ARC Review: The Body Institute-Carol Riggs

The Body Institute modified for Liz approvalGoodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBookscooltext1790897456 copyMeet Morgan Dey, one of the top teen Reducers at The Body Institute.

Thanks to cutting-edge technology, Morgan can temporarily take over another girl’s body, get her in shape, and then return to her own body—leaving her client slimmer, more toned, and feeling great. Only there are a few catches…

For one, Morgan won’t remember what happens in her “Loaner” body. Once she’s done, she won’t recall walks with her new friend Matt, conversations with the super-cute Reducer she’s been text-flirting with, or the uneasy feeling she has that the director of The Body Institute is hiding something. Still, it’s all worth it in the name of science. Until the glitches start…

Suddenly, residual memories from her Loaner are cropping up in Morgan’s mind. She’s feeling less like herself and more like someone else. And when protests from an anti–Body Institute organization threaten her safety, she’ll have to decide if being a Reducer is worth the cost of her body and soul…

cooltext1790896132 copy3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Entangled: Teen

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You’re into a health-conscious sci-fi world full of advocacy and violent protests
  • You like mysteries, murder, and suspense

PROS:

  • There’s some serious bullying. One of the chief questions of this story is whether we are defined by our bodies or our souls, if the inside is influenced so strongly by our outside appearance that when that appearance is lost, our soul starts to wither away. The story centers around people who need to lose weight or be faced with taxes so high, they’ll likely end up in poverty. Overweight people are treated as second-class citizens. It’s repulsive, heart-breaking, and completely degrading how often the overweight people get harassed. It was hard to read. The torment and ridicule, the things the bullies say are so mean it’s a wonder how the characters aren’t severely depressed. Carol Riggs does an amazing job getting at the heart of the insecurity, the sense of aloneness and feeling of being insignificant to their peers. Even though Morgan is a fit girl, experiencing the harassment Jodine got on a fairly regular basis made her open her eyes to the cruelty and injustice around her. 
  • The concept is really intriguing, having fit people (Reducers) body swap with overweight one to help them meet weight goals and fight rising taxes seems not that far off. The activism and rights issues, the protests, the violence, and the lies all build the tension up so you’re never quite certain what’s true and fake or if the Body Institute is all its cracked up to be. 
  • Intense, shocking scenes that you’ll never see coming. Some parts were unexpected, violent, and bleak, making you doubt any chance of a happy ending. 
  • Morgan is a kind-hearted, genuine girl who wants nothing more than to help people be healthy and find happiness. She takes risks to make sure that others can find a better life post-weight loss. When things get sketchy, more so than the massive amount of money she’s making, Morgan fights for her position for the body she’s occupying. Morgan knows she can make a difference and its her giving, wholesome heart that makes her likable. Sometimes Morgan will definitely surprise you.

CONS:

  • The ending was fast and easily resolved for being such a complex and highly illegal situation. After the initial fleeing for dear life and hiding, things simmer down relatively quickly, taking away from the danger and paranoia. 
  • Romance was minimal and kind of bland. The chemistry was low, their interactions were predominantly focused on exercise so that they don’t have moments where they get to know each other in a way where you feel a connection-it just sort of is. That key moment where things get fluttery and sweet was mixed in with hot and cold and then, boyfriend and girlfriend time? It was a leap for me. 
  • Secondary characters were barely in the plot and their interactions were too short to truly get a solid read on them or their relationship to Morgan besides what’s on the surface. 

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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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.

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Review: Puppet-Pauline C. Harris

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cooltext1544204149 copyPenelope lives in a world of advanced technology but many claim society has yet to catch up. Marionettes have advanced in the form of robots; lifelike creations remote controlled to perform super human tasks.

When Penelope makes a deal with Jed, a marionette-obsessed scientist, she doesn’t fully realize what she’s getting herself into. In order for Jed to take her away from the orphanage she lives in, she must first agree to undergo his experiments and tests, ultimately creating something no one ever dreamed possible; the first living marionette.

As Jed shows off his scientific creation to the world, concerns arise surrounding Penelope’s abilities and what she’s capable of doing. Ordered to somehow lessen her abilities, Jed makes a desperate attempt to change Penelope to make her more human, more vulnerable. After Penelope lies to the officials about her past, Jed makes sure it’s the last one she’ll ever utter. The truth is now the only thing she is capable of telling.

As Penelope struggles with her past, her disturbingly new present, and her uncertain future, she is thrust into a magically twisted world of mayhem in search of the one thing she wants, but knows she can never have. The chance to be just a girl again. To be normal. To be real.

cooltext1681280251 copy2/5 Stars

***I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Patchwork Press

PROS:

  • The cover is beautiful. It’s whimsical and stunning. The sense of brokeness and lack of agency is emphasized and the fact that half of Penelope’s face is hidden suggests a vulnerability and youth that resonates throughout the book.
  • Penelope and James are adorable together. They’re awkward and shy but their emotions are honest. The come together in a random burst of confession and ease into a calm, fulfilling infatuation. Romance was not the driving force behind the story and I think that that allowed for Penelope to grow.
  • Penelope’s struggle to cope with her past and the changes made to her body without her consent was written with passion and astounding emotion. At heart, Penelope is a good person, gentle and kind, and when she loses her ability to make decisions, it threatens her understanding of herself. It poses the question of guilt and whether or not horrible acts when forced to do them against our will change us and whether it’s possible to get past that.

CONS:

  • Puppet is extremely slow to start and doesn’t really pick up. 
  • Penelope is almost too introspective. There’s a consistent montage of her feelings and lack of control. Sometimes, it’s poetic and powerful. The helplessness and bleak reality of her position is brutal and others it’s too much of nothing going on but internal monologue. 
  • The role of the government and why she’s such a huge threat wasn’t explained and felt disconnected. The pieces were there but the glue that held them together was missing.
  • The carnival scene was random and Penelope’s reasoning was absent. Why Penelope made the choices she did in terms of action scenes wasn’t discussed and kind of contradicted Penelope’s consistent internal thought process and evaluation of her situation.
  • Descriptions of this book label it as a retelling of Pinocchio. That’s a bit of a stretch. If anything, it’s a role reversal. Human girl becomes marionette only to learn the value of her humanity.

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

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Pleasant reading,

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Blog Tour: Mirror X-Karri Thompson

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Mirror X by Karri Thompson

BLOG TOUR

November 17 – 21, 2014

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cooltext1602390596 copyCassie Dannacher wakes up in a hospital over 1,000 years into the future after her space capsule is retrieved from space. She soon learns that 600 years prior to her arrival, the earth was struck by a plague, killing over half of the world’s population. Naïve and desperate, Cassie, who longs for home and is having trouble adjusting to the new, dictatorial 31st century government, is comforted by Michael Bennett, the 20-year old lead geneticist at the hospital where she was revived.

But why is Cassie in genetics’ hospital in the first place, and why do several of the people around her seem so familiar, including Travel Carson, the hot and edgy boy she is fated to meet? Soon she discovers there is a sinister answer to all of her questions – and that they want something from Cassie that only she can give.

cooltext1608381603 copyMirror X is quite possibly one of the most disturbing and weird books I’ve ever read and that’s saying something. It’s creepy in the most vile and intrusive ways, getting under your skin and working its way through your system in the form of shock and disquieting foreboding. If you’re looking for the kind of chilling, goosebumps inducing, hair on end read without breaking into the horror genre, this is definitely for you.

For the full, original review post –> ARC Review-Mirror X

cooltext1608378938 copyMichael took a seat on the edge of my bed, rocking me toward him. When the side of my thigh met his knee, my heart rate doubled, and I drew in a deep breath.

“Before you were awakened I spent hours at your bedside imaging what you were like, how your voice would sound, how you looked when you smiled. When your red lips pulsed, when your chest heaved, and you took your first breath, I kept my emotions in check. But now, now that you’ve ‘awakened,’ everything is different. I can’t sleep. I can’t stop thinking about you.”

I ignored the pain and tilted closer until the space between our faces was less than a foot. My heart, my mind, my soul—everything yearned for his affection at that moment.

“I feel the same way, too.”

     I closed my eyes, wanting this handsome, earnest guy to take me into his arms and tell me he’d make them let me go. My lungs expanded with his warm breath and spicy scent. When his lips met mine, every atom in my body danced, urging me to pull him closer and tighten my grip upon his back.

His kissing became more fiery and I reacted by kissing him harder. It wasn’t until his mouth moved to my neck, that I came to my senses and drew away.

   “Not yet,” I said, scooting away.

“I know,” he said between breaths, rising from the bed. His wiped his forehead with the sleeve of his uniform and returned to the chair. “I can’t…we can’t. We can never…,” he said abruptly. “It’s against protocol. I-I should go.”

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Karri

Growing up in San Diego, California, Karri Thompson spent much of her years at the beach, reading novels, tanning, and listening to music. At SDSU, she earned a BA in English, MA in education, and her teaching credential. As a wife, mother, and high-school English teacher, she began writing novels, giving all of the compelling plots and unique characters in her head a home. Victorian literature rocks her socks, and when she’s not writing, jogging, going to concerts, or watching her son play football, she’s reading Dickens.

Find her at: http://www.karrithompson.com/

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Keep reading, 

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Promo: Freak of Nature (IFICS series) by Julia Crane

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Freak of Nature

Book 1 – IFICS series

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Donate Body to Science. Check.
When seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn checked the box, she never suspected she’d have her life–and her body–stolen from her. She awakens one day in a secret laboratory to discover that her body is now half-robot and is forced to hide her own secret: that she still has human emotions and a human mind. If the scientists who made her find out, they’ll erase what remains of who she was.

Kaitlyn finds an unlikely ally in Lucas, a handsome, brilliant scientist who can’t get over the guilt he feels knowing she was once a vibrant, beautiful young woman. He never expected a science project to affect him the way she does. As he tries to help her rediscover her past, he finds himself falling for the brave girl struggling to find her place and acceptance between the human and computer worlds.

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Julia crane is the author of the Keegan’s Chronicles, IFICS. She has a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Julia has believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Growing up her mother greatly encouraged reading and using your imagination.

Happy reading,

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Cover Reveal: Fatal Abduction-Julia Crane

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Fatal Abduction by Julia Crane

Book 3 – IFICS Series

New Adult Sci-fi

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There’s a serial killer at large. His victims just happen to resemble Kaitlyn—dark haired, pale skin and athletic build. Kaitlyn goes undercover, attending a prestigious high school to try to lure the killer into a trap and save the lives of other potential victims. Will she be able to catch the killer before his body count rises? Or will she become the next victim?

cooltext1609844075 copy

Donate Body to Science. Check.
When seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn checked the box, she never suspected she’d have her life–and her body–stolen from her. She awakens one day in a secret laboratory to discover that her body is now half-robot and is forced to hide her own secret: that she still has human emotions and a human mind. If the scientists who made her find out, they’ll erase what remains of who she was.

Kaitlyn finds an unlikely ally in Lucas, a handsome, brilliant scientist who can’t get over the guilt he feels knowing she was once a vibrant, beautiful young woman. He never expected a science project to affect him the way she does. As he tries to help her rediscover her past, he finds himself falling for the brave girl struggling to find her place and acceptance between the human and computer worlds.

Goodreads/Amazon/Barnes & Noble

*Warning 17+ due to sexual gritty topic and language.
Kaitlyn and Erik are sent on a mission to track down Vance Dasvoik, a ruthless monster. His latest thrill—abducting and selling young women.

Vance’s current victim: Aaliyah, a seventeen-year-old who never imagined walking her brother home from school one evening would change her life forever.

The mission quickly turns personal for Kaitlyn when she finds Aaliyah beaten, her mind and soul fractured from abuse of the worst kind. Kaitlyn knows firsthand what it’s like to be haunted by the past and resolves to bring justice to the elusive Dasvoik.

Goodreads/Amazon /Barnes & Noble

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Julia Crane is the author of the Keegan’s Chronicles, IFICS and many more. She has a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Julia has believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Growing up her mother greatly encouraged reading and using your imagination.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Happy reading,

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Teaser: Freak of Nature-Julia Crane

Freak of Nature

Book 1 – IFICS series

Donate Body to Science. Check.

When seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn checked the box, she never suspected she’d have her life–and her body–stolen from her. She awakens one day in a secret laboratory to discover that her body is now half-robot and is forced to hide her own secret: that she still has human emotions and a human mind. If the scientists who made her find out, they’ll erase what remains of who she was.

Kaitlyn finds an unlikely ally in Lucas, a handsome, brilliant scientist who can’t get over the guilt he feels knowing she was once a vibrant, beautiful young woman. He never expected a science project to affect him the way she does. As he tries to help her rediscover her past, he finds himself falling for the brave girl struggling to find her place and acceptance between the human and computer worlds.

Add to Goodreads/Amazon/Barnes & Noble

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Julia crane is the author of the Keegan’s Chronicles, IFICS. She has a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Julia has believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Growing up her mother greatly encouraged reading and using your imagination.

Website / Facebook / Twitter

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FreakofNature Teaser

Sounds amazing right? Definitely picking this one up.

Happy reading, 

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