Locked Tight (Mindjack #4) by Susan Kaye Quinn-a review

LOCKED TIGHT (Mindjack#4) by Susan Kaye Quinn-a review

Locked Tight

ebook only 99¢ Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 17, 2017

In a world filled with mindreaders, being a mindjacker is a good way to end up dead.

And Zeph is no ordinary jacker.

He can break open the toughest minds—or lock the weakest ones—but that just makes him a weapon every jacker Clan wants to control. To keep his family of mindreaders safe, Zeph does what his Clan leader says and tries to shut out the screams—but when jackers are revealed to the world, he has no choice but to hug his kid sister goodbye and leave home.

Passing for a reader is something Zeph does well, but when readers start changing into jackers and his family disappears, Zeph must return to a city filled with jackers who hate him, trick a mindware CEO into helping him, avoid a girl who knows him too well, and spy on the most powerful jacker in the state.

All without dying or revealing his abilities—or being caught in the firestorm of hate between jackers and readers that’s threatening to pull the world apart.

The bestselling Mindjack Series continues with an all new character and a world of mindreaders and mindjackers as you’ve never seen it before. LOCKED TIGHT is the first of three Mindjack novels from Zeph’s perspective. (See The Locksmith for Zeph’s origin story.)

 

••••••••••

REVIEW: LOCKED TIGHT is the fourth full –length installment in Susan Kaye Quinn’s young adult (YA) Mindjack urban fantasy, dystopian series. LOCKED TIGHT and the prequel novella The Locksmith are the beginning of a new arc in the Mindjack series. No longer focusing on jacker Kira Moore, the series shifts focus to eighteen year old mindjacker Zephyr MacCay who has the ability to lock down or unlock the human mind.

SOME BACKGROUND: In a world where mindreading is the norm (due to decades of contaminated or purposely poisoned water) there are those with more powerful abilities than most. These are their stories of discrimination, betrayal, retribution and control. The human population developed various forms of mind-reading, mind altering and mind controlling abilities. And to complicate matters those without the ability to mindjack are purposely setting out to bring war between the have and the have-nots.

Told from first person point of view (Zeph) LOCKED TIGHT follows eighteen year old mindjacker Zephyr MacCay as he searches for his family (and thirteen year old sister) he hasn’t seen in years-a family of mindreaders whose lives were threatened by the existence of their eldest son. Zephyr has the ability to hide his abilities but a threat of another nature finds our hero caught between three potential enemies never knowing who is telling the truth or out right lies. What ensues are Zeph’s attempts to locate his sister as several warring factions battle for control of Zephyr himself.

LOCKED TIGHT is an infinitely detailed, brilliant and remarkable look at a world struggling with the fall out of chemical contamination of the human population. From mindreaders to mindjackers Susan Kaye Quinn’s MINDJACKER series looks at the dysfunctional relationship between a hierarchy of mental and physical powers, and the breakdown of society between the ‘have and have nots’. The Mindjacker series focuses on betrayal, revenge, discrimination, specieism, and the battle for control, and the potential to create a weapon of unimaginable strengths. The premise is unparalleled with a profound and innovative message as well as a frighteningly realistic look at the future where fear and anarchy reign.

Reading Order and previous reviews
Mind Games (Mindjack Origins 1)
Open Minds
Closed Hearts
Free Souls
The Locksmith
The Handler/ The Scribe (Mindjack Origins 2 & 3)
Keeper (Mindjack Origins 4)
Locked Tight

Reviewed by Sandy

Copy supplied for review.

____________

The LocksmithTHE LOCKSMITH
Mindjack Origins #5-a novella
by Susan Kaye Quinn
Genre: YA, dystopian, UF

FREE ebook at Amazon :Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 9, 2015

SHORT NOVELLA (STANDALONE) in the Mindjack universe

When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.

In a world filled with mindreaders, Zeph is a mindjacker who wants to stay hidden—even if it means the cute mindreader in his Latin class is forever out of his reach. He locks and unlocks minds for a ruthless mindjacker Clan in exchange for protection and the chance to have a normal life with his parents and little sister. But when a girl he doesn’t know reveals the existence of mindjackers to the world, Zeph is forced to make a choice: unlock—and ultimately destroy—the mind of a young jacker changeling… or turn his back on everyone he loves.

The Locksmith is a short novella (standalone) in the Mindjack universe. It can be read independently of the other Mindjack stories, in any order. It is 11,000 words (or 44 pages) long.

•••••••••••••

REVIEW: THE LOCKSMITH is the latest novella in Susan Kaye Quinn’s young adult Mindjack urban fantasy dystopian series.

In a world where mindreading is the norm (due to decades of contaminated water) there are those with more powerful abilities than most. These are their stories of discrimination, betrayal, retribution and control. The human population developed various forms of mind-reading, mind altering and mind controlling abilities. And to complicate matters, those without any special ability declare everyone with altered minds as an enemy of the state.

The novella focuses on Zeph, a young seventeen year old mindjacker who has the ability to lock down or unlock the human mind. As a mindjacker, Zeph has become part of a Clan and has been commanded to lock down the minds of potential Clan workers. When something goes horribly wrong, and Zeph is unable to stop the carnage, he runs-he has no plans to become the next victim of society’s ills.

Susan Kaye Quinn adds another dimension to her young adult Mindjack series. THE LOCKSMITH is a fast paced, quick read that will tease a new reader into wanting more. For fans of Susan’s Mindjack series, we are hoping that Zeph survives the upcoming fallout of the impending war.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

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Letters To The Lost by Brigid Kemmerer-Review and Giveaway

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer-Review and Giveaway

Letters to the Lost Banner

LETTERS TO THE LOST
by Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Genre: YA, dark romance

Letters to the Lost

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 4, 2017

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

•••••••••••••

REVIEW: Juliet Young has always written letters to her mother, a world-renowned photojournalist. When her mom was away on assignment they would always write to each other.
So even in her mothers death she has continued to write to her. Leaving her handwritten letters to her mother at the cemetery. They are private and personal and just between
her and her mother. Its her way of staying connected to her mother. That is until someone reads one – and has the audacity to respond.

Declan Murphy is full on juvenile delinquent – at least that’s what everyone thinks of him. While doing his court appointed community service, he spends his time mowing the lawn
at the local cemetery. Part of the job he must do is pick up everyone’s personal belongings from the graves before he mows the lawn. There he finds a letter that
so entirely speaks to him, he has no choice but to respond. How could another person feel exactly the way he does. How can they know what it feels like to be him.
But, when Juliet realizes that someone has read her personal letter to her mother, and not only that but responded to it, to say she was quite upset is an understatement. When she writes back to let the person know that she feels that they have violated her privacy she has no idea what this will begin. And so begins a series of letters that help to heal both Juliet and Declan. But nothing comes easy. To find their way they must first find themselves.

Juliet is undoubtedly broken – she has been since the death of her mother. She has no one she can turn to or even begin to explain how she feels responsible for her mothers death.

She is the one that begged her mother to come home early from her trip. She is the one responsible for her being in the cab when she was. She knows had she not begged her mother to come home she would be here today. Declan has had a life just a rough. His father killed his sister and he too feels that he bears the blame of that. If he had just driven them that evening instead of telling his dad to drive himself. His sister would still be alive. He lives with that burden every day. He hasn’t dealt with any of this the way he should have. Instead he has broken the law and further feeds into what everyone thinks of him. His pain was absolutely real and my heart broke for him. Several times I was brought to tears with his words and how broken he was.

What an amazing, turbulent, truthful and powerful story. This story follows two teenagers through some stuff that no teenager should ever have to face. But through their letters – they realize that they are not alone in this. That someone is willing to listen and perhaps see beyond what’s masked on the outside. I enjoyed both characters of Juliet and Declan. Both tormented and tragic in their own lives. But when they begin to open up to one another – something magical happens. And it happens without judgment. When we can truly see the person for who they are not what their outward appearance seems to say. I loved how they interacted with each other at school – not knowing who the other was. Not knowing that they have a connection with each other and just don’t know it yet.

I loved the secondary character of Rev, Declan’s best friend. His story was just a complicated and complex as any I have ever read. I want to know so much more though. His ending in this book was perfect and left me teary eyed and smiling. I can’t wait to share this story with my teen daughter – she is going to absolutely love it as much as I did. Highly recommend.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Erin

 

About The Author

Brigid KemmererFollow: Goodreads / Website / Facebook / Twitter

BRIGID KEMMERER is author of LETTERS TO THE LOST (Bloomsbury; April 4, 2017), a dark, contemporary Young Adult romance; THICKER THAN WATER (Kensington, December 29, 2015), a New Adult paranormal mystery with elements of romance; and the YALSA-nominated Elemental series of five Young Adult novels and three e-novellas. She lives in the Baltimore area with her husband and four sons.

giveaway

Brigid Kemmer’s publiscist is offering a finished copy of LETTERS TO THE LOST to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

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9. Giveaway runs from April 15-19, 2017

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Awakening (Stories of Singularity 5) by Susan Kaye Quinn-a review

AWAKENING (Stories of Singularity 5) by Susan Kaye Quinn-a review

Awakening

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 2, 2017

Sister Amara prays she won’t be the last of the twelve sisters to reach her awakening—after all, the salvation of their Masters depends on them. But with the interrogations growing more deadly, being last may be best… especially when you’ve been created to touch the face of God.

Awakening is a standalone novella that provides a glimpse into a dark corner of the Singularity novel series.

The Stories of Singularity can be read independently from the Singularity novel series.

READING ORDER
Singularity Series
The Legacy Human (Book 1)
The Duality Bridge (Book 2)
The Stories of Singularity #1-4 (Novella Box Set)
The Illusory Prophet (Book 3)

Stories of Singularity
(novellas)
Restore (Story 1)
Containment (Story 2)
Defiance (Story 3)
Augment (Story 4)
Awakening (Story 5)

•••••••

REVIEW: AWAKENING is the fifth novella in Susan Kaye Quinn’s young adult Stories of Singularity dystopian, sci-fic series- a companion series to Quinn’s Singularity Series. AWAKENING can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.

BACKGROUND: The ‘Singularity’ resulted in most of the world’s population transforming themselves into a hybrid known as the Ascended-part man/part machine but the few remaining humans become what is known as the Legacy-the true descendants of humankind. The Singularity series looks at the struggle between the Ascended and everyone else.

Told from first person point of view (Sister Amara) AWAKENING follows Sister Amara as she ‘awakens’ to the world around her. A combination of artificial intelligence and cloistered humanoids ‘created to touch the face of God’, Sister Amara and eleven other ‘clones’ just like her are in a constant state of hyper vigilance as each approaches the famed ‘awakening’. But as the ‘experiment’s continue each sister will inevitably fail to reach her potential, and the people in charge will do anything to avoid an experimental disaster. Sister Amara is one of the few who will reach her potential (and beyond), and with it will gain her freedom from the onslaught of constant pain and strive for perfection.

AWAKENING is an intriguing look at the world of Singularity. An interesting and powerful concept born of the mind of Susan Kaye Quinn that focuses on humanity’s desire to live forever.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

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Ever The Hunted by Erin Summerill – a Review

Ever The Hunted by Erin Summerill – a Review

 

Ever the HuntedAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.

 

Review:

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill is the first book in her new Clash of Kingdoms series.  This is a fantasy novel with wonderful world-building by Summerill.  In this world there are two factions that are at war with each other.  The story revolves around our heroine, Britta, whom we meet at the start.  She lives alone after the death of her father, who was murdered.  He was an elite bounty hunter for the King of Malam. Britta knows that soon her home will be confiscated, and she will have nowhere to go.  Desperate for food, she enters the Ever Woods to hunt prey, and after she succeeds, she is captured by the Kings guards.  To save her own life, she makes a deal with the King’s Regent to help three guards track down the murderer of her father.  The problem…..the man they say who killed her father was his former apprentice and her childhood crushe…Cohen McKay.

In any new fantasy world, things do start off slow, as the author will show us the world we are now in.  The two factions are Malem, which is governed by the King and the Channelers,  who have magic and powers, but are prosecuted by those from Malem. Summerill does a good job creating a nice flow, as we learn about the two kingdoms, but the storyline is still very much centered on Britta.  

As one of the best trackers, Britta and the three guards (Captain Omar, Leif and Tomas) follow the trail that she finds to bring them closer to Cohen.  In a short period, Britta will come face to face with Cohen, and realize that he is innocent of the murder charges.  Together they escape the guards and try to find the real murderer.  What follows is an exciting, action filled and intense story that will bring both heroes to the brink of death.  Along the way, there are many twists and turns, as well as betrayals that put them further in danger.  Britta will learn more about her life that her father hid from her, and meet someone who will tell her the truth of her past, and how to use her ability.  Most of all, this is a sweet romance between Britta and Cohen, that was wonderfully written by Summerill.  What starts out as a childhood friendship, family dynamics and hidden feelings becomes a love that was so nice to watch grow.

As I have noted in previous fantasy first books, the key to a successful start of a series is to have good characters that you care about.   In Ever the Hunted, we not only have Britta, a wonderful heroine, who has just begun to harness her powers; Cohen, a great hero, who loves Britta with all his heart; and some other truly great characters; Leif, one of the good guards; Enat, a Channeler, who is more than a teacher to Britta; and even Captain Omar, who was cold and unforgiving early on.  

This turned out to be a very nice fast paced story line, well written by Summerrill, with great characters and  many surprises along the way.  Ever the Hunted is wonderful start to a new series, which I recommend that you read. I look forward to the next book in the Clash of the Kingdoms series. 

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

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The Girl in the Picture by Alexandra Monir – a Review

The Girl in the Picture  by Alexandra Monir – a Review

 

The Girl in the PictureAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM / The Book Depository

Description:
Nicole Morgan has been labeled many things — the geeky music girl, the shy sidekick to Miss Popularity, and the girl with the scar. Now only one name haunts her through the halls of Oyster Bay Prep.

The Girl in the Picture.

After high school heartthrob Chace Porter is found dead in the woods near the school, the police are in search of the girl whose picture with Chace is the only clue found amongst his personal belongings. A girl who no one knew was even close to Chace–and whose dormmate, Lana Rivera, was Chace’s girlfriend.

Nicole is that girl and now she’s the primary suspect in his murder.

But what really happened that night? Were Nicole and Chace dating behind Lana’s back; were he and Lana over? Could either of them have killed him?

Told in alternating points of view, that of our suspect, Nicole Morgan, and her former best friend and roommate, Lana Rivera, readers will piece together the story of a starcrossed love, a fractured friendship–and what really happened the night Chace was killed.

 

Review:

The Girl in the Picture by Alexandra Monir is a standalone YA mystery suspense novel.  This story is told in two pov’s, Nicole and Lana; with some from the boy in the middle, Chace, which will cover a year.  The story actually begins in current time, with the news of Chace’s murder. A picture is revealed, with Nicole and Chace together, and everyone is on Lana’s side as she was the one they felt was betrayed.  Hence the title, The Girl in the Picture.

In various snippets, where we go back and forth between the past and the present, we get to meet Nicole, the new girl at school, who is training to be an elite violinist and meets her roommate, Lana, who is Miss Popularity.  Nicole is quiet and sweet, while Lana is her opposite.  Lana, because of Nicole’s bright future, decides to accept her as a friend.

It is Lana, who will meet the new boy, Chace, and flirt with him to start a relationship. Nicole helps Lana, and is supportive of her dating Chace.  Along the way, Chace, who loves Nicole’s music, begins to fall hard for her.  Nicole, at first has no intention of getting in the middle, for fear of losing her friend.  Chace is persistent and Nicole finds herself falling for him.

In current time, Nicole is the main suspect, as everyone is willing to condemn her, including her now fierce enemy, Lana.  We also learn along the way, who was responsible for the terrible scar Nicole suffered.  This is a real murder mystery, which has us concentrating on any clues that will tell us who killed Chace.  We know Nicole is not the real culprit, but who is? I felt sorry for Nicole, as she truly did not want to fall for Chace, and wanted to tell Lana the truth.  In a major twist, the answers will be discovered that was a surprise, not to mention who was able to discover the truth.

To tell too much more would be spoilers.  What follows is a very nicely done mystery revolving around the two narrators of the story, with the unusual voice of Chace in the background.  Everything in the past, is laid out nicely, which leads to the present and the resolution.  It was very well written by Monir.  If you enjoy a YA themed background, with a murder mystery, you need to read this book.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

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Moon Chosen (Tales of a New World #1) by P.C. Cast-a review

MOON CHOSEN (Tales of a New World #1) by PC Cast-a review

Moon Chosen

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About the book: Release Date October 18, 2016

Chosen to embrace her true identity. Chosen to follow her destiny. Chosen to change her world.

Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan, but she has been forced to turn from her duties, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save herself and her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating Tribe, strays across her path that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…

Now evil is coming, and with it, a force more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By breaking Clan Law and forming an alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny…and battle the forces that threaten to destroy them all.

••••••••••

REVIEW: MOON CHOSEN is the first installment in PC Cast’s young adult (YA) TALES OF a NEW WORLD post-apocalyptic/dystopian fantasy series focusing on a new world years after ‘our’ Earth has been destroyed.

Told from several third person points of view MOON CHOSEN follows three characters with intersecting paths. Mari is our heroine-our young woman caught between Clans as she is neither an Earth Walker like her mother, or a Companion like her late father. Nik is a young man who finds himself drawn to our story line heroine; and Dead Eye, who believes himself to be a god amongst man.

MOON CHOSEN, like PC & Kristin Cast’s House of Night series, focuses on gods and goddesses, connections to the Earth, Wind, Moon and Fire, and magic that can be called forth from the elements. As the introductory story line MOON CHOSEN is an extremely long story –over 600 pages- and is awash in a copious amount of world building that focuses or is dependent upon the character development to tell the story. There is an inordinate amount of what can only be described as filler ( and redundancy) that made for a slow build to the story line premise. The author favors long descriptions and prose but in the end, sometimes too much is too much.

The numerous story line characters are divided into three main Clans and Tribes-Earth Walkers (including the Moon Woman), Skin Walkers and Tribe of the Trees (Companions) or combinations thereof, with numerous secondary traits, identities, rituals and powers. There is plenty of discrimination, prejudice and preconceived notions, and an ill-gotten history between the different clans.

PC Cast’s MOON CHOSEN can be a confusing story line as the author divides the attention between three main characters and the paths they have chosen. Most of the action takes place in the final 100 pages or so of the book.

I loved the author’s Parthelon Series (aka Divine Series); struggled with the House of Night YA series co-authored with her daughter Kristin; and have reservations about continuing on the present course with the current series. PC has a more mature writing style than Kristin and it is evident in the story line structure, text and world building but the vast amount of ‘info dumping’ is overwhelming and takes away from the story line premise-the author is building towards the second installment but tends to meander in too many directions.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

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The Illusory Prophet (Singularity #3) by Susan Kaye Quinn-a review

THE ILLUSORY PROPHET (Singularity #3) by Susan Kaye Quinn-a review

Singularity 1-3

(The Legacy Human / The Duality Bridge -Singularity #1 & #2-reviews)

The Illusory Prophet

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 13, 2016

What if you could paint with reality?

Elijah Brighton can bring a girl back from the dead, travel outside his body, and absorb a lifetime of memories from anyone he touches in the fugue state. Everyone seems to think he’s the prophet they’re waiting for… including the girl he’s falling in love with. The truth is, the fugue is bleeding over into reality, bringing his sketches to life and haunting him with visions of a girl in metal armor. She stabs him with her blade and denounces him as any prophet worth the name—and it’s not like he disagrees.

People who change the world generally aren’t losing their minds.

He just wants to hide out in his tent and kiss Kamali, but a vision of his death and an attack on the Human Resistance Movement convince him something bigger is coming. Maybe Augustus—the power-mad ascender he barely defeated. Maybe the Makers, a tinkering cult with their own kind of ascendance. But when his best friend Cyrus disappears, questions of destiny and prophethood will have to wait—because the fugue is always showing a version of the truth, and Eli must discover that truth before his terrifying visions become reality.

The Illusory Prophet is the third book in the Singularity series. This young adult science fiction series explores the intersection of mind, body, and soul in a post-Singularity world.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: THE ILLUSORY PROPHET is the third full length installment in Susan Kaye Quinn’s young adult (YA) SINGULARITY sci-fi/ dystopian series focusing on the merging of mind, body and soul with the technology of the future.

BACKGROUND: The ‘Singularity’ resulted in most of the world’s population transforming themselves into a hybrid known as the Ascended-part man/part machine but the few remaining humans become what is known as the Legacy-the true descendants of humankind. The Singularity series looks at the struggle between the Ascended and everyone else.

Told from first person point of view –seventeen year old Elijah Brighton -THE ILLUSORY PROPHET is the continuing story of man versus the hybrid machine known as The Ascended. As the face of The Resistance Elijah’s presence is both a curse and a blessing- our hero has the ability to bring the recently deceased back to life; travel outside of his body; and absorb the memories of those he touches while in the ‘fugue’-all of which are a threat to those battling for command and control. Elijah’s trips into the ‘fugue’ find our hero straddling between the body, mind and soul but it is Elijah’s growing abilities that threaten to destroy any semblance of peace when he is targeted for destruction.

Susan Kaye Quinn merges spirituality and God with a transcendental philosophy of abstract beliefs and the battle for power and control. The premise focuses on a belief system wherein all that is human is found in the souls of mankind, and with it the possibility that the Ascended have lost their souls when they opted for immortality and life ever after. The connection between body, mind and soul is a constant theme throughout the series. The search for the truth finds our hero battling for survival and the lives of the people he loves.

The Singularity Series blends the familiarity of The Hunger Games and Divergent with Star Trek nanobyte technology ala The Borg, and an artificial intelligence of the collective mind. The cult-like factions of the Resistance battle one another for dominance but are at a distinct disadvantage as the Ascended continue to prevail. Elijah Brighton is thought to be the ONE-the savior foretold to deliver mankind from the destructive nature of the Ascended.

Susan Kaye Quinn’s SINGULARITY series is brilliant in its inception; a post-apocalyptic ‘movie’ for the mind where technology, omnipotence and the battle for control is a threat to the survival of man in the future. The writing is flawless; the author’s imagination is intelligent and inventive; the premise is dramatic, energetic and wondrous.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Series Spotlight

The Legacy HumanTHE LEGACY HUMAN
(Singularity #1)
by Susan Kaye Quinn
Genre: young adult, sci-fi, speculative fiction

ebook copy 99¢: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca /

About the book: Release Date March 2, 2015

Seventeen-year-old Elijah Brighton wants to become an ascender—a post-Singularity human/machine hybrid—after all, they’re smarter, more enlightened, more compassionate, and above all, achingly beautiful. But Eli is a legacy human, preserved and cherished for his unaltered genetic code, just like the rainforest he paints. When a fugue state possesses him and creates great art, Eli miraculously lands a sponsor for the creative Olympics. If he could just master the fugue, he could take the gold and win the right to ascend, bringing everything he’s yearned for within reach… including his beautiful ascender patron. But once Eli arrives at the Games, he finds the ascenders are playing games of their own. Everything he knows about the ascenders and the legacies they keep starts to unravel… until he’s running for his life and wondering who he truly is.

••••••••••••••

REVIEW: THE LEGACY HUMAN is the first installment in Susan Kaye Quinn’s young adult, Singularity Dystopian, Sci-Fi series that looks at the merging of technology with the body, mind and soul. Following the ‘Singularity’ that resulted in the most of the world’s population transforming themselves into a hybrid known as the Ascended, the few remaining humans become what is known as the Legacy-the true descendants of humankind.

The storyline follows seventeen year old Elijah Brighton who desperately wants to Ascend. An artistically gifted young man whose Ascended ‘patron’ Lenora knows there is more to Eli than a canvas and paint but Elijah’s talent comes at a price. When Lenora’s second (lover) Marcus offers to ‘sponsor’ Elijah for the Legacy Creative Olympics, Elijah jumps at the chance to become one of the Ascended in order to keep his ailing mother alive. With life ever lasting and access to all knowledge the ultimate prize, the Ascended are both revered and despised by the human population. To become one of the Ascended, technology must marry the body, mind and soul-but what becomes of the soul when your humanity is stripped away? To be Ascended means to become part of the whole; your choices are no longer your own.

THE LEGACY HUMAN parallels some of the premise and many of the scenarios found in Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games and Veronica Roth’s Divergent. Young men and women, under the age of eighteen must compete against one another to become one of the Ascended. If they win, their families and friends will benefit from the Ascended privileges but there is also the probability that they will never make it out alive. Sides are formed; allegiances sworn; a revolution is on the horizon. The Resistance is waiting for Elijah’s next move.

The world building is amazingly detailed, well organized and revealed as the storyline develops; the characters are colorful, eclectic and unique. Susan’s imagination knows no boundary.

Susan Kaye Quinn looks at the philosophical and theological questions: Does mankind really have a soul? To become one of the Ascended do we lose the freedom to think; to love; to believe in a higher power? If you had the choice to become one of the Ascended, would you risk your soul for everlasting life?

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

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The Duality BridgeTHE DUALITY BRIDGE
(Singularity #2)
by Susan Kaye Quinn
Genre: young adult, sci-fi, speculative fiction

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca /

About the book: Release Date August 15, 2015

What does it mean to be human?

Elijah Brighton is the face of the Human Resistance Movement. He’s the Olympic-level painter who refused an offer of immortality from the ascenders—the human/machine hybrids who run the world—in solidarity with the legacy humans who will never get a chance to live forever.

Too bad it’s all a complicated web of lies.

Worse, Eli’s not even entirely human. Few know about the ascenders’ genetic experiments that left him… different. Fewer know about the unearthly fugue state that creates his transcendent art—as well as a bridge that lets him speak to the dead. But the Resistance is the one place he can hide from the ascender who knows everything the fugue can do. Because if Marcus finds him, he’ll either use Eli for his own nefarious purposes… or destroy him once and for all.

The Duality Bridge is the second book in the Singularity series and the sequel to The Legacy Human. This thrilling new young adult science fiction series explores the intersection of mind, body, and soul in a post-Singularity world.

••••••••••••••

REVIEW: THE DUALITY BRIDGE is the second installment in Susan Kaye Quinn’s young adult, sci-fi Singularity dystopian series focusing on the merging of mind, body and soul with the technology of the future.

BACKGROUND: The ‘Singularity’ resulted in most of the world’s population transforming themselves into a hybrid known as the Ascended, the few remaining humans become what is known as the Legacy-the true descendants of humankind.

Told from first person point of view –seventeen year old Elijah Brighton-THE DUALITY BRIDGE is the continuing struggles of man versus hybrid machines, and the battle for control of the power and the collective mind. Our hero Elijah is more than just the face of the Human Resistance Movement, he is believed to be the ONE sent to save the world, but Elijah is more than the sum of his mother’s DNA-Elijah is a genetic experiment whose powers are slowly being revealed.

THE DUALITY BRIDGE is a storyline awash in familiar sci-fi and dystopian scenarios found in The Hunger Games, Divergent, and a little bit of the Matrix and Star Trek cyborg nanobyte technology. But THE DUALITY BRIDGE also takes a close look a God and spirituality; a system of belief wherein the sum of all that is human is found in the souls of mankind, and with it the possibility that the ascended have lost their souls when they opted for immortality and life ever after. There are definitive cult-like scenarios both in and out of the collective mind; and the promise of forever for those who worship at the altar of the ascended.

THE DUALITY BRIDGE has a large ensemble cast of characters that continuously loop between reality and the fugue. The premise is a study in philosophical, psychological and transcendental assumptions, knowledge and understanding-even the Dhali Lama pontificates about man, technology and the otherness.

The world building is a movie set for the mind. Elijah Brighton is the BRIDGE-the Duality-the ONE-foretold to be the savior of the world-Susan Kaye Quinn’s mind knows no boundary as it takes the reader into a future where man is no longer in control.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

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Just Friends (Just Friends #1) by Monica Murphy-Review & Book Tour

JUST FRIENDS (Just Friends #1) by Monica Murphy

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JUST FRIENDS
Just Friends #1
by Monica Murphy
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Genre: young adult

Just Friends

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM /ibooks

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2cu3XZM

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 13, 2016

It’s the end of summer. Just before I start senior year with my two best friends in the whole world. Dustin and Emily are everything to me. We’ve been inseparable since middle school, and when we’re together, nothing can go wrong.

But things aren’t always what they seem. Em’s turned into a drunken mess who parties too much. Dustin and I have hooked up a few times—and now he’s ready to take our relationship to the next level. Yet I’m not sure I want things to change. I’m scared if I take it any further with Dustin, our friendship will be ruined forever. Then there’s Ryan. The new guy. He’s hot. He flirts way too much. And Em has totally set her sights on him.

So when my best friend betrays me in the worst possible way, guess who’s there to help me pick up the pieces of my broken heart? Ryan. But he’s so confusing. Annoying. Sweet. Sexy. I want to trust him, yet he makes it so hard. What I really want is for everything to go back to the way it was before.

Before I found out that best friends make the worst kind of enemies.

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REVIEW: JUST FRIENDS is the first installment in Monica Murphy’s contemporary, young adult JUST FRIENDS romance series focusing on a group of friends whose relationships and friendships spiral out of control as they are about to start their final year of high school.

NOTE: I want to add that the author/publisher have labelled JUST FRIENDS a new adult story line but all of the characters are under 18 years of age, still in high school, and all of the $ex and romance are implied or fade to black,  therefore a label of Young Adult seems more appropriate.

Told from first person point of view (Olivia Hudson) JUST FRIENDS looks at the fall out between high school seniors Olivia, Emily and Dustin when jealousy, betrayal, secrets and lies destroy a life time of friendship when newcomer Ryan Bennett begins to push his way into the threesomes lives. The competition between girls for attention, and the thrill and fear of going ‘all the way’ heighten the insecurities and selfishness when our heroine Olivia refocuses her attention on the new boy in town, while the boy she left behind pines on the sidelines hoping for a second chance.

JUST FRIENDS is a well written but frustrating and aggravating YA story line with ALL of the earmarks that come with the genre: the requisite love triangle or quadrangle, jealousy, envy, mean girls, the popular crowd, selfish attitudes, drinking and drug experimentation, and of course the oblivious, absent or controlling parents. As I have said in a previous article, the three way and sometimes four way love interests are heartbreaking, angst-ridden, gut wrenching and occasionally annoying and condescending. And in many of the cases, the heroine is in love with both man-boys (or more in some cases) and vice-versa. Such is the case with JUST FRIENDS where our leading heroine –Olivia Hudson-falls for Ryan Bennett while still harboring feelings for her best friend Dustin.

Throughout the story we discover that while Olivia spent the summer at her father’s home, her besties Dustin and Em took their relationship to a physical level, not only rocking the trio’s friendship but pushing Olivia towards the new boy in town. Dustin claims to love and want Olivia but Olivia is too hurt to see beyond her best friend’s betrayals. And of course, new boy looks like he is playing the field and begins to pit Emily and Olivia, among others, against one another.

All of the major story line characters are not very likeable-Olivia, Dustin, Emily and Ryan. I could not find one redeeming quality that would make me feel sympathy for the emotional breakdowns or loss of friendship because at every opportunity someone is hooking up with someone else fearing a lifetime of loneliness or missing out on the popular party; back stabbing and social media exposure adds insult to injury as the friendships implode. The one saving grace is Dustin, who at this point is willing to walk away to allow the girl that he loves to figure out who and what she needs. The circle of friends ebbs and flows as relationship histories take center stage with all of the high school drama of battered emotions and destructive friends. And through it all, Olivia claims to be ‘just friends’ whenever the question about her relationships arise.

To be honest, I had stopped reading young adult story lines for the very reasons I listed above as my anxiety level builds with each consecutive story. The drama is over the top, the angst and tears are explosive, the friendships suffer from jealousy and perceived betrayal. Monica Murphy does an amazing job drawing the reader back into the world of teenage, high school drama but I am one of those readers who had enough back in the day –I was totally exhausted before the final cliff hanger.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Just Friends Teaser

About The author

Monica MurphyNew York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite with her husband and three children. She’s a workaholic who loves her job. When she’s not busy writing, she also loves to read and travel with her family. She writes new adult and contemporary romance and is published with Bantam and Avon. She also writes romance as USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson.

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