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Experiment X: Exposed

Experiment X: Exposed by [Haase, Nikki]

Experiment X: Exposed is the second installment of the Experiment X Trilogy. Exposed jumps right back into the lives of Karen and her commands a year after their escape from Dr. Thaddeus’s lab. Those freed from the horrors of their capture spend their days slowly recovering and training their elemental powers. It isn’t long until Dr. Thaddeus makes a grand appearance on national television to unveil his new plan to create an army of superhumans; Experiment R. The unsuspecting population rejoice. Soon droves of volunteers sign up to take part with the promises of wealth and prestige. At the same time, Karen receives a coded message from her former captain embarking her on a journey that once again puts Hher physical and mental capabilities to their limits.

For those who enjoyed the first book, I highly recommend the second. If Sacrifice was about Karen discovering her powers, Exposed is about mastering them. Needless to say, Karen is back at it, supercharged, and ready to go.

Despite the obvious difference in power, Karen is a relatable character. Her anger, pride, and raw emotions are illustrated with such care from a first-person perspective. As the main character, Karen is portrayed with enough detail to make her believable and yet still given room to grow. She is a strong girl with a strong personality. Such perfection with one character made the haphazard way that other characters were thrown in seem jarring. Because the story is from a first-person perspective, all other character growth is described through Karen’s thoughts. Some of the major players are well remembered for their importance to Karen. However, many new characters are not given the time to develop a relationship with the main character.

The pacing, I thought, quickly moved from one event to the next with barely any transition; I was left with no concrete timeline. Although the author mentioned tentative time frames, and the ambiguous period of various events was intentional, every section of the story felt similar.

But these are minor glitches in a book that has a lot of potential for the characters and expanding story line. These issues only stand out to me because I was so invested in the character and story. Nikki Haase has command of an entertaining writing style that elevates Experiment X: Exposed above many of the dystopian fiction I’ve read this year.

Pages: 262 | ASIN: B06W9NC7B7

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The Dream Defenders

The Dream Defenders: A YA Sci-Fi Adventure by [DenHartog, Neal]

The Dream Defenders by Neal Denhartog is a young adult science fiction adventure story following Nolan Erling, a fourteen year old boy who has felt forgotten by his parents ever since his baby brother, Max, joined their family. When Nolan keeps waking up with a headache in the morning, he doesn’t suspect that the cause of his problems is his dreams. But Aeryn Sandman knows. She is a junior agent at the DREAM institute, and Nolan is her first official assignment. Her job turns into more than just a simple recruitment mission, however, after Nolan’s unchecked powers release two nightmares into the dreamstream. Suddenly, things turn deadly–because dreams can kill. Will Nolan and Aeryn succeed in protecting millions of innocent dreamers while they sleep?

This book had a unique premise and the writing style was engaging and kept my interest. The author’s descriptions of the actions taking place pulled me into the story. I enjoyed reading about the weird details of Nolan’s dreams and how he could control them and make things happen. There were several humorous parts, as Aeryn fumbled her first official assignment and failed to keep Nolan under control. I liked the descriptions of the whimsical and frightening dreamscapes, which painted a vivid picture of the setting. I loved the Wispes, Stan and Scranton. They were one of my favorite parts of the story.

I felt that the initial ‘reveal’ of the villain happened too soon. Or maybe it could have just been handled differently. Since it seemed as though I’d already learned the villain’s identity at one third of the way through the book, I felt that the story lost some of its momentum after that. Although it took me a little while to get excited about the story again, it did happen well before I got to the crazy twist at the end.

Although the ending was entertaining and thrilling it left me with many questions. I assume that this story is intended to be the first book in the series, and if that’s the case, I would definitely want to read the next book to find out what happens and learn all the answers to my lingering questions. Overall, this is an exceptional book with a unique premise that is guaranteed to entertain.

Pages: 318 | ASIN: B07S475R84

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Malthus Revisited

Malthus Revisited: The Cup of Wrath (Lindsey McCall Medical Mystery Book 4) by [Wilder, Lin]

A threat that most readers can see as a real possibility considering how far science and technology has progressed. Coupled with down to earth characters that you feel a real connection to make this book an outstanding ‘end of world’ saga that has your heart racing right till the end. While overtly spiritual in it’s plot, even the most atheist person could come to enjoy this story because it is a masterful blend of science and religion. With horrifying villains and inspiring heroes plus a few characters who you are never quite sure of which side of the good versus evil fight they stand on, this story is well worth the read.

This book takes a little while to explain how the prologue fits into the narrative but after you see how it all comes together and with various chapters outlining the back stories of the various characters, you begin to understand why the author took time in slowly building toward the most eventful parts of the story.

Once you understand how everything fits together, it takes you on an edge of your seat ride where you wonder how things will turn out. Each character has their part to play and readers get to see both the best and worst aspects of each character, which allows you to become invested in their adventure more deeply than you usually would for a fictional story.

There are a few repeated phrases and words that could have been left out or replaced with a simplified explanation but the intensity of the plot line and anxiety inducing obstacles that are thrown in the way of the main characters do enough to make you forget these minor annoyances.

If you want a thrilling story that takes you to the depths of what an evil mind can cause in this world with the excitement of whether the heroes can triumph. This is a book for you.

My best piece of advice to any would be reader is to make sure you don’t give up on the slow build up toward the real plot because it is well worth the wait and actually helps you understand and feel more invested in the entire story.

Pages: 317 | ASIN: B078LWJ632

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The Target List – Trailer

WAND is a revolutionary new medical tool that cures diseased tissues in human beings without the use of drugs or surgery. Ten years in design and production, the technology has a 95% success rate in curing most forms of cancer in animals and human beings.

The brainchild of 48 year old Harvard Medical School graduate, Clyde Daniel, WAND (Wave-Altering-Nanoparticle-Disrupter) is going to move the profession of medicine out of the dark ages and into something that closely resembles science fiction. That is, unless the pharmaceutical industry, which stands to lose billions of dollars in lost drug revenues, can intervene with its hired assassins and destroy the technology and its team of creators before it ever has a chance to see the light of day.

The Target List is a medical science fiction thriller, a real page turner that will have readers hooked from the first chapter through the very end of the book.

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The Optical Lasso – Trailer

In the year 2140 CE, Planet 9, more commonly known as Vixus, has resurfaced on the edge of the Milky Way… the only known planet that periodically reverses its rotation. Last seen in the middle of the Kuiper Belt in 2066 CE, it mysteriously disappeared after being discovered by a Galactic Corps scout ship. The unknown energy source enabling Vixus to spin in opposite directions represented great power which could help turn the tide in a war Earth was losing.

The Fighting Fury, the Corps’ finest platoon, has been called in to conduct a search and rescue operation for several missing landing parties. Following a fierce battle on the planet surface, Lieutenant Janet “Cat” Miles, leader of this elite group of combat women, was captured. She soon found herself imprisoned with the Corps’ most fabled leader, Commander Jason Cody. His name would forever be linked to the infamous wormhole hidden on Neptune’s dark side; an area of space now cautiously avoided by all due to the menace which lurks within.

Paranoia raced through both leaders’ minds. Could he trust a woman who seemingly had no imperfections? Could she trust a man who had vanished from sight years ago? Earth’s future laid in the balance as they struggled to overcome their mutual distrust and acknowledge what those before them understood: “If you live long enough, the wisdom will come.”

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Die to Live Again

Die to Live Again: A Post-Apocalyptic Novel by [Crane, David]

Die to Live Again is a story about Tanya, a young woman whose existence becomes a perpetual question when the world faces nuclear destruction. She is one of the lucky few who survive and for a time she is housed in one of the pre-prepared military shelters. This arrangement does not last. She goes from being a preferred informant for a budding dictator to an outcast, left to survive off the contaminated wasteland. For a while she has Jack, her boyfriend with her. This also does not last as two humans are no match for the unfiltered aftermath of nuclear destruction. Jack dies and she finds herself transformed but surviving. Soon enough Tanya realizes the existence of humanity is under threat and it is up to the survivors to decide what new Earth looks like, this time, with mother nature paving the way.

David Crane combines post-apocalyptic confusion and political drama in some exciting ways in this captivating book. Although most of the action takes place on the American mainland, we still get a glimpse of what happened around the world. This perspective was a very interesting take and political drama lovers will undoubtedly find it engaging.  All of this balances well with the friction between nature and scientific input. There is even a religious aspect that is explored. These aspects are the underpinnings of human existence, and I felt that the spiritual inclusion added an intriguing dimension to this novel. The combination of politics, science and religion makes for a possibly overwhelming experience but I felt that it was balances just enough to never become too much.  Additionally, although there are several drastic turning points throughout the novel, they are rarely, if ever, predictable.

Although this is a well written novel, I felt that there were some inconsistencies in the timeline, and a few things seemed too unrealistic. I  would have liked the buildup and explanations of occurrences to be more robust.

Overall, this is a fantastically engaging novel that I found to be both interesting and entertaining; both things I’m starting to associate with David Crane novels.

Pages: 334 | ASIN: B00FZW20AQ

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A Dystopian Chaos

Jenn Lees Author Interview

Jenn Lees Author Interview

Saving Time follows two unlikely companions who must band together to save Scotland from a nuclear threat. What were some driving ideals behind this story’s development?

Rory is the son of Scott and Caitlin (Stolen Time: Community Chronicles Book 2) and is an emerging leader in a community of survivors founded by his parents. He is the head of his Militia team. Siobhan has grown up in the Scottish Government underground Bunker. She is a child of a scientist member of the Brains Trust, the group of specialists seconded to the Bunker when the world’s situation spiralled downwards after the Stock Market Crash forty-odd years previously. Plus, her team of scientists, technicians and Scottish Defence Force personnel.

These characters, and their respective communities, come from different worlds and have lived under the impression that their ideologies, types of governance, and lifestyles will be at odds. But they find out that they can and, indeed they must, co-operate for the safety of Scotland.

In so doing, they discover they are more aligned and alike than they had been led to believe. Those members of the teams involved, who had previous apprehensions regarding their need to co-operate, find that, with a little effort, they can. But not all are open to this, which causes more problems and threatens the success of the endeavors of the combined team.

I hoped to show that when people put their prejudices, preconceptions, and personal agendas aside they can cooperate and combine their efforts for the common good. And maybe even find something precious along the way, such as acceptance, a unity in common purpose, and even love.

Your characters are methodically and deeply developed. What is your writing process like to bring these characters to life?

I follow loosely the method of character creation outlined by Jeff Gerke in his book Plot Versus Character (2010. Writer’s Digest Books). Donkey was right, we are onions, and I develop my characters a layer at a time beginning with personality type as defined by the Myers-Briggs model. Then I work through the layers including physical appearance, back story etc. and, of course, their internal knot—their inner issue they will be forced to deal with during the course of the story.

For example, Rory is closest to an ISTJ, a sentinel type with defender/protective tendencies. He has a strong sense of responsibility and great loyalty to his family and Community. He struggles with his father’s death and is driven by the need to emulate the hero-figure status of his father. Well, I’ll let readers find out for themselves how that pans out.

What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from the first two books in the Community Chronicles?

I wanted to explore the beginnings of restoration. It is over forty years since the world descended into a dystopian chaos after The Stock Market Crash, and now a hitherto silent government is preparing to go up top and govern the country once more. The situation of a leaking nuclear war head on an abandoned submarine from a rogue state is the catalyst, but is Scotland, and indeed its underground government, ready for it?

What about those who have managed by themselves in this changed world without its leadership or intervention? How will the government diplomatically endeavour to connect with a people who have felt abandoned by them for the past forty years?

I wanted to explore the effects time travel may have on a human. Rory has made the journey to the past previously and does so again in this story. How has it changed him? Does he now have a special relationship with linear time?

Rory has a very different view of time travel than his father, Scott. Rory strongly believes the Time Machine should not be used for personal gain or manipulation and is determined it never will. His greatest fear is that the government will discover its existence.

I cannot wait to read book four in the Community Chronicles series. Where will book four pickup and when will it be available?

I’m so pleased you can’t wait to read Restoring Time. It picks up immediately from Saving Time with Rory desperate to bring Siobhan home. There is plenty of action, more time travel, and we meet once more Derrick Lloyd, from The Crash: Community Chronicles Book 1. All I will say is age has not softened him any.

I’m endeavoring to have this book published by the end of the year.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Saving Time (Community Chronicles Book 3) by [Lees, Jenn]Could a chance meeting in the past, and a vision belonging to the future, be part of the same timeline?

2061, forty-three years after the stock market disaster which changed the world.

Rory, Militia man and son of Caitlin and Scott Campbell, lives in a self-governed Community that exists independently from the Scottish Government.

Nuclear physicist, Siobhan Kensington-Wallace, has lived underground in the Scottish Government Bunker since the Crash. Along with the other children of the Brains Trust, she has been brought up to believe they are the elite who will bring restoration to Scotland.

Their opposing worlds collide when Rory discovers a submarine leaking radiation into a sea loch in the North Western Highlands. Forced to work together to save Scotland from annihilation, Rory and Siobhan discover more is at stake than neutralizing the current nuclear threat.

Will their attraction cause fallout of another kind…or will their allegiances divide them forever?

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Experiment X: Exposed

Experiment X: Exposed by [Haase, Nikki]

The first thing I noticed when I started reading this book was how calm the narrator’s tone was. It starts by telling how we hear about stories of women who, after a night out, end up in strange surroundings with sour legs and a bad taste in their mouth. I expected the plot to follow this narrative but Nikki Haase had a pleasant surprise for the reader as the story shifted to a more intense plot. The author is great at describing events that I could imagine everything she talked about. The vivid descriptions is one of the things that made this book a fantastic read.

I enjoyed Rebekah’s introduction into the story. Being able to view Rebekah through the eyes of Karen  made her a special character to me. Karen hated Rebeka, disliked her fake rosy red-lipped smile and could not stand her light brown eyes. I love when the author does this because it makes me more interested in a particular character. Rebekah was perceived to be one of the unlikeable characters at the start of the book. I kept reading about her, built my own perception of her, and came up with a neutral judgment of her. Despite the narrator making Rebekah appear like an evil character at first, I found her to be extraordinary and fascinating.

Enter Jack and the plot twists in the book. We are first introduced to Jack as he talks with Karen at the party. Jack seemed like a gentleman. I like how he appeared at the opportune moment when Dante had disappointed Karen. The interaction between Dante and Jack was obviously unpleasant as the two tried to flex their muscles on who the better gentleman was. Reading about the conspiracy theory about an experiment conducted by the military and the U.S government was not only thrilling but also frightening.

Who wouldn’t enjoy a story about a government facility that houses super soldiers? The breaking of the theory and the actions that followed were electrifying. The characters in the book were excellently developed. Karen was the main character in the book and also significant in the whole experiment. It was interesting how Karen was oblivious of her role until Jack showed up.

I liked how Jack enters the story as an antagonist but ends up… ah, I won’t spoil it. I enjoyed this fantastic, action packed, story immensely and I highly recommend it.

Pages: 262 | ASIN: B06W9NC7B7

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XHOSETI: MOON

XHOSETI: MOON by [STEPHENS, ROBERT J]

Xhoseti Moon is an intergalactic, generation-spanning dystopian thriller that contains some amazing pop culture plot elements; It is Brave-New-World-meets-The-Avengers-meets-Artemis-Fowl. And then some more.

We are introduced to a post-nuclear-war universe in which the fallout has destroyed most of Earth’s population. The genetically chosen few are saved and continue to survive.

We follow Chris, the new Grand Master of the Galaxy as he plans to wake the Guardians, an omniscient ancient race, and set up a power plant on the Moon. With him is a powerful and skilled team composed of seven acolytes. They navigate through a host of problems- from treachery to mind-controlling mistresses. Then there are the Xhoseti. The horrific, insect-like creatures that were thought to be dead, but are out to avenge themselves. They want all the power, death, and destruction that they can get their disgusting little claws on. Various other story lines are entangled within the plot and serve to enrich the story. Such as that of Luke, the moon miner and Greta, the gorgeous but entirely evil lady.

One of the most striking parts of this novel is the clarity with which it describes the workings of this universe and its elements. Robert J Stephens provides engaging and lengthy detail for everything from the Xhoseti reproduction process (oviposition enthusiasts- this one is meant for you) to the power plant set-up on the Moon. You are taken on an extremely informative guided tour, at the end of which you will know every nook and cranny of this universe.

However, the believability of the setting is never out of reach. Issues are raised that can be linked to the current state of the world, like the ruin that follows fossil fuel greed. The characters are interesting and flawed, likable and human, because they have the ability to fail. The lust for power and revenge fuel antagonists in the plot, a scary reflection of our society’s authorities. It concludes on an exciting and fearful note, leaving room for speculation and imagination.

It is a complicated and danger-ridden world that we live in, and this novel is a distorted, futuristic vision of that. Without getting too preachy, it has warnings of nuclear fallout and total environmental collapse laced throughout. The scariest futures are the ones that are entirely within reach.

Pages: 201 | ASIN: B07KX1KYZ9

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Saving Time

Saving Time (Community Chronicles Book 3) by [Lees, Jenn]

In her third book in the Community Chronicles series, Jenn Lees continues the adventures and perils of a world that is spinning into chaos after a major stock market crash. Set in the year 2061, Saving Time is the story of brave Scotsman and his companions who risk their lives to save Scotland from nuclear destruction. In a world where the government has deserted its people and bandits are always a threat, the story’s hero must take matters into his own hands even if that means risking a trip back in time to get the information he needs. Through her story of loyalty and betrayal, Lees shows readers the meaning of self-sacrifice for the betterment of all.

Although the book starts off a bit slow, I found the story line increasingly compelling as the book progressed. The topics of love, time travel, and impending worldly destruction that run throughout the book are ones that are likely to appeal to the reader and keep their interest. In terms of grammar, flow, and ease of reading, the book was well written and enjoyable.

I felt like the time travel part of the book was not as compelling as it could have been. It didn’t seem integral to the plot. The reasoning for traveling to the past seemed vague, especially when the information that the characters acquired from this journey was ultimately unnecessary in dealing with the nuclear threat. I thought that the surprise assistance that showed up for the ultimate resolution of the threat seemed coincidental and made the original plan seem unnecessary.

The characters were interesting and well developed. When they make their way through 21st century England, I enjoyed the outsiders perspective, but would have enjoyed a deeper contrast. Rory and Siobhan’s relationship reflects that kind of contrast and I savored the experience of watching the slow development of their characters.

Overall I thought the book was enjoyable, particularly after reaching the second half where the story really picks up speed. This would be well suited for anyone looking for post apocalyptic fiction with a time travel twist.

Pages: 255 | ASIN: B07PWYVYJC

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