Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer Trilogy #1) by Maggie Stiefvater #YA #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

The dreamers walk among us . . . and so do the dreamed. Those who dream cannot stop dreaming – they can only try to control it. Those who are dreamed cannot have their own lives – they will sleep forever if their dreamers die.

And then there are those who are drawn to the dreamers. To use them. To trap them. To kill them before their dreams destroy us all.

Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. He can pull both curiosities and catastrophes out of his dreams and into his compromised reality.

Jordan Hennessy is a thief. The closer she comes to the dream object she is after, the more inextricably she becomes tied to it.

Carmen Farooq-Lane is a hunter. Her brother was a dreamer . . . and a killer. She has seen what dreaming can do to a person. And she has seen the damage that dreamers can do. But that is nothing compared to the destruction that is about to be unleashed. . . . 

This book.  I waited so long for it.  Ronan Lynch is one of my favorite characters – ever.  When I heard he got his own trilogy?  Ecstatic doesn’t even begin to cover it.

I loved being in Ronan’s world again (Chainsaw, Opal, the farm).  What surprised me was how much I enjoyed Declan.  Make no mistake – Ronan is still my favorite Lynch brother, but Declan made an impression.  There’s more to him than I believed – he has some secrets.  And how can you not love Matthew?

The new characters are complex, flawed, and add so much to the story.  Jordan is probably my favorite for reasons I can’t reveal (spoilers).  The only thing I missed was more of Adam, but the scenes he’s in are powerful and revealing, and I’m feeling like he’ll play a bigger part in the next book.  Tamquam, Alter Idem had my heart dancing.

That ending!  I have so many questions.  Luckily, there are two more books in the series to answer them.  As always, Stiefvater’s writing is like prose, and her imagination astounding.  If you’re not familiar with her Raven Cycle series, run, don’t walk, and get started on the first book.  I strongly recommend reading that series before the Dreamer series.

#TheExpanse, #MarriageStory, and #SubjectA36 excerpt

Wasn’t it just Monday?  Seems like it to me, but here we are again.  Other than blog posts and book reviews, I haven’t been writing.  I owe an interview and a guest post to a couple of people (I’m working on them today, Marcia and Tori!), but nothing on the sequel to Subject A36 yet.  Still, that hasn’t stopped me from thinking about the plot and characters.  Lots of things floating around in my brain.

On recommendations from a friend (thanks, Diana!) and my brother-in-law, I started watching The Expanse on Amazon Prime.  One of the leads, Steven Strait, I remember from Sky High, a cute movie my boys watched years ago.  The story involved a high school for superheroes and their sidekicks, and Strait played Warren Peace (get it?).  I’m about seven episodes in and already hooked.

Hubby was at a work function Saturday night, so I decided to watch Marriage Story on Netflix and see what all the fuss was about.  It’s received numerous award nominations, and I’m a fan of both Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson.  Every one of those nominations is well-deserved.  Both actors turned in powerful, phenomenal performances, and I was captivated.  Watch it if you get a chance.

I’ve got another excerpt from Subject A36 for you today – only a few more weeks until release!  In this scene, two Insurgents were due back from a supply run hours ago, and Asher hasn’t heard from them.  They’ve never deviated from protocol in the past, and Ash has to make a decision on what to do.

It was time to take action.  Just as I was ready to gather a search party, the low growl of a motor reached my ears.  The glow of headlights splashed over me as a truck bounced along the dirt road leading to our compound.  Relief flooded through me.  Paige, Jonah, and I rushed over to meet them.

My relief melted away when I noticed the reckless manner of the driver.  The truck swayed from side to side and changed speeds erratically.  I grabbed Paige’s arm to pull her out of its path just before it jolted to a stop.

The driver remained a mystery until the door flung open and moonlight fell upon Mason’s close-cropped copper hair.  He tumbled from the driver’s seat, gripping the doorframe as he struggled to stay on his feet.  An inky blackness dripped from his hairline and trickled down his face.

Blood.

Images From #SubjectA36 (Colony Series #1) #YA #scifi

Happy Friday!  As promised, below are more images from Subject A36 courtesy of Unsplash and Canva.  This week, I’d like to introduce you to some of the characters.

Starting at the top left is my main character, Asher Solomon.  What can I say about Ash?  He’s suffered some hard losses in his seventeen years – more than anyone his age should ever have to experience.  He’ll sacrifice himself to protect those he cares about and hostages taken by The Colony, but makes it very clear to his team that preserving lives while accomplishing their mission is a priority.

Rescuing hostages and fighting Colony soldiers requires an Insurgent to be in top physical shape.  Quick reflexes and hand-to-hand combat training could be the difference between life and death.  Ash and his team train rigorously several times per week.

The bottom right picture will remain a mystery.  Is it Subject A36?  Another mystery character?  You’ll have to read the book to learn the answer!

Meet Brynn, Asher’s girlfriend and a member of his Insurgent team.  She’s also the sister of Asher’s best friend, Noah (who you’ll meet next week).  Brynn doesn’t do casual relationships, and very few people are granted access to her inner circle.  Earning her trust doesn’t come easily.  Once you’re in, it’s for life, and she loves fiercely and unconditionally.  Asher has a strong need to save everyone, but Brynn keeps him focused on who he can realistically help.

The last image is of the abandoned warehouse that serves as the Insurgent headquarters and home.

Thanks for dropping by to learn a little more about Asher and Brynn’s world.  The link to pre-order Subject A36 is in the sidebar.  Have a great weekend!

 

 

Viral Blues (The Hat #2) by C.S. Boyack #bookreview #superheroes #paranormal

Someone knows about the hat. The creature from another dimension that helps Lizzie fight against the creatures of darkness.

They are summoned to a cryptic meeting with a secret society, where they meet other people with enhanced skills. It turns out someone, or something, has been tampering with the world’s vaccine supply. The goal doesn’t appear to be political or financial, but biblical pestilence.

Can this group of loners come together in time to make a difference when even the proper authorities are obstacles?

Check out Viral Blues, for your dose of paranormal adventure, with a strong sample of dark humor. And in recent superhero style, don’t miss the secret last chapter after the back material.

Avengers Assemble!

Okay – maybe they’re not the real Avengers, but these characters are still a talented team fighting for the same cause, each bringing a different skill set to the table.  Although I wasn’t as familiar with a couple of characters, I’d had such fun reading about Lizzie and the Hat in the first book, knew Lisa (one of my favs) from the author’s blog, and adored Clovis (love his style) and his dog from The Playground.  With such a stellar collection of characters, I had high expectations for this novel – and Boyack didn’t disappoint.  The addition of zombies (I’m a big fan) to the story just made it even better.

With a touch of the paranormal, witty and amusing dialogue, thrilling action scenes, and a cast of lively characters, Viral Blues is a rousing adventure I highly recommend.  Once you’ve finished, you’ll be anxious to check out each character in their previous books.

WWW Wednesdays: What Am I Reading? #amreading

WWW Wednesday is a meme from Sam at Taking On A World Of Words

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I can’t believe it’s been two months since I did a WWW post!  The holidays really kicked my tail and had me running crazy, but it’s time to get back into the habit of posting this every other week.

I’m currently reading The Deep by Alma Katsu.  Anything involving the Titanic has always fascinated me, so I grabbed this one from NetGalley.  Just look at that gorgeous cover!  I’ve only read about ten pages, so I don’t have a good feel for this one yet.

Someone, or something, is haunting the Titanic.

This is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the ship from the moment they set sail: mysterious disappearances, sudden deaths. Now suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone during the four days of the liner’s illustrious maiden voyage, a number of the passengers – including millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, the maid Annie Hebbley and Mark Fletcher – are convinced that something sinister is going on . . . And then, as the world knows, disaster strikes.

Years later and the world is at war. And a survivor of that fateful night, Annie, is working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannic, now refitted as a hospital ship. Plagued by the demons of her doomed first and near fatal journey across the Atlantic, Annie comes across an unconscious soldier she recognises while doing her rounds. It is the young man Mark. And she is convinced that he did not – could not – have survived the sinking of the Titanic . . .

Brilliantly combining fact and fiction, the historical and the horrific, The Deep reveals a chilling truth in an unputdownable narrative full of unnerving moments and with a growing, inexorable sense of foreboding. 

A few days ago I finished Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales.  Such a sweet, charming book with a MC who was genuine, humorous, and a perfect narrator.  Grab this when you have a chance.

SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA meets CLUELESS in this boy-meets-boy spin on Grease

Summer love…gone so fast.

Ollie and Will were meant to be a summer fling—casual, fun, and done. But when Ollie’s aunt’s health takes a turn for the worse and his family decides to stay in North Carolina to take care of her, Ollie lets himself hope this fling can grow to something more. Dreams that are crushed when he sees Will at a school party and finds that the sweet and affectionate (and comfortably queer) guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High.

Will is more than a little shocked to see Ollie the evening of that first day of school. While his summer was spent being very much himself, back at school he’s simply known as one of the varsity basketball guys. Now Will is faced with the biggest challenge of his life: follow his heart and risk his friendships, or stay firmly in the closet and lose what he loves most.

The next book I’ll read is for my book club.  The category this month is A Book You’ve Been Meaning to Read, and my choice is Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman.  The first book in this series, Scythe, was one of my favorites of 2016, and I just bought the third book in November, so I’m really behind.  I’m just hoping to remember what happened, because there’s no way I have time for a re-read.

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen #bookreview #scifi #postapocalyptic #TuesdayBookBlog

How do you start over after the end of the world?

Six years after a global pandemic wiped out most of the planet’s population, the survivors are rebuilding the country, split between self-governing cities, hippie communes and wasteland gangs.

In postapocalyptic San Francisco, former pop star Moira has created a new identity to finally escape her past—until her domineering father launches a sweeping public search to track her down. Desperate for a fresh start herself, jaded event planner Krista navigates the world on behalf of those too traumatized to go outside, determined to help everyone move on—even if they don’t want to. Rob survived the catastrophe with his daughter, Sunny, but lost his wife. When strict government rules threaten to separate parent and child, Rob needs to prove himself worthy in the city’s eyes by connecting with people again.

Krista, Moira, Rob and Sunny are brought together by circumstance, and their lives begin to twine together. But when reports of another outbreak throw the fragile society into panic, the friends are forced to finally face everything that came before—and everything they still stand to lose.

Because sometimes having one person is enough to keep the world going. 

I’m always up for a post-apocalyptic book.  This one is being compared to Station Eleven, a novel I really enjoyed, and I’ve seen some rave reviews for this author’s first book.

Don’t go into this expecting something like a zombie apocalypse or a meteor crashing into Earth.  Much like Station Eleven, it’s a quiet book that focuses more on the journeys of the survivors during the aftermath of a global virus and how they come to terms with their losses.  Everything about this world is plausible – cities struggling to rebuild and restore some degree of normalcy, looting and gangs, groups living in Reclaimed Territories not under government control, and survivors dealing with grief in different ways.

The characters really make the story.  Rob is a single father trying to do right by his young daughter, Sunny, who is on a mission to see her father happy again.  Moira had the most intriguing backstory for me, and is hiding in plain sight after escaping her past.  Then there’s Krista, determined to keep people at a distance and not care about anyone other than her cat.  Each of their stories are riveting and occasionally heartbreaking, and I liked how their lives gradually become intertwined.  The climax of the story is compelling, and I couldn’t read fast enough – I had to know what happened to these characters I’d come to like so much.  Although the ending is slightly uncertain, I was happy with the way the author left things.

If you enjoy character-driven stories that inspire hope in the midst of disaster and loss, I highly recommend A Beginning at the End.  Today is release day, and I’m excited to be a part of the blog tour.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

Author Bio:

Mike Chen is a lifelong writer, from crafting fan fiction as a child to somehow getting paid for words as an adult. He has contributed to major geek websites (The Mary Sue, The Portalist, Tor) and covered the NHL for mainstream media outlets. A member of SFWA and Codex Writers, Mike lives in the Bay Area, where he can be found playing video games and watching Doctor Who with his wife, daughter, and rescue animals. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @mikechenwriter

Social Links:

Author website: https://www.mikechenbooks.com/
Twitter: @mikechenwriter
Instagram: @mikechenwriter
Facebook: @mikechenwriter

Buy Links: 

Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9780778309345_a-beginning-at-the-end.html
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Beginning-at-End-Mike-Chen/dp/0778309347
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-beginning-at-the-end-mike-chen/1131202168
Books-a-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Beginning-End/Mike-Chen/9780778309345?id=7715580291810
IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778309345
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/a-beginning-at-the-end/id1459367026
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-beginning-at-the-end
Google Play: https://books.google.com/books/about/A_Beginning_at_the_End.html?id=nq-RDwAAQBAJ

Greek Food, #YouSeason2, and #SubjectA36 Excerpt

Happy Monday!  Monday is probably the least popular day of the week for most people, but for me, it’s an opportunity to get started on my to-do list for the week.  I’ve mentioned it before, but if that list isn’t plastered to my face, I tend to wander around aimlessly like Dory in Finding Nemo.

Last week hubby and I celebrated our anniversary and his birthday, which is one day before – no way he can forget it, right?  Anyhoo, we went out with friends Saturday night to a local Greek restaurant.  It’s one we frequented several years ago, but then it closed.  Luckily, six years later, it reopened in a new location, and I couldn’t wait to dig into the tzatziki sauce (which I’ve tried to duplicate, with one epic fail after another) and the oozy honey goodness that is baklava again.  Good food and great friends – a fun night for everyone.

I finished the second season of You on Netflix.  It was just as good as the first season – even darker, but completely addictive.  It takes a talented writer to make you loathe nearly everything Joe has done (killing numerous people in his quest for love), and yet somehow you still want him to get his happily ever after.

It’s time for another excerpt from Subject A36!  Last week the ebook preorder wasn’t available, but it’s live now HERE.  To set up the teaser, Asher and Brynn practically grew up together, but their friendship evolved into a romantic relationship in their early teens.  Their relationship was fun to write because they challenge each other, are competitive to a fault, enjoy witty banter, and share an unusually deep bond.  In this scene, they’re considering adding a new member to their team of Insurgents and are observing him while he trains.

The way the other female recruits, and some of the males, looked at Declan made me wonder if he’d be a distraction in the field.  He was a few inches shorter than me, had a muscular build, startling blue eyes, and dark, wavy hair.

My gaze slid in Brynn’s direction to gauge her reaction.  “Well?”

Brynn considered Declan, tracking his movements about the training course.  “He’s a pretty boy, but he’s got the skill set.”

I grinned.  “Prettier than me?”

Brynn stood on her tiptoes, nuzzled my neck, and then whispered in my ear.  “No one’s prettier than you.”

And then I was distracted.  Focus, Ash.