In book one of this series, a unit of the Seventh Cavalry is on a mission over Afghanistan when their plane is hit by something. The soldiers bail out of the crippled plane and come down in Southern France and they’re 2,000 years in the past where Hannibal is taking his elephants over the Alps to attack the Romans. In this second book they must attempt to rescue three astronauts who have come down from the ISS in a Russian Soyuz escape capsule. They are stranded on a mountain above Saravejo, about 800 miles away.
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The Modern Aztec’s Guide to Dating and Time Travel follows a savvy woman who must protect her DIY time travel device from some dangerous people. What was the inspiration for the setup to this fun story?
First off, thank you for your review and kind words about my novel! It’s always a thrilling and humbling moment when I hear that someone actually enjoyed it!
The list of things that inspired The Modern Aztec’s Guide to Dating and Time Travel would take up about 514 pages, but here’s the very condensed version. Time travel stories like Back to the Future, the delightfully comedic works of authors like Christopher Moore, Alexander C. Kane, and Jenny Lawson, the current socio-political climate, my own experiences as a Mexican-American, and, of course, my love of strong, female leads.
I wanted a story about a very exceptional but downtrodden character who, despite all her gifts and skills, just wants a normal, simple life. But because of those gifts and skills, normalcy just isn’t in the cards for her. With supervillains, evil corporations, and guardian demons and angels alike coming after her, the story really is about Quality having to decide whether she’s going to rise to the challenge and reluctantly embrace her role as badass heroine.
I wanted a funny fish-out-of-water adventure where this character has every reason in the world to be a jerk…yet somehow remains positive and committed to protecting this pesky little thing called the space-time continuum.
Quality Jones is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?
I wanted her to be, at heart, a good, moral character despite a lifetime of never fitting in, never being accepted, and forever living under the fear of persecution and even death. It was important for me that she remain true to her core despite all the temptations to just give in and make lots of money off of her time travel technology. More importantly, I wanted her to be real. She’s not perfect by any means. She’s kind of selfish, a little bit immature despite her age, a little bit ditzy despite being very clever, and not the wisest person despite being a technical genius.
But I wanted her to endure lots of suffering, including the loss of her great love, but still be able to bounce back and fight through. Even though she prefers to live an anonymous, normal life, things outside of her control push her into extraordinary circumstances, and how she chooses to respond is at the heart of this planned trilogy.
Finally, I really wanted Quality to serve as a lens through which to view our own reality. She is, after all, an outsider that grew up in a parallel timeline where there never was a United States. Now, she’s in a world where corporations can invasively enforce brand loyalty, where corrupt police can do whatever they want to whomever they want, and where it’s illegal for someone like her (i.e., half Mexican) to hold a good job. Quality’s earnest observation of things is, in my opinion, the perfect vehicle for some much-needed satire for this day and age.
This novel delivers some very entertaining scenes. What was the funnest thing about writing this novel?
Without giving too much away, there are some characters that serve as perfect foils to Quality, and it was a blast to just put them in the same room and see what happened. When you have a character as relatively straight-laced as her, and when she has to deal with some genuinely absurd people (I’m looking at you, Sevastian), the results were often unpredictable. I’d have plot ideas, yes, but the most fun part of writing this was just letting loose and letting the characters’ respective foibles play off one another.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m torn between doing the sequel to my second novel, The Perfect Teresa (which you also reviewed, by the way!), and the sequel to this one. The good news is that the sequel to The Modern Aztec’s Guide to Dating and Time Travel is already kind of written. I began this story much farther along before realizing that the backstory was just too much (and too funny) to leave as backstory. So that’s how this particular book came about, and why I’m technically far along into writing the sequel.
And while I’d love to say, “Oh, the sequel is coming out in 2021,” every time I put a date on things, I tend to jinx myself. So let’s just say, it’s coming out in the near future!
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Wasting Time is a thrilling science fiction story that continues your Physics, Lust and Greed Series. What were some new ideas you that you wanted to introduce in this book that were different from book one?
I wanted to better develop Marta and Marshall’s relationship and to lay a foundation for the artificial intelligence becoming a more central part of the story. Another important job for this book is creating a transition to book 3, Killing Time, which will be published in May.
This is a fun novel that delivers some very entertaining scenes. What was the funnest thing about writing this novel?
The mist fun thing about writing any novel is refining your characters, then turning them loose and then letting them go.
What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer in this book?
My principle goal in any of my novels is to entertain—to make people laugh. If you can offer a little depth along the way, so much the better.
What can readers expect in book three of your Physics, Lust and Greed Series?
Killing Time… Physics Lust and Greed Series, Book 3.
At every crossroads he’s encountered in life, Sean Brody has made the safe choice. In the year 2046, at the age of ninety-three, Sean is given one final opportunity to deal with his greatest regret. Sean is the only man Marshall Grissom and Marta Hamilton can find who might be able to save Sheila Schuler, their friend and fellow traveler lost in the distant reaches of time. If Sean accepts the task of traveling to his childhood in a parallel universe—with no guarantee that any aspect of the past can be changed—Sean must also accept his death in the only world he knows.
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Time Nova follows a tech tycoon and his son on their dysfunctional journey through time as they try to fix a glitch in space-time. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting story?
I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of traveling through time and space travel. We can see technology advancing quickly here on earth in terms of saving data and capturing events – so with that in mind, and asking endless “what if” questions, the idea of a great time keeper in the cosmos evolved. The American Revolution and its outcome helped to shape the modern world, and if minor and major events throughout, had slightly different outcomes then the world could be quite a different place today. I find that incredibly interesting. There are a few other times like that throughout history that interest me as well.
Welly and Kyle were interesting characters, but I especially liked their relationship. What were some ideals that guided the development of their relationship?
Personal relationships can be difficult for people in all walks of life. Sometimes love and caring appears as something unpleasant when it bubbles up to the surface and enters the exterior world. Often what we think and feel on the inside is not what is conveyed on the outside, and exploring that dynamic was compelling to me.
Time travel often comes with some paradoxes. How did you resolve these in your story?
This was tough. In theory, once one event in history is changed, so many others are affected and chances become great that chance meetings are missed, thus certain people don’t meet, certain people are not born out of those meetings, etc. Much of what Welly and Kyle are doing or trying to do is repair history, but even with great effort and great technology they couldn’t repair it all. Without giving away too much, there were chapters edited out that explained how the events, following one major event change affecting Welly and Kyle’s life, were carefully orchestrated and preserved to ensure the future outcome they needed, following that modification. Ultimately though, I decided the reader can use their imagination to figure out how this was accomplished.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am currently working on a non-fiction book about sales and entrepreneurship – hopefully available by summer 2021. I am also jotting down notes with ideas for a potential sequel to Time Nova and ideas for a sequel to another fiction book I wrote called, Drew the Path. Not sure of dates on those projects.
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Quality Jones possesses more unique qualities than just her name. She is, by all rights, a time-traveling phenomenon and an exceptionally strong and resourceful young woman. The target of regular biases and racism, she bounces back quickly and never allows society’s ills to affect her. She is, quite literally, one in a million. When a chance meeting with a ridiculously unsuccessful bank robber places Quality in front of law enforcement and accused of the crime herself, everything she believed she knew about the battle of good versus evil is put to the test. Quality might be an experienced time-traveler, but she is about to face her biggest challenge to date.
The Modern Aztec’s Guide to Dating and Time Travel: A Quality Jones Book, by Ulises Silva, is a real rollercoaster ride of science fiction-meets-comedic timing. The story’s main character is, by and large, the straight man in this unique blend of time travel and satire. Quality Jones is always ready with a retort that cuts deep. Her frustration with the Sevastian’s inadequacies is beyond obvious and the eye-rolling responses she gives to his ridiculous decisions are palpable to readers.
If I had to place Silva’s work in a genre, I am not too sure I would choose science fiction as its primary category. Cover to cover, Silva provides readers with satirical elements that keep readers on their toes. The author addresses current events in a way readers in 2020 easily recognize and with which they will quickly relate. From the names of stores and banks to the references regarding the lack of social distancing, Silva hits on every conceivable social convention.
Each and every character Quality Jones encounters brings to mind those of comic books. They are bigger than life, have dialogue that is a fantastic blend of humor, satire, and science fiction terms and offer stunning visuals for readers. Quality Jones herself is a stand-out main character who begs to be recognized for the way she calmly handles the chaos surrounding her.
I am giving The Modern Aztec’s Guide to Dating and Time Travel: A Quality Jones Book, by Ulises Silva, 4 out of 5 stars. Readers who relish humor in conjunction with their science fiction plots will be able to instantly sink their teeth into Silva’s work. For those who seek satire and an occasional break from overly-technical science fiction work, Silva’s work will be a wonderful treat.
Pages: 527 | ASIN: B08N5BSZBJ
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Wasting Time is the second in the series ‘A Tale of Physics, Lust and Greed’ written by Mike Murphy. We start by following the veteran time traveler Marta Hamilton, who faces scrutiny from a top-secret facility for failing to significantly alter the past. This leads to the whole project being vastly scaled back. From here, the novel delves into grief, loss, romance, mystery, and manipulation all inside a relatively light-weight plot.
The themes in Wasting Time were subtle at times but intricately crafted. Marta’s grief of a lost friend plays throughout, It wasn’t simply ignored nor was too overbearing for the readers, instead, Marta’s struggles with it felt real, lasting, and balanced with other elements of the story. Elements like the futuristic setting, parallel universes and time dimensions, political intrigue, mystery, and manipulation, all of which also balanced cleverly. Some of this could feel heavy for some readers but Murphy implemented an easy to read and digestible writing style, so the more complicated concepts aren’t lost on the readers.
The dialogue was amusing, with hilarious insults and witty comebacks that really added to the individuality of the characters. Each character felt like a completely different person and fully realised, never meshing with anyone else. This plus the great dialogue was one of the reasons this novel was so easy to read page after page. The gradual romance between Marta and Marshall was delightful to read and exuded authenticity. It was a slow, developing romance that felt real. The character work of Marta herself is one of the biggest praises I have, she contrasted her sometimes calculative mindset with hints of empathy and care sprinkled throughout.
I recommend reading the first book in the ‘Tale of Physics, Lust and Greed’ series though, called Taking Time, before picking up this one as it delves more into the character backstories. If you wanted to go straight to this one though, you won’t be left out of the loop. Murphy structured the plot, characters, and setting, well enough that readers won’t get confused with what’s going on if you start here, except at the times he wants you confused.
Overall, this was an entertaining read with solidly built characters, expertly crafted relationships, and a well-balanced exploration of themes. In contrast with its name, Wasting Time is completely worth your time.
Pages: 281 | ASIN: B08HSRDWX2
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Time Nova by Derrick Bliss is a fast-paced science fiction story about a captivating father-son pair that go on time-travel adventures in order to save the country from being destroyed by a glitch in the universe. The book introduces us to Wellington Brackford, a wealthy technological genius who’s made his money and is now struggling with more mundane issues. Like raising his son, Kyle and dealing with his chronic back pain. Kyle and Welly find themselves in the middle of an intricate space time glitch that requires them to work together. The fate of a whole nation is at stake and they have to make sure everything goes right in every timeline in order to make sure that the world as they know it does not collapse.
Kyle and Welly are such vividly drawn characters that it’s hard not to root for them. They struggle with everyday problems, like becoming a better human being and making the right choices. However, they’re not perfect; the humanity in them shines through whenever a tough decision has to be made. Kyle struggles with his past and has some baggage that slows him down. Kyle can be snarky yet endearing. They’re often bantering and butting heads but are ultimately a charming pair that grow together. Their inner voices were portrayed with a lot of clarity and honesty.
The worlds of the past and the future were quite amusing. 2050 had technology that would allow your keys to zip through the air and into your hands using the power of magnetic currents.
Despite the time travel back and forth, it was not hard to follow at all. Mostly because Welly and Kyle were also experiencing it for the first time, so there was plenty of detail given to the transitions. A simple yet hilarious explanation is given about time travel: an analogy that involves linked Excel spreadsheets. Even present day topics were discussed, like gun laws and the foundations of the country. Some sensitive topics were discussed between father and son, but they were grappled in a cautious and interesting manner.
Time Nova is a funny and engaging science-fiction story that feels like a blockbuster movie. It’s a feel good story- about struggling against all odds in order to strive for better ideals. With authentic characters that change over time, and a story that left me with a smile on my face I would easily recommend this book to science fiction fans.
Pages: 320 | ASIN: B08GH337FP
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With a focus on time travel, Bad Love Strikes takes readers on an unforgettable journey through different places and times. It follows the lives of a bunch of teenagers in the ‘70s who accidentally stumble upon a time machine and use it to save victims of the 1944 Holocaust.
While each member of the gang has their own unique personality and gifts, they are able to work together to perform a successful mission and further strengthen their bond. If there is one area that the author excels at here, it is character development. He gives you so much information about the protagonists that you can be forgiven for feeling that they are your friends. And I must say, the plot twist at the end is quite a kicker as well. I also appreciate the incorporation of names and stories of real-life people like Albert Einstein and President Nixon; an ingenious strategy that makes this narrative much more believable and realistic. Moreover, the fact that a huge chunk of the story is written in the voice of the main character, aptly nicknamed Bubble Butt (BB), makes the story more personal and relatable. Coupled with the integration of different songs you can listen to as you read the book, makes it fun to read.
I particularly found it quite interesting how informed the author seems to be about the subject matter, explaining the physics behind time travel so eloquently, and even mentioning some contributing scientists along the way. Clearly, a lot of research went into the writing of this book, making it as informative as it is entertaining.
At the heart of it, Bad Love Strikes is a book about hope and friendship; the two things that can keep you going in the darkest of times. In bringing out these themes the author does a good job, but I felt that the long-winded history and science-based paragraphs were a little overwhelming at time. It is also easy to lose track of the various characters’ names and backstories.
Otherwise, not only does this book have a solid plot, but it is also well written. If you’re a lover of history and science fiction, you will definitely enjoy reading Kevin L. Schewe’s Bad Love Strikes.
Pages: 201 | ASIN: B07XFT5C7L
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