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review 2017-03-29 22:50
Ten Thousand Skies Above You
Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird) - Claudia Gray

I absolutely loved the first novel in this series, A Thousand Pieces of You, and this book was just as good.  The story is woven throughout the multiverse as Marguerite fights to save both Paul and Theo.  And like the first book, this one makes you think about life, choices, and their unforeseen ramifications.

 

The events of the first novel changed Marguerite, changed her perspective on life and her beliefs about it.  Travelling through the multiverse and seeing the "what if's" has opened her eyes to how different choices can lead to vastly different lives.  But those beliefs get tested yet again as she travels through more dimensions and finds unexpected versions of the people she loves.  Those versions make her question everything.

 

And much like the first novel, the lines between good and evil are often blurred.  Whose intentions are good, causing them to do questionable things?  Whose intentions are just plain evil?  It is this kind of gray area that makes this such a thought-provoking series.  How far would you go to save the ones you love?  How far is too far?  Is there such a thing as too far?  These are just some of the questions that Marguerite has to answer.

 

The dimensions exist during the same period of time, but it is fascinating to see the different ways in which they have evolved.  To think about what that means, in terms of multiverse theory, is incredible.  The Russiaverse, a throwback in time.  The Home Office, a vision of the future.  The New York-verse, an alternate reality.  Each dimension has different versions of our characters, making them all ever more complex.

 

The story and its premise are, simply put, fascinating!  I couldn't recommend this more!

Source: thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12862
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review 2017-03-29 20:59
Atlantia
Atlantia - Ally Condie

Atlantia is a standalone novel by the author of the Matched series, which I loved.  This book, however, left me with mixed feelings.  The premise was amazing, but I just felt disconnected and I can't quite figure out why.

 

The novel takes place in a dystopian world split between the Above and the Below, the land and the sea.  Pollution has ruined the Above so most of humanity has moved into an enclosed, underwater world.  Those left Above suffered with the effects of pollution so that those they loved could live Below, thus saving humanity from extinction.  Each year, on the anniversary of the Divide, children of a certain age are given a choice... stay Below or go Above.

 

After their mother's death, Bay and Rio, twins, have promised each other they'd both stay Below.  Rio does this out of love because the only thing she's ever wanted was to go Above.  But then Bay chooses Above, leaving Rio alone in the Below.  Rio is desperate to know why Bay broke her promise and finds answers she never expected.  There is a lot going on beneath the surface (no pun intended) of life in Atlantia and Rio begins to learn these secrets.

 

I think part of my problem connecting with Rio was the fact that her character just seemed too one-tracked in her emotional life.  It was as if she expended all of her emotion on her sister, leaving very little left for other personal interactions.  No big highs, no big lows.  It left her feeling a little bland as a character.  The world-building also left me disconnected.  While the premise of the world was fantastic, I just had a really hard time envisioning it.  It almost felt like we should already know what a world like that would be like.

 

I liked the book; I just didn't love it.  And I really wanted to.

Source: thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12858
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text 2017-03-29 09:04
Pre-Order Blitz for In Blood We Trust by Elodie Colt
 
 
Title: In Blood We Trust
Author: Elodie Colt 
Genre: Suspenseful Dystopian Romance
Release Date: April 5, 2017
 
 
 
 
2078. The Future, as it was once called...
 
A better time you imagine? Most would say yes.
Jordan would say they’d switched one evil for another…
 
Ever since the SDCT—the Scientific Department for Cancer Treatment—made a scientific breakthrough, creating a cure for cancer and therefore saving billions of lives from the cruel disease over the last few decades, the world seems to be a better place.
 
But the Cure came with a side effect. 
 
The Recipients need to consume human blood along with it, and as Jordan has the rarest blood type, she needs to donate every week. To keep a tight legal structure between Recipients and the rest of the population, the FDR—Federal Division for Recipients—was created, making her job as Sergeant at the NYPD hell on earth.
 
The real trouble, though, begins the day she becomes burdened with a case that will force her to extend the law to its limits. Worse still—the new Lieutenant, Aiden Davis, has set an eye on Jordan, and it doesn’t help that he is an unrelenting, too-hot-to-be-allowed ex-marine and more intense than she can bear. But her past makes it impossible to get involved with anyone without resurfacing memories of the one fateful night she desperately wants to forget.
 
And when the one man she’d never wanted to lay eyes upon again—the man who had inflicted pain on her worse than anyone could ever imagine, the man who had drained her until there was nothing left—shows up once again, her growing attraction toward the new Lieutenant seems to be the least of her problems…
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
I took a gulp of air bracing myself for what was about to come. Sheryl knocked on the door, and I ran my hands over my dress in an attempt to smooth out the fabric. My need for food nearly made me sick. I hoped my stomach stayed quiet.
Patrick and Davis lifted their heads simultaneously as we entered.
“Patrick,” Sheryl greeted him. Her voice changed to a sweeter tone as she addressed the newcomer. “Lieutenant Davis.”
I stood next to Sheryl but deliberately stopped a foot behind her. Davis looked at Sheryl, but to my surprise, his gaze never went lower than her face despite the amazing view she provided at chest height. He gave her a short nod in greeting, neither overly friendly nor unfriendly. I bit my lower lip. He didn’t seem like a social kind of guy. Was that a good thing or not?
“Ah, yes,” Patrick said, adjusting the knot of his tie before standing up. “Lieutenant Davis, let me introduce you to my best.”
Davis raised his eyebrows appearing surprised that Patrick was referring to two women, and it was only then that his gaze finally fell upon me.
His eyes zoomed in on my face, his stare penetrating me. I automatically held my breath. Then, he raked my body head to toe with one quick but thorough glance. Fast. So fast, I nearly missed it.
My heart did a crazy little jump. Was he checking me out? Why would he do that when a sexy goddess like Sheryl was standing next to me? I suddenly felt very naked, as though he’d just stripped me down to nothing but my underwear with his intense, unwavering stare.
Davis elegantly rose from his chair. He was so intimidating—respect and power pouring from him in waves—I had the urge to avert my eyes, but they appeared to be glued to his. My headache from before was suddenly forgotten.
He stepped around the desk closing the distance between us in a few strides. He towered over me when he stood that close—claiming my comfort zone—his strong neck at my eye level. I bit back the urge to step back. Or was it an impulse to step forward? Confusing.
“Sergeant Jordan Lively,” Patrick introduced me, oblivious to the wordless conversation that the Lieutenant and I were having, although I wasn’t sure what exactly our silent exchange meant. Standing that close, I could make out the color of his eyes that continued to bore into me—deep blue with shades of turquoise that reminded me of the sea’s hue. I remembered seeing that color printed on the old postcards of a tropical island paradise that had been swallowed by a tsunami decades ago. I think it had been called ‘Hawaii’ or something exotic like that.
Simply stunning. Beautiful, drown-worthy, and unique.
His eyes flitted back and forth between mine until stopping to rest on a particular spot. I could read the question on his face. Everyone asked the same question when they met me the first time: Why was there a misshaped little speck of gray next to my left pupil whereas the rest of the eye was a regular green like the right one? I usually gave my standard excuse: Genetic. No one knew the real truth besides me.
As if on cue, Davis’ gaze landed on my scarf most likely wondering why I was even wearing one. Understandable. It was far too hot in here. I was probably the only person in this part of the country who even owned scarves.
“A pleasure to meet you.”
His voice skimmed my senses, an underlying timbre I couldn’t quite decipher swinging with it. The way the word ‘pleasure’ left his mouth sent funny vibrations through my belly. It took me a second to realize that he’d extended his hand to shake mine. I grasped his hand, and I swear I felt a thumb softly caress my skin before he pulled away.
“It’s an honor,” I managed to say before lifting my chin a little higher. I didn’t want him to think he’d intimidated me. He stepped sideways to greet Sheryl long before his slicing gaze left mine.
“And Detective Sheryl Frayman,” Patrick informed.
“Welcome, Lieutenant Davis,” Sheryl greeted him with a strong voice emanating way more confidence.
“Thanks. Nice to meet you.”
Polite. Nothing more. Was I imagining it? I threw a sideways glance at Sheryl expecting to find disappointment on her face, but instead, she smiled after Davis’ eyes found mine again.
My heart rate increased pounding through my eardrums. Damn, it was stifling in here. The air conditioning must have conked out again.
“What are you specialized in?” Davis asked, perching on the office desk and crossing his ankles. Sheryl folded her hands in front of her but didn’t answer. Davis looked at me expectantly. Apparently, the question was meant for me.
“Murder and rape,” I answered. No point in sugar-coating that. I swear I saw his nostrils flare a tiny bit. Yeah. The question wasn’t exactly one people used to reply with ‘Really? What a great thing to do!’
“Why?” he asked. That was a question I couldn’t possibly answer honestly. It would be a, let’s say, extremely heavy topic to discuss during an initial meeting.
“Because it’s so much fun,” I blurted sarcastically, quirking an eyebrow. I regretted my words as soon as they were out of my mouth. What had gotten into me? Must have been the low blood sugar. Sheryl’s head shot in my direction, and I could feel her what-the-fuck-are-you-doing glare on me. I glared back, shrugging. What was an appropriate answer here?
“Jordan!” Patrick exclaimed in shock, but Davis didn’t seem to bother. His expression hadn’t changed in the slightest still deeply lost in analyzing me. His stare made the air around me even more stifling.
He smacked his lips, the movement attracting my attention. I imagined tracing a finger over them which was silly, really. “You’re one of the best in what you’re doing. That only comes with a proper amount of devotion,” he stated, continuing to study me carefully.
We were getting into dangerous terrain. I needed a way out, so I prompted, “You mean the satisfaction I feel when I finally put the bastard behind bars?” In all honesty, I felt immense satisfaction when I took one of them down during an exchange of fire. It was exhilarating, giving me the feeling I’d done the world something good. However, that wouldn’t be the appropriate thing to say if I wanted to stay professional. I always tried to hide my dark side as best as I could.
“Sergeant Lively apprehended over thirty criminals on her own last year,” Patrick threw in, doing his best to cast a positive light on me. “She tends to work alone.”
Davis nodded in acknowledgment, though he seemed distracted. I transferred my weight to my other foot. God, my heels were killing me. And you couldn’t even open a window when you were stuck on the hundredth-something floor! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Elodie lives in the outskirts of Vienna, Austria, with her longtime boyfriend. She is not a native English speaker, but that doesn’t keep her from putting her fantasies on paper in that beautiful language. Never trained as a professional writer, she started writing as a hobby, which quickly grew into an obsession. 

Elodie has an unhealthy addiction to chocolate cookies – which is why she forces herself to go to the gym twice a week – has a weakness for electronic music, and in her spare time she can be found exploring movie databases for the latest DVD releases. 

Additionally, she’s busy with reading and writing and gets easily lost in Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Erotica. In her own works, she likes to create rich dystopian stories which consist of bold heroines, sexy guys, and hot romances. 

Her biggest idol is the British author, Stephanie Hudson, author of the epic saga “Afterlife”. Elodie secretly hopes to get the chance to meet with Stephanie one day, and talk to her about how she created the greatest story ever written. 

The only thing she hates about writing is that she loses all the precious time she could spend reading the hundreds of books that are still on her to-read list.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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review 2017-03-26 18:57
RazorWire by Troy Hallewell
RazorWire: A Post Apocalyptic/Dystopian Western (RazorWire: After Civilization Book 1) - Troy Hallewell

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Rock is an indie wanderer, traveling from place to place trading news and whatever he might have come by in between. He meets Caroline and her powerful father and is given a mission to escort her to the Wall. There her mission will begin as she attempts to find and bring back the last unscathed and powerful remnants of humanity. A tide of warriors is sweeping the land. They don’t trade, they don’t take tribute and submission. Instead, they seem bent on wiping the land clean of inhabitants and Caroline won’t let that happen without a last desperate attempt to push them back. Rock will have to figure out where his loyalties lie.

Basically, this was a Western given a little post-apocalyptic flare. It followed a pretty standard, and, at times, cliched, script. The beginning held a lot of promise and I was rather excited to venture into another destroyed future that was mostly desert and full of folks who have their own agendas. Once they started circling the wagons and shooting at warriors on horseback, I had to roll my eyes a little. This is a Western, which can be fun if a bit tired and worn.

On the plus side, Rock is an interesting character if a bit standard. I always have a thing for those strong silent types that are good in a fight but bad in relationships. Still, I was rooting for him the whole way. Caroline was your standard plucky female wild west woman. She’s beautiful and knows how to shoot but is a bit brash and wants to rebel. Still, she’s dead set on saving her people, if she can, even if it kills her. There were very few women in this story, which might explain why the world hasn’t managed to repopulate itself yet. There’s Caroline (who has plenty of lines), a mysterious female leader of the warrior tribe that is sweeping the land (who has perhaps 3 lines), a little baby girl that gets to be cute and cuddly for a scene or two, and then Rock’s remembrances of his own mother (who has 3 or 4 lines as well). This story could definitely improve with some gender balancing.

I also feel the need to comment on how the invading hoard all seem to be brown skinned, instead of a greater mix of ethnicities as I had been expecting with humanity surviving an apocalyptic event. Perhaps they are akin to a Mongolian tribe or perhaps akin to a Native American tribe. Since we haven’t met any of them individually, other than that brief encounter with one of their female leaders, we don’t know much about them. Still, their feathers, beaded clothing, horse skills, and archery all add to the Western story tone of the book.

Now I am very curious what lies beyond the Wall and why everyone thinks their saviors may be hidden in that direction. After all, no one has survived their journey over the Wall and returned to tell about it. In fact, bones of those who died shortly after traversing the Wall can be seen from it. I think Caroline definitely has her hands full in attempting this quest.

Over all, if you enjoy your standard fare Western and want a little more sprinkled in, then this is a good book for you. For me, it was so-so. It started off promising but the middle was very predictable. The ending has promise for the series with the Wall and beyond.

I received a free copy of this book through Audiobook Jukebox.

Narration: The author performed his own narration of this book. It was mediocre. First, the production quality wasn’t all good but it wasn’t all bad either. The volume goes up and down but never so loud as to blow out your ears. Also, sometimes it sounds a bit tinny and sometimes it’s good and clear. Hallewell does do a good job of keeping each character distinct. However, most of his voices appear to be based off old Western serials, which adds to the whole cliched Western flavor of this book. His female voice for Caroline is OK.

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text 2017-03-26 15:10
Oops!
Stone Cold Bastards - Jake Bible

Caught in the Netgalley snare again!

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