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

Subject A36 won’t be officially released until February 13th, 2020, but this is your chance to win an ARC before publication!

It’s not hard to enter.  All you need to do is:
1.  Tell me your favorite holiday movie (any holiday) in the comments below.
2.  Add Subject A36 to your Goodreads list HERE.

Entries are open until midnight Wednesday, December 11th, and the winner will be chosen at random and announced Friday, December 13th.  The giveaway will also run on my Facebook page and Instagram @tpolen6.  Good luck!

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.

Ashlords by Scott Reintgen #bookreview #YA #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

Red Rising meets The Scorpio Races in this epic fantasy following three phoenix horse riders–skilled at alchemy–who must compete at The Races–the modern spectacle that has replaced warfare within their empire.

Every year since the Ashlords were gifted phoenix horses by their gods, they’ve raced them. First into battle, then on great hunts, and finally for the pure sport of seeing who rode the fastest. Centuries of blood and fire carved their competition into a more modern spectacle: The Races.

Over the course of a multi-day event, elite riders from clashing cultures vie to be crowned champion. But the modern version of the sport requires more than good riding. Competitors must be skilled at creating and controlling phoenix horses made of ash and alchemy, which are summoned back to life each sunrise with uniquely crafted powers to cover impossible distances and challenges before bursting into flames at sunset. But good alchemy only matters if a rider knows how to defend their phoenix horse at night. Murder is outlawed, but breaking bones and poisoning ashes? That’s all legal and encouraged. 

In this year’s Races, eleven riders will compete, but three of them have more to lose than the rest–a champion’s daughter, a scholarship entrant, and a revolutionary’s son. Who will attain their own dream of glory? Or will they all flame out in defeat?

With comp titles like Red Rising and The Scorpio Races, combined with a stunning cover and intriguing description, I jumped at the invitation to read and review Ashlords.  Being a fan of Reintgen’s Nyxia Triad series, I anticipated an exciting read, but this?  Completely above and beyond my expectations.

Phoenix horses – what an outstanding concept.  Toss in alchemy, a Hunger Games-ish race, gods, spirits, a brewing war, and you’ve got an addictive read.  I have to admit, the world-building overwhelmed me a bit at first, but I settled in by the second chapter.

And the characters!  Three POVs:  Imelda – a talented alchemist and underdog, Adrian – probably the biggest threat to the Ashlords and the face of the rebellion, and Pippa – the daughter of two champions and favorite to win.  Pippa’s POV is in second person, something I haven’t come across in YA fiction.  You may start out rooting for one, but will likely change your mind more than once before it’s over.  Don’t underestimate any of them.

There’s more than the race going on in this novel.  With war, rebellion, and unrest stirring, the next book in this duology promises to be just as compelling.  From nearly the first page, this action-packed, intense plot races (almost literally) to the finish.  I can’t wait for the next book – bring on the next rebirth!

This book is scheduled for publication January 21, 2020.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

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.

 

#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.

The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Michael Vey #1) by Richard Paul Evans #bookreview #YA #fantasy

My name is Michael Vey, and the story I’m about to tell you is strange. Very strange. It’s my story.

To everyone at Meridian High School, Michael Vey is an ordinary fourteen-year-old. In fact, the only thing that seems to set him apart is the fact that he has Tourette’s syndrome. But Michael is anything but ordinary. Michael has special powers. Electric powers.

Michael thinks he’s unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor also has special powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up this way, but their investigation brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric children – and through them the world. Michael will have to rely on his wits, powers, and friends if he’s to survive.

I’ve had this title in my TBR for longer than I can remember, and when the assignment for my book club was to read a novel set in school, I decided it was time pull this one out of the pile.

I loved Michael right away.  He has a lot on his plate – he’s dealing with the loss of his father, his mom is miserable in a job for which she’s overqualified, money is tight, he’s bullied nearly everyday at school, and he has Tourette’s syndrome.  He also has the ability to shock people – not the minor type of shock you’d receive from an electrical outlet – it’s the fatal kind, and he has to hide it.

Michael and his best friend, Ostin (who is smarter than all the characters put together), have unique voices and bring a big dose of humor to the table – especially Ostin.  Even when put in extreme situations and forced to make impossible choices, Michael keeps his wits about him and is a pretty cool customer.  He has the makings of a natural leader – and from the hints at the end, I’m pretty sure book two heads in that direction.

Although an interesting read with enjoyable characters and a bad guy you love to hate, it’s similar to many other superhero origin stories and doesn’t offer anything new or unique.  But I’m still a sucker for this kind of book, and I’ll probably continue with the series at some point.

Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle #1) by Rosaria Munda #bookreview #YA #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

Game of Thrones meets Red Rising in a debut young adult fantasy that’s full of rivalry, romance… and dragons.

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.

From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you’ve chosen.

With comp titles like Red Rising and Game of Thrones, how could you not want to read this book?  I didn’t even care about the rest of the description once I saw those comps.  And let me tell you – they’re spot on.

Conflict always makes for an exciting reading experience, and this book is loaded with it.  The tension is nearly palpable.  My emotions were torn in every direction, and I’m not sure how I’ll last until the next book to find out what happens.  Magnificent world-building with brewing war, clashing views, political intrigue, and dragons psychically bonded to their riders.  Right and wrong aren’t clearly outlined in this world – something I always enjoy.

Lee and Annie are fascinating characters with complicated backgrounds, secrets, and a strong bond forged at a young age when they meet at an orphanage.  Their backstories are devastating and, as dragonriders, they shoulder an enormous amount of responsibility and are required to make incredibly hard decisions that hurt not only themselves, but those they care about.

This book doesn’t underestimate the intelligence of its readers, and is easily a crossover to an adult audience.  Harsh, brutal, thrilling, heartwarming, compelling – all are apt descriptions for Fireborne.  Add this to your TBR today.  You won’t regret it.

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

 

 

The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy #bookreview #YA #fantasy

In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please.

Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, a Craewick practice in which a “criminal’s” memories are sold to the highest bidder before being killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier.

To prove her allegiance to the Shadows and rescue her mother, Etta must steal a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm. So she sets out on a journey in which she faces startling attacks, unexpected romance, and, above all, her own past in order to set things right in her world. 

The fascinating idea of memories being currency, the beautiful cover, and a MC in a perilous situation are what drew me to this book.

While intricate and interesting, the world-building confused me for the most part.  With a lot of moving pieces, sparse details are given about the different realms and types of Gifted.  At the end of the book is a glossary containing descriptions and explanations that would have helped while reading.  I wish it had been at the beginning of the novel instead.

Several twists are revealed at the end of some chapters, and the author did an admirable job at making me read just a little longer in one sitting to see what happened next.  That being said, things seem to fall into place a little too conveniently, which dampened the conflict and intensity for me.  The journey Etta and Reid undertake lasts a good portion of the book, and I assumed this would be the first in a series; however, the pace kicks into overdrive in the last 20% and wraps up the story in a neat bow.

The Memory Thief isn’t a bad read by any means, and several other reviewers have enjoyed it, but the ambiguous world-building and uneven pacing left me scratching my head several times.  Putting the glossary at the beginning of the book would help alleviate much of the confusion.

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