It has been a full trilogy of books, since we have come back to the main timeline of Joshua Landeros’ Reverence series. Having established an entire prequel series to flesh out his world, Landeros has come back to deal with the fallout and what is left of the UNR. Both sides have taken huge losses, but neither will retreat. And it will be up to the last Marconi, Damien, to rally the surviving UNR Cabinet to lead the country into this brave new future. Meanwhile, the Crimson Angels are in a difficult place, despite their successful strike on the International Summit. Gabriella will have to pick up these pieces and decide who she trusts more. All of this coming to a head to see who will end up in a grave or standing astride it, in this new installment of an epic military science fiction saga.
It is refreshing to be back in uncharted waters, having spent so long in the past, and Landeros ensures readers hit the ground running and wondering where all of our heroes of the past have landed after the last battle. The tension ramps up with little effort and with trademark pacing. The story unfolds with our cast of characters struggling against one another as they seek to either win the upper hand or to make sure they enforce justice.
Landeros’ prose continues to improve with each installment and his stories are becoming more and more complex, rather than a simple military sci-fi thriller they initial books were when the series began years ago. It is a pleasure to see how an author has not only grown, but developed his own flavor in the genre as well. This is another solid entry in the ongoing series and it shows little sign of slowing or stopping anytime soon!
Fans of military fiction or military science fiction should already have Avenge the Silenced on pre-order. Readers, who enjoy gritty action among thought provoking themes would also find themselves quite intrigued with this book.
Pages: 366 | ASIN:B07NNV7GKB
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The Final Wars Begin is a thrilling science fiction novel following Lieutenant General Bastien as he sets in motion the collapse of a civilization. What was the inspiration behind the plot to this novel?
I’m fascinated by the butterfly effect and its examples in history. Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination leading to WW1 or Genghis Khan’s invasion across Asia sparking the decline of science in the Islamic world & introducing the black plague to Europe – these types of scenarios have always captivated my attention. That plus my love for science fiction and technology (my day job) led to The Final Wars. I wanted to show that small things/events/people can have profound impacts on their surroundings.
You’ve meticulously built an intricate world and backstory in this novel. What were some driving ideals behind the development of the world your characters inhabit?
The main goal was to create a realistic world. Often, science fiction introduces a new world to its readers but isn’t able to convince them of the setting’s realism. That can thoroughly sour the reading experience. I wanted to explore how humans separated by vast distances developed in terms of technology, morals, and economics after an all-out nuclear war, and I wanted to do it in such a way that readers wouldn’t question the future setting’s plausibility.
I enjoyed how the characters were well defined and contrasted each other. What were some themes you wanted to explore with the characters?
Great question. One theme I wanted to examine was the existence of morality in a world seemingly devoid of any morals. In the story, Bastien’s mentor, Father Paul, says, “Just because we are surrounded by monsters, doesn’t mean we have to become one ourselves.” – this is a significant part of Bastien’s inner conflict. How do you survive in such a dark world without turning into a monster yourself?
This is book one in the Final Wars Trilogy. Where will book two pickup and when will it be available?
Book two will pick up with Bastien struggling to survive in Nippon One. It will be available on February 1st, 2020. Readers can join my email distro on SAwritesSF.com for further information.
ONE MAN SETS IN MOTION THE COLLAPSE OF CIVILIZATION.
It’s 2209. World War III has left humanity fragmented. Three colonies survive, each on a different world – Earth supports New Paris, its moon has become Nippon One, and Mars has Port Sydney. Trade and tensions bind them, keeping peace balanced on the edge of a precipice. A cruel dictator rages on one world. A failed experiment plunges another into financial ruin. Diplomatic pressures bear down on the third. All it would take is for one man to tip everything over into conflict.
ENTER BASTIEN LYONS.
A man on the run, Bastien’s moral compass has made him a fugitive in the colonies. The odds against his escape are stacked high – a military robot built to erase outlaws hunts him. So do bounty hunters. What’s worse: Bastien finds himself caught in a deadly political chess match between Earth and Mars. He must not only outwit those threats but also create alliances to live. In doing so, Bastien will push the world towards…
THE FINAL WARS.
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Experience the domed city called Tranquility, where emotions are monitored by electronic Alts. You dare not step out of line. Follow an unlikely trio of friends, as they undertake a dangerous quest together: Ember Vinata, a shy, sixteen-year-old Empath, who has a secret ability to see and feel people’s emotions. Will Verus, a reluctant but loyal eighteen-year-old celebrated hero bound for greatness, and Xander Noble, a rebellious, cocky nineteen-year-old exile. As they and their companions form an alliance to expose an evil plot in the otherwise “Perfect”.
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The Final War Begins is a dystopian sci-fi novel of a fractured society and the people trying to bring peace to the colonies. The story starts as Lieutenant General Bastien is running from the law. He’s wanted for murder and is running to avoid execution. Bastien is an easy character to root for and he had me empathizing with him right from the beginning. He’s a soldier, but one with good and careful judgement.
Queen Marie Dubois was a character I did not like as much but still loved how fierce and determined she was. Marie’s voracious nature had her kill her father so she could assume the throne. She then turns to Bastien to get rid of her sister Belle. With an exciting plot twits, Belle tries to do the same thing her sister had in mind and turn Bastien against Marie. This turn of events makes the book thrilling to say the least and shows how unpredictable this novel is, which keeps you on the edge of your seat.
There is a strong theme of technology throughout the book that is used deftly and subtly so that you always know this is the future and you can’t wait to see what things S.A. Asthana has dreamed up. Cube the robot is tasked with hunting down Bastien. Cube has a few human features and qualities, like familiarizing himself with emotion through music, which made him endearing. Every character we’re introduced to is developed thoroughly, leaving you with complex and intriguing characters. Marie had extraordinary physical abilities, General Crone is as firm as his job required, and Belle brought balance to the story when other characters appear mean. The main character, Bastien, was everything I would want to see in a protagonist in a fantasy novel.
If you enjoy thrilling fantasy novels, then you will love this book. The author has given the characters contrasting roles that make the plot unfold easily and builds tension organically. Every chapter focuses on a single character; which helped me follow the plot. The adventure, shock, politics, murders, tension among characters and the suspense after every chapter will give you an adrenaline rush. The Final War Begins is a top notch dystopian science fiction novel.
Pages: 287 | ASIN: B07LD73841
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Project Purple follows volunteers on a broadcasted experience to recreate American colonization that turns deadly. What was the inspiration behind this unique idea?
“Project Purple” Is about thirteen Americans who recreate the lives of the early colonials for a worldwide on-line audience. They don’t know their ordeal has been gradually, brutally altered by their organizers, and a struggle for food, shelter, and survival turn deadly as an Arctic winter approaches.
The seed of this idea emerged from a conjoining of two mediums—the first being a PBS TV series called Colonial House back in 2003, and the second being an extraordinary novel about the harrowing saga of the Donner party called “The Indifferent Stars Above.” Somehow, the ordeals of these people from different centuries fused.
I think “Project Purple” seeks to understand what it takes to draw on one’s inner survivor. I just started thinking: What could a writer do to give this story more adversity and more propulsion?
Rigor is a detective from Las Vegas who sets out to help the volunteers. What were some driving ideals behind his character?
I wove Rigor into the story to give it another layer of depth. On the surface he’s an upstanding guy. He’s initially driven by noble ideals, but as his story unfolds, we see the darkness within him, too, and that’s why he’s been selected for new “projects”. The Rhizome, the shadowy multi-national underground faction, knows his history.
This novel is able to capture the history of American colonialism and modern dystopian ideals. What were some ideals you wanted to explore in this book?
I guess I wanted to capture the idea that civilization is a thin veneer we lay across the bubbling magma of nature, including human nature. Occasionally, like a volcano, the magma erupts, and we fall through the crust, scratching and gouging for our lives. Then a new world order begins, with an entirely new language, and with an entirely new taxonomy: a new way of ordering and naming things in life—the Rhizome.
The thirteen Americans are under the impression they’re showcasing the early seventeenth century colonial way of life for a worldwide audience; that they can teach others by reenacting “a simpler, purer time in their national experience, to the roots of the nation they are today, to the infant of America.” Of course, the Rhizome isn’t impressed by any of that. What it wants to learn from the Americans is all together different.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The project I’m on now, “Assunta” is a three-part trilogy about a man who comes to believe in the divine. It’s a physical and spiritual journey from the gates of Hell to the highest portion of Heaven. The story is built on a framework of references to the great poem “The Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri. There are three books: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. I’ve just finished Book 3, and will publish them in one month intervals, starting in early March with the first Book, Assunta: Inferno.
After I finish the Assunta trilogy, I’m returning to sequels of The Cuckoo Colloquium —about six teens lost in the rain forest of Borneo, because the characters have so much depth and the story so much fuel remaining. I hope to have book #2 of what I’m calling the Cuckoo series out by autumn, 2019.
I believe that memorable characters make memorable tales. One of my favorite writers, Samuel Becket, for example, shows us lunatics in trashcans, or characters who set themselves on fire. He had great insights into what is true, and he makes it funny. I think that’s my job, my goal—to write characters and stories that are absurd, violent, childish, but that resonate with truth.
Thirteen Americans volunteer for a unique three-month project to recreate America’s early colonial experience for a worldwide on-line audience. The colonists have been deceived. They don’t know their ordeal has been gradually, brutally, altered by their organizers, and a genuine struggle for food, shelter and survival turns deadly as an Arctic winter approaches. Is there some point to this insanity? The besieged Americans (including a police detective who throws his world away to rescue a colonist he knows only as the Goatwench) must find the primal survivor within themselves to counter the ever-increasing violence they face—all to the attentive schooling of their multi-national audience.
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Reactive follows Lune who must compete in three deadly trials to escape the city and gain her freedom. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
I’ve always been a huge Hunger Games fan, and after reading the books, I couldn’t get enough of the dystopian genre! I’m a competitive person myself, so the thought of contending in high-stakes trials to earn what you most desire fascinated me. Also, based off some of my personal life experiences and being a bit claustrophobic like Lune, living a trapped life behind walls was something I wanted to explore—how it could damage the psyche and make a person quite . . . reactive.
Lune is a strong and determined woman who remains focused throughout the book. What were some obstacles you felt were important to her character development?
I wanted circumstances leading up to the Trials event to throw a wrench in her plans, have obstacles expose the fears and weaknesses that she tried to hide, even from herself. Since this is a trilogy, her character development is far from over, but despite the many ways she has struggled thus far, above all else, she has remained resilient in the face of adversity.
How did you develop the Elite Trials while writing and what were some themes you wanted to explore in the trials?
For the most part, I took inspiration from real sporting events, ones that I always thought were quite dangerous: sword fighting, boxing, horse racing, hunting big game. None of these sports are won by team effort. You have to tough it alone. The purpose of the Trials as Lune knows it is to prove that you are worthy of a better future, so working together with another contender would be considered weak. I really enjoyed exploring the concept of strength versus weakness in this book.
This is book one in the Elite Trials series. Where will book two pickup and when will it be available?
Adaptive, book two, will pick up right where book one leaves off! I plan for it to release summer or fall of 2019.
For eleven years, Lune Tatum, adopted daughter
of the Supreme Elite, does as she’s told.
She doesn’t ask questions.
She trains for the Trials. She follows the rules.
And she wants out.
Her plan has always been to win the Elite Trials
and earn Title of Choice, her only chance at freedom.
But a boy from her past
shows up on her eighteenth birthday.
His presence threatens Lune’s carefully laid plans
and exposes memories she’s desperate to forget.
One thing is painfully clear: he can’t be trusted.
He has secrets. Big ones.
And they could ruin everything.
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Project Purple by Michael Greco is a fictional story about thirteen Americans who agree to take part in a social experience (called Project Purple), with their every action filmed and viewed live for the entertainment of the world. The thirteen people will relive an authentic colonial life of American pilgrims (in the year 1613) for four months, with the viewers as the ‘fourteenth colonist.’ The thirteen colonists must build a colony with twelve other strangers, figuring out how to work together. One of the colonists is Henrietta Dobie, known in the colony as Goatwench. But the colonists were lied to and none of them know the truth about the real purpose of the Project. When Rigor, a detective in Las Vegas, is sent a video of the horrific circumstances Goatwench is forced to endure, he’s determined to put a stop to the Project. But the organizers of the Project will stop at nothing to reach their own ends.
The premise of the book was intriguing, and the story kept my interest. I wanted to know what would happen next for the colonists–would any of them survive? It was interesting to see how human nature played out as the different characters reacted to the difficult–and then deadly–situation they found themselves in. I liked that the author told the story from the point of view of several different colonists, which gave much more insight into the individual characters.
I liked the historical aspect of the story. I enjoyed reading details about the clothing, daily tasks, and customs of American colonial life.
The sadistic actions of the people who created Project Purple were detestable; putting thirteen wholly unprepared people into that situation without their full knowledge and consent for the sole purpose of so-called entertainment for the viewing audience and to further the organization’s own agenda.
The story started out slow, with a lot of set up about the detective’s life in Las Vegas and leading into the beginning of Project Purple. The book felt a bit disjointed, jumping back and forth in time, and jumping between the detective and the colonists. It might have improved the flow of the story if the author had started out with the colonists embarking on Project Purple, and once things started to go wrong, then the detective could have been introduced when he received the first video. In the end this is an intriguing exploration of human motivations that plumbs the depths of humanity.
Pages: 351 | ASIN: B07K7N5M2D
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Reactive is a dystopian novel written by author Becky Moynihan. It is the first book in the Elite Trials trilogy. Set in Tatum city, Lune is the adopted daughter of the Supreme Elite – Renold Tatum. She longs to escape the city and regain her freedom – however the only way to do that is to win the Elite trials. She is focused and well prepared for her one chance at freedom. That is, until Brendon, a boy from her past re-enters her life – jeopardizing her only chance at freedom.
I was immediately drawn into the story by Moynihan’s description of Freedom (Cleopatra) Tatum’s charger. She realistically described the powerful physical traits of the animal and her more subtle personality traits. The relationship between the charger and Tatum was also convincingly described, it was as if I was reading about a genuine relationship between a rider and horse. The description of Tatum riding her charger was realistic, and made me feel as if I were experiencing the same sense of freedom.
The main character – Lune Tatum is described as a strong, determined young woman. Until Bren appears in her life, we see her actions as just that. She is focused and determined to win the Elite trials. Her strength is shown through the descriptions of her training regime, and the way in which she endures the cruel punishment of her father without allowing it to break her spirit. We see she is extremely careful with whom she forms relationships with, allowing herself to have only one true friend – Asher. Lune’s world changes when Bren – a boy she encountered long ago re-appears in her life. Against her better judgement she begins to develop feelings for him. She cares about his well being and worries about him. Lune begins to lose some focus in her training, and is often ‘saved’ from situations – for example when being assaulted by fellow trainees. I felt there were too many times that Lune was ‘saved’ by Bren. If Lune was determined and skilled and had a legitimate chance at winning the trials would she have needed saving so often by Bren? Sadly, the story changed from having a strong female protagonist, to almost becoming a story of a young women being saved by a handsome man.
The motto of the trials – Strength, Speed, and Precision could be woven more into the beginning of the story. This motto underpins the Elite Trials, it would reinforce this by having it appear at the start of the book, and reappearing throughout.
Overall, this is a highly addictive book with interesting characters. It is impossible to put down!
Pages: 397 | ASIN: B07GTVYDBC
Tags: A Young Adult Dystopian Romance, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, dystopian, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, hunger games, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, love, love story, nook, novel, publishing, Reactive, read, reader, reading, romance, science fiction, scifi, shelfari, smashwords, story, suspense, teen fantasy, teen fiction, thriller, writer, writer community, writing, YA, young adult
The Contest and Other Stories is a collection of inspiring stories that got me to think and reflect. What was the inspiration behind this collection?
JD: I originally wanted to create a coffee table art book with all paintings connected to a framing story.
KR: Around 2007 or 2008, Joe started bringing these quirky short stories inspired by paintings to the critique group in Prescott, Arizona that we both belonged to.
In February 2011, he shared his draft and invited me to assist with the project as a co-author. We continued to work on polishing the stories and the connecting novella together. In our bios, we say that he has the vivid imagination and I have the word-whacking polish, but the truth is, we both contributed to the imaginative creation and to the nuts and bolts polishing and editing. We multiplied our mind-power by working together!
What were some themes you find yourself exploring in your short stories?
JD: The relationships artists have with drinking, higher consciousness, and insanity.
KR: As Joe says, some of the stories explore the artists’ lives directly in the genres of magical realism, dark fantasy, horror, the paranormal, and alternate history, or as a fabulous motif. The other stories were developed using a painting as a prompt, but have no relation to the artist or their work. Those stories explore life challenges and transitions such as birth, death, falling in love, relationships, family life, and work, also through the medium of various fantasy genres. The connecting novella explores the archetypal overbearing father who insists that his only son follow in his footsteps, while the son rebels to make his unique contribution to arts and literature.
What is the collaboration like between the two of you?
JD: Long distance.
KR: By the time Joe and I started working together on this project, he lived in Arizona and I had landed in California. So we shared thoughts and drafts for The Contest and Other Stories via email.
Will you be putting together another collection of short stories?
JD: We’ve been working on solo projects lately. I completed a connected short story collection in 2016 titled Story Time Karaoke @ The Chicagoua Cafe.
KR: I’ve been working on stories inspired by dreams and a novella created entirely from a series of dreams, with a working title of Loop: Life is But a Dream.
As for other joint projects, Joe and I just published a humorous dystopian sci-fi novelette, Space Race: Robot Rebellion in the Future Wild West (Tootie-Do Press, 2018). We also have a YA story, Thirteen, published in an anthology called 31 Nights of Halloween (Rainstorm Press, 2011). Neither of these stories fit the theme of The Contest, so we searched for other alternatives for publication.
Inspired by the works of international artists, this collection contains nineteen spellbinding Young Adult – New Adult magical realist, paranormal, slipstream, alternate history, and fabulist tales linked by a novella: Peter John Rizzo, a 1960 graduate of Yale University’s journalism program, inherits a floundering art magazine from his uncle, John Rizzo, with the provision that he must increase the circulation or forfeit all assets to creditors. Peter Rizzo, Pete’s father, is a banker who scorns careers in the Arts and Humanities, and is jealous of his late brother’s influence upon his wife and son. Classic Art Expose’s devoted but unorthodox editorial assistant, Jason, and two university interns, sisters Shirley and Evie, help Pete start a monthly short story contest with artwork prompts, hoping to expand and save the business. As the four friends publish the winning (and sometimes disturbing) stories over the following eighteen months, Pete battles his father’s attempts to ruin his business and his reputation, and in the process, discovers a sordid family secret. What else could possibly go astray?
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The Rebellious Earthling follows Ermina and her experiences in the depraved goblin world. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting novel?
The hellish world of Tartarus served as both a dark mirror and a passageway to the evil that is business-as-usual behind certain closed doors on Earth. The intent was to expose normalized cruelties and aberrant, sociopathic behaviors in what’s considered a civilized society. Inspiration for the landscape came from many sources, including artwork like Hieronymus Bosch paintings and “The Harrowing of Hell,” and books like “The Princess and The Goblin” and Orwell’s “1984.” The Turquoise Mirror did actually exist at one time but has since been gotten rid of for its unflattering reflection and creepy aura.
Lord Phegor infects a village of noble goblins to create a new species of demonic creatures. What were some themes you wanted to capture in their race?
The new species created was one void of all empathy, decency and morals; they had willingly given up their souls in exchange for hedonistic lives free of guilt or remorse. Theirs was a joyless existence, as every emotion not rooted in hate, pride or deceit was deemed useless and burdensome. Their apathy, narcissism and division amongst themselves served a purpose: it gave the Cabal even more power to control every aspect of their lives, all while allowing them to think they were free.
I appreciated the depth of Ermina and Fairuzo characters and I found their relationship well developed. What were some driving ideals behind their characters and relationship?
The Fairuzo character was based on the magnetic personality traits of an alluring, charismatic sociopath. Ermina’s naïve optimism and adventurous spirit enabled her to see past his cruel exterior enough to recognize a tiny speckle of good within him. In return, he saw within her an innocence long absent from his depraved world of debauchery, a purity he yearned to both corrupt yet preserve. A textbook case of opposites attracting; together, they were the meeting and melding of good and evil. And it is said that good always triumphs over evil.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next novel is a pet memoir entitled “Bratskulla The Magical Cat.” It will be available sometime in 2019.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND meets DANTE’S INFERNO
She loves animals… he loves to sacrifice them. It’s a mismatch made in HELL.
An entirely new species of demonic creatures is spawned when Lord Phegor of the Fallen Angels infects a village of kind and noble goblins. Their mutated offspring now populate the God-forsaken planet of Tartarus where souls are taboo and nothing is sacred. It is into this hellish realm that the prim but virtuous Ermina descends after having impulsively accompanied Phegor’s charismatic son, Lord Fairuzo, back to his kingdom deep underground.
Surrounded by vicious, hedonistic trolls whose sordid pleasures include sacrificing animals, tormenting slaves and indulging in violent orgies, the animal-loving Ermina refuses to participate in any of the cruel depravity. Suspected of possessing an intact soul and under constant surveillance by a diabolical Cabal, she must now find a way to escape back to Earth or be eaten alive.
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