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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Follow the tour here.

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Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card

Enter here.

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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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Follow the tour here.

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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?

Buy Links

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.

WebsiteTwitterFacebook

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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Book Review: The Silver Six by C. A. Gray

The Silver Six
Uncanny Valley #2
C. A. Gray
Narrated by Melissa Williams
Wanderlust Publishing, September 2018
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

What is it that makes us truly human?

Rebecca Cordeaux’s entire world has been turned upside down. In a single day, she’s learned that Senate Leader Halpert and his Board of Advisors are actually illegal humanoid robots created underground twenty years ago—and they tried to have her killed. Her mother Karen, whom she always believed to be passionately against the cause of the Renegades, turns out to be their leader. And Liam, a man she never thought she cared for, is now fighting for his life—and she finds that she cares desperately.

Fortunately Karen, known to the Renegades as M, has planned for exactly this sort of eventuality. Using Rebecca’s father’s blueprints, Karen patiently built an underground compound in an abandoned part of the Americas where they can regroup and plan for the coming war. The compound becomes an unlikely oasis as their number grows, both on accident and on purpose. In attempting to recover her best friend and companion bot Madeline, Rebecca gets what she thought she’d always wanted: Andy arrives at the compound too, along with her friends Jake and Julie. But with the sudden addition of an old flame from Liam’s past, Rebecca discovers just how little acquainted she has been with her own heart.

Meanwhile, the Silver Six are running a worldwide campaign of indoctrination to ensure that the people are on their side. In the name of peace, they want nothing more than to wipe out every shred of resistance, while pursuing their ultimate goal of robotic superintelligence. With the assistance of a neuroscientist who helped to build the Silver Six decades ago, Rebecca attempts to understand how synthetic minds work, hoping this information can be used against them. She’s sure that the mysterious, brilliant, and beautiful Alessandra Russo is the key somehow, but Alex’s hatred for the Silver Six is only matched by her hatred for the Renegades. Can the Renegades find and exploit the weakness of the Silver Six before synthetic intelligence passes the point of no return?

When I read or, rather, listened to Uncanny Valley, the first book in the trilogy, I was pulled into a vortex of misdirections and revelations, especially towards the end, and that alone made me  anxious to read the next book. The Silver Six is every bit as intriguing as the first book.

Now that Rebecca and the rest of the Renegades know that the Silver Six, lead by Halpert, are actually robots, all the earlier conspiracy theories have been proven correct. War is inevitably coming and the Renegades must plan for it while they work to subvert Halpert’s propagandizing. That in itself is perhaps the most critical part of their fight because humans are so gullible, easy prey for the lies that are so much more comfortable than truth.

And because life goes on, no matter the circumstances, Rebecca can’t help being distracted by the two young men vying for her attention. As so often happens, one of them will be found wanting but is it possible that the Resistance will be affected by this?

Melissa Williams is a better than average narrator, easy to understand and with good pacing. I couldn’t always distinguish one character from another but that didn’t impede my enjoyment of a strong tale with lively action. I appreciate this second book as much as the first; come back tomorrow to see what I think about the trilogy’s conclusion .

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2019.

Book Review: The Circle: Taken by Sage Sask

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Title: Taken
Series: The Circle, Book 1
Author: Sage Sask
Publisher: SBSK Corp.
Publication Date: March 7, 2019
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult

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Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Amazon // The Book Depository // Indiebound

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Taken
The Circle, Book 1
Sage Sask
SBSK Corp., March 2019
ISBN 978-1733579391
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Abandoned at eleven with no memory of her family, Alexia seeks her true identity. Under the new government’s regime, sixteen year-olds are evaluated for their desire to harm others. Throughout the test, Alexia struggles to conceal her psychic ability to read the past and future of anyone she touches. When her secret is revealed, Alexia is taken to an island where other highly skilled agents and readers like her train to survive.

As Alexia gains more control over her abilities, she desperately tries to piece together her elusive past. In her quest for the truth, Alexia’s loyalties are tested when forced to make an impossible choice between those she loves and the family she can’t remember.

A spell-binding adventure of friendship, love, unforeseen twists and learning that our most dangerous enemies are often the people we trust the most. A captivating novel filled with forbidden romance and shocking betrayals that demand the question – Can One Decision Determine Your Destiny?

Most of the time, I either like a main character with few or no reservations or I close the book early because I can’t make a connection with the protagonist. Alexia evoked altogether different feelings because of her complexity and because the author allowed her to have faults, very natural faults at that. Alexia appealed to me because she’s not the near-perfect being who rarely makes a misstep. In essence, she is in search of herself while she learns some very valuable life lessons.

Taken is in some ways a study of good versus evil and how difficult it can be to know the difference, who can be trusted. I especially enjoyed this arc of the story because it’s such an essential part of a person’s growth and watching Alexia learn these things made her seem quite real. The Circle itself is full of contradictions, a quagmire of choices and decisions she has to face…much like what we’re all faced with in growing up.

Most of all, I was intrigued by Alexia’s search for her past and for a path to connect with those around her. She’s a girl I hope to see more of in the future.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2019.

About the Authors

Sage S.A.S.K. is a team consisting of USA Today, Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author Sejal Badani and a group of young adult writers. Kiran, Akash and Sienna are the creative force behind the story concepts, editing, social media, marketing, and book trailers for the novel.

Kiran

Kiran is still processing the bait and switch pulled by his parents of having been promised a sports car and ending up with their old minivan. When he’s not running track or falling asleep in class, Kiran can be found driving around with his friends blasting Travis Scott.

 

Website // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Tumblr // Facebook // Goodreads

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Follow the tour:

Week One:

4/15/2019- Lone Tree Reviews– Excerpt
4/16/2019- Lisa Loves Literature– Spotlight
4/17/2019- Jheartlovesbooks– Review
4/18/2019- BookHounds– Interview
4/19/2019- Reese’s Reviews– Review

Week Two:

4/22/2019- Writing on the Sunny Side of the Street– Excerpt
4/23/2019- Life With No Plot– Review
4/24/2019- Daily Waffle– Excerpt
4/25/2019- Two Chicks on Books– Interview
4/26/2019- Dorky Girl and Skeletor– Spotlight

Week Three:

4/29/2019- Buried Under Books– Review
4/30/2019- Smada’s Book Smack– Spotlight
5/1/2019- Taking It One Book at a time– Review
5/2/2019- A Dream Within A Dream– Excerpt
5/3/2019- Smada’s Book Smack– Excerpt

Week Four:

5/6/2019- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Review
5/7/2019- Mama Panda Bear– Review
5/8/2019- Jaime’s World– Guest Post
5/9/2019- A Gingerly Review– Review
5/10/2019- Book Briefs– Review

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Giveaway

3 winners will receive finished signed or unsigned
copies of THE CIRCLE:TAKEN, US Only.

Enter here.

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Book Review: Alien Minds by Christina Bauer



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Alien Minds
Christina Bauer
(Dimension Drift #1)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: April 23rd 2019
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

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

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

So, I’m living the perfect life.

Then why does everything feel all wrong?

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

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

Maybe it’s time to pucker up.

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After this series’ prequels, Scythe and Umbra, I was pretty sure the first full-length novel would be a wild ride and so it is. Alien Minds delivers a punch on all levels—action, intrigue, and nefarious government activities—and it’s all at the core of masterful worldbuilding I’ve come to expect from Ms. Bauer.

There’s romance, of course, between Meimi and Thorne, and I can’t say I was thrilled with that part but such things seem to be de rigueur in young adult fiction so I just go with the flow these days. Actually, neither of these two is in my list of 5 favorite characters but that’s okay because I really connected with their story if not them.

Ms. Bauer has added in just the right amount of snide humor to make me chuckle in all the right places but, make no mistake, her core theme is one to beware of. It’s bad enough to be doing things at the government’s behest that don’t exactly sit well but how much worse is it to not remember enough of your past to understand how you came to be in such a situation? Meimi has misgivings almost from the moment she wakes up and is confronted with a man and woman purporting to be her parents and telling her she’s going to the ECHO Academy; once she gets there, all does not become clear and there’s this hunky guy, Thorne, telling her a simple kiss will bring back her memories. When she’s assigned to a special project, she bargains to have a few friends help her and, with her team, embarks upon a plan to escape…and do some damage while they’re at it.

There are a few hiccups along the way but, all in all, Christina Bauer still has my attention and I’ll be waiting for the next Dimension Drift story.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2019.

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

This new series is perfect for: fans of urban fantasy, action & adventure, cool science, evil corporations, forbidden romance and hot new classmates who may or may not be aliens.

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About the Author

Author Bio:

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

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/CBupdates

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