Book Review: Prisoner Of Mauvias (Book #1 Of The God’s Game Series) by Tiffany Brazell

Book Details:

Author: Tiffany Brazell
Release Date: 
20th December 2020
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: The God’s Game Series (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 252 pages
Publisher: Regalis Publishing, LLC
Blurb:
The Destroyer’s Empire Part 1 is the first book in The God’s Game, a new epic fantasy series by Tiffany Brazell. A cursed world…
An immortal empress…
A girl with forbidden knowledge and unknown power…
Although she has read all about Vias the Destroyer’s dreaded liths, Salmaara has never seen one. In fact, she’s not even sure the nightmarish, mouthless creatures exist.
She’s never been to Mauvias, land created by the goddess Vias the Destroyer, ruled by a ruthless immortal empress, a place where the very air is cursed with insatiable thirst, or to the ancient city Kalitoomba, a city of soaring glass towers ruled by a benevolent god-king. Following her rescue from a river, Salmaara lives a quiet life working in her father’s pottery shop, trying to discover who she is in a town where her golden eyes and fair skin make it clear she doesn’t belong. Illun, the man she loves as her father, is keeping a secret. An important secret.

Her looks aren’t the only thing that makes her different. Salmaara can sense where people are by their souls, and can connect her soul to theirs.
One morning, she reaches for the feeling of her father’s soul and hears his thoughts, something she thought only the servants of the Destroyer could do. Before she can discover what it means, one of the liths appears, takes her captive, and carries her away to the gruesome prison city of Günhai, where even the stones cry out in pain. Within its lightproof halls, Salmaara will have to decide, will she do what she’s told, and become a pet, a tool of the empire, of the destroyer herself? Or, will she have to risk her life and very soul, to discover who she truly is and how her powers will be used?

“Imaginative and vast, The God’s Game Series is a big story vividly told, sure to satisfy fans of epic fantasy.”

Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of The Saga of Seven Suns.

“Tiffany Brazell’s imagination takes off where others’ end. This is a tale of high magic that is sure to please.”

David Farland, New York Times bestselling author of The Runelords.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Prisoner Of Mauvias by Tiffany Brazell is the first book in The God’s Game series – an epic fantasy series. This book is an adventurous journey that will take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions where dangers are lurking behind every turn.

It is a fast-paced fantasy read that follows a simple yet meticulous plot structure that keeps the action tight throughout the story. This book had good, if not superb, characterisation. I was able to connect to or relate with most of the characters, secondary as well as primary. I enjoyed reading this book and am really looking forward to reading the next part in the series as I am sure the characterisation would be further developed in it.

I would definitely recommend this book to all fantasy readers.


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Book Review: Jamie Whistler Plays Out of the Park Baseball Because It’s the Only Thing That Matters by R.J. O’Sullivan 

Book Details:

Author: R.J. O’Sullivan 
Release Date: 
15th December 2021
Genre: Science-Fiction, Political Satire
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 235 pages
Publisher: RHELM, LLC
Blurb:
After losing his entire family to COVID, the baseball-obsessed heir to a corporate empire uses his family fortune to hit the re-set button on America. Concocting a plot to kidnap a million QAnon followers for the purpose of “deprogramming” them, Jamie Whistler takes the lessons learned from playing his favorite simulation game and applies them to the real world.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Jamie Whistler Plays Out Of The Park Baseball Because It’s The Only Thing That Matters by R.J. O’Sullivan is a unique and refreshing new political satire sci-fi novel.

This book has an intelligent plot, well-written prose to complement it and a cast of interesting and engaging characters that made this book a compelling read. The author has used his amazing sense of humour and subtle phrases to take digs on the current political scenarios, especially relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, drawing the readers attention to the real matter that should be of concern to all of us.

I loved reading this book and would definitely recommend it to all reads of satire and political fiction who won’t mind a sci-fi setting.


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Book Review: The Solar Realm – The Silver Slayer by PM Black

Book Details:

Author: PM Black
Release Date: 
5th December 2021
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 332 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
Empress Saltome, sovereign of the eight planets, has been captured through an act of betrayal by blood-thirsty demons who plan to make the billions under her rule their personal livestock.
Hope for the survival of her people lies in Kora, an infamous assassin and loyal protector of the Empress who evaded capture with the Imperial Orb, the source of the Empress’ power. Kora is charged to deliver the orb and protect seventeen-year-old Jenanine Blackwater, the secret heir apparent of the realm and, outside of the Empress, the sole individual with the ability to wield the orb’s power.

Growing up in a hidden palace kingdom void of the racial hate plaguing her two largest neighbors, Jeanine can’t wait to begin her training as Empress. She wants to bring peace and well-being throughout The Eight while wearing the most fabulous dresses and hosting the most lavish balls. 

When Kora crash lands on their planet, she brings with her a league of demons and assassins hunting to destroy the Imperial Orb. The fate of The Eight now rests on a small band of warriors and a wide-eyed, young girl who has never left the hidden valley of her home. But what will happen when the few allies Jenanine has turn out to be her biggest threat? 

Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Solar Realm: The Silver Slayer by PM Black is an immersive sci-fi novel that will take you on an inter-galactic rollercoaster.

This book had good characterisation, decent writing and a good concept that was executed nicely enough. I enjoyed reading this book as the pacing was great and the action was consistent. There were some dull moments but the following tension more than made up for them each time. The world-building was really good and overall I think it is a well-written book and I am really looking forward to reading the next part in this series.

I would recommend this series to all sci-fi fantasy readers.


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Book Review: A Soldier’s Quartet by Colin Baldwin

Book Details:

Author: Colin Baldwin 
Release Date: 2nd September 2021
Genre: New Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction, War Fiction
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 227 pages
Publisher: Shawline Publishing Group Pty Ltd
Blurb:
CONRAD BENTLEY ENJOYS HIS RETIREMENT.
By chance, he comes across a letter from WWI — a German father writes about his grief of losing a son to war — buried by his three comrades near a small French village. The letter resonates with Conrad and he commits to researching its backstory.
Months later, Conrad makes contact with the fallen soldier’s family. He falls deeper into their history and other untold stories from this era, including the fate of young Tasmanian soldiers who also fought on the Western Front.

A Soldier’s Quartet is inspired by true events, a story of perseverance and happenstance that transcends time and reaches across continents. It presents the human faces behind uniforms and battle plans, conveys love and hope set against various landscapes.
Conrad’s discovery of the letter brings the past into the present as he reflects on his own life and loss.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Soldier’s Quartet by Colin Baldwin is a beautiful book about love, loss, hope, heartbreak and most of all about the reality of the war that was fought that changed not only the world as we know it today but how it had also affected the relationships and personal lives of generations of families of the soldiers who fought in the war.

I am falling short of words in describing the beauty of this book. It is simply outstanding. The writing, the characters, the settings and the backdrop of the war and the present time – they all interlace perfectly together creating an irresistible blend of a book.

I would like to congratulate author Baldwin for having dealt with such a sensitive and delicate topic with such great care and love that it has metamorphosed into the wonderful and enthralling piece of art that this book is. I would highly recommend this book to all the readers because it has a lot to offer to readers all across the globe.


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Book Review: Playtime in Vella Dera by Benzon Ray Barbin

Book Details:

Author: Benzon Ray Barbin
Release Date: 27th October 2021
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Short Story
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 54 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
What are the consequences of denying one’s true self?
A traveler named Enauria has returned home for the first time in many years. She connects with a psychiatrist and renews a plan to fulfill a promise to an old friend.
“Playtime in Vella Dera” is a speculative fiction short story. Set in the future, it unfolds a familiar, contemporary vibe with jazz music, lounge life, and varying cityscapes. Adventure and danger intensify as lore and concealed magic intersect.
Enjoy Vella Dera as a stand-alone, or as a companion piece to the novella Reflections of Destiny.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Playtime In Vella Dera by Benzon Ray Barbin is a well-written, concise story that packs a powerful punch.

I loved reading it as the story was good, moved quickly and had a lot to offer in such few pages! The character of Enauria is beautifully crafted and as I already knew her, it felt like meeting an old friend. It felt like a side-quest in an RPG – that is how relatable the main character is.

This book is a companion story to Reflections Of Destiny but as the author clarifies it can also be read as a standalone novella. It intersects the world and the events of the RoD so I’d highly suggest reading them both as they both are great pieces of speculative fiction/fantasy.


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Book Review: Into the Violet Gardens by Isaac Nasri

Book Details:

Author: Isaac Nasri
Release Date: 16th August 2021
Genre: Science-Fiction, Cyberpunk
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 252 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
The year is 2024. A ruthless cartel dominates Latin America, and the FBI’s Troy Levi gets commissioned to intervene. A cyborg for the bureau’s Virtual Division, Levi delivers a devastating blow to the cartel’s power but encounters a wave of social resentment in the aftermath.

As the people’s feelings for cyborgs grow bitter, former black-op cyborg ally and CIA operative Soriana Salazar finds herself caught between sides. Eliminating the cartel destabilized the region, fueling anti-cyborg sentiments in neighboring countries and afar. But tough decisions await Salazar after civil unrest forces the agency to sever all cyborgs ties. And that’s only the beginning…

Betrayed by the government, hated by the people, a vengeful league of cyborgs spawns a sinister scheme of liberation. And While Levi searches for Solace amid the turmoil and Salazar seeks balance, both will have to take a grave stand if they hope to stall the impending chaos.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Into The Violet Gardens by Isaac Nasri is a well-written science-fiction novel about a dystopian world that is much like the one we live in. The author has cleverly and intricately incorporated the realistic socio-political aspects of our society into the book’s world-building making it an extremely relatable and a very realistic read.

The characterisation is well-done, the writing is great and the prose flows seamlessly through all the action-packed fast-paced scenes. I enjoyed reading this book a lot because it was a very quick and entertaining read.

I highly recommend this book to all science-fiction, cyberpunk as well as action/adventure readers because this book has a lot to offer to its readers. I am sure you won’t be disappointed at all!


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Book Review: Reflections Of Destiny by Benzon Ray Barbin

Book Details:

Author: Benzon Ray Barbin
Release Date: 7th September 2020
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 148 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
Cheating death is becoming an art.
Enauria, a battle-tested heiress and expatriate, journeying between Earth and beyond on a personal vendetta only she understands.
Jaye DiVista, a top government assassin, willing to risk everything to rekindle a love with Arlene Asariel.
Enauria has a plan to thrust Jaye and his colleagues through an interstellar campaign. Can Jaye and Arlene derail Enauria’s grand scheme?
Reflections of Destiny is a science fiction and fantasy thriller. Magic collides in a futuristic landscape where an ensemble cast takes part in gunplay, dogfights, and eyes gaze at every sand in the hourglass.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reflections Of Destiny is a fun sci-fi fantasy thriller novel that will take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

This book is well-written, had a cast of versatile characters and an interesting and entertaining story that kept me hooked from the first page to the very last.

The characters are very relatable and I liked the secondary characters too because they added a lot to the story. There was a very interesting and important romantic sub-plot that drove the story with a powerful force raising the stakes and thus, making the story more interesting.

I enjoyed reading this book a lot and would definitely recommend it to all fantasy and sci-fi thriller readers.


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Graphic Novel Review: #TheTwin by Karel Jan Kosman

Author: Karel Jan Kosman
Release Date: 27th April 2018
Genre: Science-Fiction, Graphic Novel, Young Adult
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 106 pages
Publisher: Quires Investments RLLLP
Blurb:

TheTwin is an entertaining and engaging social science fiction. A vividly illustrated story of twin planets, twin heroines, and twin virtues. Food for thoughts served in laconic nuggets of the hashtag age. 

Colorado teenage friends discover a twin planet of Earth in a parallel universe. An adventurous reporter records their quest, and gradually drawn into the story finds the love of his life. 

#TheTwin addresses young readers who will enjoy meeting the planetary twins and their eight female co-stars.

Review

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

#TheTwin by Karel Jan Kosman is a very unique science-fiction novel that is sure to make you question a lot of things both ordinary as well as extraordinary.

I feel a little unsure about this book even though the book has a very compelling concept and a lot of potential, it somehow falls to bring everything together. The writing felt flat and the characters felt too underdeveloped for the kind of story that was conceived. I strongly think that with such a strong plot, one needs to have really good characterisation and a very good narrative to support as well as compliment it. And that is what was lacking in this book.

The graphics were good and I was able to detect a hidden theme running in them which was quite a surprise. I enjoyed them as they were crisp and clear.

I still liked the overall plot and the way the story was told in three different parts and feel that hardcore sci-fi fans might enjoy this story.


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Book Review: The Shoreless Sea (Liminal Sky #3) by J. Scott Coatsworth

Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Release Date: 9th September 2020
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy, LGBTQ
Series: Liminal Sky (Book #3)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 400 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Blurb:
As the epic trilogy hurtles toward its conclusion, the fight for the future isn’t over yet. It could lead to a new beginning, or it might spell the end for the last vestiges of humankind. The generation ship Forever has left earth behind, but a piece of the old civilization lives on in the Inthworld—a virtual realm that retains memories of earth’s technological wonders and vices. A being named Lilith leads the uprising, and if she succeeds in setting its inhabitants free, they could destroy Forever.

But during the generation ship’s decades-long voyage, humanity has evolved. Liminals with the ability to connect with the world mind and the Inthworld provide a glimmer of hope. They’ll have to face not only Lilith’s minions, but also the mistrust of their own kind and persecution from a new government as homotypicals continue to fear what they can’t understand. The invasion must be stopped, the Inthworld must be healed, and the people of Forever must let go of their past and embrace what they’re meant to become.

Book Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Shoreless Sea by J. Scott Coatsworth is the 3rd book in the series Liminal Sky and my third book by author J. Scott Coatsworth.

Wow! What a smashing ending to a brilliant series! If I have to sum up this series in a single sentence, I would say that all the time I put into reading this series was well worth it and I am really happy that I read it. For some reason (and a valid one too) I am a little sceptical when I am offered a series to review because more often than not, authors tend to either completely blow it, or fail to keep up with the one best book in the series. Both of which are pretty irritating and sad, to be honest. But I am so, so happy that this series did not turn out to be one of those: the story grew steadily, and the characterisation along with it, as the series progressed further with each book ending in a way that made perfect sense.

I loved this book because it answered all the questions and tied pretty much all loose ends making it a perfect end to such an epic journey. And thankfully, it lived up to my expectations from it based on its prequels as a reader, so I was left very satisfied. The most amazing part is, I could see the improvement and growth, which is only natural, in the entire series, and this book turned out to be the best one. I loved the plot, the action and the politics involved were well structured and executed.

I loved how the author made use of subtle and well-placed indirect metaphors and juxtaposition to get the bigger point across; we, humans, are indeed scared of things and concepts we do not understand or fail to understand for some reason and therefore are very quick to form an opinion against that concept or thing forgetting, very conveniently, that we are, in the end, beings of evolution and thus will have to accept the changes that we as a species and the overall nature has to undergo or experience.

I’d definitely recommend not only this book but the entire series to all sci-fi and fantasy lovers. And if you’re looking for a new series to explore, I highly recommend Liminal Sky series as this series begins on a great note and ends at an even better note. Go for it, it is well worth the time and money!

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Book Review: The Rising Tide (Liminal Sky #2) by J. Scott Coatsworth

Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Release Date: 16th October 2018
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy, LGBTQ
Series: Liminal Sky (Book #2)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 388 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Blurb:
Earth is dead. Five years later, the remnants of humanity travel through the stars inside Forever: a living, ever-evolving, self-contained generation ship. When Eddy Tremaine and Andy Hammond find a hidden world-within-a-world under the mountains, the discovery triggers a chain of events that could fundamentally alter or extinguish life as they know it, culminate in the takeover of the world mind, and end free will for humankind.

Eddy, Andy, and a handful of other unlikely heroes—people of every race and identity, and some who aren’t even human—must find the courage and ingenuity to stand against the rising tide. Otherwise they might be living through the end days of human history.

Book Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Rising Tide by J. Scott Coatsworth is the 2nd book in the series Liminal Sky and my second book by the author. In one sentence, I loved it!

This book picks up 5 years after where the first book ended and carries on from there. There is no Earth now and so this book is set in a humungous space-ship which sustains life. I loved the new settings. The world-building was impressive and I enjoyed imagining the life in this one-of-a-kind world throughout the book. Though the best thing about the book is the utopian dream that the villain nurtures. I loved it because whenever in a book, especially in sci-fi-fantasy books, the concept of a seemingly utopian dream is introduced, it invariably leads to the exploration of a lot of interesting as well as important themes. And that is exactly what happened in this book. Therefore, it won’t be wrong if I’d say that I actually liked this one better than the first book!

Even though this book is a part of a series, you can read it as a stand-alone novel (at least, in my opinion,) because even though the events are carried forward, most of the book is based in a new world than the last one and except for a couple of main characters, the rest of the characters are mostly new – and that is kind of the whole point of this story, so you can definitely read it as a stand-alone. Anyway, reading the entire series is definitely recommended.

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Book Review: The Stark Divide (Liminal Sky #1) by J. Scott Coatsworth

Author: J. Scott Coatsworth 
Release Date: 10th October 2017
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy, LGBTQ
Series: Liminal Sky (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 284 pages
Publisher: DSP Publications
Blurb:
Some stories are epic.
The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.
Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Stark Divide by J. Scott Coatsworth is a dynamic beginning to a new sci-fi fantasy series Liminal Sky that turned out to be equal parts entertaining and equal parts adventure. I was pulled into the story right from the beginning and was blown away by the fantastic world the author has created. This proved to be an unputdownable book with great pacing and tension. I am really looking forward to reading the next part of this amazing series.

Along with the main story, I also enjoyed the side plots just as much. The characters were really likeable, the story was good, the narration felt good and made the book a fast read and the flow of the story was amazing! I’d recommend this book to all sci-fi lovers, especially to those who like reading about LGBTQ side-themes.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Transference by B.T. Keaton

Author: B.T. Keaton
Release Date: 13th January 2020
Genre: New Adult Fiction
Series: 
Format: E-book
Pages: 394
Publisher: Ingleside Avenue Press
Blurb:
When everything you believe about civilization is a lie, the ultimate power is truth.
Eighty years from now mankind has discovered the secret of eternal life. Human souls can be moved from one body to another through the process known as transference. Control of this new technology has fallen under the dominion of Jovian, a powerful prophet and head of the Church which governs every aspect of existence.
Banished to a mining colony on a distant planet for lawlessness is Barrabas Madzimure, the king of thieves. Only when Barrabas faces execution does he claim that another man committed his infamous crimes decades earlier. The authorities are suspicious. Is he the Madzimure of legend and a potential threat to Jovian’s new world order, or just another victim of transference?
The story of a grim personal mission, Transference takes the reader on a heart-racing journey through rebellion, revenge, self-sacrifice, and the soul’s search for identity.

REVIEW

★★★★

Transference by B.T. Keaton made for a very thrilling story, with an unpredictable protagonist with a complex personality, coupled with a fast-paced plot-line made for a really compelling read. I was looking forward to reading this book right since the time I had a look at its blurb and to my great relief, the book was every bit as good as I had expected it to be.

The writing was really good and this book a very smooth and quick read. After reading this thrilling sci-fi, I am looking forward to reading more book by the author, hopefully soon!

If you like suspenseful and fast-paced sci-fi adventure stories then this book is definitely for you! It is totally worth it so do give it a read.

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Book Review: Dust & Lightning by Rebecca Crunden

Author: Rebecca Crunden
Release Date: 5th February 2020
Genre: Sci-Fi, Suspense, Speculative Fiction
Series: 
Format: E-book
Pages: 121
Publisher: Self-Published
Blurb:
In the near future, humans have gone beyond simple space travel. By the year 4054, multiple solar systems are inhabited, and taking a spaceship is as commonplace as taking an aeroplane.

Unfortunately, not everything about the future is so advanced. The central planets, led by Earth, have risen high at the expense of cheap labour on distant worlds. Dissent is widespread and arrests are common. Sometimes prisoners are released; sometimes they disappear without a trace, sent to labour camps in other solar systems.

When Ames Emerys receives a letter telling him that his brother Callum has died en route to the remote planet of Kilnin, he takes the first ship he can off Earth, desperate for answers. But the secrets Ames uncovers prove far more dangerous than he could have imagined.

REVIEW

★★★★

Dust & Lightning by Rebecca Crunden is a smashing sci-fi novella that combines elements of suspense, mystery, adventure and action, making it a complete package deal for all sci-fi lovers. This is my 6th book by the author and by now I have become so familiar with author Rebecca’s writing that it feels like visiting an old friend to read her books. I don’t usually go for the same authors unless I like their work which only goes on to say that Rebecca’s stories are always worth it. This one is a novella and very different from the other books I read by her as they were a part of the same series. Though, I hope that this one is the first in a long line of series!

Coming back to the review, I found the futuristic world in this novella very immersive and quite realistic. If I had to think about the future with space travel, this is how I would envision it – ultra-modern and highly advanced technologies in every way imaginable but equally low standards of humanity, therefore, this book felt very engaging!

The characters were well-built and very relatable, especially the main character, Ames. He was likely in a very unlikely way and I loved following him on his tumultuous journey. The writing was good and had a smooth and natural flow. The pacing was good and suited the story well. I liked the ending though I hope it is a series and we get to see more of this amazing world.

I’d highly recommend this book to all sci-fi and speculative fiction lovers and to those who haven’t yet read any books by the author (it’s worth a read!)

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Book Review: Dreamsphere: The Day We Stopped Dreaming by Samson Tonauac

Author: Samson Tonauac
Release Date: 23rd September 2019
Genre: Cyberpunk, Sci-fi, Dark Humour
Series: 
Format: E-book
Pages: 143
Publisher: Moonshine Cove Publishing
Blurb:

Dreamsphere is a profoundly philosophic, chaotic, nihilistic story without heroes, plot, climax, or purpose; but with cats, flying pigs and meaning. An epic cyberpunk/science fiction tale about nothing. Life has meaning … does it not?

REVIEW

★★★

Dreamsphere: The Day We Stopped Dreaming by Samson Tonauac is a futuristic sci-fi cyberpunk enlaced with dark humour. The writing is raw and direct and mostly I didn’t mind it as it gave a unique edge to the story. The plot structure was okay and the story was good and in spite of being presented in fragments and a lot of head-hopping, I found it engaging.

The characters were obviously written with the intent of not being loved, but, as a writer myself, I think that it could have been done in a better way. Creating unlikable characters is one of the lesser-used tropes, but done well, it makes the story very interesting, but in this book, I felt the characters lacked personality altogether and that was a major problem for me.

Overall, I’d say it was an entertaining read and would recommend it to die-hard cyberpunk and sci-fi fans.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

 

Audiobook Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch

Author: Blake Crouch
Narrator(s): Jon Lindstrom and Abby Craden
Date Of Publication: 11th June 2019
Genre: Science-Fiction, Thriller
Series:
Duration: 11 hours
Publisher: Random House Audio
Blurb: A mind-bending new thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Dark Matter and The Wayward Pines trilogy.
Barry Sutton is driving home from another long shift as an NYPD detective when the call comes in. A woman is threatening to commit suicide, and someone’s got to try to talk her down. Only as he stands on the rooftop, mere inches away from her, does he realize that the woman is infected with False Memory Syndrome, a mysterious disease that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. When Barry is unable to save her, he’s rocked to his core–not only by her death but the fear that he’s been exposed to this devastating illness.
Helena Smith is a brilliant but frustrated neuroscientist. If she could only get the funding, she’s sure she could build the ambitious device she’s long imagined–one that would allow people to preserve their most intense memories and relive them whenever they want. So when a billionaire entrepreneur offers to bankroll her project, she jumps at the opportunity–even if there are some strange conditions attached.
As Helena’s efforts yield stunning results, Barry investigates the mystery behind the woman he failed to save. He finds himself on a journey as astonishing as it is terrifying, ultimately revealing the true danger posed by Helena’s invention–and a plot that could bring about the end of reality as we know it.
Weaving together Barry’s story and Helena’s in ways even the savviest reader will never guess, Recurson is a brilliant science fiction thriller about time, memory, and the illusion of the present, built on our inability to escape the flashbulb moments that define us.

REVIEW

This is my 5th book by Blake Crouch and I loved all the four previous books and so obviously I expected a LOT from this one. So the moment I was able to I bought the audiobook and dove right in. But then the reality hit me hard like a patch of a dry concrete wall in the face…

What the actual f**k?!

I wanted to LOVE this book and I was so sure about it being good that the thought that it might not be good never even crosse my mind for a second. But as I started this book, it felt like slow torture and I lost interest in it in only about 2 hours.

Not sure if I’ll even try to listen to this one again as the lead characters were very, very bland and kind of felt like a poor replica of the other characters in Blake Crouches previous books. The concept, although felt like had a lot of potential initially, started to feel too abstract and I wasn’t able to go any further. I am a very impulsive person and that reflects in my reading tastes so if I have to commit to a book I better like it in the first hour of reading or listening otherwise I abandon it no matter how many good reviews it has because I hate wasting my reading time (as little as I have because of my writing) on trying to like books that my heart and mind seem to dislike. SO basically if a book fails to grab my attention within an hour or the first 50 pages then I don’t bother with it. And unfortunately, this was one of those reads.

You can also read this review on Goodreads 

Book Review: Traveller – Inceptio by Rob Shackleford

Author: Rob Shackleford
Release Date: 25th February 2017
Genre: Time-Travel, Historical, Science-Fiction
Series: Traveller (Book #1)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 
Publisher: Book Baby
Blurb:
If you were sent 1000 years into the past, would you survive?

Traveller – Inceptio describes how the Transporter is accidentally invented and becomes public knowledge when it sends a subject 1000 years into the past.

A Special Forces team of Travellers is then selected and trained with the intent to send them to Saxon England to explore what could be a very dangerous period of history.

From the beaches of Australia to the forests of Saxon England, Traveller – Inceptio reveals how Travellers discover they need a lot more than technology to survive the trials of early Eleventh Century life.

Book Review

★★+1/2

Traveller Inceptio by Rob Shackleford is a time-travel story set 1000 years in the past, through the machine that was invented by mistake. What follows next is an interesting tale about how our ever-so-reliable-science-and-technology can’t bail us out of dangerous situations and how power-hungry people can go to any lengths in order to get their hands on any new invention that can trip the scales in their favour.

The story was good and pretty engaging. The events were interesting and some of them even capturing. The overall world-building was good and the pacing was even. I enjoyed the book on the whole but had a couple of issues both with the plot and the writing. The author went overboard with the exposition, as a result of which I found myself skimming over a lot of pages. The beginning of the book and the base of the story felt a bit weak as it seemed too far-fetched a concept to have actually invented a time-travel machine that travels only certain years and then has the ability to come back when summoned too. I mean the concept could have been a bit more believable if the machine had at least some faults and wouldn’t have been this perfect. After all, it was a result of a mistake.

But after the first part was over, the story only got better. The research appeared to be impeccable and the story got more and more interesting, save for the exhausting bits of exposition. The plot started to feel realistic and I was able to connect with it once the first part was over.

Characterization, unfortunately, felt like another lingering problem as I had a hard time connecting with the characters. They were not badly created, but they weren’t overly impressive nor relatable. I just liked them enough to have been able to read and finish the story (which seemed to be much longer than it should have.)

Overall, I think the book needed a bit more tweaking and that a good editor would have been able to make this book much better. Still, it was an enjoyable read.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Kill Code by Clive Fleury

Author: Clive Fleury
Release Date: 5th December 2018
Genre: Science-Fiction, Dystopian
SeriesThe Sunset Of Magic (Book #3)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 220
Publisher: TCK Publishing
Blurb:
WHEN THE OCEANS RISE…THE TRUTH DROWNS
It’s the year 2031. Our future. Their present. A world decimated by climate catastrophe, where the sun’s heat is deadly and the ocean rises higher every day. A world ruled by the rich, powerful, and corrupt. A world where a good man can’t survive for long.
Hogan Duran was a good man once. He was a cop, forced to resign in disgrace when he couldn’t save his partner from a bullet. Now Hogan lives on the fraying edges of society, serving cruel masters and scavenging trash dumps just to survive.
But after four years of living in poverty, Hogan finally gets a chance to get back on his feet. He’s invited to join the National Security Council, the powerful paramilitary organization responsible for protecting the rich and powerful from the more unsavory elements of society. All he needs to do is pass their deadly entrance exam, and he’ll be rewarded with wealth and opportunity beyond his wildest dreams.
But this ex-cop’s path to redemption won’t be easy. The NSC are hiding something, and as Hogan descends deeper and deeper into their world, he starts to uncover the terrible truth of how the powerful in this new world maintain their power…and just how far they will go to protect their secrets.
In a world gone wrong, can one man actually make a difference, or will he die trying?
Kill Code is the first novel in an exciting new dystopian science fiction series from the mind of the award-winning author, screenwriter, and director Clive Fleury.

REVIEW

★★★★

Kill Code by Clive Fleury is a smashing dystopian read that was equal parts engaging and unsettling.

The dystopian settings in the book felt very realistic and, to be honest, seemed like a possibility for our own future. What I really liked about this book is that instead of focusing only on the dystopic settings and the new world, something that most of the authors writing in this genre tend to do, the author focused on the National Security Council (NSC), the elite force to protect the elite class in this horrible new world. The book had some really gritty action scenes which made the plot all the more exciting.

The characterization was strong and the inner conflicts of the MC, Hogan Duran, made it even better as I was able to connect with him. The plot-progression was great and the pacing and tension well tuned. The writing was good and complimented the plot making it easy as well as quick to read.

In a sentence, I enjoyed this book from the first page to the last one and would recommend it to all dystopian readers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Last Trollid (The Sunset Of Magic #1) by Alistair Potter

Author: Alistair Potter
Release Date: 13th May 2014
Genre: Science-Fiction-Fantasy, Thriller, Action, Adventure, Magic-Elementals
SeriesThe Sunset Of Magic (Book #1)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 272
Publisher: 
Blurb:
There’s; world jumping magic, Dragons, ruthless invaders, epic battles, unlikely heroes, bravery, sacrifice, and a steam cannon worthy of Archimedes! And yes it does have wizards, both good and very bad. Romance? Yes, a little of that too! What more do you want in an adventure story?

A disparate band: fussy spinster, Ida Fairweather; crusty old soldier, Endor Caffri; dishonest manservant, Moleskin; King’s guard, Lineth, and Last of the Trollid, Bort, engage in a desperate struggle against the Harrowen invaders.

 

REVIEW

★★★+1/2

The Last Trollid by Allistair Potter is the start to a new series The Sunset Of Magic. After having read three other books by the author, I was confident that this book is going to be a smashing read, and, thankfully, to a great extent, it was. Just like his previous books, this book had a brilliant premise and an amazingly awesome world built with a great deal of detailing. The pacing and tension were good as they both had good highs and lows and the overall progression of the plot can’t be faulted. So all in all, it was a good read.

My only problem was with the characterization, somehow, unlike in the previous instances, I was not able to feel a connection to either of the characters. I liked Bort and even Ida and Moleskin to some extent, but that was all, I just liked them enough to be able to read the book without wanting to stop, but not more than that. Still, I enjoyed the book, if for nothing than for the plot and some of the high-tension battle scenes and the ending, which was really well written.

I’d recommend this book to all science-fiction readers, especially who prefer plot over characters.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Probability’s Edge by Alistair Potter

Author: Alistair Potter
Release Date: 27th September 2018
Genre: Science-Fiction
Series: 
Edition: E-book
Pages: 269
Publisher: 
Blurb:

After crash landing on a technologically backward planet the crew of the Eagle face a tough decision: save themselves, or save the planet.

 

REVIEW

★★★★+1/2

Probability’s Edge by Alistair Potter is an entertaining and quick action-packed read. It had a unique plot line,  well-developed characters, great action sequences, delicious detailing and world-building and great writing – so overall, it made for a complete package! I was sucked into the plot from the beginning and enjoyed it right till the end.

This is the second book I’m reading by author Potter and I must say that after this book, I can’t wait to read more of his amazing works. The genre lovers would greatly appreciate his works, so I recommend this book, as well as his others to all hardcore science-fiction fans.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: A History Of Madness (The Outlands Pentalogy #2) by Rebecca Crunden

Author: Rebecca Crunden
Release Date: 14th July 2017
Genre: Dystopian, Science-Fiction-Fantasy
Series: The Outlands Pentalogy – Book #2
Edition: E-book
Pages: 258
Publisher: 
Blurb:
The four remaining fugitives are now spread across the Kingdom. And with the fate of the others unknown to him, Nate Anteros prays for a fast execution.

Yet execution does not come. After a meeting with the King which leaves Nate questioning his sanity, he’s sent to a workcamp in Argon Basin for five years of hard labour. It’s there that Nate learns what became of his friends upon their arrest.

And as his strength returns to him, and he’s plagued by dreams which are much too real to be ignored, Nate decides five years is far too long to wait …

Book Review

★★★★+1/2

A History Of Madness by Rebecca Crunden is the sequel to A Touch Of Death and the 2nd book in the Outlands Pentalogy. After reading the first book, and really liking it, I was really eager to read this one and to my pleasant surprise, this book turned out to be as good as (actually even better) than the last one. I love when a series goes from strength to strength and this series is turning out to be just that, though I’ve just read 2 books so far. Given the opportunity, I’d love to read the next part of this well-developed saga for sure.

The characterization was the highlight of this book. I loved how the author uses a different character as the main POV character for this part as it gave a fresh vibe to the series, instead of taking the story ahead with the same POV character. It was really good to know the motivations, inner conflicts, impulses and feelings of Nate as I really liked his as the main character.

The writing was good just like the last book and the world building was a true step ahead. I enjoyed reading this book a lot and would recommend this series to all dystopian readers and fantasy readers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Perax Frontier by Alistair Potter

Author: Alistair Potter
Release Date: 27th April 2017
Genre: Science-Fiction, Action, Mystery
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 214
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Perax Frontier, a place like no other! Bathed in the constant glow of the Interface connecting two Universes, the frontier townships of Praxton, and Millaki on the Atlathian side, function without any electrically based technologies. Set against this unusual background, and fighting the hierarchal restrictions of Imperial society, Sheriff Artur Perax investigates the murder of Imperial Ambassador, Madam Lintsa Kroft. And all the time still keeping order among the visitors, frustrated scientists, religious fanatics, misfits, reformed felons and plain good folks who keep the flow of trade goods moving across the Interface.

Book Review

★★★★+1/2

A well-written hardcore sci-fi mystery which will keep you engaged from the start right till the very last page. An intricately woven mystery, expertly punctuated with intense action scenes, underlined with enough drama to make you want to keep reading further, highlighted by believable characters – this book was a complete rollercoaster ride!

The ending was good and very fitting. The pacing was really good and the tension was at an all-time high. The prose was tight and easy to read and overall it was a complete package. I enjoyed it thoroughly and would recommend it to all hardcore sci-fi lovers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Box Of Tricks by Alistair Potter

Author: Alistair Potter
Release Date: 13th May 2014
Genre: Science-Fiction, Action, Adventure
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 290
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Multiverse spanning action and adventure, with eye-popping special effects (requires reader input). To prevent catastrophe Earth needs the ultimate eco-warrior, but is mild-mannered Edinburgh taxi driver Tom Mathers up to the challenge?

Exploring questions of ethics, resource management, and caring for our planet, this hilarious, yet sobering journey through the multiverse hides deep philosophical questions beneath a veneer of joviality and witty sarcasm.

Book Review

★★★★

The Box Of Tricks by Alistair Potter is an explosive sci-fi novel that has something to offer to all of its readers. It has a great storyline that is executed well and a brilliantly created world that made reading this book a complete delight. The characterisation was excellent and I was able to feel a connection with the main characters, Tom, Caroline and Fanshawe and felt that the secondary characters were also very believable.

The writing was good and easy to read. The tightness of exposition made it a really pleasant read for me as I always appreciate brief yet informative exposition over unnecessarily lengthy one, so this book made for a really smooth and quick read. Author’s humour really shone through the prose and went a long way in making this book both entertaining as well as light as it had some emotional and moral themes that could have, otherwise, made the plot very weighty.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book and waiting eagerly to get started with the next book by Mr Potter. I’d recommend this book to all sci-fi readers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Audiobook Review: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Release Date: 19th May 2015
Genre: Science Fiction Fantasy, Apocalyptic, Post-Apocalyptic, Speculative Fiction
Series:
Edition: Audiobook
Length: 32 hours
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Blurb:
What would happen if the world were ending?
A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.
But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain…
Five thousand years later, their progeny — seven distinct races now three billion strong — embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown … to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.

Review

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson book was too heavy for me. The narration was slow and the story progressed so slowly in the first hour that when I realized the book was 30 something hours, I stopped it right there. You really need to like the narration enough if you plan to spend another 30 hours listening to it. And that was not how I felt, so I abandoned it. I have other books that I can read and enjoy in that much time (pretty sure I can read a good number of other books in that much time.)

THIS REVIEW IS ALSO POSTED ON GOODREADS

Book Review: The Memory Tree (Carson Chronicles #2) by John A. Heldt

Author: John A. Heldt
Release Date: 30th April 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction, Time-Travel, Sci-Fi, Relationships & Family
SeriesCarson Chronicles – Book #2
Edition: E-book
Pages: 659
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Days after barely escaping 1889 with their lives, the Carsons, siblings from the present day, resume their search for their missing parents in 1918. While Adam and his pregnant wife, Bridget, settle in Minnesota, unaware of a wildfire that will kill hundreds, Greg seeks clues in his great-grandparents’ Mexico, where he finds love, danger, and enemies. At the same time, Natalie, the ambitious journalist, follows a trail to World War I France, and teen twins Cody and Caitlin rekindle a friendship with an old Pennsylvania friend haunted by her past. In THE MEMORY TREE, the sweeping sequel to RIVER RISING, several time travelers find answers and meaning as they continue the adventure of a lifetime in the age of doughboys, silent movies, and Model T’s.

REVIEW

★★★★

The Memory Tree by John A. Heldt is a compelling sequel to River Rising, book one in the Carson Chronicles series. Just like the first part of this series, and the others I’ve read by the author, this book was equally interesting, entertaining and emotional. It had a lot to offer in terms of the rich American history, WWI and the culture of the years long gone. This book was especially good because it had a twist which I was not expecting and the element of surprise really caught me off-guard as I’ve come to understand where things are generally moving in author Heldt’s books because of having read many of them and being familiar with his style of writing. So the twist was a pleasant surprise for me.

The characterization was good and I was able to see the development of all the characters from the last book experiencing new worlds and living in times new to them. The writing was good and complimented the story well. And I’m really looking forward to reading the next part of this series.

I’d recommend this book to all historical fiction lovers and to everyone who loves reading stories on relationships and families. It is an honest-to-god feel-good story that will definitely warm your heart.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Challenges Of The Gods by C. Hofsetz

Author: C. Hofsetz
Release Date: 7th January 2018
Genre: Science-Fiction/Fantasy
Series: 
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Blurb:
After Mike goes through a gut-wrenching betrayal by his fiancée, he finds himself in what he thinks might be the afterlife. But this is no heaven. The gods made a mistake and created another Earth in a parallel universe, putting both universes in peril. They need someone from his planet to destroy the alternate, and Mike is randomly selected for the job.
Trapped in an impossible choice, Mike accepts his mission and is returned to an Earth—and a body—so unlike his own. There, he meets Jane, who is—unbeknownst to him—the secret leader of an organization bent on tracking down Earth’s saboteur. In the face of her passion for humanity, Mike’s resolve falters. If Mike won’t complete his mission, the gods will.

Review

★★★★

Challenges Of The Gods by C. Hofsetz is a new sci-fi fantasy novel with a very unique plot based a really good concept. I liked this book a lot because it differs from most of the new sci-fi novels as it had depth, good characterization and good world-building and the best part was the concept itself – it was both fresh and unique.

The characterisation was decent if not excellent but it did compliment the story as, for me, the real hero in this book was the story. The plot was complex and at times it took me a while to grasp what was really happening because of the thin border the author dared to tread in this book between two parallel realities, but that was as it should be and it proved to be a good stimulus for the brain.

The writing was really good and it made the reading of such a complex book very easy. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it highly to all sci-fi readers.

this review is also posted on Goodreads

Book Review: Written By Blood – Conviction by Dwayne gill

Author: Dwayne Gill
Release Date: 28th November 2018
Genre: Techno-Thriller, Action, Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic
Series: Written By Blood #1
Edition: e-book
Pages: 238
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Abandoned to a secret government program at birth, Cane was trained to be the world’s most skilled assassin. For years he excelled in the field, bringing dangerous terrorists all over the world to justice and making even the most protected villains lose sleep. But since the program was shut down four years ago, he’s been forced into hiding, doing odd jobs to keep himself busy, and struggling to find a place for himself in society. The years of social isolation and, seemingly, his own brutal nature, have made him question whether or not he possesses the ability to feel certain emotions that most others exhibit effortlessly.Cane’s only hope of normality in a lonely life rests in the warmth of his friendship with Helen and her daughter Kristy, the latter of whom he rescued five years earlier, from the clutches of the evil Blue Rose serial-killer. Cane lives with his friend Lynks, with whom he served in the disbanded “Red Delta” assassin program.Cane finds a cryptic message from Marcene, a mysterious lady who knows more about him than she should. He soon finds himself thrust into the middle of a mystery that’s been at the center of the country’s attention for the past several years: ordinary men around the United States have been disappearing by the thousands, leaving their families and careers behind, only to turn up elsewhere in the country. Even more curious are the markings, which look like tattoos, that each bear upon their return. Conspiracy theories have abounded for years, but little has ever been known about these men, until now. Marcene claims the missing men are not only dangerous terrorists plotting a major attack on U.S. soil, but that they’re also genetically enhanced, and she aims to prove it to Cane through a series of instructions.

First, Cane is to save a college girl named Natalie, who, without her knowledge, is being targeted by the marked men. Guided more by curiosity than information, Cane and Lynks agree to help the girl, but after succeeding, they find only a new web of mysteries to unravel. The marked men are receiving their orders from seven dangerous men, and Cane remembers one of them by name: Amos. He’d been on Cane’s radar in the past, though he remained out of reach. Amos’s re-emergence gives Cane added motivation, so he looks to Marcene to continue pointing him in the right direction…

She leads them to the next, and most important step: find and recruit Daniel, a mountain of a man with a long history of violence.

There’s only one problem: he’s a convicted murderer in a super-max prison.

Cane and Lynks enlist Calvin, Daniel’s old friend, and Bowman, the man who trained Cane, to help orchestrate a plan for extracting Daniel. But Amos and the marked men are watching and making plans of their own, and they’ll use any tactic available in order to ensure their sinister plans remain in place, including hurting the few people Cane cares about.

It’s not only the marked men hot on their trail; FBI Agents Hart and Barkley, who’ve been hunting Cane and Lynks since the dissolution of Red Delta, are getting closer as well. But the nearer they draw to Cane, the more they learn about Amos, the other six terrorist leaders, and the marked men. And what they discover leads to even more terrifying scenarios and a deeper web of corruption than anyone expected, including a conspiracy involving high-ranking U.S. officials and the Russian government.

If Cane can just save Daniel and set him free, he’ll have a valuable ally: Daniel stands over seven feet tall and weighs over four hundred pounds, and he has his own bitter history with the marked men.

What started as curiosity for Cane quickly turns into something personal when Amos targets Helen and Kristy, sending him on a frantic race against time, pitted against enemies that far outnumber him and his friends. It’ll be a struggle to balance saving Kristy, rescuing Daniel, all while battling his own demons and self-doubt.

To succeed, it’ll take determination.

It’ll take focus.

It’ll take CONVICTION.

Review

★★★★

Written By Blood: Conviction by Dwayne Gill is an action-packed techno-thriller that is sure to keep you entertained right from the start to the very end. This book is jam-packed with high octane thrilling action and masculine drama like there’s no tomorrow. The storyline was good and the thing I liked best about this books is that it revolved around male characters, something rare to find in today’s books where the leading lady always steals the show, so for me, this book was a real treat.

I liked the writing style as the simplicity of it greatly complimented the plot, though at times it did feel a little rough around the edges, it did not get in the way of reading. The characterization was good and I was able to relate to almost all the characters, primary or secondary. The plot progression was really, really good and the pacing was great too.

Overall, it was a really new engaging read which proved to be a quick read and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a book with strong male characters and don’t mind gritty action and rustic tones.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Cane’s Detour & Daniel’s Darkness by Dwayne gill

Author: Dwayne Gill
Release Date: 7th October 2018
Genre: Techno-Thriller, Action, Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic
Series: Written By Blood #1
Edition: e-book
Pages: 82
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Not all monsters are created equal…Cane is the world’s most feared assassin.
Daniel is possibly the most dangerous man alive, and he’s definitely the largest.
When you think hero, neither one should come to mind.
Find out how each man stumbles upon a person in dire need and how they respond.

Cane and Daniel are the two main characters in Written By Blood Part One: Cane. The following two short stories are prequels of the novel.

CANE’S DETOUR

Kristy escaped a dangerous serial killer.
Can she escape Cane?

Cane was trained from birth by the U.S. government to be the world’s most feared assassin. Often sent to eliminate difficult targets quietly, his anonymity is his most important asset. In fact, very few people have seen Cane and lived afterward.

Kristy is abducted by an infamous serial killer and held captive in a remote barn filled with many other victims. While she watches the other women’s grisly fates unfold before her, can Kristy escape before she meets the same destiny?

When Kristy and Cane’s paths cross, they’re on very different routes. Cane is on his way to complete an urgent mission and can’t be late. Kristy is running for her life.
She just didn’t know she’d run into an even worse monster.
For Kristy to live, Cane must make a detour. Will he consider it? After all, he’s on a tight schedule, and she’s seen his face.

DANIEL’S DARKNESS

Taryn is a happy, outdoor-loving thirteen-year-old with a gentle, loving father. But her tranquil life is turned upside down when her father dies, leaving her alone with her drug-dependent mother, who squanders the little that they have and moves them to a rough neighborhood outside of Chicago. To make matters worse, Taryn’s mom hooks up with her drug dealer, who moves right in and begins abusing Taryn. Things can’t get much worse for her. Or can they?

When Taryn meets Daniel, her new neighbor that moved in across the street, his enormous body is bandaged from head to toe and he’s recovering from an ambush that nearly killed him. Taryn should probably stay away, but she’s drawn to the qualities of him that remind her of her father. But the better she gets to know Daniel, the more she sees that he’s not only very different from her loving father, he’s also carrying a terrifying darkness inside of him.

Review

★★★★

Cane’s Detour & Daniel’s Darkness by Dwayne Gill is a collection of two short novellas which serve as a prequel to and marks the beginning of a new technothriller series, Written By Blood.

Cane’s Detour: 4/5: The story started with an action-packed and super fast paced scenario which set the tone of the story (and the series) pretty well. As soon as I started reading, I knew I was in for some gritty action and some serious thrills. And this story did not disappoint. I was pretty amazed at how much the author managed to pack up in such a short story. A must read if you like action-packed narration and raw characters with dangerous edges.

Daniel’s Darkness: 3.5/5: This story was an entirely different cup of tea than the first one in terms of storyline, while at the same time, packing qual amount of rawness to characterization. Though this one had less action and more emotions and explored different themes while staying true to the main conflict of the series (as far as I can tell up to this point in the series.)

Overall: 4/5: I enjoyed both the books and can’t wait to read the main book in the series, Written In Blood: Conviction. The mood of the series is already set and I know one thing for sure that this book is going to be one hell of an exciting ride. Plus, being so intimately acquainted with the characters, it is difficult not to feel so excited to actually begin with this series.

I’d recommend this to all the readers who’ve been dying to read a series with raw and truly masculine male heroes who throw heavy punches before taking bullshit from anyone.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

ARC Review: Killing Adam by Earik Beann

Author: Earik Beann
Release Date: 1st January 2019
Genre: Science-Fiction, Dystopia
Series: 
Edition: e-book
Pages: 224
Publisher: Profoundly One Publishing
Blurb:
The world runs on ARCs. Altered Reality Chips. Small implants behind the left ear that allow people to experience anything they could ever imagine. The network controls everything, from traffic, to food production, to law enforcement. Some proclaim it a Golden Age of humanity. Others have begun to see the cracks. Few realize that behind it all, living within every brain and able to control all aspects of society, there exists a being with an agenda all his own: the singularity called Adam, who believes he is God.Jimmy Mahoney’s brain can’t accept an ARC. Not since his football injury from the days when the league was still offline. “ARC-incompatible” is what the doctors told him. Worse than being blind and deaf, he is a man struggling to cling to what’s left of a society that he is no longer a part of. His wife spends twenty-three hours a day online, only coming off when her chip forcibly disconnects her so she can eat. Others are worse. Many have died, unwilling or unable to log off to take care of even their most basic needs.After being unwittingly recruited by a rogue singularity to play a role in a war that he doesn’t understand, Jimmy learns the truth about Adam and is thrown into a life-and-death struggle against the most powerful mathematical mind the world has ever known. But what can one man do against a being that exists everywhere and holds limitless power? How can one man, unable to even get online, find a way to save his wife, and the entire human race, from destruction?

Review

★★★

Killing Adam by Earik Beann is a new dystopian science-fiction novel with a refreshing new take on the alternate reality concept. I enjoyed reading this book mostly because of the author’s unique concept in which the focus was more on the people left int he real-world rather than focusing entirely on the alternate reality and the people living a virtual life.

I’ve read a decent number of books revolving around the subject of artificial intelligence and I must admit that, in most of the places, the author has done a good job in paying attention to details in creating this world. While at the same time, I felt the plot could have been a little bit more polished and just a little more pronounced. At some places the writing was good, but in some rare instances the writing felt crude and the dialogues felt redundant. The characterization wasn’t overly complex and felt a bit lacking in terms of being realistic and relatable.

Another issue I had with the plot is that it didn’t give any clear idea on how exactly the altered reality was – I did appreciate the fact that the story revolved around the world outside the altered reality, i.e., the real dystopic world, but I would have really liked it if at least some idea of the other world would have been given too, just enough to let the readers know what was going on on the “other side.”

Still, overall, it was an enjoyable book and made for a nice winter read which was clean and quick to read. I’d recommend it to readers who want to explore a light science-fiction story on altered reality. But if you like intricate plots with complex and multi-layered characters then this book might not be for you.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon (not up yet)

Book Review Altered Seasons: Monsoonrise by Paul Briggs

Author: Paul Briggs
Release Date: 15th June 2018
Genre: Science-Fiction, Dystopia
Series: Altered Seasons (Book #1)
Edition: e-book
Pages: 394
Publisher: Secant Publishing LLC

Blurb:

Altered Seasons: Monsoonrise is a top recommendation for cli-fi (climate change fiction) readers seeking more depth than the usual approach to life-threatening environmental changes. – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review. A few weeks with no sea ice in the Arctic Ocean are enough to trigger a chain reaction that alters the Northern Hemisphere beyond recognition. Isabel Bradshaw, an engineer, tries to find security for her family in an increasingly chaotic world when they are driven out of their home on the Chesapeake Bay.

Review

★★★★

Altered Seasons: Moonrise by Paul Briggs is a refreshing new take on the climate-change fiction with a fresh perspective that has faith in the human race coming together instead of counting on its downfall under the pressure and stress of a global disaster.

This book is a welcome take on the very popular disaster fiction and, for a change, doesn’t repeat the same age-old theme of the world falling apart at the seams under the weight of a global threat. Instead, this book focuses on how societies can come together and try to fight and re-build the threats that we all will inevitably face. The situations in this book are very relatable and characterization pretty good.

I enjoyed reading this book through the voices of different main characters (I always enjoy reading multiple POV books,) but at times it did feel like some narratives could have been a bit more polished and better. Still, looking at the entire pictures, it didn’t affect the plot (the real hero of the book) a lot, so I’m not complaining.

Overall, it is a decently written novel with great execution and good command over the language as well as the genre of writing – science-fiction and dystopia. The author’s unique style of writing (I’d say it was very theatre-like) was a very interesting and though it took me a while, eventually, I got used to the way the notes were made and even started liking it by the end of the book. The world-building was one of the best parts of this book as the author cleverly presented the world in a way that was both easy enough to grasp and complex enough to make it highly interesting to understand. The story itself was good and the concept so close to reality that it was hard to not be able to relate to the happenings in the story.

I’d recommend it to everyone who loves reading sci-fi and dystopian fiction, especially one that revolves around climate change.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Europa Lander by Eli Clark

Author: Eli Clark
Release Date: 10th April 2018
Genre: Science-Fiction Comedy
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 118
Publisher: Abandoned Park Publishing
Blurb:
Martin Pool, brilliant and reclusive astronomer and Europa expert, is hired by Tycho Tech to win the race to land on Jupiter’s moon Europa. Confident as ever, Martin accepts, only to find with horror, that they intended him to manage PEOPLE. With each passing day Martin is forced closer and closer towards the choice: trust the minds of people with less than 2 PhDs, or risk losing the race to his beloved Europa?
The Europa Lander collects interviews, memos and emails to tell the 3 year story of Tycho Tech’s Europa team to explore from their own view, how they learned to tolerate one another (even though the Trekkies know their Star Wars loving coworkers will never truly understand anything).

Review

★★★★

The Europa Lander by Eli Clark is a witty story with a good storyline and well-built characters.

As a writer, I know that writing humour is no simple task, let alone writing it in sci-fi futuristic settings, so the fact that the author did a really good job in writing this book is commendable. I liked the characterization and was able to feel a connection, in an indirect way, to most of the major characters.

I liked the writing style as it was simple and brought out the plot nicely. The story itself was cleverly written and nicely executed. Overall, it was a fun read and I’d recommend it to all humour readers, sci-fi fans or not.

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon