A heroine who prevails over her own painful past to embrace a difficult, but rewarding destiny. Not too much action, but a steady plot that centers around character growth and development with a Disney worthy Happily Ever After. Then Sun and Moon is the book for you.


About Desiree Williams:

Desiree Williams is a dreamer by day and chocoholic by night. She lives in the beautiful state of Kentucky with her husband and daughter, where she juggles life as a wannabe supermom. Desiree is a lover of food and avoider of dirty dishes. She delights in making people laugh and strives to bring hope and love with her wherever she goes.


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Blog Tour & Review: Artificial by Jadah McCoy @theQueryFaerie + #GIVEAWAY


Artificial


Series: The Kepler Chronicles #1
Author: Jadah McCoy
Published: April 4th, 2016
Pages: 225
Audience: New Adult
Genre: Science Fiction, Genetic Engineering


Source:  I received this book for free from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.

Available for FREE with Kindle Unlimited


Blurb:

She struggles to feel human.

In 2256, the only remnants of civilization on Earth’s first colonized planet, Kepler, are the plant-covered buildings and the nocturnal, genetically spliced bug-people nesting within them: the Cull. During the day, Syl leaves her home in the sewers beneath Elite City to scavenge for food, but at night the Cull come looking for a meal of their own. Syl thought gene splicing died with the Android War a century ago. She thought the bugs could be exterminated, Elite city rebuilt, and the population replenished. She’s wrong.

Whoever engineered the Cull isn’t done playing God. Syl is abducted and tortured in horrific experiments which result in her own DNA being spliced, slowly turning her into one of the bugs. Now she must find a cure and stop the person responsible before every remaining man, woman, and child on Kepler is transformed into the abomination they fear.

He struggles not to.

For Bastion, being an android in the sex industry isn’t so bad. Clubbing beneath the streets of New Elite by day and seducing the rich by night isn’t an altogether undesirable occupation. But every day a new android cadaver appears in the slum gutters, and each caved in metal skull and heap of mangled wires whittles away at him.

Glitches—androids with empathy—are being murdered, their models discontinued and strung up as a warning. Show emotion, you die. Good thing Bastion can keep a secret, or he would be the next body lining the street.

He can almost live with hiding his emotions. That is, until a girl shows up in the slums—a human girl, who claims she was an experiment. And in New Elite, being a human is even worse than being a Glitch. Now Bastion must help the girl escape before he becomes victim to his too-human emotions, one way or another.


My Review:

“When the sky is bruised purple, when the shattered glass no longer glints, that is when they wake.” – Artificial, Jadah McCoy

When it comes to science fiction, it doesn’t take a lot to make me excited. The genre speaks to me in ways that none of the others can compare to. Yes, I have been feeling a little BLAH with the influx of dystopias as of late, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t pick one up.  That being said, when I was scanning through book tours and saw the absolutely gorgeous cover for Artificial and then read the exciting blurb – I got all kinds of excited for this novel.

“If I’ve learned anything from the few yellowed and fragile history books that remain, it’s that mankind loves nothing more than a scapegoat.” – Artificial, Jadah McCoy

Artificial is not a typical YA/NA dystopia. It’s a layered masterpiece of storytelling that keeps you both enthralled and confused by the complexities of this futuristic society. AND I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT! I just cannot think of another book – that I have read – that includes so many SciFi elements (genetic engineering, androids, other worlds, dystopia society, and all wrapped in a neat cyberpunk package) in a way that doesn’t feel phony and weave them into a multifaceted story of civil liberties of intelligent creatures and morality.

Syl, a human living in the sewage under the former human city of Elite, is a gritty and raw lead female that has no issues expressing herself and fighting for what she feels is right. She is a refreshing character in the expansive landscape of female-lead dystopias.

“That look is back – the starry-eyed one I always ignore. Maybe if I ignore it long enough, his feelings will go away.” – Artificial, Jadah McCoy

Syl’s hardness is a direct result of having to fight for her life every day since the moment she was born.

“That’s just like him, shove little Syl out of the way so the menfolk can blow stuff up with their big, phallic guns.” – Artificial, Jadah McCoy

Her tenacity is forged from being told that her job as a woman is to ensure humanity’s survival through procreation instead of fighting.

“I refuse to be one of those wide-eyed women back at the Sanctuary – the ones who stare as the Cull’s pincers slice them in two.” – Artificial, Jadah McCoy

Then there is Bastion, a sex android who is trying to stay under the radar of those in charge of the machine-run town of New Elite. He is a glitch – an android who has emotions. In an ironic twist of governing, the androids in charge have deemed glitches as “human sympathizers” and will be destroyed. Bastion character compliments Syl perfectly. Where Syl tamps down any emotion she feels and tries not to make any deep connections, Bastion feels everything and has a sassy personality to boot – never thought I would ever write that about an android. Since the story is told from both character’s perspectives, the reader gets to feel his emotions without Bastion giving himself away.

“She would fight him like an angry kitten would fight a dog, but she would still lose.” – Artificial, Jadah McCoy

Let me be straight with you, I honestly thought going in that Syl and Bastion would either insta-love or do the slowly, but steady fall madly in love with each other thing. Neither happened and – again – I couldn’t be happier. Yes, there is a spark of feeling between the two that encourages their continued involvement in each other’s lives, but it doesn’t go much farther than that – I’m sure future installments will expound upon those feelings and for that, I cannot wait.

When it comes to series, authors (myself included) tend to leave endings open or in a maddening cliffhanger. McCoy leaves Artificial wrapped up rather nicely to where you feel like you finished a story, but then sets up the next book in a way that doesn’t leave the reader feeling unsatisfied. Bravo McCoy!

If you like an imaginative world building that is descriptive in subtle ways – my favorite type of narrative when it comes to complex science fiction worlds – a gritty female lead, a sassy sex-bot android, monsters of the genetic variety, as well as, human and android, and dystopian societal structure just looking to be taken down… look no further. Artificial is the book for you.



About Jadah McCoy:

Jadah currently lives in Nashville, TN and works in law. When not babysitting attorneys, she can be found juicing her brain for creative ideas or fantasizing about her next trip out of the country (or about Tom Hiddleston as Loki - it’s always a toss up when she fantasizes).

She grew up in rural Arkansas, yet can still write good and sometimes even wears shoes! She did date her first cousin for a while but they decided against marriage for the sake of the gene pool.

Her true loves are elephants, cursing, and sangria - in that order. If you find an elephant that curses like a sailor whilst drinking sangria, you’re dangerously close to becoming her next romantic victim - er, partner.

She cut her writing teeth on badly written, hormone-driven fanfiction (be glad that’s out of her system), and her one true dream is to have wildly erotic fanfiction with dubious grammar written about her own novels. Please make her dreams come true.


Author Links:

https://jadahmccoy.wordpress.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14903289.Jadah_McCoy

https://www.facebook.com/Jadah-McCoy-Author-1570450153179469/


Book Review: Saven Disclosure by @SiobhanDavis

Saven Disclosure


Series: Saven #2
Author: Siobhan Davis
Published: April 21st, 2016
Pages: 303
Audience: YA
Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel, Aliens


Source:  I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.

Available for FREE on Kindle Unlimited


Blurb:

THE TRUTH WON’T HIDE FOREVER

To protect Logan, I have no choice but to deceive him. 
But I’m not the only one hiding the truth. 
Will our love survive all the secrets and lies?
 

Enemy alien ships crowd the skies over Earth while the world waits with bated breath. The Saven have been exposed, and where once they were abhorred, they are now championed as our greatest ally and our only possible savior. 

Logan and Sadie have been separated, and the longer he is gone, the more their love is tested by duty, doubts, and deception. 

Sadie and Jarod have infiltrated the highest levels of government, but they are playing a dangerous game. Surrounded by people with conflicting agendas—hell-bent on using her for their own aim—Sadie is confused when the lines between good and evil are blurred. It’s impossible to tell friend from foe, and no one can be trusted. 

When the full extent of the experiments taking place in Sector Twenty is disclosed, Sadie can no longer sit back and watch as the lower classes face a horrific fate. Racing to save her loved ones and mankind, she risks her own safety and the love she’s waited a lifetime for to do the right thing. 

But no one thought to save her from herself.


My Review:

A few months ago, I reviewed a little book called Saven Deception. Although I wasn’t keen on the romance, I still really enjoyed the world and the intricate plot, so when Davis offered for me to be on her ARC team – I jumped on board. There was so many questions left in Deception that needed answered.

Saven Disclosure started off kind of slow for me and it was hard to get back into the world of Sadie and Logan, but it didn’t take too long for things to pick up and the plot to further thicken. There is so much that happens in Disclosure. I’m serious – at times I had a hard time keeping up with the lies and deceit. With that being said, I wasn’t surprised or shocked by any of the twists. In all actuality I was a little bummed with some of the reveals.

But I can tell you what I did love about Disclosure – Aliens! We were introduced to new species and worlds. The details of the alien culture and politics are vivid in their intricacies.

“Spiraling peaks of high-rise buildings glistened and glittered amidst rays of colorful lights sprouting from the dazzling, pulsing city below.” – Saven Disclosure, Siobhan Davis

My little nerd heart went a flutter with the infinite possibilities of additional alien races. Needless to say, I want more aliens.

As far as the characters go, there isn’t much change for me from the last book. Separately, Sadie and Logan’s characters grew in ways that I enjoyed. For example, Sadie grew a little bit more of a backbone.

“I can’t recall the exact moment I became an adrenaline junkie, but there’s no denying my worrisome excitement.” – Saven Disclosure, Siobhan Davis

But together they were just not happening for me and it’s because of the romance, but I’ll get more into that later. Sadie’s relationship with her sister was amazing to read. I loved every moment of them together – I wish the book was more about that kind of love.

“Making new memories is the best cure for past ills.” – Saven Disclosure, Siobhan Davis

I really enjoyed the exploration of lies in relationships – not only romantic ones but in friendships as well – and how it forced the characters to grow and become more aware of others in the sense of how lies can not only emotionally hurt, but in the political environment Sadie finds herself in, lies can be deadly.

Ahh… the romance. At times it is heartbreaking:

“I often wonder how I survived pre-Logan; in those bleak, dark, depressing days when I never had anyone to call my own and my heart was only a life-sustaining organ in my chest.” – Saven Disclosure, Siobhan Davis

At times it can be real:

“I never imagined love could be so complicated and come with so many conditions.” – Saven Disclosure, Siobhan Davis

Then there is this:

“Being with him means more than I can express. It’s everything. He’s everything. I start and end with him.” – Saven Disclosure, Siobhan Davis

I just can’t get on board with the intense all-consuming love that removes Sadie’s will. It just isn’t healthy for the characters or for young female readers. Plus, what bothers me the most is that this relationship is only 6 weeks old at the beginning of Disclosure- most of which they have been separated. Yet, they know each other so well that they can tell when the other is avoiding answering serious questions, but they’re not able to catch any “tells” that the other is lying.

I... I... I just can't.

What it all boils down to me is that I really don’t like this Eterno connection and everything it entails. I really hope something or someone changes in future installments. But until then I’ll agree with Hayden:

 “He isn’t worthy of you. You deserve better, don’t you see?” – Saven Disclosure, Siobhan Davis

Saven Disclosure is a wild ride full of political betrayal, espionage, new worlds, alien wars, ROMANCE EVERYWHERE, and at the center a girl who just wants her people to be free and not conquered by an alien species.

Really is there more you could ask for?  


About Siobhan Davis:

I write young adult science fiction fantasy romance books, set amidst a dystopian world, because they are the types of books that I love to read. Expect lots of kissing and romantic scenes! I also haven't been given the moniker 'The Cliffhanger Queen' for nothing!

A self-professed teenager forever--at least when it comes to books, music, and films, I am totally addicted to YA and NA fiction and superhero/blockbuster movies. I love baking, shoes, bags, makeup, anti-wrinkle cream, anything pink, Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, and Robert Pattinson (definitely Team Edward).

Before pursuing a full-time writing career, I forged a successful corporate career in Human Resources over the last twenty years. I live in the Garden County of Ireland with my husband and two sons.

Follow my blog: http://myyanabookobsession.com

Connect with me:

Website: www.siobhandavis.com
Twitter: @siobhandavis
Facebook: TrueCallingBooks
Google+: +SiobhanDavisAuthor


Book Tour: The Colony by @KathleenGroger + #GIVEAWAY #freebook


The Colony

Author: Kathleen Groger
Publisher: Leaf & Thorn Press
Published: March 31st, 2016
Pages: 292
Audience: YA
Genre: Science Fiction, Aliens

Source: I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb:

Trust no one.

Never go out in the dark.

Always have a weapon.


Sixteen-year-old Val lives by these three rules etched on her arm. Her rules and her gun are the only things standing between her and assimilation by hordes of human-looking aliens she calls Raspers.

By day, Val gathers supplies. By night, she hides and wishes she could go back in time…before her family died…before the annihilation…before the Raspers began stalking her and demanding she join their collective.

But when the Raspers attack in broad daylight, the truth becomes startlingly clear. 

They’re evolving.

A fellow survivor crashes into Val’s life. Adam’s full of charm and promises—like rumors of a safe haven—but there’s something wrong. He’s survived with no supplies, no weapons…no plans. Time is running out. With the formula for survival shifting around her, Val must decide how many rules she’s willing to break to escape the Colony.


My Review:

Due to an unforeseen technical difficulty, I have lost my file of written reviews. So I have no notes to go on and cannot give you an in-depth review with quotes and gifs like I usually do. For today, since The Colony is a part of a book tour, I will give my general thoughts and later post my full review on Goodreads and Amazon (and will update this post).  

I'm so sorry Kathleen Groger!! 

The Colony is a fast paced - action packed thrill ride. There was another review that stated that the show reminded them of a Walking Dead & the short-aired show "V". 

When I saw that I literally screamed "YAAAASSSS!" That is the perfect description for it, except the main character - Val - is a sixteen-year-old girl with a very strict rule book for surviving the alien invasion.

This book kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved the characters and world - both of which felt natural. The plot was fantastic and I cannot wait to get my hands on the second book.



About Kathleen Groger:

Kathleen wrote her first story in elementary school about a pegasus named Sir Lancelot. It had no plot or conflict, but it sparked a dream. After serving a fifteen-year sentence in retail management, the bulk in big box bookstores, she turned her love of reading into a full-time career writing dark and haunting characters and stories. She writes paranormal, fantasy, suspense, horror YA books.

She lives by the mantra that a day is not complete without tea. Lots of tea. Kathleen lives in Ohio with her husband, two boys, and two attention-demanding dogs. When not writing or editing or revising, you can find her reading, cooking, spending time with her family, or photographing abandoned buildings.


Book Tour & Review: Daughter of the Sun by @zoekalowriter + #GIVEAWAY


Daughter of the Sun

Author: Zoe Kalo
Publisher: Zoe Kalo
Published: April 1st, 2016
Pages: 330
Audience: YA
Genre: Mythology, Paranormal & Urban

Source: I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew. 
But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities. 
Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self—and a horrifying destiny.


My Review:

Daughter of the Sun brings Egyptian mythology to the modern world. If you read my previous reviews, you’d know that I’m a bit of a fan when it comes to modern mythology re-imaginings. So when I had the chance to pick up a book offering me not only that, but also a promise of a mystery – I was SOLD!

“I happen to share DaVinci’s opinion that cats are the masterpieces of nature.” – Daughter of the Sun, Zoe Kalo

The story started off interesting. We are introduced to Trinity who is an orphan in London. The circumstances behind Trinity’s abandonment and the whole mystery grandmother to come out of nowhere was extremely interesting, but then the book began to stall for me. It was like that for a while until the mystery really picked back up.

There were some smaller “mysteries” that were a bit obvious to me, but that didn’t negate from the excitement of the story. At times Kalo had be fully engaged in the plot. A plot that was basically this in a nutshell:

“Why couldn’t I shake the feeling that there was something darker at work, that, unknown to me, I was taking part in someone else’s play?” – Daughter of the Sun, Zoe Kalo

Trinity wasn’t a character I connected with. I didn’t really care about her, but I cared for her story. I wanted to know everything. Why she was abandoned? Why were mysterious things happening to her body? What did this all have to do with the Cult of the Cat? WHAT WAS WRITTEN ON THAT PAPYRUS? (as you can tell that didn’t bug me – at all)

Seth and Ara were characters I truly enjoyed. Both had more depth to me and seemed more of an actual character than Trinity. The dynamics between all the characters were spot on and Kalo’s descriptions of a girl who’s completely infatuated were hilariously spot-on:

 “But my eyes were listening to me. They kept straying like naughty, disobedient street urchins.” – Daughter of the Sun, Zoe Kalo

I especially liked this simple quote about young love. It really rung true with my own strict upbringing:

“No wonder the nuns had been so admonishing about what could happen between boys and girls. This was powerful stuff.” – Daughter of the Sun, Zoe Kalo

If you are a fan of Egyptian mythology, crazy cat ladies, mysteries galore, old family curses, breaking & entering, and an ancient papyrus with a hard-to-translate script – all of this on a mysterious island right off the coast of Istanbul (not Constantinople) – than Daughter of the Sun is the book for you.



About Zoe Kalo:

A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery… 

A daughter of adventurous expats, she’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. Currently, she’s working on a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, which she balances between writing, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir.


Book Review: Borrowed Magic by @shari_lambert

Borrowed Magic

Author: Shari Lambert
Publisher: Shari Lambert
Published: January 30th, 2016
Pages: 287
Audience: YA
Genre: Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery

Source: I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb:

After a three-year siege, Lord Kern, the dark mage, is dead. Magic has left Tredare, and life is almost back to normal. 

For everyone except Maren, that is.

Before the siege, an attack by Lord Kern left Maren near death and with a sliver of magic buried deep inside her. Now, for reasons Maren doesn’t understand, that magic has been triggered, giving her the ability to “see” the truth: that her world is nothing more than a magical façade; and that the kingdom’s hero may not be a hero at all.

But this gift of sight comes at a high cost. Maren is in constant pain, and fears her own death is imminent. Plus, no one believes her suspicions that another Dark Mage has risen, and that Tredare may be in just as much danger as it was when Kern was alive. 

With the country’s future in the hands of a man who’s vowed revenge on its king, Maren must convince someone else of the truth. Unfortunately, the only person powerful enough to help is also the one man she can’t trust; the man she almost married; the man who abandoned her and disappeared for three years: Kern’s son.

As Tredare crumbles around them, Maren must persuade him to help - before the king is murdered by the very hero he reveres; and before the same magic that gives Maren the gift of sight also takes her life.


My Review:

Not many books keep me on the edge of my seat, but Borrowed Magic’s nerve-wracking plot and unrelenting heroine was the perfect recipe for just that.

The story starts after a three-year war against the dark mage Kern. Maren, our heroine, is the King and Queen’s closest friend and is nervously awaiting the return of her childhood friend, Phillip, whom she hasn’t seen since he left Maren confused and broken-hearted. When Phillip returns with fellow war hero and mystery-man Teige, who makes Maren uncomfortable – in more than one way. She discovers that not everything is what it seems and becomes a pawn in a deadly game.

“Respect, over time, could transform into love and sincere devotion. It would make people follow a leader without questions, trusting in him not to lead them astray.” – Borrowed Magic, Shari Lambert

I’ll tell the truth. The story started off kind of weird. You were thrown into a conversation between the Queen and Maren without context and I don’t think anything said was explained later. However, once Phillip and Teige arrived, the plot moved along at a steady, building pace that put my emotions through the ringer.

Lamberts prose was on point – it was polished and vivid.

“That’s what poetry is,” she said, running her hand over the well-worn cover. “Truth in beautiful words.” – Borrowed Magic, Shari Lambert

One of my biggest pet-peeves in literature is a weak heroine. I want the girls I read about to be flawed, but strong of character and Lambert delivered when she wrote Maren. Maren is a different type of heroine – she a lady, grew up in a castle, and lives in a society where woman do not have leadership roles. She’s not a warrior/ bad-ass. HOWEVER, that doesn’t negate her strength. Maren is intelligent – the King’s friend and trusted adviser (although in a non-official capacity). She is sweet, kind, and gracious to all those around her even Lady Kira – the castle mean girl – and even those she find’s unsavory.

Maren’s struggles throughout the story are hard and although she succumbs to A LOT, she doesn’t go down without a fight. Sometimes her self-preservation is non-existent and I wanted to scream at her, but even though I felt that there were times she could have saved herself pain, I don’t feel her character would allow even an ounce of selfishness when her loved ones are involved. I simply adored how Maren - who isn’t your typical heroine -was integral to saving the kingdom.

Phillip is a brooding Lord with an interesting history that you discover well into the story. He was the one who found the soldiers and trained them in order to finish the war against Kern – although Phillip was the one to put a sword in his heart. Phillip and Maren have a long history – they loved each other since childhood. Yet, when Phillip discovers a secret that he thinks Maren kept from him, they part after a series of hurtful words were spoken.

“She’d always wondered about girls who cried over a broken heart. Now she understood. It was something intangible that she couldn’t explain. But it brought with it a physical pain that shot through her chest and robbed her of breath.” – Borrowed Magic, Shari Lambert

I won’t lie and say that didn’t bother me because it soooooo did and Maren’s continuous declarations of wanting Phillip to trust her were echoes of what I was thinking. Yet, I completely understood both sides and their reactions. They were young and when they meet again after 3 years and a devastating war, they were both changed. Their love story is beautifully woven throughout a gristly tale. Both characters growth is immense and they have plenty of hardship, but love is never an easy road.

“She recognized the feel of his arms and the sound of his voice, but is was more than that. She recognized him.” – Borrowed Magic, Shari Lambert

Lambert is a master at building your anticipation and tearing your heart out to where you felt there was no happy ending in sight. Although I adored this book, the ending felt rushed. There were a few emotional points that I felt were skipped over that didn’t rise to the standard Lambert started the book with.

If you are a fan of medieval fantasy with mages, a monarchy that you would be happy to live under, a heroine that is selfless and brave, and a deep plot that demands your attention then look no further than Borrowed Magic. 


Book Review: On the Verge by @GarenGlazier

Just look at this GORGEOUS cover!

Just look at this GORGEOUS cover!

On the Verge

Author: Garen Glazier
Publisher: Only Child Press
Published: September 16th, 2015
Pages: 224
Audience: NA/ Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology

Source: I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb:

Freya is just a student at the University of Washington worried about grades and making her next tuition payment until a gorgeous succubus interrupts her post-exam latte with a proposition: come work for her boss, Seattle’s reclusive heiress and antiquities collector Imogen Beldame. Eagerly agreeing despite a nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach, Freya finds herself swept up in a deadly quest at the behest of her psychopathic new employer. Beldame has given her until Halloween to collect three magical pigments that hold the key to crafting mesmerizing portraits that can access the Verge, an undiscovered borderland on the edge of human reality, and the powerful beings that call it home. 

Freya’s reluctant journey takes her to a goblin stronghold in the Cascades for the color blue, to the Seattle Underground to request the color red from Baba Yaga, and to the Fremont home of a beautifully gruesome Cambodian ahp, or spirit of the night, for the color yellow. Working together with Rusty, an enigmatically disfigured man intimately connected with the Verge, and a motley crew of mercurial demons and loyal friends, Freya must come up with a plan to stop Beldame and preserve the fragile balance between fantasy and reality that is at its most vulnerable on Halloween.


My Review:

On the Verge is a supernatural adventure filled with macabre thrills and a dark, sensual energy that will leave you turning the page well into the night. How do I know this? Because I lived it.

Prepare yourself for a lot of quotes because if there was any book deserving of a million quotes in its review it’s On the Verge.

“The best art is a spiritual experience that unites us once again with our true selves, and often what we see on the canvas is raw, unsettling, and even disturbing, because it’s true. Art reveals to us the divine and the damned in all of us.” – On The Verge, Garen Glazier

Freya is a senior in art history who drifts between school and sleep without much regard to anything separate of Seattle’s art scene. Enter, Ophidia, a representative for a popular, albeit eccentric art dealer with an offer of a part-time job that although against her instincts, Freya accepts. This job leads Freya to the Verge:

"The Verge is a borderland that surrounds your world. It's an undiscovered frontier on the edge of human reality wherein exist all the creatures and beings of myth and legend. We[...]are the dreams and nightmares, gods and devils of the human imagination." – On The Verge, Garen Glazier

The Verge is an alternative dimension where beings of human imagination and passion are brought to life before they emerge into our world. Every creature known to mankind. Glazier is a genius to create this world with the Verge because there is no limit to what can happen or what creatures from mankind’s legends she could bring to life. Within the world of the Verge, beings can be either bound to physical objects in our realm and they can be sent back to the darkness of the Verge if something vital is taken, making them lose their identity.

“Freya couldn’t help but note the strangeness of the scene, a grown woman in mourning clothes cradling an enchanted little dolly in the middle of a meat-eating plant menagerie.” – On The Verge, Garen Glazier

Glazier's prose is exquisite, sinuous, and poetic. Making the complex, prodigious plot sing with perfection. Within the unique and vast universe Glazier created, she keeps within her own boundaries and laws – both of which are realistic and interesting. There is plenty of external and internal conflict for the protagonist, as well as, a complex centralized conflict – due to demonic alliances and lack thereof - that affects mankind. From start to finish, this plot – it sucks you in to where putting the book down is akin to climbing Mt. Everest. Not many could pull it off.

“For a bookish girl with artistic sensibilities and a naiveté born from spending too much time alone with her daydreams, she actually felt a bit excited about what might be in store for her.” – On The Verge, Garen Glazier

Freya is an amazing heroine for this fantastical world that Glazier created not only because she has a type of dark sophistication mixed with some skepticism, but because she isn’t like most fantasy heroines that fall into the lost hero or the warrior hero. She’s just some art hipster who finds herself in a life threatening situation that leads to a wild journey through Seattle and the Verge. Freya is a very real, grounded character in a world of fantastic beings. She laments her situations:

“Oh, man, I cannot believe I am here to see a witch about bugs,” Freya said. “How is this my life now?” – On The Verge, Garen Glazier

Her emotions are complex and diverse:

“She woke from these disconcerting visions feeling the excitement of a lover tempted and the mortification of a transgressor caught in the act.” – On The Verge, Garen Glazier

All these things grounding her character and making her relatable.

“The man was tall and imposing with a lugubriousness that pervaded the atmosphere around him. Freya always envisioned him as a kind of Teutonic angel, full of latent wrath and self-righteous superiority.” – On The Verge, Garen Glazier

Other characters, both from the Verge and from our world, fill this book with so much depth. Glazier plays with the notion that nobody – human or creature – is truly evil or good. Both have propensity for either. I don’t want to go into much detail about the characters because I want to leave them as a surprise for you, but I will say that those who fall on the side of evil are wondrously creepy and take a sick pleasure from the results of their actions.

Then there is Rusty, he is not your typical love interest. He’s a meaty, mountain man with a disfigured face – not exactly the muscular man-models seen in almost any novel with a romantic subplot. At the beginning, I was actually expecting for Freya and the sexy-but-moody professor to get together because that is was usually happens. I was pleasantly surprised for Freya and Rusty.

“She had found that the truth was sometimes hard but always real…” – On The Verge, Garen Glazier

My only and I mean ONLY complaint - because this novel is in itself a work of art - is Glazer’s tendencies to overuse her descriptions. I understand that the characters are all intellectuals, the scene is set in the art community of Seattle, and the main character is a deep-thinking hipster. But there’s no need for an excess of words such as “lugubriousness” and “crepuscular” to be thrown into the narrative. It makes the passages seem longer – probably because I had to use the dictionary function on my Kindle often.

Garen Glazer is a mistress of written word and I am so thrilled to have had the pleasure of reading her work. Fans of fantasy and adventure will love this tale of an art student’s incredible journey through an extraordinary world. It’s a story that has been told a million times, but Glaziers refreshingly modern retelling will capture and engage readers from start to finish. Although the book ends solidly, with all major plot lines tied up nicely, due to the complex world and the nature of the Verge itself there is room for a sequel. One I hope to see.

Book Tour & Review: Curse of the Sphinx by @RayeWagner + #GIVEAWAY


Curse of the Sphinx


Series: Sphinx #1
Author: Raye Wagner
Published: August 11th, 2015
Pages: 344
Audience: YA
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology 


Source: YA Bound Book Tours - I received this book for free from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.

 


Blurb:

How long can a monster stay hidden in plain sight?

Seventeen year-old Hope Nicholas has spent her entire life on the run. But no one is chasing her. In fact, no one even knows she exists. With her mom, she’s traveled from town to town and school to school, barely staying long enough to meet anyone, let alone make friends. And she’ll have to keep it that way. It’s safer.

When her mother is brutally ripped away from her, Hope’s life shatters. Is this the fulfillment of Apollo’s curse, murder from the shadow monsters of the Underworld, or have the demigods finally found her? Orphaned and alone, Hope flees again, but this time there’s no one to teach her who to trust—or how to love.

Set in a universe where mythology is alive and well in the modern world, Curse of the Sphinx irresistibly blends action, suspense and romance.


My Review:

Myths. Gods. Monsters. EMOTIONS!!

Curse of the Sphinx is a refreshing take on the modern Greek mythology story. The premise is so incredibly fascinating – Greek god’s still ruling in modern society and people are aware of it. In fact, many people still worship the gods, honor heroes/demigods, and fear monsters. This story, unlike the plethora of other urban mythology’s out there, is told from the point of view of a monster – the sphinx. 

Wagner is a great story teller, whose prose is vivid and poetic. I adored her depth in explaining emotions

“There were no words. Hope stared at her hands as if the answers might appear within her palms, but the only thing she saw were the lines and cracks, a map that went nowhere, that meant nothing.” – Raye, Wagner, Curse of the Sphinx

How she described interpersonal conflict.

“I’m so sorry.” The words fell all over the floor, the mess too big to step around, opening a gaping chasm between the two of them. – Raye, Wagner, Curse of the Sphinx

Her vibrant depictions of scenery.

“The store was old’ its white tile floor grayed with time, and the fluorescent lights cast unnaturally bright light, emphasizing the worn appearance of the store.” – Raye, Wagner, Curse of the Sphinx

I could go on about how much I enjoyed Wagner’s writing, but I’ll just leave this here…

My only issue with the actual story was that there were a few points where I was confused because there wasn’t any in-depth explanation of the world Hope lived in and the pacing of the story made it seem forever until I figured out what was going on. The reader jumps into this world that is similar to ours, but vastly different at the same time. It was confusing. Apparently there is a prequel that explains more, but I didn’t have the privilege of reading it before starting Curse of the Sphinx.

Hope is a great protagonist. She’s not typical in what I usually like in a female lead. She’s not some badass girl out to save the world. She’s a monster – hunted, scared, paranoid, and due to events in the story, a little broken.

“I do trust you.” But even as she said the words, she knew they were a lie. – Raye, Wagner, Curse of the Sphinx

All of her flaws doesn’t make her weak or incapable – it makes her human.

One thing I really enjoyed was exploring Hope’s struggles. Hope is a victim of a long-standing Greek curse that dictates every moment in her life. Throughout the book, she constantly wavers between wanting a life, but fearing the consequences of befriending her peers. The never ending struggle of keeping her identity secret because she is something that the world fears, rules her entire existence. It was extremely refreshing to see this struggle from the “monsters” point of view.

The romance was refreshing. It was so the opposite of insta-love that at times, I wondered if I was actually going to get a romantic subplot. That is not to say that the slow build up was bothersome. Quite the opposite actually. I loved witnessing Hope’s attraction to Athan grow at the pace it did because it made since coming from a girl who was weary of everyone.

You start the story knowing who Athan is, but that doesn’t take away any mystery in the story. Actually, it added another layer – I can’t add any more to that without being spoilery, but trust me. It’s a good thing. Also, knowing who Athan is from the very beginning gives the reader the chance to understand him better throughout the story.

The other characters were clichéd, but typical high school students. Haley – the gabby friend. Krista – the queen b*tch. Krista’s posse of mean girls.  There were others, but not much was mentioned about them in this book.

Curse of the Sphinx, is a superb YA filled with mythology, a curse, some intense emotions, and the beginnings of a sweet romance. 


About Raye Wagner:

Raye Wagner grew up in a family of dragon slayers. She never wanted to be a princess, and spent her time searching for adventure with her siblings in the suburbs of Seattle, Washington. She read heaps of books while locked away in the upstairs room of the family castle. Enchanted with the idea of magic, Raye studied to become a wizard in the arts of healing, and continues to practice her special brand of sorcery in the realm of gastroenterology. 

One sunny afternoon, the idea of a cursed mythological creature popped into her head, and her writing journey began. 
Raye enjoys creating delicious bakery sweets, practicing ninja skills (just in case), and escaping to sunny tropical destinations. She lives with her husband, who has nature wielding abilities, and their three children in the realm of Middle Tennessee.


Book Review: Repulsion by @JSteenbeeke

Repulsion


Series: The Unbound Series, Book 1
Author: Jeroen Steenbeeke
Published: December 28th, 2015
Pages: 76
Audience: YA
Genre: Paranormal, Science Fiction 

Source: NetGalley provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.

FREE TO DOWNLOAD


Blurb:

I used to think I was a pretty normal teenager: I got up in the morning, went to school, did my homework, played video games, and dreamed about Karen—one of the girls in my class. When I found out she liked me, too, I thought I was the luckiest guy alive. But everything changed when we kissed. Something awakened inside of us, and now we know that we're not normal teenagers after all.

For a while I thought these powers were pretty amazing—I mean, who wouldn't want superpowers? But it stopped being fun when Karen started hearing a voice in her head. A voice that told her I was her enemy. A voice that could take control of her. A voice that was only the first glimpse of a world we never knew existed.


My Review:

This review has been hard to write. Not because I didn’t think it was a good story – it was. It just didn’t leave an impression on me as much as I hoped.

First of all, the cover is gorgeous, it immediately caught my eye. Then the blurb drew me in. Teenagers with mysterious superpowers – yes, please. I even loved how the story was paced and even though the writing was geared more toward the younger end of YA, I still enjoyed it.

Yet as I was reading there was just something that bugged me and I couldn’t put a finger on it until after I had finished. There was a lack of description that, for me, left the book a little bland. This is 100% a “me thing”, but when I read, I look for that descriptive sweet spot. Too much and I spend most of my time skimming through unnecessary details. Too little and I finish feeling a little cheated. Repulsion fell on the latter.

Another small thing that I’m not quite sure if it bugged me or not was that there were multiple 80’s references spread throughout a novel geared toward modern teenagers. Some were clever and didn’t make me feel as if the author were trying to force some of their favorite nostalgia in the story:

“My mom always told me that if he ever were to put on “normal clothes” and get a shorter haircut, he’d look just like a young Matthew Broderick. If she hadn’t made me watch Wargames I wouldn’t have known what she was talking about.” - Repulsion, Jeroen Steenbeeke

And then there were other’s that made me think otherwise…

“watching Freddy Krueger turn a very young Johnny Depp into a geyser of blood was a worthy substitute.” – Repulsion, Jeroen Steenbeeke

One of my favorite aspects of Repulsion is how the characters felt like they were exactly their age - sixteen. The boys in the story reminded me of how my brother and his friends would act at that age, a little immaturity mixed with crazy hormones. And speaking of hormones, the romance between Thymen and Karen was sweet, but rushed, in my opinion. I’m sure the quickness the two become close is because of the story’s length. Quickness aside, I did feel that the progression was natural enough.

The side characters, Rob and Sarah, are well developed. I enjoyed their presence in the story as much as the main characters. Kudos to Steenbeeke for making Sarah a math wiz! There isn’t enough female STEM representation in YA literature.

The other aspect I enjoyed was the setting. As an American who has never set foot in the Netherlands, I felt as if I understood the culture well enough. For what was lacking in description of feelings and surroundings, the author didn’t skip on explaining certain cultural aspects – such as Queens Day.

What I take away from Repulsion is that I just wanted more. More description. More character development. More information. Because there was just so little for me to connect with, I chose to give it three stars – that and a rushed, cliffhanger ending. I literally closed my Kindle and looked to my husband and said, “Well that was abrupt.” 

Book Review: Link by @SummerWeir

Link


Series: The Shadow of Light #1
Author: Summer Weir
Published: September 29th, 2015
Pages: 215
Audience: YA
Genre: Science Fiction

Source: NetGalley provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.


Blurb:

For seventeen-year-old Kira, there’s no better way to celebrate a birthday than being surrounded by friends and huddled beside a campfire deep in the woods. And with a birthday in the peak of summer, that includes late night swims under the stars.

Or at least, it used to.

Kira’s relaxing contemplation of the universe is interrupted when a piece of it falls, colliding with her and starting a chain of events that could unexpectedly lead to the one thing in her life that's missing—her father.

Tossed into a pieced-together world of carnivals and gypsies, an old-fashioned farmhouse, and the alluring presence of a boy from another planet, Kira discovers she’s been transported to the center of a black hole, and there’s more to the story than science can explain. She’s now linked by starlight to the world inside the darkness. And her star is dying.

If she doesn’t return home before the star’s light disappears and her link breaks, she’ll be trapped forever. But she’s not the only one ensnared, and with time running out, she’ll have to find a way to save a part of her past and a part of her future, or risk losing everything she loves...


My Review:

The premise of this book was really interesting and the cover is gorgeous, so I decided to give it a shot. I love it when a SciFi has actual science in it instead of just “science themes” and the idea of worlds being connected by black holes is just brilliant. This book was both more than I expected and a little bit of a letdown.

My favorite thing about this book is the world *ahem* universe Summer Weir created. Weir blends magic and science seamlessly to where I am left bummed that insta-travel to other planets isn’t real. That being said, I felt that the parts of the book that involved the science aspects were vague at times and because of the ambiguity, huge chunks of the story were confusing to me.

Another aspect I liked about the book was the mystery. Other than the parts I felt were under-explained or just plain left out, there was plenty of other plot points that left me begging for an answer. Some of the reveals actually shocked me and others were expected, but I was thrilled about them as well. I will say that there are quite a few questions left unanswered, which will hopefully be explained in future installments.

Kira started out as a relatable character, who through her relationships with her mother and friends, as well as, her believable choices and reactions to an absentee father made her feel like an actual human instead of a fictional character. Her relationship with Zane was probably the most believable romance I have read in a YA SciFi in a long time – it was natural. Yet, as the story continued she became a little erratic. Many of her choices later in the book were both understanding and stupid. Although, I can applaud her for listening to heart when it comes to the main antagonist.

“… no façade can mask a dark soul.” – Link, Summer Weir

The other characters were great and I liked them, but I felt there wasn’t enough story to make me love them. During parts of the book I felt they were just “there” and the story could have moved along without them. I really liked both Zane and Evan. I felt that each boy’s past was well developed to where I felt they were interesting enough for me to remember them. How Kira’s relationship with her mother develops over the story is probably my favorite thing outside of the actual plot. It felt natural to me (although she did kind of disappear at the end)

“Mom had been right: not everyone has a choice in their fate.” – Link, Summer Weir

Which brings me to the romance. Like I said earlier, Zane and Kira made sense. They are adorable, believable, and refreshing to a market that is filled with insta-love. Then Evan showed up. Let me start off by saying, I have nothing against love triangles per say – I am just tired of how prevalent they are in YA. Most love triangles are there only for character angst. That being said, I am not entirely sure the love triangle in this book is meant to be that way. For one thing, the attraction between Evan and Kira is heavily-handed on one side. Evan had that insta-love moment regarding Kira and although I’m sure many will not agree with me, I think that type of behavior fits with his character development and history. Kira, although she is attracted to Evan and does have moments of feelings, she keeps a pretty level head when it comes to Evan. I’m intrigued to see how the romance in this particular story turns out.

“The soft blue light of his eyes, the mournful twilight of his heart, soothed my soul.” – Link, Summer Weir

Link sets up the series nicely, giving the reader a taste of the universe Weir created. Although confusing at times for both the right and wrong reasons, I would recommend this book to those who are interested in black holes, space-time travel, sweet romances, magic, and mystery.

Book Review: Saven: Deception by @SiobhanDavis


Title: Saven: Deception

Series: Book One of the Saven Novels

Author: Siobhan Davis

Published Date: December 23rd, 2015

Audience: YA

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian


Blurb from Good Reads:

THE TRUTH DOESN'T ALWAYS SET YOU FREE

I’ve fallen hard for an alien, but he’s harboring secrets.
Massive secrets that threaten the very essence of humanity.
How can I give him my heart when his race plans on taking my future?

Sadie Owens has been slowly dying inside. Bit by bit, piece by piece, day by day. Trapped in a life she hates, she relies on only one person—herself.

Despised by her family and betrayed by an unscrupulous government, Sadie dreams of a different life. When she is chosen to participate in the government’s new social experiment, she is ecstatic at the prospect of spending six months in Thalassic City, the shiny new city under the sea.

Immediately drawn to Logan Chandler, Sadie is captivated by the beautiful boy with the ocean-blue eyes. Logan seems to embody everything that has been forbidden, but he isn’t all he appears to be.

Confused over Logan’s true intentions and concerned when best friend Jenna starts transforming in front of her eyes, Sadie partners with newcomer Jarod in a bid to uncover the government’s real agenda. The truth is more shocking than anything she could ever have imagined.

When Sadie finally understands why the Saven walk among us, will it be too late to save her heart and the human race?


My Review:

Saven: Deception has the makings of a great Sci-Fi novel – corrupt government, aliens, abductions, mystery, but all of that is overshadowed by the romance (I know, I can’t believe I just said that either). A romance, I might add that was just too weird, but I’ll get on that more later.

I’m going to start with the world building – fantastic. A good dystopian pulls issues from modern society and exaggerates them to their extremes. In the case of Saven: Deception, Davis takes our modern social-class issues and amplifies them to where the inner circle/ bullion's (upper class) have freedoms and luxuries while the outer circle/ stars (lower class) are oppressed in the most extreme measures bordering on slavery. The underwater city was so creative, but I felt that the story could have been better if Sadie were more keen to discover its secrets before the romance began.

“There are so many things about this new life I don’t understand, except for the acknowledgement that fear goes hand in hand with ignorance.” – Saven: Deception, Siobhan Davis

Davis’ pacing was excellent and I enjoyed how we – the reader – are given nuggets of information throughout the story, leaving you begging to know what’s happening beyond the romantic drama between Sadie and Logan.

Throughout the first 1/3 of the book, I was wondering when the aliens who were featured in the prologue going to come into play - I would have known if I had re-read the blurb before reading, but I'm going to consider my mistake a perk. The beginning, was mostly world building and character building for the main character, Sadie. It took a while for the real reason the aliens were among us to come to light (other than hooking up and making the main character fall in love you them). But, when they did show up, it was fare more interesting than I imagined. From what little is known, the Saven are an fascinating race and their reasons/ actions are equally horrendous and logical (for them not us). I’m not sure about certain things and I hope the following books will explain more.

If you read the book, you'll see what I did here. :D

If you read the book, you'll see what I did here. :D

Sadie, like her romance arc, is a product of two extremes. In the beginning of the story she’s totally reserved and a bit of a doormat, which I totally believe due to her environment and family dynamics. I also believe that a girl like Sadie would jump at any chance to leave her home and experience life and while on this new adventurous path, decide to become a better version of herself. What I didn’t believe about this was the way Sadie’s character arc progressed once she was settle in her new environment, the change was instantaneous. There was no naturally progression of Sadie’s personality evolution (except maybe one or two internal dialogue moments).

I think it was that dramatic change that turned me off to Sadie. Not that I hated who she was before or after the big personality switch-a-roo, but it just didn’t seem real to me. That change coupled with her tendency to be a little dramatic when it came to Logan…

“I was right all along. No one like him would ever be interested in someone like me despite the relaxation of the laws. It was more than naïve to allow myself to wallow in the dream: it was destructive on a massive scale.” – Saven: Deception, Siobhan Davis

… and this little nugget that I just couldn’t swallow…

“I’ve never vomited before.” I’m not sure why I felt the need to explain that. “It’s an experience I’d rather not repeat.” – Saven: Deception, Siobhan Davis

… added together just made her hard for me to really connect with. I mean, who has NEVER thrown up before? NEVER? In all your 17 years of life? Beyond her faults, Sadie is a strong female heroine who is loyal to her friends. She has strength of mind and character which pushes her to better herself beyond the lot she’s given in life. When she’s not blinded by love/lust, she’s intelligent and clever. I hope those traits are highlighted as her story continues.

Then there is Logan. Let me start off by saying that I feel like he was a very real character to me, especially after his history was revealed and I liked him as a main character – although, I don’t like him as a love interest for Sadie. He started off sweet and a little sappy and then drama happens and he’s a jerk. More drama and he’s sweet. More drama and he’s a jerk again. Then surprise, surprise he’s sweet again.

“I’ve never let any guy in. You’re the first one I even dared to like. But you play with my feelings like they aren’t real.” – Saven: Deception, Siobhan Davis

I get his reasons. They’re good ones, I suppose, but he just comes off as domineering and disrespectful to Sadie. IE: boxing her in, grabbing her and forcing her to talk to him. That’s taking the alpha male romantic trope too far and tip-toeing into creepsville, but it’s all cool in Sadie’s mind because he smells good and their connection is too irresistible.

Which brings me to the romance… I adore first loves. ADORE THEM. Especially the ones with major chemistry - they are always wild, unpredictable, and all-encompassing. One never forgets them. That is why I totally believe Sadie’s emotional roller-coaster when it comes to Logan. Honestly, everything about how she reacts to Logan is spot on until they’re in close proximity. That is when she completely loses her mind, becoming a slave to an aggressive physical and emotional attraction that takes away her free-will and I find it a little appalling.

**** SPOILERS AHEAD ****

Davis explains this attraction as them being Eterno or soulmates and although I’m a firm believer in soul mates myself – I don’t approve of the notion that having one automatically makes you so attractive and irresistible that you can ignore negative personality traits or for the attraction to be so over powerful that you feel compelled to do whatever the other says. That is my BIG issue with the romance in Saven: Deception.

**** SPOILERS ENDED ****

Anyway...

The side characters are great from what little is learned about them. The only one I felt any real connection to was Jarod who - as a result - was my favorite, but I think he would have been even if the others were more developed. He had a complex story that was far more interesting than any of the others. I hope in the coming books, there will be more backstory and depth to the others.

Going back and re-reading my review, it kind of sounds like I hated it, but I really didn’t. The story has a great concept with great writing and pacing. There were plenty of twists to keep me interested beyond the love story and a cliffhanger ending that made me say “What the crap?” in a good way. I will have to read the next one because I don’t like when there are BIG loose ends to a story – especially when the poo hits the fan.

Net Galley provided a copy of The Spaceship Next Door in exchange for an honest review.


Book Review: Gyre by Jessica Gunn


Title: Gyre

Series: Book One of the Atlas Link Series

Author: Jessica Gunn

Published Date: February 1st, 2016

Audience: New Adult

Genre: Science Fiction, Action Adventure


Blurb from Good Reads:

Chelsea didn’t try to teleport. All she wanted was to play the Battle of the Bands show. But after accidentally teleporting onto classified Navy vessel SeaSatellite5, all she’s rocking is the boat. 

Once it’s sorted out that Chelsea’s not a threat, SeaSat5’s top scientist offers Chelsea a position on the crew as an archaeology intern. Dr. Saint studies people with powers, believing them to be descendants of Atlantean refugees, except Chelsea’s powers are beyond anything on previous record. 

While great for everyone else onboard, the miracle of Chelsea is Trevor’s worst nightmare. The same girl who’d given him a brief lifeline to sanity three months ago literally fell from the sky, under a mile of ocean, and onto the very station where he’s employed. Making matters worse, Trevor’s family are Lemurians, Atlantis’s enemy, and Chelsea’s presence is unpredicted—a wrench in an already unstable situation. But Trevor wants no part of his family’s war. The only thing he wants is Chelsea, Atlantean or not. 

Days into Chelsea’s sudden appearance, SeaSatellite5 uncovers Atlantean ruins and a massive artifact cache, placing its entire, hundred-man crew in the crosshairs of an ancient war. There are those who want the Atlantean relics inside the ruins destroyed, and only Trevor knows the treasures for what they really are: Link Pieces, tools used by the ancient civilizations for their time-travel war. 

With lies and shifting alliances abound, Chelsea and Trevor will have to think fast in order to save the station. If they don’t, the Lemurians will seize the artifacts and Atlantis will be destroyed forever


My Review:

Gyre is a science/ archaeological fiction with a New Adult twist. The blurb really drew me in. A love story – Teleporting –  Atlantis –Ancient Wars – Mystery…

First of all, one of the main characters - Chelsea. Oh Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea… I’ll admit that I really didn’t like her at the beginning and it was all because of her inner musings about her ex-boyfriend.

“But who was really at fault? Lexi for convincing my boyfriend to cheat on me, or me letting it happen?” – Gyre, Jessica Gunn

Really? REALLY? We’re going to let this female lead, who is supposed to be a badass sit there and let the misogynic oppression of “it’s always the girls fault” when it comes to sexual deviance. Give me a break. She had one more inner breakdown of her awesomeness regarding his bully-of-a-ex-best-friend, but thankfully it was written more as a turnaround moment versus an “I’m going to blame myself” mentality.

Once things started to happen, I could see in Chelsea what I always want to see in a female lead – strength through perseverance. My absolutely favorite moment, which made her such a real and earnest character to me, was when she was faced with a choice of her life or others and for once, the hero struggled. She honest to God, couldn’t decide if she wanted to throw her life away. It was blissfully real and amazing.

Trevor, who shares narration with Chelsea in alternating chapter point of views, is really not my type of hero/love interest and it has NOTHING to do with his geek status. I fly my geek flag high and even married a computer nerd, so… yeah. Honestly, he was just a wishy-washy big ball of corn puffs.

“Because Valerie didn’t know the very enemy we’d been warned about just waltzed aboard the SeSatellite5… and into my heart.” – Gyre, Jessica Gunn.

Awwww… barf. And when he’s not a corny bleeding heart, he really isn’t a good scientist either and it seems like he’s just oblivious to everything and everyone around him – even his love interest. That doesn’t make him a swoon-worthy guy in my opinion.

The two things that saved this book for me was the plot and Gunn’s writing.

First of all, I haven’t read such a solid story in a long time. According to Gunn’s acknowledgement page, she put three years into this story and it shows. I really enjoyed her take on the Atlantian/ time travel with the addition of super powers. It was really flawless story telling.

And her writing (although quite a bit of Trevor’s was just clichéd) is beautiful. Her descriptions are fluid and vivid enough I felt like I was feeling what the characters were feeling.

“Her cheeks grew brighter. I loved that blush, craved it as a kind of twisted reminder of the night we met. Her face, a lighthouse guiding me to sanity, flushed from cold and adrenaline. It was the night my life changed course.” – Gyre, Jessica Gunn.

Gunn’s writing verges on the poetic.

“The butterflies in my stomach evolved into fireflies, lit with a low buzz. Swarming. Igniting.” – Gyre, Jessica Gunn.

Overall, Gyre is a book I would recommend with a disclaimer. Personally, I didn’t feel like I couldn’t get enough or so wrapped up that I dreaded putting my Kindle down which is why it gets three stars instead of four. Maybe if I were in a different mood when I read Gyre, I would love it more than I did.


Net Galley provided a copy of The Spaceship Next Door in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Killer Contract Agency


Title: The Killer Contract Agency

Author: Jessica Samuels

Published Date: November 30th, 2015

Audience: Young Adult

Genre: Science Fiction/ Fantasy/ Paranormal


Blurb from Good Reads:

Salina Sinclair hunts Malians, an alien species that preys on weak teenagers, making them crazy enough to kill themselves. But after being nearly burned alive by one, Salina is contacted by The Killer Contract Agency. Wielding the powers of The Bracelet and with her mentor, Carter, by her side, she exacts her revenge by taking out the Malians responsible for her near death.

But something big is happening with the Agency and operatives are dying. Will she find out what it is before it's too late, or will the Agency be destroyed?


My Review:

This review is going to be short and sweet because it really hurts me to write it. Truly, I’ve been fretting over it for days now. I didn’t want to be the first person to leave a review on this books Good Reads or Amazon links because I wanted the author to have that elated feeling of getting a good review. I remember how it felt with my first book and it is an amazing feeling. I also remember the gut wrenching hurt of getting a one-star review as well.

Just like Jessica Samuels, I am an independent author and like her my success thrives on getting good reviews. However, in order to get them you have to have a quality product and The Killer Contract Agency just wasn’t it.

There wasn’t a thing I liked about this book and that’s saying something because I ALWAYS try to find something positive. The plot was all over the place. The characters were flat and were childish – even the adult characters. The writing was juvenile – full of grammar and spelling mistakes.

“I knew that Laurice was behind it, since she was jealous of me for stupid reason. It was always her, and no one else. No one could hurt me this badly and get away with it, especially not her. I hated her for a reason, and I really wanted her to pay. How could she do this to me?” – The Killer Contract Agency, Jessica Samuels.

That was one of the good examples. When I chose to review this book, nothing about the cover art or blurb really drew me in. I honestly chose it because Jessica Samuels is an indie author who didn’t have any reviews for her book and I wanted to give her a chance. Now, I really wish I hadn’t.

A huge part of me wants to give her two stars, but honestly the second one would really be a pity-star.

I chose to read this book as a part of review tour through YA Bound Book Tours.

YA Bound Book Tours

Book Review: The Spaceship Next Door by Gene Doucette


Title: The Spaceship Next Door

Author: Gene Doucette

Published Date: December 22nd 2015

Audience: Young Adult

Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery

Blurb from Good Reads:

The world changed on a Tuesday.
When a spaceship landed in an open field in the quiet mill town of Sorrow Falls, Massachusetts, everyone realized humankind was not alone in the universe. With that realization, everyone freaked out for a little while.
Or, almost everyone. The residents of Sorrow Falls took the news pretty well. This could have been due to a certain local quality of unflappability, or it could have been that in three years, the ship did exactly nothing other than sit quietly in that field, and nobody understood the full extent of this nothing the ship was doing better than the people who lived right next door.
Sixteen-year old Annie Collins is one of the ship’s closest neighbors. Once upon a time she took every last theory about the ship seriously, whether it was advanced by an adult, or by a peer. Surely one of the theories would be proven true eventually—if not several of them—the very minute the ship decided to do something. Annie is starting to think this will never happen.
One late August morning, a little over three years since the ship landed, Edgar Somerville arrived in town. Ed’s a government operative posing as a journalist, which is obvious to Annie—and pretty much everyone else he meets—almost immediately. He has a lot of questions that need answers, because he thinks everyone is wrong: the ship is doing something, and he needs Annie’s help to figure out what that is.
Annie is a good choice for tour guide. She already knows everyone in town and when Ed’s theory is proven correct—something is apocalyptically wrong in Sorrow Falls—she’s a pretty good person to have around.
As a matter of fact, Annie Collins might be the most important person on the planet. She just doesn’t know it.


My Review

This book a mixture of everything I love to read.

Aliens. Teenagers. Conspiracies. Mind-screwing craziness. Plus, a rather surprising twist I wasn’t expecting, but I love, love, loved it. The only thing not in the book was a romantic plot (I love me some romance), but this story really didn’t need it.

The Spaceship Next Door is a science fiction novel about a spaceship landing in a small US town. That’s it. It just lands. No communications. No death by laser ray guns. No big alien invasion. It sits in the middle of a field and does nothing…. Or does it?

The story centers on Annie, a sixteen-year-old girl who is by far one of my favorite fiction characters. Not only does she actually act like a sixteen-year-old, she is completely unlike most Young Adult heroines. She doesn’t have boys chasing her, she isn’t awkward, or full of angst. She is intelligent, feisty, strong-willed, with a humor that really showcases her wit and maturity.

“They called it anti-rape class because that was what it was. Annoyingly, while the girls were in that course, nobody was teaching the boys’ course called don’t be a rapist.” - The Spaceship Next Door, Gene Doucette

Annie is who I wanted to be when I was a sixteen-year-old. I reiterate - I LOVE HER! However, she wasn’t the only well-developed character. There were so many - from the solider Sam to her employer/ government agent Ed to her socially awkward best friend Violet. Every character gets a chance to have a bit of their story woven throughout the plot. For example:

“Rick was the first local kid roughly Annie’s age that had a self-evident drinking problem. It didn’t seem possible for someone so young to exhibit alcoholic tendencies, but by most accounts, Rick had his first beer when he was twelve and hadn’t stopped drinking since.”  - The Spaceship Next Door, Gene Doucette

By the time the action picked up (which began around the 23% mark, but really didn’t pick up till after 50%), I felt connected to each character. For me, I can forgive most anything in a book if the characters are amazing.

This is where I’m going to start with the one thing I just didn’t like: the authors writing style and language. It was awkward to me at times and very wordy to where I began to wonder what I was reading and felt my eyes glaze over. Mind you, this was before the aforementioned 50% mark. Everything after was well-paced and solid. Mr. Doucette is a wordsmith and it was that which charmed me with beautiful descriptions and a sly humor that kept me chuckling.

“The plaza was kind of typical for the region, which was to say it was a pavement-heavy consumer oasis that made everyone a little sad about capitalism”  - The Spaceship Next Door, Gene Doucette

I have mixed feelings about the ending. A part of me felt like it was too fast and a little anti-climactic with all the CRAZY happening, but I also feel very satisfied by how everything turned out. Especially since he tied up almost every loose end. Almost, I mean there were ALIENS on Earth. There should have been a little more excitement.

Over all, The Spaceship Next Door is a fun read. If you like witty, well developed characters with a solid plot filled with sarcasm and stunning depictions of scenery and history – then this is the story for you.

A solid 4 spaceships. *wink* See what I did there? 

Net Galley provided a copy of The Spaceship Next Door in exchange for an honest review.