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Black City Synopsis: In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable-they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed–but their feelings are too strong.
When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.
Phoenix Synopsis: Weeks after his crucifixion and rebirth as Phoenix, Ash Fisher believes his troubles are far behind him. He and Natalie are engaged and life seems good. But his happiness is short-lived when he receives a threatening visit from Purian Rose, who gives Ash an ultimatum: vote in favor of Rose’s Law permanently relegating Darklings to the wrong side of the wall or Natalie will be killed.
The decision seems obvious to Ash; he must save Natalie. But when Ash learns about The Tenth, a new and deadly concentration camp where the Darklings would be sent, the choice doesn’t seem so simple. Unable to ignore his conscience, Ash votes against Rose’s Law, signing Natalie’s death warrant and putting a troubled nation back into the throes of bloody battle.
Review: Ash is a halfblood – half Darkling (vampire)/half human. He’s brave and selfless and unwittingly falls for Natalie. Natalie’s views about the Darklings shift completely around when she gets to know Ash. And unlike Romeo and Juliet – instead of just their parents’ disapproval, they can be killed for being together. It makes for another element of danger and suspense while their sweet chemistry is palpable. The narrative switches back and forth between Ash and Natalie, gaining both their point of views.
Black City and Phoenix are the first two installments in a post-apocalyptic series based in the United (Sentry) States with mutated vampire-like creatures and human/animal hybrids. It’s a character-driven story with depth and emotion. And the story is fast-paced and full of mystery, suspense, and intrigue. This dark, romantic adventure series is an exciting read for mature young adults on up. Unique and surprising – I’ll definitely be following this exceptional series.
Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Ryan Hawthorn has spent his life on display as a human exhibit in the multi-eyed Pipe Men’s intergalactic zoo. When his father is accidentally poisoned, it’s up to Ryan and his seven-year-old sister, Becky, to scour the universe for the antidote. Along the way, they encounter many strange creatures—from the doglike Hottini to the spindly-legged, hairy Xaxor—and learn that the Pipe Men (or, as Becky calls them, “overgrown drainpipes”) are not kindly overlords, as they had been led to believe. It’s not only the humans who are planning to rebel!
Review: Though they live on Earth, Ryan’s family are the only ones who know about the Pipe Men and other aliens. Thompson’s universe and characters felt a bit like L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, where children visit unique aliens and young Becky is a genius intellect. The characters are vivid and eccentric.
Escape from the Pipe Men! is a fun and wild ride through space for young readers. It has the feel of a cartoon movie from Pixar, quirky and funny. With plenty of adventure, suspense, and humor – this fast-paced science fiction novel is exciting from start to finish.
One (1) winner will receive: • $25 Visa gift card to see the film • T-Shirt, Sunglasses w/ Microfiber Cloth & Notepad
Prizing valued at $45 Prizing provided by Universal Pictures
R.I.P.D. Synopsis: Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds headline the 3D supernatural action-adventure R.I.P.D. as two cops dispatched by the otherworldly Rest In Peace Department to protect and serve the living from an increasingly destructive array of souls who refuse to move peacefully to the other side.
Veteran sheriff Roy Pulsifer (Bridges) has spent his career with the legendary police force known as R.I.P.D. tracking monstrous spirits who are cleverly disguised as ordinary people. His mission? To arrest and bring to justice a special brand of criminals trying to escape final judgment by hiding among the unsuspecting on Earth.
Once the wise-cracking Roy is assigned former rising-star detective Nick Walker (Reynolds) as his junior officer, the new partners have to turn grudging respect into top-notch teamwork. When they uncover a plot that could end life as we know it, two of R.I.P.D.’s finest must miraculously restore the cosmic balance…or watch the tunnel to the afterlife begin sending angry souls the very wrong way.
R.I.P.D. is directed by Robert Schwentke (Red) and produced by Neal H. Moritz (Fast & Furious series, I Am Legend), Mike Richardson (Hellboy, Hellboy II: The Golden Army) and Michael Fottrell (Fast & Furious series, Live Free or Die Hard).
Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 30th. I’ll draw names on July 31st, and notify winners via email.
Synopsis: A gifted illusionist, Anna assists her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage shows and seances, easily navigating the underground world of magicians and mentalists in 1920s New York. For Anna, the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini – or so Marguerite claims – handcuffs and sleight-of-hand illusions have never been much of a challenge. The real trick is keeping her own gifts secret from her mother: because while Marguerite’s power may be a sham, Anna possesses a true ability to sense people’s feelings and foretell the future.
But as Anna’s powers intensify, she experiences frightening visions of her mother in peril, which lead her to explore the abilities she’s tried so long to hide. And when a mysterious young man named Cole moves into the flat downstairs, introducing Anna to a society that studies people with gifts like hers, she begins to wonder if there’s more to life than keeping secrets.
As her visions become darker and her powers spin out of her control, Anna is forced to rethink all she’s ever known. Is her mother truly in danger, or are Anna’s visions merely illusions? And could the great Houdini really be her father, or is it just another of Marguerite’s tricks?
Review: Anna is a talented performer, even better than her mother who insists on being the center of attention. Anna feels obligated to protect her flighty and frivolous mother. And Anna especially wants to keep her actual psychic abilities a secret. Cole is a mysterious young man who share chemistry with Anna. But there’s also Owen who is fun and lets Anna be carefree for a while. Meanwhile, Houdini is in town. Anna has mixed feelings towards him. She isn’t sure he’s her father yet feels a connection to him. And he’s also her competition – while he debunks her livelihood.
Born of Illusion is a dark and beautiful tale of mystery, drama, and romance. It’s a coming of age story, where Anna blossoms and finally takes a stand. This standalone fantasy is unique and captivating. I love reading about Houdini, and appreciated how the author approached his character in the story – with a nice homage and several historical facts. Events build to an exciting and satisfying conclusion. Though it works well as a standalone, there were a few questions left unanswered that will leave readers eager for the next in this captivating new series.