Do You Love Young Adult Sci-Fi and/or Horror?

Sci-Fi & Scary is continuing to grow. It has been an amazing year since GracieKat has joined the team, and she’s brought a lot of fresh, additional content to the table. I’ve loved having her, and am glad we decided to keep the relationship going past the trial period. We both have things we like and dislike and they don’t always match up. It brings a fun element to our joint posts, when we’re bickering about Top Ten Tuesday topics and things like that.  It has worked out amazingly well. And now, a year later, we know each other well enough to see what we’re both comfortable with doing, what we enjoy, and what we don’t.

And, one thing we can both agree on, is we don’t particularly enjoy reviewing young adult sci-fi and/or horror. (Mostly science fiction.) Maybe it’s because we’re crochety cat ladies, but we pretty consistently shy away from titles in which we judge there to be an excess of hormones, swooning, love triangles, and all that ‘fun’ stuff.

Now, of course there have been notable exceptions to this. Some of my favorite titles over the past couple years have been young adult horror. But, the exception is not the norm. And we’d rather stick to the stuff we know we’ll have a stronger chance of liking.

That’s why we’re reaching out, looking for another reviewer to join the Sci-Fi & Scary team on a very specific, limited basis (at least to start).

Join Us Graphic

Understand this is not a paid position. It would be lovely if this actually made us money, let alone enough money to pay someone else, but… heh. Not happening.

This would be perfect for you if you love reviewing, but the idea of (or the practicality of) maintaining your own site is intimidating. Maybe if your schedule just doesn’t allow you to post as much as you feel like you need to.  Or if your reach/numbers aren’t quite what you would like them to be to receive ARCs and the like, this may be a step up for you.

We are looking to have this person start January 2018.

What we require:

  1. You must be at least 18 years old and is active on social media.
  2. You must be able to commit to at least 2 reviews a month. (If you can do more, that’s fantastic, but 2 is the minimum.)
    • These will be set up on a regular schedule (such as every other Wednesday at 6:30 PM).
    • You must be able to deliver consistently. Occasionally life gets in the way, and that’s understandable, but best effort is expected.
  3. These reviews must cover a book in the young adult science fiction or young adult horror sub-genres.
    • We would prefer these to be fairly recent releases, but it is not a requirement.
  4. These reviews must be your reviews. You will also post them to Goodreads, Amazon, etc.
  5. You must review honestly and free of influence. You will not accept any sort of monetary incentive for doing a review.
  6. Your reviews must be of the books, and not the authors.
  7. Your reviews must be at least 300 words long. (That’s really only a couple of paragraphs.)
    • This does not include posting the synopsis and all of that. Just the review itself.
  8. While snark is welcome, racism, bigotry, homophobia, etc, is not. You will not a jerk.
  9. If you choose to sever the relationship, you agree that Sci-Fi & Scary has the right to keep the original reviews up, credited to you, (non-exclusively, of course).

If you are interested, please fill out the contact form below, and be ready to submit at least 3 previously done reviews (on Goodreads is fine) for our review.

We are looking for someone who is a good fit with the team. So be prepared to chat it up with us a bit so we can make sure we’ll work.

The Deep Beneath & The Makers by Natalie Wright (H.A.L.F. 1 & 2) Review

Title: The Deep Beneath | Author: Natalie Wright | Publisher: Boadicea Press | Pub. Date: 2015-1-7 | Pages: 292 | ISBN13: 9781505524727 | Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: Potential sexual assault | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Deep Beneath

H.A.L.F. 9 has taken his first breath of desert air and his first steps in the human world. Created to be a weapon, he proved too powerful for his makers and has lived a sedated life hidden from humans. But H.A.L.F. 9 has escaped the underground lab he called home, and the sedation has worn off. He has never been more alive. More powerful. Or more deadly.

Erika Holt longs to ride her motorcycle east until pavement meets shore. She bides her time until graduation when she’ll say adios to the trailer she shares with her alcoholic mother and memories of her dead father. But a typical night in the desert with friends thrusts Erika into a situation more dangerous than she ever imagined. 

Circumstances push the two together, and each must make a fateful choice. Will Erika help H.A.L.F. 9 despite her “don’t get involved” rule? And will H.A.L.F. 9 let Erika live even though he was trained to kill? 

The two may need to forget their rules and training and if either is to survive the dangers of the deep beneath them.

Book cover for The Deep Beneath

The Deep Beneath Review

The Deep Beneath was a well-written young adult science fiction novel. It introduces us to the characters we will follow throughout the next two books. Natalie Wright does a good job of keeping it at a young adult level, but not pandering to the hormonal crowd too much. Yes, there is a little bit of a romance mentioned, but as the novel is almost immediately a fight for survival, it’s not much of a problem.

Ian, Jack, and Erika are a likable bunch, and feel like ‘real’ friends. They’re not all buddy-buddy on every single aspect of what they do. They ram heads frequently over things. Erika is not treated with any particular deference because she’s a girl. (It probably helps that the gorgeous one of the bunch is gay.) H.A.L.F. 9 is an interesting character in his own right. I liked watching him interact with the trio. I think the author made the right decision in not having them click instantly, nor having everyone be super accepting of the situation. Again, it was one of those things that made it feel a bit more realistic than it otherwise might have.

The rest of the characters are almost entirely dislikable. Especially the person in control of the base. It’s rare that a character in a book makes me want to punch them so quickly, but that’s exactly how I felt within pages. 

I love the take that Natalie Wright has on aliens and how certain elements of our world might affect them. I haven’t read it anywhere else. It’s such an interesting concept that it remains one of my favorite aspects of the books. A fairly simple thing, but so effective.

The pacing feels a bit slow, but steady. The dialogue is believable. The setting is extremely effective in The Deep Beneath. There’s just something about the desert that makes it feel like the perfect setting for something otherworldly to happen.

This is definitely my favorite of the first two books in the H.A.L.F trilogy. Natalie Wright is a talented science fiction author and she does a great job of doing a young adult book that isn’t all focused on the hormones. (It probably helps that almost immediately they were all fighting for survival, but still.) The end of the novel definitely sets up for the rest of the trilogy, but at the same time, you could stop at one and still feel like you got a complete story.

The Deep Beneath makes you wonder: How would you react if you encountered someone like H.A.L.F. 9? Would you do the right thing, would you be afraid of him, would you run? What? I guess no one really know how they’re going to react to something until they experience it.

Title: The Makers | Author: Natalie Wright | Publisher: Boadicea Press | Pub. Date: 2016-4-7 | Pages: 362 | ISBN13: 9781523820924| Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: Maternal death | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Makers

“The Makers” is the follow-up to Natalie Wright’s multiple award-winning debut science fiction novel “H.A.L.F.: The Deep Beneath.” “We’ve seen grey aliens on T.V. and in movies. We may think we know all about them. But what if everything we think we know is wrong?” Erika Holt dodged death and departed Earth in an alien ship. It wasn’t how she’d planned to spend her senior year. Is Erika on her way to paradise? Or to a hell worse than the underground lab she escaped? The greys rescued Tex from A.H.D.N.A. and promised him a life he could never have imagined. But what will he have to give up to become one with The Conexus? Jack Wilson is still Commander Sturgis’ prisoner, but a promise of freedom comes from an unlikely source. Will his liberation cost more than he’s willing to pay? Caught up in their personal battles and focused on our war with the grey aliens, will any of them realize the true threat that looms over us all before it’s too late? 

Book cover for The Makers

Even though I really liked The Deep Beneath, I ran out of steam on The Makers about halfway through. It’s not that it was a bad book (it really isn’t), but it does suffer from a little bit of sequel-itis. I did finish the book, but it was a conscious effort on my part to do so, rather than any particular drive to continue the story. Now, keep in mind though, I’m an atypical case because I don’t really like reading series. I prefer to stop at the first book 90% of the time, and it takes (generally) a lot of sarcasm, action, and monsters to keep me reading. Given the nature of The Makers, it only hit about, pardon the pun, half the marks for me to stay interested.

The Makers splits its time between two of the main characters from The Deep Beneath. They’re in entirely different, albeit both very deadly, situations. Jack’s situation is fairly straightforward action-thriller. Erika’s is the one that stays decidedly in the sci-fi zone. I never thought that I would actually change my view on some of the characters from the first book, but I definitely did. My views on Jack and Ian changed rather drastically, as they did for one other person that played a pivotal role in the first book. I mean, don’t get me wrong, that person is still a Grade A douche bag, but, considering the circumstances… Well, let’s just say that I can respect what they’re trying to do even while I still want to slap them silly. 

In regards to the alien’s weakness from the first book, I was definitely caught off guard by a revelation in The Makers. It does make me want to read the third book just to see exactly how she’s going to tie the two things together. Because right now it doesn’t really seem to make a lot of sense.

And, of course, there’s the true threat referenced in the synopsis. I’m not sure how I feel about this particular threat. I will say that I appreciate the idea of the krindor, though! I would love to see an illustration of this particular threat in action. The author has a solid imagination and even though I’m not exactly on the edge of my seat, I can still admit to liking the sandbox she’s created so far.

The pacing in The Makers was a bit better than in the first. The dialogue, descriptions, etc, are all consistently well-done. There were a few lines in here that I particularly appreciated for the truths that they were. (Especially the one about looking like a model and acting with balls of steel.) Hopefully the third book, H.A.L.F. Origins, finishes everything off in a satisfying manner. We shall see!

Trivia: Even though I didn’t pick up these books until recently, Natalie Wright wrote a guest post about the series for Sci-Fi & Scary a while back. It was called “What Inspired You to Write Science Fiction” . Click on the title to go check it out.

Book Spotlight and Mini-Interview with D.L. Armillei


Marked by Fate. Defined by Their Choices.

Book cover for Marked by Fate

A collection of 25 Fantasy and Science Fiction YA coming of age novels from New York Times, USA Today, International, Amazon bestselling and Award-Winning authors!!

This action-packed boxset is filled with teen warriors who encounter shadows, queens, witches, wizards, werewolves, and shifters. Sometimes these young adults partner with immortals, angels, vampires, demons, and gods. And with occasionally genetically engineered soldiers, cyborgs, and robots as they discover magical hidden fantasy worlds, encounter mind-blowing dystopian lands, space stations, and galaxies they could never have dreamed existed. Marked by Fate to complete these deadly and dangerous quests filled with nonstop action and adventure!

We have a bunch of amazing pre-order specials going on right now!

Are you a Harry Potter fan? Wish you had a Hogwarts trunk? Get your Felix Felicis potion ready because one lucky fan will win the entire Harry Potter series in hardcover packaged in a Hogwarts trunk! Every person who pre-orders a copy of Marked By Fate on iBooks will also be entered into a chance to win a Harry Potter Hardcover Trunk Boxset! AND every iBooks pre-order get a FREE COLORING BOOK & 25 COLORING BOOKMARKS to download.

Still unsure? Read the the first chapters for FREE!!


If you pre-order Marked By Fate now for the barring price of 99¢ you will also gain exclusive access to our secret reader portal!


Amazon Preorder Link:
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Nook Pre-order Link:…/1126564182…
Kobo Pre-order Link:

Harry Potter Hardcover Trunk GA direct link is here


Book cover for Marked by FateMarked by Fate coloring book  On sale now for $4.99 or FREE download with iBooks pre-order at





Beginnings. Secrets. Deleted Scenes.

Book cover for MarkedbyFate Origins

Transport yourself to other worlds with 15 Marked by Fate teen warriors…encounter shadows, queens, witches, and wizards who battle against immortals, angels, vampires, demons, genetically engineered soldiers, robots and gods. Let yourself be swept away by adventures in magical fantasy worlds, mind-blowing dystopian lands, space stations, galaxies, and alternate timelines.
The short stories and deleted scenes in Marked by Fate: Origins are exclusive to this collection and they go away–some of them forever–when the Marked by Fate full box set releases in October 2017.

Gain a glimpse of where the action begins, including a deeper look into some of your favorite characters! Get the Marked by Fate: Origins collection today to join these teen warriors in their adventures.

On sale for a limited time for 99¢


Interview with author D.L. Armillei

D.L. Armillei approached me about doing sort of a publicity swap to advertise the Marked by Fate boxset. I agreed, and out of curiousity looked up her book: Shock of Fate. I asked her if we could tack a little mini-interview about the book on to the end of this promotion, and she graciously agreed.

Sci-FI & Scary: How long did it take you to write Shock of Fate from initial idea to final draft?

D.L. Armillei: I came up with the general idea and started doing research on my story in 2006. I finished outlines for seven books in the Anchoress series by 2009 and had finished the first draft of book 1 Shock of Fate in 2011. The manuscript was in editing (and re-written at least three times) from 2011 through the year it was published, 2017.


Sci-Fi & Scary: If your book was picked up for movie rights, who would you like to see cast as your main characters?

D.L. Armillei: I would like an unknown actress to play the leading roll of Vanessa Cross and prefer unknown actors for her team: Jorie, Brux, Paley, Trey, & Elmot. I feel that an A-list actor may detract from my amazing, deeply layered storyline. I imagine this is how JK Rowling felt when selecting the cast for the Harry Potter movies.

And like the Harry Potter movies, I would love to have well-known actors play the rolls of the adult characters. I know for sure that Queen Latifa would make a great Uxa Huxatec. I wrote that character with her in mind. Margot Robbie would be amazing as Genie, Van’s step-mother.


Sci-Fi & Scary: Shock of Fate is the first book in your Anchoress series. Did you have the whole series mapped out (whether in your head or on paper) before you finished this first book?

D.L. Armillei: Oh yeah. I had the whole series figured out before book one was finished. I answered some of this in question 1 but to expand on that answer I can tell you having the whole series worked out on paper is why editing for Shock of Fate was so long and difficult. If one seemingly minor change was made in book 1, it affected a story thread (subplot) that will manifest in book 3 or book 5. Everything in my story and series is tied together, connected. I’d say at least 99% of the words in Shock of Fate are there because they are tied to something else, have a deeper meaning, or add layers to the theme as well as enrich the story or series. It was impossible to cut anything. I had a vision of Vanessa Cross and built her world and her story based on that glimpse. (I talk in more detail about how my vision of Van came about on my website in the personal bio section). I even had to fight editors to keep the title which has deep meaning tied directly to the plot of the story in book 1. I explain more about the title and its significance to the story in the question below.


Sci-Fi & Scary: Shock of Fate is definitely a book to classify as a fantasy, but there are definitely sci-fi elements involved as well. Was it hard to merge the two for you?

D.L. Armillei: Writing the scifi elements came naturally to me. That is how I see the Living World. That’s just what life is like over there. My problem was wondering if it was “bad” to mix genres. There are so many rules about how to write a story that are followed in the publishing industry. I didn’t know if this genre mash-up was “breaking the rules” of writing and would automatically get my manuscript rejected. It didn’t. Lol.


Sci-Fi & Scary: Who is the target audience for Shock of Fate?

D.L. Armillei: Shock of Fate is classified as a young adult novel for ages 13-17. But it is definitely what is called a “cross over” book, meaning it will appeal to adults too.


Sci-Fi & Scary: How did you come up with the title Shock of Fate?


D.L. Armillei: The title Shock of Fate is a translation of a hexagram in the ancient Chinese oracle called the I Ching, where you toss coins to get a reading. It directly relates to the story — about fifteen year old Vanessa Cross who is coerced through a portal to the Living World. Once there, she discovers that she must retrieve an ancient relic called the Coin of Creation to not only get home but to save her loved ones from being destroyed by a rising army of demons.

The I Ching (pronounced “E-Ching”) is designed to give the reader of the coins guidance and to show them the correct path which coincides with one of the magical properties of the Coin of Creation.

I chose hexagram Shock of Fate #51 in the I Ching because this title reflects Van’s character arc and her story arc. This hexagram translates to: When we exercise ego our spiritual development stops and the universe must use shocking events to move us back onto our path. A continuing series of shocks occurs until the obstruction in our attitude is removed. The only remedy for doubt and fear is reconnection to the higher truth. The sooner you return to acceptance of this truth the sooner the shocks will stop.

Also, Van is shocked that there’s another world, shocked about who her parents are, about who she is, about what she has to do, and that there is no easy way out. But it is her destiny to retrieve the Coin of Creation. So she is both shocked by and fated for this journey.

Shadow Run Review (Young Adult Science Fiction)

Title: Shadow Run | Series: Kaitan Chronicles | Authors: AdriAnne Strickland (site) & Michael Miller | ISBN13: 9780399552533 | Publisher: Delacorte Press | Pub. Date: 2017-3-21 | Pages: 400 | Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from Netgalley for review consideration. | Purchase on Amazon

Shadow Run

Nev has just joined the crew of the starship Kaitan Heritage as the cargo loader. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person to command her own ship, but she brooks no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. Nev can’t resist her, even if her ship is an antique.

As for Nev, he’s a prince, in hiding on the ship. He believes Qole holds the key to changing galactic civilization, and when her cooperation proves difficult to obtain, Nev resolves to get her to his home planet by any means necessary.But before they know it, a rival royal family is after Qole too, and they’re more interested in stealing her abilities than in keeping her alive.

Nev’s mission to manipulate Qole becomes one to save her, and to survive, she’ll have to trust her would-be kidnapper. He may be royalty, but Qole is discovering a deep reservoir of power–and stars have mercy on whoever tries to hurt her ship or her crew.Book cover for Shadow Run

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Anywhere But Here Review (Post-Apoc Scifi/Horror)

Anywhere But HereWhat if you could see the future with a single touch? What if that touch revealed someone’s death, and that person was someone you loved? Would you do everything you could to change it?

In a post-apocalyptic world, where danger roams in many forms, seventeen-year-old Waverly seeks protection in the town of Crestwood after her boyfriend is ruthlessly killed by lawless raiders. But what she finds is a place wrought with mystery, shady dealings, and more instability than she anticipates.

The Starborn Ascension takes place 57 years before The Starborn Uprising, and can be read independently. – Goodreads Synopsis

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Sky High Review (Science Fiction)

Sky High Review2314. Humanity has failed to colonize space. After expanding horizontally for centuries, all of Earth is covered in one giant city. The only way left to go was up, so they built towards the sky. Then, one hundred years ago, a meteor hit Earth, annihilating a region formerly known as Europe. The death toll was staggering, but that was not all. That was when the changing began and the first Evos appeared.
With limited space for humans to live, Earth’s government instated a law to keep the population healthy and strong. The Natural Selection. Anyone found to have a hereditary mutation will be sterilized – including their children.

Mark is a Jumper, one of the few daring to take the Tubes going up and down the city. When he receives a note from his long dead father, and government agents appear on his door the next day, he is thrown into a journey that questions the very understanding of his life and the world he lives in…- Goodreads Synopsis

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Sharkman Review (Young Adult Science Fiction)

Sharkman ReviewKwan Wilson was a high school basketball star living in San Diego when a tragic accident changed his life in ways no one could predict. He only looked at his phone for a few seconds, but that was all the time it took to crash his car into a telephone pole, killing his mother and paralyzing him from the waist down. After the accident his father, Admiral Douglas Wilson, sent him off to live with his maternal grandmother in South Florida.

Kwan’s new principal, anticipating his depression and isolation, tells him about an internship at a genetics lab in Miami that’s testing shark stem cells on rats in an effort to cure cancer and repair spinal injuries. Kwan declines until he learns that beautiful Anya Patel is an intern at the lab. The good news is that the stem cells are curing their rat subjects; the bad news is it alters their DNA so much it kills them. When a promising breakthrough is made, Kwan risks his life and injects himself with the experimental stem cells altering his destiny and the lives of millions in the process. – Goodreads Synopsis

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The Abyss Surrounds Us Review (Science Fiction Fantasy)

The Abyss Surrounds Us

The Abyss Surrounds Us Synopsis: For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.

There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.

But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. And she’s not about to stop. – Goodreads

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More Than This Review (Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy)

More Than This

More Than This Synopsis:

A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies.

Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive.

How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?

As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife? – Goodreads

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On the Edge of Gone Review (Diverse Sci-Fi)

On the Edge of Gone Cover for use in the On the Edge of Gone review

On the Edge of Gone Synopsis:

January 29, 2035.

That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter near their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time.

Then a last-minute encounter leads them to something better than a temporary shelter: a generation ship that’s scheduled to leave Earth behind and colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But each passenger must have a practical skill to contribute. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister?

When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most? – Goodreads 

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