BOOK TOUR: Review: “Ignite the Shadows” by Ingrid Seymour

Ignite the Shadows by Ingrid SeymourA review by Amanda.

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. I would like to thank author Ingrid Seymour for the opportunity to review Ignite The Shadows.

Marci Guerrero has been battling a terrifying illness for most of her life. Her mother calls it epilepsy, although that’s never been diagnosed. Marci secretly suspects that she might be possessed, or worse, insane. When her emotions run high, something inside of Marci tries to take control of her thoughts, her movements, everything. To Marci, it feels like shadows are overtaking her very being. No one knows the depth of Marci’s condition, not even her best friend Xave.

When Marci and Xave run across a diverse group of people who call themselves IgNiTe while spying on Xave’s older brother, Marci has the chance to learn the awful truth about the shadows – they are parasites who have infected at least half of the world. These parasites creep into an unsuspecting human’s brain and take complete control over their “hosts” within days – usually. What makes Marci, and others like her, unique is their ability to resist the takeover. IgNiTe’s enigmatic leader, James, might have the answers that Marci has been hoping for.

To be honest, I was hesitant to start this book. The premise was intriguing, but the potential for disappointment was high. Science fiction, especially for young adults, is a tricky genre. The science has to be plausible and the plot interesting enough to balance it out. Too much scientific explanation can make a story dry, not enough makes it feel inauthentic. Ignite The Shadows managed to find the perfect balance between the two, while giving its characters depth and distinct traits. Romance has its place but does not dominate the plot. Rather, it sneaks up on the reader with small hints here and there. I devoured this book in one sitting and am eagerly awaiting the next one (I’m really hoping there is a next one)!

Rating: 5/5 stars.

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Book & Author details:

 Ignite The Shadows by Ingrid Seymour
(Ignite The Shadows #1)
Published by: HarperVoyager
Publication date: April 23rd 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Marci Guerrero is one of the best teen hackers in Seattle. However, she’d give up all her talents to know she isn’t crazy.

Marci feels possessed by what she perceives as shadowy spectres that take control of her body and make her do crazy things. While spying on the clandestine group known as IgNiTe, she’s confronted by the leader, James McCray. His presence stirs the spectres inside her brain into a maddening frenzy. Her symptoms and ability to control them don’t go unnoticed by James, who soon recruits her and shows her the awful truth.

Half of the world’s population is infected by sentient parasites. They bind themselves to the human brain and replace the pathways for all thoughts and actions. The creatures then morph their hosts into grotesque monsters with extraordinary strengths. Winged, clawed, fanged half-humans become living nightmares. Now Marci wishes she was crazy, because the truth is worse.

She’s infected.

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Ingrid Seymour AUTHOR BIO:

Ingrid Seymour is the author of IGNITE THE SHADOWS (Harper Voyager, April 23rd, 2015). When she’s not writing books, she spends her time working as a software engineer, cooking exotic recipes, hanging out with her family and working out. She writes young adult and new adult fiction in a variety of genres, including Sci-Fi, urban fantasy, romance, paranormal and horror.

Her favorite outings involve a trip to the library or bookstore where she immediately gravitates toward the YA section. She’s an avid reader and fangirl of many amazing books. She is a dreamer and a fighter who believes perseverance and hard work can make dreams come true.

She lives in Birmingham, AL with her husband, two kids and a cat named Mimi.

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Review: “All You Need To Know About Disability Is On STAR TREK” by Ilana S. Lehmann, Ph.D.

All You Need To Know About Disability Is On STAR TREK by Ilana S. LehmannA review by Domoni.

First, I would like to thank the author Ilana S. Lehmann for allowing me to read her book and provide an honest review.

Though the book has a humorous title, it tackles some serious issues and ideas about disability and people’s understanding of it. The author informs us that her aim was to write a book for Star Trek fans living with disabilities, whether it is their own or a family member’s. She warns that people uninterested in Star Trek may not have as much enjoyment in this book. Using scenes and dialog from the Star Trek universe, which included all series and original movies, the author makes comparisons and explains aspects of disabilities and other medical factors and places them in easier to understand scenarios.

I was attracted to this book because of the title. I will honestly admit I was expecting it to be a campy and geeky, yet heartwarming book about people with disabilities. I was surprised when I started reading it that it is a much more serious work. This review was hard for me to put into words as it is not a typical book. After pondering and rereading the entire thing I would more accurately label it a text book. In fact it covers almost the entire scope of issues covered in my medical ethics text book. With the humor and finesse of Kirk, Spock and all of the Star Trek universes companions, some difficult topics were covered with ease.

The first portion of the book covered ethics in the medical profession and if you don’t already understand beneficence and nonmaleficence then I suggest having Google somewhat handy for parts of this book. Moral quandaries are discussed through the use of similar scenes addressed on episodes of Star Trek. Comparisons are made between fiction and history and applied to real life possible situations.

Moving through the book we read about mental health issues, physical disabilities, addiction and developmental delays. All topics are handled rather beautifully with a perfect character or situation. From comparing autistic tendencies to Data or Seven Of Nine’s struggle to understand the crew members they live with, to the lengths Janeway will go to to recharge the ships energy reserves just to be able to power the replicators so she can have her cup of coffee. All topics were beautifully managed with just the right dialogue.

I would not recommend this book to someone based simply on their love of Star Trek, but if you have someone in the medical field with a geeky side, this book would be a great read.

 

My rating: 4 /5 stars.

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BOOK TOUR: Review: The “Earth Reclaimed” Trilogy by Ann Gimpel

Earth Reclaimed Trilogy by Ann GimpelA review by Amanda.

I would like to thank author Ann Gimpel for the opportunity to review all three books in the Earth Reclaimed trilogy: Earth’s Requiem, Earth’s Blood and Earth’s Hope. I was given free copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.

Aislinn’s world ended the day the dark gods announced their presence to the humans of Earth. The six gods killed with impunity and only another race of god-like creatures, called the Old Ones, offer any chance of survival. Unfortunately, their help comes with a heavy cost. The Old Ones are only interested in humans who have an affinity for magic; all others, along with any who refuse to work for them, are killed. Aislinn’s father was killed the day that the dark gods came. Her mother cannot handle his death and is culled by the Old Ones in order to force Aislinn to do their bidding. Three years later, she is doing exactly that, surviving the only way she knows how. Her losses have built a wall around her heart, a wall that seems impenetrable until she meets a talking wolf named Rune and a handsome Hunter named Fionn.

Aislinn allies herself with Rune, Fionn, and Fionn’s Celtic kin in order to save Earth. Despite her efforts to avoid emotional attachments, she finds herself caring about this motley group more than she thought was possible. Now, they are in a race to save the planet from vile, conniving beings.

The first book, Earth’s Requiem, started out moving quickly. Beginning the night that the dark gods appear, it jumped to Aislinn’s involuntary recruitment into the Old Ones army, and then to “present” day. It was written as though the reader had knowledge of the world and events and it took me roughly a third of the book to get a handle on the world-building. Once I had the hang of it, my attention was held fast. Book two, Earth’s Blood, picked up right where book one left off. . The last book, Earth’s Hope, transitions just as smoothly. Each book introduced new characters and backstories. All three books are told in third person and each adds perspective from different characters, which gives the reader access to information they would not get otherwise.

The author built her post-apocalyptic world from existing mythology and included Celtic, Norse, and Greek. The characters were all distinct, flawed, and rich in personality. Aislinn in particular was stubborn and distrustful in the beginning, but those who earned her loyalty had it for good. She was no damsel in distress and insisted on being an equal partner from the start. She clashed with Fionn and his old-fashioned sensibilities quite a bit at first, but refused to give way. I liked this story tremendously, although it did take a little while to draw me in.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

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Review: “Maids of Misfortune” by M. Louisa Locke

Maids of Misfortune by M. Louisa LockeA review by Danielle.

Annie Fuller is a young widow living in 19th century San Francisco. After finally digging herself out of the debt her late husband amassed before committing suicide several years ago, by turning the large old Victorian her aunt left her into a boarding house, she receives a letter from one of her late husband’s more vicious creditors. The letter contains thinly veiled threats to take the boarding house in exchange for settling the debt.

Annie is also leading a double life to supplement her income, as a clairvoyant known around town as Madam Sybil. She specializes in domestic and business advice to set her apart from the other so-called mediums in town, and to be taken seriously. Annie’s favorite client Matthew Voss, a prominent business man in the bay area, is suddenly murdered and all his stock, bonds, and money go missing, unfortunately affecting Annie as well, when it is revealed by Nate Dawson, one of Mr. Voss’ lawyers that Matthew left her a railroad stock which Annie could use to save her boarding house.

Annie and Nate work together to find out who murdered Matthew Voss and stole all of his financial documents. As they get closer to discovering some real evidence, a key witness is murdered, throwing light and suspicion on both Nate and Annie. Now they must race time to find out who the real killer is to stop both their worlds from coming crashing down all around them.

Maids of Misfortune by M. Louisa Locke is an excellent book to read if you are trying to dip your toes into the historical fiction genre. Reading the descriptive settings of 19th century San Francisco was extremely interesting. This is first in the series and I cannot wait to read the second book. M. Louisa Locke does a great job of shifting the suspicion of the killer’s identity to multiple characters rapidly. I was never able to guess who the killer was and what motive they could have had for hiding the financial documents. The suspect pool was just too large and the reason for motive just too vague to fit anyone person in particular.

Annie Fuller and Nate Dawson are also excellent characters, both very strong willed and entertaining to listen to as they banter back and forth while they deny their feelings for each other. Nate is the perfect gentleman and Annie is not the typical demure young girl that was expected back then.  Following both characters as their romance evolves while simultaneously trying to solve a great mystery is incredibly entertaining and makes for a great read.

 

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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BOOK TOUR: Review: “Supervision” by Alison Stine

Supervision by Alison Stine

A review by Amanda.

I received a copy of Supervision for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. I would like to thank author Alison Stine for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Fifteen year old Esmè Wong used to be the first to raise her hand with the correct answer in all of her classes. She was dedicated and worked hard to keep the scholarship that she had earned to a prestigious private school in New York. After the death of their parents, Esmè is raised by her older sister, whom she calls The Firecracker. She becomes disinterested in school and has answered her teachers’ questions incorrectly often enough that her classmates have nicknamed her Miss Wrong. The only person Esmè relates to nowadays is fellow outcast Acid.  When Acid stands her up after school one day, Esmè falls into despair. So when she sees a message spray-painted in a subway tunnel that reads “Acid Loves You” she decides to investigate, putting herself in danger and changing her life forever.

An accident and trouble with the police convince The Firecracker to send Esmè to live with their maternal grandmother in a small town in Pennsylvania. The moment she steps off the train, Esmè’s life is upended. First, her grandmother refuses to acknowledge her existence. Then, her classmates and teachers at her new school ignore her, running into her in the hallways and trying to sit in the seat she’s already occupying. Relief comes when she meets Clara and Tom, neighbors who seem friendly, if a bit strange. It’s not long before Esmè discovers a shocking truth about her new friends, and a century-old mystery that she is determined to solve.

Supervision was a quick, interesting read. The author does a decent job of keeping readers guessing, adding in clues and twists throughout. The story starts out slow, but readers will be drawn into the mystery almost immediately. I enjoyed the storytelling and the setup of the main plotline. The characters’ histories and connections were revealed slowly, and the author used timing and misdirection to her advantage. Parts of the story could have been better fleshed out, and there are supporting characters that I would have loved to know more about. My biggest issue with this book is that Esmè is difficult to like at first. She is resentful, sullen, and fits the “stereotypical” teenager a bit too well. In fact, all of the characters would benefit from more depth.

Overall, I enjoyed this story and will read more from this author.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars.

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–3x ebook copies of Supervision and 2x original graffiti art prints based on Supervision.
Book & Author details:
Supervision by Alison Stine
Published by: HarperVoyager
Publication date: April 9th 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Synopsis:

Something is wrong with Esmé.

Kicked out of school in New York, she’s sent to live with her grandmother in a small Appalachian town. But something is wrong with the grandmother Ez hasn’t seen for years; she leaves at midnight, carrying a big black bag. Something is wrong with her grandmother’s house, a decrepit mansion full of stray cats, stairs that lead to nowhere, beds that unmake themselves. Something is wrong in the town where a kid disappears every year, where a whistle sounds at night but no train arrives.

And something is wrong with the cute and friendly neighbor Ez’s age with black curls and ice-blue eyes: He’s dead.

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AUTHOR BIO
Alison Stine

Alison Stine’s first novel SUPERVISION will be released by Harper Voyager UK in 2015.

Also the author of three books of poetry: WAIT (University of Wisconsin Press, 2011), OHIO VIOLENCE (University of North Texas Press, 2009), and LOT OF MY SISTER (Kent State University Press, 2001). She has worked as an actor, an artist’s model, a high school teacher, and a professor. She holds a Ph.D. in English from Ohio University, and is an avid urban explorer.

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BOOK TOUR: Review: “Forever Now” by Elise Sax

Forever Now by Elise Sax

A review by Maria.

A big thank you to author Elise Sax for allowing me to be a part of her blog tour and read her novel, Forever Now.

Tess is good at being invisible. She’s had her whole life to practice. She’s mocked and ridiculed at school. Her mother has insane and demanding expectations. Tess retreats from life by reading Emily Dickinson poems and writing stories in her tiny notebooks. The day she meets Cruz, she finds she no longer wants to be invisible. When Tess’s mother and Cruz’s father take all of Tess’s hard earned Paris savings and leave for a long trip to Mexico, Cruz and Tess are left to manage with no food and a mountain of debt. Each of them go to great lengths to survive and take care of each other as they grow closer.

Tess was the most entertaining female main character I have come across in a while. She had a funny, self-deprecating outlook on life and her situation. She was nerdy and witty, and often made me laugh out loud. She had a huge crush on Cruz, which sometimes made her silly, but other than that, she was a great lead. Tess was brave and resourceful after her mother abandons her with no money. She’s able to keep a secret at school and earn extra money babysitting. She makes her first friend at school and treats it like a precious thing. Tess also finds her dream to go to Paris to study and write might be attainable just when she thought all hope was lost. As a reader, I found myself invested in seeing this lovely character succeed and be happy for once.

Cruz was an enigma of a character. He was this hot, magnetic personality who hung out in his spare time with models and the beautiful people of the world. But he still cared enough about Tess to take care of her and essentially prostitute himself to get a job so they could survive. But the hopelessness of their situation does affect him and he goes through intense moods and keeps secrets from Tess. He’s resourceful and willing to do whatever it takes to survive and protect Tess and also to see her dreams come true.

This book was an emotional roller coaster. It dealt with very real issues like child abandonment, child poverty, bullying at school, and teenage mental health problems. It tackled all of these problems realistically and vividly.

I enjoyed this book and thought it was very well done. I am eager to read the rest of the books in this trilogy.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

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Review: “Broken” by Kelly Elliott

Broken by Kelly ElliottA review by Julie.

When Layton Morris loses his brother Mike in a horrible accident and the girl he loves leaves at the same time, he survives by throwing himself into the ranch that he and his brother had dreamed of their entire lives. He swears to never give his heart to anyone again. Whitley Reynolds follows her high school sweetheart, Roger, to New York City, full of hope for their future together. The first time he hits her, she forgives him. When it continues and steadily gets worse, Whitley withdraws from friends and family more and more. Eventually, she reaches her breaking point and finds the courage to do what she never thought she could. Will either of them find a way to love or trust again?

I chose this book because the plot sounded interesting and dramatic, and it did start out that way. I enjoyed the way the two main characters took turns took turns telling the story, trading points of view for each chapter. I really felt for both Layton and Whitley; the descriptions of their lives were done very well.  I was really drawn into the story and read almost half of the book the first night. Then came the sex. Several chapters of nothing except sex. I felt these chapters were too graphic, and after a couple of chapters became overdone. I wound up skimming those chapters to see if the story would come back into play. The drama does come back and the language stays a little too graphic, but not consistently. I got wrapped up in the story and it became interesting again. The rest of the book was finished quickly. What I thought was the epilogue, however, was actually the beginning of the next book in the series. If some of the sexier chapters were tied into more of the story, or at least spread out through the book, I would have given it a better rating.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

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