Book Review: The Preserve by Ariel S. Winter @ArielSWinter @AtriaBooks

The Preserve
Ariel S. Winter
Emily Bestler Books/Atria, November 2020
ISBN 978-1-4767-9788-5
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

The near future has been decimated by plague (sound familiar?), and the human population is now a minority. Robots—complex AIs almost indistinguishable from humans—are the ruling majority. Nine months ago, in a controversial move, the robot government opened a series of preserves, designated areas where humans can choose to live without robot interference. Now the preserves face their first challenge: someone has been murdered.

Chief of Police Jesse Laughton on the SoCar Preserve is assigned to the case. He fears the factions that were opposed to the preserves will use the crime as evidence that the new system does not work. As he digs for information, robots in the outside world start turning up dead from bad drug-like programs that may have originated on SoCar land. And when Laughton learns his murder victim was a hacker who wrote drug-programs, it appears that the two cases might be linked. Soon, it’s clear that the entire preserve system is in danger of collapsing. Laughton’s former partner, a robot named Kir, arrives to assist on the case, and they soon uncover shocking secrets revealing that life on the preserve is not as peaceful as its human residents claim. But in order to protect humanity’s new way of life, Laughton must solve this murder before it’s too late.

There’s nothing much more satisfying than a good police procedural in a futuristic setting and this book filled my craving quite nicely. The idea of humanity taking a back seat to robots quite peacefully and without a war going on is intriguing in itself and I applaud the author for making the scenario work naturally.

Character development takes precedence over plot although the murder investigation is well done and left me wondering for a long while. The relationships here are the real story, those between Jesse and his wife, the two of them and their child and, most compelling, Jesse and Kir. The latter is a dynamic partnership that evokes a real friendship between man and machine and I want to know much more. I really hope there will be a sequel to continue and expand the tale.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2020.

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Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Bookshop.org
Amazon // Books-A-Million // Indiebound

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…one of the last human police officers must use the creativity
bots haven’t yet discovered how to mimic in order to solve the crime.
“The Most Anticipated Crime Books of Fall” CrimeReads

Book Review: Simple by Dena Nicotra @DenaNicotra @AnAudiobookworm

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Title: Simple
Series: Simp, Book 1
Author: Dena Nicotra
Narrator: Kendra Murray
Publication Date: July 1, 2020
Genres: Science Fiction

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Simple
Simp, Book 1
Dena Nicotra
Narrated by Kendra Murray
Dena Nicotra, July 2020
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

Nothing simple is real. You will look twice at people…and technology.

The idea of making life simple appealed to the mainstream. After the economic collapse of the 21st century, the government latched on to technology like an economic lifeline. Bio-synthetic humanoids integrated into society with relative ease. Taking on the menial jobs, humans grew dependent on their android counterparts, but the corporate sector took things too far. Wrapped in their one-click comfort zones, people trudged along with their lattes and fashion trend blinders.

The dark side of genetic engineering is a harsh reality. Humans are being hunted. They don’t stand a chance.

No one seemed to notice that they weren’t acting as hospitable as they once had. They should have. They didn’t have weaknesses like we did, and, they were capable of clever, unimaginable cruelty.

Those that have survived call the rogue bio-synthetic humanoids “simps” because the company that started the mess had a cheesy marketing campaign that said they made life “Simple”. They couldn’t have been more wrong. When the war broke out, simps were used to spare human losses. It was viewed as a brilliant solution until a developer working for the enemy infected the simps with a virus that caused them to turn on the humans they served. They couldn’t shut them down fast enough.

Hailey Pachello doesn’t do people. She relies on herself because it’s easier. It’s safer, and it’s less dramatic. That is until she meets Leonard ‘Gizzard’ O’Malley. Giz has connections and a plan, and it might just be a good one.

Join Hailey as she embarks on her wondrous adventure, in a timeless, powerful, and memorable cyberpunk thriller. 

Fans of Isaac Asimov will appreciate this fast past thriller, although the three laws of robotics never applied to simps! This cyberpunk tale is set in the year 2038.

Ever since our first stay-at-home started, along about mid-March, I’ve had trouble getting much satisfaction out of reading and I know I’m not alone. I hear about it online and in Zoom book club meetings and it’s really frustrating; as best as I can explain it in my own case, it seems to be an inability to focus, to really get involved with what I’m reading. With only a handful of exceptions, most books have struck me as lackluster and, while I know the problem is me, not the books (for the most part), the end result is the same.

Then along came Simple and, oh my, Dena Nicotra, aided by Kendra Murray’s fine narration, has taken me to a place I’ve missed—booklove. Can I point to anything in particular? No, I just got completely caught up with a terrific plot and characters who grabbed my attention, brought to vivid life by Ms. Murray’s distinct voices and spot-on sense of pacing. Ms. Nicotra’s worldbuilding is pretty darned good, too—I’d like to know more about how people first became so dependent on androids but the author gave enough background that I didn’t really feel a lack.

Lee (Hailey) is a young woman I would love to know in real life, complex with a backbone of steel and a desire to not have to care about anybody. She fails at that but she also has the intelligence and street smarts to survive in this war against droids gone bad and, when she falls in with Mic and Giz, the action starts to ramp up seriously. Then there’s my next favorite character, Two, and a passel of bad guys who also just happen to be full of personality. Oh, and by the way, Ms. Murray’s interpretation of Sonya is, well, perfect.

Technically, this book could be a standalone but I want more so I’m very happy to know there’s a sequel, Real. Now I just need to hope there will be an audio edition…soon.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2020.

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Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes

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About the Author

Dena Nicotra was born in Southern California and grew up between the busy city and a small town in Arkansas. She is a copywriter, freelance journalist, and holds a degree in Communications. She currently lives in a small desert town in California with her husband and one very spoiled little dog.

She’s mom to two grown sons that she calls her sun and moon. ​When she’s not writing, she can be found in the kitchen cooking up something special for family and friends.

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

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About the Narrator

Kendra performed in numerous plays in high school and college, and directed a play for her senior project, which earned her the school Drama Cup. She apprenticed at, and managed the Box Office of the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Mass. She performed, produced and directed radio plays with Petaluma Radio Players. Kendra narrates audiobooks across many genres, as solo narrator and as duet narrators with her husband, Ralph Scott, all available on audible.com.  She frequently “speaks” in character voices for her dog, Gandalf, and her cats, Merlin and Saffira. She has two young adult children and a stepdaughter. Kendra is an avid knitter and spinner, and is very crafty.

Website

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Play an excerpt here.

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Follow the tour here.

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Book Review: Impact by K. Maze @KMazeauthor @AureliaLeoCo @YABoundToursPR

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Title: Impact
Author: K. Maze
Publication Date: June 25, 2020
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

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Purchase Links:
Aurelia Leo // Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Amazon

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Impact
K. Maze
Aurelia Leo, June 2020
ISBN 978-1-946024-81-7
Trade Paperback

From the publisher:

Trapped underground with a mysterious scientist named Edison and his chess master AI, can Nala Nightingale find the will to live and to love in a dystopian future?

Set in post-pandemic Wind City, a young journalist races time against a certain natural destruction. Nala must decide between broadcasting the news of a lifetime or discovering keys to her orphaned past.

As an intern, Nala wants badly to prove her self as a real journalist, not just a broadcaster of fluffy pieces and, on a seemingly normal day, she heads for Intercambio 7 to make her pitch for an important story but she never gets to tell her boss about it. That seemingly normal day is anything but as she soon learns when it becomes apparent that people in the building are rushing out the doors in a panic.

Downtown Girl, as the viewing public knows Nala, is an orphan whose mother died mysteriously after engaging in food production for the Resistance and, although Nala has no leanings towards the rebels’ activities, she does want to know more about how and why her mother died. It’s been ten years since the Bovine Flu pandemic and now the world is about to experience an apocalyptic event that could literally destroy the planet.

While there are aspects of the story that I really liked, especially Nala and Edison as well as other characters, I had trouble truly connecting and the somewhat muddy worldbuilding was the main cause. Part of my confusion stemmed from the somewhat erratic introduction of futuristic technology without clear explanations. For example, the VID messages that pop up but are apparently controlled by the recipient..pop up where? And what exactly is the H-Lens that allows people to see virtual files in one’s mind, I think, while no one else can see them? Why would her boyfriend, who knew about the coming disaster at least the day before, pre-program a destination for her but not warn her? Most important, though, is my inability to suspend disbelief enough to accept that the coming asteroid impact could possibly have been hidden from the public, deliberately or otherwise, until just over five hours before the event. Even today, in 2020, that couldn’t be kept entirely secret from the nerdiest high school student and I can’t imagine that it could happen in 2098.

Despite those difficulties, I did enjoy this tale of survivors attempting to bring order to what’s left of society and of Nala’s self-discovery and understanding of her place in this brave new world. There is hope for the future.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2020.

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An Excerpt from Impact

Book excerpt (first page):

Chapter One

-05:11:08 (311 Before Impact-BI minutes)

Nala Nightingale pressed her way into the large rotating door of Intercambio 7, rushed because the tram was down. I hope the old goat Marcus won’t change his mind and not listen to my pitch. She hadn’t been late in two years interning, but the always-early Mimi was also presenting her idea today. She suggested a piece on robotic make-up art, but Nala’s interviews regarding the orphans of the Bovine Flu had more sustenance in her opinion. But her opinion didn’t matter. Only Marcus decided which pieces went on the broadcast; and the young interns were supposed to inform Wind City of the hottest trends. That usually meant fashion news and how to bypass dance club lines, but Nala insisted the youth were concerned about social issues, too.

Marcus loved Mimi’s ideas as well as her sleek hair and how perfectly it splayed to her clavicle. He commented often on how well the camera captured her presence. Nala struggled to keep her silver-streaked wanton curls in submission and often tied them into a loose bun. Marcus appreciated her offbeat style and perspectives on issues that mattered, but she couldn’t chance losing the broadcast to Mimi today. She had to talk to him first.

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About the Author

Kris Maze writes empowering, twisty stories and also teaches Spanish. After years of reading classic literature, mysteries, and legal thrillers, she sought to publish her own books. Her first Science Fiction novella, IMPACT, published through Aurelia Leo, is now available!

Kris Maze is fascinated with strong characters like her protagonist Nala, a teen journalist who reluctantly works with a crazed scientist Edison to survive an incoming asteroid implosion. For more information on her book, look here.

Check out her newly revised website and say hi! While you are there sign up for her newsletter to get freebies and updates on blog tours and media takeovers during the next couple months.

For Subscribers during August there will be Writer Wellness Tips and Tools, (also good for anyone working or studying from home) so now is a fantastic time to visit her website.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kmazeauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KMazeauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kmazeauthor/

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Follow the tour here.

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Giveaway

One paperback copy of Impact

Enter here.

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Book Review: Heir of Arcadia by Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins @DebAdams_Writer @Kim_Writes

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Title: Heir of Arcadia
Authors: Deborah Adams & Kimberley Perkins
Publisher: Rocket City Publishing
Publication Date: July 24, 2020
Genres: Science Fiction, Adventure

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Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Amazon // Indiebound

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Heir of Arcadia
Deborah Adams & Kimberley Perkins
Rocket City Publishing, July 2020
ISBN 978-1-7325071-8-0
Hardcover

From the authors—

Can Collins and Quinn call a truce long enough to survive?

Quinn’s hectic job as a special agent keeps her busy, but never busy enough to tamp out her inconvenient attraction to CEO billionaire Julian Collins. He is usually the biggest pain in her side, but he can also be recklessly charming. When Collins asks her to open a secret investigation into his company, she worries that extra time alone with him might test her resolve to stay away.

Julian Collins always dreamed of being on Arcadia, a fictional world from his favorite video game. But lately, he’s been seeing things from the game in real life. He feels like he’s losing his mind, and now is not the time to go crazy. His company is going to be split into a dozen pieces if he can’t discover the secrets hidden in the Special Projects division.

After three years of quasi-friendship, Collins and Quinn have honed arguing into a true art form. As far as he’s concerned, she’s off-limits, but also quick-witted and sexy as hell. She’s the perfect person for the job.

As Quinn and Collins delve deeper into their investigation, secrets will lead them to things no one on earth can explain. Will they discover that searing hot kisses can be even more fun than well-placed insults when a whole new universe is spread before them?

Julian Collins is a man with two jobs, essentially, one as the very young CEO of the company he took over when his dad died a few years earlier and the other as guardian of his little sister, nine-year-old Serah. This young man has been through much more turmoil than most people ever see but he’s doing the best he can in both roles even though he’d much rather be playing a video game, Arcadian Fortress. After having left the running of the company up to others for too long, he’s now attempting to save it from being split up and he has suspicions about what might really be going on. Meanwhile, he’s having hallucinations, apparently seeing things in real life from the game.

Collins needs an investigator’s help and he trusts one person for that, Quinn Lehi. In her view, Collins is a highpowered playboy but, my word, the man was hard to ignore and he was Serah’s brother so she had to put up with him for the sake of the child they both adored. When Collins asks for her help, she agrees to investigate the Special Projects division of the company…and the adventure begins.

You might think a story focused on the inner workings of a giant corporation would be pretty boring but, in the hands of these two very creative authors, boring is not the word to describe this fast action adventure with vivid, charming and not-so-charming characters and a plot full of twisty turns. I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2020.

About the Authors

DEBORAH ADAMS and KIMBERLEY PERKINS are authors of the Award-Winning Waypoint series. They are friends and coworkers sharing a love of coffee, literature, and teenagers saving the world. Both live in Huntsville, Alabama, working by day for a contractor supporting the Department of Defense, and by night writing spectacular adventures. For more information about Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins go to www.adamsperkins.com.

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Follow the tour here.

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Giveaway

Signed copy of Heir of Arcadia + $25 Amazon gift card

Enter here.

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Book Review: Zon by Maureen A. Miller @MaureenAMiller @YABoundToursPR

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Title: Zon
Series: Beyond #5
Author: Maureen A. Miller
Publisher: Maureen A. Miller
Publication Date: June 22, 2020
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

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Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Kobo // iBooks
Smashwords // Amazon // Indiebound

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Zon
Beyond #5
Maureen A. Miller
Maureen A. Miller, June 2020
ISBN 979-8639843747
Trade Paperback

From the author—

With a father from the planet, Ziratak, and a mother from Earth, Zon’s challenges are galactic. Zon doesn’t possess superpowers, though. If anything, he’s a bit of a klutz.

In Ziratakian folklore, the tale of the Temple of the Monarch has been passed down for generations. As legend has it, a series of miniature globes lead to the temple’s gate.

Folklore…nothing more.

Except, Zon knows of a cave with small globes in it. And with one clumsy mishap, he triggers the gate–opening a portal to other worlds.

A trip through this vortex transports him to Earth, where the first human he encounters is a young woman with challenges of her own.

This is a brand new saga, and a new generation. There is no need to read the BEYOND series. However, for readers of the series, you will enjoy this continuation of the epic science fiction adventure.

Zon is not your usual teenager having an identity crisis—his crisis comes about because he’s what we used to call, very crudely and meanly, a half-breed and that’s how most people see him. What makes him truly different from the kids we see around us is that it is his Earthling side that’s foreign. Zon is the son of an Earth-born human and a native of the planet Ziratak. Zak and Aimee are handsome people and well-respected but Zon, unfortunately, is not seen in quite as generous a light.

Zon does have one very good friend, JOH, and the two are inseparable, JOH being an android who understands his young companion very well. JOH is a good listener and he helps Zon get through his angsty times. One day, the two discover a portal to other worlds, eventually one that happens to be Earth on a different plane, and Zon and JOH’s excellent adventure begins. Naturally, they meet a girl, Cassy, and Zon will have to make a crucial choice that will affect the rest of his life.

Zon is a charming, lighthearted science fiction tale with an appealing plot and truly likeable characters, most especially JOH and it’s refreshing to have a teenaged boy as the protagonist. Also, if I ever get to experience having an android for a friend, I hope he or she will be half as interesting and funny as JOH. 😄

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2020.

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An Excerpt from Zon

Zon picked up on another sound. Hoofsteps. Footsteps. The tread of some unimaginable creature.

He spun, confused by the acoustics. As he swung back, he distinctly heard the approach from his right. Wrenching the utility beacon off his belt, he retreated a step towards the whirling shadows in the grove of trees.

A creature crested the hill, it’s blue beak the first thing visible.

“Oh!” It cried, lifting its head and freezing.

Zon swallowed, his legs paralyzed between flight and fight.

“You scared me,” a soft voice claimed. “I’ll just–go–”

The blue beak pivoted, although now he recognized it wasn’t a beak at all. It was a headpiece of some sort. The word eluded him, but he remembered seeing one before.

“Wait,” he called.

The figure halted, but did not look back.

“You speak–” he hesitated, assessing the slight profile, “—English?”

The hat snapped back and brown eyes narrowed under the shade of the brim.

Baseball hat! That’s what his mother called it.

“Uhh, yeah.”

The figure cocked its head.

She.

Not it.

He was pretty sure it was a female, but the slim figure was cloaked in oversized garments, and the long hair was pulled back by a twine, which was something the males on Ziratak did.

The brown eyes slid down his body.

“Your pants are moving,” she observed with a slight blush.

A nagging thump against his thigh alerted him that JOH was trying to get out. Zon slapped his hand down to still the motion.

“It’s just my droid.” He shrugged uncomfortably.

“Droid? Oh, your drone? Were you flying it?”

Her head tipped back and he saw a pale throat.

“Good day for it,” she murmured, and stared curiously at him.

English.

She was talking to him in English.

And she looked mecaw–human.

Zon took another glance around, hoping that his body eclipsed the swirling portal behind him.

“Is this Earth?” he asked, searching the trees, but not seeing any buildings.

The girl’s eyes flared in alarm. She stumbled backwards.

Inside his pants pocket, JOH demanded attention, his incessant vibration driving Zon crazy. He pulled open his pocket to give the droid a stern look. JOH’s animated face was replaced with a string of text.

This IS Earth!

Childhood alarms registered in Zon’s mind. The last time he came to this planet he was quite young. But he remembered his mother’s caution.

Don’t say you’re from another planet.

Most of the people on Earth don’t know much about intergalactic travel. They don’t know about life in other galaxies. And what they don’t know–scares them.

Remember, you are half Earthling.

On Earth your name is Jon. It is for your protection.

Half Earthling.

All that it meant was he was a Gorzot…again.

Encouraged that the female hesitated in her flight, he tried for a more reasonable approach.

“Umm, just kidding,” he fumbled. “I’m not from here.” Where’s here? “I’m visiting.”

A tentative glimpse over her shoulder, and the woman–girl–she looked young–more like his age–finally turned back to face him.

“I can tell.”

He felt awkward under her probing gaze, but he always felt awkward when anyone looked at him for too long.

“How can you tell?”

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About the Author

USA TODAY bestselling author, Maureen A. Miller worked in the software industry for fifteen years. She crawled around plant floors in a hard hat and safety glasses hooking up computers to behemoth manufacturing machines. The job required extensive travel. The best form of escapism during those lengthy airport layovers became writing.

Maureen’s first novel, WIDOW’S TALE, earned her a Golden Heart nomination in Romantic Suspense. After that she became hooked to the genre. In fact, she was so hooked she is the founder of the JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE website.

Recently, Maureen branched out into the Young Adult Science Fiction market with the popular BEYOND Series. To her it was still Romantic Suspense…just on another planet!

Find more about Maureen at www.maureenamiller.com

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads // Instagram // Bookbub

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Follow the tour here.

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Giveaway
$10 Amazon Gift Card (International)
Signed copy of Beyond (US only)
Enter here.

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Book Review: Scorpion by Jeff Sweat @jeffsweatbooks @FeiwelFriends @RockstarBkTours

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I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the SCORPION
by Jeff Sweat Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check
out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!
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About the Book:
Title: SCORPION
(Mayfly #2)
Author: Jeff Sweat
Pub. Date: June 23, 2020
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Formats: Hardcover,
eBook
Pages: 432
In Scorpion, the sequel to Jeff Sweat’s
YA futuristic thriller Mayfly, Jemma, Lady, and Pico all left the Holy
Wood to seek answers to the End, and when they find the Old Guys—the only
adults to have survived the original wipeout of everyone over the age of
seventeen—they think they’ve found help at last.
But there’s a lot the Old Guys aren’t telling them. In fact, some of them don’t seem interested in solving the End at all and just want Jemma and her friends to leave. Meanwhile, war is brewing among the tribes of the rest of the Children. Jemma’s old home has fallen into disorder, and is far from prepared for battle. It won’t be long before the fighting reaches Jemma and the Old Guys, if they even live to see it.
Haven’t started the series yet? Grab book 1, MAYFLY now!
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A couple of years ago, I reviewed the first book in this duology and, while I wasn’t blown away by it, I enjoyed the premise, that all over the age of seventeen face certain death. I thought the author handled this new existence well other than giving readers a fairly skimpy worldbuilding and I never did understand why the teens would want to bring babies into this world, knowing that will die, in turn, at an all too early age.
In Scorpion, I have the same concerns although I think the worldbuilding is a little more complex and our small group of teens who went in search of answers have discovered that the automatic deaths of all adults isn’t quite true. The Old Guys have survived but they’ve done so partially by isolating themselves and, even after Jemma and her friends discover them, they are very reluctant to engage with the kids in any meaningful way. While war looms among the children’s tribes, the Old Guys continue to distance themselves. Could it be that these are the people who unleashed hell on the planet in the first place?
In some ways, this second book is better than the first, at least in the sense of being more developed in worldbuilding and plot, but I’m still thinking about whether or not the ending fully satisfied me. Perhaps Mr. Sweat will change his mind and turn this into a trilogy 🙂
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2020.
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About Jeff:


Jeff Sweat has made a living from words his entire career, starting out as an award-winning tech journalist for Information Week magazine and moving into marketing.
He led the content marketing team for Yahoo and pioneered its use of social media. He directed PR for two of the top advertising agencies in the country, Deutsch LA and 72andSunny. He now runs his own Los Angeles–based PR and marketing agency, Mister Sweat.
He grew up in Idaho as the middle of eight children—seven boys and one girl—and attended Columbia University in New York. Jeff lives in a big blue house in Los Angeles with his wife Sunny and their three kids, two cats, and a racing greyhound.
He loves to travel and writes everywhere he goes, even when there’s not a desk. He likes karaoke, motorcycles and
carpentry. He was once shot in the head with a nail gun, which was not a big of a deal as it sounds. But it still hurt like crazy.
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads

 

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Giveaway Details:
2 winners will receive a finished copy
of SCORPION, US Only.
 
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Tour Schedule:
Week One:
7/13/2020
Excerpt
7/13/2020
Instagram Stop
7/14/2020
Excerpt
7/14/2020
Excerpt
7/15/2020
Review
7/15/2020
Excerpt
7/16/2020
Review
7/16/2020
Excerpt
7/17/2020
Review
7/17/2020
Review
Week Two:
7/20/2020
Review
7/20/2020
Instagram Stop
7/21/2020
Interview
7/21/2020
Excerpt
7/22/2020
Interview
7/22/2020
Instagram Stop
7/23/2020
Review
7/23/2020
Review
7/24/2020
Review
7/24/2020
Review

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Teeny Reviews: Endgame by Aisha Tritle and A Fatal Fiction by Kaitlyn Dunnett @AishaTritle @KyanitePub #KaitlynDunnett @KensingtonBooks

Endgame
Aisha Tritle
Kyanite Publishing, April 2020
ISBN 978-1-949645-99-6
Ebook

Reacting to being dumped by her boyfriend for a model, Leigh spirals down into too much drinking and starts to play a virtual dating app, definitely not a smart thing to do in her current frame of mind. Soon enough, she finds herself in a virtual world of trouble when she meets a guy named Alexei, a guy who might be way too good to be true.

Leigh, a woman with her nose bent out of shape who’s not above semi-stalking her ex on social media, is an attorney and should certainly know better but…. When things start to turn dark, Leigh will have to find her way out of this dangerous situation and figure out who Alexei really is. For a novelette, this is pretty well packed with tension, action and quite a few twists, making it very entertaining.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2020.

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A Fatal Fiction
Deadly Edits #3
Kaitlyn Dunnett
Kensington Books, June 2020
ISBN 978-1-4967-2686-5
Hardcover

A derelict Catskills resort hotel is brought back to life, in a manner of speaking, when a body is found and freelance editor Mikki Lincoln is the logical suspect or, at least, the first one. Mikki had been seen arguing with Greg Onslow not long before and Onslow was not the nicest man around. Known as a shady developer, he had defrauded quite a few people and any one of them could have had enough of the guy so Mikki just has to figure out which one to keep herself out of the clutches of the law.

This was my introduction to Mikki and I reallyfeisty as they come like her. She’s 70 years old and as clever and active as anyone could hope to be at that age (certainly more active than me) and she has the personality to go along with having been a teacher—no putting up with nonsense, that’s for sure. She does seem to be a bit cantankerous but she’s earned the privilege if you ask me. As for the dead man, he was afraid a forthcoming memoir that Mikki is editing would damage his plans for the hotel, precipitating the argument, but Mikki will ferret out the killer. Maybe someday Mikki will find a way to get rid of her interfering nephew 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2020.