A Thousand Fires by Shannon Price #bookreview #YA #contemporary #TuesdayBookBlog

10 Years. 3 Gangs. 1 Girl’s Epic Quest…

Valerie Simons knows the city’s gang wars are dangerous—her own brother was killed by the Boars two years ago. But nothing will sway her from joining the elite and beautiful Herons to avenge his death—a death she feels responsible for.

But when Valerie is recruited by the mysterious Stags, their charismatic and volatile leader Jax promises to help her get revenge. Torn between old love and new loyalty, Valerie fights to stay alive as she races across the streets of San Francisco to finish the mission that got her into the gangs.

Gang wars, revenge, and volatile leaders?  As a Sons of Anarchy fan, I couldn’t wait to read this (even though the gangs aren’t MCs).

First, let me say that it took enormous effort on my part to put down my Kindle while reading this – I was riveted.  Valerie losing her younger brother is a tragic story, and her warring emotions are well-portrayed.  Important topics such as depression, cutting, and talk of suicide are also addressed.  While much of this book is very dark, having a supportive circle of family and friends is emphasized.  The origin of the gangs is explained well, and the Stags fight against gentrification is understandable.  I found myself rooting for them – just maybe not for all the methods used in their fight.

While I felt I knew Valerie and Micah pretty well, when it came to Jax, there were still several blank spaces by the end of the book.  Valerie’s feelings for him seemed to be based on nothing more than his looks and the information he possessed that she wanted.  He’s an interesting character, and I craved more details.  The Westons and their influence were also a gray area for me, and more explanation of their involvement would have helped.

Taking the subject matter into account, don’t expect a unicorns and rainbow-type of ending, but many things are resolved.  With a compelling tale involving themes of family, revenge, betrayal, and grief, this is a fantastic debut novel, and I’ll be looking for future books by this author.

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

 

 

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.

 

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 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.