#BlogTour Road Out of Winter by Alison Stine #bookreview #dystopian #apocalyptic #TuesdayBookBlog

In an endless winter, she carries seeds of hope

Wylodine comes from a world of paranoia and poverty—her family grows marijuana illegally, and life has always been a battle. Now she’s been left behind to tend the crop alone. Then spring doesn’t return for the second year in a row, bringing unprecedented extreme winter.

With grow lights stashed in her truck and a pouch of precious seeds, she begins a journey, determined to start over away from Appalachian Ohio. But the icy roads and strangers hidden in the hills are treacherous. After a harrowing encounter with a violent cult, Wylodine and her small group of exiles become a target for its volatile leader. Because she has the most valuable skill in the climate chaos: she can make things grow.

Urgent and poignant, Road Out of Winter is a glimpse of an all-too-possible near future, with a chosen family forged in the face of dystopian collapse. With the gripping suspense of The Road and the lyricism of Station Eleven, Stine’s vision is of a changing world where an unexpected hero searches for a place hope might take root.

Obviously, this is an unusual book description – which is one of the reasons I requested it.  The other is that I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains and was curious to see how a story like this would play out in that area.

Wylodine is a wonderful protagonist – strong, determined, scarred, and soft-hearted.  If you find yourself in an apocalyptic-type of event, you could do worse than hooking your wagon to hers.  Mostly shunned by the community because of her family business, then being practically abandoned by her mother, with the exception of one good friend, she’s alone when everything starts to go off the rails in her town.  In order to survive, going it alone isn’t the best option right now, and she soon comes across people she learns to trust and depend on.  Finding your people is a strong theme in this story – like-minded folks who do what they can to form a community and care for each other.  Tragedy can bring out the best in people, but it also draws power-hungry individuals on the wrong side of the morality scale, and Wil and friends run across some of the worst mankind has to offer.

The abrupt ending took me by surprise – I even wondered if pages were missing – so a sequel may be a possibility.

To say I enjoyed such a dark, heart-breaking, grim story sounds odd, but Road Out of Winter is also well-written, compelling, and hopeful – it would be an excellent book club selection.

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

ALISON STINE lives in the rural Appalachian foothills. A recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), she was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She has written for The Atlantic, The Nation, The Guardian, and many others. She is a contributing editor with the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

Buy Links: 

Harlequin 
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million
Powell’s

Social Links:

Author Website
Twitter: @AlisonStine
Instagram: @AliStineWrites
Goodreads

Blackthorn by Terry Tyler #bookreview #postapocalyptic #dystopian #TuesdayBookBlog

The UK, year 2139

One hundred and fifteen years ago, a mysterious virus wiped out ninety-five per cent of humanity.

Blackthorn, the largest settlement in England, rose from the ashes of the devastated old world. It is a troubled city, where the workers live in crude shacks, and make do with the worst of everything.

It is a city of violent divisions, crime, and an over-populated jail block―until a charismatic traveller has a miraculous vision and promises to bring hope back to the people’s lives.

Blackthorn falls under Ryder Swift’s spell, and the most devoted of all is the governor’s loyal servant, Lieutenant August Hemsley.

Twenty-one-year-old Evie has lived her whole life in the shacks. She and disillusioned guard Byron Lewis are two of a minority who have doubts about Ryder’s message. Can they stand against the beliefs of an entire city?

This book is set within the world of the Project Renova series, but can be read as a standalone.  Backstory regarding what happened in the world during that series is explained so the reader can easily follow along.

Since I’ve read the Project Renova series, I adored the mention of some of those characters – but I also enjoyed meeting these new ones.  Evie is a delight – feisty, independent, and smart.  She doesn’t automatically drink the Koolaid like most of the folks in Blackthorn – she’s skeptical, asks questions, and has a good head on her shoulders.  Female readers will be enraged at the way some women are treated in Blackthorn.  It’s scary to think society could regress to that point after a postapocalyptic event.

This author has a talent for character development, and the story is primarily character-driven.  I enjoyed the changing POVs between Evie, Byron, and Hemsley, whose character arc is especially riveting.  Ryder is charismatic and personable, and perfect to carry out the role he’s been given – but you just never quite trust him.

Blacktorn is a compelling and thought-provoking read I found difficult to put down.  As I mentioned, this is a standalone book, but after finishing it, don’t be suprised if you find yourself purchasing the Project Renova series.

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

The Death Code (Murder Complex #2) by Lindsay Cummings #bookreview #YA #scifi

With short, fast-paced, alternating point-of-view chapters, The Death Code starts several weeks after The Murder Complex ended. Zephyr keeps the secret about Meadow close—that if she dies, The Murder Complex will be destroyed, too. Meadow, desperate to find her brother, father, and little sister, is determined to fearlessly fight to the end, even if it means sacrificing herself and her friends, new and old. The Death Code introduces a memorable cast of secondary characters and delivers a vivid and scary thrill ride read.

The final book in this duology is just as compelling as the first.  Pacing is a strong point – some of the chapters short, others longer, from two different POVs – and moves the story along briskly.  Meadow angered me several times, either because of the way she treated certain people or how selfish she could be occasionally – even by the end, I hadn’t completely forgiven her.

I was reminded of The Hunger Games with some of the challenges these characters face while in the forest.  The author really puts them through some trials and tribulations – be prepared to have your heart twisted and then stomped.

Some reviewers don’t seem to be thrilled with the ending, but I felt like it was appropriate for the characters and their situations.  Not every ending comes with a bow on top.  If you enjoy fast-paced sci-fi thrillers that will leave your head spinning, add this series to your list.

Subject A36 Release Day! #YA #scifi #NewRelease #dystopian

It’s finally here – Subject A36 has been released into the world!  The blog tour continues through tomorrow (schedule below) – make sure to register for the giveaway.  Thanks to all of you who have shared on your social media, commented on blogs, and dropped by to read excerpts and get to know my characters – I appreciate each and every one of you.  It takes a village, and I’d send all of you Valentine’s treats if I could.

I’ll leave you with buy links and one more pic of Asher and his team.

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Black Rose Writing

February 13th

Book Dragons Not Worms (Spotlight) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1
Misty’s Book Space (Review) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com
Rea’s Reads (Review) https://reasreads.wordpress.com/
On the Shelf Reviews (Spotlight) https://ontheshelfreviews.wordpress.com

February 14th

Reads & Reels (Review) http://readsandreels.com
Port Jerricho (Spotlight) http://www.aislynndmerricksson.com
Cocktails & Fairy Tales (Spotlight) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales
Jaunts & Haunts (Review) https://jonathanpongratz.com/
Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

#Subject A36 Blog Tour! #NewRelease #YA #scifi

It’s finally here – release week for Subject A36!  Shannon from R&R Book Tours has arranged a fantastic, week long blog tour.  Along with spotlights, excerpts, character pics, and reviews, there will also be giveaways – a signed copy (US only) and ebook (international).  The schedule is below – hope to see you at some of the stops along the way!

February 10th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com
Sophril Reads (Spotlight) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com
My Bookish Blitz (Review) http://www.mybookishbliss.com
The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

February 11th

Lunarian Press (Spotlight) https://www.lunarianpress.com/
The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com
Tranquil Dreams (Spotlight) https://klling.wordpress.com/
James J. Cudney (Review) https://thisismytruthnow.com/

February 12th

The Bookworm Drinketh (Spotlight) http://thebookwormdrinketh.wordpress.com/
Didi Oviatt (Spotlights) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com
Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://www.tsarinapress.com
Life’s a Novelty (Review) https://lifesanovelty.blogspot.com/

February 13th

Book Dragons Not Worms (Spotlight) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1
Misty’s Book Space (Review) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com
Rea’s Reads (Review) https://reasreads.wordpress.com/
On the Shelf Reviews (Spotlight) https://ontheshelfreviews.wordpress.com

February 14th

Reads & Reels (Review) http://readsandreels.com
Port Jerricho (Spotlight) http://www.aislynndmerricksson.com
Cocktails & Fairy Tales (Spotlight) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales
Jaunts & Haunts (Review) https://jonathanpongratz.com/
Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

Images from #SubjectA36 #newrelease #YA #scifi

I swear the weeks leading up to the Subject A36 release are flying by.  Tomorrow will be February – where did January go?  And I’m still hoping for at least one good snow this winter.  Snow days are perfect for snuggling up with a good book.  Really, anytime is perfect to snuggle up with a book, right?  But now it’s time to delve more into the world of Subject A36.

The top left gives you an idea of how Asher and his team may look in the field.  They’re not always in full gear like this, but sometimes circumstances call for it.

On the right is Asher standing in front of the Insurgent compound.  In addition to field missions, perimeter checks and patrols are 24/7 duties for the operatives.

Then we come to Elijah.  He’s the extra eyes and ears of the Insurgents when they’re in the field.  As a tech genius, he’s yet to meet a security system he can’t hack, and when things have gone sideways for Asher and his team, Elijah has guided them to egress points and helped them avoid Colony soldiers.  As valuable as he is in the tech capacity, Elijah dreams of being a field operative where he can take a more active role in rescuing hostages.

Thanks for dropping by today – have a great weekend, guys!

Images from #SubjectA36 (Colony Series #1) #YA #scifi #newrelease

This week has been a whirlwind – I’d swear it was just Monday.  But now it’s Friday (yay!) and it’s been a productive week, so I can’t complain.  Let’s meet some more characters.

In the upper right corner, we have Paige.  She’s a bit of a mystery to the other Insurgents, even after living and fighting alongside them for the past two years.  Paige is friendly to everyone, but doesn’t share much about her life.  That’s fine with Asher.  He chose her for his Insurgent team because she’s accurate and deadly in the field, and he trusts her with his life.  When Paige isn’t on Asher’s Alpha team missions, you’ll find her serving as backup on a Beta team.  She’s driven to rescue hostages.

Beneath Paige is Subject A36 – who will remain a mystery.

Beside A36 is Noah.  He’s Asher’s best friend, the brother of Brynn, and Controller over his Insurgent sector.  This role requires him to think strategically, plan rescue missions, and get the hostages to safe houses.  Their safety, along with the safety of his people, is his primary concern.  Yes, he’s young, but his father trained and prepared him for this position from a young age.  An incredible amount of responsibility rests on his shoulders, and Noah’s greatest fear is making the wrong decision and disappointing his father.

Subject A36 releases February 13th – click on the cover in the sidebar to preorder!

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.

Seventeen-year-old 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.

Images from Subject A36 (The Colony Series #1) #teaser #YA #scifi #dystopian

Below are some images, courtesy of Unsplash.com, that display the world of Subject A36.  I love it when I come across a picture that completely encompasses the setting as I imagined it for so long in my mind.  I try to collect them before and during the writing process to inspire me.

Starting in the upper left hand corner and moving clockwise, the first picture represents a long hallway in one of the many harvest centers the Insurgents infiltrate to rescue hostages taken against their will by Colony soldiers.  Without the Insurgents, these hostages would die a painful death when coveted genes are stripped from their body.

The next image is the abandoned warehouse that serves as the home for this particular sector of Insurgents.  Staying hidden from The Colony is crucial.  Fortunately, one of the Insurgents is a tech genius who’s come up with a way to evade radar detection.  It’s not much to look at, but for them, it’s home.

Just from the description, you know that scientific labs play an important part in this story.  For some characters, it’s a bigger part of their life than they’d ever imagined.

The bottom left image represents my main charater, Asher, and his team made up of his girlfriend Brynn, Oz, and Paige.  Rescuing hostages and battling Colony soldiers is a deadly business, and the team members trust each other with their lives.

Hope you enjoyed a peek into the world of Subject A36.  Next week I’ll introduce you to some of the characters.  Amazon now has both the ebook and paperback preorders linked HERE.

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.

Seventeen-year-old 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.

Hope by Terry Tyler #bookreview #dystopian #thriller

‘We haven’t elected a Prime Minister, we’ve elected a lifestyle’.

As the fourth decade of the 21st century looms, new PM Guy Morrissey and his fitness guru wife Mona (hashtag MoMo) are hailed as the motivational couple to get the UK #FitForWork, with Mona promising to ‘change the BMI of the nation’.

Lita Stone is an influential blogger and social media addict, who watches as Guy and Mona’s policies become increasingly ruthless. Unemployment and homelessness are out of control. The solution? Vast new compounds all over the country, to house those who can no longer afford to keep a roof over their heads.

These are the Hope Villages, financed by US corporation Nutricorp.

Lita and her flatmates Nick and Kendall feel safe in their cosy cyberspace world. Unaware of how swiftly bad luck can snowball, they suspect little of the danger that awaits the unfortunate, behind the carefully constructed mirage of Hope.

Terry Tyler’s nineteenth published work is a psychological thriller that weaves through the darker side of online life, as the gap between the haves and the have-nots grows ever wider. Whether or not it will mirror a dystopian future that awaits us, we will have to wait and see. 

This novel is classified as a dystopian thriller, but make no mistake, it’s also a horror story simply because it isn’t outside the realm of possibility something like this could happen in the not too distant future.  And that should scare the crap out of anyone.

The new PM, his wife, and family are perfect examples of how social media can be used to manipulate followers/viewers and distort the truth.  As in real life, much of the population buy into what they’re selling, but others are put off by the hype and determined not to drink the Kool-Aid.  Soon, disturbing ramifications of these new policies and laws come to light, and the number of jobless jumps significantly.  Lita and her friends are employed and feeling secure in a shared comfortable flat, believing homelessness and unemployment can’t happen to them.  Until it does.  And it’s terrifying to see how easily it can happen.

Tyler does an outstanding job at portraying the different reactions of three people in identical circumstances – yet, Lita, Nick, and Kendall’s emotions and actions are entirely believable and valid.  I felt their frustration and outrage at the system and the sense of helplessness and lack of control over their own situations.

This was an easy five star read for me, and days after finishing, I was still thinking about it.  With shades of Big Brother and current events, Hope is guaranteed to leave you feeling unnerved.

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

 

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.