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Tag: KB Hoyle

CRIMINAL Excerpt/Author Interview/Giveaway!!!

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Following the horrors she discovered in the basement of Sanctuary at the end of Breeder, there is no longer any doubt in Pria’s mind that the Unified World Order is wicked. But convincing the rest of the world will be another story. When it’s revealed the files she’d stolen from Sanctuary are worthless, Pria and the other Free Patriots must scramble to come up with another way to convince everyone to rise up in open revolution before the UWO’s monsters destroy them all. But Pria’s tenuous grasp of human nature complicates her role in the rebellion as she finds herself torn between Pax, her ever-present protector, and Henri, her good-natured friend.

A new scheme to infiltrate the seemingly impregnable UWO machine places Pria once again at the centre of the plan. This time, though, she must be willing to erase her identity, It’s a sacrifice she thinks she’s ready to make, but she has no idea just how difficult it will be.

 

Welcome to the GTB blog tour of CRIMINAL by KB Hoyle. The title is actually an acrostic:

C is for Commune. Pria and some others go on a mission to Denver Commune.

R is for Remembrance. Pria struggles to remember who she is.

I is for Incriminating evidence. Pax goes to trial and Etienne stand trial.

M is for Making a move. The Free Patriots decide to make their move against the UWO.

I is for Illness. Pax hides a mystery illness.

N is for New friends. Pria makes a couple of new friends at Asylum.

A is for Awkward romantic tension between Pria and Pax, and Pria and Henri.

L is for Love. Pria learns what love is.


 

Here is an exclusive excerpt:

I wake confused and chilled to the bone. My blankets have slid to the floor off the side of the bed, and the air in the cave feels like it’s dropped ten degrees since the day before. I scoot to the edge of the bed to try to retrieve my blankets, but I hear a gravelly voice say, “I’ll get them. Don’t move.”

A moment later, Henri spreads them back over me, and I smile in gratitude. The lights are dim and everything is quiet, but I hear soft breathing on my other side as well. I look over to see Pax, fast asleep. They’ve both stayed the night.

“How are you feeling?” Henri asks in the same gravelly whisper. “Need more pain medication?”

“No,” I whisper back. Whatever they gave me, it must have been strong. I can feel only a dull ache beneath the fresh wrappings on my thigh and wrist. “What time is it?”

“Almost morning.” Henri rubs a hand over my buzzed hair. A smile tugs at the corners of his mouth. “You’re almost as bald as I am,” he says. “Still beautiful, though.” He leans down and presses his lips to my forehead.

I’m too stunned to say anything, but I shrink back slightly, into my pillow. His familiarity confuses me, sets me on edge, even as it also spreads warmth through me. I glance over at Pax, prompting Henri to do the same. He straightens and, without another word, returns to his chair. It’s identical to the one Pax is slumped in, asleep with his hand on his forehead.

I try to turn over onto my side and find I can’t. Movement in my injured leg is restricted and painful. I sigh in frustration. My back hurts from lying in one position for too long, and I’m certain I won’t be able to fall back asleep.

Henri said it’s almost morning. What will the morning hold? Release from the infirmary, hopefully. Holly’s test before Luther? Probably. If he didn’t see to that last night while I slept. I wonder if he’ll want Pax and me to participate in her interrogation.

I’m surprised Luther hasn’t come to see me yet. I would think he’d be interested in the intelligence he sent me into Sanctuary to retrieve. Maybe he’s too distracted with the files transferred via the hack.

Someone pushes a cart past the curtain of my room, and the wheels clatter over the uneven rocky floor. All I can see of it are the glinting silver spokes. Who else is here, injured, with me? What do these people do all the time?

It strikes me how little I actually know about the people with whom I’ve chosen to identify.

“Henri?” I whisper. “Are you still awake?”

“Hmmm.” He sounds just barely so.

“Did Holly get her wrist treated last night? She’s not in a holding cell, is she?”

“Probably, yeah. But don’t worry. They’ll have taken care of her wrist.”

I chew my lip, thinking, remembering what it was like for me when I first left Sanctuary. “She’s going to be confused, you know . . . scared. I hope I can see her today.”

There’s a rustle of clothing as Henri leans forward. “What makes you think you can trust her, Pria? Isn’t it kind of convenient that she just showed up right before you fled Sanctuary? How do you know she’s not a spy for the UWO?”

I wrinkle my nose. “Don’t do that.”

“Do what?”

“Try to make me doubt her. You weren’t there when we were trying to escape. I think she’s telling the truth.”

“If she’s not, we’re all screwed. There are any number of ways she could lead them right to us, and we’d never know it.”

“Stop.” I put my hands over my eyes. “You sound like Etienne.”

Another rustle of clothing and I feel Henri’s shadow fall over me. Then his cold hands touch mine, prying them away from my face. “Look at me, Pria.”

“No!” I struggle, but I don’t know why.

“Look at me!”

He wrenches my arms apart, and for a moment all I see is Henri’s friendly face twisted into an ugly grimace. Then he turns his head, and the dim light glints off a spot of gold in his ear.

Etienne.

I shriek and flail, but he’s holding my arms too tight for me to get away. I fling my head to the side, looking for Pax, but his chair is empty. The chill in the cave bites my skin, which is exposed. I’m dressed in only my undergarments.

“You can’t smuggle a bomb in here without my knowing it. There’s one easy way to find out if you’re a spy.” Etienne pins both my arms above my head with one hand and takes up a scalpel in the other. “I just have to perform a quick procedure.”

He draws the blade down my stomach, and the skin springs apart like a severed wire. The pain is excruciating, unbearable, beyond articulation. I watch in horror as he flings the blade aside, sending flecks of my blood flying across the room, and then digs his hand into the incision. He retracts his hand a moment later, holding a fist-sized metal contraption.

“See?” he shouts. “It’s a bomb! You were going to blow us all up!”

“No! I swear!”

A switch on the side of the bomb ticks up, and red lights start to blink. Faster, and faster, and faster.

“Now we’re all going to die,” Etienne says.

I scream. 


 

Below is an interview with the author, and at the end of the post there is a link to a GIVEAWAY!

kb_hoyle

 

 

 

 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

There are several messages, really, in Criminal, that I want my readers to grasp, but as an author, I never want the message to overtake the primary function of the novel—which is to entertain the reader. So obviously first and foremost, I want to just tell a good story, and for my reader to be carried along by the story and to have a good time reading it. As far as the message/messages go, I’d say the primary one in Criminal has to do with identity. I sought to answer the question of what makes us human? The main character, Pria, is faced with this question over and over in the story, even to the point where, by the end, her entire reality is shaken by some presuppositions she has about this question. Pria has to discover her personal identity, but she also has to figure out what she believes about the identity of others, and what that means about the human race and her part in the rebellion against the Unified World Order. These are big issues, and things I think we should all think about, even though we’re not living in a dystopian society.

 

How much of the book is realistic? 

I’d say this book is about 50% realistic. Obviously all the characters and the plot are fictionalized (and the concept of the Golems), but I base my settings and my conceptions of the future society off research I did into real technologies, conspiracy theories, my own knowledge of Denver and its surrounding areas, and just basic knowledge of human nature and my thoughts on future trends in society. I could see some of the sorts of things I write about coming to pass. Actually, some of the things I have written about in my books have come to pass already in the years since I started researching them. It’s a little frightening.

 

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 

This is a difficult question! Because by the time you get a book all the way to publication—especially when it has taken a long time (as this book has)—you tend not to wish that you could go back and change things. And my editing team does such a fantastic job of helping me tweak things. Hmmm. I guess, maybe, if I could go back, I would make the first act of the book a little shorter (so as to get to the main action faster), and the last act longer (so as to draw out the finale).

 

Can you share a little of “Criminal” with us? 

Here’s a short excerpt from what was one of my absolute favorite scenes to write. It falls about mid-story, and I won’t say too much so as not to spoil things, but this is a scene where Pria and Pax and some others from the rebel Nest Asylum are being attacked by Golems. It’s absolute chaos, and in the midst of it all, Pax and Pria get separated from the others. 

My spine grates over hard rock, and then my breath whooshes out of me as we leave the ground. For a moment, I think a Golem has lifted us, but then I hit a patch of gravel, hard, and my head cracks against a stone. With Pax on top of me, I can hardly breathe, and starbursts fill my vision.

The forest lights up with more starbursts and the zip-zip-zip of energy guns.

“Pria!” Pax slaps my cheek. He rolls off me, and I can breathe again. “Are you hurt? Can you hear me?”

The trees are lighting up. It’s beautiful.

“Pria!”

I cough and rake air into my lungs. I cough again and nod. Nodding hurts.

Aircraft circle above the trees like birds of prey, firing down on the Golems. One flies low, and a Golem snatches it out of the air. With a roar and a vicious shake, it flings the craft to the ground. The craft explodes, and bits of burning metal and flesh scatter, some of it reaching Pax and me where we lie just below a shelf of rock. I raise my arms to cover my face, but Pax leans over me, taking the brunt of it. A piece of something red-hot lands on my calf, and I kick it off.

More shots echo through the woods, followed by bellows and crashes. The Golems are being taken out.

I struggle to sit up, and Pax pulls me to his chest. “It will be over soon,” he says in my ear. He sounds so assured.

 

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

I used to find it challenging to discipline myself to do the planning and research I needed to work out a novel before I started writing it, so that would have been my old answer to this question, but I’ve progressed enough in my career now (I’ve written 9 novels—8 published and 1 on deck) that I’ve found my writing rhythm. I know the drill. I know how to research and outline and plan. I actually really relish all those steps. And I know when to start writing. All of that is, quite frankly, more or less easy. What is particularly challenging is my schedule—finding the time and just fighting exhaustion to get it all done. With four small children to mother (all boys and all 9 and under), a day job as a teacher, my website and social media platforms to manage, trips and speaking engagements to manage, my house to (attempt to) keep clean, meals to cook, and just all the regular things in life to get around to, the challenges I face are never (or rarely) IN the actual writing. The challenges are external to the writing, but they affect the writing. Finding the right balance where I can get all the work done and still get sleep and maintain healthy relationships and good health is difficult.

 

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing “Criminal” to life?

Aside from the external challenges mentioned above, I didn’t have too many of these challenges in bringing Criminal to life. It did take me much longer to write Criminal than it usually takes me to write a book, but that’s because I had just had a baby and was nursing at the time. I also battled a bout of post-partum depression while trying to write the book, which didn’t help me to be very productive, but on the other hand, staying actively engaged in a creative project was good for me at the time in battling depression. I didn’t have too much extra research to do because I was just building on the research and world-building I had already done for Breeder. I’d spent about three years prepping this whole series, The Breeder Cycle, so writing Criminal was really just a matter of going back to my notes and making sure I was still on track and following the plan.


Click the link below to be entered in the GIVEAWAY! One lucky reader will win a print copy of Criminal and Breeder by K.B. Hoyle!! Good luck!

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Breeder by KB Hoyle (plus GIVEAWAY!)

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I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for this honest review. Check out the bottom of this post after you have read my review and enter a giveaway for signed copies of Breeder!

 

Review

I love a good dystopian story, and Breeder did not disappoint. The first part, when Seventeen/Pria was living in the Sanctuary, reminded me of Brave New World/The Giver/1984. The second part reminded me of the Matrix movies, when they were living underground.

Breeder is set in the future, where the Unified World Order has set rules for everyone to live by, rules for propagation of the human race, and specific boundaries that everyone abide by. Only the genetically perfect can Breed, and they are considered “better” than others and treated as such. Breeders live in Sanctuary, and their duty is to Carry and create life. Their routine is carefully planned out, their diet and vitamins meticulously calculated, and as Seventeen/Pria tells herself, “My life is perfect”.

One day, as she is waking up from an unknown procedure, she comes in contact with an Enforcer, who asks her what her name is. This is forbidden, and she is suspicious. However, she is unsure if she dreamed this, since the Enforcer (whose name is Pax) is a man, and there are no men allowed inside Sanctuary. As time goes by, she becomes depressed and wonders when she will be able to Carry again. (Conjecture: her unknown procedure was an abortion and she is having an emotional reaction due to abrupt hormonal changes.) The encounter with Pax stays with her, and she is naturally curious – a trait discouraged in Sanctuary. She asks questions here and there, and this comes to the attention of Mother, the leader of Sanctuary and the Breeding Program. Seventeen/Pria must fight for her life, as the world that she knows and loves turns against her.

The second part of the book take place in a desolate, hostile environment, and there is suspense and some great characters to hate. Pria (no longer Seventeen) finds herself reviled by some and viewed as a means to an end by others. As her knowledge of what the UWO has done, she becomes confused and realizes just how naive she has been. It takes a really long time for her character to develop, but Pria truly comes into her own towards the end.

There is also a twist that I didn’t see coming, that made my jaw drop. It may be a cliche, but it was well utilized to further the story. No spoilers here–you need to read it for yourself.

The story seemed to be coming to an abrupt ending, and just as I was wondering how things were going to wind up, I found out that it was a cliffhanger and this is the first book in a trilogy.  AAAUUGGHHH! I’m not a big fan of the “multiple books” thing that is prevalent now, but this is no knock against the author. I’m not hating the player, just the game. Apparently I, along with a lot of Hoyle’s fan base, will be anxiously awaiting Criminal, the second book.

There really wasn’t anything to dislike about Breeder: the characters were multi layered, the dystopian world well thought out and described to a T, and almost all of the scenes were believable. This is not an overly scientific novel, and is a smooth read.

Here is an excerpt; Pax and Pria are on the run and have found a hiding place. Night has arrived and they are working out a plan for keeping watch overnight:

Silence, heavy and thick, falls between us. Awkwardness seems to creep up at unexpected times, and I wonder if it is always this way between women and men. I never felt awkward with any of my sisters, but whatever this is between Pax and me has a different feel to it.

“Anyway,” he says. “I sat against the wall over there.” He nods to an intact wall dividing the cabin into two spaces. “It’s not the warmest spot, but it gives you a good view of the access points without making you visible from the outside. Take this.” He hands me the Enforcer helmet.

“Okay.” I pick my way around the broken-down furniture and dried leaves. “So I just . . . sit and watch?”

“Keep your weapon ready,” he says. “If anything comes along, crawl over here and wake me up. But don’t worry—dawn is only a few hours off. I never saw anything other than a band of mule deer.”

I nod and settle against the wall, putting the helmet on so I can see. Pax lies down on his back right where I slept and falls almost immediately asleep. I watch his green-tinted chest rise and fall for several minutes before I remember I’m supposed to be watching the “access points,” as Pax called them.

Jagged shards of glass poke out from around the edges of the windows. The doorway gapes at me, a dark yawning hole that looks ominous even in the green glow of the helmet visor. A set of glowing green eyes outlined by a furry form with pointed ears stops outside the cabin and looks at me. Another coyote. I train my Air-5 on it and hold my breath, but it loses interest and moves on, its nose to the ground. I let out my breath. Hopefully that will be all the wildlife I see tonight.

Pax was right, it isn’t the warmest spot, but the cold air actually helps me to stay awake. Temperature, along with food and sleep, was highly regulated in Sanctuary so we never had to feel uncomfortable. As I think longingly about my warm bed in the dormitory, my head grows heavy and nods toward my chest. I jerk upright and stand to pace. I wonder how much time has passed.

Pax doesn’t even stir once in his sleep, but his eyes move beneath his eyelids. He must be having vivid dreams, like me. I suppose if his life has been as tumultuous as he’s painted it, he must have plenty to haunt his dreams.

How did I get here, pacing in the dark and cold in a structure well over a hundred years old with a weapon in my hand and meat in my stomach?

Just thinking about my stomach makes it growl, and I look around for the cook pot. It’s sitting on the hearth next to the embers of the fire, and I hope it’s still a little warm.

I pick my way over to it, stepping over Pax’s legs to reach it. Then I squat and lift the pot to my lips, testing the heat of the metal against them before taking a drink. It’s cool enough to touch, and I take several sips. The meaty flavor is still strange, but somehow satisfying.

Pax grabs my ankle, and I jump, spilling the broth.

“I’m . . . fifteen,” he says. “Fifteen . . .”

His eyes are closed and roving around beneath his freckled lids, making his golden lashes dance. I think he’s talking in his sleep.

“I know,” I say. “You told me you’re Enforcer Fifteen.”

“Fifteen,” he mumbles again. “Is . . . my . . . number.” His grip relaxes and his hand falls to the floor.

I let out a careful breath and carry what remains of the broth back to my spot against the wall. I’m not sure what that was all about, but I’d rather be out of his reach for now.

Want your own copy?  Click [easyazon_link asin=”B00PCDTM9A” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″ add_to_cart=”yes” cloaking=”default” localization=”yes” popups=”yes”]here[/easyazon_link]! Also, enter the contest below for a chance to win any of a bunch of great Breeder-related prizes!

Release Date: December 11 , 2014
Genre: Fiction: Dystopian
ISBN e-book:   978-1-61213-292-1
Available from: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and TWCS PH
 ~~SUMMARY~~
Breeder-3D-Full-Cover-Paperback-2
Everything about Seventeen’s life is perfect, from her genetics, to her home in Sanctuary, to her status as a Breeder in the Unified World Order. But all that changes when she meets a rogue Enforcer named Pax, who infiltrates Sanctuary and targets her for extraction from the Controlled Repopulation Program. Pax seems to know a little too much about her, and he plants dangerous doubts in her mind that accuse Sanctuary of hiding a dark secret, and that cause Seventeen to question everything she’s ever known.
When Seventeen’s life is threatened, she has little choice but to run away from Sanctuary with Pax. But for Breeders, contact with men is forbidden by law, and even the simple act of taking Pax’s hand is treason.
Mired in confusion, Seventeen travels with Pax to the outside world and takes the name Pria, the identity of her childhood. But she is far from certain she’s made the right decision when they discover an entire community of people who should no longer exist.
Seventeen, now Pria, is thrust into a position as a key player in a dangerous bid to bring down the Unified World Order. Meanwhile, Pax’s attachment to her and her growing attraction to him contribute to the ever-growing mysteries in her life.
Pria’s journey from a sheltered, naïve Breeder to a rebel agent requires not only external transformation but self-discovery. As her world crumbles, Pria must decide who she is and what she really believes.
But the truth comes at a cost, and uncovering it will require a greater treason than she could ever have imagined.
~~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~~
kb_hoyle
K.B. Hoyle is a bestselling author, a public speaker, a creative writing instructor, and a classical history teacher who uses her knowledge of the ancient and medieval worlds to pen speculative and fantasy tales for people of all ages. She has been married since the age of twenty to the love of her life, with whom she has four wonderful children. Find out more about her at www.kbhoyle.com.
 ~~CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR~~
Praise for Breeder
"Breeder was anything but a let down. The characters were extremely well written, making me able to empathize with Pria and Pax and the situation they find themselves in. I kept turning the pages because I just had to find out what happened to these people and, to my shock, finished the book in a day! "  - Angela  Goodreads Review
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