As a matter of fact, I have ;o) And it's very interesting. I happened to win an advanced reader copy of UNDER MY SKIN, by Shawntelle Madison, a few weeks back, so when the opportunity arose to be part of this blitz, I didn't hesitate.
This colourful and gorgeous cover wraps a suspenseful plot about what people can turn into when unprecedented power is in their hands. It's the story of a young girl who fights to get her freedom in the middle of greed, fear and cruelty.
I like the mixture of high technology like comm-consoles, and basic living standards in the countryside. Thanks to all the little details and variety, the world of Myria has more scope.
After a puzzling and mystic test, young people either pass the test to become Aspirants for the coveted Water Bearer position or they fail and get back home. To Tate, it would be a blessing to go back to her old life. Nevertheless, all the benefits of food, honour and prospects of passing the test don't take her suspicions away about the mystery surrounding the rich and secluded Water Bearers.
I'm very fond of stories that introduce a pretty place that hides a big, bad secret. Even though some features reminded me of other dystopian novels, I still found quite a lot of originality as the story progressed. In particular, it stuck with me that the main character has a scar that's considered a deformity in her world.
The plot thickens in a very interesting way. There is a wide variety of scenes and the pace never wavers from the test and ceremonies of the Water Bearers to Tate's new life as a victim of the Guild. I liked the contrast between luxury and horror.
Some of my favourite parts were the auction, so creepy, and Tate's struggle against General Dagon to retain her identity. When your enemy is inside your very thoughts, it's almost impossible to beat it. Nevertheless, Tate is still offering resistance with her mind and body. The artificial, fraudulent and immoral world around her is frightening, but it's so engaging for the reader!
I wanted to know how this society had become so uncaring for the value of human life, if they had a weakness that Tate could find about and exploit. Despite Dagon being a vile creature, I couldn't help but wonder that if he hadn't been so incorrigible, if only he had been a little bit redeemable, he and Tate would have made a formidable team together.
Let's not forget that there is a bit or romance too. A man, Quinn, will take an interest in Tate and help her for his own ends. He is in the middle of a poignantly sad scene in the book.
I was keen on how Tate plotted against the general, her tactics and discoveries, but sometimes it seemed just too convenient that he wasn't there to thwart them. When he was, it was quite predictable how he'd vanquish her. There was a time of drama and action that the author went over in just a few sentences, so it wasn't as meaningful and powerful as it should have been. Nonetheless, I really liked the way all the scenes expanded the mystery in a compelling manner. I'd be happy to read what happens next with Tate, with this villainous world and with the romance!
Under My Skin
(The Immortality Strain, #1)
Release Date: 12/09/14
Everyone wants to either be a member of the Guild or work for them. Little does the populace know that the Guild hides sinister secrets...
For Tate Sullivan, life in her small, coastal town is far from glamorous. The affluent lives of the Guild members and their servants isn't something she has ever wanted. But all sixteen year-olds must take a simple test, and Tate's result thrusts her into the Guild's world, one where they hide horrible plans for those they select. Tate must fight the relentless General Dagon for control of her mind, body, and soul to keep the one precious thing she has always taken for granted: herself.
Her only ally is the same handsome boy she is pitted against in General Dagon’s deadly game. Quinn desires nothing more than to end the life of General Dagon who has taken over Tate's mind. While romance blooms between Tate and Quinn, General Dagon plots to eventually take over Tate's body, and love might end before it even begins.
Fancy an EXCERPT?
Sweat poured down my forehead and entered my eyes, but I wouldn’t blink—couldn’t tear my gaze from the horror in front of me. One of them slapped Claire’s face to subdue her. Again and again. The sound reverberated against the marble walls.
Another enforcer tried to cover Claire’s mouth, but she managed to scream, “You can’t hide the truth forever!” They grabbed her from behind and by her legs. “We will free them! We will—” The sharp snap of a las-gun filled the air along with the stench of burned flesh. Claire went limp in their arms.
Locked in the grip of fear against the wall, I watched them carry her away. Her chest continued to move with each breath, but her eyelids drooped. Her mouth hung open. Was she okay? I’d never seen someone like that before. The enforcers in my town rarely had to use violence.
My tears mingled with the heavy steam in the room and I couldn’t help myself. My chest shook and I sobbed. In the background, the water continued to run. It almost felt like a lifetime since Claire’s words bounced around my mind. I could see the corners of the room, but I didn’t feel alone anymore. The room had sufficient light, but after what happened, the dark eyes of strangers stared at me from every corner. They slid down the ornate vanity and slithered my way. Moved across the fine rugs on the floor. Ever since I’d come here, they’d been listening to everything and seeing everything. At this moment, the cameras were no longer something I brushed aside as a persistent warning from my parents. It was all very much real. And now I knew the truth. Something bad will happen to me very soon.
ABOUT THE MASTERMIND
Shawntelle Madison is a web developer who loves to weave words as well as code. She’d never admit it, but if asked she’d say she covets and collects source code. After losing her first summer job detasseling corn, Shawntelle performed various jobs—from fast-food clerk to grunt programmer to university webmaster. Writing eccentric characters is her most favorite job of them all. On any particular day when she’s not surgically attached to her computer, she can be found watching cheesy horror movies or the latest action-packed anime. She lives in Missouri with her husband and children.
Giveaway Item 1: 1 Grand Prize $25 eBook Gift card
Giveaway Item 2: 5 Winners to get UNDER MY SKIN Bookmark Pack
What do you think about the beautiful cover and the interesting plot, book buddies? :o)