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VanWest The Past

VanWest The Past by [Kenneth Thomas]

VanWest The Past by Kenneth Thomas is a thrilling intergalactic, dystopian space adventure taking place in the year 3000. Captain VanWest is our infallible protagonist. His mission is to escape the authoritarian society under the control of the Universal Council in order to reach the year 1951. The scenes and settings of all the years and places are extremely vivid and detailed, whether it be the futuristic Black Mirror-esque 3000 or simply 1990s Florida. VanWest has to prove again and again the strength of his character as he battles impossible odds, so that the restoration of the Earth to an earlier, brighter time may be possible.

It wasn’t a stretch for me to imagine that this would be our world in a few centuries or so. The author has created an extremely believable dystopia, simply by extrapolating the consequences of mankind’s current issues: everything from the deteriorating state of the environment or an increasingly unstable global political atmosphere. The best and scariest dystopian novels are those which aren’t too far from our reality.

The side plots are also well-developed. Even though VanWest is single-minded with his mission, he faces numerous other personal issues, including a complicated romantic situation that poses a threat to his goals. The way he navigates his moral, social, and ethical dilemmas is also presented in a very interesting way. Even though he had to make some tough choices along the way, VanWest remained consistent to his character and had me rooting for him throughout.

A lot of the creepy crawly creatures and characters of this book reminded me of a variety of other great stories I had read in the past. It harkens back to everything from Brave New World in the way it portrays the nature of the ruling body and Percy Jackson in the way its action scenes are jam-packed and relentless. I thought it was the mark of  great science fiction noveol the way it incorporated the best elements from some of the best examples in the field.

The pace is extremely fast, but it is suitable for the nature of the plot. Even though it ended in a cliffhanger, it felt like a well-rounded end to an enthralling story. I cannot wait for the next in the series.

Pages: 168 | ASIN: B088WYFK9Q

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Tentoria

Tentoria by [Sorin Banu]

In Sorin Banu’s epic dystopian science fiction novel, man creates a group of human-like cyborgs called Tentorians to end a new world war in the 22nd century. From that point onwards, the Tentorians grow and morph into power-hungry killing machines. They pose a threat to all around them and end up being forcefully ejected from their first settlement by an alliance of nations of the earth. These Tentorians then proceed to create a sovereign state called Tentoria. Here, a new leader envisions a future marked by peaceful coexistence between Tentorians and the rest of mankind. But some powerful Tentorians would have none of that. These rebels set their sights on forcefully taking over the otherworldly Island as their new home. In a series of revealing and riveting events, Cole, a 27-year old Islander, a surprising ally and the Island’s authorities try to protect this unique piece of land. But how will this end? Will the soulless cyborgs seize the last place on earth where people could truly live as humans?

Sorin Banu pings us between the 21st and the 25th centuries as he tells a story of a fallen world. He  artfully illustrates what the earth might look like in the 25th century based on man’s hunger to continually tinker with technology. Banu’s fictional future is marked by stunning advancements in the development of artificial intelligence. But he doesn’t just create futuristic innovations many already envision; he shows us where such breakthroughs could lead humanity.

In this book, Banu suggests that man’s technological creations could come back to haunt him. According to Banu we could end up creating real-life terminators that would later turn on us. But the problem could even run deeper. We could lose our essence as humans.

To drive home his point, he uses an intriguing story line to highlight the things that make us human and how technology could take them away from us. And this wouldn’t be because we created cyborgs to fight our wars. It would be because we’d become overly attached to technology. As we seek greater control and improved solutions, nature’s imprints on our lives will slowly fade away.

The book’s central theme was just one of the many things that thrilled me. Amongst those other things was how Banu weaved the story. I could easily follow the plot even though the author was going back and forth in time. He was also smart enough to insert gaps that kept me guessing and coming up with plausible theories. Also, the characters were relatable, and I could share their emotions.

The book engages your mind, challenges you to reassess some values and appreciate both the limitations and privileges of being human.

Pages: 352 | ASIN: B07QF59Y92

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ELI: More Than Just a Kitten with Ambitions to Go on a Mission

Eli: More Than Just a Kitten with Ambition to Go on a Mission by [Sherralee Tinney]

Eli is so many things. It’s funny, heart warming, passionate, creative and engaging. It’s a fiction story written with great depth. Animal books are always fun to read and the author gives life to a cat-dog relationship. I was expecting an adventure story but was pleasantly surprised to find that there’s more action that any reader will enjoy. Eli is an ambitious kitten that is born into a family of loving parents. This daring kitten is tasked with a dangerous mission and Eli is destined to fulfill it in one piece. It’s a dangerous road to take but work must be done. A supportive family is a pillar and source of hope and strength for Eli, his brother and sister are a motivation to him. Written with great compassion, this book is insightful with the writers voice being fluid, captivating and real.

Eli by Sherralee Tinney is a innovative work of art where every detail is laid out with a purpose. The author’s prose flows seamlessly with this book and relays a rich humanity in the animals. I think this is a great children’s book with a unique twist that shows that animals are strong and determined and have a desire to protect. I think this book will inspire creativity in children and express upon young readers the importance of respecting even the smallest things. Eli overcomes a great many obstacles and it’s relatable with real life challenges, therefore learning to solve a problem, or eliminate it is a good lesson, not giving up along the way. A child will look up to the strength a parent shows, as Eli’s father is strong even when injured, so does a child sees his/her own parents.

This is not your usual cat and dog story, Sherralee Tinney showcases her creativity, which captures the essentials of the human soul. Boys and girls will like this book, it willl also teach them that getting out of their comfort zone can allow them to do great things. For an adult reader this is a quick read, but this shouldn’t be too long for children as well. Children are naturally animal lovers, and a kid would easily relate to an animal story of heroism and be motivated. Sherralee Tinney has captured the hearts of animal lovers in a fun and refreshing story and I’m sure every reader will have at least one ‘aww’ moment as they read. Eli is an inspirational book that I heartily recommend.

Pages: 296 | ASIN: B0793Q9L6K

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Seventh Journey

James has no memory of who he is or where he came from. He was found unconscious in a steaming crater in the frozen North, and it’s only thanks to the kindness of the local man who found him that he is still alive. As James begins to find out more about his past and about the strange, cruel world around him, he realizes that he’s far from the average person and that the fate of not just the Earth but of all the planets and dimensions in existence rests on his shoulders.

The strongest aspect of Seventh Journey Book 2 by Robert J. R. Graham is the plot, which is gripping and fast-paced. Each scene leaves the reader hungry to find out what happens next. There is danger around every corner, with weird and terrifying creatures such as a gigantic and deadly scorpions threatening the protagonists. Graham provides a detailed and intriguing settings for his electrifying novel that showcases his imagination. The story takes place in multiple dimensions, each one different from the last, alternating between being beautiful or terrifying. The way in which the dimensions connect and how they affect each other is one of the most interesting aspects of the book.

Some readers might find the explanations for certain plot points such as multiple dimensions and reincarnation to be complex, but overall the book isn’t weighed down by too much scientific info-dumping. The central plot remained coherent and gripping. While this book presents many intriguing ideas and fascinating settings, the dialogue occasionally comes off stilted, and the story could benefit from more colorful language that compliments the dramatic scenery and thrilling plot. Jacob is an intriguing character and his relationship with Tamara was something I wanted to see explored a little further, as well as Jacob’s interactions with the other characters.

Despite these minor things, Seventh Journey Book 2 is still and immensely enjoyable read. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking novel with an interesting plot featuring fantastical creatures, imaginative sci-fi settings, and nail-biting suspense, then you’ll find plenty in Seventh Journey Book 2.

Pages: 230 | ASIN: B0792HGC35

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Forging of a Knight: Darksiege Triumphant

The sixth installment in Hugo V. Negron’s electrifying fantasy series Forging of a Knight, Darksiege Triumphant, follows Qualtan and his new wife Vanessa, and his right-hand half-orcne friend Glaive as they settle into their new life in the School of the Mages. This is where Qualtan spent much of his boyhood years. Life in the Great Forest only remains idyllic for so long. A significant betrayal within the walls of the School sends Qualtan and his friends into action against the forces of Those That Stand in Shadow in this fast-paced, action-packed novel that is complete with plot twists and turns to keep the fantasy-loving reader duly enthralled.

I have followed this series for a few books thus far and appreciate the depth of both the characters and the plot. Negron has a gift for building both aspects of the novel in a way that is tasteful, rich, and moves the story along. Qualtan, for instance, has a penchant for good over honor. He is inclined to choose the most ethical option available over what is considered “good” in a political sense. However, even his character is multidimensional enough to understand that all his choices have consequences, and at parts of the novel he clearly wrestles with these moral dilemmas. Even though readers are only introduced to Vanessa in the fifth installment of Negron’s series, her character is just as developed. She loves Qualtan and knows in her heart that she has made the right choice in abandoning her previous life to be with him, but she still feels the guilt of her former identity and struggles at times to be at peace with her newfound place in the School.

This installment has multiple story lines that convene, both directly and indirectly, to form one overall story line. These story lines keep the content entertaining and interesting, while still maintaining direction. The authenticity of the relationships between the different characters, such as that between Qualtan and Bartholomew and that between Vanessa and Muirna, truly makes the novel feel as if it is its own world – which, in fact, it very much is.

Darksiege Triumphant is a stellar choice for anyone seeking a dynamic fictional tale that only gains depth as the reader makes their way through the series. I am excited for the next book in the Forging of a Knight series to arrive and look forward to what the author has in store for his readers.

Pages: 432 | ASIN: B07DFPM1Q5

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All The World’s Colors

All The World's Colors: The Queen of the Blue by [James W. George]

In his latest novel All The World’s Colors: The Queen of the Blue, James W. George deep dives into a fantastic world of magic and ancient feud. Our story opens as Jarrow Moncrief, mighty navigator of the Kelian, leads an expedition to recover missing colonists who had failed to report back to the homeland after supposedly founding a settlement in New Kelia. Joined by a company of soldiers the men venture off to the new and mysterious world in search of their missing brothers but upon their arrival make a gruesome discovery. Meanwhile, all is not well in the capital of Merovia. The aging Queen Makenna is displeased with the recent casualties and her grandson Prince Marcel finds himself the unwanted male child while his elder sister is beloved as the second in line to the throne.

Fantasy is one of my most favorite literary genres,there is so much to work with and it has limitless possibilities. This novel had many interesting and engaging aspects to it but it can be a little hard to follow due to the amount of information given at one time. Personally, I enjoy fantasy more when it has a multitude of fictional characteristics and rules concerning the fantasy world, and much of this piece had scores of connected and sensible aspects that tied the story together and brought the plot to life. The world and its inner workings were established firmly and it maintained consistency throughout the entirety of the story without large amounts of unnecessary repetition. All of the established parts complemented each other nicely and fit the theme throughout the entire story.   However, I found myself a little lost in the first couple chapters as information is presented very quickly without a lot of explanation in the beginning. Once you get into the meat of the plot it is a very engaging story with an interesting line up of characters and themes. In my opinion this novel presents a marvelous fantasy aspect that we do not get to see often in the literary world these days, I enjoyed the tone and the themes presented in this piece as well as an active plot with an abundance of excitement. Overall, this is a thrilling novel that fantasy fans will surely enjoy.

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Claimed By Rafa

Claimed by Rafa (Raiden Warriors Book 2) by [Denna Holm]

Rafael Abeden has reached the point in a Raiden males life that it was time to find a mate. Raiden males have the problem of not being able to procreate with their own species so Rafael must find another one to claim and fall in love with. He is set on finding a human woman like his best friend, and prince, Nicolai did. Rafael heads to earth with Nicolai and his mate Abby where he meets her best friend Aaliyah. At once he knew she was the one for him. Aaliyah has had a hard life of abuse and mistreatment. Rafael wants to take all her pain away and show her what it is to feel love. This is a tremendous battle and along the way both discover things they never knew were possible all while trying to stop Nicolai’s enemies from killing him and Abby.

The setting for this novel is mostly aboard the ship Qadira. They use the reference of Star Trek a lot to try and explain things as that is a known cultural norm. The descriptions of the different aliens they encounter are vivid and well thought out. As with the Star Trek references, she uses a lot of human descriptions or animals or dinosaurs to convey what is happening on the alien worlds. This makes it easy for the reader to identify with Aaliyah seeing things for the first time.

As we get deeper into the book and learn about Aaliyah’s past, I felt the anger and frustrations that she has from living through so much pain. Seeing how she was treated by other humans before leaving Earth filled me with anger. This is a testament to Denna Holm’s ability to pull emotions from the reader and give them a connection to the characters. You want to see Aaliyah happy; you feel Abby’s anger at the male posturing, Samantha is your typical teenager and stubborn but adventurous all in one. All the women are fighters, none are weak and docile. The Raiden men appreciate these traits and encourage them.

Of all the different aliens mentioned in the book, I found the Djinn especially interesting. This book hinted that possibly the next one will go more into the Djinn people and how they tie in with the Raiden’s, or at least I hope so. Claimed by Rafa was a unique and deeply engaging novel. I look forward to reading more novels from Denna Holm and certainly more entries int this fantastic series.

Pages: 332 | ASIN: B088G25F9H

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The Call of Magic

The Call of Magic (The Fool's Journey Book 1) by [A.R. C.]

Emma Lie is already an above-average person, working her way tirelessly to earn herself a scholarship to Harvard, while still finding the time to work 15-20 hours a week at her local coffee shop. But when she discovers what she thinks is a rash on her arm in the shape of a ‘6’ she finds out that her very specific life plan will take a detour.

A run-in with a very handsome mystery man at the coffee shop she works at, who she later finds out is Thies and has the same mark as her, will change her life forever. Emma has been invited to the Institut Le Blanc where she will learn magic and become part of a magical army. But just as she is about to deny her contract and leave this craziness behind, she is pulled through a portal and lands unwillingly at the school.

If you’re looking for a book that is as adventurous as it is fast-paced then you should read The Call of Magic. The thing I loved best about this book is the way it is written. Even though Emma has just graduated from high school, it is not written how some young adult books are. Some authors tend to take the teenager’s way of speaking to a level that is annoying to read, but this book is not at all this way. Which allows it to be read by adults as well as young adults.

As a fan of the Harry Potter series, I found this to be like a college version of it, so if you enjoy Harry Potter as well then you will find this series to be just as engaging. Add in some serious girl power and Emma will take you on a magical ride. Her tough and loyal attitude makes her a great role model to look up to as well. Even though she went through some hard times, she was able to better herself and has always kept a spark of magic alive inside her, no matter how deep down.

While reading you will find yourself fighting alongside Emma, feeling all her frustration, the magic that courses through her veins, and the fight to save her mother, who is now in danger. Don’t think you have to be a lover of the fantasy genre either, this book will appeal to all who love a page-turning, suspense-filled story!

Pages: 370 | ASIN: B088DMGFLJ

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