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A Single Light

A Single Light: A Thriller (The Line Between Book 2) by [Lee, Tosca]

It was early on a Monday morning at 4 am that I had gone through over one third of the book in one night. This book quickly became one of the best reads I have gone through in the past 3 months.

A Single Light begins with around 60 odd people forced to take shelter in a time vault due to the outbreak of a virulent epidemic. A runaway named Wynter and a former soldier turned bounty hunter, Chase are at the heart of the story. Both appear to be an unmatched pair as they have their own motivations and secrets. For the people in the vault, the only source of comfort and connection with the outside is periodic transmissions from Noah, the person who brings hope to the individuals. But all of a sudden, the link goes dark, causing to lose their composure. And when the time vault door opens all of a sudden, it begins a whole new set of unknown dangers to the group, stressed for many months. Infected animals, ghostly town, and people driven to the brink of anarchy. The support systems have failed, all semblance of order and law lying bare. What do you do? That’s where we find the characters in the story.

The story is intense and riveting as is the description of the dynamics at play between the different characters in a confined space. The notes that the story touches are really fundamental, fear, loss, joy but the presentation is remarkably somber and in line as to the way the plot is weaved. I really liked the way the author describes the gritty and raw emotions at play which I have seen only in a very few authors.

The best thing is that the author does not try to bend the story in a way that seems disjointed. It is a skill that is honed by working at the craft for many sleepless nights and long hours.

Though the story may not have political beliefs one may have, I wholeheartedly agree with what the author has penned about the need to break down the walls and be more exclusive. Normally a stickler for neat wrapped endings, I love the way the story concluded. I can’t wait for the next book.

Pages: 384 | ASIN: B07P5JKYT8

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Heroes Come in All Shapes and Sizes

David Levin Author Interview

David Levin Author Interview

Phase Rider finds the universe being devoured by a mysterious force and Earth’s scientists must rally to find a solution. What was the inspiration behind the idea for this novel?

A phase transition occurred in the past, before current life developed on the earth. We know it today as the “Big Bang.” Fortunately, our life sprang from it rather than being destroyed by it. However, what if it happens again . . . tomorrow?

The science used in this story seems well thought out. What kind of research did you undertake for this novel and the ideas behind the technology?

Reading articles by theoretical physicists and astronomers and watching the Science Channel.

I enjoyed the well developed characters in Phase Rider. What were some themes that were important for you to capture in your characters?

Every human has value; society ought to be guided by the principle that technological advancement should give way to morality; great accomplishments can be found in the most unlikely places; heroes come in all shapes and sizes; a man’s power is not determined by his muscle but, rather, by his character.

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

I am in the middle of a sequel, Molly’s Mission, which should be finished by the summer of 2020.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Phase Rider: A LightLit® Book by [Levin, David]When humanity’s finest scientists spotted it, they checked and rechecked their calculations—then checked them again. Appallingly, unthinkably, they were right—a mysterious anomaly was systematically devouring the universe. Moving faster than the speed of light, it would reach earth’s solar system in well under a year, maybe sooner. Should they alert the world’s people? No, better to let them live out their last months in peace instead of enduring the social breakdown that would surely result if they knew. Scientists predicted the stars would blink out ominously as the phase transition swept toward them like a cosmic forest fire, followed by . . . nothingness.

Then, a single ray of hope appears. The imposing Dr. Ayana, one of the world’s foremost mathematicians, has just discovered the secrets of the initial state of the universe, and his discovery might be a way to reverse the phase transition. It is humanity’s only chance. But it will require travel to the farthest reaches of the universe using unproven technology and will almost certainly mean the death of the astronaut from intense radiation. Where will they find a pilot with the skills for such a journey, and who is also willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the survival of humanity? Just when earth’s final shot at survival seems to be fading away, an unlikely candidate is found in the last place the scientists would think to look.

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What Does it Mean to be Human?

S. A. Asthana Author Interview

S. A. Asthana Author Interview

In The Final Wars Rage: Book 2 Bastien finds himself in danger once again and the deposed cyborg queen still lives. What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from book one?

I explore the following three ideas in this book:

1) The concept of redemption is addressed through Bastien Lyons. He ends book one and starts book two as a monster, one ravaged by guilt for the destruction of New Paris. The Final Wars Rage is partly his journey towards correcting his deviated moral compass and better understanding his strained relationship with the memory of Father Paul (and God by extension).

2) What does it mean to be human? Is existence only possible through flesh and blood, or are there other mediums that can allow consciousness to continue? The idea of transcending physical limitations to become something more is a core theme of this book – I don’t want to give away too much, though. Folks will just have to read the book 🙂

3) Cutting-edge technologies can have unintended consequences. In our world, the best example is social media. Who would have ever thought when logging into Friendster or MySpace back in the early to mid-2000s, that one day these applications’ successors (Facebook & Twitter) would wreak havoc on human psychology and political systems. In the world of Bastien Lyons, it’s the green fogs that helped ravage Earth, the AI entity, High Council which took over Port Sydney, and Alic… err… can’t give away too much.

This is an intriguing novel that is high in social commentary. Was this intentional or did this happen organically while writing?

Intentional. Writing, irrespective of genre and theme, presents an excellent opportunity to shine a spotlight on humanity, in my opinion. When a story effectively addresses more than its immediate characters and plot points, it can be very satisfying.

If Hollywood came knocking who would you cast as your main characters?

I’d strive for cultural authenticity, so here’s my list:

  • Bastien Lyons – Stanley Weber
  • Belle Dubois – Léa Seydoux
  • Marie Dubois – Eva Green
  • Frank Crone – Hugh Jackman
  • Reo Honda – Ryo Yoshizawa
  • Alice Smith – Margot Robbie

Are you working on book three in the Final Wars series?

Yes – trying to aim for early next year. Folks can sign up for my mailing list to keep in the loop here: SAwritesSF.com

Auhtor Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The Final Wars Rage (Final Wars Trilogy Book 2) by [Asthana, S. A.]

BASTIEN LYONS CAN’T MOVE ON WITH HIS LIFE, AND THAT MIGHT KILL HIM.

Despite escaping to the moon’s Nippon One colony with a new identity after a failed effort to save New Paris from destruction, he finds himself amidst danger again. The brutal world of the twenty-third century has dark plans. Parisian ruins send shockwaves through the remaining two civilizations of the solar system, Nippon One and the Port Sydney colony on Mars, shaking the tenuous peace between them. Bastien understands political tensions all too well and knows something terrible is about to happen. Trade wars erupt to signal deeper conflicts to come. Pirates lash out in revenge at Port Sydney for wiping out Parisian euphoria drug factories. Yakuza wage gang wars to control the remaining euphoria on Nipponese streets. If that wasn’t enough…

MARIE DUBOIS LIVES, AND HER SURVIVAL THREATENS HUMANITY.

The deposed cyborg queen has escaped the destruction of her New Paris, and Martian General Frank Crone recognizes her menace could rip apart the fragile peace. His digital overlords, an AI construct that enforces treaties, cannot learn she’s alive and ready to return to mayhem. He’ll do whatever it takes to rid the world of the defrocked demagogue before she is discovered, even if it means tilting his moral compass. Frank’s deadly goal not only demands the skills of his petri-dish humanoid Lieutenant General Alice Smith and the Nipponese royal police chief Reo Honda, it also needs an outside killer. Bastien wants to stay alive by staying away from that work and far from Marie. But he needs to rescue civilization in a world where…

THE FINAL WARS RAGE.

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Year of the Child

Year of the Child (Harmony Book 2) by [Dean, R.L.]

In R. L. Dean’s Year Of The Child, the reader is taken through a series of events entangling characters in crime, politics of control, and rogue groups.

The chapters in the book are short which makes it easy to follow the plot. The first character we’re introduced to is Misaki. The Apex plant and Harmony dome had been ruined. The blame had initially been placed on Free Mars Now terrorists. Ludwick Chaserman was an ex-employee of Apex Mining and a hard critic of plant leadership. He had received money from Shanghai Independent Bank and Trust after the dome had exploded and UN Special Security Team had enough reasons to implicate him. Ludwick Chaserman is an intriguing and well developed character, there is something about him that made him likable.

The hunt for Ludwick is akin to following a detective series. Using believable processes and deductive logic to hunt down criminals. Everything is subtle and I became so engrossed in the story. Feeling culpable for sabotage after the destruction, Misaki decided to go to her haven, the Sadie. Tetsuya was one character I cherished in the book. The man had a reputation that preceded him. A former detective, Tetsuya was tasked with investigating piracy. Tetsuya was knowledgeable in many things. His investigating techniques were not unique but enthralling to follow nonetheless. I like how Tetsuya’s mind worked.

R. L. Dean has arranged the content in the book distinctively, in that every chapter focuses on a particular character. This format was fun to read as going through every chapter gave me a new and unique experience.

Year of The Child is a great piece of science fiction with interweaving themes of drama, violence, organized crime, detective stories, power, and aggression. I felt that the characters in this book were exceptional and brought life into this otherwise straightforward space opera. The story is consistently interesting, while the suspense is muted at times, I felt that the plot twists more than made up for it. R. L. Dean’s book shows how complex people can be. Exploring humanity and the desire for control is not black and white.

Pages: 340 | ASIN: B07XF7Z2ZY

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The Venusians Among Us

The Venusians Among Us by [Zimcosky, Steve]

The Venusians Among Us by Steve Zimcosky is a breezy, adventurous ride that is just under a hundred pages. This is a story about Ian, an employee at NASA, who has been left in the dark about his past on another planet. Through a series of strange and dangerous incidents, he discovers that his past was kept from him in order to protect him. He is also left in charge of a tremendous mission: to prevent the despicable Howard Gorse from taking over control of the universe. Alongside his friends and a council of advisers, an elaborate plan is made to defeat his nemesis and ensure the survival of his own race on the planet.

I went in expecting heavy doses of scientific and technological terms, considering that this is a science fiction thriller, with our protagonist being an employee at NASA. However, the plot is entirely approachable and engaging. All the vocabulary and plot points are explained in layman’s language, without losing any intrigue. Although I would have appreciated more fully developed characters, I couldn’t help but be sucked into the story. I enjoyed the story because it was easy to follow, but that didn’t stop me from biting my nails while reading. This is an excellent example of simple language setting up a thrilling story; much like Stephen King novels.

The storytelling was particularly refreshing because it was so matter-of-fact. It was quick-paced action, providing no space for sentimental, poetic pondering. The Venusians Among Us could be described as the perfect blend between Ben 10 and Interstellar.

pages: 96 | ASIN: B07XQLZ3H2

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The Last Mission of the Seventh Cavalry

The Last Mission of the Seventh Cavalry by [Brindley, Charley]

Sergeant James Alexander and his crew have cheated death. Where they landed when they abandoned their plane isn’t nearly as important as the century they landed in. Small things around them begin to add up very quickly as they try desperately to acclimate themselves to their surroundings only to find themselves left with more questions than answers. As they venture out, they begin to meet more and more people with weapons unlike their own who are not in any way fearful of the soldiers. One thing leads to another and Alexander’s crew begins to realize they have fallen into the past with no foreseeable escape.

The Last Mission of the Seventh Cavalry by Charley Brindley tells the tale of a group of soldiers bound for Afghanistan when fate intervenes with a plan none of them could have predicted. Brindley’s cast of characters is unique, and their banter, despite their extreme circumstances, is refreshing and engaging. The dynamic between characters feels true to life, and their exchanges mimic genuine relationships between coworkers.

There is no lack of action in Brindley’s work. From the first chapter, his characters are entrenched in a battle to understand their situation that moves quickly into a battle for their lives. Readers who appreciate well-drawn fight sequences and intricately described battle scenes, will appreciate Brindley’s work.

Cover to cover, the characters’ reactions to their surroundings and the people they encounter serve as a wonderful contrast to the time period in which they have found themselves. Brindley throws in the perfect number of references to modern technology in juxtaposition to the primitive weapons and lack of simple things we take for granted such as calendars and clocks. Consistency is key in books of this genre, and Brindley manages that with ease.

One of the most endearing aspects of Brindley’s cast of characters is the compassion shown by Alexander’s crew during a time of war. Characters one might expect to be brash and full of cold reactions in time of war are actually tenderhearted and loving. Their desire to tend to the injured and not only assist the wounded but provide genuine comfort is captivating. These traits add another layer to the already engaging characters.

History buffs will enjoy Brindley’s work. The author has gone to great lengths to include historically accurate information in his writing. Watching as the inhabitants of the past experience bits and pieces of the future is as fascinating as it is entertaining.

Rarely does one find a truly perfect blend of past and present, but Brindley has given just that to his readers. Memorable characters wrapped in a unique story line make for one fantastic read and lay the groundwork for what I hope are more books with Alexander’s crew.

Pages: 473 | ASIN: B07N6K1DRZ

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Virtual Immortality?

Rob Bartlett Author Interview

Rob Bartlett Author Interview

The Turing Revolt is a thrilling space adventure novel following a star ship captain who gets blackmailed into helping Sentient Ships rebel against the Empire. What was your inspiration for the idea behind this novel?

There is a detailed history of the War Against Infinity Universe in existence. is our first entrée into the WAI Universe. It introduces Milo Sapphire at the beginning of a series of significant events for both Milo and the Universe. But it’s not the only set of significant events in Milo’s life. Once this series is completed; perhaps there will be opportunities to learn about those other significant events. He wasn’t always the First.

Captain Milo Sapphire is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas you wanted to capture while developing his character?

Gallup published a book called, “First Break all the Rules”. Here’s a quote from the website “…great managers share one common trait: They don’t hesitate to break virtually every rule held sacred by conventional wisdom.” I also wanted to explore the concept of a leader emerging in a crisis. How would someone with those traits deal with virtual immortality? Finally, I love the tshirt slogan, “Remember, I’m old for a reason!”

Milo is based on those concepts. He’s the leader of any group he joins; generally, by acclimation. He commands the room just by entering it but he doesn’t do it overtly; it is a function of his personality. But he doesn’t look for the leadership position and he’s just as happy being by himself, chasing skirts and exploring unknown planets. But he also will never back down from a contest of wills. And no one, ever, screws with his people. So, if you come to him and convince him (or blackmail him) into accomplishing a task; get the hell out of the way… ‘Cause it’s gonna happen. No matter what it takes. But his actions are governed by his own code of ethics; his set of absolutes. So his solutions are usually unorthodox.

I enjoyed the rich backstory you created for this in depth novel. What were some themes you pursued while creating this world?

I started with a quote from Arthur C. Clarke, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” To that I added my own quote, “Life is about competition for scarce economic resources”. Finally, I added in “the two driving needs hardwired into any living thing are survival and procreation. Then I asked the question, what is the most efficient way to compete for those resources to achieve the goals of survival and procreation? Where/how does altruism, loyalty, ruthlessness play into that efficiency? When is it ethical to manipulate others into improving their efficiency at competing? Is that manipulation or leadership? Every character has needs and wants that drives their motivations and their actions; but at their core, they’re just competing for those resources.

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

The next novel in the series is called, The Calla’cara Gambit. It’s planned to be available by August 2020.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

The Turing Revolt: The War Against Infinity by [Bartlett, Rob]I’m a humble, itinerant Star Ship Captain who got blackmailed into helping the Sentient Ships rebel against the Empire. Just because my personal AI might test off the Turing Scale. Now I’ve got the Empire, the Lotus Eaters Society and the Khan of a planet of intelligent dinosaurs all gunning for me! Old secrets are coming back, people and situations I walked away from… when I became a humble, itinerant Star Ship Captain. And I might be on a mission… from God!

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Hotel Pennsylvania

Hotel Pennsylvania (The DreamCatchers Book One) by M.G. Pappas is a children’s fantasy fiction book about a group of young teenagers who go on a vacation with their families to a hotel in Pennsylvania. It seems like a normal trip until they are looking at pictures at the end of the weekend and notice an unknown boy in one of the images. Who is he? Why didn’t they see him when they were taking the picture? The group returns to the same hotel the next weekend to try to discover the boy’s identity. But the truth about Keanu is almost impossible to believe.

The book was a quick read, and it had an interesting premise. I enjoyed the supernatural element in the story with several of the kids having various abilities. The story didn’t go the way I was anticipating. After the mention of the hotel’s age and Nicole thinking that it might be haunted when they first arrived, I thought that Keanu would turn out to be a ghost. It was surprising to learn the truth, and I liked that the author took the story in an unexpected direction. I also liked how the kids worked together to solve the mystery of Keanu’s identity.

The crossword puzzle at the end of the book was fun to complete, with answers that were learned by reading the story.

I enjoyed this book immensely but I felt that there was room for improvement.  There was a big focus on social media in the beginning, which was realistic, but not interesting to read about. The narrative sometimes jumped between past and present tense, the story felt rushed in places I would have like more detail, and the kids dialogue seemed a bit stilted at times.

This book is a good example of how interesting characters can really make a story. Put them in interesting situations and you have my undivided attention.

In Book One, Keanu can teleport to other places anywhere in the world, and this is different from the other books in the Dreamcatchers series. Book Two, Cruise to the Past, has the kids traveling back in time, and Book Three, A Chase Through Time, is a story featuring time travel to the future. I like that each book in the series has a unique element to it.

Pages: 118 | ASIN: B078MPTLQY

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Heart Of A Warrior

Heart of a Warrior (Immortal Warriors Book 4) by [Holm, Denna]

Heart of a Warrior is an extraordinary vampire romance and epic fantasy book. We are introduced to Elena Murphy at the start of the book. Elena is distressed as her fated mated was not for their union which she so much looked forward to. One could feel her frustration and irritation as she stood on the deck of her house watching the dark clouds, thinking about Gabriel and where he could be. Elena is half-human. Gabriel was an old hunter from planet Laizahlia. He was, among other things, a patient and resilient character when he wanted to be. Gabriel had looked for his mate for years. He spent time and resources just to find his fated mate, his eillelé. His mate carried half his soul wrapped within Elena.

Gabriel is in a dilemma. He wants to claim Elena but he is conflicted as his council will make him do things he is not comfortable doing. To be safe, Gabriel has to convert Elena to a full vampire so as to be accepted by the council. This move is risky as Elena is happy being a half human. The conversion may tamper with her mind and even jeopardize her sanity.

Heart of a Warrior is a gripping and thrilling fantasy book. The vampire theme and twist in the story are exciting and held my interest. The author is able to engineer some creative scenes that make the unique character both charming and scary at the same time. Following the part about the missing children was scary and fascinating given they had potential threats like the Council and Slavers. Gabriel is a great character whom every reader will, eventually, empathize with. Heart of a Warrior is action-packed, with events that are unbelievable, but you don’t care, and characters who were perfect for their roles.

Every character had some sort of superpower which felt balanced and not overused. They were able to face their obstacles and even confuse the enemies for a while. I appreciated the odd, but well constructed, love story in this book. This novel combines a bittersweet love, a vampire story, and some fantastic characters that really carry this story. This is the fourth book in the ‘Immortal Warriors’ series but I didn’t feel lost and I think anyone can jump into the series from here. You will love the conversations between characters as they are witty and humorous. The plot was epic and the entire story entertaining.

Pages: 347 | ASIN:  B07X5TRQRF

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Phase Rider

Phase Rider: A LightLit® Book by [Levin, David]

Phase Rider, by David Levin, is a science-fiction novel intended for a young adult/teen audience, published by LightLit. That said, the skill of the writer makes it easy for just about anyone to appreciate the story that unfolds.

There are a lot of things to like about David Levin’s Phase Rider. As a science-fiction story, the futuristic technology that is integral to the story is so well developed that one might wonder how much of it was actually based in reality. Levin creates a world in which specialized space craft can travel many times the speed of light and cross vast distances of our universe in no time at all. Of course, capabilities like those open doors for numerous engaging story elements that were a lot of fun to read.

The plot is another positive point for Phase Rider. There are certainly no shortage of sci-fi books out there that deal with the possibility of total destruction of the human race but Levin manages to approach the topic from a unique angle that many will enjoy. Phase Rider is a well-crafted story that is able to easily develop an engaging plot line.

There are a few direct messages and moral life lessons that I always enjoy having embedded in a story; however, there are times where the message seems more important than the continuity of the story line, which creates a disconnect from the story in certain areas. It would have been better to hide the messages a bit more, as doing so would allow readers to ‘discover’ these elements on their own.

Phase Rider is a well-written book that possess its own unique qualities in a fairly saturated genre. The author finds ways to bring life and intrigue into otherwise dry topics. The well crafted characters in this story possess a sense of humanity I rarely see in other novels. Minor quibbles aside I was invested in this story until the very end because of the interesting characters and captivating plot. Levin has certainly created a book that will be enjoyed by many.

Pages: 176 | ASIN: B07TX2T9MS

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