Book Review: Beneath the Surface by Rebecca Langham @rlangham85 @ninestarpress @AnAudiobookworm

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Title: Beneath the Surface
Series: Outsider Project #1
Author: Rebecca Langham
Narrator: Kate Roth
Publication Date: March 18, 2019
Genres: Science Fiction

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Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes // Amazon

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Beneath the Surface
Outsider Project #1
Rebecca Langham
Narrated by Kate Roth
NineStar Press, March 2019
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the publisher—

When a change in collective conscious sends the Outsiders, a group of aliens, to the shadows below the city, humans reason that the demonetization of their peers is simply more “humane”. There’s no question nor doubt. Just acceptance.

Lydia had embraced that sense of “truth” for as long as she can remember. The daughter of a powerful governor, she has been able to live her life with more comforts than most. Comforts can be suffocating, though, and when the opportunity to teach Outsider children in their private, “humane” community becomes available, she takes it.

What she finds beneath the city is far from the truth she had grown to know. There she meets Alessia, an Outsider with the knowledge and will to shake the foundation of all those who walk above ground. The two find a new and unexpected connection despite a complete disconnect from the technological world. Or perhaps in spite of it.

Still, it takes a lot more than an immutable connection to change the world. Lydia, Alessia, and a small group of Outsiders must navigate a system of corruption, falsehoods, and twists none of them ever saw coming, all while holding on to the hope to come out alive in the end. But it’s a risk worth taking and a future worth fighting for.

Days after reading Beneath the Surface, I’m still unsure of just what I think about it and it keeps popping back into my mind. That’s not a normal state of events for me but it must be a good thing that I’m still cogitating over this book, right?

The premise is a good one, that humans have won the war with the aliens and have subjugated the survivors, and it’s refreshing to see aliens that are so close in appearance to humans and so subject to many of our behaviors. I missed having any  of the initial conflict between the two because that would have brought a lot of frenetic action to the page and, in fact, the story suffered, for me, by being sort of staid. I also could have done with less attention to the romantic entanglements—I always think there’s too much of that—but the characters did appeal to me a good deal.

Perhaps my indecision about this book lies in the feeling that there are too many threads to follow, too many soapbox issues. Did the author really intend that? I don’t truly know but there’s no doubt that this felt like an allegory for our current conditions in the US (and in a few other countries but most noticeably here) what with our government’s treatment of immigrants and the rise of racism, corruption, terrorism, broken promises and all the other ill will going on here.

Narrator Kate Roth does a nice job other than having some difficulty with male voices and her use of varying accents helped bring it all to life. I’ll gladly listen to more from her.

So, bottomline, Beneath the Surface has a lot to offer but there are facets that prevented me from liking it 100%. I’m hoping for—and expecting—some more booklove with the next installment  😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, September 2019.

About the Author

Rebecca Langham lives in the Blue Mountains (Australia) with her partner, children, and a menagerie of pets. She has been a foster carer for over ten years.

A Xenite, a Whovian and all-round general nerd, Rebecca is a lover of science fiction, comic books, and caffeine.  When she isn’t teaching History to high schoolers or wrangling children, Rebecca enjoys playing broomball and reading.

Connect with Rebecca:

Website // Twitter // Facebook

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About the Narrator

A global voice, Kate brings her broad experience and expertise into the studio and into her voice over delivery. With her unique blend of accents, a project can only “shine” with the versatility and distinct sound of her voice

Australian, British and North American accents are within Kate’s range.

Adaptive in style and tone, depending on your needs, Kate can deliver a wide range of voices. From conversational to authoritative; fun to serious; sophisticated to knowledgeable and beyond.

Connect with Kate:

Website // Twitter // Facebook

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Book Review: Mind Games by Shana Silver @shanasilver @SwoonReads /@MacmillanUSA @XpressoTours

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Mind Games
Shana Silver
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 27th 2019
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult

A teen programmer at a school for geniuses must join forces with a boy she can’t remember to stop a hacker from deleting their memories in Shana Silver’s action-packed YA debut, Mind Games.

Arden sells memories. Whether it’s becoming homecoming queen or studying for that all important test, Arden can hack into a classmate’s memories and upload the experience for you just as if you’d lived it yourself. Business is great, right up until the day Arden whites out, losing fifteen minutes of her life and all her memories of the boy across the school yard. The boy her friends assure her she’s had a crush on for years.

Arden realizes that her own memories have been hacked, but they haven’t just been stolen and shared… they’ve been removed. And she’s not the only one: her mysterious crush, Sebastian, has lost ALL of his memories. But how can they find someone who has the power to make them forget everything they’ve learned?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble
 iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

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Just imagine if all your memories could be saved so that you could enjoy them time and time again. The fear of Alzheimer’s would be lessened and you could choose which memories you want to relive and when. Is that a great idea or is it perhaps at least a little creepy?

Then take it a step further and the creepiness really comes into play. Arden is an exceedingly bright and talented girl surrounded by other students almost as intelligent and creative as she is—this is, after all, a school that focuses on STEM—and she has figured a way to hack into the HiveMind, which happens to be her father’s brilliant creation. Arden sells memories to people who don’t own them and, while this may often be relatively harmless, at times it leads to some pretty unacceptable results. Let’s say, for instance, that Amy is in competition with Brad on a test and Brad buys Connie’s photographic memories of the book that’s the subject of the test. Not fair, right?

Then Arden gets her comeuppance, you might say, when some of her own memories suddenly disappear and her friend Sebastian is in an even worse way. These memories aren’t just temporarily missing, they’re actually gone and, oddly enough, Arden’s and Sebastian’s collaborative senior project seems to be involved. They can’t actually remember the project but the more they look into what it was about, the more ominous the truth becomes.

There’s a twist resolution that I couldn’t quite buy into but, on the whole, I had a good time with Mind Games and I’m interested to see what Ms. Silver does with The Con Code, coming out next year.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2019.

About the Author

Rachel Shane (writing as Shana Silver) studied creative writing at Syracuse University. She’s been a computer animator, an e-book creator for a major publisher, and now works as a Project Manager in digital and TV advertising where she enjoys telling people what to do. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, young daughter, and the characters she dreams up.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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Book Review: Beyond the Gates by Jason D. Morrow

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Title: Beyond the Gates
Series: The Starborn Redemption, Book 1
Author: Jason D. Morrow
Narrator: Stacy Gonzalez
Publication Date: April 20, 2019
Genres: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic

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Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes

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Beyond the Gates
The Starborn Redemption, Book 1
Jason D. Morrow
Narrated by Stacy Gonzalez
Jason D. Morrow ,April 20, 2019
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

The Containment Zone is a 500-mile radius surrounded by mountains and closed in by gates. No one can leave, and anyone who tries will die. Within are lawless bandits, corrupt soldiers, and once-human greyskins that hunt down people to spread the virus. Some say the Containment Zone is where the greyskin virus originated. Others say the people inside are little more than lab rats being studied by the nefarious Screven government.

When 12-year-old Skylar and her father, Liam, are caught trying to escape, they are taken to Vulture Hill, a government prison camp no one has ever left alive. Inside the prison, Skylar learns that the facility is little more than a testing site for finding people of a certain bloodline – the Starborn. These are people with special powers that manifests in various spectacular ways, and Screven wants to exploit them.

Skylar has always known there was something special about her family. For years, her father has had the ability to completely numb pain with just a thought. Lacerated skin, broken bones, they can all be ignored with enough concentration. Learning that her father is a Starborn means Skylar is probably one too, placing them both in extreme danger.

Now, father and daughter must do the impossible and break out of a prison known for killing so many. But Liam has leverage the government may be willing to buy – the cure for the greyskin virus.

The first two books of The Starborn Redemption are set 40 years after The Starborn Ascension and 17 years before The Starborn Uprising. Each Series can be listened to independently.

There are a couple of things that set Beyond the Gates apart from so many post-apocalyptic zombie tales. First, one of the two protagonists is a 12-year-old child but this is not a middle grade book. Second, the other protagonist is her father and his primary goal is her safety, a refreshing change from the usual macho guy who has to be a hero. Skylar and Liam are an appealing pair and I felt they were pretty well fleshed out but I thought most of the secondary characters were more two-dimensional except for Nine.

While the core story is intense, dwelling as it does on the imprisonment of these two in separate sections of the prison—reminding me quite a lot of the separation of parents and children that’s happening on our border—I wanted to know much more about the world before the virus struck and a brutal government came to power. Strong worldbuilding is crucial in science fiction but it’s lacking here and, since I haven’t read anything by Jason D. Morrow before, I don’t know if he normally saves the background work for later books in a series. I hope so because I enjoyed spending time with Skylar and Liam and Nine in this perilous society and I can see a really good series in the making.

Stacy Gonzalez had the perfect voice for Skylar, imbuing her with a mix of fright and compassion while allowing her intelligence to come through. Nine was also a vivid character but Liam and other male voices were less successful, not so distinguishable from females. Ms. Gonzalez has good pacing and intonations, though, that reflect the situation and I enjoyed listening to her narration.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2019.

About the Author

Jason D. Morrow is the author of more than 15 books in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres, including The Starborn Uprising, The Starborn Ascension, The Starborn Redemption and Prototype D.

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

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About the Narrator

Stacy Gonzalez is a Chicago based narrator and commercial voice actor. She is feisty, bright and expressive. Stacy specializes in YA, self-help and romance, especially when the narration calls for a good handle on comedy, wit and sass. Audiofile Magazine has praised her pace and her ability to create bold characters. Stacy, who is half Colombian, speaks conversational Spanish. She has a great love for Old Hollywood—watching the movies and listening to audiobooks about any and every aspect of it! Follow her on Twitter at @stacygonzalezvo or visit her website at stacygonzalezvo.com.

Twitter // Facebook

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Book Review: Icehaven/Sum of All Tears by Kim Cresswell and M.K. Chester

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Title: Icehaven
Series: Sum of All Tears #1
Authors: Kim Cresswell and M.K. Chester
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic Dystopian, Paranormal

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Icehaven
Sum of All Tears #1
Kim Cresswell and M.K. Chester
KC Publishing, April 2019
ISBN 978-1999558819
Trade Paperback

From the authors—

They said it wouldn’t happen.

Everything would be better.

They were wrong.

After a climate change experiment goes terribly wrong, August Madison finds herself resurrected in a frozen wasteland.

With most of the world’s population and food sources annihilated, depraved nomadic gangs patrol the lawless landscape as outlasters claw for survival.

Amid the chaos, Graysen Marx, iron-fisted leader of the domed settlement Liberty, emerges from the catastrophic event with his own agenda.

When August crosses his path, he sees an opportunity he must exploit.

She sees an evil she must destroy.

Isn’t it wonderful when you come across that book that is SO good that you’re kind of stunned by it? Icehaven is the one for me for a lot of reasons starting with being thrown into the midst of disaster right away, literally on page 2. No lollygagging here, no building up to the horrible event you know is coming. Then the questions begin, the obvious ones such as how the few people left will survive, but also the ones that are so unexpected, particularly regarding why and how some survivors have developed special abilities.

Our protagonist, August, is a miracle herself, having apparently died and then come back to life but, at first, she  remembers very little about what happened other than she does know that she’s the daughter of the man who set off this devastating experiment. Besides taking on her duties among the group that found her, August also feels a strong need to figure out what went wrong; meanwhile, an old friend, Brandon, is miles away and wonders if August is still alive. Then there is Graysen Marx, the man behind Liberty, a biodome facility that seems to be the only hope for longtime survival but is he the honorable man he seems to be or is he ruthlessly intent on his own agenda?

The action in Icehaven is nearly nonstop with something new and alarming happening constantly and the plot is full of suspense, so much so that mystery readers will be as enthralled as post-apocalyptic fans but plot does not overshadow character development. The players, primary and secondary, are vividly drawn and they all come alive on the page while the authors’ worldbuilding is remarkable, making me feel the intense cold and hunger and the emotional havoc wrought by the attempt to control climate change.

I could say much more but it would be hard to avoid spoilers so let me just say Icehaven is going on my list of best books read in 2019 and I heartily encourage one and all to jump right on this one 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2019.

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Purchase Links:
Books2Read

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About the Authors

Kim Cresswell resides in Ontario, Canada and is the bestselling and award-winning author of the action-packed WHITNEY STEEL series.

Her romantic thriller, Reflection (A Whitney Steel Novel – Book One), has won numerous awards including RomCon®’s 2014 Readers’ Crown Finalist (Romantic Suspense), InD’tale Magazine 2014 Rone Award Finalist (Suspense/Thriller), UP Authors Fiction Challenge Winner, Silicon Valley’s Romance Writers of America (RWA) “Gotcha” contest. Kim also signed a 3-book German translation deal with LUZIFER Verlag for the first three books in the series: Reflection, Retribution and ResurrectLethal Journey won RomCon®’s 2014 Readers’ Crown (Thriller).

The Assassin Chronicles TV series was in development with Council Tree Productions. The TV series is based on Kim’s upcoming 4-book paranormal/supernatural thriller series: Deadly Shadow, Invisible TruthAssassin’s Prophecy, and Vision of Fire.

Website // Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter
Goodreads // Instagram // Bookbub // Amazon 

M.K. Chester is an RWA award-winning author of historical and contemporary romance. Her first novel, Surrender to the Roman, is currently published with Carina Press. Her three-book historical series, Bryeton Books, focuses on love, loss and redemption in small town America at the turn of the 20th century, while her latest release, Crashed, is the first book in the contemporary New South Series.

M.K. is a native Buckeye who lives in Tennessee. She’s married to a veteran, recently became a MoM (Mother of Marine), and will soon become a grandmother. She adores her Scottish Terriers and is fighting MS.

Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Series Instagram // Bookbub // Amazon // Goodreads

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Coming in March 2020

Liberty
Sum of All Tears #2
Kim Cresswell and M.K. Chester
KC Publishing, March 2020
ISBN 978-1999558819
Trade Paperback

From the authors—

A new enemy rises.

Surviving the cold is only the beginning.

In the second installment of the exciting Sum of all Tears series, a core group of survivors from Liberty travel to Boston, endangering themselves and those they left behind in a winner-takes-all showdown that will leave readers breathless.

Pre-order Links:
Books2Read

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$50 Amazon Gift Card

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Book Review: Hero by Belinda Crawford

Audiobook Blog Tour: Hero by Belinda Crawford

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Author: Belinda Crawford

Narrator: Jean Mahoney

Length: 7 hours 16 minutes

Series: The Hero Rebellion, Book 1

Publisher: Hendrix & Faust Publishers

Released: July 16, 2019

Genre: Young Adult; Science Fiction

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Harry Potter meets The Golden Compass in an action-packed sci-fi
about a ballsy teen and a centuries-old plan to change the world.

Centuries ago, humans colonised Jørn, a lonely planet on the far side
of the galaxy. Arriving in five great colony ships, they quickly settled
the surface only to discover, after a few short years, that the planet
was killing them. The culprit, a native spore, carried on
every wind to every corner of the globe.

Genetic engineering, blending DNA from Earth and Jørn species,
saved their crops and livestock, but for humans there was no cure.
Instead they took to the skies, turning their colony ships into
cities that floated above the spore’s reach.

Hero Regan is special, and not in a way she likes. She hears voices,
voices in her head that other people can’t. Surrounded by butlers,
bodyguards and tutors, insulated from the outside world, her only
solace is Fink, a six-hundred-kilogram, genetically engineered
ruc-pard. They share lives, thoughts, triple-chocolate
marshmallow ice-cream and the burning desire for freedom.

Their chance comes when Hero is allowed to attend school in Cumulus City.
Here, along with making unexpected friends, Hero discovers she is an
unwitting part of a master plan set into motion by the first colonists, a plan
she must either help or foil if she’s ever to attain the freedom she craves.

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AudibleiTunesGoogle PlayKobo

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Physics makes Belinda’s brain hurt, while quadratics cause her eyes to cross and any mention of probability equations will have her running for the door. Nonetheless, she loves watching documentaries about the natural world, biology, space, history and technology.

She’s also a sucker for a fast horse, a faster computer and superhero movies. When she’s not doing the horse, computer or superhero thing, Belinda writes science fiction (emphasis on the fiction), where she loves to write about butt-kicking girls who blow stuff up.

The Hero Rebellion was her first sci-fi series, and she’s currently hard at work on next, with occasional detours back to Hero which she shares with her mailing list as free short stories.

You can keep in touch with Belinda, or just pick her brains about sci-fi via her newsletter, Facebook or by sending her an email (she loves email).

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramPinterest

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Narrator Bio

Jean is an Australian audio book narrator and published author. She likes nothing better than being secluded in her cabin in the woods, as far from the city as she can get, writing and recording. In her spare time, she loves exploring the Victorian high country on her horse.

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Hero is one of those books that I can’t quite make up my mind about. Granted, it has a lot of the elements I want in science fiction—intriguing setting, interesting characters, imaginative extras, a bit of mystery, et al—but, as much as I enjoyed the idea, I never quite connected with Hero or the other human players. On the other hand, I’m madly in love with Fink, a sort of kitty (officially a ruc-pard) who’s a genetic modification and the best friend a girl could have.

One thing I thought was interesting was the treatment of Hero’s particular power as a mental illness, especially when she resists taking her meds. We all know someone or have heard of someone who has to cope with such a condition in real life and Hero’s label prompted me to think of those true sufferers but also those eccentrics/geniuses/savants that people often think are mentally flawed.

As for the narration, Ms. Mahoney is good and she performs in distinctive voices. I did have to rewind more than a time or two because her tone would drop off but that could just as easily have been my own hearing being faulty. Regardless of that and any other story-related quibbles I may have, this is an entertaining read.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2019.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour
with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by
Belinda Crawford. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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Top 10 List

Belinda Crawford’s 10 favourite books with butt-kicking heroines

Strength comes in all shapes and sizes, and kicking butt doesn’t
always mean throwing a punch. Here are 10 of my favourite
books with girls who kick butt in different ways.

  • Dragonsong (Anne McCaffery)

Disfigured girl runs away, befriends mini dragons and attains her
dream against the odds. I like Menolly because she doesn’t give
up on being who she is, even when it seems like
everything she ever wanted is out of reach.

  • Queen & Commander (Janine Southard)

Girl cheats on test and sneakily acquires a spaceship to help out
her friends. The title alone is enough to get
Queen & Commander
on the list, but the main character, Rihannon, tops it off by being
a crazy smart girl willing to do anything to help her friends.

  • Earth Girl (Janet Edwards)

In a future where portals can take you anywhere in the galaxy, Jarra
is stuck on Earth.
Earth Girl kinda sticks its tongue out at the classic
sci-fi adventure by not actually going to space, which I really like.
I also really like Jarra, who sets out to completely obliterate the myth
that her inability to leave Earth (because of an immune
deficiency) makes her disabled and stupid.

  • Diving into the Wreck (Kristine Kathryn Rusch)

A space archeologist finds an ancient spaceship. I love the creepiness
of this book and the sense of wonder and danger as Boss (the heroine)
explores the ship. It’s just really cool. And Boss rocks.

  • Touch of Frost (Jennifer Estep)

I love the Mythos Academy series. Imagine Harry Potter with a dash of
Percy Jackson and add a geeky, not-very-athletic girl with a talking sword
and you get
Touch of Frost. It’s a bit like candy for the brain, lots of fun
to read and it keeps you coming back for more. I actually advise getting
the entire series out at once, so you can consume one book after the other.

  • Heist Society (Ally Carter)

Oceans Eleven with teens. I mean, I shouldn’t really need to say any more
than that, right? But just in case I do, Kat’s a teenage con artist trying to
go straight, until she gets dragged back in to save her dad from a mobster.
It’s fun, it’s fast-paced, it’s got a cute boy and I wish I were as cool as Kat.

  • Akarnae (Lynette Noni)

This is another brain candy series. It’s heaps of fun, and you’ll stay up
a
way too late trying to read just. One. More. Chapter. You’ll be happy
you did though. It’s got elves, cute boys (whose butts Alex, the main
character, eventually kicks), magic that’s not really magic,
and magic doors. Lots and lots of magic doors.

  • Bloodlines (Rachelle Mead)

Bloodlines is the first in a Vampire Academy spin-off series and OMG,
I love Sydney (the main character). She’s smart, capable and
sensible,
which makes her sound really boring but she’s not, mostly because
everyone around her is kinda crazy. What I really love about Sydney
though, is how she responds when what she’s been brought up to
believe is challenged, and how she changes because of that.

  • By the Sword (Mercedes Lackey)

There’s a lot of blood, battles and sneaking around behind enemy lines in this
book, and the heroine kicks her fair share of butt, but there’s nothing
special about Kero, at least not a first. What I love about this book is how
hard Kero works at making a life for herself, and how she faces adversity, and
there is lots of adversity. Also, there are magic horses. Magic. Horses. ’Nuff said.

  • Alanna: The First Adventure (Tamora Pierce)

No list of butt-kicking girls can be complete without Alanna the Lioness.
If you haven’t read this book yet, you’re missing out.
Alanna is a fantasy
novel about a girl who pretends to be a boy so that she can become a
knight (because girls aren’t allowed to be knights). It’s awesome. If you
pick it up and think it’s a little young for you (it is a middle grade book), try
the Beka Cooper series. It’s just as good but aimed at an older readers.

And that’s my list! What would you put on yours?

 

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Jul. 7th:

Viviana MacKade

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author

Jul. 8th:

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

My Creatively Random Life

Jul. 9th:

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Jul. 10th:

Buried Under Books

Jul. 11th:

Jazzy Book Reviews

Jul. 12th:

Locks, Hooks and Books

Jul. 13th:

The Bookslayer

The Book Addict’s Reviews

Book Review: Immunity by Erin Bowman

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Title: Immunity
Series: Contagion #2
Author: Erin Bowman
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: July 2, 2019
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

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Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Kobo // iTunes // Google Books
Amazon // The Book Depository // Indiebound

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Immunity
Contagion #2
Erin Bowman
HarperTeen, July 2019
ISBN 978-0-06-257417-6
Hardcover

From the publisher—

Survivors of a deadly planetary outbreak take on a new, sinister adversary in the white-knuckle sequel to Contagion, which New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman called “gripping, thrilling and terrifying in equal measures.”

They thought their nightmare was over, but Thea, Coen, and Nova’s rescue was only the beginning. After being imprisoned on a ship they thought was their ticket to safety, it’s clear that the threat they left behind isn’t as distant as they’d hoped—and this time the entire galaxy is at risk.

Now that threat is about to be unleashed as an act of political warfare. To prevent an interstellar catastrophe, the survivors must harness the evil they faced on the planet Achlys and learn to wield the only weapon they have left: themselves.

Following the events of Contagion, our favorite survivors would be right to expect things will get better but, alas, they’ve fallen into the hands of the bad guys who want to perform experiments on them and, ultimately, make use of their acquired abilities. Worse yet, interplanetary war is clearly on the near horizon and four teens may be the only ones who can prevent it. That’s a very heavy burden to bear.

Almost anything else I could say would border on spoilers so I’ll leave it at this: Immunity has all the elements of an exciting speculative tale—appealing and well-drawn characters, terrific worldbuilding, a setting that engages the reader’s imagination and pacing that’s so rapid it takes your breath away. I can’t say which drew me in the most but, taken as a whole, this is a story that grabs you by the throat from the opening lines and I had to squirrel myself away till I finished it, then wanted more.

I’ve been enthused about Erin Bowman’s work for quite some time and she certainly didn’t let me down this time. The only caution I would offer is that the first book of the duology really should be read first to get the full effect. Do that and you’ll have a rip-roarin’ good time 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2019.

About the Author

Erin Bowman is the Edgar Award-nominated author of numerous books for teens, including the Taken Trilogy, Vengeance Road, Retribution Rails, and the Contagion duology. A web designer turned author, Erin has always been invested in telling stories—both visually and with words. When not writing, she can often be found hiking, commenting on good typography, and obsessing over all things Harry Potter. Erin lives in New Hampshire with her husband and children. You can visit her online at embowman.com, on twitter @erin_bowman, or on instagram @heyerin.

Erin is represented by Sara Crowe of Pippin Properties.

Author Links: Website // Twitter // Goodreads
Instagram // Tumblr // YouTube // Pinterest

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Giveaway

 Win a copy of CONTAGION and IMMUNITY
by Erin Bowman (US Only)

Starts: July 2nd 2019
Ends: July 16th 2019

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Book Review: Jaguar by C. A. Gray

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Author: C.A. Gray

Narrator: Melissa Williams

Series: Uncanny Valley Series, Book 3

Publisher: Wanderlust Publishing

Released: Sep. 14, 2018

Length: 9 hours 48 minutes

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

The Silver Six have blown the Renegades’ underground compound to bits, killing several of Rebecca’s best friends in the process – and to her horror, the boy Rebecca had convinced herself she loved for all these years was the one to betray them all. At the same time, General Specs, the company Liam was once slated to inherit, has developed a super intelligent robot called Jaguar which is quickly becoming godlike in her omniscience. As the remaining Renegades flee to their last bastion of safety in the Caribbean, Liam makes his way back to London, in a last ditch effort to convince his father to destroy Jaguar before it’s too late.

Rebecca, meanwhile, finally understands her own heart: she never loved Andy. He was merely a “safe” choice who would never require anything of her. Liam, on the other hand, exasperating as he was, had seen past her defenses. All of his teasing and provoking had been his attempt to get her to be real with him – but the more he made her feel, the further she had retreated. She had even substituted her companion bot Madeline for real, deep human friendships, and for the same reason: she’d been avoiding love to protect herself from another loss like the one she had experienced when her father was killed for the Renegades’ cause. Ironically, she only realizes this once Liam is on his way to a similar fate. But she’ll be damned if she lets him go without a fight.

This high stakes conclusion to the Uncanny Valley Trilogy envisions a world not too far off from our own, in which super intelligence is a reality, humanoid bots have supplanted human power and influence, and there are eyes watching and reporting our every move. If humanity is to survive, the Renegades will have to galvanize support across the globe, under the radar – and it will require every last bit of ingenuity they possess. But is attempting to outwit a super intelligent being really the answer? Or will it require something much more fundamentally human?

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By day, C.A. Gray is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD) with a primary care practice in Tucson, AZ, and she writes medical books under her real name (Dr. Lauren Deville). She lives with her husband, with whom she maintains a facetiously contentious movie review blog, and travels as often as they can get away. When not writing or seeing patients, she does yoga, drinks red wine while eating dark chocolate, and consumes audiobooks like there’s no tomorrow!

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Narrator Bio

Melissa lives with her family, including two dogs and a cat, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains near Denver, Colorado.

After having a corporate job for most of her life, and as a self-proclaimed introvert, she decided to leave corporate America to work from home. Voice overs had always tugged at her heart as something she would like to explore, so she attended some classes and landed with a company that taught her how to break in to the industry.

Loving to read, she explored the fast growing world of audiobooks and fell in love with it. She has ten audiobooks under her belt and is currently working on the 11th. Understanding that she should always be learning how to improve her skills, she is currently working with Sean Pratt.

When not talking to herself in a padded room, she can be found walking her dog, singing or fishing the Arkansas River.

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Those of us who have been reading science fiction and watching the old classic movies for longer than we may care to admit have harbored a not-so-secret concern that someday we would be confronted with robots who are not only sentient but super-intelligent and in a position to take over the world. In the Uncanny Valley Trilogy and especially Jaguar, Ms. Gray has brought a fresh approach to this concept.

Rebecca and the rest of the Renegades are living on the edge of such a doomed future and are really the last bastion against the Silver Six and Jaguar but they now need to spread their fight to other parts of the world. The AIs have been very successful at convincing people that having them in charge is best for all but there’s another, perhaps more dangerous, threat in Jaguar, the most self-aware and powerful AI ever.

This conclusion to the trilogy is thought-provoking, especially regarding our very real proclivity for believing the lies of those in power when they speak to our desires and fears but this is not the entertaining part of the story. Rebecca and her colleagues have to face up to personal issues, betrayals and life-threatening danger and Ms. Gray never lets the tension ease.

Once again, Melissa Williams brings life to an already exciting tale and I have to say she’s been an important element in my enjoyment of the Uncanny Valley Trilogy. I hope to hear more from her in the future.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2019.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by C.A. Gray. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Giveaway

Giveaway: $25 Amazon Gift Card

Uncanny Valley Series Giveaway: $25 Amazon Gift Card
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THE SILVER SIX

May 2nd:

Lone Tree Reviews

May 3rd:

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Turning Another Page

May 4th:
Momma Says To Read or Not to Read

May 5th:

Book Addict

May 6th:

Jazzy Book Reviews

May 7th:

Lynn’s Romance Enthusiasm

May 8th:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

JAGUAR

May 9th:

Lone Tree Reviews

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author

May 10th:

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Buried Under Books

May 11th:

Book Addict

Turning Another Page

May 12th:

Momma Says To Read or Not to Read

May 13th:

Lynn’s Romance Enthusiasm

May 14th:

Jazzy Book Reviews

May 15th:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

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