Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Michael F. Stewart - Assured Destruction - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

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 their 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.

My Review

Adolescent infatuation is dealt with in a whole new way in Michael F. Stewart's thrilling escapade, Assured Destruction. There's a love triangle to be sure (it is a young adult novel, after all) but the players involved do not encompass the stereotypical dynamic common to the genre. At sixteen, Janus is already a kick ass computer hacker. She helps her disabled mom run their hard drive destruction business. She knows what it's like to be emotionally and financially abandoned by her father. She's not going to fall for some boy just to have him leave her. She's too smart for that.

But it doesn't mean they won't try to win her over. Out of the two guys vying for her heart, Jonny is the most interesting. He's a graffiti artist who's emo in the extreme. He's quiet, dependable, loyal, but does his obsession with Janus border on the psychotic? Is he out to get her for turning him down? His loner characteristics take on a harder edge when cast in a suspicious light. Stalker tendencies aside, his troubled teen persona creates doubt surrounding his true motivations. Is he in love with Janus, or is he out for revenge?

His rival for Janus' affections is Karl, Mr. Popularity with the killer physique. In the beginning, he looks right through her serving as the lap dog of her lifelong frenemy/rich girl, Ellie. When they all end up in detention for a cyber prank that Janus originates, his admiration for her grows. He's intrigued by her bad girl side, and can't get enough of it. When a suspension escalates to her expulsion from school, Karl pulls out all of the stops to win her over. But will it be enough?

Young adult readers enjoy a hefty dose of romance in their stories, and while Assured Destruction doesn't center around a love story, there are enough elements in place to satisfy a longing for swoon-worthy moments. The dating game is intermingled with the driving plot of a mystery. When suspects are methodically taken out of the equation, it leaves the ending wide open for a truly heart-pounding scene in the back of car, as Janus chooses who she wants to be with. It's a moment that rounds out the book on just the right uber-sweet note.


Assured Destruction can be purchased at:
Amazon (paperback), Kindle

Prices/Formats: $2.99 ebook, $8.99 paperback
Pages: 185
ISBN: 9780981269948
Publisher: Non Sequitur Press
Release: March 22, 2013
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

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.

Links to connect with Michael:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

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  1. Thanks so much for the cool review. Until today I hadn't seen a review focused on the romance elements, glad it worked for you. :) And thanks for the most excellent tour ever!!

    1. Michael, I loved the first book of the series and I can't wait to work with you on promoting the second!