Author Interview: Kristin Ward

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They tell me the country looked different back then.

They talk of open borders and flowing rivers.

They say the world was green.

But drought swept across the globe and the United States of the past disappeared under a burning sky.

Enora Byrnes lives in the aftermath, a barren world where water has become the global currency. In a life dominated by duty to family and community, Enora is offered a role within an entity that controls everything from water credits to borders. But it becomes clear that not all is as it seems. From the wasted confines of her small town to the bowels of a hidden city, Enora will uncover buried secrets that hide an unthinkable reality.

As truth reveals the brutal face of what she has become, she must ask herself: how far will she go to retain her humanity?

Author Bio

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Kristin Ward has loved writing since middle school but took thirty years to do something serious about it. The result is her Best Indie Book Award-winning novel, After the Green Withered, followed by the sequel, Burden of Truth. She lives in a small town in Connecticut with her husband, three sons, and many furry and feathered friends. A SciFi geek to the core, she is fueled by dark chocolate and coffee and can be heard quoting eighties movies on a regular basis.

Social Media Links

Kristin Ward Twitter: http://twitter.com/YA_Author

Kristin Ward Website: https://www.writingandmythreesons.com/

After the Green Withered purchase links:

https://www.amazon.com/After-Green-Withered-Kristin-Ward-ebook/dp/B07D2X7YSY

https://books2read.com/after-the-green-withered


Author Interview

1. What is your top read of 2019 so far?

I really enjoyed The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky. I love strong female characters and this was a different take on gender roles and what they mean for one young woman as she struggles to survive in a remote society. The main character, Omat, explores her strength and gender identity in a way that takes her on a journey of self-discovery as she comes face to face with who she is within her Inuit community. The world building, mythology, and clash of cultures create a rich story in a frozen landscape. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction with an unflinching look at what it means to survive in a hostile environment.

2. What is your favorite book friendship?

I’m going to go back in time for this one. As a teenager, I read and immediately fell in love with, The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. The bonds of friendship among this group of greasers is powerful. They are a family, though not by blood, and defend one another at great personal cost. I especially loved the relationship Ponyboy and Johnny have as they are forced to leave their community and then return to face the repercussions of events that unfold before and during their exile. It is when the two of them are separated from society, that their friendship reaches new depths. They shed their bravado and really show who they are beneath the layer of stereotypical behavior that keeps them on the outside of ‘acceptable’ society. I admit to some serious tears as the story unfolds.

3. Most anticipated book release of 2019?

On the top of my list is the recent release, The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. Being a fan of Game of Thrones, I’m excited to delve into this story! The fact that there are dragons has nothing to do with it. Nope. Who needs dragons? Psh.

4. How many books are in your TBR Pile?

At the moment, I’ve got just over one hundred in my TBR pile and I’m often adding to it!

5. Who is your favorite author?

That’s a really tough question. I would say that the author whose titles take up the most space on my shelves is Stephen King. But that is not to say he is my favorite author out of all of the titles I’ve read. I’ve simply been reading his books for thirty years and he’s a prolific writer!

I don’t anchor myself to any one genre as I have a rather eclectic taste in books and am a classic re-reader of stories that I love. I’m a huge fan of young adult fiction and have many authors that I enjoy reading. I am always looking for my next dystopian read! I also love a good historical fiction or romance when the mood strikes. If it’s set in medieval Scotland, my interest is immediately piqued!

6. How did you start writing?

I would have to go back to middle school, 7thgrade to be precise. When my English teacher, whom I still keep in close contact with, likened my writing to Saki, the author of The Interlopers, I was hooked. That defining moment began my foray into mad scribblings of terrible poetry and story starters galore.

As an adult, I spent many years dabbling in writing and began a few book ideas that I have yet to complete, though I may not ever finish those as my interest waned. The inspiration for my first self-published novel came from research I conducted while writing a graduate course in environmental education. As I dug into the history of the earth and learned about various environmental shifts, a seedling of an idea took root. I began to wonder what the world would look like if drought ravaged the planet and water became the global currency. While this first book took about five years to write, family and career being the primary reason for the delay, I finally reached that pinnacle of achievement and published in May of 2018. The sequel was published in November, following a very strict deadline that I had set for myself after completing the first book.

7. Where is your favorite reading spot?

I love reading in bed while propped up with pillows! This makes paperbacks or my Kindle essential, as a hard back gets awfully heavy. During the daylight hours, I enjoy reading in my writing chair. It is an upholstered recliner that belonged to my grandmother. I will park myself in it for writing and reading stints with the wood stove pumping out heat in the winter or the windows letting in warm breezes in the summer.

8. How long have you been an author?

While I was officially published many years ago after writing curriculum for a zoo, I consider 2018 to be the start of my authorship. My journey has just begun and I have spent the last year learning more than I ever expected as I delved into what it means to be indie. The adventure has just begun and I have many stories to tell!

9. What do you like about reading?

Reading is a passion. When you open a book, you enter a world created from nothing more than words spun together in a way that never existed before. I believe writing is the true magic in the world. Writers are the magicians. Books take me on a journey and if I truly love them, I will visit again from time to time.

10. If you had to describe yourself in a book title, what would it be?

The Adventures of Unicorn Geek-Girl


Here is my latest youtube video where I do the booktube newbie tag if you want to check it out!

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Book Review: Drift by Clare Littlemore

We have another review from Sara! She was so excited to find out that this author reached out to us again to review the next book in her series. Sara read the first two book in this series and absolutely loved them so let’s read on and find out how she felt about the third adaptation. It is called Drift by Clare Littlemore.

P.S. Sara makes really cool little yarn creatures as a hobby. You can check out her Etsy shop called Adorkable Little Crafties!

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Synopsis: Quin believed that a life away from The Beck would make her happy. But when a cruel twist of fate forces her to leave sooner than planned, she struggles to come to terms with her new reality. Haunted by memories of the people she left behind, she finds herself wishing she was back in Patrol, with Cam by her side.

Cut off from The Beck, the escapees carve out a new existence on a small island. Tentative bonds are formed, but as disputes surface and rebellion is threatened, Quin quickly realizes that their new home isn’t the sanctuary she had imagined. And when one of her fellow citizens is willing to go to desperate measures to save those he loves, he puts the entire community in danger.

As they hatch a daring plan to save themselves, Quin is faced with a terrible choice: protect her friends or follow her heart.

Drift is the third in the Flow series, which follows Quin as she battles to forge a new life in unfamiliar territory without the man she has come to depend on.

This novel is an excellent sequel in the Flow series. I love how it picks up right where Break left off, with Quin and her friends traveling away from the controlling Beck society to their safe haven of fellow resistance citizens. This novel is about the struggle of the newly situated citizens and their attempts to develop their society and make a life for themselves in their new home, called the Crag. They are met with other groups of people, struggles between the citizens for power, and then a drastic illness.

This is an exciting and captivating read. I love the world that Littlemore has built, and I love seeing how it develops beyond its initial boundaries, both physically and emotionally. The characters are well developed and relatable, the interpersonal struggles are well formed without being cliche, and the struggles they face make it feel like a survival novel alike to Hatchet and more of this genre.

Again, Littlemore leaves us with quite the cliffhanger. I can’t wait for the next book! I eagerly awaited this one and I’ll eagerly await the next, as I can’t wait to see what happens with this small, strong society trying to recover and rescue the Beck from the Governance. The world feels so huge and well developed, and we’re so invested in the lives of the citizens who remain in the Beck. The exploration of this world Littlemore has created is so fun.

This series really belongs with the young adult dystopian heavy hitters like the Hunger Games and Divergent. I’ll definitely be recommending it to any young adult fans, both teen and older. Another success! I can’t wait for the sequel.

Book Rating: 5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us by the author to read and give an honest review.


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Book Review: The Apollo Illusion

Happy New year bookworms! It is 2019 :)!! How did everyone do on their reading challenges? Did you have a reading challenge? Mine was to read 30 books in 2018 and I managed to read 34 so that was fun. This year, my goal is to read 50 books so hopefully, I can pull it off.

Today I have a new book review from our external reviewer Chris Connors. He finished this one before the holidays started but I was busy with traveling and visiting with family and friends so this will be our first review of 2019.

This one is called The Apollo Illusion by Shari Lopatin and seems very interesting. I believe it is sci-fi but let’s see what Chris had to say about it!

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Published Date: May 19, 2018

Publisher: BookBooks Publishing LLC

Synopsis: The year is 2150 and bullied nineteen-year-old Flora can no longer ignore the burning curiosity to learn what’s behind the towering Wall surrounding her home state of Apollo. Citizens still read books, discuss philosophy, and send text messages, but questioning The Other Side is forbidden. 

When Flora’s naïveté accidentally reveals a dark secret about Apollo, she’s forced into an isolated web of truth, lies, and survival. Fearing for her life, she leaves behind a clue for her childhood friend, Andrew, placing her last hope in their special bond.

The Apollo Illusion is a story for the hackers, the techies, the seekers, and the rebels of the world.

This is a Young Adult genre. I am not the target audience for that genre. I do not get lost in teen angst and burgeoning love stories so I tend to notice plot holes instead of overlooking them due to a flood of raging hormones. I do read YA though (Darkest Minds, Hunger Games, Newsfeed, all in recent months).

So, I dived into Shari Lopatin’s book, and found myself enjoying it more than I expected. The technical writing, grammar, and sentence structure are polished. Her bio says she’s worked as a freelance writer, and all that practice has paid off in terms of a solid technical skill set.

Then there’s the story itself. I started the book at bedtime thinking I’d read 20-30 minutes before sleep. At the 70% mark, I forced myself to put the book down and go to sleep. I have an almost religious devotion to maintaining the same sleep schedule to avoid chronic insomnia that plagues my siblings. Having me voluntarily disrupt my schedule for a book means the author has written a good yarn.

Initially, the story didn’t grab me. I’m still not sure why. Maybe the first part had been overly edited and now felt rehearsed, a bit sterile, too technically perfect? But in a short time, the story pulled me in as the questions began to build. I don’t know if the writing changed or if I adjusted to the style. Either way, the book wouldn’t let me go.

The chapters are narrated in first-person by the two main characters, a technique which greatly contributed to my sleep deprivation; I had to keep reading so I could find out what was happening to the other character when they were separated.

The story kept a strong pace with nicely timed slowdowns building to crescendos. The flow was almost classical in nature where fast and slow movements in a symphony build to a final satisfying finale (think Beethoven, Mozart). The ending did resolve many of the questions that Flora had raised, and it seems some of the things left unanswered would provide fertile ground for continuing with the Apollo saga (please continue!).

Some plot points puzzled me as they went against human nature. We’re told most citizens of Apollo haven’t seen the Wall that protects them. Why not? They were highly educated in arts and sciences yet seemed rather lacking in curiosity except for a small handful. Highly educated goes hand-in-hand with curiosity and pushing the boundaries, and even people who aren’t highly educated are curious and/or at least explore their own geographical location. These people are in the majority, whereas in the book they’re the minority despite the education levels. I had difficulty accepting that an almost ideal society would so easily let go of its urge to explore.

Also, the protagonists went outside the Wall using a tunnel and some elaborate methods to avoid detection from all the cameras. As we later find out others had left Apollo years ago. How they escaped could be for another novel, but it was strange that no-one in the community talked about the missing people with the one exception of Andrew’s dad who went missing 11 years ago. Even strangers commented on this after all these years. So why did no-one also mention other people who had also gone missing, some even more recent? Why didn’t Andrew know about others who had lost a parent or relative? If your dad mysteriously disappears when you’re 8 you’d eagerly search for similar stories in others, and others would share their stories with you.

As well I found the hackers on The Other Side lacking in certain skill sets. Maybe because the story is gripping, exciting, page-turning I shouldn’t have noticed this. Basically, one of the hackers wants to find Apollo, but can’t do so unless he gets the name of the community. My inner hacker objected to that: you do not need a name to figure out where Apollo is located especially if you’re a hacker group that is good enough to hide the people who will pay from the government itself.

They can infer Apollo is nearby. The community would leave a good-sized footprint. You can narrow down potential locations by looking at a map to figure out where you can hide a community. E.g., that nuclear waste dump next to a big abandoned city seems like a good candidate to check with a drone to see if it really is a waste dump and if the city is abandoned.

Even if the government had erased every bit of historical data about the formation and location of Apollo (that would include the name “Apollo” so getting the name doesn’t help anyway) the hackers still have access to data and communications from people so they would use pattern analyses. E.g., they could map the locations of those who send and receive messages (all people on The Other Side communicate solely by electronic means), overlay it with a map of population centers and look for spots where no communication occurs to see if those blank spots are large enough to hide a community.

And they could probably use power consumption records, census data, satellite and aerial photography (past and current), individuals’ journals, old photographs, even conspiracy theories from 75 years ago when a city population was displaced because someone “turned” it into a dump site for nuclear waste. Intelligence agencies have a vast array of pattern analyses tools, like changes in communication frequency and locations, to alert them to potential terror attacks.

If there are future books maybe they’ll deal with those issues, as well as go into more detail what the official story was on the return of the people. The sparse details given explain why the two main characters were back, but wouldn’t seem to fit the others who returned. Also, why isn’t medical technology as advanced in Apollo as it is in The Other Side? I understand avoiding some of the items that led to almost virtual enslavement in the past, but if you’re building a paradise wouldn’t you want advanced medicine? Again, that could be something for future books.

Regardless, these points didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the story. If I had started this book earlier in the evening, I would have read it in one sitting. I hope Lopatin continues with the story of Apollo, Flora, and Andrew. I want to know what will happen next.

Book Rating: 4/5 stars.

You can buy the book on Amazon, find it on Goodreads and check out the author at her website!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.

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Book Review: Break by Clare Littlemore

Our reviewer @saramact was really excited when Clare Littlemore read her review and loved it. She even sent @saramact the second book of her series called Break so that she could read it too. So now, here is Sara’s review 🙂 !

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Synopsis: It’s been three months since Quin transferred to Patrol and discovered the terrifying truth about the community she lives in. Citizens of The Beck are disposable and those in charge are capable of terrible cruelty. Vowing to protect those around her, Quin has joined the Resistance. But she knows she is risking everything.

A rebellion of any kind must be secretive and clever. Gathering enough people to fight seems like an impossible task. When those closest to her are directly threatened, Quin knows she has to act. But time is running out. Governance will stop at nothing to protect the world it has worked to build. In the end, Quin must decide how far she is prepared to go to rescue the ones she loves.

Picking up soon after the previous book, Quin, our main character, is still adjusting to her new position in Beck society as a Patrol officer. In this dystopian society run by strict rules, Patrol officers are given more knowledge than the average citizen, which introduces them to some of the hidden horrors “required” to maintain this society and defend against outsiders. Quin and a group of rebels are quietly plotting action against the Beck society in this novel. They must stay under the radar while helping as many as they can and preparing to fight back. In this book, we learn more about the upper levels of the Beck society, while Quin and her group of friends struggle to retain appearances of good citizens while the horrible actions taken by the upper levels only get worse in their desperation to maintain control.

Just like the first novel, this book keeps you on your toes, waiting to see what happens next. This book, though, has even more action throughout than the first one, as we learn more about what it takes to keep such a strict society running – and how the citizens affected react. The characters are well developed, and the plot is entertaining without being predictable. The organization of the society is well thought out, with interesting aspects to be learned throughout the book that keep you searching for more. Overall this is very well written and entertaining and deserves to be one of the top books in the genre. I am eager to read what happens next in the series, as we were left on another cliffhanger at the end of the book!

My only complaints would be about some of the minor dramas between the characters, which are so common in young adult novels – confusion over feelings that would be solved with communication. This does give some depth to some of the characters, but I always prefer when these clichés can be avoided or written in a new way so that it feels less familiar. I also wish there was more of it! I can’t wait for the next book, and I wish this one had been longer.

Book Rating: 5/5

You can click on the book below to check it out on Amazon!

Disclaimer: This book was provided to us by the author in digital format for an honest review.

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Book Review: Flow by Clare Littlemore

Another book review was done by @saramact for Flow by Clare Littlemore. This one is a great book for YA readers who are into dystopian futures.

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Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Quin lives in The Beck, a savior society. Her community has risen from the ruins of a land shattered by Mother Nature. But Beck law is tough. Quin knows that the rules must be followed in order to sustain life in a place where floodwaters constantly threaten existence. A single violation could land her in Clearance.

But some laws are harder to follow than others. And as Quin discovers the horrifying truth, she knows she cannot stay silent forever.

This novel is about a girl named Quin who lives in a dystopian society called The Beck. The story focuses on her struggling to survive in the strict society and discovering more about the ways it works, finally discovering its darkest secret.

The story begins with her working in Agric, a group that is responsible for cultivating the food for the entire society, with her two best friends, Harper and Cass. We are shown the strict requirements for maintaining a role as a productive member of The Beck society in their daily life and in their twice-yearly fitness and mental testing. Soon after this test, the three friends are separated – Quin to be transferred to Patrol (a police-like group within the society), and Harper to Clearance, where those no longer deemed fit enough for Beck society are sent, never to return.

This is where the story gets even more intense, as Quin moves to her new training with Patrol and gains more access to information about how The Beck society works. Quin and her new patrol friends attempt to investigate the Clearance section of the society, and soon discover the dark secret they would wish never to have learned.

The novel is well-written with good flow that keeps the story moving naturally. We become attached to the characters easily, and all the twists and turns are well revealed. The novel kept my interest easily, and I was always eager to sneak in a few more pages whenever I had the chance. I love dystopian novels, and this society was just as intriguing as the big hitters in this genre like Divergent and The Hunger Games, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

My only complaint is that the end of the book felt more like the climax one would expect in the middle of the book, with very little resolution – so I’ll have to read the sequel immediately. It’s definitely a cliff-hanger ending, where we only get a taste of the direction Quin and her new Patrol friends must turn to try to improve the horrific society they have found themselves in.

Book Rating: 5/5

Click on the image below to check out the book’s Amazon page 🙂

Disclaimer: We were sent the book by the author to read and give an honest review.

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