Book Review: For the Clan

I really enjoyed this book. For the Clan had so many different surprises that I consider this to be one of the most memorable books I have read so far this year! I am so thankful to Xpresso Book Tours for the chance to review this novel by Archer Kay Leah.


29470767For the Clan
by Archer Kay Leah
Release Date: May 2016
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Summary from Goodreads:

Canada, 2165 AD. The Water Wars and a decimated economy have taken their toll. Anyone who doesn’t live in a military-patrolled metropolis lives in a clan. But being in a clan doesn’t mean safety.

And for a Ven like Roan Lee, it doesn’t matter where he lives. Safety is a luxury. So is freedom.

Roan is desperate to escape the governtary’s exploitation and torture. He is nothing to them but 54σK1, an artifact born from a genetic mishap. When the chance to escape arises, he makes a run for it—and encounters the lover from his past, twisting his future into a second chance he never expected.

As leaders of Clan Teach, Jace Ama and his wife, Cayra Diega, have enough difficulty keeping their people safe. When Roan is thrown to their feet as a prisoner, their marriage becomes an additional challenge. Jace still loves Roan, but where does that leave Cayra?

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When I requested to review For the Clan, I wanted to read it because it was a dystopian novel that was set in Canada. (Yay, Canadian here!) And what’s more awesome is that my home down of Windsor got a shout out! 😀

I loved the dystopian world that Archer Kay Leah created. It has been written in such a way that it could actually seem plausible for it to happen in the near future, except for the magic using Ven people. I don’t want to leave any spoilers, but the action was AWESOME!

The bulk of this story focuses on a polyamorous romance between Jace, Roan and Cayra. (MMF) I wasn’t expecting this to happen, because the blurb does not really hint to it, but I was pleasantly surprised. The romance felt natural (maybe a little too fast, but still good) and the sex was pretty darn hot. I was a little worried for the author, considering that the romance was only briefly mentioned in the blurb, but it was categorized properly in Amazon, so I guess we’re all good.

The two aspects of the book that I feel needed work were the lack of back story and the “easiness” of it all. I feel like this novel could have easily filled 300+ pages instead of less than 200, and I would have been happy to read every single word. Though the Water Wars were mentioned, I would have appreciated a bit more back story. The rest of the plot moves quick, and their obstacles seem to be over come with little effort (relatively speaking of course).

I love, love, loved the cover. The feel of it is so dystopian, military-action, video-gamy goodness. (I really can’t think of any other way to explain it.)

In closing, I found For the Clan to be a quick, fun read. I hope that the author continues to use their skills and write more dystopian stories in the future.

A free copy of this book was provided for an honest review. Thank you Xpresso Book Tours!

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Camp NaNoWriMo July 2016

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Hooray! – Camp NaNoWriMo 2016 July Edition. 

I’ve decided that I will set my word count goal to 50,000 words even though I’m not exactly sure that I’m going to write. I plan on finishing the first book in a planned trilogy that I started in April’s Camp NaNo. At the end of April, I wrote 40,000 words for the first draft and since then I’ve edited and added about 15,000 more. If everything goes as planned, there’s about 20,000 more words to write on this draft.

After that, I’ll still have 30,000 more words to fill in July and I plan on divvying that up between a few romance novellas that I’ve been writing for KDP. If I manage to hit 50,000 words, it will be the most I’ve ever written in a month and I will be ready to face November NaNoWriMo with more confidence than before.

Wish me luck! You can visit my Camp NaNoWriMo profile here if you want to join in on the fun. 🙂

Book Review: Godless

Despite it being published over ten years ago, I’d never heard of Godless until I was browsing Book Outlet. It was a quick (under 200 pages) read that was filled to the brim with a healthy mix of satire and philosophy.
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Godless

by Pete Hautman
Release Date: November 2005
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Summary from Goodreads:

“Why mess around with Catholicism when you can have your own customized religion?”
Fed up with his parents’ boring old religion, agnostic-going-on-atheist Jason Bock invents a new god — the town’s water tower. He recruits an unlikely group of worshippers: his snail-farming best friend, Shin, cute-as-a-button (whatever that means) Magda Price, and the violent and unpredictable Henry Stagg. As their religion grows, it takes on a life of its own. While Jason struggles to keep the faith pure, Shin obsesses over writing their bible, and the explosive Henry schemes to make the new faith even more exciting — and dangerous.
When the Chutengodians hold their first ceremony high atop the dome of the water tower, things quickly go from merely dangerous to terrifying and deadly. Jason soon realizes that inventing a religion is a lot easier than controlling it, but control it he must, before his creation destroys both his friends and himself.

I knew from the blurb on the back of the book that I would enjoy Godless. I am a person who is intrigued with religion, comparisons, satire and everything else under that umbrella. I have a lot of respect for people who question the religions they grew up in as well as respect for people who have strong faith (as long as they aren’t fanatics about it.)

Godless commented on a number of concepts. Jason was bored of the religion of his father (Catholicism). He has a spiritual experience under the city’s giant water tower and decided to start his own religion. Very quickly, he learns that it’s easy to start a religion but not so easy to control it.

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Many people have a religion but no faith. Some people go to church, mosque or temple simply because it’s what their parents do. Very few people believe 100%, including myself. I appreciated this part of the commentary the most. Finding a spirituality (or lack thereof) that works for someone is such a personal experience, no two are alike.

Out of all the inanimate objects to worship, I would agree that the water tower does make a lot of sense, seeing how every living thing needs water to survive. As a Pagan, I believe that I understand this choice better than someone who comes from a stricter Abrahamic faith.

Pete Hautman explains in his notes that the inspiration for this book came from all the questioning he went through as a teen. During a debate with his friends (who were from other religions) someone just asked the question “What if the water tower is God?” Godless answers that question.

Godless is very deserving of the National Book Award, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a bit of blasphemy and a bit of soul searching.

 

Book Review: The Glass Ceiling

The Glass Ceiling 
by Julie LaVoie
Release Date: December 2015
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Summary from Goodreads:

Darkness can hide in the brightest of places…
Pickaxes, grime, and watery oatmeal are all sixteen-year-old Heart has ever known. Growing up in the tunnels, the only breaks in her muscle-aching monotony are the numerous nights spent cramped in a metal box. Stupid runaway mouth. But when strange visions and a hidden map hint there’s more to life than she’s been led to believe — boys being one of them — only one thing weighs on her mind. Escape.
Yet freedom is a tease. Heart merely trades her small prison for a larger one — a transparent dome controlled by the Guardian, an aging leader bent on creating a genetically perfect race. Heart’s birthmark on her shoulder? An abomination that carries a lifetime sentence of slavery for females.
Refusing to let a glass ceiling deter her, Heart searches for a way out of the dome. But unraveling the Guardian’s secrets is a risky endeavor. Human skulls atop crude sticks serve as a warning: treason is punishable by death. When her new friends are captured, and escape is just an arm’s reach away, Heart must decide. Take the freedom she so desperately wants or save her friends’ lives?

This book hooked me from the description and I was extremely happy to receive a free copy for to review, thanks to YA Bound Book Tours. Initially, I was worried that this might be another formulaic dystopian YA fiction, but I was pleasantly surprised. The author writes with a strong voice and by chapter 5 I was desperately hooked. I switched the file from my tablet to my phone so I could read it on the go, and in the kitchen, and in the bathroom … you get the idea.

The main character Heart, named for the birthmark on her shoulder, starts off as a headstrong trouble maker. All she’s even known is slavery in the mines and cares for the girls around her (even though they’re not all trustworthy). She fights the Matriarch and ends up getting put in a glass prison. Don’t want to risk any spoilers here, but it just snowballs from there with fast-paced adventure!

I expected more feminist themes, based on the title the Glass Ceiling. For those of you unfamiliar, the “glass ceiling” refers to an unofficially acknowledged barrier to advancement in a profession, especially affecting women and members of minorities. (definition by google) While I can see the connections, I was hoping for a bit more girl power and a bit less drooling over boys.

I had been taking breaks from the book tours during my first semester in school and fell behind in my reading. It feels great to get my hands on some ARCs again. Glass Ceiling was a wonderful read over the winter holidays and I’m looking forward to what the author has planned for us next.

*disclaimer* – I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. 
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50 Book Challenge: 2015, A Year in Books

Happy New Year! 2016

         
        
         
       
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The power of books is simply amazing. I combined all of the covers of all of the books I have read this year (50 books!) and each image takes me back to a memory of that year. I remember where I was when I was reading these books, what was going on in my life and how they carried me through.

I’ve said it a thousand times – but I love books.

And I’m looking forward to all the stories of 2016.