Posted in reviews

Cross That Bridge: The Effective Guide to Achieving Your Goals and Living a Purposeful Life by Samuel Jeremy Lucas Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

In author Samuel Jeremy Lucas’s book, “Cross That Bridge”, the author gives readers a fresh take on the self-help genre by examining the power of our thoughts and the impact it has on us as we seek to achieve our goals. 

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The Synopsis

Do you sometimes envy high-achievers? Have you ever wondered what they did to attain that level of success?

What if I tell you that you could also become successful and achieving your goals fasters than you’ve imagined? What would be your reaction if you get an effective template that will lead you to achieve your goals? Awesome! Right?

It is for these specific reasons that Cross That Bridge was written! This book offers you an effective approach and a series of best practices, methodologies, tips, and recommendations that will push and inspire you to achieve your desired goals, as it draws inspiration from the habits and lifestyle of successful people.

Here are some of the learning points you will come across while reading this book:

Tools You Need to Set Your Goals Right

How Self-Awareness Contribute to Building Positive Habits

Develop a Success-Friendly Mindset

Overcoming Your Fear Of Failure

Overcome Your Limiting Beliefs

Having a Positive Attitude to Problem-solving

Dealing With Procrastination

The Important Tips to Living Without Limits

Achieving Success in Life with the Pareto Rule

Balancing Your Private And Professional Life

…and lots more!

If you are diligent with the recommendations in this book, it’s just a matter of weeks before you start seeing changes in your life and achieving your goals.

The Review

This was a motivational read to be sure. The author does an excellent job of reaching out to readers on a personal level, showcasing a level of commitment to those reading his work that speaks to his extensive knowledge and personable approach to his writing. The book is short yet makes a major impact on those reading this work, examining the balance between action and thought in the pursuit of success. 

What really struck me as interesting was the way the author was able to back up his sentiments and thoughtful wording with action. Rather than focusing solely on thinking about what we want to achieve in our lives, the author proposes deliberate actions to help manifest those desires physically in our world, showcasing how we can take control of our own destinies rather than relying on the universe to help us out all the time. It helps to showcase the balance of happiness and hard work that goes into any given profession and the journey to find professional success. 

The Verdict

A quick, memorable and informative read, author Samuel Jeremy Lucas’s “Cross That Bridge” is a must-read, self-help book. The book is very thought-provoking and goal-oriented and puts the reader in charge of their own destiny. The author really does put the self in self-help, so if you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Samuel J. Lucas is a serial entrepreneur, high-performance coach, professional advisor, and associate professor at several business schools.

Samuel has dedicated most of his professional career to creating, advising, and directing companies. However, over the past 12 years he carried out a comprehensive study of the 145 most important books on self-development, happiness, and success.

Over these 12 years, he has also interviewed with hundreds of colleagues, top-notch experts in fields such as personal transformation, leadership, productivity, time management, problem solving, stress management or decision making.

After this life-changing process, he decided to distill all this knowledge, combine it with his extended personal and professional experience, and share it with the world.

Thus, the book series “The secrets to a beautiful life” was born.

Posted in reviews

The RICH Method: The Definitive Guide to Getting Money and Success by Richard Gracia (Translated by Diego Gracia) Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

In author Richard Gracia’s “The RICH Method”, the author explores a series of techniques and knowledge used by many wealthy individuals around the world to not only accumulate wealth by maintain their financial freedom while doing what they love.

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The Synopsis 

Have you ever wondered what rich people did to get where they are?

What would your life be like with around $5000 a month in passive income? Would you quit your job and go traveling?

Can you imagine how happy you’d be if you could spend your time doing the things you love?

In this book, we’ll show you all the tricks and secrets rich people use to generate money and keep their bank balances growing. All the things we should be taught at school about how to manage our money, but that rich people, banks and the government don’t want us to know!

The old “study hard and get a good job” is outdated. You can never be free working over eight hours a day, in a job that doesn’t motivate you, for peanuts.

With The RICH Method, you can achieve financial freedom in 4 simple steps!

With this book, you’ll learn to:

●Get assets that generate over $5000 a month in passive income.

●Increase your income, even starting with nothing.

●Reduce your costs up to 50% without losing quality of life.

●Pay off your debts faster, savings thousands of dollars in interest and fees, thanks to the P.A.I.D. Method®.

●Save at least 35% of your income using the most effective methods of saving.

●Create your own assets and invest in financial and real estate assets using some of the investment strategies rich people use to make their fortunes.

●Invest to reach retirement with $1,000,000 in your pension plan.

●Manage your personal finances more effectively.

●Avoid paying thousands of dollars in taxes.

●Reach your full potential and become the best version of yourself.

●…and much more.

We can’t promise you’ll get rich within the month. Nobody can. And anyone who does is lying! But we will equip you with the tools you need to reach financial freedom in a short space of time. All you have to do is follow the steps of our method!

Once you’ve learned to invest and generate your own assets, getting rich is just a matter of time!

We’ll show you the way to choosing your own destiny. It will be you and you alone who chooses your life’s direction, what you want to do, and what you want your future to look like.

How much longer are you going to wait to take the first step? Are you brave enough to fight for what you’ve always wanted? It’s time to achieve your dreams. Your only limit is you. Now is your moment!

You decide! You can close the tab and get on with your life… Or you can buy this book and get on the path to financial freedom today!

The Review

Informative and engaging, the author delivers an inspiring and practical approach to personal finances and financial freedom. Exploring things like reducing a person’s spending each month and the definition of cash flow, to clearing one’s bad debt and the types of assets that one can utilize when building up wealth through investments, this book covers it all.

What stood out from this book from other self-help style financial books was how important the focus on doing the work yourself was. Speaking to anyone and whatever level of knowledge a person has about finances and whatever income level a person is at, this book focuses early on on the practice of having the right mindset when beginning the journey to gaining control of one’s financial state and then increasing its value. Aside from delving into the basics of financial independence, the author also reveals several methods of implementing wealth creation, making this an invaluable tool for readers.

The Verdict

A brilliant, informative, and easy-to-understand guide for personal finances and wealth creation, author Richard Gracia’s “The RICH Method” is a must-read non-fiction book on finances. Thoughtful in its approach and emphasizing hard work for the reader to implement the goals of wealth creation, this book makes itself invaluable as a tool for those interested in taking control of their financial future. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Richard studied engineering, investment, finance and business management. He graduated receiving an Extraordinary Prize and the Lamb Prize from the prestigious University of Glasgow. He worked advising executives of large multinationals. He created companies that have sold millions of euros, having as partners some of the most successful entrepreneurs in Spain, including Juan Roig (owner of largest supermarket chain in Spain). He managed his own investments and that of multiple investors in real estate. Currently, he is focused, along with his brother and co-author of the book “El Método RICO”, on his mission: to expand the knowledge of personal finances to improve people’s quality of life through his books, courses and conferences.

Posted in reviews

The Girl From the Channel Islands by Jenny Lecoat Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young Jewish woman who has been forced to flee German Occupation once before finds herself trapped on the only island in Great Britain to become occupied by German forces and must find a means of surviving in author Jenny Lecoat’s “The Girl from the Channel Islands”.

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The Synopsis

An extraordinary story of human triumph against impossible odds

The year is 1940, and the world is torn apart by war. In June of that year, Hitler’s army captures the Channel Islands–the only part of Great Britain to be occupied by German forces. Abandoned by Mr. Churchill, forgotten by the Allies, and cut off from all help, the Islands’ situation is increasingly desperate.

Hedy Bercu is a young Jewish girl who fled Vienna for the island of Jersey two years earlier during the Anschluss, only to find herself trapped by the Nazis once more–this time with no escape. Her only hope is to make herself invaluable to the Germans by working as a translator, hiding in plain sight wIth the help of her friends and community–and a sympathetic German officer. But as the war intensifies, rations dwindle, neighbors turn on neighbors, and Hedy’s life is in greater danger every day. It will take a definitive, daring act to save her from certain deportation to the concentration camps.

A sweeping tale of bravery and love under impossible circumstances, Hedy’s remarkable story reminds us that it’s often up to ordinary people to be quiet heroes in the face of injustice.

The Review

What a complex and tense story. Anytime a historical fiction novel explores WWII, readers know that heartbreak and emotional turmoil are sure to follow suit. It was a tumultuous and deadly time, especially for those of Jewish descent. What makes this story stand out immediately is the background that showcases this is based on true events. The haunting nature of the occupation and the impact it has on the island’s residents is gripping for the reader, drawing them in slowly but surely.

It is the strong character growth of this narrative that makes the novel stand out. From protagonist Heady and her struggle to hide within a German-occupied land to highlighting German soldiers who didn’t believe in the “cause” or Hitler’s Vision of the future, but instead were forced to participate in the army and worked to help protect innocents from the crimes of their nation, this novel really helped develop complex and emotional characters that viewed the war from multiple angles and highlighted how many people suffered during this time.

The Verdict

A memorable, heartbreaking, and engaging read, author Jenny Lecoat’s “The Girl from the Channel Islands” is a must-read historical fiction novel. The war was devastating, as were the millions of lives lost to a madman and his ruthless, savage cause. The author perfectly captures the raw emotions and cruel reality of the war and those impacted by it. A truly heartfelt journey, be sure to grab your copy of this fantastic read today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jenny Lecoat was born in Jersey, Channel Islands, where her parents were raised under German Occupation and were involved in resistance activity. Lecoat moved to England at 18, where, after earning a drama degree, she spent a decade on the alternative comedy circuit as a feminist stand-up. She also wrote for newspapers and women’s magazines (Cosmopolitan, Observer), worked as a TV and radio presenter, before focusing on screenwriting from sitcom to sketch shows. A love of history and factual stories and a return to her island roots brought about her feature film Another Mother’s Son (2017). She is married to television writer Gary Lawson and now lives in East Sussex. The Girl from the Channel Islands is her first novel.

Buy Links: 

Harlequin 

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @JennyLecoat

Facebook: @JennyLecoat

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Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Dorit Sasson

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Ever since returning to the States, I wrote all different kinds of articles on the side, but it wasn’t until I realized I needed to tell the story of serving in the Israel Defense Forces and understand what happened to me that I jumped into memoir writing. 

I started out my career as an EFL (English a foreign language) teacher in Israel and since then I’ve pivoted several times. My last pivot was as a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialist and copywriter and that happened right after the university where I was teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) let me go. 

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

With both my memoirs Sand and Steel and Accidental Soldier, there was a burning desire to understand the WHY behind the WHAT. What happened in the IDF led to discovering the real cultural struggle of finding home. 

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Several: 

How misunderstood Reverse Culture Shock really is and how hard it is for returning Americans like myself it is to find a home. As an Israel expat, my energy is spent understanding longing and straddling two different cultures and this can be an extremely emotional and lonely experience that can make or break a person and a family over time if not addressed well. RCS is very individual, personal and subjective. 

I have 2 passports – American and Israeli but no one ever told me how hard it would be to find a home again on U.S. soil.  Writing the book helped me understand the fluidity of home — in that it’s always changing and evolving so long as we evolve and change and that’s okay. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I could never fictionalize my story without really telling the truth. Memoir is a truth-seeking genre. I needed the power of reflections and takeaways to show how my character grows and develops and ultimately comes full circle at the end. 

5) For those who have never had to move to another country, what would you say was one of the biggest changes you experienced moving back to the United States? What impacted you the most personally after your time serving in Israel?

I’ll just be blunt about this: From experience, not many Americans want to get to know another culture and where a person comes from. We’re a very ego-centered, “me, me, me” culture and this does not serve in bridging cultures and build compassion. With that said, the Jewish community where I live acts a bit differently than my overall experience.  

When I served in the IDF with many foreign recruits, I got a crash course in understanding the psychology of cultures and people. The intimacy and learning. I couldn’t afford to stay anonymous. Israel is a tight-knit country and is like one big family. It’s the size of New Jersey and you’ve got no choice but stay connected to each other for better or worse. In many ways, this inter-connectedness is deeply missing from the American landscape. We don’t do well as a culture when we prefer to stay in our bubbles. 

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Over the years, I’ve floundered between Facebook and Instagram and I feel Instagram helps cater to my message and storytelling. I can capture the emotional essence of what I’m trying to say in an Instagram post. The visual element is also motivating. 

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Quite a bit actually as I can’t help myself. 

Worry more about the craft than marketing. 

Write to that one person. 

Writing is the fun part. Enjoy it as long as it lasts. 

Don’t rush the writing either. You’ve got just one chance to make a good first impression. 

Hire an editor earlier on in the process and/or join a critique group when you’ve fleshed out the story as best as you can.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’m currently taking a short story course and writing my way through fiction because I’m tired writing about myself. It’s time to use my imagination to create characters from scratch.  I’m also doing a fair amount of pitching to different outlets to help promote Sand and Steel. 

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About the Author

Dorit Sasson writes for a wide range of print and online publications, including The Huffington Post and The Writer, and speaks at conferences, libraries, and community centers. She is the author of the a featured chapter in Pebbles in the Pond: Transforming the World One Person at a Time, the latest installment of that best-selling series, and. She is the host of the global radio show “Giving Voice to Your Courageous Story.” She lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and two children.

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Posted in reviews

Wrong Alibi (Murder in Alaska #1) by Christina Dodd Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young woman framed for a gruesome murder must evade the law and search for the relentless killer who framed her as they continue their merciless attacks in author Christina Dodd’s “Wrong Alibi”, the first in the MURDER IN ALASKA series. 

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The Synopsis

Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd delivers an all-new thriller, featuring a bold and brash female protagonist.

WRONG JOB
Eighteen-year-old Evelyn Jones lands a job in small-town Alaska, working for a man in his isolated mountain home. But her bright hopes for the future are shattered when Donald White disappears, leaving her to face charges of theft, embezzlement—and a brutal double murder. Her protestations of innocence count for nothing. Convicted, she faces life in prison…until fate sends her on the run.

WRONG NAME
Evie’s escape leaves her scarred and in hiding, isolated from her family, working under an alias at a wilderness camp. Bent on justice, intent on recovering her life, she searches for the killer who slaughters without remorse.

WRONG ALIBI
At last, the day comes. Donald White has returned. Evie emerges from hiding; the fugitive becomes the hunter. But in her mind, she hears the whisper of other forces at work. Now Evelyn must untangle the threads of evidence before she’s once again found with blood on her hands: the blood of her own fam

The Review

What an incredible thriller! The author has found the perfect balance of heart-pounding pacing in the narrative with in-depth, emotional character development. Evie’s story reveals itself smoothly, creating a tragic backstory that showcases the struggles the character has undergone to become the heroine she is by the book’s main events.

The mystery behind the murders she is framed for is handled perfectly by the author, slowly unraveling the crime and the identity of the actual killer makes for a chilling revelation, especially as it ties into the final moments of the book’s narrative. The action is great and the suspense evokes feelings of chills and anticipation as the narrative goes on.

The Verdict

A thrilling, entertaining, and attention-grabbing thriller, author Christina Dodd’s “Wrong Alibi” is the perfect first story in a new murder mystery/thriller series. A strong protagonist helps to draw out a creative and chilling story, and readers will have a difficult time putting this story down as the author draws them further and further in. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd writes “edge-of-the-seat suspense” (Iris Johansen) with “brilliantly etched characters, polished writing, and unexpected flashes of sharp humor that are pure Dodd” (ALA Booklist). Her fifty-eight books have been called “scary, sexy, and smartly written” by Booklist and, much to her mother’s delight, Dodd was once a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle. Enter Christina’s worlds and join her mailing list at www.christinadodd.com.

SOCIAL:

TWITTER: @ChristinaDodd

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChristinaDoddFans 

Insta: @ChristinaDoddBooks

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12695.Christina_Dodd

BUY LINKS:

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Posted in reviews

A Woman’s World by Lynne Hill-Clark Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young woman destined to become the next leader of her people finds herself fighting to become her own person and facing a dangerous new world in author Lynne Hill-Clark’s YA Fantasy novel, “A Woman’s World”.

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The Synopsis

Baya is not sure she wants the life her mother has planned for her.

She has been prepared her entire life for three trials.

That’s all … only three ancient tests in three days.

A lifetime worth of work over in a matter of days. Easy right?

Then she will officially be a woman and in line to become the ruler of the world … or she’ll be dead.

But what if she doesn’t want either of those options?

If she can survive the trials, that’s when the real challenges will begin.

This is a story of survival, love and loss.

The Review

A truly marvelous and engaging YA Fantasy novel that perfectly introduces readers to a brand new series, this story does an excellent job of crafting both a narrative and cast of characters that complement one another. The incredible new mythos that this author has brought to life will feel both familiar and original all at once. So many elements of this story feel like a tribute to the tales of the Ancient Amazons in Greek mythology, both the original and the DC Comics version. Yet the author elevates those elements to new heights, creating a world in which men serve the women of the island, and women born to become leaders are gifted with powerful abilities that few could ever imagine. 

Yet it is Baya and her journey that truly make this story engaging. Her impact on allies and enemies alike and how it influences their own stories to her shocking decision and the ramifications it has on her as she faces a dangerous new world make her character arc full and richly developed. Readers will instantly connect with the protagonist while at other times shaking their heads at things we all wish Baya would realize herself, making her such a well-rounded heroine for this new YA adventure.

The Verdict

A mesmerizing, addictive, and long yet engaging read, author Lynne Hill-Clark’s “A Woman’s World” is the perfect first entry into a whirlwind YA Fantasy series. The novel holds a steady yet entertaining pace as the author introduces more and more elements to the world’s mythology, and the shocking cliffhanger final chapter will leave readers breathless for the next entry in the series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab or preorder your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I hate books, especially fantasy books, and I hate writing.

Just checking to see if you’re paying attention. 🙂

All I want to do is write and read. Actually, I listen to audiobooks. I listen to at least one a month and review it. Mostly fantasy books. I listen while I exercise. This has two benefits. 1) I don’t feel guilty for taking time to sit down and read a book but I still get to hear a great story. It is the most time saving way to keep up with the latest books in my genre. 2) It makes my workout go by quicker. Win – win!

My best days are the ones I get to spend writing. Then the best of the best days are when a creative twist for my stories hits me, sometimes it feels like an actual slap to the face. My heart races and I know at once that it is the perfect fit for my story. Super fun and what makes writing worthwhile.

Much to my surprise, learning about marketing has been fun, challenging, yet fun. I am so glad to be self-published as this gives me many more options for reaching my readers.

I was born in Colorado and raised in a small town of eight hundred people. I received a masters of science from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Living in the southeast was an eye-opening experience.

I graduated with my Doctorate of Psychology from the University of the Rockies. I specialized in criminology and justice studies. Never a dull moment and VERY interesting to learn about the criminal psyche.

I’m often asked if my degrees influenced my writing and they certainly did. In my masters program I studied under Dr. Hood. He was a leader in the psychology of religion. Studying early Christian history greatly influenced my 3rd novel, Of Gods and Goddess.

Restorative Justice (RJ) influenced my writing as well. For example, it is how Vallachia chooses to lead her people and deal with her “enemies”. Some might say that there is no such thing as an enemy, they only exist in fiction stories or in our own minds. I hope to incorporate even more RJ into future books.

My extensive travels and at times living overseas has greatly added to my writing material. Being an American Peace Corps Volunteer in Jordan helped me to create the world that I’m currently writing about, A Woman’s World. My time studying in China and visiting family in Norway (just to name a few of my travels) have all helped expand my world view, which of course helps my creativity. I am very blessed, my life experiences have given me rich material to write about.

Something else that you may find interesting is that I’m dyslexic. I was diagnosed in 2nd grade, as I could not read. My parents were told that I was “slow” and “not intelligent”. They said that I would not be able to graduate from high school. Sometimes it pays NOT to listen to the “experts”. My education also helped give me the confidence and practice that I needed to be able to write for a living.

Don’t believe limits that others set for you (or ones you set for yourself)!

The sky is the not even a limit anymore!!

Author site: http://lynnehillclark.com 

 Interview with Lynne Hill-Clark: Publishing, Literary Themes & Her Newest Works – YouTube

https://www.facebook.com/writerlynnehillclark/

https://www.facebook.com/futureclassicspublishing/

https://www.instagram.com/lynnehillclark/?hl=en

https://www.futureclassicspublishing.com/

https://www.lynnehillclark.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15396705.Lynne_Hill_Clark

Posted in reviews

Fix the World by Collected Authors Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A collection of science-fiction writers gather together to bring their creative flair into the fight to preserve or even resurrect the environment and world as a whole in the face of global disasters, war and more in the novel “Fix the World”. 

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The Synopsis

We’re a world beset by crises. Climate change, income inequality, racism, pandemics, an almost unmanageable tangle of issues. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.

We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to fix what’s wrong with the world. From the sixty-five stories we received, we chose twelve most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.

Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change, make war obsolete, switch to alternative forms of energy, and restructure the very foundations of our society,

The future’s not going to fix itself.

The Review

What a powerful and moving anthology of sci-fi, dystopian and apocalyptic stories. This collection stands out with some incredible storytelling and character development, bringing to life some very real and relatable characters in dark and trying situations. The pacing was great, as each story did a great job of setting up its own story and maintaining momentum as the darker aspects of the narrative unraveled and the hope became more and more apparent.

Hope was the aspect of this anthology that really spoke to me. The theme and tone of something like hope is really stark contrast to the typical apocalyptic anthology narrative, and each other did a great job of showcasing how solutions to these problems could bring that hope to life. One story, in particular, was incredibly moving and emotional, and that was J. Scott Coatsworth’s “Rise”. The emotional story of a lost city being reclaimed and its citizens returning after decades away was a truly touching moment in this collection, and in a time where we are still in a pandemic, this message was assuredly needed.

The Verdict

A memorable, heartfelt, and creative sci-fi and dystopian apocalyptic anthology, “Fix the World” is a masterpiece of writing and each other has done a great job of not only bringing their individual stories to life but making each story feel connected and important all at once. A book readers won’t want to put down, this collection inspires hope and gives readers everywhere the creative inspiration to face these challenges head-on themselves. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Fix The World

Other Worlds Ink has a new hopeful sci-fi anthology out: Fix the World. And there’s a giveaway!

We’re a world beset by crises. Climate change, income inequality, racism, pandemics, an almost unmanageable tangle of issues. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.

We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to fix what’s wrong with the world. From the sixty-five stories we received, we chose the twelve most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.

Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change, make war obsolete, switch to alternative forms of energy, and restructure the very foundations of our society,

The future’s not going to fix itself.

Publisher | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Liminal Fiction | Thalia | Goodreads


Giveaway

OWI is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Excerpt

From “Rise”

by J. Scott Coatsworth

The rumbling increased to a roar, and more dark patches appeared in the green lagoon waters. So expensive. So laborious to stabilize what was left. But every bit worth it, in this moment.

A great spume of water sprayed high enough to throw a shimmer of mist across her face as the first part of the old city broke the surface. As the spume cleared, the top of the Campanile di San Marco rose above the water, green roof gleaming like new. A nice touch. The Restoration Guild must have worked overtime on that one. Its golden weathervane was gone, but the bas relief of the lion of St. Mark made her clutch her heart.

“Mamma, what’s the lion for?” She licked chocolate off her hands, desperate to make her afternoon snack last just a little longer.

“It’s the symbol of the city.” Mamma put her hand on Cinzia’s chest, patting it—boom boom, boom boom. “The beating heart of who we are.”

Cinzia stumbled. It felt like yesterday.

“You okay?” Gio’s brow creased.

“I… sorry, yes. So many memories.”

Skipping over the bridges. The bad days of the quarantine. The corner market where mamma used to do her grocery shopping…

The Flood.

Another building broke the surface nearby—the Santa Maria della Salute, the beautiful basilica. Water poured off the gorgeous green domes in a thundering flood. They were mostly intact, though one of the smaller ones had a gaping hole—water poured out of it, cascading down to the lagoon like a waterfall, joining the general uproar of the Rise.

“Look, Kendra. You can see the outlines of the Canal Grande now.” The old waterway—the pulsing artery of the city—snaked away from them like a backwards ’S.’ In the distance, she could make out the edge of the Sestriere Cannaregio, the district where her mamma had lived in a modest apartment in an old stone palazzo that looked out on a concrete courtyard.

Waters rising, as it rained for close on a month, coming ever closer to their own second-floor balcony.

What if the water doesn’t stop coming?” Cinzia stared out at the concrete courtyard, where the seawater swirled and churned.

“Don’t worry about that, tesoro. The water always stops, eventually. Now come here and help me with dinner.”

She had been lucky. She had survived.

All across the lagoon, the buildings of Venice were rising from the water. Many were broken, piles of bricks and debris covered with algae and surprised fish that flopped around on suddenly exposed land. The outlines of the city were becoming clear as water poured out of the buildings, churning the lagoon into a muddy, frothy mess.

A row of palazzos along the edge of the Canal Grande collapsed, sending up a deafening roar as they crumbled into rubble. Cinzia stepped back instinctively, pulling Kendra with her as the platform rose thirty meters into the air to avoid the cloud of debris that briefly rose above the lagoon before settling back to earth.

“Nothing to be alarmed about. Not all buildings were stabilized prior to the Rise.” Doctor Horvat’s lined face nodded reassuringly from the hovering screen before them, her voice broadcast across the world and to the Lunar colonies far above. “We expected some collapses. We will keep you away from the dangerous areas.”

“What if the city doesn’t stop rising?” Kendra grasped the railing, her gaze locked on the scene below.

Gio knelt next to the girl. “There’s no chance of that. The polyps have a very short lifetime…”

Cinzia was grateful to him. He probably understood the science behind all of this far better than she.

Her mind drifted.

They ate the last of the almond cantucci, savoring the hard cookies even though they were stale. Cinzia was still hungry, but she knew better than to ask for more. There was no more.

Outside, the rain had finally slowed to a constant drizzle.

Mamma ruffled her hair, managing a wan smile. “I need you to stay here, Cinzia. Someone will come for you, I promise. I will find us help.”

The helicopters had stopped coming days before, and the boats that had been plentiful the first few days, with men telling them to stay put, had bypassed their part of the city ever since.

The rumbling subsided.

Cinzia opened her eyes and looked around. For just a moment, there was absolute silence on the traghetto, along the shore, and on the sky board.

She looked over the railing.

Venice—her Venice—lay before her. It was in sad shape. Many of the landmarks she remembered were tarnished or broken. Whole zones of the city had collapsed, and except for Piazza San Marco, a green film covered the risen city. She was a ghost of her former glory.

But she was there, as solid and real as the hand before Cinzia’s face.


Author Bio

Bryan Cebulski is a rural California-based journalist from the Midwest who writes quiet queer speculative and literary fiction.

Scott Coatsworth lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were. He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends. A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

Rachel Hope Crossman grew up in Athens, Greece and Berkeley, CA as the child of a linguist and an actor. Her imagination, marked by the stones of the Acropolis, the granite slabs of the Sierra Nevadas and the blues of the San Francisco Bay, is the all and everything that fuels her engine. A preschool teacher, then substitute teacher, Rachel ultimately followed her Montessori bliss to teach elementary. Mother of four grown children and author of Saving Cinderella: Fairy tales & Children in the 21st Century, (2014 Apocryphile Press), Rachel currently writes eco-fantasy and science fiction stories.

Jana Denardo is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.

J.G. Follansbee is an award-winning writer of thrillers, fantasy and science fiction novels and short stories with climate change themes. An author of maritime history and travel guides, he has published articles in newspapers, regional and national magazines, and regional and national radio networks, including National Public Radio. He’s also worked in the high-tech and non-profit worlds. He lives in Seattle.

Ingrid Garcia helps selling local wines in a vintage wine shop in Cádiz and writes speculative fiction in her spare time. For years, she was unpublished. But to her utter surprise—after years of receiving nothing but rejections—she’s sold stories to F&SF, and the Ride the Star Wind and Sword and Sonnet anthologies. She tweets as @ingridgarcia253and is busy preparing a personal website and—dog forbid—even thinking about writing that inevitable novel

Jennifer R. Povey was born in Nottingham, England, but she now lives in Northern Virginia, where she writes everything from heroic fantasy to stories for Analog. She has written a number of novels across multiple sub genres. Additionally, she is a writer, editor, and designer of tabletop RPG supplements for a number of companies. Her interests include horseback riding, Doctor Who and attempting to out-weird her various friends and professional colleagues.

Mere Rain is an international nonentity of mystery whose library resides in California. Mere likes travel, food, art, mythology, and you. Feel free to reach out on social media. Mere Rain has published speculative short fiction with The Mad Scientist Journal, Mischief Corner Books, Things in the Well, and Mythical Girls.

D.M. Rasch writes feminist speculative fiction for LGBTQ+ young adults and adults, exploring where the social and political meet the personal. Her characters are often found doing their best in worlds that challenge them to become their best selves. Queer representation and reaching out to LGBTQ+ youth drive her writing, informed by her MFA in Creative Writing from Regis University and two bossy sister kittens who like to edit. She identifies as a genderqueer lesbian, currently writing and working (remotely) in the Denver, CO area as a creative mentor, coach, and editor in her business, Itinerant Creative Content & Coaching LLC.

Holly Schofield travels through time at the rate of one second per second, oscillating between the alternate realities of city and country life. Her stories have appeared in Analog, Lightspeed, Escape Pod, and many other publications throughout the world. She hopes to save the world through science fiction and homegrown heritage tomatoes.

Anthea Sharp is the author of the USA Today bestselling Feyland series, where a high-tech game opens a gateway to the treacherous Realm of Faerie. In addition to the fae fantasy/cyberpunk mashup of Feyland, her current novels are set in the shadowed enchantment of the Darkwood, where dark elves and fairytale elements abound. Anthea lives in sunny Southern California where she writes, hangs out in virtual worlds, plays the Irish fiddle, and spends time with her small-but-good family.

Alex Silver (he/him) grew up mostly in Northern Maine and is now living in Canada with a spouse, two kids, and three birds. Alex is a trans guy who started writing fiction as a child and never stopped. Although there were detours through assisting on a farm and being a pharmacist along the way.

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Posted in reviews

Her Dark Lies by J.T. Ellison Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman set to marry a handsome man from a prestigious family finds her destination wedding the sight of true terror as family secrets, haunting lies and a chilling killer all threaten to derail her dream wedding in author J.T. Ellison’s “Her Dark Lies”.

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The Synopsis

Fast-paced and brilliantly unpredictable, J.T. Ellison’s breathtaking new novel invites you to a wedding none will forget—and some won’t survive.

Jutting from sparkling turquoise waters off the Italian coast, Isle Isola is an idyllic setting for a wedding. In the majestic cliff-top villa owned by the wealthy Compton family, up-and-coming artist Claire Hunter will marry handsome, charming Jack Compton, surrounded by close family, intimate friends…and a host of dark secrets.

From the moment Claire sets foot on the island, something seems amiss. Skeletal remains have just been found. There are other, newer disturbances, too. Menacing texts. A ruined wedding dress. And one troubling shadow hanging over Claire’s otherwise blissful relationship—the strange mystery surrounding Jack’s first wife.

Then a raging storm descends, the power goes out—and the real terror begins…

The Review

What a fantastic thriller! From the book’s opening chapter the author establishes a haunting tale of murder, revenge, and family like no other. The vibrant setting and upbeat festivities of the protagonist’s wedding make for a fantastically stark contrast to the dark themes of family secrets, greed, and power all taking over as the rich family the protagonist is marrying into holds sway and inadvertently causes a catastrophe no one could have seen coming.

It is the author’s ability to really draw out and delve deeply into the character growth of the narrative that makes this novel shine brightly. From protagonist Claire and her haunted past and present to the Compton family and their ruthless behavior that would make anyone kill to keep a secret, the identity of the killer and their need for revenge makes for a masterful story that draws the reader in time and time again.

The Verdict

A beautifully mesmerizing, haunting, and heart-pounding mystery and thriller, author J.T. Ellison’s “Her Dark Lies” is a must-read narrative. The twists and turns the author creates make for a gripping tale, and by the book’s end no one in the story will be safe, and no one will be totally innocent either. It’s a marvelous read you won’t want to miss, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author:

J.T. Ellison is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 25 novels, and the EMMY® award winning co-host of the literary TV show A WORD ON WORDS. With millions of books in print, her work has won critical acclaim, prestigious awards, and has been published in 28 countries. Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.

Social Links:

Website: https://www.jtellison.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JTEllison14/

Twitter:  https://www.twitter.com/thrillerchick

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thrillerchick 

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/shop/jtellison 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jtellison 

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/j-t-ellison 

Mailing List: https://www.jtellison.com/subscribe 

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2YArr8J 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/her-dark-lies-j-t-ellison/1135512743?ean=9780778388302 

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/a/1809/9780778331988 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/

9780778388302 

Libro.fm: https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781488210600 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Her-Dark-Lies/J-T-Ellison/9780778331988?id=7392897228554 

Target: https://www.target.com/p/her-dark-lies-by-j-t-ellison-hardcover/-/A-80220721 

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Her-Dark-Lies-Original-ed-Paperback-9780778388302/972093784 

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/her-dark-lies/9780778331988-item.html 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/her-dark-lies 

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/her-dark-lies/id1491338069?mt=11&app=itunes&at=1000lqRB 

Google Play: https://pla

y.google.com/store/books/details/J_T_Ellison_Her_Dark_Lies?id=tEbHDwAAQBAJ&PAffiliateID=1100lIBy 

Audible: https://amzn.to/35Eizmv  

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An Excerpt From “Her Dark Lies”

1

Beginnings and Endings

She is going to die tonight.

The white dress, long and filmy, hampers her effort to run. The hem catches on a branch; a large rend in the fabric slashes open, exposing her leg. A deep cut blooms red along her thigh, and the blood runs down her calf. Her hair has come loose from its braid, flies unbound behind her like gossamer wings.

In her panic, she barely notices the pain.

The path ahead is marked by towering cypress and laurel, verdant and lush. A gray stone waist-high wall is all that stands between her and the cliffside. It is cool inside this miniature forest; the sky is blotted out by the purple-throated wisteria that drapes across and between the trees. Someone, years ago, built an archway along the arbor. The arch’s skeleton has long since rotted away and the flowers droop into the path, clinging trails and vines that brush against her head and shoulders. It should be beautiful; instead it feels oppressive, as if the vines might animate, twist and curl around her neck and strangle her to death.

She tries not to look down to the frothing water roiling against the rocks at the cliff’s base. She thinks the ruins are to her right. From what she remembers, they are between the church and the artists’ colony, the four cottages cowering on the hillside, empty and waiting.

A horn shrieks, and she realizes the ferry is pulling away. A crack of lightning, and she sees the silhouette of the captain in the pilothouse, looking out to the turbulent seas ahead. A gamble that he makes it before the storm is upon them.

Don’t panic. Don’t panic.

Where is the church?

There it is, a flash of white through the trees. The stuccoed walls loom, the bell tower hidden behind the overgrown foliage. Now the path is moving upward, the grade increasing. She feels it in her calves and hopes again she is going the right way. The Villa is on the hill, on the northwest promontory of the island. If she can reach its doors, she will be safe.

It is too quiet. There are no birds, no creatures, no buzzing or cries, just her ragged, heavy breath and the scree shuffling underfoot as she climbs. The furious roar of the water smashing its frustration against the rocks rises from her left, echoing against the cliffside.

The dogs begin to howl.

Climb. Climb. Keep going.

She must get to the Villa. There she can call for help. Lock herself inside. Maybe find a weapon.

A branch snaps and she halts, breathless.

Someone is coming.

She startles like a deer, now heedless of the noise she’s making. Fighting back a whimper of fear, she breaks free of the cloistered path to see an old decrepit staircase cut into the stone. Careful, she must be cautious, there are gaps where some steps are missing, and the rest are mossy with disuse, but hurry, hurry. Get away.

She winds up the steps, clinging to the rock face, until she bursts free into a sea of scrubby pines. Two sculptures, Janus twins, flank a slate-dark path into a labyrinth of rhododendron and azalea.

This isn’t right. Where is she?

A hard breeze disrupts the trees around her, and a rumble of thunder like a thousand drums rolls across her body. Lightning flashes and she sees the Villa in the distance. So far away. On the other side of the labyrinth. The other side of the hill.

She’s gone the wrong way.

A droplet of water hits her arm, then her forehead. Dread bubbles through her.

She is too late. The storm is upon her.

The howls of the dogs draw closer. The wind whistles hard and sharp, buffeting her against the stone wall. She can’t move, deep fear cementing her feet. Rain makes the gauzy dress cling to the curves of her body, and the blood on her thigh washes to the ground. None of it matters. She cannot escape.

When he comes, at last, sauntering through the storm, the barking beasts leaping and growling beside him, she is crying, clinging to the wall, the lightning illuminating the ruins; the ancient stones and stark, headless statues the only witness to her death.

She goes over the wall with a thunder-drowned scream, the jagged rocks below her final companions.

Posted in Comic Book Roundup

Weekly Comic Book Roundup #16

Legion of Super-Heroes, Vol. 1

(Legion of Super-Heroes (2019) #1)

by Brian Michael BendisRyan Sook (Illustrator), Wade Von Grawbadger (Illustrator), Jordie Bellaire (Colorist), Travis Moore (Goodreads Author) (Illustrator), Mikel Janín (Illustrator), Scott Godlewski (Illustrator), Jim Lee (Illustrator), Dustin Nguyen (Illustrator), Andrea Sorrentino (Illustrator), André Lima Araújo (Illustrator), Scott Williams (Illustrator), Alex Sinclair (Colorist), John Kalisz (Colorist), Dave Stewart (Colorist), Nikola Scott (Illustrator), Jim Cheung (Illustrator), Jeff Dekal (Illustrator), Tomeu Morey (Colorist)

The Synopsis

The future of the DC Universe is NOW! Join superstar writer BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS and visionary artist RYAN SOOK for an all-new incarnation of a legendary superhero team!

One thousand years into the future, a new generation of young heroes has gathered, inspired by the actions and lessons of the greatest heroes of the past. They are the Legion of Super-Heroes, and they’re here to stop the universe from repeating its past mistakes.

But by inducting the 21st century’s Superboy, Jonathan Kent, into the Legion, they’ve broken the United Planets’ cardinal rule: never, ever mess with the time stream. Now, they’ve placed themselves in the crosshairs of the powers that be.

Origins will be revealed. Secrets will be uncovered. Friendships will be forged–and shattered. New members of the Legion will be inducted–including Superboy’s best friend Damian Wayne, a.k.a. Robin!

And one thing’s for certain: the future is not what it used to be!

This bold new reinvention of an iconic DC franchise unleashes fresh, new reader-friendly stories! Guest-starring a legion of special guest artists, including JIM LEE, JIM CHEUNG, NICOLA SCOTT, ANDREA SORRENTINO, and more, this first volume collects Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1-2 and Legion of Super-Heroes #1-6!

The Verdict

A thrilling new chapter in the future DC Universe, the return of the Legion of Super-Heroes is a much needed addition to the company. Introducing Jon Kent to the future heroes was a great welcome, and the amount of detail and mythos the writers unveiled made this a masterful story that blends the past and the future into one cohesive story.

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Naomi: Season One

(Naomi #1-6)

by Brian Michael BendisDavid F. WalkerJamal Campbell (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

When a fight between Superman and Mongul crashes into a small northwestern town, Naomi begins a quest to uncover the last time a super-powered person visited her home–and how that might tie into her own origins and adoption.

DC’s biggest, newest mystery starts here!

Follow Naomi’s journey on a quest that will take her to the heart of the DC Universe and unfold a universe of ideas and stories that have never been seen before. Join writers Brian Michael Bendis, David Walker and breakout artist Jamal Campbell in Wonder Comics’ massively ambitious new series and star…Naomi!

Aimed at providing readers with honest and innovative reading experiences, Brian Michael Bendis’ Wonder Comics is a celebration of the moments of in life when discoveries are made – when purpose and meaning are revealed and destinies are defined. Featuring the young heroes of the DC Universe as penned by all-star creative teams in exciting new adventures that will celebrate the wonders of life, love and comics.

Collects Naomi issues #1-6. 

The Verdict

A fantastic new story and an even more amazing new hero for the DC Universe, the series is the perfect start to the newest chapter of the character. Naomi is destined for greatness in the DC Universe, and the blend of her origin story with her connection to the multiverse and the beautiful artwork the story included made this a thoroughly enjoyable read. 

Batman and the the Outsiders, Vol. 1: Lesser Gods

(Batman and the Outsiders (2018) #1)

by Bryan Edward HillDexter Soy (Illustrations), Cian Tormey (Illustrations), Veronica Gandini (Colors), Adriano Lucas (Colors), Clayton Cowles (Letters), Carlos M. Mangual (Colors)

The Synopsis

When the quest for justice drives Batman into morally ambiguous territory, he calls in the most moral man he knows: Jefferson Pierce, a.k.a. Black Lightning, and his team of elite operatives known as the Outsiders!

Several years ago Batman personally put the Barrera family into hiding after they suffered through terrible experiments at the hands of an organization called The Ark. Now all but one of them has turned up dead … and Batman needs to locate Sofia Barrera before the wrong people get their hands on her–and her surprising power! But it wouldn’t be Batman without a hidden agenda, would it? And when Black Lightning, Katana, the Signal and Orphan find out what Batman is really up to, their very loyalty will be called into question!

Get ready for an intense, action-packed thrill ride from author Bryan Hill and artist Dexter Soy in Batman and the Outsiders Vol. 1!

Collects Batman and the Outsiders #1-6. 

The Verdict

A gritty and amazing new chapter in the world of The Outsiders. Black Lightning shines as the series star, reluctantly leading this group of vigilante heroes as he grows as a hero himself. Leading next to Katana, Jefferson Pierce is a great character and perfectly matches Bruce Wayne’s Batman in both leadership and wit. Orphan and Signal are great additions to the team, and the series villain is a welcome return for a classic DC villain. A must-read for DC Comics fans.

The Terrifics, Vol. 1: Meet the Terrifics

(The Terrifics #1)

by Jeff LemireEvan Doc Shaner (Illustrator), Ivan Reis (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

A billionaire genius. A shape-shifting wise guy. An intangible alien. An elemental powerhouse. At first glance, these four heroes have nothing in common. But when Plastic Man, Phantom Girl, Metamorpho and Mr. Terrific are thrown together by fate, they become something greater than the sum of its parts…something truly terrific!

Unleashed by a tragic accident, supernatural forces have bound this unlikely team together, stranding them deep in the nightmare realm known as the Dark Multiverse. Now they must learn to work together to find a cure for their condition, a pathway home…and a missing hero who just might hold the key to it all.

But something even deeper than their shared plight binds them together. In each of these incredible characters, the spirt of exploration and the hope for a better tomorrow burns so brightly that not even the black magic of the Dark Multiverse can snuff it out!

Join the journey in The Terrifics Vol. 1: Meet the Terrifics. The all-star creative team of Jeff Lemire, Ivan Reis, Evan “Doc” Shaner and Joe Bennett usher in a new age of heroes with the most talked-about team book of the year!

Collects The Terrifics #1-6.

The Verdict

A wonderful blend of zany, off-the-wall humor and action with cosmic-level storytelling and a fantastic blend of characters, The Terrifics have quickly taken over as the DC Universe equivalent of the Fantastic Four, bridging science with heroism as four individual heroes are forced to stick with one another to help battle a threat of multiversal proportions. The artwork is reminiscent of a blend of classic and modern looks, and the return of heroes like Plastic Man and Mr. Terrific make this a must-read for the DC Universe.

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Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy

(Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy #1-6)

by Jody Houser (Goodreads Author), Adriana Melo (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

During the catastrophic events of Tom King’s Heroes in Crisis, Poison Ivy was killed, and Harley Quinn holds herself responsible. But when Poison Ivy is resurrected, Harley decides to take care of her best friend, who is now evolving into a creature who is as much flora as she is fauna. Bad-girl BFFs Harley Quinn and Poision Ivy are back togther–but what happens when a newly reformed Harley discovers that Ivy has gone full-on evil?

Harley has also been pardoned from the Suicide Squad, so even if the killings at Sanctuary during the events of Heroes in Crisis hadn’t already inspired her to be better, the need to stay out of Belle Reve gives her added incentive to stay on the straight and narrow.

What, then, is she to do when Poison Ivy reveals she’s had enough of the humans who not only killed her, but are destroying the environment day by day? Can Poison Ivy entice Harley to join her in the plant world, or will Harley have to prove herself by stopping whatever plot Ivy is cooking up?

From critically acclaimed author Jody Houser comes a story of two best friends fighting over good and evil. Collects Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy #1-6

The Verdict

Such a fun yet emotional miniseries for one of DC’s favorite couples, the series does a great job of blending Harley’s penchant for humor in the face of danger with the confusion Ivy is feeling after her resurrection during the events of Heroes in Crisis. The emotional toll on each of these characters as Harley misses the love of her life while Ivy searches for her place in the world makes for a beautiful if not tragic story and the attacks from allies and foes alike make this a must-read miniseries for the company.

Flash Forward

(Flash Forward #1-6)

by Scott LobdellBrett Booth (Illustrator), Norm Rapmund (Illustrator.)

The Synopsis

When the border between the Multiverse and the Dark Multiverse starts to buckle, Wally West must answer the call and journey to these worlds and purge them of this darkness, but the greater darkness is that from within.

His name is Wally West–and he was the Fastest Man Alive. That is, until the Multiverse was rewritten without him or his family in it. Wally returned and tried to make it work, but the damage was done. Spinning out of the events of Heroes in Crisis, follow the man who called himself Flash on an adventure to find redemption in a cosmos that has fought so hard to destroy him.

Collects Flash Forward #1-6, Generation Zero: Gods Among Us Special Edition #1

The Verdict

For any fan of The Flash and Wally West, in particular, this is the story you need to read. The story feels not only like a redemption arc for the very lost and tragic hero of the Rebirth era but feels like a return to the more upbeat and self-assured Wally that fans know and love in many ways. The multiverse has never been more alive than in this story, and the threats and allies Wally makes along the way all help lead into the Dark Nights: Death Metal event. 

Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen

(Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #1-4)

by James Tynion IVSteve Epting (Illustrator), Javier Fernández (Illustrator), Scott Snyder (Goodreads Author), Brian Michael BendisJim Cheung (Illustrator), Alex Maleev (Illustrator), Francis Manapul (Illustrator), Nick Filardi (Colorist), Tomeu Morey (Colorist)

The Synopsis

DC’s “Year of the Villain” leaps into a new phase as the ultimate battle between Lex Luthor and the Batman Who Laughs rages–and the heroes of the DC Universe are forced to take sides in this epic struggle.

Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen ties together some of DC’s biggest epics of 2019, including The Batman Who Laughs, Batman/Superman, and DC’s “Year of the Villain,” which ran across numerous titles. In this collected edition, Lex Luthor faces off against the Batman Who Laughs. On the one side are Luthor’s forces of injustice–and on the other are the Batman Who Laughs’ agents, known as the Infected…corrupted versions of heroes including Supergirl, Shazam, Commissioner Gordon and others. Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen also sets the stage for the next phase of DC’s “Year of the Villain” and beyond.

This title collects the five-issue miniseries Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen.

The Verdict

This is the perfect culmination of so many of DC’s stories during the Year of the Villain event. Luthor’s battle with the Batman Who Laughs makes for one of the biggest villain fights in DC Comics history, at least for the villains of the multiverse. The scary reality of how far the Batman Who Laugh’s dark infection has spread among the DC Universe is explored here, as is the power that Luthor has finally achieved. The ultimate villain is crowned, and the fate of the multiverse hangs in the balance by the book’s end.

Batman: Damned

(Batman Damned #1-3)

by Brian AzzarelloLee Bermejo (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

New York Times bestselling graphic novel!

The Joker has been murdered. His killer is a mystery. Batman is the World’s Greatest Detective. But what happens when the person he is searching for is the man staring back at him in the mirror?

THE JOKER IS DEAD.

There is no doubt about that. But whether Batman finally snapped his scrawny neck or some other sinister force in Gotham City did the deed is still a mystery.

Problem is, Batman can’t remember…and the more he digs into this labyrinthine case, the more he starts to doubt everything he’s uncovering.

So who better to set him straight than…John Constantine?

The problem with that is as much as John loves a good mystery, he loves messing with people’s heads even more. So with John’s “help,” the pair will delve into the sordid underbelly of Gotham as they race toward the mind-blowing truth of who murdered the Joker.

Batman: Damned is a groundbreaking supernatural horror story told by two of comics’ greatest modern creators: Brian Azzarello (Dark Knight III: The Master Race, 100 Bullets) and Lee Bermejo (Hellblazer, Joker).

This hardcover volume collects Batman: Damned #1-3 and features a behind-the-scenes extras gallery with an afterword by Brian Azzarello.

NOTE: Enhanced cover will only be on first printing copies!

The Verdict

A grim yet amazing horror story set within the gritty world of Batman, the partnership between Constantine and Batman is a welcome addition to the Dark Knight’s tale. This Elseworld style story sees some of Gotham’s and DC’s magical world in some new light, and the shocking loss of The Joker sends Batman down a hellish road that breaks into some of the amazing horror tales that DC Comics houses. A must-read miniseries. 

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DCeased: The Unkillables

(The Unkillables #1-3)

by Tom Taylor (Goodreads Author), Karl Mostert (Illustrator), Trevor Scott (Inker), Neil Edwards (Inker), John Livesay (Inker), Rex Locus (Colorist), Saida Temofonte (Letterer)

The Synopsis

Discover what the villains of the DC Universe did during the events of DCeased!

From the hit series DCeased comes a villain’s story about survival during the zombie apocalypse!

Vandal Savage hasn’t lived for thousands of years without being prepared. Seconds after the virus breaks out, he has already made contact and begun to assemble a team of people to help him ride out the end of the world. Some of the world’s greatest mercenaries and fighters are brought to his side, all tasked to protect Savage. All Vandal can offer them is survival.

Collects DCeased: The Unkillables #1-6.

The Verdict

A bloody and chilling new chapter in DC’s DCeased series, the Unkillables does an excellent job of exploring some of DC’s most ruthless anti-heroes and villains, as well as some of the more resilient humans and heroes who have learned to adapt to this cold new world. The shocking turn of one of DC’s most powerful and iconic heroes into the Anti-Life Virus’s most deadly drone makes the series scare factor level up, and the grim and haunting artwork adds to the series dark setting. 

DCeased: Dead Planet

(DCeased (Collected Editions) #2)

by Tom Taylor (Goodreads Author), Trevor Hairsine (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Five years after the end of the world…anti-life goes on in this sequel to the smash-hit series DCeased.

The survivors of the infected apocalypse that ravaged Earth in the pages of DCeased have found a haven on a second Earth. The Justice League rebuilt with new members–Damian Wayne, Jon Kent and Cassie Sandsmark–and for the most part, life is good. Until a faint signal is received that is coming from the planet everyone had fled five short years ago…

Somehow Cyborg is transmitting a message–he survived, and there might be a cure! Suspecting a trap, but with too much on the line, the new Justice League must make their way home to the dead planet to see what awaits them and who is left to be saved!

The Verdict

The shocking sequel to DCeased is a fantastic chapter in this new world of the DC multiverse. The surviving heroes of the DC Universe return to their doomed world years after the events of DCeased, finding a still living Cyborg and a host of undead heroes and civilians alike. Working alongside the survivors of Earth, the heroes work to stop not only the Anti-Life Virus and cure those infected but must stop a host of other threats, from a shocking cabal of villains and a demonic threat that could destroy Earth once and for all. John Constantine, the new Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, and Cyborg all shine in this story, as does the gritty artwork of this series. A must-read for fans of the original miniseries.

Winter Soldier: Second Chances

(Winter Soldier (2018) #1-5)

by Kyle Higgins (Goodreads Author), Rod Reis (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

Bucky Barnes believes in second chances. Having survived death, manipulation, loss of identity and a lifetime of murder, the man known as the Winter Soldier has worked hard to atone for his many sins. But now…he’s going to go one step further. What do you do after you’ve found redemption? You help others do the same! Bucky is becoming a “fixer,” working to help others leave behind their lives of crime. It’s his way of channeling his own pain in a productive, personal way…by helping others find the salvation that he has found. But not all paths are the same – and not everyone can be saved… COLLECTING: WINTER SOLDIER 1-5

The Verdict

A great chapter in the life of Bucky Barnes, this series blends the gritty reality of Bucky’s life as the Winter Soldier with the hope and heroism that Cap inspired in his friend. Bucky’s trip to save people seeking a new life away from crime is a heartfelt welcome, as is the new cast of characters who begin throwing themselves in his path. The artwork brings to life the espionage and grim nature of Bucky’s world to life perfectly, making this a must-read. 

Falcon & Winter Soldier: Cut Off One Head

(Falcon & Winter Soldier #1-5)

by Derek LandyFederico Vicentini (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

An office of dead government agents. A gifted new killer. Two ex-Captain Americas…When a dramatic attempt on the life of Bucky Barnes reunites him with Sam Wilson, the two old friends are plunged headlong into a race to uncover the new leader of Hydra before a mass casualty event announces the terror group’s resurgence to the world. The clock is ticking…

COLLECTING: FALCON & WINTER SOLDIER (2020) 1-5

The Verdict

This book does a great job of exploring the relationship between Bucky and Sam while also introducing a humorous yet deadly group of new villains looking to delve into the HYDRA organization. The shocking revelation of one villain leads to the shocking civil war erupting within the organization, and the two heroes find themselves caught in the middle. A great new story in the life of both heroes.

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Ironheart, Vol. 1: Those With Courage

(Ironheart (2018) #1)

by Eve L. Ewing (Goodreads Author), Luciano Vecchio (Illustrator), Kevin Libranda (Illustrator), G. Geoffo (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Riri Williams, the armored hero called Ironheart who took the comics world by storm, takes center stage! When a group of world leaders is held hostage by one of Spider-Man’s old foes, Riri must step up her game. But she’s thrown for a loop when an old acquaintance from back in Chicago re-enters her life! Now, Ironheart is caught between her need for independence and her obligations at M.I.T. – and when an old friend is kidnapped, she needs to make some tough decisions! Luckily, Riri has a will of steel, a heart of iron…and a brand-new A.I. system on her side! CHAMPIONS artist Kevin Libranda joins award-winning poet Eve L. Ewing, as Ironheart steps boldly out of Tony Stark’s shadow to forge her own future!

COLLECTING: IRONHEART 1-6 

The Verdict

A great new chapter in the Iron Man corner of the Marvel Universe, Riri Williams proves herself to be a fantastic and exceptional hero all her own. Her brilliance and need to help others make her a worthy successor to the legacy Tony Stark has built and her bumpy road between heroism and her personal life gives a whole new perspective for the character and the Marvel Universe as a whole that is so needed in the world right now. 

Empyre: X-Men

(Empyre (Collected Editions))

by Jonathan Hickman (Writer), Gerry Duggan (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Benjamin Percy (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Tini Howard (Writer), Leah Williams (Goodreads Author), Ed BrissonVita Ayala (Goodreads Author), Zeb WellsMatteo Buffagni (Illustrations), Lucas Werneck (Illustrations), Andrea Broccardo (Illustrations), Jorge Molina (Illustrations), Adriano Di Benedetto (Illustrations), Nolan Woodard (Color Artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (Cover Artist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)

The Synopsis

Alien plants versus mutant zombies! Plant people from outer space have come to Earth as part of the cosmic events of EMPYRE – but wouldn’t you know it, they happen to arrive just as millions of deceased mutants rise from the grave as undead creatures hungry for human flesh! What are the odds? And can even the X-Men handle two simultaneous crises? The X-Men return to the graveyard island of Genosha in a tale so crazy, it’s taking the entire writing crew of the Dawn of X line to tackle it! COLLECTING: EMPYRE: X-MEN (2020) 1-5 

The Verdict

One of the new era of X-Men’s first major crossover events in the Marvel Universe, getting to see the iconic mutant heroes fighting against a group of magical plant-like warriors from space is the perfect story for the X-Men. The artwork is phenomenal, and the overall crossover connection is perfectly balanced with the individual stories of the X-Men as a whole, making this a great addition to the X-Men’s new and growing mythos.