Tag Archives: sci-fi

Welcome to Opine by Matthew Marullo Review

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

A member of a future society of a new human civilization builds resistance to a gene treatment meant to eliminate selfishness entirely, and discovers the consequences of trying to suppress human nature as a whole in author Matthew Marullo’s “Welcome to Opine”.

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The Synopsis

Nine billion years into the future, the rogue planet Earth is captured by a blue dwarf star in another galaxy, eventually culminating in the rise of Homo Sapiens 2.0.

Imagine a member of the ancient humans had buried deep in the earth a quantum computer containing a vast, digitized compendium of humankind’s history and achievements, all preserved within petabytes of quantum memory.

This new human civilization, calling their planet Opine and themselves the Opinions, the first “i” pronounced with a long vowel, were granted the valuable benefit of hindsight. After spending decades studying “Ancient” history, the Opinions endeavored to expunge selfishness from the human genome through a genetic therapy called the Self Suppressor.

But what happens when one person develops a natural resistance to the therapy? Would he then represent a threat to the gene pool? Will the Opinions be able to correct this genetic anomaly, or perhaps adapt it, in the interest of regaining a sacrificed part of their humanity?

One voice may know the answer. The voice of the man who originally buried the quantum computer billions of years ago…

The Review

This was a captivating and thought-provoking blend of sci-fi and satire. The author was able to find the perfect voice to capture the curiosity and discovery that these futuristic humans find within themselves at the pleasure and gratification resulting from this young man’s immunity. The themes of conservatism and viewing sex not as a pleasurable act but as a scientific necessity to further the human race came to life in an artistic and brilliant way.

The powerful imagery of the author’s work and the world-building helped to elevate the character’s growth and dynamics in a big way. The spark to this “revolution” of sorts within this futuristic society stems from the connection between Aster, the young man who begins to develop immunity, and his longtime friend Dianella. The sudden burst of embarrassment and shock that Aster has at his actions and desires is a stark contrast to the almost deadpan observations of Dianella. Yet, the domino effect of Aster’s actions showcases the futility of suppressing human sexuality and freedoms as a whole.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, mesmerizing, and haunting, author Dr. Matthew Marullo’s “Welcome to Opine” is a must-read sci-fi satire. The twists and turns in the narrative help to bring the rich mythology and world-building of this futuristic society and version of Earth to life in an authentic way. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Dr. Matthew Marullo is the author of three prior novels: The Octave Displacement (2006), Gludman’s Proof (2013), and Till Times Are Done (2019). Reviewers such as Kirkus, Blueink, and Foreword call Marullo’s novels “unique,” “clever,” as well as “expertly” and “masterfully” written. Dr. Marullo lives with his family in Long Island, New York. 

Love’s Call by Fern Brady Review/Preview

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

Two people from rival nations find themselves fighting against the growing attraction between them, but only one of them realizes they are fated to one another in author Fern Brady’s “Love’s Call”.

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The Synopsis

Denipia Leron, a beautiful young painter and visionary from the country of Usmerim, has just won the coveted Innovation Awards in the Arts. During her trip to the award ceremony, she learns that President Nichamir Linput of the enemy nation of Sorusvia is a primary patron and has expressed special interest in her. Fearful of what this could mean for her burgeoning company and artistic career, she vows to be polite, but keep the would-be dictator as far from her as she can.

Nichamir is used to getting what he wants, both personally and politically. Having saved his nation from a Calvernsin invasion, he believes himself justified in how he rules Sorusvia. In spite of the propaganda against him, Nichamir works hard to bring prosperity to his people. Yet the powerful ruler finds himself unprepared for his first meeting with the strong-willed and wary Denipia.

But Nichamir is not what he seems. He is dragonborn, a secret he has carefully hidden his whole life. He knows Denipia is his fated mate from the first moment he catches her scent. For Denipia, the strength of the attraction she feels for a man she should deeply despise is disconcerting, yet undeniable. She wants Nichamir as she has never wanted any other man.

Can Denipia risk giving her heart to this powerful man? Will Nichamir be able to win her trust? Can Love’s Call help them overcome the many obstacles in their path and forge the bond they seem destined to fulfill?

The Review

This was a well-written and captivating sci-fi meets fantasy read. The author did an excellent job of drawing the reader in with a heavy atmosphere of will they, won’t they passion and did an incredible job of building upon the enemies-to-lovers romance trope that kept the political and action elements of the novel elevated.

The heart of the narrative however was in the world-building and the character growth that the two protagonists went through. The mythos surrounding dragons and the dragon-born were incredible to read through, as were the political and sci-fi elements of the setting and world the author created. The tensions that arose from the protagonist’s dividing factions and the heat that sparked between them were engaging and heated as the novel progressed, and helped give the intrigue and suspense more weight.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, passionate, and entertaining, author Fern Brady’s “Love’s Call” is a must-read sci-fi and fantasy romance novel of 2023 and a great way to begin the new year. The twists and turns in the two protagonist’s journey and the tension their opposing backgrounds bring to their possible romance will keep readers invested in the narrative until its climactic conclusion. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Fern Brady is the founder and CEO of Inklings Publishing. She holds multiple Masters degrees and several certifications. She began her professional life as a foreign correspondent, and taught for 15 years in Alief ISD. She has published numerous short stories, two children’s picture books, and a couple of poems. Her debut novel, United Vidden, which is book one in her Thyrein’s Galactic Wall Series, was given a glowing review by Dr. Who Online, the official site of the fandom. Also available for purchase is volume one of her graphic novel/novella hybrid project, New Beginning. She has returned to the leadership of the Houston Writers Guild, with whom she served as CEO for four years previously. She co-hosts on the popular podcast Author Talk. Besides being active in WIVLA (Women in the Visual and Literary Arts), she is also a member of Blood Over Texas, Romance Writers of America, and American Booksellers Association. Fern lives in Houston TX with her parents and her talkative husky, Arya. Follow Fern’s writing at: www.fernbrady.com

Rembrandt’s Station (Exiles of the Drift Book Two) by Christie Meierz Review

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

An exiled aristocrat and head of a space station must decide whether to genetically alter himself in order to be with the man he loves in author Christie Meierz’s “Rembrandt’s Station”.

The Synopsis

Stationmaster and exiled aristocrat Albert St. John Rembrandt—Bertie to his friends—is in love with someone he’s always believed he can’t have, and finding out the hard way that some Tolari are as poisonous as their planet is only the beginning of his troubles. A ship has gone missing. His station is in crisis. Bertie must somehow recover his health and manage the disaster while trying to decide whether to accept genetic modification in order to be with the man he loves.

And no Rembrandt has ever taken a gen mod. 

The Review

This was an incredible read. The amount of world-building and mythos the author is able to establish and expand upon from the rest of the Tolari Space Opera saga was given life on the page through exquisite imagery and tone. The narrative was both out f this world and yet somehow familiar and relatable, giving readers a chance to really explore this vast universe through a unique blend of setting and atmosphere. 

The heart of this narrative rests in the author’s character development. The story already comes into play in a spinoff of a much grander-scale sci-fi series, but the one-on-one interactions that these characters have as a  result of their connection to the Earth and one another. The relationship between Bertie and the Monral and how it evolves both characters over time was fascinating and emotionally investing for me as a reader to get behind, and the LGBTQ-driven romance that helps evolve this sci-fi narrative and the future it resides in made this a captivating read.

The Verdict

Engaging, thoughtful, and rich in mythology, author Christie Meierz’s “Rembrandt’s Station” is a must-read sci-fi epic. The perfect sequel and next installment in this space opera franchise, the evolution of Bertie in particular was a great storytelling device, allowing the reader to experience the man he was and everything in his upbringing melt away into the man he was meant to be. The love, adventure, and mythology that the character experiences in this future made this one compelling story that readers will not be able to put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Rembrandt's Station - Christina Meierz

Christie Meierz has a new MM sci-fi romance out: Rembrandt’s Station. And there’s a giveaway!

Stationmaster and exiled aristocrat Albert St. John Rembrandt—Bertie to his friends—is in love with a man he’s always believed he can’t have, and finding out the hard way that some Tolari are as poisonous as their planet is only the beginning of his troubles.

A ship has gone missing. His station is in crisis. Bertie must somehow recover his health and manage the disaster while trying to decide whether to accept genetic modification in order to be with the man he loves.

And no Rembrandt has ever taken a gen mod.

Warnings: mention of past off-screen rape of a character who doesn’t appear in the book

Universal Buy Link


Giveaway

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

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Excerpt

Rembrandt's Station meme

Bertie was dying.

The Monral bent over him. “My love, I beg you—”

“Must… must stay human… the Duke…”

The Monral slammed his other hand onto the treatment bed and looked up at the apothecary, knowing his face betrayed the pain of his next words. “You cannot give it to him unwilling.”

She nodded, her own face betraying nothing. Grimly, he poured more of his own strength through his fingers into Bertie, who rallied a little, bringing the pain roaring back. Pain itself could kill a human. The path to keeping Bertie alive lay along a cliff’s edge. Any mistake would plunge him into the dark.

The apothecary pointed her chin at his hand. “We will do all we can for him, but high one, you must pace yourself.”

He shook his head and turned back to Bertie, willing him to remain in the light. Stay alive. Stay alive! Stubborn human! Why? Why did he risk losing his own life to remain unmodified, to hold himself apart from a belonging he clearly desired?

Poisoned, sickened, in extreme pain—Bertie could not be thinking clearly. Did that give the apothecaries an excuse to disregard his oft-stated opinion about the blessing?

Or—he could make Bertie want the blessing.

The Monral lowered his head. No. That, Bertie would never forgive. When he realized he had been manipulated—and he would—he would hate them all.

At least he would be alive to hate them.

The Monral wiped at stinging eyes. He could not betray Bertie now, though the consequences were unthinkable. He touched his forehead to Bertie’s cheek, let his senses wrap around his lover’s presence. Pain. Everywhere, pain. It crescendoed. Bertie cried out, and the Monral drew a harsh, gasping breath. It was too much, and he broke the contact to straighten. A chair touched the back of his legs; he dropped heavily onto it. Bertie had to live. He had to. If he would not take the blessing, then the Monral would do what he could do, even give every last bit of his own strength to save him. He could live with prolonged exhaustion. He was unsure if he could live without Bertie. Not anymore.

Bertie writhed. “I don’t want to die alone,” he rasped. “I don’t—” The last word broke off into another scream.

The Monral’s vision glazed. “You are not alone, my love,” he said, when the scream subsided into choking sobs. “And you will not die. Not while I am here.”

Bertie sighed, and his emotional landscape fell into a disorganized chaos of shallow unconsciousness. His body spasmed and twitched. Around him, the apothecaries, nurses, and aides moved rapidly about their varied tasks, but even unconscious, the pain hardly dulled, radiating from Bertie like heat from a fire. The Monral sagged in the chair, exhaustion fogging his thoughts. He had poured almost everything he had into Bertie. It was still not enough.

“You will not die while I am here,” he repeated, and ignored caution to pull what he still could through his ruling bond, pushing that through his fingers.

He tried to find more. There was nothing left. He would have to wait for the energy available to him through his ruling bond to replenish itself, but he was out of time. Bertie was out of time. Already his glow began to dim again. Tears welled up and spilled down the Monral’s cheeks. He was going to lose him. He was going to lose Bertie.

No. He gathered his remaining strength. If giving it left him unfit to rule, so be it, so long as it kept Bertie alive. If it was not enough—

He took a breath, facing the reality before him. If it was not enough, then Albert St. John Rembrandt, the Duke of New Norfolk’s unwanted youngest son, would walk into the dark surrounded by the love of Monralar.

“I am yours, my love,” the Monral whispered. “I will always be yours.”

He took a deep breath, gathering himself.

A feeling of being watched stole over him, and with it, a sense of Parania’s beloved. He paused. Laura was awake and listening, then. Or she was traveling about while her body slept. Why was she here?

Was it simply to offer comfort when Bertie—if Bertie—when—his thoughts stuttered to a halt. More tears spilled.

Then something touched the very core of his heart and soul, refreshing and replenishing, and suddenly he was alert. Energy poured in from his ruling bond as if he had yet given nothing at all. Startled hope flooded him. He drew another deep breath and directed the energy into Bertie. The dimming stopped.

From across the stronghold, he felt the smile on Laura’s face.

* * *

As dawn approached, the mood in the apothecaries’ quarters lightened with the sky. Even to the Monral’s untrained eye, as bad as Bertie looked, his color was better, pale as a summer cloud but no longer grey. Much of the pain had subsided, to the relief of everyone in the room, and though his breathing was shallow, it had settled into an even pattern. The Monral caught the head apothecary’s eye and lifted an eyebrow. She nodded.

“He is out of immediate danger,” she said. “We will do all we can to repair the damage to his body, high one, but it is extensive, and he will require many tens of days to fully recover. He could not have survived without the strength you lent him.”

Its work done, his connection to the beloved of Parania guttered like a candle flame and went out, leaving his chest aching but his body thrumming with energy. Mother of All, he thought. What power Laura had. And how much longer could her Paran hide the fact of it from those who would use or destroy her?

The Monral turned back to Bertie, whose eyes had slitted open. The whites were entirely stained red with blood. “Good morning,” he told him gently, in English.

Bertie managed a faint smile and said, in a hoarse whisper, “You sure know how to show a man a good time.”


Author Bio

Rembrandt's Station - Christie Meierz

Award-winning author Christie Meierz writes space opera and science fiction romance set on a world of empaths at the edge of a dystopic human empire. Her published works include her PRISM award-winning debut novel, The Marann, three more novels set in Tolari space, and several short stories.

She is a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA), spent 10 years raising sheep in Broome County, New York, and has been declared capable of learning Yup’ik.

Christie now lives in Rochester, NY, where she and her mathematician husband serve as full-time staff to two parlor panthers known to humans as Banichi the Assassin and Miss Myrtle the Hurricane Cat. (Their true names remain a mystery). When she’s not writing, she writes about writing on her blog, her personal Facebook page, where she welcomes comments and friend requests, and her Facebook Author Page.

Author Website: http://christiemeierz.com

Author Facebook (Personal): http://facebook.com/christie.meierz

Author Facebook (Author Page): http://facebook.com/tolarispace

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChristieMeierz

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6550983.Christie_Meierz

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/29733/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Christie-Meierz/e/B009N3UB22/

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Between the Broken Stars (Broken Stars Book 4) by Chad Grayson Review

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

A mission for a young couple to find the man they need in order to complete the adoption of the woman’s younger brother leads to a journey of dangerous missions, the return of deadly enemies, and a harrowing exploration of family and love in author Chad Grayson’s “Between the Broken Stars”, the fourth book in the Broken Stars saga.

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The Synopsis

Journalist Will Corwin and Doctor Amelia Warren have been apart for a month while Will finishes building the school in honor of Father Morgan, the priest killed by hybrid alien terrorist Nod Corvus. But things get complicated when Amelia’s ex-boyfriend shows up out of the blue with an offer…he knows where Amelia’s father is—the man they need to find so that Will and Amelia can adopt Amelia’s younger brother, Jonah– but what does he want in exchange for the information? What will they be willing to give him?

Thus begins a star-spanning chapter for Will and Amelia. First, they must find Thomas Warren and serve him notice about the adoption. But what will he require in exchange for his consent? And when they return to Amara and to the village of Burden, a threat from the past reaches out to try and destroy Will once more and jeopardizes the entire building project.

There’s also the wedding of Will’s sister Natalie, and her longtime girlfriend, Jada. It’s the event of the year and will be Amelia and Jonah’s introduction to the life that awaits them as members of House Sinclair. But dark forces conspire to threaten the wedding and the lives of all who attend.

Can Will navigate the demands of his family and find a comfortable place for himself within it? Will Amelia be welcomed into the society of the Twelve Houses? Can their love survive the challenges that threaten to tear them apart? When the worst happens, who will be left standing?

Between the Sacred Stars is the book that changes everything. Life for Will and Amelia will never be the same.

The Review

This was a captivating sci-fi read. The world-building and mythos the author brings to life on the pages of this book were remarkable. While I am fairly new to the series, the author’s writing style did an amazing job of bringing galactic adventure to life, using imagery to help capture the settings of this universe with ease.

Yet to me, it was the character development and the relationships that were explored in this book that really made the story come to life. The bond that the protagonist share together and the depths that they dive into as they explore their pasts and their connections to their families made this story feel both compelling and relatable in a lot of ways. The LGBTQ characters and themes the story brings to life also made the world feel brighter and more well-rounded, making this a memorable read.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, captivating, and engaging, author Chad Grayson’s “Between the Broken Stars” is a stellar sci-fi and romance read and a great addition to the Broken Stars series. The twists and turns in the narrative and the rich character dynamics will keep readers eager to read more of this author’s incredible series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Between the Sacred Stars - Chad Grayson

Chad Grayson has a new space opera romance out, Broken Stars book 4: Between the Sacred Stars. And there’s a giveaway.

Everything Changes

Journalist Will Corwin and Doctor Amelia Warren have been apart for a month, while Will finishes building the school in honor of Father Morgan, the priest killed by hybrid alien terrorist Nod Corvus. But things get complicated when Amelia’s ex-boyfriend shows up out of the blue with an offer…he knows where Amelia’s father is—the man they need to find so that Will and Amelia can adopt Amelia’s younger brother, Jonah– but what does he want in exchange for the information? What will they be willing to give him?

Thus begins a star-spanning chapter for Will and Amelia. First, they must find Thomas Warren, and serve him notice about the adoption. But what will he require in exchange for his consent? And when they return to Amara, and to the village of Burden, a threat from the past reaches out to try and destroy Will once more and jeopardizes the entire building project. There’s also the wedding of Will’s sister Natalie, and her longtime girlfriend, Jada. It’s the event of the year and will be Amelia and Jonah’s introduction to the life that awaits them as members of House Sinclair. But dark forces conspire to threaten the wedding, and the lives of all who attend.

Can Will navigate the demands of his family, and find a comfortable place for himself within it? Will Amelia be welcomed into the society of the Twelve Houses? Can their love survive the challenges that threaten to tear them apart? When the worst happens, who will be left standing?

Between the Sacred Stars is the book that changes everything. Life for Will and Amelia will never be the same.

Warning: steamy.

Get It On Amazon


Giveaway

One person will win all three of the previous titles in the “Broken Stars” series in paperback.

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Excerpt

Will brought his cameras back from where they had been swooping over the chanting crowd and focused them on the line of police. If this was going to get out of hand, it would probably start with them. They were coming back down the steps now, approaching the crowd. At first, they seemed content to watch and wait. But even Will had to admit the crowd was getting to be too much to handle. Hundreds of people were approaching the CMPD, some shouting at them.

They tensed, forming their line, holding it. The crowd vented itself, then people started walking away. Elsewhere in the plaza, Will could hear shouting. Fights were breaking out, but Will had no sense of what the cause was or how many were involved. Probably just drunk people with no focused outlet, taking out their malfunctions on the passersby.

Will returned his attention to the police. They were standing, looking ready to pounce at the first sign of a threat. Someone, threw a bottle. It shattered against one of the police shields. The cops looked at each other, and apparently, this had been all the signal they needed. They pressed forward, into the crowd, pushing with their shields, batons out, smashing the heads of the people closest to them. Some in the crowd started to scream and run the other way, others surged forward. But the cops were angry now, and they were giving no quarter. Will filmed as they fought the crowd, spilling blood, knocking people to the ground and roughly stepping over them.

One of them suddenly saw Will standing there. Hal took a defensive position in front of him, but Will pushed him back. “Whatever you do,” Will said, “don’t draw your weapon. They will shoot both of us.”

Hal took his advice as the nearest police officer leaned into Will, pointing at his cameras.

“You filming this?” he snarled.

As calmly as he could, Will said, “I’m Will Corwin, with INA, and yes, I am filming this.”

“Turn your cameras off!” The police officer shouted into his face.

“Sorry, I don’t think I will,” Will said. Hal was getting in front of him now, sensing something was about to happen. The cop surged forward, around Hal, and grabbed Will by the arm, yanking him forward. Will dropped the compad in his hand, and the officer grabbed it, throwing it as hard as he could at the stone of the plaza, then finishing the work by bashing it into pieces with his baton.

Will didn’t tell him the footage had already been backed up on INA’s servers. But the cop wasn’t done. He threw Will to the ground, and a couple of his fellows joined him, kicking at Will, their batons raining blows down around his head and shoulders.

Hal threw himself on top of Will now, his arms up, taking the blows for him. But the officers did not let up; they kept hitting Hal and Will. As Hal brought his right arm up to block the blows, Will heard a sickening crack. Hal cried out and dropped his arm. The cops surrounded them now, four of them. They hauled Will to his feet, grabbed hold of Hal, and marched both of them out of the plaza. The pain in his head was so intense that Will thought he might lose consciousness. He tried to keep track of Hal, but his vision was blurry with pain and blood.

The demonstration had devolved into a full-on riot. Will stumbled as the cops led him and Hal away, tossing them in the back of a police wagon, along with several others. Hal’s face was white with pain, his breath coming in ragged pants.

“How badly are you hurt?” Will asked as the wagon filled with prisoners, pushing Will and Hal farther into the back.

“Not sure, but I’ve been better, got to admit,” Hal said, through gritted teeth.

As the wagon filled up, the doors closed behind them, submerging them in darkness. Will leaned close to Hal to whisper, “Sorry I got you into this.”

“You were doing your job,” Hal said. “I’m doing mine.”

“Well, I’m pretty sure we’re being arrested. You have your compad?”

“It’s busted.”

“So, we’ll have to hope they give us a phone call, so I can call Hana and get our lawyers on this.”

The police wagon was moving now, launching itself over the curbs to instead travel on the wide sidewalks. Will settled back in his seat, trying to concentrate on something besides the pain in his head and the sound of Hal’s ragged breathing in his ear.


Author Bio

Chad Grayson has worked as a phone service rep for various tech companies, a gas station attendant, a middle school language arts and history teacher, and even spent one night cutting the mold off the cheese at the cheese factory.

He currently works part time at the local library, and spends the rest of his time writing, reading, hiking, gaming, painting miniatures, and binge-watching Netflix. His superpowers are procrastination and dyscalculia.

He lives near his children in Cottonwood, California, with an assortment of pets including a very bossy cat. He is an associate member of SFWA. You can find him online at chadgrayson.com, on twitter as @chadgrayson, and on tumblr as @therandomavenger.

Author Website: https://www.chadgrayson.com

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/ChadGraysonAuthor

Author Twitter: https://wwwtwitter.com/chadgrayson

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Chad-Grayson/e/B091NN68F6

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Blog Tour Post: Resistance by M.D. Grimm

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Resistance - M.D. Grimm

M.D. Grimm has a new MM sci-fi romance out, Saga of the Bold People book 3: Resistance.

Can a retired assassin be the savior his people need?

How does a former assassin save his fellow humans from extinction? By allying them with mrrogs of course!

But that’s easier said than done as humans are understandably distrustful and suspicious of sescurei, the official species of the InterGalactic community. Leopold must convince them that Mastrodai’s offer of alliance isn’t a trick, which means diplomacy, patience, and tenacity. Times like this make him grateful that he has two strong mates to lean on. And when it comes to understanding his own people, he’d be wise to follow Alex’s lead.

Alex has been too long away from her family and is thrilled to see them again. But with reunions come old pressures, old doubts, and old wounds. She must negotiate who she was with who she is, while helping her mates and her colony come together with the shared goal of freedom.

Mastrodai, meanwhile, finds himself in the minority for the first time in his life, and the constant hostility has him doubting the wisdom of their choices. But he’s devoted to his human mates and determined to see things through no matter the discomfort… or danger.

Not everyone wants what Leopold and his mates have to give, and he needs to break through the resistance humans have built up after generations of degradation, humiliation, and fear. He must win his people’s trust, solve the riddle of his parents’ rings, and navigate the new complexities of his love life.

Being an assassin was so much easier.

Series Blurb:

Leopold is a human in an alien-dominated InterGalactic Community. He gained a reputation as the assassin Voidstriker, until his identity was revealed. He soon finds himself reassessing his life, his mission, and his own identity.

Having spent his entire life driven by hate and fear, he soon finds himself motivated by hope and love. He decides on a new mission in life: freeing the human species. It will be a long, hard road, and one he can’t walk alone. Even as his allies grow in number, he will most depend on his mates–Mastrodai, the mrrog prince, and Alexandra, a fellow human, his best friend, and their lover.

Along with Sasha, a young girl with extraordinary abilities. Leopold is no stranger to challenges but this might be his greatest trial yet.

Universal Buy Link


Excerpt

Resistance meme - M.D. Grimm

After I docked and killed the engines, the hangar doors closed and the airlock door slid open. In the doorway stood a panting young man, who resembled Alex enough I surmised that was Darius. He had the same pale skin, the same fair hair, and the shape of face was reminiscent of Alex, but his eyes were a dark brown. He stared at the DV as if afraid it would vanish.

I’d kept the opaque shield over the viewing glass to keep Mastrodai hidden for as long as

possible. I suspected there were cameras here, and I needed the reveal to be on my terms.

Alex let out a strangled breath before jumping to her feet and running. She didn’t wait for the DV’s doors to lower completely. She jumped off the ramp much to my and Mastrodai’s panic. We hurried after her but I pressed a hand to Mastrodai’s chest to hold him back. I peeked around the corner and even my stone heart softened a bit. They collided in a flurry of tears and laughter, and he swung her off her feet. They peppered kisses over each other’s faces before he set her back down. But they didn’t let go. Instead they talked over each other, and despite knowing Terran, I couldn’t understand a damn thing.

“Stay inside a bit longer.”

Mastrodai growled.

“Shhh!”

Glowering, he crouched in the shadows of the DV, and I patted his head before trailing after Alex.

Darius was a strapping young man in his black, armored uniform. Two aeunni were holstered at his hips, much like how I wore mine. Both shoulders had a triangle patch. I couldn’t make out the details but they were yellow. He looked like he needed a good sleep but other than that, he appeared well-fed and alert.

Though his eyes were now red from crying.

I stood near them for a moment before Darius noticed me. It amused me when he held his sister tighter, his eyes narrowing. I recognized instant defender mode and couldn’t fault him for it. I was a stranger and that was his beloved, long-lost sister. A sister who’d helped raise him.

I kept my expression neutral and my hands in sight. I nodded to him.

“Hello. Good to meet you.”

“Alex?” he asked, that one word dripping with suspicion.

Alex took a breath and stepped back, breaking his grip. She took my hand and laced our fingers.

“Darius, this is Leopold. He’s my partner, so stop glaring at him.”

Darius’s eyes widened as he flicked his gaze between us. “He… you… what? What happened?”

“I’ll explain everything later, I promise. But we need you to meet our other companion, and you need to help us get an audience with the entire leadership.”

“Why? Dammit, Alex, you have to tell me something. You show up here after cycles of us believing that you were dead or worse, and now you have a partner who looks like he could kill me with his little finger, and you’re acting all mysterious.”

I swallowed a laugh. He wasn’t wrong.

“I will.” She grabbed his hand and squeezed hard enough that he grimaced. “But this is important. Veryimportant, to all of us. Just stay calm while we introduce you to our other partner.”

“‘Other partner’?” Darius scratched his head, looking dazed. “I am so confused.”

Alex bit her lower lip.

I called over my shoulder. “Now’s a good a time as any, Mastrodai.”

I made sure to pronounce his name correctly, not the way I normally did, with all the required growls.

Mastrodai’s heavy steps down the ramp had Darius bracing. I shifted my weight to the balls of my feet and let go of Alex’s hand while taking a subtle step in front of her. Mastrodai wore the armored suit I’d made him almost a Mragin year ago, just as I wore my armtina breastplate, but his head wasn’t protected. It was a gamble that I hoped would pay off. A helmet would other him more than he already would be among a ship full of humans. Mastrodai stepped into view, standing tall and proud, but weaponless and showing his hands.

Darius yelped and went for his aeunn.

At the same time, alarms sounded, proving that someone must have been watching the cameras. Mastrodai glared at the flashing lights, his ears flat against his head in deference to the noise.

“Darius, no!”

I leapt and tackled Darius, disarming him and tossing away his second aeunn. He struggled and fought, screaming. He had strength and passion but I had training and years of practice. I managed to roll him onto his stomach and with a knee to his back, I yanked up his arm behind him, pinning him.

“Don’t hurt him! Oh Void, Leopold!”

“Show him, Alex! Show him that Mastrodai isn’t a threat.”

With a sob, Alex ran to Mastrodai and hugged him. He held her tightly, purring, eyes and ears alert for any other aggression. Alex looked back at Darius, pleading with her eyes.

Darius stilled, frozen in shock.


Author Bio

M.D. Grimm Logo

M.D. Grimm has wanted to write stories since second grade (kind of young to make life decisions, but whatever) and nothing has changed since then (well, plenty of things actually, but not that!). Thankfully, she has indulgent parents who let her dream, but also made sure she understood she’d need a steady job to pay the bills (they never let her forget it!).

After graduating from the University of Oregon and majoring in English, (let’s be honest: useless degree, what else was she going to do with it?) she started on her writing career and couldn’t be happier.

Working by day and writing by night (or any spare time she can carve out), she enjoys embarking on romantic quests and daring adventures (living vicariously, you could say) and creating characters that always triumph against the villain, (or else what’s the point?) finding their soul mate in the process.

Author Website: https://www.mdgrimmwrites.com

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And Now, Here is a Message and Excerpt of Resistance from author M.D. Grimm

Good day lovely readers! Thank you for joining me. I am M.D. Grimm and I am here to promote my newest release, Resistance. This is the latest entry in the Saga of the Bold People. I am thrilled to release a new book in this series. These are super-novels and take twice as long as my other books to write (if I’m lucky). So, if you like grumpy, pessimistic former assassins and their long-suffering mates, as well as a dystopian setting with hope hanging on by a thread, this series might be for you!

Check out the below excerpt to learn a little bit about Alex, the woman who captured both a former assassin’s heart (Leopold) and an elite alien’s (Mastrodai). I was thrilled to finally present her voice. This is from the prologue:

***

“Alexandra Petrov, you get your ass down here now!”

Before I could answer, others shoved Mila down farther, wanting the relative safety of the dark bunker. I let her be torn from me and backed away to help the other mothers.

“Sara, you dropped your blanket, here. June, be careful, the first step is slippery. Here, let me take that, Gabe. No, no Devon, support the head.”

Devon, a new father, shaky with terror, managed to comprehend my words and held his newborn tighter to his chest. Amy, his wife, clung to his arm as she shuffled as fast as she could. She’d been forced to have a C-section, and I feared she’d pass out. I grabbed her other arm and steadied her down the steps, while trying not to block others.

I struggled to count heads in the dark and worried there were too many of us for the bunker. That was the main reason for Gerald coordinating descents. It was for safety as well as to make sure everyone got a turn.

Garbled Veruvian came closer, and the hair on the back of my neck rose as if our pursuers were breathing down my neck.

“Hurry!” I whispered.

But they weren’t moving fast enough and the bunker was almost filled to bursting. Raiders would soon be upon us. I had a choice to make.

A choice that would mean goodbye to everyone and everything I knew and loved. I caught Layla’s frantic glance over her shoulder. I gazed at Tula and Talia, twins who’d also given birth to twins, and their spouses, Roger and Edna. These people were my extended family, forged through shared experiences, both good and bad, rather than blood. 

Tears threatened but I swallowed them back. As with every other time when fear tried to consume me, I bricked it up behind a wall of numbness. Of emotionless instinct. When my father yelled at me, beat me, I’d grown numb. When my mother insulted and berated me, I’d grown numb. And now, it would be my salvation once again.

Mila and the others and their babies were all that mattered.

I turned to face the raiders and ran straight for them. It was too dark for anyone to notice, which gave me a chance at a semblance of stealth. I followed the voices, sticking as close to the shadows as I could. My heart still raced, and my mouth and throat were as dry as a desert, but my mind was focused. Distraction. Time. I needed to give both so the others could close the door to the bunker and secure themselves.

Our little village wasn’t in the best shape, and I used that to my advantage. I grabbed a flimsy plank of wood and broke it into smaller pieces on my knee. The sounds made a few raiders shift away from the rest to investigate. My vision had adjusted to the darkness and, considering none of them had lights on their helmets or rejlfei, they probably had natural night vision. I couldn’t determine their species, and I didn’t much care. It didn’t matter.

With a courage I knew Mila would be proud of, I screamed at them and threw the wood shards at their heads. They flinched, the suddenness of my attack catching them off guard.

“To the Void with you aliens! I spit on your home planets!” I said in Veruvian.

Someone barked out a harsh order, and most came after me. It would have to do. I ran. I ran in the opposite direction. I ran until daggers scraped my lungs, until my legs burned, until fatigue made me stumble. I knew I couldn’t escape. Didn’t matter. Time. Distraction. My freedom was already gone.

They didn’t shoot at me, wanting me alive. Though that didn’t mean they wouldn’t harm me, punish me for the insults. I tightened on the numbness that protected me like armor. It was just my body they would hurt. Not me. They would never touch Alex Petrov. Not where it mattered.

A tranq finally stopped me.

***

The first three books of the Saga of the Bold People are available for purchase at Amazon (also in print!) and Smashwords. I have a newsletter that I send out monthly with all the goodies you can expect in the future. That’s the best way to find out about my current and future projects.

For fans of The Stones of Power series, I have finished the first draft of Jade: First and Last (9) and am now rigorously editing it. I hope to release it in Spring 2023, so keep your eyes peeled for that! I will be releasing Crimson Purity, the next in the Shifter Chronicles book, in January 2023. I am also working on an MMF single title with dragons and outlining the next Shifter Chronicles book. Wish me luck!

More information on my catalog can be found at my website.

I hope you stay safe and healthy, and may dragons guard your dreams,

M.D. Grimm

Androids & Aliens by J. Scott Coatsworth Blog Tour & Author Interview

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New Release / Giveaway: Androids & Aliens - J. Scott Coatsworth

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi collection out: Androids & Aliens. And there’s a giveaway.

Androids & Aliens is Scott’s third short story collection – eight sci fi and sci-fantasy shorts that run the gamut from cyborgs to (comedic) alien invasions:

Rise: Because of the rise in sea levels associated with climate change, Venice vanished beneath the lagoon half a century ago. But what if we could bring it back?

Ping: I was a real estate agent by day and a museum curator in the evenings at a sci-fi museum. What I saw one night changed everything.

What the Rain Brings: Miriam struggles to make a living in post-climate-change Vancouver. But her friend Catalina has it even worse in the Arizona desert. So Miri hatches a plan.

High Seven: Zan dreams of making full reals – immersive live virtual reality skins – but his low test score may doom him to a life of cheap graphic coding.

Full Real: Dek’s given up his life of spying for the city. But one more case awaits him. Will he regret it more if he takes it. or if he turns it down?

Shit City: The Bay Area’s being walloped by a hurricane, and seventeen-year-old Jason Vasquez has been relocated to a refugee city in the Nevada Desert. Will it be temporary shelter, or a change of life?

Firedrake: Kerry has always wondered about his deadly powers. But a mysterious bunch of violet roses start him on the path to discovery – even if he’s not sure he’s going to like what he finds.

The Last Human Heart: I’m one of the Remainers, the few cyborg humans still living on this busted planet. But if my still-human heart finally gives out, I may not live to find out the truth.

This is the first time all of these stories have all been collected in one place, and the first time the Pacific Climate Tryptich – What the Rain Brings, High Seven, and Full real – have been published in any form.

Warnings: Full Real contains attempted kidnapping and references to off-page physical and sexual abuse.

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Giveaway

Scott is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Excerpt

Androids & Aliens meme

From The Last Human Heart

I slip out of the culvert as the sun falls behind the tawny hills on the horizon, a green flash lighting the sky. My heart beats at a steady pace.

Climbing back up onto the highway, I check the co-ordinates. With luck and a steady pace, I should reach the Trading Station by morning.

The stag crosses my mind again, that strange stare, beast to beast. There’s so little out here for it to live on or in, no trees or shade or shelter from the blistering sun. Just grass. Lots and lots of grass. Where did you go?

Taking one measured step after another, I start on my way, timing them to the beating of my heart.

A heady sense of possibility fills my chest. It’s strange, something I haven’t felt in years. I’ve traveled the length of the continent, from New York to California. I’ve been to Alaska and as far south as the isthmus, where rising seas finally finished the work of the Panama Canal, severing North and South America. In a few short centuries, humankind accomplished what Nature had labored for eons to do.

An hour later, I get my first look at the towers of Sacramento. I haven’t been here in decades, but it looks much the same as before. Its hulking skyscrapers and superscrapers look like bloody teeth in the infrared. Many are broken. Some still standing, others long since crashed back to the ground whence they came. They glow with stored heat, slowly bleeding it off into the atmosphere as the air cools.

Whence they came? I snort. I’m in rare form tonight—practically Shakespearian. Erik would have teased me endlessly for that.

I frown. He’s been on my mind a lot lately. Mortality having her fun with me?

I flash back to nights in Shanghai, fighting with my metal brothers and sisters in the street-to-street combat of the last wars. Flashes of light and explosions as nano bombs fell into civilian neighborhoods, eating everything in their path—stone and brick, flesh and bone.

I shudder. I should delete those memories—they only bring me pain. And yet… sometimes we need to remember the pain, so we don’t repeat it. But we can’t let it define us.

Who said that? Erik? My father?

No. It was Cassie. My erstwhile traveling companion for a couple years after the upload. When all that remained in this empty, broken world were the bots and empty, broken cyborgs like Cassie and me.

She’d finally shut herself down two decades ago. I’m tired of living, David.

Pain leaches away some of my good will. Maybe she had it right. Maybe it’s time for me, too, to give in to the inevitable. But I’m not quite ready yet, so I just keep moving.


Author Bio

J. Scott Coatsworth

Scott 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 the committee chair for the Indie Authors Committee at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth/

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/jscoatsworth/

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Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Author Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ

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Author Interview

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? If so, discuss them.

Yes, always! Ever since I started writing seriously, I’ve made a point of including folks from across the LGBTQ spectrum. I’ve also written BIPOC characters, a deaf character, and one with OCD. In Androids and Aliens, most of the characters are gay, but there’s a non-binary character and a lesbian couple as well. And do cyborgs count? 😛

How do you approach covers for your indie stories?

I create most of my own these days. I’ve been using photoshop in our day job for years to work on photos for our websites, and have learned to use it more creatively these last three. I’ve also had some help with typography and cover design from Kelley York at Sleepy Fox Designs. She did the type for A&A too. 🙂

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Astronomer. Writer. Rock Star.

I always loved signing, but somehow I just didn’t have the rock star vibe. I wanted to be an astronomer, and then I found out how much math it took to be an astronomer. I just wanted to look at the pretty nebulas, planets and stars. So that left “writer”!

What action would your name be if it were a verb?

To bounce one’s leg in a frenetic fashion.

“That guy scotted his leg so hard he knocked over the table.”

*grin*

What are you working on now?

I’m just about finished with a new four book trilogy. Yeah, you read that right. It was supposed to be three, but the last book was too long so I split it in half. It’s called the Tharassas Cycle, and it’s loosely connected to my other two trilogies. Book one, The Dragon Eater, will release in March.

The audiobook version of Skythane, my first novel, will be out in audio in February.

And next, I’ll be starting on Coredivers, book two of the Redemption Cycle, after Dropnauts.

Rembrandt’s Station by Christie Meierz Cover Reveal

Rembrandt's Station - Christina Meierz

Christine Meierz has a new MM sci-fi romance coming out in January, Farryn’s War book one: Rembrandt’s Station. And we have the cover reveal!

Stationmaster and exiled aristocrat Albert St. John Rembrandt—Bertie to his friends—is in love with a man he’s always believed he can’t have, and finding out the hard way that some Tolari are as poisonous as their planet is only the beginning of his troubles.

A ship has gone missing. His station is in crisis. Bertie must somehow recover his health and manage the disaster while trying to decide whether to accept genetic modification in order to be with the man he loves.

And no Rembrandt has ever taken a gen mod.

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Christie is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this reveal:

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Excerpt

Rembrandt's Station meme

Bertie was dying.

The Monral bent over him. “My love, I beg you—”

“Must… must stay human… the Duke…”

The Monral slammed his other hand onto the treatment bed and looked up at the apothecary, knowing his face betrayed the pain of his next words. “You cannot give it to him unwilling.”

She nodded, her own face betraying nothing. Grimly, he poured more of his own strength through his fingers into Bertie, who rallied a little, bringing the pain roaring back. Pain itself could kill a human. The path to keeping Bertie alive lay along a cliff’s edge. Any mistake would plunge him into the dark.

The apothecary pointed her chin at his hand. “We will do all we can for him, but high one, you must pace yourself.”

He shook his head and turned back to Bertie, willing him to remain in the light. Stay alive. Stay alive! Stubborn human! Why? Why did he risk losing his own life to remain unmodified, to hold himself apart from a belonging he clearly desired?

Poisoned, sickened, in extreme pain—Bertie could not be thinking clearly. Did that give the apothecaries an excuse to disregard his oft-stated opinion about the blessing?

Or—he could make Bertie want the blessing.

The Monral lowered his head. No. That, Bertie would never forgive. When he realized he had been manipulated—and he would—he would hate them all.

At least he would be alive to hate them.

The Monral wiped at stinging eyes. He could not betray Bertie now, though the consequences were unthinkable. He touched his forehead to Bertie’s cheek, let his senses wrap around his lover’s presence. Pain. Everywhere, pain. It crescendoed. Bertie cried out, and the Monral drew a harsh, gasping breath. It was too much, and he broke the contact to straighten. A chair touched the back of his legs; he dropped heavily onto it. Bertie had to live. He had to. If he would not take the blessing, then the Monral would do what he could do, even give every last bit of his own strength to save him. He could live with prolonged exhaustion. He was unsure if he could live without Bertie. Not anymore.

Bertie writhed. “I don’t want to die alone,” he rasped. “I don’t—” The last word broke off into another scream.

The Monral’s vision glazed. “You are not alone, my love,” he said, when the scream subsided into choking sobs. “And you will not die. Not while I am here.”

Bertie sighed, and his emotional landscape fell into a disorganized chaos of shallow unconsciousness. His body spasmed and twitched. Around him, the apothecaries, nurses, and aides moved rapidly about their varied tasks, but even unconscious, the pain hardly dulled, radiating from Bertie like heat from a fire. The Monral sagged in the chair, exhaustion fogging his thoughts. He had poured almost everything he had into Bertie. It was still not enough.

“You will not die while I am here,” he repeated, and ignored caution to pull what he still could through his ruling bond, pushing that through his fingers.

He tried to find more. There was nothing left. He would have to wait for the energy available to him through his ruling bond to replenish itself, but he was out of time. Bertie was out of time. Already his glow began to dim again. Tears welled up and spilled down the Monral’s cheeks. He was going to lose him. He was going to lose Bertie.

No. He gathered his remaining strength. If giving it left him unfit to rule, so be it, so long as it kept Bertie alive. If it was not enough—

He took a breath, facing the reality before him. If it was not enough, then Albert St. John Rembrandt, the Duke of New Norfolk’s unwanted youngest son, would walk into the dark surrounded by the love of Monralar.

“I am yours, my love,” the Monral whispered. “I will always be yours.”

He took a deep breath, gathering himself.

A feeling of being watched stole over him, and with it, a sense of Parania’s beloved. He paused. Laura was awake and listening, then. Or she was traveling about while her body slept. Why was she here?

Was it simply to offer comfort when Bertie—if Bertie—when—his thoughts stuttered to a halt. More tears spilled.

Then something touched the very core of his heart and soul, refreshing and replenishing, and suddenly he was alert. Energy poured in from his ruling bond as if he had yet given nothing at all. Startled hope flooded him. He drew another deep breath and directed the energy into Bertie. The dimming stopped.

From across the stronghold, he felt the smile on Laura’s face.

* * *

As dawn approached, the mood in the apothecaries’ quarters lightened with the sky. Even to the Monral’s untrained eye, as bad as Bertie looked, his color was better, pale as a summer cloud but no longer grey. Much of the pain had subsided, to the relief of everyone in the room, and though his breathing was shallow, it had settled into an even pattern. The Monral caught the head apothecary’s eye and lifted an eyebrow. She nodded.

“He is out of immediate danger,” she said. “We will do all we can to repair the damage to his body, high one, but it is extensive, and he will require many tens of days to fully recover. He could not have survived without the strength you lent him.”

Its work done, his connection to the beloved of Parania guttered like a candle flame and went out, leaving his chest aching but his body thrumming with energy. Mother of All, he thought. What power Laura had. And how much longer could her Paran hide the fact of it from those who would use or destroy her?

The Monral turned back to Bertie, whose eyes had slitted open. The whites were entirely stained red with blood. “Good morning,” he told him gently, in English.

Bertie managed a faint smile and said, in a hoarse whisper, “You sure know how to show a man a good time.”


Author Bio

Rembrandt's Station - Christie Meierz

Award-winning author Christie Meierz writes space opera and science fiction romance set on a world of empaths at the edge of a dystopic human empire. Her published works include her PRISM award-winning debut novel, The Marann, three more novels set in Tolari space, and several short stories.

She is a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA), spent 10 years raising sheep in Broome County, New York, and has been declared capable of learning Yup’ik.

Christie now lives in Rochester, NY, where she and her mathematician husband serve as full-time staff to two parlor panthers known to humans as Banichi the Assassin and Miss Myrtle the Hurricane Cat. (Their true names remain a mystery). When she’s not writing, she writes about writing on her blog, her personal Facebook page, where she welcomes comments and friend requests, and her Facebook Author Page.

Author Website: http://christiemeierz.com

Author Facebook (Personal): http://facebook.com/christie.meierz

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Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChristieMeierz

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Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Christie-Meierz/e/B009N3UB22/

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Dusk Upon Elysium by Tamel Wino Review

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

A researcher for a trailblazing VR program hoping to perfect the system gets lost in the darkest recesses of the system itself and must confront his past and the darkness humanity has been plunged into in the real world in author Tamel Wino’s “Dusk Upon Elysium”. 

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The Synopsis

From the award-winning creator of Ékleipsis comes a dystopian narrative of affliction and obsession.

The world as we know it is forever lost. A deadly virus has scourged the planet and ravaged billions. Under the harsh ruling regime, survivors were “cleansed” and confined to isolated units, perpetually tormented by hunger, desolation, and desperation.

Among them is Geoff, a researcher for the trailblazing Paradiso, an authority-regulated virtual-reality program that allows users to momentarily escape their waking lives via implanted chips. He is devoted to perfecting the system—a vessel to preserve future hopes and dreams, where immense worlds prevail, brimming with vast possibilities.

But before long Geoff finds himself thrusted into the darkest recesses of these alternate realities, where he must confront not only his past but persevere against the unknown, fighting for his very existence.

Is all this magnificence just a grandiose illusion? Could there ever be salvation from the living hell into which mankind has plummeted?

The Review

This was a truly engaging novel. The author does an amazing job of capturing the grittiness of this world the author has created. The vivid imagery the author employed here did an excellent job of capturing the rich juxtaposition of the shocking dystopian reality of the real world with the atmospheric and beautiful scenery within Paradiso, bringing this sci-fi epic to life expertly.

The heart of this narrative had to be the dynamic character development and the stellar world-building that the author crafted. The emotional core of Owen’s past meeting the present day and the psychological effect of being so immersed into this virtual world help build upon the mythos of this illness-ravaged world that has left humanity on the brink of extinction and a powerful military keeping the survivors “in check”, mirroring some of our own fears in the heights of the recent global pandemic we all endured.

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, entertaining, and haunting in its delivery, author Tamel Wino’s “Dusk Upon Elysium” is a must-read sci-fi dystopian novel of 2022. A great way to end the year for fans of these genres, the balance the author found between the mind-bending genres and the emotional core of these characters and their arcs made this story truly shine. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Tamel Wino is a horror/thriller short fiction writer from the resplendent British Columbia whose works focus largely on madness and human morality. He attended the University of Western Ontario, majoring in health sciences and psychology which only furthered his interest in human nature.

With inspirations including Alice Munro, Joe Hill, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood and Edgar Allan Poe; Tamel’s expositions are strongly grounded in traditions of dark fiction. Yet, with his bold, evocative narrative voice and incisive plot construction, Wino is paving a new movement within the space.


When he’s not reading or scribbling away on his laptop, Tamel loves listening to jazz, rewatching good ol’ classic movies and travelling.

Augment Nation by Scott Overton Review

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

In a world where mega-corporations begin to conspire together as brain augmentations replace smartphones, a young man who was one of the first to gain such an implant years before it became popular may be humanity’s only hope to raise a rebellion against these corporations in author Scott Overton’s “Augment Nation”.

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The Synopsis

Since the age of fourteen Damon Leiter has had a brain-computer interface implanted beneath his skull to correct a neurological disorder. As a teenager, it branded him as an outcast—as an adult it endows him with extraordinary abilities. He may represent the next step in human evolution.

When computerized brain augments replace smartphones as the must-have status item, mega-corporations and governments conspire together and marketing becomes mind control. Damon is uniquely equipped to lead a worldwide resistance. But Damon can’t be sure he isn’t playing into the hands of the rich and powerful.

They might even be right:

Maybe the real threat to humanity is Damon himself. 

The Review

This was an absolutely captivating,  near-future sci-fi thriller! The author did an incredible job of really layering this world with vivid imagery that brought this near-futuristic world to life. The juxtaposition of the coldness of the corporations and their machinations against the warmth and beauty of the character’s perseverance really highlighted the theme of technology and its influence on humanity overall.

The harmonious way the author brought together the character dynamics with the gripping thriller atmosphere of the narrative. The complex story behind the protagonist and his connections to both sides of this “war” was so enthralling to get lost in, as it really made his arc so much more thought-provoking. The earnestness with which he pursues his goals and the more extensive overarching nature of the antagonists and their goals kept the murky, shadowy nature of the genre alive as the story continued to evolve. Having the protagonist develop a connection with Valerie also gave him a human connection.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, engaging, and adrenaline-fueled, author Scott Overton’s “Augment Nation” is a must-read sci-fi novel. The twists and turns in the narrative and the complex nature of these characters and the mythos of this world the author has created built up the emotionally charged and shocking final chapters and the revelations of this narrative, making this story readers won’t be able to put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

With a long career as a radio morning show host, Scott’s always had a way with words. But his lifelong devotion to science fiction was destined to lead to a second career as a writer. Although his first novel, the mystery/thriller Dead Air was set in the radio world (and shortlisted for a Northern Lit Award in Ontario, Canada) all of his writing since has taken the reader to even stranger places, including the human bloodstream in his SF novel debut The Primus Labyrinth, a science fiction thriller that readers compare to Michael Crichton and Dan Brown. His most recent novel Naïda chronicles a reluctant hero with an alien being living inside him. Scott strongly believes that science fiction should involve compelling themes and important issues, along with memorable characters.

His short fiction has been published in magazines such as On Spec, AEscifi, Neo-opsis, Penumbra and anthologies including Future Visions 3, Casserole Diplomacy: The On Spec 25th Anniversary Anthology, Canadian Tales of the Fantastic, In Poe’s Shadow, and Tesseracts Sixteen: Parnassus Unbound. Fifteen of his SF/fantasy short stories have been gathered in the collection BEYOND: Stories Beyond Time, Technology, and the Stars. Many more SF novels are on the way. Scott’s distractions from writing include scuba diving, music, and collector cars. He lives with his wife on a private island in Northern Ontario.

http://www.scottoverton.ca/