The Next Generation by Roger E Pedersen is the second book in a super powered series featuring Professor Steele’s ‘Golden Eagle’ organization, taken over by his nephews after his disappearance. At the same time, twin brothers take control of the rival group DODGE (Department of Defense Genetically Engineered). Both organizations set out to find talented new recruits with the strongest superpowers, and this book charts the activities of the recruiters who travel the world wielding their power mostly for selfish or trivial advantage. The action culminates in a thrilling air battle bringing all the characters together for a final clash of superpower against superpower.
This fascinating story is written as a series of dossiers, as if recording facts, although it is not clear who is making the records. This is an interesting and original idea that could have been quite successful as a structural technique, particularly with the historical fantasy nature of the plot. However, I felt the structure was inconsistent, as the ‘dossiers’ contained descriptions of actions as well as dialogue.
The story is very detailed and filled with lots of facts and descriptions that serve to create very detailed characters, just as in book one. For example, Brittany’s description of the value of her necklace:
“… many people compliment Brittany on her beautiful emerald, [sic] green necklace. She says, “Thank you. It was a birthday present to me. I’ve always wanted an emerald necklace from Columbia [sic] where the darkish green and most expensive emeralds are mined.”
The Next Generation continues the intriguing story setup in book one and illustrates Pedersen’s painstaking research into the detailed development of his characters. For fans of super hero fiction, or for anyone looking for a book that focuses on character development, you will find plenty of details to dive into in Roger E Pedersen’s fascinating action adventure novel.
Pages: 316 | ASIN: B098VPTXM9
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Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence is an educational picture book warning kids, in hilarious fashion, about the dangers of spending too much time on their phone.
After spending too much time on her phone Pixie Van Dimple suffers from AI Infiltration. Someone must save her, and they better do it soon, or else Pixie will certainly be doomed.
This fun children’s book is told in rhyme and every other page has brightly colored comic art that serves as fantastic eye candy while reading the book. I think this book is more for higher grade elementary students, but in either case, the lesson taught here is a valuable one for todays youth. I loved the fun rhymes and the beautiful art and the story was very detailed. I would love to have seen this story as a kids chapter book for middle grade readers because I feel like there is some hints at a larger world that would be fun to explore.
Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence is wonderfully representative of todays kids and provides a good lesson in a fun story that will surely keep children laughing as they eagerly flip the pages of the this whimsical picture book.
Pages: 28 | ASIN: B087BPDK11
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Michael A. Greco’s novel A Labyrinth for Loons first appears as a retelling of 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic; however, something much more sinister is happening below the surface.
Trapped on the 22nd floor of his condo in Malaysia, Leonard Smith deals with the global Covid-19 pandemic on his own. With brief facetime calls from his wife and daughter, who are hundreds of miles away, an ill-tempered teenager Chuckie and various neighbours, Leonard is isolated and desperate to leave. When two individuals show up with a manuscript and insist he help return the deceased Leonard Smith’s belongings, the mind starts to play tricks on itself, and he begins to question his sanity.
While the story is based around the Covid-19 pandemic, the story still felt fresh while remaining relevant. The more I read, the more intrigued and entranced I felt. The main character is isolated in urban Malaysia, first appearing as an arrogant and stereotypical American, despite his insistence he is not, but then he morphs into other personas. While his narration and point of view are not trustworthy, I found myself enraptured by his inner monologue and the world of the Tomato Frog Building above the mall.
One would think you are reading about a dystopian world, but for those who experienced quarantine, the events of the book are undeniably plausible. As Leonard (aka Leon or Leoni) gets drawn into chaos, the readers find themselves falling deeper into the madness, as if following the white rabbit down its hole. This book captures every critical moment of the world’s time in quarantine, from Tik Tok to the troubles with face masks. It will serve as an important literary marker for society, most notably for its remark on the human mind in a state of psychological stress. Comparable to Stephen King’s The Shining.
“Monsters are real. Ghosts are too. They live inside of us, and sometimes, they win.”
Pages: 193 | ASIN: B09BKL3XLJ
Tags: A Labyrinth for Loons, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, humor, kindle, kobo, literature, michael greco, mystery, nook, novel, psychological thriller, read, reader, reading, satire, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Twin Adventures: Backyard Safari is a fun children’s book following young twins Kate and Tate as they go on a Safari adventure powered by their imagination. This is a charming children’s book that shows kids the power of imagination.
When Kate and Tate are introduced the meaning of their names are explained to the reader. Which I thought was wonderful because this provides a great opportunity for young readers to think about what their names mean. The story then show Kate and Tate brushing their teeth before they head out because ‘no adventure starts until these tasks are complete’. This is another great example of the great lessons this book teaches kids. It seems like every page of this book has a great lesson to learn.
The art in the book is bright and captures the readers attention with a vivid cartoon style. I loved the image of Kate and Tate brushing their teeth as it was funny, but the wonderful images of the Safari were also magnificent. I would have liked to have seen a scene where it shows reality vs. imagination so kids could understand the difference, but this is still a story that is fun and entertaining.
Twin Adventures: Backyard Safari is an educational and enjoyable adventure that takes readers on a journey powered by creativity and imagination. This is a lively kids book that I highly recommend.
Pages: 30 | ASIN: B09CHGKNQN
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When Dr. Angela Morrison agrees to facilitate the women’s meeting at her church, she discovers the women’s shocking traumas are more than she bargained for. As she analyzes the intricate life-style situations of four women, she is lured into the horrors of her own past.
Anita, the pastor’s wife, lives a fantasy created by her parents, her husband, and the congregation. She is a character in a play, and her husband is the director. Unlike the theater, the action is real, the beatings are real, and her fear is real.
Ernestine Johnson is a woman driven by her quest for love. At the age of ten, her world is turned upside down when her father goes to prison, and her mother becomes a drug addict. To survive, she quickly learns the value of her body and before long she knows how to get whatever she wants except love.
Toni Brown is a woman trapped by hate and vengeance, and she is determined to punish the man who stole her life. Trapped in a basement for three years where she is raped, beaten, and tortured until she is totally defeated.
Candace Carter, the youngest of the four women, is trapped in a world of sex, pornography, and prostitution. Abandoned, molested and abused from the age of five, she is vulnerable to manipulation, and there is one man all too eager to exploit her to death.
Eventually, all the women, including Dr. Morrison, confront the horrors of their truths, but not all of them survive their realities.
Posted in book trailer
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The story of Jon and Anna is told through messages exchanged on a computer between two people who fall in love. The story is told in Italian with English translations provided as well which should fit anyone who is comfortable with either language.
Jon and Anna is an emotional story that tells a sweet love story that we only get a peek at through the messages they send to one another on the computer. This is a timeless story of love that I think many people will be able to relate to, especially in contemporary society where so much is done on the computer. This is a love story for modern times and will speak to anyone who has been separated from their loved one, and their only connection with them is through the computer.
The characters in the story are intriguing and portrayed in unique ways through the dialogue on the computer. This is something I have not seen before in other literature. Jon is a successful business man with a military education but he definitely someone readers will grow to enjoy. Anna is an impassioned character with a wistful outlook on life and I felt that her character brought most of the emotional color to the story.
This is an interesting contemporary romance book that tells a personal story in a unique way. This feels like a fictional memoir with how it tells a story that can almost be believed. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a passionate love story that is told from an uncommon perspective.
Pages: 80 | ASIN: B07NHR989K
Tags: Anita Venturi, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Jon and Anna, kindle, kobo, literature, love story, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, writer, writing
The Condemned follows a college kid who starts to have horrific dreams and discovers a chilling new underworld. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I started writing this story when I was in college in 2000, so the main character was inspired by myself at that age as well as my experiences at that time with regards to the college experience, social interactions, etc. The dreams and the landscapes that they take place in, were inspired by books like Dante’s, Inferno and Richard Matheson’s, What Dreams May Come, but also from some of my own nightmares. For example, the jungle and city environment nightmares were inspired by dreams I had in similar locations. My goal, when I started writing this, was to mix the current environment that I found myself in everyday as a college student and then delve deep into some of the more dark, horrific places that my imagination would take me.
Michael is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
When I started writing Michael as a character, I tried to channel some of my own personality into Michael. At that point in my life, I was dealing with a fair amount of stress. A friend of mine named Walter had recently crashed his car and died, all my close friends had moved away, I broke up with my high school girlfriend, and my parents were getting a divorce. I was in a very emotional and lonely place with an uncertainty weighing down on me. I tried to channel that emotion into Michael as a character as he goes through the story and reacts to the events unfolding around him. My hope is that many readers will see a bit of themselves in Michael and feel his humanity, love and struggle as he responds to the world around him.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I really wanted to tap into themes like the bonds of friendship, emotions like fear, isolation, as well as loss with regards to losing people close to you as well as your own self, but also examine strength. Specifically, how someone deals with finding their own strength in challenging situations. I also wanted to explore vampires, but in a unique way while trying to tie to some more common mythology. That desire to do so comes from my love of the horror genre as well as vampires. I do believe that I found a unique way of approaching that, which readers have told me is refreshing to see.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I actually have several projects in the works right now. There is a podcast episode that I wrote for The Bane podcast, which is the premium content podcast for The Grey Rooms podcast, and that story should be coming out toward the end of this year or the beginning of 2022. I don’t really have any insight into the release date yet, but once I know, I will be announcing it. As for my next book, I am in the process of finishing a short story anthology, which at current will contain eleven or twelve stories. I have two publishers interested in that anthology and I have to review the final details before deciding on which publisher to work with, but based on my discussions, it would be due out during the spring or summer of 2022. After that I will continue work on my next full novel, which is a horror story about a group of amateur paranormal investigators who get in way over their heads in Texas. I have already written three chapters of that and have done extensive research. I also have some ideas for more podcast episodes that I will submit to some shows that I really like.
Posted in Interviews
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In the Beast’s Cage is an intriguing paranormal thriller written by Mac Altgelt. The story follows multiple characters as their lives intersect and collide, from the mysterious Ainsley Blake to the gentle Virginia Harrison, as well as others, whose part in the story become clearer throughout the pages. Arriving in a small coastal town in Georgia, Blake sets off a chain of events that none in the town could have predicted, and one that surprises him as well.
The characters were absolutely riveting, with personalities and quirks that made them feel like real people. I had a particular affinity towards Ainsley Blake, whose story was revealed to the reader in small bursts that made his character each time clearer and more definite, akin to a sketch being slowly polished into a painting. But ever side characters are granted their own moment in the sun, bringing the story to life.
While I enjoyed the story and the characters, I felt that the number of characters and locations made the the story a bit hard to follow at times. I think this has more to do with the scale of the story. If you like deep and complex stories then this is definitely the novel for you as I can tell that a lot of care went into crafting the details of this story.
I also liked how mundane things, often overlooked, are given importance throughout the story. Books are a prominent example of this: throughout the story, they move from being mundane and common, to being prized and beloved. This romantic view of the mundane, of love and friendship, was well incorporated.
In the Beast’s Cage is a suspenseful supernatural story with a satisfying ending and was thoroughly enjoyable. The story has some creative supernatural elements and an organically high level of intrigue that will satisfy any fan of dark fantasy.
Pages: 176 | ASIN: B09819FRZP
Tags: A Paranormal Casebook, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, dark fantasy, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, horror, In the Beast's Cage, kindle, kobo, literature, Mac Altgelt, mystery, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, supernatural, suspense, thriller, writer, writing