Saturday, August 10, 2013

Blog Tour, Review and Excerpt: Shudder by Samantha Durante

Hi there gorgeous people!  I'm very excited to be part of the Shudder Blog Tour!  I read Stitch, the first book in the series (see my review here and only .99 right now in Amazon) and really enjoy it. You can find the rest of the tour stops here.

Title: Shudder by Samantha Durante (Stitch #2)
Release date:  July 15th, 2013
Source: Provided by author for review
Format: Paperback (348 pages)
Genre: Dystopia / Paranormal
Age group: YA
Grade rate:

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...

The second installment in the electrifying Stitch Trilogy, Shudder follows Samantha Durante's shocking and innovative debut with a heart-pounding, paranormal-dusted dystopian adventure sure to keep the pages turning.

My Review

Wow!  I’m glad to report that Shudder did not suffer from the second book syndrome.  It had many twists and turns and many surprises that kept me at the edge of my seat for most of the book.

Shudder starts where Stitch left off.  Isaac and Alessa are outside or Paragon looking for a rebel base.  They have a really hard time trudging through the ‘outside’.  They are afraid of the virus that took most of humanity, they are hungry, and to top it all they find some weird ‘creatures’ that are following them. I don’t want to spoil the book for you, so let me just say that it was quite the quest.  This time served to tried and strengthen Alessa and Isaac’s relationship. 

I like Alessa and Isaac because they are strong, but flawed characters.  They are deeply in love and they are fiercely loyal to each other and to those they love.  Even if Isaac felt helpless at times to help Alessa with her newfound abilities, he still sticks with her and tries (typical of a man!) to find an explanation and cheers her on.
One of the things I like the most is that we find out a lot more about the post-war, post-virus world.  We understand what happened to our characters and to humanity as a whole and why.  We get many answers (even if we don’t like them!), and still have many questions. 

Stitch read like a paranormal contemporary (a ghost story) and then switched when we know what was really happening.  In contrast, Shudder’s story is told in the third person point of view, from different perspectives.  We have the distinct voices of Alessa, Isaac, Nikhil, Phoenix, and at a lesser degree 14.  Surprisingly, this adds a lot of depth to the story without making it confusing.  There seems lot be a traitor in their mist and I hope that she knows better.

The writing is good, and easy to understand.  To me, the best part of the series is the plot and world building.  It is a testament to Ms. Durante’s imagination that when came up with this dystopian world and all its evils.  I suspected some things and others had me fooled until the end.  Let me just tell you that Paragon is a bad place :)

I can’t wait to read Stuck, coming out next year!

About the cover:  I live the cover a lot.  It has the illusion of a ‘break’ with neurons behind and Alessa and Isaac’s hands reaching for each other. 

Where to find itGoodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Smashwords


The scraping was driving Nikhil insane.  Or maybe he was just imagining it.  Maybe he was already insane.

He shook his head vigorously, willing the sound – imaginary or not – from his ears.  Scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch.  For what had to have been the thousandth time in weeks, he searched the room for its source, but once again came up empty – it was everywhere and nowhere at once, on and off and then on again for hours at a time.  Scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch.

Nikhil stood and paced back and forth in his cell, hunched slightly so his head wouldn’t brush the cold, hard ceiling.  Perhaps his footsteps would drown out the noise, bring him some relief from this torment.  But it persisted – scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch – the tiniest little scraping, reverberating off the walls until it formed the blaring soundtrack to his every thought.

He tried to distract himself with thoughts of better times, transport himself somewhere – anywhere – outside this dark, cramped prison cell.  The rush of victory at a water polo match.  The scent of blown birthday candles and a warm embrace from a smiling mother.  A stolen kiss behind the bleachers.  The relief of finding help after a long and harrowing journey.  The gratitude of a patient’s family.  Rescuing a fallen brother from enemy fire.  A noble lady’s favor tucked into his pocket…

The problem was that he couldn’t remember which memories were real and which were fake.  There were so many different lives jumbled in his head, it was hard to tell now which was the real Nikhil.  Though in the end, did it even really matter?  Anywhere was better than here.

Scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch.  The train of pleasant images halted, Nikhil sighed deeply and stretched his broad shoulders and long arms as best he could in the miniscule space.  He resumed his usual place on the floor beside the rigid metal cot.

It was cool on the cement, but at least he could stretch his legs in front of him without his feet dangling.  He leaned his head back against the wall, cursing the day he’d begged the gods for a reprieve from the silence of his lonely cell.  Even silence was better than this maddening scratching, grating away at his already frayed nerves.  Resigned, he waited for the scraping to stop, as he knew it eventually would.
It might have been minutes or it might have been hours, but finally the moment came.  Peace at last.  Nikhil groaned a long sigh of relief.

Scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch.

Growling in frustration, Nikhil rolled onto his side and beat the wall in front of him helplessly with his fist.

And then the noise stopped.

About the Author

Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York 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. The Stitch Trilogy is her debut series.
Find Samantha here: Website | Twitter | Facebook

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