Blog Tour & Contest: The Rule of Mirrors by Caragh M. O'Brien

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on the blog tour for Caragh M. O'Brien's newest release, The Rule of Mirrors. This is the second book in her The Vault of Dreamers series, and it's nearly as bonkers as the last book. Thank you to Caragh and Roaring Brook Press for having us on the tour. They're providing a copy of the first book of the series, The Vault of Dreamers, or the newest book to one lucky WFTM reader. Stick around after the review for your chance to win!

If you haven't read The Vault of Dreamers yet, turn back. The blurb has spoilers! Read my review of the first book in the series over here instead.

The Rule of Mirrors

Caragh M. O'Brien

Released February 16, 2016
Roaring Brook Press
432 pages
YA / Science Fiction / Thriller

Find it on Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound

The fast-paced, psychologically thrilling sequel to The Vault of Dreamers follows Rosie after her consciousness has been split in two.

The entire country was watching when Rosie Sinclair was expelled from Forge, the prestigious arts school that doubles as a reality TV show. But few know how Dean Berg was mining students' dreams in laboratories deep below the school. And no one, least of all the Dean himself, knows that when Rosie's dreams were seeded into the mind of another patient, Rosie's consciousness woke up in that body--a girl far from Forge, a girl with a completely different life from Rosie, a girl who is pregnant.

Told from alternating points of view between Rosie as she makes sense of her new identity and the shattered subconscious that still exists in her old body, this sequel to The Vault of Dreamers will keep readers on the edge of their seats and leave them hungry for more.

After the exciting events that culminated The Vault of Dreamers, I felt inclined to write the continuation of Rosie’s story myself. Thankfully, I didn’t have to as the author has returned with another bizarre sci-fi meets psychological thriller romp that balances on the edge of social commentary. Whereas The Vault of Dreamers had an element of analyzing the culture that turned realty television into an everyday occurrence and the effects it has on its maybe-not-so-willing stars, The Rule of Mirrors at times examines what actually makes us who we are as people.

Normally this is where I would put a warning about spoilers for the end of The Vault of Dreamers, but the blurb for The Rule of Mirrors provides plenty of spoilers on its own, so… perhaps that’s unnecessary.

As was implied at the end of the first book, Rosie’s consciousness has been split in two with only her internal voice left behind in her real body. The other half has now woken up thousands of miles away in an Icelandic clinic within the body of a pregnant teenager. Both face new challenges as they try to regain control of their lives and find some way to break free from the Evil Mastermind™ of Dean Berg at the Forge School and stop the dream mining that ruined their lives.

The book is told from both points of view with Thea’s chapters (Rosie’s consciousness in the body of the pregnant former coma patient) regularly focused on what makes a person who they are. Do your memories and mental thought patterns make you who you are? Or is it the scars on your body and the way people see you that determine your identity? Or maybe something in between? O’Brien only barely brushes the surface of these philosophical conundrums, but they’re the most interesting elements of Thea’s story until late in the book. The rest of her plot often feels anticlimactic and a running parade of side characters marching across the screen with little effect to the larger story overall.

The chapters told from Rosie’s point-of-view are the most interesting as the internal voice that often voiced her darkest thoughts in the first book now has control of the steering wheel. While Thea spends a good portion of the book bedridden, shackled by her parents’ restrictions, or fighting people’s dismissals of who she truly believed herself to be, Rosie travels across the country, crosses paths with familiar faces and has more action in her story.

It isn’t until the two eventually come together that the story really hits all cylinders and starts to gel. Most likely because this is the middle book in a trilogy, it doesn’t have the most satisfying conclusion and much of the last 60 pages or so feel rushed after the more languid first half, but so many doors have been left wide open for an exhilarating conclusion.

The Rule of Mirrors might be a bit slower than its predecessor, but some big ideas are touched along the way and some new tech is added to this odd little science fiction thriller. This series is unliked much of anything I’ve read in the YA sphere, so it will be interesting to see if Rosie is ever able to get her happy ending.

 

Sound like something you'd be into? Then enter below to win your choice of a copy of the first book, The Vault of Dreamers, or the newest book The Rule of MIrrors. Open to those with US mailing addresses only. The publisher will be providing the winner's prize. Contest ends on March 10 at midnight Central time. Good luck!

Visit the other blogs on The Rule of Mirrors blog tour below:

·  2/16: Ex Libris Kate

·  2/17: Fiction Fare

·  2/18: A Dream Within A Dream

·  2/19: Bibliophilia, Please

·  2/20: Book Briefs

·  2/21: Fiktshun

·  2/22: Once Upon a Twilight

·  2/23: Reading Nook Reviews

·  2/24: Seeing Double in Neverland

·  2/25: Working for the Mandroid

·  2/26: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

·  2/27: Reads all the Books

WFTM Podcast Episode 8: Sense8, They Came Together, Baymax Mattress, Short Stories & More

In episode 8, Leslie is a little tipsy on Summer Honey Cider, but she and Fernando discuss their feelings about Sense8, the weird Paul Rudd/Amy Poehler comedy They Came Together, some short stories from Clarkesworld Magazine’s podcast and Tor.com, the Baymax mattress, and more. Make sure to enter to win a bunch of SDCC swag, books and t-shirts by tweeting with the hashtag #wftmpodcast or entering through the Rafflecopter form at below!

Download it from the iTunes store here!

We’re now on Stitcher as well!! If Stitcher is your chosen app of podcasting choice, listen to the Working for the Mandroid podcast here

So what’s in Episode 8?

News:

All Leslie’s Dreams Have Come True! The Baymax Mattress!

Writers Have Been Announced For the New Spider-Man Movie & They Discuss The Tone for the Next Film

What We’re Watching:

We Finished Sense8 – really mild, vague spoilers

They Came Together

What Leslie’s Reading:

We started A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge

This Wanderer, in the Dark of the Year by Kris Millering (short audio story)

Asymptotic by Andy Dudak (short audio story)

Clarkesworld Magazine podcast

Four Horsemen, at Their Leisure by Richard Parks (short Tor.com original)

We’re Still Hosting a Contest to Win SDCC Swag, Books & T-Shirts!

What’s Making Us Happy:

Fernando: The Strain season 2

Leslie: Angry Orchard Summer Honey Cider and So You Think You Can Dance


Follow us on Twitter @WorkforMandroid and @fernborrego

Email your questions, concerns, thoughts and comments to WorkingfortheMandroid@gmail.com


Intro & Outro Music is “Robot Army” by Quiet Music for Tiny Robots, provided via freemusicarchive.org through a Creative Commons License

Mr

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on the blog tour for Exquisite Corpse, the newly released English translation of Penelope Begieu's French graphic novel. I'm so happy to be working with First Second books to promote Penelope and this quirky little graphic novel. After my review you can enter to win your own copy of Exquisite Corpse. Also check out the other entire schedule for the blog tour over on First Second's website here.

Exquisite Corpse
Penelope Begieu

First Second
I received a finished copy of this book from the publisher in return for being part of the tour.
Released May 5, 2015
124 pages
Graphic Novel / Modern Fiction

Find it on Goodreads (though the blurb gives away things!)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

Zoe isn't exactly the intellectual type, which is why she doesn't recognize world famous author Thomas Rocher when she sumbles into his apartment... and into his life.

Zoe doesn't know Balzac from Batman, but she's going to have to wise up fast because Rocher has a terrible secret and now Zoe is sitting on the literary scandal of the century.

So that is the blurb on the inside cover of the book First Second sent over to me, not what is on Goodreads. I felt like the Goodreads blurb gave away the twist that made Exquisite Corpse really interesting, so if you want to know about it, click on the Goodreads link above.

I didn't know much about this book prior to agreeing to review it other than it involved an author and potential had some writerly themes. I just really wanted to work with First Second books, so I was game for anything they needed from me. Between the title and the tagline - "Dying to be an author." - I thought this book involved zombies, which is in my wheelhouse.

This book is not about zombies.

Instead for the first 2/3rds of this very colorful and comically illustrated graphic novel, we're treated to a relationship drama starring Zoe, a discontent 22-year-old who has no direction, no goals, and no drive to create a better life for herself. She's stuck in a deadend job as a booth babe, where she has to be nice to disgusting men that constantly hit on her and are inappropriate at best. She goes home each night to an unemployed slob of a boyfriend, who does little more than watch tv, scratch his junk and fart in bed.

It's a dismal life until fate introduces her Thomas, a hermit writer who happens to be a world-famous author. Suddenly there is light and goodness in her life, even if it does mean moving into Thomas's lavish apartment and never really leaving. It's better that getting grabbed by strangers at conventions and living with a man who doesn't seem to care if you even come home.

Then one day Zoe learns Thomas' secret, and the book changes from relationship drama, kicks into hyper speed and becomes something a little more twisted. The final third speeds by quickly until I was cheering at the ending. Penelope Begieu knows how to take a straight forward story and suddenly make it much more.

This book feels very French to the point I figured it had to be a translation without knowing it for a fact when two characters are casually smoking by page 6. There is also casual female nudity, though never gratuitous, and various sexual relationships are treated as nothing special. Overall it has an atmospheric nature to the storytelling that felt unusual yet incredibly refreshing to read.

The art itself is more towards the Sunday comic strip style of big eyes and generally simple shapes, and most cases colors are used in a muted palate. The occasional splashs of color reflect changes in Zoe's mentality, while her time with Thomas in his hermit lifestyle start to become monotonous. It's a very straight-forward art style that assists the story without taking away from the narrative style.

Without the twist, Exquisite Corpse probably wouldn't have been for me. It was all very simplistic relationship drama until then, but sudden Penelope Begieu twisted the entire story, flipping her characters upside down and creating even more drama that really livened up the entire story. This was a fun, quick read with a quirky personality that I'd recommend, especially for people not into comics but willing to give the non-capes-and-types variety a try.

 

Enter to Win a Copy of Exquisite Corpse by Penelope Begieu

Thanks to First Second, we have a hard copy of Exquisite Corpse to give away. This contest is open to anyone with a US mailing address and will run until May 15.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to Win a Geeky Tank or $20 from Jordandene.com!!

This giveaway is a long time coming. I've been a big fan of Jordan's geek-inspired clothing, and I'm so happy to give away a tank or a gift card to her awesome store to one of Working for the Mandroid's readers.

Jordan over at Jordandene.com makes some quailty geeky merchandise. I honestly want to spend my entire paycheck on those aprons. I mean, look at that Robin apron! It might as well have my name stitched on it!

Along with adorable aprons, Jordan also makes some great quote tanks, tees and sweatshirts with quotes from everything from Sherlock to Harry Potter to Fault in Our Stars and many others to boot. These are soft uni-sex tanks that I kind of want to live in. Because they're uni-sex, even the small was a bit big on me, but it made for a great swimsuit coverup on a recent trip and works just fine with another tank underneath.

Jordan has been super cool in that she's offering one Working for the Mandroid reader the opportunity to win a The Game Is On tank of their very own or a $20 gift card to her store so you can pick one of her other great pieces. After all you did for everyone else over the holidays, now it's time to treat yourself to a gift!

It's super easy to enter. Everyone gets a freebie just for finding us. Extra points are available for a couple of Twitter things. Winner gets to pick either a The Game Is On tank or a $20 gift card to Jordandene.com. The contest runs until midnight on Sunday, February 28th with a winner chosen soon after. The winner has 48 hours to respond or the prize will go to someone else.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Good luck!!

 

Author Blog Tour Interview & CONTEST: Meet Jeth from Mindee Arnett's Polaris

Welcome to Working for the Mandroid's stop on the tour for Mindee Arnett's Polaris. This is the second book in her space heist sci-fi YA series that started with the awesome Avalon. The tour is being hosted by the lovely ladies over at Rockstar Book Tours. You can see the full tour schedule here. Make sure to stick around to the end of the post to enter to win a copy of both Avalon and Polaris.

I am beyond excited to have Jeth, the charmingly rougish space thief protagonist stop by for a few questions. Take it away, Jeth!

 

Hey Jeth! Thanks for stopping by Working for the Mandroid. I know it can't be easy taking the time to stop by a book blog when you're in the middle of a fight against the ITA and all sorts of other nefarious sorts. How are you and the crew doing today?

Hey, thanks for having me. It makes for a nice break from all the nefarious sorts you mentioned. But I’ve got to admit things are tough. We’re broke and looking for work. Only without Hammer, jobs are a lot harder to come by.  But don’t count us out just yet. Giving up is against our nature.

You and your crew seem to constantly be running from one group of baddies or another. What do you do to let off a little steam and prevent yourself from going crazy?

Well, unfortunately there’s not a lot do aboard a spaceship beyond video games, music, and video shows. Back at Peltraz Spaceport, we would unwind at the arcade, the menagerie, dance clubs. All kinds of stuff. My personal favorite spot to let off steam was the shooting simulator. Marksmanship is one of my hobbies. It’s come in handy in my line of work.

Do you think there are any other aliens out there other than the Pyreans? What would you hope they'd be like?

You know, I think it’s possible. As far as what I hope they’d be like…um…perfectly harmless? Alien fluffy bunnies? So long as they don’t want to eat us or anything, then I’m good.

It's adorable how you get along with Cora and help keep her calm by reading her faerie tales. Do you have a particular favorite from childhood that maybe your mom read to you?

Hansel and Gretel. What can I say? I like horror stories, and this one has it all—children lost in the woods, cannibalistic witch, murderous stepmother. But it’s definitely on my don’t-ever-read-to-Cora list.

I really admire the family you've created for yourself with your crew and the loyalty you seem to inspire in this group of ragtag teenagers. What does it take to become part of the Avalon family?

Well, there’s nothing that matters more to me than loyalty. We get into a lot of tight spots. I’ve got to know the people with me have got my back. You’ve also got to pull your own weight, pitch in. I suppose being an orphan doesn’t hurt any. Nearly all of us are.  Crew is just another word for family in my book.

Oddly enough I read about your latest adventures while on a ship myself, though mine was on the ocean. Joining you for your adventures helped me forget about my sea sickness. Is there a space equivalent of sea sickness and how do you and your crew deal with it?

Yeah, there is something similar. Whenever something goes wrong with the anti-gravity system, it can wreak havoc on the stomach and head. Fortunately, we always have Flynn around to fix it. If it’s got a plug, battery, or wires, Flynn can get it running.

You and Sierra make a great couple, but living and working together in a spaceship must be difficult. How do the two of you make things work without wanting to rip each other's heads off from being around each other all the time?

Oh, that’s easy. I never give her reason to want to kill me. I mean, whoever would want to kill me? Just kidding. Don’t answer that. Honestly, even though we share a cabin most nights, we still have our own individual cabins. So whenever we need alone time we can get it. But the truth is, Sierra is so easy to be around that it’s rarely an issue. For me, at least. She gets me better than I get myself.

Some day, when you're finally rid of the ITA and the mobsters who all want to utilize your skills, what do you imagine doing with the rest of your life? Settling down? Becoming a respectable spaceship captain? Going on not-so-lawful adventures?

Exploring. That’s what I want to do. I want to be free to find new things and just see what’s out there. But truthfully, so long as I have my ship I’ll be happy doing anything.

Thanks for your time, Jeth! Stay safe and if you ever need a hideout on First Earth, Mandroid's house has a safe room you can hide in and we have cookies!

Thanks for having me. I’ll definitely take you up on the cookies.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To celebrate Jeth's visit, we're giving away a signed copy of both Avalon and Polaris, so you can read up on all of Jeth's space adventures. The contest is opened to US mailing addresses only. Good luck!

 

Title: POLARIS

Author: Mindee Arnett

Pub. Date: January 20, 2015

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Pages: 432

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

 

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of mercenaries are pulled into one last high-stakes mission in this breathtaking sequel to Mindee Arnett’s fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi thriller Avalon.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew are on the run. The ITA, still holding Jeth’s mother in a remote research lab, is now intent on acquiring the metatech secrets Jeth’s sister Cora carries inside her DNA, and Jeth is desperate to find the resources he needs to rescue his mother and start a new life outside the Confederation. But the ITA is just as desperate, and Jeth soon finds himself pursued by a mysterious figure hell-bent on capturing him and his crew—dead or alive.

With nowhere to run and only one play left, Jeth enters into a bargain with the last person he ever thought he’d see again: Daxton Price, the galaxy’s newest and most fearsome crime lord. Dax promises to help Jeth, but his help will only come at a price—a price that could mean sacrificing everything Jeth has fought for until now.

The conclusion to the story Mindee Arnett began in her acclaimed novel AvalonPolaris is a dangerous journey into the spaces between power and corruption, life and death, the parts of ourselves we leave behind, and the parts we struggle to hold on to. 

 

About Mindee:

Mindee Arnett lives on a horse farm in Ohio with her husband, two kids, a couple of dogs, and an inappropriate number of cats. She’s addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic, the macabre, and outer space. She has far more dreams than nightmares.

 

Website/Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads

 

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

1/12/2015- Bewitched BookwormsInterview

1/13/2015- The Eater of Books!Review

1/14/2015- Nerdophiles Guest Post

1/15/2015- Blogging Between the LinesReview

1/16/2015- Working for the MandroidInterview                                                                                             

 

Week Two:

1/19/2015- The Cover ContessaGuest Post

1/20/2015- Spiced Latte ReadsReview

1/21/2015- Such a Novel IdeaInterview

1/22/2015- Reading YA RocksGuest Post

1/23/2015- Word SpelunkingReview

http://www.rockstarbooktours.com/2015/01/tour-schedule-polaris-by-mindee-arbnett.html

Cover Reveal & CONTEST: Anomaly by Tonya Kuper

Today Tonya Kuper and Entangled Teen are revealing the cover for ANOMALY, releasing in November 4, 2014! Check out the awesome cover, and enter to win an eARC! Here is the great cover:

Anomaly
Tonya Kuper

Entangled Teen
Releases November 4, 2014
400 pages

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon

What if the world isn't what we think?

What if reality is only an illusion?

What if you were one of the few who could control it?

Yeah, Josie Harper didn't believe it, either, until strange things started happening. And when this hot guy tried to kidnap her, shouting about ultimate observers and pushing and consortiums hell-bent on controlling the world… Well, that's when things got real. Now Josie's got it bad for a boy who weakens her every time he's near and a world of enemies on her tail who want to control her gift, so yeah, she's going to need more than just her wits if she hopes to survive much longer.

Einstein never saw this coming...

 

About Tonya:

YA scifi author of ANOMALY, out 11/14, Entangled Teen. Represented by Nicole Resciniti. Contributor at yastands.blogspot.com & allthewritenotes.com. Music freak. Chocolate addict.

Website/Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads



Giveaway Details:

1 eARC of ANOMALY International

a Rafflecopter giveaway