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    Review: BURNING MIDNIGHT

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    Title: BURNING MIDNIGHT
    Author: Will McIntosh
    Release date: February 2, 2016
    Publisher: Delacorte Press
    Pages: 320
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook

    Description…

    For fans of The Maze Runner and The Fifth Wave, this debut YA novel from Hugo Award winner Will McIntosh pits four underprivileged teens against an evil billionaire in the race of a lifetime. 

    Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn’t pay much—Alex Holliday’s stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers—but it helps him and his mom make the rent.

    No one knows where the brilliant-colored spheres came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair and they make you a little better: an inch taller, skilled at math, better-looking. The rarer the sphere, the greater the improvement—and the more expensive the sphere.

    When Sully meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding spheres, the two start searching together. One day they find a Gold—a color no one has ever seen. And when Alex Holliday learns what they have, he will go to any lengths, will use all of his wealth and power, to take it from them.

    There’s no question the Gold is priceless, but what does it actually do? None of them is aware of it yet, but the fate of the world rests on this little golden orb. Because all the world fights over the spheres, but no one knows where they come from, what their powers are, or why they’re here.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSEGOODREADS

    Note: This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.


    The Review

    BURNING MIDNIGHT starts with an interesting concept: If you could use an unknown object to make yourself smarter, stronger, faster, better looking, etc. would you? It imagines a world where these objects, spheres, are a big business for those that can find them and sell them. It introduces characters Sully and Hunter, a sphere broker and sphere hunter who are hoping to make a big find to change their situations for the better. It pits them against a man who is ruthless, deceitful, greedy, and enhanced by the spheres. And it adds in a number of daring searches, a few unexpected twists, a road trip, a chase, a theft or two, thrills, danger, disaster.

    David Sullivan is desperate to find a way to earn enough money to help his mom get by. With the number of rare spheres dwindling, he isn’t sure how long he’ll be able to keep them in their home. He isn’t a hunter, but if teaming up with one will help him locate a rare sphere, he’d be willing to do whatever is necessary. Even if their odds are slim. Even with the risk that he could get burned by his partner. And even if it means having to use a couple of spheres to help him.

    He doesn’t expect it to be easy. Especially with Alex Holliday, the man who cheated him out of millions, watching his every move. But he never anticipated what it might mean to once again find a never-before-seen sphere – the decisions he’d have to make, the actions he’d have to take, the consequences he’d have to face, and the things he might end up losing.

    Will McIntosh penned a story that is as exciting as it is thought-provoking. He sets his characters off on a number of danger-filled adventures in search of elusive and valuable spheres. He creates some rather challenging and unusual obstacles for them to overcome. And he puts them on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.

    The question he poses about using the spheres for enhancement is as hotly debated in his characters’ world as performance-enhancing, age-defying, brain-boosting drugs are in ours. And while it turns out the risks are likely quite different, it does make you wonder if the pharmaceuticals’ benefits are worth any risk at all.

    BURNING MIDNIGHT is a quick and engaging read with a pace that continues to pick up as the story progresses. It is different and surprising and strange and clever and a whole lot of fun.

    The Rating

    04


    About Will McIntosh

    Will McIntosh

    Will McIntosh is the author of several adult speculative fiction novels and is a frequent short-story writer. His first novel, Soft Apocalypse, was a finalist for the Locus Award. “Bridesicle,” a short story published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, won a Hugo Award for Best Short Story and was later expanded into his novel Love Minus Eighty, which was an ALA-RUSA Reading List selection for science fiction. His newest novel for adults, Defenders, has been optioned for film by Warner Bros. Burning Midnight is his first novel for young adults. Will lives with his wife and twin children in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he is working on his next young adult novel.

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    FORGET TOMORROW Teaser Trailer + Pre-order Campaign Giveaway

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    I am super excited for the upcoming release of FORGET TOMORROW by Pintip Dunn on November 3rd. In anticipation of its release the publisher has been revealing teaser trailers and I just had to share the latest here on the blog – and plan on sharing the next one on October 30th.

    If you haven’t yet heard about FORGET TOMORROW, the book’s description is below. The story and world sound totally awesome. And Callie sounds like someone definitely worth meeting!

    In addition, the publisher is hosting a pre-order campaign giveaway with some fab prizes. Be sure to check it out below and enter in the Rafflecopter once you’ve ordered your copy of FORGET TOMORROW.


    About FORGET TOMORROW

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    Title & Series: FORGET TOMORROW (Forget Tomorrow #1)
    Author: Pintip Dunn
    Release date: November 3, 2015
    Publisher: Entangled Teen
    Pages: 400
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Read an EXCERPT

    Description…

    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.

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    FORGET TOMORROW Teaser Trailer #2

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    About Pintip Dunn

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    When her first-grade teacher asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, Pintip replied, “An author.” Although she has pursued other interests over the years, this dream has never wavered.

    Pintip 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 JOURNAL. She published an article in the YALE LAW JOURNAL, entitled, “How Judges Overrule: Speech Act Theory and the Doctrine of Stare Decisis,” and received the Barry S. Kaplan Prize for best paper in Law and Literature.

    Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. She is a 2012 Golden Heart® finalist and a 2014 double-finalist. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, YARWA, and The Golden Network.

    She lives with her husband and children in Maryland.

    WEBSITE | BLOGTWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS


    The Pre-order Campaign Giveaway

    Entangled is hosting a pre-order campaign giveaway…

    When you register your FORGET TOMORROW pre-order you can win an Entangled Teen Prize Pack including:

    • an Entangled Teen tote bag
    • a hardcover copy of PERFECTED by Kate Jarvik Birch
    • a $20 Amazon gift card
    • a FORGET TOMORROW inspired necklace.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    Review: CHARISMA

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    Title: CHARISMA
    Author: Jeanne Ryan
    Release date: March 3, 2015
    Publisher: Dial
    Pages: 384
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Description…

    A chance at the ultimate makeover means deadly consequences in this Sarah Dessen-meets-Robin Cook thriller

    Aislyn suffers from crippling shyness—that is, until she’s offered a dose of Charisma, an underground gene therapy drug guaranteed to make her shine. The effects are instant. She’s charming, vivacious, and popular. But strangely, so are some other kids she knows. The media goes into a frenzy when the disease turns contagious, and then deadly, and the doctor who gave it to them disappears. Aislyn must find a way to stop it, before it’s too late.

    Part medical thriller, part social justice commentary, Charisma will have readers on the edge of their seats.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | GOODREADS

    NOTE: This review is based on an ARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.


    The Review

    CHARISMA is a fascinating, chilling and immensely entertaining story that invites readers into a world where an untested gene therapy drug promises amazing results but unbeknownst to its recipients comes at a deadly price. It’s a story that reveals a likely and not-so-far-off future where one’s personality can be radically altered with a single injection. It’s a thought-provoking and gripping and utterly compelling read that will have readers debating the pros and cons of the scientific advancement.

    When Aislyn Hollings is offered the opportunity to be a test subject for Charisma, a gene enhancement drug that is guaranteed to be life-changing, she is eager to accept. Her debilitating shyness has kept her from living the life she wants and she’s desperate to be someone who is not afraid of everything and everyone all of the time.

    But when she starts to suspect that she’s not the only one to have been given the dose, or even the first one, her enthusiasm begins to wane. That is, until she finds herself becoming more confident, taking more risks, being more social, feeling more normal.

    However, when some of the people she believes had their personalities altered by Charisma start getting sick and falling into comas, and the doctor who administered the dose stops responding to her texts and calls, Aislyn decides to break her silence, find out who else might be at risk, and begin a frantic search for a way to reverse the effects before the same thing that happened to them happens to her.

    Jeanne Ryan penned an absolutely thrilling and heartbreaking and riveting story with a heroine who is incredibly sympathetic and smart and – with the help of Charisma – determined. Her story offers food for thought about the merits of gene therapy, about the risks, about the potential for its use in non-essential treatments, about its potential for use in life-saving situations. And it does so in a way that is engaging and interesting and hugely exciting.

    CHARISMA is filled with twists and turns, frightening and tragic outcomes, captivating and likable characters, and appealing between-the-chapter tidbits. It is a suspenseful page-turner that combines science that is not entirely fictional, mystery and romance into a story that is positively enthralling.

    It is a provocative read that will prompt discussion and debate and will keep readers thinking about it long after the story’s end.

    The Rating

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    Review: ZODIAC

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    Title & Series: ZODIAC (Zodiac #1)
    Author: Romina Russell
    Release date: December 9, 2014
    Publisher: Razorbill
    Pages: 336
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Description…

    At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….

    Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

    When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

    Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

    But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

    Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | GOODREADS

    Note: The review is based on a finished copy received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.


    The Review

    Action-packed, riveting, epic and original, ZODIAC is the first book in a new series of the same name that invites readers to explore a fascinating and intriguing world that is elaborate, unique and incredibly imaginative. It delivers a story filled with nail-biting suspense, deadly battles, catastrophic loss, devastation, deception, and heartbreak and introduces a heroine strong enough to fight, to stand up against those that doubt her, and to pick herself back up after she’s been knocked down.

    Rhoma Grace barely had time to recover from the fallout from the explosion on Thebe that left most everyone at the Academy on Elara dead and her home, House Cancer, ravaged, let alone mourn their loss, before being asked to step in as her House’s next Guardian. Young and untrained, she’s not sure she’s the right person to read the stars and lead her people. Especially when no one else sees what she sees in her readings.

    But with no other options, no home to return to, and her family’s whereabouts unknown, she has nothing left to lose by saying yes. Except for her life, the lives of everyone counting on her to keep them safe, the entire Zodiac.

    Romina Russell has built a world, a galaxy, a universe, that is utterly enthralling and hugely inventive. One that is filled with a vast array of interesting characters whose customs, behaviors and appearances vary widely from House to House. She has created a story that is constructed from myth that is not commonly used as a basis for stories in the genre. Myth that she expanded upon, made exciting, made her own.

    She brought the Zodiac to life. She developed each House, its landscape and its citizens – some beautiful, whimsical, fantastical, others peaceful, others practical, others disturbing, others dangerous. She created Houses that could be trusted and others that are suspect. And she introduced an enemy that could unite or destroy them all.

    ZODIAC is an amazing story that is rich with detail, exploding with possibility, filled with heart-stopping danger, thrilling adventures, swoon-worthy romance, and grievous loss. It is a daring and refreshingly different story with a likable and fearless heroine and two loyal and protective heroes that will hold readers captive from beginning to end. It’s an outstanding story that will be unputdownable.

    It is a must read first book in this series that is absolutely mind-blowing.

    The Rating

    06

    Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

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    Review: Relativity

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    RELATIVITY by Cristin Bishara was released in the U.S. on September 10, 2013 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Walker Childrens, the print edition is 288 pages.

    NOTE: This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion about the book.

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    Description…

    If Ruby Wright could have her way, her dad would never have met and married her stepmother Willow, her best friend George would be more than a friend, and her mom would still be alive. Ruby knows wishes can’t come true; some things just can’t be undone. Then she discovers a tree in the middle of an Ohio cornfield with a wormhole to nine alternative realities.

    Suddenly, Ruby can access completely different realities, each containing variations of her life—if things had gone differently at key moments. The windshield wiper missing her mother’s throat…her big brother surviving his ill-fated birth…her father never having met Willow. Her ideal world—one with everything and everyone she wants most—could be within reach. But is there such a thing as a perfect world? What is Ruby willing to give up to find out?

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    Review

    RELATIVITY is a smart, thought-provoking and incredibly captivating novel that explores the concept of alternate realities and invites readers to contemplate the idea that one small change in a distant past can result in a radically different present, the notion that some things are meant to be, and the possibility that no matter how many different realities may exist, a perfect alternate may not.

    Ruby Wright’s life hasn’t turned out quite as she had hoped it would. Her mother is not much more than a distant memory. Her father seems to care more about his deadlines than her. And she had to leave behind her home and her best friend George to move halfway across the country to live with her father’s new wife Willow and her daughter Kandy, who is anything but sweet.

    So when a portal opens, giving her access to nine alternate versions of her reality, she is anxious to explore each of them in order to find one more perfect than her own. One where her mother is still alive. One where her father is more involved in her life. One where she can finally know what being happy really means.

    But finding a better reality, one that has everything she wants, might not be possible. And even if she does find one, she’d have to give up everything from her reality – her past, her friend, the possibilities of that future – permanently displace a version of herself and slip into her new life knowing she took it away from someone else. Though, for her, the chance at a perfect life might be worth the cost.

    She just needs to find it before the portal closes. Before time runs out and she’s left wondering whether one of her unexplored realities is even better. Before choosing a reality is no longer an option. Before she finds herself trapped in a reality far worse than the one she hopes to leave behind.

    Author Cristin Bishara takes readers on a journey with her character, Ruby Wright, who is looking for a life that isn’t missing quite as many pieces as her own. She lets Ruby see what could have been and what might be, and gives her the chance to pick her future. She created a character who is intelligent and curious and incredibly determined but who is also vulnerable and in need of affection, which makes her both likable and relatable and a character worth rooting for.

    RELATIVITY touches upon the science behind traveling between realities and presents it in a way that is interesting and easy to understand. It offers up food for thought about what might have happened to make one reality so drastically different from another, what would happen if Ruby chose to abandon her own reality, and why certain events seem destined to reoccur – it’s a story that allows readers to use their imaginations to explore all the possibilities.

    At under 300 pages, RELATIVITY is a quick and engaging read, but one that will continue to make readers think long after they’ve turned the final page. With scientific concepts that are fascinating, a journey filled with excitement, anticipation and more than a little trepidation, a character whose plight is heartfelt and a story that asks the question “what if?” this book is a must.

    Reviewer gives this book…

    Rate05

    On a personal note…

    I am not someone who is particularly curious about science. I am not someone who typically reads science fiction. And yet from the moment I read the description for RELATIVITY I knew it was a book that I had to read.

    The idea of alternate realities intrigued me. The fact that this story would take me through multiple realities made me even more excited to read it. And the possibility that one of those realities could be better than the one the main character, Ruby, was living made me want to find out if that was the case.

    I was instantly drawn into the story. I loved that it moved quickly into the events that lead to Ruby’s travel between realities and developed the backstory during the course of her journey instead of dumping it all right at the outset. I loved that the science was explained in a way that was not dry or dull or boring. And I loved that there wasn’t just a quick peek at most of the alternate realities, that this story explored a number of them.

    But what I loved most was that this story gave me a lot to think about. As interesting as the description was, I didn’t expect it to engage me in the way that it did. I didn’t expect to wonder what might have happened to make one of Ruby’s realities so very different from another. I didn’t expect to have to think about things like fate and destiny. And I didn’t expect to be as fascinated by the science as I was, so much so that I looked up wormholes online to learn more.

    I could have spent hours exploring each of Ruby’s realities with her. I would have loved there to have been more time spent in each one, though I found the amount of time spent was enough to satisfy my curiosity. I would have loved to have answers to all of my questions, but at the same time I loved the fact that it was left up to me and my imagination to come up with my own.

    When I first met Ruby I wasn’t sure she’d be a character I would like or relate to. Her interests weren’t ones I was ever interested in. Her dissatisfaction with her life seemed more a cry for attention than true unhappiness. But it didn’t take long for me to change my mind.

    I was excited for her when she made certain discoveries about her family – no, I have no intention of revealing those spoiler-y discoveries here. I was heartbroken for her at the difficult decisions she was forced to make. And I was hopeful that whatever happened in the end – whatever, or whomever, she’d have to leave behind – wouldn’t be too devastating for her to recover from.

    Even though this story wraps up nicely at the end, it still left me wondering what might be or what might have been. I found myself pondering just what tiny thing might have made one of the realities so very similar to another and what other tiny thing might have caused them to be so different. I’m still wondering about that. And I’m still wondering what happened in those alternate realities that Ruby visited after she’d left.

    RELATIVITY totally surprised me by its intelligence. I was also caught by surprise at just how much I loved it, how quickly I devoured it and how much I would love to read a sequel. And while I normally don’t gravitate toward books in this genre, if the author wrote similarly themed books I would dive right in.

    The story was engaging, it had a great pace, it offered up a touch of romance and a few moments that made me tear up. It made me think, which is not something that often happens with the books I read. And it made me wish for a happily ever after, which is also not something that’s happens very often.

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    Favorite passage…

    I have a favorite passage that brought me to tears. But revealing it would spoil something important to the story so I’ve opted to share just a bit of a scene that isn’t nearly as spoiler-y. And it’s one that made me smile.

    I don’t belong here. I need to click my way through the universes and get back.

    “Is that a yes or no?” George asks. His lips are parted, half-curled into a smirk, and he’s daring me. To say yes. I slide closer and this time he doesn’t inch away.

    This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.

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