Saturday, September 30, 2017

Happy Book Birthday, Rebellious Heart by L.L. Hunter!

Rebellious Heart
by L.L. Hunter 
YA Dystopian/Sci-Fi
Cover Designer: Desiree DeOrto
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR

Four years after Skye became the youngest president in history, and returned precious resources to her people,
She had hoped this would mean the end of the war.
But there is still a threat.
An enemy once thought dead has returned from the grave to exact revenge, and he won’t rest until he gets what he wants.
In the quest to give herself some credibility despite her young age, and to defeat their enemy, Skye, Lukas and their friends devise a plan to distract their enemy using a decoy, while they go in for the kill.
But, when their plan goes south,
Lukas and Skye must do whatever it takes to save their people and the world from ruin.
Even if it means betraying those they love the most.
In the thrilling conclusion to the Molten Heart Saga,
When matters of the heart are concerned,
Risks will be taken.

L.L. Hunter is the author of over 20 published works, including The Legend of the Archangel Series and The Garden of Eden. She has studied everything from veterinary nursing, forensic science, and dramatic arts, but has always known her true calling was to be an author. 

She has been writing since her teens - everything from fan fiction, to song lyrics, to plays and musicals. When not working on her next paranormal romance, she can be found at home in Australia, reading somewhere comfortable with one or both of her “fur babies.” Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @llhunterbooks, and her blog -

Buy Links: Amazon US:

Friday, September 29, 2017

Sneak Peek: Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien

Carry Me Home 
by Jessica Therrien
Acorn Publishing
 September 26th 2017
YA Contemporary, Thriller

“A riveting page-turner… Jessica Therrien broke my heart into a million pieces — and then put it back together again. This book will haunt and uplift readers long after they turn the last page.”
-KAT ROSS, best-selling author of The Midnight Sea
CARRY ME HOME is a fictional novel inspired by the true story of a teenage girl’s involvement in several Mexican gangs in San Jose and Los Angeles. The members of her crew call her, Guera, Spanish for “white girl” and it doesn’t take long for her to get lost in their world of guns and drugs. 
Lucy and Ruth are country girls from a broken home. When they move to the city with their mother, leaving behind their family ranch and dead-beat father, Lucy unravels.
They run to their grandparents’ place, a trailer park mobile home in the barrio of San Jose. Lucy’s barrio friends have changed since her last visit. They’ve joined a gang called VC. They teach her to fight, to shank, to beat a person unconscious and play with guns. When things get too heavy, and lives are at stake, the three girls head for LA seeking a better life.
But trouble always follows Lucy. She befriends the wrong people, members of another gang, and every bad choice she makes drags the family into her dangerous world.
Told from three points of view, the story follows Lucy down the rabbit hole, along with her mother and sister as they sacrifice dreams and happiness, friendships and futures. Love is waiting for all of them in LA, but pursuing a life without Lucy could mean losing her forever.
Ultimately it’s their bond with each other that holds them together, in a true test of love, loss and survival.


“You ready for this, Guera?” he asks.
It’s a test, Guera. Only thing I can say is you’re allowed to fight back. Take ‘em out with everything you got.
I’d heard of people being jumped into a gang before, maybe it was Rosa who told me about it. As the girls start to descend from their spots around the room, slowly closing in like encircling wolves, I know what’s about to happen.
The realization takes hold in my chest, a quick plunge of the heart into an icy lake of fear. I back away slowly out of instinct, ready to run, but there’s nowhere to go. The sound of their skittering feet is the first thing I hear before they come at me. Me against all of them. Me against Rose Tattoo and Cigarette Twins. Me against the jealous novias. Ten sets of eyes glinting with the thrill of a fight. I flinch and turn my back to avoid the fists, but they’re all around me. One of them catches me by the shoulders, holding me in place as the other girls hit the back of my skull. My head flies forward, chin to chest.
At first I don’t know whether to swing or cover. I reach up to protect myself, but there are too many points of contact. The rush of adrenaline is intense. It blocks the pain, but there is a fiery need in me to get away. I try and kick or punch, feeling one or two connect, but the girls are everywhere. An elbow slams against my temple. My head splits and my ears ring. I go down.
Every infinite minute of being the enemy feels like it’ll never end.
Someone’s shoe stomps my thigh. Others strike my ribs. I heave and gag until I can’t breathe. But that kind of terror turns me into a resilient kind of crazy. The kind of rabid-mad that is born of desperation. I scrape and flail until I’m on my feet, pulling hair and swinging my fists, making contact with whatever I can. I don’t realize I’m screaming until Toño calls them to a stop.
It ceases the moment the girls hear his voice, and I’m left there shaking and crazed, my breath dragging in and out of my lungs in a feverish effort to return to its normal rhythm. I pant and cry, as softly as I can, but it’s hard to deny my body the relief of all-out sobbing. My head hurts. My brain smashes against my skull with the pulse of too much pressure. I taste blood in my mouth, though no one has touched my face. Now that it’s over, the pain of it all rushes to the surface and makes me want to vomit. I feel like I could die.
Why am I here? Why am I doing this?
“She’s in,” Toño says, and the cheers of the group shock my senses and make me tense up.
They all rush me, and at first I’m terrified it’s about to start again, but instead they hug me and pat me on the shoulder all at once. Each hand on my back or squeeze around the shoulders rocks me with pain, but they’re so happy. Their laughter and cheering is contagious, it flows into me, filling me with a strange sense of pride and belonging. I can’t help my smile when I see their encouraging faces. I even start to laugh.

And here she is. . .
Jessica Therrien is the author of the young adult series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. Her trilogy has been translated and sold through major publishers around the world, such as Editions AdA (Canada), EditionsMilan (France), and SharpPoint Press (China).
Aside from her Children of the Gods series, Jessica is the author of a kid’s picture book called, The Loneliest Whale. Her award-winning stories can also be found in a published anthology of flash fiction.
Jessica currently lives in Irvine with her husband and two young sons. She is working on an a YA suspense thriller series and a middle grade fantasy series.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Review: The Sky Throne by Chris Ledbetter with Interview and Giveaway

The Sky Throne 
by Chris Ledbetter
Month 9 Books
April 18, 2017
YA Fantasy
300 pages

Tour dates: Sept 18 to Oct 20, 2017

Content Rating: PG + M (No f-words but there may be some mild profanity, and mild religious expletives such as "damn", "hell" and "Oh God!", some depictions of violence. No drug use or underage drinking. Some semi-mature themes - suggestion of sexual misconduct by certain characters, but not the actual performing of it.)

Duality dwells at every turn, and an adolescent Zeus will learn that all too well when Hyperion attacks his family on Crete.

When the dust settles, his mother is unconscious and his best friend left for dead.

Stacking epic insult upon fatal injury, Zeus discovers the woman who raised him is not his biological mother. But to ensure her safety while she recovers, a heavy-hearted Zeus leaves her behind to seek answers at Mount Olympus Preparatory Academia.

Zeus embarks on a quest to discover who ordered the attack on his home, avenge the death of his friend, and find his birth mother. When some of his new schoolmates vanish, Zeus's quest is turned upside down, and the only way to make things right is to access the power of The Sky Throne, confront a most dangerous enemy, and take his life back.

On his way to becoming king of the Greek gods, Zeus will learn to seize power, neutralize his enemies, and fall in love.

To read reviews, please visit Chris Ledbetter's page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Book:
Add to Goodreads


Zeus and mythology collides with modern day teenage spice to create a fast-paced and engaging read.

Zeus isn't exactly an ideal student, gets kicked out of school thanks to his row of pranks and is faced with house arrest and goat tending as a punishment when he gets home. After sneaking out one night to attend a bonfire, he returns to an unexpected attack by an Elder deity, Hyperion, which leaves his best friend dead and his mother injured. Still fighting grief, he learns that the deity was actually after him. At the Olympus prep school, he hopes to find answers no one seems to be able to give him, but instead, is caught up in the middle of a conflict, which threatens more than just the school or him.

The author has created an intriguing world by mixing aspects of Greek mythology with those of a modern day, teenage world, while still keeping the setting based in ancient mythology. Zeus is presented as a teenage boy with tons of potential, but has enough rough spots to make him difficult to handle. He's a prankster and a woman's man. . .kind of. The Greek gods, according to mythology, weren't exactly moral or nice, and many of Zeus' traits are hinted at in this teenage version, but in a way, which still makes him likable and easy to cheer for. Especially when he starts to learn what he's capable of and the plot shifts into action pure.

There is never a boring moment, and the tension and action build through-out the book, creating a wonderful climax toward the end. Although some aspects mirror the mythology, other scenes and happenings follow their own imagination. This makes the story unpredictable and offers several unexpected twists and turns. The plot flows well and adds the layers neatly. There's even a bit of romance, which fits well to Zeus' character and holds its own surprises as well.

The world building was well done in so far that it's easy to picture the scenes and characters. The first chapter doesn't flow as smoothly as the later ones do, simply because there is a lot of name dropping. Although this draws direct connections to the mythology, it's a bit heavy for readers not completely familiar with the material. Mythology fans, however, will grasp it up and feel right at home. The mixing of the modern into the ancient setting makes for an interesting background with aspects readers can easily relate too. Still, at times, this combination clashes and comes across a little forced.

All in all, this was a fun read with lots of exciting moments and tension. Young mythology fans are sure to enjoy this and will be disappointed only because the story comes to an end.

Watch the Trailer: 


Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

My ideas generally come from a lot of different places. I observe people constantly. I pick up on things in the news. But mostly I write stories that I would’ve read in high school. I write for the reluctant readers out there.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I began writing in 2006 when I was 36 years old. Late bloomer, I know.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

When not writing, I coach my daughter with soccer or play video games with her. Or read. Or binge watch Marvel shows.

What does your family think of your writing?

My family is very, very supportive. I’m grateful for this.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

How much frickin’ hard work it is to put out a good story. I never thought it would be easy, per se, but I’m not sure I was quite prepared for how difficult it would be. It took me nine years and six manuscripts before I published my first story.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’ve written three short stories and nine or ten full novel manuscripts, many of which may not see the light of day. I can’t really say I have a favorite. That’s like asking someone who among their children is their favorite. Haha.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I hear from some readers, and they have all been positive. I do read my reviews. Some say that you shouldn’t. But I have a pretty thick skin. And I do learn from even the reviews that aren’t five stars. They can’t all be five star, amiright?

Have you even been sent fan art?

I actually have only received one piece of fan art. It was fabulous!

What do you think makes a good story?

Everything begins with the characters. The most exciting plot means nothing if the reader doesn’t care about the characters. But after that… a story can never go wrong with a quest, a mystery, and a countdown.

What is that one weird quirk about yourself, that no one else knows?

I must eat Skittles when I revise. I can’t think clearly without them.

And here he is. . .

Chris Ledbetter is an award-winning author of short fiction and novels for young adults. “Jason’s Quest,” a short story retelling of the Jason and Medea Greek myth was published in the anthology, Greek Myths Revisited. His first full-length novel, Drawn earned him two awards, Library of Clean Reads Best YA 2015 and Evernight Publishing Readers’ Choice Award Best YA 2015, as well as a USA TODAY “Must Read” recommendation. His second novel, Inked, concludes that duology. The Sky Throne is his newest young adult novel. The second book in the series is set to release in 2018.

He's a proud member of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and a strong supporter of the Need for Diverse Books. He now writes and lives in Wilmington, NC with his family, including three cats.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ facebook ~ Pinterest

Enter the Giveaway!!!
Ends Oct 28

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Sneak Peek: The Chosen Knights by Mary Ting with Giveaway

The Chosen Knights
by Mary Ting
The Angel Knights #1
March 19th 2016
YA Fantasy

(HIGHLY recommend to read prequel first–The Angel Knights) 
SOME BOOKS AREN’T MEANT TO BE OPENED***City of Bones meets The Da Vinci Code.
Urban fantasy lover’s dream! Demons, vampires, angels, witches, and fallen angels all set to the back drop of high school in Hawaii, and astral travel to the past to Knights Templar era.
A page turning mystery with a supernatural twist that entertains to the last page! ~InD’tale Magazine
Book trailer: 
When teens go missing in Hawaii, a group of demon-hunters—half human and half angel—disguised as high school students, must leave Crossroads, the place where they reside. In a race against time, they uncover the mystery connecting the missing teens, which dates back to the era of the Knights Templar. However, when they discover one of the Templars passed down a book containing all the secrets and codes to finding a particular treasure, they soon realize this forbidden treasure needs to be found before Cyrus, the lord of the possessor demons, acquires it—a treasure which been safeguarded and hidden from him.
There is only one problem: the pages containing the clues leading to the treasure is missing. When the first page is found, Cyrus threatens to kill more descendants of the Knights Templar if it is not given to him by Friday the thirteenth. In the midst of threats and discovery, the demon-hunting angels find they are not alone when supernatural beings begin to reveal themselves. Can they put their differences aside and work together to solve the Knights Templars’ cipher? As they astral travel to the past, they witness a lot more than they have bargained for. And some things are better left unseen.
FREE for a limited time only!


Eli willed his sword away. It disappeared behind his back, just the way I would have done it. “You know nothing. Nothing about me is human. I won’t be a part of something that could kill any one of you.”
“How could it kill us if—?” Then I had a thought, recalling the first time I’d seen him in the cafeteria. I had no evidence but it was worth the shot. “You can astral travel, can’t you? You’ve done it before, when you first saw me in the cafeteria. You can travel in the present too. That’s why you took off.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Do you even know what that is?” His jaw clenched.
I knew he was lying. “Out-of-body experience.” I followed behind him when he started walking away.
“You have no idea of the consequences when you travel. Astral travel.”
“Then let it be my consequence.”
Eli whipped around. His face was just a breath away from mine. “You have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Then show me.”
Eli pierced his eyes into mine. His heart drummed a mile a minute. “You want to feel pain, Lucia? You want to know what happens to people when they astral travel?”
“I-I—” I didn’t know what to say. I certainly didn’t expect him to say the things he did.
Eli extended his arm to me. “Take my hand.”
“Take my hand, Lucia.” His tone was stern.
I shook my head.
“Last warning.”
“Last warning for—ELI.” I screamed. My stomach dropped, along with my body. Eli’s arms embraced me as we plunged through multiple layers of clouds with my back facing down. Hair whipped my face and the force of gravity made me dizzy.
“You didn’t heed my warning, Lucia,” Eli grumbled.
“So you’re trying to kill me?” The normal reaction for someone in this situation would be to fight back, but my instincts told me I wasn’t in danger. “What are you doing?” The clouds got smaller as we plummeted faster by the second. I began to have second thoughts. Wanting to believe so badly I could get through to him, I’d let it possibly cost my life.
He ignored my plea. Looking squarely in my eyes as air rushed against us, he said nonchalantly, “Get ready to die.”

And here she is. . .
International Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children's chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.


Cover Reveal: The Rising Series by Holly Kelly


The Rising Series by Holly Kelly gets a makeover and a boxed set! What do you do when an all time best-selling paranormal romance book nears it's third birthday? Give the cover a gorgeous makeover and add in the perfect bonus scene. Tell us what you think of the new cover and then be sure to pre-order the boxed set that has a new bonus scene today. For readers who haven't tried this series yet, Rising is currently free.



Pre-order today on AMAZON (More retailers coming soon.)
A magical underwater realm awaits! Own books 1-3 of the Best-Selling Rising series by acclaimed author Holly Kelly.
This value-priced box set includes the first three novels in the best-selling Rising series: Rising (with an exclusive bonus scene), Descending, and Avenging. Beautifully packaged with brilliant new cover art, this set is perfect for any fan of Greek Mythology and Mermaid Romance stories. Order the Rising series today and submerge yourself in an underwater world full of passion, romance, intrigue and adventure.

Start Reading RISING today for FREE!

In a war between the humans and the inhabitants of the sea—humans will lose. Xanthus Dimitriou—the most lethal Dagonian to rise from the ocean—is on a mission to save mankind from annihilation. There's just one thing standing in his way: the life of a beautiful young woman…


Holly Kelly is a mom who writes books in her spare time: translation--she hides in the bathroom with her laptop and locks the door while the kids destroy the house and smear peanut butter on the walls. She was born in Utah but moved around a bit, living in Kansas, Texas, and Hawaii where she studied marine biology. She's now back in Utah--"happy valley". She's married to a wonderful husband, James, and they are currently raising 6 rambunctious children. Her interests are reading, writing (of course), martial arts, visual arts, creating Halloween props, and spending time with family. SaveSave SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave SaveSave Save

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Review: The Ice Maiden's Tale by Lisa Preziosi

by Lisa Preziosi
Xist Publishing
Middle Grade Fantasy/Adventure
300 pages
ages 8 and up

Every town has an old lady all the children just know is a witch. 
When Johanna and Casper must spend the afternoon at her house, there’s nothing to do, except listen to a story. While the siblings await their mother’s return from the hospital where she’s visiting their ailing father, Mrs. Kinder reads them a story of adventure, magic and music. 
Mrs. Kinder’s mysterious golden book tells an intertwined tale of two young men—the sensitive Sculptor who carves a beautiful woman from ice and the thieving Sorcerer searching for a spell that will bring the statue to life. 
The story twists and turns, from the Frozen Forest, to the land of the Lemon Trees, to the home of the Swamp Witch, as the Sculptor’s and Sorcerer’s adventures circle each other. Their inevitable confrontation reveals buried memories that force each of them to confront the true cost of love and redemption.
The Ice Maiden's Tale the perfect story-within-a-story with magic, adventure and romance reminiscent of The Princess Bride for a new generation of readers.


With a bit of the feel of The Princess Bride, this is an enchanting fairy tale and more.

Casper does not want to go to the witch's house, even though his older sister Johanna insists the Mrs. Kinder isn't a witch at all. With their father in the hospital, they have no choice but to let the Mrs. Kinder babysit them so their mother has time to visit him. Mrs. Kinder tells them a tale about a beautiful ice sculpture and two young men, who are possessed with the idea of bringing the sculpture of a young maiden to life. The journey holds many stumbling blocks for all of them.

The story starts out in modern day times with Casper and Johanna arguing as siblings do. The back and forth is a little humorous, and each one gains a very distinct character, which kids will easily relate to. Interesting enough, each of them has a German name (even Mrs. Kinder) which gave a slight hint a Hansel and Gretel going to the witch's house. But the thought of danger is quickly brushed aside as Mrs. Kinder pulls out her books and offers them cocoa. Casper's continued skepticism adds a smile to the face.

The fairy tale follows a traditional flow and holds magic, gypsies and even a dragon. There are tense moments but also slower ones. There are two heroes who are possessed with the thought of bringing an ice sculpture to life, but each one has a very different adventure to follow. It's well told and interesting to follow. At times, the switch between each hero's journey was a bit confusing and could have been distinguished better, but each ones personality and adventure took a very different path. Which made the ending even more interesting.

This isn't only about the heroes' journeys but also about the modern day siblings, and the author does an amazing job of weaving it all together. At first, the shifts between the fairy tale and the modern day siblings jolts, but as the story progresses, it's a treat to watch all aspects drift together. The connection between all of them becomes clear and is never predictable.

Although this book is intended for the readers ages eight and up, it's something that adults will enjoy as well. The heroes hit upon topics which adults will relate to as well. I can see this especially nice as a read-aloud.


Mrs. Kinder settled herself in the chair across from the children and cracked open the book. She adjusted her spectacles, ever so slightly, then caressed the page with her wrinkled fingers. 

“In our world, when magic happens outside of a storybook, we call it a miracle. And miracles are considered so rare and special that lifetimes can go by without so much as a hint of one. But there are faraway places where our kind of miracles are as common as blades of grass in an open field. In the northern region of one of these worlds, in the top far east corner, past green forests, swamps, lakes, and even an ocean, there lived a young artist named Gabriel.” .... 

“This isn’t a very good story.” Casper complained. 

"Casper!” Johanna exclaimed in embarrassment. 

Mrs. Kinder laughed. “That’s because I’m not even at the story part yet, but it’s high time we get started. This story doesn’t begin, the way you think it might and the way most stories do. It doesn’t begin with a big adventure or a journey, or even pirate treasure. It starts with a tiny choice—one that seems unremarkable at the time, but that changes the course of destiny. One crisp morning, our Gabriel decided to search for firewood—and it’s with that simple decision that our tale begins.”

Curious about what inspired THE ICE MAIDEN'S TALE???

Pinterest Inspiration Board for “The Ice Maiden’s Tale”:

And here she is. . .

Once upon a time, long, long ago, Lisa attended Syracuse University where she studied singing in a giant castle surrounded by ice and snow. After she earned her music degree, she headed to the island of Manhattan, down to the West Village, to a place called the New School. There, she earned another degree in the great art of writing stories for children. Her debut novel "The Ice Maiden's Tale" was released by Xist Publishing on May 30, 2017. It's a story-in-a-story fairy tale adventure for all ages. Currently, she still works on that same island, in the dungeon of an old building, making up stories while she sorts through endless stacks of papers, just dreaming of being somewhere with windows. She is currently working on several novels and hopes to write her way to that aforementioned windowed place.

To Buy the Book:
Goodreads Author Page:
Goodreads Page for “The Ice Maiden’s Tale”: 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Mommy Tuesday with Review: The Lauras by Sara Taylor

by Sara Taylor
Hogarth Press
Adult Contemporary/Coming of Age
304 pages

I didn t realise my mother was a person until I was thirteen years old and she pulled me out of bed, put me in the back of her car, and we left home and my dad with no explanations. I thought that Ma was all that she was and all that she had ever wanted to be. I was wrong. As we made our way from Virginia to California, returning to the places where she d lived as a child in foster care and as a teenager on the run, repaying debts and keeping promises, I learned who she was in her life-before-me and the secrets she had kept even from herself. But when life on the road began to feel normal I couldn t forget the home we d left behind, couldn t deny that, just like my mother, I too had unfinished business. 

This enigmatic pilgrimage takes them back to various stages of Alex s mother s life, each new state prompting stories and secrets. Together they trace back through a life of struggle and adventure to put to rest unfinished business, to heal old wounds and to search out lost friends. This is an extraordinary story of a life; a stunning exploration of identity and an authentic study of the relationship between a mother and her child.

The Lauras is the new novel from the exceptionally gifted author of The Shore, which was long listed for the Baileys Women s Fiction Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year.


This is a tale of grit, hurt, strength and finding true support.

Alex is thirteen when the mother decides to take off from the father in the middle of the night. Alex will never forget the day they drove away. The journey encompasses three years, where they travel through half of the U.S. and even into Canada. The mother reveals her past, especially tales about the Lauras, and Alex has many issues to battle and overcome.

This is a beautifully written read with many personal identification agendas. Alex carries a lot of baggage and refuses to be placed in a certain gender category. There are also issues with family, belonging, love, trust. . .and the list goes on. The story starts out very strong as Alex is ripped out of bed and hauled into a sudden trip. The emotions and happenings hit hard and are masterfully done, hooking into Alex and the story right away.

This is not a soft book but packs many punches. The author eases through tough material, stretching boundaries and making them sit. All along, the writing pulls in with vivid descriptions and heart-breaking tugs. There are some stumble blocks as far as sequencing, but most of the story flows well and lets the reader get swallowed up into Alex's world. Alex meets problem after problem as does her mother as she comes to terms with the tales of her past. This is a read, in many ways, which makes one think and churn. Then, at other times, there is simply too much. The baggage goes into over-weight, bringing up too many identification problems until it, at times, almost verges on an outright agenda. This, combined with the brutal harshness, made some areas tough to work through and had me setting the book down as it pulled out of the flow of the read. Still, I found myself coming back to it and was quickly pulled back into the story after these moments and had passed.

The ending was like the book—leaving to think. Although some ends were tied, others are left loose and questions remain unanswered. 

All in all, it's nicely written and had many things to enjoy as well as food for thought.

I received a complimentary copy through Blogging for Books and found this one interesting enough to want to leave my honest thoughts.

Review: Starter Zone by Chris Pavesic (A LITRPG Novel)

Starter Zone
The Revelation Chronicles, Book 1
Chris Pavesic

Print Length: 219 pages
Publication Date: September 25, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian, LitRPG

Follow the tour to read reviews guest posts, exclusive excerpts, and spotlight posts:

About the Book:

When hydrologists inscribe the consciousness of a human mind onto a single drop of water, a Revelation sweeps the land. The wealthy race to upload their minds into self-contained virtual realities nicknamed Aquariums. In these containers people achieve every hope, dream, and desire. But governments wage war for control of the technology. Terrorist attacks cause massive destruction. The Aquariums fail.  Inscribed human minds leech into the water cycle, wreaking havoc.

Street gangs rule the cities in the three years since the fall of civilization. Sixteen-year-old Cami and her younger sister Alby struggle to survive. Every drop of untreated water puts their lives in peril. Caught and imprisoned by soldiers who plan to sell them into slavery, Cami will do anything to escape and rescue her sister. Even if it means leaving the real word for a life in the realms, a new game-like reality created by the hydrologists for the chosen few.

But life in the realms isn’t as simple as it seems. Magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as the sisters navigate their new surroundings. And they encounter more dangerous enemies than any they faced in the real world.

Time to play the game.


This fantasy/adventure mixes the gaming world with reality for an exciting read.

Cami has one goal—keep her and her younger sister alive. Civilization has been destroyed, leaving street gangs and worse fighting for whatever supplies might be left. It doesn't help that water in every form is deadly unless it's been cleansed. While trying to sneak out of the city in hopes of finding a more peaceful life in a forgotten rural house, Cami and her sister are caught by hydrologists, and they force Cami and her sister to become part of a different world. A very dangerous one.

The novel starts out with a dystopian setting. Cami and her sister are trying to survive, and need to avoid the deadly street gangs. And rain. The tension is high from the very first page, and the sisterly bond between Cami and her seven-year-old sister pulls at the heart strings. Even though Cami can be cold when necessary, her relationship to her sister makes her impossible not to like and cheer for. When the novel takes a sudden twist and the game type world opens up, the switch flows smoothly. The author does a good job of providing enough explanation to make the switch believable, and does it in a manner which never comes across boring. Cami needs to learn about her new world and the role she plays in it, and the reader learns along with her.

Anyone who has gamed will feel at home in this tale. The adventures follow the regular gaming basics with a familiar feel. The sudden bouts of information about Cami's level, skills, health, and such don't jolt from the story but blend right in with the plot. Even when Cami isn't fighting or in a tense situation, the story is well-paced and doesn't let the reader go. I had no trouble reading this in one setting.

It's an easy read, but enjoyable. There are layers of intrigue waiting in the shadows and hints at a bigger adventure to come. Enough unexpected twists and turns keep the plot interesting, and even when some thing aren't completely a surprise, the tense build-up left me on the edge of my seat. It's simply a fun read, which fantasy friends and gamers are sure to enjoy.


I would like to offer you a glimpse into Starter Zone, the first book of my new YA/LitRPG series, The Revelation Chronicles.


I was born into a world where silicone still ruled. Where the products of the earth outshone those of the sea. Integrated circuits ran all electronic equipment and scientists strove to make the conducting lines smaller and smaller. Silicon Valley tried, and failed, to make chips fast enough to upload human consciousness.
The Revelation came a few years later from the hydrologists. They designed a system that did not use silicone, but instead worked with water molecules. The hydrologists managed to imprint the consciousness of a human mind on a single drop of water.
The water was to be kept in self-contained, sealed aquariums—pure, undiluted, eternal—where virtual realities were constructed to meet every need and desire. All of human knowledge encoded and stored in literal pools of data and integrated with the drops of human consciousness. It was, the hydrologists claimed, utopia achieved.
The obscenely rich were the hydrologist’s first clients, many taken near the end of their lives. The procedure did not always work, but there were enough successes to spur people’s interest. People suffering from terminal illnesses volunteered to be inscribed, and the hydrologists worked and refined their process. Private companies formed and competition forced price wars. Hundreds of customers grew to thousands, and then to millions. There were landmark court cases arguing whether or not health insurance should cover the cost of the inscription—whether or not this was a medical procedure designed to save lives or a form of physician assisted suicide. The law struggled to decide if life ended when the body was drained to a dry, leathery husk, or if life continued inside those glowing, sealed aquariums.
I was thirteen when the governments seized control of the laboratories, first in the Eastern European countries. Then the labs of Europe and the Middle East were swallowed up. Terrorist attacks soon followed and destroyed most of the civilized world over the next three years. The United States, Canada, and Greece, those bastions of democracy, did not fall until the very end. Of course, by then no one cared whether or not the government or the private companies ran the uploading programs. Many of the aquariums ruptured in the strife and the droplets, imbued with human consciousness, re-entered the water cycle of the planet.


As the sun hovers near the horizon, ready to dip below and plunge the world into darkness, the weather changes for the worse. Clouds gather. Peeking out my window and over the outline of rooftops in the distance is what looks like thunderheads moving toward me in the invisible polluted gusts of wind.
I try not to think about the coming storm as I methodically pull on my boots and zip up my jacket. It is supposed to be waterproof, but I would not risk going out in anything above a light drizzle. Water has a way of seeping through even the best defenses. There’s also a lining that’s overly warm for a summer evening. I’m already sweating and the discomfort adds to my nerves.
I check the hunting knife strapped to my left leg. It was one of the first weapons purchased for me by my dad back when the sporting goods stores were still open for business. He didn’t think I was ready to handle a handgun at thirteen, but he taught me to shoot a rifle in the open fields by our house, helping me hold the weapon steady until I grew strong enough to support the weight. Now, three years later, I have a handgun, a Ruger semi-automatic, but bullets are scarce and loud noises are problematic. My small ammo stash sits in the bottom of my backpack next to the gun.
Instead of the gun, I carry an extra-light crossbow as my go-to weapon. I can hand-make the bolts so I don’t worry about running out of ammunition and the shot is relatively silent. I carry the spare bolts in a quiver strapped to my right leg. It’s awkward when running, but I can draw the bolts fast when needed.
My little sister, Alby, has loaded her own backpack. I lift it to test the weight and then pull a few things out. I place them in my own pack without comment. I help her position the lighter pack over her shoulders, tightening the straps so that it will stay balanced. She always tries to do more than she should, but I don’t like the way her face has a perpetual pinched, strained look or the deep shadows under her eyes. She looks far older than her seven years. This scares me more than everything else and that fear threatens to register on my face. I force myself to stay calm.
I check her raincoat and boots, making sure everything fits snugly. I help Alby pull up the hood of her coat, tucking in a strand of dark hair that has escaped her ponytail. As frightened as she is, she manages to give me a smile. I smile back, trying to present a brave front. As my dad used to say, “fake it till you make it.”  Over the last few years, I’ve been faking confidence more and more often for Alby’s sake.
“Ready to go?” I ask with all the false cheer I can muster in my voice. I take one last glance over the motel room that had served as a temporary home for the last few days, looking for anything that we might have left behind. The room is swept clean. No trace whatsoever that we had ever been there.
Alby nods. “Ready, Cami.”
“If we get separated, remember to keep going north,” I say. “Follow the road till you get to the park, then take the walking paths. No matter what happens, keep going. Stop when you get to the Stone River. I’ll meet you at the bridge in the center of the park where we used to feed the ducks, okay?”
She nods again, looking up at me with those dark eyes so full of trust. I hug her, because if we do get separated, there isn’t much hope we will ever see each other again. I need to keep up the pretense of hope, though, because that’s all we have to keep us going.
Stone River Park is at the very limits of the city and the area surrounding it is relatively unpopulated. I figure that once we are out of the city, our chances of survival will dramatically increase. After reaching the park, we can follow the Stone River north. There’s bound to be deserted houses in the country and less chance that any of the gangs would be interested in the meager pickings outside of the city. We might even be able to find a place to stay before winter.
I crack open the door of our motel room. It is still light enough to stain everything with graying shades of color. The setting sun casts long shadows between the buildings, so I depend more upon my ears to find signs of other humans. I hear no motorcycle engines and no voices, only the wind, blowing and moaning, and the far-off call of a bird. The coming storm appears to have cleared the streets. They are deserted except for empty, crashed vehicles abandoned in every lane.
Alby and I had been lucky to reach the motel a few days ago. The single-story building is on the outskirts of the main town and catered to big rig truck drivers and other traffic from the interstate. I had found the skeleton key in the motel office after climbing in through the bathroom window. Alby and I spent the nights scouring every room for supplies.
No one had broken into it before we got there. Too many other rich targets to go around. But inside each room was a mini-fridge filled with snacks. Even though the electricity had been turned off, the chocolates and small bags of honey-coated nuts were edible. The tiny bottles of alcoholic beverages in each fridge did not seem useful, but I kept a few. They might be helpful in starting a fire someday when we made it outside the city. We even discovered coffee filters and a small bottle of chlorine bleach—a major score for treating our drinking water. 
If I hadn’t spent days secretly peering out the dark windows of the motel, I might believe my sister and I were the last two people left on earth. But I know that out there, behind the ruined buildings and boarded-up windows, there are at least a few pairs of eyes whose owners would kill us without a second thought. My eyes flick toward the two bodies hanging from the traffic lights in the nearby intersection. They hadn’t been moved. Good.
     The daytime usually belongs to looter-gangs, each with spray-can marked territories in bright displays of color that start on the buildings and drip down toward the pavement. The gangs wear something marked as well, usually a jacket or bandanna that will stand out from a distance. The snipers hole up in their nests and target anyone who encroaches on their gang’s territory. They particularly looked for members of other factions trying to increase their terrain.
Paint tags don’t show up well after dark, though, so the gangs have started leaving their victims as warnings to others not to encroach on their holding. These bodies have been hanging undisturbed in the intersection for several days, indicating a lack of activity in the area. I can only hope that the gangs have moved inward, toward the center of the city and more supply-rich targets.
No one is ever going to catch the murderers, or the ones who strung up the bodies like macabre trophies, and put them in jail. They’ll just go on and do it again and again. Like animals in the jungle—except that animals are not cruel.
We were lucky to go unmolested by the local gangs. Heaven knows we don’t look like we have much of anything, and we don’t look threatening, but that will only last for so long. Someday someone will try to kill us, possibly for no other reason than wanting to watch us die. The whole world, it seems, is at war, and no one is on my side except Alby. We only have each other.
A streak of lightning splits the sky almost directly overhead, making me wince. It is followed by a heavy clap of thunder. As frightening as it is, the bad weather is to our advantage. No one wants to be caught outside in the rain. Everyone is more afraid of fresh, untreated water and what it can do than they are of each other. But I believe we can make it out of the area and to shelter before the rain poses any danger.

In fact I’m betting our lives on it.

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And here she is. . .

Chris Pavesic lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends. She blogs on and Tweets @chrispavesic