Category Archives: YA Novel

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: REVELATIONS by J. A. Souders

Revelations Elysium Chronicles (Book 2)
J.A Souders
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen

Blurb to come!

Dear Readers, Isn’t this a great cover?! If you loved the cover and story for RENEGADE, this cover for REVELATIONS should make you want to buy the book and delve deeper into the secrets of Elysium. This book is definitely on my TBR list! What do you think? Is the cover for REVELATIONS better than the cover for RENEGADE?

About Renegade
Elysium Chronicles (Book 1)

Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law. But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster. Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb…and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.

About A Dark Grave:
Elysium Chronicles (Book 0.5)

An Elysium Chronicles short story: the beginning.

There is only one place forbidden to the people of Gavin’s village; the island just off the shore, rumored to be haunted. Cursed. All who venture to the island disappear. But Gavin doesn’t believe in such things. He is a hunter; since his father’s death, he is the only one who can provide for the family. Silly rumors of ghosts aren’t going to stop him from crossing the dark waters to the island in search of fresh game…

About J.A. Souders:
J.A. Souders was born in the heartland with an overactive imagination and an overabundance of curiosity that was always getting her into trouble. She first began writing at the age of 13, when she moved to Florida and not only befriended the monsters under the bed, but created worlds for them to play together. Because she never grew up, she decided she’d put her imaginary friends to work and started writing. She still lives in the land of sunshine and palm trees with her husband and their two children.
Where you can find J.A.

J.A is hosting a giveaway of a signed hard copy of RENEGADE, an e-copy of A DARK GRAVE (for those that don’t have it, of course.) and signed copies of ARTICLE 5 and BREAKING POINT by Kristen Simmons.

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Review of Altered by Jennifer Rush


Wow! Where do I start!? We always hear people talk about having the memory of an elephant – they never forget a wrong done to them, even if they do forgive that wrong. Well, what if you knew that you were wronged in some manner – living each day caged in a lab is your first clue – but you forgot exactly HOW you were wronged? Would you be able to forgive?

Sam, Nick, Cas and Trev are four young men imprisoned in a basement lab, with little to do but improve their minds and physiques. Their only links to the outside world are Anna and her father, who’s in charge of their care and testing. Anna is the only brightness in their lives, the only measure of sanity. And even she doesn’t know their true purpose.

When the powers that be at the Branch, the organization for which her father works, suddenly decide to remove the boys from her father’s care, Anna protests and is caught up in their escape, thrusting her into a violent world. Her father demands a promise from Sam to keep Anna safe, at all costs, especially from the Branch and Connor, its enigmatic, charismatic head. He also gives Sam the address of a safe house where they’ll be able to find help.

Upon reaching the safe house, they discover its occupant left in a hurry, and without warning. But when Anna discovers a framed picture of Sam’s birch-tree tattoo on the wall, and within the frame a cryptic message addressed to Sam, a desperate search for answers begins. Who are the boys? Why can’t they remember their pasts? How are they connected to each other, and more disturbing, how are they connected to Anna and why do they seem to not be able to resist the overwhelming need to protect her?

What follows is a race against time to discover their true identities and purpose, before the Branch discovers their whereabouts and erases their memories….again.

Jennifer Rush delivers an absolutely thrilling, heart-stopping, page-turning roller-coaster ride in her debut novel! And did I mention the manly torso-bearing scenes? This book is full of muscled hotties! As much as I enjoy YA fantasies, I can often accurately guess the outcome. This one pleasantly surprised me. As is common with a first-person narrated novel, there are many things the reader doesn’t know and may or may not learn during the course of the novel. But I have to say that Anna’s discoveries about her own identity and the betrayal of one of the boys were quite unexpected. While several questions – such as the boys’ connection to Anna and the truth about her own identity – are answered in the story, several more are raised, leaving the reader antsy for the sequel.

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Review of Dust Lands: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

WARNING: If you haven’t read this book, there are spoilers ahead.

To escDust Lands - Blood Red Roadape, she will have to fight. To survive, she will have to lead.

I’d heard about this series from a few of the authors I follow on Twitter who’d tweeted about it a month or so ago. Of course I wanted to know what they’re reading, so I looked it up at Barnes & Several things drew me in: the two-line hook above, it was likened to The Hunger Games Trilogy, which I loved, and the cover, which even without the telling series header of “Dust Lands” lets you know that there’s a wasteland and seemingly insurmountable odds happening in this book, sort of a YA Mad Max with a female protagonist. I love that combination. Add in the summary of a young woman who must set off on her own through unknown territory to rescue her twin brother, well, that made this book irresistible to me.

Despite, or maybe partly because of Young’s unconventional use of dialect and lack of dialogue tags (quotations), this book sucked me in right away. It quickly became as addictive as my daily caffeine habit.

Eighteen-year-old Saba is dedicated to her twin Lugh to the exclusion of everything – and everyone – else. Her whole world revolves around him. He was born two hours before Saba, defining their relationship. She describes the two of them succinctly: “Lugh goes first, always first, an I follow on behind. An that’s fine. That’s right. That’s how it’s meant to be…He’s my light. I’m his shadow.” So it’s not surprising that when Lugh is captured by four men in long black robes and leather body armor, and their father killed while trying to prevent the kidnapping, Saba sets off in search of him, undaunted by the unknown, intending to leave their nine-year-old sister, Emmi, in the care of a family friend named Mercy. Saba resents Emmi, whom she blames for their mother’s death in childbirth. Mercy tells Saba about the Tonton, the men who kidnapped Lugh, and the dangers of Hopetown, where Saba believes Lugh’s been taken. Mercy also gives her a heartstone, which had belonged to Saba’s mother, and tells her that it will lead Saba to her heart’s desire. The closer she gets to what she desires, the hotter it will become.

But Emmi refuses to be left behind. She catches up to Saba, who is furious with her, especially when having to look after Emmi gets them captured and Saba sold as a cage fighter, while Emmi is held captive against Saba’s cooperation.

Saba discovers the “red hot” that allows her to survive. “…the red hot kicks in an at last I unnerstand what it is. It’s like animals. A animal will do anythin to live. Even chew off its own leg if it’s caught in a trap. That’s the red hot. An I’m gonna hafta learn to use it if I wanna survive in the Cage.”

Within a month, the populace of Hopetown has dubbed Saba “The Angel of Death.” She’s never lost a fight and is kept segregated from the other female fighters. She meets Epona, a fighter of her own caliber and the first real hope for escape. Epona is a member of the Free Hawks, a band of female warriors, and their leader, Maeve, partners with Saba to free all the cage fighters, rescue Emmi, and escape Hopetown. While planning their move, Saba meets Jack, a fighter on the boys’ side, who stirs unfamiliar feelings within Saba, and makes her heartstone burn, something it’s never done before.

It soon becomes apparent that Emmi doesn’t just favor Saba in looks, she’s also Saba’s mirror in personality, writ small. Though Emmi is a captive herself, she manages to pass messages between Saba and Maeve, and aids in the coup that sets the Cage and Hopetown afire. Literally. When Saba once again attempts to leave Emmi behind, this time with the Free Hawks, Jack intervenes. He’s decided to accompany Saba to Freedom Fields where Lugh is being held, and stubbornly insists that Emmi must come too.

When they reach Freedom Fields, Jack, Saba, Emmi and their friends must face the Tonton, who serve the mad king who has declared that Lugh – a boy of eighteen years born at Midwinter – must die to rejuvenate his majesty. Upon rescuing Lugh, Saba and Jack discover that Emmi has been captured by the Tonton. Fortunately, the sisters’ relationship has evolved from mutual hostility into friendship and Saba is just as determined to rescue Emmi as she was to rescue Lugh.

Colors and shades play major roles in this novel. The black of the Tonton’s uniforms, the soft pink of Saba’s heartstone, Jack’s moonlit eyes, Lugh’s light, Saba and Emmi’s dark. And the red hot that fills Saba when she fights. The red hot changes Saba, tempers her obstinate personality while sharpening her survival skills.

Saba is a heroine to be reckoned with. If you loved The Hunger Games, you’ll adore the Dust Lands series. Blood Red Road is so much grittier, starker and hopeful than The Hunger Games. Dust Lands series is the next big thing in the YA Dystopian realm.


Filed under Book Review, Dystopian, Writing, YA, YA Authors, YA Novel