Sadie by Courtney Summers ~ A Journey of Revenge #YA Audiobook @MacmillanAudio @courtney_s #FridayReads

Author: Courtney Summers

Narrated by a Full Cast

Published by Macmillan Audio

Category: Young Adult, Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Family, Social, Audiobook, Review

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

Since their addict mother Claire left, Sadie has been trying her best to raise Mattie, the little sister she loves dearly. Sadie and her mother have always had a volatile relationship, not helped by the severe stutter that’s afflicted her since childhood and her mother’s many live in boyfriends.

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Lost On The Water by D.G. Driver #YA Suspense with a touch of Supernatural @DGDriverAuthor #BookReview

Author: D.G. Driver

Published: July 2018 by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books

Category: Young Adult, Suspense, Supernatural, Contemporary, Book Review

Forced to leave the California beach behind to spend the summer with her grandma in rural Tennessee, Dannie is certain this will be the most boring summer of her life. Things start looking up when a group of local kids, mistaking her short hair and boyish figure, invite her on their ‘no girls allowed’ overnight kayaking trip. Obviously, her grandma refuses to let her go. But Dannie suspects the real reason is that the woman is afraid of the lake, only she won’t tell Dannie why.

The last place Dannie wants to spend a good portion of her summer holiday is in rural Tennessee with her grandmother, while her parents spend two weeks in Paris.

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#GuestPost by Paul T.H. Mitchener #Author of Between Darkness and the Light #YA #BDATL @fayerogersuk @authoright

I’m delighted to join the blog tour for Between Darkness and the Light and welcome Paul Mitchener with a guest post. Before I hand you over to Paul here’s the book info. It’s a young adult adventure published on the 14th March 2018 by Brown Dog Books. I love the cover!

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One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus ~ #YA Contemporary Fiction @writerkmc #AudiobookReview #FridayReads #Mystery

Author: Karen McManus

Performed by MacLeod Andrews, Kim Mai Guest, Robbie Daymond, Shannon McManus

Released: June 2018 by Penguin Books Ltd

Category: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, Audiobook Review

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app

When five students, Simon, Addy, Cooper, Bronwyn and Nate find themselves in detention one Monday afternoon, they have no idea what is about to unfold.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ Passing Notes by @DGDriverAuthor #YA with a touch of the Supernatural

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that have been waiting on the ‘to be read’ pile for however long, and are finally getting an airing.

This week I’m showcasing a lovely young adult novella with a touch of the supernatural. Passing Notes was published in January 2016.

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The Ghost In You: A First-Hand Account from Beyond the Grave by Katrina Mountfort #SupernaturalFiction @curlykats #YA

Author: Katrina Mountfort

Published: February 2018 by Elsewhen Press

Category: Supernatural, Romance, Fiction, Book Review

What do you do if you’re dead but haven’t ‘moved on’? 

You keep finding yourself back where you died, with very little control over when; sometimes you can be away for days, weeks or even months, and then you’re back. Between times, when you’re ‘away’, where do you go, what do you do? You’ve seen some other ghosts asleep at their graves, but you don’t even know where your own grave is.

After an accident which left her with terrible facial scars, nineteen year old Rowena spends most of her spare time helping others. Two of her favourite people are her landlady, Marjorie, and her best friend, Kirsty, who is waiting for a bone marrow transplant.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ All We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder #YoungAdult Fiction #Audiobook @lisa_schroeder

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.

This week I’m showcasing another audiobook. All We Have Is Now is a young adult fiction book, narrated by Julia Whelan and released in 2015 by Scholastic Audio.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ Darkness Brutal by @RachelAnneMarks #AudioBookReview #YA Urban Fantasy

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.

This week it’s yet another audiobook–Darkness Brutal by Rachel A Marks, a young adult, paranormal urban fantasy, narrated by Will Damron. It was released in July 2015 by Brilliance Audio.

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#CoverReveal ~ The Gemini Connection by Teri Polen ~ A #YA SciFi/Fantasy #Thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

The Gemini Connection
by Teri Polen
Paperback Release Date: May 31, 2018
E-book Release Date: June 7, 2018
Young Adult > Sci-Fi/Fantasy > Thriller

Teen twin brothers Evan and Simon Resnik are fiercely loyal to each other and share an unusual bond—they experience each other’s emotions as their own and can sense where the other is.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ Future Perfect by Katrina Mountfort #Dystopian @curlykats

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.

This week I’m revisiting Future Perfect by Katrina Mountfort. Published in 2014, it’s a YA novel set in a Dystopian future.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ My Life, The Theatre and Other Tragedies by Allen Zadoff #YA #Audiobook

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.

I’m revisiting another audiobook this week – My Life, The Theatre and Other Tragedies was released by Audible in 2013 and narrated by MacLeod Andrews. A young adult coming of age story handled extremely well by Allen Zadoff.

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The Curtain Twitchers of Oakley Place ~ Deborah Hodgetts #YA #Spotlight #Giveaway @BrookCottageBks

About the Book

Series: Book One in The Truth Seekers Series

Genre: Young Adult

Release Date: 4th July 2017

Publisher: The Beautiful Music of Words Limited

Barney Lumsden a homeless teen arrives in Oakley Place, situated in the depths of the Buckinghamshire Countryside.But was Oakley Place a perfect idyll and what are the dark secrets that lay buried.

Barney Lumsden unwittingly uncovers more than he could ever imagine, and it also seems that he’s caught up in a Government cover-up going back centuries.

From casually glimpsing the strange activities of the Curtain Twitchers that day on the village green, to uncovering the deathly secret in which he is part of the key – nothing will ever be the same again, as time itself unravels.

Will Barney and the strange Ms Pemberton close the loop, and restore this perfect idyll or will their journey unravel further across time?

Puzzling as this journey looks, it’s not the heart of the book’s mystery, nothing is black and white and everything is filled with infinite possibilities.

Who are the Curtain Twitchers? Why is the government involved? What is the mystery of the ancient talisman and it’s connection to the plague? Will you decipher the code of ‘The Curtain Twitchers of Oakley Place’? Can Barney find the answers he seeks and begin again?

Only you hold the key… Continue reading

Guest Post & #Extract ~ The Divine Heart by Danielle R Mani #YoungAdult #Paranormal

I’m pleased to welcome Danielle to BetweenTheLines today, with a guest post and extract from her book, The Divine Heart.

About the book

Seventeen-year-old Elle Collins spent most her life waiting for someone else to die…

When a heart donor is found, Elle awakes from surgery gifted with more than just a new heart—clairaudient messages and spiritual apparitions haunt her until she is convinced that she must be insane. Either that, or her donor is sending a message.

Desperate for answers the medical community can’t provide, Elle’s divination leads her to the family of her donor—a young girl named, Cas. With the help of her best friend, Rob—the guy who’s a testament that her new heart is capable of love, Elle must make sense of the clues Cas is sending. As pieces of Cas’s life and death emerge, Elle will discover that she and Cas share more than just a heart.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ I Am The Weapon by Allen Zadoff #YA #Thriller @allenzadoff

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.

Released in 2013 this the first in a trilogy. I’ve had the second book for a while but haven’t got round to it yet. Continue reading

Oath Breaker by Shelley Wilson #YoungAdult #Fantasy @ShelleyWilson72 #FridayReads

  • Author: Shelley Wilson
  • Published: June 2017 by BHC Press/H2O
  • Category: Young Adult, Fantasy, Werewolf, Book Review, Books, Reading

Will she follow the pack… 

Or will she destroy them? 

A dead mother. 

A violent father. 

A missing brother.

When Mia’s father is murdered, it’s her estranged uncle that comes to the rescue, but what he offers her in return for his help could be worse than the life she is leaving behind.

A compelling opening scene finds sixteen year old Mia witness to the violent death of her abusive father at the hands, or should I say fangs, of a werewolf. With no immediate family to look after her, she is taken in by her uncle, Sebastian Roberts, who runs Hood Academy, a boarding school for gifted girls. Girls who are being taught to hunt werewolves. Continue reading

The Rising by Heather Graham and Jon Land #YA #Scifi @heathergraham @JonDLand @MacmillianAudio #TuesdayBookBlog

From acclaimed thriller-suspense novelists Heather Graham and Jon Land comes a story of action, mystery, and the endurance of young love.

Twenty-four hours. That’s all it takes for the lives of two young people to be changed forever.

Eighteen year old Alex Chin, popular star football player, was adopted by a Chinese couple, Li and An Chin, when he was a baby. Football is his passion and with plenty of scholarship offers, he believes he has a bright future ahead. His tutor, Samantha Dixon, is about to graduate and plans an internship with NASA, working with Dr Thomas Donati. All is going well for both of them until a head injury on the football field lands Alex in hospital. An initial CT scan shows something strange, and when Alex has a follow-up the bulbs in scanner burn out and the glass casing shatters. Then Alex’s doctor is murdered. And when Sam finds Alex’s parents dying in their home and have a run in with the non human attackers, she and Alex go on the run with help from Alex’s guardian, Raiff, who has been in the background, keeping an eye on him, knowing this day would come sooner or later.  Continue reading

Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart #YA #Audiobook # Review @DanGemeinhart

Jonathan Grisby is the newest arrival at the Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys–an ancient, crumbling fortress of gray stone rising up from the ocean. It is dark, damp, and dismal. And it is just the place Jonathan figures he deserves.

When twelve year old Jonathan Grisby arrives at Slabhenge, hungry, cold and tormented, he faces at least ten weeks in the forbidding and Dickensian-like reform school. Run by The Admiral and his staff, who take pleasure from making life as difficult and uncomfortable as possible for the unfortunates who have been sent there. Slabhenge has had several incarnations, including a facility for the mentally ill, but to the boys it seems more like a prison with it’s many corridors, staircases and stone-walled, dank rooms. Continue reading

Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle by N.D. Wilson ~ #Audiobook narrated by @MacLeodAndrews #YA

A new fantasy-adventure trilogy about a misfit twelve-year-old with a dangerous destiny to fulfill, a mystical time walker who is sent to protect him, and a maniacal villain with a deadly vendetta that began two hundred years ago in the heart of the Old West.

Outlaws of Time is a mix of adventure, legend and fantasy, set in the Arizona desert where twelve year old Sam Miracle is in foster care at the St Anthony of the Desert Destitute Youth Ranch (SADDYR) run by the Spaldings, who agreed ‘to guardian absolutely any boy the state of Arizona might be willing to send them (along with a check.)’ According to the Spaldings, Sam was the worst boy they’d ever fostered. Firstly because Sam got totally lost in powerful and detailed waking dreams. Dreams that seem so real they’re like recollections from his past, which confuses Sam no end. Added to that, the bones in Sam’s arms have been so damaged that they are incapable of movement, fused at the elbow, and sometimes very painful. Continue reading

Q&A with #author Nicky Peacock & #Excerpt from Lost in Wonderland @NickyP_author

I’m very pleased to welcome Nicky to the blog today. Nicky’s new release is Lost in Wonderland….

51XV8OPCCRLOnce upon a time, Kayla was lost. Then she found Wonderland, but not the one you know. Run by ex-government agents and funded by an eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire, this Wonderland is the name of a collective of highly trained vigilantes who hunt serial killers. Now Kayla, aka Mouse, works tirelessly alongside her fellow Wonderlanders, Rabbit and Cheshire, baiting dangerous murderers. But even her extensive training hasn’t prepared her for the return of her older brother…

Shilo has spent most of his life in an insane asylum, convinced his mother was abducted by a sinister Alaskan monster who lures the lost away to feast upon their flesh. And now he’s certain that his sister is in the same monster’s crosshairs. But if Shilo is going to save what’s left of his family, he’ll have to convince his sister that maybe, just maybe, we’re all a little mad.

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Guardians Of The Dead (The Guardians #1) by S.L. Wilson #SundayBlogShare #YA @ShelleyWilson72

  • 24970376Author: S.L. Wilson
  • Published: February 2015 by CreateSpace Publishing Platform
  • Category: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
  • four-stars

When sixteen-year-old Amber Noble’s dreams begin to weave into her reality, she turns to the mysterious Connor for help. His links to the supernatural world uncover a chilling truth about her hometown and a pact that must be re-paid with blood.

Guardians of the Dead opens with a great prologue, setting the scene for what follows. Jumping forward ten years, Amber Noble lives in Hills Heath with her father, who is rapidly becoming more and more detached, and noxious stepmother. Amber’s family problems began when her mother disappeared without warning ten years ago, and her father married again soon afterwards. Amber and her step mother, Patricia, dislike each other intensely but Amber has no idea of Patricia’s true nature. Continue reading

Morrighan (The Remnant Chronicles 0.5) by Mary E Pearson #TuesdayBookBlog #YA #PostApocalyptic

Before borders were drawn, before treaties were signed, before wars were waged anew, before the great kingdoms of the Remnant were even born and the world of old was only a hazy slate of memory told in story and legend, a girl and her family fought to survive. 

Although this is a prequel it can be read as a standalone novella. I haven’t yet read any of the Remnant Chronicles so I’m not sure of the connection to the series. From what I can gather the characters in this don’t feature in the main storyline and are, perhaps, ancestors.  Continue reading

#FridayBookShare ~ Guardians Of The Dead by @ShelleyWilson72 #YA #Fantasy

#FridayBookShare ~ an excellent idea created by Shelley Wilson

With the weekend approaching it’s the perfect time to seek out new books to read, so Shelley created a Friday Book Share game to help search for that ideal read.

FridayBookShare

Anyone can join in. Just answer the following F.R.I.D.A.Y. questions based on the book you’re either currently reading (or listening to, in my case) or have just finished reading. Use the hashtag #FridayBookShare and remember to tag Shelley (@ShelleyWilson72)  Continue reading

The Final Virus by @carolJhedges #Dystopian #YA #TuesdayBookBlog #RBRT

  • 29605632Author: Carol Hedges
  • Published: April 2016 by Little G Books
  • Category: Young Adult, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
  • four-stars

Will’s father dies in a work-related accident. At least that’s the official story. But Will knows it isn’t true. Someone wanted his father dead – and he’s determined to find out who, and why. 

The only person who believes him is strange, beautiful loner Amber. But she’s hardly ‘normal’ – always hearing voices and seeing terrible Apocalyptic visions in her head. 

In a dystopian future, Earth’s environment has completely changed following a spate of natural disasters which claimed a huge percentage of the populace and caused extreme climate change. Plus a total cybercrash wiping the data from every chip, memory board and circuit on the planet. This new world is governed by just one president who revitalised the world and improved life for the remaining population. Seemingly. Continue reading

Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young ~ #YA #AudiobookReview ‘Stay Tonight, Stay Forever’

  • 24465518Audiobook Review
  • Author: Suzanne Young
  • Performed by Julia Whelan
  • Published: Simon & Schuster Audio, released on Audible November 2015
  • Category: Young Adult, Supernatural
  • three-half-stars

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are devastated over the sudden and premature death of their mother. Their father is also finding it hard to cope and is taking them to stay with their grandmother. The three of them are distanced from each other, dealing with grief, or not, in their own way. Tired and emotional, their father decides on a one night stop over at the Hotel Ruby. Continue reading

The Exclusives by Rebecca Thornton ~ ‘No-one Can hurt you more than a friend’ #bookreview @twenty7books

  • ExclusivesAuthor: Rebecca Thornton
  • Published: December 2015 by Twenty7 Books
  • Category: Young Adult Fiction
  • three-half-stars

In 1996, Josephine Grey and Freya Seymour are best friends and on the brink of great success. Both are students at the elite private school Greenwood Hall and Josephine, the daughter of the advisor to the Prime Minister, is heading for everything she has ever worked for: Head Girl, Oxford, the demons of her mother finally abated once and for all.

I first became aware of this book when Shelley Wilson chose it for her #FridayFiveChallenge. Most people, including myself, voted it a buy, so I was happy to accept a review copy offered by the publisher.  Continue reading

Passing Notes by @DGDriverAuthor reviewed for #RBRT lovely #YA novella

  • 24745610Author: D.G. Driver
  • Kindle Edition
  • Published: January 2016 by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books
  • Category: Young Adult, Supernatural
  • four-half-stars

Mark has finally gotten the attention of the girl of his dreams. Only, his lame attempts at romance through texts and emails seem to be turning her off. When he gets put in the back of the room in an over-full class at school, he begins to discover old notes giving advice about how to write a great love letter. At first he thinks he’s stumbled on some long-forgotten notes passed in class ages ago, but every time he reads them they seem directed specifically to him. They also appear at the perfect moment each time he needs more advice. It’s like someone is haunting him. 
How do the notes keep appearing? Who’s writing them? Why? 
And if Mark follows the ghostly writer’s advice, will he win Bethany’s love?

This novella highlights today’s changing world and how the ways of communication differ from not that many years ago. The art of letter writing is becoming obsolete along with the need for cursive writing, as computers figure largely in education and people use texting and emails to keep in touch. When Mark Dowd finds himself having to use a very old, odd-looking piece of furniture as a desk in his English class he notices a half hidden carving in the wood. A heart with the name Eileen stylishly carved inside. Mark tries to copy the carving, eventually with a marker pen on the back of his hand as he runs out of space on the paper. Continue reading

Cry of the Sea ~ Reviewed for #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog #YA Fantasy @DGDriverAuthor

  • 21487672Author: D.G. Driver
  • Published: February 2014 by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books
  • Category: YA, Fantasy
  • four-stars

Juniper Sawfeather is choosing which college to attend after graduation from West Olympia High School next year. She wants to go to San Diego to be far away from her environmental activist parents. They expect her to think the way they do, but having to be constantly fighting causes makes it difficult to be an average 17-year-old high school student. Why do her parents have to be so out there?

I haven’t read many Mermaid novels but this is completely different, in a good way, to the ones I have read. Juniper Sawfeather, the daughter of well known environmental activists, is a high school senior contemplating her future career. She doesn’t want to follow in her parents’ footsteps, even though she supports them and helps out when she can. Her ultimate goal is to enter the field of marine biology and escape from the embarrassing stigma of her ‘weird’ parents, which has made her less than popular at school. Continue reading

Plus One ~ #Audiobook @elizabethfama #YA @justjuliawhelan Alternate Reality

A dying wish. A family divided. A love that defies the law.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day/night divide, Elizabeth Fama’s Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.

Following the flu pandemic of 1918, the medical profession was divided into day and night teams in order to cope with the scale of the disease. Before long this segregation was widened to encompass the whole population, which served to slow and eventually stop the spread of the flu, and continued even after the epidemic was over in order to increase efficiency and production. Those who live and work during the night hours are known as Smudges, those more privileged who live in daylight hours are Rays. Lives are rigidly controlled and restricted. Phones are controlled and tracked.  The laws are strictly upheld and any misdemeanour is punishable.  Continue reading

All We Have Is Now

Audiobook Review

Just over twenty-four hours are left until an asteroid strikes North America, and for Emerson and everyone else who didn’t leave, the world will end. But Emerson’s world already ended when she ran away from home. Since then, she has lived on the streets, relying on her wits and on her friend Vince to help her find places to sleep and food to eat.

The city’s quieter now that most people are gone, and no one seems to know what to do as the end approaches. But then Emerson and Vince meet Carl, who tells them he has been granting people’s wishes—and gives them his wallet full of money. 

Suddenly, this last day seems full of possibility. Emerson and Vince can grant a lot of wishes in one last day—maybe even their own.

The government have announced an asteroid is due to hit north-western America with devastating effects to the region, the impact expected to affect parts of Canada also. Panic and chaos ensued with many people trying to leave by any means possible, resulting in deaths and injuries. Continue reading

The Dragon of the Month Club

  • Dragon book coverAuthor: Iain Reading
  • Published: December 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Young Adult, Fantasy
  • four-stars

The Dragon Of The Month Club is the exciting first installment in a new book series that tells the story of Ayana Fall and Tyler Travers, two best friends who stumble across an extraordinarily magical book and soon find themselves enrolled as members of a very special and exclusive club – The Dragon of the Month Club. 

On the thirteenth of every month a new dragon conjuring spell is revealed and the two friends attempt to summon the latest Dragon of the Month. The varieties are almost endless: Air Dragons, Paper Dragons, Fog Dragons, Waterfall Dragons, Rock Dragons, Tree Dragons – not to mention special bonus dragons for all the major holidays, including a particularly prickly Holly Dragon for Christmas. 

After her father walked out and because her mother lost her job, Ayana Fall and her mother have relocated to a small town in Alberta. Ayana misses her home in Vancouver, the majestic Rockies, and her friends. To make matters worse she’s being targeted by a school bully. After a particularly horrible encounter with the very unpleasant and vicious Heather van der Sloot and her cohorts, Ayana seeks solace in the dim and dusty reaches of the library. Emotion overwhelms her, tears falling in earnest and thoughts swirling. Only when she was cried out did she notice a boy watching her from behind a shelf of books. And that’s when the friendship between Ayana and Tyler Travers begins. Continue reading

Future Perfect

  • FuturePerfectAuthor: Katrina Mountfort
  • Published: September 2014 by Elsewhen Press
  • Category: Young Adult, Dystopian
  • five-stars

The Blueprint trilogy takes us to a future in which men and women are almost identical, and personal relationships are forbidden. Following a bio-terrorist attack, the population now lives within comfortable Citidomes. MindValues advocate acceptance and non-attachment. The BodyPerfect cult encourages a tall thin androgynous appearance, and looks are everything.

A dark undercurrent runs through this story; the enforcement of conformity through fear, the fostering of distorted and damaging attitudes towards forbidden love, manipulation of appearance and even the definition of beauty, will appeal to both an adult and young adult audience.

It’s the latter half of the 22nd century and the population of the UK, now known as State 11, live in Citidomes, controlled environments in which everyone is encouraged to look, think and act in a certain way. The inhabitants are dominated by Mind Values which suppress negative emotions to facilitate a peaceful but subjugated existence. Emotional attachments and regular relationships are prevented. Accommodation comprises four resmates to each unit with no outward signs of friendships, people are just interested in how many connections they can acquire. Body perfection is encouraged and anyone not conforming to the standard is belittled and looked down upon. The residents of the Citidomes are controlled by fear of viruses and severe, degrading punishments by the correction enforcers. Continue reading

Darkness Brutal ~ The Dark Cycle #1 #Paranormal #Urbanfantasy #audiobook

Audiobook Review

  • Darkness BrutalAuthor: Rachel A Marks
  • Performed by Will Damron
  • Released: July 2015 by Brilliance Audio
  • Category: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
  • four-half-stars

Aidan O’Linn’s childhood ended the night he saw a demon kill his mother and mark his sister, Ava, with Darkness. Since then, every three years the demons have returned to try to claim her. Living in the gritty, forgotten corners of Los Angeles, Aidan has managed to protect his sister, but he knows that even his powers to fight demons and speak dead languages won’t keep her safe for much longer. 

Seventeen year old Aidan O’Linn has the ability to see the spiritual world, the ghosts, demons and angels which inhabit it. Since the night his young sister, Ava, was marked by a demon, his sole purpose has been to protect her from being claimed by the darkness. The demons want her and nothing will stop them. With their mother dead and Ava in foster care, Aidan is trying to stay under the radar, living on the street and keeping his strange abilities secret. He sometimes works for eccentric and wealthy club owner, Eric, who collects artefacts. Aidan can translate the ancient inscriptions and tell if the objects are genuine by their energy.  Continue reading

Conor Kelly and the Four Treasures of Eirean (The Tir na Nog Trilogy #1)

  • ConnorKellyAuthor: Ali Isaac
  • Published: December 2012 by Walker – Isaac Publishing
  • Category: Young Adult, Fantasy
  • five-stars

Conor Kelly is not your average hero. Trapped inside a body he can’t control, Conor’s mind is as active and alert as that of any teenage boy. On the outside, however, he’s about as interactive as a lump of wood.
Then he meets Annalee. She claims to be a Sidhe Princess, some kind of fairy royalty, apparently. She offers to take him into the magical realm, where her people wield the power to help him. 
But is she just some child-snatching lunatic psychopath, or can she be trusted? On the other hand, what’s he got to lose?

Book One of the Tir na Nog Trilogy begins an epic fantasy adventure which takes us back in time to the shadowy past of Ireland’s long lost legend, where fairy kings and Gods walked amongst mortals, and where feats of magic, swordsmanship, and courage were customary.

Intriguingly, the story opens 4,000 years ago with a prologue introducing the Fir Bolg. The King has had a disturbing dream, a warning of impending disaster. And as his people are readying themselves for war, the Tuatha de Danann are landing on the shores of Connemara.  Continue reading

The Last Gatekeeper ~ The Chronicles of Fane #1

  • The Last Gatekeeper Cover MEDIUM WEBAuthor: Katy Haye
  • Kindle Edition
  • Category: Young Adult, Fantasy
  • four-half-stars

Zan knows she’s different. Today she discovers why …

Zanzibar MacKenzie knows she’s a freak. She has EHS – electrical hypersensitivity – which leaves her trying to live a Stone Age life in the twenty-first century: no internet, no phone, no point really. Then Thanriel knocks on her door and the dull summer holiday becomes maybe too exciting. Zan discovers fairies and angels are real beings from other planets, she herself is half alien, and the future of life on Earth rests on her shoulders.

Up until the day of her 17th birthday, Zanzibar MacKenzie lead a very sheltered life. She always knew she was different, home schooled, no electrical appliances whatsoever in her life or environment and isolated by her EHS. Just how different, she was about to find out. While spending time with her only friend, Em, who lives nearby, and Em’s boyfriend at the beach, Zan thinks she spots a stranger on the cliff watching them.  Continue reading

The Dragon of the Month Club ~ Young Adult Fantasy by Iain Reading.

Dragon book coverThe Dragon Of The Month Club, by Iain Reading, was published in February 2015 and is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Genres: Young Adult / Fantasy / Adventure

Synopsis:

The Dragon Of The Month Club is the exciting first installment in a new book series that tells the story of Ayana Fall and Tyler Travers, two best friends who stumble across an extraordinarily magical book and soon find themselves enrolled as members of a very special and exclusive club – The Dragon of the Month Club. 

On the thirteenth of every month a new dragon conjuring spell is revealed and the two friends attempt to summon the latest Dragon of the Month. The varieties are almost endless: Air Dragons, Paper Dragons, Fog Dragons, Waterfall Dragons, Rock Dragons, Tree Dragons – not to mention special bonus dragons for all the major holidays, including a particularly prickly Holly Dragon for Christmas.  Continue reading

Sapient ~ Review & Excerpt

  • SapientAuthor: Jerry Kaczmarowski
  • Published: April 2015 by Jerry Kaczmarowski
  • Category: Young Adult, Techno Thriller
  • four-stars

Abandoned by her husband after the birth of their child, Jane Dixon’s world is defined by her autistic son and the research she does to find a cure for his condition. She knows her work on animal intelligence may hold the key. She also knows that the research will take decades to complete. None of it will ultimately benefit her son.

All that changes when a lab rat named Einstein demonstrates that he can read and write. Just as her research yields results, the U.S. government discovers her program.

Scientist Jane Dixon lives for her son, Robbie, who is autistic and prone to seizures, and her research work into animal intelligence with a view to finding a cure for autism. Although sure her findings will be too late to benefit her son, her hopes are raised when the comprehensive variety of tests on one particular rat produces amazing results. Einstein, as the rat is aptly named, develops the ability to understand dialogue, think for himself and communicate using the text facility on a phone. And not just any phone, Einstein is partial to iPhones, and dislikes Androids.

Jane acquires another test subject, a one-eyed German Shepherd called Bear, who hasn’t had the best start in life to begin with.  Bear and Einstein develop a love/hate relationship as their respective intelligence increases immeasurably, however Einstein’s skills are more advanced and he never lets an opportunity pass to make a joke at Bear’s expense. These two are so comical together and make the story for me, and I desperately wanted a happy ending for both of them, as well as Robbie.

The rat reached out a skinny arm and scratched at the dog’s front leg. The dog shivered as the rat dug his sharp claws into his front arm and climbed up to his shoulder. He growled at the minor discomfort, but the rat continued his slow, methodical climb to the dog’s head. The dog lifted his nose up to the green panel, and the rat pushed the glowing squares with his tiny claw.

At the sound of an audible click, the dog pushed through the door to their kennels. They raced to their respective cages and slammed the doors shut, oblivious to the security camera in the fish eye enclosure above them. 

Although Jane is always open to offers of extra funding for her work the interest shown by The Centre for Disease Control and the Military is not quite what she has in mind. One has the intention to shut her program down and the other to use her research to enhance the intelligence of military dogs. Having no choice but to comply and work with the two agencies actually gives Jane the answer she’s been seeking as to why results differ so much from one rat to another. For the test serum to work, the subject has to be at a certain stage of development. Jane, in total mother mode, takes a momentous decision she has cause to regret as the ramifications of her actions become clearer and propel her, and Robbie, into drastic action.

Well defined characters, imaginative story telling and plenty of action, including some quite graphic scenes. A pity nothing nasty happened to Kenny. The drama and tension of the story is lightened by the interaction between Bear and Einstein. A compelling and thought-provoking read with a great ending which serves as quite a warning. The fundamental relationship between a mother and child is explored and begs the question what lengths would or should a desperate mother go to help her child, if the end result is uncertain and a possible threat. Dangers, as well as acts of kindness, to young, vulnerable people are also highlighted.

The complex, often emotive, and ethical issues of animal testing are also explored and show how these animals can sometimes be mistreated, quite apart from the actual testing. Do we have the right to inflict suffering on other creatures? Does the end result outweigh the means to reach it? The story also raises significant questions about the consequences and implications of some forms of medical research and the effect and/or repercussions it could have in everyday situations, and way of life generally. 

Sapient

adjective

wise, or attempting to appear wise

of or relating to the human species (Homo Sapiens)

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

My thanks to Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services for sending an e-copy for review

About the author

Jerry Kaczmarowski 10Jerry Kaczmarowski lives in Seattle with his family. He writes techno-thrillers that explore the benefits and dangers of mankind’s scientific advancement. His first book, Moon Rising, was released in June 2014.  His second book, Sapient, was published in April 2015.

Jerry spent the first twenty years of his professional life in the consulting industry on the West Coast. His fascination with technology is matched only by his love of stories. His books intertwine action with a keen insight into how technology will shape our lives in the coming years.

To learn more, go to http://www.jerrykaczmarowski.com/   

Connect with Jerry on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Excerpt from Sapient

Chapter 1

A young research assistant poked his head through the laboratory door and said, “We’re heading out to grab some beers. Want to join us?” 

Dr. Jane Dixon brushed aside a strand of dark hair that had fallen from her ponytail. She waved the offer off without turning to face him and gave a curt, “Too much work.” I need to get out of here at a decent time to see Robbie, or I’m going to need to find a new nanny. 

“Come on, Dr. Dixon. One quick drink. It’s Friday.” 

She sighed and faced him, removing her dark-rimmed glasses. “How about a rain check?” She gave the younger man her best smile, but Jane knew she sounded insincere. 

“Sure, a rain check.” The research assistant gave a perfunctory nod and let the door swing shut. Jane wouldn’t receive another invitation anytime soon, which was fine with her. 

She put her hands in the small of her back and stretched, yielding a satisfying pop. Not for the first time, she congratulated herself on the regularity of her yoga workouts. They were one of the few distractions she permitted herself. With forty in the not-too- distant future, it was one distraction she couldn’t afford to forgo. She pulled her stool closer to her computer and checked her maze for the final time. She chuckled to herself. After all her years of education, she was reduced to playing video games with rodents. Using a virtual maze allowed her to create a level of complexity unrealistic with traditional animal intelligence testing. 

Jane walked into an adjoining room with rows of cages where her subjects spent most of their day. She approached a cage adorned with a garish blue first-place ribbon. Her assistant had put it on the door as a joke. At first, it migrated back and forth as different rats outperformed others. For the past two months, it hadn’t moved. 

She opened the cage and made a coaxing motion. “Come here, Einstein.” A fat, white rat dashed out the door onto her hand and scrambled up her right shoulder. His neon-blue eyes gave off an icy intelligence. The change in eye color was one of many side effects of her tests Jane still couldn’t explain. The rat whipped its tail into her hair for balance, hopping from paw to paw. 

“Settle down, boy,” she said. She carried Einstein back into the lab with its virtual maze and extended her hand. He raced down her arm to the large trackball and made little jumps in anticipation of the race. As Jane clamped him gently into the metal rig that held him in place, he stopped jumping. Einstein differed from the other rats—he never struggled when Jane locked him in place. The other rats fought against the harness, making it difficult to complete the test preparations. 

A two-dimensional overview of a simple maze flashed on the screen. Without hesitating, Einstein rolled through the maze on his trackball, completing the challenge in seconds. 

“Too easy,” Jane said. “You don’t even deserve a prize.” Despite this, she stroked the rat’s head and gave him a small piece of cheese. Einstein snapped it up in his front paws. As soon as he devoured it, he pulled against his harness and chattered at Jane. 

“Relax, big fella.” She tapped on her keyboard to reconfigure the course before bending down to eye level with Einstein. “Now the real challenge begins.” He stared into her sea- green eyes. The small rodent had the intense focus of a fighter about to get in the ring. 

A second maze flashed on the screen. There was a straightforward solution that was long and twisting. A second solution existed, but so far, none of the rats had figured it out. The second path had two tiny virtual teleportation pads. If the rats stepped onto one of the pads, they were transported to a corresponding location in a different part of the maze. For this test, the pads would save precious seconds. 

“Go,” Jane shouted, starting the timer. Einstein didn’t budge. Instead, he looked back and forth between the obvious path and the first teleportation pad. 

“Clock’s ticking,” Jane said to herself in frustration. 

Einstein shrieked as he noticed the decreasing progress bar. A tentative paw step forward cleared the maze overview and put him in a six-inch-high virtual hallway. He waddled straight to the teleportation pad but stopped short. He turned his gaze to Jane as his whiskers moved back and forth, up and down. Jane stared back, willing him to make the right move. 

The rat rolled forward on his trackball across the pad. The screen flashed, and he teleported to within a few steps of the exit. With a final glance at Jane, he spun through the gate with twenty seconds left on the clock. 

Jane clapped her hands. “You did it.” She reached toward him. He clambered up her arm, slower now that he was out of the virtual world. She gave him a piece of cheese and returned him to the steel table. 

“Impressive,” she said to the empty room. At times like this she wished someone could appreciate her triumphs. Her coworkers were at the bar. And Robbie? Robbie is Robbie. The warm smile of a mother flitted across her face as she thought about her son. 

Einstein broke her reverie as he scratched and clawed at an iPad on the table. “It’s like having a second child,” Jane sighed to herself. She obliged Einstein’s pestering by starting an old episode of Sesame Street. The classic show was his favorite. Most other children’s programming bored him. His second-favorite genre was as far from the Children’s Television Workshop gang as you could get. One of Jane’s more unsavory assistants had decided to play Rated R comedies on the screen in the evening when the animals were alone in their cages. The crass movies entertained Einstein for hours despite the fact he couldn’t understand any of them. 

Jane’s mobile phone vibrated. A message from her nanny read, “WHERE R U!!!” She glanced at the time in the lower right of her screen and gave a sharp intake of breath. I did it again, she chided herself. 

“Leaving now. Sorry.” She almost typed a sad face emoticon but caught herself. It wouldn’t be well received. She pushed Send and dropped the phone on the lab table. She pounded the results of today’s tests into her computer, not bothering to correct spelling errors as she raced to enter her observations while they were still fresh. 

The phone buzzed again. Jane gritted her teeth at the unnecessary back-and-forth. These nastygrams would only delay her departure. She reached for the phone in frustration, but Einstein was perched over it, staring at the screen. She nudged the little rodent back and set her jaw as she read the text. 

The screen read, “Who is Einstein?” As she struggled to make sense of the nanny’s text, her eyes scanned back to the previous outbound message. She juggled her phone, almost dropping it on the floor. 

The screen read, “I am Einstein.” 

Praise for Sapient:

“The plot is fast-paced, thought provoking, funny at times, and kept me reading to find out what would happen next. I think that the YA audience will love it.” – Dana Bjornstad

“I loved this story and I especially liked its animal characters – Einstein the lab rat with the keen sense of humor and Bear, the one-eyed German Shepherd dog who seems to always be the butt of Einstein’s jokes. And the human characters aren’t half bad either.” – Cheryl Stout

“A timeless, engrossing and perfectly-paced techno thriller about the promise – and fear – of modern medical science.” – Best Thrillers

Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces ~ Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #5

  • KittyHawk5Author: Iain Reading
  • Published: February 2015 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Young Adult, Adventure, Mystery
  • four-half-stars

Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces is the eagerly anticipated fifth instalment of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency book series. This series features the intrepid teenage seaplane pilot and amateur detective Kitty Hawk as she continues in the footsteps of Nancy Drew and Amelia Earhart on her epic flight around the world.

As with the previous books in the series, this new installment is perfect for firing the imaginations of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history, this exhilarating adventure will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they attempt to help Kitty Hawk try and solve the extraordinarily bizarre Mystery of the Masterpieces.

After her adventures in London and Ireland Kitty is on her way to Rome to meet Charlie, the friend she made during her escapade in the Yukon. No sooner is Kitty on Italian soil than she and Charlie find themselves involved in a very mysterious and alarming set of circumstances. Enjoying an after dinner ice cream they are swept up in a chase to apprehend a pickpocket, and literally run into Matteo and Vega, upsetting Matteo’s cart full of walnuts.

Charlie’s scraped and bloodied knee necessitates them going to Matteo and Vega’s house where the mystery of the masterpieces begins. Kitty discovers a painting by Van Gogh, which has been hanging on the wall for years, unknown as such to Matteo and his sisters and the first of many with questionable ownership and/or stolen by the Nazis during WW2. 

The painting showed a view from the sand dunes out towards a turbulent scene of high winds and rough seas. Along the shoreline, a scattered group of bystanders watched as a sailing ship was pulled ashore through a violent surf of crashing waves.

Events spiral as Kitty, Charlie and their new friends are startled by an intruder, find a secret room with a radio receiver and discover there is an unbelievable amount of stolen artwork worth millions. Trying to break seemingly impossible codes and follow the clues takes them all over Europe by way of Salzburg, Vienna, Munich, Bolzano and Nuremberg. 

As always, Iain Reading describes the countries and places vividly and interestingly. Kitty and Charlie’s visit to the site which once housed the Nazi Concentration Camp of Dachau gave me chills. The lingering atmosphere of horror and sadness is tangible. The story is complemented and strengthened with the addition of lots of information woven into the narrative, and the threads of historical facts in the basis of the plot. The ‘Some Further Reading’ section at the end of the book is full of documentation relevant to places, occurrences and events in the book, with links for further exploration.

Another captivating and entertaining adventure, rich in details and fascinating facts, with a friendly and enthusiastic heroine. Kitty’s character is evolving, the more she learns of the world and people, from both a good and bad perspective. I enjoyed Charlie’s return as a main character and the relationship between him and Kitty, considering their initial introduction at the beginning of the series. The ending leaves some unanswered questions and unsolved mysteries which adds to Kitty’s credibility. Maybe they will be resolved as Kitty continues on her round the world trip… or possibly not. Awaiting Kitty’s next adventure…..  

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

My thanks to Kelsey McBride from Book Publicity Services for sending me a copy of the book for review.

About the author

IainReadingIain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations. He has published 5 books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series.

Don’t forget to check out the latest happenings in the world of Kitty Hawk at http://www.kittyhawkworld.com and it you’re interested also head over to www.secretworldonline.com and check out some of the songs that I write and record in my spare time in an effort to try and convince people that I am much busier than I actually am.

For more information, go to http://www.kittyhawkworld.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kittyhawkworld

Excerpt from Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces

PROLOGUE 

There Has To Be A Rationale Explanation… 

It was the creepiest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life. 

With my skin crawling with goose bumps, I listened as the psychopathic tinkling song of a child’s music box quickly faded into the high-pitch hiss of static and was quickly replaced by a sound that brought new meaning to the phrase of having one’s blood run cold. My knees literally went weak at just the sound of it, threatening to collapse under me like watery rubber. 

Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, I thought to myself over and over again as my mind raced to find some explanation for the completely bizarre and otherworldly sounds that I was hearing. There has to be a rational explanation for this. This is real life, not a horror movie. There has to be something that somehow explains this! 

These were all reasonable assumptions, of course, but what I was hearing was so completely fantastical that it seemed to defy all attempts at finding a sensible or logical explanation. 

I closed my eyes for an instant as the room began to swim dizzily out of focus around me. My heart was beating so fast that my brain was simply overwhelmed by sensory input and it took me a second or two to recover from the wave of sudden lightheaded vertigo that had washed over me. 

This can’t be happening, I told myself. Of course it was happening, but my brain simply refused to accept that it was real and the resulting disorientation made me feel like my entire world had suddenly been turned upside down, leaving me confused and struggling to find solid ground. 

But I was determined to find my feet again. 

Just breathe, I told myself as I took a very deep breath, which instantly began to make me feel a little bit more in control. I slowly exhaled and opened my eyes again, repeating this thought over and over like a mantra until I finally began to get a hold of myself. 

Already feeling much better, I forced myself to take another breath and concentrate on exactly what it was that I was hearing. It was a voice–a woman’s voice that was supposed to sound human but there was actually nothing human about it. The voice was also speaking English, but what it was saying made absolutely no sense whatsoever and the effect of it was fiendishly unnerving. 

There has to be a rational explanation for this, I told myself again as I glanced over at the others and forced myself to stand my ground. Of course, in the end there was a completely rational explanation for all of it. But little did I know how far I would have to go to try and find it or how many answers would still be left unsolved once I did. 

Duplicity

AudiobookReview

A computer-hacking teen. The girl who wants to save him. And a rogue mirror reflection that might be the death of them both.

In private, seventeen-year-old Brandon hacks bank accounts just for the thrill of it. In public, he looks like any other tattooed bad boy with a fast car and devil-may-care attitude. He should know: he’s worked hard to maintain that façade. With inattentive parents who move constantly from city to city, he’s learned not to get tangled up in things like friends and relationships. So he’ll just keep living like a machine, all gears and wires.

Seventeen year old hacker, Brandon Eriks, a bad boy with multiple tattoos, piercings, dyed black, messy hair and an attitude to match, thinks he’s covered up his money-making hacking activities pretty well. Until one day he finds warning and personal messages on his computer. Things get even more bizarre when Brandon’s reflection takes on a life of its own, writing messages on mirrors and altering Brandon’s appearance by removing the metal from his piercings, ripping off his tattoos and washing the dye out of his hair. Then the unthinkable happens and Brandon is watching his life unfold from behind the mirror.

Because who found me? Who cares enough to find me? Can’t be a cop, because he’d cut to the chase and knock on my door with a warrant, not play cat and mouse on my laptop. Can’t be a bot because he knows personal details about me. Like what happened with Emma. But I can’t think of anyone, even super hackers who get their thrills hunting other hackers, who would even care what I say or do offline.

Brandon, quite different from a lot of young adult protagonists, has built up his image as a shield and perfected it over the years. His ‘don’t care’ attitude stems from the hurt of his parents’ thoughtlessness, the tattoos and piercings a reaction against his flawed family life as well as a bid for some sort of attention. He pushes people away before he can become attached or emotionally involved. The one person he can’t step away from is Emma, who believes in him and sees past the face Brandon shows to the world.

Brandon’s character evolves genuinely and substantially during the story, mostly due to his feelings for Emma. The romance itself doesn’t figure hugely in the plot which centres more on the multi layered science fiction aspect and the complex digital world in which Brandon finds himself confined. This allows him to consider and acknowledge his convoluted relationships with others, as well as his own situation, from a different perspective. N.K. Traver does a really good job of showing the reasons Brandon chooses to use his computer skills unwisely, eliciting some sympathy for an emotionally starved teen, while at the same time exploring the issue of privacy in the digital age.

N.K. Traver has created a unique concept, a great storyline, with well-developed and engaging characters, and even though it’s full of technology speak it’s not too overwhelming. The supporting characters are realistically portrayed, my favourite by far is Seb, also hurting and distrustful. For such an extraordinary storyline it’s really well done, so suspend your belief, leave it by the door and enjoy a tense and very imaginative cyber thriller that didn’t go in any of the directions I expected. An extremely good debut novel.

As with all his narrations, MacLeod Andrews’ performance is excellent, really getting inside the characters and bringing them to life individually and vividly.

Book links ~ Amazon US Amazon UK

About the author

As a freshman at the University of Colorado, N.K. Traver decided to pursue Information Technology because classmates said “no one could make a living” with an English degree. It wasn’t too many years later Traver realized it didn’t matter what the job paid—nothing would ever be as fulfilling as writing. Programmer by day, writer by night, it was only a matter of time before the two overlapped.

Traver’s debut, DUPLICITY, a cyberthriller pitched as BREAKING BAD meets THE MATRIX for teens, is now available.

Author links ~ Website, Twitter, Goodreads

I Am The Weapon ~ The Unknown Assassin #1

  • IAmAuthor: Allen Zadoff
  • Published: May 2014 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Category: Young Adult, Thriller
  • four-half-stars

They needed the perfect assassin.

Boy Nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school in a new town under a new name, makes a few friends and doesn’t stay long. Just long enough for someone to die — of “natural causes.” Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, moving on to the next target.

The story is narrated in the first person by the sixteen year old assassin. Integrated into a shadowy organisation called The Program at twelve, after his parents were killed by the boy he considered his best friend, he is now highly trained and ultra observant. Not much gets past him. He has completed six missions, eliminating people the program consider dangerous. The last being the termination of his ‘friend’ Jack’s father. And even though the assassin knows he has broken another person’s heart, even though ‘he can do it and not feel it,’ there are stirrings of sympathy for him as a hint of his thoughts are revealed. ‘I had feelings once, too. I think I did. But that was a long time ago. That was before.’ His real name and identity are lost in that long ago time.

Having an anti-hero, initially with no name, creates a distance between the protagonist and reader, until more of his story is revealed in flashbacks. This approach works well, building up a picture of a child turned into a killer whose only choices were either join The Program or join his parents. ‘Twelve years old and I had to make a choice between life and death.’ No excuses are made for the choices Ben made, regardless of his sad story and the fact his life only consists of mission after mission. No friends, no family, no home.

The assassin’s next mission necessitates him blending in with students at an elite school in NYC in order to access his target, the city’s mayor, through his daughter, Samara. Benjamin, his name for this assignment, is efficient and competent, detached emotionally and able to fit in with whatever the situation requires. What Benjamin hasn’t accounted for is Samara and the fact his target reminds him of his own father. Memories begin to surface, memories that were buried deep, of the child he was, his family and flashes of his old life before The Program. Ben begins to question what he’s doing and all he’s been taught causing him to do something he has never even considered previously, breaking the code of behaviour that has been instilled into him. The plot is excellent and Benjamin’s interesting character gives it a unique twist.

I know my father was not the great dad I thought he was, or the man he pretended to be to the world. The Program tells me one thing, but my memories tell me another.

The hook, for me, is the complex and complicated protagonist and his internal struggle with the years of training and conditioning clashing with the control and freedom issues he is just beginning to explore. The Program, with it’s authoritarian ‘Mother’ and ‘Father,’ is vague throughout and not given much detail. We’re just told ‘The Program is all about finding and removing enemies of the US.’  The air of mystery, about The Program and Benjamin, only adds to the overall story.

Death is a tool I use for my work. It’s not something I do lightly.

Benjamin’s character development is marked and through his self questioning he learns a lot about himself. The supporting cast is credible and strong and the narrative is penned in short, concise chapters which adds to the tension and fast pace of the storyline. I enjoyed the unpretentious, straight to the point writing style. The content is quite unlike the couple of other books I’ve read by Allen Zadoff in that it’s much darker and has sexually implied scenes. 

A word of warning, this book has been released under three titles, Boy Nobody, I Am The Weapon and The Hit.

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

About the author

AllenZadoffAllen Zadoff is the author of the new thriller series, The Unknown Assassin which earned starred reviews and has been optioned for a feature film by Sony Pictures and Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment. His YA novel, Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have won the Sid Fleischman Humor Award and was a YALSA selection for Most Popular Paperbacks of 2012. His second novel was My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies, the story of a techie hiding from life after a family tragedy. His third novel Since You Left Me is set in Los Angeles and tells the story of a religious school student who doesn’t believe. He also wrote the memoir for adults, Hungry:Lessons Learned on the Journey from Fat to Thin.

Allen is a graduate of Cornell University and the Harvard University Institute for Advanced Theatre Training.

Author links ~ Website, Facebook, Twitter