Posted in reviews

Blackacre Rising (Ivy Spires #2) by John C. Adams Review

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

Loyalties will be tested and lines will be crossed as the fight for humanity wages on in author John C. Adams’ latest entry in the Ivy Spires dystopian series, “Blackacre Rising”. 

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The Synopsis

From Horror Tree reviewer and double Aeon Award Longlister John C Adams comes a disturbing tale of scientific experimentation and sadistic cruelty. The sequel to ‘Souls For The Master’, ‘Blackacre Rising’ features a stunning cover by Fiona Jayde Media.

Leaving the chaos erupting in the Metropolis behind, Gerald speeds north to his cousin Brett Flint’s farmhouse, Blackacre. He is certain that their vehicle is being followed, but returning to the capital with Don and Ivy is simply too risky now that Janus Fidens has taken over the Resistance and declared the pair to be outlaws who have betrayed the Revolution. Arriving at Blackacre, Gerald begs Brett and his wife Radclyffe to shelter Ivy and Don under their roof without asking too many questions about why his young companions have had to flee to the sparsely populated uplands and need their presence there kept secret.

Distraught at saying goodbye to Gerald, Ivy admits how much she has come to care for him since they have been battling the authorities together. They snatch a few moments alone together to say a private farewell before Gerald drives back to the capital, hoping to persuade Janus to drop his pursuit of Ivy and Don. En route, Gerald is followed by the same car that tailed them northwards. Lured into stopping to assist at the site of a road traffic accident, the trainee surgeon is captured and transported to a shadowy underground scientific research facility, where he is disturbed to discover that Sinister Tungsten, sister to his arch nemesis Hendra, awaits him.

In the Blackacre library, Don is welcomed by the Seven. This mysterious group includes the Master he fought to defeat down in the Metropolis, five other strange figures with bizarre powers and, of course, the malignant farmhouse itself. Brett, Radclyffe and their twin baby sons reside in the oddest place Don has ever encountered. He reluctantly agrees to become involved in the Seven’s project to assassinate Dr Luther Honigbaum, who funds the facility where Gerald is being held prisoner and runs the asylum in Austria which supplies its young female test subjects.

Learning how to transport herself from one location to another shocks Ivy. Unlike Don, who has wielded great power his whole life, her skills as an assassin are more practical in nature, and she worries that having shifted safely to Austria she’ll be unable to return safely. Finally, she is ready to undertake her mission to kill the evil man behind the gruesome experiments that serve no purpose other than to gratify the rampant cruelty of Honigbaum and his acolytes.

Meanwhile, the Seven show Don another facility, this time in Antarctica, where equally cruel experiments take place upon men. When the Seven tell him he is too young to witness exactly what it taking place, he uses his unique powers to advance his age by three years so that he is now eighteen. He gladly sacrifices a part of his natural life to rescue the men kept prisoner there and tormented by sadistic experiments with no scientific value whatsoever.

Arriving in Austria, Ivy is horrified to discover that her cover is already blown and Honigbaum lies in waiting for her. He has a sinister agenda of his own and will stop at nothing to eliminate anyone who resists both his sadistically cruel medical research and his repulsive sexual advances. When Brett Flint’s cousin Henry turns up at Ubersneller, Honigbaum locks him up in one of his asylums high up in the mountains to ensure his silence. He has particularly dark designs on Ivy, and is determined that her close friendship with Don will enable him to reach out to his estranged son. Drugged and forced to comply, Ivy is young enough to provide the ageing Honigbaum with everything he wishes. Gerald’s imprisonment ends when Sinistra’s elder sister Hendra returns and the authorities brutally re-establish law and order, but he is no safer with her than with her sibling.

The Review

A truly gripping, intense, and engaging dystopian sci-fi read. The author does a brilliant job of creating a large mythos in this dystopian world rich with a multitude of main and side characters that readers will be able to both loathe and root for. 

Although I had not read the first book in the series, the author writes in a way that allows readers both new and established to be able to delve into this new narrative, as the central characters find themselves split up and fighting brutal battles all on their own. Each finds their path fraught with horrifying trials and monstrous adversaries, all while their own abilities grow and develop over time. 

The story really benefits from a strong character arc for the central protagonists and antagonists. This lengthy read delves into the hardships and struggles each character undertakes in this world divided by class and exposed to horrors unlike anything seen before. In the midst of powers and action, the author really brings about complex characters that readers can identify and support throughout this narrative.

The Verdict

A must-read dystopian sci-fi thriller, author John C. Adams’ “Blackacre Rising” is a fantastic sequel in the Ivy Spires series. Emotionally driven character arcs and action-packed scenes all come together under strong mythology and ends on a cliffhanger that will leave readers wanting more. Be sure to preorder your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I’m a non-binary author and critic of fantasy and horror.

I review for Schlock! Webzine, the British Fantasy Society and Horror Tree, as well as placing reviews and articles across a wide range of blogs and magazines.

I have a Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Writing from Newcastle University. I’ve been a Contributing Editor for Albedo One Magazine and the Aeon Award since 2016. Before that, I was a Submissions Reader with them.

My debut horror novel, ‘Souls for the Master’, is 99c on Smashwords retailers and 99p on Kindle. Likewise, my debut fantasy novel, ‘Aspatria’, is 99c on Smashwords retailers and 99p on Kindle. The sequel to ‘Aspatria’, ‘Dagmar of the Northlands’, is out now on Kindle and Smashwords retailers.

Although I write mostly long fiction, since 2015 I have had stories published in anthologies from Horrified Press, Lycan Valley Press, Fantasia Divinity and Jersey Pines Ink. My short stories have also been published in the Horror Zine, Swords & Sorcery, Sirens Call, Blood Moon Rising, Lovecraftiana and various other magazines.

Every emerging writer needs plenty of encouragement right at the start, and entering lots of competitions early on made a real difference to my confidence to press on with writing longer fiction and think about submitting short fiction to magazines and anthologies in due course. In 2012, I was longlisted for the International Aeon Award Short Fiction Contest for ‘The Visitors’ and again in 2013 for ‘We Can Finish Your Baby’s Brain For You’. My writing was also recognised by the Enrico Charles Literary Award (runner up in 2012) and by the University of Winchester Writers’ Conference in both 2012 and 2013, including a Commendation in the First Three Pages of a Novel category, and other nominations in poetry and short fiction.

I read PPE at Somerville College, and I am a non-practising solicitor. I live in rural Northumberland, UK, and I combine my career as an author and critic with raising my kids and caring for a severely disabled relative. I’m always busy!

http://johncadams.wix.com/johnadamssf

Twitter: johncadamssf

Posted in reviews

Warriors of Potentia (The Shadows) by J.J. Angelus Review

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

A group of young people are all that stands between Earth and an unimaginable threat in author J.J. Angelus’s “Warriors of Potentia (The Shadows)”. 

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The Synopsis

The souls of mankind have always had a fascination with the unknown. Humanity desires nothing more than to unravel the secrets of the Universe in hopes of gaining enlightenment and uncovering the truth. But what if they uncovered something which darkened their perceptions? Something that could wipe out their existence if it was given the opportunity?A supernatural entity descends upon an unsuspecting community carrying a hostile attitude and voracious appetite. The only offset for this cosmic menace is a few young adults who gain mystical abilities from unknown origins. Inexperienced and unaware, the odds are clearly against them as they face a merciless and ever-evolving enemy. An enemy who not only threatens their young adult lives, but also the entire Earth. As the mystery unfolds, your deepest and darkest fears will become reality, and the shadows surrounding your conscience shall come to life. A reality which fuels your imagination and reshapes your mind towards understanding the inner workings of the Cosmos just a little bit better.

The Review

The book hits the ground running, setting the stage for a powerful sci-fi epic YA series that is both emotional and action-fueled. After a deadly accident on a space station launches a lone astronaut back to Earth carrying a dangerous alien threat, the world becomes a target and a few teens find their lives changed forever.

The author does a great job of creating unique mythology that blends sci-fi and fantasy seamlessly. The cast of characters is strong and does well to elevate the story naturally, and readers become invested as the story progresses. The only thing of note would be that sometimes perspective changes between characters occur suddenly without warning, so perhaps in the future, these character perspective changes could occur with some separators between each passage within a chapter. 

The Verdict

A gripping sci-fi tale like no other, author J.J. Angelus has set the stage for a fantastic YA series. Engaging, heartfelt, and incredibly detailed in its mythological approach, Warriors of Potentia is a must-read novel of the summer. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 8/10

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Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089XDNMK2

Facebook: https://facebook.com/warriorsofpotentia

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53936297-warriors-of-potentia

Author Bio: 

In 2016, J.J. Angel was a part of an anthology called Voices from the Bayou, he loaned his words on several troubling events that year in Louisiana. Specifically, The Great Flood of 2016, the shooting of Alton Sterling, and the deaths of three police officers. His written portion titled, “Still Water Runs Deep” is about an outward conflict clashing with his own inner conflict, both as a flood victim and a misguided African American male.  

 Several years later, he decided to differentiate himself from the book with a new pseudonym, but since he loved his original pen name so much, he simply turned Angel into Angelus which is Latin for angel. The Angel portion of his original pseudonym is a shortened form of his mother’s name Angela.

JJ prefers to write stories focusing on the supernatural, with spiritual awareness intertwined somewhere in the plot. He enjoys educational science books as well.  

Warriors of Potentia is his most developed production, with one completed book and several sequels on the way. The idea of the story originated twenty-five years ago as a way to combat the ongoing verbal and physical torment from peers. Beginning as simple stick-figure drawings, these characters developed, as he developed, and became a greater manifestation of his creativity into what they are today.  

JJ is also working on a few other titles that are not a part of the Potentia franchise. These works will be released sometime in the near future as well.

When he’s not writing, JJ’s outside moving around the downtown capitol; enjoying the great Louisiana cuisine and entertainment, visiting parks and zoos to become closer with the elements of nature, and trying to control his ongoing obsession with Star Trek Deep Space Nine. 

Sisko to Ops!!

Grab 10% Off Your Purchase of your official Book Launch Planner Using My Personal Code: ANTHONY10

https://thebooklaunchplanner.com/?ref=vxz9wOnrQ6ZT

Posted in reviews

The Beast Of Wheeler Ridge By Chris Stevenson Review

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

A shocking twist on the classic forbidden love theme comes with a dangerous new threat and science gone wrong in author Chris Stevenson’s novel “The Beast Of Wheeler Ridge”. 

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The Synopsis

Wolf girl gone feral…

A DNA experiment gone horribly wrong…

A beast who will stop at nothing.

Seth Anson, a lovelorn forest ranger, never thought that he would shoot the first eligible woman he met after his divorce. Nor did he think that he would fall in love with her after nursing her back to health. But he certainly isn’t prepared to find out that she is the result of a DNA cloning experiment gone horribly wrong and, is in fact, a hybrid human/wolf.

It all comes to a head atop Devils Tower Wyoming.

The Beast of Wheeler Ridge examines the lurid morality issues that are dealt with in The Island of Doctor Moreau, while exploring the theme of forbidden love as can be found in Beauty and the Beast, only with the gender rolls reversed.

Contains mild language and suggestive themes

The Review

A fantastic blend of science fiction and horror thriller, author Christ Stevenson has brought to life a one of a kind reimagining of the classic werewolf tale. Exploring the horrors of genetic experimentation gone wrong, the author does a great job of finding a natural balance between the horror elements of the story with the romance and character growth of the cast of characters. 

It was refreshing to get such a unique take on the werewolf genre, exploring ancient creatures from a long-forgotten age being brought back by science, and evolving from there. The idea of restoring lost creatures back into modern society and the experiments pushing past boundaries to see human and animal hybrids becoming a reality made for a unique twist on the genre, making the story easy to engage with. 

The Verdict

An evenly paced, action-fueled, and tense romantic sci-fi thriller, author Chris Stevenson delivers a powerful story in “The Beast Of Wheeler Ridge”. Discovering the meaning behind what makes someone a monster and what makes them “human” blends with the forbidden love theme in a remarkable tale that will keep readers invested throughout. Be sure to grab your copies today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Check out my blog GUERRILLA WARFARE FOR WRITERS (SPECIAL WEAPONS AND TACTICS):

http://guerrillawarfareforwriters.blo…

Christy’s Young Adult Fabuliers:

https://christysyoungadultimagineers….

About me

Gender Male

Industry Science

Occupation Novelist and Science Writer

Location Sylvania, Alabama, United States

Links Wishlist

Introduction Been writing for 32 years, publishing novels, non-fiction books, radio horror plays, short stories, reviews, interviews, poetry and thousands of non-fiction automotive articles. I’m on my third agent, and have had 10 books and twenty-two short stories published, beginning in 1988. Writing Credits and History BOOK CREDITS: Auto Repair Shams and Scams (Forward–Ralph Nader), 1990, Price Stern & Sloan, Los Angeles–226 pages, non-fiction, consumer warning book. Garage Sale Mania, 1988, Betterway Publications, Crozet, Virginia–190 pages, non-fiction book—1988. Word Wars, a SF novel, to Rain Publishing, Canada—May, 2007. Once Upon a Goddess, a Fantasy novel, to Rain Publishing, Canada—January, 2008 Planet Janitor—Custodian of the Stars, a SF novel sold to Engage Books, May 2009 Gate Walker, a Paranormal Fantasy, sold Lyrical Press—January, 2009. The Wolfen Strain, a fantasy thriller sold to LBF Books, February 2009

The Girll They Sold to the Moon, Intrigue Books

Blackmailed Bride to Melange Satin Romance. Screamcatcher: Web World by Melange Books.

Interests Hiking, paleontology, Ufos, cryptozoology, bigfoot, astronomy, lake monsters, ancient Egypt, archeology, geology

Favorite Movies Blade Runner, Time Cop, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Logun’s Run, Transformers, The Time Machine, Kickass

Favorite Music REM, Abbaa, When in Rome, Steve Miller Band, SF and fantasy soundtracks.

Favorite Books Icerigger, Virgin Planet, Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Lord of the Flies, Black Marble, Close Encounters, The Island, Black Marble, Dune, Riverworld, The Mote In God’s eye

How many books have I published? 10 to date, with three out on agent subs, and five more in the wings ready to go.

Amazon Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Chris-Harold-Stevenson/e/B001K8UUBK

Christy’s Website:  https://christysyoungadultfabuliers.com/

Blog:  http://guerrillawarfareforwriters.blogspot.com/

Posted in reviews

She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be by J.D. Barker Review

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

A young boy meets a mysterious girl, and begins a lifelong journey of shadowy organizations, haunting deaths and strange happenings no one could possibly believe in author J.D. Barker’s “She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be”. 

The Synopsis

A haunting tale of suspense, rendered with the masterful skill only Barker could muster.

After the loss of his parents, young Jack Thatch first met Stella as a child–this cryptic little girl of eight with dark hair and darker eyes, sitting alone on a bench in the cemetery clutching her favorite book. Gone moments later, the brief encounter would spark an obsession. She’d creep into his thoughts, his every waking moment, until he finally finds her again exactly one year later, sitting upon the same bench, only to disappear again soon after.

The body of a man found in an alley, every inch of his flesh horribly burned, yet his clothing completely untouched. For Detective Faustino Brier, this wasn’t the first, and he knew it wouldn’t be the last. It was no different from the others. He’d find another just like it one year from today. August 9, to be exact.

Isolated and locked away from the world in a shadowy lab, a little boy known only as Subject “D” waits, grows, learns. He’s permitted to speak to no one. He has never known the touch of another. Harboring a power so horrific, those in control will never allow him beyond their walls.

All of them linked in ways unimaginable.

SHE HAS A BROKEN THING WHERE HER HEART SHOULD BE conjures thoughts of early King and Koontz. A heart-pounding ride that creeps under your skin and will have you turning pages long into the night. 

The Review

After the grim and compelling series 4MK, my expectations for J.D. Barker’s next novel were definitely high, and he definitely did not disappoint. While not as chilling in nature as 4MK, this novel creates not only engaging mythology and story but a wide cast of characters that elevate the story and create a wide range of emotions in the reader overall. 

The mystery of the young girl this boy meets and the journey he goes on as the years go by creating a truly mind-bending thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seat. The genre combination of sci-fi, fantasy, thriller and crime with a hint of romance and suspense keeps the readers guessing at every turn, questioning the character’s motives and firmly invested in the story, especially that of the protagonist, Jack. 

The Verdict

One of 2020’s standout hits already, J.D. Barker wows readers everywhere once again with his novel “She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be”. The story is lengthy yet exciting as each chapter goes on, never leaving the reader unengaged and yet always exciting enough to have the reader wanting more. A thrilling novel that felt reminiscent of the early days of Stephen King, this is a must-read book for any fan of a good suspense, mystery and crime thriller. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

J.D. Barker is the international best-selling author of numerous novels, including DRACUL and THE FOURTH MONKEY. He is currently collaborating with James Patterson. His novels have been translated into two dozen languages and optioned for both film and television. Barker resides in coastal New Hampshire with his wife, Dayna, and their daughter, Ember.

A note from J.D.

As a child I was always told the dark could not hurt me, that the shadows creeping in the corners of my room were nothing more than just that, shadows. The sounds nothing more than the settling of our old home, creaking as it found comfort in the earth only to move again when it became restless, if ever so slightly. I would never sleep without closing the closet door, oh no; the door had to be shut tight. The darkness lurking inside needed to be held at bay, the whispers silenced. Rest would only come after I checked under the bed at least twice and quickly wrapped myself in the safety of the sheets (which no monster could penetrate), pulling them tight over my head.

I would never go down to the basement.

Never.

I had seen enough movies to know better, I had read enough stories to know what happens to little boys who wandered off into dark, dismal places alone. And there were stories, so many stories.

Reading was my sanctuary, a place where I could disappear for hours at a time, lost in the pages of a good book. It didn’t take long before I felt the urge to create my own.

I first began to write as a child, spinning tales of ghosts and gremlins, mystical places and people. For most of us, that’s where it begins—as children we have such wonderful imaginations, some of us have simply found it hard to grow up. I’ve spent countless hours trying to explain to friends and family why I enjoy it, why I would rather lock myself in a quiet little room and put pen to paper for hours at a time than throw around a baseball or simply watch television. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I want to do just that, sometimes I wish for it, but even then the need to write is always there in the back of my mind, the characters are impatiently tapping their feet, waiting their turn, wanting to be heard. I wake in the middle of the night and reach for the pad beside my bed, sometimes scrawling page after page of their words, their lives. Then they’re quiet, if only for a little while. To stop would mean madness, or even worse—the calm, numbing sanity I see in others as they slip through the day without purpose. They don’t know what it’s like, they don’t understand. Something as simple as a pencil can open the door to a new world, can create life or experience death. Writing can take you to places you’ve never been, introduce you to people you’ve never met, take you back to when you first saw those shadows in your room, when you first heard the sounds mumbling ever so softly from your closet, and it can show you what uttered them. It can scare the hell out of you, and that’s when you know it’s good.

jd

Posted in reviews

Requiem, Changing Times by R.J. Parker Review

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

A young middle school aged boy finds himself thrust into a harrowing adventure when fantasy and horror creatures once thought fictional bring danger to his family in author R.J. Parker’s novel “Requiem, Changing Times. 

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The Synopsis

Clint and Corbin are having a weird day. Best friends for life, things are getting a little strange around their town, and at school. When they’re followed by a strange man looking for Clint and later attacked by an imp, it makes sense to retreat to the safety of home. But when strangers from another world, Banks and O’Neil, arrive with their medley of allies, things get even weirder. Why are they here? What do they want? And what is The Requiem that everyone keeps talking about? As Clint and his friends and family are drawn deeper into a thrilling adventure, only one thing is for sure. They may not be getting out alive. And class with Mrs Christenson will seem like a walk in the park after this.

The Review

The author does a brilliant job of blending several genres together in a cohesive way. A fusion of fantasy and horror with some elements of sci-fi, mystery and suspense in the YA genre umbrella so to speak make this novel really shine brightly.

Fans will get a fantastic cast of characters to root for and stand behind, not least of all protagonist Clint, a young boy suffering from a profound loss and getting into trouble at school and with his new family unit when he is suddenly thrust into life or death stakes and adventures, forcing him to reevaluate his priorities and the choices he had been making. 

What really stuck out though was the author’s flipping of the script in the YA fantasy/horror genre. Most often young protagonists must venture directly into another realm in a fantasy setting, but here we see the fantasy realm coming to Clint first, showing what would happen if these fantastic creatures and horrifying threats entered the real world in the midst of global upheaval. 

The Verdict

This lengthy read is the perfect new fantasy/sci-fi drama for anyone who loves the YA genre. A great pairing of mystery and suspense and larger than life characters all culminate in a shocking finale that will have readers on the edge of their seats and leaves the door open for future installments in this exciting new series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of “Requiem, Changing Times” by R.J. Parker today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Russell Parker was born in Bountiful, Utah. As his father was safety manager he had to move around until his senior year of high school, when he came to Cache Valley, Utah to stay. He married the most wonderful woman in the world and they are the parents of four fantastic kids, with one crazy dog.

Russell played all kinds of sports and was an outdoorsman until an accident brought him to writing. A writer since high school, encouragement brought his stories to life.

https://rjparkerwrights.wixsite.com/mysite

https://amzn.to/2UkaGNB

Posted in reviews

Genex of Halcyon by Joshua Stelling Review

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

A future where machines have taken over and humanity is immersed into technology and genetically altered beings clashes with some of mankind’s most difficult issues in author Joshua Stelling’s novel “Genex of Halcyon”. 

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The Synopsis

“Something special and unique in its genre. Worth reading the first time and even worth revisiting to explore its complex, fresh ideas.” “In the dystopian genre, this can be a difficult line to walk, but Stelling does it masterfully.” “[The] writing in this book is beautiful.” — Steph Huddleston, The Independent Book Review

“Atmospheric and lyrical, telling the story like it took place in a dream without slowing the pace or dulling the storyline.” — Jennia Ahava, Blogger

In this near-future utopia, in Halcyon all are free. People with wings fly alongside skyline railcars, between the towers. They are more than what we’ve known as human, the next stage of our evolution. Amid the psychic computers and genetic freaks, competitive laser sports and mindless bots, runs a love triangle stronger than death itself. Over these three nights in 2051, Harmony and Azad must find their way through misfits and prophets, blood and tears, to new horizons. Their fate, in the time of climate change, in the afterglow of the rise of machines, is entwined with the world.

The Review

A beautifully written artistic approach to the sci-fi genre, author Joshua Stelling has done an amazing job creating a futuristic society that perfectly comments on the issues we face in our own modern era. The author does an amazing job of creating a society built on technology and showcasing how technology can be beneficial in a lot of ways, yet will always keep humanity from living to their fullest potential if they rely too heavily on it. 

The story allows readers to see the age old question of how we deal with love and grief in the face of tragedy. No matter how much technology grows and our own genetics evolve, the world is still full of painful memories and events that can’t be fixed by technology. 

The Verdict

An artistic and creative voice paints a vivid image of the future with author Joshua Stelling’s novel “Genex of Halcyon”. The novel does an excellent job of pushing boundaries and the limits of the sci-fi genre to all new heights in a read that is evenly paced and will have readers thinking critically about love, loss, and the experience of real life versus life through technology. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Joshua Stelling is a poet and music lover who has spent a lot of his time running record stores around Denver, building his own art on the side. In time, the stories inside the man have boiled over, becoming worlds, and his pages turned into books. Combining hard sci-fi and adult fiction with a fluent love of metaphor and poetry, his work will challenge you but leave you wanting more.

www.ArchandGravity.com

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Azariah Scott

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


My love for writing started when I was in elementary school. It happened after years of pushing by my mom to get me to read. I hated reading because I couldn’t read. She had to work really hard to teach me to read. We would practice. She would take me to a tutor. I would cry. She would push. Once I learned to read I fell in love with reading and would get into trouble for reading too much. I had to go to special reading classes until 6th grade, though.


Anyway, I wrote all kinds of stories. The stories, at that time, I wrote the most were ones that included my friends as characters. 


Everyone I knew was part of the story from us all being superheroes to murder mysteries about how one of my friends died and one of us did it. I would write a little bit every week and they would want me to read it to them because they got a kick out of it. It was like a TV series. 


Later when I was a waiter, I did the same thing. I wrote a stories with the people I worked with as heroes and villains. I also did that on a forum I spent a lot of time on. I took the people that frequented that form and wrote a huge epic superhero tale. 


I wrote poems, silly lyrics, short stories, and movie reviews. Then I decided to write a novel like story about sheep. I called it a fairy fable. Then I wrote Jeremiah Jericho: Allowance. 


Writing allows me to create a world with words. I like to read out loud when I read, so the sound of words creating worlds or displaying ideas or sharing a story is just without parallel. When I read an article, a book, or a simple post that elicits a feeling, I take note, because I think, wow, that was great writing. I can only hope my writing moves people as much as I am moved by other people’s writing. 


I like talking about how I couldn’t read and how hard it was for me to learn to read (it was frustrating for me and my mom) because it shows that hard work and pushing through does achieve something great. If she didn’t push me to read I could’ve been left to not knowing and I wouldn’t be where I am with how much I love to write and read. 


But I don’t like to (despite how long this answer is) talk about me because I would rather my writing be more famous than me. If my work could become famous and leave me in the dark, I would be quite happy with that.


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 2) What inspired you to write your book?


This is a dark answer because it’s one of the darkest moments in the book. I don’t want to spoil it, but since it is referenced in the first chapter I can mention what the scene is about without spoiling too much. 
I wanted to create a scene that was so dark that would be a terrible thing for someone to be part of at a sensitive time during their life and them choosing to be better than that moment. It was a rape scene that begin the idea of this book. I thought what kind of person would be created because of that? I came up with Jeremiah’s personality after that.  


That’s as much as I can say about that scene without ruining the significance of it. 


I never wrote something like that and I wanted to see how difficult it would be to write it without being pornographic. I wanted to write something displaying evil without glorifying evil. It’s a fine line as is writing this answer. I couldn’t just say well a rape happened because that didn’t explain how terrible what happened was. 


What I wanted to create was a reluctant hero. Someone that didn’t want to be one, but is put in the position to be because of circumstances that just won’t leave him alone. The pushing and the prodding that would set people off to be bad, but making it where Jeremiah would pick good despite how tempting bad would make itself. Also, giving him so much power that he could create a path to win so easily, but chooses not to because morally it’s not right to take someone’s free will away.

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


When we read books or short stories for class, I disliked when we would give an answer and the teacher would be like, well that’s not what the writer meant. This happened with Shakespeare’s work a lot. 


I touched on this already, but I made the villain in this book pure evil on purpose. There is not a single redeeming quality about him. Maybe he’s really good at his job, however, it’s at cost. I wanted a villain that was just evil. I was sick of reading how certain villains have redeeming qualities and how if you don’t write one like that, that your villain is going to be bleh. 
There has to be a reason why your villain chooses to be this way and maybe, maybe that reason will have your readers sympathize with him and at least undrstand why he’s the way he is. Not what I wanted.


I wanted there to be a good vs evil feel to this. But in reality it’s more like a well mannered boy vs evil. Proving you don’t have to be pure good to defeat evil. Which is the theme I would like people to see. There’s this monster that’s just out to ruin everything, who could stop this? Well just this average boy that just rather not be bothered can do it, anyone can do it. 
Sure he has abilities no one has, but it’s the power of the mind. He has to fight through many mental things to accomplish anything and anyone that has to deal with anything mentally understands how exhausting that is to do. 


I think that whatever the reader pulls from reading my book is valid. My idea may not be what anyone sees. It may be what a few see. It may be that the reader sees a totally different theme all together. That’s fine. I hope when they read my book they laugh, they cry a little, and they walk away thinking how cool it would be to have someone like Christopher talking to them in their head.


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4) What drew you into this particular genre?


This is a really good question because I don’t have a specific answer. I’ve thought about why I was drawn to YA. I can’t totally clear it up. 


SciFi is easy. I love Star Trek. I’m not that smart in the sciences. I had to do a bit of research for what I did in this book. I didn’t go into this wanting to be super accurate with scientific things outside of the normal storytelling. I didn’t want to get detailed as to why the chip worked. But I didn’t have magic or anything that would label this a fantasy. I like SciFi because it is grounded more. It’s not super factual on every account, but it’s good enough. 


As for Young Adult, I guess that has to do with how interesting that time period is. I had a hard time as a teen for multiple reasons. It allows me to write about someone that isn’t well put together, but at least can go about life better than I did. It gives me a chance to do things better, but not perfect. 


Jeremiah goes about things differently than I did in high school, but he’s going about it in a way I wish I had done. He is braver than I was. He’s not more sure than I am, though. I think that that’s what I like about YA. The characters are more unsure because they are less experienced than their adult counterparts. I like writing characters that are young, inexperienced, and such. It’s fun. It’s like I know where they could go because I’m older than them. I think it keeps my mind young writing characters like this.
I wanted to make sure that my adult characters were treated with respect to their age and knowledge and not treated like secondary characters that were dumber than my main character. I dislike that about certain YA stories. 


Jeremiah is all of these negative aspects of that age and some good ones, but he is ultimately a teenager that respects adults to a point that they don’t cross a line. 

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?


I like all of my characters except for one. I purposefully made him someone not to like and I dislike him so much I wouldn’t wanna even talk to him let alone be near him. 


I would love to speak with Christopher and he was my initial answer. Then I thought about Jeremiah. He went through a lot prior to even getting to the first line in the book. I would ask him what he thought the difference between a villain and a hero is. I’d ask him that because his past could be the past of a villain, instead he became a reluctant hero.  

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


I don’t have an answer for this.

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


I went to a writers group every week for almost two years. Then I had a writers group that split from that one that I went to for every week for 9 months. Then I had an online writers group that we met on Google Hangout for almost 2 years. 


Those groups helped a lot. The unique formatting in my book came from a suggestion from a writers group. A lot of suggestions came from every writers group that helped form my novel into what it is now. I did do a lot of editing myself, but the help of other people was significant. 


The face to face contact matters and it works in helping you take criticism and to learn not to defend your writing. I witnessed other people defending their writing and it’s not pretty. It feels personal, but most people want to help and they are giving suggestions to strengthen your writing. 


Even if you think the suggestion is the dumbest suggestion the world over (and I thought this often) don’t reply. Just listen and think about it for a day before you form a thought on whether or not that was a good suggestion. Sometimes you realize that the suggestion was pretty awesome.


Most of the time the person that gave you the suggestion you end up not liking will never know if you implemented it. Therefore, there is no need to tell them their suggestion is stupid. You can just not use it.


As a writer you have to understand everyone isn’t going to like what you wrote and you have to have the ability to split from your writing and learn to accept suggestions, dismiss trash, and not take any of it too personally. If, while you’re in a writers group, you cannot take criticism from a few people, how are you going to be able to stand a book review that just tears into your book? 


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

I am going through Jeremiah Jericho: Forty-Two (Book 2) at the moment. Once I go through it, then I’ll send it to get professionally edited and then work with the edits. 


Goodreads link

 Amazon link

Posted in reviews

The Mendelian Protocol by Raymond Finkle Review

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

A brutal murder leads to a sci-fi thriller like no other in author Raymond Finkle’s “The Mendelian Protocol”. 


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The Synopsis 

Two genetic researchers are brutally slain on a remote beach in the Bahamas. The investigation falls to Dr. Natalie Franklin who struggles to put the bizarre pieces of the puzzle together. When Greg Cooper discovers another body it seems unrelated, but it isn’t long before the two are racing to uncover the secret of the Mendelian Protocol before they become casualties themselves.

The Review

What begins as a classic murder mystery and thriller quickly turns into a full blown nightmare of isolation and experimentation gone very, very wrong. Author Raymond Finkle has done a fantastic job of creating a narrative that plays on the fear of isolation on the islands the story takes place in, while dealing with the chills and thrills of sci-fi themes with horror based murder mysteries as the story progresses. 

By all accounts the story begins as a murder mystery, but soon events begin to transpire and the plot completely evolves into a whole new mystery, one that puts a small group of people to the test and past their limits. The theme of isolation and new creatures reminded me thematically of Dean Koontz’s Phantoms, a personal favorite of mine. 

The Verdict

A wonderful blend of sci-fi thriller and murder mystery, The Mendelian Protocol by Raymond Finkle is a must read for any longtime fans of the genres. An edge-of-your-seat thriller that explores the boundaries of science, the chilling consequences of altering the evolutionary process and the bonds we create in the face of those dangers. Be sure to grab your copy of the book today! 

Rating: 10/10


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About the Author

Raymond Finkle is a physician who lives in New England. He wrote his first book ‘The Mendelian Protocol’ during medical school. He is currently working on his second book, a murder mystery set on Nantucket Island.

https://amzn.to/2qS5u7C

Posted in reviews

Jake & the Dragons of Asheville by Brian Kacica Review

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

A young boy gifted with incredible power discovers a family secret and the existence of ancient creatures as government agents converge on a small North Carolina town in author Brian Kacica’s Jake & The Dragons Of Asheville.


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The Synopsis

In a small, sleepy town in North Carolina, thirteen-year-old Jake Winston has discovered he carries a unique genetic trait; one that a covert government agency will stop at nothing to obtain. After the tragic death of his father, a local firefighting hero, Jake’s absent grandfather returns and sends him on a journey into the gated forest at the edge of town, bringing Jake face-to-face with a family of ancient dragons thought long extinct.

Determined to grasp the power of the blood flowing through Jake’s veins, the agent from the secret ONX facility begins killing every dragon in his path. This forces Jake in the middle of a battle between the government and the dragons of Asheville, where the true potential of his power is revealed.


The Review

A fun, engaging blend of sci-fi and fantasy, this amazing novel feels like a mix of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial and Game of Thrones. Blending fantasy driven heroics with government conspiracies, sci-fi action and teen drama and humor, Jake & the Dragons of Asheville tell a fantastic, evenly paced story of a young boy who goes on a journey after losing his heroic father, and discovering a destiny no one could have ever seen coming. 

The author does a great job of blending emotional character development as the story delves quickly into the pain of losing a loved one, especially a parent at a young age, and quickly turns that into a coming of age tale of discovering a hidden power within oneself and finding the path that leads them to their destiny. The friendships and relationships Jake has with his friends, family and new allies on his journey make the story as entertaining and engaging as it is, making this a novel that evenly incorporates mythology, fantasy and sci-fi adventure with drama, humor and the journey of a young boy in the midst of leaving childhood behind and becoming a teenager. 


The Verdict

A must read sci-fi/fantasy adventure like no other! Author Brian Kacica has done a fantastic job of creating a new mythology for those who love fantasy and dragons in general, relaying their history and journey in the world to the journey to the “New World” or America, and the price that comes from those like the government agents pursuing Jake and the Dragons seeking power at any cost. A powerful read that everyone can get into, this is a fantastic read for 2019 and the holiday season. Be sure to grab your copy of “Jake & the Dragons of Asheville” by Brian Kacica today!

Rating: 10/10


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About the Author

Brian Kacica lives in the perilous hills of San Diego, fending off coyotes, tarantulas, bobcats and rattle snakes with his beautiful, valiant wife, three courageous children and chubby chocolate Lab, whose plump legs are routinely a chew toy for her spunky Boxer sidekick. JDA is his debut novel.

Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/Brian-Kacica/e/B074FZP443/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Publisher: Magic Penny Press. https://magicpennypress.com/

Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/33NIXWX