Author Blog Tour Review & CONTEST: Prisoner of Night & Fog by Anne Blankman

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Anne Blankman's blog tour for Prisoner of Night & Fog, her debut historical fiction novel set in Germany as the country heads towards World War II. The tour is being hosted by the lovely ladies at The Unofficial Addiction Book Fanclub and runs through April 20. You can follow the entire tour over at their site here. Below you'll find my review as well as a contest hosted by Anne to win a hard copy of Prisoner of Night & Fog.

Prisoner of Night & Fog
Anne Blankman

Balzer + Bray
I received an e-ARC of this book in return for an honest review.
Releases April 22, 2014
416 pages

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Itunes

In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.

And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she's ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

Hello, historical fiction, my old friend. I’ve been avoiding you for eons now while I played in spaceships, used steam-powered gadgets, went on epic journeys and trudged through vast wastelands. You’ve been hanging out, acting coy, waiting for me to come back to realty – or at least a fictionalized version of a past reality. I kept putting you off, but you were patient, bidding your time until just the right book came along to hook me back in.

I used to devour historical fiction as a kid, but abandoned it for the most part when I discovered science fiction. I am so glad that A Prisoner of Night & Fog was my choice of novel to return to genre. It has all the things I love the most and wraps it into a murder mystery with plenty of heart-pounding sequences with deadly consequences, a star-crossed lover romance and left that lingering sense of wonder which characters were real people and which were figments of the author’s imaginations.

I’m not a big history fan, mostly because in school you jump from one war to the next, memorizing dates and important causalities and political ramifications and a bunch of things that I don’t care about. I wanted to learn about the lives of the people left behind, how everyone not on the battlefield was effected by a changing world and of all the wars taught in schools, there was really only one where the history books touched on the home front. That’s why I’ve always been fascinated by World War II and Blankman’s novel just pulled me right back in to my obsession with the details of events that would eventually lead up to it.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Alienated by Melissa Landers

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Breaking the Spine and serves to showcase those books we’re not so patiently waiting to arrive!

One day Random Tuesday will return, but so far in 2014, I've had epically bad Tuesdays and so I'm not really in the mood for randomness by the time blogging time comes around. But sometime soon! On a Random Tuesday! There will be RANDOM THINGS! Until then, here is what I'm making grabby hands at this week:

Alienated
Melissa Landers

Disney Hyperion
Releases February 4, 2014
352 pages

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them. 

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class. 

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet 

A few weeks back we watched a movie called Upside Down. The next day I saw this cover for the first time and thought they must be related somehow. Then I read the description and saw that it involved aliens. I immediately new this would be SO MUCH BETTER than that movie about two worlds hovering over one another. Alien romances are fun. This cover is extremely intriguing.

Review: Arclight by Josin L. McQuein

Arclight
Josin McQuien

Greenwillow Books
Releases April 23, 2013
400 pages
YA / Dystopia / Science Fiction

Find it on Goodreads

Preorder it from Amazon

No one crosses the wall of light . . . except for one girl who doesn’t remember who she is, where she came from, or how she survived. A harrowing, powerful debut thriller about finding yourself and protecting your future—no matter how short and uncertain it may be.

The Arclight is the last defense. The Fade can’t get in. Outside the Arclight’s border of high-powered beams is the Dark. And between the Light and the Dark is the Grey, a narrow, barren no-man’s-land. That’s where the rescue team finds Marina, a lone teenage girl with no memory of the horrors she faced or the family she lost. Marina is the only person who has ever survived an encounter with the Fade. She’s the first hope humanity has had in generations, but she could also be the catalyst for their final destruction. Because the Fade will stop at nothing to get her back. Marina knows it. Tobin, who’s determined to take his revenge on the Fade, knows it. Anne-Marie, who just wishes it were all over, knows it.

When one of the Fade infiltrates the Arclight and Marina recognizes it, she will begin to unlock secrets she didn’t even know she had. Who will Marina become? Who can she never be again?

Could it be? Is this really a standalone YA dystopian title? Am I mistaken in believing all the ends were tied except for a few windows cracked open that don’t involve enough plot to produce a second volume? Arclight got points for that alone. Don’t get me wrong – I like series, but when every single book you pick up is the start of a commitment to two or three others gets a little overwhelming. So yay for a standalone!

Another bonus point – this turned out to be science fiction! And not just because it’s a dystopia! What I thought was going to be some demonically angled story turned out to be more about science-y things, though the science-y things left me a little confused when it came to peripheral issues. Because I don’t want to spoil anything, all I’m going to say is – science-y stuff, yay! But still don’t think too hard and provide plenty of hand waving of details when it comes to the science-y things.

And the ultimate reason this book was so enjoyable to me? It was genuinely surprising. I don’t know if it’s because I read so much within certain genres, but not a lot of books really catch me off guard and I usually guess the gist of the ending about midway through. That was not the case with Arclight. There was rarely a point where I felt like I knew where the story was going and the ultimate reveal actually surprised me. Good work, Josin McQuein.

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Review: Reboot by Amy Tintera

Reboot
Amy Tintera

HarperTeen
Releases May 7, 2013
352 pages
YA / Science Fiction / ZOMBIES!

Find it on Goodreads

Preorder it from Amazon

Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

Yesterday on Twitter I described Amy Tintera’s Reboot as a zombie book for people who don’t like zombies, and after finishing the book last night, I believe that’s the most apt way I could describe it. Technically our heroes are zombies, but they aren’t the kind that try to eat other people. Most of them still feel and mostly act human with the benefit of enhanced healing and super-fast reflexes. Nearly all the blood shed is caused by bullets and hand-to-hand combat instead of people having their brains gnawed out of their skulls. These are zombies yet not your standard Walking Dead sort. Even comparing this to my favorite zombie book, Dearly, Departed, it’s clear that the Reboots aren’t your typical zombie.

Our heroine Wren was pronounced dead even in a world where adolescence are known to pop back up after death due to a rampant virus. After growing cold for nearly three hours, she came back to life with only the vaguest of memories of her human life and a complete lack of positive emotion. I wouldn’t go as far as the promos have been going that Wren doesn’t feel anything because she feels anger, frustration and fear. She just doesn’t have a sense of humor or feel positive about anything. She’s a bit robotic, but she’s not completely unfeeling though she finds satisfaction in chasing down humans and arresting them at the behest of HARC, the corporation that owns her.

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Review: Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

Level 2
Lenore Appelhans

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Reader
Released January 15, 2013
288 pages

Read more about it on Goodreads

Order it from Amazon

Three levels. Two loves. One choice. Debut novelist, Lenore Appelhans has written a thrilling otherworldly young adult novel about a place that exists between our world (Level 1) and what comes after life (Level 2).

'I pause to look around the hive - all the podlike chambers are lit up as the drones shoot up on memories ... I've wanted to get out of here before, but now the tight quarters start to choke me. There has to be more to death than this.'

Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in a stark white afterlife limbo, she spends endless days replaying memories, of her family, friends, boyfriend ... and of the guy who broke her heart. The guy who has just broken into Level 2 to find her.

Felicia learns that a rebellion is brewing, and it seems she is the key. Suspended between heaven and earth, she must make a choice. Between two worlds, two lives and two loves.

Lenore Appelhans’ Level 2 is nothing like I’ve ever read before and it left me uneasy, but somehow in a good way. That doesn’t make much sense, I know, but Level 2 is a haunting read with a touch of adventure and a lot of melancholy. Appelhans imbues the entire book with loss while still somehow creating a book that isn’t depressing.

Level 2 starts with lead character Felicia waking in a blindingly white hive of memory pods, where teenage girls spend their afterlife reliving their and others memories over and over again. She’s been stuck here for what feels like an eternity after dying in a car wreck. From the start there are numerous hints that something very bad happened during Felicia’s life and that she believes she’s suffering penance for her mistakes. She relives memories of Neil, the godly choir boy who she felt redeemed her, while trying to avoid memories of Julian, the attractive stranger that came between her and her best friend before disappearing into nothingness. So when Julian shows up in Felicia’s hive, things get pretty messed up, pretty quickly.

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Review: Dualed by Elsie Chapman

Dualed
Elsie Chapman

Random House Books for Young Readers
Releases February 26, 2013
304 pages
YA / Sci-Fi / Dystopia

Read more about it on GoodReads

Preorder it from Amazon

You or your Alt? Only one will survive.

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

Elsie Chapman's suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.

With the background of some giant war forcing a large city on the west coast of Canada/United States to build walls to protect its citizens, Dualed plays out like a weird sort of The Hunger Games meets an ineffectual Hanna. While there are several mentions to the war raging outside the walls of Kersh and how that has caused the government to create the Alternate program, it’s mostly background noise to the story of a 15-year-old girl pushed into becoming an assassin for the wealthy while also playing a game of cat and mouse with her clone.

The ideas behind Dualed aren’t new, but the combination of them and the execution make this an intriguing story with emotion and action blended together seamlessly. Kersh is a walled city run by an organization that claims the walls are there for the citizens protection. The faceless leaders of this city have created the Alternate program to train their citizens to be the best soldiers, creating genetic duplicated of each baby born, pushing them to different parents in different parts of the city, and then set the clones on each other at a random time between the ages of 10 and 20. One clone rises victorious and have therefore proven themselves to be effective soldiers in case Kersh is every pulled into the faceless, meaningless war outside the city’s borders.

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Stacking the Shelves (7): Mountains of Books Towering to Dangerous Levels

This weekly linkup is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Visit her site to see what everyone else has gotten their hands on recently. I've also cross posted this through The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

It has been months since I last did a Stacking the Shleves post and if I put all the books that have crossed the threshold into my house and my Kindle since then, this would be the longest post that has ever appeared on Working for the Mandroid so far. Instead, here are the books that have shown up in the last few weeks.

For Review:

Level 2 - Lenore Appelhans

Dualed - Elsie Chapman (see my review tomorrow)

Revolution 19 - Gregg Rosenblum

Untimed - Andy Gavin

The Aylesford Skull - James P Blaylock

Thanks so much to the Debut Author Blog Tour, Around the World ARC tour, Harper Teen, Andy Gavin and Titan Books.

You can find my review of Revolution 19 here and look for my review of Dualed tomorrow and Level 2 on Thursday.

 

Won:

Thanks to Amanda at Short and Sweet Reviews, I got a giant bag of books earlier this week that surprised me even though she'd emailed me about it! Since I don't read a lot of YA contemporary, some of these will find their way into my giveaway box, but I'm really excited about Why We Broke Up.

Purity - Jackson Pearce

From Willa, With Love - Coleen Murtagh Paratore

Wherever You Go - Heather Davis

Hummingbird Heart - Robin Stevenson

Why We Broke Up - Daniel Handler & Maira Kalman

 

Purchased:

I went a little mad with an Amazon order at the first of the year and last week I had a lovely box show up at my doorstep that made me giddy.

Dearly, Departed - Lia Habel

A Million Suns - Beth Revis

Masque of the Red Death - Bethany Griffin

Glow - Amy Kathleen Ryan

Cinder - Marissa Meyer

Goliath - Scott Westerfeld

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook - Deb Perelman (my favorite food blog ever)

 

And that's why my kitchen counter, coffee table and bedside table are overflowing with stacks of books right now. Next week will be the e-books that have appeared on my Kindle so far this year.

What books have you gotten so far in 2013? Are there other people in your house who glare at you every time a new box shows up in the mailbox? Are the towers of books towering so high that they border on dangerous?

Yeah, me too.