Review: The Program (Program #1) by Suzanne Young

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Goodreads Summary:

In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

My Review

The Program has been sitting on my Audible app for a year now. I honestly had completely forgotten about it until about a month ago. The concept of this book is just so surreal and intriguing! Don’t get me wrong, it’s also a beautifully vulnerable premise that had me feeling kind of down while listening to parts of it, but overall, Suzanne Young did a fantastic job!

The Program takes place in a dystopian type world that isn’t quite end of the world status but kind of is at the same time, at least for all young people. Teenage suicide has skyrocketed to such alarming rates, that the US government implements The Program, a “therapy” system that takes depressed teens and wipes their memories to prevent them from killing themselves and then proceeds to send them back out into society! Wow, right?

The story focuses on the couple: Sloane and James, two lovers who find strength in one another in the middle of extremely desolate times. However, just when you think there’s no way these two can crack, things go south fast. This book was entirely different from anything I’ve ever read! The dramatic irony in The Program was through the roof!! I commend Young for taking a character’s narration to a whole new level as the main character evolves in completely mind blowing ways. I sat there listening to this book in the car thinking, how the hell is she [Suzanne Young] gonna swing this?! I started to get angry and mad at the plot, but the way it played out just worked. I felt for the characters and for the human need to feel sad, and how completely OK that is!

By the time I reached the ending, I was left wanting closure for what had happened to these poor characters and could not wait to dip into the second and last book! It’s only a duology folks! Although there are multiple novellas. I am currently listening to book two and really liking it so far! Review to come.

I would most definitely recommend reading The Program if you are looking for a new scifi dystopian read! Buy it on Amazon here! 

Review: Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton

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Goodreads Summary:

Lacy Dawn is a little girl who lives in a magical forest where all the trees love her and she has a space alien friend who adores her and wants to make her queen of the universe. What’s more, all the boys admire her for her beauty and brains. Mommy is very beautiful and Daddy is very smart, and Daddy’s boss loves them all.

Except.

Lacy Dawn, the eleven year old protagonist, perches precariously between the psychosis of childhood and the multiple neuroses of adolescence, buffeted by powerful gusts of budding sexuality and infused with a yearning to escape the grim and brutal life of a rural Appalachian existence. In this world, Daddy is a drunk with severe PTSD, and Mommy is an insecure wraith. The boss is a dodgy lecher, not above leering at the flat chest of an eleven-year-old girl.

Yes, all in one book.

It is a children’s story for adults with a happily ever after ending. 

My Review

Rarity from the Hollow is by far one of the most bizarre and different books I’ve ever come across as a reader. I don’t think you will find anything quite like it anywhere you look. It definitely had me doing a double take as I read through the content.

Lacy Dawn is a unique narrator; not quite a child, but not quite an adult either. Her explanations and perceptions of life are way beyond her years but at her core she is still just a little girl looking for acceptance from her parents and a real future with the “boy” she loves. Rarity from the Hollow began as a juxtaposition of domestic abuse realistic fiction and futuristic scifi, but quickly became wholly and completely a science fiction novel! I have to admit, parts of this book were really hard to follow! There was just so much going on and so much information, it was a little difficult to keep up. However, I was definitely intrigued by the plot all the way through if only for how entirely unpredictable the story was.

I could have never anticipated the direction this book went in! The events essentially did a complete 180! I was also surprised to find myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion at the absurdity of the events! It was all just so ridiculously unheard of and yet somehow I just had to know how it all was going to play out. If you are a science fiction fan I would most definitely recommend you pick up this book, especially if you are looking for something entirely new to experience!

You can buy Rarity from the Hollow on Amazon here, all proceeds go toward the prevention of child abuse!

Blog Tour & Review: The Almost Girl (The Riven Chronicles #1) by Amalie Howard

 

THE ALMOST GIRL BY AMALIE HOWARD- REVIEW AND GUEST POST TOUR

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Synopsis:

17 year-old Riven comes from a world ravaged by a devastating android war, a parallel world to Earth. A Legion General, she is the right hand of the young Prince of Neospes. In Neospes, she has everything: rank, responsibility and respect. But when Prince Cale sends her away to find his long-lost brother, Caden, who has been spirited back to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory. Thrown out of her comfort zone but with the mindset of a soldier and in a race against time to bring Caden home, Riven has to learn how to be a girl in a realm that is the opposite of what she knows. Will Riven be able to find the strength to defy her very nature? Or will she become the monstrous soldier she was designed to be?

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BUY LINKS: 

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My Review

The Almost Girl will take you on a fantastic journey across universes all the while unveiling epic plot twists, keeping you on your seat all the way!

I most definitely enjoyed The Almost Girl, it’s very rare that I come across books on parallel universes and especially for this particular genre. It was unique and gripping and kept my attention all the way through. I loved Riven, she was strong and courageous and a total badass in every way. Granted her male counterpart could have been a little bit more of a stronger character but I don’t think that was the author’s goal.Riven’s past was so heavy and clouded from the audience for most the  book which definitely got frustrating and a little confusing at times but it added to the mystery of the story over all. I loved seeing her evolve into a more relatable character.

The plot reveals in this book were endless and kept me glued to the pages. Although I kind of wish some things weren’t as rushed as they were toward the end, I was pleased overall with the way things turned out and am more than ready for book two! The ending left me feeling all kinds of emotions and I look forward to seeing what’s in store for Riven! I would most definitely recommend you read this book if you’re a science fiction fan and in need of a hot new read!

 

Character Inspiration & Dream Cast for The Almost Girl

When I was initially doing the character study for Riven (whose name means ripped apart), I knew that I wanted her to be fierce. After all, she becomes a General of an army at fourteen and she comes from a very tough universe, so she has to be the result of that. In Neospes, there’s no room for softness and emotion. Those are the things that can get you killed. As a result, Riven is the perfect product of her environment. She’s a very intense character. I needed her to be powerful, highly skilled, focused, and mature.

My inspiration for Riven’s character came from a few different sources. The first was Max from Dark Angel TV series. I loved the fact that Max was so capable and fierce, but was also so guarded. I wanted my character to be similar—especially as she navigates the new terrain of a parallel universe that is the complete opposite to her own. Like Max, Riven has to learn how to trust and how to love while still being strong and lethal. My second source of inspiration was Leeloo from the movie The Fifth Element, one of my all time favs (and yes, I know I’m a total nerd). I love that scene where Leeloo takes out the Mangalores singlehandedly. She, like Max, is fierce, but in a different way. She’s built to be the Earth’s defender—the fifth element—and she has to learn about who we are as humans before she’s able to do the job she was created to do. I liked her inner fragility when it came to learning about love, and I wanted Riven to have the same sort of feel—hard and unapproachable on the outside, yet soft and curious on the inside. Last but not least, there’s definitely some Ellen Ripley in there, but it’s the Ripley from Alien Resurrection, where she has inherited some of the alien traits. She’s so awesome during that basketball scene in the mess hall on the ship. I loved her innate confidence and unflappable nature. I wanted Riven to have some of those qualities. Highly trained, she knows who she is and what she can do.

Like all of these amazing, multi-faceted heroines, I wanted to create a dynamic character who is forced to question everything she is and everything she knows. A soldier first, Riven is hard on the outside but still vulnerable on the inside—I wanted readers to relate to her struggle throughout the novel to let go of all her rules and be a girl. We build so many walls to keep from being hurt that we don’t allow ourselves to connect with others. As a character, Riven has to dig down deep to embrace her emotions against everything she has been taught. In the end, is she brave enough to learn how to trust her heart? Will she always be the tough, invulnerable soldier? Or will she find a balance between the two?

DREAM CAST

RIVEN – Astrid Berges OR Imogen Poots

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CADEN – Brenton Thwaites or Nicholas Hoult

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SHAE – Sienna Guillory
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AURELA – Charlize Theron

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Riven’s Father – Michael Fassbender

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Era Taylor – Famke Janssen

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PRAISE FOR THE ALMOST GIRL:

“A high-octane thriller. SF and dystopia fans will be right at home with this book and its fierce, capable heroine.” ~ Publishers Weekly

“Amalie Howard writes a fast paced and thrilling story with a kick butt, authentic heroine and a brilliantly crafted world.“ ~ Eve Silver, author of Rush

“The Almost Girl is a feminist tour de force. It is filled with powerful, interesting female characters. Riven is one of my favorite fictional characters ever; she is fierce, passionate, funny and smart. This sexy, fast-paced story is impossible to put down. A must read! Fans of Divergent will love it!“  ~ Kim Purcell, author of Trafficked

“A riveting union of science fiction thriller, romance, family drama, and conspiracy theory, The Almost Girl had me wishing I could crawl inside the pages and join Riven on her epic journey between parallel worlds. Amalie Howard’s writing is sharp and smart. I’m definitely craving the next installment!” ~ Page Morgan, author of The Beautiful & The Cursed

About Amalie:

Amalie-Headshot1-233x300AMALIE HOWARD grew up on a small Caribbean island (Trinidad & Tobago) where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. 25 countries, surfing with sharks and several tattoos later, she has traded in bungee jumping in China for writing the adventures she imagines instead. She isn’t entirely convinced which takes more guts.

An aspiring writer from a young age, Amalie’s poem “The Candle,” written at age twelve, was published in a University of Warwick journal. At fifteen, she was a recipient of a Royal Commonwealth Society Essay Award (a global youth writing competition). A Colby College graduate, she completed simultaneous Honors Theses in both French and International Studies, and graduated Summa Cum Laude/Phi Beta Kappa. At Colby, she was cited for research and criticism in Raffael Scheck’s article, “German Conservatism and Female Political Activism in the Early Weimar Republic,” and his subsequent book, Mothers of the Nation. She also received a distinction in English Literature from the University of Cambridge (A-levels) as well as a certificate in French Literature from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, France. Traveling the globe, she has worked as a research assistant, marketing representative, teen speaker and global sales executive.

She is the author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Spring 2014 Kid’s INDIE NEXT title. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was a #1 Amazon bestseller and a Seventeen Magazine Summer Read. She is also the co-author of the adult historical romance series, THE LORDS OF ESSEX. As an author of color and a proud supporter of diversity in fiction, her articles on multicultural fiction have appeared in The Portland Book Review and on the popular Diversity in YA blog. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children.

 

Review: Deadly Curiosities (Deadly Curiosities #1) by Gail Z. Martin

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Goodreads Summary:

Cassidy Kincaide owns Trifles & Folly, an antique/curio store and high-end pawn shop in Charleston, South Carolina that is more than what it seems. Dangerous magical and supernatural items sometimes find their way into mortal hands or onto the market, and Cassidy is part of a shadowy Alliance of mortals and mages whose job it is to take those deadly curiosities out of circulation.

Welcome to Trifles & Folly, an antique and curio shop with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670—acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500 year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. When mundane antiques suddenly become magically malicious, it’s time for Cassidy and Sorren to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.

My Review

I was so excited to read Deadly Curiosities! I found this book when the author was sitting outside a book shop at my state’s Renaissance Festival signing her books! (See how nerdy I am?) The author was really cool and nice and her book sounded like it was right up my alley! Unfortunately, my enthusiasm soon waned.

When I first began the story, I got super into it! I felt like I was reading an episode of Supernatural and at any moment Sam and Dean were gonna bust down the door and take out all the ghosts with their shot guns filled with rock salt shells! The characters were varied and had depth and the premise was intriguing and engaging. This lasted for maybe the first 100 pages until it slowly died down so much that I could barely follow the content.

The plot was there, but it was like it was on repeat as far as what actions the characters took to defeat the antagonist. I really liked where the story was initially headed, but once I realized how much the events were being dragged on unnecessarily, I became bored with what I was reading and actually struggled to finish it. I also felt like there was an eventually implied romance between Sorren and Cassidy, but I never got to see anything develop. Which is unfortunate because Sorren was probably one of the most intriguing characters in the book and he didn’t receive nearly as much attention as he should have! I noticed that book two does surround him so there is potential there. However, I doubt I’ll pick up book two, especially since it doesn’t release until December.

Deadly Curiosities was an acceptable supernatural read, but it was more disappointing and much longer than I expected it to be.

You can buy Deadly Curiosities on Amazon here.