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text 2018-06-25 08:10
Book Blitz - Alpha

Alpha
Jus Accardo
(The Infinity Division #3)
Published by: Entangled: Teen
Publication date: July 3rd 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

“A fun YA sci-fi story with a compelling cast of characters.” —Kirkus Reviews on Infinity

Sera is the obsession of a killer chasing a ghost. G is a soldier with too much blood on his hands.

Dylan lost the only person he ever loved—and will stop at nothing to get her back.

In a whirlwind chase that takes them back to where it all started, Sera, G, and Dylan will have to confront their demons—both physical and mental—and each other, in order to win their freedom.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

 

 

EXCERPT:

 

The rain stopped, and the wind outside had settled, leaving an uncomfortable silence in its wake. I didn’t have a problem with the quiet. I liked it, in fact. But this was something a little different. This was uncomfortable. The kind of stillness that came from forced proximity to someone or something that made your skin itch and your stomach roil. The kind of hush that usually set in right before a devastating storm or a natural disaster.

 

He did this sometimes. Just sat across from me and stared. He usually wouldn’t even say anything. I didn’t think he expected me to say anything, either. He just looked. Sometimes it lasted a few minutes, just long enough to send that chill skittering up and down my spine. Other times it would go on for hours. He’d blink and breathe and fidget, but his eyes…those remained locked on me, his unhealthy mix of sadness and lust and greed and anger crushing me to the point of breathlessness.

 

We were at it again, and I was just about out of patience. It was one thing to have been ripped away from my home, from my life, by that madwoman, Cora Anderson. It was another to have her poke and prod and use me as a science experiment. She’d altered my mind. Made me forget most of my life before the day I woke up a prisoner on the floor of her cold, dank cell. Those things were all bad, but having been “rescued” by this bastard and forced to stay by his side at all times? That was an entirely new level of torture.

 

“You’re thinking about him again, aren’t you?” His tone was acidic and his jaw tight. He had a temper, this guy. I’d seen it multiple times. He’d never done anything more than scream at me, but it was only a matter of time with people like this. I wasn’t sure how I knew that, but I felt it in my bones. Maybe I’d known someone like him at home. Maybe it was just intuition.

 

“Yes,” was all I replied. I found that simple, one-word responses went over the best. Or, more accurately, the worst. When I said too little, he grew agitated. He wanted me to talk to him, yet the things that came out of my mouth weren’t ever what he wanted to hear. I didn’t act like he’d hoped I would, didn’t say the things he longed to hear. Some days he was determined to change me. Others, he was rabid, blaming me for not behaving like myself and demanding that I wake up.

 

Forget that I had no idea who I was.

 

“While it’s not okay, I understand.” He offered me a smile—a small, tentative twitch of his lips and gentle shrug of his shoulders. He was making an effort to be kinder today, going out of his way to speak softer and move slower.

 

That made me even angrier.

 

“You understand? Then my life is complete. All I’ve ever wanted was the understanding of a serial killer.” Even if I hadn’t been thinking about…someone else, I would have lied. The fact that I wasn’t focused on him, and him alone, drove Dylan—my savior, my captor—crazy. But the truth was, I was thinking of him. That other him. How could I not? Even if I didn’t find myself missing him every moment of every day in an almost physical way, I wouldn’t be able to put him out of my mind because he was technically sitting here across from me.

Author Bio:

 

JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather's footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. But at the last minute, she realized her true path lay with fiction, not food.

Jus is the bestselling author of the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.

 

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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review 2018-06-24 23:01
Your Inner Critic Is a Big Jerk
Your Inner Critic Is a Big Jerk: And Other Truths About Being Creative - Danielle Krysa

This was on sale on Audible for 99 cents, so I couldn't resist. 

 

At two hours and forty-three minutes, it's a short, self-help pick-me-up, designed to encourage artists of all sorts to set aside negative internal thoughts about their work and just get back to making stuff.

 

The tone is warm and encouraging, which is precisely what the material calls for.

 

It might be most useful for someone who's just embarking on a creative enterprise, to give them courage, and to force them to stop and think about why they might have negative thoughts about themselves. (Did you receive a negative critique in the past? Did a parent or teacher dismiss your art as a child?)

 

I'm not much of an "exercises" enthusiast (e.g. thirty-day projects, writing prompts, painting prompts), so I wasn't interested in those suggestions.

 

I wish it had been more carefully researched and edited. I don't need it to be a scholarly tome--it's supposed to be light and fun, after all--but a little fact-checking always helps to make a published work feel more authoritative. 

 

1. It did not take Thomas Edison 10,000 attempts to produce a successful lightbulb. This is an often-repeated myth. See the explanation of his trials and errors here. (His lab did apparently conduct thousands of experiments while designing a storage battery.)

 

2. The phrase "working in a vacuum" does not refer to a vacuum cleaner. At first I thought Ms. Krysa was talking about it being dusty and too small inside as a play on words, but she continued the description throughout the chapter. She does understand that the metaphor means "working in isolation," but doesn't seem to realize that the origin of the expression is "a space devoid of matter," not "a machine to suck up dirt." :)

 

3. She asks "What if Leonardo da Vinci had thought painting the Mona Lisa was a waste of time?" In fact, da Vinci is a terrible example if you want to portray a healthy attitude about one's artistic career. He was notorious for not completing commissions, for leaving paintings unfinished for years, and for feeling like an abject failure because of it. He carted the Mona Lisa around with him until his death, rather than present it to the patron who commissioned it.

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review 2018-06-24 18:55
"Desert Dark" by Sonja Stone - abandoned at 51%. I am so not the target audience for this book.
Desert Dark - Sonja Stone

I wanted a lighter side to my "Summer Of Spies" reading so I picked up "Desert Dark", knowing from the publisher's summary that it was a Young Adult adventure book about a sixteen-year-old heroine attending a school for spies.

 

It was the light, fast, slightly simplistic read I'd expected it to be. It started at a run with an attempt on our heroine's life, did a "Three months earlier.." flip followed by an up close and personal murder. Then it slowed down so we could focus on Nadia's experience in attending spy school. 

 

The first indication that this might not be the book for me was how I stumbled over Nadia's reaction to her situation.

 

Day One of her new school she's subjected to an aggressive, invasive "psych eval" that seems more like an interrogation, is finally told the kind of school she's been tricked into signing up for and has been threatened with indefinite detention without charge under the Patriot Act if she tells anyone about it. 

 

Her reaction? "So I really get to work for CIA Black Ops? How cool is that?"

The dissonance felt pulled me out of the story. What kind of sixteen-year-old thinks it's cool to work for an illegal, lethal, organisation that sets itself outside of control by the democratic process in order to kill America's enemies?

 

After that, I struggled to muster the required suspension of disbelief.

As the chapters flew by, I began to see the Spy School as a sort of Hogwarts where everyone is in Slytherin and really proud of it.

 

I should have been caught up in a young Nadia's struggle to thrive in an elite spy school, which has been infiltrated by a double agent who has been told to terminate her in a make-it-look-like-an-accident way because she's perceived as a threat. My attention should have been split between figuring out who the double was (not a simple task as there were so many red herrings the plot stank of fish) and rooting for little miss cute but strong to succeed.

 

Instead, I kept seeing bright children being abused by a government agency that grooms them to be blindly obedient in the name of patriotism and then trains them to kill on command. They even use a psych profile to find the children whose backgrounds make them need to please and went to feel part of something larger than themselves. 

 

If this book had been written by Tom Clancy and set in a madrassah in Pakistan, he'd have shown it to the home of evil bad guys, exploiting children and misusing faith and courage. Setting the school in America doesn't make what's happening in it any more acceptable.

I stuck with the book to the half-way point because I was curious about who the bad guy was but, in the end, I couldn't set my distaste aside.

If you can come to this with a "Clear and Present Danger" for teenagers mindset then this will probably work for you. It was too Through The Looking Glass for me.

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text 2018-06-24 14:07
Reading progress update: I've read 35%.-spy novels are supposed to be "through the looking-glass" but not like this.
Desert Dark - Sonja Stone

I'm suffering from culture shock.

 

I'm in a world where Fox News is not an oxymoron.

 

A spy school that's a sort of Hogwarts where everyone is in Slytherin and really proud of it.

 

I'm supposed to be caught up in a young woman's struggle to thrive in an elite spy school, which has been infiltrated by a double agent who has been told to terminate her in a make-it-look-like-an-accident way because she's perceived as a threat. My attention should be split between figuring out who the double is - so many red herrings the plot stinks of fish - and rooting for little miss cute but nice to succeed.

 

Instead, I'm seeing bright children being abused by the State and manipulated into blind obedience in the name of patriotism and trained to kill on command. If this was written by Patterson and set in Pakistan, the school would be the home of the evil bad guys.

 

Now I'm rubbernecking rather than reading. This is a car wreck I can't look away from.

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text SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-24 08:40
Reading progress update: I've read 334 out of 334 pages.
Final Girls - Riley Sager

Holy fuck this book was crazy and finding out about coop and what happened a pine cottage really wow

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