Dom is a computer engineering genius in her own right. Rose’s instincts when it comes to human behavior are fine-tuned. Layla has the gift of an incredible memory. All three women are true forces with which to be reckoned and phenomenally good at their jobs. When Dom, a virtual recluse, is approached for help in solving a violent death, the lives of the three women quickly become entangled. Dom, Rose, and Layla reiterate that we are all one quick internet search away from an interaction we may or may not want.
B.J. Cyprian, author of Shadow Resistance, has created a world effortlessly blends fantasy and realistic fiction. With the elements of advanced artificial intelligence looming large in Dom’s storyline, readers are treated to science fiction laced with humor and heavily layered with relevant current events. While I’m not a fan of most historical fiction novels, I more than appreciate the references Cyprian includes in her characters’ story lines. Especially effective is the way in which the author works in the black and white doll experiment into Rose’s subplot. Cyprian knows how to hit readers where it matters. This is just one of the aspects of her writing that helps make her book so worthy of praise.
The entire scenario involving SARA is quite amazing. I don’t want to call SARA a character as it were, but I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention how incredibly fascinating her contribution to the book actually is. At times, Dom almost plays second string to the artificial intelligence she herself created. The back-and-forth between the two is entertaining to say the least and simultaneously frightening. To think that SARA is Dom’s only connection with the outside world is, in many ways, sad. In introducing Dom as somewhat of a hermit, Cyprian has given a certain richness to Dom’s story line and made her views of injustice all the more fiery.
Cyprian does a beautiful job of weaving history into every aspect of her plot. Page after page, she seamlessly meshes mentions of countless historical figures into the dialogue between characters. From impromptu history lessons given by Rose to the background revealed by Rose and Robert’s visit to Larry’s apartment, the book feels less like a lesson in history than a conversation on the front stoop of an elderly neighbor.
This unique work of fiction is a must read for anyone seeking technologically-based crime dramas. In addition, Cyprian’s work holds a special appeal for those who appreciate historical accuracies and current events woven throughout their fiction. The more I read, the more I found Shadow Resistance qualifies as a mystery. It’s impossible to fit Cyprian’s work into one slot–and I’m not sure I want to. It deserves a category of its own. Kudos to Cyprian on an outstanding first novel.
PagesL 648 | ASIN: B07NQKYGVP
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The Chosen by Ray Corbitt is an interesting that is perfect for the fans of the political thriller genre. It’s substantially deep and entertaining.
A program is put into place to create a pool of leaders who are trained from a young age with certain values not easily found within the societies they are destined to lead. The children are from a variety of backgrounds, but they all share the fact that they are highly intelligent and display the potential necessary to lead.
There are many positive aspects of The Chosen but the one that strikes the loudest is the realism that is interlaced with imagination. The people, the places, and even the situations are all believable to the point that it really doesn’t take much work on the part of your reader to picture everything being described as if it were news of some real event. The lives seem real, the pain and suffering feel authentic, and the author does a fantastic job leading the reader through the lives on display.
I felt that the character introductions, while well described, could have been a bit less formulaic. I would have appreciated more variety with the character introductions. That said, the characters were very well developed and varied making them both believable and easy to form relationships with. Creating characters that seem as though they have been plucked straight out of real life can be a bit of a challenge for even the most seasoned authors but Corbitt certainly has a talent for it.
The only other complaint is more of a preference issue than anything else. The descriptive style employed by Corbitt for The Chosen strays a bit from the treasured ‘show, don’t tell’ philosophy that controls how the writer’s world opens itself up into the readers mind. I would have preferred more contextual clues to the straight descriptions offered.
For a short read directed squarely readers begging for a good suspense novel, The Chosen deserves four out of five stars for its originality and ability to bring readers into the writer’s world.
Pages: 182 | ASIN: B0794Y4WLD
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Max Kenworth, a former Delta Force officer and nuclear weapons expert, is tasked with stopping a major attack on US soil in this thrilling adventure.
FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) has stolen a cache of man-portable nuclear devices from a secure American facility in Panama. The weapons end up in the hands of ex-special forces officer Bart Madison. With the help of ISIS, drug cartels, and a US senator, Bart is planning to use the devices to create an atrocity in the American heartland.
Max is briefed on the situation by SOCOM (Special Operations Command) and teams up with FBI agent Gail Summers and Mossad agent Danya Mayer to find the weapons before they can be used against American citizens. The three will face opposition from both foreign enemies and so-called allies as they follow Bart’s trail across the continental United States. Their foe is intelligent and well connected, but the three of them are determined to stop this terrorist before more lives are lost.
Patrick Parker tackles today’s most important issues in this sociopolitical suspense novel. He uses Six Minutes Early to explore the tension between intelligence agencies, holes in national security, and threats from around the world.
Posted in book trailer
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Voice of the Crimson Angel is the final installment of the prequel series to the ongoing Reverence saga. Joshua Landeros returns with all the sound and fury of his sci-fi military thrillers, but we find our heroine, Julissa Marconi, on the defense having lost to Chancellor Venloran previously. The resistance is going to have to dig deep as they find themselves cornered, unable to retreat and unwilling to give in. It will be up to either side or who is willing to sacrifice their humanity in order to win.
Landeros has continued to thrill and amaze with this prequel series, especially with the expansion of his near-future world. His characters are desperate and heroic, even if they give into their more violent natures. The action is brutal and quick, the pacing crisp and fast. At times, I was thrilled I’d read more than I had originally aimed, because I didn’t even realize how quickly pages were flipped.
Julissa is a fun character and one that I am sorry to leave behind as this series comes to a close. Landeros does a good job of making everything balance on a knife’s edge with tension and also does not shy away from wrapping everything up so as to naturally lead into his Reverence series proper. The brutal efficiency of our cyborg soldiers alongside their quiet humanity is a fun dichotomy and one of the reasons why this series remains so fun to come back to.
The only things I won’t miss from this, is the telling of a story that is already somewhat understated in the previous books. And I won’t miss Chancellor Venloran as an antagonist. Landeros has the skill to do more and expand even further into his world, so we should be able to leave this prequel series behind and forge ever on into the future.
Fans of Landeros will not be disappointed and readers who enjoy military science fiction or even political thrillers should be able to feel right at home here. Buckle your seat belts for a thrilling last ride with Julissa Marconi.
Pages: 248 | ASIN: B07F5LPD1S
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Rick Daly is in the midst of multiple battles–the least of which is the struggle to finally find a way to be happy, settled, and live a normal life. Working and trying to establish a business of his own in the Philippines, Rick Daly meets and unwittingly falls head over heels in love with the young woman he hires to be his secretary and sidekick. When he realizes he loves Marilyn and wants to change his wild ways, he finds that his past is looming closely and threatens his relationship as it tests his loyalty to Marilyn and their, now uncertain, future.
John Spencer, author of Brownout, is clearly a fan of world history. His novel featuring Rick Daly is woven intricately in and out of historical truths. In addition, Spencer even tackles the controversial issue of the Holocaust and the doubt surrounding its existence. Spencer covers a broad range of events and drops his characters and their various subplots strategically into these events from the book’s beginning to its surprising finale.
Brownout incorporates numerous storylines which are, at times, difficult to follow. The bulk of the novel is based on Rick Daly’s life in the Philippines and his relationship with Marilyn, a woman who strives to remain true to herself and her beliefs but sends Rick many a mixed message during the course of their relationship. Spencer’s writing relies heavily on the reader’s penchant for sexual situations as these scenes are prevalent throughout the book, giving the overall book as much the feel of a romance novel as a work of historical fiction.
I feel it’s worth mentioning that the intimate aspect of the relationship portrayed between Rick and Marilyn is complicated at best. As much as Marilyn maintains that she will remain a virgin until she is married, she feels torn between keeping her word and satisfying Rick. I was quite taken aback at Rick taking advantage of Marilyn and violating her trust.
The parallel storyline involving Chris, Rick’s uncle, and his children is a tragic one and is more engaging and engrossing than Rick’s plot. I found that my attention was held much more readily while reading of Chris’s heart-wrenching loss and the immense struggle he faces with each of his children. As I read, I continued to anticipate that Chris would be a more prominent part of the book’s overarching plot and was disappointed that his family’s drama was not more fully explored.
While Brownout is exceptionally well-written, I felt that the subplots were somewhat disjointed. Each of Rick’s subsequent and fleeting relationships added depth to the story but simultaneously added an air of confusion. While all of Spencer’s characters are rich and well-developed, the connections between them seem lacking. The historical accuracies are spot-on and related via Spencer’s characters in a way that makes them conversational and engaging. Readers who appreciate historical fiction and seek an element of romance will find Brownout to their liking.
Pages: 503 | ASIN: B07GGYBJY1
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Activism is high on Netai’s list of priorities, or at least he thinks as much. As a member of the working class and a young man who is loyal and determined, Netai finds himself deep in the throes of the Naxalite during the decades of the eighties and nineties. While his involvement in the ever-increasing political movement increases, so does the tension within his parents’ household. His mother, afflicted with cataracts, struggles day in and day out while his hard-working father faces his own inner turmoil at being asked by his son to host the members of the resistance. Nowhere is the battle for emancipation so strongly felt as in Netai’s own household.
Sanjay Lahiri’s Comrade Netai and the Chronology of His UG Days traces Netai’s battle with his own participation in the resistance. As he goes about work in the mines, he is privy to a firsthand look at the suffering of the men and women employed there, the reality of back-breaking work, and the hardships of the working class. Lahiri paints painfully clear pictures of the desperation of the mine workers’ struggles in day-to-day living. The bulk of Lahiri’s effectiveness is nestled neatly in his main character’s own horror at the atrocities he witnesses. The author leaves nothing to the imagination as he describes the most shocking scenes of life as a mine worker. When Netai finds himself in awe of the scenes he witnesses, the reader is pulled along as an unwilling participant. Lahiri’s writing is vivid and exceptionally effective.
Details are Lahiri’s strong suit. On every level and in every way, Comrade Netai and the Chronology of His UG Days exists as a portrait of life in activism. A work of political fiction, Lahiri’s book provides a unique peek into the intense consideration given to decisions, elections, and organization of a revolution. Readers see the true rigors of rallying around a cause.
For me, nowhere was Netai’s struggle as clear as when it is pointed out to him that he has not had a change of underclothes and has exposed himself to infestation by chillars, insects growing in hay. Netai’s lack of hygiene is but one of the signs of the way in which his dedication to the cause is wreaking havoc on his psyche.
Lahiri’s key character, Netai, demonstrates an endearing eagerness despite the hardships he endures. He is an inspiring character filled with bright-eyed optimism and a strong desire to learn the ins and outs of the political processes involved in making change possible. As he is offered the opportunity to represent the state, his enthusiasm is positively contagious.
Comrade Netai features well-drawn characters and a relatable main character who wears his heart on his sleeve and exhibits humanitarianism along with a certain level of blind innocence. The subplot surrounding Netai’s parents is engaging and powerful. Comrade Netai is a must-read for any fan of political fiction and activists across causes and continents. Lahiri unites readers in a common bond–justice.
Pages: 506 | ASIN: B07JP3F1W6
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I immediately liked Asuf the moment I started reading the book. On their hunting spree with Valhelm, the latter confessed how scared he was to hunt. He mentioned that he had heard stories, unpleasant of course and that something could be lurking around the part of the caverns the two were hunting. Asuf shut his partner down, Saying that whatever Valhelm was on was weakness and unacceptable. I like bold characters in books; Characters like Asuf, who are not frightened by minute issues. Though a little bit aggressive, I admired how Asuf demanded respect. He instilled a little fear in Valhelm when speaking, in that Valhelm felt inferior in his presence.
The book gets to be more interesting as one reads on. I like how the society in Igor Valec’s book held authority in high regard. A subject could not address the king in any manner. They had to use the appropriate title when speaking to those at the throne. One could also tell the mood and tone of the subjects Vis a Vis the king.
King Lortar’s reaction to discovering that there was a heathen cult in the kingdom was priceless. How and where was that? I appreciated Valhelm for informing Lortar about this cult. As they were speaking, one could feel Lortar’s concern in his words. He was worried that Valhelm had gone on his own to do the hunting. I enjoyed the conversation that followed as everyone was given a chance to air their views.
Damnation: A Grimdark Fantasy Political Drama is not your average book. Through the story, the author incorporated themes of leadership, family relations, and infighting among members of the same society, politics, and fantasy. Every chapter built on the story and tension of the last chapter, so as you read you always felt like something was about to happen.
Igor Valec’s character choice was marvelous. Looking at how the characters were distributed across the book, I have to admit that the author took his time to select which traits to give who. Hirr Valhelm remained my favorite character. Other characters I found interesting include Vost Kon Schmitt, Wiktor Kon Oydrich and Lady Eidi Kon Huss and of course King Lortar. I found the kingdom’s way of dealing with criminals and those who went against the king intriguing.
I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a good story. The characters in the book are fascinating. The plot is superb and the writing style is amazing. I loved every page of Damnation. The book is action-packed, with suspense, adventure, drama, twists, and turns.
The book is fairly long, at 600+ pages, but this story does not feel overwhelming. I felt that opposite actually, the ending leaves you on a cliffhanger and I wanted more. This leaves the book open for a followup book to start, what could be, a fantasy series with a deep backstory and dynamic characters.
Pages: 644 | ASIN: B07HVHVDDY
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When the newspaperman shows up on the corner, looking every bit the part of a newsboy straight out of the 1930’s, Seth is intrigued. When the news in the papers he offers readers begins to take a turn for the bizarre, the grotesque, and the highly-sensationalized, his feelings are steeped more in disgust. Seth and his friends question, not only the newspaperman’s motives, but those of his employer. Seth’s world turns upside down following a visit from the newspaper’s owner, and he and his wife, Meghan, find themselves facing the offer of a lifetime only to see that their joy is short-lived.
I don’t often say this, but it’s incredibly difficult to refrain from busting out in a string of “awesomes” and “fantastics” to describe my utter fascination with The Newspaperman by Sal Nudo. I will try to contain my glee and use phrasing that is more in line with a standard review and less like a school girl gushing over a crush, but The Newspaperman is freaking awesome, folks!
I am not sure what I expected going into the first paragraph, but I do know that Sal Nudo grabbed me, dipped me in a splendid little mixture of visuals, and sat me down in the most fascinating story line I have come across in a long time. His description of the main character, Seth’s, initial encounter with the newspaperman is simply brilliant. Nudo sets up for readers a scenario that will keep them guessing as to, not only the intentions of the highly suspect character, but to the genre itself. By about the second chapter, I had convinced myself that Seth was the only person able to see the newspaperman and was experiencing some type of vision. Nudo, though, weaves such an intriguing tale of mystery that he is able to shift readers from believing they are settling into one genre while he gently places them safely within the arms of another.
The commentary on current events Nudo makes with The Newspaperman is spot-on. Without taking a politically-charged stance, Nudo gives readers something to chew on regarding the state of the U.S. and the fate of journalism as we know it. Again, I hesitate to use common and overused phrasing–but I absolutely loved Seth’s letter and the fervor with which he attacks the C-U Journal.
The Newspaperman is a quick read. By quick read I mean I was enthralled from the mention of Cedrick, the absurdly out of place yet perfectly fitting newsboy, and couldn’t put the book down. It was a read-in-one-sitting, literally-can’t-put-it-down page turner.
That ending, though! Here’s my appeal to Sal Nudo’s sensibilities. I must have resolution. I absolutely, beyond the shadow of a doubt, have to have closure. To say I am bitter about the way Nudo leaves things would be only a slight exaggeration. However, I am ecstatic at the mere notion of a sequel.
I am, with a ridiculous and overzealous amount of enthusiasm, giving The Newspaperman by Sal Nudo 5 out of 5 stars. There is truly nothing else being written right now that blends genres and makes reading about the current state of affairs in our world interesting while driving home the importance of protecting our journalists and the part they play in keeping us all safe and informed like The Newspaperman. I recommend this outstanding piece by Sal Nudo to fans of all genres–it’s simply a must-read.
Pages: 166 | ASIN: B078RGKZJF
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What’s Going On? How Can We Help? takes readers on a deep dive into the political, social, and economic challenges we face on a recurring basis. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I felt that our politicians and commentators often focus on the symptoms to our current challenges, I wanted to dive deeper and uncover root causes. I also felt that a lot of discussions around these topics seldom end with a single action item. I wanted to know what’s really going on, and more importantly, how could I help.
This book was well researched as well as expertly written. What is your experience in this field and how has that helped you write this book?
This is an area that I have studied all throughout my education and continued long after university. I read every book that I can get my hands on when it comes to social and environmental challenges. I also read a lot of history books in an attempt to identify our recurring mistakes.
What do you find is one common misconception people have about their role as a citizen and how can we overcome it?
I feel that many of what I would deem as poor citizen choices come from a disconnect. In my opinion this is a fundamental factor to unsustainable and unethical decisions.
I don’t think that the majority of people would eat unsustainable products if they saw the acres of rain forest that had to be cleared every second. I don’t think the majority of people would buy palm oil if they personally had to set fire to the trees, inhabited by the last family of orangutans. I don’t think the majority of people would buy designer clothing if they could see the textile factories poisoning the rivers in Bangladesh and subsequently poisoning the local communities and wildlife. Nor would we buy smartphones if we saw the four-year-old children working in the harmful and unregulated cobalt mines in southern Africa, nor coffee if we saw the child slave workers of the Ivory Coast, plastic bottles if we saw them inside a dying turtle’s stomach, the list goes on and on. The unpleasant truth is that the clothes we are wearing, the food we are about to eat, and the items that fill our homes, are likely to carry some form of suffering. I think one of the worst things we can do is to hide from the facts and bury emotions. I believe that the excuse of ignorance is no longer justifiable. Becoming connected again, seems to me, to be crucial – reconnecting with each other and reconnecting to the consequences of our actions. We may have to leave behind ‘comforts’ and re-design our lifestyles, but it is, to say the least, very worthwhile.
It can often be incredibly overwhelming to try to be a good citizen. Something that I find helpful is to focus on the present moment and to try and be as conscious as possible by asking myself questions. I often ask myself, am I helping this person, is this purchase sustainable, am I contributing to a better world? And, at the very least, am I not causing harm?
Am I acting in a certain way because I think it’s the right thing to do or am I doing it just to earn money, or because it’s comfortable?
Being conscious and compassionate in the present moment is a powerful antidote. Much like someone on a recovery program can achieve sobriety one day at a time, I believe that we can greatly improve our environments one action at a time, if we try to make the next decision a conscious and compassionate one. It’s also important to note that this isn’t about preaching nor judging others, but instead researching and taking ownership of our shared challenges, and as a result, inspiring others through positive direct action.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
There are a couple of really exciting projects in the pipeline at the moment. To keep up-to-date it’s best to check our Facebook page.
FREEQUILL dives deep to uncover the origins of our re-occurring challenges; exploring the murky waters of capitalism, consumerism, and our ancient monetary system. Key topics are carefully broken down along an approachable and entertaining journey, packed with fresh perspectives and real-world examples. The highly considered solutions range from a whole new political system to simple tricks and tips that you can implement today.
Posted in Interviews
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The Witch Trials: The Becoming, by Intrigue Sui Generis, is a short work of historical dramatic fiction. The book is centered around the life and times of Sylvie, a middle-class woman living in southern France during the late 17th century. The story is predominantly about her life, her personal difficulties, and the broader milieu of the time period. Much of the story also concerns her husband Leon and his relationship to the broader Catholic Church, though the nature of this relationship is not well described, or at the least it is unclear how he is so involved with the church despite his main profession. The book also includes content about the broader scope of the time period.
The historical content of this book reads as semi-fictions with the author’s experiences, beliefs, worldview, and sense of morality bleeding into the pages of this book. The 1600’s in France were themselves bloody times, but the author largely washes away that bloody history, due in part to a lack of detail in the story. The story also includes much more active female roles, especially for those of a middle-class status during that time period. While it is heart-warming to think of a female character, seeking to rise above her station in a steeply patriarchal society infused with, what we would consider, harsh and vile religious fundamentalism, much of it is romanticized so that you can follow Sylvie’s story through this dark time without feeling too down about it.
Sylvie’s entire history prior to her marriage to Leon is contained within a single page, which seemed too short for me as I found her to be an intriguing character and I wanted to learn more about her. I enjoyed that this book was a short and concise novella, but at the expense of detail. Sylvie comes from a Protestant upbringing, but I felt it was unclear what kind of Protestant. The brevity of the story helps focus this book into a character driven novella, but leaves you wanting more. Overall, the historical additions of the book are strong and seemingly well-researched (as evidenced by the bibliography at the end of the text), but I would have loved to have this further fleshed out to lengthen the book, and these details would have clarified the setting and character motivations for me.
The Witch Trials: The Becoming is intended for a young adult audience with a decent attempt at historical accuracy. There is sexual content, but it is only slightly more bawdy than a television show from the 1950’s. There are also depictions of human suffering, the outcome of torture, and threats of imminent pain and death, but these are also very sterile. Overall, this book is short and easily provides a few short hours of entertainment.
Pages: 56 | ASIN: B07D68YSQZ
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