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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Tiffany Brooks’s book, Reality Gold, is an excellent read for young adults and beyond. Readers follow a large group of teenage survival show competitors who are whittled down as the show progresses. The story is told from the perspective of protagonist, Riley. Riley sees the show as a shot for redemption. She had gotten into some trouble at her high school, and ultimately had become both a viral meme and the butt end of seemingly everyone’s jokes. She wants to shake her reputation as a spoiled brat with a silver spoon. It doesn’t hurt her shot at winning that she has first-hand knowledge of the show’s backdrop, Black Rock Island, and the treasure it holds.
Brooks has constructed a very interesting, very well-written story with Reality Gold. The characters represent several demographics across the board. The plot and pace flow well. Bits of backstory of the island and Miles, Riley’s godfather with gold-fever, come out as the story progresses. The story sometimes feels like it does a cha-cha with it’s one step forward, two steps back rhythm. The kids are steadily moving toward their goal with some obstacles and setbacks in their path. Some plot twists at the end took me by surprise. The story kept my interest piqued until the very last page.
I particularly liked the character, Maren. Maren had dyed black and purple hair, and was always in a t-shirt with a sarcastic word or one-liner printed across the front. She was instantly labelled as harsh, mean, and weird. Some of those things came to her rightfully. Some of those things were likely just defense mechanisms. Either way, we get to see a few jagged edges soften at times. She lets some redeeming qualities peek out from underneath the dark makeup at times. She became a lesson in “don’t judge a book by its cover.”
I also liked brainy, sometimes aloof, A.J. who was interested in one thing and one thing only, the gold. He was more interested in the gold than the actual payout, because he saw the discovery itself as a foot into Harvard’s door. He was smart and driven and between him and Riley, had all the answers.
Riley was a rich kid, but wasn’t “just a rich kid.” That is the reputation she was fighting hard to shake. She wanted people to know her. Really know her. She thought the show would give her the chance to show the skewed world who the real Riley was. She also had a bit of the taste for the hunt passed down to her from her godfather. She plays a pivotal part in the story, both as a friend to her coeds and as an experienced treasure hunter.
There is a bit of a budding romance or two within the story, but nothing gets graphic whatsoever. There is also an important cautionary tale. There is an “almost romance” between an underage player and a crew member of the show. The characters struggle a little with how to handle that situation, but in the end, they keep their friend’s best interest and safety at heart.
Watching the clues, maps, markers, and cryptic symbols all fit together to form a completed puzzle was reminiscent of watching National Treasure and movies like it. The brainy kids all hashing and rehashing possible meanings and directions was exciting. The island served as a scary backdrop. Throwing in the “reality” factor kept both me and the characters trying to figure out what was fake and what wasn’t until the very end. They had to second guess everything they thought they knew since some things were manufactured specifically for the anticipated TV audience and ratings. Are their friends real or actors? Are the clues for the treasure real or planted?
I loved the characters and the story. It was well-written, and the characters and plot were well-developed. It was an exciting, sometimes “edge-of-your-seat” kind of story. I’d love to see more from this author.
Pages: 398 | ASIN: B07C5B7RFY
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Girl Unseen is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a romance, paranormal, and mystery as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
It definitely happened organically. I tend to write in the genre’s I enjoy reading the most. I love romance, paranormal and thriller’s, so it was not surprising to discover all three elements come through in my stories.
The characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. What themes did you try to capture while developing your characters?
Thank you! The paranormal investigation team’s motivations and goals tend to naturally conflict with law enforcement, so putting the two together makes some very interesting sparks fly. The paranormal investigators are there to prove and document the existence of the paranormal, and the special ops team are there to solve the crime, catch the criminal, and gain enough evidence for the case to be prosecuted in a court of law. Throw in the conflict of a complicated and seemingly impossible romance, and you end up with a pretty tangled web that needs to be resolved by the end of the book!
Pia works for a television show and tries to debunk mysteries. Did you do research to maintain relevance to real life paranormal events?
Yes. I have a natural curiosity for the paranormal due to unexplained personal experiences that happened to me at a very young age. Those events triggered a lifelong fascination and study in metaphysical subjects.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
Thank you for asking! I am currently working on the fourth book in the Beyond the Grave series which is scheduled for release in January, 2018. Daniel’s story is inspired by a real ‘ghostly’ shipwreck on the coast of Western Australia that is shrouded in mystery, tragedy, and of course eerie speculation of the paranormal.
I am also working on something a little different – an edgy and contemporary standalone romantic thriller with no paranormal elements which is scheduled to be released in April, 2018.
When Pia Williams, a gifted psychic medium, is contacted by the traumatized spirit of a young girl, her search to uncover the truth begins. The more Pia learns about the girl’s gruesome fate, the more determined she is to bring those responsible to justice. But is she prepared for the shocking truth of what she’s about to expose?
With more questions than answers, one thing becomes clear to Pia: the girl’s spirit is uniquely powerful, and she’s killing from beyond the grave. Who–or what–is the girl now? A victim, or a demon with murderous intentions? What really happened to her? And how far will Pia go to help her get revenge?
Accused of a murder the spirit commits, Pia reaches out to the only man who can help her: ex-Special Forces detective Nate Ryder. A man who is as dangerous to her heart as the situation she seeks his help with. Nate would move mountains for the woman he loves, but how can he protect her against forces he can’t even see?
As Pia and Nate are swept into an unpredictable situation brimming with dark, evil intent, they soon discover they have more to fear from the living than they ever did from the dead…
Posted in Interviews
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