Book Tour & Review: Petrified by Olaf Moriarty Solstrand (@olafmoriarty) + #GIVEAWAY


Petrified


Author: Olaf Moriarty Solstrand
Published: August 15th, 2016
Pages: 143
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy


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


Blurb:

Gunhild is a private in the Royal Army. She’s headstrong and reckless, but she’s also the best troll hunter in the country, and when a troll gets away with a national treasure, she’s the only person with any chance of getting it back.

Kirabo was on his way home to Aberash after a fulfilled research mission, but he managed to enter the wrong coordinates into his spaceship. Now he and his PA robot are stranded on a far-off planet, and they don’t have enough fuel to get back home.

As genres collide on Troll Island, Earth, the troll hunter and the space explorer have to overcome their differences and work together if they want to survive this fairytale.


My Review:

Okay, when I first saw the cover to Petrified, I will have to say the spaceship and young girl in a medieval getup intrigued me. Then the blurb added a bit a fuel to the fire and I wasn’t wrong to pick up this novel.

Trolls + Robots + Aliens = so much yes!

Petrified is THE most unique YA novel I read this year. It’s like Lord of the Rings meets Independence Day except the main character is a kick ass teenage heroine and a sassy robot side kick thrown in the mix. It was obvious to me that Solstrand poured time into world building and characterization. Even with all the world and character development, there was plenty of action to keep the plot rolling. No boredom here.

Gunhild is an amazing YA character. There’s not many novels with a female protag that goes on a self-discovery that doesn’t including falling in love. I mean, how many novels have you read where the female protag sets out on an adventure and comes back changed for the better without some romance sub-plot? Not Petrified. Gunhilds evolution from fearless, hot-head to calculated heroine makes her an amazing role model for any young girl who will pick this book up... Who wouldn’t want to read about a strong, female warrior?

If you like fantasy elements smashed with science fiction, substantial character growth, and no romance. Then Petrified is the book for you.



Book Tour & Excerpt: The Departed by @kristycooperYA


The Departed


Author: Kristy Cooper
Published: July 6th, 2016
Pages: 176
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Religion


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

FREE on Kindle Unlimited


Blurb:

What if someone tried to fake the rapture?

When hundreds of thousands of people disappear in the middle of the night, including sixteen-year-old Gwen's best friend Lana, no one knows why. Some believe they were taken in the rapture, while others are convinced that it can't be true. Doomsday prophecies abound that involve horrifying tales of plague, famine, earthquakes, and more.

At first, Gwen doesn't know what to think. While she is busy mourning Lana, many people around her are getting taken in by the cultish True Believers Temple, including Gwen's dad and her friend Mindy. It is clear that more and more people are going to be pressured to join this church, as it starts taking over the media and the government, gaining zealous followers all over the world.

Then Gwen starts receiving emails from Lana. She claims to have been forced into hiding with thousands of others in an underground compound. Gwen is convinced the emails are real and the only other person who also believes her is Isaiah, her moody crush. Together they resolve to find out where everyone is hiding and help set Lana free.


My Review:

The Departed Excerpt from Chapter 1

The first strange thing that happened was that my best friend Lana didn't text me back that morning. This is the kind of statement that makes adults roll their eyes, and at first I didn't think anything of it either. We usually exchanged about twenty-plus messages every morning before we got to school. I figured that she may have just gotten in trouble and her parents had taken her phone away, which happened pretty often. One time they took her phone away because she had been caught texting during a church service. Another time they took it away just because her lip gloss looked too "lipsticky"—whatever that means. They were super strict like that.

The next weird thing that happened was when I came down to the kitchen for breakfast and found my mom completely absorbed in her tablet. This was only weird because she had a rule about anyone using devices during "family time," which the ten minutes it took me to eat breakfast were supposed to constitute.

Normally, she would immediately put it down when I came into the room in order for me not to think she was being a hypocrite. Instead she continued her concentrated scowl in the glow of her tablet's screen, despite the fact that I had already poured my cereal and was sitting across from her at the table.

"Ahem," I finally said with my eyebrows raised.

Mom looked up at me sheepishly. "Sorry about that, Gwen," she said, putting her tablet down. "What do you have planned for today?" I figured whatever she was looking at must not have been that important if she didn't think it was worth mentioning.

"The usual. You know, going to school and stuff." I knew how much my mom hated vague answers to specific questions. She prided herself on having open communication with her teenager.

"Okay, I deserved that."

I smiled. "I think Lana is in trouble again," I offered.

"What else is new?" she laughed.

"She hasn't replied to me yet all morning."

"Holy rollers can be such buzzkills. Aren't you lucky to have cool parents that are not punishing you all the time?"

"Yeah, you guys are so cool . . ." I said, rolling my eyes. I considered that maybe I should find some friends whose parents were obviously cooler so my mom didn’t let it get into her head that she is such a "cool" parent. "There's totally nothing cooler than parents who point out how cool they are all the time."

"Well, if we don't point it out, you might forget," my dad said as he walked into the kitchen. "What's going on this morning?"

"Lana hasn't texted Gwen back yet this morning. So obviously something catastrophic has happened," Mom answered.

"You know, she could just be in the shower or something?" Dad pointed out. "Or do you guys bring your phones in the shower now too?"

"Yeah, it's been like a half hour. No one showers that long."

"Well, I would if I didn't have to go to work every morning."

"Great story, Dad . . ." I said and took another bite of my cereal.


About Kristy Cooper:

Kristy Cooper found herself often contemplating unusual what-if scenarios and knew it was time to start writing them down. She worked as a librarian for years and is now busy raising small children and writing YA novels. 

Stay up to date with her books at kristycooper.com, follow her on twitter @kristycooperYA, and find her on facebook at facebook.com/AuthorKristyCooper.


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 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.”