Thursday, 30 May 2013

Perception by Lee Strauss PLUS Author's Interview PLUS Giveaway.

Perception (Goodreads
Downloaded from Netgalley. 
Thanks to the publisher for giving me the opportunity to review this one.


Wow! What a ride!

This Sci-Fi set in future America has it all: 
Genetic manipulation. Cyborgs. Cloning. Action. Suspense. Mystery. You name it, it's here. 
Love, too. 
My stomach fluttered at the very sweet, but forbidden romance between the two main characters, Zoe and Noah. 

Seventeen-year-old Zoe is a GAP - a beautiful, long-lived, Genetically Altered Person.  
She lives with her rather odd parents and her bother Liam (whom she adores) in magnificent home in a walled city reserved for GAPs outside Los Angeles. Hers is a charmed life filled with luxury and ease. She couldn't be happier. That is until Liam disappears under mysterious circumstances. 

When the authorities - including her parents - refuse to help her trace him, she leaves the safety of her world and heads for the 'Outside' - Los Angeles - to find her own answers. Her trail leads her to Noah. 

Noah's an ordinary guy - a natural - who has every reason in the world to despise GAPs.
Noah's mother works as a servant in Zoe's home, but ill health (something a GAP hardly ever experiences) means that Noah sometimes comes in to do her job, cleaning up after Zoe and her family. He and his mother are treated with ill-concealed contempt by Zoe's parents.

I liked Noah a lot, but I do have a minor gripe about him: his name. Poor guy. Noah is definitely flavour of the month for many YA authors. It really is time they dipped back into the baby name book for some original ideas. Even though it was obvious Lee Strauss was looking for Biblical name for him, she could really have something less hackneyed. Noah deserved something better. And in fact I could say the same about Zoe. Her name is almost a YA fixture. Okay, whinge over . . . back to Perception.  

When Noah isn't helping his mum keep her job, he's an activist fighting against all genetic engineering. He therefore has little reason to help Zoe find Liam - especially when it comes to light that Liam's working on a radical genetic engineering project. Still, the price Zoe offers to pay is right, so he agrees. Don't think Noah's mercenary. He isn't. In fact, he doesn't have a bad bone in his body. That is what makes him so likeable. And once the love took over, he repeatedly risked his life for nary a dime. I was really rooting for him.

But as he and Zoe follow the trail of clues left by Liam, their worlds are turned upside down. 
Very soon Noah finds himself on the run, hunted by powerful, ruthless men who will stop at nothing to silence him forever. Forbidden by her parents to see Noah, Zoe is forced to undergo a 'fix' (can't tell you what, you'll have to read the book to find out) which her family hope will stop her rebellious truth seeking. 
This 'fix' leaves Noah seriously conflicted. Torn between his love for Zoe and the need to be a law-abiding citizen, he makes a moral choice, leading to an exciting - heart-stopping, in fact - twist at the end of the book.

I was really impressed by Perception. 
The writing is lovely. Fast paced, but at the same time descriptive enough without being weighed down with pages and pages of gush. I also liked that it is divided into two parts - the first section is seen through Zoe's eyes. Part two is narrated by Noah, and that adds an interesting depth to the story.

How many stars? 
Definitely four.  So if you love a good Sci-Fi romance, this one won't disappoint.

Will I read the sequel? 
You bet, I will. 

 Volition is already available (Goodreads)

Now I have something special for us all . . . 

Welcome to Lee Strauss, so glad to have you on my blog today. I asked Lee some questions which she kindly answered below:

Tell us a little about yourself. What do you do when you're not writing?
I’m married with four grown children and live part time in British Columbia, Canada and part time in Germany. When I’m not writing, I read, hike, do yoga, and hang out with friends and family.

Lee Strauss is a pen name. Can you tell us how that came about?
After I’d completed the Clockwise Series books and Seaweed, I realized that I had created a brand with my name Elle Strauss. The readers of those books expect something geared to the younger YA crowd, in the G – PG rating. I knew I’d be adding to that brand with my Love, Tink Series and when I decided to write and publish books geared toward an older crowd, I didn’t feel right labeling them with the Elle Strauss name. That’s when I decided to use Lee Strauss for anything I would give a PG13 rating or higher. I don’t try to keep it a secret that both names are me, and I list Elle Strauss as the author of my Lee Strauss books, too, just so my readers can find me. But I want to make sure they know what kind of book they’re buying.

What is your favorite scene or quote (spoiler-free)?
In PERCEPTION, I like the scene on the bus, where it’s too crowded for them to sit and they’re pressed close together, standing. They’re falling in love but both resisting it so hard! J

Is there a special message in your novel you want to communicate to your readers?
The theme in PERCEPTION is in the title. How we easily misjudge people, mistrust them because they’re different from us, or we’re raised to dislike them. Our perception of people and situations are often wrong or misguided. Noah and Zoe’s perceptions of each other and the world they live in change radically as the book progresses.

How do your characters communicate with you?
So much discovery happens in the writing. Not only plot but character development. I go in thinking of a character in a certain way and by the end of the rough draft, he or she is almost always different that what I thought going in. So I guess they talk to me as the story unfolds.

How did your characters tell you their names?
I chose Noah and Zoe as names for the main characters because one of the themes in PERCEPTION is the desire and pursuit of longer/eternal life. Zoe is Greek for the word life, and Noah is the character in the bible whose life span was shortened by God to 120 years.
(So that explains my whine about Zoe and Noah's name :-) )

Did your characters teach you anything when writing their story? If so, what was it?
I don’t know if they taught me any, so much as they reminded me of things. Like don’t take life for granted; live each day, don’t just let it tick by; always tell the people I love, that I love them; anyone can change, for better or worse, but we have the choice and we can be better if we want to.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
At the risk of sounding cliché, read a lot, write a lot, study your craft, take risks, do new things.

Who is your favorite book boyfriend?
My favorite book boyfriend is usually the hero of whatever book I’m reading. I just finished FLAT OUT LOVE by Jessica Park, and so I’m going to say….Finn. J

Where can your readers befriend you? Blog? Facebook? Twitter? Goodreads? Links, please.

I only send emails to announce a new release or promotion. No spam – I promise. J

You can find links to Perception here:


a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Thanks to Elle for the EBook copies of Perception.


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