EVOLUTION (E #2) by Kate Wrath – BOOK REVIEW

Image obtained from www.katewrath.com

Image obtained from http://www.katewrath.com

EVOLUTION

Author: Kate Wrath

Type of Book: eBook

Length: 314 pages

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Release Date: November 12, 2014

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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First off I have to mention the cover art for this book. The stylized “E” is absolutely stunning. It is perfect. It has just the right amount of flair and draws the eye. The gorgeous cover art was created by Patricia A. Doherty.

Outpost 3 has survived the attack by Grey and his men. Eden with Miranda’s help reprogrammed the Sentries to follow Matt’s commands. With these robots under his control, Matt now has ultimate power over the residents of Outpost 3.

Matt has forced Eden and Miranda to both move into his residence. He wants Eden as a romantic partner, but she does not love him. She is in love with Jonas, but Jonas is angry with her for siding with Matt during the battle.

All her personal problems pale in comparison to the fact that by taking over the sentries, they have broken a major world law.

Eden knows that the powers-that-be will not let their takeover of the sentries go unpunished. She knows that all the sentries everywhere are linked and that the only way to ensure their total safety is to go to the white tower and somehow disable all the sentries in existence. To do that she would have to find the city, enter the white tower and somehow shut down every sentry in existence. She also knows that Matt will never allow her to leave Outpost Three to test her theory.

When a sentry arrives from outside the Outpost and arrives in the marketplace, it begins speaking and says: “Residents of Outpost Three, you have violated the Founding Principle of the New World Covenant. As such, this Outpost has been marked for cleansing. All residents are to be processed for erasure. Form a single file line at the Outpost gate. You have two minutes to comply. Any resistance will extend the punishment for all residents to immediate death.”

Now what? How is Eden going to escape being erased again? What about her friends? How will she save them? Does Matt have a plan? Will she find a way to get to the tower? Or is this the end for all of them?

Dystopian fiction is a genre that is cluttered with a multitude of titles. Some are good. Some are bad. Some are just ok. But, there are a few that are GREAT. This book as well as the first book in the E Series both fall solidly into the great category.

What is so great about these books? Well, there are several things that make me love the writing of Kate Wrath. Firstly, although this is a young adult novel and the main character is female, she is not a simpering idiot. She does not have romance as the driving force in her life. Eden is much more focused on survival and on how to escape the Outpost. Also, she is loyal. Too often in novels we see the characters shifting their allegiances constantly. Though it may not look like it at times, Eden is steadfast in her loyalty to her friends. Thirdly, Kate Wrath’s world building is terrific and readers are constantly discovering more and more about what the world is like and why. I like the fact that not all the information was doled out immediately. It is much more realistic for the reader to discover the world at the same time that Eden does.

I know I mentioned above that romance is not Eden’s driving force and that is true, but that does not mean that there is no romance. It just isn’t the main focus. It is much more believable for someone who is struggling daily just to stay alive to focus on that survival first and foremost. By portraying the romance as slow to develop it draws the reader in and makes them more invested in the ultimate outcome.

Youth is often a time of confusion and conflicted feelings. Kate Wrath expertly navigates through these emotions. As Eden spends more time with Matt, the reader can clearly see that her feelings for him evolve. The juxtaposition of head and heart telling her opposite things is very realistic. And what about her feelings for Jonas and their shared past? Eden is as confused as any teenager; it’s just that her feelings have to take a back seat to her survival.

Probably my favorite thing about Kate Wrath’s books is their unpredictability. Just when the reader thinks they have the plot all figured out, a new twist or obstacle arises and the story takes yet another unexpected turn. I LOVE THIS! I love not being sure what will happen next. Predictability is annoying and greatly reduces the enjoyment of reading a great book. I cannot praise this series highly enough. I want to be surprised, and Kate Wrath continually delivers.

Besides the great plot, the amazingly realistic characters and the fact that this book is simply unputdownable, it also contains some amazing technologies. While I have spent most of this reviewing writing about various things I love about EVOLUTION, I have neglected to mention Kate Wrath’s genius when it comes to both world-building and the science-fiction aspects of the book.

Not only are there robots that were supposedly programmed generations ago that are still working perfectly, but there is also the entire future world to explore and discover. Her “aether lamps” and “aether traps” are another awesome creation from the mind of Kate Wrath.

*** POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT*** (no major plot points are revealed here, just a minor scene)

One of my favorite parts of this book is Matt trying to recreate Christmas at Outpost Three. He doesn’t have any memories of what Christmas should be like, and even the oldest outpost residents have never experienced Christmas. Because books, magazines and newspapers are few and far between, Matt only has a few torn articles and minor book mentions of the holiday to use to recreate Christmas. The result is mixed, which I thought was portrayed perfectly. Imagine seeing pictures of decorated Christmas trees while living in a world where trees only exist outside the outpost and as far as people know, the only uses for trees is either building material or firewood. People would think you had lost your mind if you decorated a tree, and exactly what could you use to decorTe it with? Resources are extremely scarce and most homes are little more than hovels. No one has decorative items. Who could afford them? And why would anyone want to own things whose only use is to look pretty? I think readers will agree that this portion of the book is a great addition to the story.

Kate Wrath is quickly becoming one of my new favorite authors. I cannot praise this series highly enough.

If you haven’t read “E” yet I suggest you buy it right away. If you have read “E” but haven’t purchased “Evolution” yet, what are you waiting for? Go to Amazon right away or visit the author’s website and buy your copy right away. You will not be disappointed and you’ll be happy you did.

I rate EVOLUTION by Kate Wrath as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS BOOK:

1. “I used to read because the world wasn’t big enough. But now I know that there could never be enough books to hold all this world.” – Apollon

2. “After everything we’ve seen – everything that we never expected to see – I am only just beginning to have the idea that maybe this is only a glimpse. Maybe this is only the start of our adventure.” – Eden

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Kate Wrath is the author of the E Series. EDEN which is the third book in the series is set to be released on June 13, 2015 and JASON AND LILY – a prequel to E is due to be released on July 23, 2015.
For more information or to sign up for her newsletter visit http://www.katewrath.com

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

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GRECO by Andrea Domanski – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

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GRECO
Crossfire Series – Book 1.5

Author: Andrea Domanski

Type of Book: Audiobook Unabridged

Narrator: David Dietz

Length: 1 hour, 39 minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal Fiction, Science Fiction, Thriller

Release Date: April 3, 2015

Publisher: Andrea Domanski

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

Listeners were introduced to Greco in CROSSFIRE – Book One of the series. Greco is Mirissa’s protector and her trainer.

Not much is revealed about his background in the first book, but there are hints given that his childhood was anything but idyllic.

In fact, his mother treated him like an unwanted stray dog that she was stuck with. Her drinking only escalated the abuse and Greco has not seen or spoken to her in a very long time.

He is very private. He does not often tell people about the abuse he suffered at the hands if his mother. So, when word comes that Greco’s mother has been abducted, he is given the job of tracking her down.

“Ruthless mercenaries, inept crooks, and deeply buried secrets abound while Greco and Mirissa push their relationship to the brink in their search for answers.”

“In this novella sequel to Crossfire, the mysteries of Greco’s past are revealed, and his biggest mistake threatens to destroy his future.”

This audiobook is very well written and performed. I am glad that the author chose to use a male narrator to tell Greco’s story. I do not think it would have had the same impact if it was narrated by a woman.

David Dietz has the ability to pull his listeners into the story and to ensure that they keep listening. His pacing is perfect and his suspense building skills are second to none. I rate the narration as 5 out of 5 stars.

While the first book focused mostly on Mirissa and on building the plot, this book was much more personal. It does have a terrific mystery that must be solved, but it is the character development and the emotional aspects that make this audiobook a five star listening experience.

I rate this audiobook as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Born and raised near Toronto, Canada, Andrea Domanski moved south to get away from the snow and cold when she was 24 years old. She now lives in Savannah, Georgia with her husband, Mark, their two children, and their Golden Doodle.

After selling her business in 2012, Andrea focused her energies on raising her two children and finding a new career path that excited her. It wasn’t long before she decided that writing a novel – something she’d always wanted to do – would be her next big adventure.

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

David W. Dietz is a writer, actor, director and producer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

For more information about this narrator or his production company visit: http://dietzthethird.com

CROSSFIRE by Andrea Domanski – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

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CROSSFIRE – Omega Group Book One

Author: Andrea Domanski

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Melissa Chatwood

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal Fiction

Length: 5 hours, 29 minutes

Release Date: March 3, 2015

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

I was not sure what to expect from this audiobook. The descriptive blurb intrigued me and I decided to give it a chance. I am glad I did. I enjoyed the mixture of genres that are included in this book.

This book combines paranormal fiction with science fiction and mystery all in a Young Adult friendly novel.

Mirissa Colson’s mother left for work one morning, twelve years ago, and never returned.

Now, on Mirissa’s eighteenth birthday, a package arrives from her mother. Mirissa is of course both intrigued and repelled. Does she really want anything from the woman who so callously left her husband and six year old daughter?

What Mirissa discovers is that she is not just an average teenager, in fact she is descended from an ancient line of Amazon women and it is her destiny to fight and defeat evil.

Mirissa’s gift was an Amazon ring. Her mother sent it to her and now must learn what her powers are and exactly what the ring can do.

Of course, no story would be complete without the requisite bad guy. In CROSSFIRE the bad guy is an evil genius.

There are battles, teen angst, Amazon warriors, good versus evil elements and of course a budding romance. What more can readers want?

CROSSFIRE is a young adult novel. There are many elements to the story that listeners will enjoy. There is a bad guy who is set to take over the world and it is Mirissa’s destiny to stop him.

Melissa Chatwood narrates this book with evident skill. There are a lot of characters in this book and it would have been easy for listeners to become confused, but Melissa navigates through the characters with ease. The listener is able to immerse herself in the story. I give the narration 5 out of 5 stars.

I rate this audiobook as 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Born and raised near Toronto, Canada, Andrea Domanski moved south to get away from the snow and cold when she was 24 years old. She now lives in Savannah, Georgia with her husband, Mark, their two children, and their Golden Doodle.

After selling her business in 2012, Andrea focused her energies on raising her two children and finding a new career path that excited her. It wasn’t long before she decided that writing a novel – something she’d always wanted to do – would be her next big adventure.

MISS PENELOPE’S LETTERS by Miss Mae – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

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MISS PENELOPE’S LETTERS

Author: Miss Mae

Type of Book: Audiobook Unabridged

Narrator: Marcus Hyde

Length: 1 hour, 38 minutes

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance

Release Date: December 23, 2014

Publisher: Miss Mae

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.*

Penelope has been hired on as a housekeeper in a wealthy household. She has not been there long when letters begin arriving addressed to her, but unsigned.

The letters ask her to meet the sender, but it is always at night and definitely not in the most reputable part of town.

Penelope is intrigued (what girl wouldn’t be?) but she is also cautious and skeptical.

One brief but amazing kiss has her wondering just what she has gotten herself into.

This audiobook is short, but the author manages to pack a lot of story into a brief time.

There is mystery, there is romance, there is history and politics and there is lots of intrigue.

I enjoyed the fact that the story focused mainly on the mystery aspect and kept the romance aspect to a minimum. Sometimes, less is more as it is with this audiobook.

The narrator does a pretty good job of most of the voices in this book, but one voice (the voice of Charlotte) does not seem to match the character. She is supposed to be a fairly young, unmarried woman, but the voice he uses makes her sound the same age as the voice he uses for Charlotte’s mother. But… that is just my opinion. Other than that, I think Marcus Hyde has done a good job with pacing and he speaks clearly which is much appreciated by the listener.

All in all, I rate this short novella audiobook as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DEAD NEW WORLD by Ryan Hill – BOOK REVIEW

DEAD NEW WORLD IS ZOMBIE FICTION AT IT'S FINEST!

DEAD NEW WORLD IS ZOMBIE FICTION AT IT’S FINEST!

DEAD NEW WORLD

Author: Ryan Hill

Type of Book: eBook

Genre: Zombie Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Length: 242 pages

Release Date: October 14, 2014

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Ambrose and Stanley are best friends. They also happen to be seventeen years old and have been drafted into the army. The army’s goal is to rid the world of zombies. Teenagers are drafted into the army when they come of age and must spend nine years in the army before being released. The catch is that not many people actually survive for their entire nine year tour.

While on their first mission Stanley and Ambrose end up as the only survivors of a coordinated attack by The Reverend, his forces and his zombies. But, neither one of them escape unharmed. Stanley loses his leg and Ambrose was bitten by a zombie.

Taken to the only functioning hospital still in operation, Stanley recuperates and receives a prosthetic leg. Ambrose is put in quarantine to await his death once he turns into a zombie. But something unusual happens. Ambrose does not turn into a full zombie. He becomes a sort-of half man, half zombie hybrid.

As if a world full of zombies weren’t enough, there is a man who calls himself “The Reverend” who plans to take over the country. The Reverend is pure evil. He plans to infect every living person with the zombie virus. Those who survive the bite are deemed worthy of survival and those who become zombies are said to be blessed to be free of suffering and pain. Basically, this guy is NUTS.

I absolutely loved this book. It is the first book in a trilogy by Ryan Hill. What I liked most about this book is that it is different.

Yes, there is the typical guy trying to save his girl storyline, but that is only part of the plot.

I loved the fact that Ryan Hill has decided to include characters who somehow survive being bitten by zombies. You have to think that if zombies ever actually existed, then at least some people would survive a bite. It stretches reality to think that any virus would have a 100% infection rate.

I loved Ambrose’s character. He starts off as the perfect guy. He is young. He is brave. He is loyal and attractive. What more could anyone ask for in either a friend or a lover? I think I had a little bit of a “book boyfriend crush” on him right from the beginning of the book. When he is bitten by the zombie and becomes a hybrid, he is shunned by his fellow soldiers despite the fact that he is still the same guy they had all loved previously. Ambrose handles their rejection with poise and class. He does not allow himself to be drawn into their juvenile behavior which makes readers like and respect him even more.

Ryan Hill has perfected the art of character building and also does an incredible job of world building.

I have read A LOT of zombie books and for that reason it is rare that I rate any of them higher than 4 out of 5 stars. However, DEAD NEW WORLD deserves it’s 5 star rating and I am now a fan of Ryan Hill.

I give this book as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

** I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**