Follow-up to the multiple award-winning Wind Catcher
They walk among us as if they are gods.
Only the Chosen know what they are.
Only the Chosen know to fear them.
And only the Chosen can defeat them.
Evolved Publishing presents the second book in the multiple award-winning Chosen series of young adult mystery thrillers, which feature an American Indian fantasy and supernatural theme, from the same author who brought you the award-winning thriller Shatter Point, and his daughter.
Juliet Wildfire Stone and her best friend, Troy Buckhorn, barely escaped their sleepy Arizona town alive. Now they’re speeding to New York City to find the three other Chosen. The Chosen must band together to face an ancient foe that threatens all humanity.
Yet Juliet doesn’t know whom to trust, and strange things are happening in the City.
The Chosen will be tested, their resolve questioned, and their flaws exposed. Each must decide whether he or she will fulfill their destiny—or run. To defeat the enemy, they must stop battling among themselves and overcome their own struggles.
Only one can lead them. Will Juliet embrace her powers in time?
Brink of Dawn picks up where the multiple-award-winning first book in the Chosen series, Wind Catcher, left off, but it can also be read as a stand-alone novel. Continue the adventure! And be sure to watch for the third and final installment in this exciting series, Scorched Souls, to launch in late 2016.
***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & the authors.
READ THIS BOOK IF:
- If you’re looking for a twist on the typical alien story with Native American undertones.
- You hunger for diversity.
- You’re NOT about the romance.
- Different POVs and diversity. Each of the new Chosen are from a different culture that brings something unique to the plot. Not only ethnically but economically as well. There’s a wide variety in the Chosen and they each have very distinct personalities.
- There’s a lot of social commentary. Mainly about the prejudice against Native Americans, pressures from parents to be perfect, the homeless youth in big cities and how easy it is for them to disappear and how no one cares. These are important issues and although the inclusion detracted from the plot arch, nevertheless, they make you think and open up your eyes to what’s really going on in the world around you.
- The Deltites are TERRIFYING. Creepy, sadistic, horrible people who have no regard for human life. It’s really disquieting. You’ll definitely be creeped out by some of the POVs from Gagarin’s mind. That creature, the things he’s done. Skin-crawling, stories that will star in your nightmares. I don’t think I’ll ever get some of those images out of my head.
- Akari is a feisty, violent thing and might be my new favorite character. She’s a skilled fighter, vicious, smart, sarcastic, and prone to going in swinging. Her fire ability, YES.
- The scavenger hunt. If you like riddles and anxiety, you’ll love this.
- There was so much going on, so many new characters introduced, and the pace so abrupt that the story felt confused, like it didn’t know what it was trying to be. There’s a little scavenger hunt, a little flirting, a little spiritual communication, a lot of evil plotting, and randomness.
- The pacing is hard to explain. The story timeline is FAST but the story itself seems to drag. Despite the POV changes and introduction of characters, and the overall urgency, I found the story going by slowly.
- Juliet was mildly annoying. She kept going on and on about how different she is and why that makes her life impossible. I kept waiting for her to embrace the situation but she fought and clung to this complaining. The other characters also had their lives uprooted and threatened and yet, they didn’t harp on it nearly as much. Juliet’s infatuation with Connor felt random and included just more drama. It wasn’t developed. Many of the relationships were not built on. Even Juliet and Troy. The magic of their friendship from the first book was lost. Sure, Juliet has always depended on Troy but the connection was severed as she pushed him away and didn’t quite come back.
- The ending was abrupt and a bit of a let down. Though filled with adrenaline and chaotic, it felt too easily resolved and the diabolical plan started by the Delities just fell to the wayside.
If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:
Release Date: September 22, 2015
“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”
These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.
Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.
As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.
***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via Penguin FirstToRead
Reading Blood and Salt is very much like getting lost in a massive corn maze in the dead of night with a sinister presence stalking after you. The more I read, the deeper I went into the chaos and terror. Shock after shock, twists turn into insane revelations. I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t breathe, this story is epic. Throughout the entire read I couldn’t figure out how story elements so far removed fit so well together-Native Americans, Conquistadors, alchemy, a curse, and flesh-eating corn? Somehow it all works and it’s MAGICAL.
READ THIS BOOK IF:
- You want to be scared senseless
- You adore unconventional horror
- You’re a sucker for star-crossed lovers
- You’re looking for a unique story
- Seriously…just read it
- I can’t remember the last time I was so disturbed by a book-maybe Girl from the Well. There’s a new level of creepy that takes on a life of its own as the story progresses. From the haunting visions, the grotesque ghosts, the monstrous crows, and several unexplained phenomenons, there’s an overwhelming feeling of being watched, a foreboding that sticks with you even as clues are uncovered. Nail-biting, looking over your shoulder, sleeping with the light on…be prepared to be scared.
- There’s an eclectic mix of history, folklore, and magic that is woven so well together it’s hard to imagine that they don’t exist that way in history books. The merging of Native American beliefs with alchemy and a Conquistador curse is not something I ever would have expected but it creates a dark tale that almost reads like truth.
- As if corn mazes aren’t horrifying enough, add in missing people, blood trails and unnatural behaviors, it becomes the perfect setting for a gruesome horror story. Coupled with this is the cult-like city. It’s intricate, protected by the corn, it’s made of a small history that evolved into worship. The people are solid in their faith that immortality is around the corner, their devotion only adds to the horror.
- Characters, for the most part, leave a lasting impression. Apart from the main characters, Ash’s mother is an even more intense version of Misty Day from American Horror Story: Coven.
- Plot twist central.
- Relationships are crucial to this tale and extremely powerful. The love between Ash and her brother is heartwarming and potent. Though they’re incredibly different, they get each other. You can feel their connection. Dane and Ash are light sexual tension that builds into something on the verge of lust. One moment it’s playful and sensual, the next it’s explosive.
- THAT ENDING. Just cut out my heart and STOMP ALL OVER IT.
- Early on in the story, so much is summarized about the curse and Katia that it feels like being hit with a sledgehammer, totally overwhelmed with information.
- Some components felt rushed and unfinished. Sections in Quivira, particularly the scenes with the scars, the leader, and what happens to him were short and cut off abruptly. A longer, more developed look into Quivira and the complex relationships there would have not only added to the horror but laid a stronger foundation for the next book.
If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:
“But the hurt fades with time. You always feel it but it becomes a duller sting, ‘stead of sharp. Course, that’s assuming you don’t ride the road of vengeance.”
When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate.
***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & HMH Books for Young Readers
READ THIS BOOK IF:
- You want to be transported back in time to when yellow-bellied outlaws, gold prospectors, and good old-fashioned gunfights were an everyday occurence.
- You are looking for a fiery, ballsy female protagonist.
- You DON’T want a romance-centric story.
- You love Westerns.
- This was my very first YA Western (I think this is sorely lacking in the genre). Immediately I was drawn in and teleported back in time. The dialects, the phrasing, mannerisms, everything was delightful old-fashioned and colorful.
- Kate is not your typical female lead for a Western. She’s certainly not a demure young girl looking to get hitched. Kate is deadly with her Colt and Winchester, she wears pants, binds her body so that she can pass as a man, and doesn’t take threats from anyone, this girl can hold her own with the best of them. Kate is on a quest for vengeance and is not afraid to kill to make things right. She’s fierce, brave, independent, and doesn’t need anyone to hold her hand. Nothing will defeat her. Despite all the danger (and there’s a lot) she goes in guns blazing. Kate’s love of Little Women endeared her to me.
- Lil, the Native American girl who plays a critical part to their survival has some of the most compelling stories about folklore and perspective on the White Eyes (white men) who took over the land. The bigotry against Mexicans, Native Americans and the constant pointing of fingers while taking away rights was eye-opening, especially for those who know the history. Reading it in history books and having the experience through these characters was unbelievable 🙂
- The mystery of the journal, the greed for gold, and the sheer violence brought the scenery home. Scoundrels, ladies of the night, outlaws come together in saloons, bringing life to the past.
- The Rose gang is violence, sadistic, and heartless. They’re fueled by greed and their hunger for gold. Anyone who gets in their way is taken out and tortured. Some scenes are graphically violent and easy to imagine. You’ll want to kill him yourself.
- Some sections seem pieced together and randomly thrown in.
- It’s kind of remarkable how often they’re able to escape full on gunfire unscathed.
- The back story for many of the secondary characters was largely absent. Characters are fleeting and just when they start to get interesting they disappear.
- Will and Jesse, huge characters have brief moments of revelry that showcase their personalities and then, gone. Their story, their lives as ranchers, cowboys, their parents, etc., it’s all mentioned but not really expanded upon. It was hard to connect to either of them. When things go downhill, what should have been a critical, emotional moment was flat.
Juniper Sawfeather is choosing which college to attend after graduation from West Olympia High School next year. She wants to go to San Diego to be far away from her environmental activist parents. They expect her to think the way they do, but having to be constantly fighting causes makes it difficult to be an average 17 year old high school student. Why do her parents have to be so out there?
Everything changes when she and her father rush to the beach after a reported oil spill. As they document the damage, June discovers three humans washed up on the beach, struggling to breathe through the oil coating their skin. At first she thinks they must be surfers, but as she gets closer, she realizes these aren’t human at all. They’re mermaids!
Now begins a complex story of intrigue, conspiracy and manipulation as June, her parents, a marine biologist and his handsome young intern, her best friend, the popular clique at school and the oil company fight over the fate of the mermaids.
READ THIS BOOK IF:
- You’re into environmental activism, marine biology, sea creatures, mermaids as non-supernatural creatures, a realistic look at the impact of oil spills on marine life
- You’d like to hear Native American folklore about the ocean, orcas, mermaids, and their relationship with the sea through different tribal stories
- You’re looking for a story-central plot that is NOT focused on romance
- The activism was realistic. From the politics, to the media, to the dangers and extent that big corporations will go to to protect themselves from liability, it was all clear cut and passionate. The determination to speak out, to be heard, to get people to understand what things like oil spills are doing to the environment and living creatures provided a powerful message.
- Tensions between Native Americans, land loss, and the stigmas that subject them to bullying by their peers were an underlying theme (that I wish was more developed).
- There’s a wonderful amount of heritage and lore that runs throughout. I’d never heard a Native American tale of mermaids before. The stories are colorful, full of that lyrical campfire vibe.
- Juniper’s desire to have a life apart from her parents, who both have prominent voices in the media and authority in their field of activism makes sense. Her anger is too heated for me, but you can understand her hunger to be her own person, to make her way on her own, and do what she wants with her life. The constant sense of disappointment and pressure from her parents is harsh and hurtful.
- Apart from Juniper, her parents, and one reporter, the characters are stereotypical archtypes without much development or likability.
- The story ends abruptly, only part of the conflict is resolved, characters stream in and out of the story.
- The media fiasco and the sheer extent of those interested was a bit unbelievable and shocking. This is the sort of stuff that ends up on those trashy extraterestrial tabloids, why would government officials, huge news stations, etc., be so intrigued? Furthermore, the shift of focus from the oil spill was a little disappointing. I mean the animals are dying, it seems like there should be more people combing the beaches for clean up, volunteers at the very least.
- For a large chunk of the story Juniper is hard to like. For someone who doesn’t have a lot of material things, she’s constantly angry, she seems spoiled, and apart from her desire to escape her family and study marine biology, there’s not much we know about her.
D. G. Driver has been a published author for twenty years. She started her writing career as Donna Getzinger and still has several non-fiction books in print under that name. In 2014 she began writing YA fiction as D. G. Driver with the release of Cry of the Sea. Also published by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books is her YA romance novella Passing Notes, and Whisper of the Woods (the sequel to Cry of the Sea) will be released in November. You can learn more about her writing at her website: http://www.dgdriver.com.
If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:
Like most kids who grew up in the small Oregon town of Silver Falls, Toby Hoffman had heard all the scary stories about the monsters living in the neighboring woods of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Now a teenager, he knows the stories are made up to keep the town’s children from wandering where they aren’t wanted.
Then his best friend, Nate, wakes up covered in blood in the reservation woods, with no recollection of whose blood it is or where it came from. When even more brutal attacks follow, Toby can’t help but wonder if one of the fables he was told as a child might be true. With the help of Rachel, a determined Native American girl who has moved off the reservation and into the house next door, he begins searching for an explanation for the recent carnage. He also develops feelings for his new neighbor, which are put to the test when he and Rachel discover that her uncle may be responsible for the emergence of a legendary monster that does in fact exist.
To make matters worse, there’s evidence that Nate was turned by the beast, and that he has every intention of holding onto his extraordinary new creature capabilities no matter the cost. In order to save Silver Falls from a true scary story, Toby will have to face off against forces he doesn’t fully understand – and his closest friend.“Rachel barely managed to hang up the phone before Bruce pulled her away from it. He turned them toward the stairs and began leading them up to the second floor.
Toby heard his father calling after them from the hallway. “Dammit, Bruce, I meant get them out of this house!”
Bruce paid no attention, yanking Toby and Rachel to the top of the stairs and then down the second-floor hall. Toby tried to pull away, but immediately felt Mr. Bennett tighten his grip.
Walter called out again from the living room. “Bruce! Get them out of here!”
The stubborn plant owner tugged the two of them into a dark room at the far end of the hallway and shut the door behind them. Toby stood in complete darkness for a second, then Bruce flipped on the lights to his upstairs study and locked the door.
“You think a locked door is going to stop them?” Toby asked incredulously.
“No,” Bruce answered as he strode over to an enormous oak armoire. He opened it to reveal several large-caliber weapons hanging on built-in custom racks. Removing a 20-gauge shotgun, he gave them both a wink. “This is.”
“No,” Toby moaned. “It’s not.”
Downstairs, Walter and Paul finished reloading their weapons, yet again, as the werewolves wobbled to their feet.
“I’m running out of ammunition here, Sheriff,” Paul said as he raised his rifle to fire another round into Willard. “That girl’s uncle better get here soon.”
Walter stepped cautiously toward Nate, getting just close enough to see the werewolf’s bullet wounds healing rapidly below its scruffy clumps of fur. Completely flummoxed and frustrated, he fired off three more rounds, but the pistol shots did more to anger Nate than hurt him.
The werewolf swiped at a coffee table, sending it flying into the sheriff. It struck him solidly in the chest and chin, sending him to the floor in a daze. His view now partially obstructed by the table, Walter could no longer see Paul, but he heard the hunter’s rifle blast as the creature lunged.
Both the werewolf and Paul moved into view as the beast clamped down on the hunter’s arm and, with a swing of its massive head, flung him clear across the room. Paul crashed into a life-sized portrait of Bruce Bennett and then tumbled to the floor. The werewolf pounced, clawing out the hunter’s throat with one swipe. Too concussed to take action, Walter could only watch as the creature reared back and unleashed a victorious howl.
All three of the frightened souls in the upstairs study jumped as Nate’s howl reverberated through the walls. Toby’s heart sank as he turned toward the doorway. Why weren’t they hearing more gunfire?
He took a step toward the door, wanting to go make sure his dad was okay, but then took several steps back when a snarl came from the outside hallway.
Bruce leveled his shotgun at the room’s entrance. “You kids, get behind me.”
Toby was going to do more than just get behind Mr. Bennett. If a werewolf was coming in, they needed to find another way out. He quickly surveyed the room and hustled over to the nearest window.
Flipping the latch, he slid open the lower pane and punched out the screen. Looking at the hard-packed dirt below, his first thought was that it would be a long jump. They’d get out of the room easily enough, but would be easy prey after twisting a knee or blowing out an ankle.
Then Toby looked up. It was a far more promising option.
“I think I can reach the roof,” he said, ducking his head back inside.
Before anyone could respond, Nate burst through the door. The sound of Bruce’s gun blast immediately filled the room and blood splattered the study wall. The creature collapsed right in front of the doorway, its chest left bloody and ragged from the shotgun’s powerful slug.
Toby eyed the wounded beast. If the group could climb over it, they’d be able to get back downstairs, but there was no way to tell how injured the monster really was. Toby had no intentions of getting close enough to find out. He glanced over at Rachel who seemed to be thinking the same thing.
“Roof sounds good,” she said.
Toby quickly shrugged off his jacket and dropped it to the floor, then climbed onto the windowsill. He steadied himself, getting a good grip on the outside of the frame, then leaned his body outside the window and stood up, all the while trying not to look down.
About a foot above his head was a copper gutter that ran the length of the house, a choice Mr. Bennett had possibly made to give his cabin a more rustic, historical appearance. Toby was just glad it looked sturdy. He reached up with one arm, pushing off his toes, and gave the gutter a good tug. It held. Determined not to let doubt set in, he hurriedly crouched down and took a deep breath.
Leaping up and to his right, Toby grabbed the gutter and pulled. Using his body’s momentum, he swung his right leg onto the roof’s slate shingles. It landed and stuck, but only for a moment. The shingle below his sneaker suddenly gave way, and the next thing Toby knew, he was swinging back past the window.
“Toby!” he heard Rachel call out from inside.
He held tight as his momentum swung him to his left. His upper arms burning, he frantically kicked his left foot onto the shingles. Everything stayed put this time. Grunting and panting with the effort, Toby strained to pull himself up over the gutter and then rolled onto the roof.
Seeing that Toby had found his way safety, Rachel turned away from the window briefly to watch Bruce cautiously approach Nate and poke the werewolf with the barrel of his shotgun.
“Think I killed the bastard,” Rachel heard him mumble.
Her eyes moved to the creature. The intense prickling she felt spreading throughout her body, which she’d come to recognize as some sort of werewolf sixth sense, told her something different. Things in this room were about to take a turn for the worse. She wanted out of there before they did. Rachel spun around and stepped up onto the windowsill.
“Hey,” Bruce called out to her. “I said I think I killed the bast—”
The werewolf jerked its head up and chomped down on the plant owner’s upper right arm. Then, in the blink of an eye, it tore the limb clear off. A shocking amount of blood spilled from the wound. Tossing the appendage aside, the beast knocked its stunned victim to the floor and completed its assault by splitting open Bruce’s chest with its five-inch claws.
Lifting her other foot onto the windowsill, Rachel frantically reached into the air. Not feeling any hands grabbing hers, she looked up for Toby, but he was nowhere to be found.
His head and shoulders suddenly emerged, and he quickly stretched an arm toward her. “C’mon. Grab my hand.”
Rachel reached up again, and Toby grasped her wrist. She wrapped both of her hands around his and held on tight.
Glancing back inside the room, she saw Nate gnawing on Bruce’s head like it was a chew toy. The creature peered up to notice her hanging outside the window, and they locked eyes. She felt like bait dangling there, and apparently looked like it too. Having polished off its original target, the werewolf released the slaughtered Mr. Bennett and took a step toward her.
“Grab the gutter,” Toby grunted. “You need to pull too.”
Rachel looked up to see he was starting to slide off the roof. She quickly let go with one of her hands and grasped the copper gutter, straining to lift herself as Toby pulled her up by her other arm. Her torso had just cleared the roof’s edge when she heard the werewolf’s heavy paws trotting across the study’s hardwood floor.
It was coming for her.
A sudden explosion of knotty pine paneling, wood window framing, and Owens Corning showered Rachel as the werewolf broke through the window and part of the second-story wall. As she was hoisted upward, she caught a glimpse of the creature through all the debris, seeing it snap at her heels and just barely miss. Then she saw the sky as Toby grabbed her by the belt and rolled her over his body and onto the roof.
“It was going to kill me,” Rachel said between jagged gasps. “Whoever that thing is, it was definitely going to—”
“I know.” Toby’s pulse roared in his ears as he lay next to the freshly made crater in the lodge’s roof and second-story wall. According to Bimisi Chochopi, the Shaman hadn’t attacked Rachel because she wasn’t among his sworn enemies. Nate and Willard didn’t appear to have the same ability to discriminate. At least Toby hoped that was the case. Otherwise, one of his best friends had just knowingly tried to bite Rachel and him in half.
Toby maneuvered his way around busted timber and plaster, inching his way towards the roof’s edge. In the yard below, he saw what he assumed was Nate, or possibly Willard, glaring up at him with those luminous yellow eyes. The stare down only lasted a few seconds.
With an aggravated snarl, the werewolf turned and loped off into the forest.”
James is the author of The One You Feed, Something Wiccan, and The Agreement – the first three books of the Out of the Dark series. He lives in Chicago, Illinois with his wife Angela and two cats named Tim and Ruby. During the day James is a Senior Instructional Designer for an e-learning development company. A Graphics Designer at the company, Wojtek Batko, designs the covers for James’ books.
Title: The Burning (Book 3)
Series: Spirit Warriors
Author: D.E.L. Connor
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
Publication Date: August 2015
Genre: Young Adult
–Emmeline Rima Belrose, The Burning (Book 3)
In the third book of D.E.L. Connor’s magical coming of age Spirit Warriors series, Emmeline and her friends find themselves still reeling from the loss and pain caused by the evil spirit, machayiwiw – but the danger is far from over. As Emme, Charlie, Bets, Ollie, Jack and their beloved Spirit Animals prepare for the final battle against the machayiwiw, Emme struggles with a battle within her own heart. She longs for the beauty and softness she feels around Charlie, but she can’t deny the burning passion that consumes her with Jack. Will she finally let Charlie go and give her heart to Jack?
Enthralling and passionate, Spirit Warriors brings the vibrant American West to life once again and whispers its ancient secrets of love and friendship.
Della was born in South Dakota and raised in the vastness and beauty of Montana on a farm. When she longed for the big city life, she moved to Texas, where she attended college and received a PhD in nursing. When not nursing people back to health you can find Della huddled over her Mac writing the stories that have occupied her mind for so many years, or traveling with her best friends, the NOLA’s, riding bikes across the Golden Gate bridge or exploring botanical gardens. She is the proud mother of a champion triathlete, two aging dogs and one grand-cat. Della has admittedly confessed to her coffee addiction and swears that her two hour coffee crawl while on vacation in Seattle was the best two hours of her life!