Cover Reveal for REVOLUTION OF IVY

Hi there! Today, I’m sharing the cover for Amy Engel’s second novel in the Book of Ivy series. Without further ado:
The Revolution of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #2)
Release Date: 11/03/15
Entangled Teen

About the Book:
**Spoilers if you haven’t read book one**
Ivy Westfall is beyond the fence and she is alone. Abandoned by her
family and separated from Bishop Lattimer, Ivy must find a way to survive on her own in a land filled with countless dangers, both human and natural. She has traded a more civilized type of cruelty–forced marriages and murder plots–for the bare-knuckled brutality required to survive outside Westfall’s borders.

But there is hope beyond the fence, as well. And when Bishop reappears in Ivy’s life, she must decide if returning to Westfall to take a final stand for what she believes is right is worth losing everything she’s fought for.

The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1)
About the book:
After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

I really enjoyed this dystopian YA romance. Both Ivy and Bishop are excellent characters and I totally rooted for their HEA. (Didn’t happen, but I respected the heck out of Ivy. Check out my review for more details.

About the Author
 Amy Engel was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas; California; Missouri; Washington, D.C.), she settled in Kansas City, Missouri, where she lives with her husband and two kids.  Before devoting herself full-time to motherhood and writing, she was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV.  When she has a free moment, she can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping. The Book of Ivy is her debut YA novel. Find her online at or @aengelwrites.

Author Links:

 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png


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Cephalopod Coffeehouse February 2015–THE LEGACY HUMAN-A Review

Hi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

As part of the Coffeehouse I’m obligated to share the best book I read this month. A few of my Coffeehouse friends are familiar with Susan Kaye Quinn, but this is a NEW, so I am eager to share a YA dystopian-future gem. Oh, and scroll down to enter the KINDLE GIVEAWAY!!

The Legacy Human (Singularity #1)About the book:
When transcending humanity is the prize, winning the Game is all that matters.

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.

The Legacy Human is the first in a new young adult science fiction series that explores the intersection of mind, body, and soul… and how technology will challenge us to remember what it means to be human.

My Review:
This is a sci-fi YA story set in a richly described dystopian future. More than one hundred years ago, Earth had a catastrophic population event, called the Singularity. At that time, there were serious issues with population and shortages, but a new technology allowed the conscious of a human to be uploaded into a computer mainframe called Orion. This collective was then able to “download” the experiences of each “Ascender” into discrete automaton bodies. Ascenders had not only their own knowledge, but access to the minds of the billions who likewise ascended.  Those who chose not to Ascend–Legacy Humans–Have been treated like museum pieces to some extent. They are now little more than entertainment for the Ascenders, existing in small Ascender-monitored communities where they have all the “basic” needs met, or off the grid in Believer/rebel colonies.

What is celebrated by Ascenders is the creativity of the Legacy mind. The ability to create–life, art–is venerated. As Legacies are meant to live, and die, the technology that Ascenders use on a daily basis to extend and improve life is denied to the Legacies.

At the time of the Singularity, any human could choose to Ascend, however that avenue is now closed. Currently, the only way for a Legacy to join Orion’s collective is to win one of four coveted, annual spaces in the Art Olympics. Each year the best Legacy (under age 18) in Art, Drama, Writing or Music is selected in the Agon Games–and each winner plus his/her immediate family is ascended.  With the prospect of virtual immortality on the line, winning is difficult, if not downright deadly.

Eli is a 17 y/o Legacy Human who wants nothing more than to get his mother well. She suffers leukemia, a disease that Ascender gene tech can easily cure, but she is denied this treatment because, well, humans die. No point healing them if they are only going to die anyway, in the Ascender viewpoint. Eli is also a talented artist, and he is selling his art for illegal “chits” to buy the forbidden treatment. Eli has an Ascender patron, Lenora, who is helping him to improve his craft, and also assisting with the sales of his work.

Eli wishes to Ascend not only to save his mother, but also to be worthy of an equal relationship with Lenora–while Ascenders and Legacies can have “relations” this is highly frowned upon. Plus, Eli wants to be more than a domestic. He wants immortality, but Lenora will not sponsor him for the Agon Games. And, Eli’s mother doesn’t actually WANT to Ascend. She believes, as do many Legacies, that Ascending destroys the human soul.

Turns out, Lenora’s second (read: boyfriend/partner), Marcus, will. As Eli enters the Games, however, it turns out to be far harder for him than he imagined. Two “Agonites” are already dead, and the likelihood is high for another fatality. Eli is assisted by his dearest friend, Cyrus, and makes a few rebellious friends: Kamali, Basha and Delphina, all who do not actually wish to ascend. Eli is mystified; who wouldn’t wish to be perfection? Still, he hears their arguments against–the most incredible being this “soul” issue.

Eli’s art suffers from an inability to connect to his creative genius. It sometimes peeks out in a “fugue” state–he gets angry or upset and the art…happens. He wakes from this (almost) trance to find amazingly detailed paintings, the kind that could clearly win the Gold, but he cannot harness his fugue. It is transient, though seems to be happening with greater frequency. Kamali seems to be able to draw Eli into the fugue, however, and they pair up often to facilitate Eli’s chance.

As Eli and Kamali talk, Eli comes to realize that the Legacy and Ascender life are not all they seem. Eli recognizes that his true goal, to Ascend and save his mother and become Lenora’s second, are perhaps not the best goals. Well, he’s dead set on saving his mother, but perhaps being Ascended isn’t the perfection he craves after all…

THE LEGACY HUMAN is beautifully rendered with a lush world and the kind of moral dilemmas that are core issues in our own time. Do we have souls? What are the permanent effects of childhood decisions? Can we truly harness power for good, or will power always corrupt? Eli’s fight to save his mother extend throughout the Games and afterward–when he learns he’s been (perhaps) double/triple crossed. He is a strong, likable character and his plight is sympathetic. He competes for love–for his mother’s life and the woman he desires. That he is an inadvertent hero of a cause he didn’t know existed? Well, that’s for the next book.

INTERESTED? You can find THE LEGACY HUMAN on Goodreads and Amazon. It’s an interesting new series that I jumped into because, well, Sue is a dear writing friend at this point.


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Thanks for popping in, and feel free to check out what were the best reads of my fellow Coffeehouse bloggers:

1. The Armchair Squid 2. WOMEN: WE SHALL OVERCOME
3. Stephanie Faris, Author 4. Trisha @ WORD STUFF
5. Cherdo on the Flipside 6. mainewords
7. StrangePegs — Just Exactly How Life Looks 8. StrangePegs — Changes
9. A Creative Exercise 10. Life Before the Hereafter
11. V’s Reads 12. Two Square Dogs

The Future Exists in THE BOOK OF IVY–Review and Giveaway

Hi there! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for THE BOOK OF IVY sponsored by YA Bound Book Tours. For other stop on the tour click here. This YA dystopian romance by Amy Engel is a compelling read.

The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy, #1)About the book:
After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

My Review:
I wasn’t sure what to expect based on the blurb: 16 y/o Ivy Westfall is arranged to be married to the only child of the President of their post-apocalyptic town, and then she’s supposed to kill her new husband. I was genuinely surprized at how well I liked this book.

In this dystopian future, there aren’t many people left: 10,000 in the fence-protected Ozarks town of Westfall. No one knows about the rest of the world because anyone venturing out of the fence is killed (presumably). Ivy’s father is the lone child of the town’s founder, and his town of Westfall was seized in a police coup by the grandfather of her husband-to-be, Bishop Lattimer. Ivy has been coached throughout her life that the Lattimers are evil, and need to be deposed. Her elder sister, Callie, was originally betrothed (in the arranged marriage system of Westfall) but Bishop objected and it is now Ivy’s duty–not only to marry him, but also (in accordance with her father and Callie’s plans) to kill him.

Quick note, because of the history of nuclear war and disease, the lifespan of this world is lower, and younger procreation yields healthier babies, hence the marrying of teens with the objective of early pregnancy. Also, it’s a bit of a 1950’s world where the wives are strongly expected to remain home as baby incubators–something which greatly dismays the literate and curious Ivy.

Frankly Ivy is terrified. She has been home-schooled and rarely ever mixed with anyone, let alone boys. She can’t understand why Callie was passed over; cunning Callie is petite, dark and lovely while Ivy is too tall and too awkward and too impetuous. Still, Ivy presents herself for the marriage, because to not agree to marrying is a crime in Westfall–one that carries a banishment (death) sentence. Ivy is afraid Bishop will assert himself as her husband against her will (read: rape her), and yet, he doesn’t. At all. I wasn’t sure if he was interested in girls, or not, for a bit there. It seems Bishop wants a real relationship with Ivy–not just a sex partner.

Meanwhile, Ivy has been told her entire life that President Lattimer killer her mother. Remaining with Bishop teaches her the folly of trust–her own family lied, repeatedly, in order to gain Ivy’s cooperation. The more time Ivy spends with Bishop, the more she realizes that she cannot achieve her family’s goals. And why should she! Vengeance is not a dish Ivy is comfortable serving–warm, hot or cold–and cold is not the way to describe her new feelings for Bishop.

I really enjoyed this book. I had a few qualms–it seems that Ivy and Bishop pretty much do….nothing. Unorthodox Ivy barely knows how to cook and requests a job so she doesn’t have to sit around all day. Bishop is being groomed to replace his father, but he spends long hours just hiking around, lazing about in the sun. Pretty poor showing for a world where the collective number of citizens is barely twice the population of my son’s high school. I can’t fathom anyone being spared in terms of skill training. This seemed a glaring oversight in the world-building. I did appreciate the frank discussions of domestic violence, and the hardships of forced marriage very much.

The romance that blooms between Ivy and Bishop is organic and well-paced. He has no trouble calling her out for “putting on a show” for others, and demands her honest affection–which she is reluctant to give. How can she give her heart to a boy she is required to kill?

Ivy, of her own self, is an admirable character. She has real spirit and a desire to do right, no matter her familial influences. Her willingness to sacrifice for Bishop was heart-rending. I eagerly await her next adventure.

And check out this trailer. Seriously gave me chills!

Interested? You can find THE BOOK OF IVY on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, iTunes, and Google Books. I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.


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amy engelAbout the Author:
Amy Engel was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas; California; Missouri; Washington, D.C.), she settled in Kansas City, Missouri, where she lives with her husband and two kids.  Before devoting herself full-time to motherhood and writing, she was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV.  When she has a free moment, she can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping. The Book of Ivy is her debut YA novel. Find her online on her or .


arbitrate = great (A review)

Hi there! A few weeks back I lost an entire weekend to Megan Thomason’s YA dystopian series daynight. Now I’m here to catch you all up. Just in case you needed a tense, state-sponsored love-triangled, YA romance to pass the time this Memorial Day.

daynight centers it’s activity on Thera, a parallel planet where the land exists as a mirror image of Earth’s and it’s so incredibly hot that all activity occurs in the cooler nighttime hours. Kira is pulled into the Second Chance Institute, thinking it will land her a college scholarship. Instead she ends up on an otherworldly adventure with supremely deadly consequences.

The second book in the series, arbitrate, is about a clean as a book can be–for having a love-square with a married couple…and whoo-boy is the tension crackling. (FYI–not a stand-alone, per se. I mean, you could read it that way, but it’ll be kinda confusing at first.)

Clean Slate Complex (Daynight, #1.5)In order to set the mood, you can download the free companion story, Clean Slate Complex, which is a standalone but has some overlapping characters in arbitrate. My review is here. In it we learn of some shady dealings on Earth that are bringing a whole lotta Second Chancers to Thera.

Particularly we learn a lot about Alexa, a former homeless girl who is now the spokesperson for the Clean Slate Complex, a division of the Second Chance Institute. It all sounds so benign, but it is a giant leap in the other direction. Also, we get some insight into Joshua Black. He’s a Theran daynighter whose parents run the CSC. He’s a cousin to both Ethan and Blake, and they are (potential) suitors to Kira.

In daynight we thought Kira was going to be okay. She was cleaved to her new mate, and going to protect those she loved most….well, maybe not so much.

Arbitrate (Daynight, #2)About the book:

It’s one year later. Everything has changed.

Remember The Second Chance Institute (SCI). Earth’s benevolent non-profit by day, Thera’s totalitarian regime by night. They’ve stepped up their game on Earth and on Thera—infiltrating political parties, preying on the downtrodden, and planning offensive maneuvers. And they’re handing out more “second chances” than ever before. The SCI’s abuse of their charter leads to Arbiter oversight and bitter consequences.

Remember Kira Donovan. Broken, burdened, and evading those who wish her harm, Kira enlists the Arbiters’ help when forced to return to the clutches of the SCI and her angry, estranged love.

Remember Blake Sundry. Exiled, determined, and packing an agenda, Blake seeks assistance on Earth and Thera to use his newfound knowledge to bring down the SCI.

Remember Ethan Darcton. Overworked, emotional, and holding a grudge, Ethan hunts down his stolen property, but finds himself in awkward territory, stuck between the Arbiters and the SCI.

Full of action, competing agendas, romantic entanglements, humor, twists and turns, arbitrate is book #2 in the award-winning, bestselling daynight series.

My Review:

The second I finished daynight I one-clicked both Clean Slate Complex and arbitrate. Then I tucked in for a long weekend of neglected household duties and insomnia. I had thought Ethan and Kira would be a strong couple, facing down Ethan’s formidable mother and building a life together–particularly after Kira’s forced impregnation. Not happening.

No, a year later the babies are born, Kira’s in hiding after having survived something like 17 assassination attempts. Meanwhile, Ethan’s the lapdog of the daynighters. His half-brother, Blake, is on a mission to rescue one of Kira’s babies from a kidnapper. Oh, and Blake’s leading the new resistance on Thera to secure legal status and housing for exiled Therans and Second Chancers.

Ethan’s shattered when he hears that Kira died in childbirth–she hadn’t thanks to Jax, Ethan’s other half-brother–but Ethan seeks solace from Alexa, an Earthling daynighter who works for his uncle’s Clean Slate Complex. To Kira, Ethan seeking any companionship is a huge betrayal–even if Ethan thought Kira had died.

So, yeah. Theran politics is a total mess. And, they aren’t content to screw up their own planet. No, Ethan’s other uncle is a US Senator, campaigning for the presidency.

Jax, an arbiter, has a lot of powerful abilities, skills that half-arbiter Ethan is trying to hone. It was Jax’s teleportation that saved Kira time and again, and his blood transfusion that brought her back from the brink of death. In seclusion, Kira bonds with her babies, surviving tormenting daymares of her many close calls. Ethan learns that she’s still alive and wishes to “claim” her, but Kira won’t have him. In fact she arranges, with the help of the arbiters, to command the first ever Theran divorce.

Free of any suitors, Kira is able to focus on motherhood and her recovery–all the while Ethan, Jax and Blake drift in and out of her life.

The machinations run ultra deep in this book. The Genitors, those who create life on both Thera and Earth, are not happy with the manner in which Second Chancers are being “harvested” for Thera, nor are they best pleased with the new militaristic changes on Thera. They give Ethan the chance to fix things–before they step in, and wow, do they make a huge impression.

Joshua Black and Blake become conspirators to bring down the Theran power structure, but in completely different ways. Truly, I can’t even sum up 75% of the book in a single blog post, but I will tell you I adored the book. Kira does find a happily ever after–discovering the power within herself to protect her beloved children, and accepts a cleave (husband) who loves her absolutely and unconditionally. Blake has some serious issue that he works through, and I’m glad we’ll see more of him.

Ethan started out the story with such a bright path and ended up in pretty dire straights–but we can tell he’s going to bounce back in the third book.  Plot twists and turns will keep you turning pages well into the night. For all the “Love Square” this is a completely clean book–barely kissing, folks–so it’s safe for upper YA readers.

Interested? You can find arbitrate on Goodreads and Amazon.

Megan ThomasonAbout the author:

Bestselling, award-winning author Megan Thomason lives in paradise aka San Diego, CA with her husband and five children. A former software manager, Megan vastly prefers writing twisted tales to business, product, and marketing plans. When she isn’t typing away on her laptop, she’s reading books on her phone–over 600 in the last year–or attending to the needs of her family. Megan’s fluent in sarcasm, could potentially benefit from a 12-step program for road rage, struggles with a Hot Tamales addiction, loves world travel & fast cars and hates paperwork & being an insomniac.

You can find her on her website, Goodreads, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in! And, keep reading my friends! 🙂


daynight? Mind = Blown (A Review)

I had the great pleasure to get a copy of the YA dystopian anthology WHAT TOMORROW MAY BRING. It’s a 11 full-length novels for a tidy little price. One of my fave authors, Susan Kaye Quinn, has a book in there–OPEN MINDS–which is a super fantastic read as I have noted.

One of the first novels I devoured when I cracked the “spine” on WTMB was daynight. This dystopian YA romance caught my eye for the sheer fact of its handling of sex. In daynight, the kids are supposed to get ‘cleaved’ or married by their 18th b-day. This is a non-revokable marriage and occurs on an alternate Earth called Thera. My mom-o-meter was piqued, so I took the plunge.

Daynight (Daynight, #1)About the book:

2012 Book of the Year Award Finalist-Young Adult Fiction, ForeWord Reviews

Meet The Second Chance Institute (SCI): Earth’s benevolent non-profit by day, Thera’s totalitarian regime by night. Their motto: Because Everyone Deserves a Second Chance™. Reality: the SCI subjects Second Chancers to strict controls and politically motivated science experiments like Cleaving—forced lifetime union between two people who have sex. Punishment for disobeying SCI edicts? Immediate Exile or death.

Meet Kira Donovan. Fiercely loyal, overly optimistic, and ensnared by the promise of a full-ride college scholarship, Kira signs the SCI Recruit contract to escape memories of a tragedy that left her boyfriend and friends dead.

Meet Blake Sundry. Bitter about being raised in Exile and his mother’s death, Blake’s been trained to infiltrate and destroy the SCI. Current barrier to success? His Recruit partner—Miss Goody Two Shoes Kira Donovan.

Meet Ethan Darcton. Born with a defective heart and resulting inferiority complex, Ethan’s forced to do his SCI elite family’s bidding. Cleave-worthy Kira Donovan catches his eye, but the presiding powers give defect-free Blake Sundry first dibs.

Full of competing agendas, romantic entanglements, humor, twists and turns, daynight is Megan Thomason’s debut young adult dystopian novel and first in the daynight series.

My Review:
Kira has had a whole lotta change in a short period of time. Her parents were unwilling to pay her college tuition, so Kira tested into the Second Chance Institute program–it works like this: Kira spends her senior year of high school working for them, then they pay her college tuition. She’s nervous about the ‘SCI year’ coming between herself and her friends, including her boyfriend, Tristan, but that fear dissolves when all her pals are blown up in a huge explosion at an unsupervised house party.

True, Kira had just broken things off with Tristan for being a cheater, but she’s still shell-shocked. Plagued by nightmares of the explosion she barely survived, and dreams of a stranger she had only just met–Ethan–Kira suffers depression that she hopes will fade with distance–she enters SCI. Turns out, her new locale is an alternate Earth, called Thera.

Thera is hot. 95 degrees, at night–upwards of 150 in the blazing sun. Thera is a mirror-image of Earth, with all land masses and water bodies swapped, so all the parts of Earth that are water–oceans, lakes, streams–are land, and water only exists where the land was on Earth. This makes water an even more precious commodity on Thera.

Also, the majority of the population on Thera are Second Chancers–people who died on Earth and are “reincarnated” on Thera. They are only young, able-bodied folks–capable of carrying the lab-created embryos to term, because Second Chancers are otherwise infertile. Kira’s job is to help assimilate the Second Chancers, because they come through the transition from Earth to Thera via death their bodies are intact and their memories are clean slate–so they sometimes struggle–this is what Kira is TOLD, anyway. Imagine her horror when the Second Chancers she’s to monitor and assimilate happen to be the kids whose deaths she just mourned for MONTHS–including Tristan.

In this effort, Kira is partnered with Blake, an attractive, secretive fellow student from Earth. It soon becomes clear that the SCI isn’t actually planning to let Kira, or Blake, leave when their year is up. Part of the rules on Thera dictate that all Therans must ‘cleave’ (marry) by age 18. This is a lifetime binding, and dissolution or straying from one’s cleave will result in severe punishment–exile or death. And exile is almost certain death.

Blake knows this well–he’s a Theran mole who grew up in exile and escaped to Earth years ago. His father is part of the Exiler Resistance, and expects Blake to assist with a huge operation to take down the Theran government. Oh, and Blake and Kira share a house. The Therans are determined to maneuver Kira and Blake into a cleaved pair–trapping them on Thera forever. See, Kira and Blake have opposing genetic backgrounds–Kira is a Pure Light, while Blake is a Pure Dark; the union of these genes in their children would create half-breeds who could easily traverse the span between Earth and Thera. Such people are known as daynighters and they are highly prized on Thera as communicators.

I guess they hadn’t banked on Kira’s ability to deflect the advances of boys. She never even gave it up to Tristan, and they dated for a year….

Also, Ethan is waiting. He hadn’t perished in the explosion as Kira believed. No, he’s a Theran. And also a Pure Dark. He’d be the perfect genetic match to father Kira’s children–with one glaring exception: he had been born with a heart defect. The Therans are afraid to risk his progeny being likewise impaired. But Etahn’s the son of two very powerful leaders on Thera–and they have BIG plans for Ethan, plans that include him having a lot of influence on Earth politics. These plans don’t interest Ethan, however; having met Kira, he pines for the opportunity to cleave her.

As the story unwinds we learn that the explosion on Earth wasn’t accidental, that the Therans are taking no chances that Kira’s babies won’t be born (even if she won’t cleave) and the autocratic powers that be on Thera have absolutely zero problems with killing any and every person who stands in their way.

The three viewpoints: Kira, Blake and Ethan, tell a tale of Thera that is very different, and totally engrossing. Plus, the sexual tension is as high as the day temps on Thera. I adored the creativity that built this world. The transition to a nocturnal society was fascinating. And, the pureness of purpose these three have is truly remarkable. Blake knows he’s under scrutiny, and has the chance to cleave Kira in order to protect himself, but he can’t divert from his mission, or else the people who raised him will continue to suffer in Exile. Ethan knows he’s a pawn to his family’s ambition, but he seeks to find his own happiness within his circumscribed world. And Kira, she recognizes the danger in rebellion and submits to Theran rule in order to protect the few she can–for now. There’s a lot of maturity, and selflessness to be had throughout. It’s rather fun to have three heroes to cheer on.

The love triangle, as manufactured as it is by the Therans, is really quite fascinating. It’s not simply attraction, there’s dire consequences on either side of the choice to cleave–and some of the Second Chancers play a big role in keeping the sexual tension high. While it’s clear that Kira would be a good match for either Ethan or Blake, the reader will be hoping that Kira doesn’t cleave ANYONE, which is a unique twist on a romance theme. For all the talk of sex and cleaving, the book is pretty innocent. Appropriate to YA readers and above.

Interested? You can find daynight on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. daynight has a sequel, arbitrate, and a freebie companion story. Expect reviews of these since they kept me up too late last week….

What Tomorrow May BringIt is also one of the 11 books in the WHAT TOMORROW MAY BRING collection. It’s actually the same price as daynight, on it’s own. So for $2.99 you’d get this book and ten others. That’s an amazing buy. Click here for the link to pick up WTMB. I’m getting ready to dive into some more stories from that, so I’ll be reporting back if any others amaze.

Megan Portrait (640px)About the Author:

Bestselling, award-winning author Megan Thomason lives in paradise aka San Diego, CA with her husband and five children. A former software manager, Megan vastly prefers writing twisted tales to business, product, and marketing plans. When she isn’t typing away on her laptop, she’s reading books on her phone–over 600 in the last year–or attending to the needs of her family. Megan’s fluent in sarcasm, could potentially benefit from a 12-step program for road rage, struggles with a Hot Tamales addiction, loves world travel & fast cars and hates paperwork & being an insomniac.


Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends! 🙂

Cephalopod Coffeehouse March 2014–Featuring OPEN MINDS

Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

This month I want to share a great book I’ve loved for a bit, but revisited recently. It’s a dystopian YA, near-futuristic novel where everyone reads minds. Well, everyone except for Kira.

OPEN MINDS is a suspense-filled journey into science, prejudice, and morality from best-selling indie author Susan Kaye Quinn.

Open Minds (Mindjack Trilogy, #1)What’s goin’ on here:

In this world, all the drugs and chemicals that leeched into the water systems caused changes in neural development allowing for pubertal-onset telepathy. Years ago the first telepaths, called Readers, were ostracized, but now it’s so commonplace that big cities have been largely abandoned and houses must sit at a minimum distance so the neighbors can’t overhear what’s happening next door. At sixteen, Kira’s passed the point where she would transition into a Reader. Considered a Zero, Kira’s in the minority and destined for the menial jobs assigned to those with closed minds. Not the future she envisioned. And it troubles her would-be boyfriend Raf, as well.

But Kira soon learns that she isn’t a Zero after all. While her mind isn’t open, she has a different ability–the ability to “jack” into others’ minds and cause them to obey her commands. One can imagine the incredible potential of her power. In fact, one does, and he’s a gangster.

See, there are a fair amount of Jackers out there–hidden in plain sight–and they are being sought by two contingents: the Mafia, and the Government. While trying to save Raf from certain death, Kira blows her Jacker cover and is rounded up into an internment camp where government scientists study the “jacker problem”.  Much like the internment camps of World War II, Kira and her fellow refugees have no rights, no help, and no recourse against the potentially fatal ‘treatments’ they endure.

In order to survive, Kira must team with adversaries who would just as soon kill her. Good thing she’s a Super-Jacker, and her skills may be strong enough to free them all. But, even if she does escape where can she go? Her family will undoubtedly become targets. And, the agents running the camp will surely track her down. The resolution is a pell-mell race for Kira to save not only herself, but young Jackers in the government testing labs.

Kira is a strong MC, and her steadfast commitment to doing the right thing, even if it’s hard, gives readers a protag worthy of respect. It’s a super-fast read that tackles real societal problems with grace and confidence. I read this book in a day. Mostly because I couldn’t stop until I knew Kira was safe.

The great thing? OPEN MINDS is a FREE eBook on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. OPEN MINDS is the first in a trilogy, but has a satisfactory ending that resolves completely while leaving some room for the companion books.

Thanks for popping by! Please click the links below to catch up with my fellow Coffeehousers. And, as always, keep reading my friends!

1. The Armchair Squid 2. I Think: Therefore, I Yam
3. A Creatve Exercise 4. this and that…
5. The Random Book Review 6. The Writing Sisterhood
7. Read, Write, Review 8. StrangePegs — Dead and Moaning in Las Vegas
9. Quill or Pill 10. Trisha @ WORD STUFF
11. Huntress 12. MOCK!
13. Words Incorportated 14. Hungry Enough To Eat Six
15. Ed and Reub 16. V’s Reads
17. StrangePegs — The Sparrow

Forever BRANDED–Review and Giveaway

Branded-tour banner copyHi there and welcome to my stop on the BRANDED blog tour sponsored by YA Bound Book Tours. For other stops on the tour, click here. Today’s book is a dystopian YA adventure romance from the writing team of Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki.

branded coverSummary from Goodreads: 
Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.

Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.

The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

My Review:
At first, I was thrown by the Lexi’s willingness to die–the opening scene was of her attempting suicide–but, as I got further into the story, I realized Lexi’s problem wasn’t depression. It was her unwillingness to be controlled any longer. See, ever since her father was murdered and her brother ran away, Lexi’s stepfather has been abusing her–emotionally and physically. Lexi’s mother has been checked out on drugs a long time, but she sobers up enough to catch Step-Daddy in the act of molesting Lexi–and turns her own daughter in to the Morality Guard.

With no trial and her mother’s accusation, Lexi becomes a branded Sinner and is dumped into the Hole. What is peculiar about her situation there? Lexi has a private guard. This, I couldn’t fathom for the life of me–especially as we learned more about Lexi’s real dad–and her brother Keegan. Before he died, Lexi’s dad was a champion against the brutal Commander. He wanted to restore the judicial system, instead of the “you’re accused, you’re punished” Commander’s dictum.

With her guard, Cole, Lexi’s safe in the Hole. Somewhat. Cole spends a lot of time helping Lexi dodge bullets and lecherous suitors–even his own fellow guards. Chaos reigns in the Hole, and a beauty accused of Lust is a shiny sex beacon for the riff-raff. One thing we learn quickly, loving a Sinner will get you executed, so Cole tries to maintain a professional distance from Lexi.

But, it’s so hard. Especially when the physicians find that Lexi isn’t guilty of the crime of premarital sex.

Background forces strive to keep Lexi alive. Dr. Sutton, her employer, and Cole both make choices to cover-up the budding attraction between Lexi and Cole. This romance seems ready to wither on the vine when Cole is assigned to hunt down Lexi’s long-lost brother, Keegan–a rising figure in the revolution against the Commander.

A daring escape actually leads Lexi to Keegan. And the rift between Lexi and Cole widens when Lexi decides she’s going to fight in the revolution. For her, making this decision is the first step to claiming her destiny.

In total, BRANDED dances over many themes. Child molestation, religious zealotry, suicide, rape, fighting a corrupt government, positive self-image, forgiveness, embracing forbidden love, doing the ‘right thing’ regardless of the consequences.  These are all admirable, to be sure, but I had some issues with how they translated in the book. Likewise, at times I felt the story was too centered on the “we can’t love each other or they’ll kill us” device, and would have appreciated a quicker pace. Dialogue, for me, seemed stilted and info-dumpy and at times I was irritated by the inane comments some of the characters made. I wished that Keegan had been more supportive of Lexi, and was gratified that I called the identity  of the Commander after reading the second chapter.

(A copy of this book was provided to me for the purpose of this blog tour/review.)

Interested? You can find BRANDED at Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

abi and missyAbout the Authors:
Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure. You can find Abi and Missy at their website, Goodreads, twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

Click on the Rafflecopter link for your chance to win one of
20 ebooks of Branded (mobi) (Open Internationally)
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Good luck, and keep reading my friends!


CLAN is Phenomenal–Review and Giveaway

Clan-tour banner copy

Hi there and welcome to my stop on the CLAN blog tour sponsored by YA Bound Book Tours. For other stops on the tour click here. This dystopian YA novel by newcomer Realm Lovejoy blends sci-fi and adventure with a surprising hint of romance.

clan-1Summary from Goodreads:
Clans are Unity.
No variation. No deviation.
On Clades, to be a Clan is to be an exact copy. 

A perfect society cloning themselves to survive, even as the zombielike Frags threaten to overrun them on an unforgiving planet.
Clan 1672 (privately known as Twain) was never supposed to survive the Incubation Tank. 

But he did. Illegally. 

He is different from the other Clans.
A secret that could destroy him.

Kirkus Reviews:In this fast-paced novel, Lovejoy uses economical prose while developing the story’s characters and setting in detail. She also meets the challenge of creating memorable characters in a world of identical people…

My Review:

An entire civilization of human men cloned from one single being living on a distant planet? From the start I was hooked. These clones of Father Krume are designed to be identical. Same appearance, same ideas, identical desires. And, that’s just plain impossible folks. I don’t care if you were raised in a petri dish or a human uterus–every human WANTS. Something, anything…and that desire is what separates each of us–even if we happen to be an identical genetic match to another.

In CLAN, we get the viewpoint of three nearly eighteen year-old males. They have very different experiences, despite the call to Unity (conformity).

Clone 1672, also called Twain, tells most of the story. He was never meant to live. A genetic “experiment” by his sponsor Twigg–the second clone from Krume–Twain is raised in Twigg’s home completely separate from the other clan. Twain longs to join his brethren, but can’t. Because he’s different. More so than he even realizes from seeing his white eyes gaze back at him from the mirror. See all clan have brown eyes, and being differnt targets Twain for destruction.

Clone 1249, called Buster, is a rebel. In fact, 1249 isn’t even his real clone number. He’s on the outskirts of Clan society providing illegal comfort to other clan in order to have a private life raising a defective clan child he saved. He recognizes Twain’s plight and strives to teach Twain how to act within clan society–and how to escape it when the executioners come knocking.

Clone 1348, also called Chad, is sponsored by a second generation clone he despises. How can he not? Clan are about Unity, and perfection. And there is nothing perfect about witnessing your “father” commit an act of indecency. Chad will not ever succumb to the Narcissism lingering on the fringe of Clan society, yet his world is shifted by his interactions with Twain. If nothing else, being near this clan makes Chad realize there is more than Unity to respect.

When Father Krume dies and his successor is assassinated, the chaos of the Clan society forces these three unlikely compatriots into a journey none of them want to make–outside the safety of the city walls. There they develop the skill and knowledge to overcome their prejudices and their Frag enemies. Of course, alliances bring them home–but what awaits is a society in even more disarray.

And the secret reason the Clan clones was developed? It’s stone-cold.

I don’t care that they were ‘identical’ they were indomitable. The action is fast-paced and the characters leap off the page. Twain learning his genetic anomaly goes far beyond his different colored eyes? Wow. And Chad coming to terms with his fear of the unknown, fear of connection? I was so glad to see. it. But Buster goes the extra mile in every way. Just when you think he’s going to take the easy way out–he freaking saves the day. I highly recommend CLAN to all YA readers and anyone who likes dystopian fiction.

Interested? You can find CLAN at Goodreads and Amazon.

Right now the eBook is priced at $.99, but you can get it FREE!!! if you download it December 19-20!  Mark your calendars people!

Book Trailer link:

realm lovejoyAbout the Author
Realm Lovejoy is a writer and an artist. She was raised in Washington State and the alps of Nagano, Japan. Her father is a Japanese ex-monk and her mother an English teacher from Rhode Island. Her art is influenced by both the East and the West.

Realm aspires to tell stories through her writing and art.
She is agented by Jessica Regel. You can find Realm hanging on her website, Goodreads, twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr.

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win:
1 Signed Paperback + CLAN Button + Signed Illustration from Paperback (US only)
1 of 6 Paperbacks (US only) or
1 of 10 eBooks (international shipping)
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Good luck, and as always, keep reading my friends!


Battling with CRYSTAL FIRE–Review and Giveaway

crystal fire banner copy

Hi there, and welcome to my stop on the CRYSTAL FIRE Blog Tour sponsored by YA Bound Blog Tours. For other stops on the tour click here. Today’s book is best-selling novelist Jordan Dane’s sequel to the YA paranormal adventure INDIGO AWAKENING.

crystal fireSummary from Goodreads:
Because of what you are, the Believers will hunt you down.

A storm is brewing on the streets of LA, one that has intensified since a tragic and deadly confrontation claimed an innocent life.

While Gabriel Stewart trains his army of teen psychics to stop Alexander Reese–the obsessed leader of the Believers–the fanatical church becomes more bent on the annihilation of all Indigo and Crystal children. They’re silencing the voices of the telepathic hive, one soul at a time, with frightening experiments cruelly executed on vulnerable minds.

When the Believers torture a mysterious homeless boy, Oliver Blue, they brainwash him into betraying his own. The boy becomes a deadly pawn to take Gabriel down. As the fires of chaos burn around him, Gabe is running out of time. He’ll need to confront his past–and the man who made him–before the hope of peace for the future is silenced forever.

My Review:
Wow. This book is intense. So many themes. So many controversial themes, I should say.

First, a bit of world-building. The setting is contemporary L.A., but this society is heavily influenced by the Church of Spiritual Freedom–an international religious congregation that not only believes psychics aren’t human, and are sure these psychic, or Indigo, children are too dangerous to be allowed to survive. Unfortunately there are a lot of Indigo kids, and they are being rounded up–either for extermination or experimentation.

We open with Caila enlisting the help of Oliver–a powerful but reclusive Indigo–to find their mutual friend Zack. He’s been taken by the Church, and Caila feels responsible. She and Oliver are themselves kidnapped and subjected to horrors at the hands of Church physician-scientist Dr. Fiona. While there Oliver’s powers grow. So much so that he’s able to remotely mind-link with Gabriel Stewart.

Gabe’s so powerful he’s passed into Crystal status and can utilize other Indigo’s powers. As the son of the director of the Church, Gabe is appalled by his father’s edict to hunt down the Indigos. It’s nothing new for that callous man–he did have Gabe’s mother murdered, after all. Gabe cobbles together as many Indigos as he can to build an army against the Church’s henchmen.

When his friend Rafael is taken by the Church, Gabe’s Indigo army seeks to set him free. Aided by Oliver and Caila, Gabe and his fellow psychics discover even more horrific happenings in the Church’s top-secret Zone 8 laboratory. The risks are high, but the payoff is higher. Especially when the showdown pits Gabe against his father.

The world of CRYSTAL FIRE is fantastic without being unrealistic. The kids are compassionate and make good heroes. While I always object to a “Mad Scientist” trope–because, um, I’m a scientist–the story is compelling and will appeal to fans of YA dystopian fiction. There are some hints of romance, but nothing to blush over, so it’s safe for the kiddos… A great read. It’s all wrapped up neatly, but there are certainly elements that can be used to build a third book in this series.

Interested? You can can find CRYSTAL FIRE at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository and Kobo.

jordan daneAbout this Author:
Bestselling, critically-acclaimed author Jordan Dane’s gritty romantic thrillers are ripped from the headlines with vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Publishers Weekly compared her intense novels to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag, naming her debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM as Best Books of 2008. She also pens young-adult novels for Harlequin Teen. Formerly an energy sales manager, she now writes full time. Jordan and her husband share their Texas residence with two lucky rescue dogs.

You can find Jordan on her website, Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, blogging at ADR3NALIN3 or her personal blog, or eavesdropping on teen conversations at her local mall so she can get the right flava for her dialogue.

Click the Rafflecopter link below to win
one of 10 print copies of CRYSTAL FIRE (US/CAN only)
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Best of luck, and as always–keep reading my friends.


SUBMERGED–Book Blitz and Giveaway

Submerged (Outbreak #1)
Release Date: 02/14/13
Summary from Goodreads:

After a mysterious virus makes its way into the United States, the government demands that states seal themselves off from one another and do their best to protect their surviving residents. When the state of Florida is bordered off from the surrounding states, Taylen Fincher, a seventeen-year-old girl with a yearning for her former life finds herself wondering how much of what they’ve been told is true.

When Troum took control of the state, he told the residents that the other states had fallen to the virus and that he wouldn’t allow the same thing to happen to them. But Taylen doesn’t believe it. She insists that there is still life outside of the state, and she is going to do whatever it takes to prove it… but her actions will cost her more than she ever expected.

Troum kidnaps Taylen’s sister, Penelope, in hopes of coaxing her into behaving–-into being a submissive resident, much like the others. But Taylen isn’t one to give in that easily.

Eager to rescue her sister, Taylen will set out on an adventure that’ll force her to open her heart to the unexpected and to uncover secrets that will change everything.

SUBMERGED is the first book in a YA dystopian duology.

How about a little taste?
“Milo, can I ask you something?” I asked, lifting my hand to my lip.
“Not here.” He looked back at Penelope and signaled for me to follow him outside. “Come on.”
I followed Milo out of the Hovercopter, nearly running into him when he stopped suddenly at the end of the walkway. “If you’re wondering if I knew, I didn’t,” he paused, lowering himself onto the ground, “My parents were faithful followers, unwilling to believe things could only get worse after the Outbreak. Though I can’t say much, after all, I was just as naive as they were.”
You weren’t the only one, I thought.
“I had a twin sister,” he said after a moment of silence.
“What happened to her?”
“She died.” He lowered his head as if not sure he wanted to discuss it, but he continued, “Our parents insisted that we join the guard on our seventeenth birthday. She did her best to follow Troum, but over time, she began to grow tired of fighting for a system that clearly didn’t care for its people. She’d spent most of her time serving the Widowed Sector, where she met a boy her age.”
“They fell in love,” I said, knowing exactly where this story was headed.
“I don’t think that it was love. I’d say it was longing more than anything,” he corrected. “She knew what would happen if she began a relationship with a resident, especially one from the Widowed Sector, but she didn’t care.”
“What was her name?” I took a seat next to Milo, resting my head in my hand.
“Miranda,” he said, smiling. “She was a lot like you, you know.”
“I’m not entirely sure that is a good thing.”
“It is.” Milo reached for my hand.

Wow! This one sounds great!

Available from: (only $.99!)
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About the Author
Nicole Sobon is the
author of the Emile Reed Chronicles, Capture, No Place Like Home, and various
short stories.

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2 signed copies of Submerged in paperback
plus swag (Program 13 and Deprogrammed bookmarks) (INT)

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