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VanWest The Past

VanWest The Past by [Kenneth Thomas]

VanWest The Past by Kenneth Thomas is a thrilling intergalactic, dystopian space adventure taking place in the year 3000. Captain VanWest is our infallible protagonist. His mission is to escape the authoritarian society under the control of the Universal Council in order to reach the year 1951. The scenes and settings of all the years and places are extremely vivid and detailed, whether it be the futuristic Black Mirror-esque 3000 or simply 1990s Florida. VanWest has to prove again and again the strength of his character as he battles impossible odds, so that the restoration of the Earth to an earlier, brighter time may be possible.

It wasn’t a stretch for me to imagine that this would be our world in a few centuries or so. The author has created an extremely believable dystopia, simply by extrapolating the consequences of mankind’s current issues: everything from the deteriorating state of the environment or an increasingly unstable global political atmosphere. The best and scariest dystopian novels are those which aren’t too far from our reality.

The side plots are also well-developed. Even though VanWest is single-minded with his mission, he faces numerous other personal issues, including a complicated romantic situation that poses a threat to his goals. The way he navigates his moral, social, and ethical dilemmas is also presented in a very interesting way. Even though he had to make some tough choices along the way, VanWest remained consistent to his character and had me rooting for him throughout.

A lot of the creepy crawly creatures and characters of this book reminded me of a variety of other great stories I had read in the past. It harkens back to everything from Brave New World in the way it portrays the nature of the ruling body and Percy Jackson in the way its action scenes are jam-packed and relentless. I thought it was the mark of  great science fiction noveol the way it incorporated the best elements from some of the best examples in the field.

The pace is extremely fast, but it is suitable for the nature of the plot. Even though it ended in a cliffhanger, it felt like a well-rounded end to an enthralling story. I cannot wait for the next in the series.

Pages: 168 | ASIN: B088WYFK9Q

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Claimed By Rafa

Claimed by Rafa (Raiden Warriors Book 2) by [Denna Holm]

Rafael Abeden has reached the point in a Raiden males life that it was time to find a mate. Raiden males have the problem of not being able to procreate with their own species so Rafael must find another one to claim and fall in love with. He is set on finding a human woman like his best friend, and prince, Nicolai did. Rafael heads to earth with Nicolai and his mate Abby where he meets her best friend Aaliyah. At once he knew she was the one for him. Aaliyah has had a hard life of abuse and mistreatment. Rafael wants to take all her pain away and show her what it is to feel love. This is a tremendous battle and along the way both discover things they never knew were possible all while trying to stop Nicolai’s enemies from killing him and Abby.

The setting for this novel is mostly aboard the ship Qadira. They use the reference of Star Trek a lot to try and explain things as that is a known cultural norm. The descriptions of the different aliens they encounter are vivid and well thought out. As with the Star Trek references, she uses a lot of human descriptions or animals or dinosaurs to convey what is happening on the alien worlds. This makes it easy for the reader to identify with Aaliyah seeing things for the first time.

As we get deeper into the book and learn about Aaliyah’s past, I felt the anger and frustrations that she has from living through so much pain. Seeing how she was treated by other humans before leaving Earth filled me with anger. This is a testament to Denna Holm’s ability to pull emotions from the reader and give them a connection to the characters. You want to see Aaliyah happy; you feel Abby’s anger at the male posturing, Samantha is your typical teenager and stubborn but adventurous all in one. All the women are fighters, none are weak and docile. The Raiden men appreciate these traits and encourage them.

Of all the different aliens mentioned in the book, I found the Djinn especially interesting. This book hinted that possibly the next one will go more into the Djinn people and how they tie in with the Raiden’s, or at least I hope so. Claimed by Rafa was a unique and deeply engaging novel. I look forward to reading more novels from Denna Holm and certainly more entries int this fantastic series.

Pages: 332 | ASIN: B088G25F9H

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The Albatross: Contact

The Albatross Contact

Engaging battles, beautiful science-fiction and otherworldly encounters are what readers will find in the pages of The Albatross: Contact by Connor Mackay. Told in the first person, we learn about new worlds in a future that doesn’t seem that far away from our own. The book is elegantly broken into parts from which each character tells us the story from their viewpoint. The last part combines all three of their riveting story lines with each taking a different chapter within. This difficult, yet wonderfully done tactic keeps this long story fresh and kept me rapt throughout.

Chock full of meticulous world building, intricate character development and intriguing narrative, Mackay easily keeps readers engaged. It’s easy to lose a few readers in the complicated world of science fiction with longer novels, but a reader would be hard-pressed to drop this book. Instead, they’ll get lost in the pages as their curiosity over what has happened to our planet, the people upon it and the people outside of it.

Brimming with humor, action, and the uncertain contact with extra-terrestrial life. There’s something for everyone, so even if science fiction isn’t your preferred genre, you will still find something to love about The Albatross: Contact. The stereo-typical overwhelming feelings when reading older science-fiction just aren’t there. You don’t need a degree to be able to understand what the author is trying to explain to you. Mackay gets that his readers won’t all have technical backgrounds and uses humour and common comparisons to keep readers engaged. This goes a long way to allowing the reader to feel that they are the intended audience, regardless of their reading backgrounds.

The excitement that is built in this first installment of a multi-book series will hopefully carry over to subsequent segments. The Albatross: Contact by Connor Mackay is definitely a book you don’t want to miss out on. If his remaining volumes are anything like this one, he’ll be an author to watch. You can’t help but get drawn in by the beautiful world he creates and get attached to the flawed, yet so human characters within the pages. There is so much to learn about the world that Mackay has created; readers will likely be waiting anxiously for the next book.

Pages: 483

 

Death and Disorder

Death and Disorder: A Vivian Wexler Galactic Mystery by [Patricia Crumpler]

Death and Disorder: A Vivian Wexler Galactic Mystery by Patricia Crumpler is an adventurous sci-fi story set in outer space. Vivian Wexler is hired to investigate a bunch of suicides on a foreign planet. The twist is that this involves a placid and non-violent species; they have never killed themselves or others. Compared to the Sores, life on Earth is considered a “cesspool.” Wexler’s investigation into the suicides leads to a fascinating and shocking conclusion.

However, she soon encounters more alien species on a mission. Slug-like creatures are used by a lot of these aliens, especially the creative types, to boost their intelligence and abilities. However, they are addictive. Vivian soon becomes involved in this weird and sticky situation, simultaneously aided and suffering from the substance. I enjoyed this duality and how it is portrayed.

Death and Disorder is both gripping and funny; there were a few places where I even laughed out loud; rare for me. Vivian Wexler is an engaging character with an alluring personality- she’s funny and smart without being too staid. I love a well-written heroine, especially in science fiction stories, that can not only hold their own but hit back as well. The pacing in combination with the weird worlds was an addictive combo, so I had trouble putting it down. The author’s imagination is on full display, with numerous species, behavioral tics, and amusing jokes that are rampant throughout the book.

The comparisons between Sarolole and Earth were really interesting. The contrast casts light on the fact that certain tragic and disastrous events on Earth are so often taken in stride. We, being human, often forget how odd we all must seem to an outsider, and Patricia Crumpler has a unique way of giving us this outsiders view of humanity. The romance between Dee and Vivian was also quite adorable. The intriguing dialogue along with well defined character relationships was something that kept me rapt .

Although the terminology of all the new creatures and characters takes a while to catch on, with a little bit of time it gets easier to understand all the Zetas and EBI agents and all. I thoroughly enjoyed this sci-fi space opera and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a funny and adventurous romp through the vastness of space. The ending left me with a smile on my face.

Pages: 273 | ASIN: B086HXFTC7

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IZ-The Saga Creation

The story begins with Dr. Ursula von Menglebort, an extremely skilled geneticist on the breakthrough of a discovery that could potentially rid the world of Olympyans. Over in Olympia,the Ponce Heridon Instittue headed by the young but talented Dorf Tzeus accelrated their work in order to combat all anatgonistic efforts through the development of vaccines. Along the way, many different interesting characters and their adorable pet sidekicks get entangled with the happenings. Their series of misadventures include everything from weaponized prosthetic limbs to animal antics that foil villainous plots.

This is a sophisticated and incredibly detailed universe. It took a while to catch on- but once I caught up with all the somewhat difficult to pronounce names (Olympyon and Valympyon and whatnot), I was totally immersed. It’s a sweeping epic with enough nuance to make it engaging.

It’s also a surprisingly humorous story. Although the humor is hidden in fun little pockets- in the puns (the world of Auithar) and the gems that Izzy sprouts. The little comic relief goes a long way in what is a pretty intense book.

It was also strange to be reading about the dangers of biological warfare in times like these. I felt like it was resonant with what the world is experiencing now, but also provided a sense of objectivity regarding the true danger and politics of it. Despite this being a fictional book, I felt like a lot of what was written regarding the development of bioweaponry rang true.

Throughout, I was stunned by the creativity and imagination that must have gone into making this novel. There’s also a fantastic Dyzzleberry dictionary at the end. This novel has all the best elements of a science fiction fantasy while remaining strikingly original. Probably because of the way it integrates the reality of our own Earth into the story- there’s chapter names like Fake News and Kan-Du Attitude.

IZ – The Saga: Creation is a smart, creative, and fast-paced adventure that kept me on the edge of my seat for the whole ride. I was thoroughly charmed by Izzy and Chico and was enraged by the insidious and manipulative plotting of the Valympyians. I’m excited for whatever these pair of authors and their fantastic world have in store for me.

Pages: 381

www.theizzystory.com

The Spark That Started Metal Bones

Kathleen Contine Author Interview

Metal Bones follows two story lines, one following brothers on the hunt for a cure to a ‘steel elbow’ disease and another following a man with a cannon for an arm who’s looking for his long lost father. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling science fiction story?

The spark that started Metal Bones was a song called ‘Alive’ by Phil Lober. When I listened to it I pictured a scene in my mind that I had to write a story around. I was also watching Star Wars a lot at the time and I think some of those themes crept their way in as I was writing.

Leo and Gaeth were intriguing and well developed characters. What were some ideals that guided their character development?

Thank you! The main thing that guided their character development was the dynamic between an older sibling and younger sibling. Leo wants to help Gaeth get better but Gaeth doesn’t want to be the one who has to be taken care of all the time. I used that to guide their decision making throughout the story. 

I enjoyed the unique world you’ve created for your story. What were some themes that were important for you to incorporate in your galaxy?

 I’m glad! A big one was family. Obviously Leo and Gaeth are a huge part of that, but I wanted to explore it with Tank as well. Even though his family isn’t blood related, I believe it doesn’t have to be and can even be stronger than biological family at times.   

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

I’m currently working on the sequel to Metal Bones! I don’t have a specific release date yet but it’ll be 2021.  

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook |Website

An incurable disease, a deadly ceremony, four questionable heroes, and a galaxy who needs them.

Leo Spearman cares about one thing: getting a cure for Gaeth’s “Steel Elbow”. Yet, when they decide to leave Earth to cure him, they realize they may have to break galactic law to get it. Leo believes everything is going according to plan but when their new ally Sonja comes along, Leo becomes more and more dedicated to Onyx, a group set on stopping the Sol Empire from taking over the galaxy. As Leo and Sonja’s connection starts to grow, Gaeth begins questioning his brothers’ dedication to finding his cure.

Across the galaxy, an alien named Tank is determined to win the Ceremony, hoping to find out what happened to his father, who won before him. Only when he finds the answer, he is forced to escape his home, losing his hand in the process. After being saved by Enzu, she equips him with an arm cannon, the only expense being to work for her and protect a small boy named Myca at all costs. Tank is grateful for Enzu saving him, but the more time he spends at Bisekt, it makes him question everything and who to trust.

However when an outside threat forces Tank and Leo to work together, they’ll discover if they’ll be able to save the ones they love or if it’s already too late.

Fans of Mass Effect will love the first installment in the Metal Bones series!

Metal Bones

 

Metal Bones is an enthralling science fiction story that connects two separate story lines. The first one is about Leo and Gaeth, brothers who are on a mission to cure Gaeth’s contagious “steel elbow.” After their neighbors have unfairly shunned them, they set off on a space faring journey to Oblurn, where all those affected by this mysterious condition reside. They encounter a series of interesting and unique characters which sets off a bunch of misadventures along the way. The second story line follows one of the most interesting sci-fi characters I’ve had the pleasure of reading this year: Tank, a man on a mission. His father has been missing for a long time and Tank almost loses his own life in search of his long lost father. A mysterious woman saves him and gives him an arm cannon (yes! a cannon for an arm) under one condition: he must protect a Myca, a child, at all costs. Tank agrees but soon discovers that everything is not as straightforward as it seems.

Metal Bones is an action packed novel with a quick pace interrupted only by necessary exposition that drives a far flung plot that’s held together by intriguing characters. Although the premise and situations of the characters are somewhat difficult to believe (a steel elbow? How would that work?), Kathleen Contine makes it work and the suspension of disbelief is pulled of quite easily. Everything is serious without being grave, and the light touches of humor really add to the whole experience.

Some of the comments and behaviour made towards his “disease” spoke multitudes about the way humans themselves deal with those with disabilities or conditions. I’m not sure whether the author intended to make a comment or draw attention to this situation, but it was a topic that was subtly and sensitively explored; I greatly appreciated that.

The characters and their motivations were also portrayed with great depth. Leo was not simply the selfless, sacrificial brother to Gaeth. And neither was Gaeth a helpless, grateful, steel elbow victim. All the characters were complex and human- that’s what made them so compelling.

Metal Bones a fun and interesting book that sets up an intriguing universe and places some engaging characters within it. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a science fiction novel with a bit of humor that’s rife with action.

Pages: 299 | ASIN: B084H9BMDF

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The Modronovich Incident

The Modronovich Incident by RL Dean is a sci-fi mystery set in outer space and told from the perspective of Beatrice, a pilot and wreck driver. She is tipped off about a mysterious case in which the Modronovich, a cargo ship testing an advanced Newtonian drive, went missing. Bea is intrigued by this case and pulls some strings to get a crew on board so that she can take a deep dive to find it. However, after facing endless obstacles and dead ends, she is forced to give it up. Until, a figure central to the case finally appears. Bea is finally able to put together the missing pieces and finds a shocking revelation at the heart of the puzzle.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book- I read it in just a few sittings and found it nearly impossible to put down. Not only are the premise and plot captivating, but the perspective from which it is shown is also perfectly captured. Beatrice is the perfect window into this futuristic world- the secrets, conspiracies, and revelations are portrayed through her eyes. From the first scene itself, RL Dean masterfully creates an air of suspense and tension, without losing me on an overdose of tech jargon.

RL Dean also managed to create strong female characters in powerful positions. They were ready to save the day, irrespective of which situation happened to arise. Their voices were deftly handled for the most part, except for a few questionable allusions to the ‘women love shopping’ trope. Especially Bea, who handled professional trouble and a petulant mother like any real woman do, with exasperation and a determination to bring her life back on track.

Another aspect that I found great joy in were the ‘Harvey Editorial’ snippets at the beginning of each chapter. They offered short insights, dialogue, or debate on the current day affairs of the future. They were funny, quirky, and often harkening back to our very own 21st century. These were everything from a sassy quip on a politician to a gloomy proclamation of the world ending (I guess some things never change).

All in all, this is a rewarding and thrilling read from start to finish, and I would recommend it to everyone.

Pages: 171 | ASIN: B07Z282VB4

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