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Under the Never Sky takes the reader into a dystopian future where people are confined to Pods – giant domes where they are forced to live. Life is comfortable in the dome for Aria, until she is accused of a serious crime and exiled into the wastelands outside. Fearing the electric storms that strike the earth as well as the stories of cannibals and savages that she has heard, Aria must find her way to her mother in order to clear her name and live on the inside once more. On her journey of survival, Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. They don’t trust each other, but form an uneasy alliance in order to get what they both seek. Little do they know that the other will hold the key to their salvation and a love they had never imagined possible.

Rossi’s debut novel is a wonderful YA fantasy/sci-fi romance that is well written and has an imaginative story line. The reader is entranced by the strange future that is described and feels Aria’s struggles as their own. She is on a quest to find her place in the world; to find her inner strength; to find the truth. Intertwined in this introspective journey is a story of friendship, trust, and love. Dystopian futures are all the rage right now in the literary world, and Rossi’s novel adds new depth and imagination to the trend. Under the Never Sky is a new must read for any fan of fantasy or YA fiction.

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book free from Epic Reads. However, this had no impact on my opinion of the novel or my review.

           Healing with Words is a memoir of a woman’s battle with cancer and her struggle to understand and heal her life afterwards. Diana Raab is diagnosed with breast cancer at the early age of 47 and manages to beat it, only to be diagnosed with an unrelated and incurable cancer 5 years later. Raab comes to use her journaling as a way of healing and validation. The book includes several personal journal entries as well as poems that have been written by the author and she has included writing prompts for readers to journal about their own cancer stories.

Raab’s memoir is very accessible to the reader. It flows in a natural, easy, and conversational way. Her poetry is intimate and allows the reader to see into her thoughts and emotions as she is dealing with her diagnosis and treatment. Raab never sugar coats the things she felt or experienced. Instead, she gives her honest feelings and opinions on everything from the doctors to the depression that came after surgery. The journaling prompts that are included are creative and urge the reader to recount parts of their own journey with cancer. Many readers who have suffered from cancer will find the exercises to be cathartic and perhaps even healing. This memoir is a fresh and honest piece that shows how cancer can touch everyone and the obstacles that one must overcome in order to survive it.

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book free from The Book Divas Group. However, this had no impact on my opinion or review of the book.

Jordan’s novel is set in a dystopic future that might not be too far away from where we are now. The story’s heroine, Hannah Payne, is arrested and turned into a “Chrome” for the crime of abortion. Criminals are injected with a virus that mutates the color of their bodies according to the crime they have committed. It is a very public form of humiliation and personal shame. These criminals are not incarcerated, but are freed into the world after their melachroming. The prejudice and hatred against these people is inhumane. Most are treated with contempt and malice, while others simply do not survive – either by killing themselves or by disappearing and then turning up dead in an alley or parking lot. Hannah was raised to be a good daughter and a God-fearing woman. When put on trial for her crime, she refuses to name the father of her child or the name of the abortionist – even though this will add years to her own sentence. After release from the Chrome ward, Hannah is thrust into a cruel world she had never encountered before and must learn the truth about herself, God, and the world around her if she wants to survive.

When She Woke is a modern update on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic The Scarlet Letter. This dystopic future seems so dark and cold, but when put into context, our society might not be so far from the one depicted in the novel. The plot of this story is wonderfully built and carried out with elegance and beauty. The characters, especially Hannah, are easy to identify and empathize with. The reader becomes a part of her cause and they will find themselves fighting for Hannah and her struggles. This is a genuinely inspiring novel showing the extreme obstacles people must overcome and how life may try to break you but you must never lose hope. It is a story of strength, perseverance, faith, and most of all, a story of self-discovery. I highly recommend this novel to everyone – especially those who like to root for the underdog and who wish to witness the beauty of life in all of its duality.

Leah is an ordinary girl living a normal life when her brother is violently murdered. Searching for answers about his death, Leah is confronted with a pack of ratlike creatures called Dernin. She is rescued by Merion, a mage, who takes her through a portal into a dimension full of fantastical creatures and an epic battle. She must decide if she will fight for the Creator or turn her back and let the Evil One and his minions overtake the land.

This book is full of adventure and fantasy. Peterson creates detailed characters and her descriptions bring the fantastical world of Armageddon to life for the reader. The plot may not be a new one, as it revolves mainly around the struggle of good versus evil, but it is a fresh look into the journey of a heroine that many readers are able to relate to. Chronicles of Armageddon reads like a more mature version of Chronicles of Narnia. I recommend it for fans of fantasy and sci-fi literature.

I received a complimentary copy of Chronicles of Armageddon as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team.  Visit dorrancebookstore.com to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team.

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This book is the first in a trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. It is the story of a vampire outbreak in New York – where vampirism is spread much like a disease; a virus. Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and Professor Abraham Setrakian, along with a band of misfit hunters, find themselves with the task of stopping the epidemic before it can spread. The vampire virus anatomically changes its prey and the result is a zombie-like monster with vampiric qualities. As Professor Abraham Setrakian puts it so well, “A strain of disease that is a corruption of both the flesh and the spirit (pg. 215).”

This book is a great read. It flows very well, although the storyline was a bit predictable. It seems that del Toro and Hogan have tried to update Stoker’s classic tale for the twenty-first century and they have succeeded. This trilogy reads like a blockbuster film and I wouldn’t be surprised it was made into one. Recommended for fans of science fiction and horror genres.

      It has been over a century since the Nor army invaded Mia’s homeland and gained control of the people via the Empire. Since that time, a rebel force known as The Underground have been learning the secrets of the mysterious drug “ku” and have been preparing an army of their own. The resistance’s only hope lies with Mia – a young shape shifter who has extraordinary powers and can wield the magic of ku like no other. Together with a band of vigilante Masters and Trademasters, they will overthrow the Empire’s rule or die trying.

This story is an action packed sci-fi adventure full of shape shifters, zombies, trolls, and all manner of otherworldly characters. Anthony brings the dystopic setting to life and the reader becomes part of the Underground’s cause while they struggle to overthrow the Empire. Characters in the story are separated into caste systems with those who know how to work the magic of the drug ku and are able to manipulate auras and enhance things at the pinnacle. This novel is a tale of survival, fighting for freedom, and a wonderful example of doing what you believe is right. The story was an easy read and flowed well. Any fans of science fiction and fantasy should read this book.