Genre: YA Dystopian Lit

Blog Book Tour | “Dream of the Navigator” (Book One: #FarawaySaga) by Stephen Zimmer #JorieReads her 8th #Dystopian story and has a surprise to share with her readers!

Posted Wednesday, 15 August, 2018 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a stop on the “Dream of the Navigator” blog tour from Seventh Star Press. The tour is hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media who does the publicity and blog tours for Seventh Star Press and other Indie and/or Self Published authors. I am a regular blog tour host with Tomorrow Comes Media and whilst I haven’t read all of Mr Zimmer’s collective works, I did previously enjoy his anthology collection of shorts out of one of his universe’s of interest: Ave. I have oft contemplated whether or not I could find a niche of interest in Dystopian stories and this one felt uniquely different and I decided to give it a go! This is interesting because the first time I read one of his stories I was a 1st Year Book Blogger and as I am celebrating my 5th Blog Birthday (this August), I am reading my second story of Zimmer’s.

I received a complimentary copy of “Dream of the Navigator” direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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A bit of a reflective look at Jorie’s views on Dystopian Lit:

I must confess, I have been avoiding reading books that fall under this sub-heading across all genres for such a long time because I still have issues with certain books I read whilst in school! Writers like Steinbeck and Orwell did not paint my future well for appreciating Dystopian stories! Nor did I feel very inclined to read them on my own inclination due to the heavy amount of violence and dark undertones that seemed to be all the rage inside the stories that were being produced for the genre overall. Which is why I decided to undertake this challenge (originally) during SFN (Sci-Fi November aka #RRSciFiMonth). To approach the genre as a skeptic, but perhaps emerge after a month of readings as an appreciator?

This is how I began an essay about why I’ve been a reluctant reader of Dystopian Lit for the entirety of my reading life! I had meant to pull the stories off the mini-list of #mustreads I had pooled together that particular year – though as luck would have had it, something derailed my efforts and I hadn’t quite accomplished what I had set out to do! This was my 1st year as a Book Blogger and my first foray as a participant into the now infamous phenomenon knowing as Sci-Fi Month and/or Sci Fi November which was happily founded by Rinn of Rinn Reads (she’s since moved on to co-blogging).

A note on ‘dystopian’ literature:

Being that I am not as well versed in this particular genre, my understanding of its place in literature and the key components that make it vital to be read, will evolve as I seek out more titles to read. However, I started to expound on what I am reading through The Boxcar Baby, and have drawn one curious conclusion: dystopian stories have the tendency to bring out the warts of our exterior worlds and environments, and seek to convey a critical thought or forewarning that would then, either indirectly or directly shift the perspective of those who can bring about the most change in our own lives. Its a method of story-telling to bring to the readers’ attention certain aspects of modern life that are effectively in need of change OR give a cautionary tale of ‘what could be’ if humans do not tread lightly on a path that could lead them to a future of ill-regret. Again, I could be completely mistaken, but this is a newcomer’s perspective of what the genre is seeking to reveal and assert. To put it another way, one must endeavour to walk through a desolate and despairing dystopia in order to emerge into a utopia of balanced proportion.

-quoted from my review of The Boxcar Baby by J.L. Mulvihill

(2013, September) | 1st Year Book Blogger

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My Dystopian Reads:

The Boxcar Baby (Steel Roots, Book One) by J.L. Mulvihill

Moments in Millennia: A Fantasy Anthology (edited) by Penny Freeman

→ My favourite short of course was ‘Time out of Mind’ by Michael Cross

The Lazarus Game by Stephen J. Valentine (DNF)

An Uncommon Blue (Blue series, Book One) by R.C. Hancock (DNF)

The Path (Tag series, Book One) by Peter Riva (DNF)

Watcher (Watcher series, Book One) by AJ Eversley*

Carbon (Watcher series, Book Two) by AJ Eversley (DNF)

*NOTE: Eversley’s series in [2017] was my ill-fated attempt to re-address a curiosity of mine about Dystopian Lit and to see if I could finally find a singular author who could not only entice me into their world-building but give me the kind of Dystopian story I was seeking.

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As you can see, Zimmer’s Dream of the Navigator is my eighth attempt at reading Dystopian narratives over the score of the five years I’ve been a book blogger! I started reading this particular one *after!* my fifth blog’s birthday (6th of August, 2018) – marking it officially the one story I felt in five years which would become the ‘exception to the rule’ and the kind of Dystopian story I’ve been seeking all these years whilst wandering round a genre which has failed to garnish my full heart & appreciation!

There have been keen moments of where I’ve tucked inside a writer’s vision for their world-building which has befit what I felt would resound well as a ‘Dystopian Futuristic impression’ of where any particular world could be cast afield to such a such a time in ‘the future’ of where certain attributes of its society led it down a particular path and thereby led to a certain outcome. You can see this in the motion pictures “Wall-E” (one of the best representations of a society that is too ‘connected’ to see the truth in the pudding round them!) and “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” (where the sole pursuit of ‘life’ is found in a decidedly ‘altered’ future). Ironically, finding those films seemed to be an easier pursuit than finding a writer who knew how to write a Dystopian world which not only had the chops to hold my attention but to write a sophisticated narrative which has teeth to stand out from the pack!Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

And, then there was that particular infamous (in my mind) #SciFiExperience where I was wicked excited about reading Kate Elliott’s Icepunk series (Spiritwalker) whilst contemplating her ‘Court of Fives’ novel. I am still curious about these stories – I had to table my goals that year as well. There have been a lot of ups/downs over the years in my reading life & endeavours but occasionally when the stars aligned, I was able to read a few Dystopians despite the angst of having to postpone the other reads I was most curious to explore!

I drew together further insights into why I have this love/hate relationship with Dystopian Lit when I tried to settle into the first installment of the Blue series by Mr Hancock.

I think the main issue I find with Dystopian Lit is the fact everything is a bit cock-eyed; meaning, where you can observe what is wrong it isn’t enough to evoke change; you have to prove change needs to happen and oft-times that means putting your own life at risk. There is a clear wave of bullying between the different caste systems in the story, and the boy who caused Bruno to become painted is the classic bully whose connections protect him yet he is allowed to manipulate events without consequences. Bruno starts to unravell the underpinning principles of his world, whilst noting not everything on the Blue side is effectively the same elsewhere. For the Greens and those whose fire are reflective of blended hues (which points to the fact they ‘painted’ or blended their fire with someone else; either by force or compliant) getting through their lives is not quite the same as what Bruno had whilst he was a purebred Blue. The Blues are more elite in this world, as they are given opportunities the others are not privy to receiving themselves; even if by opportunity they are controlled. There is an imbalance between individual freedoms and the internal workings of the government who seek to control every aspect of their choices and how they act on their free will can determine their fates.

It wasn’t the writing that bothered me it was the structure of the story itself and how powerless everyone in Telesphore City truly were as perception on events trumped the truth of them; reducing any ability for justice. As I turnt around in my mind everything I had read up until this point, I realised why I struggle so much with Dystopian Lit and why I have been the last to admit it simply might not be for me at all. Its the disparity of it all. The overwhelming anguish of having the world painted black (here this refers to an intense thickening of darkness not a coloured variant of a word) to the brink where the light has barely any wick to shine. This is what bothers me a bit about Young Adult novels in general, but in regards specifically to Dystopian, I think I struggle with letting go of my optimistic spirit whilst I am reading them.

I love conflict and adversity in the books I am reading, but when it comes to Dystopian story-lines, I find myself uncomfortably displaced and a quickening sense of how fast everything can change. It is a bit like trying to sort out where you’ve gone wrong with a map written in a language you do not speak. I have read two Dystopian novels now, wells, technically I read a portion of this one and I struggled to finish the other one (The Boxcar Baby), giving me pause for realising sometimes what your curious about isn’t always worth uncovering. I just cannot give my heart to Dystopian Lit no matter how much I try to think there is a writer or a story within these worlds that will appeal to me.

Hancock makes interesting choices to steer the reader away from using strong language as a method of expressing what is being felt during the height of intense emotional moments; yet he cleverly uses colour as a way to not only explain the world but how colour itself can express the darkest shades of emotion. He makes clear definitions between what is considered right, wrong, and questionable (the in-between) yet personally I struggle to tuck inside a story whose undercurrent of tone is backlit with such heaviness; which is becoming the way I can express Dystopian story-lines. The uneasiness quickened a bit whilst seeing how callous some of the characters were towards each other and how the guards in the story were equally so towards everyone.

Hancock I believe has given a strong presence for YA Dystopian Lit for those who understand how these worlds are underlit and written as a whole. For an outside perspective, I didn’t find it a good fit for me personally but those other book bloggers I am thinking of tonight (including the girls of “Oh the Books” who co-hosted Sci Fi November this year!), I think they might tuck inside this and enjoy what he gave to the genre. For me, I checked out when a boy was killed simply for helping his best friend get out of a locked down campus — the manner in which he was killed just wrecked me on a lot of levels and the unnecessary force was just too disturbing. In light of recent current events, I respect a need to show different points of view and a clarity of conscience but in the end, the novel just broke my heart once too many times.

– quoted from my review of An Uncommon Blue by R.C. Hancock

Where Hancock erred in keeping me rooted in his vision of his Dystopian world, Zimmer has excelled. The key differences of course is purpose & intent – there is an undertone which remains firmly oblique and darkening in Hancock’s world whereas there is a presence of Light & Hopefulness in Zimmer’s.

Moreso, I simply enjoyed the back-stories and the background of Zimmer’s Faraway Saga moreso than Hancock’s as to me, the world in which Hancock created would let down a lot of readers for how desolate it truly became. You never felt you could gain traction of change inside his world – everything was operating against rebellion and personal freedoms. Even the powers he conceived were at first uniquely interesting to observe but then, I felt he worked against that power and kept altering the potential outcome to something rather more nefarious than I was willing to see through.

A lot of the issues I had in ‘An Uncommon Blue’ were never observed in ‘Dream of the Navigator’ in fact, in many ways – I felt Zimmer’s series was built on a stronger foundation. He had a stronger vision for his world to where you never felt the world itself was ‘changing against it’s type’. He projected their motivations clearly and even the components of the structure and order of the world doesn’t alter from it’s own non-ethical protocols; they are what they are  – which is beneficial to feeling you can trust Zimmer’s world of being exactly as it represents itself without a wench in the wheel throwing you out of its dimension.

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Similar to my readings on behalf of Antiphony, Riva has begun his on discourse on society, technology, religion and our place inside the world itself – how we view our living reality and how our living reality is altered by what is never completely in our control. He has written a challenging text because like the other author, he wants you to ponder the deeper meanings and take the Tag series to an awareness of recognising what could be unnoticed right before our eyes. The only key difference between the two, is Antiphony was a pursuit to understand a higher plane of existence outside of our limited sensory understanding of ‘reality’ which broached spirituality and other ideals of thought. Within the Tag series, Riva has augmented a society removed from any religious or spiritual pursuits, as the controlling rule is specifically geared towards putting humanity through a vise and only allowing humans to live a life deemed beneficial to the whole rather than the limited few.

In other words, nothing about living is determined by the individual but is rather systematically fused to an ordering rule (i.e. the government in this case; of which I can only presume is similar to The Hunger Games world based on the notes my friends have given me on it’s behalf). I think it’s safe to say my preference is always to have a level of spirituality kept inside a world – even if the world is futuristic, I’m not a particular fan of dissolving all thoughts and beliefs of a higher power; hence why I never read Phillip Pullman’s series beginning with The Golden Compass.

-quoted from my review of The Path by Paul Riva

Spirituality and Metaphysics are aptly explored in Zimmer’s Faraway Saga but rather than removing the precepts of religious thought & belief completely – to where it no longer has a place of origin or purpose, Zimmer found a way to ask intellectually stimulating questions of his characters – to where he desires them to recapture their own free will of mind & thought – to let them make the choices on behalf of what they believe or don’t believe without those choices being made for them.

He also approaches the context of this section of his world with an open mind – he let’s his characters walk a muddled path towards self-enlightenment due to how their world has repressed a lot of knowledge & information for the sake of population control and a future disconnected from personal growth. They want their citizens to remain in stasis intellectually as that would allow them to rule over them without conflict or disagreement.

Of the two, I prefer the approach Zimmer took – as it allows the door to remain open – for his world, his characters and the reader who is approaching his Dystopian viewpoint(s).

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One thing I appreciate most about how Eversley has approached writing this novel is how she fuses bits and bobbles of what you can conceptionalise against what could be a living reality not too far forward into the future. It’s a unique balance – to insert readers into a world with a Dystopian bent and a world which brings up hard philosophical questions about humanity, the pursuit of living authentically and the greater purpose behind life itself or even the art of survival if things go dangerously wrong.

Eversley has tapped into a niche of Dystopian where you can play with the genre – you can add not only depth of the world through the layers in which we entreat inside it’s boundaries but by how this world is stitched together – from the origins of their beliefs (hinted at) to the constructs of how they believe their rights as sentient beings should be maintained (similar to us) whilst enlarging the scope to have a dual presence of foe against foe – each fighting for the right to be the champion and each not honestly seeing how they could bridge their differences (if that’s even a plausible possibility) as war takes it’s toll. It’s not just the losses of life – it’s the wear and tear on the psyche and on morale of those who are fighting everyday to live one more day towards the ‘end goal’. For the Carbons and the Watchers, they are each moving towards a collision of sorts – at least, from what I can gather – if this debut is the introduction into the Watchers as a collective, than the second novel in the series surely picks up the momentum begun here through the point-of-view of the Carbons; to give a buoyancy between good and evil or what is perceived as good vs evil. It could all be an experiment gone wrong – or rather, an experiment which outgrew it’s purpose and turnt into something else completely.

If anything, there is so much your thinking about – trying to root out Eversley’s motivating inspiration and uncovering what is driving the story forward whilst trying to respect the world and pull back it’s layers to see what is really being set for you to see.

-quoted from my review of Watcher by A.J. Eversley

You might be curious why I decided to take you back down this particular readerly rabbit hole – of why I felt it necessary to re-visit the past Dystopian Reads in order to better augment my reasons for preferring Zimmer’s vision for his own. The reason, dear hearts, is quite simple – if you didn’t fully understand where I had traversed in the past – through these worlds the prior seven story-tellers had crafted for me to find, you might not fully understand how hard it has been to seek out writers’ who are crafting the kinds of Dystopian stories I am seeking.

For the most part, there have been positives and negatives across the board – hence, why I chose to add the quotations and to re-empathsis what worked for me and what did not ahead of revealling my ruminative thoughts on behalf of ‘Dream of the Navigator’ which at first glimpse brought back memories of ‘Flight of the Navigator’ (a motion picture) – a personal favourite of my childhood. I am unsure if the title has any cogitation of reference to the film, however, it had one for me.

Despite being a particularly particular reader of specific genres and thematics of literature – I remain optimistic I can find a niche of interest even in the most unapproachable literary arenas I find rather arduous to step inside. This is why I’ve continuously tried to read different Dystopian works of literature – finding a few qualms overall (four DNFs out of eight is telling in its own right!) and yet, I haven’t reached the plateau of lost hope!

I also want to share – I reverted back to my days of being able to read ‘chapter samplers’ to decide it ‘Dream of the Navigator’ would be a good ‘fit’ for me – those were the days where I could read a whole chapter digitally ahead of sourcing a print copy to read in full – back before my clustering chronic migraines were not occupying so many dear hours of my life and wrecking a lot of readerly hours off the clock as well. Prior to requesting a place on this tour, I happily found a sampler for this novel wherein despite the limitations I have nowadays with digital samplers, I gleamed enough to ‘wish to turn the pages!’ and find out what was going to happen next!

This isn’t the reaction I was expecting – I thought it would take me a bit longer than mere paragraphs to feel attached to the story-line – after all, this was a *Dystopian world!* – though, I admit, my readings of Julie E. Czerneda’s #TheClanChronicles has opened my eyes to worlds on shaky ground and where disparity can threaten to overrule.

Of all the stories I read in the past within this genre – ‘Watcher’ was the closest I felt towards finding a writer who could write a Dystopian world in a manner of approach I could appreciate. There were issues of course after I read ‘Watcher’ – as the series had to go on without me as a reader, as there were key choices I felt which worked against the plotting established in the first book – but this time round – I felt much more confident about the Faraway Saga than I had with Watcher – and that simply boils down to individual choices on behalf of the story-crafters who gave them to us.

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On my connection to Stephen Zimmer:

Over the past five years, Mr Zimmer has given me a lot of opportunities to engage with Speculative Lit authors – both through my readings of their stories (by the blog tours he’s hosted via Tomorrow Comes Media or through Seventh Star Press directly) and by letting me visit the radio frequencies by guest appearances on the Star Chamber Show (a blogtalkradio podcast). In Autumn of [2013] Zimmer was one of the first publicity and blog touring companies to give me a chance at being a ‘tour hostess’ and I am quite grateful he added me to his Blogger Team! I have spent 5 years appreciating the journey into Speculative Fiction – deepening my understanding of the genre and of sourcing out the writers who are writing the stories I love to be reading!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Mr Zimmer through the twitterverse or whilst I host for Tomorrow Comes Media and Seventh Star Press and/or privately as well. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their releases as they are available.

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Notation on Cover Art Design: As soon as I saw the cover art for this novel – the genre it resides started to shift in front of my eyes! I loved how much ‘light vs dark’ is playing in the design – how the splintered and mirrored images are playing off each other – whilst hinting towards ‘more’ – almost of a pinnacle to reach vs where the state of things currently lie. Even the rainbow (the symbol of hope) was aptly placed and the lush world ‘above’ counterbalances the darker shades of a technate driven world. I was beyond impressed!! I have long held the cover artists with Seventh Star Press in high esteem and this is another one which left me in ‘awe’ admiring it! Of course, the premise and the chapter sampler worked together to tempt me to read the chapters behind this art – but for the sake of art and illustration, this cover is wickedly impressive!!

Blog Book Tour | “Dream of the Navigator” (Book One: #FarawaySaga) by Stephen Zimmer #JorieReads her 8th #Dystopian story and has a surprise to share with her readers!Dream of the Navigator
Subtitle: Faraway Saga
by Stephen Zimmer
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Enggar Adirasa
Source: Publisher via Tomorrow Comes Media

Cities have been replaced by technates. It is a world of soaring apartments, hundreds of stories high, where technology measures, monitors and rations to meet the needs of the greater populace. It is a world of drones, in the air and on the ground, and advanced robotic beings who carry out much of the harder labor, security, and even pleasure assignments.

Those discontent, or who resist, are taken to Rehabilitation Centers, established after the embrace of the Greater Good Doctrine.

For most, virtual realms, substances, and entertainment provide escapes, but for Haven, Cayden, Jaelynn, and Salvador, growing up in Technate 6 is a restless existence.

A hunger for something more gnaws inside each of them. Discoveries await that open the gates to transcend time and space, and even new planes of existence. Nothing in their universe, or others, is impossible to explore.

What was once reality, now seems like an illusion in a deepening experience.

Begin the journey to Faraway, in Dream of the Navigator, the first book of the Faraway Saga!

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1948042536

Also by this author: Chronicles of Ave: Vol.1, (Author Interview) The Chronicles of Ave, (Guest Post) The Chronicles of Ave, (3-part) Interview Rayden Valkyrie TV Pilot

Genres: Dystopian, Genre-bender, Sci-Fantasy, Science Fiction, Techno-Thriller, YA Contemporary, YA Dystopian Lit, YA Urban Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Seventh Star Press

on 24th June, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 398

Published By: Seventh Star Press (@7thStarPress)
Available Formats: Softcover and Ebook

Converse on Twitter: #FarawaySaga, #DreamOfTheNavigator & #7thStar

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What I previously loved about Stephen Zimmer’s style:

You get the firm sense that Zimmer is a voracious reader who dips into a bit of everything that yields to his personal curiosity and allows his mind to wander through the gate of his imagination to deposit into a reader’s hands a wholly encased world whose dimensions are ever expanding into larger scales of tales yet to be told! Except for the few shorts, where I think he opted instead for traditional heroic bloodshed story-telling! This might draw a close eye towards the fact he appreciates the horror genre, and bits of that seep into this side of his fantasy worlds. It’s his passion for research that I applaud first and foremost, as not every writer goes to the length as he does and I always celebrate a writer I find who carries out research on this level! Secondly, he endeavours you to amplify his words into motion by the words he uses to provoke a visual response, in which backs up something he said in an interview I heard of his (whilst researching which questions I wanted to ask him in my own interview!) where he acclaimed his novels are set to embody a motion picture medium rather than the printed world of the book! This is a claim he rightly deserves to make!

He is one of the writers that I would genuinely be delighted to seek out (if it had not been for Tomorrow Comes Media!), as he parlays his fervent passion for research by interspersing what he uncovers into the tapestry by which Ave is threaded against! It’s a world that encompasses as many distinctively unique cultures, traditions, spirituality’s, and languages as our own living counterpart, and yet, it has something to give back to us as well!

The care he takes to diminish the force of the violence inside by counter-balancing it with a life lesson is absolute genius, because your not as apt to focus on the brief encounters of evil, but rather, on the benefits of what each short attempts to draw out of the character he’s chosen to hone in on instead! These characters, I perceive to be secondary ones in the larger stories (novels), yet, they have a specific life-path in Ave that cross-sects with the intervening entities or events that bring about the most metamorphose of growth! You can use me as a barometer in knowing that if I can handle these stories, you can as well! I have an intolerance for violence, but I cherish the soulful stories such as these that grant the reader a ruminative conclusion of what they’ve read!

-as previously expressed on my review of Chronicles of Ave: Volume One

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About Stephen Zimmer

Stephen Zimmer

Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels and novellas (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk), the Ragnar Stormbringer Tales (Sword and Sorcery), and the forthcoming Faraway Saga (YA Dystopian/Cross-Genre).

Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.

Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 15 August, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Astral Projection, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Dystopian, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Father-Daughter Relationships, Futuristic Fantasy, Gaming, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Science Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Tomorrow Comes Media, Virtual Reality, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Carbon” (Book Two: The Watcher Series) by AJ Eversley

Posted Monday, 2 October, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for the Watcher series hosted by iRead Book Tours. I have been trying to find a way to make enroads into Dystopian Lit for a number of years, specifically every year I’ve participated in Sci Fi November, whilst outside of the annual event as well. If anything, I have found my attempts of finding Dystopian stories I can sink my teeth into and appreciate to be a bit hit/miss or false starts. When I read about this series – I thought, it’s labelled a ‘clean YA Dystopian series’ and therefore decided to ‘try once more’ and see if I can alight into a world penned in this genre. I received a complimentary copy of CARBON direct from the author AJ Eversley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On where WATCHER leaves off and where I hoped CARBON would continue:

Where things get more interesting is what draws Kenzie to Sawyer like a moth to a flame. In one instance towards the latter quarter (or so) of the story, I started to see an insert of familiarity and in some ways a welcome explanation for a film I never could fully understand (the Matrix). Despite all the references I’ve been making – they are only minor references in both concept, idea or execution. As for me, I appreciate Eversley style and approach in telling this story far more than I appreciated the other films. In regards to the Borg, however, those were some of my favourite Next Generation episodes because it was exploring a non-traditional enemy similar to AI which was self-governing and self-evolving without human interference. My favourite episode of course was about Hugh – where Picard helped one Borg name himself and see things from ‘outside’ the collective; thereby giving him a slice of humanity he never felt he could feel. In many ways, I think Kenzie is Hugh in this story – he was set on a course he did not choose for reasons he did not fully accept as being right but followed through because it was his path to walk. It’s a complicated arc of story – of making choices in blinks of time, effecting lives outside your own and trying to sort your way through a quagmire of a future which works against every innate instinct of humanity.

-quoted from my review of WATCHER

As I left WATCHER, I was hoping CARBON would pick up close in a time-frame which would equal the momentum I had read in WATCHER; on that score, I was not disappointed. The hard part for me stepping back into this world was how much everything had ‘changed’ as soon as Sawyer had lost her humanity (she was now a Carbon) and how dearly altered Kenzie had become because in effect, the Kenzie I knew with Sawyer was dead – this was his truer state and his truer nature coming to the surface. It wasn’t easy to read from that angle because Kenzie was such a different person in WATCHER; wells, perhaps not entirely different but different enough not to be easily recognised in CARBON.

I suppose I had hoped somehow the tides would turn round for Sawyer in a way which wouldn’t feel so very oppressively dark and unbearingly brutal from the point of view, she had already lost so much in her young life – to lose more felt almost too much for her to shoulder. I was quite attached to the story within WATCHER but as you will see, as I went into the pages of CARBON, I found myself stepping ‘out’ of the story rather than feeling firmly locked inside it.

I was delayed getting back into the rhythm of the series – I was offline for a fortnight due to personal circumstances wherein I was not reading during that time period. By the time I returnt to the series, I must admit, my experiences whilst I was absent did effect my readings now, as those experiences had a profound effect on me overall. Sometimes despite trying to step outside our literary comfort zones, we find we are not able to make the leap – at least this is true in my case, as CARBON was simply not my cuppa for Sci Fi.

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Blog Book Tour | “Carbon” (Book Two: The Watcher Series) by AJ EversleyCarbon
by AJ Eversley
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

Sawyer has lost everything. Her family, the man she loves...her humanity. No longer a Watcher, Sawyer must now begin a journey to understand her new identity. Carbon.

With no where left to call home, and no one left to guide her, Sawyer must rely on the help of a stranger to learn who she really is now, and how to use it to her advantage. In a world where nothing is as it seems, and who to trust is a thin line between friend and foe, Sawyer will turn to the stars that have shaped her destiny long before she even knew she had one. And the man who fate has sent her.

Book two in this epic series, Carbon will answer questions you didn't even know you had. And strangers will become the only ones who can help her. Join Sawyer as the journey to save humanity continues.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1548927189

Also in this series: Watcher


Genres: YA Dystopian Lit, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Self Published

on 26th September, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 312

The Watcher Series:

Watcher by AJ EversleyCarbon by AJ Eversley

Converse via: #WatcherSeries, #Dystopian + #CleanReads + #YALit

About AJ Eversley

AJ Eversley

AJ Eversley is the author of the WATCHER series. A true north Canadian girl, AJ currently lives in Central Alberta with her husband and dog. When she’s not writing, she can be found binge watching Harry Potter, quoting various movies in every day conversation, and eating copious amounts of candy.

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Posted Monday, 2 October, 2017 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Dystopian, Equality In Literature, Father-Daughter Relationships, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Parapsychological Gifts, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Watcher” (Book One: The Watcher Series) by AJ Eversley Jorie re-attempts to insert herself into a Dystopian world.

Posted Wednesday, 6 September, 2017 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for the Watcher series hosted by iRead Book Tours. I have been trying to find a way to make enroads into Dystopian Lit for a number of years, specifically every year I’ve participated in Sci Fi November, whilst outside of the annual event as well. If anything, I have found my attempts of finding Dystopian stories I can sink my teeth into and appreciate to be a bit hit/miss or false starts. When I read about this series – I thought, it’s labelled a ‘clean YA Dystopian series’ and therefore decided to ‘try once more’ and see if I can alight into a world penned in this genre. I received a complimentary copy of WATCHER direct from the author AJ Eversley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

View the Book Trailer which helped me feel this Dystopian story might be one of the few in the genre I’d like spending time inside,…

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Watcher” (Book One: The Watcher Series) by AJ Eversley Jorie re-attempts to insert herself into a Dystopian world.Watcher
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

I knew I was not alone. They would never leave until every last one of us was gone." Sawyer Russo has sworn to protect humanity, and as a Watcher she’s done just that. But the Bots and Carbons that took her city are evolving, and they start picking the Watchers off one by one. One last rescue mission will change everything. When someone betrays them, the line between friend and foe is no longer easily drawn. Sawyer made a vow, and she will fulfill it, even if it means ending the person who deceived them, no matter who it might be. It all comes down to one choice... Who can she save? And who does she have to let go?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

ISBN: 9781544240282

Also in this series: Carbon


Genres: YA Dystopian Lit, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Self Published

on March 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 294

The Watcher Series:

Watcher by AJ EversleyCarbon by AJ Eversley

Converse via: #WatcherSeries, #Dystopian + #CleanReads + #YALit

About AJ Eversley

AJ Eversley

AJ Eversley is the author of the WATCHER series. A true north Canadian girl, AJ currently lives in Central Alberta with her husband and dog. When she’s not writing, she can be found binge watching Harry Potter, quoting various movies in every day conversation, and eating copious amounts of candy.

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Posted Wednesday, 6 September, 2017 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Dystopian, Equality In Literature, Father-Daughter Relationships, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Parapsychological Gifts, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “An Uncommon Blue” by debut #Dystopian novelist R.C. Hancock

Posted Monday, 22 December, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

An Uncommon Blue by R.C. Hancock

Published By: Bonneville Books (@BonnevilleBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #AnUncommonBlue

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “An Uncommon Blue” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Interested in Reading:

Initially when I saw An Uncommon Blue come available for book bloggers to host on it’s blog tour, I had a few thoughts on the subject float through my mind. As this isn’t my first dance at the rodeo so to speak for either YA or Adult Dystopian Lit — the more infamous attempt I made to dig inside Dystopian worlds is when I took on a Seventh Star Press debut novelist in 2013 whilst reading The Boxcar Baby. In both Sci Fi November 2013 + 2014 I included a Dystopian category of literary focus, and both years I unfortunately was not able to read the titles I had selected.

They included the following:

  • All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
  • Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
  • Across the Universe by Beth Revis

There were other selections made, but these were my top three choices I wanted to focus on for a second year in a row; and technically speaking, I am still posting the remaining contributions I have for SFN 2014 between the end of December and the early bits of January, before shifting fully into my showcases for Sci Fi Experience 2015! I am not a stranger to science fiction but I am a bit of a conservative reader when it comes to attempting to read Dystopian Lit, as this is what I had to express when I joined the blog tour for An Uncommon Blue:

This one is a step outside my comfort zone as although I love reading YA Fantasy, this one has a plot and a story thread that I generally have not read exclusively. I am always attempting to sort out stand-alones and series that dip in/out of Dystopian narratives as well as the elements found inside this story. I am not even sure the proper thematic to mention, but what convinced me was not only the enthused note by the author but the information I found about this novel on his website. I like to read novels that challenge me and this one at its core has a strong message I think warrants being read.

I pitched a curious idea to Asti (a wicked awesome host of this year’s SFN!), where I told her as I start to read more science fiction over the course of the next year leading up into the 2015 Sci Fi November month of lovelies, I’m going to hold back the reviews I feel would best be shared with the collective of who has become the foundation of the event’s month long sci-fi fest! Therefore, I am not sure if as I read the three books I mentioned I will blog about them in January (as a cross-post between SFN + SFE) or if I will hold off until revealing my thoughts until November 2015!

One thing is for certain, I do share one common thread with Mr. Hancock (as I read his new website and portions of his old blog before he received his contract to publish this novel) which is simply to say, I am seeking out wicked quality stories fit for children and teens. I have the tendency to avoid most of the hyper popular novels (including a few I saw he had blogged about or referenced himself) as they do not align with my own reading tendencies and habits, but the fact that we both have an eye on Children’s Lit with the intention to bring out the best of the pack, in this, I can relate to him directly! This is one reason my Children’s Lit page will start to carry with it a lot more selections from 2015 – forward! I’ve only just begun so to speak, as I’m currently a 2nd Year Book Blogger whose found her wings! Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
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Posted Monday, 22 December, 2014 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bullies and the Bullied, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Dystopian, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, Mother-Son Relationships, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, School Life & Situations, Sci-Fi November, Science Fiction, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, The Sci-Fi Experience, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Young Adult Fiction

*Blog Book Tour*: The Boxcar Baby by J.L. Muvihill

Posted Sunday, 29 September, 2013 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

The Boxcar Baby by J.L. Mulvihill
[Book One in the Steel Roots series]

Published by: Seventh Star Press, 12 July 2013.
Official Novel Websites: The Boxcar Baby Blog & The Steel Roots Facebook Page
Converse on Twitter: @JLMulvihill & #boxcarbaby
Author Page: @ Seventh Star Press
Artist Page: Matthew Perry @ Seventh Star Press; Portfolio
Available Formats: Softcover and E-book
Page Count: 274

The Boxcar Baby Book Tour | Tomorrow Comes Media

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a stop on “The Boxcar Baby” Virtual Book Tour, hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media. I received a complimentary copy of “The Boxcar Baby” in exchange for an honest review by the publisher Seventh Star Press. The book released on 12 July 2013. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. This marks my first stop as a Tour Host for Tomorrow Comes Media!

Author Biography:

J.L. MulvihillBorn in Hollywood and raised in San Diego, CA, J.L. Mulvihill has made Mississippi her home for the past fifteen years. Her début novel was the young adult title The Lost Daughter of Easa, an engaging fantasy novel bordering on science-fiction with a dash of steampunk, published through Kerlak Publishing.  The Boxcar Baby, the first novel of her Steel Roots Series, was released by Seventh Star Press in the summer of 2013.

J.L. also has several short fiction pieces in publication, among them “Chilled Meat”, a steampunk thriller found in the Dreams of Steam II-Of Bolts and Brass, anthology (Kerlak Publishing) and “The Leprechaun’s Story”, a steampunk urban Fantasy found in the anthology, Clockwork, Spells, & Magical Bells (Kerlak Publishing)J.L. is very active with the writing community, and is the events coordinator for the Mississippi Chapter of Imagicopter known as the Magnolia-Tower.  She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Gulf Coast Writers Association (GCWA), The Mississippi Writers Guild (MWG), as well as the Arts Council of Clinton, and the Clinton Ink-Slingers Writing Group.

Inspired to Read: Nearly all of my best ‘finds’ for the science fiction realms have been serendipitous in nature! You see, if I hadn’t been roaming around the bookish blogosphere a week ago, I might not have seen a curious little tour badge with “Tomorrow Comes Media” on it! Nor would I have suspected to click over to scope out the tour company and the authors that they represented! Had I not kept an open mind towards discovering ‘something!’ curious and unexpected, I might not have known about this author and book! This was the same way I had stumbled across “The Clockwork Carnival” in August [2013], the forthcoming “Sci-Fi November” (of whose badge is in my sidebar; my post on it coming the first week of October!), and the mere fact that I had chosen this particular Autumn to serve as a gateway back into a genre that my heart first came to know at the age of seventeen! I lay claim to that as my starting ground into the ‘literature’ side of things, but you’ll have to come back for my “Sci-Fi November” postings to learn the full story of how I’ve been happily consuming all-things sci-fi for the well full of my life!

As you may or may not know, it took me a bit to resolve what to read as my ‘first’ Steampunk selection, as much as I became attached to this revolutionary genre where the lines blur on what a story can attach itself into being, and jettison the reader off into such fantastical realms and worlds, that it nearly takes your breath away! Some aspects of Steam are subtle, others are full-on adventurous catalysts to transport you into a world bent on steam technology! I love the vitality of choice!! Therefore, when I saw a blog tour announcement for this story, I knew I had found my ‘second’ Steam novel and author!

Be sure to read my poster advert for this tour to glimpse my motivation to read “The Boxcar Baby”.

Synopsis of the Story:

The Boxcar Baby by J.L. Muvihill

Born in a boxcar on a train bound for Georgia. At least that is what Papa Steel always told AB’Gale. But now, fifteen years later, the man who adopted and raised her as his own is missing and it’s up to AB’Gale to find him. Aided only by a motley gang of friends, AB’Gale train hops her way across the United States in a desperate attempt to find her papa and put her life and family back the way it was. Her only guide is a map given to her by a mysterious hobo, with hand written clues she found hidden in her papa’s spyglass. Here is the Great American Adventure in an alternate steampunk dystopian world, where fifteen-year-old AB’Gale Steel learns that nothing is as it seems, but instead is shrouded in secrets and mysteries … and that monsters come in all shapes and forms.

Notations on Artwork & Design:

The Boxcar Baby | Interior Shot 1
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

In this particular day and age, where book cover designs are based more upon stock images and less on the artistically creative book cover designers, whose original artwork is all but lost; I must confess, what impressed me the most about this book, was the diversity of art, and the choice of which scenes to illustrate! I have always held a special place in my heart for illustrators, as they are encouraging our imaginations to jettison us off to that internal place where all stories live inside our hearts! They enable us to help stitch together imagery and scenes, that we may or may not, have been able to visually conceive on our own.

They create a tangible palette in which the scope of the story is percolated through a lens similar to a motion picture’s storyboard, yet instead of having the ‘images’ set to fluid motion by ‘camera’, we get to expand on what is being presented and wholly enter the realm of the literary unknown! Almost as though we jumped through hyperspace and entered a completely new dimension!

Such is the happenstance adventures of readers everywhere, who are given such a breadth of light by artwork that co-creates the story by which the author first conceived!

Mr. Perry’s first image seen on the left of the unidentifiable ‘person’ holding what appears to be a container or a particular ‘type’ of something that comes with a sling strap for your shoulder, is bang-on accurate to the descriptive narrative that Muvihill supports in Chapter 8!  This scene takes place at a train yard at night, in a discernible city of hidden suspense! What I liked about this snapshot of the character being brought forward into AB’Gale’s life at this moment in time, is that it shows that she is never going to know who or whom is going to cross her path! She’s set alight on a course where the most unsuspecting people she encounters, might hold ‘key’s to where she is headed next!

This is a metaphor for life as well, because its most oft known that the people who come to your aide or give you guidance are generally not always the ones you think will be akin to provide the information you need! No, actually in life as in stories, its the people you might overlook that provide the best advisers who help guide you on your path!

There was a second illustration that I was going to include in my review, but the chapter in which it was revealed has left me wondering why this particular thread was inside the story!? Of all the chapters, Chapter 54 was by far the most horrific!! I was not expecting a nose-dive into the realms of gruesome horror, yet that is the twist of a turn this story took at that junction! I would rather bypass it, and focus more on the main thread of story, by which, I enjoyed the most!

In regards to the cover art itself, a sense of urgency is playing out before us, as the locomotive is on fast approach, with a heightened sense of foreboding intensity! The gnarled and curling of the trunk of the tree, nearly reflects a sense of “unyielding twists of time and place”, as a curious hinting that the train can act as both a conveyor of people and goods, but also of destiny. I had been lamenting upon the visual symbolism of including the ‘tree with the train’ in full sight of the reader,… yet at the conclusion of the story, where I was expecting to arrive at a clarification of the symbolism, I was left instead with a questionable ending!

[My musings prior to the ending:]

Of all the times I’ve looked at the cover, I didn’t quite see what I saw whilst polishing this post to publish!! I was moving my mouse up and down, darting through everything to check the flow, as much as to check the rhythm of what I was wanting to convey about reading the story. Somewhere between the moving of the mouse and watching the screen, the cover art in this post was full in my sights, and therein, I noticed what I could not see whilst observing the cover art ‘flat and close’!!! The juxtaposition of AB’Gale Steel’s roots! It was like a lightning bolt had struck itself upon my desk, and all the logic of the choice in art electrified itself into my brain! The train’s boxcar in sight around the curve is “AB Gale Logs”; the workhouse factory is in the background with its garish stacks of smoke billowing towards the sky; and portions of a map are bleeding through the background into the foreground! The map bits I did originally see, as I thought I saw an overlay of a compass originally, but to see her origins and present circumstance coming rushing into view — kismet!

 

In total, Mr. Perry supplied 2 illustrative plates to give The Boxcar Baby a highly unique periscope into the lifeblood of the Steel Roots! His perception and understanding of the narrative is spot-on! And, I commend his artistic eye as much as his conveyance of the emotions, heart, and climatic moments of the evolving story! Even if I didn’t agree of the story shift, the illustrations honour the context in full! IF I could have picked one scene to be illustrated, it would have been of the girls’ new wardrobe, which hearkened quick to mind everything that I simply adore about Steampunk couture!

I look forward with whet anticipation of which Seventh Star Press novel I might encounter his brilliant artwork again! He’s truly an asset to the writers whose novels are published with the Press!

My Review of The Boxcar Baby:

Miss AB’Gale Steel, is a pure spitfire girl, full of strong-minded grit, who draws strength out of adversity, and endures hardship by bracing herself against self-pity. She latches her heart, her mind, and her spirit to the world by which she grew up in, as a method of memory against the vexatiousness life she feels consumed by. If it weren’t for percuring huckleberry friends: Charlotte, Raine, Lyza, and Freckles, I dare not presume to know how she would have found the strength to overcome! The girls owe allegiance towards each other as members of a surviving tribe of girls’ cast out and into a perpetual System that works against their well-being. Strengthened in their combined resolve, their sisterhood pits them against any opponent known or unknown.

By the fortuitousness of keen observation, these young women will assert their right to freedom by declaring their right to liberty. The woman who was behind their misery, Ms. Marcs, made me recollect my disdain for Brucklehurst who was the inflicter of desolation for Jane Eyre. Tragedy, flight of freedom, and an instinct for adventure transports these lovely huckleberries into a life of living by their wits!  

The girls usage of veritable language choices, are a direct reflection of other distinctive times in history, where the choice of words could not only separate you into a class structure, but be a reflective mirror into your place of origin. This is an ingenious ploy by Mulvihill to construct a fuller picture of the world building she set off to accomplish, as their attentive nature to using slang, akin to the quick-wit of the 1920s or of East Londoners’ Cockney, provides them with a unique voice of character! She sets into motion a world that we can draw a familiar line against, but purports it into a new dimension that we have not yet visited!

I was taken aback when the story shifted off the tracks of Steampunk suspense, and entered into the macabre horror of creatures who live in the pitch black of caves! I felt as though there was a story shift in the ending chapters that was not foreshadowed or even built into the first half of the book! I was settled into the story, and even thought I had found metaphoric meanings into the narratives, yet in the end, I felt disillusioned and saddened to see, that where I thought this adventure was leading me was not to be!

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Posted Sunday, 29 September, 2013 by jorielov in Alternative History, Coming-Of Age, Dystopian, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore, Horror, Indie Author, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Steampunk, Tomorrow Comes Media, Trains, Young Adult Fiction