Friday, 26 July 2013

Shudder Blog Tour: Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


I'm so freaking excited to be taking part in the Shudder blog tour organized by Samantha Durante! I loved Stitch, and I loved this one even more.

Title: Shudder (Stitch Trilogy #2)
Author: Samantha Durante
Release date: June 15th 2013
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Format: Paperback
Pages: 348
Source: Author
Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

It’s only been three days, and already everything is different.

Paragon is behind her, but somehow Alessa’s life may actually have gotten worse. In a wrenching twist of fate, she traded the safety and companionship of her sister for that of her true love, losing a vital partner she’d counted on for the ordeal ahead. Her comfortable university life is but a distant memory, as she faces the prospect of surviving a bleak winter on the meager remains of a ravaged world. And if she’d thought she’d tasted fear upon seeing a ghost, she was wrong; now she’s discovering new depths of terror while being hunted by a deadly virus and a terrifying pack of superhuman creatures thirsting for blood.

And then there are the visions.

The memory-altering “stitch” unlocked something in Alessa’s mind, and now she can’t shake the constant flood of alien feelings ransacking her emotions. Haunting memories of an old flame are driving a deep and painful rift into her once-secure relationship. And a series of staggering revelations about the treacherous Engineers – and the bone-chilling deceit shrouding her world’s sorry history – will soon leave Alessa reeling…

Shudder is one of the best dystopians I've read so far! It's so intense, so captivating. There's a lot in it, and it's so well written. The action, the suspense, the thrill... All of it will leave you begging for more. I know I am! Samantha, you've really set the bar with this one. I enjoyed every second of it.

Alessa and Isaac are making their way away from Paragon and towards where they believe the rebel base is. They're running away from something they've known and have been familiar with for almost a decade, and they're both naturally hesitant. Alessa has even more to deal with when she begins to experience emotions and memories that she knows aren't hers. Oh, and the two of them are constantly being followed and hunted by some sort of creatures that they've never seen before. Tension grows, and things look doubtful. Meanwhile, we find out a lot more about the people behind the Ruling Class. The Engineers. We find out the reason behind Paragon's existence, and get quite a lot of shocks on the way!

I generally tend to prefer first person to third, but in this case, third person works beautifully. We get the perspectives of both Alessa and Isaac, as well as a few other characters. Nikhil, who we first met in Stitch, is back. And we get his story, too. For the most part, Shudder is mainly split into three perspectives. Alessa and Isaac's, Nikhil's, and Phoenix's. Phoenix is a character we know, but she has forgotten herself. The reason her narrative is so important is because we find out everything about this world and how it came to be.

I can't imagine the ordeal that Alessa and Isaac have to go through in this book! They're being chased by fearsome human-like things, they have a limited food supply and not much to go on, and each of them are dealing with their own internal issues. Alessa's newfound ability is causing her pain and anguish, and Isaac is helpless, not knowing how to stop it. Alessa's also been having vivid flashbacks of Joe, which causes her relationship with Isaac to become strained. But I loved that they had some moments of reprieve, of laughter and abandon. It's easy to see how much they care for each other. Alessa is more strong-willed than ever in this book, determined to do whatever she can to keep the people she loves safe. I really admire that about her. And Isaac? He's so lovable! And completely adorable. I love how protective he is of Alessa, and how incredibly sweet he is. They're definitely lucky to have one another.

The world-buliding in this book will just blow you away. Seriously. It's so amazing! The intricate details in everything, the complete background we're provided with... I have to admit I didn't understand some of the things the Doctor tells Phoenix about the creation of the mind-altering program, but I loved how Samantha managed to give us explanation of everything. That's really the basis of any good dystopian book.

I can't even begin to count how many surprises and twists there are in Shudder. It's so unpredictable! At one point I was beside myself with grief, and then suddenly I was shocked at a new twist Samantha added in. And that ending, oh my god. Such an enormous cliffhanger! I'm now really desperate for Stuck, the final book in the trilogy. I have faith that it will be totally mind-blowing, and I hope it's just as awesome as this one!

*Thank you to Samantha Durante for organizing the blog tour and sending me a copy for review*

Rating: 5/5

Haven't read Stitch, a.k.a. the first book in the series? You can read my review here. Also, it's just $0.99 on Amazon, so click here to get it now! You can also add it on Goodreads.


Excerpt

Waiting, Alessa watched the forest, ignoring the snowflakes gathering on her eyelashes and the stinging of the frozen shards scouring her face.  With a slow, deliberate movement she raised the knife to her shoulder, coiling to strike.

Remembering her stealth training with the rebels, she waited with bated breath for the opportunity to come.  A flash of darkness between two snow-covered trunks was all the signal she needed; one flick of her wrist sent the knife hurtling through the darkened sky, intent on its target.
A bloodcurdling shriek – part howl, part yelp – rang out through the wood, chilling Alessa to the bone.  A desperate wave of pain washed through her as she struggled to place the sound – almost human, but not quite.  And the perplexing confusion she’d been feeling earlier came back, this time tumbled with grim despair.
What just happened?  Fighting through the sharp jumble of emotions and physical pain assailing her body, Alessa stumbled determinedly in the direction of the wail.  Clutching at the tree trunks for support, she raked the forest for the source of the cry, hoping beyond hope that she’d incapacitated who or whatever had been stalking her.
But to her dismay, all that remained was her bloodied knife abandoned on the snowy ground.  She scanned the floor for a trail – drops of blood, footprints, anything – but the swirling blizzard had quickly devoured any signs of the intruder.
Gathering up her knife, Alessa prayed that she had at least scared it – and she was fairly certain now that it was indeed an “it” – off.  She caught her breath against the nearest tree as the startling pain and dismay she’d felt moments earlier faded, until she realized she could finally think with some clarity again.
She didn’t understand what she was feeling, but she would have plenty of time to think about that later.  If there was to be a later, she needed to get back to that shelter now.
Shaking the snow and muddled thoughts from her head, she pocketed the knife and felt her way into the clearing once more, burying her nagging worries about Isaac.  First things first, she reminded herself – she was no use to Isaac dead.  By this point she could barely see her own hands stretched out in front of her, but she combed the landscape searching for the warm glow of the fire burning at the edge of their shelter and made her way toward it inch by inch.
She’d almost reached the sanctuary of the lean-to when she was shaken with an overwhelming sense of not being alone.  She could feel a presence behind her – the creature – and she didn’t hesitate.  The blood pounding through her temples, with one swift motion she turned around and swung the knife down as hard as she could, an involuntary snarl issuing from her throat.
But she didn’t connect – the monster had caught her wrist mid-swing and held her tight.  She ripped her arm from its grip and prepared to strike once more.
“Whoa there, tiger!”
Alessa dropped the knife and brought her hand to her hammering heart as he released her.  “Isaac!” she gasped.
Gently cupping her shoulders, Isaac bent forward, scooting his face up under the furred edge of her hood with a grin.  “I know I took longer than expected, but I didn’t think you’d be that mad.”
Still catching her breath, Alessa loosed a small giggle, her body now shaking in an almost pleasant sort of way from the aftereffects of the adrenaline.  But her contentment was quickly snatched away as a thought occurred to her.  “Oh my God, I didn’t – are you hurt?” she implored, frantically checking him for wounds from the knife she’d thrown.
Grabbing her arms, Isaac held her still reassuringly.  “No, no, I’m completely fine.  Just a little cold.  What’s gotten into you, Less?”
Sighing deeply, Alessa collapsed into his arms as relief flooded her once more.  Isaac was back, and it was going to be okay.  “Let’s get inside and I’ll fill you in.”

Giveaway!


About the author:

Samantha Durante lives in New York City with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. Stitch is her first novel. Learn more about Samantha at www.samanthadurante.com.

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1 comment:

  1. This sounds wonderful! I don't want to live in a dystopian world, but I sure enjoy reading about them!

    would you be interested in blurbing your review over at Bookstore Bookblogger Connection, help us get the word out about this great series?

    ReplyDelete

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