Saturday, June 27, 2015

Book Tour!! The Foreverland series by Tony Bertauski

I am so excited to be a part of this book tour, promoting Tony Bertauski's Foreverland series. This is a fantastic series that triggers a lot of thought into what reality truly is, and how to determine what is real and what is simply a dream. I had a great time reading these books, even though it took some brainpower to figure out just what was happening, and am proud to give these 3 books 5 out of 5 stars and a nice, shiny review.

The Complete Foreverland Saga.

When kids awake on an island, they’re told there was an accident. Before they can go home, they
will visit Foreverland, an alternate reality that will heal their minds.
Reed dreams of a girl that tells him to resist Foreverland. He doesn’t remember her name, but
knows he once loved her. He’ll have to endure great suffering and trust his dream. And trust he’s
not insane.
Danny Boy, the new arrival, meets Reed’s dream girl inside Foreverland. She’s stuck in the
fantasy land that no kid can resist. Where every heart’s desire is satisfied. Why should anyone
care how Foreverland works?

Six teenage girls wake with no memories. One of them is in a brick mansion, her blonde hair as
shiny as her shoes. The others are in a cabin, their names tagged to the inside of their pants. Their
heads, shaved. Slashes mark the cabin wall like someone has been counting.
Hundreds of them.
There’s wilderness all around and one dead adult. The girls discover her body rotting somewhere
in the trees. As the weeks pass, they band together to survive the cold, wondering where they are
and how they got there. And why.
When an old man arrives with a teenage boy, the girls learn of a faraway island called
Foreverland where dreams come true and anything is possible. But Foreverland is dead. In order
to escape the wilderness, they’ll have to understand where they are.
More importantly, who they are.

Tyler Ballard was in prison when his son created a dreamworld called Foreverland, a place so
boundless and spellbinding that no one ever wanted to leave. Or did. Now his son is dead, his
wife is comatose and Tyler is still imprisoned.
But he planned it that way.
The final piece of his vision falls into place when Alessandra Diosa investigates the crimes of
Foreverland. Tyler will use her to create a new dimension of reality beyond anything his son ever
imagined—a Foreverland for the entire world.
Danny, living outside of Spain since escaping the very first Foreverland, begins receiving
mysterious clues that lead him to Cyn. They are both Foreverland survivors, but they have more
in common than survival. They become pieces of another grand plan, one designed to stop Tyler
Ballard. No one knows who is sending the clues, but some suspect Reed, another Foreverland
survivor. Reed, however, is dead.
Everyone will make one last trip back to Foreverland to find out who sent them. And why.

My thoughts:
Like I said, I had a blast reading these books. Foreverland is a place that anyone would want to visit, free of rules in which one can get or do anything they want. Everyone dreams of a place like this, while sitting at their work desk or shuffling their kids off to various activities. What happens, though, when this desire is turned into a tool to manipulate and take advantage of the dreamers? I love how this series created an Inception-like world, where neither the characters nor the reader can distinguish between dream world and reality. The characters were both distant and relatable, similar to how I would envision people to be if they woke up without any memories in a facility they've been told is there to heal their minds. The suspicion, mystery, and confusion is clear from Danny Boy, Cyn, Reed, and all the other boys and girls of Foreverland, and this is used to keep the reader on his toes in a world where literally anything may be possible.

When I first started the second book, Foreverland is Dead, I wasn't sure where Bertauski was taking his story. It sounded very similar to the first book in the series, and I was concerned it would be a rehash with different characters. I don't think I could have been more wrong. I enjoyed how the boy and girl camps of Foreverland were intertwined and explained in the series, all the way through to the thrilling conclusion, once again nearly impossible to predict. I have already recommended this series to friends and colleagues who enjoy thrillers and reality-twisting plots, and will continue to recommend Bertauski's work whenever given the opportunity.

- Justin

Oh, and there's a giveaway!!! :D

Monday, June 1, 2015

Hopebreaker by Dean Wilson

I've only recently gotten into the Steampunk genre, but I've quickly fallen in love (I'm definitely blaming the fashion). Plus, it's no secret that I'm a fan of Dean Wilson's work, having a deep seated passion for mythology. When he messaged me about doing a review for his new steampunk series, I was understandably more than a little excited. The best part? I wasn't let down. Hopebreaker is a fantastic novel that truly opens up a new world, seamlessly intertwining steampunk into this tale of action and adventure, and certainly deserves 4 out of 5 stars.

In the world of Altadas, there are no more human births. The Regime is replacing the unborn with demons, while the Resistance is trying to destroy a drug called Hope that the demons need to survive.

Between these two warring factions lies Jacob, a man who profits from smuggling contraceptive amulets into the city of Blackout. He cares little about the Great Iron War, but a chance capture, and an even more accidental rescue, embroils him in a plot to starve the Regime from power.

When Hope is an enemy, Jacob finds it harder than he thought to remain indifferent. When the Resistance opts to field its experimental landship, the Hopebreaker, the world may find that one victory does not win a war.

My thoughts:
One thing that I'm still getting used to about novels that are part of a series is that a lot of information is left for the follow-up books to address. Hopebreaker drops the reader off right in the middle of the fighting between the Regime and the Resistance, and there is a lot of information given to the reader through conversations between characters, rather than simple exposition and plot. It can be confusing, but I believe that this makes for a very natural introduction into a new world, and makes for a more fast paced and entertaining novel. I am looking forward to reading the rest of this series to have all my questions answered regarding the demons, Hope, and just what Jacob has gotten himself into by working with the Resistance.

It takes a talented hand to develop an incredible world, particularly a dystopian world, destroyed by war, and Altadas is proof that Dean Wilson wields this kind of talent. There are not many lengthy descriptions, yet I feel as though I've been to Altadas simply by how the characters describe it (not that I would necessarily want to visit at this point in its history, of course).

While I don't know much about them yet, there is something to be said for how Wilson writes his characters. I can't help but envision Whistler and Jacob causing trouble while Taberah shakes her head and admonishes them. I am drawn into these characters' lives, and can't wait to read the rest of the series to learn more about their pasts, as well as what the future holds for them.

Well, there you have it. Another review of a great book by Dean Wilson (who apparently enjoys writing trilogies). I wonder if there's something to that.. Perhaps I shall ask him a few questions and see what his responses are :)

- Justin