shannon a. thompson

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 – 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 – Seconds Before Sunrise

secondsbeforesunriseI was given a free copy of Seconds Before Sunrise in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Shannon for the opportunity to preview your novel before it was even released!

Title: Seconds Before Sunrise (The Timely Death Trilogy #2)
Author: Shannon A. Thompson
Release Date: March 27, 2014

Thompson has successfully created a compelling world of paranormal fantasy existing in parallel to our reality in her Timely Death Trilogy. Forces of good and evil have been at war for countless years. The Light seeks to destroy. The Dark forces of good (yes, good) defend the world from the Light’s evil intents. Eric Welborn will be the Dark’s salvation, or destruction. He must lead the Dark forces in an epic battle destined to take place on his eighteenth birthday. If he fails, all will be lost.

In book one, Minutes Before Sunset, we meet the cast of characters and are immersed in the mythology of the Light and the Dark, the world of shades and paranormal powers. Eric and Jessica are seemingly simple teenagers trying to navigate the turbulent waters of adolescence but they are both much more.

Book two, Seconds Before Sunrise, picks up where Minutes Before Sunset leaves off. Jessica’s memory has been wiped to protect her from the Light but the spell is flawed. She’s remembering things, dreaming vividly of another life that she doesn’t understand. Eric trains relentlessly for the coming battle but struggles to stay focused. Frustration and anger lead to recklessness and Eric endangers himself and the entire Dark community. Events escalate quickly and despite their efforts to remain apart for their mutual safety, Eric and Jessica are naturally drawn to one another. When the battle finally comes it won’t be anything like you think.

Seconds Before Sunrise is a young adult, paranormal romance fantasy. To be completely honest, it’s not my favorite genre. I’ve read some that I truly enjoy, like the Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz, and some that truly turn me off, like the Twilight series. The Timely Death Trilogy falls somewhere in-between for me.

I believe Seconds Before Sunrise will easily appeal to young readers or adults who enjoy YA fiction. It has all the familiar elements: teenage angst, peer pressure, parents who just don’t understand, characters that are lost or searching for something, conflict and drama, and young love. Thompson does an expert job at conveying the frustrations and feelings of adolescence. Her characters are well-rounded and believable. The dialogue reads easily and reminds me of the emotionally charged days of youth. I finished the book in three days and I’m certain it could be devoured in even less. The pace is handled perfectly, the action and flow move forward seamlessly. The climax is satisfying and yet not completely whole, leaving readers primed and anxious for the next installment.

While I don’t love everything about the story or the series, I do respect and appreciate it as a solid piece of work that will appeal to many readers. My personal reasons for not identifying with certain elements are simply that, personal preferences. I don’t like to spoil the experience of reading a book and drawing your own conclusions so I won’t delve any deeper into specifics. Overall, I would recommend Seconds Before Sunrise to young readers and readers interested in teen lit, romance, urban fantasy, and paranormal fantasy. I would also highly recommend that you read book one, Minutes Before Sunset, or you’ll miss out on critical details and background on characters that could hamper your understanding and enjoyment of book two.

“All the secrets of the world are contained in books. Read at your own risk.” 
~ Lemony Snicket

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Reading Corner – Minutes Before Sunset

MinutesBeforeSunset

Minutes Before Sunset is a young adult paranormal romance. Boy with a terrible predetermined destiny meets girl who is lost and alone in a way that many young people will relate to. Sparks fly. Supernatural things happen. (I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, lol.) It was a quick, easy read. The up-and-coming young author, Shannon A. Thompson, has a knack for conveying adolescent behavior and emotions. The story is told from dual perspectives and Thompson handles that duality well. Each perspective has its own clear voice and tone. The over-arching story of a battle between good and evil is presented with some new twists on old ideas giving it unique character. Minutes Before Sunset is the first in a 3 book series. This first installment wraps up well with a good lead to the next book. I didn’t love it, there were a few things that didn’t work for me, and some proofreading errors that I wish had been cleaned up before publishing, but regardless, I would recommend this series to young readers interested in romance, fantasy, and science fiction. (Books two and three: Seconds Before Sunrise and Death Before Daylight.)

Books are a uniquely portable magic.
~ Stephen King