Book Tour Sign Up: Love Like a Cephalopod by Cassondra Windwalker (Mar 6 – 10) Genre: Paranormal/ Fantasy @WindwalkerWrite @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours

Love is even more dangerous than death…

Looking for something outside the Valentine’s Day box?

I’m organizing a tour for an urban fantasy called Love Like a Cephalopod by Cassondra Windwalker, and I’m looking for hosts! The tour will run from March 6th to the 10th and digital ARCs are available now!

Sign up below!

Cassondra Windwalker_ebook

Love Like a Cephalopod

Expected Publication Date: February 15th, 2023

Genre: Paranormal Fantasy

Publisher: Bayou Wolf Press

To death and to the dragon born.

Being an executioner for the state is exhausting, but after a lifetime of dispatching the criminal

and the inconvenient, fifty-eight-year-old Grenda finds it does have its compensations. Her cat-

sized dragon Bjartur and the dragon eggs she tends are all the friends and family she needs. Completely cut off from the outside world, she happily accepts the luxuries owed her status – including a pet octopus named Morrigan – without the faintest twinge of conscience or doubt.

All that changes when she encounters the most unexpected nemesis: a young refugee girl whom Grenda is incapable of executing. Against her will, Grenda finds herself shifting from killer to caretaker, risking her life to defy the state she’s never questioned and help young Allora to freedom. Everything Grenda thinks she knows about her world, her life, and even her own identity cascades out of her control—including the dragon-bond she holds dearer than life itself.

Coming Soon!

About the Author

Author Photo 6300

Cassondra Windwalker is the multi-genre author of several novels and award-winning poetry collections. She has lived in the South, the Midwest, and the West, and presently writes full-time from the grim coasts of the Frozen North. Regrettably, she has no dragon of her own, but she keeps company with corvids, anemones, moose, and mycelium. Readers are invited to reach out to her on Twitter @WindwalkerWrite.

 

R&R Button

Book Tour: A Kinder City by Peter Taylor-Gooby – Genre: Eco Sci-Fi/ Dystopian @PeterT_GBook @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #AKinderCity #Scifi #BookTour

Welcome to the book tour for A Kinder City by Peter Taylor-Gooby. Read on for details and grab yourself a copy today!

Outlook-r4mxwfty

A Kinder City

Publication Date: April 28, 2023

Genre: Eco Sci-Fi/ Sci-fi/ Dystopian

What place for love in a city ruled by greed?
Sarah, spirited and caring, is on her first trip outside her village. The city is dominated by the grim law of the market – the only relations permitted are between buyer and seller. Her gift of a wagonload of food to those who need it is a crime. David, a serious-minded police cadet who naively trusts in the law, arrests her and finds himself falling in love.
Franklin, the richest man in Market World, puts a price on everything. His giant factories spew forth road beasts – the huge machines that devastate the lands beyond the City in pursuit of yet more wealth.
How can David prove his love to Sarah? And how can they save her village and build a kinder city?
A gripping and thought-provoking eco-sci-fi novel, set in a world a little bit like ours.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

In an overheated semi-basement, seven storeys beneath the Council Chamber, David awaits Sarah’s Audit Hearing. The windows are horizontal slits high up the walls and the overhead strip-lights are still on, although it’s before 11.00 am and bright sunshine outside. The room is barely wide enough to hold the dais with the wooden table for the Assessor, her Recorder and the clerk, with the chair for the witness to the right and the dock for the defaulter to the left. He feels stifled and wonders if he suffers from asthma.

He has found a seat at the back of the courtroom on an upright chair that grates when he moves. He shouldn’t be here. He crept in with the public through the main door, and was squeezed against a young man with inky fingers, a notebook, and furtive eyes. As soon as he sees the uniform the young man introduces himself as a TV reporter, but doesn’t give a channel. He slips his cuff back to show his wristband.

‘We pay for your stories. Do you think Franklin has the answer to lawlessness in the Old Town?’

David touches the insignia on his sleeve: ‘No comment.’

A group of young women and men in blue uniforms without badges fill the benches at the front of the room. David guesses they are cadets from the Academy. Not so long ago I was one of you, he thinks. A cadet whose hair seems unruly despite the regulation cut looks back at him and says something to the young woman next to him. She glances round and giggles.

The Assessor enters at the door behind the bench, a spare black woman in a navy blue trouser suit with the badge of office – the Golden Balance – on her breast pocket. Her clerk follows her. Everyone rises with a scraping of chairs and David is forced back against the main door.

The Assessor surveys the room through metal-rimmed spectacles, sighs, and sits down.

‘What have you got for us today?’

The clerk bows his head. He’s short, plump-faced and his hair needs combing. He reminds David of a pocket spaniel.

‘Long list, Madam. First case, Major Breach of the One Law. Conveying a cargo without contract. Intent to supply said cargo without payment.’

‘Bring the defaulter to scrutiny.’

David is forced to stand as the main door opens and the Court-Serjeant enters, a square-shouldered older man in a gold-braided uniform who scowls at the Bench, the Assessor and the audience. He leads Sarah into the courtroom. She glances round the room, as if noting the details for when she tells her friends the story.

The Serjeant grasps her arm and the clerk slaps his hand on the desk:

‘Proceed.’

She nods to him, picks the officer’s fingers from her arm with her other hand and strolls forward.

‘Take her to the dock.’

‘Please. I’ll find my own way.’

The clerk snorts.

‘Silence.’

She takes her position to the left of the bench, the Serjeant behind her, and looks round. David feels she is searching him out. The journalist licks his biro and scribbles at his pad.

The Assessor leans towards her.

‘You are Ms S.Cordell, known as Sarah. You are called to scrutiny for a serious Audit transgression. I have reviewed the evidence and am minded to order full compensation with costs. Have you anything to say?’

Sarah frowns, and for an instant David feels dizzy, as if everything is back to front. She is the judge and he stands accused in the dock. Then her face lights up.

‘Not really. I was taking some fruit and other produce from Coneystone in the wagon with Juno. We wanted to share it with our cousins and friends in the Old Town. First time I’ve done the trip, we had a great crop this year. These people,’ she waves a hand towards David, ‘him and his mates, jumped out on me, all dressed up like comedy policemen. Pity it was muddy, they kept falling over. He’ll do it now if you’re lucky.’

Someone sniggers and the Assessor fixes her gaze on the cadets.

Sarah keeps talking.

‘It’s not funny. They scared Juno.’

‘That’s of no importance. The question is: have you a valid contract?’ The Assessor pauses a moment, then raises her voice. ‘You have no contract, it’s idle to deny it. Answer a simple question: who pays you for the apples?’

‘But it’s a good act, you really should see it. Then they frightened Juno and upset the applecart.’ Her face darkens. ‘So to speak. Then they took me here and kept me in and I’m worried about Juno. The apples will spoil. So will the blackberries.’ She turns to the court: ‘You haven’t seen where they’ve put Juno have you? Lovely beast, heavy horse, red ribbons in her mane. You wouldn’t miss her.’

The Assessor thrusts her face towards Sarah.

‘You will address the question. The longer you waste the court’s time, the more it will cost you.’

Sarah smooths her forehead with her hand.

‘Oh no, I’m sorry, didn’t I say? The apples and everything, they’re all presents. Brilliant harvest this year. You can have some.’

She looks round at all of them, smiling at her good fortune.

The Assessor straightens her back. She glances at the clerk, who nods.

‘Thank you. Transfer of commodity at zero price: major breach.’

‘I’m sorry? Would you like some apples? Don’t you want witnesses? Look, one of them’s over there.’

David colours and hunches down in his chair, but he can’t stop himself gazing at her. He feels as if everyone in the court is craning round to look at him.

The clerk slaps the desk again.

‘Silence!’

Sarah raises an eyebrow but says nothing. The Assessor sighs.

‘Breach of the One Law. Full confession. Witnesses are unnecessary.’

David feels the tension flow out of his shoulders.

Sarah shakes her head, her face comical. Her eyelid flutters. David can’t tell if she just winked at him.

‘I’m sorry?’

‘The One Law directs that all transactions must be between willing buyer and willing seller at an agreed price. Law of the Market. You do not give people things that you could sell to them. There are no exceptions.’

‘But….’ Sarah stops, her mouth open.

‘Be quiet. You have incurred substantial expenses.’

She gestures to the clerk, who reads out staccato from a thin strip of paper:

‘Deployment twelve Enforcers, 1 captain, 1 sergeant, 1 half-sergeant for 4 hours: 300 credits; Item: deduction for value of training exercise: minus 110 credits.

Uniform cleaning: 10 credits.

Accommodation, item: basic cell by one night: 200 credits; item: stabling and incidentals: 4 credits

Security during accommodation: 50 credits

Incidentals: toothpaste, soap, towel etc: 5 credits.

Courtroom, third grade, by one hour, staffing and incidentals: 100 credits.

Compensation: inconvenience of arrest to the detainee, standard rate 2 credits an hour by 18 hours: minus 36 credits. Item: proceeds, sale of 1 horse: minus 17 credits. Item: proceeds sale of cart and contents: minus 32 credits.’

David keeps his eyes on Sarah. She raises her eyebrows again and shrugs her shoulders.

‘Total 474 credits.’

‘Thank you. Ms Cordell, your breach cost Market World 669 credits minus 110 credits value of training provided, 36 credits citizen compensation and 49 credits sale of confiscated items. Your civic recompense is set at 474 credits. Next case.’

Sarah stares at her.

‘You must be joking! What is a credit anyway?’

The Assessor blinks.

‘Next case.’

‘But what about Juno?’

The clerk remarks to no-one ‘Additional court time may be purchased at 1.4 credits a minute.’

The Court-Serjeant seizes Sarah by the arm and hustles her towards the door. David rises and pulls his chair out of the way. She catches his eye as she passes and looks back at him and grimaces. It strikes him to the heart. He grips the door and stops it from shutting. The next case, a market trader accused of short weight, in a shabby suit with the jacket too tight under his shoulders, is brought in.

A buzz of conversation rises from the cadets. The young man who stared back at David tilts his head towards the young woman next to him and whispers something that is terribly important to them both. He takes the young woman’s hand, ignoring the others. The Assessor glowers at them

‘Silence! Or I shall clear the court.’

The journalist flips to the next page, sucks at his pen and writes.

David slips round the door and pulls it shut behind him. He leans against it for a full half-minute, his eyes closed.

He knows that the staircase in front of him leads up to the main hall where fines are paid. He turns left and strides down the corridor towards the barracks block. Voices sound from the guard room and he dodges left again into a narrower corridor with raw concrete walls lit by unshaded light-bulbs, then up an iron spiral stair. He listens for foot-steps, then creeps across a metal landing as softly as if he were on a close surveillance exercise and it was Adam assessing him. He listens again, and passes through a side-door into the Process Room. He blinks in the daylight that streams in from tall windows overlooking City Square. His heart feels tight in his chest. He has never in his life done anything like this. He doesn’t know why he is doing it now. He is a fool.

The duty Enforcer sits at the metal desk with the band-reader on it and the empty metal chair opposite, examining her finger nails. She slips something into her mouth. David clenches his fist, relaxes it and lets the door slam shut. The sound echoes across the room. She jerks upright and glances towards him, and pulls her jacket straight.

He knows her, they did their basic training together. Six weeks of square-bashing with Curtis shouting at you.

‘Hi Jan. Your lucky day. I’m to take over.’

He didn’t plan that. Where did it come from?

Jan frowns.

‘Who says? I’m here ‘til 18.00 hours.’

She chews at something.

‘Curtis. Extra duty – for yesterday.’

‘I heard. Curtis doesn’t like you, does he?’

‘Yeah, well. It’s a long story, I think he was a bit scared of the horse. Guess he likes you.’

‘Sure he does.’ She studies his face. ‘Are you alright?’

‘Yeah, well. I’ll be OK.’

‘That bad, is it? You’ve got friends you know.’

‘Sure… Thanks.’

She touches his hand.

‘All yours. I’m off.’

The side-door clicks to. David expels the air from his lungs and breathes in slowly to calm the throbbing in his head. He touches the band-reader in front of him. He’s used it a thousand times. You key in the amount, touch your wristband against the screen and it deducts or adds on the credits.

No citizen in Market World is ever without a wristband. It’s fastened to your wrist at the citizenship ceremony when you pass eighteen and goes with you to the grave. You get lessons on it in “Lifeskills” at school. It only works if the buyer assents to the deal and that is infallible. Willing seller, willing buyer. As the signs in the street say: ‘You’re not dressed without it’, ‘No pay, no get’ and ‘You are your account’.

He swallows and pushes the hair back off his forehead.

The door is thrown open and the Serjeant enters, still gripping Sarah by the arm. He marches her up to the desk and releases her. He reminds David of an elderly bullfrog.

‘All yours. Watch her. She tried to chat up my deputy in the Guard Room.’

‘I did not. I just said he had nice eyes for a comedian.’ She stares at David. ‘Nice to meet you again.’

She holds out her hand.

David reaches out, then lays his hand palm-down on the desk.

‘The defaulter will maintain discipline,’ barks the Serjeant. ‘Sit.’

Sarah looks round her, pulls out the chair, sits and crosses her legs.

David squares his shoulders.

‘Alright. I’ll take over from here.’

‘The court placed Ms Cordell in my charge.’

The Serjeant keeps his hand on Sarah’s shoulder.

‘Until her debt is discharged. Which is now.’

He looks the Serjeant in the eye. After a pause the officer drops his hand and pulls on a leather glove.

‘Very well.’

The door slams behind him. David licks his lips and looks at Sarah and tries to smile. He has the script by heart, he learned it last night.

‘You understand that you must pay civic recompense as decided by the court. 474 credits. Touch your wristband to the reader.’

‘Where’s Juno? I don’t care about the cart, but she’s not used to being away from me.’

‘Your possessions will be auctioned to defray expenses. Just touch your wristband here. See that number? That’s your account: “Debit 474”. But you must have a wristband. It’s always issued at the citizenship ceremony when you leave school. You could buy that cartload ten times over with that many credits. Twenty times.’

He taps the reader. She grins at him.

‘We don’t bother with those things in the villages, waste of time.’ She starts to get up. ‘Let’s go and find Juno. I need to get on my way.’

‘She’s OK, I sorted it. She’s being looked after.’

‘Are you sure? What do you know about horses?’

‘She’s OK.’

‘Tell me about Juno.’

She rests her chin on her fingertips and fixes her eyes on him. He places his hands together on the table.

‘She’s a black Percheron. 18 hands.’

She nods and her cheeks dimple.

‘She’s being fed OK?’

‘All the hay she wants – and crushed oats. And apples, but not too many. I tell you, she’s OK. Trust me. Now touch your wristband to the reader.’

She’s puzzled. Her brow furrows in tiny creases.

‘What wristband? I told you we don’t go in for them. My sister’ll plait you one out of wool. She’s only nine.’

‘You really don’t understand do you? You are in Market World. You pay for everything, you have to. You’ve taken up the time of the court and the resources of the Enforcers. No-one is going to lock you up for free.’

She giggles and the tiny dints dimple her cheeks. She places her hand over her mouth.

‘Sorry, but you just said…’

‘I know. Everything is for sale here, you get nothing without paying for it. The One Law – law of the market. It’s what give s us a well-ordered society, why we’re so much better off than you are in the villages.’

‘Sort of “All for One and One for All?” Free for All?’

‘Sort of – but it works. Don’t you see it?’

He craves for her to understand, to see how his world is better, to want to be part of it. That’s why he’s here. For her. He will be her guide, her mentor, her friend and she will trust him.

She shakes her head.

‘You really shouldn’t take these things so seriously. It doesn’t make you happy, does it?’

There’s a sharpness in her glance, as if it’s in her mind to say something else, but she continues: ‘Anyway, I don’t have a wristband.’

He shows her the numbers on the screen set into the black band on his left wrist. ‘There. See – all my credits: eight thousand seven hundred and fifty two, until I get paid. It’s all connected up to central computing – they keep the records. It’s how we do things.’

He feels a flush of pleasure at teaching her. She’s so confident and, at the same time, so wrong, so much in need of help and he can give it. His left leg trembles against the desk. He wills it to be calm.

She folds her arms.

‘Yeah, I heard stories about that. But I told you, we don’t bother with that kind of stuff – it’s no fun.’

‘Listen. In the past was the Great Hunger. Didn’t they tell you about it in school? Everything was terrible, people fought for food, children starved and warlords ruled the land. So many died they could no longer bury the dead.’

She shivers. ‘Sounds nasty.’

He finds it hard to concentrate.

‘Look out of that window.’ He points over City Square. ‘Can’t you see? Everyone going about their business. The shops, full of food and clothes and everything you need. The residence blocks where everybody lives.’

The words come more easily as he remembers the lesson. She mutters something to herself.

‘What’s that?’

‘Don’t look as if they’re having much fun.’

‘Clinics where you can buy medicine, schools and training colleges where you can pay for a degree, markets where citizens buy and sell at a fair price. Above them, the towers of the Entrepreneurs. And everywhere the Enforcers watching over us all, trusted by everyone, making sure we follow the rules.’

She peers out through the window.

‘They’re not happy. No-one’s smiling, nobody stops for a chat. Why aren’t there children playing? Or animals? And their clothes are so drab. Don’t you like to see trees?’ She spreads out her arms. ‘They’re so lovely this time of year.’

 ‘Everyone’s busy, they’re going about their business. That’s what you do in Market World. Children are in school or training or working. No time to waste. We keep the beasts in their sheds and the trees in the park. What’s the profit in bright clothes?’

He watches her as if, at that moment, she matters more than anything to him. The thought comes to him: I am an Enforcer. She will understand, without the Enforcers there is no market, no Market World. I am worthy of respect.

She needs to see Market World as it is, but he can’t let her go out there. She’ll be as lost as he would be in the forest. How desolate it would be, to be alone on those streets with no wristband and the night coming on.

‘When did you last eat?’

He has her full attention.

‘I don’t know.’ She pauses and tiny creases appear between her eyebrows. Her face clears. ‘I had some dried fish on the way. They wouldn’t give me breakfast back there, they kept saying didn’t I know “No pay, no get”. They didn’t like it when I asked if that was the chorus and could I sing along? I keep telling you, you people have no sense of humour.’

David stands and at the same time flips his left hand forward onto the reader without looking down, hears the click as it makes contact and checks the screen. “Account cleared”. She doesn’t notice. He’s in command for once like he’s in a novel.

‘Come on. We’ll find a café. You need someone to show you what Market World’s really like. And I’ll tell you my dream – why I’m an Enforcer.’

Her eyes light up and she rubs her hands together.

‘And I’ll tell you about how we live in the villages. And we’ll find Juno, won’t we?’

 ‘Of course.’

She trusts him. He knows that she trusts him.

He leads the way, through the lobby and the double doors, and down the flight of steps from the Halls of Justice into City Square. Happiness bubbles within him. She laughs, mouth open, the dimples in her cheeks each side of it. He remembers he’s on extra duty. He’ll deal with that later.

Amazon | Kobo | Booktopia | Waterstones

About the Author

PTG2

My novels deal with issues that matter – love, money, power and environmental disaster. I’ve worked on adventure playgrounds, in a social security office and as a teacher. I love walking, cycling, writing and talking to my children.
In my day job I’m an academic but I believe that you can only truly understand the issues that matter to people through your feelings, your imagination and your compassion. That’s why I write novels.
My first novel, “The Baby Auction” 2017, is a love story set in a fantasy world where the only rule is the law of the market. That someone should help another because they care for them simply doesn’t make sense to the citizens of Market World, any more that auctioning babies might to us.

My second, “Ardent Justice” 2018, is a crime story set in the world of high finance and city fat-cats, where money rules, but greed can trip even the most successful.

My third, “Blood Ties” 2020, is about the ties of love in a troubled family, and the bonds of debt that chain illegal immigrants to people-traffickers, and how they can be broken through self-sacrifice.

My fourth, “A Kinder City” 2022, returns to Market World where the relentless pursuit of profit leads to environmental devastation. I hope you enjoy them.

Peter Taylor-Gooby

 

Book Tour Schedule

January 16th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

@wolves_perception (Review) https://www.instagram.com/wolves_perception/

@acupofteaandabookplease (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/acupofteaandabookplease/

@bouviebooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/bouviebooks/

Books + Coffee = Happiness (Spotlight) https://bookscoffeehappiness.com/

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

Stine Writing (Spotlight) https://christinebialczak.com/

Cocktails and Fairytales (Spotlight) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales

January 17th

@spookys.study (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/spookys.study/

@book_lover_danny (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/book_lover_danny/

The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Lady Hawkeye (Spotlight) https://www.ladyhawkeye.com/

@kellyatx (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/kellyatx/

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

@louturnspages (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/louturnspages/

@moonlightalesbooks (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/moonlightalesbooks/

@bookishlyrieka (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/bookishlyrieka/

@obsessive_bibliomaniac (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/obsessive_bibliomaniac/

January 18th

@insophiesbooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/insophiesbooks/

@adlynsreadingcorner (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/adlynsreadingcorner/

J Bronder Book Reviews (Spotlight) https://jbronderbookreviews.com

@mandioyster (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/mandioyster/

@fathomsamidstthelines (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/fathomsamidstthelines/

@itsabookthing2021 (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/itsabookthing2021/

Books Blog (Spotlight) http://www.booksblog.co.uk

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

@tm_ghent (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/tm_ghent/

@_toris.thoughts_ (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/_toris.thoughts_/

January 19th

@amber.bunch_author (Review) https://www.instagram.com/amber.bunch_author/

Not a Bunny Blog (Review) https://notanybunny.wordpress.com/blog

@marie.sinadjan (Review) https://www.instagram.com/marie.sinadjan/

@caffeinatedbibliophilia (Review) https://www.instagram.com/caffeinatedbibliophilia/

Emerald Reviews (Spotlight) https://www.emeraldreviews.co.uk/

Haddie’s Haven (Spotlight) https://haddieshaven.blogspot.com

@libertylanecreative (Review) https://www.instagram.com/libertylanecreative/

Read & Rated (Spotlight) https://readandrated.com/

@shockinglyshayreads (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/shockinglyshayreads/

@through_the_booking_glass (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/through_the_booking_glass/

January 20th

@margiebythebookcase (Review) https://www.instagram.com/margiebythebookcase/

@br0kebookaddict (Review) https://www.instagram.com/br0kebookaddict/

Read Run Write (Spotlight) http://readwriterun.ca/

@read_dog_reviews (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/read_dog_reviews/

@lillian_reads_and_writes (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/lillian_reads_and_writes/

@thebookcoverlover (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/thebookcoverlover/

@bookaholicmammy (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/bookaholicmammy/

@bookswithstacie (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/bookswithstacie/

@tabithabouldin (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/tabithabouldin

 

 

Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours

Book Tour: The Maze Cutter (The Maze Runner Series) by James Dashner – Genre: YA Dystopian @jamesdashner @KeriBarnum @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #TheMazeCutter #TheMazeRunner #BookTour

We are celebrating the upcoming release of The Maze Cutter by James Dashner, and we are thrilled that the series continues with a new generation of chacters! Read on for more details and make sure to pre-order a copy today! 

There are fabulous giveaways too — A book box containing a hardcover edition (US only) and a $25 Amazon gift card, audiobook download, and signed bookplate for one lucky international winner!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00062]

The Maze Cutter (Hardcover/ Kindle/ Audio Editions)

Expected Publication Date: November 15th, 2022

Genre: YA Dystopian/ Teens

Publisher: Akashic Media Enterprises

Seventy-three years after the events of THE DEATH CURE, when Thomas and other immunes were sent to an island to survive the Flare-triggered apocalypse, their descendants have thrived. Sadina, Isaac, and Jackie all learned about the unkind history of the Gladers from The Book of Newt and tall tales from Old Man Frypan, but when a rusty old boat shows up one day with a woman bearing dark news of the mainland–everything changes. The group and their islander friends are forced to embark back to civilization where they find Cranks have evolved into a more violent, intelligent version of themselves. The islanders are hunted by the Godhead, the Remnant Nation, and scientists with secret agendas. When they cross paths with an orphan named Minho from the Remnant Nation, the dangers become real and they don’t know who they can trust. The islanders will have to survive long enough to figure out why they are being targeted, who is friend or foe, and what the Godhead has planned for the future of humanity.

Add to Goodreads

The Maze Runner Series

162412907_291189762365213_5606476230168552018_n

Pre-Order The Maze Cutter at These Fine Retailers

Amazon | B&N | Waterstones | Bookshop | Kobo | iBooks

About the Author

James Dashner

James Dashner is #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Maze Runner series, including The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, The Kill Order, and The Fever Code, and the bestselling Mortality Doctrine series (The Eye of Minds, The Rule of Thoughts, and The Game of Lives). Dashner was born and raised in Georgia, but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains.

James Dashner | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

 

The giveaway will run from October 3rd until October 9th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Book Tour Schedule

October 3rd

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

@jacleomik33 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/jacleomik33

@brandidanielledavis (Review) https://www.instagram.com/brandidanielledavis/

@bri_serena_reads (Review) https://www.instagram.com/bri_serena_reads

@books_inthecity (Review) https://www.instagram.com/books_inthecity/

The Librocubicularista (Review) https://thelibrocubicularista.wordpress.com/

@courtneys.shelflife (Review) https://www.instagram.com/courtneys.shelflife/

Riss Reviews (Review) https://rissreviewsx.wixsite.com/website

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

October 4th

@caffeinatedbibliophilia (Review) https://www.instagram.com/caffeinatedbibliophilia/

I Smell Sheep (Review) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

@genoviareadingco (Review) https://www.instagram.com/genoviareadingco/

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

@margiebythebookcase (Review) https://www.instagram.com/margiebythebookcase/

@marvsbooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/marvsbooks/

@takealookatmybookshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/takealookatmybookshelf/

Bunny’s Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

FUONLYKNEW Blog (Spotlight) http://fuonlyknew.com/

October 5th

The Book View (Review) https://thebookview.com/

@theenchantedshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/theenchantedshelf/

@all.you.read.is.love (Review) https://www.instagram.com/all.you.read.is.love/

@by_hckilgour (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/by_hckilgour/

@authortaylorkillpack (Review) https://www.instagram.com/authortaylorkillpack/

@better_0ff_read (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/better_0ff_read/

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

October 6th

Cheryl’s Book Nook (Review) https://cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com/

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.com/

@my.bookish.mind (Review) https://www.instagram.com/My.bookish.mind/

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

@rainbowbookdragon15 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/rainbowbookdragon15

@themagicofworlds_be (Review) https://www.instagram.com/themagicofworlds_be/

October 7th

@its_b.e.l.l.e (Review) https://www.instagram.com/its_b.e.l.l.e/

Didi Oviatt (Review) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

@inkspit.blog (Review) https://www.instagram.com/inkspit.blog/

@happily_undignified (Review) https://www.instagram.com/happily_undignified/

@atypical.tales (Review) https://www.instagram.com/atypical.tales/

Misty’s Book Space (Review) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

@tabithabouldin (Review) https://www.instagram.com/tabithabouldin/

@junk.journal.librarian (Review) https://www.instagram.com/junk.journal.librarian/

@bhaneereads_ (Review) https://www.instagram.com/bhaneereads_/

@readingwithwrin (Review) https://www.instagram.com/readingwithwrin/

 

Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours

Book Tour: Year Zero by David Dean Lugo – Genre: YA Dystopian @daviddeanlugo @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #YearZero

Welcome to the book tour for the first installment in David Dean Lugo’s Revolution’s Children series, Year Zero! Read on for more info!

yearzero_ebook

Year Zero (Revolution’s Children Book 1)

Publication Date: May 24th, 2022

Genre: YA Dystopian

A thrilling new YA dystopian novel has dark parallels to a conceivable future America.

It’s been two years since the establishment of the brutal dictatorship The Incorporated Precincts of America and its governing Board and CEO, as well as the death of the old America. Sixteen-year-old Joey Cryer has two missions: to keep their six-year-old sister, Julia, safe, and to not die.

America first. America last. America always. This is the vow that the CEO leader of the IPA—The Incorporated Precincts of America—pledges to his suffering citizens. With violent protests breaking out in every city, attacks against immigrants, and the national crisis of the Capitol Event, young Joey must keep their vigilance in staying clear of the IPA’s ever-watching Sons of Liberty—its ruthless police force—to avoid becoming “disappeared” with his little sister. This means not maligning the governing body, The Corporation, with any thought, word, or action, or else suffer the consequence. One such sanction for disobeying citizens is being forced on to the required viewing television show “Manhunt,” where they fight for their lives against the Sons, upholding The Corporation’s domination over society.

Two years earlier, before the Second Revolution ended and before the election, Joey’s biggest concern was sitting at the right cafeteria table at his high school or if the girl they liked liked them back. Avoiding the school bully, Harlan Grundy, was always a plus, and so was not getting pummeled. So, it was no big surprise that Harlan became a Son, loyal to The Corporation and carrying out their dirty deeds to keep citizens in check and in fear. The only correct response to a Son? Everything is goodly.

Having lost everything in the revolution’s aftermath, Joey takes an unfathomable risk by helping the near-dead leader of the rebellion, John Doe. Having anything to do with Doe will skip you right past penalties and sanctions all the way to the death penalty, not only for you, but for anyone you love. And yet Joey’s sole mission is keep Julia safe until they can secretly escape to freedom. To do so, they finds they have an unlikely partner in a recently betrayed Harlan. Trusting their former enemy may be the only way to ensure their future—but is it worth the risk for Joey, Julia, and his community?

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

No law respecting the established religion, prohibiting its free and compulsory practice, may be passed. All citizens free or otherwise are responsible for their speech, as is the press. The Board may sanction the people or the press should they choose to malign The Corporation or its representatives in print, thought, word, or action.

—First Amendment, Constitution Incorporated Precincts of America

A hand grabs my shoulder, and I know I’m screwed. The flickering light from the Jumbotron across the street dispels the concealing darkness. What was I thinking trying to sneak my way across town square after dark? I pull my hat lower, hoping that he won’t recognize me.

Especially if curfew has started.

Dan and Katie are starting the Manhunt preshow on the Jumbotron, which isn’t a good sign. Manhunt rarely starts before seven.

My mouth is dry, and my heart’s hammering fills my ears. It’s the fight-or-flight response kicking in big time. Except in my case, it’s the flight-and-still-get-pommeled response.

Even knowing how it will end, I still think about running.

Just for a second.

Old habits die hard.

I move my eyes to the hand, hoping it’s not covered by a white glove. Crap. It is. So, the he attached to the hand isn’t a regular cop. A cop will just shake me down and let me go. But not this guy.

He’s a Son of Liberty.

I’m surprised he hasn’t shot me yet. They usually do. I mean, it’s kinda their go-to move. I glance from his glove to his face.

I silence a scream. This guy isn’t any old Son. He’s Harlan Grundy. That name alone makes most kids cry. Always has.

Harlan’s been bullying kids since the old days, back when we still lived in a place called the USA. By the time The Corporation ran things and changed the name to The Incorporated Precincts of America, or IPA, Harlan had transformed bullying into an art form. I mean, watching him terrorize a kid is like watching Michelangelo turn a hunk of stone into a statue. Pure artistry.

Unless you’re the rock.

All the Sons are big, but Harlan’s bigger. Not like Schwarzenegger big. It’s more natural. Like a gorilla. Most let his stocky form, with its squashed nose, thick fingers, and stubby legs, fool them. But he possessed a speed unheard of, even among Olympic athletes.

And I, underneath this big ass coat, am just a scrawny sixteen-year-old. Exercise and me are not the best of friends. I mean, we wave when we pass by in the halls. Unless running from Harlan counts. Because if it does, I’m a gold medalist.

Okay, maybe a bronze because he always catches me.

“Hold it, citizen,” he says loud enough for me to hear over the Jumbotron’s droning voices. That is quite a feat since they always have it turned up to like a million.

Wait. Citizen?

He doesn’t recognize me.

He says something, but Dan speaks over him from the Jumbotron. “We’ll be back after this message.”

A second later, tolling bells replace his smug voice, sounding out the half hour. I glance at the screen, hoping it says six thirty. Instead, a robotic voice says, “The time is now seven thirty. Curfew is in effect.”

I’m doubly screwed.

After curfew, you get arrested or worse, unless you’re on official IPA business. It won’t take anyone more than one look to know I’m not. And Harlan’s fists and I have known each other since I was eight, and he was eleven. It’s only a matter of time until his dim brain dusts off the cobwebs and the first faint itch of recognition dawns on him.

If he doesn’t shoot me, which I doubt, I have two simple choices left. But I won’t get to choose. Instead, an Inquisitor will decide between sending me to a Liberty Camp or inducting me into the army.

The second is most likely. They’re drafting more people every day. Younger and younger too. I mean, except for like Ward Commanders, Inquisitors, and Auditors, the whole Corporation is getting younger. I guess they figure the young don’t have as much attachment to the way things were.

The CEO says we’re winning the war, and the extra troops are for the last push into Ottawa. But I’ve heard the rumors. Who hasn’t?

Some say Mexico, Canada’s ally, has won ground in the Southwest. Others say the early winter weather has paralyzed our troops in Ontario and Alaska. What’s happening in Europe is anyone’s guess.

So, whatever the Inquisitor decides, it’s better if Harlan shoots me.

Usually, I’m home before curfew, but I had forgotten it’s earlier now. That’s thanks to the Does—John and Jane Doe—and their rebels blowing up stuff. Last Tuesday, the day most Sons get their rations, they blew up the rationing center. Now, the rest of us are still living off our last pitiful portion.

Movies make rebellion seem exciting and heroic. I guess it is, fighting oppression or whatever. But from where I sit, trying to get by and staying off The Corporation’s radar, it’s terrifying. It doesn’t help people like me. Maybe it will someday, but I’m not holding my breath.

I burrow deeper into my father’s coat, trying to avoid eye contact. The coat must be the only reason Harlan hasn’t recognized me. There’s no point in trying to hide the bag of contraband I’m holding.

I mean, it’s right there.

Besides, it’s just dumb cans of stupid beef stew I bought at the black market. E-rations don’t hardly give anyone enough food. So, most people, leastways those who can afford it, turn to the black market. Even Block Watch Commanders like Harlan.

It’s not totally the Does fault, though. Food, at least the unpowdered kind, was scarce even before they blew up the rationing center. The troops passing through on their way north to the wall, took most of what we had. They didn’t bother leaving much for us citizens.

I’m not sweating the stew, though. I expect he’ll “impound” it. I’m more worried that what’s stuffed into my belt will spill out. If it does, he’ll definitely shoot me.

He’s eyeing the bag though. His mouth might even be watering. We both stand there, playing our weird freeze tag while waiting for the stupid bell to stop tolling.

As soon as it does, Harlan says, “You’re behind curfew, citizen. Slice me the stew, and I won’t donate a one.”

Ugh. Slanguage.

It takes me a moment to translate his words to regular English. If I give him the stew, he won’t give me a class one penalty. I can’t speak because he’ll recognize my voice, so I nod. Kneeling, I set the bag down and take off.

I don’t look back.

You never look back.

If you do, they might see your face, connect it to a list of subversives, rebels, or whatever list you didn’t know you were on.

I’m two blocks away before a grin spreads across my face. Dumbass Harlan was so preoccupied by the bag that he didn’t notice the cans crammed in my pockets.

I decide to go home through the woods. It’s longer and a thousand percent spookier, but it has more cover. Plus, The Corporation hasn’t put cameras in the forest. At least not yet anyway. That might change if they suspect the squirrels of treason.

Plus, Harlan lives two houses away from me. If he’s heading home, it’s worth the extra twenty-minute walk to avoid him.

I trudge along. I can’t see a thing in the inky blackness. Everything is a muddied silhouette, and I don’t want to trip on something and break my neck. I used to find the sounds of leaves crunching under my feet satisfying. But I don’t anymore.

They just tell the Sons or the rebel squirrels where you are.

My breath comes quick now. Heart racing. It’s my anxiety getting the better of me. I don’t bother fighting it because I’m too busy cursing myself. If Harlan is out on patrol, he’s nowhere near his house. Then again, it might be dumb luck that we ran into each other.

Either way, I don’t really care right now because I’m sure Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers has spotted my dumbass alone in the woods. I stop for a second, but the sound of crunching leaves doesn’t.

A twig snaps.

I turn.

A half-naked figure lunges from the darkness, falling to the ground.

I almost scream.

A man lies motionless. I get a little closer and notice he’s covered in blood. Against my better judgment, I turn him over. A few holes leak his blood.

Someone shot him.

The only people with guns these days are Sons or rebels. Which means they’re probably out searching for him. That thought alone makes me nope my sorry ass out of the woods as fast as I can.

I emerge, unharassed by either rebel squirrels or a fictional slasher, near the non-Harlan end of my block. My breath comes in short, panicked gasps. I’m more than a little embarrassed by how fast I’m moving down the block.

I turn the corner. My house blazes bright in the frigid night. It’s almost enough to chase away the harsh twilight glow from the screens on the telephone poles.

Julia, my little sister hates being alone, but she isn’t right now. Unless Winnie’s wandered off again. She has turned on every light, which means he probably did. The Sons don’t pay him much mind, so he’ll be okay. Hopefully, she hasn’t used up our electricity ration for the month.

I linger in the driveway, eyes darting. I need to make sure I wasn’t followed.

An angry orange flower of fire blooms over the nearby hills. Must be the rebels blowing something up or being blown up themselves. Either way, a bunch of people are dead. A tenth of a second later, a dull roar reaches my ears, and everything shakes.

Every porch light in the neighborhood blinks on, and people spill out from their houses, scurrying around like angry ants. A few have wide eyes, their O-shaped mouths gulping the chilly night air. Which reminds me of the fish that Dad and I used to catch. Others just sigh, wringing their hands. A few look furious.

I’ve lived here for like forever and recognize everyone.

That is everyone except the young man with the neat dark hair walking along the walkway in front of the house next door. His hands are in his pockets, posture crisp but relaxed.

I do a double take because I didn’t expect to see anyone coming from there. It and the house across the street have stood vacant since the Perrys and the Youngs disappeared a year ago. He might be a zig though.

Zig is short for zigzag. They’re the people who refuse to go along with The Corporation but won’t join the resistance either. So, they zigzag between the two opposing forces that shape the IPA. They usually come in small groups, no more than four. There’s not a lot of them. At least as far as anyone can tell. Anyway, neither side likes them much, and both will see them wiped out just as soon. Which is why, if he is a zig, he certainly wouldn’t be so careless and let everyone know where he lives.

He might be a rebel. They sometimes hunker down in vacant buildings. That thought both excites and frightens me.

As he draws closer, there’s no mistaking this man for a zig or a rebel. He wears a suit, but the distant flames give everything a crimson tone, so I can’t tell what color it is. Something on his jacket flickers. He reaches the end of the walkway, and I notice that the light glints off a bunch of Corporation commendation pins on his lapel.

At first, he acknowledges no one as he crosses his arms and stares straight ahead. He appears calm, but his breath comes in peculiar fits like he’s out of breath but doesn’t want anyone to know. Maybe he’s asthmatic? I don’t know. His eyes don’t watch the distant flames like everyone else; they’re watching the streetlights.

Something glistens on his forehead like sweat, but the night is cold, so that’s impossible. He appears to sense me gawking and gives me a nod.

By reflex, I wave.

Another fireball blossoms, this one almost bright enough to read by. The windows rattle from the blast. The neighborhood lights blink a few times before going out. Someone screams as we’re plunged into a weird twilight of flickering screens since those never stop.

I swear Pinman smirks.

A second later, old Doc Salazar asks, “Do you think it’s the Canadians?”

That isn’t as silly as it sounds, since if you’re lucky enough to own a car, it’s like three hours to the border.

“Nah. I bet it’s the Does and the rebels,” Mr. Taylor replies.

Everyone stares at him for a moment. Calling the Does rebels is against the law.

“You mean terrorists,” a throaty unfamiliar voice—my new neighbor—says.

“Yes, y-yes,” Mr. Taylor stammers. He probably noticed every commendation on Pinman’s jacket. He chuckles nervously, running a hand across the back of his neck.

I don’t want to call attention to myself, but Taylor was my dad’s fishing buddy. I can’t count the number of times that the Taylors shared a meal with us after a good day on the lake.

A familiar voice breaks the uncomfortable silence. “Mr. Taylor is scaredly is all. He’s not trying to be outside the box.”

I look around, trying to find who spoke. For some reason, everyone’s staring at me like I punched a nun or something.

Well, everyone except Taylor. He’s got a grateful smile pasted on his stupid round face. The looks confirm my growing suspicion. The voice was familiar because it’s mine.

Pinman doesn’t reply, just cocks his head.

“Well, um, good night, sir,” Mr. Taylor croaks as he scurries back inside his house.

A second later, the loudspeakers atop every telephone pole on the block crackle to life. On the screens, a severe looking yet appealing middle-aged woman appears with her hair wrapped tight around her head. Everything can go dark but not PR Polly, the voice of The Corporation.

There’s a whine of feedback, and Polly stares with a Mona Lisa smile on her lips, waiting for it to pass. It fades to a crackling static and clears.

Her familiar, faintly British voice sounds out. “Return to your homes. All is goodly. We have the situation under control.” As always, she adds the Corporate slogan. “America first. America last. America always.”

Another squeal of feedback sounds out. Dan and Katie return to the screens, laughing about the ratings bonanza it’ll be when the real Does are caught and put on Manhunt. But since Manhunt is required viewing, ratings are a bonanza every day anyway. I’m also not sure how we’d know if they’re the real Does. I mean, every time they think they’ve got them, it turns out they’re regular rebels.

No one even knows what the Does look like.

A weird sensation tingles my leg. It’s my phone vibrating in my pocket. I put aside my stray thoughts for now as I fish it out.

“What did you think of this Realnews brief” flashes on the screen. Underneath, like always, are two emoji:

a smiley one,

and a frowning one.

I tap the smiley face to show that I loved it. No one clicks the other one anymore. Well, no one without a death wish.

Soft clicking echoes around me as my neighbors do the same. By the time I’m done, they’re scurrying back into their homes. I guess they’ve all realized it’s after curfew, so we are all technically criminals right now.

Pinman still stands there with his arms crossed, staring at me. I try not to meet his gaze and mumble something about how my little sister is waiting for dinner inside.

In the distance, sirens blare. A lot of them. All isn’t goodly. I sense the stranger watching me as I walk into my house.

I don’t look back.

You never look back.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

authorpic

Author David Dean Lugo often gets ideas for his stories by wondering what if? In his new young adult dystopian novel, Year Zero, he probed this when writing about a future fascist America run by a governing body called The Corporation and its CEO. Lugo believes that today’s trend of people judging one another too harshly—whether based on their political party, gender identity, or something else—is causing people to drift too far away from one another. His story explores potential extreme ramifications of this.

Lugo believes a great book is one that has believable characters that readers can identify with and relate to. He hopes his stories evoke emotion and thinking from his readers long after the book is closed.

When he isn’t writing thought-provoking YA novels, Lugo enjoys playing guitar, watching movies, playing video/board games, and hanging out with his amazing family. He lives in southwest New Hampshire with his wife Meredith, son Jacob, and their rascally Labrador/Collie mix named Astrid. Year Zero is the first volume in his The Revolution’s Children trilogy.

David Dean Lugo | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

Book Tour Schedule

August 29th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

@happily_undignified (Review) https://www.instagram.com/happily_undignified/

Jonathan Pongratz (Spotlight) https://jonathanpongratz.com/

August 30th

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.com/

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Books + Coffee = Happiness (Spotlight) https://bookscoffeehappiness.com/

@itsabookthing2021 (Spotlight) http://www.instagram.com/itsabookthing2021

August 31st

@takealookatmybookshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/takealookatmybookshelf/

@fariha_binte_islam (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/fariha_binte_islam/

The Book View (Spotlight) https://thebookview.com/

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

@fle_d (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/fle_d

Ecce! Libri! (Spotlight) https://eccelibri702630676.wordpress.com/

September 1st

@juliethebookworm (Review) https://www.instagram.com/juliethebookworm/

Bunny’s Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

@booksnsnax (Spotlight) https://www.tiktok.com/@booksnsnax

Dark Whimsical Art (Spotlight) https://www.darkwhimsicalart.com/blogs/news

 September 2nd

@brandidanielledavis (Review) https://www.instagram.com/brandidanielledavis/

@bookswithstacie (Review) https://www.instagram.com/bookswithstacie/

@amber.bunch_author (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/amber.bunch_author/

@allpagesandcoffee  (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/allpagesandcoffee/

Cocktails & Fairytales (Spotlight) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales

@sarahlillianbooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/sarahlillianbooks/

      

 

Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours

Book Tour: Rune and Flash by Joe Canzano – Genre: YA Scifi/ Action-Adventure @happyjoecanzano @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #BookTour

Welcome to the book tour for Rune and Flash: Inside the Dream Prison. On this tour you will find reviews exclusively at each stop, so follow along and find out what readers are saying!

RuneandFlash-cover

Rune and Flash: Inside the Dream Prison

Publication Date: May 14th, 2022

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/ Action/ Adventure (In the vein of Hunger Games and Divergent)

When 16-year-old Markla Flash is convicted of murder and sentenced to 1,000 nightmares inside the Dream Prison, her friend Rune vows to help—but he quickly finds himself pitted against his parents, and the police, and a gang of murdering “subversives,” as well as the keepers of a society where artificially created dreams are used for both punishment and pleasure.

“Rune and Flash” is an action-filled science fiction adventure about the power of truth, technology, and love.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

Markla didn’t care for the dark. Why did they need to be creeping around in the woods at night? The trees all looked like gnarled monsters, and the moon stared down like an evil eye, and couldn’t they attack this place in the daytime?

The Serenity Six Dream Station would still be around when the sun came up. It would still be around on a weekend, too—in case someone didn’t want to save the world on a school night. But she was the only one still in school, and being just sixteen years old no one seemed to care what she thought, anyway.

Dru was two years older and he was up ahead. He was stomping through the forest, snapping twigs and swishing his feet through every pile of dry leaves. If the darkness gave them a certain element of surprise, it was totally lost by all the noise they were making. They were supposed to be warriors in a primitive and ancient tradition, schooled in the art of silent attack—but now the idea made Markla roll her eyes. We’re as clueless as the enemy, she thought. Any second now someone was bound to walk into a tree and knock himself unconscious.

The thought almost made her laugh, but she bit her lip instead and stepped lightly over a thick root. She was tiny, and slender like a branch, and she wouldn’t be walking into anything. Then Dru held up his hand and whispered in a fierce tone.

“Stop!” he said.

Markla didn’t stop right away. Instead, she tossed back her hair and crept to his side. Markla’s hair was a shade or two darker than midnight, and it was always tangled and messy, and most of the time she liked it to hang down because it covered a small scar near her left ear and another star-shaped one on the right side of her forehead. But tonight it seemed appropriate to let her scars show.

They were standing at the edge of the dense forest. Somewhere nearby, an owl hooted and her heart leaped. She brushed a mosquito from her bare arm and peered across a grassy clearing. Did she really want to do this? Well, she did have a steel club slung across her back, and so did Dru, and so did the other three people who’d come trudging through the woods on this humid autumn evening. They were staring across the field at a knob-like building that resembled an observatory. There was no kind of visible fence around the place, but it was supposedly equipped with sensors that would detect anyone who crossed a certain perimeter—unless the system was disabled by someone inside.

Dru wiped some sweat from his forehead. He motioned for everyone to crouch down, and in the darkness three silent figures followed his instructions. But Markla remained standing, and so did he, and he turned to face her like she knew he would. Even in the moonlight, she could see his blue eyes, thick dark hair, and chiseled facial features—and yeah, he looked good. But just because Dru was sexy didn’t mean he couldn’t be infuriating, especially when he said, “Maybe you should wait here.”

“What?” She felt her stomach tighten. “What are you talking about? You want to leave me behind?”

Dru smiled. “Markla, no—that’s not how it is. I know you’re tough, but you’re also small, and we could use a lookout.”

“That’s stupid,” she sputtered. “That was never the plan. I’m part of the group, and now you want to leave me here all alone?”

“No one wants to do that. It’s not like that at all.”

“If you leave me here by myself, I’ll be alone, right? I can count to one.”

Dru sighed in dramatic fashion. Behind Markla, the three others remained silent, like they were waiting for the argument to end. And it did end, the way it always ended. Dru reached out with his big hands and squeezed Markla’s shoulders as he looked into her eyes and said, “I would never leave you behind, Markla. You know that.”

She was quiet. “Okay,” she finally said. Then she shrugged. “So what are we talking about? Let’s go.”

He laughed. “We can’t go yet, honey. We have to wait for the signal.”

Right. She knew that, and she hadn’t meant it literally. Then there was a chirping sound, and Dru was staring at a wafer-sized device in his hand.

“Okay, this is it!” he said. “Are we ready to do some damage?”

Everyone murmured that they were—and then they put on their masks.

 Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Smashwords | Kobo | Google Play

About the Author

Joe Canzano_800x600color

Joe Canzano is a writer and musician from NJ, U.S.A. His stories have appeared in a variety of printed literary journals, as well as in the Akashic Books online series, “Mondays are Murder.” He has also published five novels. His website is happyjoe.net.

Happy Joe | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

Book Tour Schedule

August 8th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.com/

@takealookatmybookshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/takealookatmybookshelf/

August 9th

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

Bunny’s Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

August 10th

@brandidanielledavis (Review) https://www.instagram.com/brandidanielledavis/

@margiebythebookcase (Review) https://www.instagram.com/margiebythebookcase/

August 11th

Haddie’s Haven (Review) https://haddieshaven.blogspot.com

@definitelynotreading (Review) https://www.instagram.com/definitelynotreading/

@thrillersandcoffee (Review) https://www.instagram.com/thrillersandcoffee/

August 12th

Cheryl’s Book Nook (Review) https://cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com/

@genoviareadingco (Review) https://www.instagram.com/genoviareadingco/

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

 

Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours

Check Out Year Zero by David Dean Lugo – Genre: YA Dystopian @daviddeanlugo @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #YearZero #BookBlitz

Check out this thrilling new YA Dystopian novel, Year Zero!

This is the first book in a new trilogy called Revolution’s Children and you’re going to want to read this!

yearzero_ebook

Year Zero (Revolution’s Children Book 1)

Publication Date: May 24th, 2022

Genre: YA Dystopian

A thrilling new YA dystopian novel has dark parallels to a conceivable future America.

It’s been two years since the establishment of the brutal dictatorship The Incorporated Precincts of America and its governing Board and CEO, as well as the death of the old America. Sixteen-year-old Joey Cryer has two missions: to keep their six-year-old sister, Julia, safe, and to not die.

America first. America last. America always. This is the vow that the CEO leader of the IPA—The Incorporated Precincts of America—pledges to his suffering citizens. With violent protests breaking out in every city, attacks against immigrants, and the national crisis of the Capitol Event, young Joey must keep their vigilance in staying clear of the IPA’s ever-watching Sons of Liberty—its ruthless police force—to avoid becoming “disappeared” with his little sister. This means not maligning the governing body, The Corporation, with any thought, word, or action, or else suffer the consequence. One such sanction for disobeying citizens is being forced on to the required viewing television show “Manhunt,” where they fight for their lives against the Sons, upholding The Corporation’s domination over society.

Two years earlier, before the Second Revolution ended and before the election, Joey’s biggest concern was sitting at the right cafeteria table at his high school or if the girl they liked liked them back. Avoiding the school bully, Harlan Grundy, was always a plus, and so was not getting pummeled. So, it was no big surprise that Harlan became a Son, loyal to The Corporation and carrying out their dirty deeds to keep citizens in check and in fear. The only correct response to a Son? Everything is goodly.

Having lost everything in the revolution’s aftermath, Joey takes an unfathomable risk by helping the near-dead leader of the rebellion, John Doe. Having anything to do with Doe will skip you right past penalties and sanctions all the way to the death penalty, not only for you, but for anyone you love. And yet Joey’s sole mission is keep Julia safe until they can secretly escape to freedom. To do so, they finds they have an unlikely partner in a recently betrayed Harlan. Trusting their former enemy may be the only way to ensure their future—but is it worth the risk for Joey, Julia, and his community?

Add to Goodreads

Chapter One

No law respecting the established religion, prohibiting its free and compulsory practice, may be passed. All citizens free or otherwise are responsible for their speech, as is the press. The Board may sanction the people or the press should they choose to malign The Corporation or its representatives in print, thought, word, or action.

—First Amendment, Constitution Incorporated Precincts of America

A hand grabs my shoulder, and I know I’m screwed. The flickering light from the Jumbotron across the street dispels the concealing darkness. What was I thinking trying to sneak my way across town square after dark? I pull my hat lower, hoping that he won’t recognize me.

Especially if curfew has started.

Dan and Katie are starting the Manhunt preshow on the Jumbotron, which isn’t a good sign. Manhunt rarely starts before seven.

My mouth is dry, and my heart’s hammering fills my ears. It’s the fight-or-flight response kicking in big time. Except in my case, it’s the flight-and-still-get-pommeled response.

Even knowing how it will end, I still think about running.

Just for a second.

Old habits die hard.

I move my eyes to the hand, hoping it’s not covered by a white glove. Crap. It is. So, the he attached to the hand isn’t a regular cop. A cop will just shake me down and let me go. But not this guy.

He’s a Son of Liberty.

I’m surprised he hasn’t shot me yet. They usually do. I mean, it’s kinda their go-to move. I glance from his glove to his face.

I silence a scream. This guy isn’t any old Son. He’s Harlan Grundy. That name alone makes most kids cry. Always has.

Harlan’s been bullying kids since the old days, back when we still lived in a place called the USA. By the time The Corporation ran things and changed the name to The Incorporated Precincts of America, or IPA, Harlan had transformed bullying into an art form. I mean, watching him terrorize a kid is like watching Michelangelo turn a hunk of stone into a statue. Pure artistry.

Unless you’re the rock.

All the Sons are big, but Harlan’s bigger. Not like Schwarzenegger big. It’s more natural. Like a gorilla. Most let his stocky form, with its squashed nose, thick fingers, and stubby legs, fool them. But he possessed a speed unheard of, even among Olympic athletes.

And I, underneath this big ass coat, am just a scrawny sixteen-year-old. Exercise and me are not the best of friends. I mean, we wave when we pass by in the halls. Unless running from Harlan counts. Because if it does, I’m a gold medalist.

Okay, maybe a bronze because he always catches me.

“Hold it, citizen,” he says loud enough for me to hear over the Jumbotron’s droning voices. That is quite a feat since they always have it turned up to like a million.

Wait. Citizen?

He doesn’t recognize me.

He says something, but Dan speaks over him from the Jumbotron. “We’ll be back after this message.”

A second later, tolling bells replace his smug voice, sounding out the half hour. I glance at the screen, hoping it says six thirty. Instead, a robotic voice says, “The time is now seven thirty. Curfew is in effect.”

I’m doubly screwed.

After curfew, you get arrested or worse, unless you’re on official IPA business. It won’t take anyone more than one look to know I’m not. And Harlan’s fists and I have known each other since I was eight, and he was eleven. It’s only a matter of time until his dim brain dusts off the cobwebs and the first faint itch of recognition dawns on him.

If he doesn’t shoot me, which I doubt, I have two simple choices left. But I won’t get to choose. Instead, an Inquisitor will decide between sending me to a Liberty Camp or inducting me into the army.

The second is most likely. They’re drafting more people every day. Younger and younger too. I mean, except for like Ward Commanders, Inquisitors, and Auditors, the whole Corporation is getting younger. I guess they figure the young don’t have as much attachment to the way things were.

The CEO says we’re winning the war, and the extra troops are for the last push into Ottawa. But I’ve heard the rumors. Who hasn’t?

Some say Mexico, Canada’s ally, has won ground in the Southwest. Others say the early winter weather has paralyzed our troops in Ontario and Alaska. What’s happening in Europe is anyone’s guess.

So, whatever the Inquisitor decides, it’s better if Harlan shoots me.

Usually, I’m home before curfew, but I had forgotten it’s earlier now. That’s thanks to the Does—John and Jane Doe—and their rebels blowing up stuff. Last Tuesday, the day most Sons get their rations, they blew up the rationing center. Now, the rest of us are still living off our last pitiful portion.

Movies make rebellion seem exciting and heroic. I guess it is, fighting oppression or whatever. But from where I sit, trying to get by and staying off The Corporation’s radar, it’s terrifying. It doesn’t help people like me. Maybe it will someday, but I’m not holding my breath.

I burrow deeper into my father’s coat, trying to avoid eye contact. The coat must be the only reason Harlan hasn’t recognized me. There’s no point in trying to hide the bag of contraband I’m holding.

I mean, it’s right there.

Besides, it’s just dumb cans of stupid beef stew I bought at the black market. E-rations don’t hardly give anyone enough food. So, most people, leastways those who can afford it, turn to the black market. Even Block Watch Commanders like Harlan.

It’s not totally the Does fault, though. Food, at least the unpowdered kind, was scarce even before they blew up the rationing center. The troops passing through on their way north to the wall, took most of what we had. They didn’t bother leaving much for us citizens.

I’m not sweating the stew, though. I expect he’ll “impound” it. I’m more worried that what’s stuffed into my belt will spill out. If it does, he’ll definitely shoot me.

He’s eyeing the bag though. His mouth might even be watering. We both stand there, playing our weird freeze tag while waiting for the stupid bell to stop tolling.

As soon as it does, Harlan says, “You’re behind curfew, citizen. Slice me the stew, and I won’t donate a one.”

Ugh. Slanguage.

It takes me a moment to translate his words to regular English. If I give him the stew, he won’t give me a class one penalty. I can’t speak because he’ll recognize my voice, so I nod. Kneeling, I set the bag down and take off.

I don’t look back.

You never look back.

If you do, they might see your face, connect it to a list of subversives, rebels, or whatever list you didn’t know you were on.

I’m two blocks away before a grin spreads across my face. Dumbass Harlan was so preoccupied by the bag that he didn’t notice the cans crammed in my pockets.

I decide to go home through the woods. It’s longer and a thousand percent spookier, but it has more cover. Plus, The Corporation hasn’t put cameras in the forest. At least not yet anyway. That might change if they suspect the squirrels of treason.

Plus, Harlan lives two houses away from me. If he’s heading home, it’s worth the extra twenty-minute walk to avoid him.

I trudge along. I can’t see a thing in the inky blackness. Everything is a muddied silhouette, and I don’t want to trip on something and break my neck. I used to find the sounds of leaves crunching under my feet satisfying. But I don’t anymore.

They just tell the Sons or the rebel squirrels where you are.

My breath comes quick now. Heart racing. It’s my anxiety getting the better of me. I don’t bother fighting it because I’m too busy cursing myself. If Harlan is out on patrol, he’s nowhere near his house. Then again, it might be dumb luck that we ran into each other.

Either way, I don’t really care right now because I’m sure Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers has spotted my dumbass alone in the woods. I stop for a second, but the sound of crunching leaves doesn’t.

A twig snaps.

I turn.

A half-naked figure lunges from the darkness, falling to the ground.

I almost scream.

A man lies motionless. I get a little closer and notice he’s covered in blood. Against my better judgment, I turn him over. A few holes leak his blood.

Someone shot him.

The only people with guns these days are Sons or rebels. Which means they’re probably out searching for him. That thought alone makes me nope my sorry ass out of the woods as fast as I can.

I emerge, unharassed by either rebel squirrels or a fictional slasher, near the non-Harlan end of my block. My breath comes in short, panicked gasps. I’m more than a little embarrassed by how fast I’m moving down the block.

I turn the corner. My house blazes bright in the frigid night. It’s almost enough to chase away the harsh twilight glow from the screens on the telephone poles.

Julia, my little sister hates being alone, but she isn’t right now. Unless Winnie’s wandered off again. She has turned on every light, which means he probably did. The Sons don’t pay him much mind, so he’ll be okay. Hopefully, she hasn’t used up our electricity ration for the month.

I linger in the driveway, eyes darting. I need to make sure I wasn’t followed.

An angry orange flower of fire blooms over the nearby hills. Must be the rebels blowing something up or being blown up themselves. Either way, a bunch of people are dead. A tenth of a second later, a dull roar reaches my ears, and everything shakes.

Every porch light in the neighborhood blinks on, and people spill out from their houses, scurrying around like angry ants. A few have wide eyes, their O-shaped mouths gulping the chilly night air. Which reminds me of the fish that Dad and I used to catch. Others just sigh, wringing their hands. A few look furious.

I’ve lived here for like forever and recognize everyone.

That is everyone except the young man with the neat dark hair walking along the walkway in front of the house next door. His hands are in his pockets, posture crisp but relaxed.

I do a double take because I didn’t expect to see anyone coming from there. It and the house across the street have stood vacant since the Perrys and the Youngs disappeared a year ago. He might be a zig though.

Zig is short for zigzag. They’re the people who refuse to go along with The Corporation but won’t join the resistance either. So, they zigzag between the two opposing forces that shape the IPA. They usually come in small groups, no more than four. There’s not a lot of them. At least as far as anyone can tell. Anyway, neither side likes them much, and both will see them wiped out just as soon. Which is why, if he is a zig, he certainly wouldn’t be so careless and let everyone know where he lives.

He might be a rebel. They sometimes hunker down in vacant buildings. That thought both excites and frightens me.

As he draws closer, there’s no mistaking this man for a zig or a rebel. He wears a suit, but the distant flames give everything a crimson tone, so I can’t tell what color it is. Something on his jacket flickers. He reaches the end of the walkway, and I notice that the light glints off a bunch of Corporation commendation pins on his lapel.

At first, he acknowledges no one as he crosses his arms and stares straight ahead. He appears calm, but his breath comes in peculiar fits like he’s out of breath but doesn’t want anyone to know. Maybe he’s asthmatic? I don’t know. His eyes don’t watch the distant flames like everyone else; they’re watching the streetlights.

Something glistens on his forehead like sweat, but the night is cold, so that’s impossible. He appears to sense me gawking and gives me a nod.

By reflex, I wave.

Another fireball blossoms, this one almost bright enough to read by. The windows rattle from the blast. The neighborhood lights blink a few times before going out. Someone screams as we’re plunged into a weird twilight of flickering screens since those never stop.

I swear Pinman smirks.

A second later, old Doc Salazar asks, “Do you think it’s the Canadians?”

That isn’t as silly as it sounds, since if you’re lucky enough to own a car, it’s like three hours to the border.

“Nah. I bet it’s the Does and the rebels,” Mr. Taylor replies.

Everyone stares at him for a moment. Calling the Does rebels is against the law.

“You mean terrorists,” a throaty unfamiliar voice—my new neighbor—says.

“Yes, y-yes,” Mr. Taylor stammers. He probably noticed every commendation on Pinman’s jacket. He chuckles nervously, running a hand across the back of his neck.

I don’t want to call attention to myself, but Taylor was my dad’s fishing buddy. I can’t count the number of times that the Taylors shared a meal with us after a good day on the lake.

A familiar voice breaks the uncomfortable silence. “Mr. Taylor is scaredly is all. He’s not trying to be outside the box.”

I look around, trying to find who spoke. For some reason, everyone’s staring at me like I punched a nun or something.

Well, everyone except Taylor. He’s got a grateful smile pasted on his stupid round face. The looks confirm my growing suspicion. The voice was familiar because it’s mine.

Pinman doesn’t reply, just cocks his head.

“Well, um, good night, sir,” Mr. Taylor croaks as he scurries back inside his house.

A second later, the loudspeakers atop every telephone pole on the block crackle to life. On the screens, a severe looking yet appealing middle-aged woman appears with her hair wrapped tight around her head. Everything can go dark but not PR Polly, the voice of The Corporation.

There’s a whine of feedback, and Polly stares with a Mona Lisa smile on her lips, waiting for it to pass. It fades to a crackling static and clears.

Her familiar, faintly British voice sounds out. “Return to your homes. All is goodly. We have the situation under control.” As always, she adds the Corporate slogan. “America first. America last. America always.”

Another squeal of feedback sounds out. Dan and Katie return to the screens, laughing about the ratings bonanza it’ll be when the real Does are caught and put on Manhunt. But since Manhunt is required viewing, ratings are a bonanza every day anyway. I’m also not sure how we’d know if they’re the real Does. I mean, every time they think they’ve got them, it turns out they’re regular rebels.

No one even knows what the Does look like.

A weird sensation tingles my leg. It’s my phone vibrating in my pocket. I put aside my stray thoughts for now as I fish it out.

“What did you think of this Realnews brief” flashes on the screen. Underneath, like always, are two emoji:

a smiley one,

and a frowning one.

I tap the smiley face to show that I loved it. No one clicks the other one anymore. Well, no one without a death wish.

Soft clicking echoes around me as my neighbors do the same. By the time I’m done, they’re scurrying back into their homes. I guess they’ve all realized it’s after curfew, so we are all technically criminals right now.

Pinman still stands there with his arms crossed, staring at me. I try not to meet his gaze and mumble something about how my little sister is waiting for dinner inside.

In the distance, sirens blare. A lot of them. All isn’t goodly. I sense the stranger watching me as I walk into my house.

I don’t look back.

You never look back.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

authorpic

Author David Dean Lugo often gets ideas for his stories by wondering what if? In his new young adult dystopian novel, Year Zero, he probed this when writing about a future fascist America run by a governing body called The Corporation and its CEO. Lugo believes that today’s trend of people judging one another too harshly—whether based on their political party, gender identity, or something else—is causing people to drift too far away from one another. His story explores potential extreme ramifications of this.

Lugo believes a great book is one that has believable characters that readers can identify with and relate to. He hopes his stories evoke emotion and thinking from his readers long after the book is closed.

When he isn’t writing thought-provoking YA novels, Lugo enjoys playing guitar, watching movies, playing video/board games, and hanging out with his amazing family. He lives in southwest New Hampshire with his wife Meredith, son Jacob, and their rascally Labrador/Collie mix named Astrid. Year Zero is the first volume in his The Revolution’s Children trilogy.

David Dean Lugo | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

Book Blitz Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours