Review: Prophecy (Legacy #2) by Ellery Kane

prophecy

Publication Date: May 29th, 2015
Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing

Synopsis:  Over a year has passed since Lex Knightley journeyed alone into desolate San Francisco. The Guardian Force is disbanded, emotion-altering drugs banned, and citizens allowed to return to the seemingly resurrected city.

For Lex, life is almost normal, but normal is precarious. Normal has a way of falling apart.

One rainy night changes everything. Out on parole, Quin McAllister’s father is arrested for the brutal murder of his new wife. As the Resistance resurges, claiming a conspiracy, Lex doesn’t know what-or who-to believe. When old enemies resurface in new disguises and trusted friends start keeping secrets, normal splits right down the middle, leaving Lex and Quin on opposite sides.

Prophecy-the second novel of Ellery Kane’s Legacy trilogy-continues the story of Lex and Quin, testing the strength of friendship, forgiveness, and love.

My Review:

star2star2star2star2star2

If you haven’t read the first book in the Legacy series, you should go check out the review for it here.  There might be some spoilers here that you might not want to read before reading the first book.

This book was as phenomenal as the first!  in the first book, we are introduced to the emotion altering medications (EAMs), Zenigenic, the Crim-X program, as well as the characters that come into play in this book.

It’s been a year since the ending of Legacy, and the story picks up right where it left off (well, with a year’s difference), and it is so easy to get lost in the story of Lex and Quin all over again.

Lex and Quin start off as the same loving couple we last left them as (seriously, Lex and Quin are definitely one of my favorite book couples.  I love them together), and their relationship seems pretty strong in the beginning of the book.  Lex is in college, and Quin is working with his dad to repair the Golden Gate Bridge.  Since Quin’s dad is out of prison now, and is now happily remarried.  It seems like he is getting his life in order, until Quin comes to see Lex to tell her that his dad has been arrested for the murder of his new wife.  Only…did he really do it?  Or was he framed?

Lex doesn’t seem to know what to believe, and this brings some pretty terrible consequences for Lex and Quin’s relationship (I’ll admit it, I was pretty sad about it).  While they try to figure out whether to repair their relationship (or if they even can), or to walk away, we have a bunch of other important stuff happening, too.

Augustus Porter is back, and he has been appointed the drug czar, and it is his mission to clear the streets of all of the EAMs that people are still using illegally.  But he can’t possibly be up to doing good deeds, can he?  He’s looking for Lex, and he’ll go to some pretty dark means to get to her.

Also, Max makes an appearance in the book as well (as do Edison and Elana, from Legacy).  Max has a new love interest, and it’s a pretty dangerous one.  Not to mention that Max is doing Eupho, an EAM, with his new boyfriend as well.

A lot of incredibly important things happen in this book that are vital to the way that the story is playing out.  Some parts of it made me pretty sad (I won’t say what, specifically), and I’m hoping that the final book in the series wraps everything up nicely.

This book was just as incredible as Legacy, and the story was just as captivating.  I cannot wait for the next book!

Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Author Spotlight: Interview with Ellery Kane!

I have had the wonderful opportunity of doing an author interview with Ellery Kane, author of the amazing Legacy series.

About Ellery Kane:

Ellery KaneAbout Ellery Kane:

In my real (non-fiction) life, I work as a forensic psychologist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Evaluating violent criminals and treating victims of trauma has afforded me a unique perspective on the past and its indelible influence on the individual sitting in front of me. An avid short story writer in adolescence, I only recently began writing for enjoyment again, and Legacy was born.

Author/Book Links:      Facebook        Twitter        Goodreads        Legacy Website

——————————————————————————————————————————————–

Q.  Can you begin by telling us a little about yourself?  Where did you grow up?  What are your hobbies?

A. Though I live in the San Fransisco Bay Area now and have for many years, I am a Texas girl at heart.  I spent my first eighteen years as as an only child on a farm in a small town in Texas.  With all that open space around me and not much in the way of entertainment, my imagination blossomed.

Aside from writing and reading, I love playing sports and being physically active. I also see a lot of movies, seriously, a lot! I enjoy seeing them the old fashioned way—in the theater with popcorn, Milk Duds, and Diet Coke…and holding hands with my special someone.

Q.  What inspired you to want to write?

A.  My “real” job definitely inspired Legacy. As a forensic psychologist, I meet a lot of people–not in the “Hi, how are you?” kind of way–more like, tell me the deepest, darkest things about yourself. Right now, my primary job responsibility is evaluating prison inmates, most of whom have committed murder and are coming up for parole. Through my work, I’ve learned that everybody has secrets; everybody has a past. Some struggle to get over it; some learn from it; some are changed by it; some are haunted. It was that idea, what we do with our pasts, that inspired Legacy.

Q. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?  How does that fit around your job as a forensic psychologist?

A.  My love for reading and writing began as a child, but I never seriously considered “writing” as a career. It was always just something fun to do. I wrote short stories, shared them with my English class, and entered various writing competitions. When I pursued a career as a forensic psychologist, I stopped writing for fun. Ironically, as a psychologist, most of my job is writing—a very different kind of writing, analytical and logical. So, I suppose, I never really stopped being a writer. But, in the back of my mind, I always knew I’d return to creative writing. Then, last March, I just decided—now is the time.

Q. How long did it take you to write Legacy?  Did you have plans for it to be a trilogy before you started?

A.  When I first started up again—after a ten or so year hiatus–it was painfully slow, and I remember thinking: This is why it takes people years to write a book! But, after a while, something clicked, and I just couldn’t stop writing. I finished Legacy in about six weeks. I never planned for a trilogy, but I felt that the story of Lex and Quin wasn’t finished just yet. About halfway through Prophecy, I realized there was no way to wrap everything up in a sequel…so three it is!

Q.  In your book, Legacy, the main character, Lex, leaves her mother behind on a mission to help the resistance between the Guardian Force.  That takes a lot of bravery.  Do you think you would have done things the same way she had, if you were put in that situation?

A.  That’s a tough question. But, I think many times we underestimate our ability to get through difficult or painful circumstances. Though neither Lex nor her mother wants her to leave, they do what has to be done. In my job as a psychologist, I see this sort of courage every day—people surviving devastating or traumatic experiences simply because they have no choice but to soldier on.

Q.  Where did the idea for the emotion-altering drugs, like Emovere, come from?  It seems quite realistic…do you think that it is something someone might actually develop one day?

A.  I think that what intrigues and draws most readers into a dystopian world is the sense that it is not so different than our own, that a few, strategic events could catapult us into a dark and disturbing place. After all, is our modern world more utopian than dystopian? Some of the most haunting and riveting dystopians—The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Giver—play on our fears as a society that we are one step away from chaos. In creating the world of Legacy, I was again inspired by my job as a psychologist, where I am often face to face with individuals who are eager to change their emotional states. Just as Lex observes—“It seemed that almost everyone was eager to feel or not to feel something”—words that are as true today as ever. For many years, pharmaceutical companies have been cashing in on our desire to quickly and easily alter our emotions, so it wasn’t a stretch to imagine Zenigenic, an up and coming pharmaceutical company, creating a line of emotion-altering medications.

Q.  Which character in Legacy (aside from Lex) did you have the most fun writing?

A.  My favorite character in the series is Quin McAllister. Even though Lex is the heroine of the story and we see the world through her eyes, Quin and his transformation embody the inspiration of the book. learning to accept your past without allowing it to define you. Plus, he is the perfectly irresistible combination of handsome and mysterious.

Q.  While developing the plot, and then actually sitting down and writing the books, did you find yourself writing any unexpected plot twists in the book that you hadn’t originally planned for?

A.  Definitely! I charted the course of the plot at a high level, but when I started writing, there was still a lot I didn’t know. Most of the twists and turns that occurred in the book were unexpected…even for me!

Q.  What was the most difficult part of writing the Legacy series?  Which part was the easiest?

A. This may come as a surprise, but the easiest part was the writing. Everything that comes after the writing—the editing, rewriting, marketing, and selling—is much more challenging.

Q.  What is your favorite part about Legacy?

A.  My favorite part about Legacy is what it represents for me. As a girl, I always dreamed of writing a book, and Legacy is a culmination of that dream.

Q.  Are you currently working on any other books at this time?

A.  Right now, I am working on finishing the final book in the Legacy series, Revelation. I expect that it will be released by late 2015, early 2016

Q.  What book are you reading right now?

A.  I just finished reading one of my new favorites, Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins. The book was all the more special, because I read it on the plane to vacation in Paris, France.

Q.  Have you read any books that have really made an impact on your life?

A.  It’s impossible to pick just one, so I would say that books, in general, have made an impact on my life. Books have the power, the magic to transport us outside our circumstances. And yet, books also have the power to help us persevere through our circumstances by making us feel less alone. As a writer, there is nothing as meaningful as learning that something you’ve written has resonated with or inspired a reader. And as a reader, it is amazing to read something written by a complete stranger and be able to identify with it so completely you might have written it yourself.

Thank you so much for doing this interview with us!  It’s been a wonderful opportunity, and I know I’m definitely looking forward to the final book in the Legacy series!

 

Also, you can check out my review for Legacy, the first book in the Legacy series (as well as an awesome giveaway), here.

Review: Legacy by Ellery Kane + Giveaway!

legacy
Publication Date: September 5th, 2014
Publisher: BalboaPress

Synopsis: How do you want to feel today?

In 2041, the choice is yours.

San Francisco is deserted, the Bay Bridge bombed, and the BART subway trains grounded. The Guardians, members of an elite and mysterious government-appointed military police force, are maintaining order at all costs—thanks to emotion-altering drugs like Emovere that suppress fear and anxiety. Lex Knightley, daughter of a prominent forensic psychiatrist, risks entering the devastated city to partner with the Resistance, a group of rebels intent upon exposing the dangers of Emovere. Lex discovers an ally in Quin McAllister, a magnetic Guardian Force recruit with a haunting past that binds them together. As she uncovers the secrets of the Guardian Force and confronts the truth about her family, Lex begins to realize that even those closest to her are not quite who they seem.

My Review:

star2star2star2star2star2

The first time I read this book, I was completely in awe of how well written and amazing it is.  I just couldn’t put it down.  The setting was amazing, the plot was original, and the characters were so easy to like (or dislike, in some cases).  This is one of those rare books that made me feel like I was actually in the story.  The story itself is full of action – this is definitely not a slow paced book (and it really keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very last page, and then it makes you want more).

The story starts off with Lex, who is going into San Fransisco to deliver a flash drive to the Resistance, in order to help fight the Guardian Force.  Her mother has to send her alone, and while she is frightened, she knows what she has to do, and she goes right for it.  Allow me to say, while some books have female heroines that whiny and somewhat annoying, this isn’t the case with Lex.  She’s strong, she knows what she has to do and she does it, and she doesn’t spend the entire book whining and complaining because she’s in love with multiple guys (this happens way too frequently in books anymore).  While she does develop friendships with a few members of the Resistance (who also had some time serving under the Guardian Force, in some cases), she learns a lot about herself, her new friends, and her mother.

The Resistance fights the Guardian Force, who is still using these emotion altering drugs (such as Emovere) to control others and make them part of this government police force.  The things that these guys do are actually kind of scary, and the fact that they feel absolutely no fear or anxiety (thanks to these various drugs) while doing them, makes it even worse.

When Lex meets Quin (and Quin’s adorable dog, Artos), the two develop a friendship that is tested by Quin’s past and who Lex’s mother is, but at the same time, it’s one of those friendships/more than friendships that kind of makes your heart melt.  In the world of favorite character duos in books, I have to say that Lex and Quin are among my favorites.

This book is absolutely fantastic if you enjoy science fiction and dystopian reads.  Like I said, I couldn’t put it down, and I finished it in less than a day.  This is definitely not one to miss!

Note: I received a copy of this book from the author, Ellery Kane, in exchange for an honest review.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Ellery Kane, the author of the Legacy series, has been extremely generous and agreed to do a giveaway for an Amazon Gift Card, which you can use to get your own copy of Legacy, and the second book in the series, Prophecy!  The gift card will be an e-gift card, and the winner will be notified via e-mail when the giveaway ends.

pink starClick Here To Enter!  pink star

Review: The Leveller by Julia Durango

the leveller

Publication Date: June 23rd, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen

Synopsis: Nixy Bauer is a self-made Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids out of virtual reality and back to their parents in the real world. It’s normally easy cash, but Nixy’s latest mission is fraught with real danger, intrigue, and romance.

Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids in the MEEP, as they call it, play entirely with their minds, while their bodies languish in a sleeplike state on the couch. Irritated parents, looking to wrench their kids back to reality, hire Nixy to jump into the game and retrieve them.

But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. Wyn Salvador isn’t some lazy kid looking to escape his homework: Wyn does not want to be found. And he’s left behind a suicide note. Nixy takes the job but quickly discovers that Wyn’s not hiding—he’s being held inside the game against his will. But who is holding him captive, and why?

Nixy and Wyn attempt to fight their way out of a mind game unlike any they’ve encountered, and the battle brings them closer than either could have imagined. But when the whole world is virtual, how can Nixy possibly know if her feelings are real?

Gamers and action fans of all types will dive straight into the MEEP, thanks to Julia Durango’s cinematic storytelling. A touch of romance adds some heart to Nixy’s vivid, multidimensional journey through Wyn’s tricked-out virtual city, and constant twists keep readers flying through to the breathtaking end.

My Review:
star2star2star2star2star2

This book is fun.

I can’t remember the last time I finished a book, sat down, and said that.  But as soon as I finished it, it’s exactly how I summed this book up.

It felt like a vacation from a lot of other books I’ve been reading lately.

The Leveller didn’t have a deep plot line, complex characters, or ridiculous twists that keep you guessing the entire way through.  It’s not so science fiction-y that you need time to digest what you’re reading before you continue, and it definitely seems somewhat juvenile in some places.  I’ll admit it, I normally hate that kind of thing, and typically lose count of the amount of eye rolls I do before tossing the book aside and starting a new one, but man, this was just…fantastic.

It starts off with Nixy Bauer, who has a job bringing kids back from the virtual reality world, the MEEP, when they have spent more than their allotted time there and don’t come back on their own.  She is paid for her services, and her motto is “Nixy Bauer, home in an hour” (like I said, it’s juvenile in some spots, but bear with it, because the book is amazing).  Her friends, Moose and Chang, spend their time creating hacks that allow kids to do things in this virtual reality world that aren’t authorized – such as staying in the world longer than the four hours they’re permitted.  So she goes into the various worlds, brings the kids out, and gets paid.  It’s a pretty cool job, if you ask me.

Her parents both work for the MEEP creator, and when his son goes missing inside the virtual reality world, and none of the people he has hired to get him back out are able to help, he comes to Nixy.  While Nixy isn’t too keen on the idea at first, she eventually agrees to it, and she goes into the virtual reality world of Wyn to try and bring him back out.

Only after making it past all the rooms that hold terrifying things (think sharks, ghosts, etc.), and the maze that will lead her to Wyn, she finds herself trapped in this world as well, and the two of them have to work together to get out.

Of course you’ll find the typical romance (I mean, it’s expected, and does not disappoint.  At least there’s no love triangle, so there’s that), but it’s actually kind of cute…the kind of cute that makes you go “Aweeee” and keep reading to see what happens between them.

The characters aren’t exactly complex, but they’re pretty well developed in my opinion, and I couldn’t help but smile at some of the things that Nixy says and does.  It’s just cute.  The way she swears in other languages instead of English is kind of amusing.

It seems like this book is going to be the first book in a new series, so I’m really excited to see where the author goes with this.  The ending wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger, so I’m wondering if the same characters will be in the next one, and it will continue the story where it left off, or if it will be a completely different story than Nixy and Wyn.  I’m hoping it continues the story.  In either case, I’ll be reading this book at least a few more times!

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Alive by Scott Sigler

alivePublication Date: July 14th, 2015
Publisher: Del Rey

Synopsis: For fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Red Rising comes a gripping sci-fi adventure in which a group of teenagers wake up in a mysterious corridor with no knowledge of who they are or how they got trapped. Their only hope lies with an indomitable young woman who must lead them not only to answers but to survival.

“I open my eyes to darkness. Total darkness. I hear my own breathing, but nothing else. I lift my head . . . it thumps against something solid and unmoving. There is a board right in front of my face. No, not a board . . . a lid.”

A teenage girl awakens to find herself trapped in a coffin. She has no idea who she is, where she is, or how she got there. Fighting her way free brings little relief—she discovers only a room lined with caskets and a handful of equally mystified survivors. Beyond their room lies a corridor filled with bones and dust, but no people . . . and no answers.

She knows only one thing about herself—her name, M. Savage, which was engraved on the foot of her coffin—yet she finds herself in charge. She is not the biggest among them, or the boldest, but for some reason the others trust her. Now, if they’re to have any chance, she must get them to trust each other.

Whatever the truth is, she is determined to find it and confront it. If she has to lead, she will make sure they survive. Maybe there’s a way out, a rational explanation, and a fighting chance against the dangers to come. Or maybe a reality they cannot comprehend lies just beyond the next turn.

My Review:
starstarstar

In the back of the book, the author includes a note asking not to give any spoilers away when reviewing this book.  While that might make this a difficult review, I definitely believe that this book needs to be experienced by reading it from start to finish, rather than just reading spoilers.

This actual story in this book was nothing at all what I was expecting this book to be about.  Although I had read the plot multiple times, it still surprised me.  This book was incredibly science fiction-y, deep, and, well, rather stunning at how well the setting was described.

Some of the characters in this book were likeable, yet it is hard to attach or care about others.  Some of the things that the main character talked about and thought about were ridiculous, considering their position and the horrifying things that they were seeing and having to deal with.  I’m not going to list any spoilers, but these kids come across some things that I couldn’t imagine dealing with.

I was really looking forward to reading this, and I’m not going to lie – it was a pretty decent book – just not what I was expecting.  It was a rather fast read for me, but I felt like I was forcing myself to keep going at some points.  It wasn’t that the book was boring – it definitely was full of action and very fast paced, but I kept feeling like it was missing something.

The entire plot in this book unfolds slowly, since these kids wake up with no memory of who they are, where they are, or how they got there.  They have to piece everything together bit by bit.  There are definitely some major plot twists I hadn’t seen coming, and they really make the book worth while.


Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

witch hunter cover

Publication Date: June 2nd, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Synopsis: The magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut.
Your greatest enemy isn’t what you fight, but what you fear.
Elizabeth Grey is one of the king’s best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she’s accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.
Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that’s been laid upon him.
But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth’s witch hunting past–if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she’s thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.
Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.

My Review: 
heart   heart   heart   heart   heart

I wasn’t really sure what I to expect when I started this book.  I’d read a lot of mixed reviews before I had even started it, so I was trying to be as fair as I could be and not think about any of those reviews while I was reading.

When I started the book, I was pulled into the story immediately.  It was a well crafted tale, clearly well thought out, and attention was paid to detail and world building.  I truly felt like I was in the story.  I cared for the characters, especially the relationship between Elizabeth and John.  I normally hate insta-love relationships, but I felt like the author really did a good job in creating a nice, slow-developing (well, as opposed to many of the other books I’ve read) relationship between the two.  The story was original (although I did hold my breath in the beginning, because I was concerned about seeing elements from other books wrapped up in this one – I didn’t),  and the characters definitely likeable, and, unlike in many other books I’ve recently read, had a lot of traits and feelings that made you feel attached to them.

I read this book in a pretty short time period and was really sad when it was over.  The story was addicting and for me, this book was a real page turner.  I felt like the ending could have been drawn out a bit more than it was (then again, I feel that way about all books I truly love), because it felt like it was rushed…but I guess that just leaves me wanting more for the next installment in this awesome young adult fantasy series…and I definitely cannot wait for that next book!

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.