Thursday, September 3, 2015

[Review & Giveaway] The Deep Beneath

The Deep Beneath (H.A.L.F.)

by Natalie Wright

H.A.L.F. #1
Publish date: January 7, 2015
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads summary

H.A.L.F. 9 has taken his first breath of desert air and his first steps in the human world. Created to be a weapon, he proved too powerful for his makers and has lived a sedated life hidden from humans. But H.A.L.F. 9 has escaped the underground lab he called home, and the sedation has worn off. He has never been more alive. More powerful. Or more deadly.

Erika Holt longs to ride her motorcycle east until pavement meets shore. She bides her time until graduation when she’ll say adios to the trailer she shares with her alcoholic mother and memories of her dead father. But a typical night in the desert with friends thrusts Erika into a situation more dangerous than she ever imagined.

Circumstances push the two together, and each must make a fateful choice. Will Erika help H.A.L.F. 9 despite her “don’t get involved” rule? And will H.A.L.F. 9 let Erika live even though he was trained to kill?

The two may need to forget their rules and training and if either is to survive the dangers of the deep beneath them.

My thoughts

For some reason when I was looking at this book, I thought it was going to be similar to the Lux series. With aliens, superpowers and an awesome cast. Turns outs I was wrong in so many ways and yet right at the same time. It has all the above things, but that's where the similarities end. 

I'm not much for prologues in most stories. I always read them, but don't always find them necessary. This is an exception. This prologue is written from the point of view of the surrogate mother as she's about to give birth to something she knows isn't quite human. I was hooked from page one with some great writing and just a fantastic background to the story. 

In short, The Deep Beneath is a story about what it means to be human. The relationships we make, our purpose in life and the journey to discover who we are. The Deep Beneath is the story of an alien hybrid discovering what it means to be free.... if he can stay out of the hands of the government and the H.A.L.F. program.

What I liked. The complexity of the story was really what hooked me. It isn't just about H.A.L.F. 9, our teen alien hybrid, or Erika, the heroine who can't help but be curious about him. It's about the alien landing in 1947 and the coming war the captured aliens alluded was coming. It's about everyone involved with the program, from doctors to the head of the program, Commander Sturgis. 

That leads me to my next point. The supporting cast of characters. The Deep Beneath is written from multiple POVs, adding to the depth of the story. You just get a better feel for what they're thinking and what motivates them. Even Sturgis. You learn about why she does the things she does and it makes you have conflicted feeling for her. She's not your typical antagonist who is black and white.  

What I thought could be improved. Some of the relationships between a few characters were a bit underdeveloped. Erika and Jack were supposed to be in a semi-serious relationship right before the book starts, and she keeps thinking of her feelings for him throughout their ordeal. But I never really got her interest in him. Jack, quite frankly, was boring to me. I could have done without his character all together. At least Ian provided comedic relief. Jack is just kind of there. But in the end, it doesn't really detract from the story as a whole. 

Final rating is a four out of five stars for good writing and an intriguing story line. 

** I was provided a copy of this book in return for an honest review

Get it here
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Natalie Wright

Natalie is the author of H.A.L.F., a young adult science fiction series, and The Akasha Chronicles, a young adult fantasy trilogy. She lives in the high desert of Tucson, Arizona with her husband, tween daughter, and two young cats.

Natalie spends her time writing, reading, gaming, geeking out over nerd culture and cool science, hanging out on social media, and meeting readers and fans at festivals and comic cons throughout the western United States. She likes to walk in the desert, snorkel in warm waters, travel, and share excellent food and conversation with awesome people. She was raised an Ohio farm girl, lives in the desert Southwest, and dreams of living in a big city high rise.

Author links 

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

[Review & Giveaway] The Last Necromancer

The Last Necromancer

by C.J. Archer

The Ministry of Curiosities #1
Publish date: August 11, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads summary

Victorian London: For five years, Charlotte (Charlie) Holloway has lived as a boy in the slums. But when one theft too many gets her arrested, her only means of escape lies with a dead man. Charlie hasn’t raised a spirit since she first discovered she could do so five years ago. That time, her father banished her. This time, she brings even more trouble upon herself.

People are now hunting Charlie all over London, but only one man succeeds in capturing her.

Lincoln Fitzroy is the mysterious head of a secret organization on the trail of a madman who needs a necromancer to control his newly “made” creatures. There was only one known necromancer in the world – Charlotte – but now there appears to be two. Lincoln captures the willful Charlie in the hopes the boy will lead him to Charlotte. But what happens when he discovers the boy is in fact the young woman he’s been searching for all along? And will she agree to work for the man who held her against her will, and for an organization she doesn’t trust?

Because Lincoln and his ministry might be just as dangerous as the madman they’re hunting.

My thoughts

I love all things fantasy and paranormal. Give me magic, werewolves, demons, vampires and everything in between all day, every day. But for some reason things like necromancy and zombies just don't do it for me. I don't even like The Walking Dead (I hear you all gasping, but it just doesn't do it for me). 

However, for whatever reason, when I read the blurb for The Last Necromancer by C.J. Archer my first response was, "Gimme, gimme, gimme." I always love the idea of strong heroine who manages to survive on her own. Which is exactly what Charlie did for the first five years after being thrown out of her father's house for accidentally bringing her dead mother to life. 

Whatever I thought about this book in the beginning, my expectations were taken and thrown out the window. Since I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, I'll just say that C.J. Archer manages to tie in an old, classic story that's I've always been fascinated with. Imagine my delight when it popped up completely unexpected. 

Now, on to the review technicals. 

What I liked. The characters. Charlie is the type of person we would expect her to be. She strong, a bit hard headed and does trust people very easily. She's also scared to death of her necromancy powers and tries her hardest to never use them. These are the kind of heroines I love to read about. They're tough, yet they doubt themselves from time to time. They try to make the best of bad situations, but in the end they're really good at heart. 

Lincoln was an enigma and kept me guessing at every turn. Once the book ended I found myself wanting to know more about him and what he does. We only scratch the surface of his character in this first book. I want to know more about his past and what makes him tick.

The writing is absolutely fantastic. It's descriptive and does an excellent job of showing, not telling, the reader what's happening. It's pretty obvious she's no novice writer. After I did some Internet stalking, I found out she's got a bunch of other books that I will be adding to my TBR list. 

What I thought could be improved. I really would have liked to see the relationship between Charlie and Lincoln develop a little bit more. To me, it's not much of a romance (and maybe it's not supposed to be yet). From the synopsis, I was expecting there to be some romance. It was really more about one character's fascination/obsession with the other. 

The big reveal about Charlie's past was a bit obvious. I guessed it well before we were supposed to find out. And I was totally OK with that. I like to guess about certain things sometimes and I sometimes I turn out to be right. 

Overall. This was definitely one of my favorite books so far this year. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars because I loved the characters and they kept me guessing from page to page. Don't make me wait too long for book two, C.J.!

** I was provided a copy of this book in return for an honest review

Get it here
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About C.J. Archer

C.J. Archer has loved history and books for as long as she can remember and feels fortunate that she found a way to combine the two with her writing. Under her other name of Carolyn Scott, she has published contemporary short stories in women’s magazines, and she also writes romantic mystery novels under this name.

She has at various times worked as a librarian, IT support person and technical writer but in her heart has always been a fiction writer. She has won and placed in romance writing contests including winning RWAustralia’s Emerald Award in 2008 for the manuscript that went on to be released under the title HONOR BOUND. C.J. spent her early childhood in the dramatic beauty of outback Queensland, Australia, but now lives in suburban Melbourne with her husband and two children.

To be notified when C.J. releases a new book, subscribe to her newsletter from her website. She only sends out the newsletter when she releases a new book, and never spams.

Author links: 
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


Thanks to Ms. Archer and Xpresso book tours, I'm able to giveaway one (1) paperback copy of The Last Necromancer for residents of the United States and Canada OR one (1) ebook copy for international readers. The winner will receive their copy through the tour hosts, not through Book Nerd Paradise. 

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