BOOK TOUR: Review: The “Network” Series by Katie Cross

The Network Series by Katie Cross Banner Reviews by Maria.

I would like to thank author Katie Cross for giving me the opportunity to read and review her novels in The Network series: Miss Mabel’s School For Girls, Antebellum Awakening, and The Isadora Interviews.

My review of Miss Mabel’s School For Girls:

Miss Mabel's School For Girls by Katie CrossBianca Moore has inherited a dreadful curse and her only hope for breaking it is the witch that cast it, Miss Mabel. To get Miss Mabel’s attention, Biana must gain admittance to Miss Mabel’s School For Girls. Once inside she must hide how advanced she is as a witch and pretend to be a beginner. From there she will risk everything by entering a dangerous competition for the prize of being Miss Mabel’s assistant.

The first half of the book deals with the competition. This part of the book felt very familiar; a seemingly inexperienced witch enters a dangerous competition at her boarding school that she has no possible hope of winning. She has to try and beat the odds with help from her friends, wits, and luck. However Cross puts an interesting and fresh spin on the magic involved and has different challenges for Bianca to face. Two of those challenges are tough competitors: evil Priscilla and wavering Michelle.

The first half of the book went a little slower because it was dealing with classes and the competition. The second half of the book deals with much more character development, with many different character’s lives hanging on the line. The second half seemed to go very fast and was equally tense and captivating.

Bianca is a smart and capable as a main character and as a witch. She was funny, loving, and very determined. Bianca goes through so much to try and end the curse on her family that it made it very easy to cheer for her even before Mabel showed up. And once Mabel showed up, the real depth to Bianca’s character began.

Miss Mabel made for a very convincing villain. She was devious, crafty, and cunning in all of her interactions with Bianca. She was such a fascinating evil character that I almost couldn’t wait to see what she’d make Bianca do next. Miss Mabel did a wide variety of things to Bianca: from holding the lives of her mother and grandmother over her head, from making her practice hexes on innocent animals, to insane homework load, and then putting hexes on her and her friends. Miss Mabel thought of everything and was an incredibly diabolical adversary.

I would have liked for more time spent on Bianca’s friends Leda and Camille; both of whom had extremely interesting back stories. Leda also struggled with a curse, one that could easily drive her crazy; while Camille lost her family at a young age and feels lost at Miss Mabel’s school.  I would like to see another book in the Network Series feature one of them.

My rating: 4 /5 stars..

My review of Isadora Interviews:

The Isadora Interviews by Katie CrossThe Isadora Interviews was an extremely short story about events that took place before Miss Mabel’s School For Girls. Leda, Camille, Michelle and Priscilla all had chapters as well as the featured main character.

This short story was a nice addition because I got to know all 4 girls better. I got to learn what they were like before the school and what their home lives were like. The Isadora Interviews didn’t move the series along at all and just acted as a prequel, so it could be skipped and not hinder the story at all. But I had wanted to know more about Leda and Camille’s lives in particular, and this short story did exactly that.

My rating: 3 /5 stars.
My review of Antebellum Awakening (contains spoilers from book 1):

Antebellum Awakening by Katie CrossAntebellum Awakening picks up right after the burial of Bianca’s mother. Bianca is on her way to stay in the High Priestess’ castle and they strike a deal to try and save Bianca’s life from her curse. Only, Bianca knows her life can’t truly be saved because of her promise to Mabel. The book picks up 2 months later after Bianca moved into the High Priestess’s castle with Leda, Camille, and Michelle all living there, too. Leda and Camille continue their studies while Miss Mabel’s School has been shut down. Bianca is learning to fight, dealing with her grief, and still keeping so many secrets.

Bianca’s character doesn’t really grow that much in this book. But, she does go through the process of grief in this book which made her a more vulnerable character. She holds back her grief so she doesn’t feel it and that makes her magic unpredictable and out of control. Bianca starts seeing her mother’s ghost when she runs in the wood, which makes her give up running, even though it used to give her so much pleasure. At the same time Bianca becomes vulnerable emotionally, she starts training at sword fighting with the guardian Merrick. Merrick is ruthless in his training of Bianca to get her to earn physical strength but also to get her to get control of her magic and the root of her grief.

As more guardians were introduced, Camille started to gain a love interest. And I had hoped that despite Bianca’s tendency toward self-reliance, a romance might brew between her and Merrick. He was a very interesting character. He was strong, ambitious, a hard worker, and knew how to challenge Bianca while also letting her challenge herself. Bianca remained true to herself and did not need to seek out a romance since she had quite a lot going on already. But watching these characters become closer as friends, it was nice to see sparks of something more.

Another great character addition was Derek, Bianca’s father. He and the High Priestess were featured much more in this book. After having her mother and grandmother die in the first book, it was nice having family moments between Derek and Bianca. Because he was Head Protector, Derek wasn’t even allowed to have a family and could only contact them in secret.  Having Derek and Bianca come together and actually have a relationship was sweet and heartwarming. Bianca’s decision to lie to him over how much danger she’s still in from Mabel, showed how much she valued her family over herself.

With addition of more characters, intense battles and feuds both magically and politically this series is picking up steam and I can’t wait to see how it continues!

My rating: 4.5 /5 stars.

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The Network Series by Katie Cross Banner

Welcome to my tour stop for The Network Series by Katie Cross!  The Network Series is a young adult fantasy and the tour runs July 27 – August 7 with reviews only. Check out the tour page for more information.
About Miss Mabel’s School for Girls:
MMSFG 2 for NookNever Underestimate the Power of a Determined Witch. Letum Wood is a forest of fog and deadfall, home to the quietly famous Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, a place where young witches learn the art of magic.Sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe has inherited a deadly curse. Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in the respected school to confront the cunning witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel. Bianca finds herself faced with dark magic she didn’t expect, with lessons more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Will Bianca have the courage to save herself from the curse, or will Miss Mabel’s sinister plan be too powerful?Miss Mabel’s School for Girls is the first novel in The Network Series, an exciting new fantasy collection. A gripping tale about the struggle to survive, it will take you to a new place and time, one you’ll never want to leave.
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About Antebellum Awakening:
Antebellum Awakening by Katie CrossNever underestimate the power of a volatile witch.Still reeling in the wake of her mother’s death, sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe is forced to move to Chatham Castle. Not even the sudden appearance of ancient dragons in haunted Letum Wood nor her two best friends can distract her from the strength of her deep, dark rage.Her grief puts her magical powers into chaos, endangering any witch around her. She has six months left to destroy the curse that will kill her and fulfill her contract with the most cunning enemy of all: her former teacher Miss Mabel.Bianca must make a choice: learn to control her restless powers, or let the powers control her.Antebellum Awakening is the second book in the thrilling new fantasy collection The Network Series. It’s a haunting tale about tragedy, loss, and the power of moving on.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes———————————

The Isadora Interviews blurb:

TII 2 for Amazon (1)Isadora is a quiet, old witch living alone in the fog-strewn forest of Letum Wood. Her magical power is great, but her foresight is even greater.As a Watcher, Isadora has the ability to see into the heart of every witch she meets, a talent that makes her the perfect guardian of the prestigious Miss Mabel’s School for Girls.Any witch that wants to enter the school must first pass an interview with Isadora. No secret insecurity or sinister motivation can be hidden from a Watcher, as four teenage girls will soon find out.Join Leda, Camille, Michelle, and Priscilla, as they each encounter Isadora in their quest to join Miss Mabel’s School for Girls. It’s a collection of short stories that fans of Miss Mabel’s School for Girls can’t afford to miss.
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About the Author: 
Katie Cross
Katie Cross grew up in the mountains of Idaho, where she still loves to play when she gets the chance. If she’s not writing, you can find her traveling, working as a pediatric nurse, trail running with her husband and two dogs, or curled up with a book and a cup of chai.

Author links: 

Giveaway:

 

$30 Visa Gift Card

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Ends Aug. 12th
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BOOK TOUR Review: “Rarity” by D.A. Roach

Rarity by D.A. Roach A review by Domoni.

First I would like to thank the author for the chance to review this book and be a part of this book tour.

Brogen is an empath; she is affected by the moods of those around her. She is also in high school. Trying to walk through the halls with all of the drama is not what she enjoys most in life. Her psychiatrist mom is empathic too so she helps Brogen learn how to tune out other people’s emotions and center herself. Brogen’s one true friend Meg, really seems to get her. Meg doesn’t buy into the teen drama game either so the girls are a great match and really help each other. When junior year starts and two new kids start really making waves in Brogen’s life, things get interesting.

Jay is the hot new guy who just moved in with his cousin. Being new and attractive makes him the new shiny object to all the girls in school, especially Becca the pretty blonde is also new in town. She has her eye set on Jay and everyone else should beware. When a crazed dog is about to attack Brogen on her evening run she is saved by Jay, and everything changes dragging Brogen into the world of high school drama she tried so hard to ignore. Jay definitely makes things difficult for her. As they get closer, Jay opens up about his life. Now Brogen knows how affected he is over the loss of his mother at such a young age and his father’s turning to alcohol over his son to deal with his grief. She feels as though they have a deep connection. When Jay is diagnosed with the condition that killed his mother, his emotional tail spin sends him out of control and he pushes Brogen away. With Becca circling Jay and lashing out at her, is it worth it to Brogen to walk through all the pain and difficulties it will bring to be a part of his world?

I loved this story. The characters are so vivid, it is easy to get into their emotional space.  Brogen is a caring sweet girl who doesn’t want to make waves.  She is happy with her life. A close relationship with her mom and her BFF Meg is enough to keep her fulfilled, but when Jay saves her a bond is formed that she just can’t ignore. It is easy to feel her frustration and fears. Jay is complex and charismatic. His reaction to life is mostly positive when everything around him can be negative. He of course struggles with reconciling his emotions over the young death of his mother and his father’s alcoholism. When he gets devastating news it makes sense that he would spiral.

How Jay and Brogen connect and interact is very fluid. It isn’t a pretty little love story that follows the path of boy meets girl and life moves along merrily. They are real characters with realistic emotions. As a reader I was drawn deep into them, feeling anger, joy and fear as the story progressed. The author painted a realistic picture of living through a life changing diagnosis. Instead of characters that wallowed in it, he wrote a beautiful touching story about learning to live in spite of it.

This book touched me and I appreciated the end section that breaks down information on Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.  It is important that he wrote a story about a person with this condition, but the story is not about the condition.

My rating: 5 /5 stars.

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Review of “Caller 107” by Matthew S. Cox

Caller 107 by Matthew CoxA review by Domoni.

Natalie is an angry 13 year old who hates her mom and takes her anger out on everyone who matters to her. Her parents have divorced and her father has abandoned her. She doesn’t care about her old friends, or advanced placements, or being the good girl anymore. She is hanging out with new friends even though everyone else tells her the gang is bad news. She doesn’t really want to do the things they do, but she doesn’t want to be alone. When they make her get the door unlocked and be their lookout while they break into a house, she gets spooked and runs off before the cops can find her.  Natalie knows that this is going to get her in trouble with her new friends, but after another rough fight with her old best friend and a blow out with her mom she doesn’t care anymore and doesn’t feel like she has anywhere else to go.

Etan, the leader of the gang, decides that if Natalie won’t do the crime the only other way to put her in her place in the gang is to have his way with her. When Natalie fights him off and humiliates him, he won’t let that stand and comes back with a gun.  When the shooting ends Natalie staggers into the alley before she can’t move anymore. Lying there she sees how much she has messed up her life. Now she is sorry, but is it too late? When DJ Todd shows up and tells her things might not be so bad if she does what he says, Natalie strives to make it out alive. But is her childhood crush, really who he appears to be and can she survive the night?

This story is an interesting take on the typical story of a ghost that tries to make amends. The author did an excellent job of creating an angry out of control 13 year old girl. I really felt her anger and pain.  Even when I could see the stupid choices she was making, I felt like I would empathize and make those stupid choices  as well. The characters of this story have a lot of life. None of them are perfect, all of them need to work together to get through the crisis they created in life and maybe stop Natalie’s death.

Natalie’s parents are not just filler characters. They are more than the stereotypical feuding parents  in a bitter divorce. Their story is not one of love and reconciliation either. They are very human and very believable. Leah, Natalie’s best friend from preschool to high school, is trying so hard to keep Natalie in her life even though she is the victim of Natalie’s anger. Only Natalie can really save  herself, and everything she had to face and accept in the fight of her life showed her who she really was.

I enjoyed this story, it was a shorter read but it captured my attention well. The characters and scenery were brought to life vividly. There were some very rough scenes,  there was some content that was a little bit juvenile, and at times the story did wander into some trite places. Overall it was a good read and I liked it.

 

My rating: 4 /5 stars.

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BOOK TOUR: Review of “Descendants of the Rose” by Juliette Harper

Descendents of the Rose by Juliette Harper

A review by Maria.

I would like to thank author Juliette Harper for giving me the opportunity to read and review another one of her novels; Descendants of the Rose, the first book in the Selby Jensen mystery series.

Selby Jensen might officially be a private investigator; unofficially her job is to hunt monsters. Nevermind the fact that she’s buisness partners with a vampire and best friends with a ghost. While she takes care of any monsters that come her way, she is secretly hunting one in particular; the werewolf that killed her husband. She wishes her husband had become a ghost because she still has questions about his death. Her husband’s old police partner doesn’t have any answers for her either. Now Selby’s newest case is at someplace she least expected to find evil: a Catholic school.

Selby is fun, opinionated, feisty and trying to move on with her life after her husband’s death. But she can’t move on until she solves his murder. She’s brave, smart, resourceful and has plenty of supernatural characters to help her in solving mysteries.

Helen was Selby’s best friend and died when they were 25 years old. She hovers around Selby and they’re still best friends. Being dead hasn’t stopped her terrible shopping habit, and she changes outfits on a whim. Helen is also keeping a secret from Selby. Shelby’s husband Dex didn’t actually pass on like Selby assumed when he died. Dex is stuck around as a ghost, loving Selby from the afterlife without her knowing it.

Johnny is a vampire and Selby’s business partner; was the comic relief of the book. Johnny harbors a huge crush on Selby and he’s full of flirty to outrageous comments.

Miss Mary Ruth is far from the regular school nun. She has a secret past involving magic and witchcraft on the way to finding her religion. Her past makes it so she doesn’t balk at the idea of her school containing some kind of spirit, or that she’ll need help with getting rid of it. Mary Ruth makes a great, spunky new addition to the Scooby gang; and provides a new person for Johnny to crush on.

This book was very different than Harper’s Lockwood Legacy and Study Club Murder mysteries. It still had the feel of a mystery but this time with strong paranormal aspects. The book was about the same length of previous Harper books, roughly 150 pages and was a very fast, entertaining read.

I look forward to reading more Selby Jensen mysteries in the future!

My rating: 4.5 /5 stars.

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Descendants of the Rose Blog Tour Banner

Welcome to my tour stop for Descendants of the Rose by Juliette Harper! This is the first book in the Selby Jensen Paranormal Mysteries series and the tour runs July 20-31. Check out the tour page for more information.

Cover of Descendant of the Rose by Juliette HarperAbout the Book:

Selby Jensen’s business card reads “Private Investigator,” but to say the least, that downplays her real occupation. Let’s hear it in her own words:

“You want to know what I do for a living? I rip souls out. Cut heads off. Put silver bullets where silver bullets need putting. You think there aren’t any monsters? . . . I have some disturbing news for you. You might want to sit down. Monsters walk among us. I’m looking for one in particular. In the meantime? I’m keeping the rest of them from eating people like you.”In this debut novel of her new paranormal mystery series, Juliette Harper, author of The Lockwood Legacy books and The Study Club Mysteries creates a cast of characters, most of whom have one thing in common; they don’t have a pulse. The dead are doing just fine by Selby, who is determined never to lose someone she loves again, but then a force of love more powerful than her grief changes that plan.Join Selby Jensen as she and her team track down a shadowy figure tied to a murder at a girls’ school. What none of them realize, however, is that in solving this case, they will enter a longer battle against a larger evil.

About the Author:

Juliette Harper

Juliette Harper is the pen name used by the writing team of Patricia Pauletti and Rana K. Williamson. Descendants of the Rose is the first installment of Harper’s debut Selby Jensen Paranormal Mystery series.

Pauletti, an Easterner of Italian descent, is an accomplished musician with an eye for art and design. Williamson, a Texan, worked as a journalist and university history instructor before becoming a full-time freelance writer in 2002.

Juliette Harper is also the author of The Lockwood Legacy, a nine-book chronicle of the lives of three sisters who inherit a ranch in Central Texas following their father’s suicide. Four of the novels are currently available: Langston’s Daughters, Baxter’s Draw, Alice’s Portrait and Mandy’s Father.

And don’t miss her hilariously funny “cozy” Study Club Mysteries, a light-hearted spinoff of The Lockwood Legacy. The books, set in the 1960s, take on the often absurd eccentricities of small town life with good-natured, droll humor. The first book, You Can’t Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet is available with the second, You Can’t Put a Corpse in a Parade, coming in Summer 2015.

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Giveaway:
One (1) winner gets a $25 Amazon gift card (INT) & one (1) winner gets the Lockwood Legacy books, Langston’s Daughters, Baxter’s Draw, Alice’s Portrait and Mandy’s Father (US)
Ends August 5th
giveaway provided by the author, bloggers are not responsible for prizing.
 

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BOOk TOUR: Review of “Awakened” by Patricia Vanasse

Awakened by Patricia VanasseA review by Amanda.

Awakened is the second book in the series. Spoilers for book one, Resilient, occur in this review.

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read her book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Adam has been captured by The Agency and Livia has escaped with Daniel, their new ally. As much as Livia wants to go back and rescue Adam, she and Daniel aren’t strong enough on their own, and The Agency has likely already manipulated Adam’s memories to make him into the perfect enemy. Instead, Daniel takes Livia to Alaska, following their original plan to train and hunt down the other teens with abilities like theirs, hoping to make it before The Agency. Along the way we meet new characters, both friends and foes, and learn more about the special abilities and the people who want to use them for their own purposes. Emotions run high and the lines between ally and enemy are blurred more than once.

As in book one, we see the story alternating between Adam’s and Livia’s perspectives, with new characters offering more points of view. All of the characters, especially Adam and Livia, feel more fleshed out in this book. They have more distinct personality traits that show when each is narrating. Being on the run pushes Livia far out of her comfort zone and we begin to see her strengths build up, as well as discovering her weaknesses. Her naïveté gets to be a bit much about halfway through the story, but is resolved quickly afterwards. Adam is at a severe disadvantage in that he doesn’t know what’s real and what isn’t, and he is surrounded by people that he can’t trust. Everyone has secrets and there are plot twists that no one will see coming.

I enjoyed this book more than the first, mostly because the characters have more depth. They were put into extreme circumstances and we got to see how they held up under pressure. The romantic entanglements were predictable but well-balanced with the action and mystery of the plot. The new characters added some fun dynamics and I am looking forward to, hopefully, getting to know them better in the next book. Awakened ended with an intriguing plot twist, without resorting to a cliffhanger, and I will definitely pick up the next book when it’s available.

My rating: 3.5 /5 stars.

This page contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.

Welcome to my tour stop for Awakened by Patricia Vanasse!  The tour runs July 13-24 with reviews only.

This is the second book in the series. Stop by the tour page for more information.

About the Book:

In an attempt to protect their families, Livia and Adam set out in a search for answers that would change their lives forever. While on the run, Livia and Adam crossed paths with Daniel, who had been searching for them and the five other genetically enhanced teens Daniel knew existed. But getting out from under The Agency’s radar has not been easy. After being ambushed by the leader of The Agency that created them—a desperate attempt to claim what they lost just over a decade earlier—Livia was forced to leave an injured Adam behind, barely escaping to safety with Daniel. Now under the control of The Agency, Adam is serving the purpose for which he was created. Manipulated to forget his love for Livia and his past, he lives a life crafted by fake memories that enslave him to a life of following the orders of The Agency. Adam battles with vivid “dreams” of a life he does not remember and the strong connection he feels to the girl with familiar blue eyes.The desire for vengeance propels Livia and Daniel into a dangerous race to disrupt the destructive string of events that The Agency initiated seventeen years earlier. As they travel across parts of North America in search of other teens who are just like them, Livia will face an ethical battle over genetics, loyalty, and love. The race is on, and it is up to Livia to destroy The Agency and rescue Adam, but even if she succeeds at saving him, there are no guarantees she’ll able to save the deep connection they once shared.

Amazon  | Goodreads

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Be sure to check out the first book, Resilient at 
Amazon | Goodreads———————————–

Patricia VanasseAbout the Author:

Patricia Vanasse was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Now she lives on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest. She has been through Culinary Arts, Psychology, Law School, and now has finally found her passion in creative writing. She also loves traveling, cooking, and is an avid reader. Her strength- believes that everything is possible. Her weakness- an obsessive relationship with caffeine.

Website | Facebook | Twitter @PatriciaVanasse | Goodreads
Giveaway:

One (1) $50 Amazon Gift (INT), Two (2) signed copies of Resilient (US), One (1) e-arc of Against All Odds (INT)

Ends July 28th

Prizing is provided by the author and hosts are not responsible in any way.


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Review of “Grounded” by Heather Young-Nichols

"Grounded" by Heather Young-NicholsA review by Julie.

I want to thank the author for allowing me the pleasure of reading and reviewing Grounded.

Alyssum Bracken is a Gremalian. She has set out on a journey to find Jensen Burkhardt, the long-lost son of her dad’s long time friend. The Gremalians and Gobels have been feuding over copper for many years. It has escalated into a very probable war between the two races and Alyssum needs Jensen, who has hopefully inherited his father’s powers, in order to win the war.

Aric, a Gobel, has gotten there ahead of Alyssum and has already developed a friendship with Jensen. Alyssum finds that Aric is actually not the enemy and he is risking not only his life but a chance to go back to his home in order to save both races from war. The three of them decide to work together, with Alyssum developing two very different relationships with both Aric and Jensen. With the possibility of war, this almost becomes too much for her. Will they be able to save the races or even survive the coming war?

This book seemed more like a love story than a war story at first. Throughout the story there was friction between the three of them while Alyssum decided how she felt about both men. The ending is where the war really got going and the story was very well-written. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series to see where these relationships go and what happens next.

My rating: 4 /5 stars.

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Review: “Grid Seekers” by Logan Byrne

Grid Seekers by Logan ByrneA review by Amanda.

I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review his book, Grid Seekers.

Seventeen year old Alexia Meyers lives in New York, the biggest of six megacities spread across a futuristic United States. She lives with her mother and younger sister in the overcrowded city. In this tech-driven society, citizens travel and socialize virtually using a universal network, WorldNet. This luxury doesn’t cost any money, but there is still a price. Citizens between the ages of sixteen and sixty who have used WorldNet at any time in the last year are automatically entered into a lottery that randomly chooses twenty-four people, four from each megacity, to compete for an incredible prize. The competition occurs in the virtual world, also called the grid, and is broadcast for all to see. Hidden in the grid are two talismans. The contestants are broken into teams of two,and they must locate each talisman and connect them in order to end the contest and win. Both winners will be granted a wish from the government. It can be for absolutely anything and is guaranteed to be honored. Those who lose are sent to work in labor camps for three years with no pay and no contact with their families. No one in Alexia’s family has ever been chosen to compete, so no one is more shocked than she is when her name is announced during the televised lottery drawing. Now she has to figure out how to survive and who she can trust.

I am fond of dystopian novels and I was excited to read this one. Unfortunately, several factors got in the way of my enjoyment. First the characters, especially Alexia, were lacking in depth. I couldn’t connect with Alexia at all, nor with any of the supporting characters. Inconsistencies in her behavior, such as a tendency to naïvely trust one minute and then be suspicious for no apparent reason, only added to the problem. The first time she meets her partner, Liam, she gets a vague feeling that he can’t be trusted, but offers no reason or clues as to why. Liam, as Alexia’s partner and potential love interest is very lackluster. Readers get almost no insight into his personality, which makes it difficult to care about his and Alexia’s interactions. Another obstacle to liking this book is the way that Alexia excels in most aspects of her training, including things she has never done before, like shooting a rifle. She knows the correct way to hold it because she saw it in a movie once and manages to get the highest score out of everyone.

The last nail in the metaphorical coffin is how closely key aspects of this book resemble The Hunger Games. Megacities instead of districts, competing in virtual reality, and contestants aren’t killing each other off in order to win, but the differences end there. Twenty-four people, forcibly entered into a contest that was devised by the government to quell a rebellion that occurred several decades ago. The main character is a teenaged girl whose biggest concern is providing for her family after her father was killed in a work-related accident some years before. She is paired with a boy from her hometown with unclear motivations, who seems too good to be true. There is a brightly-attired, slightly garish TV host who interviews the competitors and keeps the rest of the country up-to-date on the contest. Instead of a sympathetic stylist-turned-ally, there is a friendly, helpful hacker. A fierce competitor who is determined to win any way possible emerges early on. And Alexia makes a spur-of-the-moment decision that could cause unforeseen consequences for the entire nation. There are smaller similarities that add up as well, and altogether it was hard to get through.

Ultimately, all of these issues combined to make this book extremely unappealing.

My rating: 1 /5 stars.

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