Black & White (Black & White #1) by Nick Wilford

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A fantastic new YA dystopian novel makes it’s way into the YA world in author Nick Wilford’s first novel in a planned trilogy, Black & White. Here’s the synopsis:

What is the price paid for the creation of a perfect society?

In Whitopolis, a gleamingly white city of the future where illness has been eradicated, shock waves run through the populace when a bedraggled, dirt-stricken boy materialises in the main street. Led by government propaganda, most citizens shun him as a demon, except for Wellesbury Noon – a high school student the same age as the boy.

Upon befriending the boy, Wellesbury feels a connection that he can’t explain – as well as discovering that his new friend comes from a land that is stricken by disease and only has two weeks to live. Why do he and a girl named Ezmerelda Dontible appear to be the only ones who want to help?

As they dig deeper, everything they know is turned on its head – and a race to save one boy becomes a struggle to redeem humanity.

For me, this book had a lot of elements from books like The Hunger Games or even Stephen King’s The Long Walk. A handful of children dared to question the world around them, and found themselves fighting a government willing to do whatever it took to keep their secrets.

The author does an amazing job of building a mythology that keeps the reader hooked and intrigued. The world of Whitopolis and it’s surreal belief system based on both technology and mysticism is truly a wonder to behold. The world building in this dystopian trilogy has built a lasting foundation that will leave fans wanting more and more from this developing world. Where did this mystery boy come from, and what secrets are the government leaders hiding from the people of Whitopolis? By books end, the answers will only lead to more and more questions, and readers will be eager to see a book two in the series.

Overall I loved this book. The writing was even paced and the story had the perfect blend of breathtaking and surreal settings and relatable and charismatic protagonists. If you haven’t yet be sure to dive head first into this amazing YA dystopian novel Black & White by Nick Wilford today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/Black-White-Book-One-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B07395MKSH/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1532576826&sr=1-1&keywords=Black+%26+White+nick+wilford

About the Author

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Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those rare times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew.

http://www.nickwilford.com/

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The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken Review

Today we are going to be diving head first into a highly acclaimed novel from a well established author. A young woman finds herself fighting for her life in author Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds. The first of the Darkest Minds series, the book does an excellent job of creating a dystopian YA world filled with pain, loss and hope. Here’s the synopsis:

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.

This novel does an excellent job of showcasing the struggles of a society divided between children and adults. A mixture of Marvel’s The Runaways and X-Men with a YA twist, the books pull at the heartstrings as you explore the emotional stories of not only Ruby, but the kids she meets along her journey. Hesitant to know or trust anyone, she must quickly learn what the world is like after this epidemic since she’s been locked up and find a way to find peace before she’s thrust into a battle she wants no part of. The characters are what really pull you into this world. While the incredible backstory and mythology the author creates is engaging, the personal stories and relationships between the characters are what keep you hooked until the final page of the novel.

Overall this was a fantastic story. A great first introduction into a YA Dystopian series, The Darkest Minds does an excellent job of creating vivid imagery that depicts a nation torn apart by this mysterious illness, a hatred towards the children lucky enough to survive and a failing economy that leaves entire towns empty. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging tale, and if you haven’t yet you have to pick up your copy of The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken today!

Rating: 10/10

Retaliation (The Mind Breaker Trilogy #2) by Marina Epley Review

It’s time to return to the dark, bloody world of The Mind Breaker Trilogy. In Marina Epley’s second novel of the series, Retaliation, the war
between humans and mind breakers deepens, as series protagonist Rex straddles the line between resistance hero and mankind’s most feared terrorist.
Here is the synopsis for the Dystopian novel:

RETALIATION is the second novel in THE MIND BREAKER trilogy, set in a violent dystopian world where governmental forces wage war against humans
with psychic abilities.

Against all odds, Rex escapes from an Elimination prison and joins Retaliation, a rebel group consisting of humans with abilities in hypnotism,
memory reading and telepathy. Unfortunately, this place turns out a bit different from the sanctuary he dreams about. Half of the rebels are
hardened criminals, and the rest are merely children, kids brainwashed into hating and killing any non-breakers they encounter.

In Retaliation, Rex decides to try and change things from the inside before the criminals take over, simultaneously looking for a way to
capture his hated enemy, Captain Wheeler. But it happens that the captain is always one step ahead, and has been planning an opportunity to
destroy Rex. He takes Rex’s mother and sister hostage, demanding Rex to surrender. So Rex now has to figure out how to save his relatives from
Wheeler and rescue trapped Retaliation recruits from the hardened criminal element currently taking over the group.

The underlying problem is that no matter what he decides, it always seems to be exactly what Elimination wanted him to do. In believing that
he is fighting a just war against his enemies, Rex may well happen to be nothing more than a puppet in somebody else’s game.

With Elimination seemingly ahead of him at every turn, the struggle for Rex is very real. Facing enemies both from the outside world and from
within his own group, Rex must find a way to stop Elimination and his foe, Captain Wheeler, and stop the hatred brewing on both sides between humans
and breakers. The writing in this story is real and passionate, and does a marvelous job of developing complex characters that you will either
love or hate deeply, making it an even richer story.

The themes of this story are a powerful one, especially in this day and age. The hatred and violence the breakers feel towards humans and the
humans feel towards breakers are an excellent study of prejudice against minorities or people who are different from the “norm” of society. It
speaks volumes for the hatred that is born out of fear of the unknown, and showcases the difficult path that acceptance and peace runs on.

Overall, this is a phenomenal novel. Fans of the dystopian genre will love delving into this series, and if you haven’t read the first book,
I highly suggest you do. Marina Epley is a talented indie author who is sure to storm the dystopian world with her insightful and thought-provoking
work, and that is why I give her novel, Retaliation, a 8 out of 10 rating, and highly recommend you guys check it out for yourself! We look forward
to reading the final chapter of this series and hope to see Rex find a way to end this war once and for all.

Red Death by Jeff Altabef Book Review

Fantasy and Dystopian genres blend together beautifully in author Jeff Altabef’s novel, Red Death. Exploring the impact of religion on various
groups of people and the dangers of how it dictates their lives, Red Death delves into the lives of several young people throughout this
deadly world, with various tribes and Kingdoms conflicting with one another and the mysteries of this world waiting to be unlocked by one
courageous hero. Here is the synopsis:

Every child of Eden fears the Red Death. All those afflicted with the plague die young, their souls stripped away as punishment for ancient
sins long forgotten. For centuries, Guardians have protected Eden from the Red Death by killing outsiders who stray too close. They must
keep Eden a secret if they are to survive.

Seventeen-year-old Aaliss is a highly-trained and dedicated Guardian, but when her rather odd thirteen-year-old brother discovers a cure to
the plague, her world is turned upside down. The discovery is a miracle, yet miracles are dangerous in Eden.

The corrupt, all-powerful High Priest brands Aaliss and her brother Wilky as traitors, forcing them to run. They seek refuge in the last
place Aaliss thought she’d ever go—beyond the boundaries of Eden, and into the land of the Soulless. Here they must navigate a medieval
world filled with witches, magic, and warrior kingdoms run by Elders who are only a few years older than her.

Aaliss yearns to return home to Eden, but she must protect Wilky at all costs. And when her heart tugs her deeper into the world of the
Soulless, she questions everything she once believed, everything the Priests had taught her about those who live outside Eden—they are
forever cursed, savage, soulless.

Has her soul been taken? Will she and Wilky fall victim to the Red Death, or might they die sooner in the center of a battle that threatens
to tear apart the Soulless world? Or… might Aaliss finally find, against all odds, what her heart has yearned for all along?

This was an incredibly well written novel. The dark dystopian world is so vividly described that you can visualize the characters in your
mind. The action and plot of this incredible book took this reader on a roller coaster of emotions and created a world that can easily
pass for a dystopian version of our own. The themes of this novel have never been more true than in this day and age, from the dark side of
power in religion, to the judgement we often have for anyone who isn’t a part of our own culture, to the true meaning of family and how
a person can find family in the most unlikely of places.

It was refreshing to see the gender roles reversed from the “traditional” book styles, where a man is the hardened warrior and the female
needs rescuing or needs to be taught how to fight. Aaliss is a seasoned warrior, and the male lead of this novel that fans will meet must
seek her help for a quest, and must use her skills in order to learn and survive. It shows a welcome trend of strong female characters that
may be flawed but still become the epic hero of the story and prove that they don’t need a man to save them. It helps to break down the
gender stereotypes of our world and showcases that a person’s gender doesn’t define a hero, but rather their actions.

This is a beautifully dark world that has been created by Jeff Altabef, and is a promising first novel in a brand new series. This new world
promises to bring deadly threats to Aaliss and the rest of the people she befriends in this novel, and shows that the world she knows is
going to change drastically. Filled with twists and turns, characters we love and characters we love to hate, this is a fantastic read that
every dystopian and Fantasy reader must check out, so make sure you pick up your copies of Red Death today!

10/10 Stars

The Deadbringer by E.M. Markoff Book Review:

It’s not often that a reader gets the chance to meet with the author of a book they just purchased, but that’s where I found myself when I made
my recent trip to San Francisco Comic Con and met author E.M. Markoff. While speaking, she told me of her book, The Deadbringer, and getting to
see the passion in which she spoke of it really got me interested in reading this story, and I have to say that after reading this book, I can
understand why she felt so strongly for this tale.

First, here’s the synopsis:

In the aftermath of the Purging, the Deadbringers are no more. The Ascendancy has positioned itself as the land’s dominant power by exploiting
the people’s fear of the Deadbringers’ innate abilities to summon souls and reanimate the dead. Yet its hold is not complete, for in the North
the Bastion stands in the way of the Ascendancy and its iron-willed elite soldiers, the Sanctifiers.

But, somehow, a single Deadbringer has managed to survive. Kira Vidal, a boy of fifteen, has remained hidden, living peacefully with his uncle
in the northern city of Opulancae under the Bastion’s protection. But it seems their luck is at an end when rumors begin to spread, and a
strange man shows up at their door, seeking the forbidden services of a Deadbringer.

Aware of the dangers should word of his nature reach the Ascendancy, Kira makes a promise to himself to protect his beloved uncle at all costs,
even if it means pursuing the limits of his powers … and learning painful truths.

This novel was beautifully written. The rich history that fits into this nearly 300 page novel is breathtaking to behold, with several different
species and powers being revealed through complex layers of history established as the story goes on. The intricate and delicate line that the
characters struggle to balance on to define their own moral compass is fascinating to watch unfold, and getting to see the various ways each
character views the world and the way in which they justify their actions makes this an incredibly complex world to dive into. This is a mature
YA novel that any fantasy fan should not miss, so be sure to pick up your copies of The Deadbringer today! This reader cannot wait to dive into
more adventures with Kira Vidal and discover more about this fantastic new YA mythology!

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings Book Review:

Murder is the new normal in this visceral YA novel!

What would our world look like if murder became a way of life? How would two people who were born and raised in that bloody world survive? That’s the question answered in the first novel of New York Times bestselling author Lindsay Cummings series, The Murder Complex.

First, the plot:

A cure for human disease has been found, and overpopulation sets in, causing the society in this bleak dystopian novel to create an official murder compound. Cummings builds an intense, distinct world full of rogue pirates and government commandments. Meadow’s main concern is taking care of her family, and her father has trained her to survive in any situation, making her a tough fighter. Zephyr is an unhappy ward assigned to carry out the Initiative’s violent commands. After a chance encounter brings the two together, they form an immediate bond, though the reasons for their desire are not set up beforehand, which leads to a forced romance. The point of view alternates between the teens, but it is difficult to distinguish between their narrative voices. This dismal look at the darker side of humanity raises interesting questions of wealth, power, and privacy, yet none of them is fully explored.

This was a fantastic and heart-pounding read. The brutal reality of a world where the law of the land is murder, readers are able to get a great look at two very different perspectives. One is ruled by hopelessness and humor, the other by ruthless survival and family. The way these characters are introduced and the plot which brings them together is an incredible journey that is not to be missed, so be sure to pick up your copies of author Lindsay Cummings book, The Murder Complex, today!

Author Interview with Marina Epley, author of “The Mind Breaker Trilogy”

Here is a fun interview we did with author Marina Epley for her incredible YA/Dystopian novel series, The Mind Breaker Trilogy!

1) What
inspired you to write Elimination and create the world of this dystopian
series?

I’ve actually
been fascinated by the idea of mind control for quite some time. The character
Rex first came to me almost 10 years ago, although it was difficult to find the
perfect setting for the story. About two years ago I was watching Schindler’s
List, one of my favorite movies, and realized that this is a type of situation
to throw characters in and see how they react. Afterward, creating the setting
and characters came easily.

2) What drew
you to write in the YA/Dystopian genre?

I was
initially writing contemporary fiction for YA, but this genre never seemed to
provide enough freedom for imaginative ideas. I switched to dystopian because the
genre has less limitations and provides a fantastic opportunity for world
building. I love writing dark, gritty stories filled with action and danger,
and the dystopian world seems like the perfect setting to accommodate.

3) Are there
any characters in Elimination that are based on people in your life? (I.E. Rex,
Kitty, etc)

I never base
characters on real people, only using some singular features of people I’ve
known. My characters often seem to take on a life of their own and control
their destinies within the story, even more so than I do. The characters I
write about also have a tendency to influence me, just like real people.

4) Was there
an author or a particular book that inspired you to write?

Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov gave me a lot of confidence
and inspiration because he was one of only a handful of native speaking
Russians to successfully become an American author. I’m following a similar
path.

5) What drew
you into the writing world?

I guess I’ve never consciously chosen to become a writer, the choice
seems to have been made for me. The real world just never seemed to be enough
for me. Around the age of twelve, I was already writing short stories to share
with classmates. They could never get enough, so I realized at that early age a
future in writing fiction was possible.

6) If there
was one genre of writing you could never write, what would it be and why?

I doubt I
will go back to contemporary fiction, because the genre has too many limitations.
However, I’ll keep an open mind and enjoy experimenting with different genres
in writing.

7) What is
your favorite part of the writing process: character development or plot
creation?

I love
creating new worlds, although character development excites me more. I enjoy
putting my characters into dangerous situations and forcing them to make
difficult choices. Watching them change and grow within a story is to me the
most thrilling part of my work.

8) What
social media network do you enjoy using to connect with readers the most?

So far, I
prefer Twitter and Goodreads.

9) If you
could collaborate with any author, (living or dead), who would it be and why?

It would have
to be my favorite crime-fiction writer Jim Thompson. I’m drawn to his brilliant
ability for exploring the minds of psychopaths and killers, as well as writing
about something that doesn’t fit a social norm. Reading his books gave me additional confidence to write what I
want and to be bold in my writing.

10) What are
your future plans for the Mind Breaker Trilogy? Any other books you are working
on outside of the trilogy?

I’m
currently preparing the third book in the Mind Breaker Trilogy, Annihilation,
for publication on Amazon. I’m also planning to soon have my books available in
paperback. At the same time, I’m working on a new YA series, Roamers from the
Darkness. A story about a shy, sixteen-year-old scavenger who must transform
into a fearless warrior in order to liberate herself and her friends out of
slavery. It’s been quite challenging, as I’ve never before worked with a female
protagonist.

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