Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











Blog Tour Imitation1

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

ImitationFrom Goodreads:

Everyone is exactly like me. There is no one like me.

Ven wrestles with these contradicting truths every day. A clone of wealthy eighteen-year-old Raven Rogen, Ven knows everything about the girl she was created to serve: the clothes she wears, the boys she loves, the friends she loves to hate. Yet she’s never met the Authentic Raven face-to-face.

Imitations like Ven only get to leave the lab when they’re needed—to replace a dead Authentic, donate an organ, or complete a specific mission. And Raven has never needed Ven . . . until now.

When there is an attack on Raven’s life, Ven is thrust into the real world, posing as Raven to draw out the people who tried to harm her. But as Ven dives deeper into Raven’s world, she begins to question everything she was ever told. She exists for Raven, but is she prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she’s never met?

__________________________________________________

Though the idea of clones is nothing new, Hildenbrand has created a completely unique storyline, giving an old idea new flight.  Imitation follows the life, or lack thereof, of Ven, a scientifically engineered “product” created to serve her authentic if the need ever arises.  What’s different here, though, is the fact that Ven and her friends know they are not “human.”  They’ve been told this from the beginning, when they first awoke as an imitation, and I found this aspect very interesting.  Knowing your purpose is to serve another changes things, quite literally.  The imitations have also been told they cannot feel emotions like love and sorrow, which further adds to Ven’s belief that she’s not human and, therefore, expendable.  As the plot unfolds, throwing Ven into the realm of the living, impersonating her authentic, Raven, in order to draw out a threat against Raven’s life, Ven must make the choice to either fulfill her purpose or to fight back.  Either way, especially with the kill switch in her arm and a growing love for bodyguard Linc, the going will not be easy.

I really liked that, unlike every other novel or movie I’ve seen concerning clones, the imitations in Hildenbrand’s novel are not just meant to be harvested for their parts should their authentic die.  Instead, these authentics know they’ll serve a purpose on the outside, and they’re trained in combat, are physically fit, and are ready for anything, because their purpose is quite broad—from total assimilation of the authentic’s life, to acting as an expendable decoy, to being used for parts, the options are endless.

I loved Ven’s struggle.  As soon as she’s on the outside, her “life” is thrown upside down.  The constant fear of death and fulfilling her purpose, along with the close calls, creates much anticipation for the reader.  I was extremely worried for Ven, and I couldn’t believe that Raven’s father, Titus, could be so cruel, continually taunting Ven with the threat of the kill switch—either die by his hand, or that of Raven’s attackers.  I can’t imagine being in her shoes.

Likewise, there is a mystery afoot.  Who is trying to kill Raven in the first place, and why?  How is Raven’s father, Titus, in cahoots with the creation of imitations?  And, why are more and more imitations suddenly flooding the city?  All these questions lead up to some awesome answers, twisting all we thought we knew and presenting a completely different picture, while some of these answers leave us with even more questions… especially as Hildenbrand leaves readers with a pretty big cliffhanger that left me yelling, that’s it?!

This is a great read that I highly recommend.  The writing is as beautiful as the cover.  Five stars.

5 stars

I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

AddtoGoodreads

Buy it on Amazon for just $3.99!

Don’t forget to pick up book two in the series, Deviation, as well!

IMITATIONTEASER (1)

Buy it on Amazon

______________________________________________________________________________

About Heather Hildenbrand

Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. (She’s only slightly socially awkward as a result.) Since 2011, she’s published more than eight YA & NA novels including the bestselling Dirty Blood series. She splits her time between coastal Virginia and the island of Guam and loves having a mobile career and outrageous lifestyle of living in two places. Her most frequent hobbies are riding motorcycles and avoiding killer slugs.

Heather is also a publishing and success coach bent on equipping and educating artists who call themselves authors. She loves teaching fellow writers how to create the same freedom-based lifestyle she enjoys. For more information visit www.phoenixauthorink.com and find out how to create your own Outrageous Life.

She is represented by Rebecca Friedman. You can find out more about Heather and her books at www.heatherhildenbrand.com.

Or find her here:

Facebook ~ Facebook Fan Page ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Newsletter

Hello From Guam!!!



GhostingFrom Goodreads: On a hot summer night in a Midwestern town, a high school teenage prank goes horrifically awry. Alcohol, guns, and a dare. Within minutes, as events collide, innocents becomes victims—with tragic outcomes altering lives forever, a grisly and unfortunate scenario all too familiar from current real-life headlines. But victims can also become survivors, and as we come to know each character through his/her own distinctive voice and their interactions with one another, we see how, despite pain and guilt, they can reach out to one another, find a new equilibrium, and survive.

Told through multiple points of view in naturalistic free verse and stream of consciousness, this is an unforgettable, haunting tale.

___________________________________________________________________

If you haven’t yet added this unique novel to your TBR pile, then I’m going to suggest that you do so right now. Written in free verse, this novel throws out exactly what each character is thinking as it happens, and while initially jarring, I found that I liked it very much. Readers easily know who is thinking and speaking as the sections are chunked, focusing on one character at a time, but it certainly isn’t a traditional novel in the sense of its flow.

Ghosting, told through the eyes of the many teens involved in the prank/misunderstanding, allows readers an up close and personal look at these teens inner and outter lives before and after the life-altering event. I have to say that it took a while to lead up to the event in question, painting a vivid portrayal of the characters lives, and it was as if I was their shadow, watching, knowing something bad was coming. This put me on pins and needles, and I liked how well I got to know all the characters as the plot slowly drove toward the event that changes everything. And once we are there, it all seems to then quickly tumble to its end as those involved attempt to heal in many ways. It’s beautiful, and the ark of a story is followed superbly as we build to the climax and resolution. Due to the way it’s written, this is actually a rather fast read, though it looks to be much longer than it really is, so do not let the size of the novel stop you from picking up this unique read. Four and a half stars.

4.5 starsI received an ARC of this novel from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon | Kindle (Only $3.99 at time of this post) | Barnes and Noble



The Girl From the WellFrom Goodreads: You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out.

The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as “Dexter” meets “The Grudge”, based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.

______________________________________________________________

This novel is intense—from the very beginning—and scary to boot! If you’ve seen The Ring, then you’re familiar with the insanely creepy girl that crawls out of the well, out of the TV, and into the life of strangers—to kill them. Well, that very frightening girl is indeed our narrator! Talk about scary! Now, while the narrator, Okiku, is the same ghost-like figure from the movie, this is not that story. Instead, Chupeco focused heavily on the Japanese folklore surrounding Okiku’s murder and her ghostly decision to murder child killers and protect the pure of heart.

Opening with Okiku standing on the ceiling observing a vile man who has murdered a young child, the introduction quickly escalates as Okuku removes all the lights and taunts the man as she appears in his mirror, crawls out of his bathtub, and ultimately sends him screaming to his watery death. INTENSE. I began this novel on a sunny afternoon, and I had chills as I descended into this amazing story. And it only gets better from there.

As the story progresses, we see other characters through Okiku’s eye and also learn more about her and why she is haunting the world—including the circumstances surrounding her death. As the living main character, Tark comes on the scene, the ghost’s interest is piqued, and we learn much about ancient Japanese beliefs, the spirit world, and exorcisms. Of course, I saved the novel for the nighttime because I do enjoy a good scare, and that’s exactly what I got…

The writing is unique, and our ghost, Okiku, is fascinated with numbers, hence, her constant counting throughout the novel. While generally a silent entity throughout, observing those around her but rarely speaking with them, we still learn so much about her and, as Tark’s darkness becomes ever more present, the things that go bump in the night will leave narrators completely and utterly petrified. I loved the characterization, and while not all the events seemed plausible to me in terms of how Tark’s father treated him, etc., the eerie nature of the novel has be almost believing in ghosts myself…

This novel is great–from the scare factor to the characterization, I was in love from the very beginning. Read it. You don’t want to miss this fantastic story. Five stars.

5 starsI received this novel from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review prior to its release tomorrow, August 5, 2014.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



Second StarFrom Goodreads: A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete’s nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she’s falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up–and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

_________________________________________________________________

I found this novel to be a very interesting rendition of Peter Pan, taking place on the oceanside instead of Neverland. Initially, I wasn’t sure I really liked the story. Wendy is wishy-washy, and while I was completely on her side in the hunt for her missing brothers, her tactics drove me crazy. Wendy just can’t seem to make up her mind–she loves Peter, she loves James. She loves Peter again, then back to James… and I was a little miffed with her back and forth “love affair,” secrets, and deceeits along the way. It actually wasn’t until Sheinmel threw in a twist near the very end of the novel that my perspective of the story changed, but change it did. The love story suddenly made sense, and every aspect that I previously had held qualms about dissipated. Yet one more reason that I insist on finishing every book I start—you never know what the author is going to throw your way.

Now, I’m not a surfer girl, and this novel definitely revolves around the sport and is what ties the entire story together from the get go. But, it also deals with a lot more than just surfing, such as drug use, which I found fascinating and little bit jarring since this is a modern Peter Pan.

Yes, it’s still a YA read, and no, I didn’t think the drug aspect was overpowering. There was actually a good message that went along with it, and though I never thought of Captain Hook as a drug dealer, well… Sheinmel fits it all together quite nicely, and I really loved how she tied in the Witch Tree, Fairy Dust, and flying from the fairytale to make it realistic and present day.

Overall, Second Star was indeed very well done, and I just can’t get over the ending that turned everything on its head–giving readers something to really mull over in terms of facts, and that, in truth, is what really made this novel for me. Four stars.

4 starsIn exchange for an honest review, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



13138635From Goodreads: It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
_________________________________________________________

I really enjoyed this novel in the beginning.  It caught my attention right away and drew me in—the spacecraft, the elegance, the social rift between Lilac and Tarver—I really enjoyed it all.  However, as the novel went on, I began to feel like their time on the planet was dragging on a bit too long for my liking.  It almost felt like Cast Away or The Life of Pi in that there were limited characters and little action as the story went on.  I tend to need constant interactions to stay focused, and there were definitely times that I felt this novel was lagging, but on the other hand, there were many times that it was fast-paced and interesting as well, especially when the phenomenon began to happen to Lilac.  I can’t go into much detail here without giving anything away, but know this: there is a creepy paranormal element that makes its way into this story, and it’s really unique and interesting.  I’m afraid it’s a little beyond my comprehension, as it were, because at the end there, I wasn’t sure exactly what was happening anymore, but even so, this curve in the story definitely took me by surprise and, when all’s said and done, I enjoyed it, even if I’m not 100% sure what exactly happened there at the end.

What I loved the most about the novel is that it’s a flashback.  We learn early on that Tarver is being questioned by higher ups about his time on the planet with Lilac, and as Tarver responds in clipped and sarcastic manners, we learn what he is attempting to hide from society, including his feelings for Lilac and exactly what happened on the planet.

The end leaves a little to be desired, which makes me wonder if there will be a sequel?  I didn’t feel like it resolved much, but in truth, it’s not a bad place to end their tale, either, so I guess we shall have to wait and see.  If you’re looking for something completely different with a side of creepiness, then I suggest you pick this one up.  Three and a half stars.

3.5 stars

Disney Hyperion has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on December 10, 2013



et cetera
%d bloggers like this: