Release Day Blitz: Rosemarked by Livia Blackburn

Hi Everyone!

This is Livia Blackburne, and I’m thrilled to share ROSEMARKED with you at long last. There are a lot of elements to this book, including a love story, a spy story, reflections on trauma and mortality, medical ethics, and political intrigue.  Perhaps because of this, my research for the book was equally eclectic, from archery and stick fighting lessons, to chats with memory researchers and soldiers, and lots and lots of reading, including books about leper colonies, hospice care, and PTSD. Hopefully, I wove it all into an entertaining and thought-provoking story!

This story centers on Zivah, a talented healer with an incurable illness, and Dineas, a traumatized soldier. The two couldn’t be more different, and I had a lot of fun writing their unlikely love story.  In order to work together, they both have to let go of their own prejudices and preconceptions. It’s a painful process, with fights and misunderstandings, anger, laughter and tears, but in the end, they both come out as stronger people.

To celebrate the ROSEMARKED release, I’m offering 3 lucky winners a ROSEMARKED swag pack, which includes a copy of ROSEMARKED and a signed bookplate! Due to sweepstakes laws, entrants must be 18 years or older to participate. Best of luck, and happy reading!

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/275761fc8/

The first in a duology, ROSEMARKED (Hyperion | On Sale November 7, 2017) by New York Times bestselling author Livia Blackburne follows a healer and a solider on a high-stakes mission to spy on the Empire to uncover a deadly secret. With sizzling chemistry and a heartrending ethical dilemma, this thrilling fantasy with nuanced characters will capture fans of An Ember in the Ashes and The Lumatere Chronicles.

A healer who cannot be healed . . .

When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she fully succumbs. Now she’s destined to live her last days in isolation, cut off from her people and unable to practice her art—until a threat to her village creates a need that only she can fill.

A soldier shattered by war . . .

Broken by torture at the hands of the Amparan Empire, Dineas thirsts for revenge against his captors. Now escaped and reunited with his tribe, he’ll do anything to free them from Amparan rule—even if it means undertaking a plan that risks not only his life but his very self.

Thrust together on a high-stakes mission to spy on the capital, the two couldn’t be more different: Zivah, deeply committed to her vow of healing, and Dineas, yearning for vengeance. But as they grow closer, they must find common ground to protect those they love. And amidst the constant fear of discovery, the two grapple with a mutual attraction that could break both of their carefully guarded hearts.

New York Times best-selling author LIVIA BLACKBURNE has a PhD in neuroscience from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she conducted research on the neural correlates of reading. She still blogs on the intersection of writing and brain science, and she now lives in Los Angeles with her family. Livia is also the author of Midnight Thief, an Indies Introduce New Voices selection, and its sequel, Daughter of Dusk.

ROSEMARKED by Livia Blackburne 

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Hardcover: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Book Depository
Ebook: Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

Also by this author…

MIDNIGHT THIEF

New York Times Bestseller 2014
Indies Introduce New Voices Pick
2015 YALSA Teens’ Top Ten Nominee

Hardcover: Indiebound | Amazon Barnes and Noble | Book Depository
Ebook:  Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play

DAUGHTER OF DUSK

Hardcover: Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository
Ebook: Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Google Kobo

 

 

 

Book Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control. 

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. 

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. 

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

I will admit that I’ve had the advanced reader copy of this book on my shelf since last summer, but it took a good friend of mine reading this book and telling me how much she enjoyed it before I finally pulled it off the shelf to read. 

I am now officially regretting not picking up this book sooner.  Not only was it well written and plotted, but it kept my attention through the whole text. Bracken’s story picks up at the beginning when the “disease” strikes children all around the United States.  I put “disease” in quotations because I’m not entirely sure whether or not I believe it would be a naturally occurring thing or if it was manufactured by scientists within the storyworld.  Something I suppose I’ll find out as I continue to read. 

So basically these poor kids, who can do extraordinary things, are put into modernized concentration camps and forced to work and do mundane tasks to keep their minds from honing their skills and possibly using them against anyone.  Although, this is a very stupid plan by the adults, because it just serves to make the children and teens resentful of their treatment and provides them with motivation to strike back.  

And when our protaganist, Ruby, finally gets out of her prison, she is faced with the ultimate challenges of survival in a world that treats her kind like fugitive. Lo and behold she meets an adorable boy and his ragtag friends, and they go together like “peas and carrots.” 

The plot really picks up at this point, and the story just takes off with Bracken’s excellent descriptions and her ability to construct realistic conversations and emotions.  I’d like to say that I didn’t see the twist coming, but it is something that I guessed toward the last fourth of the novel when Ruby was working to hone her skills. However, guessing it didn’t take away any of its impact. 

The ending is heartbreaking and I really wish that it hadn’t happened, but I understand why it did narratively, and I’m already moving the sequel to the top of my to be read pile!

4 Bards. 



Waiting on Wednesday

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on: 

Release Date: February 4, 2014


Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them. 

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket. 

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking. 

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class. 

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

Book Review: Beta by Rachel Cohn

Elysia is created in a laboratory, born as a sixteen-year-old girl, an empty vessel with no life experience to draw from. She is a Beta, an experimental model of a teenage clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to exist. Elysia’s purpose is to serve the inhabitants of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on earth.
Everything about Demesne is bioengineered for perfection. Even the air induces a strange, euphoric high, which only the island’s workers–soulless clones like Elysia–are immune to.

At first, Elysia’s life is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne’s human residents, who should want for nothing, yearn. But for what, exactly? She also comes to realize that beneath the island’s flawless exterior, there is an undercurrent of discontent among Demesne’s worker clones.

She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care–so why are overpowering sensations clouding Elysia’s mind? If anyone discovers that Elysia isn’t the unfeeling clone she must pretend to be, she will suffer a fate too terrible to imagine. When her one chance at happiness is ripped away with breathtaking cruelty, emotions she’s always had but never understood are unleashed. As rage, terror, and desire threaten to overwhelm her, Elysia must find the will to survive.

 
 Sometimes when I’m bored (at work, driving, working out) I let my imagination run wild with what I think the world will look like in the future. Will there be cars or hovercrafts or just teleportation tubes? I can honestly say that the world that Rachel Cohn created is unique because I for sure never envisioned her world.
 
BETA is set on an island that is genetically engineered to be perfect. The air is even infused with a calming gas so that everyone is happy and healthy. Clones exist on this island to serve because mear humans would not suffice. The island is only for the rich (clearly), I mean who would want to live amongst the poor?  The main character is a clone of a teenager called a BETA. She is one of the first of her kind and is purchased by a well to do family to be a companion for their children.
 
The book follows Elysia as she slowly discovers her humanity that she shouldn’t have. She soon starts to retain some memories from the teenager she was cloned from. Elysia also discovers that she has her own thoughts and wants and needs that she should not have. This of course has to happen or there would be no book to read.
 
I really enjoyed the book. It was written well, the story developed at a good pace. Everything that happened was well thought out and the language was inventive, but not too far-fetched that you couldn’t figure out what was going on. I really like the world that Rachel Cohn created and the story that goes with it. It has some adult themes so I would recommend this for older “young adults.”
 
4 bards
 
 
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