Blog Tour Review and Kindle Fire Giveaway: The Vixen’s Lead by Tate James

 

The Vixen’s Lead by Tate James

Published by: KDP

Publication Date: September 19, 2017

Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Page Count:

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Xpresso Book Tours

Goodreads | Amazon CAN | Amazon US


I want vengeance so badly that I can almost taste it. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. So, I did what any privileged, adopted boarding school girl would do. I slapped on a secret identity and became an internationally renowned thief, known as The Fox. Nobody knows me. Nobody can catch me.

Or so I thought…

It turns out; I have what they want. Special abilities. And trust me, these abilities are coveted–and dangerous. Now, I don’t know who to trust or where to go. Peril lurks on every corner as I try to uncover my past and origin. Teaming up with unlikely allies may be my only chance at survival or my biggest mistake. Only time will tell.

I’m Kit Davenport and this is only the beginning.


I’ve received an eARC for an unbiased and honest review.

“Don’t move from this spot, Vixen. There are some bad sorts in this room, but you’ll be safe here.”

Listen up, paranormal romance fans. Tate James is paving her way, and you had better not miss this series because it’s the next sizzling read you’ve been waiting for.

Hellbent on revenge, Kit Davenport—known as “the Fox,” a renown thief—teams up with her closest friend and fellow foster sister, Lucy. Together, they’ve faced untold pain by the hand of an abusive foster parent. Now, Kit steals from the very men who wronged them. And she hasn’t been caught yet. Until now. When a team of men stops an attempted abduction, Kit must confront her past, trust these men, and figure out how she has developed these abilities.

I’m not going to lie: I love this book, and I’m dying to get my hands on the sequels. I would have finished this in probably two days, but this cold kicked my butt. Nonetheless, I love it! And I recommend it to any PR reader who’s looking for a steamy, dangerous, and insta-lust novel.

Vixen’s Lead is my first reverse harem story. So I’m not accustomed to this type of storyline, but Tate weaves it in naturally. And it doesn’t ruin the overall story; it enhances everything. I also thought that this many characters might detract from the book. However, I fell in love with all of them. I was hoping for a bit more development, though. But the author plans on writing six books for her series, so I can’t hold that issue against her. This debut novel is more plot-driven. Tates adds in horrific backstories, hardened yet fragile (and relatable) characters, and action-packed scenes.

The relationship between Kit and Lucy will melt your heart. Tates gives you real characters who are still fighting their past and somehow working past their pain, albeit slowly. She also throws in sexy banter and steamy chemistry among Kit and these men who work for the Omega Group. I’d suggest you book some time off and prepare yourself for these delectable alpha males because there are plenty, and you don’t want to miss out on a single one.

The paranormal side works as a secondary arc in this novel. It plays a stronger role in the last half of the book and opens up new storylines for future books, so I’m not disappointed that it doesn’t take centre stage. Kit does. She is one of those female leads who will rival my own sarcasm, and I appreciate seeing that in a character like her. Her weakness will speak to many readers looking for believable characters.

I wasn’t sure if I’d like reading this story, but, as you can tell, I was wrong. And I’m glad I am. I cannot wait to read what else is in store for Kit. This suspenseful paranormal romance will make you ask for more.

Be warned that the novel involves several triggers that readers may not be comfortable reading.

 


Author’s Bio

Tate James was born and raised in the Land of the Long White Cloud (New Zealand) but now lives in Australia with her husband, baby and furbaby.
She is a lover of books, red wine, cats and coffee and is not a morning person. She is a bit too sarcastic and swears too much for polite society and definitely tells too many dirty jokes.

Website | Facebook | Instagram

 


Giveaway

I’m excited to announce the giveaway! Enter for your chance to win a Kindle Fire. This contest is open to American and Canadian readers. ENTER HERE.

 


Tour Schedule

Don’t miss out on the other reviews and posts!

December 11th
Rolling with the Moments >> Review
So Few Books >> Interview
Jenea’s Book Obsession >> Review
Meghan’s Mindless Mutterings: Reviews & Giveaways >> Review

December 12th
Rainy Days and Pajamas >> Playlist
C Exley Books >> Excerpt
Loves Great Reads >> Excerpt
Smada’s Book Smack >> Review
Novelties >> Review
Books,Dreams,Life >> Excerpt
Pervy Ladies Books >> Review

December 13th
Jazzy Book Reviews >> Excerpt
Lovely Paranormal Books >> Guest post
Chill and read >> Excerpt
Butterfly-o-Meter Books >> Guest post
Hawthorn Book Reviews >> Review

December 14th
BrizzleLass Books >> Review
Stylish Brunette >> Excerpt
Abooktropolis >> Review
Just Books >> Excerpt
The Avid Reader >> Review
JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder >> Excerpt

December 15th
Book Addict >> Review
Booked J >> Excerpt
tfaulcbookreviews >> Review
Books a Plenty Book Reviews >> Review
Reading for the Stars and Moon >> Review
Book Lovers 4Ever >> Excerpt

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Blog Tour Review: Monsterland by Michael Okon

 

Monsterland by Michael Okon

Published by: WordFire Press

Publication Date: October 13, 2017

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal

Page Count: 214

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Rockstar Book Tours

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | iBooks


Welcome to Monsterland, the scariest place on earth.

When world markets are decimated by a crippling plague, philanthropist, and billionaire businessman, Vincent Konrad decides to place monsters in a theme park setting to promote education and tolerance. Copper Valley is chosen as the primary site for the park in the United States. 

Wyatt Baldwin, a high school senior is dying to go to the opening and when he lands special passes to the park, he and his friends are expecting the experience of a lifetime. 

After all, in a theme park where real zombies, werewolves, and vampires are the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong? 


I’ve received an eARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

 

“The gate loomed before them. The first thing he noticed was the ‘Monsterland’ logo, a large M in the center of the vampire teeth.”

Picture Disneyland with a Jurassic Park twist, and you’ve got Monsterland. This over-the-top thrill ride will appeal to the fantasy and horror lover who is looking for the next unique read. Monsterland amplifies the fear factor, so watch out!

As a plague paralyzes the world, the market, and all the countries, Vincent Konrad, philanthropist and businessman, finds a solution to the ever-growing problem: to build a worldwide theme park teeming with monsters. And Wyatt, who is given passes to attend opening night, cannot wait to walk through the front doors. But what can happen at an amusement park filled with werewolves, zombies, and vampires? Everything.

So I had to read this book when I first heard about it. There was no chance I could pass it up. Come on now. I adore Jurassic Park (and World), and I’m a huge fantasy fan. So I instantly signed up for the book tour. Unfortunately, life got in the way, and I wish I spent more time focusing on the book. However, I enjoyed this intriguing story. Michael doesn’t leave out any beasty that readers have grown to love reading. But he brings a new approach to the horror genre.

What sparks my interest in the book is the backstory. Governments are crumbling when Vincent steps in with his extraordinary scheme. This theme park will bring back the jobs, stabilize the economy, and create a solution to the plague and the other monsters. But it puts into question the rights of these once human beings. Human rights play a strong role in this book, and I enjoyed that a lot.

Monsterland also reminds me of the movie Saw, in the sense that, since we haven’t seen this attraction before, it scares us, and we want more, even though it goes against what we are as a society. We want something that terrifies us, frightens us, and is bigger and flashier, yet we can’t look away. We’ll always want the better scare, no matter the cost.

The strong point in this story is the characters. Wyatt is your typical teen who loves the girl who is dating the school jock. But he must deal with cooperating with his step-dad, brother, weird friends, and the prospect that his life has changed for the worst since his dad died. The relationship between Wyatt and his step-dad, Carter, is strained at best, but you get a real sense of their character development later on in the book. Wyatt’s friends and love interest and the other secondary characters are a lively cast and brighten this dark story. But they don’t take away from the horror.

I feel that Monsterland is somewhat disorganized by the end. A lot of scenes are taking place, and the plot twist throws off the overall storyline. And at times, I felt that the story takes off at a prolonged start and slows down much more than I liked, and I hoped for more action in a few scenes. However, Michael stays true to the story and gives you a horror-filled adventure you’ve been waiting for. He isn’t afraid to bring more dark elements to fantasy.

So if you’re looking for a story that is totally out there and that you haven’t read before, pick up Monsterland. Horror lovers can rejoice in this wild ride.


About the Author

Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.

Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Snapchat

 


Giveaway

Looking for your next scream? Enter win Monsterland! 2 winners will receive a free copy. Only US residents can enter.

 


Tour Schedule

 

Week One

10/30/2017- Owl Always Be Reading– Excerpt

10/30/2017- Abooktropolis– Review

 

10/31/2017- Books, Dreams, Life– Spotlight

10/31/2017- Texan Girl Reads– Review

 

11/1/2017- Reese’s Reviews– Guest Post

11/1/2017- Under the Book Cover– Review

 

11/2/2017- Dazzled by Books– Excerpt

11/2/2017- A Gingerly Review– Review

 

11/3/2017- Twirling Book Princess- Excerpt

11/3/2017- Birdie Bookworm– Review

 

Week Two

11/6/2017- Books at Dawn– Guest Post

11/6/2017- Don’t Judge, Read– Review

 

11/7/2017- BookHounds YA– Interview

11/7/2017- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Review

 

11/8/2017- Savings in Seconds– Spotlight

11/8/2017- Novelties– Review

 

11/9/2017- Sweet Southern Home– Review

11/9/2017- Twisted Book Junkie– Review

 

11/10/2017- Parajunkee– Interview

11/10/2017- The Midnight Society– Review

Blog Tour Review: The Great and the Small by A. T. Balsara

 

The Great and the Small by A. T. Balsara

Published by: Common Deer Press

Publication Date: October 31,2017

Genre: Young Adult

Page Count: 294

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Common Deer Press

Goodreads | Common Deer Press | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


Deep below the market, in the dark tunnels no human knows exist, a war has begun. Lead by the charismatic Beloved Chairman, a colony of rats plots to exterminate the ugly two-legs who have tortured them in labs, crushed them with boots, and looked at them with disgust for as long as anyone can remember. 

When the Chairman’s nephew is injured and a young two-leg nurses him back to health, however, doubt about the war creeps in. Now the colony is split—obey the Chairman and infect the two-legs with the ancient sickness passed down from the Old Ones, or do the unthinkable… 

Rebel. 


I’ve received an eARC for an honest and unbiased review.

 

“Over the mountains and across the sea, there came a terrible scourge…a scourge that would deal death not only to the Old Ones, but to all.”

When I first heard of this YA illustrated novel, I knew I had to sign up for the tour. And I am not disappointed with what I read. This dark, poignant, yet somehow relevant tale will keep you on the edge.

Courtsey of A. T. Balsara and Common Deer Press

Strength is tested, lines are drawn, and a war has begun. As more two-legs (humans) torture rats in labs and see them as nothing more than vermin, the Chairman, the leader of a colony of rats deep underneath the city, conspires to release the old plague that wiped out these evil beings. Their time is now. They can taste their revenge. But doubt seeps into this colony when the Chairman’s nephew, Fin, is wounded, and a two-leg decides to take him in and heal him. Now that act of kindness divides a once united colony.

Andrea, the author, weaves a richly dark tale that speaks to readers of all ages. At first, I wasn’t sure how dark this story will go, but she pushes against the boundary of writing and also incorporates real-life health scares like Ebola and, most recently, the plague. Throughout the book, she shows you the cruel side of our society, yet she then demonstrates our humanity. The contrast between the two is rather jarring but realistic though. How many times have you freaked out over seeing a wild animal, even a rat, but you’re an advocate for animal rights?

Courtesy of A. T. Balsara and Common Deer Press

The Great and the Small is a slow burn. Andrea builds up the story by adding complex layers and characters. But I don’t mind that build up though. It is a character-driven book that needs time to reveal itself to readers. What speaks out among these pages is Fin and Ananda, the teenager who saves him. I adore reading Fin’s story, especially his history, which is heartbreaking. I didn’t know if I could connect with a rat, but the way Andrea writes him just makes you fall in love with this deeply conflicted yet loyal rat. And Ananda represents the essence of real humanity. She doesn’t see a rat and cringe; she sees it as a living being that needs as much protection as anyone else. And while the scenes between these two are short, I relished them.

I was surprised by the level of world building Andrea mixes into her story. She creates such an imaginative and lively underground for her rats. The politics will keep you guessing as well. This world is built on a two-tiered class, which, regardless of what the politicians say, sets each rat apart and divides them. The Chairman, Fin’s uncle, is a cunning, ruthless, yet charismatic antagonist. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the author drew inspiration from dictators we’ve grown to hate. What I love is the anticipation in the book. This atmospheric tone in Great and the Small builds suspense throughout each chapter. And I had to question each character’s decision and action.

Courtesy of A. T. Balsara and Common Deer Press

Typically, you don’t see a lot of illustrations in YA novels. But these drawings bring out the story and enrich it. I enjoyed seeing them. And you don’t usually find a YA with an animal as the main character. However, more authors are testing the limits of genres and book categories. They’re not always limiting their readership based on just an age range. And I appreciate that both the author and the publisher have done just so.

This illustrated novel holds a strong meaning behind it. Sometimes the unlikeliest stories will teach you something or give you perspective on another that you weren’t sure you’d ever find. And The Great and the Small is that book.

 

 

 

 

 

www.commondeerpress.com

www.facebook.com/commondeerpress

@AHerdOfDeer

Blog Tour Interview: The Great and the Small by A. T. Balsara

 

Hi, everyone!

On my second blog tour stop. I interview, A. T. Balsara, the author of The Great and the Small. I want to know why an author stepped away from the traditional route of YA books, which usually don’t include illustrations.

You’ll be surprised what what you find out.

Enjoy!


 

Hello, Andrea! I’m excited to welcome you to my blog. Thank you for taking some time to discuss with me about your book. And I’d love to congratulate you on your book birthday!

 

 

Thank you very much for having me! I really appreciate it!

 

  1. You’ve just recently published a book. Tell us about it.

Sure. The Great & the Small is the story of a colony of rats, led by their charismatic Beloved Leader that has sworn to kill humanity using the bubonic plague. When the Beloved Chairman’s nephew, Fin, gets rescued from certain death by a young “two-leg,” a teenager named Ananda, doubt creeps in about the war. Now Fin must decide: follow his beloved uncle and murder the two-legs, including the one he has grown to love or do the unthinkable…rebel.

 

  1. Your novel is one of the unique stories I’ve heard this year. So why did you choose rats for your protagonists?

They were the ultimate enemy that could bring down humanity. They are smart, can chew through concrete, take down a grown cat, and multiply like…well, rats. They were the carriers of plague-ridden fleas, and were instrumental in killing almost half of Europe’s population during the years of the “Great Mortality.” Humanity does a collective shiver when we think about wild rats running amok.

 

  1. Can you explain your writing and drawing process? What inspired your drawings and writing for this story?

For my writing, I think I’ve always been drawn to Tolkien, and his epic, all or nothing, type of story. I also loved the book Watership Down and loved how the author made you feel as if you were watching the lives of rabbits. I wanted the epic feel of a Lord of the Rings, combined with the intimacy of what it would be like to be this particular animal. It was incredibly interesting to me to write from a rat’s point of view. For the drawings, I wanted something monochromatic, so that it felt like it might be taken from old times. I love adding texture, and layers to the drawings, and used the computer software Corel Painter to do the illustrations.

 

  1. You don’t always see illustrations in YAs. Why did you include them in yours?

I was told that young adults don’t read animal stories, that they don’t do illustrations…blah, blah, blah…in other words, the big publishers didn’t want to take a chance on a story that was outside of their lines of acceptable risk. There is far too much emphasis, nowadays, on staying safe in order to make a sure profit, than on publishing something that pushes boundaries and takes risks. I wrote and illustrated the story I wanted to read. If I had listened to the gatekeepers at the big houses, I would’ve been bored out of my mind.

 

  1. When did you first realize you had to write this book?

I had gotten the seed for this story many years ago when I visited a concentration camp museum. From that moment, there was a burning need inside of me to make a difference, to try to do my part to shine a light. I wrestled with the question of what makes someone capable of doing such heinous acts. In writing this book, I took my question to the next level, and asked, if you were raised in the orbit of one who did such acts, could you save yourself, or were you doomed? The Great & the Small was my attempt to work through those questions, but it was painful. Most of us aren’t devils or saints but fall somewhere in between. It was painful exploring that light—and darkness—within myself.

 

  1. What do you want readers to take away from it?

There are many things. The most important thing is that no one is born evil. So-called “evil” people are made, usually slowly, by the choices they make. Many of us feel we have no choice, that we are helpless within our own lives. Not true. We always have a choice. The Nelson Mandela of the world teaches us that no matter what happens, you have a choice. The other thing I would say, and I will quote Balthazar, a wise old rat in The Great & the Small, on this one: “Seek Truth.” I believe that the truth really will set you free. But it takes soul-searching, and a willingness to deal with our own garbage.

 

  1. What was the most difficult part in creating The Great and the Small?

Persistence. This story took me close to 15 years to write because projects would come up, or opportunities, or life, and I would have to shelve it for years at a time. It was hard to have to dust it off, reread it, realize with horror that it needed a complete rewrite, keep going, and then put it on the back burner…etc. etc.…it was a loooong process. Recently, I came across an old CD from 2012; it had a copy of the manuscript, and was labeled, “final draft.” Seeing that made me burst out laughing. The book has been rewritten a million times since 2012 (okay—not a million; it just feels like a million!!). If I hadn’t loved the story so much, I would have given up a long time ago.

 

 

www.commondeerpress.com

www.facebook.com/commondeerpress

@AHerdOfDeer

Blog Tour Spotlight: The Great and the Small by A. T. Balsara

 

Hi, everyone!

The tour is finally here! I’m excited to announce the release of The Great and the Small, by A. T. Balsara. Ever since I heard of this book, I knew I had to be a part of the tour. A rat struggling with an existential crisis? I’m in.

Check out Common Deer Press’ latest literary treat! The Great and the Small is now available.

 

 

 

The Great and the Small

A. T. Balsara

Publication date: October 31, 2017

Publisher: Common Deer Press

Buy links: Common Deer Press, Indigo, Amazon CAN, Amazon US, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

 

Deep below the market, in the dark tunnels no human knows exist, a war has begun. Lead by the charismatic Beloved Chairman, a colony of rats plots to exterminate the ugly two-legs who have tortured them in labs, crushed them with boots, and looked at them with disgust for as long as anyone can remember.

When the Chairman’s nephew is injured and a young two-leg nurses him back to health, however, doubt about the war creeps in. Now the colony is split—obey the Chairman and infect the two-legs with the ancient sickness passed down from the Old Ones, or do the unthinkable…

Rebel.

 


About the Author

A.T. Balsara lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband. She is the proud mom of two adult daughters, two dogs, two cats, and two hives of bees.

 

She writes and illustrates for young children up to young adults.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

www.commondeerpress.com

www.facebook.com/commondeerpress

@AHerdOfDeer

Blog Tour Review: Haven by Mary Lindsey

 

Haven by Mary Lindsey

Published by: Entangled Publishing

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Page Count: 400

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Rockstar Book Tours

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play Books | Indiebound | iBooks


“We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere, He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.


I’ve received an eARC for an honest review. It doesn’t affect my rating.

 

“I believe we all hide a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

Are you looking for a dark, twisted, and sizzling new YA fantasy? Haven‘s your book. With betrayals, forbidden love, power plays, and family secrets, it will surely keep you up at night as it did with me.

Rain Ryland, a misunderstood teen who can’t get a break in life, becomes an orphan when he loses his mother, who dies unexpectedly. He thinks he has an opportunity for a new start when he finds out he has an aunt, who lives in New Wurzburg, where he meets Friederike “Freddie” Burkhart, who warns him to stay away from her. Unfortunately, this new opportunity comes with a price, but he’s determined to save Freddie, find her father’s killer, and fight for someone who’s worth dying for.

I have to admit. I get an insta-love vibe off of this book, but, don’t let that fool you. Mary plays on that rather well. Haven reminds me of a shape-shaping version of Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. And I love how she doesn’t go with the female POV. It’s strictly Rain’s perspective throughout the entire book. I don’t see that often, so I enjoyed the change. Haven has a few rough edges, like Rain describing Freddie as perfect, but it kept me wanting more, kept me reading long into the night. It’s a refreshing story for anyone who’s looking for a quick read.

What surprises me the most is the backstory of the book. Mary wonderfully creates an intricate world with unique characters and intriguing history. Rain has stumbled upon a town where Weavers (witches) rule, and Watchers (shape-shifters/werewolves) obey. These characters originated from Germany and immigrated to the States when the German witch trials occured. Each character adds to the mystery of the town, which shapes into a character itself.

My favourites, obviously, are Rain and Freddie. Their chemistry is hot and intense and will keep you turning the page. Freddie, the only-female Alpha, refuses to back down, will protect her family and pact, and never runs away from a fight. I love her strong-willed attitude and her vulnerability because of her father’s murder. I’m a sucker for a tortured character, and Rain matches that through and through.

The world building is superb. Mary puts in a new twist in the overused werewolf and witch story. The politics in the world adds layers to this story and creates more mystery and suspense. I wasn’t expecting this kind of political play, but Mary pulls it off nicely. Haven is a fast-paced, intense, and dark adventure any fantasy lover will love to jump into.

 

“It’s said that on a full moon, that power of the earth reaches for the heavens at that one spot, infusing the surrounding area with magic strong enough to change man to beast.”

 


About Mary

Mary Lindsey is a multi award-winning, RITA® nominated author of romance for adults and teens. She lives on an island in the middle of a river. Seriously, she does. When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, two Cairn Terriers, and one husband.

Inexplicably, her favorite animal is the giant anteater and at one point, she had over 200 “pet” Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. The roaches are a long story involving three science-crazed kids and a soft spot for rescue animals. The good news is, the “pet” roaches found a home… somewhere else.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

 


Giveaway

Does Haven sound like your next YA fantasy read? Here’s your chance to win a free copy of it. One winner will receive a finished copy of Haven. Giveaway is for US residents only. ENTER HERE.

 


Tour Schedule

Week One
10/23/2017- Twinning for Books — Review
10/23/2017- Flyleaf Chronicles — Review

10/24/2017- Blushing Bibliophile — Review
10/24/2017- Ex Libris — Review

10/25/2017- Omg Books and More Books — Review
10/25/2017- Novelties — Review

10/26/2017- Deep Dark Feminist Reviews — Review
10/26/2017- Mama Reads Blog — Review

10/27/2017- Kendra Loves Books — Review
10/27/2017- Why I Read — Review

 

Week Two
10/30/2017- Bibliobakes — Review
10/30/2017- Betwixt the Pages — Review

10/31/2017- For the Lover of Books — Review
10/31/2017- Kati’s Bookaholic Rambling Reviews — Review

11/1/2017- Adventures Thru Wonderland — Review
11/1/2017- Tea With Mermaids — Review

11/2/2017- Hauntedbybooks13 — Review
11/2/2017- The Best Books Ever — Review

11/3/2017- Portrait of a Book — Review
11/3/2017- Nerdophiles — Review

Blog Tour Review: Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

 

Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

Published by: Common Deer Press

Publication Date: October 5, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Page Count: 660

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Common Deer Press

Goodreads | Common Deer Press | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


A nanobot superorganism lays waste to the Earth. Is this the apocalypse? Or does the world’s end harbor new beginnings? Life will always find a way. Though some ways are better than others.

Evolution on steroids and crack cocaine–the most significant development since inanimate matter first gave rise to life. You can’t predict novel evolutionary developments, you recognize them only after they emerge.

Then you have to deal with them.


“Immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be”

Stop, take a step back, and marvel at this creation. I want to pick apart Collin’s mind because his writing is beyond what I imagined. Collin takes science fiction and flips it upside down. So get ready, world. Here comes Genesis 2.0.

The last survivors of the human race have been lied to. Now their lives have changed, and they must learn to live in a world they don’t understand. Problem is that Brian, the original human malls operational manager (MOM) and general badass who wreaked havoc in the first instalment, is on the warpath with the self-aware artificial intelligence, Sky, who’s in bit of a hurry to reboot herself, and now the heroes may run out of time to save themselves and their loved ones.

I usually write my reviews within the first day or two after reading, but when I finished this book, I had to adjust my thinking, digest what I’ve read, and somehow wrap my head around this impossibly creative world building. Collin adds layer upon layer, and each one is unbelievably complex in its own right. He doesn’t just stick with one arc, whether story or character. He throws in multiple storylines, and somehow, they combine together to make a captivating science fiction story. He makes me want to read that genre.

At first, Collins throws you in a new environment with new characters. Son and his family live in mondoland, the real world outside of the generated realities and the former malls. He, one of the few people to be born after a virus that made everyone sterile, eventually meets up with our favourite characters Cisco and Dee Zu, two tests pilots. And that is where everything goes to hell.

Mondoland, the remnants of our old world, isn’t what MOM, or Sky, made it out to be. No superorganisms are out to kill the rest of the human race. And now since the malls, where the last survivors of humanity lived, are non-operational, and the main characters’ world is completely turned upside down, they must survive in a landscape they’ve never lived in.

Beyond the world building, Collin excels at writing a deeply flawed yet compelling character. Even Sky, the AI, shows her humanity, yet you want to die as much as Brian. But what stands out the most is Cisco and Dee Zu. They lose everything, they realize their lives were built on a lie, and yet they create an incredible bond. I enjoyed reading their scenes, even though they were short. And I’m dying to see how their future plays out in the third novel, which, if you haven’t figured out, I want right now.

I don’t always read science fiction, but I think Collin has convinced me to jump into that world. So here it goes.

Blog Tour Interview: Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

 

Hey everyone!

Guess who’s back on the blog? Collin Piprell! The author of MOM and Genesis 2.0 from the Magic Circles series sat down (digitally) to talk with me about his new book. I’ve been wondering how this insanely thought-up series will go, and finally, we get to find out.

Genesis 2.0 is now available online!

 


Hey, Collin. Welcome back to my blog. I’d like to congratulate you on your latest release, Genesis 2.0!

 

 

  1. You’re on your second novel in your Magic Circles series. Can you explain what’s happening in Genesis 2.0? What are Cisco and your other characters facing?

The book begins with a new character, a young man who negotiates a grueling gauntlet through the terrifying world Outside that we saw in MOM. He eventually encounters survivors of MOM’s cast of characters. Some of these have come to resemble the Olympian gods of old. Cisco himself resembles a hero out of myth, operating in both Aeolia, a virtual realm, and in mondoland, the ruined remnants of the pre-PlagueBot world (real world).

The story involves (1) a titanic contest between our villain-in-chief Brian Finister and the AI that superseded him as MOM (mall operations manager), (2) another contest between the personality alters of the fragmented AI MOM, (3) contests between our young heroes (Cisco, Dee Zu, and Son) and the Olympians (and others), and (4) two different love triangles with all the attendant drama.

 

  1. What surprised me the most is how the former generated reality test pilots don’t know how to survive in the wild (the real world). They’ve lived in malls for most, if not all, of their lives. This dependence on technology smacks you in the face when you read Genesis. Were you hoping for that effect from readers? Is there some message you are hoping to impart?

If there’s a message in that, it’s simply that digital tech and, more so, the qubital tech to come encourages us to outsource our mental faculties to the point we’re in danger of becoming entirely dependent on that technology. (Though Dee Zu and Cisco are uncommonly resourceful, for mallsters, and cope pretty well with losing their qubital umbilicals.)

For a take on the outsourcing theme, you can visit this blog post: “Outsource our minds? What a good idea.” http://www.collinpiprell.com/outsource-our-minds-what-a-good-idea/.

Even without all that, imagine your average modern urbanite reduced to living off the land. Would they have the skills to find food and water, to find adequate shelter or defend themselves against physical threats from animals and other people?

 

  1. Cisco’s (the main character) world has fallen apart. His life is turned upside down at the end of your first book. What is his frame of mind in the sequel? What is he fighting for?

He finds he’s even more in love with the “wet” Dee Zu that he was with the virtual variety. And the Lode has enough of Cisco—enough of the “right stuff,” the properly stressed personal data—that, as he has already proven, he’s capable of ascension as an autonomous ebee to Aeolia, Sky’s qubital alternative to mondoland, or what you refer to above as the “real world.” He wants to ensure that Dee Zu survives long enough the Lode can absorb enough of her data that, should the wet Dee Zu die, she also has this option of a second life in Aeolia.

At the same time, Cisco is co-opted by Sky, serving as her agent in resisting both Brian’s machinations and the attempts of Mildread, one of Sky’s personality alters, to shut down Sky’s Aeolia project.

 

  1. Who or what inspired you to write Brian and Sky (the antagonists)?

Sky, to some limited extent, is a virtual version of the ancient Pygmalion story. A human creation that comes to life in a way that causes people to become infatuated, even sexually embroiled with her. But that’s a real stretch, and is misleading.

Other than that, I wanted an AI with human qualities, at least in part, and discovered a fine source of dramatic conflict between a machine MOM (mall operations manager) who has ascended to self-aware autonomy, and Brian Finister, the megalomaniacal last human MOM, whom she superseded.

 

  1. What was your favourite part in writing Genesis?

I enjoyed writing all its various parts, but maybe I had the most fun with Brian. First of all with his “despatches,” his raving fulminations and attempts to supply a history for a future readership he believes will never exist; and, secondly, with the chapters where his scendent personality fences with the super-intelligent Sky, determined to prevail in the end, no matter how unlikely that outcome appears.

 

  1. Can you give us a glimpse into your third novel, Resurrections?

To reveal the essential theme and plot device would prove a spoiler for readers of Genesis 2.0. The best I can do is say that, underlying MOM and Genesis, we find developments that point towards a game-changing evolutionary emergence. This element is brought to surprising conclusions in Resurrections, and our heroes (including, again, new characters in addition to the old cast) have to cope with these developments, which offer at once huge promise and dire threats for the future.

Blog Tour Spotlight: Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

 

Hey everyone,

This is my first stop on the Genesis 2.0 blog tour! I’ve been curious to see how Collin’s characters have dealt with their lives being turned upside down by a self-aware AI. Genesis 2.0, the sequel in the Magic Circles series, is now available online.

Don’t miss my next two stops tomorrow and Thursday.

But for now, enjoy!

 

Genesis 2.0

Collin Piprell

Publication Date: October 5, 2017

Buy Links: Common Deer Press Website, Amazon CAN, Amazon US, Book Depository, and Barnes & Noble

A nanobot superorganism lays waste to the Earth. Is this the apocalypse? Or does the world’s end harbor new beginnings? Life will always find a way. Though some ways are better than others.

Evolution on steroids and crack cocaine—the most significant development since inanimate matter first gave rise to life. You can’t predict novel evolutionary developments, you recognize them only after they emerge.


About the Author

Collin Piprell is a Canadian writer resident in Thailand. He has also lived in England, where he did graduate work as a Canada Council Doctoral Fellow (later, a Social Sciences and Humanities Fellow) in politics and philosophy at Pembroke College, Oxford; and in Kuwait, where he learned to sail, water-ski and make a credible red wine in plastic garbage bins.

In earlier years, he worked at a wide variety of occupations, including four jobs as a driller and stope leader in mines and tunnels in Ontario and Quebec. In later years he taught writing courses at Thammasat University, Bangkok, freelanced as a writer and editor, and published hundreds of articles on a wide variety of topics (most of these pieces are pre-digital, hence effectively written on the wind). He is also the author of short stories that appeared in Asian anthologies and magazines, as well as five novels (a sixth forthcoming in 2018), a collection of short stories, a collection of occasional pieces, a diving guide to Thailand, another book on diving, and a book on Thailand’s coral reefs. He has also co-authored a book on Thailand’s national parks.

Common Deer Press is publishing the first three novels in his futuristic Magic Circles series.

Collin has another short novel nearly ready to go, something he only reluctantly describes as magic realism. Less nearly ready to go are novels he describes as a series of metaphysical thrillers. Not to mention several Jack Shackaway comic thrillers, follow-ups to Kicking Dogs. He also has a half-finished letter to his grandmother, dated 10 October 1991, saying thanks for the birthday gift.

Website | Facebook | Book Page | Twitter | Goodreads | Reddit | Medium

Blog Tour Review: Unwrap Your Candy by Jesse Miller

 

Unwrap Your Candy by Jesse Miller

Published by: Common Deer Press

Publication Date: September 10, 2017

Genre: Literary Fiction

Page Count: 250

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Common Deer Press

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Publisher’s Website | Book Depository


Thom’s life has a soundtrack. Unseen glass phalluses–thousands of them–whirring softly along conveyer belts on the other side of the factory wall. The snap and splash of eggs against plaster. The scratch-fizz-tang of cigarette lighters being flipped again and again. A thousand throats swallowing a thousand swigs of beer; a thousand sets of lungs choking on a thousand French inhales. Hard fists sinking into soft flesh; soft chunks dropping onto hard sidewalks. Plop-flush-drain repeat. And moonsong, high above, forever calling and calling, “Stud, rub her with the Stud Rubber.” If only it were so simple.


I’ve received an eARC for an honest review. Receiving one doesn’t affect my opinion of this book. I would also like to thank Common Deer Press for sending it.

 

“Barriers are only so effective. Sometimes things just leak through, even if you hold them back.”

You know when a book leaves you speechless, and you’re not sure how to properly express your enjoyment of it? Well, I’m in that particular situation. From the first opening scene, Jesse will show you what he’s made of.

A literary fiction that teeters on hilarity, intelligence, and downright fun, Unwrap Your Candy is a treat for any reader looking for the next unique read. Thom decides to leave his job at a local condom factory, all the while losing his sanity in the process.

Jesse beautifully crafts each sentence and transports you to Thom’s frame of mind. You can’t help but be impressed by the level of detail and precision Jesse puts in his story. I felt as if you might not get that attention in a book about a condom factory worker, but I was wrong. With Jesse’s writing, you see who Thom is as a man who slowly loses his mind.

Jesse’s prose illustrates the passion and ultimately the respect he has for the literary art form. Some constructions are out there, yet you never lose the appreciation for the final product. But don’t think of this book as pretentious. It isn’t. You see the dedication he weaves in each chapter. His lyrical storytelling pulls you this way, then that, and somehow, some way, you come to a satisfying conclusion at the end. And I enjoyed the adventure. It isn’t linear; it isn’t chronological. It’s organic.

One scene that sticks out the most to me is how Thom, whose life is essentially falling apart, consoles a coworker’s widow. I can’t decide why it has, yet it speaks to me, especially when Thom doesn’t quite know how to help this grieving man. And while several characters, like his girlfriend, Samantha, coworkers, and father make appearances, the story itself focuses solely on Thom and his eventual path. Maybe other authors may have developed the secondary characters, but Thom is the main focal point in this literary fiction. And I appreciate that detail to this character.

Jesse isn’t afraid to break the writing mould. So keep a look out for his future books!

 

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