Rondi Bauer Olson’s ‘All Things Now Living’ Blog Tour and Kindle Fire Giveaway

About the book:
 

Her whole life Amy has been taught the people of New Lithisle deserve to die, but when she falls for Daniel, she determines to save him.
Sixteen-year-old Amy doesn’t like anything to die, she won’t even eat the goats or chickens her mama has butchered every fall, but she can’t let herself pity the inhabitants of New Lithisle. In a few short months the dome they built to isolate themselves from the deadly pandemic is predicted to collapse, but her whole life Amy has been taught it’s God’s will they die. They traded their souls for immunity to the swine flu virus, brought God’s curse upon themselves by adding pig genes to their own.
Then, while on a scavenging trip with her father, Amy is accidentally trapped in New Lithisle. At first her only goal is to escape, but when she meets Daniel, a New Lithisle boy, she begins to question how less-than-human the people of New Lithisle are.
Amy’s feelings grow even more conflicted when she learns she didn’t end up in New Lithisle by mistake. Her father is secretly a sympathizer, and was trying to prevent the coming destruction.
Now time is running short and Amy has to decide if she will bring the computer program her father wrote to his contact or save herself. Installing the program could prevent the dome’s collapse, but if Amy doesn’t find her father’s contact in time, she’ll die, along with everyone else.
About the author:

Rondi Bauer Olson is a reader and writer from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where she lives on a hobby farm with her husband, Kurt. She has four grown children, works as a nurse, and also owns a gift shop within view of beautiful Lake Superior.
Find out more about Rondi at http://rondibauerolson.weebly.com.
My Thoughts: I was very excited to pick up this book but overall, it wasn’t the book for me. The plot was very interesting and unique…a quarantined society that dabble in genetic alterations and a girl from the outside, given the task to save them from impending destruction and death. Unfortunately, the story was not described in a way that made it easy to understand…the world building could have been better and I was often confused about the history of this society and how they got to the present situation.
I also found the main character Amy to be very unlikeable. She was so invested in her love interest at times that she seemed to forget the gravity of the situation that she was in. The insta-love was very hard for me to read. I never like romance in books so it may  be just me, but the romance was so instantaneous and unrealistic and very immature. I think the fact that the characters were teenagers added to my dislike of the romance as they were moving very fast for their ages.
On the plus side, the cover of this book is gorgeous and the plot is very unique. I think some people would definitely enjoy the story. I just found it to be too heavy on the romance and a bit too light on the descriptions.
My Rating: 2 stars
I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Group to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Stay up all night reading this thrilling new book from Rondi and enter to win a Kindle Fire!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of All Things Now Living
  • A Kindle Fire

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 14. The winner will be announced December 15 on the Litfuse blog.

 

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Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine Review

ib

Synopsis: Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…

My Thoughts: I requested this book with slight apprehension because this genre is far from my comfort zone. I do not tend to go for fantasy or paranormal but I do love books and libraries as well as dystopian stories so I decided to give it a go.

The story was unlike anything I’ve read before…a world where owning physical copies of books is forbidden and The Great Library controls everything that people read. It follows Jess Brightwell, who is a book smuggler for his father but gets the opportunity to train to enter the library’s service.

I was on board for the first half of the story, I loved the atmosphere and the things that occurred during the training. Towards the middle of the story, a mission needs to be accomplished and that’s when I started to lose interest. I just wasn’t excited about the subject and what was happening.

The concept of this story was very unique and clever but the world building was a bit lacking. I had difficulty picturing some things as they were described because I felt there weren’t enough details.

Overall, I was pleased with this book for an “out of my comfort zone”, non-preferred genre book. I found it interesting and enjoyed the adventure but I don’t feel compelled to pick up the rest of the books in the series.

My Rating: 3 stars

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

 

The Auctor Trilogy by T.R. Wolf Review

auctor

Synopsis: When seventeen-year-old Addie Auctor’s mother is murdered by her father, she must confront many secrets that her family has hidden from her. The worst of these secrets is that Addie’s father, Donovan Hawthorne, is still hunting Addie because of an ancient blood feud between her mother’s family, the Auctors, and her father’s family, the House of Hawthorne. In order to be protected from the House of Hawthorne, Addie and her brother, Augustus, are sent to Initiation at an exclusive University, the Wicked Cabal.
Initiation is nothing like Addie expects. She is immediately separated from Augustus and thrown in with four complete strangers – Fallon, Maddox, Liam, and Tempe. Addie must try to forge friendships with her fellow Initiates while they solve clues, battle mystical creatures, and explore increasingly dangerous places.
Readers of all ages will love this adventure filled with suspense, treachery, and romance.

My Thoughts: I was a bit hesitant to read this book when the author contacted me because the genre is a bit out of my comfort zone but the cover of it convinced me to give it a try. I am very glad that I gave it a chance, it was a perfect book to read for someone who is just getting into fantasy…it has some fantastical creatures but the majority of the story feels more like a dystopian or adventuresome story.

I really enjoyed the story…the author was great at imagery and world building. The story is very atmospheric, I felt as if I was right there with the characters, trudging through the forests, caves, and obstacles of initiation to the Wicked Cabal.

There was a lot of suspense and the story was full of action and adventure. I found myself flipping pages quickly to find out what would happen next. The pacing was great…the story had 481 pages but I found myself at the halfway point in no time.

I wasn’t a fan of the romance in the story, it felt quite forced and ingenuine (but I rarely like romance in books). I also felt that the characters lacked a lot of common sense in many circumstances, which was a bit frustrating.

Overall, I was very pleased with this book and would definitely pick up the next one when it comes out, I’m very curious to find out what happens next. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves fantasy or who is interested in dipping their feet in the genre.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

The Seed: A True Myth by Erik Guzman Review

seed

About the book:

The Seed (New Growth Press, May 2016)

Young Madeline and Roark are desperately running from the shadow that destroyed their home and is threatening their lives.

One day, they encounter Tatus, an older man who has sworn to avenge the death of his family at the hands of the shadow, and they form an alliance with him. Tatus promises that he can keep them safe from the shadow if they will help him build a fortress. So they build.

But as fortress-building consumes their lives, Madeline and Roark are increasingly filled with anger and fear, and an unseen evil threatens to ultimately destroy them. When they finally face the shadow, he presents them with an unthinkable offer that will reveal shocking secrets of the forgotten past, the unseen present, and the unimaginable future.

We’ve all had the feeling that something’s not quite right with our lives. It’s bigger than any specific failure or disappointment. It’s bigger than any person. No matter what you achieve or how much you drink or sleep, you can’t shake it. It haunts you—night and day—and propels you to do something. So you build. You build and build the maze that is your exhausting life. Sound vaguely familiar?

The Seed: A True Myth is a journey into the personal labyrinths we create to protect ourselves and those we love from the pain of living in a broken world. Guzman’s “true myth” takes the reader on an unforgettable journey that is, in essence, the grand narrative of God’s redemptive work in the world. This page-turning Christian fantasy tale is packed with mystery and drama, and readers will feel the weight and power of redemption as they journey alongside Guzman’s characters in their epic battle. The Seed deftly communicates the heart of Trinitarian theology through story—without using theological language or Christian terms—and reinforces biblical themes such as God’s character and man’s true identity and calling.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1YSvMfl

About the author:
 
Erik Guzman is Vice President of Communications and Executive Producer at Key Life Network. He’s the cohost of the nationally syndicated talk show Steve Brown, Etc. and announcer for “Key Life.” His writing has been featured in Key Life’s magazine and online at KeyLife.org, Liberate.org, Burnside Writers Collective, and Sojourners (sojo.net). He is also a Lay Eucharistic Minister, a drummer, and a 5th degree black belt in Aikido. Erik, his wife, and three children live near Orlando, Florida.
My Thoughts: I was a little hesitant to read this because I have never really dipped my feet in the fantasy genre. Fortunately, this was a very easy read. I had no trouble picturing the scenes and enjoyed being transported to another world.
The story was very interesting, filled with symbolism that was easy to decipher. The characters were interesting and mysterious. This would be a great book for those who are interested in fantasy but don’t want to start with something too fantastical.
There was a bit of foul language, which I didn’t enjoy, but other than that, it was an interesting story.
My Rating: 3 stars
I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.

Eleanor by Jason Gurley Review

eleanor

Plot according to Goodreads: Eleanor and Esmerelda are identical twins with a secret language all their own, inseparable until a terrible accident claims Esme’s life. Eleanor’s family is left in tatters: her mother retreats inward, seeking comfort in bottles; her father reluctantly abandons ship. Eleanor is forced to grow up more quickly than a child should, and becomes the target of her mother’s growing rage.

Years pass, and Eleanor’s painful reality begins to unravel in strange ways. The first time it happens, she walks through a school doorway, and finds herself in a cornfield, beneath wide blue skies. When she stumbles back into her own world, time has flown by without her. Again and again, against her will, she falls out of her world and into other, stranger ones, leaving behind empty rooms and worried loved ones.

One fateful day, Eleanor leaps from a cliff and is torn from her world altogether. She meets a mysterious stranger, Mea, who reveals to Eleanor the weight of her family’s loss. To save her broken parents, and rescue herself, Eleanor must learn how deep the well of her mother’s grief and her father’s heartbreak truly goes. Esmerelda’s death was not the only tragic loss in her family’s fragmented history, and unless Eleanor can master her strange new abilities, it may not be the last.

My Thoughts: I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this book. I’m not always a fan of magical realism but I was willing to give this a chance. The story was very unique and unusual and the magical realism served a purpose in the story. (I have read other books where the magical realism aspect didn’t seem to fit with the story).

The reader follows Eleanor, who has a difficult life, after losing her twin sister and dealing with survivor’s guilt and harsh animosity from her mother.

This is the kind of book that is best to go into blindly. A big part of the fun is discovering the many facets of the story. This book hides a beautiful and sad story with many layers. I am finding that I enjoy thinking about the story now, many days after reading it, more than I did as I read it. Everything was woven together perfectly.

I think this book will be a huge hit in the reading community. I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to read it and I could see myself revisiting it in the future.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan Review

graceGenre: Fantasy, Adult Fiction, Dystopian

Judging the Cover: This is one of my favorite book covers of all the books that I own. I love the colors and the cover depiction of Callanish in the graceyard was very helpful in picturing the world.

Plot according to Goodreads: As a Gracekeeper, Callanish administers shoreside burials, sending the dead to their final resting place deep in the depths of the ocean. Alone on her island, she has exiled herself to a life of tending watery graves as penance for a long-ago mistake that still haunts her. Meanwhile, North works as a circus performer with the Excalibur, a floating troupe of acrobats, clowns, dancers, and trainers who sail from one archipelago to the next, entertaining in exchange for sustenance.

In a world divided between those inhabiting the mainland (“landlockers”) and those who float on the sea (“damplings”), loneliness has become a way of life for North and Callanish, until a sudden storm offshore brings change to both their lives–offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the consequences of the past, while restoring hope in an unexpected future.

My Thoughts: This book is described as a cross between Station Eleven and The Night Circus. Although I haven’t yet read Station Eleven, The Night Circus is one of my favorite books. Stories with a circus or amusement park setting always interest me so I was eager to pick this one up. I was not disappointed. As with The Night Circus, the imagery is the star of this book…the author’s imagination and creativity shines through every page.

The Good:

  • The setting of the story (a world that has been flooded and all that remains are small islands dispersed throughout the ocean) was very interesting. I was able to easily visualize the world and felt like I was part of it.
  • The story was very unusual…I haven’t read many fantasy books and this was a great place to start. The plot was different than anything I’ve read before.
  • I enjoyed the hierarchy that was present between the Damplings and the Landlockers…there was a lot of tension between these two groups of people and I found it very interesting.
  • The circus aspect was fun. The circus traveled in a large boat with several smaller boats (coracles) attached with chains. When they docked, the larger boat became the stage and the large sail became the tent. I felt like a member of the audience when reading the circus scenes. These scenes were among my favorites in the book.

What I didn’t Like:

  • The pacing…this wasn’t a book that I flew through, it took some time to read and was a slower paced story.
  • Some of the aspects of the story weren’t explained fully and left me with a few unanswered questions.
  • This was the type of book that was easy to put down and difficult to pick up (but when picked up, was enjoyable to read). It didn’t have that indescribable quality that sucks you into the story and won’t let you go.

My Rating: 4/5 stars.

Disclaimer: I received this book from blogging for books in exchange for an honest review.

Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee Review

forbiddenGenre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Christian Fiction

Judging the Cover: The cover is very relevant to the story and had a lot to do with my decision to purchase the book.

Plot according to Goodreads: Many years have passed since civilization’s brush with apocalypse. The world’s greatest threats have all been silenced. There is no anger, no hatred, no war. There is only perfect peace… and fear. But a terrible secret has been closely guarded for centuries: Every single soul walking the earth, though in appearance totally normal, is actually dead, long ago genetically stripped of true humanity.
Fleeing pursuit, with only moments to live, a young man named Rom stumbles into possession of a vial of blood and a piece of cryptic writing. When consumed, the blood will bring him back to life. When decoded, the message will lead him on a perilous journey that will require him to abandon everything he has ever known and awaken humanity to the transforming power of true life and love.
But the blood will also resurrect hatred, ambition, and greed.

This is book 1 in a trilogy called The Books of Mortals.

My Thoughts: This story was a bit out of my comfort zone as it had a fantasy feel to it (and I’m not generally drawn to fantasy) but I found it to be very interesting and enjoyable. I decided to read this book because I owned this one (found at Goodwill) and book 2 (from Ollie’s) and stumbled across book 3 while shopping at my local grocery store. It was in the bargain box, priced at $3.50 for hardcover but I didn’t want to buy it until I started book 1 to see if I would like the story. I bought book 3 after reading about 50 pages and I’m glad I did.

The Good: The plot is a very interesting one…set in Rome in the future, all humans have been stripped of every emotion except 1…fear. I was impressed by the way the authors were able to stick to this concept throughout the book as I imagine writing emotionless (except for fear) characters can’t be an easy task. As mentioned above, it had a fantasy feel to it which I was wary of when I began reading it, but I actually loved the dungeon scenes and the unusual names. There is a lot of Christian symbolism in the story but I didn’t feel it was something that would deter a non-Christian from enjoying it (especially if they aren’t familiar with the Bible). I loved the symbolism. The ending was a great cliff hanger and left me wanting much more so I can’t wait to dive into books 2 and 3.

What I didn’t Like: This is the 5th book I’ve read by Ted Dekker and although I love the stories that he tells, I don’t like the way he tells them. I always find it difficult to “get into” his books. It usually takes me 50-100 pages to get comfortable with his writing style and I don’t think I enjoy the stories as much as I could because of it. The atmosphere of the story was great but I wanted more…there were times when I felt that the places could have been described in better detail. There was a bit of insta-love in this story that was kind of ridiculous.

My rating: 4/5 stars and recommended for lovers of dystopian and fantasy stories