Tag: Dystopian (page 1 of 30)

BOOK REVIEW: Keystone by Katie Delahanty

BOOK REVIEW: Keystone by Katie Delahanty Keystone by Katie Delahanty
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

When Ella Karman debuts on the Social Stock Exchange, she finds out life as a high-profile "Influencer" isn't what she expected. Everyone around her is consumed by their rankings, in creating the smoke and mirrors that make them the envy of the world.

But then Ella’s best friend betrays her, her rankings tank, and she loses―everything.

Leaving her old life behind, she joins Keystone, a secret school for thieves, where students are being trained to steal everything analog and original because something―or someone―is changing history to suit their needs.

Partnered with the annoyingly hot―and utterly impossible―Garrett Alexander, who has plenty of his own secrets, Ella is forced to return to the Influencer world, while unraveling a conspiracy that began decades ago.

One wrong move and she could lose everything―again.

Review:

Keystone was an instant favorite!  It enraptured me in its spell and was impossible to put down.  With characters that quickly snuck into my heart and a story-line that had me turning the pages faster and faster, I absolutely loved this book!  It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before.  If you enjoy dystopian, science fiction, a fabulous group of friends or even rooting for a heroine in a new world, then definitely add this one to your tbr!

Right then, I bottled up my feelings, turned them off, buried them so deep I’d need a treasure map to find them.  I understood the flat look in Deena’s eyes, the one that took my friend.  Like her, I had to die inside.
It was the only way I was going to survive.

Katie Delahanty painted a vivid world that I easily got lost in.  The first chapter started out with a bang.  And there were lots of missing pieces to the puzzle.  So I absorbed every single word trying to figure out what in the world was happening.  We met Ella Karman, who just left her influencer life.  With her name changed to Elisha DeWitt, she was on her way to train at a secret organization called Keystone.  There she would learn how to steal information, since someone was changing history.  We were just as clueless as Ella, for what was to come, and I loved learning right along with her!

He’d be great for my numbers.  Stupid.  This is why I can’t trust my instincts.  This isn’t who I am anymore.
But I can’t look away.
And neither can he.
My heart thumps.

One of the most ingenious things was the way the story unfolded.  We started in the present, and I loved watching Ella train and figure out her new life.  Her tests were intense and they made me nervous and have sweaty palms.  But I was excited for what she was capable of doing. I felt every single thing she did and I was so proud of how hard she worked.  But the people she trained with?  While I didn’t know what to think of some of them, others warmed my heart.  I loved watching her form true, heartfelt friendships. Especially since she didn’t have that in her past.

A slow smile spreads across his face.  “I like to keep an eye on the competition is all.  I know you’re a fortress, Ellie.  Don’t worry.  I have no intention of scaling your walls.”
Stupid disappointment dips in my belly, but I shrug it off, fluttering my eyelashes. “You’re welcome to try.  I’m confident the dragon will get you in the end, anyway.”
He bites his lip, holding back a laugh. “You’re nothing like I expected.”

Just when I thought I had a good grasp on what was going on, we jumped into her past.  It was brilliant how we seamlessly would get glimpses of her past throughout the story.  And it made me not only understand Ella better, but I saw how toxic her world was.  People were ranked through their presence online and it established their worth.  To keep her numbers up and her parents happy, since she influenced their worth too, she went along with or witnessed stuff that was horrific.  The injustice and fakeness of it all made me sick.  Yet Ella was trapped.  I watched as lies and secrets shrouded her past.  It was like a train wreck that I couldn’t look away from.

Swallowing hard, I stare at him. “My heart runs deeper than you could ever imagine.”
“I highly doubt that.” His words are ice, and tears spring to my eyes.
“You don’t know anything about my hurt,” I say, my voice cracking. “Don’t pretend to.”

Not only was the story unique, but so were two of the guys I fell for.  When we were in her past, we met Adam.  With fake people surrounding her, he was a breath of fresh air.  He was real.  He spoke from his heart.  And even though he played the influencer game, his connection to Ella made my heart beat faster.  I fell in love with him through all of their moments together.  Yet from that first chapter, we know he was there, when there was an explosion that killed Ella’s friends.

“Need you?  I need you.”
His eyes sparkle. “Yes.”
“You’re right.  I do need you.  I need you to realize you’re not God’s gift to thieves.”
“I love it when you’re angry.”
“I love it when you’re silent.”
He laughs.

And in the present, we met Garrett at Keystone.  He was such a huge mystery to me.  Garrett intrigued me and captivated my attention.  He was completely addictive.  Yet I didn’t know where Ella stood with him.  Especially since it seemed like he had a girlfriend.  I wanted to know his thoughts and understand why he kept certain people around him. So I desperately wanted to know all of Garrett’s secrets.

Garrett points to the ceiling, and I glimpse stars twinkling through a skylight.
CLICK
Grabbing me, Garrett throws me to the ground, covering my body with his.  My insides leaping, I squeal, certain we’re done for, waiting for the bullets to ravage us.  He clamps his hand over my mouth as the walls around us shift, rearranging themselves into a new layout.

The latter part of this book, I swear I lived between having sweaty palms and smiling my face off.  And here’s the thing, I thought I knew where this story was going.  But as we learned more about their world and started to see the bigger picture, there was a twist that was beautifully done.  I never saw it coming.  But looking back, I could see the clues, I just hadn’t grasped what they meant.

The tears flow, my aching throat sobbing out the betrayal.  Is anything real?  Hiccupping, I gasp for breath, the fireplace blurring before me.  Is anyone loyal?

So if you love stories that you can’t stop thinking about, long after you close the book, then definitely add Keystone to your tbr. With a smart heroine who held her own, and a group of friends that were total squad goals, Keystone landed on my favorites list! Now I’ll desperately be waiting for that next book. We got a lot of answers and ended at such a great spot, but I need to know where Ella’s story goes next. I can’t wait!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Helix (International Sensory Assassin Network #2) by Mary Ting

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Helix (International Sensory Assassin Network #2) by Mary Ting

I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK! I'm so grateful I got to be on this tour and I devoured this book oh so fast! So please check out my 5 Star Review below and enter in a fabuous giveaway. Enjoy!

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Helix (International Sensory Assassin Network #2) by Mary TingHelix (International Sensory Assassin Network #2)
by Mary Ting
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

ALLIANCES ARE FORMING. THE RESISTANCE IS GROWING.
EVERYTHING IS ABOUT TO CHANGE.

With her memory still fragmented, Ava returns to the International Sensory Assassin Network (ISAN) to find the twin sister she never knew she had.

But as Ava hunts for information, she finds herself tangled in a web of yet more lies and conspiracy. The Helix serum may not be required to access her superpowers, and the number of male assassins-previously considered too volatile to tolerate Helix-is growing in every territory.

The more Ava uncovers, the more of a threat she becomes to ISAN. Her only salvation may be to join the rebels-if she isn't killed first.

Review:

Helix was an action packed ride that had me on the edge of my seat.  The story was rich and intricate, the characters had my emotions pulled every which way and I loved how the stakes were even higher!  This book was just as addicting as the first, and I loved being back in this world.  If you love dystopian and books that play out like a movie, then you have to pick up this series!

I wasn’t just a daughter whose father had experimented on her. I was the very thing ISAN should fear.

 

✮ A Different Take:

There was nothing I wouldn’t do for her, even give up my own life. She was my world. No matter how long it took to get her memory back, I would be patient. But we were running out of time.

This story started out with Rhett’s point of view!  And we switched back and forth between Ava and Rhett throughout the story.  I was dying to get into Rhett’s head, in ISAN, and now we got to hear every single thought of his.  It added so much emotion and allowed us to learn about Rhett inside and out.  I absolutely loved how much depth it added to the story!

 

✮ Love is Powerful:

I love you with every breath, with every fiber of my being. My favorite place in the world is next to you. – Rhett to Ava

This story held the most beautiful love story.  With little pieces of the past coming back to Ava, it filled my heart with so many emotions.  There were moments that made me smile, made me have tears in my eyes and others that gutted me.  We got to see every single side of Ava and Rhett, and it made me love them that much more.  What they would do for each other?  It. Was. Breathtaking.  If you like to read about a power couple with an ever lasting love story, Ava and Rhett are it!

 

✮ Friends are your Family:

I ran to a hole in the floor and caught a glimpse below. Gunshots echoed and red Taser beams flashed across the darkness. I had no choice. My team needed me.
I jumped in just as the floor sealed.

The side characters in this series had so much life and shined so brightly!  We got to spend time and learn even more about Brooke, Tamara, Ozzie, and Reyna.  And while yes they were two groups of friends, they felt more like family to me.  They had each other’s backs.  They trusted each other.  They would even sacrifice it all for one another. 

 

✮ Action and Twists:

“You’re a traitor. You’re a monster. You made me do what I had to do. I had to … You made me forget Rhett . Forget Ozzie. Forget Reyna . This is all your fault. My father. My sister. My mother …” My lips quivered as the words died on my tongue, and I couldn’t hold it any longer. I choked on my words and sobbed.

The action and peril was intense, and I loved how this story continued to build and grow from the first book.  It became even more intricate and I soaked in every single tiny detail I could.  Especially since we were starting to get pieces to the bigger puzzle.  We still have a lot to learn, but what we did learn in this book?  It was exciting!  But there was one twist I never saw coming.  My mind was blown!  And it made me want to go back and skim certain parts of the first book and parts of the second book too.  So I did.  And ohhhhhhhh it was such a tricky and genius twist, I loved it!

Breathless. Speechless. His words filled me. A warm tingle traveled through my veins. His featherlight fingers journeyed up my arm to the curve of my neck, and then his thumb glided over my mouth.

Helix ended at the perfect spot.  I loved that we could finally have a moment to breathe, but at the same point I’m dying to know what happens next.  Especially since I’m not exactly sure how everything is going to play out.  So if you love action packed stories, intricate characters and a story line that’ll keep you glued to the pages, definitely add this series to your tbr!

 

PS There was a line in Chapter 4 of ISAN that made me think I knew something about Ava’s past and I can’t wait to see if I guessed correctly or not in the next book.  Because I know we’ll get our answer in there, eeks, I can’t wait to find out!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by Xpresso Book Tours. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

 

 

About Mary Ting:

International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres and her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.

Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.

Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub

 

Giveaway:

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BOOK REVIEW: Breakout by A.M. Rose

BOOK REVIEW:  Breakout by A.M. RoseBreakout by A.M. Rose
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads






Synopsis:

Six days.

That’s the amount of time until Lezah’s execution.

She’ll die never knowing what got her locked up in that godforsaken prison in the first place. Her only chance of survival is to escape. Except the monitoring bracelet that digs into her wrist, the roaming AI, and the implant in her neck make freedom close to impossible.

Her best chance is to team up with the four other inmates who are determined to break out, even if one of them is beyond gorgeous, annoying—oh, and in for murder. But he has a secret of his own. One that could break Lezah if she finds out, but could also set him free.

Figuring out how to work with him and the rest of this mismatched group of criminals is the only way Lezah will survive to see the outside world again.

But nothing in this prison is as it seems. And no one.

Review:

Breakout was an intense ride that kept me on the edge of my seat.  I found myself completely captured by this story and had to know what happened next.  So this book refused to be put down and I needed to know that everyone I cared for survived.  There were lots of twists and turns and while I tried my hardest to put the clues together, I was still left in the dark at times. I loved that this book challenged me.  So if you’re a fan of dystopian, then definitely give this book a try!

My legs beg for me to run, to find a way out, but all I’m trying to do right now is survive. Live one more day to figure out how to crack the system. Find a flaw they don’t even know exists to escape.

From that very first page, I was sucked in and terrified for Lezah.  She found herself in a horrific prison, and she didn’t know what she did to end up there.  But there was a countdown for her death, and if she wanted to survive then she had to escape.  The scenes that unfolded were so intense. I was literally scared to move or make any noise at all.  I felt like I was trapped in that hell with her.  And that was only the first chapter.

Something out there’s hunting us, and I don’t have the time to be quiet or think about where I’m going, I just have to go.

But escaping wasn’t easy.  The prisoners were not only monitored by a device they wore, but also by WALTERS.  WALTERS were artificial intelligence that were self aware and could think on their own.  They added another level of intensity and terror to the prison Lezah was in.  So by the second chapter I jumped and gasped out loud from being scared and startled.  And my claustrophobic self was dying in some of the situations Lezah found herself in.  It just kept getting worse and worse and as the story progressed I could feel my heart pounding in my chest.

His aren’t just gray; they look like the clouds, with swirls of blue around the middle. That weird feeling in my stomach is back, and I’m warm, maybe a little hot even with the chill in the air. He’s so close. Closer than he’s ever been, and for a second I allow myself to forget about the past and look at the boy who was willing to risk everything for us today.

Lezah was so easy to connect with, even if her past was fuzzy and she wasn’t able to give us a full picture of who she was.  She was brave, smart, resourceful and she listened to her heart and brain, which I loved.  We got introduced to other characters, but I’m keeping them a secret because this book is best going in blind in regards to them.  Each one stood out brightly and it was interesting to see how they played into this puzzle.  Just know that the love interest?  Sigh.  He was everything I love in a guy.  And the tentative friendships she created with the others gave me the hope and lightness I needed in this story.

“They have to know by now that we’re all gone anyway.” And possibly they know exactly where we are, too.

So while this story was action packed, it was also filled with deception, friendship, lies, trust and love.  Breakout was the perfect balance between a gripping storyline and emotional characters that pulled at my heart and grew as the story progressed.  Looking back, I loved how Breakout was a maze of twists and turns the whole way through.  Just when I thought safety was within reach, I had to think again, because everything would change in the blink of an eye.

“What is this place?”
He turns toward me and tilts his head. “Why do you ask questions you already know the answer to?”

This book ended at a fabulous stopping point.  Lots of questions were answered and problems were solved.  But there’s still so much that can happen in this world, so of course I’m hoping for that next book.  That way I can get a few more answers and be back with this group of characters that captured my heart.  So if you’re a fan of The Matrix or dystopian books that have sci-fi twists then definitely pick this one up.  I’m so glad I did!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

BOOK REVIEW: New World Order (Sunset Rising #3) by S.M. McEachern

BOOK REVIEW: New World Order (Sunset Rising #3) by S.M. McEachern New World Order (Sunset Rising #3)
by S.M. McEachern
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads






Synopsis:

In the third book of the Sunset Rising Trilogy, Sunny O'Donnell is determined to find Jack and bring him home. With the high-tech assistance of Doc, Sunny and her friends, Summer and Reyes, team up with the Nation to set out into a lawless post-apocalyptic world. But as the ruthlessness of the recruiters unfolds amidst the discovery of betrayals within their own group, friends will become enemies and enemies will become friends on a journey that will lead to a New World Order.

Review:

New World Order was a fabulous conclusion to the Sunset Rising Trilogy!   This world was harsh, brutal and unforgiving and the story could be so dark and twisted at times.  Yet friendship and love shined brightly and I was completely invested in this series.  In this final book we got to alternate between Sunny and Jack, which I absolutely loved.  And because of that, we got to see how friends became enemies, lies were hidden under the radar, and we found out exactly who we could trust. Some of it was very surprising!  So here are some of my favorite things about this book…

I ran my fingers through his short hair and gazed into his intense blue eyes. “Whoever would have thought that Leisel’s betrayal would turn out to be just the beginning?”

✮ Friendship

“How dare you judge me!”My hand itched to slap him. “While you were busy moping around pissed off at the world, my bourge husband and I were outside the Dome risking our lives to find a way to open the doors so the Pit could go free.”
Reyes stood up straighter and looked down his nose at me. “You did open the doors, Sunny,”he said calmly. “And then you just walked away.”

Friendship played such an important role in this series.  Between the Pits, Alliance, Bourge, The Nation and Ryder’s people there was a vast group and racism was prevalent.  So I loved watching how friendships helped bridge the gaps and unite some of them at times.  Like the team that was formed to go rescue Jack. It was an unlikely group whose dynamics were fascinating to watch.  Especially since there was some changes as the story progressed and I was surprised that my opinion even changed towards some of the characters.  By the end of the book, I loved that tentative friendships were formed, another was patched up and a new and heartfelt friendship was created.  While there was obstacles in their way, it was amazing to watch all the friendships unfold.

✮ A story that continued to grow

From the very beginning, we had accepted that we would eventually be executed, and so we lived our last days in the name of saving humanity, making alliances, bridging enmity, and falling in love along the way. The seeds of betrayal so carefully planted by Leisel had failed to produce their crop. Solidarity had grown in their place. – Sunny

I felt that this series had the best of both worlds.  While characters were the heart, the soul was the way the story unfolded.  There were a lot of moving parts and when you throw in some fabulous twists and turns, it made this story even more addicting.  I had sweaty palms and learned that you should always go with your gut.  Even if you want to believe otherwise.  It was fascinating to watch how deception and lies could tweak this story and I loved that I didn’t see some of it coming.  On top of all of that, there was fighting and political unrest happening.  I wondered how it could all end up right, but just watch.  Because it was brilliant.

✮ Inherent darkness

I looked at Naoki. “The minute they cut me loose, I’m going to kill every last one of them.”
He gave me a curt nod. “I’ll help.” – Jack

While dystopians usually have a darkness or bleak feel to them, the issues in this series were one that I could easily see in a scary, possible future.  Bigotry, slavery, sexism and racism bled from the pages.  Hundreds of years later and we were still fighting about the same issues.  And some of those issues would go down such a dark path that I found myself hoping certain people would die.  Their actions were beyond horrific and some of it was even hard to stomach.  There were a few moments I just wanted to cover my eyes, but I had to keep reading.  And while some justice was served that made me shout out loud yes, I have hope that even more will take place in the future spin-off series.

✮ True Love

She was so much more than my soul mate. She was my hero. And I needed her strength more than ever. – Jack

If you love romance in your books, you’re in for a treat with this series.  It was forbidden and filled with the best tension.  And when it finally turned into more, my heart was soaring and oh so happy.  In this final book we saw exactly how strong Sunny and Jack’s love was for each other.  The lengths they would go to for one another was beautiful, and they are cemented as one of my favorite couples ever.

He stood and held his hand out to me, and as I laced my fingers through his, I remembered the first time I’d ever placed my hand in his, a year ago, when we’d decided to take on the Holt regime. It filled me with as much strength now as it had then.

This series will always have a special place in my heart.  I cried tears of sadness and happiness, smiled, laughed and fell more in love with these characters.  Plus it wrapped up in such a fabulous way that made so happy.  Yet I love that there is so much to cover in a spin-off series and I can’t wait till it’s released!  So if you love forbidden romance or dystopian then definitely add this series to your tbr.  I absolutely loved it and I’m look forward to reading everything else S.M. McEachern writes!

Trigger warning for: View Spoiler »

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)

Sunset Rising #1
Reviews:

Jen

Worlds Collide #2
Reviews:

Jen

New World Order #3
Reviews:

Jen

BOOK REVIEW: Worlds Collide (Sunset Rising #2) by S.M. McEachern

BOOK REVIEW: Worlds Collide (Sunset Rising #2) by S.M. McEachernWorlds Collide (Sunset Rising #2)
by S.M. McEachern
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads






Synopsis:

Centuries old secrets and forbidden love collide in the action-packed sequel to Sunset Rising.

In a desperate attempt to escape execution, Sunny and Jack find a way out of the Pit and into a world still believed to be toxic with radiation. Under the brilliant sun for the first time in their lives, they not only discover that the earth has healed from nuclear war, but there are people outside the Dome.

In Worlds Collide, the second book of the Sunset Rising trilogy, Sunny and Jack must continue a life of subterfuge in order to stay alive and find a way to free the Pit. But in their attempt to save the urchins, they uncover the horrifying truth about President Holt and the evil he could unleash on the world.

Review:

Worlds Collide was another action packed, emotional ride.  As the story progressed, I loved that a lot of the pieces to the puzzle finally fell into place.  Secrets came out, truths were exposed and the stakes became even higher.  And while I had some guesses about the outside, what was really out there blew my mind.  The new elements that were introduced kept me on my toes and was fabulous!  This book definitely didn’t suffer from middle book syndrome and I loved every minute of it!  So here were some of my favorite things…..

Somewhere between saying “I do” and uniting the Pit for a rebellion, I learned to trust Jack.

✮ A power couple:

“I really do love you.” His voice cracked with emotion. Tears burned my eyes but I refused to let them fall.
“And I love you more than I could ever say.”

Jack and Sunny’s relationship was put to the test in Worlds Collide.  Not only was their relationship forbidden, but they were still getting to know each other.  And when Sunny had to pretend to be Jack’s plaything, that just added to the stress of it all.  But there is a reason why they easily became one of my favorite couples, and it had to do with how they were around each other.  While they were strong and determined by themselves, together they were a force to be reckoned with.  What they were each willing to do and sacrifice to help one other captured my heart.  And I loved that some of their actions caused me laugh at a few of the more intense moments.  They were a true team and one of my favorite couples!  My heart couldn’t be happier with where this story took them.


✮ An action packed story:

I wasn’t ready to admit defeat. I couldn’t sit here and watch him risk his life alone. I didn’t want to be in this world without him.

The twists and turns kept coming and it made me fly through the pages. And while I thought I had a clear picture of where the story was going, then something would shift.  Oh my gosh, it was all so brilliant.  What unfolded would leave my mouth hanging open or I’d want to jump up and down because I was so excited.  Allies, enemies, friendship, and even the unknown constantly played a part in this story and it made for a very exciting, action packed ride!


✮ My emotions were everywhere:

Never, in my entire worthless life, had anyone ever looked at me with that much love.
I tried to breathe around the lump lodged in my throat, but it was getting increasingly difficult. Taking his face in my hands, I nodded. Pressing closer, I kissed him, tasting the salt of our tears. I didn’t want to think about what was facing us, or why I might need a gun.

Worlds Collide had me run the gamut emotions!  One moment I’d have sweaty palms, the next I’d be scared to even breathe and another my claustrophobic self had me screaming out loud.   And while there were times that it felt like Sunny and Jack didn’t even have two seconds to breathe, I loved when they’d finally catch a little reprieve.  Those moments were absolutely beautiful and it was impossible not to smile and swoon.  I was grateful for those moments, Jack’s smart mouth and Sunny’s tenaciousness because they were each smile inducing.  And since their future had a ton of bumps in the road, I more than appreciated having some lightness mixed into their story.

I didn’t marry the enemy. I married the hero.

The Sunset Rising Series is absolutely incredible and a must read for dystopian lovers! To say I was glued to the pages would be a huge understatement.  I cheered, screamed, laughed, smiled and even cried my eyes out with Worlds Collide.  And we were introduced to a few new characters that I became obsessed with.  So once I flipped that last page, I was already grabbing the final book, New World Order.  I can’t wait to see how this series will wrap up!

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)

Sunset Rising #1
Reviews:

Jen

Worlds Collide #2
Reviews:

Jen

New World Order #3
Reviews:

Jen

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