Upgrade by Blake Crouch #bookreview #scifi #thriller #genetics

“You are the next step in human evolution.”

At first, Logan Ramsay isn’t sure if anything’s different. He just feels a little . . . sharper. Better able to concentrate. Better at multitasking. Reading a bit faster, memorizing better, needing less sleep. But before long, he can’t deny it: Something’s happening to his brain. To his body. He’s starting to see the world, and those around him—even those he loves most—in whole new ways.

The truth is, Logan’s genome has been hacked. And there’s a reason he’s been targeted for this upgrade. A reason that goes back decades to the darkest part of his past, and a horrific family legacy. Worse still, what’s happening to him is just the first step in a much larger plan, one that will inflict the same changes on humanity at large—at a terrifying cost.

Because of his new abilities, Logan’s the one person in the world capable of stopping what’s been set in motion. But to have a chance at winning this war, he’ll have to become something other than himself. Maybe even something other than human.

And even as he’s fighting, he can’t help wondering: what if humanity’s only hope for a future really does lie in engineering our own evolution?

Intimate in scale yet epic in scope, Upgrade is an intricately plotted, lightning-fast tale that charts one man’s thrilling transformation, even as it asks us to ponder the limits of our humanity—and our boundless potential.

I may enjoy some of Crouch’s books more than others, but he’s never disappointed me and is easily one of my auto-buy authors. I always know I’m in for a mind-bending, thrill ride of a read.

Logan Ramsay’s genius scientist mother was responsible for the starvation of two hundred million people after an engineered virus went horribly wrong. He was also on the team, and as a way of paying penance, Logan now works for the Gene Protection Agency responsible for policing gene editing. After an explosion at a raid, Logan learns his genome has been hacked. He’s received some kind of genetic upgrade resulting in him being better at, well, everything.

I won’t reveal too much to avoid spoilers, but trust me when I say you’ll feel a lack of intelligence at certain points of this novel. Crouch dives deep into genetic detail, which I didn’t completely understand of course, but I’ve always had an interest in the topic since high school biology. Although much of the science may leave you scratching your head, you’ll get the gist of what’s happening and that’s the important thing. Upgrade may be a sci-fi novel, but it focuses on real world problems and makes points that may keep you up at night.

This would be a perfect book club selection and will spark discussion about what it means to be human, the human genome, and rationality versus emotion. The story requires the reader’s full attention, and you’ll find yourself contemplating some of the ideas within it. I was thrilled at the inclusion of an epilogue, and it presents a highly thought-provoking theory that’s still bouncing around in my head.

I can’t recommend Crouch’s books enough. They’re a must for sci-fi fans, and I can’t wait for his next riveting concept.

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

#BadMoonRising Unwitting (Erica Rosen MD #2) by Deven Greene #thriller #geneticengineering

Today is this author’s first time participating in BMR, and it’s also release day for the second book in her series – congrats! Read on to see how the shower scene in Psycho was nearly a real life experience for her. Welcome Deven Greene!

What urban legend scares you most?

This is the scariest to me, because it’s the most believable and I dreamt about it:

I wake up uncomfortable, freezing cold. Before I open my eyes, I try to move but the pain is too intense. I’m on a hard surface, not in my bed. Something isn’t right—fear takes over me. Finally, I overcome my dread and open my eyes. How did this happen? I’m in a bathtub, almost completely covered by water and melting ice cubes. Streaks of blood are suspended in the water, and overlie some of the remaining ice. On the far edge of the bathtub, leaning against the wall, is a cardboard sign with instructions: “Your kidneys are gone. Get to a hospital immediately.”

Would you rather dunk for apples or carve a Jack o’ lantern?

Believe it or not, I’ve never dunked for apples, but I have carved many a Jack o’ lantern. Nothing elaborate, but it’s fun just the same. I particularly enjoy cutting around the teeth in Jack’s smile. So, I would definitely prefer to carve a Jack o’ lantern.

If you watch horror movies, are you the person who yells at the characters, covers your eyes, or falls asleep?

I’d be yelling at the characters. “Get out of there!” or “Cut it out – well, not literally, I mean stop what you’re doing!” I have to admit, though, I’m not a big fan of horror movies.

Allow me to segue into a true story along the lines of horror. When I was a college student living in the dormitory, I came home late from a date. Almost everyone on the floor was asleep, but I got to talking to a friend of mine. I wanted to take a shower, so we continued talking while I took a shower in one of the many shower stalls. My friend continued to talk to me from outside the shower curtain. We moved from subject to subject, and she asked me if I’d ever seen the movie Psycho. Before I could answer, she asked, “Do you remember the shower scene?” Then she immediately turned off all the lights. It was pitch black, I was in the shower, and I just SCREAMED. I screamed non-stop until I realized I’d been set up. I started laughing then, but for a while there, I was very scared.

Would you and your main character get along?

I would definitely get along with my main character. She’s a doctor, like me, although she is a pediatrician, while I’m a pathologist. She’s more adventuresome than I am, but that would work—she can go on adventures, and I can write about them.

If you could spend the day with another popular author, who would you choose?

I would choose David Sedaris. He is a humorist, and his type of writing is very different from my own. He finds humor in everyday things, and I would like to add more of that to my books. His talent probably wouldn’t rub off on me, but hopefully I could learn something from him.

How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?

My ideal reader is someone who loves the thriller genre and enjoys learning about new things, especially in medical or scientific fields. I include background information on the subject at hand. I aim to give enough detail to make it interesting, but not so much that it becomes tedious.

Dr. Erica Rosen’s world is turned upside down after a suicide bomber explodes amidst a large crowd entering Oracle Park baseball stadium, near her San Francisco home. Many are killed or injured, and police have no leads in solving the case.

Erica becomes involved after a teacher of young autistic men calls her. The teacher believes her students are involved in the bombing but is afraid to contact law enforcement. She reaches out to Erica, who has experience with special needs children.

Erica arrives at the school but finds the police already there and a young autistic man doing a jigsaw puzzle, oblivious to his murdered teacher on the floor. The young man has information about the mastermind behind the bombing but has limited ability to speak. Erica is determined to protect him, prevent further bombings, and find his missing classmates.

Purchase Link

Unwitting (Erica Rosen MD #2)


Barnes & Noble

Unnatural (Erica Rosen MD #1)


Barnes & Noble

Author Bio and Social Media

Fiction writer Deven Greene lives in the San Francisco Bay area. Ever since childhood, Deven has been interested in science.  After working as a biochemist, she went back to school and became a pathologist.  When writing fiction, the author usually incorporates elements of medicine or science. Deven has penned several short stories. Unnatural, Erica Rosen MD Trilogy Book 1 is the first novel the author has published. Her recently completed novel, Unwitting, is the second novel in the trilogy.

Website:  https://www.devengreene.com

Blog:  https://www.devengreene.com/blog

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/dgreenewriter/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/devengreeneauthor/

Twitter:  @DGreeneauthor

Lies and Legacy (Project Gene Assist #3) by Allie Potts #bookreview #scifi #cyberpunk #TuesdayBookBlog

It’s time to finish what they started.

Juliane’s woken to a post-apocalyptic world with no memory of the days leading up to her time in cryogenic suspension. Plagued by guilt, Stephen longs to sleep without being haunted by the faces of those he’s lost. Both are seeking more than answers.

Meanwhile, the defeat of the Watch has created an opportunity for a new world order to step in and take power. On one side, are the Sorcerers, a group of super-humans whose telepathic-like abilities and control over their bodies comes at a terrible price. On the other–an elite squad of genetically modified individuals who are now more beast than man.

Juliane is on a mission to reclaim her legacy.

Stephen is out to save his soul.

Can either stop the upcoming war before it destroys what’s left of humankind? In this struggle for survival of the fittest, they may have to find a way to save themselves first. 

Over two years have passed since I read book two of this series, so I was a little lost in the first few chapters while trying to remember the characters and their relationships to each other.  Once I finished the book, I discovered a character list that would have helped immensely.  Readers – it pays to scan the table of contents first and save yourself some confusion.

Being fascinated by genetic engineering, I’ve enjoyed the premise of this series from the first book.  With a big cliffhanger at the end of book two, I was anxious to see what became of this world and these characters.  With most of them separated, the rotating POVs allowed me to see each of their journeys – especially Stephen’s.  In book two, he’s a naive teen aching for adventure who gets more than he bargains for and learns some unsettling truths about himself.  Although still a somewhat awkward teen, a lot is riding on him, and he’s put into some difficult positions.  His character arc is one of my favorite things about this series.  Juliane’s journey is no less compelling – she’s truly on a mission to set things right.  Another character’s actions surprised me a bit, and I doubted his motivations, but it works for the story.  This is a fitting ending to this story.

With a fascinating premise, creative world-building, and well-drawn characters, this is a series I’d recommend to sci-fi cyberpunk fans.

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

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.

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

Welcome to the last week of meeting the characters and learning more about the world of Subject A36 – the book drops next Thursday!  I mentioned on my FB page I’m excited, but also nervous.  It’s like raising a child, hoping you prepared him for the cold, hard world, and then shoving him out the door with a wish and a prayer that people will be kind to him.

On to meeting our last character.

Meet Oz.  He hasn’t had an easy life.  At the age of ten, he lost his younger twin brothers to The Colony and his parents soon after.  While on his own, he sustained burns in a house fire that left scars on parts of his face and neck.  He keeps his hair long enough to pull over the scars when he’s feeling self-conscious.  Oz fights hard to rescue all hostages, but after losing his brothers, the children hold a special place in his heart.  When they’re brought back to the compound after a rescue, you’ll find Oz telling them stories or giving pony rides on his back.  Kids are occasionally frightened of his disfigurement, but Oz always wins them over.

The house below him is where Asher lived with his family in his early years.  To the left is Oz hanging out at the compound.  For reasons I can’t reveal, he’s got a lot on his mind.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little about my characters over the past several weeks – I know I like talking about them, lol.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!



Calling #NetGalley Reviewers and Bloggers #youngadult #scifi

Subject A36 is available on NetGalley!  If you have an account and would like to read and review it, email me at tpolen6@gmail.com and I’ll send you the widget to download the ebook.

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 #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 #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!