Book Review: The Initiation

9781682615935.jpgBook-cation Location: Abandoned Undergrounds

Book: The Initiation by Chris Babu
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Print Date: February 2018
Goodreads Score: 4 stars
Giveaway: Print Copy of The Initiation
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Short Review: If you like books like Hunger Games and The Maze Runner you will love this one!

Book Summary

Everyone is equal. But no one is safe.

In a ruined world, Manhattan is now New America, a walled-in society based on equality. But the perfect facade hides a dark truth.

A timid math geek, sixteen-year-old Drayden watches his life crumble when his beloved mother is exiled. The mystery of her banishment leads him to a sinister secret: New America is in trouble, and every one of its citizens is in jeopardy.

With time running out, he enters the Initiation. It’s a test within the empty subway tunnels—a perilous journey of puzzles and deadly physical trials. Winners join the ruling Bureau and move to its safe haven. But failure means death. Can Drayden conquer the Initiation, or is salvation out of his grasp?

Long Review: I love a good sci-fi/dystopian style novel! The reason that Drayden’s New America exists is all thanks to a super bug and what I liked about that is it’s such a plausible reason for the world to descend into chaos. This new world that is a giant quarantined area is divided into sections and Drayden just happens to live in the worst of them, the Dorms. The other sections include the Lab, Precinct, and Palace. While they are constantly telling you that all sections are equal, I immediately have my doubts and want to know what The Palace zone looks like. The start of the book you find out a little bit about New America and the family life of our hero, and then he enters the Initiation and everything gets real from that point on. I could not stop reading after it began. You have adventure, back stabbing, plots of murder, and so much more!

My favorite part about the Initiation was the challenges as I was trying to solve them right along with all the other pledges…I didn’t even come close to figuring most of them out though. I would not have even made it past the first one! When the book started I wasn’t sure how I felt about Drayden, but as the book went on I began to really cheer for him. He starts out so unsure of himself with the weight of the world on his shoulders after his mother is exiled and he ends with him realizing he can do more than he ever realized. I do wish that there would have been a little bit more character development, especially for some of the other pledges. I want to know more about Catrice than what I was given in the book. I also would have liked more backstory on why Alex is the way he is before entering the Initiation.

I don’t want to spoil anything else so I will just say that overall this is a great read and I can’t wait for the sequel!

Chris Babu Author Photo.jpgAbout the Author
Chris Babu grew up in North Haven, CT, playing soccer and the violin in his free time. After devouring The Shining under the covers with a flashlight when he was eight, Chris was hooked on fiction. He’s always had a thing for young adult books. But he’s also a major science and math nerd – physics being his favorite – and he has a math degree from MIT.

For nineteen years, he worked as a bond trader on Wall Street, riding the subway to and from work every day. He traded mortgage-backed securities for Bank of America and then Deutsche Bank, where he eventually ran the MBS trading desk. Now Chris writes full-time, always with his trusted assistant Buddy, a 130-pound Great Dane, who can usually be found on his lap. They split their time between New York City and the east end of Long Island. Their omnipresence at home drives his wife Michelle and daughter Lily crazy. The Initiation is his first novel.   WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

BOOK-CATION IDEAS!

As I mentioned above the Book-cation location for The Initiation is Abandoned Undergrounds! The actual location of that the book spends a lot of time in does exist, however it’s still filled to the brim with people. To feel like you are a pledge in the Initiation I recommend taking a few of these tours!

  • Beijing’s Underground City. This abandoned city is from the 1970’s and was built as a bomb shelter. It’s made up of approximately 33 square miles with various tunnels and includes places such as a roller skating rink, warehouses, schools, and restaurants.
  • Seattle Underground.  Due to a fire and repeat floods happening it was during the mid-19th century that Seattle decided to build up their streets leaving the old city underground. The buildings at one point in time were used for a variety of things such as gambling halls and speakeasies. Portions have now been restored for tours.
  • The Speakeasy Tunnels of Moose Jaw, Canada. Originally built so workers did not have to endure the harsh winter weather when going from building to building. During the prohibition the town became a hub for rum running and gambling and filled the underground tunnels and hideouts with all sorts of characters.

To enter the giveaway Click Here!

“You have five minutes to solve the riddle…”
you force heaven to be empty
5:00…4:59…4:58…4:57…

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Book Review: The Culling

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Book: The Culling by Ramona Finn
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Sci-Fi
Print Date: November 2017
Goodreads Score: 3 stars
Giveaway: $50 Amazon gift card

Short ReviewAn interesting twist on a dystopian story.

Book Summary 

In a solar system where The Authority decides who lives and who dies, only one of their own assassins can stop them.

Glade Io is a trained killer. Marked at a young age as an individual with violent tendencies, she was taken from her family and groomed to be a Datapoint, a biotech-enabled analyst who carries out the Culling. She is meant to identify and destroy any potential threats to the human colonies. But when she’s kidnapped by rogue colonists known as the Ferrymen, everything Glade thinks she knows about the colonies, and The Authority that runs them, collapses into doubt.

Pulled between two opposing sides, and with her family’s lives hanging in the balance, Glade is unsure of who to trust—and time is running out.

Long Review: This was, in my opinion, your typical dystopian story that made things somewhat predictable. I did however enjoy the added sci-fi twist to the story. The thought that technology has advanced so far that you can literally sync your brain with a computer is kind of creepy. What was even creepier is that these same people that are synced with the computer then have the ability to kill anyone through the act of culling.  I couldn’t help but wonder how terrifying life must be in this world that the author has created. To know that at any moment the Authority could decide you are a threat and BAM, you can’t even defend yourself!

The characters are each interesting in their own way. My favorite is Kupier. From the moment he is introduced you immediately like him.  He is very driven, a great leader, and loves his family. Glade is a tough nut to crack. One minute you think she really is like a robot and then the next you find she is capable of emotion and you are able to peel back a layer to her. One of my favorite parts was getting to see how Glade unraveled all of the knew knowledge that she was given about the Authority by Kupier. She has gone her entire life thinking one way and is know basically being told its all been a lie. From the moment that Jan Ernst Haven gets introduced I am immediately suspicious…but I will let you be the judge.

This was not by any means my favorite book, but it is a quick and fun read that I think you will enjoy!

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About the Author
Ramona Finn writes about courageous characters who fight to live in broken, dystopian worlds. She believes a person’s true characters is often revealed in times of crisis, and there is no greater crisis than the worlds that she drops her characters into!

She grew up sitting cross-legged on her town’s library floor–completely engrossed in science fiction books. It was always the futuristic world or the universe-on-the-brink-of-extinction plotlines that drew her in, but it was the brave characters who chose to fight back that kept her turning the pages.

Her books create deep, intricate worlds with bold characters determined to fight for their survival in their dystopian worlds–with a little help from their friends. And, of course, romance is never out of the question 😉  WebsiteGoodreadsFacebook

To enter the Giveaway for the $50 Amazon gift card Click Here!

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Book Spotlight: Premonition

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Book: Premonition by Leigh Walker
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Sci-Fi, Romance
Print Date: July 2017
Giveaway: $25 Amazon gift card
Enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post! 

Before you start reading the book summary and author interview, take a moment to create the following playlist and get ready to dive into this new Division Series!

 

Promo image 1.png“THE DIVISION” PLAYLIST
The Other Side – Bruno Mars
Elastic Heart – Cia
Leave Out All the Rest – Linkin Park
Look What You Made Me Do – Taylor Swift
I Don’t Wanna Live Forever – ZAYN and Taylor Swift
Starlight – Muse
We Found Love – Rihanna
Princess of China Coldplay and Rihanna
Attention – Charlie Puth
Dusk Till Dawn – ZAYN and Cia

Book Summary 

For fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent…this exciting new science-fiction romance series, filled with twists and turns, will take you for a wild ride! 

When Riley heads off to boarding school for a summer work-study program, she knows it’ll be demanding. What she doesn’t expect? To be thrust into an intense physical training program described as special, exclusive and worst of all–top-secret. She signed up for tuition assistance, not to be held in a secret government facility for boot camp…

Welcome to The Division, the government agency that’s so classified, most United States senators have never heard of it. 

The Division wants Riley bad, but she can’t figure out why. Skeptical of what she’s being told, Riley’s determined to uncover the truth. Boot camp is intense, physically and mentally draining. The upside? One of her new teammates is the cutest boy ever. Watching Finn hit the gym wearing a tank top doesn’t suck–although sometimes his brooding attitude does. But when training forces Riley to confront her tragic past, even Finn’s big biceps aren’t enough to make her want to stay…

Beware: The Division isn’t something you just walk away from. You better run. 

Riley realizes her capabilities and strengths are greater than she’d ever imagined. But she also learns she wasn’t just chosen for this special program…

She was made for it.

About the Author
Leigh Walker lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. She has a degree in Journalism and a law degree.

She’s never been to the Naval Shipyard prison in Kittery, ME, but she’s driven by it…and boy, is it creepy!

Leigh has lots of books planned for The Division Series. She loves to hear from readers, so feel free to email her at leigh@leighwalkerbooks.com.  WebsiteGoodreadsFacebook

Interview with the Author

Q: Wow, you’re interviewing yourself…how pompous!

Right? It’s to tell people more about the series, lol. Although I should admit that I normally talk to myself a lot, so this isn’t much of a departure.

Q: Tell us about “The Division” – it’s a bunch of teenagers with psychic powers, right? How did you get inspired?

Everyone on the team has psychic powers, yes. I was watching “Stranger Things” on Netflix and I WAS SO PSYCHED they were testing poor Eleven for psychic powers. But I was also like, YEEHAW! Because I LOVE psychic powers, and I can’t remember the last time I saw or read something that included them. I’ve always been obsessed by the concept, and there’s so many variations of powers, so many incarnations it can take… Anyway, after watching that show and having that reaction, I thought, other people must love this stuff, too, I can’t be the only one. So I wanted to give us all more!

Q: Tell us about the main character, Riley Payne.

Riley is a ‘normal’ girl dealing with a lot. Her father and sister died in a car accident and her mother started drinking heavily after it happened. She just wants to get out of her house and go to boarding school, but she gets more than she bargained for when she abruptly gets recruited into a secret agency…

Q: The ‘secret agency’ is The Division, correct?

Yes. It’s a secret cell of teenagers who were genetically engineered with psychic gifts. They work for the American government to combat domestic terrorism.

Riley thinks they’re nuts, of course. Until she unlocks her powers, then she’s blown away by what she can do.

Q: As the series goes on, you get into genetic engineering, fated love, eco-terrorism, loyalty, isolation, human nature, climate change…some pretty heavy themes. But would you describe the series as a difficult read?

I don’t think so, but certainly some parts were hard to write – like about Riley missing her dad and her sister. I still cry when I read those parts. And in the second book, an eco-terrorist is introduced, and some terrible things happen in the book. So yeah, there’s definitely a heaviness to some of what the characters are dealing with. But they’re teenagers, and their youth is sort of a tonic against everything they’re dealing with. They still care about their friends. They still want to hang out, tell stories, joke around. They are still very interested in falling in love. I think my writing style is naturally light and breezy, so it’s sort of a counterpoint to the storyline. If that makes sense, lol.

Q: What’s your favorite part of this series?

Riley and Finn’s relationship. They have so much on their plates, and they’re so young, but they genuinely care for each other in a way that makes me ache.

Q: What do you do when you’re not writing?

 I have three large, unruly boys who like to play every sport and eat as much food as possible. When I’m not at my computer, I’m busy carting them around and grocery shopping. But I also love to relax with a great book or television show – I am currently completely obsessed with Riverdale, OMG!!!

Thanks for having me! Happy reading!!!

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So I don’t know about you, but I’m officially ready to purchase and dive into this book!  To purchase a copy from Amazon Click Here!

 To enter the giveaway Click Here!

 

 

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Book Spotlight: Santa Muerte

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Book: Santa Muerte by Lucina Stone
Genre: New Adult, Fiction, Folklore, Sci-Fi
Print Date: January 2016
Giveaway: Print copy of Santa Muerte
Enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post! 

 

 

Book Summary

Lucina Stone blends Mexican folklore with modern technology and time travel in this seductive new series where the lines between right and wrong, protagonist and antagonist, truth and fiction, love and lust, and life and death have never been more blurred.

THE YEAR IS 2030. IN A DRAMATIC, final attempt to free her inner demons, twenty-year-old Daniela Delgado tempts fate and winds up on a strange farm in 1923. With an olive complexion due to her Mexican/Italian heritage and a fresh pixie cut, she is mistaken for a “boy of color.” Her only shot at survival now is to play it cool, pose as “Danny,” and figure out how to get back home to her two, loving moms.

And then she meets Daphne—an abused, motherless farm girl in desperate need of freedom and a friend. Having escaped Daphne’s father, the two of them are now roaming the streets of New York City disguised as a young aristocrat and her male servant. They’re running out of money, and ideas. And Daniela thought living in 2030 was tough.

But her solar powered smart phone works. And there’s someone within range. She pings them. A selfie of an attractive male comes in with the text: I’m Lain. Who the f— are you? Even in that moment, Daniela knows this can’t be safe, but what are her choices? They meet Lain at a speakeasy on the Lower East Side. When Daniela reveals her last name, Lain says the only Delgado he knows is Anaya—the head of the Santa Muerte Coven of witches in Merida, Mexico. And then he hints that Daniela is a liar, even though she rocks a man’s three-piece suit like no woman he’s ever met. And as for her tattoos? Don’t get Lain started….

Despite the intrigue, Daniela adds Lain to the list of folks Daphne and she must outrun to stay alive. But as they plan their trip to Mexico, they soon discover that list is much longer than they thought. And they uncover a few other things, too, about Daniela’s true identity….

About the Author
Stone, a Latina young adult book author from Morris County, New Jersey was the 2016 winner of two awards of the prestigious International Latino Book Awards for Best Sci/Fi novel and Best New Author. Santa Muerte- The Daniela Story (Story Merchant Books Press, 2016 release) tackles diversity in science fiction and fantasy by using folklore and culture.   PinterestGoodreadsTwitterFacebookInstagram

To enter the Giveaway for a print copy of Santa Muerte Click Here!!

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