[Spotlight & Excerpt] Conscience by Jonathan Pongratz

Release Date: 8/27/2020

Genre: Scifi/Dystopian/Short Story

Rory Bennels lives in a world ruled by a business entity known as the Corporation. For years he’s executed cerebral uploads for the recently deceased, but when the famed anarchist Epher Lore ends up in his lab, a series of events occur that shakes Rory’s world to the core.

“We’re losing him,” the surgeon’s tense voice cut through the viewing room’s speaker.

Rory Bennels leaned against the glass to the operating room as the surgeon barked orders at the nurses and red plated medbots tending to the man splayed out on the surgery table. The patient’s body seized in violent tremors, blood oozing through wounds in his forehead, chest, and abdomen. Rory stared on in concern, his skin tingling as he recognized the man.

Epher Lore, the last leader of the Free Thinkers movement.

From his digital news updates, Rory knew of the Corporation’s efforts to track down this anarchist. However, as he looked upon Epher’s broken body, curiosity sparked in his mind.

This man, dangerous? He couldn’t have been older than twenty-five. What was it about him that made the Corporation nervous?

A sharp zap at the base of his neck made Rory clench his teeth. Heart pounding, he looked to the watch on his wrist. It flashed red in quick bursts. Crap! That was the second time this week. If he kept upsetting his emotion-monitoring implant, they’d come to clean him. Like the Corporation said, ‘Emotions lead to questions. Questions lead to independent thought. Independent thought leads to anarchy.’

Rory straightened his back, reciting the Corporation’s Preamble to suppress his deviant thoughts. We, the subordinates of the Corporation, in order to form a more perfect human, establish authority, ensure uniformity …

He glanced at his black-banded watch again and gave a sigh of relief. Blue skies.

The harsh monotonous buzz of the heart monitor blared through the speakers, demanding Rory’s attention. The surgeon took off his gloves and told the one-eyed medbots to record the time of death. He exited the operating room, Rory mulling over the peculiar situation before the surgeon entered the viewing room moments later.

“I take it you’re Rory Bennels?” the surgeon asked in a cold, clinical tone.

“That’s right.”

He handed Rory a thin tablet that activated upon his touch. “Retrieve this man’s mind. Upload it to the Corporation mainframe.”

Rory scanned the digital dossier, then gazed upon Epher’s covered body on the gurney.

“Is something wrong?”

“Epher Lore, isn’t he–“

“That information is not relevant,” the surgeon snapped. He grimaced at Rory with calculating gray eyes. “Are you sweating?”

Stay calm, stay calm. Rory maintained eye contact. “Minor synaptic misfire,” he explained, flashing his watch that glowed a healthy bright blue.

The surgeon nodded, ushering Rory to follow him to collect the body.

LINKS

Amazon | Goodreads

Top Ten Tuesday | Summer TBR

QOTD: What new releases or books are you looking forward to this summer?

Top Ten Tuesday is currently being hosted by That Artsy Girl Reader and this week’s topic is Books On My Summer 2020 TBR

Because I’m such a mood reader and have a hard time sticking to a planned list of reads, I’m just gonna shoot off some new releases I’ve been looking forward to reading but aren’t out yet!!

Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

** Thank you Harper Collins Canada for gifting me an eARC **

I can’t wait to buddy read this one next month with Does The Dog Die In This? Book Club

SYNOPSIS
In a matter of weeks, Massachusetts has been overrun by an insidious rabies-like virus that is spread by saliva. But unlike rabies, the disease has a terrifyingly short incubation period of an hour or less. Those infected quickly lose their minds and are driven to bite and infect as many others as they can before they inevitably succumb. Hospitals are inundated with the sick and dying, and hysteria has taken hold. To try to limit its spread, the commonwealth is under quarantine and curfew. But society is breaking down and the government’s emergency protocols are faltering.
Dr. Ramola “Rams” Sherman, a soft-spoken pediatrician in her mid-thirties, receives a frantic phone call from Natalie, a friend who is eight months pregnant. Natalie’s husband has been killed—viciously attacked by an infected neighbor—and in a failed attempt to save him, Natalie, too, was bitten. Natalie’s only chance of survival is to get to a hospital as quickly as possible to receive a rabies vaccine. The clock is ticking for her and for her unborn child.
Natalie’s fight for life becomes a desperate odyssey as she and Rams make their way through a hostile landscape filled with dangers beyond their worst nightmares—terrifying, strange, and sometimes deadly challenges that push them to the brink.

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

Pub Date: August 4, 2020

Where are my Twilight fans at??

I was a huuuge fan of Twilight back when it first came out! Vampires? Werewolves? Yes please! Hate all you want, but I loved it and have no shame in admitting it either. I admit. It’s been years since I last read it, so Midnight Sun will be fresh for me, and interesting to see if I still feel the same as I did then.

SYNOPSIS

When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella’s side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward’s version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.

This unforgettable tale as told through Edward’s eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting Bella is both the most unnerving and intriguing event he has experienced in all his years as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward’s past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he justify following his heart if it means leading Bella into danger?
Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin

Pub Date: September 1, 2020

I loved Serpent & Dove! More than I actually thought I would. So I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens in this one 🙂

SYNOPSIS
After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.

What’s on your summer tbr??

[#middlegrademonday] Book Haul

QOTD: Are you into horror? Or like scary stories?

I can’t believe I got mail on a Sunday! It feels likes Christmas in June 😜.

Here’s my latest haul from Book Outlet:

GROWING THINGS & OTHER STORIES by PAUL TREMBLAY

I’ve never read anything by Paul Tremblay, so I’m very excited to read this one & Survivor Song next month.

SYNOPSIS

A chilling anthology featuring nineteen pieces of short fiction from the multiple award-winning author of the national bestseller The Cabin at the End of the World and A Head Full of Ghosts..

In The Teacher, a Bram Stoker Award nominee for best short story, a student is forced to watch a disturbing video that will haunt and torment her and her classmates’ lives.

Four men rob a pawn shop at gunpoint only to vanish, one-by-one, as they speed away from the crime scene in The Getaway.

In Swim Wants to Know If It’s as Bad as Swim Thinks, a meth addict kidnaps her daughter from her estranged mother as their town is terrorized by a giant monster . . . or not.

Joining these haunting works are stories linked to Tremblay’s previous novels. The tour de force metafictional novella Notes from the Dog Walkers deconstructs horror and publishing, possibly bringing in a character from A Head Full of Ghosts, all while serving as a prequel to Disappearance at Devil’s Rock. “The Thirteenth Temple” follows another character from A Head Full of Ghosts—Merry, who has published a tell-all memoir written years after the events of the novel. And the title story, Growing Things, a shivery tale loosely shared between the sisters in A Head Full of Ghosts, is told here in full.

THE BONE GARDEN by HEATHER KASSNER

I’m going to be participating in my first middle grade buddy read with Jaunts & Haunts (Jonathan Pongratz) next month! I can’t wait!!

SYNOPSIS

Remember, my dear, you do not really and truly exist.”

Made of dust and bone and imagination, Irréelle fears she’s not quite real. Only the finest magical thread tethers her to life—and to Miss Vesper. But for all her efforts to please her cruel creator, the thread is unraveling. Irréelle is forgetful as she gathers bone dust. She is slow returning from the dark passages beneath the cemetery. Worst of all, she is unmindful of her crooked bones.

When Irréelle makes one final, unforgivable mistake by destroying a frightful creature just brought to life, Miss Vesper threatens to imagine her away once and for all. Defying her creator for the very first time, Irréelle flees to the underside of the graveyard and embarks on an adventure to unearth the mysterious magic that breathes bones to life, even if it means she will return to dust and be no more.

SMALL SPACES by KATHERINE ARDEN

After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.

Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn’t have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.

Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods–bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them–the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.”

And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.

GHOST AND BONE by ANDREW PRENTICE

Oscar Grimstone is a normal kid–aside from his secret Curse. Whenever he touches something living, like a flower or his classroom goldfish, they always seem to die. But then Oscar discovers an even bigger secret: even though he is very much alive, he has the ability to transform into a ghost.

Just when he thinks things can’t get any stranger two ghosts show up at his home in a skeleton carriage and he winds up joining them on a journey beyond the real world to a place he never knew existed–the city of ghosts. There Oscar will discover a place where people go once they die, before they aboard a ship to the The Other Side. But will he find out who he really is?

WATCH HOLLOW by GREGORY FUNARO

Deep within the enchanted woods in the town of Watch Hollow stands the once-grand Blackford House, whose halls hold a magical secret: a giant cuckoo clock that does much more than tell time. But when the clock’s gears cease to turn, an evil presence lurking among the trees begins to come out of the shadows.

When Lucy and Oliver Tinker arrive in Watch Hollow, they have no idea that anything is wrong. A mysterious stranger has made their father an offer that’s too good for him to refuse. All Mr. Tinker needs to do is fix the clock at Blackford House and fistfuls of gold coins are his to keep.

It doesn’t take long, however, for the children to realize that there is more to Blackford House than meets the eye. And before they can entirely understand the strange world they’ve stumbled into, Lucy and Oliver must join forces with a host of magical clock animals to defeat the Garr—a vicious monster that not only wants Blackford House for itself, but also seeks to destroy everything the Tinkers hold dear.

Have you read any of these?

WWW Wednesdays | What’s up in books this week #currentlyreading

Look at that! Another new meme for me! Yay 😀

WWW Wednesdays is currently being hosted by Taking On A World Of Words

The 3 W’s are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I loved The Outsider, and now I’m on my most anticipated story in the book: If It Bleeds 🤗

This was a disaster! Review to come. Stay tuned..

I can’t wait to finally read this one! I got the ebook on sale for $2.99 😮😁

Have you read any of these? What are you currently reading?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve added to my TBR and forgotten about

QOTD: Do you have any books on your TBR you’ve forgotten about? Or keep pushing away?

This is my first time participating in Top Ten Tuesday which is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

The original topic was Books I’ve added to my TBR and forgotten why. Since I’m a bit OCD, I actually go and clean up my TBR on Goodreads by removing books I’m no longer interested in reading..(the life of a mood reader!)

So.. I’ve decided to list my top 10 that I’ve forgotten about, and still need to get to instead!

1. A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E Schwab

– I keep saying I’m gonna get to it, but keep pushing it aside. 🙈

2. Scythe by Neil Schusterman

3. Jar Of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

4. Renegades by Marissa Meyer

5. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

6. Red Rising by Pierce Brown

7. Verity by Colleen Hoover

8. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks

9. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

10. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Have you read any of these?

[#Excerpt] More Than Neighbours by Shannon Stacey @HarlequinBooks

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

The only thing they have in common is a property line! Cam Maguire is in Blackberry Bay to unravel a family secret. Meredith Price has moved next door with her daughter. He’s unattached. She’s a widowed single mom. He’s owned by a cat. She’s definitely team canine. All these neighbors have in common is a property line. One they cross…over and over. And Cam thought he knew what he wanted—until his family’s secret changes everything.

“So you’re staying for the summer, you said? Where do you usually live?”

“New York City, actually.”

Her hazel eyes widened. “Wow. That’s quite a change in pace.”

“It is, but I was ready to get away for a while.” “What do you do in the city?”

“I work for my dad,” he said, which wasn’t technically a lie, but wasn’t entirely accurate, either. “A lot of accounting and paperwork and boring stuff like that.”

She was cute when she wrinkled her nose. “I’m not a fan of boring math-related paperwork.”

A yelp from across the yard caught her attention and she turned to see Elinor swipe at the white puff-ball. Sophie was frowning and picked the dog up, turning her body so the cat couldn’t see him any-more.

“Your cat appears to be bullying my dog.”

“She’s not my cat. And you’re embarrassing your dog by even making that claim right now.”

She arched an eyebrow at him. “If you don’t think cats can bully dogs, you don’t spend a lot of time on the internet.”

“She just wants the dog to know who’s boss, I guess.”

“It’s his yard,” she pointed out.

“She’s a cat.”

“Point taken.” A genuine smile lit up her face and made her eyes crinkle. “They’ll get used to each other. And speaking of that, now that I know you’re going to be my neighbor for a while, I should prob-ably introduce myself properly. I’m Meredith Price, and that’s Sophie and Oscar.”

“Calvin Maguire,” he said, extending his hand. “But everybody calls me Cam.”

As she shook his hand, he noted how soft the skin was and had to resist rubbing his thumb over it.

She tilted her head as she smoothly pulled her hand away from his. “How do you get Cam from Calvin?”

“My initials. Calvin Anthony Maguire.” His mouth twisted in a wry smile. “The fourth.”

“Interesting.”

“It was a better alternative than being Little Cal for my entire life.” He didn’t really want to open him-self up to more questions about his family, since they were the last thing he wanted to talk about. “Since Oscar’s from California, let me guess. Oscar de la Renta?”

She laughed. “Oscar the Grouch.”

“You’re kidding.” He looked at the dog again, who looked like the kind they put on the packaging of fancy dog food. “I don’t really see the resemblance, but maybe it’s a personality thing.”

“He’s actually named after Sophie’s favorite book at the time, and trust me, we spent days explaining to her why we couldn’t make his hair green.”

“He doesn’t bark a lot, does he?”

“I wouldn’t say he barks a lot.” She glanced at the dog before giving him a sheepish look. “It’s more like a really high-pitched yip.”

“That’ll be fun while I’m reading over spread-sheets,” he said, picturing spending his summer being harassed by a stubborn cat and a high-strung dog. “Maybe I should have packed my noise- canceling headphones.”

She looked startled for a second and then her eyes narrowed. “I have a child and a dog, so I guess you’ll just have to figure out how to make it work.”

“Maybe a muzzle?” he asked, but he wasn’t re-ally serious. Yipping dogs weren’t his favorite, but he wasn’t a total jerk.

She stared at him for a long moment before giving him an arch look. “I don’t know if I can find one in your size, but I can try.”

Cam chuckled, appreciating her comeback, but she didn’t even crack a smile. Maybe she hadn’t been joking. And maybe she’d thought he wasn’t, either.

“If you’ll excuse me, we just arrived and I have a lot to do.”

“Nice to meet you,” he said as she walked, and she held up her hand in what looked more like a dis-missive gesture than a wave.

That was fine. If she wanted to play that game, she’d find out he didn’t really care that much. She and her yipping dog could stay in her yard and he’d stay in his.

He had better things to do, anyway. Like learning more about Carolina Archambault, and figuring out how to convince her cat he was the boss.

Most Recent DNF’s

The last couple of months have been quite a hit and miss for me. There were lots of books I was looking forward to and reeally excited to read, but unfortunately some missed the mark and landed in my DNF pile.

Here they are:

1) Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

I’m SO glad this was a library borrow! It was a good start, but as soon as I got to chapter 1, it all went downhill from there.

I was bored and found myself just staring at words! I had no idea what was going on and honestly no longer gave a fuck.

2) The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters

This book had everything going for it: appealing cover, intriguing title & promising premise. Except it turned out to be a lemon. Womp womp.

The story had a strong start with Heather and her mysterious package. But things quickly turn sour with her repetitive, drawn out thoughts and unnecessary details of her home.

I got the feeling Heather would be too exhausting for me, I no longer cared to know the story of the Red Lady. I started zoning out, which is never a good sign.

3) The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

It’s been a while since I’ve read historical fiction and was really looking forward to this one since I keep hearing songs of praises for Kate Morton. I also won it through Simon & Schuster Canada’s giveaway last year, so I was very excited to FINALLY get to it.

Unfortunately, it just didn’t live up to my expectations. While I’m a fan of multiple POV’s and timelines, this one left me confused. It was never clearly labelled, causing me to backtrack on several occassions and wondering if I missed something.

Maybe it was me, reading way too late in the evening, but it felt incredibly long-winded!

🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂

Well..there you have it folks! My last 3 DNF’s.

Have you read any of them? What were some of your latest DNF’s or disappointing reads?

Book Chat: Top 5 Disappointing Summer Reads

What were your most disappointing reads so far?

I was really looking forward to these ones, but sadly they didn’t quite live up to the hype or my expectations. 😢

I’ve listed them starting with my most disappointing read:

1) Finale by Stephanie Garber

⭐⭐ 1/2

2) The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

⭐⭐ 1/2

3) Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

⭐⭐⭐

4) The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

⭐⭐⭐

5) The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

⭐⭐⭐1/2

In all fairness, The Arrangment was a good read. It’s just that I expected more from it and didn’t love it like I did with Her Pretty Face.

May Wrap Up #monthlywrapup

I can’t believe May is already over! It went by so fast!!

Who’s ready for the summer heat? Not me..I actually don’t like the hot weather. But I do enjoy taking a dip in the pool and going to the beach (when it’s not scorching out).

Alright. So I wasn’t as successful this month at tackling my reading list, but I did manage to read most of what I had planned:

ARC’s

Birthday by Meredith Russo ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The East End by Jason Allen – DNF
Middlegrade ARC’s

Carmen Sandiego: Endangered Operation – UNREAD

Maybe A Mermaid by Josephine Cameron – currently reading

The Startup Squad by Brian Weisfeld & Nicole. C. Kear ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

NETGALLEY

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren- Started

AUDIOBOOKS

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
BOOKS

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – ⭐⭐⭐

March Wrap Up #monthlywrapup

How did your reading go this month? Did you read all the books that was on your March list?

It was a good month for me. I was able to read additional books that weren’t on my list, but were on my tbr:

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward – ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams –⭐⭐ 1/2

Where’d You Go Burnadette? by Maria Semple -⭐⭐⭐⭐

Who In The World Is Carmen Sandiego by Rebecca Tinker – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing – DNF

The Pisces by Melissa Broder – ⭐⭐⭐

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