Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Perception by Lee Strauss Review & First Chapter Excerpt!

Perception by Lee Strauss

Release Date: September 12, 2012
Publisher: Self-Published 
Pages: 234
Genre: YA Sci Fi/Mystery/Romance
Source: Author
Purchase: Amazon | Smashwords
Haunt Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Seventeen year old Zoe Vanderveen is a GAP—a genetically altered person. She lives in the security of a walled city on prime water-front property along-side other equally beautiful people with extended life spans. Her brother Liam is missing. Noah Brody is a natural who lives on the outside. He leads protests against the GAPs and detests the widening chasm they’ve created between those who have and those who don’t. He doesn’t like girls like Zoe and he has good reason not to like her specifically. Zoe’s carefree life takes a traumatic turn. She’s in trouble and it turns out that Noah, the last guy on earth she should trust, is the only one who can help her. PERCEPTION is a ( SF/mystery/romance) Young Adult novel that takes place in the not-too-distant future in a world changed by climate extremes, natural disasters and impending wars, and where scientific breakthroughs cause class divisions—both financially and philosophically. It explores the clash between faith and science and how differences can separate us as enemies or ally us together. And in some cases, even in the midst of betrayal and personal crisis, there’s room to fall in love. This is the first book in a planned three book series.

I love futuristic science fiction especially gadety things like what the Jetsons have lol so this book was so perfect for me! I loved the world building. Zoe had a ComRing which was like the most awesome phone ever. I want one. Plus some pretty awesome appliances. Zoe is a genetically altered person. Her life span is doubled since she received the GAP treatment. But like with any scientific advancements there are people that don't believe in the treatment so they live on the "outside". This creates lots of class differences and rebellion. The GAPs have way better living conditions, especially Zoe, whose grandfather was actually part of the invention of GAPs.

Zoe's brother goes missing and she is determined to find out what happened to him. Liam was working on a secret project at the University with her boyfriend Jackson and another student. When she questions Jackson, he blows her off and seems to be hiding something. Zoe decides to disguise herself and venture to the outside for answers because of a clue she found in Liam's room. She runs into her housekeeper's son, Noah Brody, who is quickly onto her. Noah is a natural and completely against GAPs but he agrees to help her get to the truth.

Zoe Vanderveen, I love her name, was such a great sister. Whenever I read books or watch movies where a sister goes to amazing lengths to help her brother, I always tell my brother I would never do that. lol I liked that Zoe was strong and stuck to her beliefs. Even though Noah was a natural and had different beliefs, she didn't completely abandon hers for his. I would be thinking along the lines of Zoe. An extra 100 years and no illnesses sign me up, but Noah is less scientific and more spiritual. He still stands by Zoe and accepts her for who she is. Their romance was very sweet and easy to root for. Even though Zoe is with Jackson at the beginning it doesn't feel like a love triangle. Jackson is very cut off from Zoe as soon as Liam disappears.

The mystery kept me glued to the pages all night. I had an idea who was involved but there was a way bigger conspiracy going on than I thought and each piece was unraveled very thoughtfully to keep a great pace throughout the story. The one thing I that was difficult for me to get into was that after 73% it switches from Zoe's POV to Noah's. I love different POVs and I did eventually enjoy Noah's perspective but I would have rather it started sooner for me to get a feel for him before such a big switch. I was really connected to Zoe when all of a sudden I had to get used to Noah's voice. It was Noah's turn to make a decision about how involved he wants to get with Zoe and this conspiracy. Zoe will age completely different from Noah so their relationship will have many difficulties in the future. All my questions were answered by the end but everything is not resolved and I am ready to see where it goes in the next book!

"He grabbed my arm and pulled me close, his lips landing on mine. Apparently, it was more than okay. I kissed him back, surprised by my eagerness. His lips were soft and warm but his kisses were urgent. I wrapped my arms around his neck and grabbed onto his hair. He held my waist pulling me tight, body to body. If I'd questioned my humanity before, I didn't any more. The way I felt about Noah was very human."

Rating: 4.5/5

Lee Strauss writes historical and science fiction/romance for mature YA and adult readers. She also writes light and fun stuff under the name Elle Strauss. To find out more about Lee and her books check out her facebook page. To find out about new releases sign up for her newsletter at



Chapter 1

I balanced on my surfboard, right thigh burning and salt water stinging my eyes, while the best wave of the early morning carried me like a goddess on a pedestal to shore. My older brother Liam and I shared a friendly competition, and it gave me a certain, blissful satisfaction to catch the same wave and to get to shore first.
Beat ya!” I shouted over the noise of the crashing surf.
Seagulls flocked and circled over us, squawking loudly, adding to the cacophony.
The sun glistened off Liam’s damp blond curls as he shook them out. His eyes sparkled as his lips tugged up into a grin. “I let you win.”
Did not!” I smacked him playfully on the arm. “One more ride?”
Liam unzipped his wetsuit letting the top half fall down past his waist. He was in fine form, and I understood why all the girls raved about him. He was responsible for a long list of broken hearts.
I gotta get going,” he said, lifting his board.
I fell into stride beside him, my feet sinking into the cold, wet sand. “So soon?”
He nodded, the glint leaving his eyes. My lips tightened into a frown “You’re taking off with Jackson again?”
Jackson was my boyfriend but lately he’d been spending more time with my brother than he had with me. It was starting to tick me off.
Liam stared straight ahead. “Lab stuff.”
What are you working on?” I rushed to keep up with my brother’s long, strong strides. He flicked his head, tossing the hair out of his eyes but didn’t answer.
Come on,” I knocked into him sideways. “Tell me!”
It’s just stuff.”
Just stuff? Like what? Top CIA stuff? I know you’re smart but I think the government has been doing a good job without your help.”
I meant it as a joke, but Liam huffed. “It’s just stuff, okay? So leave it.”
I stopped short shocked that he’d snapped at me.
He turned around and exhaled, “Zoe, I’m sorry.”
Fine. If you can’t tell me, you can’t tell me.”
We resumed our trek along the beach, and I pushed back my frustration. Liam used to include me in everything. It was always him and me against everyone else. Him and me against Alison and Paul, aka our mom and dad. Him and me against the surf. We were a team. When did we start keeping secrets from each other? Rather, when did he start keeping secrets from me?
I re-adjusted my board under my arm. Maybe I could get Jackson to unzip his lips. Especially if I helped him. He could be easily persuaded if I poured on the charm. I hated to go behind my brother’s back for information, but something about all this--this, whatever it was that Liam was doing--made me uneasy. I couldn’t pinpoint why, it just did.
We reached our home, a massive glass box with two floors of windows facing the Pacific Ocean. It was built after the San Andreas Fault shifted and triggered the Big Quake that, along with the subsequent tsunami, wiped out ten miles of shoreline.
A nearby white-stucco storage shed housed all our water toys. We stopped there to hang up our wetsuits to dry.
Thanks for surfing with me today.” Liam said, smiling at me, back to his jovial self. “I know it was a sacrifice for you to get up so early.”
I smiled in return. “No problem. It was fun.” Surfing with Liam was one of my most favorite things to do.
You’re back for dinner?” I asked.
Liam didn’t know it, but once he left, I’d be spending the rest of the day preparing for his surprise birthday party. He’d turned twenty-one yesterday and had celebrated at a bar with his friends. I couldn’t go because I was underage, and it irked me that Jackson went and that he and Liam had once again shared a significant moment without me. I took consolation in the fact that Alison and Paul gave me free reign to plan this party. My heart beat with excitement, and I couldn’t wait to see his face when he got home and found the house full of his friends.
Yeah, I’ll be there,” he answered.
I bit my cheek to keep my voice even. “Good.We’ll see you, then.”
Our property tiered twice before connecting with the sandy beach. Three glass doors slid open disappearing into the corner and creating a wall-less view of the stone patio that encased an eternity pool. Its waters slipped over the far edge into a waterfall that was collected again on the second tier.
Liam strode into the house, through the living room and down the hall to his bedroom at the back, his wet shorts dripping on the glossy white tiles.
I tightened the towel around my waist and climbed the open-slat staircase to my room.
As I passed the maid, Saundra something, her brown face blanched. She stumbled slightly before grabbing the rail and catching herself.
Excuse me,” she said softly at my astonished look.
The woman really didn’t look well, and I was thankful for my enhanced immunization. I was glad I didn’t have to worry about diseases brought in from the outside.
Are you okay?” I asked.
She nodded weakly, and proceeded to clean the rails. I’d requested extra staff to get the house ready for Liam’s party.

A trill of anticipation reclaimed my thoughts. I couldn’t wait for tonight.
The door beside my bathroom opened into a second room, a walk-in closet big enough to house another bedroom set. Racks of clothes and shoes lined the walls, a well-lit mirror station was located near the sky light and a cushioned leather bench was placed in the middle for sitting. I stood in my closet and stared at the rows of sundresses, blouses and shorts.
What to wear?
I settled on a lace blouse and cotton shorts, then went to take a luxurious shower, rinsing the sea water out of my long, blond hair. I leaned into the built-in seat that was designed specifically for my body height and shape. Laser lights mapped my head and twenty-eight silicon fingers reached out to massage my scalp while shampooing and conditioning my hair. Most days I had to watch or I’d doze off, but today I was excited. I commanded the water to turn off as soon as the rinse was done.
When I was dressed and my hair combed out and tied back, I slipped my platinum Communication Ring onto my left middle finger. I tapped it which produced a holographic image of my phone apps on my palm. I touched the clock icon and holographic digital numbers appeared in the air.
Ten already? Where did the time go? That was the thing with summer holidays; every hour ran languidly into the next.
I imagined the cook and her crew were busy preparing for the party in the kitchen. I’d requested fresh sea food and simulated roast, fresh fruit and vegetables, an assortment of fancy chocolates and baked items plus a three-tiered, surfer-themed birthday cake.
I skipped down the stairs to check on the progress, but in my hurry to the kitchen, I slammed into a body.
Sorry,” a male voice said.
I stepped back agitated. I recognized the dark-haired boy wearing the white tunic my mother made the male staff wear. He was the maid’s son and I guessed he was part of the extra staff. He held a wet mop in his hand, and I figured he’d been cleaning up Liam’s spotty water trail.
He stepped politely out of the way, but the expression on his face was stoic. Even though he was clearly from the outside and the help, I still expected some small sign that what he saw when he viewed me was pleasing. A twinkle in the eye, a slight upturning of the lips. These were the responses I got from all the boys. The straight ones, anyway.
He wasn't especially attractive but I didn't see people with his appearance very often. He had eyes the color of imported coffee beans and skin like caramel candy. His nose was wide and his jaw-line sharp. I was suddenly intrigued by him and surprised myself by thinking he looked exotic.
Excuse me, what was your name again?” I asked.
Right. I remembered now. I waited for him to say something, but he stayed quiet.
Footsteps echoed from the hall above. My parents spoke together, their muffled voices floating across the high ceilings.
Do other maids send their sons to do their work?” Alison's voice had a brassy tone that carried through the cavernous space.
I felt a flare of red creep up my neck when I realized Alison was talking about Noah. My eyes darted to his, but he kept his averted.
He does a good job,” Paul responded. “That's the main thing. Besides you know they need the money.”
So we're charity now?”
What's wrong with a little charity? Besides, they're not just anybody.”
I don't care. I still don't trust him.”
I was mortified. My feet felt cemented to the floor and I didn’t know what to say. Anything would come off as trite since nothing I could say could undo what Noah had heard.
Did you know the Pikes have a household robot now?” Alison, again. “Apparently it’s very efficient, and at least Mary doesn’t have to worry about things going missing.”
Noah’s jaw tightened and he turned his back to me. He attacked Liam’s dried and dusty water spots aggressively and soon had disappeared around the corner.
Zoe?” Alison click-clacked down the wooden stairs. She wore a pale yellow pant suit and high heels even though it was Saturday. She was in-between careers now, having spent the last fifteen years in law. She barely looked thirty years old and with lots of time ahead of her, she could do anything. Probably several things.
Mom! You have to keep your voice down. How many times do I have to tell you your voice travels in this glass box?
Oh.” She looked mildly shaken. “No matter. Is everything coming together to your satisfaction?”
I’m just checking in on things now.”
Your father and I are meeting people for lunch. What time is the party again?”
I blew a frustrated breath. She could at least pretend she cared enough to remember details I’d told her a dozen times already.
Right. We’ll see you at seven.”
Things proceeded throughout the day as planned and I was pleased with my ability to pull off an event like this on my own.
The decorators showed up at 1:00 as promised.
The band arrived to set up at 3:00.
I got dressed at 4:30, having bought a thigh-length mini-dress that sparkled with tiny crystals just for the occasion.
My hair and makeup girl arrived at 5:00.
I tapped my ring and called Jackson at 5:30.
Where are you?” I said to the three-inch holographic image of him that popped up above my palm. “You said you’d help.”
Sorry, Zo. Got tied up at home.”
Are you okay? You don’t sound so good.”
It was odd. No one in Sol City ever got really sick, but it wasn’t unheard of to get run down if you pushed yourself too hard. Jackson had been working a lot lately.
I didn’t sleep well last night. Uh, spent most of the day in bed.”
I felt a little panicky. “You’re still coming, aren’t you?”
Of course. I’ll be there soon.”
Alison and Paul arrived at 6:30 along with all of mine and Liam’s friends.
I hushed everyone at 6:55, giving instructions on when to shout “Surprise!”
It was all a wasted effort.
Liam never showed.


  1. This story sounds wonderful! I loved the quote you used, Jennifer. The romance seems very swoony. I would also find it a little jarring to have another POV introduced at 73%. If there's more than one POV, I'm more comfortable with it happening from the beginning. Wonderful review. :)

    1. Great romance! I really love the mix of sci fi/mystery/romance! I also prefer that the POV changes stating at the beginning. It says Zoe so I thought there would be alternating POVs but by 73% I had totally forgot about seeing that. Still works out well though!

  2. Great excerpt! I really like the sound of this book and I'm glad to see you enjoyed it, Jennifer. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I read it really quickly! Great read! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. We both have this on our blogs today! Neat! Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. This sounds like a good one. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Oh come on you would to go through great lengths to save your brother..l liked that line about how you loved all the gadgety things as well. This sounds a like a fun and thrilling read. It is always so great fo find a good read at a bargain proce. Thanks for snaring today!

    1. I love gadgets! I am super lazy so anything that makes life easier! LOL I really wish we already had Jetsons type of stuff. And no I would not. My brother and I were discussing this movie where this sister became a lawyer and worked super hard to get her wrongly convicted brother out of prison. I was like oh no definitely wouldn't do that! LOL And yes I love finding great indie reads for $3! Really can't beat it!

  6. OMG, you read this fast! I wish I could read faster, It's hard now that my daughter is in kindergarten :( Glad you really liked this one :)

    1. Yes I do read fast but this was easy to read. I'm a bit of a slow writer though. I have like 5 reviews to write. With your daughter in school shouldn't that free up more time!?! lol I don't have kids but I do help take care of my grandmother at times which is just as much work. She is so much like a kid. This one was great! Hope you enjoy it when you get a chance to read it.

  7. I am actually really looking forward to reading this. I am seeing this around everywhere...and the plot has me definitely intrigued! Awesome Review, Jennifer! :D Hopefully, I can pick this one up soon!

    ~ Maida @ Literary Love Affair

    1. It has a great plot and really cool futuristic elements! Hope you enjoy it!

  8. LOL - I tell my brother stuff like that too.

    I do believe I want to continue reading this one :)

    1. It is an attention grabber excerpt. Definitely makes you want to know what happened to Liam! He was up to some interesting stuff! I know in movies people sure go to a lot of trouble. I tell my brother don't count on me for that! LOL

  9. I read the blurb and first thing that came up in my mind is The Glimpse. This whole story reminds me of that book. But then I read your review and it sounds much more interesting than it seems. I love different POVs and from your description I think I'd love characters as well.
    Great review!

    Tanja @ Ja čitam, a ti?

    1. I haven't read The Glimpse. I started it but I got bored. It is a bit different from what I did read of that book. I love different POVs too!

  10. Oh my God this sounds amazing!! Great excerpt! thanks for sharing this with us!!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  11. Ooo! I'm pretty sure I've seen this book before. I love the cover and the infinity symbol is so intriguing! I definitely need to check this book out and the excerpt sounds AWESOME!

    Amazing review, Jennifer! ♥ So glad you enjoyed it!

    1. It was a neat book! I haven't read a lot of sci fi lately so it was a nice change.

  12. This sounds like a very cool story. I didn't realize Lee Strauss was Elle Strauss. I liked her book, Clockwise. I'm glad you enjoyed the story so much, Jennifer. Thanks for the excerpt.

    1. I loved Clockwise as well! And Seaweed was good too so I jumped on the chance to read this. I am loving all her stuff so far!

  13. Sounds like a pretty interesting sci-fi. GAPs! LOL :) That's hilarious and awesome!I've never heard of this book before, but now i'm definitely checking out. Great review!

    1. GAPs were interesting! I would totally have the treatment but more things will be revealed about the treatment. It was just sad that those that didn't want it had to live on the "outside"

  14. "I always tell my brother I would never do that" haha!

    I am going to have to check this out, I am getting into more YA sci-fi and this sounds awesome and I totally agree that it's weird to switch PoVs so close to the end!

    1. I love sci fi! Yeah I was kind of shocked when it all of a sudden switched so late in the book. I eventually got used to the new voice but it took a little time. LOL Yes my brother and I always have weird conversations and for real I would never think to even investigate. I would probably just accept the answer I was given.

  15. LOL, I always tell my brother's that too! it's like, it there ever is an event like the Hunger Games, you're so on your own x) thankfully we're too old to be tributes now :3

    Great Review! Definitely have to read it :))

    1. HAHA I told my brother that I would never take his place in the Hunger Games! I said I would wish him luck! LOL It was good. No freaky robots. Well kind of... You will just have to read it!


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