Dystopian

Sugar Skulls Blitz Excerpt + #Giveaway

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Sugar Skulls
Glenn Dallas & Lisa Mantchev

 

Publisher: Skyscape
Release Date: November 10th 2015
Genre: New Adult Dystopian Science Fiction
 

Book Description:

Welcome to Cyrene, a city where energy is currency and music is the lifeblood of its young citizens. Everyone lives on the grid, and the residents of the world’s largest playground are encouraged to pursue every physical and emotional pleasure imaginable.

Vee is the lead singer of the Sugar Skulls, an all-girl band that is Corporate’s newest pet project. Micah haunts the city like a ghost after an overdose of a deadly illegal street drug knocks him off the grid. When Micah and Vee forge an immediate, undeniable connection, their troubled worlds collide.

Trading concert stages for Cyrene’s rooftops and back alleys, they have to evade vicious thugs and Vee’s possessive manager as they unravel the mysteries connected to their dark pasts. And before the curtain falls, Micah and Vee will bring the city to its knees in their desperate bid for love, home, and a future together.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25789738-sugar-skulls

 

Excerpt:

M

My shirt’s open in a flash, and her lips are on me, her tongue tracing hot little swirls along my skin. My arms close around her, one hand still buried in her hair, the other stroking along her spine, fingertips trailing along the exposed skin, and she shivers despite the warmth radiating from her.

She’s a whirlwind, a hungry, passionate, desperately fuckable whirlwind, and I’m swept up in her wake.

The only furniture in the room is a little bench against the wall, since you need the space for couples, trios, and other gatherings of willing bodies. I sit down quickly, pull her closer, my hands on her ass as she climbs onto my lap, straddling me. Her afterthought of a shirt brushed aside, her chest against mine, I can feel her heart pounding like a speaker about to blow out.

Grabbing two fistfuls of my hair, she yanks my head back, exposing my neck. She chuckles as she kisses along my jawline, then bites . . . not too hard, but not gently, either, like she’s marking me as hers.

Her hands run down my neck and across my chest, her fingernails grazing my skin, one hand resting on the tattoo emblazoned over my heart. She pauses a moment and whispers the top name aloud— “Bryn”—before her mouth meets mine again. My eyes slam shut as I lose myself in her lips, her tongue, her little gasps for breath before she dives in for more. Our hands roam and grasp and tease, but it’s all background to one endless, ravenous kiss. She’s insatiable, a five-story drop, and I take the plunge, succumbing to gravity and falling falling falling with her.

She tastes like hard liquor and candy and sex and longing and . . . something else. Every brush of her tongue against mine makes it sharper, until it’s all I can think about, until even the promise of a gorgeous girl against me fades.

Apples. She tastes like apples.
Fuck. No.
I tense up and pull away from the kiss, and for the second time

tonight, I think I’ve surprised her. She leans close as if to kiss me again, only to purr in my ear, a rolling seductive sound that gives me shivers.

But the spell is already broken.

Velvet curtains. Bryn. Apples.
Someone in the club is dealing applejack.

Did you take something? Did you take little green translucent tabs of something?”

Her warm breath finds my ear once more. “I’m sorry, love, I only had the one. But I can get more, enough for both of us, and—”

Where? Where did you get it?” I shout with a fury that startles us both.

She leans back and takes a moment before answering. “From Adonis. The guy on the dais. He gave me a taste while we were danc—” “I need you to listen to me.” I stand up, awkwardly dragging her to her feet, and I grab her face with both hands. Locking eyes with her. Hazel. Clear. No ruptured blood vessels, no discoloration. Doing quick calculations in my head: skin temperature, time elapsed since she took the tab. If something bad was going to happen . . . It would’ve by now. Lucky girl. “Take anything, anything you want. Sample anything else in the whole place and get as blissed out as you like, but please, please don’t

ever touch that rancid garbage ever again. It will fuck up your soul.” She looks baffled by my spur-of-the-moment plea. I’m sure I would, too, in her place. I pull her close and kiss her again—a gift for me, an

apology for her—and then I bolt.
Making a beeline for the illuminated dais at the center of the Palace

of Wonders, I have no problem spotting him, even if we’ve never crossed paths before. Shirtless, crowned, grinding against a pair of waify young things wearing bioluminescent body paint and spaced-out smiles.

I hustle up the glowing side stairs and onto the platform, barging in on the soon-to-be threesome. “Hey, apologies, ladies, but I need a moment with His Majesty.”

The glow-in-the-dark sexpots step aside, dazed eyes already looking for a new plaything, and he looks suitably pissed. But three magic words make it all better.

I can pay.”

He sizes me up—torn shirt with no buttons, half-mauled chest, dark jeans with a little bit of roof dust still clinging to the legs—and shrugs, gesturing me toward a side exit. “Fun inside, business outside.”

We step out into the heavy mist of the alley, and the door shuts behind us. Standing with his back to me, he reaches into both pockets. From one, he pulls a handful of silvertip sticks and a lighter; from the other, a stack of green-tinted tabs, individually wrapped and ready to share. “What’s your pois—”

I don’t give him the chance to finish, charging him as he turns and slamming him against the opposite wall. His head bounces off the brick. I’m ranting away in my head, bordering on raving.

That’s for the girl in the alcove and Bryn and Rina and every other person you’ve torn to pieces with this fucking life-ruining shit . . .

He collapses to the ground, drugs still in hand, and I lean close, almost snarling. “Where’d you get this? Huh? Who’s your supplier?” I snatch the whole stack from him, cracking one tab open and sparking the lighter beneath it.

The applejack flares up in an instant, burning hotter than I expect, and I drop it into the garbage can against the wall, dumping the other tabs in after it. Each one bursts into flame with a whoosh, incinerated in seconds. This is some potent shit.

I turn back toward the scumbag dealer. “Who keeps you stocked? Is it Re—”

He punches me in the leg, and pain arcs through me. I crumple to the ground in a heap, twitching.

Fuck. Took too long. My hand still clutches the lighter tight, the nerves frozen and nonresponsive. I can’t even speak.

Standing now, he kicks me in the gut, hard. He leans down and smiles, showing me the glowing set of knuckles on his hand. Brights. Should’ve known. Then two furious kicks to the chest, punctuating them with “should kill you for that” and “wasted all my best shit.” I’m still so rattled by the shock from his modified knucks, I can’t cry out. I wheeze, trying to get my breath back, and he gives me three more kicks, just for good luck, I guess.

The security door swings open, and His Majesty instantly steps away from me. Blinded by the light from the doorway, I can barely make out the shape of the bouncer. “What’s going on out here?”

Slick as bacon grease, His Majesty goes into spin mode. “Guy wanted a hit of riprap and got a little aggressive, that’s all.”

Should I bring him inside and call the greys?”

Fuck.

But saving his own ass saves mine by accident. “Naw, let him sleep it off in the alley. You know how these little tweakers can be.”

Curled up in pain, I’m in no position to argue. I just lie there on the cold, damp asphalt as he spits in my face and struts through the security door. It slams shut behind him, and everything goes dark.

 

 

About The Authors

When not working on puzzles for Penny Press or writing about them for PuzzleNation, Glenn Dallas is an author of short stories and at least half of one novel. After appearing in the acknowledgments of several outstanding novels, he looks forward to returning the favor in the future.

Lisa Mantchev is the acclaimed author of Ticker and the Théâtre Illuminata series, which includes Eyes Like Stars, nominated for a Mythopoeic Award and the Andre Norton Award. She has also published numerous short stories in magazines, including Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, Weird Tales, and Fantasy. She lives on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State with her husband, children, and horde of furry animals. Visit her online at http://www.lisamantchev.com.

Connect with Lisa & Glen 
 
Lisa: 

Glenn:
Website / Twitter  

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Broken Skies Review + #Giveaway

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Broken Skies
Broken Skies Series
Book #1
Theresa Kay

Genre: YA Science Fiction Dystopian
Release Date: March 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-1495468896
ASIN: B00IXMVY5M

Pages: 380
Goodreads Rating: 4.65
My Rating: 4.5

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Book Description:

Thirty years ago, there was the Collapse. A massive war fought with biological weapons and followed by plague. Almost everyone died.

Ten years ago, the aliens showed up. They made one of our cities their own and that’s where they stay, for the most part anyway.

One year ago, I killed two men and went a little crazy.

Today, the aliens took my brother and I will do whatever it takes to get him back even if it means partnering up with the enemy, an alien boy who makes me think things I shouldn’t and makes me feel things I don’t understand.

 

My Take On The Book:

 

There is so much to say about this book and yet I find myself at a loss for words.

 
First let me say how much I enjoyed reading about each character seen through the eyes of Jax, and while she has her own opinions, he own likes and dilikes I was able to make my own assessment of these characters. Their stories were crafted beautifully if not heartbreakingly so. But not only were the characters and their stories unique and surprising but kinda uplifting. I’ll explain that more later.

In this story you are introduced to a whole heap of characters most notably is the female lead and narrator Jasmine (Jax). She is extremely vulnerable, jaded and pretty much shattered (broken is to simple a word to describe her) but Jax is also fierce, loyal and loving. The next character I came to hold in high regard is the beautifully mysterious alien boy Lir. Its hard not to fall in love with him. But the most entertaining thing about this book besides the romantic development between the 2 leads was the stories conflicts. The book is littered with prejudices and heartbreak but while that was a main focus for the character’s choices and actions what I remembered most after finishing was not the negative but the positive that comes in the form of family, friendship and love, an undying loyalty to those you care most for.

Its an enthralling tale and a perfect first book to this series. I’m eager to learn more about this damaged world and the people/aliens inhabiting it.

 

The Great (Pros):

 

  • The Ending. The highest praise I can give this book is to its ending. While it is a cliff hanger, one that will leave you jonesing for book 2 ‘Fractured Suns’. It’s an ending that will most definitely leave you with a heavy heart and your throat tight.

 

  • Unpredictability. While there are some elements in this story that you might suspect, there are a hell of a lot that you won’t see coming.

 

  • Jax. As I said earlier, Jax is a shattered girl. As the synopsis says, she killed to men and went bonkers but her character has this way of persevering and there is so much strength in her it hard not to admire her. She has a survival instinct that also conflicts with her conscience and she so utterly human and flawed you want to see a happy ending for this fierce a loyal warrior.

 

  • Lir. Prepare to swoon on sight. He is so charming and maybe just a tad smug. I love the way Ms. Kay describes him. The differences between the humans and the aliens is kinda breathtaking.

 

The Not So Great (Cons):

 

  • Something. I’m not sure what that something is but it made me want to skim over some parts of the story it was a constant struggle for me to keep my mind on the current page. It was harrowing, I just wanted to get to the end… maybe it was too much emphasis on the anticipation.

4.5

4.5 Quills

 

But over all it was a great read with consistent characters and a beautiful story. While reading this book and writing this review I caught myself thinking about the shows ‘Star Crossed’ with Matt Lanter and ‘Rosswell’ with Shiri Appleby. Its funny cause now that’s all I want to watch. Its books like these that make me love this genre.

 

About The Author 

The only person she knows who had a subscription to Writer’s Digest at eleven and was always excited to write research papers, Theresa has been putting words to paper since a young age. She writes predominantly in the sci-fi and urban fantasy genres. Residing in central Virginia, she juggles two kids, a husband and a full-time job in addition to her writing and in her free time she reads almost anything she can get her hands on.

Connect with Theresa:
http://www.theresakay.com/ | facebook.com/TheresaKayAuthor

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“I received a free copy of the book from the author/publisher for my honest opinion. I was in no way compensated for this review and all opinions are expressly my own”

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Branded by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki Review + Giveaway

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Branded

Sinners Series

Book #1

Abi Ketner &

Missy Kalicicki

 

Genre: YA Science-Fiction Dystopian

Release Date:  June 28, 2013

 

ISBN: 978-0989527408

ASIN: B00DOPHK56

Pages: 252

Goodreads Rating:  3.94

My Rating: 4.5

 

Book Description:

Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.

Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.

The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

My Take On The Book:

Wow, holy cow. I’ve wanted to read this for awhile now, ever since I participated in the book blitz. So I literally  jumped at the opportunity to review it. It did not disappoint.

This is a truly amazing book by two very talented ladies and a great start into what I’m sure will be a popular series. You can see all the thought put into this book in every turn of the page.

The Great (Pros):

 

  • The Characters. Every single character had something to offer the development n this story. The good guys were great and even a bit faulted. I liked most of them even Keegan( though I will admit to wanting to slap him around a couple of times) and the villains were truly sick a twisted individuals. They leave you feeling vulnerable.
  • The Hole. While the place itself was a rank and horrifying, that was the aspect I liked. It was a bad place unlike any before it. It gave the story a special element of grit. A terrifying place had me biting my nails for the innocent Lexi.
  • The Romance. ::sigh:: Cole is so yummy and noble. While I love Lexi, he is the reason the romance worked. He had this way about him and he’s just perfect for her.
  • The story of Lexi. It was utterly depressing but it was perfect for the story and character development and it helps you understand the actions of each character a bit more.
  • Zeus. I’m a sucker for animals I love them lol. I’m not sure if it’s the goofy and protective way about this dog or the fact that he’s a Great Dane that acts more like a lap dog (except when he puts the mean face on) that made Zeus one of the best parts of this story.

 

The Not So Great (Cons):

 

There isn’t much I can say about this title thats negative and what I can say doesn’t affect the rating too much.

  •  Lexi’s Letter to Cole. Something about this letter bugged me. Not so much in how it was written but I guess in what was written. I think I expected more from her backstory and it felt a bit childish for such mature context. It was something that stuck with me after reading it and not in a good way. I’m not sure how to explain it, so you’ll just have to read it for yourself to see what I mean.
  • Romance. While I enjoyed the romance and Cole… it was a bit fast paced. Parts of it seemed rushed and it threw me off a couple of times. I think, if a bit more time was spent exploring that connection I might not have felt that it was so rushed.
  • Keegan. While I like his character, I also disliked him. It was a love hate thing. He was so stubborn and pigheaded and wayyy too controlling. There was so much we didn’t know and probably won’t ever know about him and that just leaves his character up in the air.
  • Jumpy. Unfortunately, this book was really jumpy. It looked like it was heading one way then made a 180 and went a completely different route. It was just a bit difficult to navigate if your reading it quickly. Slow down when you read it so you can understand it the first time round.

 

4.5 Quills

Honestly, it was a good book and a great intro to what I’m sure will be an even better series. I look forward to reading the next book and seeing how the story progresses.

 Buy Links:

About The Author 

Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out, as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.

Author Links:

http://www.abiandmissy.com/

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17402117-branded

https://twitter.com/AbiandMissy

http://facebook.com/AbiandMissy

http://abiandmissy.tumblr.com/

http://www.pinterest.com/abiketner3/boards/

 

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20 ebooks of Branded (mobi) Open Internationally

5 signed print copies and picture of Cole (US only)

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“I received a free copy of the book from the author/publisher for my honest opinion. I was in no way compensated for this review and all opinions are expressly my own”