Tag Archives: science fiction books

The Infinite Frontier: Book Three of The Oberlynn’s Post-Terrestrial 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.

As Earth’s climate threatens to collapse and the Oberlynn family’s next generation looks to settle on Mars and beyond, an old frenemy from the family’s ancient past reemerges in author J. Traveler Pelton’s “The Infinite Frontier”, the third book in The Oberlynn’s Post-Terrestrial Generations series. 

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The Synopsis

The Oberllyns must weather the breaking up of the family network as fully half of the worldwide family decides to immigrate to the Mars colony. While the Oberllyn Think Tank struggles to get the colony on Mars to be safe, independent of outside influence, and self-sufficient, Micah, Kai, and Sir Alex have their hands full trying to stop the imminent collapse of the earth’s climate. They find a most unexpected mind behind it all, an old frenemy of the family. How do you destroy someone who’s been dead 300 years?

The Review

This was a brilliant and incredibly powerful story. The powerful character growth that the author deploys into this narrative is well done, as the reader is treated to some shocking returns and callbacks to earlier books in this saga. The action and suspense do an amazing job of blending with the imagery in the author’s writing to paint an incredibly vivid image of the multiple worlds that this story inhabits. 

Honestly, the story sticks out amongst the rest of this trilogy for many reasons, but the main reason is the author’s use of both sci-fi and historical fiction elements in the narrative. The author shines best when these genres are mashed up, as both the history of this fictional world and real-world history play such a dynamic role in the story. The themes of classism and racism that character interactions between antagonistic characters and members of the Oberlynn family are widely felt, and the shocking inclusion of historical figures and tech made this story so brilliantly written.

The Verdict

Epic, thought-provoking, and engaging, author J. Traveler Pelton’s “The Infinite Frontier” is a haunting and mesmerizing sci-fi and historical fiction read, and the perfect third entry into The Oberlynn’s Post-Terrestrial Generations series. The twists and turns in this narrative, along with the open-ended finale that keeps the idea of expansion and new generations of Oberlynn family members reaching all new heights make this a deeply engrossing and heartfelt read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

J. Traveler Pelton was born in West Virginia in the last century. She lives on a small farm with her husband, alpaca, chickens, Pomeranians, canaries and tolerates T-Bears Siamese cats and parrot Giz. She loves to find out what all her friends are studying. She was the Nation’s Mother for her tribe for several years: she is still wife to Dan after 47 years, mother of six adults, a grandmother of eight, a great-grandma of 1, a Clinically Licensed Independent Social worker, a retired adjunct professor of social work at her local university and an avid reader. She studies science, technology, Biblical studies, and human behavior. She is quick to draw parallels between different fields of thought and weave the ideas into a cohesive ideology that is at once practical, usable, and thoughtful. Her books are the result of blending her life experiences with bureaucracy, studying science and nature, counseling, and faith. She greatly enjoys the intersection of fantasy and possibility and hopes you enjoy it as well. We will see you on the other side of the imagination tree.

Her co-author of the Clan Falconer fantasy series is her grandson T-Bear. T Bear Pelton is a self-proclaimed gamer, a Christian active in his home church, a Native American, a storyteller, and a novice blacksmith. He lives with his grandparents, his Amazon parrot, and four Siamese on a small alpaca farm while working full time and dreaming of times when magic still existed and wishes sometimes actually came true. Enjoy this fantasy with him and for just a little while, suspend daily life for a dream of dragons and wizards, beautiful ladies and knights, magic and faith. Travel then with us to another time, another place, and another dimension. Come to the future, after the War, when tech and magic combine with faith and fear.

Their farm, Springhaven Croft, is home to alpacas, dogs, Siamese cats, canaries, an eclectic group of chickens and an irascible Amazon Parrot named Gizmo. Traveler’s webpage is travelerpelton.com; she also has a FB page called Traveler Pelton. Come visit real soon!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BBKMZXWJ/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F62212214-the-infinite-frontier&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Alex’s Honor: Book Two of The Oberlynn’s Post-Terrestrial 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.

As the effort to colonize Mars gets underway, the bots being used to help settle the planet turn on their makers, and diplomat and longtime ally of the Oberlynn family think-tank Alex finds himself kidnapped in author J. Traveler Pelton’s “Alex’s Honor”, the second book in The Oberlynn’s Post-Terrestrial Generations series. 

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The Synopsis

As the colonization of Mars continues, Alex, Micah, and the entire Oberllyn family are targeted by a generational evil so bizarre and irrational that even the combined forces of the network struggle to keep it on this planet and out of the colony. Sir Alex is duty-bound to his family, the British monarchy, and his adopted family, the Oberllyns. Trying to balance his work with his obligations would tax any diplomat let alone an autistic savant. When his leaf ships are under attack, with the British empire demanding tribute, Alex is kidnapped; the bots turn on the colonists and the entire program is in jeopardy. Worst of all, his best friend Micah seems to be falling in love. How can Alex re-center their vision to restore peace and sanity? Sometimes, math just isn’t enough.

The Review

The author did another incredible job of creating an engaging sci-fi narrative that readers could easily escape into. The suspense and drama that arises from the growing tension between those in power seeking control and the Oberlynn think-tank of geniuses who are seeking to use their gifts for the betterment of mankind were palpable, to say the least. What is so great to see is how the world around the cast of characters is constantly changing, in large part due to the impact of so many events from the author’s Oberlynn saga of novels. The growth of these characters and the family as a whole has crafted memorable mythos that is impossible to put down. 

Yet as always, the author’s world-building and rich character dynamics are what kept this novel’s narrative moving forward in such a brilliant direction. The power dynamics between the world powers and the Oberlynn family are always such incredibly rich sources of world-building that readers are instantly drawn into the story, while the characters and their relationships keep the reader invested and the emotional core of the narrative intact, balancing out the powerful sci-fi elements. 

The Verdict

Heartfelt, captivating, and entertaining, author J. Traveler Pelton’s “Alex’s Honor” is a fantastic sequel, brilliant sci-fi novel, and a great next chapter in The Oberlynn’s Post-Terrestrial Generations series! The twists and turns that the author incorporates into the narrative, as well as the personal and emotional character traits that keep readers invested in this cast of characters, make this an unforgettable read. if you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

J. Traveler Pelton was born in West Virginia in the last century. She lives on a small farm with her husband, alpaca, chickens, Pomeranians, canaries and tolerates T-Bears Siamese cats and parrot Giz. She loves to find out what all her friends are studying. She was the Nation’s Mother for her tribe for several years: she is still wife to Dan after 47 years, mother of six adults, a grandmother of eight, a great-grandma of 1, a Clinically Licensed Independent Social worker, a retired adjunct professor of social work at her local university and an avid reader. She studies science, technology, Biblical studies, and human behavior. She is quick to draw parallels between different fields of thought and weave the ideas into a cohesive ideology that is at once practical, usable, and thoughtful. Her books are the result of blending her life experiences with bureaucracy, studying science and nature, counseling, and faith. She greatly enjoys the intersection of fantasy and possibility and hopes you enjoy it as well. We will see you on the other side of the imagination tree.

Her co-author of the Clan Falconer fantasy series is her grandson T-Bear. T Bear Pelton is a self-proclaimed gamer, a Christian active in his home church, a Native American, a storyteller, and a novice blacksmith. He lives with his grandparents, his Amazon parrot, and four Siamese on a small alpaca farm while working full time and dreaming of times when magic still existed and wishes sometimes actually came true. Enjoy this fantasy with him and for just a little while, suspend daily life for a dream of dragons and wizards, beautiful ladies and knights, magic and faith. Travel then with us to another time, another place, and another dimension. Come to the future, after the War, when tech and magic combine with faith and fear.

Their farm, Springhaven Croft, is home to alpacas, dogs, Siamese cats, canaries, an eclectic group of chickens and an irascible Amazon Parrot named Gizmo. Traveler’s webpage is travelerpelton.com; she also has a FB page called Traveler Pelton. Come visit real soon!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B5M5P2MC/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F61431250-alex-s-honor&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Micah’s Quest: Book One of The Oberlynn’s Post-Terrestrial 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 next generation of Oberlynns looks to the stars as two brilliant members of the collective seek to establish their family and humanity as a whole on Mars and the Moon in author J. Traveler Pelton’s “Micah’s Quest”, the first book in The Oberlynn’s Post-Terrestrial Generations series.

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The Synopsis

Autistic savants Micah Oberllyn and his friend Sir Alex Stevens have grown up and found their places in the Oberllyn family think tank. No one realized how serious the boys were about space travel until they started testing engines, using robots they’d designed to construct leaf ships and quietly building a moon base as a stepping off point for interplanetary colonization. From Kai Dante to Catriona, the Oberllyn family is back and everyone joins in the attempt to make the project a success. A nemesis from the past targets them and they find themselves once again dodging control by more than one government, fighting elusive bad guys, and deciphering who can be trusted and who not and it isn’t always your family. If you like action, hero geeks, and horrible bad guys, you will love this book!

The Review

This was a brilliant start to a brand-new sci-fi series. The world-building and mythos the author builds upon from the previous Oberlynn books the author has crafted was spectacular, yet felt so natural and ingrained in the author’s fictional world. The action and imagery the author utilize in the writing itself bring classic sci-fi elements into the narrative, exploring the concept of building habitats on other worlds and expanding into the stars to prevent mankind’s destruction on Earth. 

Yet the author did a truly fantastic job of fleshing out some important themes in this narrative. Humanity’s effect on the planet and the self-destructive power that comes from greedy businessmen and power-hungry governments is shown through the family’s interaction with others as they build their ships, and the overlaying themes of the government’s impact on people of Native American or aboriginal descent are naturally brought to life in the rich character dynamics and the relationships that form between this family and the overall collective that has been built up over the series.

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, entertaining, and action-fueled, author J. Traveler Pelton’s “Micah’s Quest” is a brilliant first book in The Oberlynn’s Post-Terrestrial Generations series and an engaging sci-fi meets history and culture fiction novel. The exploration of morality, science, and family all comes into play in this first book in the series, and the natural way the story progresses will keep new readers and old alike invested in the narrative. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

J. Traveler Pelton was born in West Virginia in the last century. She lives on a small farm with her husband, alpaca, chickens, Pomeranians, canaries and tolerates T-Bears Siamese cats and parrot Giz. She loves to find out what all her friends are studying. She was the Nation’s Mother for her tribe for several years: she is still wife to Dan after 47 years, mother of six adults, a grandmother of eight, a great-grandma of 1, a Clinically Licensed Independent Social worker, a retired adjunct professor of social work at her local university and an avid reader. She studies science, technology, Biblical studies, and human behavior. She is quick to draw parallels between different fields of thought and weave the ideas into a cohesive ideology that is at once practical, usable, and thoughtful. Her books are the result of blending her life experiences with bureaucracy, studying science and nature, counseling, and faith. She greatly enjoys the intersection of fantasy and possibility and hopes you enjoy it as well. We will see you on the other side of the imagination tree.

Her co-author of the Clan Falconer fantasy series is her grandson T-Bear. T Bear Pelton is a self-proclaimed gamer, a Christian active in his home church, a Native American, a storyteller, and a novice blacksmith. He lives with his grandparents, his Amazon parrot, and four Siamese on a small alpaca farm while working full time and dreaming of times when magic still existed and wishes sometimes actually came true. Enjoy this fantasy with him and for just a little while, suspend daily life for a dream of dragons and wizards, beautiful ladies and knights, magic and faith. Travel then with us to another time, another place, and another dimension. Come to the future, after the War, when tech and magic combine with faith and fear.

Their farm, Springhaven Croft, is home to alpacas, dogs, Siamese cats, canaries, an eclectic group of chickens and an irascible Amazon Parrot named Gizmo. Traveler’s webpage is travelerpelton.com; she also has a FB page called Traveler Pelton. Come visit real soon!

Sky Curse (Book One): The Chosen Five by Janet Kravetz Review

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

In a futuristic world where climate change is worsening and mental health and population control have gotten out of control, one woman seeks a means of using technology to prevent a total apocalypse in author Janet Kravetz’s “Sky Curse: The Chosen Five”, the first book in the Sky Curse series. 

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The Synopsis

The Sky Curse series follows Cecilia Miller, a coder of artificial dreams living in the year 2045. It’s a time when climate chaos has become the norm and the collective mental health of humanity has fallen to a grave state. The world’s population has grown to a horrific twenty-five billion people, maxing Earth to its limit. Most are planning to abandon Earth and leave it to its fate as they colonize a new world through Titan pioneering (those beings are called Universalists). However, there are those who still hold on to hope for Earth and a humanity untainted by AI (those beings are called Localists). As humanity struggles to survive, it seems like only technology can help, and Cecilia is determined to be the one to bring it about. When planet Earth faces apocalyptic events, she must summon her resolve and resilience if she’s to have a chance to save this world.

The Review

This was such an intense, captivating conspiracy thriller that meets YA sci-fi and a dystopian novel. The novel read like a very mature story, with strong characters who represented the complexities of this novel’s themes. The tension and atmosphere the author creates in this novel were so palpable and captured the reader’s attention, allowing the narrative to shine through brightly. The characters felt organic and honed into the world around them so well, and each character, including the protagonist, became a vocal representation of the themes the narrative brings to life. 

What stands out in this novel are the incredibly complex themes and the rich world-building the author utilizes. The themes the author explores included the advancements in technology, climate change, humanity’s impact on the world, and the slippery slope between controlling humanity and curbing destructive behaviors. The reader is immediately treated to the themes through the advanced AI systems, virtual reality becoming virtual dreams and even the protagonist’s status as a Cyborg. The idea of a “big brother” state and the question of how much control humanity has on the impact of the world around them and how much is left up to fate was incredible to read and watch unfold on the page.

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, adrenaline-fueled, and entertaining, author Janet Kravetz’s “Sky Curse: The Chosen Five” is a must-read sci-fi meets dystopian conspiracy thriller novel of 2022! The concept and execution of this narrative felt very much like George Orwell’s 1984 meets Issac Asimov’s expansive sci-fi collection, including I, Robot. The intimate way the author is able to capture the concept of finding one’s voice and stepping into your own power made this such a rich and unique story. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Janet Kravetz (sometimes writing under the pen name Topaz Ruby) is an award winning author, poet and artist as well as a mental health advocate.   

Janet was born in Ukraine and grew up in Israel, where she had a career in legal research and public policy, joining the Israel Bar in 2009. Soon thereafter she immigrated to Nova Scotia, Canada and continued working in the field of legal research and public policy, while volunteering with various local committees for the promotion of diversity and inclusion. She speaks Russian, Hebrew and English. 

In 2013 she launched a career as an award-winning poet and in 2014 as an award-winning author, when her self-published book of poetry and art “Reaching Beyond Ourselves – Leading a Spiritual, peaceful and Diverse World” won the international Beverly Hills Book Awards for both content and presentation (under the pen name Topaz Ruby). In the following years Janet turned to writing more poetry and also a few unpublished manuscripts about topics of spirituality, mental health, diversity and the environment. She writes in plain language that children and immigrants can understand.

https://www.authorjanetkravetz.com/

Upon the Arrival of Dawn by Joseph A. Schiller Review

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

Lone celestial being Azrael goes in search of the means of stopping a threat that can destroy the universe itself in author Joseph A. Schiller’s “Upon the Arrival of Dawn”.

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The Synopsis

A darkness grows, threatening the delicate fabric of the Universe. An ominous cloud spreads, bringing an increasing imbalance across the Cosmos. Essences bent on wickedness and ultimate destruction are violently stripping the Energy of Life from innocent terrestrial creatures, bringing Existence to the very brink of collapse. Only one Celestial essence boldly accepts the calling to seek out the source of the encroaching evil and restore Harmony once again to Existence. Azrael, humble servant of Eternity, offspring of Existence, will stop at nothing to protect the Universe, mortal and immortal alike. 

The Review

This was such a well-developed and engaging story. The author did a brilliant job of crafting a unique and imaginative narrative. The balance between the “terrestrial and non-terrestrial planes) was a great way of capturing a unique setting. The almost cinematic and artistic style of writing the author utilized here made the story feel almost dreamlike, and an added depth of morality and themes of existence itself conjured up similar imagery as Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman”.

The heart of the narrative was very character driven, which was ironic given the main characters represented celestial beings who had forgone a true sense of self before the events of the narrative. The evolution of Azrael in particular was great to see, as the cosmic battles and mythos the author developed for him balanced well with the more personal growth the character saw, especially when meeting the Earthbound Johanna.

The Verdict

Mind-bending, thought-provoking, and engaging, author Joseph A. Schiller’s “Upon the Arrival of Dawn” is a must-read fantasy and sci-fi novel. The breathtaking imagery used in the narrative to help bring these cosmic beings and settings to life and the balance struck between this and the more intimate and “human” moments allowed readers to connect to both the protagonist and the narrative simultaneously. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I have always, for as long as I can remember, found a creative outlet with the written word.  From as early as elementary school I have enjoyed writing short fictional stories.  In the 6th grade I was blessed to be able to take a creative writing class as an elective.  It was during that course that my confidence, interest, and exploration of writing really took off.  It was during my freshman year of college that I made my first attempt to write a novel.  Unfortunately, that work was lost when the desktop I had at the time crashed.  It took me a few years before the inspiration returned.  Once it did, though, I grabbed ahold of it, and have held on tight ever since.

My opinion of my writing is nearly identical to that of my artwork.  I do not write for the purpose of pleasing others.  I will be perfectly happy if I am the only person that ultimately reads my stories.  Like my artwork, my written works are an extension of who I am.  In the end, if some find my stories entertaining, then it is icing on the cake.

When reading for pleasure I tend to have a fairly varied set of interests ranging from fiction to non-fiction, novel’s to essays.  However, my literary interests when writing are almost entirely fiction based.

http://josephschiller.weebly.com/authorship.html

https://facebook.com/UpontheArrivalofDawn

Dropnauts (Liminal Sky: Redemption Cycle Book One) by J Scott Coatsworth Review

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

The fate of mankind years after the Earth’s destruction rests in the hands of a select few as they venture back to the Earth’s surface and discover a hidden truth that can rock humanity to the core in author J. Scott Coatsworth’s “Dropnauts”, the first book in the Liminal Sky: Redemption Cycle series.

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The Synopsis

Over a century after the end of the Earth, life goes on in Redemption, the sole remaining lunar colony, and possibly the last outpost of humankind in the Solar System. But with an existential threat burrowing its way to the Moon’s core, humanity must recolonize the homeworld.

Twenty brave dropnauts set off on a mission to explore the empty planet. After training for two and a half years, four of them—Rai, Hera, Ghost and Tien—are bound for Martinez Base, just outside the Old Earth city of San Francisco.

But what awaits them there will turn their assumptions upside down—and in the process, either save or destroy what’s left of humanity. 

The Review

This was such a brilliant and emotionally-driven sci-fi read. The author did such an amazing job of connecting readers to the larger narrative through dynamic character development. Not only was the emotional core of all four protagonists felt intensely as the story progressed, but the way their story intersected with the survivors on Earth was so great to read. The tensions and stakes that this created for the survivors both on Earth and the lunar colony of Redemption were amazing to read and watch unfold on the page. The inclusion of LGBTQ characters and relationships made the story feel more well-rounded, and the emphasis on AI-driven character developments was a great sci-fi element to include in this discussion.

The world-building and setting really became the heart of this narrative. So many sci-fi stories involve space exploration and focus on the colonies primarily, whether it be on the moon, Mars, or outside our solar system, but the whole concept of “Returning” to Earth to find a means of survival was a brilliant creative decision on the author’s part. The imagery and atmosphere this helped create really showed in the author’s writing style.

The Verdict

Captivating, entertaining, and thrilling, author J. Scott Coatsworth’s “Dropnauts” is a must-read sci-fi novel and the perfect start to the author’s Liminal Sky: Redemption Cycle series. The vivid and detailed settings were perfectly paired with the gritty narrative that was being told and balanced out the heartfelt and emotional character beats that made readers fall in love with this cast of characters. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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J. Scott Coatsworth’s diverse hopepunk space opera Dropnauts Is out in audio, narrated by Kevin Earlywine. And there’s a giveaway!

Life after the Crash.

Over a century after the end of the Earth, life goes on in Redemption, the sole remaining Lunar colony, and possibly the last outpost of humankind in the Solar System. But with an existential threat burrowing its way into the Moon’s core, humanity must recolonize the homeworld.

Twenty brave dropnauts set off on a mission to explore the empty planet. Four of them—Rai, Hera, Ghost and Tien—have trained for two-and-a-half years for the Return. They’re bound for Martinez Base, just outside the Old Earth city of San Francisco.

But what awaits them there will turn their assumptions upside down—and in the process, either save or destroy what’s left of humanity.

Amazon Audio | Universal Buy Link | Goodreads


Giveaway

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

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47248/?


Excerpt

Dropnauts meme

Listen to chapter one:

We’re going home.

Rai sweated inside his suit, white-knuckling the arms of the retrofitted launch chair under his suit gloves. He watched the Zhenyi’slaunch countdown clock.

Sixty, fifty-nine, fifty-eight…

Outside he was calm, but inside he vibrated like an erhu string, his stomach doing acrobatics in his chest. I’m not ready.

Five teams of dropnauts had strapped themselves into their jumper ships, prepared for the ascent from Redemption on the lunar surface to Launchpad station. Outside his porthole, the blue-green marble of Earth beckoned.

Forty-five, forty-four…

Rai cast a nervous glance at his three teammates. Hera was doing her preflight check, her back to him, sweat dripping down the umber skin of her neck from her short-cropped, curly black hair.

Behind him on his right, Tien’s eyes were closed, and she was still as a golden statue. Zen.

He turned to find Ghost looking at him from behind. His ex grinned, running his hand through his lanky, dirty blond hair, his green eyes twinkling. His skin was as white as Rai’s own, but with a dusting of freckles over the bridge of his nose.

Rai managed a pale imitation of a smile back. –It’s totally safe.– Ghost’s voice pinged in his head, em to em.

Easy for you to say.- Ghost had never feared a thing in his life.

Rai sighed. If he had to, he could take the small ship apart and put it back together with his bare hands, a skill learned under Sam’s supervision—the mech was as harsh a taskmaster as any human Rai had ever worked for. Still, he felt like puking. The speeches and adulation of the farewell celebration were over, and now his doubts circled like vultures. I’m not ready.

Thirty-two, thirty-one…

-You’ll be ok.- Hera’s determined voice this time. She turned to squeeze his knee, and then fired up the Zhenyi’shydro-fuel engine. He flashed her a sheepish grin.

A hundred meters away, the Bristol’s takeoff shook the landing pad. Rai watched it rise, carrying Dax, Jess, Ola, and Xiu Ying, the London team, toward the bright stars above. The jumper’s expelled water froze almost instantly, falling as snow over the snaking lava tube that held the city of Redemption. A lunar blizzard whipped by them and shimmered into nothing.

Rai closed his eyes, remembering the night before. Jess, laughing and dancing with him at Heaven, the clear dome of the lunar sky sparkling above them, the heavy beat of the thromb club pulsing through his chest. Dancing like no one was watching.

He rubbed his jaw. It still ached from the fist he’d taken to the face. Wild party. And a wilder night with Ayvin, the jack he’d picked up at the club.

“Zhenyi, ready for liftoff in T-Minus ten seconds.” Sam’s voice, coming from Team Five’s ship, the Liánhuā, was cool and collected. Did the mech feel emotion, like the nausea that was boiling in Rai’s guts? His teammates were strong, smart, and prepared for anything. I can do this. Besides, it was too late to back out now.

“Affirmative.” Hera shifted in her seat, her biframes stretching her paralyzed legs for her.

“You’ll do okay, tiger.” Ghost elbowed him in the ribs.

“Six, five, four…” Hera swiped the glossy white control deck, and the launch controls appeared, floating over the white surface.

“Leave him alone.” Rai could hear the icy frown in Tien’s voice.

He closed his eyes, willing his stomach to calm. Here we go. Nothing he could do about it now.

“Three, two, one… hang on.” Hera fired the engines, and the craft lifted on a cloud of steam into the star-filled skies of Luna.

Rai squeezed his armrests again as G-force pushed him hard back in his seat. He was committed now. Poppies, Chinese Houses, Fiddlenecks, Baby Blue Eyes, Yellow Pansies, Star Lilies… Reciting the flowers of the old San Francisco basin helped soothe his abraded nerves as the rumbling of the little craft rattled his bones.

He opened his eyes to see Redemption receding below them. The great lava tube was striped with sparkling bands of solar receptors that let sunlight into the city below. Rail lines snaked out from Redemption to the transit center like roping vines—to the seed launcher at Copernicus Crater, to Renewal colony, and beyond.

As the city shrank below them, his fear turned to sadness, a lump forming in his throat. He’d taken his home for granted, enthralled by the idea of joining humankind’s greatest adventure in a century. Now he might never see it again.

The hydro rocket thrust them up out of Luna’s gravity well into naked space, toward the bright blue skies of the empty Earth above. Rai stared at it, that enigmatic ball in space which no one had visited in over a century. What secrets are you hiding?

The roar cut off as quickly as it had begun, leaving the Zhenyi drifting upward in silence as they slipped out of Luna’s grasp.

Hera’s hands flew across the deck, swapping the launch controls for navigation, and nudged them onto a new course following the Bristol toward the Launchpad.

Rai let go, his breath coming out in a heavy sigh.

“See? That wasn’t so bad.” Ghost unbuckled his seatbelt and stretched, yawning as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

God, he’s beautiful. Pale as his namesake under his mop of dirty blond hair, the engineer’s thick arms were just a suggestion under the bulky suit, but Rai could still see them in his mind. Ghost’s well-toned muscles, the smell of his skin after—

“You okay, buddy?” Ghost was staring at him, one dark eyebrow raised in concern.

Rai bit his lip and looked away. “Just nervous. Wondering if we’ll ever make it back home”

“Hey, if things go well after the drop, maybe you and me could open the first Earthside bar since the Crash.” Ghost leaned over him from behind to stare at the Earth through the porthole, his cheek close to Rai’s

“That’s crazy.” But his spirits lifted. It was idiotic. And just the distraction he needed.

Ghost sank back into his own seat. “Every outpost needs a good bar where the colonists can blow off a little steam, right?”

Rai laughed in spite of himself, warming to the idea. “We could call it ‘The Frontier’.”

“Or ‘The Wild Hookup’.”

“Best beer this side of the planet.”

Only beer!”

Rai snorted. Just like old times. He hadn’t forgiven Ghost, though. Not yet. He looked down at his gloved hands, emblazoned with the leaf-and-orb of Redemption’s space service.

Things had ended badly between them—crash and burn bad. Still, they’d be too busy the next few weeks to think about anything but the drop. The survival of Redemption and the remnants of humanity depended on them.

He could let it go. I have to. He’d managed the launch, after all. I can do this too.

Ghost squeezed his shoulder and closed his eyes, touching his temple and bobbing his head to a song only he could hear.

Rai turned away.

You’re stronger than any of us. Hera had told him that the night before. Still, he didn’t feel strong.

He looked out of the porthole again at the Earth—the same view they’d had from Heaven. And yet somehow, it looked different. More real.

Poppies, Chinese Houses, Fiddlenecks, Baby Blue Eyes, Yellow Pansies, Star Lilies…

He touched his hand to the porthole. Even through the glove, it was cold. We’re going home.


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 a full member of 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/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Author Twitter: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com/jscoatsworth

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jscottcoatsworth/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

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

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

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

Author BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/j-scott-coatsworth

Narrator Bio:

Kevin Earlywine

Kevin Earlywine is an actor, director, singer/songwriter, and audiobook narrator who hails from Rockford, Illinois! His debut album DANGER was released February 28th, 2017. Kevin started writing songs for the album in 2012, and finally in November, 2015, he started recording the songs!

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Galen’s Blade: A Starquest 4th Age Adventure Book Two by Richard Paolinelli Review

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

Two heroes emerge and must fight to save their corner of the Andromeda Galaxy as heroes Galen and Rhea fight to save her father, the King, from everyone from old enemies, lawless criminals, and emerging usurpers in author Richard Paolinelli’s “Galen’s Blade”, the second book in the A Starquest 4th Age Adventure series. 

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The Synopsis

The journey of Galen Dwyn continues in the second book of the Starquest 4th Age series.

While Dwyn lies in stasis, recovering from his injuries in his stand against Harmool’s fleet, Rhea has assumed the title of Regent of Salacia while leading the search for her missing father, King Iodocus. She is also helping repair the damage done to the Alliance in her Uncle’s and Mother’s mad quest to launch a new Empire. A shocking assassination attempt is thwarted at the last second by Dwyn, who seems to be a changed man now that he has exited stasis to save his love.

The King’s location is ascertained and a rescue mission mounted to retrieve him from the Wilds, a lawless area of space. An ambush splits their forces and Dwyn leads the ambushers away so that Rhea and her father can escape. Before Dwyn can find a way back to Alliance territory, an old enemy returns from the grave, and hold Rhea and the King hostage, while triggering a massive insurrection that overthrows the Alliance and installs a new Emperor.

Dwyn must now mount a second rescue while finding a way to rally a rebellion against this threat to peace in the Hominids’ corner of the Andromeda Galaxy.

The Review

This was yet another incredible sci-fi read. The depth of world-building and character development was so rich and amazing to behold. The intense action and layers of mythos that the author builds upon help elevate the narrative to the literary stratosphere. Readers will be invested instantly by the wild atmosphere and changing landscapes of the narrative’s setting, getting lost in the author’s world for hours. 

What stood out to me much like the first book in the series was the way in which the author utilized and developed these rich characters throughout the narrative. The evolution and journey both Rhea and Galen go on to save the King and protect one another in the process were equally balanced and allowed them to showcase the depth of the impact this journey has had on them individually and as a group overall. 

The Verdict

Gripping, entertaining, and thrilling, author Richard Paolinelli’s “Galen’s Blade” is the perfect sci-fi read this summer and a marvelous next chapter in the A Starquest 4TH Age Adventure Series. The overarching narrative and rich character growth very much felt like a blend of classic sci-fi series like Firefly and Star Wars put together, feeling like some elements of fantasy and mythology also came into play to make this a unique reading experience. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Richard Paolinelli began his writing career as a freelance writer in 1984 in Odessa, TX and gained his first fiction credit serving as the lead writer for the first two issues of the Elite Comics sci-fi/fantasy series, Seadragon. In 1991 Richard began his sports writing career at the Gallup Independent before moving on to work for the Modesto Bee, Turlock Journal, Merced Sun-Star, Tracy Press, San Mateo County Times and the San Francisco Examiner. He also served as an editor and photographer with some of the newspapers. He won the 2001 California Newspaper Publishers Association award for Best Sports Story while at the Turlock Journal.

In 2010, Richard retired as a sportswriter and decided to return to his fiction writing roots. He released two short stories – The Invited and Legacy of Death – as well as a full-length sci-fi novel, Maelstrom. In 2015, Richard completed nearly two years of research and interviews and published, From The Fields: A History of Prep Football in Turlock, California, chronicling 95 years of high school football in his hometown. One month later, the first book of the Jack Del Rio series, Reservations, was published by Oak Tree Press.

In 2016, Richard was one of a dozen authors selected to participate in, Beyond Watson, an anthology of original Sherlock Holmes stories and was one of 20 writers involved in a second Holmes Anthology, Holmes Away From Home, released in December. Perfection’s Arbiter, a biography of National League Umpire, Babe Pinelli, was released on October 8th. W & B Books acquired the Jack Del Rio series and released the second book, Betrayals, in November. The remaining two books in the Jack Del Rio series will follow in 2017 & 2018.

In January of 2017, Richard returned to his science fiction roots with the release of the novel, Escaping Infinity, and will release another sci-fi novel, When The Gods Fell, on September 4, 2018.

Hot Moon (Apollo Rising Book One) by Alan Smale Review

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

Set in an alternate historical world, the crew of the latest Apollo mission to the moon in 1979 finds themselves in a battle for the United State’s claim to their portion of the moon as soviet strike teams assault their base, and tensions run high in the height of the Cold War in author Alan Smale’s “Hot Moon”, the first book in the Apollo Rising series. 

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The Synopsis

Imagine for a second what would have happened if the Soviets had gotten a cosmonaut to the moon first, if Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11 had been in a humiliating second place. Everything would have unfolded differently.

America would never have let the Soviets win the space race. That would have been unthinkable during the Cold War, political suicide for any president. We’d have gritted our teeth and doubled down, poured billions into the Apollo program.

HOT MOON is set in 1979 in this alternate world. The US and the Soviets both have permanent moon bases, orbiting space stations, and manned spy satellites supported by frequent rocket launches. Reagan is President and the Cold War is hotter than ever.

The crew of Apollo 32, commanded by Vivian Carter, career astronaut, docks at NASA’s Columbia space station on their way to their main mission: exploring the volcanic Marius Hills region of the Moon. Vivian is caught in the crossfire as four Soviet Soyuz craft appear without warning to assault the orbiting station.

The fight for the Moon has begun!

The Review

This was such an intricate and detailed sci-fi meets historical fiction read. The world-building and tension the author brings to life by utilizing the backdrop of the Cold War was an inspired choice, especially given how integral the space race was to the Cold War. I loved how the author was able to use their background and expertise to delve into the heavier aspects of the sci-fi genre, while also incorporating much of the Cold War era tech and political leanings that would have made up the majority of this book’s cast of characters. The technical aspects of the narrative were felt immediately, with the main character breaking down the technical details of their space suit and how an AK-47 could fire in space. Even the opening of the book has diagrams, blueprints, and maps that relate to the tech that would have been available at that time.

It was the cast of characters that really made this story shine. The author did an amazing job of capturing the POV of both sides of the Cold War through these characters, allowing readers to see events from both the U.S. and Soviet Union sides of the war as the action unfolds. The strength and courage of the protagonist Vivian Carter was inspiring to read about and added a human depth to the sci-fi heavy narrative.

The Verdict

Intriguing, adrenaline-fueled, and engaging, author Alan Smale’s “Hot Moon” is the perfect sci-fi meets political thriller and historical fiction read and the best start to the Apollo Rising series! The imagery and atmosphere that the author built really gave a great cinematic quality to the author’s writing and allowed for the political intrigue and suspense to build quietly as readers delved deeper and deeper into this entertaining world the author built. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Alan Smale is a professional astronomer, but his writing tastes have always veered more towards alternate and twisted history, fantasy, and horror. His novella of Romans in ancient America, “A Clash of Eagles” in Panverse Two, won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History, and the first book in a trilogy set in the same universe, CLASH OF EAGLES, appeared in 2015 from Del Rey in the US and Titan Books in the UK and Europe. The series continues with EAGLE IN EXILE (March 2016) and will conclude with EAGLE AND EMPIRE (2017). Alan has sold 40 short stories  magazines including Asimov’s, Realms of Fantasy, Abyss & Apex, Paradox, and Scape, and original anthologies Panverse One and Two, Apollo’s Daughters, Book of Dead Things, and Writers of the Future #13.

Alan grew up in England, and has degrees in Physics and Astrophysics from Oxford University. He serves as director of an astrophysical archive, and performs research on black hole binaries at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Alan also sings bass with well-known vocal band The Chromatics, and is co-creator of their educational AstroCappella project.

https://www.alansmale.com/

Cooper’s Ridge by Ian Conner Review

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

After a young woman discovers a government cover-up that shows the impending doom of the planet Earth, a tale of greed and corruption takes center stage as two groups vie for control of the five governments, and the fate of humanity hangs in the balance in author Ian Conner’s “Cooper’s Ridge”.

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The Synopsis 

Cassie Wells, a 19 year old genius who has stumbled onto a rather elaborate government cover-up. Earth is over-populated and past the tipping point of saving. Two factions, one who wants resources used on earth, the other to colonize a newly discovered planet thirty light years away vie for control of the Five Governments, the new planet we may call home and the ships humanity will use to get there. There is an additional danger to those on the new planet that the government has kept quiet. Layer upon layer of subterfuge will keep the readers guessing about who the bad guys are and how the tale will end.

The Review

This was such a captivating and engaging sci-fi and adventure read. The author expertly navigated the themes of space colonization, human existence, and the more personal themes of loss, grief, and moving on with one’s life after loss. The multiple POVs allowed readers to experience this expansive world the author crafted, showing everything from the discovery of this lush new world to the harrowing brush with death the protagonist has and the shifting perspectives that make the audience constantly question whom they can trust and whom they cannot. 

Yet it was the strong character growth that really brought this novel to life. The personal and more intimate moments between characters and how they interacted with one another brought a moment of true humanity to the narrative, keeping it really grounded. This allowed the reader to feel a deeper connection to the characters as they dealt with everything from genetic experimentation to a dying planet and even surprising contact with humanoid figures, keeping the sci-fi genre alive and well in this narrative. 

The Verdict

Captivating, engaging, and thoughtful in its approach, author Ian Conner’s “Cooper’s Ridge” is a must-read sci-fi action and adventure story. The heartfelt depth of human connection the author created between these characters and the ease in which the reader could get lost in their storylines was an amazing sight to behold, and the imagery of the lush world of Cooper’s Ridge really did an amazing job of keeping the reader invested in the author’s world-building. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Ian Conner is retired and spent most of his adult life as a Marine and Army Infantry Sergeant. Now living near San Diego California with his wife Bonnie, a cellist, and their two dogs, Cookie and Isabella. Conner spends his days fostering kittens, gardening, crafting beautiful stained glass and creating worlds on the page.

Conner has authored several other novels 

     Cooper’s Ridge  –  Science Fiction 

     The Long Game – Political Thriller

     The Price of Partisanship – Political Thriller

     Solaris  – Political Thriller

     Griffins Perch – Epic Fantasy

     Ghost Witch  –  Horror

After a lifetime of destruction the thought of creating something tangible and lasting holds great appeal.  He finds writing a cathartic way to redefine himself both in his eyes and the eyes of others.

Conner can be reached at Ian@BlackRaptorBooks.com

http://www.blackraptorbooks.com