Sunday, January 7, 2018

Soul Mirrors by Wiley A. Haydon III - Book Tour & Review + Giveaway

My love of storytelling traces
back to my step-mother, who spun wonderful fantasy stories when I was child. I
finished my first novel at sixteen. That first attempt was terrible, but taught
me quite a bit about story construction. Though I would start numerous other
projects in the following years, I wouldn't actually complete another book for
another 21 years. 
I wasn't idle in that time,
though. I earned a degree in engineering, married the love of my life, worked
as a semi- truck driver crisscrossing the country, moved from Texas to
North Dakota and then came back home. 
It's been a fun and interesting
journey. I really enjoy engineering, but writing was my first passion, and I'm
excited to share it with you.
I currently live in West Texas
with my wife and our two adorable (but weird) cats.

Connect with the Author here: 
 ~ Website

"No one knows how
human genetics evolved to create Mirrors. No one knows how the evidence of a
criminal’s last horrendous act can be confirmed in a single gaze of a child’s
silvered eyes. But just because science can’t explain something doesn’t mean it
can’t be used, and this gift is simply too valuable to ignore.

Twins Thomas and Ashley Ross have grown up knowing they would
be used as Mirrors for the “good” of humanity. When their powers mature at age
twelve, they are taken weekly to fulfill their role. By reliving the most heinous crimes
from a perpetrators’ perspective, they alone can assure that no innocent people
will be executed, and that the worst offenders are not set free due to lack of evidence.

Justice is not without cost, however. Taking on the
memories of others is a destructive process, one that quickly consumes the
children involved until most take their own lives. As despair threatens to
drown Thomas and Ashley, a distant hope keeps them from succumbing: If they can make it to their eighteenth birthday, their contract with the government will be fulfilled. Changing views on the morality of their role threatens to tear
them apart, but the twins struggle to cling to each other and try to construct
a fragile life above the weekly flood of horrors. 

As their work takes it toll, however, a new question emerges: does survival even matter when you’re already broken beyond repair?"

~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK

Soul Mirrors is one of those books that has a really neat cover that sort of piques your curiosity, and the synopsis does nothing to abate said curiosity. You find yourself drawn in, wondering what the pages in between might have in store for you. Well, let me tell you, you won't be disappointed.

Soul Mirrors is set in a world where some children are born special. Their eyes are unlike anything anyone has ever seen, and because of this, these children are able to "reflect" memories of others back to them. An interesting concept, no? 

Twins Thomas and Ashley are even more rare, mostly because two Mirrors born to the same family is pretty much unheard of. And because they have this unique ability, the government immediately plans to squirrel them away once their powers fully manifest, only to use them as "tools of the trade," if you will. However, the horrors they're forced to endure come with a very heavy price.

I don't want to spoil anything about this book, because you just need to read it. Trust me. For a debut novel, I was certainly blown away by how awesome and unique it was.

The characters are relatable, no matter your age. You'll find someone you can connect with, whether it's the twins, their parents, or someone else, and knowing that makes the book so much more enjoyable. I always like having well-written characters who are flawed and fleshed out. Plus, you can't have a story where there are no unlikable characters, and you will find a few of them scattered throughout the book here, too.

Plot-wise, the story will definitely play with your emotions. I felt myself becoming so angry at certain parts of the book that I wanted to stop reading. I also found myself tearing up so badly that I did have to stop and compose myself before continuing the story. There was also a scene that triggered a plethora of negative memories, and I had to set the book down and take some deep breaths to calm myself down. It sort of hit home for me, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story.

And that ending... whew! That's all I'm going to say.

Overall, I found Soul Mirrors to be an interesting and unique story that had me hooked from the very first page. I love stories that draw out a variety of emotions, too, and this one did just that. I will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for more stories from the author, that's for sure.

If you like young adult books that have science fiction and dystopian elements, complete with a concept that is so different from anything else (at least from what I've read in the genre), give Soul Mirrors a whirl. I'd highly recommend it.

Five very well-deserved stars.

Top Ten List
1) Movie: It’s a Wonderful Life--It's amazing how powerfully the sentiment of "Your life has mattered" resonates.

2) Board Game: Twilight Imperium, 3rd Edition--I love playing board games, and the more complex the better. Twilight Imperium is a whirlwind of tactical combat, careful planning, and diplomacy. Definitely not for everyone, but I absolutely love it.

3) Sports Team: Kansas City Chiefs--I didn't like any sports until I was in college. My brother-in-law told me that this was because I had no team to root for and therefore had no investment. Taking up his challenge, I picked one at random: the Chiefs. It turns out he was right; emotional investment matters! Now I'm a faithful fan.

4) Book: Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson--I love everything Sanderson writes, but Way of Kings just blew me away the first time I heard it. My wife and I were working as a trucking team at the time, and we picked it up as an audiobook. I listened during my daily shift, and was so enamored with it after the first time that I went through it again almost immediately. Phenomenal.

5) Season: Winter--I like cold weather, snow, and curling up under the blankets on a cold evening. I think some of this is that I grew up in Texas where these things tend to be pretty rare and blazing hot summers are the norm. Spending two winters in North Dakota didn't cure this fascination with winter, though, so I'm probably just a little strange.

6) Band: Queen--No logic here, I just love their music. Also, Freddy Mercury could sing. 

7) Vacation Spot: Ruidoso, NM--It's only a few hours away, the weather is nice and cool, and it's where my wife and I went on our honeymoon. We try to go once a year.

8) Restaurant: Babe’s Chicken Dinner House in DFW.--I love a good chicken fried steak, and they make the best. Their fried chicken's fantastic too. If we're driving to, through, or near Dallas/Fort Worth, we'll be stopping at a Babe's. 

9) Favorite TV Show: I Love Lucy--The first time I remember seeing Lucille Ball's work was on a tribute show shortly after she had died. I watched that with my step-mother, and we laughed together at each clip. It hooked me instantly, and never let go. 

10) Favorite Dessert: My wife’s chocolate cake--Seriously, it's fantastic. 

Excerpt #1
 “A whole lifetime in seconds,” he said in a whisper. Ashley didn’t respond. “I saw everything. Lived everything. I thought I was . . .” He broke off, then, grimacing, said, “It’s clearer now, but for a while it felt like I was him. It felt like he had wiped away everything inside me. I thought I was going to be him.”
          Ashley finally moved. With a tired sob, she rolled over but didn’t bother sitting up. Those silver Mirror’s eyes watched him tearfully. She stared at him, meeting his shaded gaze for a long moment before finally nodding.
          “You could Reflect me,” she said. “I could see myself. Know that I’m not him.”
          Thomas exhaled sharply. “It would kill us.” That was one of the first things he remembered their parents explaining. He’d never even considered meeting Ashley’s eyes on purpose. The very thought sent a shudder down his spine.
          “I . . . I know.” Ashley let out a sob. “I don’t want to die. I just . . . it’s not fair. I just want to know who I am, Thomas. I want to scrub away Spencer; I want to see me. I’ve seen him, Thomas, and I don’t want to become him.”
          “You won’t.” The words were forceful, but Thomas felt hollow saying them.
          Idle dreams were no more than fleeting hope, but he had dared to dream about this conversation. Riding home, he had constructed an impossible scene. Meeting Ashley, she would smile and hug him, welcoming him back. Then she’d proceed to tell him that her Reflected was innocent, that he was good and kind, and that his arrest was a mistake. She’d act like she had this morning: excited and happy to have played her part.
          He usually liked ribbing Ashley for being stupidly optimistic, but he realized that today he’d fallen into the same trap. No one could endure what they had lived today and smile about it. For once, though, he wished she’d been right.

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

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