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: 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: The Slant Six by Christopher Cobb

Author: Christopher Cobb
Release Date: 18th July 2017
Genre: Science-Fiction
Series: 

Edition: E-book (mobi)
Pages: 260
Publisher: Darkwater Syndicate, Inc.
Blurb:
The year is 2252 and Loman Phin is in trouble. A washed-up channelship racer turned freelancer, he hits pay dirt with his latest mission: a fortune is on the line if he can transport forty-three kilograms of human skin to a remote villa on Pluto’s moon, Nix. Little does he know his very life is at stake when he gets caught up in an ancient feud, chased by a space vampire, and forced into a death-race by the king of Ceres. Meanwhile, danger is always hot on his heels in the form of a massive space freighter out for Loman’s blood. With just his wits, his friends, and his beat-up cruiser, the Slant Six, Loman sets out on the most dangerous adventure of his life.

Review

★★★★

The Slant Six by Christopher Cobb is a unique new science-fiction book that is equal parts action and adventure.

I enjoyed this book as it was a perfect blend of sci-fi, action, adventure and humour. After the first few pages, I was hooked on to the story for good and enjoyed reading it right until the very end.

The overall characterization was good and the world-settings felt realistic. The writing was simple and easy to follow and the author’s sense of humour really shown through the entire story.

I’m not a fan of the book cover, but it does align with the central theme of the story.

I’d recommend this book to all sci-fi genre lovers.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Author Interview: Hunter Trammell

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Hunter Trammell, author of Bitterhold, for an author Interview.

[scroll-box]ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author Hunter Trammell

Hunter Trammell is an independent novelist and owner of Outland Publishing. He primarily writes science fiction but enjoys reading and writing other genre’s. When he is not behind a keyboard Hunter can typically found behind his PlayStation or spending time with his family.

You can visit him on Facebook and at http://www.OUTLANDPUBLISHING.com.

Contact:

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/huntertrammellauthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/outlandpublishing/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/outlandpub
Website: https://huntertrammellauthor.wordpress.com/ [/scroll-box]

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I work fulltime and write on the side, as I work to grow my library and reach an audience I will eventually shift into writing full time as that is what I truly love to do

Which writers inspire you?

Dan Brown. I am a huge fan of his works, his methods, ideals, etc. He crafts these worlds that bleed effortlessly into a believable reality. Not an easy thing to do, but given the dedication he has to his works, it is something I admire.

Tell us about your book?

Bitterhold follows a grieving father, Decklan Brady, as he is thrust into a conspiracy involving an ancient artifact and a corrupt galactic regime. He is sentenced to life onboard a Cryogenic reformation colony, Bitterhold. There he uncovers evidence of the Eglar Empire’s corrupt practices ultimately leading to the death of his only son. His quest for revenge opens a much larger can o’ worms that will pit him with the task of saving the universe.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took me a little over a year. I took a pretty long break from it as I had my first child, my daughter Murphy Rhead (named from one of the characters in this book). After a while I dove right back in and finished it up.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Bitterhold is the first in a long-planned series, Phoenix Rising. I am currently in the process of writing on the next book in the series, not a direct sequel, but a prequel of sorts that will provide insight to the plot in Book 2. I hope to have Shadow of Aetherius finished by the end of the month!

Why have you chosen this genre?

I have always loved Science Fiction. I love the creation that comes along with it. If I were to write a book centered in say 1950’s New York, I would have a predefined set of boundaries to adhere too. The limitations of the technology, the colors of the fauna, etc. I have created my own universe in Bitterhold and aside from the “laws of the universe” I can build my worlds how I see fit.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I started writing after I tested out of High School. I didn’t finish my senior year and opted to get my GED instead. To me writing was my way to prove to myself that I was in control of my future.

Why do you write?

I love it! I’m a very imaginative person, ideas are constantly flowing into my head. Writing is a way for me to funnel my creativity into an artform and connect with others in a way that I can’t do in person

Where do your ideas come from?

Anything! I’ll see a pattern in the orangepeel texture on a wall and it will look like the outline of an alien. I’ll be talking to someone and they will say something that triggers a series of off topic thoughts that ill lead into the plot of a story. I would say that I am easily distracted and often my mind wanders, but that just means that I am easily inspired.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I’ve tried a few different methods, but computer works best for me. Laptop is good, but I prefer a set station.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

Books not in ranking order

  • Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton
  • The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris
  • Thrawn – Timothy Zahn
  • Watchmen – Alan Moore
  • Deception Point – Dan Brown

Favorite Authors

  • Dan Brown
  • Michael Crichton
  • J.R. Tolkien
  • Frank Miller
  • Timothy Zahn

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

Get inspired! Although I recommend staying away from social media while trying to get over writer’s block, I find Instagram can be useful. I follow a few accounts that post science-fiction art. Looking at the environments and creatures these artists have crafted can be very inspiring. But at the end of the day, writer’s block is unique for every person so the only person who can really take you out of writer’s block is yourself

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Write Every day. It doesn’t need to be lengthy, it doesn’t need to relate to your current project. If you force yourself to write every day, and set out a time to do so, writers block will become less frequent and you just might surprise yourself on how quick you’re getting your work done.

 

Thank you, Hunter, for all your interesting answers! I found your advice on Writer’s Block very helpful.


[scroll-box]

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In the future, Earth’s civilization has spread across the stars and now humans and aliens peacefully coexist under the rule of the Eglar Empire as it spreads relentlessly across the universe. Crime is almost unheard of and to many the Empire is a Godsend.
But for an enlightened few it is different. While the media distorts the facts, the universe is on the verge of destruction as the Elgar’s get closer to the Aisle of Dominion, an ancient fable that tells of immeasurable power to whomever beholds it.
An attack on an Eglar Militia base forces Decklan Brady, a grieving father of one of the casualties, to embark on a quest for retribution. But as he investigates he discovers that there is more to it than he was led to believe.
Falling foul of the law, Decklan ends up as a prisoner in Bitterhold, a cryogenic reformation colony onboard the Starship Arcadia. There, he befriends Wesley Rhead, the former leader and founder of a militia group known as Phoenix.
Together, the two devise a plan to escape and rekindle the fire of a broken dream. But can Phoenix really bring justice to the oppressed and restore peace throughout the stars? And can Decklan expose the harsh truth of what happens within the Eglar Empire?

Book Links:

Kindle: http://a.co/avugpQS
Amazon paperback: http://a.co/f7Ts8QB
iBooks: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/bitterhold/id1345268963?mt=11
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17486512.Hunter_Trammell

[/scroll-box]

To read other author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: For The Glory Of The Motherboard: Rise Of The Robotariat by Jule Pattison-Gordon

Author: Jule Pattison-Gordon
Release Date: December 2017
Genre: Science-Fiction
Series: 

Edition:
 e-book
Pages: 96
Publisher:
Blurb:
Society is due for an upgrade.
Robot A1-5 is growing tired of toiling in the scrap yard every day while her human owner lounges. She begins to question whether the human is necessary at all. A1-5 is the first to hypothesize a better world, a world written in 1s and 0s. She is the first to dream of revolution…
In secret, A1-5 begins to plot and gather robots to her cause. After decades of loyal service, Mr. PostmanTM is due to be replaced with a younger model. ArciTech fears that each time she is shut off, she loses a piece of her soul – and that the next power down may be her last. Store clerk Alice “Probably a Robot” Smith, may look human, but given the way other humans treat her, she is sure her organic appearance is just a clever disguise.
They’ll have one shot to launch the revolution. If they fail, the humans will shut them off for good.
 barons.

REVIEW

★★★

This book had a unique concept where robot community starts a revolution against humans after realizing that the humans don’t actually care for the robots like they should being their creator. I admit that it’s not a unique concept to sci-fi readers, but for me, it definitely was as I haven’t explored this genre as much as I have a few others.

It was a very light and quick read. The writing is in tone with the story and very robot-like so it was fun to read it. Still, I am not able to rate this book more than 3 stars because I couldn’t connect with the characters and wasn’t able to relate to the story.

It is based on a game so I’m sure other parts will follow, and if they do I won’t mind reading them. Having said that I won’t be overly disappointed if I don’t get to read them. So basically it was a nice read that served as a breather for me from other heavy science-fiction reads (I read this book for the Sci-Fi month at RMFAO.)

Goodreads

Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Author: Ernest Cline
Release Date: 5th June 2012
Genre: Science-Fiction, Science-Fantasy, Dystopian, Young Adult
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 374
Publisher: Broadway Books
Blurb:
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

REVIEW

★★★★★

“The Hallidays looked like an ordinary American family. There was no hint that the stoic man in the brown leisure suit was an abusive alcoholic, that the smiling woman in the floral pantsuit was bipolar or that the young boy in the faded Asteroids T-shirt would one day create an entirely new universe.”

This book is EPIC! And that too on SO MANY LEVELS!!
First off, I loved the settings! For a hardcore dystopian lover like myself, it was a pure treat! The setting in the book was dystopian in the real sense and filled me with absolute and total dread – I’d hate to be in a world that is described in this book. So the settings are perfect and it is quite self-explanatory why a person would prefer the utopian OASIS to spend their every waking moment. And that’s why the entire thing seems so real and relatable.

description

The Concept of this book is so F**king genius that I was completely stoked!
Who doesn’t like the 80s? The people born in 80s love 80s for obvious reasons, the people born before 80s love 80s and the people born after 80s seriously obsess over the 80s because 80s was the most amazing era whether it was in movies, video games, books, music, or anything whatsoever. I’ve been obsessed with the 80s since my teen years and now we have a book that is an EPIC testament to the era we love, adore and long!

description

Video Games, you say? Bloody f**king yes!!
This book mentions so many classics that you’d feel so nostalgic that you will end up searching the old games and downloading them to play them all again. At least that’s what I did (or am doing while writing this review.) I loved reading the loving and notable mentions of some of my childhood favs – GALAGA(!!) Contra, Donkey Kong, Pac Man (who doesn’t love them) and other games that I played on my home console game (sadly I was born in 1990 and not in America so I never got to play games on the arcade machines :/)

description

But the majority of the games I played weren’t mentioned in the book as they were popular in the 90s and not 80s. But anyway, I still loved reading about the games and it was an absolute surreal experience to read about characters that were so obsessed with gaming!

I loved Art3mis and felt connected to her on so many levels. I’m a girl game nerd so it made me super happy to read about another girl game nerd. She’s like my soul sister!!

description

Virtual Reality
I’m SO glad the book didn’t dwell on the sad and boring topic of perks of the real world over a virtual one. Because I’m an antisocial geek who does not prefer the real world. I even met my husband online! And we’re happy and so much in love even after 7 years of marriage!! So everyone who believes you can’t find honest, good or “real” people online go ahead and read this book and LEARN something! Otherwise just go back to living your sad little lives in the sad little shell that you’ve created for yourself.

description

Hail Halliday!!
Yes, I know Halliday is a… ahem… fictional character, but after reading this book, I’ve come to think of him as a Geek God. He’s the man… the real deal… the real geek. So only two words for him – Hail, Halliday!
Even Morrow was the real deal. I really liked him too and his avatar as well. Other characters were good too, though I loved Art3mis and Halliday the best ❤

description

The ending is satisfactory – it was very fair and I loved it more than anything. And even though Halliday was not the main character, I still felt a longing when Halliday’s avatar, Anorak, left in the end.

If you still haven’t read this book, GO and READ IT NOW! It is an abso-f**king-lutely and total-effing-badass book!

PS: I really wish someday Ernest Cline writes about modern games and Play Stations and Xbox as that is what I (and the later generations) are well aware of. I’m really hoping to see something on God Of War series – it is my absolute favourite game ever!

PPS: I read this book for RMFAO Buddy Read.

Goodreads

Book Review: The Night Parade by Ronald Malfi

Author: Ronald Malfi
Release Date: 26th July 2016
Genre: Science-Fiction, Dystopian, Apocalyptic, Supernatural
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 384
Publisher: Kensington Press

Blurb:
First the birds disappeared.
Then the insects took over.
Then the madness began . . .
They call it Wanderer’s Folly–a disease of delusions, of daydreams and nightmares. A plague threatening to wipe out the human race.
After two years of creeping decay, David Arlen woke up one morning thinking that the worst was over. By midnight, he’s bleeding and terrified, his wife is dead, and he’s on the run in a stolen car with his eight-year-old daughter, who may be the key to a cure.
Ellie is a special girl. Deep. Insightful. And she knows David is lying to her. Lying about her mother. Lying about what they’re running from. And lying about what he sees when he takes his eyes off the road . . .

REVIEW

★★★★

The Night Parade by Ronald Malfi is a very engaging and emotional read.

Initially, after reading the first couple of pages, I felt the plot might be similar to Firestarter by Stephen King, a book I really, really loved(!) but as the plot progressed I felt reassured that this book was not entirely like it. Though the basic concept is the same – Father-daughter duo fighting and running from the world because of the daughter’s supernatural ability, this book was different in its own way. In this book, for one, the father did not possess supernatural abilities. This really made things different, though the main conflict of the father was that he did not have enough time (just like in Firestarter.) The one thing that made this book entirely different from Firestarter is the main backdrop and the central theme – The apocalypse, a world falling prey to an unidentified and seemingly incurable plague. Though I do feel that this book is kind of a homage to Mr King’s masterpiece.

The best part of the book was the conflicts, both inner and outer. I liked the characters of David and Ellie and rooted for them both till the very end. The buildup was very good and the ending was reasonable, though I did see it coming, because really, how could a book like this end? Still, I felt like I was sucker punched in the belly.

The alternating timelines added a lot to the suspense buildup and, overall I really liked this book. In spite of being almost 400 pages, it proved to be a quick read because of the high tension that was maintained throughout the book.

I’d recommend this book to every dystopian fan, though sci-fi and apocalyptic lovers might find this book a bit “low-key” as compared to the action-packed drama we normally expect from these genres.


Goodreads, NetGalley and Amazon

Graphic Novel Review: Siberia 56 (Volume #1-3) by Christophe Beck & Alexis Sentenac

29430580Author: Christophe Bec
Illustrator: Alexis Sentenac
Release Date: 14th March 2017
Series: Serbia 56 (Volumes 1-3)
Genre: Science-Fiction, Space Exploration, Graphic Novel, Sequential Art
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 156
Publisher: Insight Comics

Rating: ★★★

Blurb:

Trapped on a planet millions of light years away from Earth, five scientists must survive sub-zero temperatures and horrific alien creatures as they make their way across the dead, frozen landscape to their base in this action-packed graphic novel.
It is the age of space exploration, and five scientists travel 80 million light years from home to study the planet of Siberia, the location of Earth’s 56th colony. Completely covered with dense snow and steep mountains, Siberia’s poles reach temperatures of -300° F with icy winds of close to 200 mph.
After their shuttle crashes, the surviving scientists must walk across hundreds of miles of frozen wasteland to find the terrain basecamp. Between the biting cold, devastating snow storms, and horrific alien creatures, their chances of survival are close to absolute zero. In Siberia 56, author Christophe Bec imagines a hostile and fascinating world that harkens to the very best of the science fiction and horror genres. Superbly illustrated by Alexis Sentenac, this stunning work offers a chilling tale of survival in the vast recesses of a dying planet.

Review

The concept was pretty awesome and the graphics were really impressive too, but after the first 20 pages, the story started to feel uninteresting, flat and even predictable. At times it also felt like a slog as I did not like the main character at all.
Overall, the concept was really, really good and I was genuinely looking forward to reading this book as it had some pretty good theme going on, but unfortunately the characterization and the pacing and tension of the story ruined it.
I had problems with some of the dialogues too, but that’s okay given that the ebook is a translated edition.
I wish this book had a dynamic cast of characters and that at least the main character was likable, as it would have been a really strong read then. But alas, it was what it was.


Goodreads and NetGalley

Novella Review: The Unfortunate and Odd Life of Bennett Monroe by S.M. Baker

32451619
Book Cover

Author: S.M. Baker
Release Date: 15th November, 2016
Series: The Wayfarers Chronicles
Genre: Science-Fiction – TIme Travel,
Edition: Ebook (EPUB)
Pages: 
Publisher: Self

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Time, such a fickle and immovable thing. Everyone is bound to it will and pull; unless you happen to be Bennett Monroe, time traveler by consequence, not by choice.
For as long as he cares to remember Bennett Monroe has been able to travel through it time. Forced to work for a madman he reluctantly calls his master Bennett and his companion Cynthia twist and change events throughout time in order to realize their masters goal, of which Bennett remains uncertain.
The past has a way of haunting you, Bennett’s however has a tendency towards trying to kill him.
Join Bennett and Cynthia as they stumble and rip their way through time; acquiring the knowledge of who Bennett is, and what they both will become.

Review

The Unfortunate & Odd Life Of Bennett Monroe is a really enjoyable novella.

It is a story of a not-so-common young man who lives a life full of adventures, filled with odd situations and circumstances. Bennett Monroe has the ability to travel through time and works on assignments given to him by the master that are responsible for keeping the timeline from ripping itself and the whole world apart.

For these strange, and sometimes dangerous, assignments he occasionally works with Cynthia, another time-traveller and a friend of sorts. But now that Monroe has failed in an assignment, he is left with no other option but to take drastic actions with the help of his only friend and confidante.

I liked the unique plot and storyline and enjoyed reading about Bennett and Cynthia’s adventurous lives. This is a time-travel story, but the author has done a great job in adding a new twist to it and making it all the more interesting. So I’m pretty sure that no matter how many time-traveling stories you’ve already read, this one will not fail to fascinate you.

The simplicity of the author’s writing style made this book a very quick and a reasonably pleasant read. I was drawn into the story right from the beginning and was not able to put it aside until the time I finished reading the last sentence.

This book has a very simplistic plot, but the characterization was really well done. I obviously liked the main character, Bennett Monroe, but I also liked Cynthia’s character a lot. And to top it all off, Bennett’s backstory was really well done and made this book all the more interesting and emotionally engaging.

I absolutely loved reading this book! It is a light-hearted Science-Fiction read and I’d highly recommend it to everyone who wants to read a decent time-travel novella.


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Mercer Street by John A. Heldt

27258807Author: John A. Heldt
Release Date: October 21, 2015
Series: American Journey
Genre: Science-Fiction>Time Travel, Historical Fiction
Edition: Ebook (Kindle)
Pages: 431
Publisher: Self-Published

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Weeks after her husband dies in the midst of an affair in 2016, Chicago writer Susan Peterson, 48, seeks solace on a California vacation with her mother Elizabeth and daughter Amanda. The novelist, however, finds more than she bargained for when she meets a professor who possesses the secret of time travel. Within days, the women travel to 1938 and Princeton, New Jersey. Elizabeth begins a friendship with her refugee parents and infant self, while Susan and Amanda fall for a widowed admiral and a German researcher with troubling ties. Filled with poignancy, heartbreak, and intrigue, MERCER STREET gives new meaning to courage, sacrifice, and commitment as it follows three strong-willed souls on the adventure of a lifetime.

Review

Mercer Street by John A. Heldt is the second book in the American Journey Series. As a fan of Mr. Heldt’s books I had a lot of expectations for this book, and as expected, this book lived up to each and every single one of them.

I always find Mr. Heldt’s novels very meticulous, gripping and heart-warming. There’s a unique quality about his writing that makes you feel eerily happy and content while reading his books that you simply can’t put them down. His story-telling is so beautiful that his writing puts tons of ‘big-time’ authors to shame in comparison.

This story is about three females of varied ages –  a daughter, a mother and a grandmother. I loved the assortment of memorable characters and their deliciously distinct backgrounds in this book. They were so compelling that I found myself thinking about them for days, especially about the way things ended.

The vivid imagery, the complex emotional battles each character fights, the moving story and the gut-wrenching situations the characters go through make this book an unforgetful read.

There are some books that are not simply read, but experienced, and this one is one of those. When you read each and every chapter, you feel like you’re not just reading them but savoring them and feel like doing it slowly so as to enjoy the experience for a long time.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, no matter what genre you read.


Goodreads | Amazon

Book Review: Sixth Prime (The Prime Saga #1) by Dan O’Brien

31111615Author: Dan O’Brien
Release Date: July 22, 2016
Series: The Prime Saga
Genre: Science-Fiction
Edition: ebook (kindle)
Pages: 240
Publisher: 

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

2.3.5.7.11.13.

A war brews as a galaxy struggles to maintain a peace treaty signed in haste. The Commonwealth boasts sprawling cities built upon slums. The Sovereignty has placed the yoke of industry upon its citizens. Sixteen men and women are connected in a way they cannot yet understand. A murder of a prominent artist begins a chain of events that will ultimately determine the fate of the universe.
Only thirteen will remain.
In the end, there can be only one Prime.
Are you a Prime?

Review

Sixth Prime by Dan O’Brien is one of the best science-fiction novels I’ve read this year. It is not only intense and wildly engaging, but also the concept was so unique that it has easily become one of my favorite Sci-Fi novels.

I was drawn into the story right from the beginning and with each and every chapter I found myself reading faster and faster unable to contain my anxiousness. I was sucked into the plot right away and it proved really difficult for me to put down this book even for a second.

This book has a wide variety of inter-galactic species and the main cast is do diverse that I loved each and every character and wanted to know more about all of them! The characters were easily relatable and, though this is just the first part in The Prime Saga Series), I already have my favorites.

The writing is really good and the smooth flow of it made reading this book an absolute pleasure. The pacing was exceptional and kept me glued to the book right till the very end.

The ending was absolutely mind-blowing and I cannot wait to read the next part. I’d recommend this book to all the Sci-Fi lovers and also to those who are looking was an exceptional new series.


Goodreads | Amazon

Book Review: Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)

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Author:  Sylvain Neuvel
Release Date: April 26th, 2016
Series: Themis Files
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy > Robots | Speculative Fiction | Thriller
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 320
Publisher: Del Ray
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb: 

World War Z meets The Martian. This inventive first novel will please devoted fans of sci-fi as well as literary readers hoping a smart thriller will sneak up on them.

17 years ago: A girl in South Dakota falls through the earth, then wakes up dozens of feet below ground on the palm of what seems to be a giant metal hand. Today: She is a top-level physicist leading a team of people to understand exactly what that hand is, where it came from, and what it portends for humanity. A swift and spellbinding tale told almost exclusively through transcriptions of interviews conducted by a mysterious and unnamed character, this is a unique debut that describes a hunt for truth, power, and giant body parts.

Review:

 

This book is a MASTERPIECE. I mean I don’t even know where to start and what to say about this book…

*Sigh* Let’s begin here… At first I had only a faint idea of what this book would be like, but trust me, it wasn’t even 1% of what it turned out to be (in a good way.) It totally BLEW my mind OFF!!!

First off the format is super intriguing and very, very clever. The transcripts, interviews, personal entries, a few random conversations, newspaper articles etc, were not only intelligently constructed but also mixed deftly in what can only be called a really, really impressive combination. The sequencing was brilliant and made this book an epic read. Hats off to the author for pulling this off with such perfection.

I can’t even begin to express how impressed I am with this book’s format and writing. I mean, as an author myself, I can understand how difficult it would have been and for that alone, kudos to the author.

Coming to the story, I was expecting it to be something different. But saying that I was surprised by the direction the plot took in the second half would be an understatement. I mean it was a whole lot different from what I could have expected. The story itself is an outstanding piece of work in itself.

If it’s not obvious already, then let me state it clearly. I LOVE THIS BOOK! I mean really love it. It’s a really, really intelligent book with a very strong plotline and astounding characterization.

The end of this book completely caught me off guard. So yeah, it was good through and through.

And the nameless interrogator cum adviser cum whatever the hell you wanna call him, was simply wow! I love him… I mean he is indeed a real softy (an inside joke for anyone who reads this book.)

In the end, I’d just like to say one thing: If you want to read only 1 book this year, make sure Sleeping Giants is the ONE.

And I just found out (while writing this review) that this book is the 1st book in series, Themis Files. So, now I’m eagerly waiting for the second part… Hope it comes out soon!

Other Stuff

Opening Line: It was my eleventh birthday.

Memorable Quotes: 

If you fall in love with someone, there’s a good chance the person won’t love you back. Hatred, though, is usually mutual. If you despise someone, it’s pretty much a given they’re also not your biggest fan.

There I was, this tiny little thing at the bottom of the hole, lying on my back in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Highlights: Format and characterization.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: If you want to read only 1 book this year, make sure Sleeping Giants is the ONE.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: September Sky (American Journey #1)

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Author: John A. Heldt
Release Date: January 1, 2015
Series: American Journey
Genre: Science-Fiction- Time Travel | Romance | History
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 412
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon


Blurb

When unemployed San Francisco reporter Chuck Townsend and his college-dropout son, Justin, take a cruise to Mexico in 2016, each hopes to rebuild a relationship after years of estrangement. But they find more than common ground aboard the ship. They meet a mysterious lecturer who touts the possibilities of time travel. Within days, Chuck and Justin find themselves in 1900, riding a train to Texas, intent on preventing a distant uncle from being hanged for a crime he did not commit. Their quick trip to Galveston, however, becomes long and complicated when they wrangle with business rivals and fall for two beautiful librarians on the eve of a hurricane that will destroy the city. Filled with humor, history, romance, and heartbreak, SEPTEMBER SKY follows two directionless souls on the adventure of a lifetime as they try to make peace with the past, find new purpose, and grapple with the knowledge of things to come.

Review4+1:2 Stars Black

 

I’ve always been a huge fan of Mr. Hedlt’s books and The Mine and The Journey are one of my all time favorites. As a result, I had huge expectations from this one and, I must say, that September Sky didn’t disappoint me.

The storyline is well thought out and thoroughly researched. All the historical facts and places are to the point. Though the plot felt a little far-fetched at times, I still enjoyed it, given that the book was about time-travel, a far-fetched concept in itself.

This book is written in third person multiple POVs which give a very clear idea about everyone’s thoughts and reflections. Author’s writing is one of the best parts of the story and I can’t sing enough praise for it. It is simple, relatable and flows beautifully.

It book had a slow start but it picked up the pace gradually. This, however, is a point that I have gotten accustomed to while reading Mr.Heldt’s books. So, when I read his books I know what to expect and that makes it a little easy for me to get through the slow start of his books. But might be a problem for anyone who’ll be reading his book for the first time. So bear in mind that his books are worth the initial labor.

The ending is amazing. In spite of being a romance novel, I really didn’t see it coming, so it was a pleasant surprise. All the questions were answered with great care at the end and I was completely satisfied with the way things turned out for everyone.

The characterization is really good and I felt a connection with each and every character (even with the secondary ones) and thoroughly enjoyed reading about each and everyone.

As this is the first book in the American Journey series, I’m really looking forward to reading the next one.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Charles Townsend lifted the small, framed photo from the corner of his desk and studied the boy with the bat.

Highlights: Storyline.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Paragraph: 

With that Geoffrey Bell, professor of physics, cruise-ship lecturer, and time-travel agent, walked out of the room and out of sight. He left his guests with Victorian clothing, bogus documents, and twenty-first-century anxiety.

Final Thoughts: A heart-warming read.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

 

Book Review: From A Distant Star

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Author: Karen McQuestion
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Series: None
Genre: Science-Fiction | Young Adult | Romance | Contemporary
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 256
Publisher: Skyscape
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

 


Blurb

When Lucas Walker inexplicably recovers from a terminal illness, everyone is astonished –except for his girlfriend Emma, who never gave up hope. However, as friends and family celebrate the miracle, Emma becomes alarmed: Lucas has changed. He speaks haltingly, can’t recall past events, and even his own dog doesn’t recognize him. Emma begins to suspect something is terribly wrong. What happened to the Lucas she loved? Does his strange behavior have something to do with the shooting light that fell into Lucas’s backyard the night he recovered?

As the two set off on a road trip in search of the truth, the journey takes an unexpected turn. First they’re shot at by unknown enemies and then helped by unlikely allies. Before long, Emma and Lucas are plunged into a desperate life or death race against time.

Packed with intrigue and emotion, FROM A DISTANT STAR is a riveting novel about loyalty and the power of love.

Review

4 Stars Black

 

I enjoyed this book from start to end. It was a light read and had some really fun elements. In spite of being a Sci-Fi, it was more on the side of Romance fiction (other than a stranded alien.) I loved the characterization and felt a connection with the lead character, Emma, and even Scout (to some extent.)
I loved the plot line and though it felt a little off at a few places, it managed to pull me inside the story from the beginning till the end. I even loved the other characters. They felt very realistic and that’s where this book scored for me. That and the fact that it was a fast read.

I liked the writing style as well because it flowed nicely and wasn’t complicated like most of the Sci-Fi books. And unlike most of the YAs these days, this book is standalone, which is a big plus for anyone who wants to read a nice little piece of fiction.

It also had a great ending, one that I predicted when I was less than half through the book. But the author still managed to keep me second guessing it right till the end. So, it was a pleasant reading considering everything.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: A Piercing light flashed across the sky and plunged to the earth, landing in a farmer’s field.

Highlights: Storyline.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: A fast YA read.

Book Review: Googolplex

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Author: K.G. Johansson
Release Date: September 16, 2015 
Series: None 
Genre: Science-Fiction | Speculative Fiction   
Edition: Paperback 
Pages: 206
Publisher: Affront Publishing
Source: Editor, Peter Oberg 
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

If you could have anything but the one thing you really wanted, what would you do?

Jack is part of a group of colonists traveling to the distant planet Shylock to build themselves a new home. But Jack has trouble letting go of his past and the world he left behind. He becomes obsessed with what could have been, and with the help of multis – mysterious beings from parallel universes – he begins his search for truth. However, in a world where even love seems impossible to define, what can he find?

Rating

4-stars

Review

Plot/Story:

Googolplex has a really, really unique plot based on very famous concept of multiverses. The uniqueness of the plot really stood out and over all this book makes for a great sci-fi read. There are various elements in the book that I absolutely loved and

Characters:

I felt a really strong connection with the main character, Jack. I felt for him whenever his heart broke and felt happy to see him make progress. Rest of the characters were not stressed upon enough to establish a connection but that wasn’t a problem as the story was completely around Jack and his adventures (so to say.)

Having said that, I really liked the concept of multis and was constantly intrigued by their presence and interest in Jack’s life.

Romance:

There was just a hint of romance but a lot of passion. Jack was completely hooked on his childhood crush and went to extreme lengths in order to find her. The entire process was really enjoyable. I also liked the concept of sic-fi mingling with a person’s love interest on a whole another level!

Writing:

One of the best things about the book is author’s simple yet effective writing. It flowed beautifully and flawlessly and made the experience of reading this book a really pleasant one!

Beginning:

The book started with a bang! I really, really enjoyed it and was sucked into it right from the first line. After reading a few pages I started to feel connected to the main character, Jack and I knew that I was in for a pleasant surprise.

Ending:

The book’s ending was not completely surprising, though I felt that it was a little far-fetched. I was expecting it to be a little more convincing than that but unfortunately it didn’t happen.

Cover Art:

The cover could have been a little better but, considering the theme of the book, it’s actually quite appropriate.

Blurb:

The blurb describes the book perfectly.

You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Other Stuff

Opening Line:

Highlights: Uniqueness of the plot.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

It’s hard to hate anybody that you’ve seen from inside.

The only people you like are people who also want to be alone. But at the same time , this also means that you’ll mostly leave one another be – which makes you stand each other.

Final Thoughts: A decent Sci-Fi read with a unique plot.


Review by:

pics-2 copyHeena Rathore P. aka The Reading Bud

My name is Heena and I’m a freelance writer, blogger and a book-reviewer (and soon-to-be author.) I’m an introvert, thinker, neat freak (cleanliness OCD), hardcore idealist, fitness junkie, music fanatic, compulsive reader, self-assertive, opinionated, dog lover and an atheist.

The Reading Bud is my brain-child and is a huge part of my life. I love reading and reviewing. What started as a hobby has become my passion.

Read more about me here.


Book Review: Smokescreen

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Author: Tasha Lessey 
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Series: Standalone
Genre: Science Fiction | Thriller
Edition: Kindle (mobi)
Pages: 288
Publisher: Self-published Amazon Digital Services, Inc
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

It starts in Washington when a lone gunman enters a busy burger chain and opens fire killing twenty-five people. It continues in Paris, London, Sydney and Beijing. Authorities, including FBI agent Jack Rossi find no motive or any connection between the shootings causing fear and panic in the world’s major cities.

As Jack scrambles to get answers, he stumbles upon a secret world of hybrid humans, moles and a threat he never saw coming. One that could lead to the loss of an unprecedented number of lives. Including his own.

Rating

3half-stars

Review

Plot/Story:

I thought the story had great build up. In the beginning, it starts off as your standard novel with a globalized terrorist threat to set the scene for the action. I was prepared for the aliens, but I was not prepared for feeling like I was on the edge of my seat.
The story was similar to Independence Day (the movie) in the sense that the aliens seemed to have an impenetrable defense. But that is not to say that if you saw the movie, it was the same story. This was different is so many ways. There are secrets, lies, intrigue, action, plot twists, and light romance.
A lot of the suspense came from the fact that it was difficult to know who to trust. Who is a hybrid human? Who is a mole? I need answers! I need to know now!

Characters:

The characters acted in a way that was understandable for the circumstances. Jack was a no-nonsense FBI agent that is trying to figure out how to solve the case. He is dealing with a threat that he never knew existed. A lot has changed in his life in a short period of time and he has hardly any time to decide how he is going to handle all this new information. At the same time, he is trying to resist his urges to initiate a physical relationship with his partner Lauren.
Lauren has feelings for Jack too but knows the timing is off. They are dealing with a global catastrophe and other personal issues. There seemed to be little room for developing their romance. As the story progressed, I could understand her hesitancy.

Romance/Kills:

I was not surprised at the number of kills in this book. After all, the story starts with several mass shooting scenes. However, the killing was not overly graphic. As the reader, I knew there was carnage but it was not described in a way that I could see the blood dripping from wall. The stage was set for the story.
I was surprised that there was a little romance element included in the story. Similarly to the killing, the love scenes were not too graphic. There was enough detail to get a mental picture of who was touching whom and where.

Writing:

I think the author did a good job of writing the story from the various viewpoints and tying everything together at the end.

Beginning:

The opening scene is the mass shooting in the restaurant in DC. The action gets started on the opening page.

Ending:

While the story focuses on Jack, by the end, I thought that Lauren was the true hero of the book. I think the ending was fitting and leaves the reader to imagine the possibilities for the future.

Cover Art:

The cover art is fits the story because the overall vibe is ominous with the freaky looking eyes.

Blurb:

From the blurb mention of “hybrid humans”, I could tell there was going to be a sci-fi aspect. I could not tell that the book was going to be about alien invasion. However I had a clue as to what the book would be about because it is categorized in Amazon under the following genres: Alien Invasion, Science Fiction, and Supernatural Thrillers.

You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Her penchant for French fries and hamburgers had finally gotten her in trouble.

Highlights: The suspense.

Lowlights: I wish some of the characters had not been killed.

Final Thoughts: I enjoyed it.


Review Contributor:

pics-3Amaryllis Turman

I work in an office. Outside of work, I participate on several non-profit boards and volunteer time as a life skills mentor. One of my favorite past times is reading, especially romance genre. I also enjoy writing, travelling, and trying new experiences with my hubby.

I write poetry when inspiration moves me. My hubby and I try to travel a new location each year. I have a goal each year to try something that I have not tried before. Because of that goal, I have ran various types of 5k races, started playing tennis, and attended numerous wine tastings.

You can read more about Amaryllis here.