Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Blog Tour: Shattered Minds by Laura Lam (Guest Post + Giveaway)

(Check out the full schedule of the Blog Tour HERE)

Adult, Thriller, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publication.Date:June 15, 2017
Published By:  Tor Books
Website:Laura Lam

Shattered Minds on Goodreads
Where to get:


She can uncover the truth, if she defeats her demons

Ex-neuroscientist Carina struggles with a drug problem, her conscience, and urges to kill. She satisfies her cravings in dreams, fuelled by the addictive drug ‘Zeal’. Now she’s heading for self-destruction – until she has a vision of a dead girl.

Sudice Inc. damaged Carina when she worked on their sinister brain-mapping project, causing her violent compulsions. And this girl was a similar experiment. When Carina realizes the vision was planted by her old colleague Mark, desperate for help to expose the company, she knows he’s probably dead. Her only hope is to unmask her nemesis – or she’s next.

To unlock the secrets Mark hid in her mind, she’ll need a group of specialist hackers. Dax is one of them, a doctor who can help Carina fight her addictions. If she holds on to her humanity, they might even have a future together. But first she must destroy her adversary – before it changes us and our society, forever.


“Riveting.” ―F. Paul WilsonNew York Times bestselling author

“A multilayered, suspenseful thriller, False Hearts explores themes of identity and power in a breakneck plot that keeps the pages turning.” ―Ilana C. Myer, author of Last Song Before Night

“An ingenious premise, and Laura Lam executes it flawlessly. Gritty and wise, your own pulse will be racing as you get caught up in this exciting tale.” ―Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Red Planet Blues

“A taut futuristic thriller, set in a San Francisco where everybody is beautiful... and nobody is exceptional. Two unusual sisters are caught in a war for control of a society that quietly suffocates its outsiders, rebels, and the damaged. Taema and Tila are all three, and their strange past and unique bond make False Hearts a difficult book to put down.” ―A. M. Dellamonica, author of Child of a Hidden Sea

“A smart debut from someone who's clearly got what it takes.” ―Peter F. Hamilton, author of the Commonwealth Saga

Guest Post:

A genie grants you three writing-related wishes: what are they and why?

We may as well reach for the stars here, as they are wishes, after all!

1. To really have my work connect with readers on a larger scale. So far, I’m an author that tends to get good reviews and has a smallish but very loyal reader base. It’s not like I expect to sell Gone Girl levels of books or anything, but I would like to know that if I have an event, I’m unlikely to be the only person there. I’d like to know that there’s a ready audience out there excited to read what I put out, that I’m entertaining people and making them happy. If we’re wishing for the stars, consistently being a bestseller would be amazing. But it’s not something I expect or feel I am owed. I’m OK with slowly and steadily building my readership.

2. To banish (most of) my writer self-doubt. I write fairly quickly (so far in 2017 I’ve written around 145,000 words of fiction and nonfiction), but I’d write more and better if I wasn’t constantly terrified. I procrastinate in very creative ways before I settle down and actually get the words on the page. I wouldn’t want to lose all of that fear, as then I might not work as hard to make my books the best they can be. A little bit of fear is good for you. But I’d like to not be as frozen with self-doubt.

3. To get all the books I have in my head out into the world. I currently have a queue of about ten I want to write, with glimmers of ideas that might become more. Nothing excites me more than that initial buzz of the idea, or that moment when I hold the book in my hands for the first time. I have so many stories I want to share with people, and I hope I can do that.

And, you know, I wouldn’t say no to a film or a TV sow based on my work :)

About the Author:

Laura Lam was born in the late eighties and raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams.
After studying literature and creative writing at university, she relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, a boy she met online when they were teenagers and he insulted her taste in books and she insulted his right back. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn’t. She is now a dual citizen, but at times she misses the sunshine.
While working a variety of jobs from filing and photocopying endlessly at a law firm to library assistant to corporate librarian, she began writing in earnest. Her first book, Pantomime, the first book in the Micah Grey series, was released in 2013, which was a Scottish Book Trust Teen Book of the Month, won the Bisexual Book Award, was listed a Top Ten Title for the American Library Association List, and was nominated for several other awards. Robin Hobb says “Pantomime by Laura Lam took me into a detailed and exotic world, peopled by characters that I’d love to be friends with . . . and some I’d never want to cross paths with.” The sequel, Shadowplay, followed in 2014, as well as several the Vestigial Tales, self-published short stories and novellas set in the same world. The third book in the series, Masquerade, will follow in 2017.
Her newest book is False Hearts, a near-future thriller released in June 2016 by Tor/Macmillan and in three other languages. Peter F. Hamilton calls False Hearts “a strong debut from someone who’s clearly got what it takes.” Another thriller, Shattered Minds, will be released in 2017.
She is still hiding from sunshine in Scotland and writing more stories.


--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
3 Winners will receive both FALSE HEARTS and SHATTERED MINDS by Laura Lam 

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Book Review: Burntown by Jennifer McMahon

Adult, Thriller, Mystery
Publication Date:April 25, 2017
Pages:287 (Hardcover)
Published By:  Doubleday Books
Website:Jennifer McMahon

Burntown on Goodreads
My review copy:
Received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Where to get:


The New York Times best-selling author of The Winter People and Promise Not to Tell returns with a riveting psychological thriller in which an unresolved murder haunts a family for generations, forcing one daughter into a life of hiding and concealed identity to escape a deadly threat.

On a brilliantly sunny summer afternoon, ten-year-old Miles Sandeski witnesses the murder of his mother as she sunbathes in their suburban backyard. When he emerges from a hidden play space to disrupt the crime, Miles scares off the killer, but he is left with a powerful clue that will compel him to pursue the murderer and seek an understanding of the horrifying event for decades. 

Years later, secretly aware of the killer's identity and what he is after, Miles will try to protect his teenage daughter from becoming the next victim--the murderer wants something, held within Miles' family in the small industrial New England town of Ashton, and will fatally pursue each generation for what's desired. 

Burntown unfolds as the story of Miles's daughter when she emerges from an incident intended to kill her, with a loss of memory and a total dislocation from the life she has known. Necco, as she comes to be known, embarks on a life as a kind of fugitive, hiding as an outsider in the town's abandoned corners Ashton's underbelly, Burntown reliant on kind strangers for her survival: a boyfriend who is himself a run-away, the mystical women known as "the fire eaters" who give her shelter in a camp by the river, practicing sooth and seeing through the altered reality of powerful herbs they call "The Devil's Snuff," Theo, a high-school senior who finds herself caught up in a romantic affair that compels her to sell drugs to students and teachers at Our Lady of Hope high school, and Pru, the cafeteria lady there, Theo's best customer, who dreams of being beautiful, talented, and adored in another life. 

The lives of these misfits lost teens and adults intersect in a crime that implicates them all, and as they flee the police and the real killer who continues to hunt Necco, a story unfurls that is edge-of-your-seat suspenseful with classic Jennifer McMahon twists and surprises."


"You never know. My mama always said it's the people no one notices who are most full of surprises".
But she understands now that if you open a door, anything might come through.

     From the author of Winter People and The Night Sister, comes yet another multi-generational, intricately woven thriller/murder mystery with subtle supernatural undertones and remarkably rich cast of characters. Burntown is different from Jennifer's two previous novels, in both the atmosphere and overall tone of the book (it's less creepy, but somehow more unsettling and emotionally affecting). I'd definitely say it's less Stephen King, and more Dean Koontz, if you know what I mean. And let me tell you, guys, Jennifer has been on my auto-buy list for a while now, and every time I pick up her new book, I am reminded exactly why that is. She's just so good at twisty, edge-of-the-seat thrillers that have a beating heart at the core of it all. And while Burntown isn't my favorite of her books (I'd say Winter People takes the podium there), it is definitely a well-plotted, fast- paced page-turner that is very much worth your while. 

     At first, the vibe I got from this book was more sinister and reminiscent of Frequency (the 2000's movie), but as the story unraveled, and new characters were introduced, I realized this was more of a deftly plotted murder mystery, than a ghastly, bone-chilling thriller. And that's not a bad thing at all, as I found myself really hooked on the story line, trying to guess ahead and solve the puzzle (which wasn't easy at all, let me tell you that). 

      I must admit that I felt rather teased by the fantasy/supernatural aspect of the plot. I was hoping that part would be explored further (as in, the special phone would play a bigger part). The way the plot unraveled left me craving more. Initially, I assumed the lost (or stolen, if you will) Edison's secret invention that allows you to communicate with the dead would be at the core of the story, and we would eventually get to see it in action again, in some super creeptastic, hair-raising scene. Well, that didn't happen. Aside from the two brief scene-setters that took place in the past and were the catalysts to the events centering Eva in the present, the supernatural aspect came down to the Fire Breathers and their ability to see beyond the veil after using the Snuff. 

    That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed putting pieces of the puzzle together and figuring out who-dunit. Some parts of the story were a bit predictable, while others left me genuinely surprised and pleased. I must also add, that I really connected with the characters in this story, especially Eva and Theo. I appreciated how diverse the cast was, too. I loved Pru and her little circus full of dreams and magic. And I loved the (very, very subtle and barely present, yet thoroughly satisfying) romance between Pru and Fred. It was a nice little cherry to top off the captivating read. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Book Review: Release by Patrick Ness

Young Adult, Contemporary with fantasy elements.
Publication Date:September 19, 2017
Pages:288 (Hardcover)
Published By:  Harper Teen
Website:Patrick Ness

Release on Goodreads
My review copy:
Received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review

Where to get:


Inspired by Judy Blume’s Forever and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, this novel by award-winning author Patrick Ness is a new classic about teenage relationships, self-acceptance—and what happens when the walls we build start coming down. 

Adam Thorn doesn’t know it yet, but today will change his life.

Between his religious family, a deeply unpleasant ultimatum from his boss, and his own unrequited love for his sort-of ex, Enzo, it seems as though Adam’s life is falling apart.  At least he has two people to keep him sane: his new boyfriend (he does love Linus, doesn’t he?) and his best friend, Angela.

But all day long, old memories and new heartaches come crashing together, throwing Adam’s life into chaos. The bindings of his world are coming untied one by one; yet in spite of everything he has to let go, he may also find freedom in the release. 

From the New York Times-bestselling author of A Monster Calls comes a raw, darkly funny, and deeply affecting story about the courage it takes to live your truth.

Never pass up the chance to be kissing someone. It's the worst kind of regret.
Blame is a human concept, one of its blackest and most selfish and self-binding.
They're your parents. They're meant to love you because. Never in spite. 
Blame is something that is shared and denied in equal measures.

     There's no denying the fact that Patrick Ness is a literary prodigy. Every single book he sends out into the world is amazing in its own unique and unforgettable way, and his latest one, Release, is no exception. There's no preparing yourself for the tour de force that is Ness' storytelling either, for every single one of his books is so very different from the last one. He is such an eclectic writer - dipping his toes in fantasy, science fiction, realistic issue-driven fiction and more lighthearted, though still thought provoking contemporary fiction - and I have immense respect for him. 

     Release is, in many ways, a genre breaker. There are two storylines that for the most part of the book seem completely disjointed and unrelated to one another to the point you start wondering if perhaps there was a printing mistake and you ask yourself: are these two different books I'm reading? How will all of this come together? And it's not just a matter of two separate plot lines that seem disconnected, it's also that those two storylines are two completely different genres. 

     In the first storyline, we spend one day following seventeen years old Adam Thorne, watching his life slowly come apart at the seams, as everything he holds dear is ripped away from him. Between dealing with his homophobic and judgmental family, saying good-bye to his ex-boyfriend Enzo, and having to dodge unwanted advances from his gross boss Wade, Adam's life is quickly spiraling out of control and his only hope is to find peace in the release. In saying good-byes and realizing that the end of one thing can be the beginning of something else, and there are days when the best thing we can do, is to simply let go.

     The second storyline centers around a girl that was chocked unconscious and then thrown into the lake with bricks in her pockets by her junkee boyfriend, the Queen and the Faun. Yep, you've got that right. We are following a dead girl, and two fantastical creatures on a quest to find the release and let go, much like what Adam Thorne has to do, only... well, different. Initially, I wasn't quite sure what to make of this part of the book. It was undeniably a beautifully written, mesmerizing and moving story, but I was confused as to how it all fit with Adam's story. And I can't tell you much about that without spoiling the ending for you, but definitely trust in Ness' ingenius plotting skills, and you'll be rewarded with a phenomenal, incredibly well-crafted, poetic ending. 

     Release deals with some real heavy, hard-hitting issues, including sexual assault, homophobia, drug abuse, murder, family issues and more. It's not an easy book to read, though Ness handles all those topics with incredible sensitivity and grace. There are parts of this book that can be very upsetting, particularly the ones with Adam and his preacher father. Adam's father is very religious and very, very strict. His character doesn't have any redeemable qualities at all, he's cold, unforgiving (even though he preaches forgiveness) and, well, downright homophobic. Reading about everything Adam had to endure at home, from his own parents and brother, made my heart ache. When Adam finally gathers the courage to come out to his dad, he gets no support whatsoever and is instead told to basically "pray it away". Another character that I'm not too fond of tells Adam that his "kind of love" is not real love and he should try harder to be normal. However, it is really important to mention that all those (horrible, disgusting, abhorrent) views are always challenged - usually right after they happen, sometimes later on in the story. It is made very clear that this kind of thinking is completely unacceptable. 

      Overall, Release is a short but very meaningful book that will stay with you long after you turn the last page. It's a heartfelt and genuine portrayal of real teens with their complex feelings and struggles. The cast of main and secondary characters is incredibly vivid, believably flawed and oh-so-beautifully realized. Prepare to be profoundly affected and forever changed. 

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