Day Zero (Day Zero Duology #1) by Kelly deVos #bookreview #YA #dystopian #scifi

If you’re going through hell…keep going.

Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. She’s an expert on self-heating meal rations, Krav Maga and extracting water from a barrel cactus. Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. Her big plans include making it to level 99 in her favorite MMORPG and spending the weekend with her new hunky stepbrother, Toby.

But all that disaster training comes in handy when an explosion traps her in a burning building. Stuck leading her headstrong stepsister, MacKenna, and her precocious little brother, Charles, to safety, Jinx gets them out alive only to discover the explosion is part of a pattern of violence erupting all over the country. Even worse, Jinx’s dad stands accused of triggering the chaos.

In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings find Toby and make a break for Mexico. With seemingly the whole world working against them, they’ve got to get along and search for the truth about the attacks—and about each other. But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for?

Warning:  Only read this book if you have several uninterrupted hours.  Otherwise, you’ll forget or ignore everything else requiring your attention.

It all starts out normal enough with Jinx and her stepsister picking up her brother after school and stopping for an errand before going home.  Minutes after, life will never be the same for them.  Political unrest (eerily similar to our current political climate), a rigged election, a country torn apart by differing viewpoints, doomsday prep, twists that jump out of nowhere – I flew through this book in two days.  These characters are on the run almost immediately, and there’s rarely any downtime.  Jinx’s father, “Dr. Doomsday”, had prepared her and Charles (the adorable younger brother you just want to hug) so well, I was tempted to write down and laminate his rules for survival and stick it on my fridge.

Jinx and MacKenna’s character arcs are fantastic.  When pushed to unfathomable limits, they discover what they’re capable of and the lengths they’re willing to go to survive.  The relationships between the siblings and step-siblings is done extremely well.  Something I missed was a bit more explanation on the connection between Navarro and Jinx, but maybe it’s something that will be expanded on in the next book.

Day Zero is a thrilling whirlwind of intrigue that grabs hold of you from the first page.  The next book can’t be released soon enough for me.

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

Author Bio: KELLY DEVOS is from Gilbert, Arizona, where she lives with her high school sweetheart husband, amazing teen daughter and superhero dog, Cocoa. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. When not reading or writing, Kelly can typically be found with a mocha in hand, bingeing the latest TV shows and adding to her ever-growing sticker collection. Her debut novel, Fat Girl on a Plane, named one of the “50 Best Summer Reads of All Time” by Reader’s Digest magazine, is available now from HarperCollins. Kelly’s work has been featured in the New York Times as well as on Salon, Vulture and Bustle.

 

 

The Gate (Astral Conspiracy #1) by D.L. Cross #bookreview #scifi #aliens #TuesdayBookBlog

He lost his job. He lost his girl. Now it’s all he can do not to lose his life.

Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs – he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously.

Until an alien armada targets Earth.

Now Landon’s in high demand – by the US government and someone far more sinister.

They race across two continents to the Gate of the Gods, the one place on Earth that might give humans an advantage over the aliens. But no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

And not everyone will make it out alive.

Fans of action, intrigue, and aliens will love The Gate, the first book in the Astral Conspiracy series. 

Being a sci-fi fan, especially of The X-Files, this book immediately appealed to me.  And look at that striking cover!  It was a must read.

Professor Landon Thorne is having a seriously crappy day after losing his job, his girlfriend, and then being kidnapped and held at gunpoint multiple times.  On the other hand, his theories about aliens, previously panned by experts in the field, may be proven right.  So there’s that.

With double crosses, questionable motivations, and government coverups, it’s hard to know who to trust or what to believe.  Some of the characters are so unlikeable (I’m looking at you, Nadia), you yearn for them to be put in their place.  Or sent to the aliens as a welcoming committee to determine if their intentions are naughty or nice in hopes of sparing the more likeable characters.

I enjoyed the multiple viewpoints and witty dialogue, and the conversations between Tasha and Father Tomas are exceptionally thought-provoking from a religious aspect.

With a mix of archeology, ancient civilizations, and the threat of invasion, The Gate is an intriguing, action-packed read.  I can’t wait for the next book.  Bring on the aliens!

A #BookReview of The Gemini Connection #YA #scifi

Author and songwriter Kevin Cooper posted a wonderful review of The Gemini Connection yesterday that still has me celebrating. Click below to read it. While you’re there, make sure to check out his books, music, and to get you in the holiday mood, his single release of Christmas Time!

Author Kevin Cooper

The Gemini Connectionis a story filled with adventure, beautiful deep connections, and fascinating suspense.” –With Love for Book

Planet Tage is dying, and the best hope of saving it is gone.

Seventeen-year-old identical twins Evan and Simon share an extraordinary bond, a trait that’s both useful and invasive. They use their connection in their work at Scientific Innovations. Evan is a Mindbender, someone who enters the minds of scientists to spark ideas, join thoughts, and battle nightmares. Simon is a science prodigy and Tage’s best chance of survival.

Unfortunately, their unusual link often bleeds into their private lives. When Evan discovers his brother is keeping a secret from him, he lashes out and ignores requests to talk, and even pleas for help. By the time Evan tunes back in, he finds their connection severed and Simon missing.

He suffers a terrible case of survivor’s guilt. Moreover, he’s…

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The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss#1) by London Shah #bookreview #YA #scifi

Hope had abandoned them to the wrath of all the waters.

At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean’s surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.

Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father’s been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he’s innocent, and all she’s interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.

When she’s picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.

Now, she’ll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture–and her father might be lost forever. 

The totally stunning cover and concept of humans living at the bottom of the ocean made this a must read for me.

From the watercraft and underwater homes to the sea creatures, the world-building is magnificent.  When Leyla pilots her submersible around London landmarks and during the thrilling marathon, the imagery is outstanding.  And the conflict!  One roadblock after another is thrown into the mix, and nothing comes easy in her quest to find her father.  She’s a brave and determined protagonist, but makes some questionable decisions at times before thinking things through.  Ari is a man of mystery and caution, but a perfect balance to Leyla’s overly trusting nature.  Leila’s world is brimming with mystery and political undercurrents, and she’s forced to question many of her beliefs and things she’s been told.  And that cliffhanger will steal your breath away!

Although the pacing wavers here and there, I enjoyed this highly creative, underwater adventure and will be anxiously anticipating the next book in the series.  Add this one to your TBR!

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

 

WWW Wednesday: 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’m currently reading Blood Heir (Blood Heir #1) by Amelie Wen Zhao.  This book underwent some controversy earlier this year due to sensitivity concerns.  The author pulled the book from publication, made some revisions, and it’s scheduled to be released later this month.  I’m nearly halfway through and captivated by the world-building and Ana’s quest to clear her name for her father’s murder.

This hot debut is the first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to clear her name for her father’s murder.

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

Over the weekend, I finished Reverie by Ryan La Sala.  Judging by other reviews, this is either a love it or hate it type of novel.  For me, it was a love.  Upon finishing the book, you may feel like you just finished a psychedelic trip on a bizarre carousel.

Inception meets The Magicians in the most imaginative YA debut of the year!

All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember how he got there, what happened after, and why his life seems so different now. And it’s not just Kane who’s different, the world feels off, reality itself seems different.

As Kane pieces together clues, three almost-strangers claim to be his friends and the only people who can truly tell him what’s going on. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere—the gym warps into a subterranean temple, a historical home nearby blooms into a Victorian romance rife with scandal and sorcery—Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident. And when a sinister force threatens to alter reality for good, they will have to do everything they can to stop it before it unravels everything they know.

This wildly imaginative debut explores what happens when the secret worlds that people hide within themselves come to light.

Next, I’ll read Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer Trilogy #1) by Maggie Stiefvater.  This is a spinoff of The Raven Cycle and one of my most anticipated reads this year.  I can’t wait to immerse myself in this world again.  Ronan Lynch is hands down one of the best characters I’ve come across in YA fiction.

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. . . .

The Last Christmas: A Repairman Jack Novel by F. Paul Wilson #bookreview #supernatural #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Jack is back.

Wilson never said he was through with Repairman Jack. He said he was through turning in a new novel every year. He also said when a story came along that was right for Jack, he’d write it.

The Last Christmas is that story.

It’s late December between Ground Zero and Fatal Error, a winter of discontent for Jack who’s perhaps spending too much time hanging at Julio’s. An old contact, Edward Burkes, convinces him to take on a missing-person fix. As usual, nothing is as it seems, and the missing person isn’t exactly a person. In fact, it’s like nothing anyone has ever seen.

And in the middle of all this, the mysterious Madame de Medici hires him to safeguard a valuable object. Simple, right?

Not even close.

Yep, Jack is back and, as usual, weird trouble is on his heels.

Many years ago, a friend loaned me Conspiracies, the third Repairman Jack novel. I was immediately hooked and scrambled to read the first two in the series.  Since then, I’ve remained a loyal fan and have read every book, as well as Repairman Jack: The Early Years.  I was distraught when I’d believed the last book of the series had been written a few years ago – so imagine my excitement when I saw a new Jack book on NetGalley!

Repairman Jack is hands down one of the coolest characters I’ve ever read, and it was such a treat to hang out again with him, Abe, Gia, Vicky, Julio, and Parabellum again.  This latest “fix” involves some genetic engineering, but still ties in with the overall arc of the series.  Jack using his powers of “persuasion”, sweet moments with Gia and Vicky, discussions over food with Abe, nail-biting close calls – it’s all here.

This series is classified as horror – not the gore variety – but closer to supernatural occult.  If that’s even a category.  If you enjoy intelligent MCs, otherworldly themes, exciting action sequences, and memorable characters, look no further.  Repairman Jack will always be at the top of my list of favorite books.  Jack is back!

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

#CoverReveal Subject A36 (The Colony Series #1) #YA #scifi #fantasy

A lot of you know how I struggled to name this book.  It was referred to as Book 3 for so long, I wasn’t sure if it would ever have a proper title.  But thanks to Staci Troilo and her perfectly apt suggestion, that day finally came.  Thanks to Black Rose Writing designer, David King, the cover wasn’t quite as difficult to come by.  And today, I’m so excited to reveal it!

If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?

Residents of the Colony would. And do.

Only the Insurgents can stop them.

Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.

He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.

Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.

Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.

I’m loving this cover!  The release date is February 13th, 2020, and paperback copies are available for preorder through Black Rose Writing here.  Use promo code PREORDER2019 for a 15% discount!  I’ll post an update when the ebook preorder is available on Amazon.