Books

Reading Corner – Take Me Tomorrow

take me tomorrowTake Me Tomorrow is hard to describe. My impression of it is that it is an intriguing story of a future, dystopian North America. The United States has dissolved into a fractionated world of Regions due to a war precipitated by a clairvoyant drug called tomo. Following an uprising from tomo users and supporters that results in a massacre, the Regions are created and strictly controlled by the governing body, the State. Travel and communication between Regions is rare. Punishments for any illegal activity are swift and harsh. Within these strict boundaries, curfews, and rules lives Sophia Gray and her father. Sophia exists in a Matrix-like bubble of ignorance of the ongoing undercurrent of war between citizens and the State, but her ignorance is slowly stripped away as she learns that she and her friends are right in the heart of the resistance.

The story is told from Sophia’s point of view and readers learn along with her as her perceptions of the world change. Details about the plot and the structure of world are revealed slowly through the dialogue and action surrounding Sophia. It’s a style choice that isn’t my favorite but Thompson handles it well. She unwraps the story piece by piece in a way that keeps readers guessing and turning pages for more. I wanted even more detail in some regards but I think that the lack of detail is either intentional and will be revealed in a later installment (Thompson is already working on Book 2) or it is simply a result of writing for a younger target audience.

Overall, I think Thompson does a good job of crafting a unique young adult story with relatable characters. There is a bit of romance but it’s not heavy-handed (which I appreciated) and it doesn’t detract from the main plot and action. I have personally outgrown the young adult genre but despite that I still enjoyed the story and I think that fans of the Hunger Games, Divergent, and similar stories would really enjoy it.

Unfortunately, Take Me Tomorrow isn’t currently available for purchase. I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review (many months ago. I’m really behind schedule!) The good news is that Thompson is working on re-releasing it, probably in conjunction with Book 2. You can keep an eye on her progress here.

A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.
~ Neil Gaiman

Reading Corner – Indie Author Debut: Backlash by T.R. Lemke

backlashFantasy fans and fellow book lovers, you simply MUST check out T.R. Lemke’s debut novella Backlash. It is well-written and intriguing. If you enjoy fantasy, supporting indie authors of any genre, or are an agent looking for the next big name, you should read Backlash. It’s a quick read, more of a novella than a full size novel so don’t expect grand world development – not yet. That’s going to come later in Lemke’s full-scale fantasy series. (Agents, seriously, someone needs to discover this author.)

Backlash is the story of a working-class young man struggling to make ends meet in a society ruled by nobility. Running his family’s business alone and attempting to support his ailing mother, Samel can barely stay ahead of his debts. One day he is approached by a stranger who offers to apprentice him to a new craft. Desperate to escape the wrath of the tax collectors and to finance proper treatment for his mother’s illness Samel accepts. He learns quickly and life begins to change for Samel. But the price of his education is far more than he could have ever imagined.

No spoilers here. You have to read it to know more. I can tell you that Lemke has a knack for storytelling. His character development is well-done. The imagery is vivid. He has a strong grasp of the martial arts and it shows through the well-crafted fight scenes. Having also read some of Lemke’s other work in progress I know that it’s set in the same world as his larger scale series and that was particularly fun for me. Regardless of that, I think that any fan of fantasy will recognize a strong new author for the genre.

Read more about Backlash and T.R. Lemke on Smashwords or connect with T.R. Lemke on Facebook.

Killing a man was easy; there were many ways to stop the machinery of man’s body.
~ Samel Dorwen, Backlash

Reading Corner – Death Before Daylight

Death Before Daylight is the final installment in the Timely Death trilogy by Shannon A. Thompson. It is not actually on the market yet but it will be later this year. I was given a copy by the author in exchange for my honest review. For those unfamiliar with the series, it is a YA paranormal romance, a classic game of good versus evil with unique characters and mythos. If you’re new to the series, read more here about book 1, Minutes Before Sunset, and book 2, Seconds Before Sunrise.

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Death Before Daylight quickly draws readers back into the story in the wake of the final battle in Seconds Before Sunrise. The Dark searches for a way to win the war without destroying the world in the process. Illusions and long-buried secrets are exposed, with devastating effects. The plot is full of twists and turns; mistrust and doubt create confusion and even the prophecy is questioned.

I don’t want to give any spoilers so I can’t say much more.

Fans of young adult fantasy or romance will enjoy this book and the series. I believe the characters are relatable to the right age group. In the spirit of honesty, it does not appeal to me much. I think that I may have outgrown my interest in the young adult genre. The level of teenage angst that permeates the story is just too much for me. It’s typical for the genre though so it doesn’t feel misplaced or inappropriate. I just don’t relate anymore. (I even felt disconnected from the characters in the movie Insurgent for the same reason; and we all know how widely popular that movie/book series has been.) Despite that personal issue, I thought Thompson did a good job of wrapping up the story and bringing the tale to a satisfying close.

Also, kudos to Thompson for persevering through some personal struggles early this year and landing a new publisher for this series! The entire series is going to be re-released this year through Clean Teen Publishing.

Minutes Before Sunset has been re-released, complete with a new cover which is fabulous. I’m very impressed with the new artwork. However, that means that Death Before Daylight is not yet available so hang tight and subscribe to Thompson’s website, facebook, or twitter account for release updates. 🙂

Reading Corner – All Together In One Place

oneplace All Together in One Place is a historical fiction novel by Jane Kirkpatrick set in 1852. It chronicles the journey of a number of families moving west on the Oregon Trail. It reminds me of the Commodore 64 game I played in middle school. But with much more vivid detail and emotion than the game ever imparted. The characters endure so many struggles: cholera, thirst, hunger, devastation of many kinds. It is sad and heartening at the same time. Not the most sophisticated writing I’ve ever read but the simplicity sometimes make it more relatable and easy to read and enjoy. I definitely recommend it, especially if you are new to historical fiction; I think it could bring new readers to the genre. It is the first in a series and I look forward to reading the next installments.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
~ Frederick Douglass

Reading Corner – Daughter of the God-King

daughterofthegod-kingThis was a delightfully fun read! Yet again, I found myself not wanting to put a book down. So I indulged on Saturday with a lazy morning of coffee and reading for 4 hours, until I finished the latter half of the book.

Daughter of the God-King is book two in Anne Cleeland’s Regency series. (I eagerly await book three!) I liked this one even better than book one, Tainted Angel. I don’t have my own copy of Tainted Angel to cross-check, but I get the feeling that some of the supporting characters in Tainted Angel are present in Daughter of the God-King, but in every other way the book is its own story. In other words, I don’t think you have to read book one to appreciate book two; you’d just miss out on the fun of book one. In Daughter of the God-King, Hattie is a young woman, recently come of age, who is at the center of a mystery surrounding the disappearance and possible death of her parents who are famously well-known scholars in the study of the ancient tombs of Egypt. Hattie sets out on a journey for answers and finds adventure, misfortune, and romance along the way.

I enjoyed DGK immensely. It is quick-paced, full of rich details, mysterious characters, and lots of twists and turns. At one point I laughed out loud I was so shocked by something that I didn’t see coming. It was really a lot of fun to read. It was a little difficult to follow in the first few chapters. I had trouble differentiating the characters, the introductions were brief and didn’t give me good sense of each character. It did not take long for it to come together though. The story is seemingly complex at times and yet easy, light reading at others. It’s a unique juxtaposition that I think in the end works quite well.

I marked a few favorite passages to share:

“Oddly enough, he had the blond woman in tow–she was quite old– at least thirty, if she as a day. Perhaps the woman required his support due to her advanced age.”

While climbing down out a second story window, Hattie’s thoughts were, “The fact that she wore a full plethora of petticoats scarcely slowed her, and in a manner of minutes her uncertain mood was much improved–there was nothing like making a daring escape to lift one’s spirits.”

Upon being invited to join in an activity that Hattie had no interest in, her response to the invite was, “I would be bored beyond imagining and therefore likely to cut the visit short–a most unsatisfactory gooseberry.” I’ve never heard this phrase before! Apparently it’s an older version of the third-wheel. I like it.

DGK is part mystery, part romance, and part historical fiction, a bit like the Venice trilogy by Dave Duncan. If you enjoy any of those genres, then I would highly recommend DGK.

“I read so I can live more than one life in more than one place.” 
~ Anne Tyler

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