A pair of police officers are called to the residence of Jacob, Amy, and their artificial intelligence alien that resides in a golden sphere called “Arcon.” They all have to muster up the courage to explain why Jack Markham is unconscious on their floor. They discover he is an international criminal. In a battle of self-defense, Jack was rendered unconscious.
After the ordeal, this novel skips ahead. Readers are taken to a cold night in November, where all three stand on the beach awaiting a space shuttle. The shuttle is operated by an alien woman who comes to them for rescue after her own home is destroyed by enemy forces. However, she didn’t just bring new technology to earth in her escape but also managed to get the enemy to their doorstep. So it is now their job to save their world from a similar fate to the alien woman’s home planet.
Author David Gittlin’s world-building skills are excellent and bring the readers right into the action, experiencing everything the characters do. With under 200 pages, this is a short quick read filled with thrilling action. Since this is book 3 of the series, I recommend readers have read books one and two as the author dives right into the action of book three, assuming that the reader knows of the character’s history. Gittlin expertly develops the characters in the story, and I grew fond of the AI that assists Jacob and Amy. The back and forth banter and the humor sprinkled into the dialogue made this book hard to put down.
Promise of the Visitor is a fast-paced, exciting novella that will have you hooked from the turn of the first page. I highly recommend this quick read to those who are looking to go on an entertaining journey through space.
Pages: 142 | ASIN : B09Y2FHL5R
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Shi-ria tries to stop Dead-Eye from stealing a magic scroll, only to learn it was Zolida who hired her. Why does Zolida want this scroll? Unfortunately, neither Shi-ria nor Scarlet Knightwalker have time to figure that out. When Shi-ria is badly injured fighting Zolida, Scarlet Knightwalker is forced to turn to someone she doesn’t fully trust, Mystic, in order to save Shi-ria’s life.
Meanwhile, Aanjay and Jimomaru are once again determined to destroy Sister Rose as revenge for the Order of the Cross persecuting them. Aanjay and Jimomaru soon find themselves getting some unexpected help from Zolida, who uses the stolen scroll to bring some help of her own. Help in the form of a new being named 0, a being from another dimension. A member of a species called the 1, 0 is an omnipotent entity with the powers of a god and the personality of a bratty child, tormenting insects because he’s bored.
Zolida tries to get 0’s help in punishing humanity. However, things quickly spiral out of control. First 0 uses his powers to turn Tokijin into a human and then turn Rose into a demon. Before long he’s turning all humans into demons, knocking planets out of orbit and causing all manner of chaos for his own entertainment. It seems no one, not even Zolida, is able to stop him. Is there anyone powerful enough to control this mad god? Or is the world doomed to an eternity of insanity at the hands of this omnipotent prankster who sees reality as a game and all living beings as little playthings for his own amusement?
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A woman, estranged from her family, is living alone in a small, one-bedroom, apartment. Dr. Mitra Shahverdi has become numb to the fact that her work is an all-consuming addiction. Her non-existent social life has her spending the holidays alone. Until one warm night, Mitra wakes abruptly to a loud bang. A child, naked and scared, is huddled in her bathroom. With no memory of how he got there or who his parents are; and because it is the holidays, the police encourage Mitra to take the child in for a couple of days.
In Siamak Vakili’s novella, Motherhood, we follow the heartwarming journey of a mother who rekindles her love for her five-year-old son. The story is heartwarming and sweet, although the book’s description makes it seem misogynistic at first, once you dive into this heartfelt novella readers will find a beautiful story of a woman coming to terms with a desire for motherhood that was buried inside her.
In the beginning, it is touching to see Mitra warming up to the child so quickly and treating him so affectionately. The author depicts Mitra as someone who does not like children, but with how quickly she falls in love with the boy, it feels like she is lying to herself. I feel like she tries desperately to define herself as someone who hates children, because how else would she be able to justify leaving her child and husband in pursuit of her career. This makes the ending all the more sweeter, and the journey to get there is emotional and captivating.
There is definitely some interesting language used to describe the times when Mitra is coddling the boy, or discovering her passion for him. The description of motherly affection appeared sensual and intimate, “…his trembling body sent a shiver through her body which awakened a pleasant feeling in her … she felt warm inside, the sudden rush of blood turned her face crimson and her skin soaked in a joyful sweat.” The sensuous language is unique to a story about motherhood where I find it is normally found in more provocative novels. All of this presents this fascinating story in a writing style that I have yet to be introduced to.
Motherhood is an emotionally stimulating story that explores parenthood through a unique lens. Readers looking for a short story that feels very different, on a topic not often delved so deeply into, then this is definitely a must-read.
Pages: 72 | ISBN: 1639881891
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Short stories are sometimes just what the doctor ordered. It is, however, difficult to find an author who can successfully convey an engaging plot, well-developed characters, and a neat and satisfying conclusion in a few short pages. Loyst R. Streeter has the remedy. In his Fireside Stories, Streeter delivers fifteen unique short stories, each complete with fantastically drawn characters and plots that move swiftly after grabbing readers’ attention within the first paragraphs. Streeter masterfully writes on a variety of topics and manages to effortlessly cover everything from the Bible to intrigue and mystery.
Fireside Stories, by Loyst R. Streeter, is a must-read–period and no questions asked. I found myself immediately lost in one story after another. Streeter simply has been gifted with the ability to capture readers’ attention, swiftly create an emotional bond between readers and main characters, and still manage to surprise readers every time. Each short story is the ideal length and somehow manages to leave readers both satisfied and wanting more.
I have to say, I was not expecting to become as invested in Streeter’s stories as I did. Right out of the gate, I read the first short tale, “The Thief,” believing I could see exactly where and how the story would end. The author, I feel, has a talent for predicting how readers will perceive his characters, and he takes them on a journey that ends with a sudden and much appreciated twist.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to choose a favorite among Streeter’s stories. While his stories are a wonderful mix of genres and each contains memorable and relatable characters, they are all fantastic reads in their own right. If I had to choose a standout among the fifteen shorts, I would have to say “The Stranger” resonated with me. In fact, as soon as I finished it, I reread it. Streeter is a real gem for fiction fans.
Readers will have a difficult time finding another short story writer who delivers so completely. Streeter’s stories stick with you long after reading and beg a reread. I highly recommend Fireside Stories to anyone looking to fill some rainy afternoons or those relaxing moments before bed. Streeter’s stories are amazingly satisfying and truly memorable.
Pages: 175 | ASIN : B09LJ4KPMP
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Two Faces of Janus follows a brash aristocrat as he navigates the perilous politics found in 2 B.C. Rome. What inspired you to write a story about Lucius Antonius?
I’ve always found the legacy of Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony) to be one of the most compelling accounts about political corruption, betrayal, and family tragedy. Iullus Antonius was the only son of Mark Antony who Caesar Augustus spared and raised almost like a son in the imperial court. When it came to light in 2 BC that Augustus’s daughter, Julia, was having several affairs and that Iullus was her primary lover, the emperor demanded he commit suicide.
Very little is known about Lucius Antonius except that he had to conceal that he was exiled in Massilia (modern-day Marseille) for his father’s crime as a traitor. I often wondered how Lucius reacted to his father’s disgrace and how it impacted his life. Answering this question inspired me to write the historical fantasy series, The Curse of Clansmen and Kings, and Two Faces of Janus. Lucius is cast as a villain in the series, but his back-story propels what he does and hopefully makes him more relatable.
Why did you feel a short story format worked better for this story rather than a full length novel?
The short story allowed me the opportunity to explore the immediate impact that the death of Iullus Antonius had on his son, Lucius, and for rest of the immediate family. The revelation of how Lucius was devastatingly impacted will be unveiled in the fourth book (Skull’s Vengeance) of my historical fantasy series. Further, I’m also considering a standalone historical fiction novel about the earlier life of Lucius Antonius.
What surprised you the most about Lucius Antonius real life story?
Though Lucius had to conceal he was exiled in disgrace for his father’s crime, the senate decreed that all honor be paid to him at this death. His ashes were laid in the family sepulchre of the Octavvi. This suggests that he was able to restore his standing in Rome. There is conjecture that Lucius’s son/grandson was Marcus Antonius Primus, a general who secured Rome for Vespasian to be emperor after Nero’s downfall.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am completing Book 4 (Skull’s Vengeance) in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series which should be released later in 2022.
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All beings radiate a life force, but some have an additional Mystical Force – a force that grants them special gifts, be it magical essence, demonic aura or spiritual power. While some consider these people to be gifted, there are others who feel these powers are unnatural. Mystical Force is a fantasy series, dealing with themes of prejudice and racism.
(Vol.1 Stranger in a Strange Land):
Shi-ria is brought to Earth by a sorceress named Zolida as part of a prophecy. There she meets Mystic, Noonien, Tokijin and Rose and must save a bunch of kidnapped demons from smugglers while the Order wants to destroy them. Meanwhile another sorceress named Scarlet Knightwalker wants to prevent this to ensure a dark future doesn’t come true.
(Vol.2 Angels and Demons):
Sister Rose and Tokijin are attacked by another demon (Jimomaru) and his sorceress ally (Aanjay) as revenge for them being persecuted by humans. Shi-ria, Mystic and Noonien are needed to help when Tokijin is placed under a spell and forced to attack Sister Rose.
(Vol.3 The Kolri and the Koldar):
Shi-ria, along with police detective Shinjo are transported back to Shi-ria’s planet, Thalia. Now Shi-ria must return Shinjo to Earth, while at the same time a dark cult (the Koldar Warriors) learn about this and want this power to magically teleport to any planet across the galaxy so they can spread their dark theocracy and destroy all “infidels”.
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Cataclysm: End of Worlds follows Jacob and his AI companion as their discovery of a dead body sets them on an adventure where the fate of worlds hangs in the balance. What inspired the setup to this novella?
I wanted to introduce a love interest for Jacob, and it seems the mystery element injects itself into my stories when I’m not looking. I did not intend to start the story with a dead love interest. The idea came to me as I was writing the first chapter. The death-to-life angle appealed to me, and I thought it would add interest to the story.
What are some challenges that you enjoy taking on when writing novellas?
It’s a challenge to face the unknown. It’s also very scary. It requires faith and gumption, and some degree of insanity. I used to write outlines. Now, I throw down pages of story ideas. It’s more fun this way. It’s also scarier. There is always the lurking fear that what I’m writing will suck. I think the first two books were well received. I’m trying (hoping) not to disappoint in Book 3. It’s certainly a challenge.
What were some ideas that you were excited to explore in this book?
I wanted to deepen the characters, their backgrounds, and their relationships. I believe these factors pushed the plot forward into multi-faceted and unexplored areas. I particularly liked the idea of Amy’s resurrection and Arcon’s evolving consciousness. I liked how, in some ways, the book seemed to be writing itself. That was a new experience.
This is book two in The Silver Sphere series. What can readers expect in book three?
I will be introducing a fourth character to the team. The plot will be more complex. I hope book three will go to at least twenty chapters (parts). I’m working out the middle and the end of the story as we speak. The story may end as a trilogy. We’ll have to see what happens.
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Cataclysm: End of the Worlds is the subsequent novella to David Gittlin’s The Silver Sphere series. Picking up right where the last novella ended, Cataclysm follows Jacob and Arcon after they save the Earth from destruction. Much like its predecessor, this novella too jumps straight into the story. Not long after a very brief recap, we see that Jacob and Arcon spot a body in the ocean. Upon further inspection they discover that the body is a woman who is dead, however, Arcon has different plans and decides to revive her by occupying her body. The duo from the first novella now becomes a trio, with Amy joining Jacob and Arcon on their mission to send a signal to Aneleya, Arcon’s home planet, to finally get rid of the Krondorians.
It is not necessary to read The Silver Sphere in order to understand this story. The author tends to just jump straight into his story with just enough explanation to place things and understand enough to read this story as a stand alone novella.
Cataclysm wastes absolutely no time and dives into a completely new mission. Although I thought the romance between Amy and Jacob needed more development, I think this is mostly due to the novellas short length, I still enjoyed the characters overall and found them equally entertaining on their own.
This story thrusts readers into the middle of a science fiction adventure, which is one of the reasons why I love novellas, but the author seems to understand that there is no room for fluff and keeps prose and action sharp as a tack as we hurdle through this exciting story. I was pleasantly surprised to also find some humor shine through in moments throughout the story.
The previous novella left me wanting more because it was such a short sneak peak into so many possibilities, Cataclysm left me wanting more because of the plot twist at the end. I’m not sure if it’s because of David Gittlin’s engrossing writing or the compelling storyline but these stories just beg to be told in a much larger novel. I can’t wait to see where this story goes and get more of this exciting story in a follow up novella.
Pages: 82 | ASIN: B09H3PZ65F
Tags: adventure, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Cataclysm, david gittlin, ebook, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, novella, read, reader, reading, science fiction, scifi, short story, story, writer, writing