Review: The Conspiracy of Us-Maggie Hall

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cooltext1889161239 copyA fast-paced international escapade, laced with adrenaline, glamour, and romance–perfect for fans of Ally Carter.

Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead. To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family–but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she’s falling in love with.

cooltext1889171582 copy3/5 Stars

The Conspiracy of Us is a thrilling mystery rich in historical puzzles and political intrigue. Part treasure hunt and wild goose chase, The Conspiracy of Us is a whirlwind of adrenaline, violence, and pageantry.

PROS:

  • The historical reference to Alexander the Great, Egypt, and the trek across the world scrambling for clues was colorful and engaging. Glimpses of Paris, Istanbul, and other countries were a cultural explosion of light. The 12 houses, their symbols, the genetics, it all combined for layers of lies, deceit, and mystery that gave the story a very Da Vinci Code
  • Stellan, be still my Slav loving heart! Deadly, semi-vicious, enigmatic, Stellan has a bad boy image with dazzling good looks. Underneath the deadly exterior is a playful flirt whose emotions are sporadic. One moment hot, the next murderous, you never know quite what you’re going to get. Besides his mystique, Stellan is after Avery’s heart. It goes beyond the questionable nature of her heritage, the pet name he gives her, the accent, his love for his sister will melt your heart.
  • Luc was a pleasant surprise of a character. He’s got flair and style, he’s charismatic and deep, there’s something about him that you can relate to.
  • There was a twist that took a supernatural turn that was so unexpected that it left me reeling, had no idea where it came from. THAT ENDING.

CONS:

  • Plot clues were blatant and so obvious that it was easy to stay steps ahead of the characters (for the most part). Parts that should have shocked fell flat because there were so many clues. At the same time, the clues left by Emerson were bare bones hints that were near impossible to sift through. How Avery and Jack make sense of them is a tad farfetched and oddly enough, too simple.
  • Avery lacked development. There wasn’t a lot of personal or emotional information about her. I had a hard time connecting with her because so much of who she is as a person was missing. I had several questions about this mysterious, closed-off girl that were left unanswered. Avery’s likes and dislikes, her passions were left out and it made it difficult to attach a distinct personality to her character.
  • Chemistry between Avery and Jack was off. Their actions are overwhelming and disconnected. The extent of Avery’s feelings and the escalation didn’t add up, there wasn’t substantial build up or even instalove…It just was and it seemed random.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Trailer Reveal & Giveaway: The Six-Mark Alpert

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Release Date: July 7, 2015

cooltext1889161239 copyAvatar meets The Terminator in this thrilling cyber-tech adventure…

Adam’s muscular dystrophy has taken his motility, his friends, and in a few short years, it will take his life. He takes solace in playing video games he’s programmed to reflect the life that he used to have. Virtual reality is the one realm where he can be the hero, and it’s where he chooses to spend his time, until an entity called Sigma tries to kill him.

A dangerously advanced artificial intelligence program created by Adam’s computer-genius father, Sigma has escaped its cyber prison and is threatening global destruction and domination. But Adam’s father has a plan. He will stop Sigma by using the technology he developed to digitally preserve the mind of his dying son.

Adam’s consciousness is uploaded into the body of a weaponized robot, along with a group of five other gifted teens who are terminally ill. Together, they must learn how to manipulate their new mechanical forms and prepare for combat before Sigma destroys humanity. Adam can finally play the hero for real, but will his new body be worth the sacrifice of his human existence?

This innovative and thought-provoking young adult debut, from the critically acclaimed author of adult thrillers Final Theory and The Omega Theory, questions what it means to be human and whether we are destined to be defined by our physical bodies or our intellect.

cooltext1921345213 copyShannon rears back in her seat as if she’s been slapped. “And where are you going to store the copies of our brains?” Her voice is furious. “In a supercomputer? A big electronic prison?”

Dad doesn’t take offense. He answers her calmly. “The scanning process converts human intelligence to a digital form, allowing it to run on any neuromorphic computer that has enough memory and processing power. But in the initial stage right after the transfer, we believe it’s important to connect the intelligence to a machine that can move around and sense the outside world. A human intelligence is accustomed to controlling a body, so if we want to preserve its sanity, we’d better give it something to control. Here, let me show you.”

He puts the vial of nanoprobes back in his pocket and pulls out something else, a small remote–control device. He points it at the doorway beside the stage, and a moment later I hear a loud clanking. The noise startles the soldiers standing by the doorway. They step backward, flattening themselves against the wall. Then a seven–foot–tall robot emerges from the doorway and brushes past them.

The robot strides across the stage. It has two arms and two legs, but otherwise it isn’t very humanlike. It has no head or neck. Its torso is shaped like a giant bullet, with the rounded end on top. Its legs angle downward from the base of its torso and rest on oval steel–plate footpads that clang against the floor.

The machine marches briskly past the podium and stops in front of my dad, who presses a button on his remote control. This command extends the robot’s arms, which telescope to a full length of six feet. They look like multi–jointed tentacles. The machine’s hands, though, resemble human hands, with dexterous mechanical fingers and thumbs.

Dad presses another button, and the robot’s rounded top starts to turn like a turret. “The cameras and acoustic sensors are up here,” Dad says, pointing at the top end. “But the neuromorphic electronics are deep inside the torso, encased in armor plating. These robots were originally designed for the war in Afghanistan, so they’re pretty sturdy.” He raps his knuckles against the torso. “All in all, it’s an excellent platform for a newly transferred intelligence, but really it’s just the beginning. The whole point of the Pioneer Project is to bridge the gap between man and machine, and that means the human intelligences must explore their new environment. The Pioneers will have to learn how to use their new capabilities, and that includes transferring their intelligences from one machine to another.”

His voice grows louder again, full of enthusiasm. “Once the Pioneers have mastered these tasks, our hope is that they’ll be able to establish a connection with Sigma. If all goes well, they’ll start communicating with the AI before it launches any of the Russian missiles. And then the toughest challenge will begin. At the same time that the humans are learning how to be machines, they’ll have to teach Sigma how to be human.”

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cooltext1892192940 copyRafflecopter Giveaway Link for Sourcebooks Fire Sci-Fi Book Pack including a copy of The Six by Mark Alpert (Runs June 11-June 23rd) US and Canada only

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cooltext1889178114 copyMark Alpert is a former editor at Scientific American, and the author of several adult thrillers. He’s been praised by Douglas Preston as the “heir to Michael Crichton.” Visit Mark online at markalpert.com.

Website/Twitter/Facebook

Keep reading,

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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Twists in Time Anthology-Various

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Title:  Twists in Time
Authors:  Various
Published:  June 16th, 2015  
Publisher:  Clean Teen & Crimson Tree Publishing
Genre:  Science Fiction, Time Travel
Content Warning:  Some stories may include mild violence and language.
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 What would happen if time, the fragile thread that both leads and binds us, could be unwound as simply as untying a knot? Would we go back, charging through our own history, changing and tweaking, plucking at that fragile thread until time itself unraveled all around us? Would we create countless universes through which we could live our fantasies—or would we become our own nightmares? Would we blaze ahead, reckless and wild, into our own futures? Would we become our own heroes, or would we become villains?
 
 
Join us for a series of stories that explore time, through the eyes of those bold enough to conquer it, and foolish enough to try to control it. From the award-winning team of authors at Clean Teen Publishing, Twists in Time will both entertain and challenge the way you see the world around you. Because when one finds a way to break the barrier of time, endless worlds of possibilities emerge.
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 Author Montage

Featured Authors and Stories: 

“After Time” by Sandy Goldsworthy
“The Fall” by Holly Kelly
“The Kiss of Time” by Amanda Strong
“With a Grain of Sand” by Kathy-Lynn Cross
“The Before Sky” by Sherry D. Ficklin
“What You Wish For” by Kelly Risser
“Tides of Time” by Julie Wetzel
“It’s The Little Things” by Jon Messenger
“Romeo and Juliet Times Infinity” by Kasi Blake
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Clean Teen Publishing Links:
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There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following: A bookmark swag pack and winner’s choice of any Clean Teen Publishing eBook. Giveaway is International.
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Pleasant reading,
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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Shattered Memories-Susan Harris

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Title:  Shattered Memories
Author:   Susan Harris
Published:  June 16th, 2015
Publisher:  Clean Teen Publishing
Genre:  YA Dystopian Thriller
Content Warning:  Adult language, graphic violence, and sexual content
Recommended Age:  16+
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     A terrible tragedy forced Alana McCarthy to forget a year of her life. Now she is to be executed for a crime she does not remember committing—the murder of her entire family. Lost and alone, Alana is terrified of unlocking secrets buried so deep inside her mind that she’s willing to forget the one person who could set her free.
     Daniel Costello hasn’t forgotten about Alana, and he will do anything and everything to protect the girl he loves. But first, Alana needs to unlock her memories and find out the truth about what happened the night her family was killed.
     The day of her execution is set. Together, will Alana and Daniel be able to uncover the truth behind her family’s deaths before it’s too late?
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     Suddenly I was angry… angry at my parents for dying and leaving me alone… angry at Sophia for being too small to defend herself… angry at Daniel for giving me false hope… angry at myself for letting pathetic fantasies take over my mind.
     I jumped off the bed and screamed. The next thing I knew I had used what little strength left to overturn the bed, scattering all the bedding to the floor. I took one of the pillows and beat it across the wall. Then I kicked the bin with such force it smashed into the door with a sickening thud.
     While continuing on my furious rampage, the door slid open and strong arms captured me from behind, holding my own in place. I struggled to break free and kicked out, but those arms would not let me go. I cried in frustration and tasted the saltiness of the tears on my lips.
     “Shush, Alana, please… come on… calm down for me or else they are going to shock you. Hurts like a bitch. Come on, girl… shush. I got you.”
     Connors’ voice sounded in my ear, and he kept shushing me until I stilled in his arms. My legs gave out, and we both went to the floor. Connors loosened his grip on me but still held me tight. My sobs became louder, and the pain in my chest was so bad that I thought I was dying. Through my sobs, I heard Connors say that I was okay and to please just give him a minute. I heard someone argue with him, and he snarled and told them to piss off. The tears soaked my top, and I felt nothing but tiredness as I shoved against Connors, needing to breathe. He did not let go.
      My god, I felt so lost. I closed my eyes and screamed out the last of my frustration and anger before tiredness won out. I gave in and let the darkness pull me under.
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Susan Harris is a writer from Cork in Ireland. An avid reader, she quickly grew to love books in the supernatural/fantasy genre. When she is not writing or reading, she loves music, oriental cultures, tattoos, anything Disney and psychology. If she wasn’t a writer she would love to be a FBI profiler or a PA for Dave Grohl or Jared Leto.

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Clean Teen Publishing Links:

cooltext1892192940 copyThere is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following: A bookmark swag pack and winner’s choice of any Clean Teen Publishing eBook.  Giveaway is International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Happy reading,
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