Monday, 12 May 2014

Blog Tour & Giveaway: With Zombies by Michael F Stewart

I received a copy of With Zombies, book 3 of the Assured Destruction series, in exchange for my review.

Jan's life has fallen apart around her, having been kicked off the police force, her mother in the hospital and her school threatening to kick her out. And yet she still has to keep the family business, Assured Destruction, alive and well or they will lose it. Also trying to figure out the reasons why the network around her is going so slowly, Jan has her hands full. Figuring out everything leads to consequences that even Jan can't escape from, and risks more than just the family business.

I loved the first two books in the Assured Destruction series, Assured Destruction and Script Kiddie (you can find the reviews on my reviews by genre/A-Z reviews pages), and was super excited about reading With Zombies and it is safe to say that I wasn't disappointed by it!

One of the main things that I loved the most in the other two books was Janus herself, and that was exactly the same in With Zombies. What I like about her is that she is a strong character, who fights for what she believes in but at the same time is completely normal. She has a geeky side, all the computers and programming, but there is also a part of her that is a romantic, and she is far from a loner (not just her boyfriend Jonny, but other friends as well).

There was also more moral dilemmas in With Zombies than in the other two books. Though in the other two Jan does do some pretty morally ambiguous things, it is only in the third book that she really seemed to think about what she wanted to be (and I was proud of her when she decided on her course of action).

But there was something that made her character even more relatable and that was the complexity with which she wasn't strong all the time. In fact I thought that Stewart depicted Jan's mental breakdown with an accuracy that was scary at times because it was so realistic.

Though Jan does get into a lot of dangerous situations, there is an element of real life in this book that makes you feel like you know the characters, and that you want to know them more. Add to that the action, and the hilarity of some of the tweets and you have a book with a great balance. If you haven't checked out the series already then you should!

Assured Destruction Series by Michael F. Stewart
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult

Synopsis book 1 - Assured Destruction:
You can learn a lot about someone looking through their hard drive...

Sixteen-year-old Jan Rose knows that nothing is ever truly deleted. At least, not from the hard drives she scours to create the online identities she calls the Shadownet.

Hobby? Art form? Sad, pathetic plea to garner friendship, even virtually? Sure, Jan is guilty on all counts. Maybe she’s even addicted to it. It’s an exploration. Everyone has something to hide. The Shadownet’s hard drives are Jan’s secrets. They're stolen from her family’s computer recycling business Assured Destruction. If the police found out, Jan’s family would lose its livelihood.

When the real people behind Shadownet’s hard drives endure vicious cyber attacks, Jan realizes she is responsible. She doesn’t know who is targeting these people or why but as her life collapses Jan must use all her tech savvy to bring the perpetrators to justice before she becomes the next victim.

Synopsis book 2 - Script Kiddie:
Jan Rose no longer steals data from the old computers she recycles. She doesn't need to. As the newest member of the police department’s High Tech Crime Unit, the laptop of a murderer has landed on her desk. Her job: to profile and expose a killer.

But that’s not all.

A creep lurks in the shadows, stalking a friend, and Jan must stop him before the hunt turns deadly. The clock counts down for Jan to save her friend, her job, her boyfriend--maybe even her life.

Synopsis book 3 - With Zombies:
The final book in the Assured Destruction series!

Jan Rose may already be expunged from the police department's High Tech Crime Unit. Her mother's hospitalized, and Assured Destruction's on the cusp of bankruptcy. But Jan doesn't wait on anything, she seeks out the customers who used to keep the family business afloat. That's when everything starts to go wrong.

A computer virus--aka the Zombie Worm--threatens not only her school and Shadownet, but the entire city. A skull with a chain running through its socket links a powerful gang to her former customers, and holds the secrets to why her father left and the identity of her mother's boyfriend.

To save her family and the business, Jan must determine who is friend and who is foe. And decide what type of hacker she wishes to become: Gray, white, or black. Not only her life hangs in the balance.


After crewing ships in the Antarctic and the Baltic Sea and some fun in venture capital, Michael anchored himself (happily) to a marriage and a boatload of kids. Now he injects his adventurous spirit into his writing with brief respites for research into the jungles of Sumatra and Guatemala, the ruins of Egypt and Tik’al, paddling the Zambezi and diving whatever cave or ocean reef will have him. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and SF Canada, and the author of the Assured Destruction series, 24 Bones, The Sand Dragon, Hurakan, Ruination and several award winning graphic novels for young adults. His most recent project, The Terminals, has been optioned for television by Sudden Storm Entertainment.

Michael lives in Ottawa, Canada with his wife and four daughters. He tries very hard to keep life an adventure both on and off the page. Please come find me on Goodreads.

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