Blue Michaels doesn't know who to trust. She wakes in her sleepy little town to discover everyone is dead—well, almost everyone. U.S. Army Specialist Seth Campbell is alive, and a handful of her friends survived. But they're different—each of them has powers they didn't have when they went to bed.
Oh, and someone wants them dead.
It's going to take all of their gifts if they are going to survive until they can figure out what to do. Blue wants to believe Seth has their best interests at heart. That he really does want to take care of them and get them to safety. God knows she can't stop thinking about him.
But, can she trust him with their lives...and her heart?
The Altered series is best enjoyed in order.
Book #1 Altered
Book #2 Avenged
Book #3 Absolved
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
By Marnee Blake, Candace Havens
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Marnee Bailey
All rights reserved.
The motorcycle was almost sideways.
Seth leaned hard into the curve, not braking as he hit the gravel at the edge of the road. His tires skidded, sending his bike careening. It took all his strength to bring the machine under control. He slid to a stop next to the metal barrier that was the only thing between him and the rocky cliff's steep drop. But as he stared over the edge into the darkness, he waited. And waited ... and waited.
No rush of adrenaline, no blood-thumping wave of panic. Nothing.
He leaned forward, studying the craggy rocks and silence below, detached. Hell, he studied everything detached these days. He bungee jumped, BASE jumped, skydived. He used to love long drives on his motorcycle. Now? Even the wind in his hair and the feeling of flying along the open road didn't touch him. It all used to work.
The moon was high above him, and the night was clear. The empty air in front of him beckoned.
He got off his bike and dropped the kickstand. At the edge of the road, he gripped the metal barrier, the only thing standing between him and the open sky. It was no barrier, really. He could hop the bit of steel and be free-falling in a heartbeat. Less than a heartbeat.
His breath quickened, and his fingers chilled on the cold metal, the sharp edges of it biting into his palm.
His phone vibrated in his pocket. He didn't step back as he answered it. "Campbell."
"Where are you?" Nick didn't waste time on greetings. Said caller ID made pleasantries unnecessary.
Seth looked over the side of the cliff again. "Nowhere."
"Nowhere near San Antonio? For your sake, I hope that isn't true."
"Relax. I got held up in Denver. I'll cross into New Mexico in a half an hour. Be in San Antonio by tomorrow night."
Nick snorted. "No rush. Training only starts in five days. In North Carolina."
"I'll be in time." Like he'd miss it. Special Forces training, the army. This was why he still bothered polluting the air with his breath.
Nick must have recognized the defensiveness, because he backed off. "How's the ride?"
"Good." Seth grinned. "You know, we could take the bike to Bragg. Probably shave time." Nick could be such a stiff. Seth couldn't help razzing him sometimes.
His friend's chuckle floated over the airways. Seth could almost see him smiling, glancing down with his hand in his pocket. "No way, man."
Seth's grin widened. "Fine. I'll get the rental car." Something with a V8, maybe German engineering.
"My ass. It's not the car, it's the driver. Love the speed, hate the death potential. I drive."
"Cars have seat belts, asshole."
"See you tomorrow."
Seth pocketed the phone and noticed the blood on his hand for the first time. He found a gash in both palms, perfectly straight. Streaks of blood glistened on the metal in front of him. The sting of it didn't even faze him. He removed his handkerchief from his back pocket, careful to keep the blood off his pants. He bit the fabric, right in the center, and tore it in half. Wrapping one half around each hand, he secured them with the efficiency of a man well trained in field dressing.
Which he was.
After all, though the pain didn't bother him, there was no reason to bleed on his bike.
As he stared at his bandaged palms in the moonlight, exhaustion crashed over him.
He hadn't lied to Nick. He had been held up in Denver. He'd stopped to see Linda. But it hadn't been the visit that stopped him. No, that had only taken a minute. Linda had refused to speak to him.
It had been two years since Bobby died. Apparently that hadn't been enough time for her. Of course not. He'd lost a good friend; Linda had lost her husband.
Maybe he should stop for the night. He woke every day at dawn anyway. He could easily cover the hours to San Antonio before dinner tomorrow. A sign a mile back promised a bed-and-breakfast. He only noticed because the town's name had made him smile.
Glory. Population twenty-three.
Seth chuckled as he threw a leg over the motorcycle. Only twenty-three people? Sounded glorious.
With a stomp, he deftly started the engine. Then he spun the bike around and sped toward Glory without a backward glance.
When Blueberry Michaels let herself in the back door, the clock on the stove read 2:53. She rubbed her palm against the headache forming in her forehead. Even after a year, she wasn't used to the late hours.
Once a morning person, always a morning person.
She dropped her messenger bag and bartending apron on the kitchen table before taking a peek in the fridge.
Ah ... Gran left her dinner. Nice.
She could have grabbed food at the bar, but their menu was pretty standard bar fare. Read: meant for carnivores. She usually had to settle for fries, grilled cheese, or mozzarella sticks. Not much by food pyramid standards.
Blue warmed up the whole wheat pasta with veggies and tofu and grabbed a glass of tap water. As she dropped into one of the retro kitchen chairs — celery green, courtesy of the seventies — and dug in, she kicked off her black orthopedic work shoes and wiggled her toes, smothering her sigh of bliss.
She really needed a new job.
Problem was she needed the paycheck. Not many jobs paid as well as tending bar, especially with no college degree. Gran's Social Security check didn't begin to touch their bills. With the mounting number of prescriptions Gran needed and the increasing doctor bills, Blue was barely making ends meet for them working six nights a week.
God knew how she'd pay for it all when Gran's health really started to decline. And at seventy-six, Gran wasn't getting any younger.
Gran had brought up moving first. Two years ago, right after Blue's high school graduation.
"Blue," she'd said. "Why don't we move to Santa Fe or Albuquerque? Even Denver. There are plenty of personal care homes. And you could go to school, come visit on weekends."
She'd shut Gran down right there. Because neither of them would be happy in a city, any city. Gran barely tolerated the people in Glory. She hated crowds. A jam-packed personal care home would be her idea of hell.
And Blue? She didn't trust anyone else with Gran, especially a corporate-run personal care home. Corporations didn't care about people. They cared about money. After all Gran had done for her over the years, she refused to hustle her into some unfeeling institution. They only had each other. She wasn't going to leave the only person who'd ever loved her in some home that smelled like bad TV dinners and urine.
Blue smothered the tinge of all too familiar resentment, followed by the also familiar shame. This was her choice, one she made every day. Gran had taken her in when her own mother had fallen apart, too consumed by her grief and pain after her husband died to mother anyone. She'd never seen any bitterness on Gran's face, only unconditional love and acceptance. She would give her grandmother the same. Even if that meant picking up another job to stay here, in Glory, where they belonged.
Maybe someone in town needed help. She already drove thirty minutes to Raton every night. Adding more travel time appealed to her like greasy chicken wings. Besides, she'd prefer to stay closer to Gran during the day, to keep an eye on her.
Blue finished off her dinner with a swig of water. Then she put her dishes in some dishwater and scrubbed them down. Gran beat her awake every morning, and Blue didn't want her to have to clean up her mess. That's when she noticed the pill organizer and the empty water glass next to the rooster salt and pepper shakers.
Damn. Gran missed a dose of medicine again today. Blue mentally ran through the list of Gran's prescriptions. The most vital was for Gran's blood pressure. It looked like she'd taken her dose the night before, so she should be fine until morning. Blue reached into the drawer nearby, jotted a note to remind her grandmother to take the forgotten meds, and scrubbed down Gran's empty glass, setting it in the strainer to dry.
She needed to get someone to check on Gran while she was gone at night. This sort of slipup shouldn't happen as often as it did. Maybe someone in town would barter with her. Blue could do work for them if they stayed with Gran at night. It might work.
She nodded, decided. But the movement made her dizzy. She steadied herself with a hand on the sink. As her head spun, her stomach heaved. She leaned over the sink and threw up her entire dinner. After the retching subsided to dry heaves, she turned on the garbage disposal and rinsed out her mouth with water.
Sweat broke out all over her body, and she stumbled to the hallway, feeling as if her guts were on fire. She'd been tired lately, working too much. Obviously, she'd run herself down and set herself up for the flu.
Great. She couldn't afford to miss work. Apparently her body thought otherwise.
On the way to her bedroom, she faltered outside Gran's door. Usually she checked in on her before she went to bed. But in this state, she'd probably wake her up. Or worse, expose her to the flu. At her age, she didn't recover from illness as fast as she used to. Best to leave her to her rest. She passed the door without going in.
In her room, she grabbed the trash can and emptied the contents on the floor before staggering forward. She collapsed on the bed and pulled the covers over her.
When the shivers started, she knew this was no ordinary flu. She quaked, shaking the bed frame. Her skin seeped even as everything under it felt on fire. She writhed, threw up five more times, six times ... so many she stopped counting until all she could manage were dry heaves. As she curled in the fetal position, she debated food poisoning or some kind of exotic disease. The kind no one ever heard about because they didn't live to tell the tale.
The pain went on and on, and she thought she must be dying. She passed out — she was sure — and time became subjective, measured only by twisting and dry heaving. Eventually the light crept through the window, in streaks at first and then in a steady wash.
But the agony continued.
Until it ended.
As quickly as it came, the pain, the fever, the nausea ... gone.
She lay still, gasping, feeling her limbs and testing her stomach's fortitude. No way a flu left that fast. Usually she had to sip broth and eat toast, tough it out through endless cups of bland tea. But this ... nothing. It was as if she'd never been sick at all.
The only remnant of her illness was the smell of sickness in the air. And the filled trash can.
Gagging, she scurried into the bathroom. She dumped the nastiness in the toilet and rinsed out the sick. She seriously considered throwing the trash can out, but she didn't have the cash to replace stuff because it grossed her out. So she set it aside, deciding to bleach it later.
The door to Gran's room was still closed. Maybe it wasn't as late as she thought it was. The clock on the living room wall read two thirty. In the afternoon? Maybe Gran was resting ...
But she held her breath as she pushed Gran's door open.
The shades were drawn, and the trash can had been pulled next to the bed. In the dim light, Blue moved toward the bed. "Gran?"
Her grandmother's gray curls peeked out of the flowered comforter, and Blue almost smiled. Gran loved the floral prints. Blue was more minimalist. She shook Gran's shoulder gently. "Gran?" she called again. When she didn't move, Blue shook harder. "Gran."
Nothing. She rolled her grandmother over. Blood seeped from her eyes, her nose, her mouth, made more garish by its contrast with the flowered sheets. "Oh my God. Gran! Gran, wake up!"
But she knew. By the silence of her body, the lack of air expansion in her chest, Blue knew. A quick press to her neck verified the truth. She staggered back from the bed, shaking her head. "No. No."
In her pain, she scanned the room to avoid looking at the dead body. The full trash can. The shades. Gran must have felt the same flu-like symptoms she had last night. The flu had been bad, but bad enough to kill someone?
The evidence lay on the bed, lifeless. She wanted to cover her, to shield Gran from her eyes, but she couldn't bring herself to move forward. Couldn't bring herself to leave, either. Instead, she stood there, wishing she were strong enough to pull the sheet over Gran's face.
And as if it obeyed her, the sheet rose in the air and dropped over the dead body on the bed.CHAPTER 2
Blue stomped on the brakes in her beat-up Chevy Cavalier outside Murphy's Gas on Main. The street was abandoned, unusual at this time of day.
A phone, to call 911. She didn't have a cell — didn't have the money to pay for it — and the electricity and phone were out at home. Strange time for a power outage.
Gran didn't need immediate medical assistance, but Blue needed to tell someone, to have other people know that Gran was there — dead — in their home. And the Murphys were the best sort of people. She bounded up the stairs to the gas station convenience store.
The closed sign hung on the door. At three in the afternoon? Officially, the station opened early, closed late. But Blue had seen them open in the middle of the night for travelers who passed through Glory and needed to fill up. The Murphy family lived right upstairs. Either Jenna or Max could be down in the shop most of the time. And when they couldn't see to the shop, another local girl, Carmen, did it.
Ignoring the closed sign, Blue twisted the knob — unlocked, as expected — and went in. She'd grown up with the Murphys' four kids, and the door had never been closed to her, even now that all of them had moved away from Glory.
"Is anyone home? Mr. Murphy? Mrs. Murphy?"
The store was deserted, and there was no sign the place had opened today. The card table in the corner, where Mr. Murphy and Mr. Schumacher played cards, was clear of clutter. That was odd in itself. Blue had never seen that card table free of newspaper pages and coffee mugs. It was the first thing Mr. Murphy did every day — separate the paper into sections, drink his coffee, and read through the happenings. Everyone else who passed by would browse as well, as if the Murphys' card table was their portal to the outside world. Her stomach sick, Blue rushed through the store to the stairs at the back, taking them two at a time, calling for the Murphys as she went. But there was no breath of movement above her.
Dread coursed through her as she hit the top of the stairs, like it had when she opened Gran's door. She rounded the corner and stopped cold.
Jenna Murphy lay on the floor, blood trails from her eyes, nose, and mouth — same as Gran. Her body curled next to her husband, and Max's face sported the same gore. But they held each other, as if they'd known their last moments had arrived and their last thought had been to reach for one another.
"Oh, God." Blue covered her mouth, gagging. Not them, too. How could this be?
She reached for the phone, her hand trembling. Please work. Silence greeted her, the line dead — the same as at her place.
She needed to get away from here, from the bodies and the blood of the people she cared about. As the walls closed in on her, she stumbled back, tore down the stairs and out onto the porch. She tripped down the porch steps and out into the middle of the deserted street.
"Help!" Her yell came out a pathetic squeak. "Oh, God, help." The summer heat had sucked the air from Glory, and she gasped and panted, suffocating.
But there was no one around. Their tiny town was barely populated, but this was ridiculous.
"Someone ..." she whispered. Then she tilted her head back and screamed, "Help!"
The sound of breaking glass broke the silence, as loud as machine-gun blasts. She covered her ears, falling to her knees. On both sides of the street, every visible window had blown out. The huge pane of glass that used to boast the insignia of Mr. Schumacher's hardware store had been reduced to jagged pieces.
What the ...
A soft click sounded from the Keilmans' bed-and-breakfast. She froze.
"I want you to turn toward me, slowly, with your hands where I can see them." The unfamiliar voice held enough grit for her to know he meant business.
Her eyes widened in disbelief. Seriously? Someone was going to rob her now?
"Is this a stickup?" Laughter bubbled from her, and she swallowed it. Why laugh at a time like this? Better than crying, she supposed.
Excerpted from Altered by Marnee Blake, Candace Havens. Copyright © 2015 Marnee Bailey. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great story! Very enjoyable. Read this in one day I could not put it down!!
That fateful night she went to bed, a member of a small town community, violently ill and raging with fever. When she awoke, most of the town was dead and a stranger stands before her, a soldier, big, brawny and just as bewildered as she. Their first meeting was terrifying, but U.S. Army Specialist Seth Campbell has no more idea of what is going on than Blue does. So begins their journey into a world that has been Altered by Marnee Blake. Finding only a few survivors, they discover they are being hunted. Is it because they survived or is there more to whatever happened in the town? Determined to get to the safety of Seth’s Army base, this group sets off on a journey to stay alive when they discover they have been Altered and now possess gifts of great powers. Can their powers keep them safe from capture? Will they be able to work together in spite of raging tempers, unsettling hormones and the fear of the unknown? Sometimes there is nothing better than a Science Fiction/Romance that spotlights the Sci-Fi and only teases at anything else. We have left the realm of fantasy and have entered into the realm of “just maybe” this could be a reality one day? Who is the villain, a secret entity or the government? Flawed characters, gruesome deaths and bad choices in friends all make this a terrifying journey to stay one step ahead of the guys with the big guns. I received this copy from Entangled Publishing, LLC-Embrace in exchange for my honest review.
Blue was a bartender that worked six days a week to try to keep ahead of the bills fro her grandmother’s meds and Doctor bill. Blue’s mom had completely fallen apart when her husband died and Blue’s grandmother took her in and gave her unconditional love and she was all Blue had. Seth was in the army and was to got to Special forces Training in five days with Nick. Seth had gotten tired on the road and turned his bike around to go to a B&B in a town called glory.Glory had a total of twenty three inhabitants. . When both blue and Nick awaken each in different places all they found was dead people including Blue’s grandmother and the rest of the town. Blue’s grandmother and her friends seemed to be all gone. But they found a few survivors like themselves and all who did survive now had super powers of some sort. But there is a government agency out to get the survivors and capture them. Jack, Kitty and Luke team up with Blue and Seth and to try to find answers. Seth wants to keep everyone safe. Seth and Blue are very attracted to each other . Seth’s powers are super speed and strength, Blue’s is telekinesis. Kitty can read minds. But the side effects from these powers were headaches and nosebleeds. I liked this story a lot it also has a very good plot. The story was full of action and fast paced. But in this case it really had to be. I felt as though i was right there with Seth and Blue and the other characters- good writing. I got totally into the story then BAM a cliffhanger which I hate as everyone who reads these reviews by now knows. This case the cliffhanger made me really mad I was so enjoying the story. So this is why this story was rated a 4 instead of a 5. I did love the characters and all the twists and turns they go through especially Seth and Blue. I recommend. I received an ARC of this story for an honest review.
In a small town called Glory everyone got violently sick some thought it was with the flu or food poisoning but it wasn't that at all. Blue goes to bed after being sick herself and when she wakes up everything changes for her. She finds her Gran dead in her bed going for help she discovers that the entire town is dead as well. Desperate to find anyone she starts screaming for help when someone calls out to her and that is when she meets Seth. Seth is a military man that was passing through her town to go to Special Ops training he stopped for the night and ended up deathly sick. What neither realizes is not only are they the only survivors but that they have special abilities they didn't have before. Hearing a helicopter Seth pulls Blue down to hide from it thinking that whoever it is they're not there to help them. Blue and Seth end up running and along the way the find a few more survivors from her town. Each person has their own unique ability that they woke up with. Not knowing where to go or who to turn to everyone looks to Seth to lead them to safety. Trusting the wrong person leads to a betrayal that costs them one of their friends. This book is an amazing read once I started it I couldn't stop I was up really late because I couldn't go to sleep without knowing what happens. This book draws you in with each page that you read. Strong amazing characters, a story that you will want to never end this is a book for any book lover. This is a 5 star read for me can't wait for the next installment.
*ARC received from Entangled Publishing in return for an honest review* This well-written sci-fi thriller and sorta romance kept me on the edge of my seat for a good portion of the book. A terrible thing has happened in the tiny town of Glory, leaving most of the residents dead, and the survivors with strange new powers. Among the survivors is U.S. Army Specialist Seth Campbell who stopped for the night, by chance, in Glory. Then there is Blue Daniels the fearless, outspoken petite beauty that he is drawn too and would die to protect. Traveling with their companions, they search for answers and safety while trying to elude the people that are after them. I need the next book now!
Seth is in the military and is suffocating under the guilt he feels at his friend's death, which he feels he should have prevented. Blue is a waitress in a very small town, living with her grandmother, and with no way out that she sees. She gets home from work and goes to bed feeling ill, to wake up to something straight out of the X Files. The whole town is dead, including her gran, or so it seems. Before long, she finds another survivor and they also find out that a private military firm are on their way, which can't be a good thing. Through trials and tribulations, they search for safety whilst being hunted at every turn, not knowing who to trust. This is a fast-paced novel with plenty of action and romance. I am intrigued with where this story is going and can't wait to read more. Definitely recommended. * I received this book from Entangled Publishing in return for a fair and honest review. * Merissa Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
---I received an arc of this book for an honest review from Netgalley----This book was pretty good although a little cliche currently in this genre. Let me start with the good things. The characters were very interesting and I enjoyed how different each one was even if they were the cliche part. The one I am most curious about is Luke he didn't play a huge part but for some reason his character stood out. Then you have the independent Blue, Naive Kitty, Jerk James, and the Do-gooder / Super Soldier Seth. All a varying mix of people you would not likely see together I feel it kind of had a Breakfast Club tone with super powers and running for your life in the mix. Another part that was how the story progressed and was action throughout with a little romance mixed in with no triangles (So Happy). Now for the Negative. One of the biggest things that kind of was odd was Seth and Blue's relationship progressed. One day they meet 2 days later they are professing their love for each other. I know love at first sight but even that is to quick. Also most of the time you could tell it was coming there wasn't a huge shock factor at any of the scenes. I could almost tell you halfway through the whole story and right where the cliffhanger would be. Which of course there was a cliffhanger. I originally wasn't expecting this to be a series because there was no mention of it that I could find. It wasn't that i was upset but I knew it wouldn't end. Also at times it dragged especially towards the middle. All in all though still worth the read. If nothing else to get ready for the future books. I just hope the next one has more surprises there is a ton of potential especially for a new author.
This book was a pleasant surprise. The plot concept was new and refreshing. The characters were great. The attraction between Seth and Blue was off the charts. You get inside the minds of the characters and get pulled right into the story—sometimes quite literally with Kitty’s new superpower. The book finished strong but left the reader with unanswered questions. I am assuming this is the start of a new series and I can’t wait to read the next book. My only criticism, because it wouldn’t be a fair review without the other side, is that at some points in the story there was just too much jumping back and forth between characters. I think it would have worked a little better if the author had stuck to just alternating between Seth and Blue, but I understand the need to put the other characters perspectives in, as well. It just needed cleaned up a tiny bit. If you like the sci fi genre then you will undoubtedly love this book. If you aren’t sure, then this book is still for you, because it gives you both the sci fi aspect and the romance aspect that is done so well. Kudos to Marnee Blake for a great read! I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
When "normal" ends, survival begins... The sickness came on suddenly and violently. When it was done, waitress Blue Michaels was different in a really strange way. And the entire town of Glory was dead...except for her. Only that's not exactly true. A handful of people made it, including U.S. Army Specialist Seth Campbell, who was caught in the wrong town at the worst time. He's fierce and protective, and way too good-looking. As much as they need a leader—as much as Blue wants to trust him—there are too many questions and not enough time for answers. Now they are hunted. But what their pursuers don't know is each of them has strange new powers. And they'll use their "gifts" to survive...no matter who stands in their way. Review: In a time when super heroes are popular on TV and in movies, this book is very much in those lines. A small town's water supply is drugged and those who survive come out of it with special abilities. What ensues is an adventure with lots of action and suspense. I found this story exciting, fast-paced and nail-biting. The characters were diverse and interesting, and though the story is center around Seth and Blue, they are all interesting. So far Blue is my favorite, she is smart, spunky and is not afraid to do what needs to be done. It says this is NA and the characters are all of that age, but the premise of the book makes it different then most NA books. Instead of angst, this brings action to this NA book, which I much prefer. This is the first book in this series and the story does end on a cliffhanger, so be forewarned. For a first book, this is an excellent beginning! I sit impatiently awaiting the next book :) 4Stars *Received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.*
This story took me by surprise. I was not expecting it to turn out to be as good as it did and I am so glad I read this one!! Once I started it, I did not want to put it down until I was done. Great read and so well written!! Blue is a young lady that is a waitress and is living with her grandmother in order to be able to take care of her. One night when Blue gets off work she is suddenly taken ill and tries to stay away from her grandmother in order to not get her sick with what Blue thinks is a virus. The next day when Blue is feeling a little better, she goes to check on her grandmother and finds her dead in her bed. Blue sees blood coming from her nose and eyes and wonders what could have happened. When Blue goes to a neighbors house and finds that they too are dead and in the same manner as her grandmother, she begins to wonder what is going on. Is she the only one left alive in her town?? When Blue gets to a local motel in the town, she finally runs into someone else that is alive. His name is Seth and he is in the Army on his way to some training. Blue and Seth link up and set out on a mission to find out what has happened. They go to Blue's friends house, Kitty to see if she is still alive. When Blue walks in and sees that Kitty's parents are dead, she looses hole pretty fast but eventually find her friends alive. Now the three of them are on a mission to find out what is going on. They soon realize that they are being followed and device a plan to split up. Seth wants to get to the military installation he was originally headed to so that he can report on the craziness going on. Blue decides to go with him. The action and adventure in this story keep you turning the pages and wondering if Blue, Seth and their other friends are going to escape capture and get away alive. The little bit of romance thrown into the story makes for a great mixture all around. This story flows smoothly and will keep you guessing!! Such a great read!!
3.5 Stars I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review. Post-apocalyptic dystopian is my catnip, and it didn’t look like a series, and I figured with one U.S. Army Specialist Set Campbell-how YA/NA could it actually be? But yeah, turns out I read the blurb poorly and this only affects one town, and it is indeed a series, and the answer to that last question is VERY. But once I got over my misconceptions, I enjoyed it for what it was. We’ve got a group of late teen/early 20’s kids basically who are on the run after some sort of government conspiracy unleashes a plague that kills most of the town and leaves them with superpowers. Fortunately for me our two main characters are the grown ups of the bunch. They each have their own hangups for sure, but they aren’t quite as young as the other 3 feel, so once we settled down to the Seth and Blue’s story it didn’t really have a strong NA vibe if you see what I mean. There is some, but not a ton, of character growth, and the relationship between the two main characters relies more on chemistry and longing than development until the very end. What this book is, is an interesting premise, a government conspiracy, and practically non-stop action. And those elements were fantastic. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the characters quite well, but the mystery and government conspiracy is the part that really shined for me and I am kind of hooked. It kind of, in a way reminded me of Rebecca Zannetti’s Sin Brother’s series. It is hard to describe, because they aren’t really that similar, but that is what it made me think of, and I think people who enjoyed that series will enjoy this one too. The story also ends on something of a cliffhanger, not for our main characters, but for one of the side characters who I assume will be featured in the next book. Just fair warning if that sort of thing bothers you. Personally, while it isn’t my favorite trope, I am looking forward to the next book.
I thought I’d start to read a bit of Altered before I'd start my day, but I got so sucked into the story and Marnee Blake’s writing that I read it right to the end. Altered is a real page-turner. If you like romances filled with action and suspense, this book is for you. Seth and Blue are really likeable and the chemistry between them is off the charts. There is great sexual tension throughout the book, even though there are no explicit sex scenes. It was so obvious these two people are really meant for each other! I give 5 stars to books that I would read again, and this is a book that I know I will reread at some point. Altered is the first book in the series, and I can’t wait to find out what happens in book 2.
Outstanding debut novel - brilliant new sci-fi/thriller/romance series, a MUST read! Well, that was one heck of a surprise! This is an enthralling, all action, riveting and brilliantly written story - superb! The relationships between the survivors, how they relate, their worries, fears and expectations are portrayed in an easy to relate to manner, helping readers understand the turmoil and shock they’re feeling as well. As they continue to be hunted down, they explore their new capabilities and develop their relationships with each other. They are somewhat reminiscent of very human X-men, normal folk who have unexpectedly developed super human powers and are now being sought by government and military scientists to be experimented on like lab rats . . . but are determined to escape. The plot is well thought out, interesting and plausible - well probably more plausible than many other stories concerning paranormal powers can be. The ‘victims’ reactions to the dangers, intrigue, threats and experiences are well developed, making it a fantastic dystopian scenario, with elements of science fiction and fantasy as well as romance skilfully interwoven into an engaging tale. My only complaint about this is it ends on a cliffhanger and I need to know what happens next! I suspect the romance in that will concern Kitty and Nick but I also want to know what happened to a couple of other characters who were going to Mexico. I understand this is a debut novel but find that incredible. The author has brilliant word craft skills and the plot is awesome. I’ll certainly be looking out for the sequel to this - and any other work by this author. Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley, too, for letting me read an ARC of this book in exchange for this, an honest review.