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Extension by Melody Kepler is an intellectually-invigorating science fiction novel that takes science to some imaginative ends while still remaining grounded in the science process. In Naratu, gold is precious, but the planet is dying without it. The people of Naratu need workers to mine for their precious gold, but the method they propose is questionable and unethical. Ayathesti, a geneticist and a perfectionist, is selected to join a special mission: travel to a strange planet, Earth, to find suitable specimens to create a hybrid species. Tiamet, the mission leader, further complicates the matter by causing conflict between Ayathesti and her feelings for him.

With Ayathesti as the lead geneticist on a mission to Earth, she must adapt to the long, harsh journey to another world, with harsh elements unlike her own, while achieving her goals and avoiding them at all costs. Tiamet only adds further challenges to the mission, which may risk Ayathesti’s focus. I enjoyed how Kepler brings the reader into Ayathesti’s head and into a more intimate, rarely seen side of humanity in science fiction. The first in a series, I found the story exciting, and a definite page-turner, as I constantly wondered what would happen next.

In her debut novel, Melody Kepler has created a whole new world inhabited by a species called the Mujai, which is impressively detailed, as well as her knowledge of genetic science and processes. This knowledge helps the reader enter the story with a solid understanding of the mission and the characters’ risks. I especially liked how the author shows the perspective of Earth from another planet, and its people, which is intriguing and entertaining.

Extension by Melody Kepler is an exciting story, and I thoroughly enjoyed her view expressed through another species and how they view humans. It’s an excellent sci-fi book, worth 4 out of 5 stars, and an excellent read for science fiction fans looking for compelling science with a touch of romance.

ASIN: B086J3X6L3 | Pages: 322

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Discovering What It Means To Be Happy

Charles Crittenden Author Interview

Inhabitant follows the narrator after they have been exiled from Earth on their journey through space to find a home. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

This story was inspired by a few different things, both personal and philosophical. The primary catalyst was a series of events in my life that really threw me off track. I was searching for a better understanding of them. Those major life changes that make you feel like your world has been turned upside down are brutal to the psyche, and that image of having the ground ripped out from underneath you just stuck with me.

The further I dove into this concept, the more parallels I found with modern human nature: how we’re always looking for the next big thing as opposed to finding contentment in the present moment. We see that in how we’re treating Earth, an action that will harm us in the long term, but we also see that in the relationships we build around us. So much time planning for the future, hoping we can make perfect memories, while simultaneously reflecting on the past and what we wish we’d done differently. Meanwhile the present moment slips through time and time again.

This unique experience is told using poetry. What led you to use this style of writing to tell your story?

My experience in school with poetry greatly influenced my desire and appreciation of saying more with less. In-person I’m not usually the most verbose person in the room. I think there is an elegance in being succinct. But that’s the great part about the English language, and about poetry especially.  It offers so many different options and avenues to tell stories, where each person can have a unique voice. For me Fairchild and Levine were two of the poets that most influenced my desire to work in this form. When I was first introduced to Burned, I think I read it three or four times that night. It’s such an incredibly unique work, and I tried to channel that energy and feeling into mine, especially Sunset.

Over the course of writing, I played with a few different methods of telling this story. It started as a pure narrative, evolved into a hybrid of narrative and poetry, and eventually I landed where we are now. It was a difficult choice to pick a single path, but I wanted the form to best place the reader in the mindset of the traveler. Our traveler is out on their own for long periods of time, and I liked being able to play with that space on the page and the wandering thoughts that come with it.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

A number of different themes emerged as INHABITANT progressed: isolation, home, finding yourself…but the primary themes I latched onto early on were those of discovering what it means to be happy in your space and the importance of connection in our lives. With so many experiences and opportunities that we all will have while we’re here, the ones that impact us the most are those spent with our close family and friends. Moments of celebration, heartbreak, excitement, laze, (and the list goes on,) are all best felt with others around. INHABITANT is an exploration of someone who had this, lost it, and now is trying desperately to find that meaning and connection again.

One thing that I explore in the book is the significance of connections that don’t last forever. These friendships and relationships we build around aren’t necessarily going to be there through our entire lives. We hope they’ll be around forever, acting as our foundation, but sometimes life throws curveballs, and we have to adjust course. It’s better for us to find a way to enjoy what they offer in that time, and use those meaningful experiences to shape our future as we go.

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

I have a few concepts that I’m building now but don’t want to say too much until I’m further along with them! The overall goal will be a bit of an expansion on the themes here, but in a more specific setting. I really want to explore the importance of family and community early in life and how they help establish a foundation for coping skills and healing later in life. This one is still a little way away, but I’m assembling the skeleton.

Currently, though, I’m back in school for Music Therapy, so that’s taking up all of my time and then some, but I’m working on a new album with my band abbr. as well as working with my friend on the score for the audiobook of INHABITANT to come later this year. This audiobook is going to be something special! I’m very excited for it. In the meantime, I look forward to continue moving forward and creating in many different ways.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

EXPERIENCE THE MARVEL OF THE UNIVERSE through the eyes of the Inhabitant!

After years of mistreating their home, the Inhabitant has been unexpectedly expelled from Earth and must journey across the universe to find a new home by any means necessary. Haunted by dreams of the past and hopes for the future, they can only rely on their experiences. Taking it day by day (and with a little help from a new friend), they explore new worlds, both wondrous and frightening, on the path to solid ground.

Charles Crittenden’s Inhabitant brings a unique blend of poetry and storytelling, inviting the reader to join the search for a new home.


Inhabitant, by Charles Crittenden, is a collection of poetry that blends storytelling in a unique way. It follows the Inhabitant through the universe after being expelled from Earth for mistreating it. Readers will follow the Inhabitant on his quest to find a new home and see him explore his dreams and hopes, as he searches the galaxy.

This collection of poetry tells the Inhabitant’s story one short poem at a time. Unlike typical short stories, telling his story through poetry allows Crittenden the opportunity to explore words and emotions in a nontraditional manner. Readers will interact with the story on a more personal level given the unusual presentation of the poems. They are not written in a standard meter and line arrangement, rather they are organically placed to convey the message that the author is putting to paper. With poetry, the placement of words is just as important as the words themselves and Crittenden exemplifies this connection.

Readers will find the details presented to be well thought out. They are given just enough information to form a visual but left with enough questions to give the poems thought and ponder what Crittenden could be saying. This style of poetry leads readers to the story but allows them to dive deeper into the meaning and emotions that are being conveyed. The emotions incited by Crittenden’s words dynamic and introspective.

Inhabitant is a lyrical story with powerful prose that will leave readers contemplating their own place here on Earth, and the relationships they have with the world and people around them. For those on a spiritual journey of enlightenment this persuasive and compelling collection of poems will guide readers on a journey of self-evaluation and reflective thoughts. For readers that just enjoy unique poetry and prose, they will be delighted and entertained by the world Crittenden has created.

Pages: 132 | ISBN : 1639880496

The Zodiac Traveller 

The Zodiac Traveller is a fantasy/adventure novel written by Australian author Rosemary K Tompkins. The story is set in the Kingdom of Adastra. With a diverse set of dynamic and engaging characters paired with mystical and unique settings readers will be instantly pulled into the storyline.

The characters in The Zodiac Traveller will entertain readers with their conversations and relationships with each other, as well as their inner monologues. Readers are able to really get to know the characters and their personalities. Common themes such as good versus evil, innocent versus corrupt play out between the characters allowing the story to progress in an interesting fashion. Two of the main characters to demonstrate this are Galaxian and Prince Andreas. One is well loved, popular and of innocent character and intent whilst the other is rude, demanding and self serving. These characters are well developed and authentic giving the story a layered feel.

The Zodiac Traveller is set in the Kingdom of Adastra. The setting varies as the main characters move and travel through out the story, ranging from small modest homes in villages to expansive and mysterious forests. There are beautiful descriptions of the forests (‘dew drops dancing on the leaves’) and the river, (‘deep and wild’) – appealing to all senses of the reader. Also, adding depth and interest to the story is the language used to describe the characters actions – for example ‘trudging through the woods’. The combination of descriptions enriched by similes and metaphors allow the reader to create vivid images in their head drawing the reader into the story and holding their interest.

The Zodiac Traveller by Tompkins builds up slow at the beginning to allow readers to really get to know the characters. Once you know who is involved the story takes off in a ‘you can’t put it down’ way. Readers will be able to pick up this novel and disappear into the world Tompkins has created and travel to places unknown.

Pages: 490 | ISBN-10: ‎ 1456638467

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Future World Rolls!

FUTURE WORLD ROLLS!: We Are Family (Carousels of Life Book 2) by [Tumbler, Terry]Charles Bone and Stan Loren are two FBI agents with quite the special set of skills. The least of which is their ability to communicate without vocalizing their thoughts. As two men with psychic abilities, they have been given the job of heading up a recruitment drive unlike any other in history. Charles and Stan, in the early 1970s, manage to pinpoint over 3,000 individuals exhibiting the qualities making them the perfect candidates for the job. Little do the recruits know the mission for which they have been chosen is one that could change the course of human history.

Terry Tumbler’s Future World Rolls (We Are Family) Book 2 in the Carousels of Life series has one of the most unique settings of its genre. Spanning centuries and with locations varying from Winter Park Florida in the 70s to vessels in space including the Voyager 6, Tumbler carries the reader on quite the raucous ride through time and space via Charles and Stan and the plethora of alien life forms peppered throughout this second in a series.

There is a Men in Black feel about the novel that gives the book a light, fun air. Fans of this type of science fiction will appreciate Tumbler’s alien beings, their idiosyncrasies, and the banter between the main characters as they go about the task set before them.

As with Tumbler’s first book in the series, Future World Rolls is laden with song lyrics, references to artists’ best-known works, and well-timed and perfectly-placed excerpts of the world’s best (my own humble opinion) music. Tumbler’s characters are more than capable of standing on their own, but these song references help to add another light note to the text. I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to hum along to the tunes Tumbler sets as pleasant little earworms from the beginning to the end of the book. I mean who doesn’t love to be reminded of George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” and “All Day and All of the Night” by the Kinks? Tumbler doesn’t just incorporate music from the 1960s. He takes readers on a nostalgic journey through music history, hitting all the right notes–so to speak.

To say Future World Rolls is fast-paced would be a gross understatement. Tumbler keeps the reader engaged from one jam-packed chapter to the next. Billed as a space opera, this book hops, skips, and jumps from one scene to the next introducing new and engaging characters while building on the already well-developed Charles, Stan, and the just-short-of-amazing green giants.

Science fiction fans who enjoy lively plots and bigger-than-life characters will find Tumbler’s works meet all of their expectations and more. Tumbler writes beautifully and manages to pull off humor in the most eloquent of ways possible. Some science fiction books are fraught with terminology and processes that overwhelm the reader. Tumbler combats all of that with his stunning cast of characters and an upbeat tone that is set from the first chapter.

Pages: 314 | ASIN: B07H4QQR8K

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Beyond Yesterday

Beyond Yesterday (Beyond Saga, #3)

Beyond Yesterday, written by Greg Spry, is an intergalactic space adventure that sees Commander Maya Davis rise through the ranks to earn herself a spot driving her own space-time vessel. But the excitement is short lived as she discovers she is to be sent on a deadly mission due to a 200,000-year-old piece of tech that has unexplainable connections to her past. With her superiors informing her that she may never be able to return to the present, Maya must make decisions that could have terrible consequences for herself and the entirety of mankind. Will her choices erase the human race forever?

From the first page of Beyond Yesterday, I was instantly transported to space, to a world where vibrant colors glow atop of the islands, bots and AI’s make the majority of decisions and exotic algae and mold thrive. In the midst of space travel, there are humanistic problems such as allergies and drug issues which provide an almost humorous side to the in-the-future styled plot line.

At times the language was a little confusing as the entire world created in the novel was completely unique. However, once you got your bearings, it was easy to be lost in the new world and I quickly began to understand the locations, and labels for objects, plants, and people. One of my favorite futuristic parts of the storyline was how your health/body was instantly analyzed if you were injured and then you would automatically be injected with numbing agents or medications. With these advances, it’s no wonder their average lifespan is now 200 years. Imagine if we had this in the real world!

The battles against the Grey’s are fast and furious and they hit hard and heavy. There were aspects that reminded me a little of Star Wars and Stargate as they battled with androids and AI’s, commanders and advanced technology. Greg Spry’s ability to describe the mechanics and functions of technology in the future was impressive and I felt as though I was in the cockpit beside the characters as they battled in space.

It was refreshing to have two females leading the plot line in bravery and ambition, compared to the usual male domination presented in these styles of stories. Brooke is a sixty-year-old woman, a determined, head-strong admiral and accomplished fighter pilot. Her strength and focus is admirable as well as her ability to keep calm in situations of crisis, making her one of my favorite characters. Commander Maya Davis (Brooke’s niece) is clever, crafty and capable of strong leadership and guidance. She’s made incredible sacrifices to be in her position of power and continues to put the safety of others before her own- even if it comes at an irreversible cost.

I would recommend this for all lovers of space adventures and futuristic styled novels. It’s hard not to get lost in the book as you leave Earth to explore the world beyond.

Pages: 336 | ASIN: B073DY3QSZ

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Beyond the Horizon

Beyond the Horizon (Beyond Saga Book 2) by [Spry, Greg]

Greg Spry’s Beyond the Horizon is the second in his Beyond series. The focus of the plot is split equally between Maya Davis’s once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore interstellar space over a period of three years and her aunt Brooke Davis-Sommerfield’s inner turmoil regarding a past she would rather forget. Maya, an extraordinary student in her own right, has just graduated second in the Interstellar Expeditionary Force Academy class of 2265 and is one of the fortunate citizens boarding New Horizons. Maya’s fate as an integral part of the success of the mission of New Horizons, strangely enough, seems dependent upon the decisions of Brooke as she battles the Vril in Maya’s absence.

Greg Spry has created some truly memorable characters within a phenomenal setting years in the future. One of the most striking aspects of Spry’s work is the effort he has put into describing the technological advancements he envisions. The ease and speed with which travel takes place and the vessels used are quite amazing. The author’s descriptions are more than adequate to effectively draw in the reader. In fact, I became more than fascinated with the many uses of the “i-cite,” a device which takes the capabilities of a smartphone and magnifies it by thousands.

Spry has outfitted his group of futuristic characters with the means to alter themselves in an instant. Perhaps one of my favorite scenes involved Brooke avoiding discovery by spontaneously changing both the length and color of her hair while she walks amid passengers on a ship. This, one of many other details, set Spry’s work apart from the science fiction tales I have read recently. The ability to instantaneously alter one’s appearance takes the story to another level within its genre.

In addition to the incredible devices used and the modes of travel detailed by Spry, I was enthralled by the description of New Horizons, an entire community created for a three year space journey. Self-sufficient and immense in size, the vessel was almost too imposing to comprehend. Spry breaks barriers within science fiction with settings filled with incredible planets, ships, and astonishingly advanced day-to-day living.

Somewhat surprisingly, neither Maya nor Brooke were standout characters for me. Both women are strong, determined, and remarkably intelligent. Their struggles are typical for books steeped in action and suspense. I felt Brooke revealed much more of the struggle within herself than Maya, though both were faced with demons–real and imagined. Brooke has taken the trauma of Maya’s youth on herself, and it is evident throughout her plotline. My chosen character–the one I looked forward to within each section dedicated to Brooke–is Zeke. His combination of innocence and the ability to manipulate thoughts was intriguing. The explanation for Zeke’s fast-paced growth fits well with the plot and the fear surrounding his abilities.

Greg Spry draws out a complicated plot and satisfies readers of all types with relatable characters, amazing images of the future, and action sequences which are spaced effectively throughout the book. I recommend Beyond the Horizon to fans of the science fiction genre and anyone seeking to explore the genre. Spry is an author who, without a doubt, delivers a punch.

Pages: 366 | ASIN: B01BBIA9DC

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Zombie Mage

With Zombie Mage Jonathan Drake has moved beyond the tiered story lines of your basic flesh eating zombies and brings a fresh take to the zombie genre. Zombie Mage is the story of Olligh, who is known as a Walker. He is a zombie that can travel the cosmos and transcend time and space. A group of cultists, called the Dark Cloaks, have trapped the Walkers claiming to be helping them find finial death and peace. They enlist Olligh to help them bring back five Walkers that have gone missing in exchange for his and his wife Laura’s final death together and an end to this life as zombies.

I found it difficult in the beginning to understand what was going on. There was a lot of shifting from one location to another as well as change in time periods. Going from ancient times to modern and then into the future. I was thrown off a bit at first because there is not much context given. But the story really starts to pick up after we are introduced to the characters and the order of the Dark Cloaks. This brings the story into focus and kept me flipping pages. I was fully invested in the story once we discover that Olligh is a mage and the possibility of magical zombies or, zombie mages, existed. This was unique to me and is a novel approach to the zombie genre.

Olligh’s one goal is to reunite with his wife Laura who is also a zombie. She wants nothing more than to be with Olligh as well and makes life difficult for the Dark Cloaks on several occasions in her insistence to be reunited with her love. I felt that this was similar to Romeo and Juliet where they want to be together but circumstances keep them apart. It is sweet that they were so dedicated to one another even in death.

Marvin is probably my favorite of the missing Walkers, all that remains of him is a skull, one disconnected eye, and his brain in a jar. This doesn’t stop him from having a great sense of humor and a love of playing practical jokes. His sarcasm adds much needed comic relief to the novel at a time when Olligh is so serious and focused. The novel does a famtastoc job showing Olligh’s internal emotional struggle. I felt that Olligh’s struggle was an example of humanities constant struggle to find balance a balance between good and bad while fulfilling ones own selfish desires. The love story that develops throughout the book is well developed and adds a another romantic layer to what is otherwise a bleak genre.

Zombie Mage by Jonathan Drake is a fresh twist on the zombie genre. It has all the ingredients of a great story and combines them into a tale that is consistently entertaining. Don’t worry, there isn’t too much gore; Drake often uses humor and sarcasm to accent the gruesome parts of the novel. Overall a fantastic new take on the zombie genre.

Pages: 220 | ASIN: B00A4HQM42

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