Quality DNA by Beth Martin

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It’s so cool to see books you read in the beta stage get published. This book was one of my first beta reads, and it was a well-polished novel then. I liked it so much, in fact, I re-read it in its final form (and I very rarely do that because reading time = precious!)

Plot: In the future, due to overpopulation, each person is only allowed to have one child. DNA is monitored and men are sterilized after fathering an offspring. Except for some reason, babies are being born matching the DNA of dead men of exceptional talents, and it’s up to the social department’s investigator Irene to figure out how it’s possible.

First of all, I loved the diversity of this book. The main character is a lesbian woman, married to a bisexual Korean woman. You want to read it already, don’t you? Race, gender, and sexuality is represented not only well, but in abundance, and with no negative connotation. A+ in my book!

The characters are another big plus. No one is perfect or pure evil, just like in life. The relationships in this book, be it friends, family, or romance, are very real. I had genuine feelings when things happened to them.

The story itself is quite on the sci-fi side, and more than a dose of suspending disbelief is required. For many of the main points, such as the reasoning for population control, you just have to take them as is and not try to pick it apart. Enjoy it for what it is and you won’t be disappointed.

You can pre-order Quality DNA on Amazon.

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2017 here I come!

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Rise is currently at 85 ratings with a 4.0 average on Goodreads. Holy crap. It probably won’t last long – one 3 star will bring it under, but for now it feels good.

I wish I could draw. Then I would do sketches of key scenes. But I just can’t put on paper what’s in my head. My mother is an artist and teaches art, as are my sister and cousin who both went to Syracuse U for art degrees. My grandmother was a museum curator most of her life. Me? Not so much. I was given my father’s musicality and words instead.

My 2016 goal was to get traditionally published, and I did. Now, for 2017 my goal is to get Queen an agent. I’ve had way too much interest and positive feedback to give up on it. Yes, the writing needs work, but I have a CP now and I will get it there. I have to.

So here’s to everyone’s 2017 resolutions: good luck!

 

Video game screenshot contest ftw!

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It’s Halloween time and zombies are on everyone’s mind, so what better time than to do a post-apocalyptic screenshot contest, brought to you by the ATR Gamers gaming community, based on their favorite holy paladin’s new YA dystopian novel, Rise of the Chosen.

Rules:

 Take a book related screenshot anywhere in World of Warcraft, BF4, Minecraft, GTA, or Overwatch, and provide a short description. Some things we’ll be looking out for:

 1. Location

2. Appearance

3. Specific details

 Excerpt available free on Amazon in the Look Inside section for an idea of what to enter with.

 Prizes:

 First place: Pick any mount or pet from the Blizzard shop (maximum $30 value) or a $30 ThinkGeek gift card plus VIP access for ATR Gamers. 

 Second place: Pick any pet from the Blizzard shop (maximum $15 value) or a $15 ThinkGeek gift card and an ATR Gamers T-shirt. 

 All you need is a screenshot to enter. The description must include how it ties in with Rise of the Chosen.

 One screenshot per entrant. Must have a valid email and mailing address for the gifts to be sent out. The contest will run from October 18th, 2016 to October 31st, 2016. Winners will be selected and notified by November 14th, 2016. If winner does not respond within 14 days after contact, a new winner will be chosen. Participants grant free use of all submitted files. Winners and runners up will have their screenshots posted right here for everyone to see! 

 No purchase necessary to enter or win. ThinkGeek gift cards are US only, and Blizzard Store gift items are for World of Warcraft only. Please do not enter if you cannot get the items shipped to you. Void where prohibited by law. This contest is not sponsored by Blizzard Entertainment or other game companies.

 Follow this link to enter!

 Good luck and have fun!

Zombies and unexpected deaths

Today is the day – Rise of the Chosen is finally available to the public! If you have yet to check it out, here’s a review to (hopefully) win you over!

Magic of books

“Rise of the Chosen” is a fantastic story that pulls you into the world ravaged by the Lifeblood. It’s an original tale with vivid characters, surprising plot twists and a refreshing take at zombie-like creatures who aren’t always the blood-thirsty beasts you’re used to.

Rise of the ChosenRise of the Chosen by Anna Kopp

My rating: star-full-iconstar-full-iconstar-full-iconstar-full-iconstar-full-iconGoodreads | Amazon | Author’s blog

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Goodreads blurb (since I won’t put it better):

In Sam’s world there are two rules. Rule #1: Nobody dies. Protect the living at all costs. Rule #2: Everybody dies. At least once.

The Waking was a global event in which a force called the Lifeblood invaded all humans who died. The few strong enough to control it came back as powerful immortals. The rest let the bloodlust take over and awoke with one goal – to kill.

Newly appointed…

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Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

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Does only reading the dialogue after 25% count as a DNF?

Boy. This book. I don’t even know where to start.

It was like the Pride Prejudice and Zombies movie plot without the action scenes. What then, you might ask, keeps the pace going?

Nothing. The answer is nothing.

This is 400 pages of exposition. The backstory of how the world became a Victorian society came in the form of an essay that the MC wrote. Yes, it’s as horrible as it sounds. And then, the zombie plague backstory came in the form of ‘dialogue’ between two people on the opposite sides of a closed door. For like 20% of the book. /beats head against wall

The Victorian dystopia was such an amazing idea, and I couldn’t wait to see it be incorporated into the story…except it was completely irrelevant. The girls wore dresses and had manners and rode carriages. Whoopty doo. I don’t know what I expected, but not some superficial material things that only made it strange instead of immersive.

And then there’s the zombies. Some go crazy and some keep their minds, much like in Rise of the Chosen, though they still want to eat people. Except as the story goes on, the cannibalistic nature of zombies is kinda swept under the rug and goes from ‘our body is disintegrating and we’re going to go crazy eventually but while we’re sane we’ll help the living’ to ‘all zombies who are sane should be reintegrated into society’. Umm no? That’s a total contradiction to what was said about them in the beginning. o_O

As a story about zombies and war and death, you’d expect action and…well, death. Instead, we get a girl kidnapped in a nightgown after taking two shots at a zombie and a girl beat a zombie with an umbrella. No, really, that’s it. Ok, so maybe there was some more stuff going on in the last quarter of the book, but by then I just wanted the torture to end.

Also, I don’t mind 1st person POV, but FIVE? It got quite confusing for a while there.

Why did I finish it, then? A part of me really wanted to like it because it’s a similar idea to Rise. If you just take the main story, it wasn’t actually bad. However, I skimmed probably about 75% of it because it was just telling us information instead of showing it.

Very recently I was given great advice in a critique group. Instead of the problem being ‘telling not showing’ look at it as ‘telling not happening’. Read and highlight parts where something is being told versus something that is happening. Then fix the parts where it’s being told. This book is 90% being told and even though the story itself wasn’t half bad, it was dreadfully boring because of it.

I won’t star rate it because I believe that my dislike for its narrative structure is subjective. Somehow (how? no seriously, how?), this book got an agent and sold thousands of copies. It has over 9,000 ratings, with half of those loving it. I’m guessing those people loved Pride and Prejudice as well, so if you did you might enjoy this one. To me, I can’t wait to read something else.

Pretty cover, though.