June 28, 2014

Hive & Heist by Janine A. Southard ~ Blog Tour: Review of Queen & Commander (Book #1) & Giveaway!

Welcome to my stop on the Hive & Heist Blog Tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. Click here to follow along with the tour. 

Title: Queen & Commander
Series: Hive Queen Saga #1
Author: Janine A. Southard
Publication date: May 2014
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Source: Review copy

Purchase: Amazon | B&N 

**WINNER 2013 IPPY AWARD - Silver Medal for Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror E-Book**

On a world where high school test scores determine your future, six students rebel. They'll outrun society as fast as their questionably obtained spaceship will take them.

Rhiannon doesn't technically cheat the Test. She's smarter than the computers that administer it, and she uses that to her advantage. She emerges from Test Day with the most prestigious future career possible: Hive Queen.

Gwyn & Victor are madly in love, but their Test results will tear them apart. Good thing Rhiannon is Gwyn's best friend. Rhiannon can fix this. Queens can do anything. 

Gavin is the wild card. Raised off-planet, he can't wait to leave again...and he's heard of an empty ship in orbit. The Ceridwen's Cauldron.

Both Luciano and Alan fit in the system. They don't need to leave. Only their devotion to Rhiannon spurs them to join the Cauldron's crew.

Spaceships. Blackmail. Anywhere but here.

Queen & Commander is a novel that has everything I love about science fiction - action, drama, great characters, and romance. Each character is fully his or her own person with individual characteristics, both positive and negative just like people possess in real life. And just like in real life, sometimes their personalities didn't mesh well, lending great drama and conflict to the story. 

I was so nervous for this group setting out on this adventure! They're so young and such a loosely formed Hive with secrets to keep and much could go wrong. Here's a breakdown of how I felt about the characters: 

Rhiannon - She was my favorite character, and her best friend, Gwyn, was a close second. I admired the sacrifice she made for her friend and couldn't imagine anyone else as Queen. She was young when her mother died and ended up clinging tightly to Gwyn. It made perfect sense to me why she sacrificed her own plans to help Gwyn. She yearned for what she had lost when her mother died. She made a wonderful Queen. I adore her.  

Gwyn & Victor - Ah, I love stories with forbidden lovers! Don't you? These two make a fabulous pair, and I rooted for them all the way. They have a lot to face - the stress of keeping their relationship a secret, doubts they have of staying in love, and normal couple issues that crop up.    

Gavin - My third favorite character, Gavin is deliciously eccentric and provides comic relief during those times when the situation gets too intense. He couldn't be more different than the other characters - he's had different life experiences. 

Luciano - I felt bad for him because he was so in love with Rhiannon, but those feelings weren't reciprocated. I feared a bit for his sanity when he found out the true situation after meeting everyone on the ship. It had to have been a shock to find out he wasn't going to live the way he previously thought.  

Alan - I found him annoying yet admired his intelligence and sharp wit. He's confident to the point of arrogance, and I enjoyed the banter between him and Rhiannon. 

The dynamics of the group were fabulously written. This Hive is brand-new and young, and since two members were brought on without a clue as to the plan that had been hatched, things realistically became complicated. Their personalities clashed at times, especially, in my opinion, Alan's because he's just such a know-it-all. 

I'm excited to find out what happens next because these were characters that I didn't want to leave behind when I reached the last page.  

My Rating:

Title: Hive & Heist
Series: Hive Queen Saga #2
Author: Janine A. Southard
Publication date: May 2014
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Source: Review copy

Purchase: Amazon | B&N 

Queen Rhiannon and her Hive have found safety on John Wayne Station, but with no way to pay their docking fees or Victor's medical bills, their debts are racking up quickly. Thankfully, Gavin gets a job with American Space Ranger M3L-15-A, who's hot on the trail of dangerous criminals.

The teens move in with their Ranger benefactor, but when they revisit their ship to pick up personal belongings, they realize their Alcubierre tensor jet has been stolen!

If Rhiannon and her Hivemates ever hope to leave, they must find and steal back what's theirs. But far from home and among strangers, who can they trust? Will they be stuck on John Wayne for the rest of their lives?

Janine A. Southard writes and edits speculative fiction in between working on videogame projects. She's attended more than the average number of universities, which she claims is a FEATURE. ("Oxford educated, but Californian at heart.") She's also lived and traveled in Europe, the United States, and Japan. Currently, she lives in Seattle with a husband (and a cat) and sings with a Celtic band.

Blog Tour organized by:


  1. Ooooho this one sounds awesomely amazing! The overview is catching and the characters sound fabulous. Hope I win the competition *holding thumbs*
    That cover is also awesome :)

    Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.

    1. Good luck with the giveaway, girl! :) I really love this - it's a GREAT YA Science Fiction story. It has everything and is really awesome! I love the covers, too! Thanks for stopping by, Chanzie! :)


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