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Broken: The Young Hellions Series

Broken follows the adventures of Keesa Donovan, a woman of an Establishment settlement outside of Savannah in a post-apocalyptic world. In the aftermath of the Great Drop, when nuclear bombs were dropped all over the world, survivors are forced to create a new world. One of the big players is the Establishment, who have enslaved many people of the world, among them Keesa, her brother Kiran, and their Uncle, who live with meager hope for escape. Keesa has accepted, and welcomes, the fact that she’s going to die, especially after failing to make the yearly sacrifice for the third time, but fate intervenes in the form of a new friend who brings new hope. Dobbs Saunders, a fellow slave, who has managed the impossible and escaped on numerous occasions. He speaks of the Resistance, who are liberating people and spreading their anti-Establishment message. With Dobbs’ know-how, the gang of friends band together to hatch a plan to escape.

The author creates a dreary setting in this gritty post-apocalyptic story. I could really feel the despair and hopelessness of the characters’ lives. I find this emotional depth often lacking in other young adult books, but I really enjoyed how this story embraces that darkness and colors the world in austere shades that make the story feel authentic, if bleak. This is a dark and disturbing dystopian world that is enthralling. There were several intriguing details that made my skin crawl. The author does an excellent job of conveying this in the writing, and I enjoyed every bit of it.

Although dark, the story shows how love and perseverance can be used to push through any obstacle. This creates moments of great humanity in a world that feels as if its lost theirs. I really liked the fantastic contrast within the story and I found it compelling, but I wish there was more light to balance out the dark. The book also contains tender moments as well that I would have liked to have seen expanded on further.

Broken shows readers a dark vision of what the world could be after a nuclear fallout. This is an enthralling cautionary tale that will inspire readers to choose love and use determination to push through the darkness. This is a thought-provoking and entertaining post-apocalyptic adventure novel that will appeal to fans looking for a story that, while dark, provides great lessons in finding strength in dark times.

Pages: 369 | ASIN: B0B2MZDKBQ

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A Flash of Light – Book Trailer

America is hit by an unprovoked nuclear missile attack by North Korea. While NATO works to deescalate the Nuclear holocaust, a mother, a mechanical engineering expert, and her two children race through panic-stricken cities in an attempt to reach their atomic bomb-resistant shelter in the mountains.

A second air blast over New York knocks out all the car’s electronics except for The Beast, the mother’s armored, custom-made, Dodge Durango Hellcat.

Can they make it through the marauding gangs who have taken advantage of the cities abandoned by the cops to protect their own families? Will the prototype regenerative fuel cell she developed last until they reach the Catskill Mountains and safety?

Hang on for the high octane, action-packed, death race to safety from the Next Name in Horror.

Demanding To Be Written About

Matty Roberts Author Interview

Child of Etherclaw follows two siblings as they investigate the mystery behind an opal necklace and its otherworldly powers, encountering danger along the way. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Child of Etherclaw began as a short story exploring a rather radical approach to climate change mitigation—the Void Pillars. These are the massive hollow superstructures that reach into space and act as heat sinks that cool the planet. When I started to consider how they could be constructed, who (or what) could construct them, and why, that short story quickly took on a novel length. Most importantly, it turned out to also be the perfect setting for several characters that had been banging around loudly in my head for years, demanding to be written about.

Fenlee discovers her life is not as simple as she suspected as she discovers more about her family and her past. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

One of the reasons I love young adult fiction is the growth arcs of the characters. Fenlee is no exception. With her, I wanted to portray a character who could be considered “strong” but is realistically flawed, and has to overcome moments of weakness and doubt. A great deal of Fenlee’s strength comes from her friends and her family, and as fiercely independent as she wishes herself to be, she must come to terms with the fact that she needs them as much as they need her. As the story moves along, Fenlee’s motivations also change as she begins to see the true depths and darkness of the world around her. Getting knocked down repeatedly but continuing to get back up for both yourself and those around you is a real challenge, but Fenlee is up to it, despite the odds.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Found family has always been one of my favorite themes, and one that I wanted to make central to Child of Etherclaw. There are so many different ways to explore family dynamics, but when non-biologically related characters get mushed together in an unlikely living situation, their personalities really tend to shine through in their interactions. I believe this is largely because there isn’t the expectation of the same sort of “default loyalty” we afford to those we’re related to; how we treat found family shows us who we really are. It was also important to me to ensure the feeling of hope. While this may be a dystopian novel, it’s not without positivity. I wanted to demonstrate that, no matter what the world around us looks like, we can always make it a better place, even in small ways.

What is the next book in the series going to hold for readers, and when will it be available?

The next book is currently set for release in late 2023. There are a number of things hinted at throughout Child of Etherclaw, such as certain characters’ backgrounds and mysteries around how the world got to its current state, which will be answered in the next book. A dire threat, much darker than anything in Child of Etherclaw, will also emerge, and certain characters’ roles and destinies will become clearer.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

The bonds of family go well beyond blood.
But can those bonds hold when the blood itself carries a devastating secret?
Fenlee’s opal necklace had always radiated a certain warmth since her mother’s death. But now, at sixteen, her world begins to unravel as the stone sparks to life, revealing itself to be an otherworldly artifact of untold power.
Between her mechatronics studies at the academy and scavenging expeditions beneath the sprawling city of New Cascadia, Fenlee and her adopted brother, Elliot, try to decipher the mysteries of her necklace and its link to events in Fenlee’s past.
But they’re not alone in their search.
Strange undercity dwellers offer cryptic warnings, drones track their movements, and deadly corporate agents lurk in the shadows. When tragedy rips Fenlee’s family apart, she must learn to use the artifact’s power to save those who are deeply precious to her. But nothing can prepare her for the dark truths that she will uncover on that journey…
“Lee,” Elliot mumbled. “I’m not who you think I am.”

The Betrayal

The Betrayal, by Doug Dorsey, is set in the future after much of the earth’s population has been wiped out by a series of catastrophic events, but civilization has not yet come to an end. A new government, ruled by Sovereign Alexander Wraith, has risen to power to ensure everlasting peace. In this riveting dystopian novel, not everything is as it seems. In reality, Wraith is a brutal dictator who will do anything and take out anyone to ensure his hold on power. Thankfully, a rebellion is coming.

This rebellion is led by two unlikely heroes. Liam Adler is a loyal citizen and computer genius who specializes in AR and VR technology. All Liam wants is a quiet, respectable life. However, a series of unfortunate events leads him down a rabbit hole, and he discovers his life is a lie. Jessica, on the other hand, is a rebel fighter, an amnesiac, and a fugitive on the run. She has been fighting The Sovereign for years and is a loyal soldier of Mordecai, rebel leader, and prophet. Liam and Jessica are truly compelling characters that make this first book in the trilogy an exciting read cover to cover, which is important in a character driven dystopian thriller like this.

The Betrayal often reminded me of a Christian version of George Orwell’s 1984. One of the main themes of the book is that religion has been banned, and it is down to Christian rebels to free the world. This focus on religion gives Dorsey’s novel an interesting twist. Government surveillance is everywhere, and expression of religious freedom is a death sentence. Liam is constantly thrown for a loop as friends become enemies and vice versa. The Sovereign is always watching. The author deftly borrows from countless sci-fi classics whilst managing to write something new. This is a refreshing twist on some older sci-fi tropes.

The pacing of the storyline is excellent. The first half is a little slower as Dorsey does some important world-building and introduces and begins to define his characters. In the second half, the story ramps up as utter chaos is unleashed.

Liam and Jessica are both great leads who are easy to root for. Liam especially makes for a very cerebral protagonist. Wraith is an immensely dislikable antagonist in all the right ways. The Betrayal, by Doug Dorsey, is a rollercoaster ride and a great read for any science fiction fan.

Pages: 361 | ASIN: ‎ B09RPYHM8F

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Walls: The Beginning

Terrifying things don’t always mean having horrific sightings or hearing frightening, screeching sounds. Sometimes, horror can show up as something harmless–until you get close enough to see that it’s actually capable of harm. Strange things happen all the time as phenomena we cannot always process. No one knows this better than those living in one unsuspecting Los Angeles community.

In Walls: The Beginning, author SF Covell, places readers directly into the action as a shift of energy occurs and a sense of dread overcomes the neighborhoods of California. Tall walls have appeared at each quadrant, surrounding some areas, and preventing individuals from leaving. No one knows where they came from, why they are there, or when they will disappear, but it adds a level of eerie vibes to the surrounding areas. Within Covell’s book, there are criminals and troublemakers looking to make the lives of others difficult. Covell’s novel gives readers both villians and heroes that reinforce the idea that standing divided never works, but by standing united, they will be able to protect one another.

Author SF Covell has written an highly enjoyable page-turner that hooks you from page one and keeps you intrigued throughout, making this a book that is difficult to put down. The eerie feeling I got from reading this book made me feel like I was reading a horror novel based on real life, as it talks about the possibility of aliens and God’s judgment upon us. These strange walls have caused interference in the lives of everyone affected by them. Covell has done a phenomenal job of demonstrating how important community strength can be if everyone works together instead of against one another. It was interesting to see how people’s true colors come out when a disaster strikes. Covell does a great job with character development as each person is different and has their own personality. The vivid descriptions in the story made me feel as though I were standing alongside Covell’s cast of characters experiencing this terrifying event for myself.

I highly recommend Walls: The Beginning, by SF Covell, to anyone looking for an attention-grabbing read that provides you with a fascinating storyline packed with well-developed characters that will keep you on the edge of your seat. 

Pages: 179 | ASIN: ‎ B09SFC2BNM

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That’s Where The Story Begins

Rick Stepp-Bolling Author Interview

Ulan follows a woman that after being turned away from her community goes in search of discovering more about her gift and how to control it. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Because Ulan is a major character in the PATCH MAN series, I needed to know more about her. I needed to know why she became an assassin and how she could change from that role to become a leader in the rebellion. In order to understand her better, I needed her background and that’s where the story begins.

What was the inspiration for the relationship that develops between the characters?

Ulan never had a father figure in her life, so I needed to create someone to fill that role, but I also needed him to be conflicted so that their relationship helped Bas to find a kind of solace and purpose. Tara’s relationship with Ulan was a natural development of their intimacy. Tara provided Ulan with a role model in the Lore facility, but she also provided her with a love she had never experienced before and that love helped Ulan understand deeper emotions that would help her in the future.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Redemption is probably a major theme, but at the heart of everything love becomes the primary motivation for most of the characters. I also wanted to explore how a good person could be persuaded to do bad things. What drove Ulan to become who she will eventually be in the PATCH MAN series?

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Book four of the PATCH MAN series, The Doppelganger Effect, has already been written and will soon be going through the editing process with my publisher, Crimson Cloak. This book takes the characters, Ten, Ulan, Meesha, and Riata into a parallel domain, but where their twins are mirror images. It should be out in another six months or so.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

A young Summian woman witnesses the murder of five Clan Hemite boys by Imperial Panthers. Shamed that she could do nothing but watch this tragedy, she returns the boys’ ID tags only to discover Clan Hemite blames her for their deaths and she is now targeted in a blood reckoning. With the help of Bas, a former underground fighter, she flees her village.

Bas travels with Ulan to Sum-Est, home of the Lore Master, Ja, in hopes the young woman will benefit from the mystical training to become a Lore Mistress. But the Red Ward from Clan Hemite has vowed to fulfill the blood reckoning and follows Ulan’s trail to Sum-Est. Ulan undertakes the rigorous Lore training so she will be strong enough when she again meets the Imperial Panthers, but becomes sidetracked by the beautiful novice, Tara.

Fiction Rooted In Reality

Jacob Paul Patchen Author Interview

No Pistol Tastes the Same follows a military veteran who is struggling with PTSD as he tries to repair his relationship his son, his wife amid earths impending doom. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

As a veteran who has battled the effects of PTSD and had friends who lost that battle, it was important for me to write a story that confronted the topic. I think PTSD is something worthy of a tale like this, fiction rooted in reality, to bring awareness, change, understanding, and maybe even hope to those affected by its symptoms.

Sergeant JP Grimm is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?

I think JP has a lot of myself in him. While a lot of my characters do, I think for JP, I really wanted the reader to see the mental struggle that plagues someone with PTSD. At the surface, he is a self-destructing character who is also destroying the one thing he cares so much about: his family. But on a deeper level, we can see the inner-workings of a tormented man, husband, and father that wants to fight his fight alone and his way, not passing his burden on to the ones he loves. But in his stubbornness to stand in the fire alone, ultimately, it’s his family that gets burned.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The mental struggle that comes with PTSD. The destructive phases that were prevalent in my own struggles with PTSD and alcoholism. The metaphor of PTSD being this slow-burn, apocalyptic disaster that if left unchecked can truly destroy the world you’re living in. Humanity. The bond and strength of family. The stigma that tough men often face when it comes to mental health and the barriers that get in the way of them seeking help.

What can readers expect in book two of your PTSD Disaster series?

Book 2 will see the characters trying to survive in their new apocalyptic world. We’ll see healing and hurting. PTSD still ravaging the Grimm family, but in ways the reader may not have expected. The reader will also see the darker side of PTSD (formed from my own thoughts and experiences) where JP and Sgt. Grimm will teeter on the edge of becoming this viscous beast bent on protecting his family at all costs and the loving, caring, funny, personable human being he once was before the war.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

JP’s pistol tastes like bourbon.

Sergeant JP Grimm didn’t pull the trigger. Now his Marine brothers are dead. All victims of a child in a suicide vest…a child that resembled Sgt. Grimm’s very own. But how are you supposed to take a child’s life? How can you kill someone that looks just like your own son?

Those same hazel eyes he saw in his scope continue to haunt him long after he left the desert death lands as he tries to reconnect with his son, Adin. JP battles another war at home against PTSD and the worthless, dejected thoughts that he is the reason his friends are dead. His wife, Lisa, struggles to let her stubborn husband work it out on his own terms. She does all she can to give him space, support, and strength—but her love can only go so far.

As the world shows signs of impending doom from a weakening magnetic field and flaring sun, JP, too, shows signs of his own impending doom. After pushing everyone away, JP must face his nightmares to restore his relationship with his son, save his marriage, and save himself before the modern world burns out in a fiery, electromagnetic disaster.

Ulan

Ulan, by Rick Stepp-Bolling, is a prequel to The Patch Man. The story follows Ulan as she navigates a war between Summia and Imperia. Ulan comes into her own and sets the stage for many other characters in this novel. Ulan is a young girl in a poor living situation. Her father is a shell of the man he was before the war and abuses his wife and daughter. Ulan is outside of the compound after curfew and surrounded by six boys, taunting her, and making her feel unsafe. A militia, the Imperial Panthers, put an end to their actions by brutally killing the boys. Ulan is left alive to send a message to others in the compound. What Ulan witnessed changes her forever and puts her on a path to finding herself and her strength.

The thing that stood out to me with this book, looking back, is the characters. The characters in this intrepid adventure story were all methodically developed throughout the book and felt like thoughtfully crafted and layered characters by the end of the novel. Each character had their own unique development but kept the reader always wanting to learn more about them. I know I was looking forward to seeing how they would react to certain situations I saw coming.

The relationship between Bas, Ulan, and Tara were my favorite to read about throughout the novel. Bas is tasked with leading Ulan out of the compound and decides she is worthy of saving. He brings her to a sanctuary where she can learn how to use her gift and control herself. Tara is a Lore Mistress who becomes meaningful to Ulan and helps her learn their ways. Tragedy strikes at the sanctuary which prompts Ulan to get revenge. Reading about the strength Ulan develops and seeing who she becomes was the best part of the story. While I thought the characters well developed throughout the story, I would’ve liked to have known more about the character’s backgrounds.

The second thing that stood out to me was the intriguing detail that is infused within this post-apocalyptic world. It is a world that sets your imagination alight and is filled with fascinating things that add color and depth to the world.

Ulan sends a young woman, and readers, on a perilous adventure that is consistently entertaining. If you are a science fiction fan looking for a gripping story that is driven by a strong female character than this is a fantasy novel that will be hard to put down.

Pages: 283 | ASIN: B09LPS299M

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