Tipping Point (Project Renova #1) by Terry Tyler #TuesdayBookBlog #PostApocalyptic @TerryTyler4

‘I didn’t know danger was floating behind us on the breeze as we walked along the beach, seeping in through the windows of our picture postcard life.’

The year is 2024. A new social networking site bursts onto the scene. Private Life promises total privacy, with freebies and financial incentives for all. Across the world, a record number of users sign up.

A deadly virus is discovered in a little known African province, and it’s spreading—fast. The UK announces a countrywide vaccination programme. Members of underground group Unicorn believe the disease to be man-made, and that the people are being fed lies driven by a vast conspiracy.

Vicky Keating’s boyfriend, Dex, is working for Unicorn over two hundred miles away when the first UK outbreak is detected in her home town of Shipden, on the Norfolk coast. The town is placed under military controlled quarantine and, despite official assurances that there is no need for panic, within days the virus is unstoppable.

In London, Travis begins to question the nature of the top secret data analysis project he is working on, while in Newcastle there are scores to be settled…

This is the first book in the Project Renova series; the second, Lindisfarne, is due to be published in September 2017, with the final instalment in the middle of 2018. A collection of outtake short stories, Patient Zero, is in progress, and should be available around December 2017. – Goodreads.com

This is the first book I’ve read by this author and, to my knowledge, the post-apocalyptic genre is a different path for her.  I’m thrilled she decided to branch out, as this is a favorite for me.

With a variety of characters operating on various levels of the ‘Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark’ spectrum, the reader is introduced to those who bury their head in the sand, others who believe it’s a glitch the government will correct and a happy ending will be had by all, people who thrive on total anarchy, and doomsday folks who planned months in advance.  Vicki’s journey is very credible, from disbelief at what’s happening in her world, to eventual acceptance, and how best to survive and protect her daughter.

This is a disturbing story, not only because of the horrific circumstances and gradual breakdown of society, but also, even though an improbable situation, it’s quite believable.  That’s partly because it’s obvious the author did extensive research, but it also just makes sense in a twisted governmental conspiracy type of way.  I especially enjoyed the nods to some of my favorites – 28 Weeks Later, Dawn of the Dead, and The Walking Dead (Eugene!).

This is the first in a series, and I’m very glad I won’t have to wait long for the second book!  I’d highly recommend Tipping Point for post-apocalyptic/dystopian fans.  Get started now before the next book releases in September.

I received a digital ARC from the author.

 

Project Pandora (Assassin Fall #1) by Aden Polydoros #bookreview #TuesdayBookBlog @EntangledTeen @AdenPolydoros @chapterxchapter

Tyler Bennett trusts no one. Just another foster kid bounced from home to home, he’s learned that lesson the hard way. Cue world’s tiniest violin. But when strange things start happening—waking up with bloody knuckles and no memory of the night before or the burner phone he can’t let out of his sight— Tyler starts to wonder if he can even trust himself.

Even stranger, the girl he’s falling for has a burner phone just like his. Finding out what’s really happening only leads to more questions…questions that could get them both killed. It’s not like someone’s kidnapping teens lost in the system and brainwashing them to be assassins or anything, right? And what happens to rogue assets who defy control?

In a race against the clock, they’ll have to uncover the truth behind Project Pandora and take it down—before they’re reactivated. Good thing the program spent millions training them to kick ass…Goodreads.com

With shades of Jason Bourne, morally ambiguous characters, and trained teenage assassins, I absolutely devoured this book in two days.  This is a dark, intense YA read I found difficult to put down.

Although this book is heavy on action, all the characters are captivating and well-developed – but by far, my favorite is Hades.  He’s cunning, dangerous, and untrustworthy, but with such a tragic backstory, I dare you not to like him.  He made the book for me.  I’ve read the author is working on a novella detailing Hades’s past – can’t wait to get my hands on that one.

Told from four POVs, I’d highly recommend this YA sci-fi/thriller to older teens and fans of espionage, conspiracy theories, and psychological thrillers.  Project Pandora knocked it out of the park.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.

You can purchase Project Pandora at:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

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Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson #bookreview #sci-fi

An ingenious new thriller that weaves a path through history, following a race of human-like machines that have been hiding among us for untold centuries, written by the New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse.

Present day: When a young anthropologist specializing in ancient technology uncovers a terrible secret concealed in the workings of a three-hundred-year-old mechanical doll, she is thrown into a hidden world that lurks just under the surface of our own. With her career and her life at stake, June Stefanov will ally with a remarkable traveler who exposes her to a reality she never imagined, as they embark on an around-the-world adventure and discover breathtaking secrets of the past…

Russia, 1725: In the depths of the Kremlin, the tsar’s loyal mechanician brings to life two astonishingly humanlike mechanical beings. Peter and Elena are a brother and sister fallen out of time, possessed with uncanny power, and destined to serve great empires. Struggling to blend into pre-Victorian society, they are pulled into a legendary war that has raged for centuries.

The Clockwork Dynasty seamlessly interweaves past and present, exploring a race of beings designed to live by ironclad principles, yet constantly searching for meaning. As June plunges deeper into their world, her choices will ultimately determine their survival or extermination. Richly-imagined and heart-pounding, Daniel H. Wilson’s novel expertly draws on his robotics and science background, combining exquisitely drawn characters with visionary technology–and riveting action. – Goodreads.com

Do I really need to say how ravishing this cover is?  I’ve read several other books by this author and he has yet to disappoint me.

The chapters alternate between past, present, and various settings in history and reveal how Peter and June are connected.  The history of the avtomats and how they each live by their ‘word’ is intriguing and I would have liked more details, but it looks like there’s a sequel, so I’m assuming the author plans to expand on that in a future book.  With intricate avtomat design descriptions and vivid imagery, the action scenes play out like a movie (especially when June experiences claustrophobia) – and I can easily picture this as a movie.

There’s no doubt I enjoyed Clockwork Dynasty, but I admit the pacing was a bit slow in a few places and I skimmed through some pages.  While Peter’s character was well-developed (I kept forgetting he wasn’t human), June felt a little flat and other than her engineering talents, I knew next to nothing about her.

If you’re familiar with Wilson’s books, you know they tend to revolve around artificial intelligence and robotics, so if that’s your thing, this is your book.  If, however, you’re looking for more of a steampunk feel, the cover is slightly misleading.  In my opinion, this book leans more toward sci-fi.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the digital ARC.

Zero Repeat Forever (The Nahx Invasions #1) by Gabrielle Prendergast #TuesdayBookBlog #YA #SciFi

He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.

Until a human kills her…

Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of the Earth. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance.

Shelter in place.

Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have?

Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.

Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival comes to depend on trusting each other… Goodreads.com

You’ll see this book compared to Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave – and that’s more along the lines of what I was expecting.  But Zero Repeat Forever quickly set itself apart from the standard ‘alien invasion’ novel.

Raven comes from a troubled past and for most of the book, I struggled with liking her, but by the end of the story, she’s undergone quite a metamorphosis, maturing and seeing the world and people in different ways, understanding that things aren’t always as they seem.  On the other hand, Eighth, an alien programmed to kill humans, is lethal, conflicted, defective –  and immediately wormed his way into my heart.  Such outstanding character development.

Even with a variable pace, this didn’t feel like a 500 page book, and I would have loved to read it straight through.  I guessed early on about a reveal at the end, but many questions are left unanswered, especially regarding the Nahx and their motives, which can be a bit frustrating for a reader.

It takes a lot to stir my emotions, but Zero Repeat Forever succeeded, and I most definitely plan on continuing with this series.  A wonderful blend of introspection and action with a strong emotional component – highly recommend.  This book will stick with you long after finishing the last page and is scheduled for publication August 29th, 2017.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.

Return to Royalty (A Gexalatian Tale Series #1) by E. Paige Burks #TuesdayBookBlog #Fantasy

Winner of Draft to Dream 2016 in the YA category.

Nyx Estrella is a princess from Gexalatia, a world on the other side of a portal. Unfortunately, she has no idea. Sent to Lucky, Texas, when she was a baby to protect her from the evil King Paraximus, her biggest concerns are grades and seeing her friends. She has no idea that she possesses magical abilities and that her reality is about to become really strange.

Jet Lamia is a war prisoner, sent from Gexalatia by the queen, Liana Estrella, to bring Nyx back home to the kingdom of Ymber. The portal only opens on the winter solstice, so Jet finds himself trapped on Earth, trying to blend in. Fortunately, he has help in the form of the queen’s chosen assistant, Seth Alvar. But playing well with others has never been one of Jet’s talents.

It is a race against the clock to tell Nyx her true identity and try to train her, while also keeping her alive. Nyx and Jet struggle to defeat the assassins sent to kill them both, while trying not to kill each other. Can this duo put their differences aside and return to Gexalatia? – Goodreads.com

I read this book as part of the Indie Eden Book Club run by author Jessica Scott.  If you’re an Indie Author, check out the Facebook page – indie books are all they review and it’s such fun to have online discussions about what we’ve read.

Return to Royalty is an exciting blend of high fantasy, urban fantasy, action, thrills, and a touch of romance and humor – something for everyone!  Intriguing and skilled world-building is gradually revealed without giving the reader an info dump, although the second book looks to include more details about Gexalatia.

The author has created three-dimensional characters who I sometimes wanted to strangle – but that just adds to their complexity.  The relationship between Jet and Nyx ranges from mutual dislike bordering on hatred at times, to the beginnings of, if not exactly friendship, at least a truce.  So refreshing not to have an ‘insta-love’ relationship.

Return to Royalty is well-paced and compelling – I read it in two days – and would appeal to fantasy fans who enjoy magical worlds and a hint of romance.

Genius: The Con (Genius #2) by Leopoldo Gout #bookreview #YA

Three teen geniuses from diverse backgrounds must work together to stop a vicious warlord, protect their families, and save the world in this fast-paced sequel to Genius: The Game.

ON THE RUN!

Tunde: This fourteen-year-old self-taught engineering genius from Nigeria is in a race against time to save his village from a ruthless warlord.

Painted Wolf: This mysterious sixteen-year-old activist blogger and strategist from China is searching for a way to rescue her father from the corruption he’s inadvertently been caught up in.

Rex: This sixteen-year-old Mexican-American has proven himself to be one of the best programmers in the world, only to be falsely accused of stealing billions of government secrets for the terrorist hacking group Terminal.

Pursued by the police, the FBI, and most dangerous of all, Kiran Biswas, visionary CEO and evil mastermind, three teen geniuses have to move fast and stay low as they race to find a missing brother, stop a vicious warlord, and save the world in Genius: The Con by Leopoldo Gout. – Goodreads.com

Three diverse MCs with their different POVs return for the sequel to Genius:  The Game.  This continues to be an intelligent YA series, with higher stakes this time around for Rex, Tunde, and Painted Wolf, as their families are being threatened.  With a quick pace, clever inventions, and fascinating technology, there’s much to keep you glued to the pages.

Personally, this one didn’t hook me quite as much as the first book.  Although the families of the MCs were threatened, I didn’t get the same sense of urgency or intrigue I had with Genius: The Game, but judging by other reviews, I’m in the minority on this.

I’d recommend this series to those interested in science, technology, and engineering and readers who enjoy wicked smart main characters.  This book is scheduled for publication August 1, 2017.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.