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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Book Review: The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond @ctrichmond @Scholastic

The Only Thing to Fear
Caroline Tung Richmond
Scholastic Press, September 2014
ISBN 978-0-545-62988-1
Hardcover

Zara’s plan to keep her head down and just plod through life is not working out. Partly due to the fact that she was not raised that way. Largely because of the perplexing, unwanted attention from Bastian. Not just any Nazi, the son of a colonel knows better than anyone that Aryans do not mingle with “sub-humans”. Although she’s not Jewish, to the Germans, as “half-breed stock”, she falls into the same category. Fit for only factory or farm work. Certainly not for fraternizing.

Zara’s earliest memories are of her mother and Uncle Red leading the local Alliance, all efforts into eradicating the Nazi-rule. She could not wait to be old enough to join them. Before she could reach the coveted age, though, a mission went terribly wrong and Uncle Red’s attitude was adversely affected. Compounding an already complex matter, in her grief and frustration, Zara’s power emerged. No one was more stunned than she was to discover that she was an Anomaly.

Select Germans had been gifted with powers enabling them to conquer the Allies so many years ago. The remaining Anomalies serve in an elite division of the Nazi military. When the rare non-Aryan Anomaly is discovered, things are a bit different. That poor soul will be taken to a laboratory to be studied, tested and ultimately dissected.

Zara has two huge secrets to keep if she hopes to stay under the radar of the suspicious Germans. Having Bastian hovering, bugging her, may just be the last straw. Aryans speak to her people for only a handful of reasons, none of them good. Most worrisome; they would never, ever feign interest in the Alliance—even as a sick joke.

She may not know what Bastian is truly up to, but Zara does know that she’s no time for the likes of him. There are brutal deaths to be avenged and one very last chance for her to convince Uncle Red that she belongs with the Alliance.

It’s no wonder I’ve seen The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond on so many students’ To-Read lists. This fast-paced, action-packed, Sci-Fi story of ‘what if’ is simply stellar. And, I absolutely love the atypical ending, which was not gratuitous, but rather allowed the narrative to wrap up a bit more naturally, with an authentic feel.

Reviewed by jv poore, December 2019.

Book Review: Genes by Mary Ting @MaryTing @VesuvianMedia @XpressoTours

Continue reading

Book Review: Deadly Curious by Cindy Anstey @CindyAnstey @SwoonReads @XpressoTours

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Title: Deadly Curious
Author: Cindy Anstey
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: June 3, 2020
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Young Adult

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Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Kobo // iBooks
Amazon // Google Play // Indiebound

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Deadly Curious
Cindy Anstey
Swoon Reads, June 2020
ISBN 978-1-250-25227-2
Hardcover

From the publisher—

A twisty tale reminiscent of Jane Austen—with a dash of murder—Cindy Anstey’s Deadly Curious is perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Agatha Christie.

Some secrets are better left buried…

1834. Sophia Thompson wants nothing more than to be one of the famed Bow Street Runners, London’s most elite corps of detectives. Never mind that a woman has never before joined their ranks—and certainly never mind that her reclusive family has forbidden her from pursuing such an unladylike goal.

She gets the chance to prove her capabilities when an urgent letter arrives from her frantic cousin Daphne, begging Sophia to come look into the suspicious death of Daphne’s brother.

As Sophia begins to unravel the tangled threads of the case—with the help of a charming young policeman—she soon realizes that the murderer may be even closer to her family than she ever suspected.

I’ve been fascinated by the Bow Street Runners since the first time I heard about them so, when I saw that this book involves them, I wanted to read it as soon as  I could. As it turns out, the Runner in this story, Jeremy, is not quite as energetic and compelling as I would like although he is appealing. I also thought Sophia was a little silly, especially in deciding, against society’s restraints and her upbringing, that she was cut out to be a detective just because she read a book. Once I recognized the flies in the ointment with these two characters, I decided to read this as a fun, fluffy bit of entertainment and I enjoyed it as such.

When Sophia’s cousin, Daphne, writes for Sophia’s help, the murder in question is a year in the past but Sophia’s Uncle Edward is in danger of being arrested at any moment. Our sleuth is more than willing to rush to West Ravenwood but this is 1834 and an 18-year-old girl can’t just rush off anywhere. Watching her machinations to get past all the family and societal roadblocks was as enjoyable as anything in this tale.

Eventually, of course, Sophia does get to West Ravenwood and falls in with Jeremy; together with Daphne, they set out to find a killer and absolve Uncle Edward and, along the way, Sophia and Jeremy find a romantic connection. All in all, this was a few hours of easy reading even though the actual mystery was lightweight.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2020.

About the Author

Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.

She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester.

Author links:
Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads

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Follow the tour here.

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Giveaway

One print copy of Deadly Curious

Enter here.

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Book Reviews: The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas and Twinepathy by C.B. Cook @sherrythomas @BerkleyMystery

The Art of Theft
The Lady Sherlock Series #4
Sherry Thomas
Berkley, October 2019
ISBN 978-0-451-49247-0
Trade Paperback

Once upon a time, Sherry Thomas created the first of a retelling of the Sherlock Holmes adventures and, my word, what a charming series this is so far. Charlotte Holmes and Mrs. Watson are a delightful pair and they channel the original Holmes and Watson with a feminine aplomb that makes Sherlock himself much more accessible.

Charlotte is a successful detective, having solved numerous cases, but she’s going to have to become something of an art thief this time. The target is a particular very valuable painting but it’s the documents secreted on the back of the painting that she needs to obtain; if she can’t do so, her client will be ruined. Charlotte recruits her usual partners in crime, so to speak, and the merry band sets off to attend a masked ball and art sale at a certain chateau in France. Charlotte is the true brains of the group but she couldn’t pull this off without the able assistance of Stephen Marbleton and Lord Ingram, not to mention her sister, Livia, and the pragmatic Mrs. Watson.

There’s a great deal of fun to be had in this latest tale but the reader who’s new to the series should probably start with the first book, A Study in Scarlet Women, to enjoy the books to the fullest. If you’re like me, you’ll fall head over heels for Charlotte and company.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2020.

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Twinepathy
IDIA #1
C.B. Cook
CreateSpace, July 2016
ISBN 978-1535201551
Trade Paperback

Twin sisters Brooklyn and Albany have always hidden their telepathic abilities, believing they’re alone in the world in that sense, until a small child shows up on the doorstep, a child who seems to be suffering from total amnesia. Before they can even begin to come up with a plan—although they instinctively know they need to hide the child from their older brother and parents for the moment—two strangers appear literally out of thin air and the world as they know it changes in an instant.

It turns out that superheroes do really exist, with various powers as Data and Blaze explain; Data is a glorified mind reader and is the head of a secret agency of superheroes, the International Defense and Intelligence Agency, while Blaze specializes in teleportation and illusion. Before this first meeting is over, the sisters have code names, and they’ve learned that the little girl, dubbed Maddie, is not the first victim of memory loss. Now, Albany and Brooklyn set out to solve the first mystery—who is Maddie and what is her story?

Twinepathy is a fun tale for anyone who enjoys superheroes and adventure mixed in with a puzzle and I recommend it for a few hours of entertaining distraction from our all too real world.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2020.

Book Review: Fractures by Alice Reeds @Alice_Reeds @EntangledTeen @YABoundToursPR

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Title: Fractures
Series: Echoes #2

Author: Alice Reeds
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: June 2, 2020
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult

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Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Amazon
iBooks // Entangled Publishing

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Fractures
Echoes #2

Alice Reed
Entangled Teen, June 2020
ISBN 978-1-64063-900-3
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

They survived a plane crash.

They survived life on a deserted island.

They survived being hunted.

Now they must survive the truth—they are not who they think they are.

One minute they’re in Poland, subjected to gruesome tests they keep failing. No friends to support them. No family to claim them. No hope of ever living a normal life again.

Then suddenly, they’re trapped on an abandoned freighter in the middle of the ocean and forced to fight for survival. No food. No drinkable water. No way to get home. And strange memories of another life they don’t understand.

But how can they be living two separate lives, trapped in two separate places, at the same time? They’ll have to find the connection and uncover secrets that someone went to great lengths to keep hidden…if they’re going to survive long enough to find out who is behind it all.

When I read Echoes, the first book, I was immediately drawn in by the two protagonists and by the alternate timeline aspect of the plot. The timeline thing and the characters still appeal to me in Fractures now that they are off the island but, if Fiona and Miles thought they were in trouble before, they could have had no idea what was to come.

This time, the point of view comes from Miles and there’s a difference in the level of urgency that they felt on the island but the mystery of what’s really going on deepens. For starters, how lovely is it that their own parents sold them out, literally? The promise of new lives in California was just a ploy and now Miles and Fiona have to trust no one but each other and work to find answers for themselves including the question of their real identities.

I could definitely do without the insta-love but Alice Reeds is a fine writer and her worldbuilding is vivid; the duology is a nice blend of science fiction and mystery, which I really appreciate, and Ms. Reeds kept me guessing and flipping pages as fast as I could to the very end. Besides heartily recommending Fractures, I’ll say this—you must read the two books in order 😄

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2020.

About the Author

Alice Reeds was born in a small town in Germany but spent her first eight years in Florida, USA. Later on, she moved back to Europe, where her family moved around a lot. She was raised trilingual and has a basic understanding of Russian, read and spoken. After getting her International Baccalaureate Diploma, Alice is studying English Language and Literature at University. In her free time Alice mostly writes, reads, figure and/or roller skates, or watches countless let’s plays and figure skating videos.

Author Links:

Website // Goodreads // Twitter

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Follow the tour here.

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Giveaway
1 Signed Bookmark (Int’l)
Enter here.

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