Tuesday, February 17, 2015

#Giveaway ~ Spark Rising (The Progenitor Saga #1) by Kate Corcino ~ #Book #Review ~ Excerpt to Read ~ #Post-Apocalyptic

Spark Rising  (The Progenitor Saga #1)
by Kate Corcino
Publication date: December 15th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction


All that’s required to ignite a revolution is a single spark rising.
Two hundred years after the cataclysm that annihilated fossil fuels, Sparks keep electricity flowing through their control of energy-giving Dust. The Council of Nine rebuilt civilization on the backs of Sparks, offering citizens a comfortable life in a relo-city in exchange for power, particularly over the children able to fuel the future. The strongest of the boys are taken as Wards and raised to become elite agents, the Council’s enforcers and spies. Strong girls—those who could advance the rapidly-evolving matrilineal power—don’t exist. Not according to the Council.
Lena Gracey died as a child, mourned publicly by parents desperate to keep her from the Council. She was raised in hiding until she fled the relo-city for solitary freedom in the desert. Lena lives off the grid, selling her power on the black market.
Agent Alex Reyes was honed into a calculating weapon at the Ward School to do the Council’s dirty work. But Alex lives a double life. He’s leading the next generation of agents in a secret revolution to destroy those in power from within.
The life Lena built to escape her past ends the day Alex arrives looking for a renegade Spark.



Kate Corcino is a reformed shy girl who found her voice (and uses it…a lot). She believes in magic, coffee, Starburst candies, genre fiction, descriptive profanity, and cackling over wine with good friends. A recovering Dr. Pepper addict, she knows the only addiction worth feeding is the one that follows the “click-whooooosh” of a new story settling into her brain.

She also believes in the transformative power of screwing up and second chances. Cheers to works-in-progress of the literary and lifelong variety!

She is currently gearing up for publication of Ignition Point and Spark Rising , the first books in the Progenitor Saga, a near future dystopian adventure series with romantic elements, science, magic, and plenty of action.

Author links:

I absolutely loved this book. It was so different than any other book I have ever read. I love the unique idea of this strange dystopian world. I love the main character Lena, she is so spunky and tough as nails. I loved that she was so strong.
I came to really like Alex as well. He proved to be a pretty good guy.

One small thing in this book did remind me of a great tv show I watched called Revolution, the "Dust"  in this book sure sounds alot like the nanobots in the show, same concept there, but really that is where the similarities end for the most part. This similarity does not take away from the book at all.

I think this had the best mix of dystopian and sci-fi with that touch of paranormal feel to it.

I do not want to spoil it, so will just say it's written really well, and that I highly recommend this. I sure can't wait for the next book.

I also love this cover, just perfect for this book.

I was provided a copy of this book for my honest review.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars

Read the first chapter below to get a taste of this great book

Chapter One

“Nothing says ‘Home, Sweet Home’ like an abandoned gas station.”
The words came with a muffled snort from one of the two men following Lena. He probably hadn’t meant for her to hear them—probably—but the rich, husky tone of his voice carried them to her.
Lena rolled her eyes, her back still to the client and his assistant. “Does my home offend you, Mr. Reyes?” She kept her tone even and pleasant. It took effort. A lot of effort.
“No, no,” he answered from behind her. “I’m just trying to understand what would make someone see this place and say, ‘Now this…this is the place I want to call home.’” He paused. “Miss Gracey,” he added, mimicking her formality.
She could hear his amusement. It was nothing she hadn’t heard from other clients before. As far as she was concerned, he could keep trying. She highly doubted he’d get it.
When she’d arrived at the ancient gas station nine years before, she’d been fifteen and full of rage, fear, and pride over making her escape from a life of hiding in the city. The empty building still stood firm against the onslaught of the world. Buckled, collapsed pavement at the far end of the lot showed where the tanks below ground had ignited during the cataclysm two centuries before. The void was filled with sand pushed by the wind—a shifting, fatal trap for the unwary. A tumbleweed bounced across the rubble of the road, smashing against teetering pump fourteen, shedding thorns and seeds as it rolled off again.
The desolation was a reflection of Lena’s grief. She’d staked her claim on the station and carved her home out of drifted sand and weeds. She didn’t expect those who lived in the comfort of a relo-city—surrounded by people and walls to keep the world at bay—to understand why it mattered to claim a corner of the wild as hers alone. The cities that had grown out of the post-disaster relocation centers were the last hope of those clinging to the old ways. They were willing to give up a lot to live in safety. She knew safety was relative.
Now her client, and the assistant who’d powered the electric vehicle to get him out here, sized her home up as they followed her inside. The visual examination of the home she’d built for herself, the life alone, was typical of every client, every time.
This time the examination, and the judgment it implied, rankled. She spun around, mouth opened to snap at them.
She stopped. Alejandro Reyes had removed his antique sunglasses, and his dark eyes were focused on her. She tried to escape the intensity of them by looking down, but that was a mistake. Instead of a heated gaze, she caught his wide-chested, lean-hipped body as he slid closer to her like one of the big cats of the desert, stalking prey.
He’s not a hunter, Lena. Just another indolent client looking for a black market charge to make his easy life easier.
She cleared her throat, turning to his assistant. The other man, Lucas, was busy inspecting every detail of her home. She doubted Reyes’s attention had ever left her back. It certainly didn’t leave her face now that she had turned to the other man. She could feel his focus still, the itch of attention that always made her self-conscious. He wasn’t interested in the room.
“Where’d you get the light bulbs?”
They were a luxury item, rarely seen outside of Council buildings, but she wasn’t fooled. He was studying her, not her fixtures.
She shrugged. “I barter for everything.” She considered him for a moment, gauging the risk he presented. He didn’t seem threatening, merely interested, and Lena didn’t sleep with her clients, no matter how hot they were. She held out her hand. “May I have the item, please?”
Reyes had to snap his fingers at Lucas to get his attention. She’d dismissed the Spark assistant as soon as she’d seen his energy bloom, the faint displacement like a heat shimmer that other Sparks could see. The brightness indicated the inherent power of a Spark and showed up the moment the mental power was accessed. Typically, the bloom would grow as a Spark worked with the Dust to create the electrical energy that was otherwise dead to the world.
The assistant’s bloom was unimpressive, probably the reason his boss had to seek out black market charges from people like her. It was also the likely reason for his slack jaw as he noted the energy signature on all of the modifications she and the Dust had made to nearly every item in her home.
Lucas crossed to Reyes and handed him a small, cloth-wrapped package. Reyes held it up, delaying giving it to her.
“Now, I was assured you’re a strong Spark. You can get the Dust to make anything work, whether you’ve seen it before or not,” he said.
Like so many others, obviously Reyes thought that the power to create or store energy was due to a Spark’s ability to force the Dust to do one’s will. They didn’t understand the truth of the Dust, any more than any of them understood what it really was. Everyone had a theory—a virus to which Sparks alone were immune, invisible aliens working to keep humanity weak, even that Dust was the final ruse of the old government meant to hide an evolutionary shift. The Tribulationists believed Dust, and the Sparks themselves, were a sign of their god’s displeasure.
They were all wrong. The Dust was alive. It wanted to help. She wasn’t special because she could force it to do what she wanted; she was special because she knew how to ask. She knew how to listen.

“You’re assuming I haven’t seen whatever you found.” She wiggled her outstretched fingers at him for the item. She hadn’t been told what the object was, but her brother’s contact had assured her that if she made Reyes happy, she’d earn a regular client.
“I am. Yeah.” Barely contained laughter danced behind the words. He settled it onto her palm.
Why all the mystery, gentlemen?
Whatever it was, it was illegal as hell. But then, so was she. Females as powerful as she was didn’t exist, and the Council scoured what was left of the world to make sure of it. Lena made a noncommittal noise and turned away as she began unwrapping the package.
From his behavior, she could tell he’d brought her an antique object to charge. Most of her business was in batteries and capacitors. City people often ran out of the rations of electrical charges earned through work before they got through the month. The unsympathetic Council of Nine didn’t promise the people in its walled cities an easy life, just protection and an opportunity to work hard to earn a taste of electrical luxury.
People scavenged or bought black market copper and aluminum. Once they added some salt water—even lime juice would work in a pinch—they could build a battery. But the things weren’t all that strong. What they really needed was a homemade capacitor. And, of course, a Spark willing to break the law to charge it. Enter Lena, and her black market talents. Demand was high.
“Is this a straight charge of a refurbished item, or will you need me to custom fit a capacitor into it and charge that?” Before he could answer, she finished unwrapping the object. A shock of recognition flashed through, and she spun around, arm extended stiffly to thrust the item back at him.
“Danny’s rep would have explained the rules to you,” she bit out, referring to her brother. “No powder weapons of any kind.”
There was risky, and then there was stupid. She didn’t do stupid. And Reyes wasn’t nearly as beautiful now that she knew he was a dumbass who was perfectly willing to give stupid a try.
“Take it and go.”
He grinned as he shook his head. “It’s not a powder weapon.”
“Do you think I’m an idiot? It’s a gun.”
“No, it isn’t.”
She glowered at him. “Take. It. Back.”
He sighed and tilted his head. “It’s not a gun.”
She closed her hand around the weapon and cocked her arm back. He spoke rapidly then, hands up to forestall the throw.
“It’s not. It doesn’t shoot bullets. It shoots little barbs that are attached by wires. It isn’t long-range. And it doesn’t even hold bullets. It uses electricity. No powder.” He licked his lips. “Look at it. Look at it.”
She did, not sure what to look for outside of general shape. Powder weapons were rare and forbidden by the Council. Only the Council’s agents, those who policed each of the nine zones, had use of the old weapons. It took a strong Spark to overcome the Dust’s effect on powder. While no one knew exactly what Dust was, they did know what it did. Inhibiting combustive reactions was one those things. Agents, the men who’d been sent to the Ward School as boys and gave their youth up to train their native gifts, could get the Dust to fire powder. They were the strongest of the Sparks.
Her lips twisted. Yeah. Right. She was the exception. But her father had made it clear any girl strong enough for the Ward School wouldn’t go there for training. She’d go and disappear.
She examined the weapon. Guns fired bullets out a hollow barrel. The front of this thing had two flaps, one atop the other, and beneath them, small twin holes with tiny tips perched within. She flicked a fingernail over the top of one.
“If you open the handle, you’ll see there aren’t any bullets. There’s a battery pack,” he said. “Electricity. Not combustion.”  
She turned it over again, found the small latch, and pried apart the handle. Nestled inside was an ancient, corroded battery pack.
“See? I told you. It’s not a gun. It’s called a Taser.” The laughter was back in his voice. It was light, almost a chuckle.
The sound of it could soothe any raised hackles, except for hers.
“Can you make a capacitor that’ll fit in there?”  
Now that he’d said the name, she recognized the weapon. Electrical current could disrupt a Spark’s ability to generate a charge, one current disrupting another.The Council’s agents used Tasers to control Sparks who went rogue.
She didn’t know how often it happened. From the time a child demonstrated any Spark at all, they were immersed in the Council’s propaganda: It was an honor to be a Spark. The gift of control over the Dust meant you were privileged to help support the recovery of the human race. What could be a more worthwhile pursuit for a human life?
Lena could think of a few things, but she was smart enough to live quietly. Those who didn’t… Well, those who refused had led the Council to research ways to ensure their cooperation.
And now I have an opportunity to play with one and figure it out.
She met Reyes’s eyes again, risking the intensity of his dark brown gaze. Instead, she found amusement. He raised his brows, a grin curving his lips, as if daring her to try.
Well, shit.
A dare was a lure she couldn’t resist. She responded with an answering smile, easing the tension.
Decision made, she turned away. “The question isn’t whether or not I can fit a capacitor, but whether or not it will work anyway. This compartment is in bad shape.”  
She carried the weapon over to her work area and sat at her stool. She could ignore them now. The work end of being a black market Spark was easy. Trusting people long enough to take their C-notes or barter in exchange for a charge was the hard part. If it didn’t give her a vengeful thrill every time she broke the Council’s laws by charging an illicit item for a client, she’d never do it. She’d live as a happy hermit deep in her desert instead. Infrequent trips to the city would be reserved for sex and the few items she couldn’t make or scavenge for herself.
Lena tucked her hair back behind her ears and leaned over the weapon. Wrapping a soft bit of cotton around the tip of a thin bone pick, she used her gentlest touch to rub away the worst of the bright orange and brown corrosion to assess the damage. She’d have the Dust check the leads when she was done. “Where’d you find this thing anyway? Not in Relo-Azcon, that’s for sure.”
Relo-Azcon?” Reyes’s challenging tone made her turn her head. He threw a knowing smile at Lucas. “She’s one of those.”
She turned fully to him. “One of what?”
Reyes smiled lazily. “One of those who uses ‘relo’ to remind herself what a big, bad place she managed to escape.” He wandered closer, his casual tone belied by dark eyes that held her own. Intense Reyes was back with a vengeance. “C’mon. It’s Azcon. It’s not a relocation center anymore. It’s a city. It has been for more than a hundred years.  It’s a safe place, a good life, for everyone who lives there. You should come back.”
Of course, he thought so. He was one of the wealthy who lived in charged comfort.
What do you know about what life is really like for the people who make your life comfortable, you big jerk?
Most Sparks didn’t live in charged extravagance. They used as little electricity as possible, because they knew someone like them had paid the price for it in pain. Each week, every Spark in every city took their scheduled turn on the grounding platforms or risked overloading their brains and stroking out. The huge open-air stages were built above the cities, for the safety of the unpowered, so the Sparks could discharge the feedback energy that accumulated within their bodies.
It was hard for Lena to believe now, but when she had been very small, she’d thought the groundings on the platform were beautiful. The crash of the lightning discharge was scary, sure, but the constant flashes of light made the days sparkle and chased the dark from the night.
And then she’d gone for her first grounding. She had been four, and had started working with a Spark tutor often enough that she’d built up her own feedback. She clutched her mother’s hand, staring at her brother’s profile as he climbed up to the platform ahead of her. He was sweating as they climbed the open, winding stairs, despite the chilled winter air on their cheeks. Those in line before them went first, removing clothes, standing shivering on the platform for a moment before being encased in blinding electric light. Their bodies were rigid, corded with agony, and the crash wasn’t merely loud up that close. It deafened Lena, froze her in place while the vibrations shook through the platform to her bare feet and up her small body.
When it was over, the Sparks fell, collapsed from the pain to the heated floor of the platform. Council employees scooted forward, lifting them and moving them inside to spend their hour in recovery before heading back to family, job, or school. It was an efficient system, a machine that ran smoothly so long as the cogs were well-oiled by obedient citizens.
She blinked the memory away. “This is a safe place. Nobody but me makes the rules. I like it here just fine.”
“Are you sure about that?” His tone dropped as he leaned in and smiled, voice turning low and persuasive. His proximity, coupled with her awareness of their chemistry, set off alarm bells in her head. “I’m a man in a position to be good to the right woman.”
Heat flooded her face, but it wasn’t embarrassment. It was anger. The man was a head and half taller than her tiny self, so more than six feet tall. He was older, perhaps early thirties, and dark, with olive skin and black hair trimmed close to his head. He moved with a sinuous grace that reminded her of how long it had been since she’d made her way back to find a boy in the city. The whole package was wrapped in a perfectly preserved, black, relic-silk shirt.
Everything about him screamed C-notes and sex. He expected her to believe he was this interested in her—a skinny, short, reclusive Spark? Oh, she wouldn’t deny the sexual spark between them. As far as the physical? Her dark red hair and blue-green eyes were unusual, but so were the galaxies of dark freckles spinning across her skin. And she was fragrant today. The damn water heater she’d scavenged and dragged across the desert was broken again—it never worked more than a week or two before it burned out every circuit she attached to it.
In spite of her self-conscious anger, she could feel the pull as her body tried to respond to Reyes’ lure, heat swirling low and slow in her belly. It pissed her off even more. Plus, a bit of chemistry between strangers didn’t explain this level of attention. Whatever he wanted, it wasn’t her.
Please don’t be stupid enough that you came out here to prey on me. It wouldn’t go the way they planned.
“I’m not the right woman.” She stood, keeping the stool between her and the man in front of her. “And I’m not interested.”
She shook her head. It wasn’t just figurative alarms going off in her head. She could hear the Dust at the back of her mind, a sibilance, not quite a whisper.  The Dust liked to help. Lena let it. Reyes spoke again, a pleasant drone she ignored. She focused on the images the Dust flashed in her mind.
Six intruders made their way across the desert, moving through the blanket of Dust and sand. They encircled her home in pairs. Teams of two? Council agents.
And two more were here inside with her. The Council had found her. Her father hadn’t been wrong.
Rage ticked her eyelid. With every step the agents took across the desert, everything she had built went up like so much tinder. Unlike the mid-range Sparks who tried to flee the Council, she could keep them from dragging her back to be a power plant slave. All she had to do was everything her parents had warned her against. She’d have to reveal her true abilities.
She focused on the Dust within their bodies.
Wake up, little friends. Wake up. I have work for you. Listen….
Reyes stopped speaking the moment she went still. He exchanged a look with Lucas before looking back at her. It was all the time she needed.
Lungs and muscles. Lungs and muscles. No breath. No movement.
She could see the shift behind his eyes as he realized he had underestimated her, and then he gasped. His windpipe and lungs constricted then he grabbed at his chest. His muscles locked.
Beside him, Lucas made a wet, wheezing sound as he toppled to the floor, body rigid.
She stepped away from behind the stool and moved sideways across the room.
“Your friends are coming,” She had no idea why she spoke. “I’m sorry it hurts, but you should have left me alone. I wasn’t bothering anyone.” Lena didn’t even know if he could hear her.
Reyes’s face purpled and veins stood out in his neck and forehead. He shouldn’t still be standing.
She hated that she felt guilty. “The Dust will stop once I’m gone. If you make it, don’t look for me. I won’t hold back next time.”

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  1. Great review, Michelle! This sounds like a really fun read and unique, too! I've never watched Revolution but I've been eyeing it on Netflix it sounds interesting!

  2. thank, yeah, the show Revolution is really good, think you would like it. :) This has a few things alike, but to me just made it even more interesting. :)