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Pythia in the Basement

Maybe you’ve thought that existence is a weird thing. The fact that you’re born, you grow, and you observe until one day, time runs out – and if you enjoy contemplating the meaning of life but want to bypass the delicateness of offending the layman, then this thought-provoking book is for you.

One of the chapters in this book summarizes Marron’s work perfectly: peculiar. A refreshing piece that will smack you in the face and make you laugh, Marron has embodied the absurdist fiction genre perfectly as we follow the experiences of character leads, Colin and Roger.

The author has created authentic characters that were enjoyable to follow while avoiding the sugar-coated hero cliche. Colin is abrasive. His flaws were openly stated and visually displayed throughout the book; through workplace affairs or openly stating that he possesses hedonistic tendencies, yet his character supports BLM and hates being late. The confluence of these ideas made his character very intriguing. I really enjoyed how this character comes together. Roger on the other hand is a polymath dubbed both a bullshit artist and poet. I loved the passion embedded into him and felt he was the perfect storm of knowledge, chaos and questioning the system. Together the two juxtaposed conspiracy theories of all sorts.

A special commendation must be made to the short chapters, its hook was executed brilliantly. The writing style was punchy, shocking and prevented the reader from being able to form an opinion about the characters too quickly. It enhanced the matter-of-fact tone that intelligently explores philosophical themes in a no-nonsense fashion, all whilst set in a world with little care about the purpose of existence. Each chapter was loaded with dialogue and insights into topics like Sharia law, drugs and human sacrifice. While providing plenty of entertaining and food for thought the story ends just as quickly as it takes off.

Pythia in the Basement is a fascinating story with compelling characters and sharp satire that explores some provocative and intriguing ideas.

Pages: 237 | ASIN : B0BKDF7B4S

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New America Awakenings

In an America divided by race and religion, Colton Jenkins must simultaneously navigate the new war-like world as a young adult and a victim of oppression. He and his family found themselves in a community ruled by a heavy hand, where every form of treason, with or without evidence, leads to another head cut from a body stuck on a pike. With no one to trust and turn to, may it be the government, the religious, and even your neighbors, Colton must find a way to keep himself and his loved ones alive, all while finding ways to regain freedom and liberty for everyone.

New America Awakenings, by Tyler Davis, is a gripping story that depicts what our future might look like without democracy and the role the youth play in societal changes. From the beginning of the novel, the author makes sure to spare no details about the apocalyptic setting, from its origin and history to its ongoing severe, sadistic practices. With every page, readers anticipate and dread what is coming, for there seem to be no limits regarding the horrifying reality the characters experience, regardless of race, religion, and age. Yet, in the doom of it all, there are moments where one can see hope, whether in the scenes focused on family, the camaraderie between friends, and even times when authorities are defied and challenged. Because of these, readers are inspired to continue despite the cruelty to see if these moments can lead to somewhere positive. 

Personally, the book was a page-turner due to the constant presence of crisis, intriguing me to wait and see if there is anything that will happen that is more cynical than the previous. Unfortunately, the book did not disappoint in that area, and I was left hanging by its ending because I was expecting more to happen. Still, the ending placement was clever, for it keeps readers on their toes and hungry for the sequel to come out. I have always been interested in dystopian novels, and this one earned its rightful place in my top ten. As for the characters, each one’s contribution to the story was highlighted, making it easier to remember them and either love or hate them. The author also made sure to keep all characters real, in the sense that they are all flawed, one way or another, which is integral to point out in a dystopian setting that calls people to act based on survival rather than morals.

New America Awakenings will keep its readers interested with the constant action, all while compelling them to reflect on what they are reading in terms of their ethics. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in books such as The Hunger Games and Divergent, which are famous for their young adult heroines and post-apocalyptic setting. I also recommend this to anyone who would like to ponder on the humanities, for the novel shows a different take on culture and society as we know it.

Pages: 322 | ASIN : B0BDBLJ9JZ

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Freeze Frame

Will Horner, a sixteen-year-old boy who loves filmmaking, is beginning a new year at a new school. His parents are anxious for him to settle in and make friends at Pinehurst Academy, an art school. The warm-hearted ‘coreless’ take him under their wing, and Will feels happier at Pinehurst than he has in a while. Working on an end-of-year movie with his friends, he feels more himself when he’s able to film with his camera. However, he hides parts of his life from his understanding friends and takes on the responsibility of working on his mental health by himself.

Freeze Frame by Tyler Beauchamp is a story of teenagers struggling with trauma, mental health, and with the stigma of it all. Beauchamp has perfectly captured the overwhelmingness that is attached to social life as a teenager and how situations can magnify in our heads, as it does in Will when he fears his past at Redboro School coming to light. It’s also a story of lighthearted moments, friendships, belief, and creative passion, and of navigating these along with parental love and concern that manifests as anger. 

Beauchamp skillfully weaves in relevant arguments about creativity, social media, mental health, and reality in a world filled with media and camera lenses. Will loves to make films and loves the power they have to make people feel, but also believes in experiencing the moment. Will is in therapy for PTSD and is making progress with his dissociations between reality and film-like scenes.

Freeze Frame by Tyler Beauchamp is a coming-of-age fictional novel that also explores the psychological mindset of teenage life. It is excellent for talking to teenagers about issues they face and about understanding their points of view. I especially liked the list of mental health resources given at the end of the book. Having understanding people and a good support system along with therapy can truly go a long way in helping mental health, and this book shows that in a very relatable way.

Pages: 258 | ASIN : B0BG6DC9D9

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Sky Curse

In the year 2045, mankind has depleted the resources of Earth, and humans are looking to move off the planet in hopes of a fresh start. This is the setting for this thrilling young adult novel. The chosen five are Brian, Jamal, Alex, Kev, and Cecilia in Janet Kravetz’s titular series. Cecilia Miller is a teenage female protagonist in this dystopian future book. Titan is regarded as humanity’s last hope, but everyone can’t afford to travel there. Even more so, not everyone desires to. Duncan Macdougall, a Localist, wants Cecilia and the other four chosen candidates to stop the fulfillment of an old Mayan prophecy and save Earth and its inhabitants. Five Mayan crystals that contain the technology to save the planet are sought after by the chosen five who journey to Mexico in their search.

Sky Curse has a slow-burn beginning, but that gave me time to adjust to the world-building presented by Kravetz. It is futuristic hard science fiction, but it also contains aspects of fantasy and has a measure of reality mixed in. This teen novel is an exceptionally well-written, imaginative, and wholly original work. Along with Cecilia, I was transported to an unfortunate Earth. Cecilia is portrayed as a blonde with blue eyes, which is a little cliché. However, she still has her imperfections and is intelligent, and contributes well to the authenticity needed to make a protagonist come to life. And not to forget, Tony provides the humor and is Cecilia’s go-to companion.

The thought-provoking plot lines will get readers to consider climate change from beginning to end. Although it is hypothetical, nothing seems out of the ordinary or overly complicated. The reader starts to believe that what they are reading might very well be the kind of world we are leaving for future generations, which has a dramatic effect. The novel is written for older teens and younger adults, but Kravetz’s insightful developments and topics are broad enough to appeal to readers with more demanding tastes in literary nuances.

Sky Curse is the exciting start of a new young adult science fiction series, The Chosen Five. Filled with action, drama, paranormal, and fantasy elements there is something for all readers in this novel. Follow the chosen five as they try to save Earth and prevent the apocalyptic destruction of humanity. I can’t wait to see what the series has in store!

Pages: 395 | ASIN : B0B9638NC7

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ZONT-2 and Beyond

Twenty years in the future, a Russian man named Timofey Semenov develops a solar shield to help lower the temperatures on Earth, intended to help with climate change. His structure is named ZONT-1, but before it could impact global temperatures, it is heavily damaged by a massive solar flare. But Timofey doesn’t give up. He forms alliances with men he’d rather ignore to bring his ZONT-2 project to life.

ZONT-2 and Beyond by Blair Wylie shows that despite someone’s best intentions, not everything goes the way you want. Hounded by terrorists, unrest, and global politics, Timofey, with his business partner and personal enemy, Alain Dufort, must work together to get the ZONT-2 project off the ground. They navigate personal problems, international alliances, enemies, and the occasional bombing to bring their vision to life. ZONT-2 and Beyond contains a large cast of characters in various political and influential positions; some are not who they seem.

This novel is not for the faint of heart. It’s an abundantly complex book filled with technical details about space structures, scientific farming strategies, and geopolitics. Perhaps because of the author’s background in engineering, the book reads as almost a manual rather than a fictional story. Much of the story is summarized rather than shown as action, and there is a lot of scientific and engineering dialogue. There are also many characters to keep track of, as almost every chapter introduces someone new.

While the subject matter is very interesting, I believe the story’s execution could have been improved. I commend Wylie for his ingenuity in putting together the various threads of the story, weaving in and out of politics and business arrangements, and the ability to immerse the reader into the story.

ZONT-2 and Beyond is a hard science fiction novel that will appeal to readers that love to know how things work and want to read the science behind the story. With a plot that is not implausible, this is a fantastic read for those who enjoy sci-fi’s technical aspects.

Pages: 208 | ISBN: 978-1-80016-536-6

Tales From Another Dimension

Tales from Another Dimension, by Robbie Sheerin, is a collection of ten science fiction short stories. Inspired by classic science fiction, Robbie Sheerin brings us the fantastic and the frightening with these ten stories, whether it’s on Earth, in space, or on another world.

I enjoyed this collection of short stories. For the most part, what connects these stories is the science fiction genre. Two stories follow the same characters: “Part 1: The Last of Your Kind” and “Part 2: The First of your Kind.” And this two-part story gives us a unique take on how Earth became inhabited by humans.

I had a little harder time getting into some of the stories than others. “Dangers of Atmospheric Entry” was one such story. It’s not that it was poorly written (none of the stories are); I just had a harder time suspending my disbelief in this story. While others, like “The future you imagine, Doctor, is not the future of the future,” I was able to buy into completely. I suppose it came down to the fact that some of the stories seemed more plausible than others, as if some could be real or come true.

With this said, I did enjoy all the stories. And since Robbie Sheerin was inspired by classic science fiction, it felt only natural (to me, at least) that HG Wells was included in one of the stories. I truly liked these stories and wouldn’t mind reading more from Robbie Sheerin, even something that’s longer, like an actual novel.

Tales from Another Dimension, by Robbie Sheerin, brings us great science fiction stories. Even with the stories being short, it’s obvious that each one has a well-developed world that helps ground the reader in the story and great characters that we can get behind, and even cheer for.

Pages: 152 | ASIN : B09MDQ5VH7

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Only Afraid of Nothing

Only Afraid of Nothing by Willem Indigo is a sci-fi adventure that follows Wolfgang, a patient in the psychiatric ward of a hospital, who befriends Zenu, a human-like extraterrestrial. As she gets acquainted with Wolfgang and wins his trust, she needs his help to leave the planet to rescue Zenu’s kidnapped boss. This unexpected journey gives Wolfgang a new adventure, just when he fears his life has no hope, taking strange twists and turns along the way.

As Wolfgang dives further into Zenu’s world of shocking secrets, he is thrown into a quest of epic proportions where he must race against space and time. Both characters quickly become unlikely heroes who must rely on each other. Wolfgang and Zenu become an unusual yet courageous team that aims to save Zenu’s boss from a horrific fate.

I found the book fast-paced, exciting and unique in its writing style and plot development. I enjoyed the flow of the story and how the heroic team took an exciting journey that required bravery and a sense of thrill. It’s a great tale that’s not only fast-paced but fun and light-hearted at times. While I felt the story could have been a bit more suspenseful, the flow was consistent and intriguing to read.

The character development is what really makes this story stand out. Wolfgang, Zenu, and the crew they acquire along their journey are all distinct. Their personalities and quirks come through and keep readers guessing as to what they will say or do next, especially as they keep winding up in trouble. The aliens they battle and deal with are just as creative and entertaining.

Only Afraid of Nothing by Willem Indigo is an original science fiction adventure. The characters and thrilling storyline make for a suspenseful read as they take you through outer space where anything that could go wrong for them does.

Pages: 233 | ASIN : B0BCPP4WYG

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Roger Boggs is a local sheriff in Circlegold county. Haunted by past traumas, Boggs dedicates his life to policing the small town he lives in. When a group of local boys goes missing, it starts him on an investigation that will change him forever. Aided by the mysterious Sears, a major in the Air Force, they must contend with a town hellbent on serving their own kind of justice. And when one of the missing boys shows up claiming that the person they are looking for may not be of human origin, it sends Boggs on a journey into the unknown.

From the start of the first page, I was intrigued by the plot of this book. Author D.J. Adamson immerses the reader into the suspense making this one book I couldn’t put down. Being a fan of sci-fi mysteries, this book had everything from the aliens, and the interesting characters, to wondering what would happen next. I enjoyed that the author didn’t stop describing each character. Instead, throughout the chapters, she provided bits of information about the character as the story progressed. This allowed me to get to know the characters without slowing down the story.

The author seamlessly switches between characters in the chapters without confusing the reader or interrupting the flow of the story. While I kept reading, I was mesmerized and kept in suspense. The author’s descriptions of places, especially when describing the aliens, are so vivid that I was creeped out while reading. The scenes where people start disappearing also kept me in suspense, and I felt like I was alongside the characters hiding from the alien. The icing on the cake is the ending of the story; it was not what I expected, but it was even better than I expected.

I highly recommend the science fiction thriller, INTO THE STORM: Aliens Among Us to readers that enjoy the unknown and want to be on the edge of their seat.

Pages: 319 | ASIN : B092RD6Q7Z

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