Review: The Shores Beyond Time (Chronicles of the Dark Star #3) by Kevin Emerson

Title: The Shores Beyond Time
Author:  Kevin Emerson
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins 2/12/19
Length:   512 Pages
Series:  Chronicle of the Dark Star #3

Overview

It is Earth year 2256—but the fate of the few who even remember Earth is perilously in doubt. Mina Saunders-Chang and many of the surviving humans are stranded in the Centauri system, having barely survived their confrontation with the Telphon refugees. Now everyone—human and Telphon alike—is caught in the blast zone of the Centauri supernova. And yet there’s only one question Mina is asking:

Where are Liam and Phoebe?

Having barely made it through the battle at the Centauri system with their lives, Liam and Phoebe awake on a mysterious ship in the middle of a dead universe. The ship bears the markings of a human starliner that disappeared decades ago—but even more disturbing than that is the massive alien machine floating in the starless space before them.

A machine long abandoned but now showing signs of life. A machine that has begun speaking to Liam in a voice only he can hear. . . .

My Thoughts

I honestly have no idea how our author came up with most of the stuff in this story! We are on such a roller coaster with things constantly changing, evolving. New characters being introduced, and alliances built and broken. We begin to question whether we know WHO we’re talking to, WHEN they are talking and what’s going to happen.

It’s hard to believe and often so hard to remember that Liam and Phoebe are so young. Ten i believe when we started this journey with them. I know that they’ve theoretically aged decades throughout this series, but still, being in stasis wouldn’t give them the maturity that they exhibit throughout.

When we left this story at the end of book 2, we are teased with the notion that Dark Star is connected to the humans, to the Artemis somehow, and that’s scarier than the cliff hanger that we were left at the end of book one, realizing that Pheobe wasn’t who she said she was.

So we spend much of this installment in Dark Star, whatever that is, and trying to get a sense of what this place is, what the motivation is, and what’s caused the Supernovas to happen. What’s the end game.

As expected, we are taken on an insane ride – because it seems like the Captain has more information about things than he’ll let on, and that was teased during the prologue chapter that he was featured in back on Earth. The fact that he wasn’t going to abide by the social norms, and the expectations of those in his class, well, it means that he can’t be trusted.

The chronologist plays a key role here as well – at least one of the chronologists – the one who seems to have befriended this duo. He’s given them insight into things, broken a few rules and norms where it was necessary, however the twist that we learn at the end blows the roof off of everything that we thought we had read throughout the other installments.

Dark Star is something that I could never have imagined, and something that I would fear immensely. AI is something that’s on the technological horizon (even in the now), but this is something entirely different. Building a colony, a place where millions could inhabit it, and that poses endless questions.

The nice thing about this third story too is that we’re reunited with family. We knew that there was so much disaster that had hit the streamliner, and the notion that Mina and Liam were able to stay connected and find each other again, and Liam was able to save their parents – we to see another perspective to things that’s also intense. The dynamic between Phoebe and her parents carried consistency from book 2. There’s still so much pain and hate, this need for revenge and the difficulty that her parents have with being happy with her bond with Liam. That bond proves to be even more substantial than anyone realized, and is something quite amazing.

There are so many social and philosophical undertones throughout this series that are so relevant any time you read this. How can cultures that are fundamentally different co-habitate, and should they do it? Is it even possible? How do we continue to question and seek knowledge, thinking that we have this hunger for more, but know when to stop pushing and let the future just happen? There are so many companies out there that are looking to give people eternity, to elevate knowledge and awareness and consciousness, and there’s a perspective in this story that makes you continue to question.

All in all, intense, amazing and i’m so happy that i found this series! Enjoy!

Cover Reveal: Dinner & Dessert by Ava Sterling

One last opportunity to make a move on her. It’s now or never.

Sophia is moving to Tulsa. Her boss made it clear that her position is being phased out, so it’s either relocating to the Midwest or she’s out of a job. Just when she’s getting more friendly with Elizabeth, an employee in her department.

Thinking of a plan, she convinces her boss to let her take out the department’s top performer for dinner as a thank you from the company, who just happens to be Elizabeth. The only snag is that her boss insists she take the top two performers, which also includes Jason.

At dinner, Sophia’s mind is racing on how to make a move on Elizabeth without Jason, and the entire restaurant staff, noticing. This launches a feverish, desperate attempt at pleasure, far beyond anything Sophia’s tried before.

If you enjoy saucy stories of lesbians, bi-curious women, and daring plans, you’ll love Dinner and Dessert.

Review & Giveaway: Whiskey and Water by Ava Sterling

Title: Whiskey and Water
Author:  Ava Sterling
Publisher/Year:  Red Lace Publishing 3/6/18
Length:   18 Pages

Overview

Amber looks the part.

She has on a tight shirt that hugs her chest and a pair of shorts that shows off her legs. She even has her black hair in curls so it falls down her shoulders in soft waves that bounce when she walks. She’s the quintessential hot bartender. The only problem is, she hardly has anyone to serve. 

Carla changes all that when she comes in from the rain for a drink. Within minutes, the electricity cuts out, and the place goes pitch dark. With nothing else to do, they decide on a dare. If Amber can drink a whiskey shot without making a face, she wins. If she loses, she has to kiss Carla. 

It starts off with a playful dare and ends with Carla’s boyfriend, Jack, coming in to check on her. Considering what he walks into, it’s understandable that he’d want to join.

My Thoughts

I need to thank our amazing author Ms Ava Sterling for this story – it’s exactly what i needed for a sunday night! What we have here is a fun evening for a girl who was beyond bored at the bar that she works at, and while it’s a job, it’s annoying given that she always has to be in motion because her boss watches the security tapes to make sure she’s not standing idle. That proves to be even more brain numbing than waiting for customers to come into the bar!

So on a dark and stormy night, when there’s no one to serve, Amber finds herself alone and then quickly not so alone in the bar. Enter Carla, a biker looking chick, soaking wet after she’s ridden through on her motorcycle which of course has conveniently broken down just up the road. We all know where this is going to lead right? The nice thing though is that while Amber isn’t very experienced, she’s fairly adventurous and the scene plays out quite nicely. Especially when the power goes off and the security cameras are offline!

I love that Amber decides that the thrill of what Carla makes her feel is worth the risk, and i love that Carla is so playful at making Amber participate as it keeps the momentum of the story going! And who doesn’t like incentive right? Amber knows she’s going to lose, and maybe she’s so intrigued by what Carla has to offer that she does it on purpose.

What follows this flows fast and furious. Carla is experience and knows what pleases someone else, and Amber quickly has no choice but to explode and enjoy. The idea that all this is happening in a bar, with the power off, that just adds to the tension and heat in their scene. It’s not until there’s someone else in the room that what was hot before gets explosively combustible.

Jack is what threesomes are made for – he’s a guy who really takes no hesitation in the scene, takes what he wants, maybe shares a bit, but is clear and single minded. He’s Carla’s boyfriend, and this is obviously something that they do often – the menage. Its a night of firsts for Amber and seeing how this plays out makes it even more compelling. She’s flying, she’s lost her inhibitions, and perhaps they have made her think about things in her life different.

Of course, the lights come back on (which means also the security camera) and we are left to wonder how this will all play out for Amber. Will she still have a job? Is this just a one time thing with Carla and Jack or is there a chance for more? What will this mean for Ambers taste in the future! So many questions and so few answers!!!!

Now, we can’t have a review without a GIVEAWAY! Enter Here and leave the name of the story you’re entering for, and have your chance at a free copy! GOOD LUCK!

Review: The Oceans Between the Stars (Chronicle of the Dark Star #2) by Kevin Emerson

Title: The Oceans Between the Stars
Author:  Kevin Emerson
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins 1/8/19
Length:   432 Pages
Series:  Chronicle of the Dark Star #2

Overview

It is Earth year 2223, but the Earth, along with the entire solar system, is gone.

Liam and Phoebe, having barely escaped our exploding sun with their lives, are in stasis for the decade-long journey to the rogue planet Delphi, where they hope to meet up with the rest of the human refugees, find help for their injured parents, and pass along the devastating things they discovered on Mars: that someone destroyed their world intentionally, and that that someone might still be after them, trying to finish the job.

Phoebe is carrying her own dark secret. One that finds her waking up secretly at various points in their journey, changing their path through space. One that will decide the fate of the human race, and many more besides. One that, very soon, she must reveal to Liam, whether he’s ready for the truth or not.

My Thoughts

This story keeps taking us on interesting twists and turns, showing us beings that we never knew existed but assumed were out there, links between names, times and planets etc. and each time we think that Liam and Phoebe are safe, BOOM something happens.

When we left off at the end of the first book, we were on the path to getting out of the way of the supernova, and plotting a course that would get these two to meet up with the starliner when they docked at the next waystation. Phoebe of course has her own plans and we don’t even truly know the motivation, even after we learned her secret that was teased at the cliff hanger from book 1.

The overarching trend that we see in this installment is of time jumping, making choices without knowing the outcome, trust and hope. They are faced each chapter with one of these and the outcome of each decision will have major impacts to the rest of the story.

We learn that the chronologist is truly on the side of humanity, and she shows up at key moments to save Liam and Phoebe when hope seems lost. While she lives in 4 dimensions whereas we are in three, she doesn’t have all the information and the interesting aspect is that she’s ok with that, and with the knowledge that she has and seems to have no fear. (most humans would NOT be like that)

We spend much of the story trying to determine if Phoebe is trustworthy. Once we learn that she’s not ‘human’ and that she knows the people who are chasing/attacking them and the starliners, we have to question every thought, word and action that she does to see if there’s some twisted and evil motive/motivation. JEFF, the bot that has been keeping them alive is truly skeptical, especially once he realizes that she’s the cause to their delays and that makes this story even more complex.

Add to that, we still don’t know why the Drove are infecting the stars so that they go supernova faster than ever before and what their end game is. The Drove mention the need to go back to the Dark Star, and that’s an interesting reference that we get at the end of this book – from people that we don’t expect to reference it at all!

There are little easter eggs that are dropped throughout this story. we are reminded that the first Starliner that was built (Artemis) was lost thirty years ago, yet by going through some type of time warp, Liam and Phoebe find it. We also learn that Aaru-5, the planet that the humans are going to colonize is Telos, the same planet that Phoebe is from, and the Rain of Ana was part of something bigger and far worse.

So…All in all we’ve gotten so many answers to questions that came up from the first book but then there are even more that are raised as we go into the final book of the trilogy. We still have no idea if families will be reunited, if Phoebe is on the same side as Liam or her ‘people’. If there’s even a planet to get to when this is all said and done, and when everyone will die (since it seems like the chronologist knows exactly when this will happen).

I’m excited to read on and see how this all ends – i hope you guys enjoy !

Review & Giveaway: Study Hard by Ava Sterling

Title: Study Hard
Author:  Ava Sterling
Publisher/Year:  Red Lace Publishing 1/4/16
Length:   22 Pages

Overview

Graduating from college is hard enough without being single.

Faye’s best friend, Dakota, helps keep her mind off men by helping her study. The big exam coming up is making Faye lose sleep.

Dakota offers up her dad’s house for them to cram some studying in. It’s much quieter than the university library, especially considering that Dakota’s dad is out of town on business. Within an hour of being there, though, her dad arrives home after changing his flight. 

He doesn’t mind that they dropped by, but Faye finds it hard to concentrate on her studies with such an attractive, confident man nearby. She’d never do anything to hurt Dakota, but this is something Faye has never encountered before. 

She’ll have to decide whether experiencing Mr. Stevens is thrilling enough to risk a friendship over.

My Thoughts

I’ve read quite a few stories now from Ms Ava Sterling and this one may be one of my favorites. White short and concise, it has a mix of the character development and dual plot line that could make for an even more robust story.

To build off what’s in the summary of the story, we have two college friends who’ve clearly known each other for a long time and who work to elevate each other, either in school or with their personal lives. We’re first teeing it up here with the idea that Faye was successful in getting the attention of a hot guy at a party the previous night and there’s no jealousy there. nice right?

Then it’s back to studying – finals are no joke and that’s what seems to be on deck for them. As is always the case, there are distractions over and over again, either in thinking about the hot guy from the party, doing other stuff, or now, the fantasy of Dakota’s father – a guy who has been divorced, keeps himself in amazing shape, and well, the object of Faye’s attentions (in her mind at least) for years.

What we have here is a well laid out novella – seeing how this can all play out in the obvious but not obvious sort of way. We know that things will ‘go down’ once the girls relocate to Dakota’s dad’s house, but the question that begs is how will it happen, what’s the opportunity there, will Dakota find out, and backing it up a second, will her father even be into it?

Let’s just say that what we have in the final pages of this story were exactly what i needed last night. There are teases of the rationale for why an older man is better – Faye even vocalizes that, and the scene that Ms Sterling lays out gives us everything we wanted and more. Yet again I wish that we didn’t just have 22 pages, but happy to have enjoyed this one anyway!

And…..it would be an Ava Sterling Post without a giveaway! Enter here for your chance to win your own copy! good luck!

Review: Last Day on Mars (Chronicle of the Dark Star #1) by Kevin Emerson

Title: Last Day on Mars
Author:  Kevin Emerson
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins 1/9/18
Length:   352 Pages
Series:  Chronicle of the Dark Star #1

Overview

It is Earth year 2213—but, of course, there is no Earth anymore. Not since it was burned to a cinder by the sun, which has mysteriously begun the process of going supernova. The human race has fled to Mars, but this was only a temporary solution while we have prepared for a second trip: a one-hundred-fifty-year journey to a distant star, our best guess at where we might find a new home.

Liam Saunders-Chang is one of the last humans left on Mars. The son of two scientists who have been racing against time to create technology vital to humanity’s survival, Liam, along with his friend Phoebe, will be on the last starliner to depart before Mars, like Earth before it, is destroyed.

Or so he thinks. Because before this day is over, Liam and Phoebe will make a series of profound discoveries about the nature of time and space and find out that the human race is just one of many in our universe locked in a dangerous struggle for survival.

My Thoughts

There have been a few books/series that i’ve read in the recent past that have centered around Mars, or space, or the notion that Earth can’t be the only planet for anyone to live on for much longer as a result of many many events. (YES, we are all very familiar with global warming, the effects that we’re having on the planet, the increase in severe weather etc). Anyhow, this story takes us on an interesting journey where there is so much that is unknown and so much that is uncertain, but it’s also a time when unfortunately people can’t wait to be certain to make decisions.

We’re teased at the very beginning of this story – even before the actual chapters start, with the notion that there are obviously far more intelligent beings out there, and those beings are able to not only show off their superior intelligence, but they are able to time travel to see what will happen and perhaps set themselves up to either change or benefit from the future. What’s even more interesting here though, and not entirely unexpected, there are different groups of these other beings that are absolutely not on the same side, and it’s because of their actions that things are put into motion. Yet the ‘humans’ are not aware of any of this and are the ones who will be on the receiving end of it all.

So like the book summary said, we’re years in the future when Mars was colonized because Earth became nothing but a dried up desert that wasn’t able to sustain human life. Colonies were built and developed on Mars as a stopping point while researchers worked to find another suitable planet to relocate. The time on Mars isn’t a long one, perhaps 20 years or less, but luckily they’ve discovered another planet that seems like it could be ok, however they don’t have enough information on the geography, geology, etc of this planet to be sure. The luxury of time is against them as the sun is going supernova far faster than expected and off they go.

Liam and Phoebe become our main characters, our heroes perhaps but the focus of the story no less. They are teens who are among the last to go to the starliner – a ship that’s going to take the entire population of the planet to their new home. As teens often do, they don’t listen, during critical times especially and when there’s an early arrival of a solar flare store, they steal away with a friend to watch it and they end up seeing more than they bargained for. In the form of an interesting structure that’s not on maps, and was never disclosed to anyone.

That’s where this story takes it turn for drama. There’s no time to really find out what the structure is, yet there are so many questions. Liam’s parents, who are the key researchers with the task of ensuring that there’s the ability to create moisture and clouds to sustain life on the new planet, they don’t even know what this structure is and deem it his imagination. So no one knows what’s there and that means that the trouble that Liam and Phoebe got themselves into once is only just the beginning.

The story feels like it’s pace quickens here – the timeline to departure has to speed up because the solar flare storms are getting worse and are occurring faster. Research is not yet completed and there’s no time to do so. there are catastrophes and damage being done on Mars that no one understands why and where that leaves us is with the death of a few key people, the departure of the Starliner without Liam, Phoebe and their parents, and so many open questions.

Add to that, we encounter a pair of other beings that we think are human but are clearly not – who are working against the humans. Who have the intention to kill them all, and we don’t know who they really are and what their motivations are. Liam got a hold of a device that foreshadows death and harm, and these beings seem to trigger it, but Liam and Phoebe haven’t figured out exactly how to avoid all this.

When they almost reach safety, it’s ripped from their hands. When they almost have a chance at survival, it’s also pulled away. We are left with so many questions on what will happen, who’s behind what, who can be trusted etc. And the LAST bit of this story – the Epilogue makes your jaw drop because something is revealed. A tie that links back to the saboteurs is raised and everything that we thought we knew, likely isn’t real at all.

I can’t wait to get the second book since i’m honestly shocked by where we were left off, and i really want to see how this will end! Enjoy!

Review & Giveaway: Mistress Comes First by Ava Sterling

Title: Mistress Comes First
Author:  Ava Sterling
Publisher/Year:  Red Lace Publishing 4/28/17
Length:   18 Pages

Overview

When Levi wears his collar, the rest of the world gets a little fuzzy around the edges.

For their six month anniversary, Levi gives his girlfriend, Raleigh, a key to his apartment. Since then, she’s left her soap in his shower and some extra clothes in the back of his dresser. She also added one more item, but it’s one Levi wears…his collar.

Ever since their BDSM lifestyle started, Levi has found a new purpose: pleasing his Mistress. She always took care of him, but most importantly, she always showed him exactly how to please her. 

One night, Raleigh gives her submissive a task before coming home with a treat.

My Thoughts

I enjoy a good BDSM story, especially when the dominant is a Woman, so you can only imagine why i was drawn to this novella initially. We have Raleigh who’s the Mistress in this story – the one who calls all the shots, really driving the story forward. Levi is her pet, and the one who’s completely submissive to her every wish or desire.

Levi understood his part to play in their relationship and knew that there were repercussions if he didn’t obey her requests. The punishments at times were even better than getting what he was originally supposed to receive, but that’s not always the point of these encounters now is it?

To those who really are embedded and knowledgeable of the BDSM lifestyle, there area few tokens that we are grounded in here. The titles, and the notion that Raleigh requires Levi to endear her a certain way. That’s a means of showing respect. Then there’s the notion that he wears a collar for her. That’s not always a requirement in these D/s relationships, but it’s a nice way to show commitment, and since they’ve been together for a while now, it’s a way of showing how she feels about him, even when she won’t move in with Levi after being asked many many times.

It’s a sweet tease into the lifestyle, even though it’s not really getting into the depth and crux of what the lifestyle truly is. We see that it’s about control more than the experience of play which is usually how these stories go within the genre, but i’d imagine that if this were a full length story, we would get there. There’s one thing though that throws me a bit – it’s typically known and understood that the sub is the one with all the control, and that a good dominant knows that giving pleasure and ensuring the submissive happiness is the most important thing. I’ll chalk it up to Levi seeming to be new to the lifestyle and that’s why in his head he feels that she’s got all the control.

All in all, a sweet BDSM story – which is unique in a genre that i never think of as sweet.

On that note – it’s GIVEAWAY time again! Like this post and enter here for a chance to win your own copy! Good luck!

Review: Shadow Me (Shatter Me #4.5) by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shadow Me
Author:  Tahereh Mafi
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins 3/5/19
Length:   55 Pages
Series:  Shatter Me #4.5

Overview

Juliette is still reeling from Warner’s betrayal, and Kenji is trying to balance his friendship with her with his responsibilities as a leader of the resistance against the Reestablishment. Things get even more interesting when an unexpected person from Omega Point’s past surfaces.

The ending of Restore Me left readers gasping, and this novella full of Kenji’s signature sass and big heart is the perfect story to tide fans over until Defy Me, the shocking fifth book in the Shatter Me series, hits shelves in April 2019.

My Thoughts

Every time we get a new installment, i’m reminded that it’s been a while since the previous one, and while I hate being in limbo and a bit fuzzy on details, I don’t quite have it in me to re-read everything to get fully back up to speed. So, in this novella, where we are is a bit out of sync in my mind but that’s ok. Ms Mafi does a fantastic job of grounding us in the moment in time where the world has completely turned itself upside down.

This time around we get a snippet about Kenji – what’s going on in his head personally and what he’s being left to clean up in reality. There’s always been this humor about him, the ability to make situations less dramatic, but what we find out here is that there’s even more drama and depth than we ever knew.

Juliette continues to be in such a precarious position, and Kenji takes so much of that weight on his own shoulders because he’s been closest to her for the longest time, and because it’s his nature to be overly compassionate. We see that even more so in this book, and we hear his internal monologue giving us bits of the history there to understand even more.

We really get the chance to see another side of him – the side that perhaps is covered up by all the humor that he puts out in the world. The jealous side – the part of him that wishes that he could have what everyone else seems to have – even if he has to witness first hand the pain that comes along with finding his perfect person.

This is a bit of a snack to hold us over until Defy Me comes out in about 2 weeks, we find ourselves with Kenji trying to save Juliette from the after effects of the Symposium, and Juliette then going missing – Nazeerah becoming even more a mystery and all hell breaking loose….All of this is both too much and not enough to keep the chaos on my brain at bay. I need to see what happens, who’s still alive and what impact this is going to have on the world as they know it. Enjoy!

Review: Imposters (Imposters #1) by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Imposters
Author:  Scott Westerfeld
Publisher/Year:  Scholastic 9/11/18
Length:   289 Pages
Series:  Imposters #1

Overview

Deception. Risk. Betrayal. Redemption. Master storyteller Scott Westerfeld is at the top of his game, and back to his most famous realm. A New York Times bestseller.

Frey and Rafi are inseparable . . . two edges of the same knife. But only one of them is ever seen in public.

Frey is Rafi’s twin sister-and her body double. Their powerful father has many enemies, and the world has grown dangerous as the old order falls apart. So while Rafi was raised to be the perfect daughter, Frey has been taught to kill. Her only purpose is to protect her sister, to sacrifice herself for Rafi if she must. 

When her father sends Frey in Rafi’s place as collateral in a precarious deal, she becomes the perfect impostor. But Col, the son of a rival leader, is getting close enough to spot the killer inside her . . . . 

My Thoughts

Seeing the cover of this story brings me back to a great time when I read the series that preceded this one – The Uglies. That story was ahead of it’s time with all the body mods that were possible, the reason for it, the throwback to Rusties society (which is really our time), and now we’re sort of back in it again.

Tally Youngblood was the main character in that series -a girl who did everything that she could to change how people thought about themselves and the world. She started a rebellion, and now we’re back in a time when people are primed for another rebellion, and could use her reappearance but when that doesn’t seem likely, they use her spirit.

As the summary says, Rafia and Frey are twins, half an hour apart, but worlds apart in reality. Rafia is the favorite, the one who’s meant to be the ruler and Frey is the bodyguard and the throw away. Of course though, if we haven’t learned anything in reading these types of stories – it’s always the Throw Away that has the most potential. And that’s where this story takes us.

Frey is traded to a neighboring ruling family as collateral so their father can get a hold of metal which he so desperately wants. The intention is that Frey will impersonate Rafia while she’s there so that he can get what he wants and if something goes wrong, well, then he’s only lost the spare. not the heir.

Giving Frey this kind of freedom, even though she’s essentially a prisoner, well, it’s opening her world up more than anyone could have hoped. She befriends the eldest son to the ruling family and building more than just a close friendship with him. But if Rafia isn’t what she seems, then what’s to say that Col is what he seems?

From the beginning, we’re pulled into this story from an emotional string, and then we’re kept engaged with the hope that these teens can make the world a better place. Our main characters know that how their parents rule and have raised them isn’t necessarily the best way and when they come to terms that they can be powerful as well, in a positive way, then the story explodes.

In addition to Frey and Rafia, and Col even, we have a few additional characters that truly lend good shape to the story. There’s Zura who’s a Special (if you read the other series, you would know that Specials have been modified to be military grade – stronger, faster, smarter etc). She’s proven to be incredibly helpful and perhaps one of the last remaining Victorian House Guard Specials to survive. There’s also Teo who is Col’s younger brother and a boy who’s got an interesting role in the story that we don’t fully know yet. He’s at a private boarding school in Europe when all hell breaks loose and then he goes missing and we can’t wait to see how that plays out. There’s also Col’s friend Yandre who seems to have family connections to the Rebels and we can only guess that the Rebels will be necessary (and perhaps will spawn a pop up by Tally).

What our author does well yet again is paint a picture on how societies truly divided themselves once the Rusties went away and new tech became the norm. People became far more reliant on newer and better technology to make things not only beautiful, but automated and controlled by AI etc. When that happens, as we saw in the Uglies series, people become far too reliant on things outside of themselves and society crumbles.

We go on a roller coaster with this story. Feeling heartbroken for the sisters when they are torn apart, feeling hope for Frey because she gets a chance to be someone else, and then dealing with angst and anxiety when a war breaks out and friends and loved ones are killed or torn apart. We’re left in a very precarious place at the end of this story – where one sister is forced to make a decision that can truly ruin the other one, where enemies are capturing people left and right and people are still missing. there’s almost no closure at the end of this first installment to this spin off series and that’s something that i both love and hate because i need to know more – NOW. So, on that note, i’m going to stalk Mr Westerfeld’s page to find out when the 2nd book is coming out and i’ll be back later! Enjoy!

Review: Dry by Neal Shusterman

Title: Dry
Author:  Neal Shusterman
Publisher/Year:  Simon & Shuster Publishing 11/23/18
Length:   400 Pages

Overview

When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman.

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

My Thoughts

I needed a change of pace for a bit and we all know that i’m a huge fan of dystopia, post-apocolyptic etc. so this fell right into my sweet spot. For those of you who follow what i’m reading on Goodreads, you’ll see that this has taken me FAR too long to read and that’s not a result of the book itself, but just that i haven’t been able to focus. This week though, i turned the corner and really invested my time in reading this story and i’m happy that i did.

It’s interesting how reading stories like this hit so close to home, especially since in this case especially it’s based on a scenario that’s so real and quite likely to happen if we don’t do something about consumption management now.

We find ourselves in Southern California, where the water/drought situation is so bad that neighboring states are now closing off waterways to Cali because those states are desperate as well. No one truly knows what the impact of all this will be but we quickly learn that water really is the one thing that keeps people sane and alive and without it, it’s an eat or be eaten mentality for society.

The nice way that this story is written is that we have chapters that alternate through our character’s POVs. not just two main characters, but essentially everyone that we meet. I personally enjoyed this because this is a situation that impacts different people in unique ways and seeing how it can either tear people apart or bring them together based on what they are living and feeling brings much more depth to the story.

Add to that, a variety of adjacent scenes that are happening throughout the similar surrounding areas for people who aren’t connected to our mains, and we get a really detailed and complex picture of what’s going on.

I really enjoyed how our main characters are all teens and maybe younger than teens, and even though they are faced with a situation that typically forces them to grow up quickly, they still remain acting as ‘kids’. We see some take leader roles etc, but they still act, talk and seem like kids and that’s refreshing. There are a few who take on personas that are not themselves and that comes to bite them in the end, but i think that it’s all realistic and natural.

There’s a great flow to this story – we see the initial shock and disbelief to what’s happening in the state, even though everyone knew that water was running scarce and that rationing wasn’t working. I feel like if/when this happens in reality, the exact same reactions will happen and things will sadly play out in a similar way. No one believes that things like this will happen to them, and no one prepares. (except for that one weird family down the street).

There are moments when we have hope – knowing that there is someone with survival skills around, knowing that there’s a Plan B to keep us moving towards. then there are moments of dispair when parents go missing, when the adults rebel and when they take for granted the fact that kids are more innocent and can just get things done. There’s the arc of fear and desperation when disease becomes widespread, when government doesn’t help, when hope is lost because a series of events happen to throw them off course.

The roller coaster in this story is wild and i think that if you take the time to enjoy this story – you’ll agree with that notion. I don’t know that i loved the way that this story ended – i think that it did part of the plot justice but then it did a bit of a disservice when the closure in some places seemed too easy. That’s just me though – i’m cynical and jaded and sometimes wish that things couldn’t all be wrapped in a pretty bow.

On that note – i really enjoyed this book and i’m glad that i finally just put my head down to finish it. well worth it. Enjoy!