I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting when I picked this book up, but based on all of the great reviews I knew it was something good, and thankfully I wasn't disappointed. Years before, my best friends introduced me to Doctor Horrible's Sing-along Blog and when I heard this book was like that in some respects I got really excited. The story started off as something more Superman or Batman-esque but as the book went on it did morph slightly into something resembling Kick-Ass. Generally in books like this (those that have a comic-book feel to them) the good and bad characters are pretty clean cut, but Schwab really tangled them up and turned it into bad and worse, especially as the novel went on. What I actually found the most interesting wasn't the plot (although it was expertly done), or the fact that the book jumped back and forth between past and present (which worked remarkably well), but the morals of it all. We as a society are so ingrained with the basic "good vs. evil" trope, but in the real world that's not really how it works. Comic books start off with said basic idea, but the best ones move away from that and make you think about real life. The "good guy" sometimes has to do some bad things to ultimately get the job done and make the world a safer place, so does that mean he's no longer a "good guy"? Schwab cuts to the heart of this question with a terribly profound deeper meaning, and also looks at what I would almost call the morals of being a person with some kind of "super" power, and how it could, would, potentially change you as a person. Honestly this was a book that went so much deeper than just what was on the surface, which is something that can be really hard to achieve, but that Schwab does so well it's scary. Fans of superhero comics and movies will most likely adore this novel, and those who are interested in the "good vs. evil" idea or just the basic human psyche. Hopefully Schwab writes other adult books like this, because although I might like to peek into the world later I think that the ending of this book was tied up so neatly a sequel could never live up to it.
5/5 dust spirits
*technically this is an adult book, but mature teenagers (and I do mean teenagers, not mature twelve-year-olds who read things like the Hunger Games) should be perfectly fine reading this novel.
I'm really excited to be a stop here on the HEARTBEAT promo blitz tour, and I have to thank Kismet and HarlequinTeen for allowing me to take place in it! Years ago I read Elizabeth's debut novel Bloom and I really loved it, so to be able to take part in this blog tour for her newest book is really cool. I can't wait to read this book and finally dive back into a world Elizabeth Scott has created!
About the Book;
Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.
But Emma can’t tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.
Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn’t have interested Old Emma. But New Emma—the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia—New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge. Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death—and maybe, for love? Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound
“An intense examination of a family coping with grief, this absorbing character study easily keeps pages turning.”
— Kirkus on Heartbeat
About the Author;
ELIZABETH SCOTT grew up in a town so small it didn’t even have a post office, though it did boast an impressive cattle population. She’s sold hardware and panty hose and had a memorable three-day stint in the dot-com industry, where she learned that she really didn’t want a career burning CDs. She lives just outside Washington, D.C., with her husband, and firmly believes you can never own too many books.
I don't remember when I first heard about this novel, but when I read what it was about I knew I had to read it. I've been a Star trek fan since I was a little girl, so there was really no way I wasn't going to read it. I requested a copy months ago and I just kept putting it off because I had other books to read that came out before, and then by the time it wasn't too early I had heard it had made people cry. I'm always weary of books that might make me cry, so I was both excited and anxious to read it, and it made me read slower than usual. That being said I really loved this book. The dual POV was great, it helped the story along and personally I love getting into the head-space of both a male and a female. The book was an odd mix of genres, part sci-fi, part mystery, part survival story, and although that might not work for every book Amie and Meagan pulled it off flawlessly. Honest truth, I'm still a little confused as to what the whispers actually were, although I have a basic idea so I'm not totally lost. There was also one part of the book I was confused about, which was Lilac's secret. I thought it was something different but when it was reveled it made a lot more sense than what I assumed. Both main characters were real and the fact that they transformed so magnificently across the book was a great. The plot was artfully crafted and despite some gut-wrenching scenes in the middle the ending was also very suited for the book and gave the characters the justice they deserved. While I'm sad that the next book in the series won't be about these two characters I've grown to love I'm excited to see what happens in the next books, and think that the idea of having companion novels for a sci-fi series that involves a crashed ship is something bold and inventive. The only book I can think of in the YA age range that even touches this one is Beth Revis' Across the Universe series, and even then the overlap is only slight. This is a great addition to YA lit and I can't wait to see more from both of these authors both independently/with a separate author or independently.
Out December 10, 2013
4.5/5 dust spirits
*Thanks to Disney-Hyperion for providing me with an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.
I love being able to read books back to back, but seeing as I read an ARC that means I'll have to wait that much longer to see how it all ends, which means things kind of even out I guess. That being said I'm very glad the whole series comes out in 18 months and not 3 years, because I would go mad if I had to wait another year for book three. The first book set up this world where, along with the basic dangers dystopian society holds (dead land, animals, ect) you also have to be afraid of school. Although if you look around there are people who already are, granted they don't die if they fail. Honestly I wasn't really sure what to expect with book two, because the testing had ended and those that made it were in University, so the only thing I was thinking was that some sort of rebellion would be the main focus. While I wasn't entirely wrong I was also pleasantly surprised because although the death toll wasn't nearly as high there was still action and tricks and secrets that swirled around just like in the first novel. I feel like it still has that Hunger Games element that this time reminds me a little more of Catching Fire. Sometimes I think there are books that follow a set path too closely, and you could say that these books are very similar to Suzanne Collin's breakthrough idea, but at the same time they are different enough and have different underlying themes/ideas that it shouldn't be a problem. I enjoyed the fact that some of the mysteries from book one were solved while some were not, and new ones were presented. To me it's important to balance questions with answers or the reader will get bored with all of the things they don't have answers for, and Joelle perfectly keeps this balance so we get just enough that we stay intrigued but not enough that we don't care what will happen next. Although we're stuck with a cliffhanger it's not as huge as it could be, and for that I am grateful, but I'm still anxious enough that should they have ARCs of book three I hope to get my hands on one sooner rather than later. Once this series is over I hope that Joelle continues to write books for teenagers because I would love to see more of her work.
Out January 7, 2014
4.5/5 dust spirits
*Thanks to Secret Garden Books for letting me borrow an ARC of this book in return for an honest review
Today is the release of the prequel novella PROXY, which takes place before AVALON, which releases January 21, 2014. Most of the time these little novellas aren't a huge deal but this book, it's pitched as "a great match for fan's of Joss Whedon's "ult hit show Firefly". And if you're me you can't pass that up. So despite the fact that I have an ARC of AVALON I've waited patiently for this little novella to come out so I can dive head-first into the universe of the story. Mindee is hosting a giveaway in honor of this novella release, and I'm here to share a snippet of it for free. If you love it, or even just like it, you can splurge and spend .99 on it so you can read the whole 90 pages!
If you need something stolen from any star system in the Confederation, you need look no further than the Shades. Jeth Seagrave and his band of teenage mercenaries have been making a name for themselves for being able to steal anything—and for disappearing before anyone is the wiser.
Their latest job, a jewel heist on Grakkus, should be no different. But when Jeth's boss replaces a key member of his crew just before takeoff, and Jeth discovers a betrayal within his own ranks, he begins to suspect that not everyone is going to be coming back from his job alive.
Proxy is an action-packed introduction to a world like nothing readers have seen before.
The thrill of the job never got old. Jeth Seagrave
lived for it. For the way the anticipation sent electricity pulsing through his
veins, making his blood burn hotter, his heart beat harder, and sharpening his
senses until he felt like something more than human. A superhero from one of
the ancient myths of First Earth, perhaps.
You’re no hero. The
automatic thought skidded through his mind, barely registering. No, he wasn’t.
He was a thief. One of the best.
And that was all that mattered. Never mind that he was only
sixteen. Never mind that most of his crew was even younger. Together they were
an unstoppable force, a gang of teenage thieves their adult marks never saw
coming. The thrill pulsed harder inside him, and with an effort he focused on
the nav monitor in front of him. They would be entering the patrolled zone
around the planet Grakkus soon.
To his left, Celeste piloted the Debonair forward, her hands steady on the control column. Jeth
would’ve preferred to pilot this job—he would prefer to pilot every job—but he
and Celeste took turns. All of the members of the Malleus Shades held specific
roles that played to their strengths. Celeste’s forte was counterintelligence,
particularly the art of distracting marks. Jeth’s was strategy, and he
typically took point on every job. But when it came to piloting, he and Celeste
were equally matched.
Jeth drew a breath, still struggling to focus. He couldn’t help
it. The upcoming job was the most challenging, complicated one they’d taken on
yet. The target was located in a vault at the top of a tower only accessible
through the emperor of Grakkus’s personal bedchambers—not some insignificant
politician or petty crime lord, but an emperor.
Pulling it off would be like flying a spaceship through a solar storm without
getting fried. A grin threatened to break on his face. The job was going to be
fun, and with a payout well worth the risk.
At last the nav computer flashed an indicator that they were
heading into the patrolled zone.
Celeste glanced at him, her dark eyes narrowing. Straight black
hair hung in a blunt cut down to her shoulders. “Are you going to turn on the
stealth drive or what?”
“I’m thinking about it.” A part of him didn’t want to. The
so-called stealth drive was brand new and untested, at least by the Shades. If
it didn’t work, things were going to get a whole lot more interesting real
quick. And if it did work, well, then things weren’t going to get interesting. He couldn’t decide which he
In the end, Celeste made the decision for him, reaching over to a
switch on a sleek new section of the control panel. Jeth sighed. It was the
right thing to do, of course, and there would be plenty of risks to be had once
Or it might not work
properly, he thought, examining the nav monitor once more. Best not to
blindly trust some newfangled technology. Within minutes he spotted a blimp on
the monitor, a patrol to their starboard. The ship was far off, but within
range to scan them.
“What should I do?” A hint of panic colored Celeste’s voice. They
had never before flown so boldly through a patrolled area.
“Hold course,” Jeth said, not taking his eyes off the blimp. So
far the patrol ship hadn’t given any sign that it had spotted them.
“You sure you’re right?”
“Aren’t I always?”
Celeste snorted. “Do you want an honest answer?”
“Nope. I prefer my own version of the truth.”
“Right.” Celeste tightened her grip on the controls. According to
the instructions they’d received from their employer, who owned the Debonair, the stealth drive worked best
when the ship maintained a constant speed and course. Any sharp turns or
drastic acceleration or deceleration could turn up on a system scanning for
thruster signatures, stealth drive or no.
Maybe it was for the best that Celeste was piloting, Jeth
realized. He would’ve been tempted to test the theory of what constituted “drastic.”
They passed out of range of the patrol a few minutes later, and
Jeth sat back in the copilot’s chair, folding his arms across his chest as he
tried to ignore his disappointment. They flew within range of three more
patrols but moved past them without incident, finally breaching Grakkus’s
Once through, Celeste headed for their rendezvous point, an
isolated forested area a few hundred kilometers outside of the capital city.
Beyond the bridge’s main windows, the first rays of sunlight were breasting the
horizon, heralded by a swath of purple, pink, and vermillion.
At last Celeste set the Debonair
down on a large stretch of tall grass the color of seaweed. She powered off the
engines and turned on the auxiliary, which would keep the shipboard systems
running, including the stealth drive. It wasn’t likely that anyone would spot
them out here—the place was well off the main thoroughfares, not to mention how
inhospitable the swamp surrounding them was—but Jeth decided not to point that
Celeste stood and stretched, the movement languid as if she were
part cat. The dark, fitted clothing she wore aided the illusion. “So, what now?”
Jeth checked his watch, which he’d synced to Grakkus time. “I say
breakfast or lunch, whichever works, and then a couple hours’ R and R. The
setup man’s not due to arrive until fourteen hundred.” They’d had to get here
early to avoid being detected during landing. The stealth drive hid them from
sight, but it couldn’t disguise the sound of the engines or the wind raised by
“Think I’m going to shower again, before—” Celeste broke off as a
voice echoed over the ship’s comm system.
“Um, Boss? We sorta have a
situation. You might want to get down to the common room.”
Jeth blinked, all his disappointment from their unadventurous
journey vanishing in the space of a single breath. It wasn’t often that Will
Shady sounded nervous.
Wondering if maybe the ship was on fire, Jeth turned and headed
off the bridge with Celeste quick on his heels. They arrived in the common room
on the deck below moments later. Jeth stopped in the doorway, surveying the
scene. There wasn’t a fire. There wasn’t anything amiss at all, as far as he
could tell. Shady was sitting on one of the sofas, his attention focused on the
3D projection from his portable gaming system, a wave of bloodthirsty robots
coming at him, each one falling to his simulated gunfire. The comm unit he’d
used to radio the bridge sat discarded on the sofa beside him, in danger of being
swallowed by a cushion.
Jeth approached him. “What are you doing?”
“Practicing,” Shady said, not looking up. The scowl on his face
as he let off a triple blast, drilling a robot right between its bulbous black
eyes, made his features look distinctly leonine, the appearance aided by his
shaggy mane of blond hair. Shady’s assigned role in the Malleus Shades was
Jeth put his hands on his hips. “We’re not going to be shooting
anybody on this job. And please tell me this wasn’t the thing I needed to see.”
Shady shook his head. “Nope. It’s in that storage locker.” He
pointed to the row of lockers along the wall across from them. “The one in the
Jeth arched an eyebrow. He considered pressing Shady for more,
but knew there wasn’t much point. All the crew dealt with prejob nerves in
different ways, and once engrossed in his ritual video game, it was hard to get
Shady to concern himself with anything else.
Jeth crossed the floor to the locker in question, wondering where
the Debonair had been last. Their
employer used the ship for lots of different jobs, and it was possible it had
been parked planetside somewhere a wild animal could’ve gotten in. An image of
something furry and clawed and with teeth the size of fingers flashed through
Jeth’s mind. He wasn’t wearing a gun, and he briefly considered getting one
before finding out what had Shady so nervous, but then he shrugged and pulled
the door open.
There was something alive in there all right, but it wasn’t a
wild animal. Even still, it took Jeth several moments to come to grip with what
it was. Who it was.
You guys, this sounds like the start of something SUPER awesome and I can't wait to dig in. I don't know about you but I'll be buying this for my nook and reading it ASAP.
And here's a little bit about Mindee if you were curious!
Mindee Arnett lives on a horse farm in Ohio with her husband, two kids, a couple of dogs, and an inappropriate number of cats. She’s addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic, the macabre, and outer space. She has far more dreams than nightmares. She's the YA author of The Nightmare Affair (Tor Teen), an urban fantasy series about a girl who is literally a nightmare and must use her skills to solve a murder, and the forthcoming science fiction series, Avalon (B+B, 1/21/2014), where Jeth and his teenage mercenaries need to pull off one last big job in order to earn their freedom. You can find her online on her