Book Review: The Red Labyrinth by Meredith Tate

Book Title: The Red Labyrinth
Author: Meredith Tate
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: June 4th 2019
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
Trigger Warnings: physical & emotional abuse, death of a child, discrimination, border walls, one scene of (non-romanticized) forced kissing, description of PTSD

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The massive labyrinth was built to protect Zadie Kalvers’ isolated desert town. Unfortunately, living in the maze’s shadow makes her feel anything but safe. Even without its enchanted deathtraps and illusions, a notorious killer named Dex lurks in its corridors, terrorizing anyone in his path.

But when Zadie’s best friend vanishes into the labyrinth-and everyone mysteriously forgets he exists- completing the maze becomes her only hope of saving him. In desperation, Zadie bribes the only person who knows the safe path through-Dex-into forming a tenuous alliance.

Navigating a deadly garden, a lethal blood-filled hourglass, and other traps-with an untrustworthy murderer for her guide-Zadie’s one wrong step from certain death. But with time running out before her friend (and secret crush) is lost forever, Zadie must reach the exit and find him. If Dex and the labyrinth don’t kill her first.


I RECEIVED A COPY OF THIS BOOK FROM THE PUBLISHER VIA NETGALLEY FOR REVIEWING PURPOSES. THIS DOES NOT AFFECT MY OPINIONS IN ANY WAY.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A thrilling, fast-paced book about a powerless teenage girl riddled with years’ worth of childhood trauma, as she goes on a literal life-or-death journey in the deadly labyrinth in hopes of saving her loved ones.

“I am brave. I am strong. And I am not afraid.”

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Blog Tour: Alien Minds by Christina Bauer [EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY]

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Book Title: Alien Minds
Author: Christina Bauer
Series: Dimension Drift #1
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication Date: April 23rd 2019
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

DIVERGENT meets OCEAN’S EIGHT in this urban fantasy heist!

On my seventeenth birthday, I wake up in the hospital to find I just survived a sketchy but terrible accident. My parents stand by my bedside—both are beautiful, wealthy, and super-nice. They tell me that once I leave the hospital, I’ll attend the prestigious ECHO Academy, where I’ll churn out equations for the government along with my mega-smart peers.

So, I’m living the perfect life.

Then why does everything feel all wrong?

My parents, my house and even ECHO Academy…none of it fits. Plus, what’s up with Thorne, my brooding yet yummy classmate who keeps telling me I need to remember my true past, which seems to have included a lot of us kissing? That’s one thing I’d really like to remember, except for the fact that I’m pretty sure Thorne is hiding a ton of nasty secrets of his own, including the fact that he may not be from this world. But considering how my own past seems alien to me, it’s not like I can judge. Plus, Thorne has dimples. That’s a problem.

And worst of all, why does it feel so yucky to work on these calculations for the government? It’s all supposed to be part of ECHO, but my heart tells me that I’m helping something truly terrible come to pass. Thorne seems to think that kissing him again will release my real memories.

Maybe it’s time to pucker up.

“Appealing and engaging. Love the strong female character!” – Arlene’s Book Reviews

This new series is perfect for: fans of urban fantasy, action & adventure, cool science, evil corporations, forbidden romance and hot new classmates who may or may not be aliens.


EXCERPT

Excerpt – Opening Chapter
Meimi

In this moment, I know four things.

One, I just woke up in a hospital bed.

Two, I don’t remember anything about my life before today. Hello, amnesia!

Three, I want out of here now because …

Four, there’s a creepy couple in my room—Luci and Josiah—who claim they’re my sponsor parents. According to them, I’m a seventeen-year-old science prodigy called Wisteria Roberts.

Huh. That name rings zero bells.

Plus, these two make my skin crawl.

“We sponsor you financially,” explains Josiah. “Then in the fall, we’ll fund your senior year of high school at ECHO Academy.” Josiah’s a lanky guy with slicked-back hair, a frayed suit, and an overly large Adam’s apple.

“Afterward, you’ll pay us back with interest,” adds Luci. “Forty percent. Compounded annually.”

Luci is tall and willowy with white-blonde tresses. By contrast, I’m a curvy girl with brown hair and green eyes. I’m also wrapped up mummy-style with bandages. According to Luci and Josiah, I took a spill on Newbury Street and lost my memory. So sketchy.

Some small voice in my head cries that I should be terrified right now. Instead, I just feel numb. Must be a happy side effect of having no memory. Like an amnesia bonus.

“You’ll love living in our dorm,” says Josiah. “In fact, think of me more as your sponsor friend than your sponsor parent.”

At this point, that small part of me screams how Josiah is a disgusting pig. But more of me is still happily numb, so the warnings go nowhere.

Screech, screech, screech!

A chorus of alarm bells sound. Red lights flash in the outer hallway. An overly calm female voice drones through hidden speakers. “Cleansing search commencing … cleansing search commencing. All hail the Authority … All hail the Authority.”

With that, the inner cogs of my brain connect and whir. Feelings return. My blood chills over with fear. I may not recall my personal history, but I do remember how our evil government—what we call the Authority—conducts cleansing searches. They find the sick or poor, label them as undesirable, and slate them for cleansing. It’s a fancy word for murder.

The alarms wail louder. My heart rate skyrockets. If there’s a cleansing search, I’m a slam dunk to be undesirable. Yipes.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

AB Christina Bauer pic.jpgChristina Bauer thinks that fantasy books are like bacon: they just make life better. All of which is why she writes romance novels that feature demons, dragons, wizards, witches, elves, elementals, and a bunch of random stuff that she brainstorms while riding the Boston T. Oh, and she includes lots of humor and kick-ass chicks, too.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/CBupdates

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GIVEAWAY

Win a copy of Alien Minds (print or ebook) and more!

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Book Review: The Expedition by Chris Babu

40584496Book Title: The Expedition
Author: Chris Babu
Series: The Initiation #2
Publisher: Permuted Press
Publication Date: December 4th 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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THEY SURVIVED THE INITIATION. NOW THE REAL TEST BEGINS.

Drayden and his friends thought nothing could be harder than the Initiation. Little did they know it had only been a warmup for the challenge that lay ahead.

With New America’s situation dire, Drayden and the pledges venture out into the unexplored world outside the walls, escorted by a team of elite Guardians. The group seeks to contact another civilization in what remains of Boston, but Drayden has secret goals of his own.

Dangers abound in the real world, including Aeru, the deadly superbug that wiped out humanity. While they battle the elements of a desolate landscape, a power struggle emerges within their ranks. The Guardians seem to be carrying out a covert mission themselves, and the quest turns everything they thought they knew about New America upside down.


I received a copy of this book from Netgalley (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my thoughts in any way.

MY THOUGHTS

I have read and loved the first book in the series, The Initiation, which was spectacular in multiple aspects (you can read my review here) so I was so excited to read this next one! I was also a bit skeptical at first since I barely remember the nitty-gritty about the previous book due to my severe forgetfulness, but I pushed through, hoping for the best. Fortunately, everything came back to me and I got to really enjoy this book.

The Expedition was a fast-paced book that is equal parts action and strategics. This allowed the group of privates to maximize their own individual strengths during their mission, and I loved seeing, in the little things, how they have grown closer compared to the first book.

I still very much liked Drayden as a character. If I were to think about an expedition, I’d probably immediately think that physical strength is a prerequisite for undertaking such. I had my doubts as to how Drayden might cope in the expedition, yet it proved to be unnecessary. What Drayden lacked in physical strength, he made up for in quick thinking, wit and intelligence. And frankly, I admire the latter far more than the former.

The challenges that the group faced in the expedition were much more different and difficult than the ones in the initiation. In this books, the struggles that the privates experience were much more crucial since they deal with unexpected troubles now, in the part of their world they’ve never set foot on. So seeing them all work together, and contribute each their own skills for their collective objective was really invigorating since, as you can tell, I’ve really grown attached to this group of brave kids.

And although I did kinda foresee one aspect in the book that is supposed to be shellshocking, I did doubt myself more times than I would care to admit. Thus, the book really has some unexpected twists and turns that would make you second guess yourself multiple times.

But despite all those, I still ticked off a star from my rating since I was not keen on how the sentences in dialogues sometimes run waaaaay too long, as if they’re each doing monologues. Aside from that though, I think my mood contributed a lot on this decision as well since I was pretty distracted with life when I read this.

Overall, if I were to pick this book up some other time, when I really am in the mood for a post-apocalyptic-ish adventure, this really would have the potential of earning a 5-star rating from me. I highly recommend this series, especially if you’re a fan of the genre. I can’t wait for the next book!

Disclaimer: By clicking on the book covers above, you will be redirected to my Amazon affiliate link for the corresponding book. Purchase from that link and you’ll be able to help me and my blog out tremendously at no additional cost for you!

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Book Review: The Seclusion by Jacqui Castle

38899614Book Title: The Seclusion
Author: Jacqui Castle
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: September 4th 2018
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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In the year 2090, America has walled itself off from the rest of the world. When her father is arrested by the totalitarian Board, a young woman sets out to escape the only country she’s ever known.

While on a routine assignment scouting the viability of dwindling natural resources outside the massive urban centers most American citizens call home, Patricia ’Patch’ and her co-worker Rexx discover a relic from the past containing dangerous contraband―unedited books from before The Seclusion. These texts will spark an unquenchable thirst for the truth that sees Patch’s father arrested by the totalitarian Board.

Evading her own arrest, Patch and Rexx set out across a ruined future United States, seeking some way to escape the only home they’ve ever known. Along the way, they learn about how their country came to be this way and fall in love. But their newfound knowledge may lead to their own demise.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

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Can’t Wait Wednesday: The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken

Can't Wait Wednesday

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. This allows bloggers, like me, to feature upcoming book releases that we are ecstatic about.

If you’re familiar with the weekly meme Waiting on Wednesday, this one is similar to that. I have joined W.O.W. before but it seems like it isn’t being hosted anymore so I’ve decided to continue on with Can’t-Wait Wednesday!

For this week, I’m featuring The Darkest Legacy. I cannot explain how ecstatic I am about this one. The Darkest Minds series is one of my favorites and with the movie adaptation coming and the release of this, the fourth book in the series, I feel like I’m being blessed by the heavens. Unlike the first three books in the series, this one will be in the perspective of Zu instead of Ruby’s. And can we talk about that gorgeous cover? The 31st of July can’t come any sooner for me and I’m just bubbling with excitement right now, I hope I don’t explode before I get to read this.


37688046Book Title: The Darkest Legacy
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Series: The Darkest Minds #4
Publication Date: July 31st 2018
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult

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Five years after the destruction of the so-called rehabilitation camps that imprisoned her and countless other Psi kids, seventeen-year-old Suzume “Zu” Kimura has assumed the role of spokesperson for the interim government, fighting for the rights of Psi kids against a growing tide of misinformation and prejudice. But when she is accused of committing a horrifying act, she is forced to go on the run once more in order to stay alive.

Determined to clear her name, Zu finds herself in an uncomfortable alliance with Roman and Priyanka, two mysterious Psi who could either help her prove her innocence or betray her before she gets the chance. But as they travel in search of safety and answers, and Zu grows closer to the people she knows she shouldn’t trust, they uncover even darker things roiling beneath the veneer of the country’s recovery. With her future-and the future of all Psi-on the line, Zu must use her powerful voice to fight back against forces that seek to drive the Psi into the shadows and save the friends who were once her protectors.

From #1 New York Times best-selling author Alexandra Bracken comes a harrowing story of resilience, resistance, and reckoning that will thrill loyal fans and new readers alike.


Are you waiting on this too? Let’s chat in the comments! Also, don’t forget to leave a link to your own Can’t-Wait Wednesday post because I would love to check it out. 😀