Tag Archives: science fiction book review

Creatures Most Vile by Chelsea Lauren Review

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

A young woman who has been hunted by creatures her whole life has her world turned upside down when she discovers she has rare supernatural abilities, and is forced to fight the beasts that have haunted her in an arena. She must find a means of escape before the arena’s ruthless Commander before its too late in author Chelsea Lauren’s “Creatures Most Vile”. 

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The Synopsis

Stalked by monsters in the woods and her past, Anora finds safety in the quiet comforts of her small town life.

It’s another ordinary day when she’s sent to a Guardian assessment designed to unleash rare supernatural abilities, until she blasts a tunnel of water across the room. Her coach calls her gift a blessing, but Anora knows it’s a death sentence. Now she must train as a Guardian and battle the very monsters that have tormented her entire life.

After being thrown into the arena with a clawed and cackling creature, Anora refuses to accept this new life. She appeals to the Commander and begs her trainers to let her go home. The more they refuse, the more Anora realizes this isn’t a training camp—it’s a prison and they will never let her leave. Now she must escape the camp before the Commander catches on, for if he does, he may turn out to be worse than the monsters lurking in the woods. 

The Review

The world-building in this novel was fantastic! The author did an incredible job of not only captivating readers with a strong protagonist who evolved greatly over the course of the narrative but crafted a merciless and haunting dystopian world full of monsters, both the ravenous and humankind. The mythos that the author crafted around these fictional nations and the creatures that inhabit them, as well as the Guardians and their purpose, was incredible to watch unfold and did a great job of putting a new spin on the dystopian SCI-FI genre. 

The character arcs were what really brought me into this narrative fully. Anora was a fantastic hero to watch grow, as her arc from a scared and family-driven young girl into a strong and rebellious young woman was such a great and well-rounded story arc. The antagonists of this book were so vile and twisted, and the author did a great job of shocking readers with twists and turns that would change character perspectives constantly.

The Verdict

A heart-pounding, jaw-dropping, and entertaining read, author Chelsea Lauren’s “Creatures Most Vile” is a must-read dystopian sci-fi of 2021! The perfect read for sci-fi fans during the spooky season, the chilling monster attacks to set up the novel’s setting, and the twisted mind-games that the protagonist must endure making this a tense-filled world that cries out for a sequel. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I never knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. At school, everyone seemed so convicted in their career aspirations while I was constantly changing my mind. My two favorite subjects were science and English, so I decided to follow a biology track in college.  

During those four years my love for biology solidified. A career in research started to take shape. I was accepted to a graduate program winter of my senior year and was ready for a new adventure. Little did I know, that adventure was waiting for me in a Creative Writing 101 course that upcoming spring.  

After a semester of exploring my creative side through poetry and short stories, I was hooked. After graduation, I continued writing for fun and in graduate school it was an outlet for stress. My best friend and I would have de-stress writing sessions. We wrote a little, talked a lot, and she is the one who encouraged me to seek publication and share my stories with the world.   

Throughout the years, my fiancé has been a constant source of encouragement.  Balancing a career in microbiology, a blossoming career as an author, and everything else would not be possible without his hugs and our baby puppy Otis’s cuddles and kisses.  

Here’s a link to a Q&A I did with author Joshua Gillingham. 

https://www.chelsea-lauren.com/

Pets in Space 6 Review

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

11 authors come together to create original short stories featuring sci-fi, romance, and our love of pets for the sixth installment of this short story collection, “Pets in Space 6”. 

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The Synopsis

Pets in Space® is back for a new year of adventures!

Join the incredible authors in this year’s Pets in Space 6 for another out-of-this-world adventure. This award-winning, USA TODAY Bestselling anthology is packed full of your favorite Pets in Space®. Featuring 11 original, never-before-released stories from some of today’s bestselling science fiction romance and fantasy authors, Pets in Space 6 continues their vital support of Hero-Dogs.org, the non-profit charity that improves quality of life for veterans of the U.S. military and first-responders with disabilities. Don’t miss out on this limited-edition anthology before it’s too late!

Pets in Space 6 is edited by Carol Van Natta. Contributing authors: S.E. Smith (NY Times and USA TODAY bestselling author), Veronica Scott (USA TODAY bestselling author), Honey Phillips, Carol Van Natta (USA TODAY bestselling author), Cassandra Chandler (USA TODAY bestselling author), J.C. Hay (USA TODAY bestselling author), S.J. Pajonas (USA TODAY bestselling author), Greta van der Rol, Deborah A. Bailey, Melisse Aires, and Kyndra Hatch. 

The Review

This was such a profoundly unique and engaging read. Each author did a fantastic job of infusing their own unique creative spins and introducing readers to their crafted worlds while incorporating the theme of pets in space so effortlessly. The heart and passion for which the authors deliver these tales are both inspiring to read as the cause for which this book speaks are so important, and the creativity that this anthology has sparked is a testament to the amazing talent these authors have. 

What really stood out to me as a reader was the depth of world-building that each story had. Each individual story did a great job of pacing and building enough atmosphere to get a feel for the unique universes each author had created, and as with any great sci-fi story, each author built a hefty and gripping mythos that the readers won’t be able to stop diving head-first into. The emotional pull of both the featured romances and the love between the characters and their pets was so relatable and added the emotional connection the readers needed for each of these stories and their protagonists. 

The Verdict

A thrilling, action-packed, and emotionally investing sci-fi anthology, “Pets in Space 6” is a must-read novel of 2021, and the perfect sci-fi read heading into fall. The charity organization the book is dedicated to and is helping is such a worthy cause, and the author’s flair for creative storytelling and heavy world-building made this a brilliant narrative that is not to be missed. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Book and Its Authors

Website: https://petsinspacebooks.com/

Newsletter Signup: https://petsinspacebooks.com/subscribe/

Pets in Space® Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PetsInSpace/

Book Cover Link: https://petsinspacebooks.com/wp-content/uploads/PISA6_Ebook-Cover-750x1125px.jpg

Cover Artist: Carol Van Natta

Pet Illustrations: Adrian DKC, https://www.fiverr.com/krrjuus

Pets in Space® is back for a new year of adventures! 

Join the incredible authors in this year’s Pets in Space 6 for another out-of-this-world adventure. This award-winning, USA TODAY Bestselling anthology is packed full of your favorite Pets in Space®. Featuring 11 original, never-before-released stories from some of today’s bestselling Science Fiction Romance and Fantasy authors, Pets in Space 6 continues their vital support of Hero-Dogs.org, the non-profit charity that improves quality of life for veterans of the U.S. military and first-responders with disabilities. Don’t miss out on this limited-edition anthology before it’s too late!

BUY LINKS:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0994RRBK2

Apple:  https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1576119274

Barnes & Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pets-in-space-6-veronica-scott/1139825092?ean=2940162171713

Google Play:  https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=wMk3EAAAQBAJ

Kobo Books:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/pets-in-space-6

Books2Read (universal): http://books2read.com/PISA6 or https://books2read.com/u/mdD57E

OUR CHARITY: HERO-DOGS.ORG

Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space® authors have donated over $15,300 in the past five years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans and first responders. 10% of all pre-orders and the first month’s royalties of Pets in Space 6 will again go to Hero-Dogs.org. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Pets in Space 6 today so together we can continue helping this worthy charity! https://www.hero-dogs.org/

FOR MORE DETAILS ON OUR Pets in Space 6 AUTHORS…

S.E. Smith: https://sesmithfl.com/

Veronica Scott: https://veronicascott.wordpress.com/

Honey Phillips https://www.honeyphillips.com/ 

Carol Van Natta: https://author.carolvannatta.com/

Cassandra Chandler: https://cassandra-chandler.com/

JC Hay: http://jchay.com/

S.J. Pajonas https://www.spajonas.com/

Greta van der Rol https://gretavanderrol.net/

Deborah A. Bailey dbaileycoach.com/brightbooks

Melisse Aires https://www.melisseairesbooks.com/ 

Kyndra Hatch: http://kyndrahatch.blogspot.com/

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Pets in Space 6 STORIES

BEHR’S REBEL

Marastin Dow Book 2

by S.E. Smith

Two battles: One fights for a cause; the other fights for survival…

General Behr De’Mar, leader of the Marastin Dow rebel forces, knows that it is only a matter of time before he is caught and executed. It doesn’t matter to him. The cause he is fighting for is much larger than any one person—or so he thought.

Raia Glossman doesn’t know what to think when she is hired by the strange, purple-skinned aliens. After all, the Marastin Dow are known for their cutthroat, kill anything-that-moves mentality. Why would they need a lone human woman to rescue their General? But credits are credits, and Raia never turns down a chance to earn a tidy sum. Besides, it seems like an easy job for her and her two innovative pets, Chummy and Pi. They’ll get in, rescue the guy, collect their credits, and disappear again. The three of them perfected that little trick years ago. Now she is on the run with an army of Marastin Dow warriors on her tail! Not to mention that she is stuck with a tantalizing General, and she discovers she is the new poster-girl for the Marastin Dow Revolution. So much for anonymity!

Behr knows the moment he meets Raia and her two pets that they are special. Can he keep them alive and safe against the massive army threatening to end their hope of a new way of life, or will the history of the Marastin Dow’s savagery doom them all?

STAR CRUISE: TIME LOOP

Sectors Romance series

by Veronica Scott

Raelyn Cantorini, senior stewardess on the interstellar cruise ship Nebula Zephyr thinks the alien artifact she bought on the last planet the ship visited was just a pretty glass orb…until her pet Eyn knocked the ornament off a table, shattering it and sending her into an infinitely repeating time loop.

Stuck reliving the same day over and over, Raelyn has only hours to try to save the ship and everyone on board from dying in a terrible catastrophe. As she tries to solve the mystery of what happens to the ship right before midnight each time the day repeats, Raelyn meets Kev Gordonn, the former Special Forces soldier turned actor and finds herself falling in love with him. Each time the day repeats, she learns more about him while he has no memory of her. Can she persuade him they’ve met before? Will he trust her enough to help stop the Nebula Zephyr’s destruction?

And if they do save the ship, will that reset time for Raelyn?

THE CYBORG WITH NO NAME

by Honey Phillips

Dr. Rose Abbott is the scientist who pioneered the technology behind the robot horses used in the attempt to terraform Mars. Disgusted by the way her creations are treated by the GenCon Corporation, she chooses to leave her work behind and live in isolation.

Then one of her horses finds her and leads her to an injured cyborg ranger – one with no memory. She reluctantly decides to take the big male, who she nicknames Roy, back to her home to heal.

All Roy can remember is cold and pain. But the prickly little scientist taking care of him begins to thaw his frozen heart, awakening feelings he never thought to have. He is determined to protect her – even from his unknown past.

With the help of a robot horse and a cybernetic dog, can two wounded souls find peace in each other’s arms? And what will happen when the source of Roy’s injuries comes looking for him?

ESCAPE FROM NOVA NINE

A Central Galactic Concordance Novella

by Carol Van Natta

She’s a space pirate with vital information. He’s a wanted fugitive with enemies hot on his afterburner. Will their unexpected attraction survive escaping a dangerous asteroid mine in time to avert disaster?

Trouble is arising across the galaxy, and space pirate Julke Defayensdytr has vital information for her clan. She’s almost given up trying to escape the hidden rogue asteroid mine she’s been imprisoned in for over a year. But a new batch of prisoners brings hope in the form of kind and sexy Zade.

Starship crewman and wanted fugitive Zade Lunaso always runs from conflict. Unfortunately, this time it landed him with a one-way ticket to toil in the dangerous mine for the rest of his soon-to-be short life.  He’ll need all his considerable skills to escape. Not to mention help from the intriguing Julke, and a flock of curious space griffins with secrets of their own.

Their bid to steal the cruel Warden’s yacht goes off course when they take a wrong turn and discover a motherload of forgotten ships. But even if they somehow free every prisoner to fly them, the Warden will kill them all to protect the secret of his claim.

The arrival of bigger enemies means trouble has found Zade once again. Can Julke and Zade pull off the unlikeliest escape of a lifetime, or will their luck play out and leave them stranded in the void?

TRADE SECRETS

The Department of Homeworld Security series

by Cassandra Chandler

Gwen Williams wants nothing more than to explore the vast possibilities of outer space, but Earth’s technology isn’t going to get her there. Her solution? Make contact with aliens. The only problem is, her plan works a little too well—landing her on the radar of a group of aliens with plans of their own that involve her homeworld.

Xan was just trying to help his Vegan friends avoid getting into trouble for messing with human things they should have left alone. He didn’t expect to run up against Gwen, a brilliant, beautiful Earthling who stirs a depth of emotion in him that he didn’t know he possessed—and who also has evidence of his friends’ transgression. Adding in the fact that the super-smart “space cat” who’s adopted him has plans to bring Gwen into their little family and this Coalition pilot has some tricky space to navigate.

As if that wasn’t complicated enough, the trio discovers a plot on Xan’s ship that could compromise the security of all of their people—and the newly forged bonds between the sentients working toward peace in the galaxy. Will they be able to work together to secure a more peaceful future, or will their secrets drive them apart?

SEE HOW THEY RUN

TriSystems: Smugglers

by JC Hay

Jesusa Baker loves three things: big powerful engines, open space, and not getting attached. That last one has been under constant assault since she joined the crew of the Sentinel of Gems, as the quiet chief engineer inspires both friendship and desire in equal measure. But there’s no room for love in Baker’s too-messy life, especially when she knows how much of a lie happily-ever-after is.

April Rambova has pined after their fellow engineer almost since Baker’s first day, but life as one of the inhabitants of the Far Reach colonies means a body adapted for microgravity, and a life apart from the people who can walk the surface of the TriSystems’ worlds. Worse, it means a potentially shortened lifespan, and no one should be saddled with a partner who can’t promise forever.

When a trio of mice bring a potentially deadly disease onto the Sentinel, Baker and April are quarantined together. Close quarters mean fewer secrets, for April, Baker and the mice. Now, someone wants the mice back, and is willing to kill to find them. And April has a choice: run toward the chance of happiness, or protect the people they love…

SURI’S SURE THING

Kimura Sisters Series

by S.J. Pajonas

All work and no play…

Suri Kimura has decided not to go to the Hikoboshi Farewell Ball. She’d rather work in orbit and earn more cash, even though her overbearing father insists she should attend. When she meets up with her dog, Finn, and her best friend, Erik, for a short planet-side rest, they’re met with a surprise. Her ex-boyfriend is back and he insists on taking her to the ball.

Suri doesn’t know what to do. Finn’s doggy instincts don’t trust the ex, and neither does Erik. Something strange is amiss, but Suri has to give it a fair shot. After a disastrous attempt to rekindle the romance, Suri realizes Erik means a whole lot more to her than just a friend — but, does he feel the same?

Quiet and reliable project manager Erik has always taken care of Suri, but it’s never felt romantic before. When he rushes to her side to help her handle her ex and her work troubles, Suri suspects that the dynamic between them has changed… or has it?

Will Suri and Erik breach the boundaries between them? Or will Suri just return to space and leave her feelings for Erik far behind?

THE THUNDER EGG

by Greta van der Rol

No ordinary rock…

History Professor Drew Torson’s purchase of a thunder egg at a market leads to an astonishing discovery when what should have been just a rock… hatches. He isn’t the only one who wants the unusual creature that emerges. When thieves attempt to capture his new friend, Neyru, Drew is left stunned and bleeding in an alley.

Freighter captain Afra Abrussen is shocked when a strange, but beautiful creature named Neyru seeks her help. She’s no heroine. She has cargo to haul and debts to pay. The last thing she needs to do right now is get drawn into Drew and Neyru’s plight.

Drew insists that all they need to do is find out what Neyru is, where she comes from, and get her home without being caught by pursuers who will stop at nothing to get hold of the little creature. Afra thinks Drew forgot one important clause: They need to do all that without falling in love.

Can a freighter captain and an academic stay one step ahead of the thieves determined to capture Neyru, and if they do, what will happen when they discover they broke the all too important clause about not falling in love?

WORLDS OF FIRE: METAMORPHOSIS

by Deborah A. Bailey

On a Floating World…

Asira is a member of a high-ranking family of Alchemists who exert control over the libraries that store magical texts. She never believed her acceptance into the coveted position was in doubt. Yet, when she becomes the apprentice of a gargoyle shifter Alchemist who insists on keeping his pet bird with him, she has her doubts that he was the right choice for her final class.

Jaydon is from a gargoyle shifter group known as the Gigun. As an unconventional but powerful teacher of transmutation at the university, he could have his pick of mentees. It isn’t hard to tell that the last thing he wants to do is mentor a student from a powerful family. He only accepts her after he says his pet bird and advisor, Delphy, recommends that he choose her.

Asira finds Jaydon frustrating but too fascinating for her own good. But she needs his knowledge and guidance when she becomes the target of a classmate’s deception. With Jaydon’s assistance, the two of them begin to uncover those behind the criminal activities threatening not just the students, but the whole Floating World. Can she convince Jaydon that she still has a lot to learn from him—both in the matter of magic and her heart—or has she betrayed his trust forever?

STRANDED ON GRZBT

by Melisse Aires

Splat! The unlikely sound of freedom…

Mimi Stevens considers the out-of-control packing container that squishes the stinky spaceworm kidnappers a brilliant stroke of luck. She and her companions take advantage of the unfortunate event to escape into the maze of the busy space dock and plan a strategy on how to survive. With the help of a tiny elephant-mouse and her theater skills, she just might be able to make it.  

Kyre Valryssian, First Officer of the Red Haven, is shocked to hear Earth women singing in an ancient language from a planet that has not yet entered the space trade lanes. Concerned for their safety, he is determined to escort them to his clan’s ship—especially the woman with the short hair and big eyes.

Mimi doesn’t know if she and her friends can trust the handsome alien with flashing eyes or not, but she is running out of options. With the bad guys closing in, she’ll have to trust her gut—and her tiny pet—that Kyre wants to help them. Can Kyre convince Mimi that he has her and her companions’ best interests at heart, or will her distrust threaten them all?

ESCAPING KORTH

Before The Fall series

by Kyndra Hatch

As if the threat of torture and interrogation isn’t enough…

K’urt Knox, a Korthan cyborg warrior assigned to interrogate human combatants alongside his mogha companion, W’ard, is complicated by the fact that when they enter the prison cell this time, he can’t speak. He knows this prisoner from his childhood, from a time when Korthans and humans lived together in peace. Now, he recognizes the fully mature human female combatant he is supposed to interrogate as his mate.

Liana Walker is an agronomist for the Human Colony Alliance. Studying newly terraformed soil on a neutral world, she is pleased to find the terraforming process worked. Her pleasure soon turns to fear when she is captured by Korthan warriors. With no end of war between their peoples in sight, the Korthans declare her a combatant and imprison her on Korth—with a deadly creature hiding in Liana’s dark cell.

Attraction and longing build between Liana and K’urt, but there is something else lurking in the shadows, something W’ard is determined to dispatch once and for all. Meanwhile, K’urt must try to find a way to convince the Korthans that Liana isn’t a combatant and deal with the fact that his fated mate is a sworn enemy. If their love is to stand a chance, they need to find a way to escape Korth. Will Liana recognize K’urt from their childhood, and if she does, will she trust him and the feelings growing between them before it is too late?

Into the Violet Gardens by Issac Nasri Review

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

Social mistrust and tensions rise after a government operated cyborg cripples the cartel controlling Latin America in the future, and soon a cyborg and a CIA operative find themselves caught in the middle of an impending battle between humanity and the cyborgs they built and then rejected in author Issac Nasri’s “Into the Violet Gardens”.

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The Synopsis

The year is 2024. A ruthless cartel dominates Latin America, and the FBI’s Troy Levi gets commissioned to intervene. A cyborg for the bureau’s Virtual Division, Levi delivers a devastating blow to the cartel’s power but encounters a wave of social resentment in the aftermath.

As the people’s feelings for cyborgs grow bitter, former black-op cyborg ally and CIA operative Soriana Salazar finds herself caught between sides. Eliminating the cartel destabilized the region, fueling anti-cyborg sentiments in neighboring countries and afar. But tough decisions await Salazar after civil unrest forces the agency to sever all cyborgs ties. And that’s only the beginning…

Betrayed by the government, hated by the people, a vengeful league of cyborgs spawns a sinister scheme of liberation. And While Levi searches for Solace amid the turmoil and Salazar seeks balance, both will have to take a grave stand if they hope to stall the impending chaos. 

The Review

This is a well-balanced sci-fi and action read. The author does a great job of weaving important political and social themes into the narrative, crafting a thought-provoking read that engages the reader while also entertaining them with high-octane action and shocking twists that will keep the adrenaline pumping in their heart. 

The emotion that the author found within the character growth of this narrative was both surprising and welcomed. The story that revolves around cyborgs and heavy sci-fi themes does a marvelous job of implementing the human element into the story and showcases the good and bad that both humanity and technology can house, as well as the often fearful state that humanity finds itself in when dealing with any sort of advanced technology and life beyond our own. 

The Verdict

A memorable, action-packed, and thought-provoking sci-fi thriller, author Issac Nasri’s “Into the Violet Gardens” is a must-read novel. The emotional bonds the protagonists make not only with each other but the supporting cast is great to see, and brings a real sense of heartbreak and hope to the book’s finale that will leave readers wanting more. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!


Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Isaac Nasri is a self-published author. He grew up in Washington DC and graduated in May of 2017 from the University of Maryland, College Park with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. His stories focus on offering allusion to recent events happening in contemporary society and how they affect his characters.

Heart of the Scrapdog is his self-published work that was released in 2020.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20806995.Isaac_Nasri

Heretics (Nel Bentley #4) by V.S. Holmes Review

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

In the ashes of utter devastation, adventurer Nel Bentley must decide where her true loyalties lie and find a way to prevent Earth’s total annihilation in author V.S. Holmes’s “Heretics”, the fourth novel in the Nel Bentley series.

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The Synopsis

Without Earth, Nel has nowhere left to run

Hot-tempered Dr. Nel Bently is not cut out to save the world. After her last project ended in fire and death, Nel must put aside her distrust of just about everyone and embark on a lo-fi search for a deadly radio transmission.

Earth’s survivors are torn between the austere superpower of IDH and the high-tech grassroots Los Pobledores. At every turn more allies go missing and Nel questions where everyone’s true loyalties lie–and on which side Lin will fall when a line is finally drawn.

They need experts. They need firepower. But it looks like the only thing standing between Earth and devastation is Nel: archaeologist, asshole, and functioning alcoholic with anger issues.

The Review

A powerful new entry into this exhilarating and inviting sci-fi series! Author VS Holmes has crafted a marvelous and emotionally-driven new narrative that highlights the struggle to go back home again, and how our past determines who we will become in the future. The world-building and the way the author wove in similar conflicts and struggles our own world is facing today into the very sci-fi-centric narrative was amazing to see come to fruition, and allowed readers to feel more connected to the narrative. 

This book, much like the rest of the series, all blossomed from the incredible character development the author has created here. Nel is such a complex and engaging protagonist, as her often destructive personality clashes with others in her field and yet her sense of what’s right and wrong becomes a leading light in the darkness around her. The relationship between Nel and Lin felt not only passionate but real, as their personalities may clash often, but their love for one another is felt on a very deep level. The twists and turns the author took these two amazing characters throughout this novel will leave longtime fans reeling and on the edge of their seat for the next book in this series.

The Verdict

A memorable, heart-pounding, and engaging sci-fi read, author V.S. Holmes’s “Heretics” is a must-read sci-fi novel of 2021! The world-building and mythos that the author employs here, as well as the tension and mystery surrounding who Nel can and cannot trust, make for some truly entertaining reading. The cliffhanger ending leaves open a host of possibilities for the future of this series, and readers will be hard-pressed to find a more emotionally charged and action-packed sci-fi novel with an LGBTQ-forward roster of characters to get behind. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

V. S. Holmes is an international bestselling author. They created the REFORGED series and the NEL BENTLY BOOKS. Smoke and Rain, the first book in their fantasy quartet, won New Apple Literary’s Excellence in Independent Publishing Award in 2015. In addition, they have published short fiction in several anthologies.

When not writing, they work as a contract archaeologist throughout the northeastern U.S. They live in a Tiny House with their spouse, a fellow archaeologist, their not-so-tiny dog, and own too many books for such a small abode. As a disabled and queer human, they work as an advocate and educator for representation in SFF worlds.

http://www.vsholmes.com/

Heirs of the Ancients (Book Two of The Three World’s Chronicles) by James Norwood Review

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

A powerful and dark civilization from before the dawn of man threatens to consume the galaxy once and for all, and only the heroic actions of Gallagher and his crew stand in the way of these menacing foes and their nefarious plans for the universe in author James Norwood’s “Heirs of the Ancients”, the second book in the Three World’s Chronicles series. 

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The Synopsis

A malicious and ancient alien race from before the dawn of man lays a trap for an unsuspecting civilization fleeing its home world. The galaxy must once more fight for its very survival, as forces work against it that are almost as old as the galaxy itself. Gallagher and his crew must uncover the truth before time runs out, and the heirs of the ancients implement their evil plan.

The Review

This was a brilliant follow-up to the acclaimed sci-fi book, A Trio of Worlds. The author expertly found the perfect harmony between character growth, galactic mythos, and themes of theological divides, and the thirst for power, as well as classic themes of good vs evil. The author was amazing in showcasing both the past and the present of this novel’s history and culture, especially the beginning chapters that highlighted the divide between the D’Lai and the Däk’in centuries, if not millennia before. The war that erupted based on theological differences in their faiths expertly mired our own world’s struggles with religious divides and people of faith using religion to fuel their own rage and bloodlust. 

Once again, the author utilizes mythology and world-building expertly and balances this with great characters that either chill you to the bone or win your hearts as rough and tumble heroes. The complexity of the war’s history and the lies that made the foundation for an entire race’s anger towards the universe was a great development in this series, allowing the reader to see who the true “villains” were, and who became victims in a war that raged far before they even knew.

The Verdict

A stunning, narratively rich, and entertaining addition to an already marvelous new sci-fi series, author James Norwood’s “Heir of the Ancients” is a must-read novel of 2021. A great start for sci-fi fans this fall, the author delivers rich mythology and great character development across the ages, making for an inviting story that 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

James Norwood is a middle school teacher. He lives in Riverside, California with his wife Kelly and their three cats.

https://www.threeworlds.net/

Star Song by Edward Willett 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 searching for answers to who his long lost parents were holds a powerful instrument with the power to put his innermost feelings into the hearts of the listeners around him, and together with a young girl he must not only discover the instrument’s origins, but prevent ruthless villains from getting the instrument and turning it into a weapon in author Edward Willett’s YA Space Opera and Sci-Fi novel, “Star Song”.

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The Synopsis

From an Aurora Award-winning author comes a thrilling young adult outer space adventure in the spirit of Robert A. Heinlein and Andre Norton.

When the old woman who raised him in a remote village is murdered, Kriss Lemarc finds himself alone on a planet where he’ll always be an outsider.

His only link to his long-dead, unknown parents is the touchlyre they bequeathed him, a strange instrument that not only plays music but pours his innermost feelings into the minds of his listeners.

When Tevera, a girl of the space-going, nomadic Family, hears Kriss perform, she is drawn to him against her better judgment and the rules of her people. With her help, though mistrusted and even hated by some of her comrades, Kriss seeks to discover the origin of the touchlyre, the fate of his parents, and a place where he truly belongs.

But the touchlyre proves to be more than just a musical oddity. Powerful, ruthless people will stop at nothing to get it—and Kriss and Tevera are all that stand in their way.

The Review

Such a vast and creative world the author has created! The novel expertly weaves new mythology, complex galactic politics, and a classic theme of a young hero rising to stop a powerful threat. The atmosphere of the novel really captures that feeling of destiny and family that series like Star Wars have in the past while tying the narrative into a very YA genre storyline.

The characters really were the heart of the novel, however. Kriss and Tevera were brilliant protagonists, each bringing a different corner of this galaxy into the narrative. Incorporating Earth’s past and history into the “lore” of the narrative helped elevate the character’s struggles and developments. Kriss’s desire to be part of a family was a struggle so many readers can identify with, as was Tevera’s need to explore the universe beyond her Family’s ship. 

The Verdict

A memorable, entertaining, and truly wonderous YA-Sci-fi, author Edward Willett’s “Star Song” is a must-read novel of 2021. A great contender for the top sci-fi read of the year, the author’s approach to storytelling and utilizing great detail to enhance the imagery that brings this universe to life in the reader’s mind creates a narrative that feels both grand and personal all at once. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Edward Willett is an award-winning author of science fiction, fantasy and non-fiction for both children and adults.

Born in Silver City, New Mexico, Willett lived in Bayard, New Mexico and Lubbock and Tulia, Texas, before moving to Weyburn, Saskatchewan with his family when he was eight years old.

He studied journalism at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, then returned to Weyburn as a reporter/photographer for the weekly Weyburn Review, eventually becoming news editor. In 1988 he moved to Regina, Saskatchewan, as communications officer for the Saskatchewan Science Centre, and in 1993 he became a fulltime freelance writer. He still resides in Regina.

Willett is now the author or co-author of more than 60 books, ranging from computer books and other nonfiction titles for both children and adults, to science fiction and fantasy for all ages.

His science fiction novel Marseguro (DAW Books) won the 2009 Aurora Award for best English-language science fiction or fantasy book by a Canadian author. He has also won a Saskatchewan Book Award for his YA fantasy Spirit Singer. He has been shortlisted for the Aurora Award and Saskatchewan Book Awards multiple times.

His most recent novels include Worldshaper and Master of the World, the first two books in his new series Worldshapers, and The Cityborn, a stand-alone science fiction novel from DAW Books; the Masks of Aygrima trilogy, YA/adult crossover novels published by DAW and written as E.C. Blake; the five-book YA fantasy series The Shards of Excalibur, published by Coteau Books; and the stand-alone YA fantasy Flames of Nevyana (Rebelight Publishing). He’s also the author of the Peregrine Rising duology for Bundoran Press (Right to Know and Falcon’s Egg).

Other novels include SF novel Lost in Translation (DAW Books), Terra Insegura (sequel to Marseguro, DAW Books), Magebane (DAW Books, written as Lee Arthur Chane), YA SF novels Andy Nebula: Interstellar Rock Star, Andy Nebula: Double Trouble, and The Chosen; and YA ghost story The Haunted Horn.

Shadowpaw Press recently released his short story collection Paths to the Stars and re-released Spirit Singer, a YA fantasy that won a Saskatchewan Book Award and other awards.

His non-fiction titles run the gamut from science books for children on topics as diverse as Ebola Virus and the Milky Way to local history books like Historic Walks of Regina and Moose Jaw for Red Deer Press, awarded a Municipal Heritage Award by the City of Regina in the education category and A Safe and Prosperous Future: 100 years of engineering and geoscience achievements in Saskatchewan, published by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan (APEGS). He’s also written biographies for children of Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Andy Warhol, Orson Scott Card, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Ayatollah Khomeini.

You can find Ed online at www.edwardwillett.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter @ewillett.

His is represented by literary agent Ethan Ellenberg (www.ethanellenberg.com).

Besides being a writer, Willett is a professional actor and singer who has performed in dozens of plays, musicals and operas in and around Saskatchewan, hosted local television programs, and emceed numerous public events.

He’s married to a telecommunications engineer and has one daughter.

https://edwardwillett.com/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/edward-willett

Artifact Space by Miles Cameron Review

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

A young woman seeking a new life in space finds the scandals and problems of her past following her into new and untold danger in author Miles Cameron’s “Artifact Space”.

The Synopsis

With their vast cargo holds and a crew that could fill a city, the Greatships are the lifeblood of human-occupied space, transporting an unimaginable volume – and value – of goods from City, the greatest human orbital, all the way to Tradepoint at the other, to trade for xenoglas with an unknowable alien species.

It has always been Marca Nbaro’s dream to achieve the near-impossible: escape her upbringing and venture into space.

All it took, to make her way onto the crew of the Greatship Athens was thousands of hours in simulators, dedication, and pawning or selling every scrap of her old life in order to forge a new one. But though she’s made her way onboard with faked papers, leaving her old life – and scandals – behind isn’t so easy.

She may have just combined all the dangers of her former life, with all the perils of the new . . . 

The Review

This was a truly engaging and mature sci-fi adventure. The action begins immediately, highlighting the danger and elevated storytelling the author has employed here that feels like a blend of Star Trek: The Next Generation meets Firefly. The horrors of the danger Marca faces and the wonder of the grand, planet-sized cities and spacecraft that she finds herself in really draw the reader into the narrative.

The hook for this narrative really came during the balancing act the author performed between incredible character interactions and a fully realized mythology to this sci-fi epic. The complexity with which the author develops protagonist Marca was enthralling, weaving her complex and haunting past into her action-packed and earnest attempts at building a new life for herself. Combine this with a unique mythos that sees a business conglomerate kind of take control of a large city-ship, and incorporate elements of Grecian culture and legend into the overall world, and readers will be hard-pressed not to be invested in this story.

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The Verdict

An entertaining, mythological, and exhilarating read, author Miles Cameron’s “Artifact Space” is a must-read epic sci-fi novel. The intense and well-rounded character development really did an amazing job of drawing the reader into what one only hopes can be the beginning of a truly epic new sci-fi series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Miles Cameron is an author, a re-enactor, an outdoors expert and a weapons specialist. He lives, works and writes in Toronto, where he lives with his family. This is his debut fantasy novel.

https://christiancameronauthor.com/book-author/miles-cameron/

https://www.bookbub.com/books/artifact-space-by-miles-cameron

The Oberllyn Family Generations Omnibus 3: Books 7, 8, and 9, The Future Generations by J. Traveler Pelton Review

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

The future generations of the Oberilyn Family must stop a global genetic virus before it takes out all of human civilization in author J. Traveler Pelton’s “The Oberllyn Family Generations Omnibus 3: Books 7, 8, and 9, The Future Generations”. 

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The Synopsis

A global genetic virus has a 100% kill rate; the Oberllyn’s need to destroy it before it wipes out civilization; then maybe Noel can retire and Kai can take over the family research clan while Alex and Micah head for the stars. If you like unending action, apocalyptic adventure, romance, tech and intrigue, then this omnibus is for you!

The Review

This was a truly engaging sci-fi story. The author does a great job of blending futuristic storytelling with memorable characters and inviting character growth overall. The thing that will draw a lot of readers to this narrative is the fact that it is a Christian Science Fiction tale, incorporating elements of faith and belief into the futuristic theme that the author has established early on in this narrative.

While it would be helpful for readers to understand the underlying mythos and story of this family by reading the first two Omnibuses of this series, the author does a great job of making this novel feel like a self-contained narrative that draws upon the family history of the first two omnibuses. The balance of light-hearted banter between the characters and action-packed thrills the narrative took made this story entertaining, to say the least, making for a unique reading experience.

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The Verdict

A memorable, enthralling, and driven narrative, author J. Traveler Pelton’s “The Oberllyn Family Generations Omnibus 3: Books 7, 8, and 9, The Future Generations” is a must-read for any fans of Christian Science Fiction. The balance of character growth and engaging narrative made this story shine brightly, and was the perfect end to a large and entertaining family saga. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 8/10

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About the Author

J. Traveler Pelton was born in West Virginia in the last century. She is active in her home church and was the Nation’s Mother for her tribe for several years. She is still wife to Dan after 47 years (He is so long-suffering!), mother of six adults, a grandmother of nine, a Clinically Licensed Independent Social worker in private practice, a retired adjunct professor of social work at her local university, and an avid reader. She lives on a mini-farm with her husband, seven alpaca, a flock of spoiled chickens, five Siamese cats, four Pomeranians, a talkative Amazon parrot named Gizmo, and her aviary of canaries. Traveler enjoys the intersection of fantasy, possibility, creativity, and speculation. Join her on the other side of the imagination tree. She’ll be sitting there waiting for your visit.

Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms by Mackenzi Lee Review

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

Two sisters raised to be assassins and warriors by a ruthless villain find themselves stranded on a planet being mined and quickly deteriorating, forcing them into a series of events that explores their rivalry and the source of the distance between them in author Mackenzi Lee’s “Gamora & Nebula: Sisters in Arms”.

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The Synopsis 

The second book in the hit series from New York Times best-selling author Mackenzi Lee!

This three-book series explores the untapped potential and duality of heroism of popular characters in the Marvel Universe. The first book in the series, Loki: Where Mischief Lies, was an instant New York Times best seller and received two starred reviews!

The relationship between teenage adopted sisters Gamora and Nebula is as volatile as ever. When they end up on a deteriorating planet being mined for its valuable resources, the two sisters are faced with a series of events that force them to explore the source of their rivalry-and where their loyalty truly lies. This action-packed yet sincere story will tug on the heartstrings of anyone who has ever had to learn how deeply weird and changeable trust can be.

The Review

As a longtime fan of all things Marvel Comics, I was immediately drawn to this book. The author does a fantastic job of balancing the source material of the characters with the creativity and originality of this novel’s narrative. The writing expertly paints a vivid image in the reader’s minds of this vast Marvel Universe, exploring the vastness of the universe that has relatively been unexplored in the comics while adding new layers and context from the creative mind of the author.

What stands out of course is the strong character development of this narrative. From the complex and emotional struggle of sisters Gamora and Nebula, who has been driven against one another and brainwashed by the vile Thanos and his war machine. The interesting thing is that the author utilizes concepts of the comics rather than the MCU as a whole into the narrative, exploring the effects Thanos’s relationship with the personification of Death has had on both protagonists. Even the humorous and tricky personality of The Grandmaster shines brightly in a grim and gritty corner of the Marvel Universe. 

The Verdict

Emotional, action-packed, and entertaining superhero storytelling, author Mackenzi Lee’s “Gamora & Nebula: Sisters in Arms” is a must-read sci-fi and fantasy read. Expertly crafting an original science fiction narrative within a well-established Marvel Universe is an extraordinary feat, and the author excels at navigating the complex relationship between the protagonists and their villainous adoptive father, which has always been a crucial part of the fabric of Marvel’s Cosmic storytelling. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

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About the Author

Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Simmons College. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the historical fantasy novels THIS MONSTROUS THING, THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE, which won a 2018 Stonewall Honor Award and the New England Book Award, and its sequel, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY, which debuted at #3 on the New York Times bestseller list. She is also the author of BYGONE BADASS BROADS (Abrams, 2018), a collection of short biographies of amazing women from history you probably don’t know about but definitely should, based on her popular twitter series of the same name.

When not writing, she works as an independent bookseller, drinks too much Diet Coke, and romps with her St. Bernard, Queenie.

http://www.mackenzilee.com/

https://www.instagram.com/themackenzilee/

https://www.bookbub.com/books/gamora-and-nebula-sisters-in-arms-novel-book-2-by-marvel-press-book-group