Book Review: In the After by Demitria Lunetta

SERIES. In The After
RELEASE DATE. June 25, 2013
PAGES. 400
AGE GROUP. Young Adult
GENRE/S. Post-apocalyptic, Science Fiction
FIND IT. Amazon | Goodreads

SYNOPSIS. They hear the most silent of footsteps. 

They are faster than anything you've ever seen. 

And They won't stop chasing you . . . until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

Rebellious, courageous, and tender, this unforgettable duo will have you on the edge of your seat as you tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta.

THOUGHTS. Science fiction is probably one of the many genres with a huge market. In such a crowded market, it’s always riveting to find new concepts or unique themes that authors could offer but only a few of them can manage to pull it off. Demitria Lunetta’s debut novel is not far from that fact.

Set in another fear-provoking world, Lunetta devised a surprisingly remarkable science fiction thriller that involves one of the disturbing science fiction themes: aliens. It has been a while since I’ve encountered these creatures on a novel. I've read a couple of books that have succeeded in capturing that dark vision of an alien invasion, and Lunetta’s vision is in spades among them except that hers is far more fresh, original, frightening and has a shocking origin which I cannot afford to divulge.

Aside from the chilling thought of the world being ravaged by aliens, it is the almost true-to-life journey of Amy and Baby to survive in the terrifying After--which how the characters called the time of the invasion--that really sent me a gamut of emotions. Within the first ten chapters, I instantly developed a connection with Amy and Baby. It’s a struggle to me to see Amy and Baby, despite their early loss of innocence, courageously fight for their lives and what is left of the world. With Amy’s eloquent and vivid descriptions, I could really feel the dominating darkness, fear, hopelessness, hunger, isolation, and silence that surrounded them (not to mention the aliens). In spite of all their struggles and sorrows, they share something inspiring that will never ever vanish from the world: their heartfelt sisterly love. If I could just practically leap into the pages of the novel to get Amy and Baby out from the vicious imagination of Demitria Lunetta, I would have done so even before the beginning. I admit, I want to hate Lunetta for creating such harsh world for two endearing characters but at the same time I want to praise her for creating two heartrending, realistic, and gutsy characters that deeply touched my emotions and stayed with me long after I turned the last pages.

Another aspect that I can’t help but to bring out is the romance. Despite the fact that falling in love is the least that can happen in an alien-infested world, readers can expect a dash of romance here and there. Though the romance felt forced and rushed to me as though it was some glitter thrown there for an added effect that didn't shine at all; nevertheless, it doesn't keep you away from the real story.

Spectacularly entangled with confounding mysteries, surprising twists, breakneck actions, and a stirring tale of survival and love, In The After is a poignantly written unforgettable journey of an endearing duo as they confront a world roamed by terrible creatures with a shocking origin. Part post-apocalyptic, part dystopian, and part science fiction this debut novel by Demitria Lunetta will surely keep readers constantly holding on to their breaths and their flashlights as they discover the human capacity to survive the bleakest of times.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Chicago native Demitria Lunetta holds a BA in Human Ecology and has spent countless hours studying the many ways in which people are capable of bringing about their own destruction. In case the end is near, she always carries a good book and a chocolate bar—the two items essential for post-apocalyptic survival. IN THE AFTER is her debut novel.

Blog Tour - Guest Post and Giveaway: Otherborn by Anna Silver

It's the Otherborn blog tour. In this exclusive stop, you could get to know and learn more about the detailed world of Otherborn with Anna Silver. This is not only for the readers but if you are a writer, read on as well.

Anna Silver

World building is an aspect of fiction writing that I enjoy. Losing myself in a new place, sculpting the details of my characters’ world, is an adventure for me every time. I had two things in mind when I first began detailing the setting for Otherborn: contrast and plausibility.

I knew that my characters would have more than one setting. They would spend part of their time on the astral plane—a magical, fantastical space that was always vibrant and shifting, always in flux and interacting with the characters. It was important to me, in order to build the sense of drama around what was happening to them, to contrast that setting against their waking world. To do that, I had to make the world London and her friends lived in everyday the opposite of the astral plane. Where the astral was vibrant, their world needed to be dull. Where the astral was flowing, their world needed to be stagnant. Where the astral was wild, their world needed to be controlled. Where the astral was alive with infinite potential, their world needed to feel like a dead end. Originally, I thought writing the astral plane would be the most satisfying, but I found that the creativity and imagination required to build London’s waking world, whether it be behind the walls of Capital City, lost in the overgrown Outroads, or spying on the verdant valley of New Eden, was far more fulfilling than I anticipated. In the end, it was the ability to play these two worlds off of one another that really brought each one to life. It’s a recurring theme in my work, and the genesis behind my website’s tag line, “Where Worlds Collide…”

The second factor in setting for Otherborn was plausibility. I love dystopian and I’ve read a lot of it. Some of it is wildly imaginative. There are dystopian settings that are more fantastical to me than Middle Earth. But I wanted my world to hit a little closer to home. I wanted to build it on an idea that was entirely possible and, some would even say, probable. We are currently facing a global crisis in regards to energy. And there a dozen ways it could play out. Our fossil fuel industry is a major roadblock to progress. And because our economy is tightly interwoven with those corporations, we tread lightly. It made sense to me that an industry that powerful, sensing its own demise, would do most anything in the name of self preservation. Even enslave the population at large. And it followed that the best way for them achieve that goal wouldn’t be through brute force, it would be through propaganda. By playing on our fears and survival instincts, they could easily get us to lock ourselves in the prison and hand them the key.

By making my antagonists the nameless, faceless descendants of today’s oil and gas tycoons, I ended up building London’s world around the concept of a society without gas, a society living on carefully rationed power. I tried to explore as many of the ways that would affect her world as I could. Our sprawling American suburbia would get sucked into tightly clustered units behind walls. The melting pot of our culture would eventually settle into a miasma of forgotten races and traditions. Those who exist outside the tight confines they’ve been given would be rebels. But how would their rebellion take shape? There are always those who fall through the cracks. In this case, the Outroaders. What would their life look like? Most important of all, how do you keep a society under your control once you’ve gained it? Oppression requires a lot of energy. Sedation is the path of least resistance. Mentally, physically, emotionally, creatively. In every way. This is how New became a dirty word in London’s world. It’s how reprocessing became the orchestrated replacement for recycling, and scrapping became a natural outgrowth of that movement.

Contrast and plausibility became my foundation for a host of details that built the combined setting of Otherborn. I hope you enjoy exploring it with me in the book. And I hope you come back for book two, working title Astral Tide, as I expand the setting and adventure for London and the gang.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Anna Silver is an author and artist living in the greater Houston area with her family, pets, and overactive imagination. Her art has been featured in the Houston gallery Las Manos Magicas. She studied English Writing & Rhetoric at St. Edward’s University. She’s freelanced for private clients and small publications like the Hill Country Current. OTHERBORN is her first published novel. She is represented by Rebecca Podos and Nicole LaBombard of Rees Literary Agency.

SERIES. Otherborn
RELEASE DATE. April 4, 2013
PUBLISHER. Sapphire Star Publishing
BUY FROM. Amazon

SYNOPSIS. London and her teenage friends live in a reprocessed world.

Confined within Capital City’s concrete walls, London has done the impossible and the illegal. She’s created something New- a song. But her mentor, club owner Pauly, is not impressed. Since the historic Energy Crisis forced everyone behind walls generations ago, the Tycoons have ensured there is truly nothing new allowed under the sun. Pauly warns London to keep her song to herself, if she knows what’s good for her.

What he doesn’t know is that London is keeping an even bigger secret: she dreams. And she’s not alone. London’s band-mates and friends have begun dreaming as well, seeing themselves in “night pictures” as beings from another world. As Otherborn, they must piece together the story of their astral avatars, the Others, in order to save their world from a dreamless, hopeless future.

When Pauly is murdered and an Otherborn goes missing, London realizes someone is hunting them down. Escaping along the Outroads, they brave the deserted Houselands with only their dreams to guide them. Can they find their friend before the assassin finds them? Will being Otherborn save their lives, or destroy them?

Anna Silver is offering a SIGNED FINISHED COPY OF OTHERBORN to readers. All you need to do is to enter through the Rafflecopter. Giveaway is open to everyone. It ends June 14, 2013. Winners will be notified via email. Follow the rest of the blog tour here.

Book Review: Uprising by Jessica Therrien

SERIES. Children of The Gods
RELEASE DATE. May 28, 2013
PAGES. 386
AGE GROUP. Young Adult
GENRE/S. Mythology, Romance, Urban Fantasy

SYNOPSIS. Elyse has done everything she can to protect her friends from The Council's reach. As long as they believe she's dead, she has time to rest and train for war. And war is inevitable.

When Kara arrives with the news that Anna and Chloe have been captured, Elyse is faced with the realization that no one is safe until The Council is stopped and Christoph is destroyed. She doesn't need a prophecy to tell her to lead an army. Christoph has done the one thing that ensures she'll fight to the death. He's threatened the people she loves.

It will take more than the words of an oracle to help them fight against the most powerful Descendant alive. To break The Council's oppression and rise up against a plot so many years in the making, Elyse will need to get dangerously close to her enemy. So close, in fact, she may not survive.

THOUGHTS. Like a moth drawn into firelight, Uprising immediately pulled me in with nothing but the impulse to consume it. Like a moth drawn into firelight, I was not prepared for what I would encounter until it was too late before I discovered what Uprising did to me.

After my initial acquaintance and fascination to another reimagined world of Greek mythology, Therrien presents a more complex, more intense, and more gripping premise with the second installment to her Children of The Gods series. When I began to read Uprising, there was no need to be reintroduced to its setting or its characters. My mind completely plunged into the book until I didn’t realize I was brought to a more chaotic side of its world. Despite its sometimes slow and steady pace, by the middle of the book, Uprising floods with different elements all happening at once: heart-stopping actions, shocking discoveries, and appalling scenes. I couldn’t take my eyes off Uprising, not even for once.

Apart from the enthralling premise of Uprising, let’s not forget the sensational characters that brought this series with life. If Elyse was once a hermit who rather tucks herself inside her shell, this time, Elyse is presented as a stronger character as she accepts the responsibility to lead a rebellion and change the course of the future of the Descendants despite the struggles and circumstances she’s undergoing especially with her relationship with William. Kara, one of my favorite characters, just blew me away and I still want more of her especially with the new friend that female readers will swoon over. New characters both allies and enemies are introduced as well as they take out the best and worst in Elyse and William’s relationship and their individual lives while readers will try to weigh things out among those who has the best of intentions, those who are just playing along, and those who has the worst of intentions. 

But what truly made this book remarkable is the romance. It is lovelier the second time around yet it’s not what it seems to be at first. The romance was powerfully and affectingly delivered not until Therrien dramatically tossed in an unforeseen climax which I really believe will crush anyone’s heart. Mind you, this is only one of the heartbreaking moments in Uprising. Readers should prepare themselves for this book. Expect not only action-packed scenes but expect tons of emotional and heartbreaking scenes as well throughout the book. Therrien definitely knows how to play with her reader’s emotions.

In this much awaited second installment to the Children of The Gods series, Uprising will pull readers into a world that now crackles with flaming defiance, where stakes are higher, and the dangers are closer than ever. It explodes with an uprising of different emotions and thoughts that an author like Jessica Therrien could deliver. If you loved Oppression, you will love Uprising more. Hence, fans and readers alike will be clamoring for more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Jessica Therrien is the author of OPPRESSION and UPRISING, part of the Young Adult Paranormal series, CHILDREN OF THE GODS. OPPRESSION became a Barnes & Noble bestseller shortly after its release.

Jessica is a graduate of San Diego State University. She lived in Taiwan for a year where she learned Chinese, but she lives in Chula Vista now where everyone speaks Spanish instead and currently working on book three in her CHILDREN OF THE GOD series.

Book Finds: Goodbye, Rebel Blue

BOOK FINDS is a regular feature that spotlights upcoming book releases that I am looking forward to read.

Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell
RELEASE DATE. October 1, 2013
PUBLISHER. Amulet Books

SYNOPSIS. Rebecca Blue is a rebel with an attitude whose life is changed by a chance encounter with a soon-to-be dead girl. Rebel (as she’s known) decides to complete the dead girl’s bucket list to prove that choice, not chance, controls her fate. In doing so, she unexpectedly opens her mind and heart to a world she once dismissed—a world of friendships, family, and faith. With a shaken sense of self, she must reevaluate her loner philosophy—particularly when she falls for Nate, the golden boy do-gooder who never looks out for himself. Perfect for fans of Jay Asher’s blockbuster hit Thirteen Reasons Why, Coriell’s second novel features her sharp, engaging voice along with realistic drama and unforgettable characters.

WHY I'M WAITING FOR GOODBYE, REBEL BLUE? I love books and films that tackles the subject of bucket list. I don’t know why but it’s what I consider a good, moving story.

What are you looking forward to read? Share your thoughts below.

Book Review: Taken by Erin Bowman

RELEASE DATE. April 16, 2013
PAGES. 360
AGE GROUP. Young Adult
GENRE/S. Dystopian, Science Fiction, Suspense
FIND IT. Amazon | Goodreads

SYNOPSIS. There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot—a structure that no one can cross and survive. 

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken—or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

THOUGHTS. Talk about a kind of story that you don’t read every day. Talk about a kind of story where everything you thought is not what it seems to be. Talk about mind-blowing.

At first glance, Taken is just your classic dystopian story: action-packed, dark, and jeopardized. Nowadays, it is usual to find the same concept repeatedly readapted in the form of books or films particularly in science fictions. There’s the concept of fighters in an arena. There’s the concept of a rebellion or war where humans and robots or even clones are involve. There’s the concept of a world ravaged with calamities or a deadly virus. In Taken, Bowman impressively juggles varying science fiction concepts and elements that surprisingly and breathtakingly created an unsafe world that I believe is the worst case of a future ever designed, if not more—and yet I never expected to love.

But then there’s more to Taken than meets the eye.

Taken is not simply a dystopian book. Bowman intricately blends in mystery and suspense into the story as well—and how she brought them out (especially with the mystery behind the Heist and the Wall), literally left me openmouthed. She bore questions and secrets into the story that did not only make the characters doubtful about their identities, their pasts and what they had believed to be but I was also thirstily tempted to dig out for answers that eventually turned the plot into an adrenaline-rushed and fast-paced page-turner. At the same time, the mystery and suspense intensified the complexities of the story that literally made me cringe, eager, and jolt with every budding secret and every unexpected discovery. Thus, it’s really, really hard to put the book down.

As much as I enjoyed the world-building and the surprising twists in Taken, the characters also impressed me, Gray in particular. Bowman captures a male’s voice effortlessly and skillfully emotional. As a male, it surely helped me understand Gray. He maybe stubborn, impulsive, and sometimes selfish—very unlikeable traits—but that doesn’t mean he’s unlikeable throughout the entire story. Actually, it helped and braved him to survive the atrocities he had in life especially with that blow after blow of both lies and truths bombarded into him. Gray’s character may present a love-and-hate outcome to the readers but it just shows Bowman’s adept ability to craft believable and convincingly flawed characters.

Similarly, I couldn’t help but admire this side of the story: the romance. Bowman delivered a romance that is powerful, complicated and almost tragic, one that could affect a reader with flux of emotions and questions to ponder. Hence, I can’t wait on how the romance will evolve in the following books.

Erin Bowman’s Taken is a perfectly imagined harrowing thought of the future. It’s a phenomenal book that uniquely blends past to present and reality to fiction. It’s addictive, dark, disturbing, terrifying, unforgettable, and unpredictable all at the same time making it one of the best dystopian books I’ve ever read. With that, I can't wait to read what's next and for whatever surprises Bowman has up in her sleeves.

Ultimately, it’s as much as I can say but I shall forewarn you: once you enter it, get ready to be heisted, because there’s no escaping from its wall.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Erin Bowman used to tell stories visually as a web designer. Now a full-time writer, she relies solely on words. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and when not writing she can often be found hiking, commenting on good typography, and obsessing over all things Harry Potter.


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