A roller-coaster ride as an unsuspecting heroine tries to save the world... Unchosen by Katharyn Blair (Review) #yalit #dystopian #zombies #unchosen @KTegenBooks @mbeatie


It's been a long time since I've read a paranormal book like this. I've actually been
in the mood for vampires or werewolves or something, and I'll totally take zombies
(especially in this form)! Check out my thoughts on this new YA dystopian below...

Unchosen
By Katharyn Blair
YA Dystopian, Paranormal
Hardcover, Audiobook & ebook, 416 Pages
January 26, 2021 by Katherine Tegen Books

Summary

Katharyn Blair crafts a fiercely feminist fantasy with a horrifying curse, swoon-worthy sea captains, and the power of one girl to choose her own fate in this contemporary standalone adventure that's perfect for fans of The Fifth Wave and Seafire, and for anyone who has ever felt unchosen.

For Charlotte Holloway, the world ended twice.

The first was when her childhood crush, Dean, fell in love—with her older sister.

The second was when the Crimson, a curse spread through eye contact, turned the majority of humanity into flesh-eating monsters.

Neither end of the world changed Charlotte. She’s still in the shadows of her siblings. Her popular older sister, Harlow, now commands forces of survivors. And her talented younger sister, Vanessa, is the Chosen One—who, legend has it, can end the curse.

When their settlement is raided by those seeking the Chosen One, Charlotte makes a reckless decision to save Vanessa: she takes her place as prisoner.

The word spreads across the seven seas—the Chosen One has been found.

But when Dean’s life is threatened and a resistance looms on the horizon, the lie keeping Charlotte alive begins to unravel. She’ll have to break free, forge new bonds, and choose her own destiny if she has any hope of saving her sisters, her love, and maybe even the world.

Because sometimes the end is just a new beginning.

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR UNCHOSEN 

“A thrill ride from start to end, this book captivated me with its deadly stakes, breathtaking romance, and unforgettable characters. One of my all-time favorite reads!” —Kathryn Purdie, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Burning Glass and Bone Crier’s Moon

“In the spirit of Walking Dead and Divergent, Blair offers a deeply felt testament to love and survival and sisterhood—to everything that makes us whole and human—in a story that ultimately upends the idea of a chosen one to reaffirm the human heart.” —Margaret Stohl, #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures novels

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

UNCHOSEN is an apocalyptic story set after a virus spreads that turns people into flesh-eating monsters, but there's more to it than that as its mixed with myth and legend. The story follows the heroine who is one of three sisters, so there's a strong bond of sisterhood with history between them. Then there's plenty of thrill rides between the zombies, pirates, unforbidden love, and prophecy of the chosen one. With a relatable heroine, sizzling romance and a story where readers won't be able to turn the pages fast enough, this is sure to be an entertaining read for YA fans!

This story is a mix of so many things I love! First off, there are these three sisters with the one in the middle, Charlotte and the main POV in this story, feeling a bit overshadowed by the other two. She doesn't feel like she is valued or loved for herself. Add to that her feelings for her sister's boyfriend who only sees her as a best friend and it makes her feel pretty small and invisible. I really liked seeing the way these sisters worked together, even if not in the best way. Their love and bond was strong. When their settlement gets raided and Charlotte has the chance to do something, she takes it. This starts a journey for Charlotte in figuring out what she's made of and really coming into her own. I loved seeing her develop, find her strength and figure some things out. I love character-driven stories and this one definitely has that aspect while also having a strong plot and great secondary characters. Some of those secondary characters end up becoming friends who push and draw her out. I also really loved how strong the female characters were without is seeming like they were coming across as too strong or like the males were weak. They were all fierce and likable. 

Let's talk a bit about some other aspects of this story I loved... like pirates, zombies and romance. The pirates were interesting. They have their own metal island and they generally trade in humans that haven't been infected, so there were quite a few villains. Then there were the zombies. This is a fairly loose term. They eat other humans, but they're fast, strong, have a heightened sense of smell, and some were quite intelligent. They pass along the virus through their eyes, which was another interesting concept. Finally, the romance. I've never really loved romance plots where someone is in love with someone else's boyfriend, but the author made this work for me as the story developed (no spoilers here). I really loved the romance and the guy that falls for Charlotte. I also liked that it doesn't override the story. Then there is the whole "chosen one" thing. I thought the whole myth, research and plot about this was really interesting, and I seriously loved how this aspect of the story worked out!

I did have a few things I would have liked done differently. Some parts I thought could have been developed a bit more. There weren't a lot of parts with the Vessels (the zombies) and I thought that maybe could have been ramped up a bit - although I really appreciated that there was almost no gore. I would have liked a bit more development with the setting so I felt more immersed in the story. Less mature content (really, I don't think YA needs its characters sleeping together) and swearing.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This is definitely a page-turner with great characters, some thought-provoking moments, strong relationships, fierce female leads, and a romance to love. If you're looking for an entertaining thrill ride about the end of the world, this one is definitely recommended.

Content: Swearing (quite a few s-words and a few f-words), innuendo, references to a lesbian relationship, violence, and a few referenced fade-to-black love scenes.
Source: I received a complimentary copy ARC from the publicist, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author


Katharyn Blair is a novelist and screenwriter. She graduated with her MFA in 2015 and is finishing her MA in literature. She’s been a social media coordinator for several films at 20th Century Fox, an intern at her city’s Parks and Recreation Department, a gymnastics coach, and, most recently, a writing professor at Azusa Pacific University. She lives outside of Los Angeles with her family. The Beckoning Shadow is her debut novel.

Photo Credit: Oana Foto


Have you read this one or will you be? Do you like stories with zombies or vampires in them?

Read an excerpt from Georgana's Secret by @arlemhawks from @ShadowMountn's @ProperRomance line! #GeorganasSecret #HistoricalRomance #RegencyRomance #InspirationalFiction


You should definitely check out my 5-star review of this book I posted earlier in the month
for this blog tour here. Today I have an exclusive excerpt for you to read. Check it out below...

Georgana's Secret
(A Proper Romance)
By Arlem Hawks
Adult Historical Romance, Regency, Inspirational
Paperback & ebook, 320 Pages
January 12, 2021 by Shadow Mountain

Summary

1811

A Regency romance on the high seas. Two hearts yearning to find a safe harbor, and possibly, a lasting love.

As a young girl, Georgana Woodall dreamed of beautiful dresses, fancy balls, and falling in love. However, when her mother dies, she cannot face a future under the guardianship of her abusive grandmother and instead chooses to join her father on his ship disguised as his cabin boy, "George."

Lieutenant Dominic Peyton has no time in his life for love, not with his dedication to His Majesty's Royal Navy claiming his full attention. While trying to adjust to a new crew, he strives to be an exemplary officer and leader. When he sees the captain's cabin boy being harassed by the crew, he immediately puts a stop to it and takes the "boy" under his wing. After discovering a number of clues, Dominic deduces that George is really a woman. Knowing that revealing the cabin boy's secret would put her in serious danger from the rowdy crew, Dominic keeps silent and hides his growing affection for her.

Georgana is quickly losing her heart to Dominic's compassion and care but is convinced nothing can come of her affection. She cannot continue to live her life on the sea, and having already missed too many seasons in London, her chances of being welcomed back into polite society and finding a suitable husband are quickly slipping away.

Georgana's Secret is about two hearts yearning to find a safe harbor, and possibly, a lasting love.

Advanced Praise

"Hawks crafts a spellbinding tale featuring rich characters and raw emotions set against the atmospheric backdrop of sea life in all its danger and beauty. Georgana is a tough protagonist holding her own in a world dominated by men, while Peyton's charm and sensitivity marks him as a true gentleman. A hidden identity, flirtation, and treachery make for a rousing tale to captivate lovers of historical romances."— Publishers Weekly 

“This tale felt sweepingly cinematic at times and was both action-packed and heart-wrenching with an immersive narrative.”— Katie Jackson, RegencyProofreading.com 

Arlem Hawks wove a magnificent tale of adventure and deception and delivered a happy ever after that was as unconventional as the rest of the story. With so many stories of romance out there, it is refreshing when one comes along that is very different than the stories that I am used to. A little adventure always livens things up fabulously.”— Emily Flynn, Reading with Emily 

"Fans of sweet love stories as well as readers who fondly remember those marvelous old traditional Signet Regencies will quickly succumb to the siren song of Hawk’s expertly crafted novel, which delivers the perfect blend of Jane Austen-smart romance and Patrick O’Brian flavored seafaring adventure. Teen romance readers will cheer on the plucky heroine as she finds the courage to forge her own path in life and love."— Booklist, starred review

(Affiliate links included.)


Excerpt

Dominic never tired of the sea breeze. The sails snapped in each gust that carried them closer to Antigua. With two weeks behind them, they still had at least a month to go. And that was if good weather held. The merchant ships moved much slower than a frigate would on its own.

Jarvis paced behind him on the forecastle, every so often scanning the horizon. Dominic hid a smirk. Their slow pace had begun to wear on Jarvis.

Dominic stood beside the boatswain, Mr. Byam, who arranged lengths of new line to replace a damaged halyard. The portly man worked nimbly while giving instructions to his son, Charlie. The young man nodded, then hurried to the shroud to climb the mast.

Dominic watched Charlie ascend to the yardarm. He was quiet like George but with more confidence. “He’s a good lad.”

The boatswain beamed. “It’s our first voyage with him as my mate.” The smile slackened. “Would have brought his mother along as well but for the captain. He forbids women from being on board, in line with the Admiralty’s order.” The man shielded his eyes from the sun as he watched his boy aloft.

Dominic had noticed the absence of women on the Deborah. Despite the Admiralty’s orders, many captains allowed carpenters’ and boatswains’ wives aboard to help with the work. But Captain Woodall was notorious in navy circles for keeping the rules.

“That would have been something, a whole family sailing together,”

Dominic said.

The boatswain sighed. “That it would have.”

And something to consider. If Dominic were captain, he could certainly bring his mother with him. And wife, even. He played with the buttons on his coat sleeve as he pondered. It was a tempting idea.

But how would a woman fare in the harsh conditions of a warship? Or in battle? She surely wouldn’t enjoy the cramped quarters and lack of privacy. Though he’d heard of several women who had braved battle and discomfort to be with their husbands, he could not see any lady of high society appreciating life on a frigate as he did.

Dominic turned his face to the wind and closed his eyes. Even if their finances were enough to make it through the waiting period to receive a command, he didn’t see his advancement improving his mother’s situation. Dominic removed his bicorn and brushed at an invisible spot on its surface. Besides, if he married, he’d have two people to leave. More, if children ever came. All those people to worry about while he was at sea living the life he was destined for.

He shook his head, clearing his mind. Too much deep thinking for one afternoon.

The bell erupted in eight clear rings, signaling the end of his watch. Dominic nodded farewell to the boatswain and headed for the main hatch. Moyle enjoyed backgammon, didn’t he? Dominic needed something to take his mind off the future.

The boys from Dominic’s division circled the entrance but didn’t go down. A few yards away from them, he couldn’t hear what they said, but he saw Walter Fitz’s lips moving. A head appeared through the hatch, and Dominic groaned.

George.

Before Dominic could shout, Walter kicked George, who lost his grip and vanished down the hatch. Dominic’s stomach leaped. Every seaman slipped down the hatch at least once during his career, but he could only imagine what the force of a kick would add to such a fall.

The boys’ roaring laughter dissolved under the click of Dominic’s shoes. The group cowered back, except for Walter. Dominic wanted to slap the defiant look from the boy’s face. He settled for grabbing a fistful of shirt and pulling the boy to him.

“Are you all right, George?” he called down the hatch, holding Walter tight as he strained to free himself.

“Yes, sir.” He could hardly hear the shaking voice over the crash of waves.

The coxswain, Walter’s father, hurried over from his place at the helm. “Something the matter, Lieutenant?”

Inside, Dominic seethed, but he tried to keep his voice even. “There is, Mr. Fitz. Your son will not respect his shipmates and has earned himself another watch because of it.”

The boy squirmed. “I just finished my watch.”

Dominic shouted to Jarvis over his shoulder. “See this lad gets a hearty share of duties this watch.”

The second lieutenant shrugged and motioned for the boy to join him on the forecastle deck. Dominic let go, and Walter slunk away.

“They’re only boys, sir,” the coxswain said. “They didn’t mean to hurt anything.” Hurt anything? It wasn’t things Dominic worried about.

“Get control of your son, Mr. Fitz, or I will. Actions such as that can endanger more than just the boys he torments.” He scowled at the other boys, who backed up even farther. Then he hurried down the ladder to the gun deck.

George held on to the capstan, balancing his weight on one foot. The cylindrical capstan, waist-high to most men and riddled with notches to insert handles for hoisting and hauling, came nearly to his chest.

“Are you all right?” Dominic asked.

The boy nodded, scooting toward Captain Woodall’s quarters. He lowered his other foot but groaned the moment he put pressure on it.

Dominic took hold of his arm before he could try another step. Most likely he twisted the ankle when he landed from the fall. “Let us get you to the surgeon.”

The boy shook his head sharply. “I need to get back to the captain.” He squinted at Dominic, little droplets wetting the corners of his eyes.

“You won’t be much use to the captain if that foot doesn’t heal properly. Come, I’ll help you.”

From pages 26-29

About the Author


Arlem Hawks began making up stories before she could write. Living all over the Western United States and traveling around the world gave her a love of cultures and people and the stories they have to tell. With her travels came an interest in history, especially the history of her English heritage. When she isn't writing, Arlem is baking her characters' favorite foods, sewing Regency dresses, learning how to play the tin whistle, and water coloring. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two children. Having previously published four historical romance novellas, Georgana’s Secret is her debut novel. 


Tour Schedule

Join the virtual blog tour of GEORGANA’S SECRET (Proper Romance Regency), Arlem Hawks’ highly acclaimed debut historical romance novel January 11 – February 14, 2021. Over forty-five popular blogs specializing in historical romance, inspirational fiction, and Austenesque fiction will join in the celebration of its release with excerpts, spotlights, and reviews of this new Regency-era novel set aboard a Royal Naval ship.

Jan 11 My Jane Austen Book Club Excerpt
Jan 11 Austenprose — A Jane Austen Blog Review
Jan 12 Wishful Endings Review
Jan 12 Lu Reviews Books Review
Jan 13 Lady with a Quill Review
Jan 13 Timeless Novels Review
Jan 14 Reading is My Superpower Review
Jan 14 The Bibliophile Files Review
Jan 15 Randi Loves 2 Read Review
Jan 16 The Christian Fiction Girl Excerpt
Jan 17 Nurse Bookie Review
Jan 18 The Silver Petticoat Review Review
Jan 18 Heidi Reads Review
Jan 19 Bookfoolery Review
Jan 20 Captivated Reading Review
Jan 21 Greenish Bookshelf Review
Jan 21 Bookworm Lisa Review
Jan 22 Among the Reads Review
Jan 23 Gwedalyn's Books Review
Jan 24 My Bookish Bliss Review
Jan 25 Wishful Endings Excerpt
Jan 25 Christian Chick's Thoughts Review
Jan 26 Relz Reviewz Review
Jan 27 The Lit Bitch Review
Jan 28 Reading with Emily Review
Jan 29 Books, Teacups & Reviews Review
Jan 30 A Darn Good Read Review
Jan 31 From Pemberley to Milton Spotlight
Jan 31 Impressions in Ink Review
Feb 01 Austenesque Reviews Review
Feb 02 Laura's Reviews Review
Feb 03 Literary Time Out Review
Feb 04 Chicks, Rogues & Scandals Excerpt
Feb 05 The Bluestocking Review
Feb 05 Library of Clean Reads Review
Feb 06 The Caffeinated Bibliophile Spotlight
Feb 07 So Little Time… Spotlight
Feb 08 The Readathon Review
Feb 09 The Book Diva Reads Excerpt
Feb 09 Books and Socks Rock Review
Feb 10 Our Book Confessions Review
Feb 10 Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen Spotlight
Feb 11 Rosanne E. Lortz Review
Feb 11 Jorie Loves a Story Review
Feb 12 Fire & Ice Excerpt
Feb 13 Cup of Tea with that Book, Please Review
Feb 14 Book Confessions of an Ex-ballerina Review

Other Proper Romance Books

  
   
   
   
   
   
  The Lady of the Lakes: The True Love Story of Sir Walter Scott (Historical Proper Romance #2) The Sheriffs of Savage Wells
Beauty and the Clockwork Beast Forever and Forever (Historical Proper Romance) A Lady's Favor My Fair Gentleman
Heir to Edenbrooke Lord Fenton's Folly A Heart Revealed 
   
(Books linked to my review or an Amazon affiliate link.)


What did you think of the excerpt?

Check out the tour for Altered Helix by Stephanie Hansen (Interview & #Giveaway) #yalit #yafantasy @prismbooktours

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Author Interview

What inspired you to write ALTERED HELIX?

I wrote Altered Helix shortly after surviving a fatal illness. I was in the hospital for weeks, had to regain my balance to walk again, and suffer from unilateral deafness still due to the illness. Reading books saved my spirit while stuck in the hospital. It also inspired me to write a book.

What do you love the most about this story?

I loved writing Altered Helix very much. What I love most is that people who may never have met under different circumstances band together for the greater good.

What challenged you about writing it?

The medical details are the most challenging. While I've picked up a lot of knowledge through being ill (I've also had radiation treatment, a bone marrow biopsy, and more), it's never easy reliving the pain and other symptoms.

Which character do you most relate to and why?

To be honest, I relate to the protagonist, Austria, most.

What do you hope readers will take with them after they’ve read it?

I hope this book helps readers believe in themselves and in others.

What do you enjoy doing when you're not writing?

When not writing, I enjoy helping other authors, reading, and spending time with my family (partner, kids, and one dog).

Altered Helix
(Altered Helix #1)
By Stephanie Hansen
Young Adult Fantasy Novella
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 96 Pages
May 19, 2020 by Hypothesis Books

I didn’t want to take the traditional path. First, I wasn’t ready for college. Second, I was going to live with my best friend, Tiff, and work at the Haunted House. Third, did I mention the hot guy Josh that works there too?

The most exciting thing about Austria’s new job, at a local haunted house, was the fact that the toughest looking people screamed the loudest. But when she meets the boy without a home, Josh, Austria's life takes intriguing and eventful turns. Up until now, Josh has managed to hang with his Street crowd, but they’re in danger, and so is Austria, the girl Josh recently fell for. The group finds themselves joining forces with previously considered enemies who also now find themselves in danger.

Deeply compassionate and full of twists, Altered Helix captures the struggle of polarized people that must work together for the greater good.

(Affiliate links included.)

Tour Schedule

January 25th:
January 26th:
January 27th:
January 28th:
January 29th:

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to Amazon affiliate links.)

About the Author


Stephanie Hansen is a PenCraft Award Winning Author. Her short story, Break Time, and poetry has been featured in Mind's Eye literary magazine. The Kansas Writers Association published her short story, Existing Forces, appointing her as a noted author. She has held a deep passion for writing since early childhood, but a brush with death caused her to allow it to grow. She's part of an SCBWI critique group in Lawrence, KS and two local book clubs. She attends many writers' conferences including the Writing Day Workshops, New York Pitch, Penned Con, New Letters, All Write Now, Show Me Writers Master Class, BEA, and Nebraska Writers Guild conference as well as Book Fairs and Comic-Cons. She is a member of the deaf and hard of hearing community.

Tour Giveaway


One winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card and a signed paperback of Altered Helix (US only)

Ends February 3, 2020

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