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Jun 28, 2014

Blog Tour: Book Review and Giveaway: Queen & Commander and Hive & Heist by Janine A. Southard



Title: Queen & Commander (The Hive Queen Saga, Book 1)
Author: Janine A. Southard
Publication Date: March 8, 2013
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult


Blurb:

**WINNER 2013 IPPY AWARD -- Silver Medal for Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror E-Book**

On a world where high school test scores determine your future, six students rebel. They’ll outrun society as fast as their questionably obtained spaceship will take them.

Rhiannon doesn’t technically cheat the Test. She’s smarter than the computers that administer it, and she uses that to her advantage. She emerges from Test Day with the most prestigious future career possible: Hive Queen.

Gwyn & Victor are madly in love, but their Test results will tear them apart. Good thing Rhiannon is Gwyn’s best friend. Rhiannon can fix this. Queens can do anything.

Gavin is the wild card. Raised off-planet, he can’t wait to leave again… and he’s heard of an empty ship in orbit. The Ceridwen’s Cauldron.

Both Luciano and Alan fit in the system. They don’t need to leave. Only their devotion to Rhiannon spurs them to join the Cauldron’s crew.

Spaceships. Blackmail. Anywhere but here.

Kayla's Thoughts:

Rhiannon is a Perceiver who is set on choosing her own future. She knows what she wants to be in society, and that is a Queen. Queens are revered, they are highly regarded, and they have opportunities that she would probably not have otherwise. So when she gets the amazing news that she indeed has succeeded in choosing her future, Rhiannon is ecstatic. Her life is officially set. Or is it?

Rhiannon will be confronted by her best friend Gwyn and Gwyn's boyfriend Victor with a plan to keep the two lovebirds together. They will ask her to sacrifice her future for their happiness. Choosing to do this, to go against the system, could possibly put them on a path of no return. They might not ever be able to come back.

Along with Gwyn, Rhiannon, and Victor, this story also focuses on three other characters. Luciano, a hard worker who supports his family and is trying to give his sister the best chance in life she can get; Alan, an inventor of sorts who just wants a Queen who can respect him and the potential of his work; and Gavin, a dreamer and actress' son who wants to leave the Dyfed system. This story is a journey of self-discovery for all of them, and they will have to rely on each other if they want to survive.

I can very honestly say that I have not read a book quite like this one before, and I will probably not read a book quite like it again. It was actually quite phenomenal in the story aspect and the characters were all so different. They all want to respect the Hive, but they each have their own personalities, which at times do clash. They have their own ideals for how Rhiannon herself should act as a Queen, and sometimes I felt for her because most of the pressure was on her. I think they sometimes forgot that she was learning to be a Queen just as they too were learning their own roles. This story also allows us to see a crack in their society. Someone is starting to kidnap Queens, but we do not yet know their intentions or even who they are. What are they trying to start? A war? Well, they could very well succeed. 

Verdict:

This was a wonderful, wonderful read, and I am definitely a fan. This first book was a great start to a saga that I cannot wait to finish.

Links for Book:
Amazon / Goodreads / Barnes and Noble



Title: Hive & Heist (The Hive Queen Saga, Book 2)
Publication Date: April 28, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Blurb:

Queen Rhiannon and her Hive have found safety on John Wayne Station, but with no way to pay their docking fees or Victor’s medical bills, their debts are racking up quickly. Thankfully, Gavin gets a job with American Space Ranger M3L-15-A, who’s hot on the trail of dangerous criminals.

The teens move in with their Ranger benefactor, but when they revisit their ship to pick up personal belongings, they realize their Alcubierre tensor jet has been stolen!

If Rhiannon and her Hivemates ever hope to leave, they must find and steal back what’s theirs. But far from home and among strangers, who can they trust? Will they be stuck on John Wayne for the rest of their lives?

Kayla's Thoughts:

The story just gets better every time a new book comes out.

Rhiannon and her Hivemates are really feeling the pressure in this one. Everyone is starting to go their separate ways on this new station. They are starting to act as individuals rather than a whole. But considering what we also find out about this mysterious identity connected to all the missing Queens, and why, in fact, he or she is doing this, their actions might not be all that unusual. The unyielding devotion a Hive has for its Queen could very well be man made, and the fact that Rhiannon and her own Hive are not conventional could very well have saved them without their knowing it.

We are introduced to a few new characters in this, one of which I absolutely adore. A Ranger named Melissa. Now, Melissa only meets the group because she decides to hire Gavin, but she begins to form a connection to them that will most likely save her own life.

While the first book was absolutely amazing, this second book was more so. This part of the story brings so much to the table, and things are starting to come together. With a plot to steal what is theirs, a search for a murderer, and a play which almost gets cancelled, this is my favorite in the saga so far. I cannot wait for what is next.

Verdict:

This book is so worth the read. It is fast-paced and dramatic and just absolutely gorgeous.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Janine A. Southard writes and edits speculative fiction in between working on videogame projects. She’s attended more than the average number of universities, which she claims is a FEATURE. (“Oxford educated, but Californian at heart.”) She’s also lived and traveled in Europe, the United States, and Japan. Currently, she lives in Seattle with a husband (and a cat) and sings with a Celtic band.

Links for Author:
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