Cover Reveal: The Return by Kelly St Clare

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Today is the cover reveal for The Return by Kelly St. Clare. This cover reveal is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The cover is designed by Tracey at Soxsational Cover Art.

The ReturnThe Return (The After Trilogy #2)
by Kelly St. Clare
Genre: science fiction/ dystopian
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: June 2017

Blurb:
The dystopian science fiction story continues in this action-packed novel for young adults by internationally best-selling author Kelly St. Clare.

Three months ago, Romy emerged from the cultivation tanks after a year floating inside.

Body intact. Mind broken. Memory gone.

Now she undergoes regular testing as doctors work to find out . . . well, she’s not exactly sure what.

The tests must have something to do with the reason she can’t remember her knot—the single lucid memory the other insane soldiers on Orbito Four still possess. Whatever the researchers are searching for, if it aids the soldiers in the deathly war against the lethal alien invaders—the Critamal—the excruciating pain is worth it.

But a grey-eyed man has other plans.

Boxed in and caught, Romy is taken hostage by people who shouldn’t exist! They dress in black and carry weapons she’s never seen in her genetically enhanced life.

Reunited with Knot 27. Memories returned.

Fifteen months have passed since her world shattered into bright red, ringing chaos. Things have changed—people have changed. How long until what was once as familiar as breathing is familiar once more?

Friendships. Love. Freedom.

Can the new Romy reconcile with the old, or will the two halves of herself remain locked in an internal battle?

And if a victor should arise from this silent war . . . will it be the part of her that kills without hesitation, without mercy?

All it takes is for the cracks to join and blood will pour.

You can find The Return on Goodreads

The Return Coming Soon

Excerpt:
Romy strained for any hint of disturbance, but an eerie calm filled the space.
The electrodes and wires covering her arms and legs suddenly felt like restraints—a barrier preventing her from leaping from the bed and protecting herself. She closed her eyes and attempted to regulate her breathing.
Everything was fine.
There was nothing to—
The space station rocked as a muted explosion emanated from the clinic door. Her stomach dropped, and she nearly sat up before remembering Electrode Slapper’s withering order to stay still.
Romy held herself immobile, eyes darting side to side, senses stretched to maximum capacity.
Was that smoke creeping along the ceiling? Not the normal smoke from her burning hair—real smoke!
Nothing good could come from a fire onboard a space station.
Unable to deny fear’s curiosity, she turned to stare at the remaining male doctor, awaiting his order to evacuate. His attention was fixed on the door, the whites of his eyes showing his terror—of something. Romy watched as he scrambled from his seat, hands raised, stammering and babbling senselessly.
Not terror of something. Someone.
Romy inhaled sharply as a dart appeared out of nowhere, sticking deep into the side of his neck. The doctor staggered and slowly keeled over next to the bed, sending a screen smashing to the ground.
She jerked violently as his body rebounded off the floor before settling into unconsciousness.
The medi-tech surrounding her beeped, high-pitched and urgent, snatching up her distress and sounding it out for all the world to hear.
So much for playing dead.
She took stock. At least five electrodes and their wires hung off each limb. Another ten on her torso and five more on her head. Extracting herself in a hurry wasn’t looking like an option.
Heavy footsteps approached the bed where she lay, frozen. Mind racing. Several sets of footsteps, she realised—maybe ten.
Romy swallowed, palms sweating where they touched her bare thighs.
A large shadow fell across her body.
Dread settled heavy in her bones.
A man dressed in solid black leaned over the bed, blotting her view of the white ceiling. A soldier. Unlike any she’d seen. Why wasn’t he dressed in white?
The man’s face was clean-shaven and as his scent reached her, she got the oddest sense of another time. Of warmth and. . . .
She blinked into his soft grey eyes.
With careful movements, the man moved the gun he carried so it slung across his back. The weapon was small, sleek—the complete opposite of the huge laser guns fitted on the space station.
Who was this person?
He reached for her, expression impassive, a slight tremor in his hands.
And spoke a single, hoarse word.
“Romy.”

Start this series with The Retreat!
The Retreat
Earth is ruined. Humankind destroyed. And it’s old news.The Retreat is the first book in the After trilogy! You can get your copy of The Retreat on Amazon

Finalist in the YA books central annual book awards for best YA sci-fi of 2016.

The Retreat was awarded a Five Star badge by Readers’ Favorite in 2016.

Praise for Book One in The After Trilogy, The Retreat:
“superbly written” – Readers’ Favorite ★★★★★

“part fantasy, part sci-fi, and all cosmic-chemistry” – Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews ★★★★★

“all I can say is WOW!” – Taking It One Book at a Time ★★★★★

“I had very high expectations for this one and I’m happy to say that the book met them all and more.” – Bookaholic ★★★★★

“I can’t start talking about this or I won’t stop. This is a must read!” – Amazon Reviewer ★★★★★

Kelly St ClareAbout the Author:
When Kelly St Clare is not reading or writing, she is lost in her latest reverie. She can, quite literally, drift past a car accident while in the midst of her day dreams, despite the various police sirens and chaos.

Books have always been magical and mysterious to her. One day she decided to start unravelling this mystery and began writing. Her aim: To write stories she would want to read.

The Tainted Accords was her debut series, and her second series, The After Trilogy, is now available.

A New Zealander in origin and in heart, Kelly currently resides in Australia with her soon-to-be husband, a great group of friends, and some huntsman spiders who love to come inside when it rains. Their love is not returned.

You can find and contact Kelly here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Amazon
Instagram
Newsletter
Barracks group

Giveaway
There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of The Return! Three winners will each win a paperback copy of the Retreat. Open International!

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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Blog Tour: Remember Yesterday (Forget Tomorrow #2) by Pintip Dunn

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Today is my stop during the blog tour for Remember Yesterday (Forget Tomorrow #2) by Pintip Dunn! I’ll share my review of the book and there’s an excerpt. Remember Yesterday is the sequel to the NYT Bestselling and RITA™ Award-winning book, Forget Tomorrow. You can read my review of Forget Tomorrow here.

remember-yesterdayTitle: Remember Yesterday
Author: Pintip Dunn
Series: Forget Tomorrow #2
Rating: 3.75 stars
Genres: Young Adult Science Fiction? Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
The sequel to the sci-fi hit Forget Tomorrow is a twisting, turning roller-coaster ride—the perfect sci-fi futuristic read.

Seventeen-year-old Jessa Stone is the most valuable citizen in Eden City. Her psychic abilities could lead to significant scientific discoveries — if only she’d let TechRA study her. But after they kidnapped and experimented on her as a child, cooperating with the scientists is the last thing Jessa would do.

But when she discovers the past isn’t what she assumed, Jessa must join forces with budding scientist Tanner Callahan to rectify a fatal mistake made ten years ago. She’ll do anything to change her past — even if it means aligning herself with the enemy she swore to defeat.

My Review:
Remember Yesterday is the next instalment in the Forget Tomorrow series by Pintip Dunn. I liked the first book and after that horrific ending I was excited to get stuck into the next book. However, I felt an immediate disconnect when I opened my Kindle to discover this book was narrated by Jessa ten years later. Now, this does make sense on one level (don’t want to spoil the story so I’m being vague on purpose) but I still felt let-down. Not sure the author could have written it any other way though.

I missed Logan so much in this book, but Tanner was an awesome male substitute. Jess was probably more likable than Callie as the MC but it did take me some time to warm up to these characters and this story.

The first half dragged for me and I felt the story was too similar to the first book but things really ramped up a few notches in the second half and I became immersed in the plot and addicted to the characters. The end few chapters were exhilarating and I was totally hooked. The plot was a lot less predictable in the second half and I really enjoyed it.

Now I love Jess and Tanner and I’m so happy with the reemergence of some of my fav characters toward the end.

I adore Pintip’s style of writing and I have no issues there. Her world building is decent and well crafted as was character development.

In summary, after a bit of a disconnect and a slow start, I became engrossed in the story and the characters lives and I’m definitely invested in continuing this series.

Actual rating 3.75 stars.

Excerpt:
I lift my eyes to meet his, and I reach into the future—his future. The vision pours into me. The future Tanner grabs me and kisses me. Without warning, without hesitation. It is hot and searing and exquisite. And I like it. Oh, how I like it.
“No!” I fall out of the vision and scoot away from him, so far that I approach the edge of the platform. My pulse is thundering; my nerves are jumping. Oh, Fates. What’s wrong with me? Is it because I don’t want him to kiss me? Or because I want it too much?
His eyes turn watchful. “Come back here, Jessa. You’re too close to the sky.”
I look into the open space, fluffy with wads of cotton-ball clouds. I take a breath, hoping to inhale some of the sky’s serenity. He doesn’t know about the kiss. Why would he? In the vision, he acted impulsively, without premeditation. The desire to kiss me hasn’t arisen in him yet. Maybe I can prevent it from cropping up altogether.
“Look, you don’t want to kiss me,” I babble, staying where I am. And hope I sound more reasonable than I feel. “It’s only because we talked about kissing the other day. When you talk about something, you give it life. Make it real. Like an annoying song you can’t get out of your head.”
He creeps toward me, his eyes flicking between my face and the sky. “So you can’t get the idea of kissing me out of your head?”
“I said it was annoying. Like a song. Not based on anything real.”
He stops five feet from the edge of the platform. “So let me get this straight. You saw into the future and we kissed. Right?”
“Y-yes,” I stutter, shocked that he guessed the truth so easily. “But it doesn’t have to happen that way,” I add quickly. “As my sister proved, we’re in control of our own fate. We can make any future we wish.”
“Unless this is our Fixed.” His voice is low, rough. And yet, every syllable imprints into my memory forever. “Unless this kiss is so important, it happens in every one of our worlds.”
“It’s just a kiss. How can it be that important?”
His eyes glitter with the challenge. With one last look at the platform’s edge, he crawls to me, slowly but steadily. “The path of our particular world might depend on this kiss. Would you risk our future just to be stubborn?”
And then, he’s right in front of me. He rests his hands lightly on my back. They slide down to my waist, until his fingers brush against the strip of bare skin between my pants and top. I shiver, and my skin pebbles into a million goose bumps. He pulls me against him. So much of my body is touching his that I can’t think; I can’t breathe. All I can do is feel. His trembling breath. My hammering heart. His shaking hands—or hell, maybe that’s me, vibrating against his touch.
Our lips are inches apart. Time blends together. You couldn’t move me from this spot if the world were crashing down around us.
“I thought I wasn’t your type,” I whisper.
“You’re not,” he says. “But for the fate of our world, I’m willing to make the sacrifice.”
And then, he closes the gap between us.

The First book in this series:
forget-tomorrowTitle: Forget Tomorrow
Author: Pintip Dunn
Series: Forget Tomorrow #1
Rating: 3 stars, read my review here
Genres: Young Adult Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
Imagine a world where your destiny has already been decided…by your future self.

It’s Callie’s seventeenth birthday and, like everyone else, she’s eagerly awaiting her vision―a memory sent back in time to sculpt each citizen into the person they’re meant to be. A world-class swimmer. A renowned scientist.

Or in Callie’s case, a criminal.

In her vision, she sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister. Before she can process what it means, Callie is arrested and placed in Limbo―a prison for those destined to break the law. With the help of her childhood crush, Logan, a boy she hasn’t spoken to in five years, she escapes the hellish prison.

But on the run from her future, as well as the government, Callie sets in motion a chain of events that she hopes will change her fate. If not, she must figure out how to protect her sister from the biggest threat of all.

Callie herself.

pintip-croppedAbout the Author:
Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journel.

Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. Her debut novel, Forget Tomorrow, won the RWA RITA® for Best First Book. Her other novels include The Darkest Lie and the forthcoming Remember Yesterday.

She lives with her husband and children in Maryland.

Links:

Giveaway
There’s a tour wide giveaway. One winner will receive a limited, annotated hardcover of Forget Tomorrow. For a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
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Review: Forget Tomorrow (Forget Tomorrow #1) by Pintip Dunn

forget-tomorrowTitle: Forget Tomorrow
Author: Pintip Dunn
Series: Forget Tomorrow #1
Rating: 3 stars
Genres: Young Adult Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
Imagine a world where your destiny has already been decided…by your future self.

It’s Callie’s seventeenth birthday and, like everyone else, she’s eagerly awaiting her vision―a memory sent back in time to sculpt each citizen into the person they’re meant to be. A world-class swimmer. A renowned scientist.

Or in Callie’s case, a criminal.

In her vision, she sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister. Before she can process what it means, Callie is arrested and placed in Limbo―a prison for those destined to break the law. With the help of her childhood crush, Logan, a boy she hasn’t spoken to in five years, she escapes the hellish prison.

But on the run from her future, as well as the government, Callie sets in motion a chain of events that she hopes will change her fate. If not, she must figure out how to protect her sister from the biggest threat of all.

Callie herself.

My Review:
Forget Tomorrow is a beautifully written book, with decent worldbuilding and some imaginative concepts. Although I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it as I was expecting.

The cover and blurb are what attracted me to purchase a copy of this book while it was on sale. I snapped this beauty up for 99p – thanks, Bookbub. In particular, it was the mention of memory and psychic ability that intrigued me, as I have similar themes in my own dystopian series.

Callie is a believable teen heroine, even if her indecision grated on my nerves at times. Her voice was consistent with her characters age and situation and it was authentic. Can’t say that I overly loved her, but I didn’t hate her either. I’m a bit on the fence.

But I’m not on the fence about Logan! Now, I have a fondness for the name (I have a Logan of my own) but this Logan would happily belong on my book boyfriend list in his own right. He was protective and charming and sweet and kind and self-deprecating and there isn’t a damn thing I can fault about him. Logan made this book for me.

At times, I felt that emotional depth was lacking, and sentiments were expressed that seemed to come out of nowhere. At other times, I skimmed across overly descriptive parts that were redundant. In my opinion, developmental editing could have been stronger to flesh out the characterization and trim the excess.

The world building was a little bit of a conundrum for me. Parts of it were superb – well mapped out and executed but other parts felt underdeveloped (Harmony, for example.) It was very reminiscent of Divergent at the start and when the story shifted to Harmony it reminded me of The Revolution of Ivy, and I had issues with an underdeveloped community in that book too.

That said, there was enough about this book with the whole memory/fate theme to allow it to stand on its own. The plot was decent, if a little slow moving.

The romance was sweet and my only complaint is that I wished for more of it! I definitely ship these two, and I can’t help thinking that there is more to Logan’s memory than he’s letting on.

That ending was fantastic and I wasn’t expecting it. I’m still in shock and hoping all is not as it seems.

One of the standouts was the writing. The prose is stunning and it’s clear that Pintip Dunn can really write. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and the words glided effortlessly over the pages of my kindle.

In summary, this was a decent start to what seems to be an intriguing series. However, I did have some issues with plot, characterization, and aspects of the world building that stopped me rating this higher. I look forward to continuing the story in book two.

Review: Jubilee Year (Erelong #1) by Gerard O’Neill

Jubilee YearTitle: Jubilee Year
Author: Gerard O’Neill
Series: Erelong #1
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: sci-fi/ dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
What if the world were about to end, but they weren’t going to tell you?

Eighteen-year-old Storm lives in a small country town in Australia, next to one of the most famous telescopes in the world. When he falls for Penny, the daughter of the chief scientist at the observatory, he discovers a global conspiracy of silence. He learns a mini-star system approaches Earth, and the penalty for any scientist who talks about it is death.

If Storm and his companions are to survive they must stay out of the way of the government’s security forces, assassination squads working for powerful hidden entities, and the internment camps for dissenters. Even his special ability is not going to be enough. He must accept help when it’s offered. But others are not who they seem to be and neither is the reality of a world Storm thought he knew.

My Review:
Jubilee Year is a solid sci-fi dystopian read with an interesting premise and plenty of mystery and suspense to keep the reader engaged.

This is a well-written debut novel with a focus on family, friendship, young love, and government conspiracy and control. I really enjoyed the Australian setting and it was a refreshing change from the norm. World building is credible. This book focuses on the unsettling climate change and the reasons behind it. Yes, there is political intrigue and a controlling government keeping citizens in the dark, which is common enough within the genre, but I still found it a very interesting read.

Storm is a strong, decent male lead. In the main, character development is solidly built throughout the novel, and it was easy to love or hate or certainly feel strong emotions toward every player.

For me, the pacing was a little inconsistent in parts. I struggled to get into this book for the first 25 percent, and I put it down a couple of times. I’m glad I came back to it because I thought the second half of the book was superb, it flowed much better and was a lot more action packed.

The romance was very light in this book and that’s my biggest complaint as I like my sci-fi to have a strong romance subplot and a swoon-worthy lead male. There is some romance, and it is sweet but just not deep enough to satisfy this reader.

Overall, I think this is a very good debut novel that will definitely appeal to fans of this genre.

Thanks to the author for providing a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Indestructible (Indestructible #1) by Emma L. Adams

IndestructibleTitle: Indestructible
Author: Emma L. Adams
Series: Indestructible #1
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, post apocalyptic
Links:

Blurb:
Two years ago, the fiends invaded, with a devastating explosion that split the world in two. Even now, energy blasts strike without warning, destroying everything in their paths. The fiends hunt anyone unlucky enough to escape.

My name is Leah. An energy blast killed my group. It should have killed me, too. Instead, I woke up alone in the wilderness, stalked by the fiends.

My only hope is the red-cloaked strangers who call themselves the Pyros. They can do the impossible and make flames shoot from their hands, and are more than a match for the fiends. Right now, my one chance for safety — and revenge — is with them.

But they’re keeping secrets from me. Like those skeletons hidden under their base. And the reasons I developed a psychic link with someone who can’t stand the sight of me — after he saved my life.

If I don’t uncover the truth about why the world ended the first time, my new safe haven might go up in smoke…

Indestructible is the first in a YA post-apocalyptic fantasy trilogy, perfect for fans of Divergent, Angelfall and The Mortal Instruments.

My Review:
This is my first book by Emma Adams and I enjoyed it. I adored her writing and the imaginative world she has created. It was vivid and visual and I had no trouble imagining it all in my head. The magical elements added an intriguing fantastical element to the story, and I found them original and engaging.

It took me a while to warm up to Leah, but by the end of the book I felt like I understood her better.

The plot isn’t wholly unpredictable but it was still a good story that held my interest despite the fact that this wouldn’t be my normal type of read. I was a little confused at the start as to what was going on as it’s pretty full-on straight off the bat, but after a few chapters I had settled into the story and was hooked.

My biggest complaint is that there is no romance, and I don’t usually enjoy post-apocalyptic or dystopian stories unless there is a healthy dose of love and some swoon-worthy male leads! However, if you are the type of reader that prefers an action-packed story without any romantic complications then you will love this book.

Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this book, via Lola’s Blog Tours, in exchange for my honest review.

Actual rating 3.5 stars.

Review: The Almost Girl (The Riven Chronicles #1) by Amalie Howard

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Today is my stop during the blog tour for The Almost Girl (The Riven Chronicles #1) by Amalie Howard. I’ll share my review with you today and a guest post.

The Almost GirlTitle: The Almost Girl
Author: Amalie Howard
Series: The Riven Chronicles #1
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Science Fiction/ Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
Seventeen-year-old Riven comes from a world parallel to Earth, a world that has been ravaged by a devastating android war. As a Legion General, she is the right hand of Prince Cale, the young Prince of Neospes. In her world, she’s had everything: rank, responsibility, and respect. But when Prince Cale sends her away to rescue his long-lost brother, Caden, who has been spirited to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory.

Armed with the mindset of a soldier and racing against time to bring Caden home, Riven must learn how to blend in as a girl in a realm that is the opposite of all she’s ever known. Will she be able to find the strength to defy her very nature? Or will she become the monstrous soldier she was designed to be?

My Review:
The Almost Girl is a well-written sci-fi romance with interesting worldbuilding and a complex MC. I was gripped from the very start, and with the exception of a small section when the story moved to Neospes, it was fast paced and kept my attention.

The plot was action-packed and full of twists and turns. Though the revelation in relation to her identity wasn’t a major shock, it was still a good twist.

Cade is, ah, swoon ….. a perfect book boyfriend! Smart, funny, sexy, protective and he deals with all the crap coming at him in a very calm, mature manner.

I wished we had more scenes with Cale. What we saw of him didn’t endear me to him at all.

I loved all the sci-fi and technological aspects of this book and I thought the world building was detailed without bogging the reader down in unnecessary descriptive. I have read books with multiple realities/universes before and this one was still original and creative and unique in its own way.

The insta-love was a bit unbelievable at first, like it came out of nowhere, but I was able to overlook it as it developed perfectly and their chemistry was good. I will add, though, that there are certain things one needs to overlook in this book in order to fully enjoy it – one example that sticks out is the manner in which children are raised in Neospes and it’s mentioned that she was engaging in sword fights at age 2. How would that even be physically possible? There were a few other little niggly things like that which are the reason this is a 4-star rather than 5-star review (and I dithered over the rating for a couple of days.) Anyway, I loved the book too much to let little issues like that dent my enjoyment.

I’m really excited to see where the story develops from here and I look forward to reading the next book in due course.

Guest Post:
Character Inspiration & Dream Cast for The Almost Girl

When I was initially doing the character study for Riven (whose name means ripped apart), I knew that I wanted her to be fierce. After all, she becomes a General of an army at fourteen and she comes from a very tough universe, so she has to be the result of that. In Neospes, there’s no room for softness and emotion. Those are the things that can get you killed. As a result, Riven is the perfect product of her environment. She’s a very intense character. I needed her to be powerful, highly skilled, focused, and mature.
My inspiration for Riven’s character came from a few different sources. The first was Max from Dark Angel TV series. I loved the fact that Max was so capable and fierce, but was also so guarded. I wanted my character to be similar—especially as she navigates the new terrain of a parallel universe that is the complete opposite to her own. Like Max, Riven has to learn how to trust and how to love while still being strong and lethal. My second source of inspiration was Leeloo from the movie The Fifth Element, one of my all time favs (and yes, I know I’m a total nerd). I love that scene where Leeloo takes out the Mangalores singlehandedly. She, like Max, is fierce, but in a different way. She’s built to be the Earth’s defender—the fifth element—and she has to learn about who we are as humans before she’s able to do the job she was created to do. I liked her inner fragility when it came to learning about love, and I wanted Riven to have the same sort of feel—hard and unapproachable on the outside, yet soft and curious on the inside. Last but not least, there’s definitely some Ellen Ripley in there, but it’s the Ripley from Alien Resurrection, where she has inherited some of the alien traits. She’s so awesome during that basketball scene in the mess hall on the ship. I loved her innate confidence and unflappable nature. I wanted Riven to have some of those qualities. Highly trained, she knows who she is and what she can do.
Like all of these amazing, multi-faceted heroines, I wanted to create a dynamic character who is forced to question everything she is and everything she knows. A soldier first, Riven is hard on the outside but still vulnerable on the inside—I wanted readers to relate to her struggle throughout the novel to let go of all her rules and be a girl. We build so many walls to keep from being hurt that we don’t allow ourselves to connect with others. As a character, Riven has to dig down deep to embrace her emotions against everything she has been taught. In the end, is she brave enough to learn how to trust her heart? Will she always be the tough, invulnerable soldier? Or will she find a balance between the two?

DREAM CAST
RIVEN – Astrid Berges OR Imogen Poots
CADEN – Brenton Thwaites or Nicholas Hoult
SHAE – Sienna Guillory
AURELA – Charlize Theron
Riven’s Father – Michael Fassbender
Era Taylor – Famke Janssen

PRAISE FOR THE ALMOST GIRL:
“A high-octane thriller. SF and dystopia fans will be right at home with this book and its fierce, capable heroine.” ~ Publishers Weekly

“Amalie Howard writes a fast paced and thrilling story with a kick butt, authentic heroine and a brilliantly crafted world.“ ~ Eve Silver, author of Rush

“The Almost Girl is a feminist tour de force. It is filled with powerful, interesting female characters. Riven is one of my favorite fictional characters ever; she is fierce, passionate, funny and smart. This sexy, fast-paced story is impossible to put down. A must read! Fans of Divergent will love it!“ ~ Kim Purcell, author of Trafficked

“A riveting union of science fiction thriller, romance, family drama, and conspiracy theory, The Almost Girl had me wishing I could crawl inside the pages and join Riven on her epic journey between parallel worlds. Amalie Howard’s writing is sharp and smart. I’m definitely craving the next installment!” ~ Page Morgan, author of The Beautiful & The Cursed

AmalieAbout the Author:
AMALIE HOWARD grew up on a small Caribbean island (Trinidad & Tobago) where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. 25 countries, surfing with sharks and several tattoos later, she has traded in bungee jumping in China for writing the adventures she imagines instead. She isn’t entirely convinced which takes more guts.

An aspiring writer from a young age, Amalie’s poem “The Candle,” written at age twelve, was published in a University of Warwick journal. At fifteen, she was a recipient of a Royal Commonwealth Society Essay Award (a global youth writing competition). A Colby College graduate, she completed simultaneous Honors Theses in both French and International Studies, and graduated Summa Cum Laude/Phi Beta Kappa. At Colby, she was cited for research and criticism in Raffael Scheck’s article, “German Conservatism and Female Political Activism in the Early Weimar Republic,” and his subsequent book, Mothers of the Nation. She also received a distinction in English Literature from the University of Cambridge (A-levels) as well as a certificate in French Literature from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, France. Traveling the globe, she has worked as a research assistant, marketing representative, teen speaker and global sales executive.

She is the author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Spring 2014 Kid’s INDIE NEXT title. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was a #1 Amazon bestseller and a Seventeen Magazine Summer Read. She is also the co-author of the adult historical romance series, THE LORDS OF ESSEX. As an author of color and a proud supporter of diversity in fiction, her articles on multicultural fiction have appeared in The Portland Book Review and on the popular Diversity in YA blog. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children.

Links:

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Review: The Prince (The Selection #0.5) by Kiera Cass

The PrinceTitle: The Prince
Author: by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #0.5
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Dystopia Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Before thirty-five girls were chosen to compete in the Selection…

Before Aspen broke America’s heart…

There was another girl in Prince Maxon’s life…

Don’t miss this thrilling 64-page original novella set in the world of the New York Times bestselling novel The Selection. Also features a teaser to The Elite, Kiera Cass’s hotly anticipated sequel to The Selection.

My Review:
Prince Maxon was my clear favorite the whole way through the series, so I was keen to read this book. Calling it a novella is false advertising in my view as it’s clearly short-story length. I loved reading from his point of view and it was great to see how enchanted and intrigued Maxon was with America from the first meeting. I’d love a full companion novel in Maxon’s POV and I hope she writes it at some stage.

Review: The Guard (The Selection #2.5) by Kiera Cass

The GuardTitle: The Guard
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #2.5
Rating: 3 stars
Genres: Dystopia Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Before America Singer met Prince Maxon . . .
Before she entered the Selection . . .
She was in love with a boy named Aspen Leger.

Don’t miss this digital original novella set in the captivating world of Kiera Cass’s #1 New York Times bestselling Selection trilogy. This brand new 64-page story begins just after the group of Selected girls is narrowed down to the Elite and is told from Aspen’s point of view. The Guard also features a teaser to The One, the thrilling conclusion to The Selection trilogy.

My Review:
I picked this up as I was keen to see inside Aspen’s head, but I felt a little cheated, with both the content and the length (for the price).

It was interesting to read his perspective and to see the start of his blossoming relationship with she who shall remain unnamed, but it just didn’t add enough to the backstory, for me. And it left off mid-air with no warning! Not a bad read, but honestly it doesn’t add any substance or depth to the overall story.

Review: The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass

the selectionTitle: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #1
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Romance Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

My Review:
I enjoyed The Selection and I felt it was a good start to the series. The premise is exciting and I loved all the girls, bitching, dresses, and glamor of the contest.

America came across well and I liked her – she was caring, compassionate, and not afraid to be herself, and express her opinions, no matter how unpopular or unfashionable they were.

I liked Aspen at the start but went off him pretty quickly after his callous treatment of Mer. Sacrificing their love and his happiness to give her the world? Totally on board with that. But I was so not on board with his about-turn once he got to the Palace. I mean, come on, if he was caught anywhere near her they would both be found guilty of treason and killed. So, I was not cool with him jeopardizing her life, safety, and future. I understand how much he loved her, but if he truly loved her, he would have let her go.

I really warmed to Prince Maxon and he seems like a decent guy, however, I wasn’t happy with his attitude toward Mer at the end and it was frustrating to read.

The biggest issue I had with this book was the predictability of the plot – nothing happened that surprised me and I like being surprised by a book. That said, I still really enjoyed it and I’m continuing with the series.

Review: The Legacy Human (Singularity #1) by Susan Kaye Quinn

the legacy humanTitle: The Legacy Human
Author: Susan Kaye Quinn
Series: Singularity #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Science Fiction
Links:

Blurb:
Spiritual successor to the bestselling Mindjack trilogy…

When transcending humanity is the prize, winning the Game is all that matters.

Seventeen-year-old Elijah Brighton wants to become an ascender—a post-Singularity human/machine hybrid—after all, they’re smarter, more enlightened, more compassionate, and above all, achingly beautiful. But Eli is a legacy human, preserved and cherished for his unaltered genetic code, just like the rainforest he paints. When a fugue state possesses him and creates great art, Eli miraculously lands a sponsor for the creative Olympics. If he could just master the fugue, he could take the gold and win the right to ascend, bringing everything he’s yearned for within reach… including his beautiful ascender patron. But once Eli arrives at the Games, he finds the ascenders are playing games of their own. Everything he knows about the ascenders and the legacies they keep starts to unravel… until he’s running for his life and wondering who he truly is.

The Legacy Human is the first in a new young adult science fiction series that explores the intersection of mind, body, and soul… and how technology will challenge us to remember what it means to be human.

Check out Susan Kaye Quinn’s website for information about The Legacy Human everything Singularity.

My Review:
This is my first Susan Kaye Quinn book but it most definitely won’t be the last.

Imaginative. Creative. Exceptionally well executed. Beautifully written. WOW. I’m blown away.

The Legacy Human challenges the reader to explore what it actually means to be human. I found it very thought-provoking and deeply spiritual in parts. What happens to our soul if in the future we manage to transcend humanity? Do we still have one? Is there a way to maintain that essential component of what it is to be human? And if the opportunity was there would you aspire to ascend? These are some of the questions I asked myself, and some of the issues that Eli has to face on his self-developmental journey. Throw in some untrustworthy characters and a hefty dose of suspense and you end up with a roller-coaster ride of a read.

Eli is very easy to warm to. His willingness to place his mother’s safety above his own was very endearing. Cy, his best-friend-slash-brother, is fiercely loyal and a brilliant side-kick. I felt a strong emotional connection with both characters and they were very well written and developed as the book progressed. I have a feeling I know who Eli’s father is and if I’m correct it is going to shatter his world. Can’t wait for the next books in the series to find out!

The world-building is superb and I could easily picture the Ascender and Legacy cities. I would love to see this made into a movie; I think it would be visually stunning.

Susan’s writing is breath-taking and so inspiring. She is truly amazingly talented.

I felt the pacing was a little slow in the first part of the book, but it’s only a minor complaint. It didn’t deter from my overall enjoyment of this book.

A friend who is a big fan of Susan’s recommended that I read this book and I’m so glad I did. I have the Mindjack Trilogy on my Kindle already and I look forward to reading some more of Susan’s work.

In summary, this is an exceptionally well written book with stunning world-building, imaginative plot, like-able characters and a promise of great things to come with the rest of the series. Highly Recommended.