Reviewed: “The Girl at the Door” by Veronica Raimo

tw: rape, sexual assault, abuse, drug use, professor-student relationship

Trigger warnings are required for this novel, because it is based on all of those things. That’s where the story comes from, so you can’t read them… don’t read this.

That being said, if you can read those things and want to try a very unique novel, give this one a try.

Raimo doesn’t give any of the characters names; and it is told from the perspective of Him and Her, i.e. the Professor and his Partner. They lived in what is meant to be a utopian sort of community after the rest of the world has crashed, but the community is as bland in it’s desire to have social equality as it is repressive in it’s desire to ensure that it remains a ‘utopia.’

Both Her and Him came from somewhere else with the desire to find a place among all the rules (there are rules about where furniture can be placed and there are rules about what you must contribute to the community) and away from the chaos of home.

The novel begins with a former student of the Professor turning up to tell his Partner that he raped her two years ago and that she is starting the process to have him expelled from the community.

From there, the story of why they wanted to fit in and how they don’t, why they don’t want to fit in and how the do is told as the Professor’s case goes through the self-proclaimed fair system of justice in the community. It’s stark and it’s not easy to read, because of what caused it all but…

…in the end it is a fascinating look at, simply put, how the grass is very rarely greener on the other side.

(Thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for the chance to read this book. I apologize for how long it took for me to get to it.)

Reviewed: “Criminal” by K.B. Hoyle

Criminal-Low-Res-CoverI read a book in December 2014 called Breeder by K.B. Hoyle and I loved it. The story of a dystopian world in which the perfect specimens of young women are selected to be breeders, producing the perfect offspring for the United World Order. The story centered on Pria, who had been a Breeder until she was rescued by a mysterious man named Pax. The pair of them found their way to a resistance nest where they set out to try and help upend what had become of the world.

I remember being very eager to read the sequel so when I was offered the chance to read the sequel, I jumped at it. And then I got very nervous. After all, it’s been just four months short of two years since I read the first book and my TBR list was far too long to let me go back and re-read. I promised myself that I would if I started Criminal and felt lost.

But I was not lost.

It’s a testament to K.B. Hoyle’s writing that I remembered the characters, the plot, and the nuances of the story well enough to be pretty much unable to put Criminal down until I was done… done and already dreading the wait for the final part of the trilogy!

Criminal picks up exactly where the first book left off. And I am going to try and review this in a way that convinces someone to read both books without spoiling either so I apologize now for the probably over-excited, possibly confusing words that are about to follow. Read them, if you please, knowing that I loved both books, I have babbled to family and friends about how good they are, and I really think you should read them if they sound even a little bit like your sort of book.

The plot to this series reminds me of the Nazi Lebensborn programs and the quest for the perfect Aryan race. It reminds me of the science of today that is ever closer to allowing us to pick the eye color and hair color and height of our children – we can already pick genders. It reminds me of science fiction stories about science gone wrong and what the power of science in the wrong hands can do.Criminal-Small-Blog-Tour

It reminds me of everything that really kind of terrifies me.

On the other hand, it tells the story of how a few people are willing to risk everything to stop the wrongs that they say. It’s a story of bravery and determination in a bleak world. That is a story that is timeless.

K.B. Hoyle mixes all of these things together so well. The UWO is the ever-lurking antagonist, a dark shadow on the bleak world. The details on the UWO aren’t always specific – save for the breeders, drugging water to make a compliant population, and science experiments that threaten everyone – but that works for the story. It works because it is how things are.

Ordinary people don’t know everything their ruling government does. Conspiracy theories will always run first in the minds of some while compliance runs first in the minds of others. There is no doubt in Criminal that the resistance nest gets some things wrong. There is no doubt that they get some things right. And in the cities controlled by the UWO do contain tiny pockets of resistance while the majority go on with what they are “supposed” to do, often giving the idea that they might do it even if they weren’t drugged.

It is reality in a futuristic, dystopian world because it could be reality now.

Pria and Pax, and the community and leaders of the nest, are all relatable characters in that they aren’t perfect and they are able to see around the flaws that the others carry. They are well-developed in that their motivations aren’t always clear until the final action when it’s easy to see why they did what they did, even if you want to throttle them for being so stupid sometimes. They are also brave and selfless, as most people want to believe they would be in situations like those in this story.

I didn’t know it was going to be a trilogy when I started reading Criminal but as I got further into it and saw that the plotlines that kept me reading got more involved and more intense, I knew it wasn’t going to wrap up in the second book. I panicked about that a little! And then I quite literally smacked my head on my desk when I saw the excerpt and promo for the third (and final!) book in the series. I cannot wait to read it!

Important Details:

On Sale Date — August 25, 2016 at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and TWCS PH

I was thrilled to get the chance to read Criminal, the second book in K.B. Hoyle’s Breeder series and I want to thank TWCS, Cindy Bidwell, and K.B. Hoyle for letting me read an ARC and share my thoughts in this review.

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“Breeder” by K.B. Hoyle – BLOG TOUR


  • Release Date: December 11 , 2014
  • Published by The Writers Coffee Shop
  • Genre: Fiction: Dystopian
  • ISBN e-book:   978-1-61213-292-1

Available from: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and TWCS PH


Everything about Seventeen’s life is perfect, from her genetics, to her home in Sanctuary, to her status as a Breeder in the Unified World Order. But all that changes when she meets a rogue Enforcer named Pax, who infiltrates Sanctuary and targets her for extraction from the Controlled Repopulation Program. Pax seems to know a little too much about her, and he plants dangerous doubts in her mind that accuse Sanctuary of hiding a dark secret, and that cause Seventeen to question everything she’s ever known.

When Seventeen’s life is threatened, she has little choice but to run away from Sanctuary with Pax. But for Breeders, contact with men is forbidden by law, and even the simple act of taking Pax’s hand is treason.

Mired in confusion, Seventeen travels with Pax to the outside world and takes the name Pria, the identity of her childhood. But she is far from certain she’s made the right decision when they discover an entire community of people who should no longer exist.

Seventeen, now Pria, is thrust into a position as a key player in a dangerous bid to bring down the Unified World Order. Meanwhile, Pax’s attachment to her and her growing attraction to him contribute to the ever-growing mysteries in her life.

Pria’s journey from a sheltered, naïve Breeder to a rebel agent requires not only external transformation but self-discovery. As her world crumbles, Pria must decide who she is and what she really believes.

But the truth comes at a cost, and uncovering it will require a greater treason than she could ever have imagined.

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K.B. Hoyle is a bestselling author, a public speaker, a creative writing instructor, and a classical history teacher who uses her knowledge of the ancient and medieval worlds to pen speculative and fantasy tales for people of all ages. She has been married since the age of twenty to the love of her life, with whom she has four wonderful children. Find out more about her at


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Praise for Breeder

“Breeder was anything but a let down. The characters were extremely well written, making me able to empathize with Pria and Pax and the situation they find themselves in. I kept turning the pages because I just had to find out what happened to these people and, to my shock, finished the book in a day! ”  – Angela  Goodreads Review

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 My Review of BREEDER

Dystopia and post-apocalyptic seem to be all the rage in popular literature right now. This could, and probably does mean, that there’s a lot to sift through until you find real gems. K.B. Hoyle’s “Breeder” is one of those gems.

Set in the Rocky Mountains, “Breeder” is the story of a post-apocalyptic world in which the vast majority of the world’s population has been wiped out due to three Devastations. The new Unified World Order (UWO) keeps strict control of the remaining people, assigning everyone to the job they’re deemed most suited for and making sure no one strays from that path. One of the more horrific and still intriguing aspects of life under the UWO is that of Sanctuary – the small communities of young women deemed best able to be the best… Breeders and able to produce offspring who are near genetic perfection, with proper genetic contributions from carefully selected me, of course. The women in Sanctuary are kept drugged and ready to bear children for the state. What happens to the children, especially those that don’t meet the exacting standards of the UWO, isn’t always clear but it is just clear enough to be horrific.

Pria, the Breeder on whom the story is centered, asks too many questions. She thinks beyond the world she’s been told to accept. Until Pax comes along, though, she can’t think of what to be different.

Pax, and this book is a perfect love story – slow and unsure at times but seemingly stronger all the time, has infiltrated Sanctuary to get a Breeder out. His reasons for wanting to steal a Breeder, although he refers to it as saving, seem clear cut enough – he can’t join a renegade group without bringing them a Breeder, but he seems passionately conflicted at times.

Pria and Pax quickly realize they have the same goals: to live outside the UWO and to find a Nest of renegades who don’t conform and are trying undermine all that the UWO stands for. Pria’s eyes are opened by the genetically “imperfect” people who do exist despite all that she was taught. She discovers a world that she loves, a world that she would do anything to preserve. And she does.

There a few things that can be tip-offs as to how good a book really is. One the things that I noticed reading “Breeder” is that at the 60% mark I thought to myself “This really can’t be wrapped up in this book… can it?” Then at 80% I thought “No, no, this cannot be wrapped up. There’s going to be a second book to finish this story.” And then at 95% I said “Please let it not be that long until the next book comes out!”

I was a little upset that it said the second part comes out in 2015 but then I realized it’s November so now I’m just hoping it’s not that late in 2015 that I get to finish the story.


(I received a copy of “Breeder” through NetGalley in exchange for an honest & original review. My review will be cross-posted on NetGalley, Goodreads, and my blog.)