Tag Archives: science fiction

12 Planets of the Intergalactic Map: Travelers From Schyllus by Derek Mailhiot Review

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

One of the 12 planets housing the children of “The Maker” discovers an ancient device that allows for instantaneous travel between the 12 worlds, including Earth, but after Travelers arrive on Earth from that other world, the fate of Earth comes into question as another entity begins its mission to destroy all life related to The Maker in author Derek Mailhiot’s “12 Planets of the Intergalactic Map: Travelers From Schyllus”. 

The Synopsis

What happens when 12 civilizations from different planets meet for the very first time? Will their common origin unite them into a mighty Intergalactic Empire? Or will they destroy each other?

The people of the planet Schyllus in the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy possess the “Intergalactic Map” which plots 12 planets in the Local Group of galaxies colonized by the children of the “Maker” called the “First Ones.” Schyllus is one of the planets. Earth is another. There are 10 more.

Scientists on Schyllus discover that the Maker has created a device in deep space—the Gryben Anomaly—that allows them to instantaneously travel between the 12 Planets.

The first planet they travel to is Earth. All they know is that Earth was colonized by the First Ones thousands of years ago—just like Schyllus was—but otherwise they know nothing about it.

What happens when 196,418 Travelers from Schyllus arrive on an unsuspecting and unprepared Earth? The Travelers are peaceful explorers, yet their arrival results in billions of human deaths from the chaos that ensues. Will their arrival on Earth be the demise of the human race?

Or will mankind join the Travelers in expeditions to the other planets—Thijar, Hyperios, Kikrit, Freytus, Acfarr, Vaagon, Minyos, Ozkozania, Dagomere, and Pluvikerr. These planets were all colonized by the First Ones thousands of years ago, but have evolved into vastly different civilizations.

And unbeknownst to the humanoids inhabiting the 12 Planets, a malevolent entity known as Torajii has vowed to exterminate all humanoids from the universe.

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The Review

The author did such a great job of finding the natural balance between sci-fi mythology and world-building and personal character growth. The exploration of mankind’s origins and our plan amongst the stars so to speak has been a goal of our civilization’s since we first landed on the moon, and yet the way the author reversed the concept on its head and instead explored how we would react if another, more advanced civilization arrived on our doorstep not as part of an invasion force, but as visitors on a mission of peace and exploration. 

The story is so grand and so deep-seated in mythos and world-building that the author’s ability to ground the narrative with relatable and engaging human characters early on in the novel was fantastic to see on display here. It was also fascinating to see the similarities and differences between the Travelers and humanity here, as good and “evil” could be found on both sides, and each side had its own roots in violent behavior, highlighting the theme of mankind’s capability of self-destruction and to wage war upon itself. Yet the ability of these select “few” from both sides to come together to find a means of bonding with each other and hoping to do so with other worlds was a hopeful message that through cooperation and trust, anything could be possible.

The Verdict

A memorable, entertaining, and thought-provoking sci-fi novel, author Derek Mailhiot’s “12 Planets of the Intergalactic Map: Travelers From Schyllus” is a must-read story! The world-building alone is so imaginative and creative to behold, and the character-driven and grand mythos of this universe the author has created will keep readers on the edge of their seats, eager for another chapter in this universe. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab our copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Derek lives on beautiful Vancouver Island with his two children, Hannah and Daniel. With one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, combined with breathtaking scenery, Vancouver Island truly is the quintessential place for an author to live and write.

Derek studied economics at the University of Victoria and religious studies at the University of British Columbia. He is very entrepreneurial, starting an Internet company called InterWeb Connections Inc in 1995 and a software development company called Wireheads Labs Inc in 2002.

In 2011, Derek invented an alternative energy device that is radically innovative and truly disruptive. He filed a Patent in 2011 and started a company to develop a prototype, in order to commercialize this exciting technology.

As an independent investigative journalist, Derek deeply investigates topics to discover the truth, and shine a light on stories that are not always told. As a devout evangelical Christian who holds a modern scientific worldview, many of his books are on topics that intersect science and religion, such as creation and evolution. Other books are on topics that have been plagued by pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, and Fake News.

As a teenager, Derek read The High Frontier by Gerard K. O’Neill and has been fascinated by space colonies, and anything space related, ever since. Also a huge fan of science fiction movies and books, Derek has taken up writing a 7-book science fiction series called 12 Planets of the Intergalactic Map.

When he’s not writing (or reading), Derek can be found hiking on one of the many trails on Vancouver Island.

Sunset Distortion: The Pyramid at the End of the World by Paul Bahou Review

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

A middle-aged rocker in an 80’s cover band finds his blissful existence turned upside down when he is abducted by aliens, and imprinted with a key to Infinite life. With a new English-accented floating octopus as his only companion, he must traverse a universe of threats to finish his mission and return home in author Paul Bahou’s “Sunset Distortion: The Pyramid at the End of the World”. 

The Synopsis

Lazer is an almost made-it, middle-aged guitarist who plays in an 80’s hard rock cover band at a Sunset Strip dive bar. While not quite a rock star, he plays to a packed house nightly. His blissful inertia is disrupted one night however when he is abducted by aliens and given a strange imprint on his hand: A key that will send him on an intergalactic journey in search of an artifact that gives its possessor “infinite life.” With the help of his new friend Streek; A timid floating octopus-creature with an English accent, Lazer will have to survive encounters with monsters, robots, alien pirates, inter-dimensional brain leeches, and much more. Will Lazer get back home? What does ‘infinite life’ actually mean? And why does everybody in space speak English? All answers await at the pyramid at the end of the world.

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The Review

This was truly a fun, exhilarating, and rocking kind of read. The whole novel really felt like a vibrant, heart-pounding space rock opera, combining the head-banging, kick-ass action of a rocker with the existential cosmic themes of a sci-fi adventure series and an extra dose of humor that helped bring a lighter nature to the narrative overall. 

What stood out the most was the amazing character development and world-building that the author employed here. Lazer’s evolution as a protagonist, from a drug and alcohol-fueled rock and roll lifestyle to a galactic hero (of sorts) and joining a ragtag group of space-faring crew members to face the many dangers of the universe, his humor, and wit when meeting this vast unknown space was amazing to read and watch unfold. The world-building was absolutely phenomenal here and showcased the author’s unique ability to blend his rock experience into a truly creative and entertaining new sci-fi world readers will want to visit time and time again.

The Verdict

Gripping, engaging, and adrenaline-fueled entertainment, author Paul Bahou’s “Sunset Distortion” is a must-read sci-fi novel. The vivid imagery this space-faring adventure gives readers will be impossible not to imagine, and the hilarious and connective character development the author utilizes here will have readers invested in the story right from the start. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

My name is Paul. I used to play in a band, but now I write books. You should read my new novel ‘Sunset Distortion’. I promise it will be your favorite book of all time. Clearly, that’s a true statement because nobody ever lies on the internet. 

https://www.facebook.com/paulbahouwrites/

Reboots: Undead Can Dance by Mercedes Lackey & Cody Martin Review/Preview

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

An oddball crew of paranormal creatures face their own strange issues and the threats of space as they travel together in this space opera paranormal sci-fi read, “Reboots: Undead Can Dance” by Mercedes Lackey & Cody Martin.

The Synopsis

Say hello to Humph the Boggart, the principled, down-on-his-luck private detective, Skinny Jim the zombie, and Fred the werewolf, in this film noir-style space opera.

Humans aren’t alone anymore—in fact, they share a planet with undead and near-dead beings, living in…semi-harmony, depending on who you ask!

This is the world of Reboots—where zombies, vampires, and werewolves live side-by-side with humans, taking whatever jobs they can in order to coexist peacefully. So, what better job to give almost-dead or dead beings, than one that consists of no air, cosmic radiation, and a lack of life-sustaining essentials?

In comes a cast of interesting, unique, and downright paranormal creatures as they travel through space.

Consisting of four parts, Reboots: Undead Can Dance is a space opera destined to become a favorite, written by beloved and world-renowned fantasy author, Mercedes Lackey, and Cody Martin.

Follow Skinny Jim, a zombie who conceals his ability to speak to avoid being exterminated after an ill-fated war launched by a zombie emperor, leading to an alliance between Norms, the Fangs, and the Furs. And then there’s Humph the Boggart, an ethereal parahuman private investigator who navigates interspecies relationships in claustrophobic extraterrestrial environments with his friends, including Fred the werewolf.

And what happens when you put them all together in a confined space?

Lackey and Martin have created a perfect, witty, fast-paced read that you won’t be able to put down, and will leave you craving more.

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The Review

This was brilliant, humorous, and the vastly expansive world the authors have crafted. The characters were so unique and captivating to read, as their own unique backstories and connection to the paranormal world made their interactions and developing relationships with one another feel vibrant and captivating. 

What truly captured my attention though was the world-building and mythos that the authors developed in the narrative. Early on in the story, the authors begin to delve into this vast universe of paranormal uniqueness, from corporations run by the humans or the “Norms”, to the way the characters allude to a zombie war years before that left zombies forced to hide if they gained intelligence, to the increased power a werewolf gains if exposed to more than one moon.

 Each story and chapter only served to ignite more and more world-building, which also greatly impacted the growing narrative surrounding this truly oddball detective agency that turned the plot into a full-blown noir thriller. The genre-melding that happened in this story was truly mind-blowing, and yet kept me so enraptured with the narrative that I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.

The Verdict

A memorable, fun, and exhilarating paranormal sci-fi thriller, authors Mercedes Lackey and Cody Martin’s “Reboots: Undead Can Dance” is a must-read book this fall and winter. The humor and wit that the characters showed balanced out the greater mythos of the paranormal world and the space exploration that they delved into, making this a truly exciting book that I can’t wait to dive back into again. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy on November 30th, 2021!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Mercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70’s she worked as an artist’s model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts & Music, a small recording company specializing in science fiction folk music.

“I’m a storyteller; that’s what I see as ‘my job’. My stories come out of my characters; how those characters would react to the given situation. Maybe that’s why I get letters from readers as young as thirteen and as old as sixty-odd. One of the reasons I write song lyrics is because I see songs as a kind of ‘story pill’ — they reduce a story to the barest essentials or encapsulate a particular crucial moment in time. I frequently will write a lyric when I am attempting to get to the heart of a crucial scene; I find that when I have done so, the scene has become absolutely clear in my mind, and I can write exactly what I wanted to say. Another reason is because of the kind of novels I am writing: that is, fantasy, set in an other-world semi-medieval atmosphere. Music is very important to medieval peoples; bards are the chief newsbringers. When I write the ‘folk music’ of these peoples, I am enriching my whole world, whether I actually use the song in the text or not.

“I began writing out of boredom; I continue out of addiction. I can’t ‘not’ write, and as a result I have no social life! I began writing fantasy because I love it, but I try to construct my fantasy worlds with all the care of a ‘high-tech’ science fiction writer. I apply the principle of TANSTAAFL [‘There ain’t no such thing as free lunch’, credited to Robert Heinlein) to magic, for instance; in my worlds, magic is paid for, and the cost to the magician is frequently a high one. I try to keep my world as solid and real as possible; people deal with stubborn pumps, bugs in the porridge, and love-lives that refuse to become untangled, right along with invading armies and evil magicians. And I try to make all of my characters, even the ‘evil magicians,’ something more than flat stereotypes. Even evil magicians get up in the night and look for cookies, sometimes.

“I suppose that in everything I write I try to expound the creed I gave my character Diana Tregarde in Burning Water:

“There’s no such thing as ‘one, true way’; the only answers worth having are the ones you find for yourself; leave the world better than you found it. Love, freedom, and the chance to do some good — they’re the things worth living and dying for, and if you aren’t willing to die for the things worth living for, you might as well turn in your membership in the human race.”

Also writes as Misty Lackey

Author’s website 

The Awakening (Warriors of Potentia Book 2) by J.J. Angelus Review

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

A deadly and gruesome alien threat begins to infiltrate a corporate scientific company, two young boys must work together alongside a powerful guide to find artifacts and sources of power needed to repel the threat for good in author J.J. Angelus’s “The Awakening”, the second book in the Warriors of Potentia series. 

The Synopsis 

The prestigious SETE Corp is about to encounter something unlike anything known to man. With an alien virus threatening to cause a global pandemic, the scientists of SETE must work quickly to find a solution but an unexpected visitor has other plans. Meanwhile, Rupert, Amare, and even Ya’asha come together to find the cosmic and magical artifacts to prevent the total annihilation of Earth, but with the evil growing stronger things are about to take a turn for the worse and a shocking revelation will soon come to the light.

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The Review

This was such a gripping and powerful read. The balance the author struck between the chilling nature of the infectious alien presence within the SETE Corp and the coming of age, hero’s journey of Amare and Rupert was truly creative and entertaining to read. The narrative itself seemed to capture a haunting tone and atmosphere, bringing a lot of tension and action that will keep readers poised on the edge of their seats, eager to jump further and further into the evolving story and mythos the author has crafted.

The thing that stood out to me was the expertly woven narrative that found a harmonious approach to the multiple genres this story produced. The sci-fi elements of the mythology of the source of power known as Potentia and the growing fantasy elements of the main character’s journeys really elevated the narrative, but what struck such a unique chord from other books in this genre blend was the amount of horror the threat of the Umbrae produced. Setesh especially was a powerful threat, viscously attacking the scientists and the heroes challenging his mission without mercy, and the descriptive nature of the alien virus’s mutation on its victims will leave readers with goosebumps to be sure. 

The Verdict

Haunting, shocking, and engaging, author J.J. Angelus’s “The Awakening” is the perfect sci-fi and horror fantasy read for the fall 2021 season. An incredible sequel to the author’s already fantastic first book in this new series, the story very much felt like Stranger Things meets John Carpenter’s The Thing, and with a shocking cliffhanger of an ending that will chill readers to the bone, fans won’t want to miss this exhilarating new YA Thriller! If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Quirky blerd on a mission pursuing creativity. Author/creator of Warriors of Potentia and other works of fiction.

@warriorsofp

Warriors of Potentia makes a spooktacular read this Halloween. Book 1 & 2… 👻 #scarybooks #sciencefantasy #horrorbook #horrortok

♬ Spooky Ooky – NotYeti

Instagram: @warriorsofpotentia

TikTok: @warriorsofp

Facebook: Warriors of Potentia

Web: jjangelus.com

Kindle Link (Awakening): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09H6C3DHK

Series Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08CFNNKCJ?binding=kindle_edition&ref=dbs_dp_rwt_sb_tukn

Traveller Probo (Traveller Book 2) by Rob Shackleford Review

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

Missions into the past to recover lost artifacts and study ancient and lost civilizations grow as nations vie to use and control the Traveller technology developed to travel into the past in author Rob Shackleford’s exhilarating sequel, “Traveller Probo”, the second book in the historical fiction/sci-fi thriller Traveller series. 

The Synopsis

Traveller Probo is the second book in the Traveller Series.

Would you survive if sent one-thousand years into the past?

Development of the Transporter saw highly trained researchers, called Travellers, successfully sent one-thousand years back in time to early medieval Saxon England.

Traveller Missions now mean enormous national prestige and the recovery of priceless lost artifacts and knowledge, so nations vie for the use of the Transporter and more daring Traveller missions are planned. Politics and power soon come into play.

To study lost peoples and civilizations, Special Forces researchers have to be even better trained, equipped and prepared to put their lives on the line.

While Michael Hunter continues to build a life in Saxon England, the tragically injured Tony Osborne finds his resurgence in a mission to ancient Byzantine Turkey, a mission Professor Adrian Taylor joins to better outmaneuver his calculating academic colleagues.

From the misty shores of New Zealand to the shining splendor of the ancient Byzantine Empire, it is proved how sending modern researchers into the past carries enormous rewards and tragedies.

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The Review

This was such an adventurous and thought-provoking follow-up to the author’s equally exciting first book in the sci-fi series, Travellers. The world-building and character development the author employs here is masterful, as the time-travel element allows readers to experience both the present-day individuals going back to study these ancient civilizations and the historical figures who encounter these strange individuals. The action kicks off from the get-go, with a mission to New Zealand’s past taking a bloody turn, and the balance the author finds with the political and social intrigue of the present with the action and history of the past was so amazing to read. 

The attention to detail and imagery the author uses throughout this narrative was so vibrant and engaging that it felt almost cinematic in quality. I could easily picture this as either an ensemble cast film or streaming series, exploring these vast sets and time periods while employing a unique sci-fi twist that will keep readers engaged throughout the narrative. The themes of morality and western civilization’s mindset that superior technology, intellect, and resources give them the right to change or dictate how others operate and live their lives was felt in every chapter of this narrative and kept readers’ minds active as well entertained. 

The Verdict

A brilliant, gripping, and heart-pounding historical fiction and sci-fi read, author Rob Shackleford’s “Traveller Probo” is a must-read novel. The intrigue and mystery of the growing missions and the back-room dealings surrounding the Traveller tech will keep readers on the edge of their seat, and the shocking cliff-hanger endings for both established and new characters alike and their missions will have readers eager to devour the next chapter in this epic series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

This is just a quick bio about me, Rob Shackleford.

  • Born in Leicester, Leicestershire, England.
  • Emigrated to Australia with parents and brother, Neil, as 10 pound poms in the early 1960’s.
  • Childhood in working class suburb of Acacia Ridge, Brisbane. Brothers Aaron, Paul, and Philip and sister Kathy were born.
  • Attended Watson Road State School and Acacia Ridge State High School. I don’t think the high school exists any more.
  • Attended University of Qld and studied Journalism and Ancient History.
  • My work experience is varied and has included Customs Officer, SCUBA Instructor, in the media, college teacher and as operated own businesses.
  • I have two wonderful kids: Son – Kyle, and Daughter – Bree.
  • Finally completed 2 degrees – in Arts and in Business at Central Qld University. Each completed With Distinction.
  • Completed first novel “Traveller – Inceptio”, Traveller book 1 – published in 2019 by Austin Macauley.
  • The rest of the Traveller Books are ready to go, as are 3 other completed manuscripts, so I have completed 6 novels in all.
  • I am also currently finalizing the illustrations on 3 children’s books with my daughter Bree.

Trashlands by Alison Stine Review

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

A mother struggling to save enough money to rescue her child finds an opportunity to change her and her child’s life through her art in the sci-fi dystopian thriller, “Trashlands” by author Alison Stine. 

The Synopsis

A resonant, visionary novel about the power of art and the sacrifices we are willing to make for the ones we love

A few generations from now, the coastlines of the continent have been redrawn by floods and tides. Global powers have agreed to not produce any new plastics, and what is left has become valuable: garbage is currency.

In the region-wide junkyard that Appalachia has become, Coral is a “plucker,” pulling plastic from the rivers and woods. She’s stuck in Trashlands, a dump named for the strip club at its edge, where the local women dance for an endless loop of strangers and the club’s violent owner rules as unofficial mayor.

Amid the polluted landscape, Coral works desperately to save up enough to rescue her child from the recycling factories, where he is forced to work. In her stolen free hours, she does something that seems impossible in this place: Coral makes art.

When a reporter from a struggling city on the coast arrives in Trashlands, Coral is presented with an opportunity to change her life. But is it possible to choose a future for herself?

Told in shifting perspectives, Trashlands is a beautifully drawn and wildly imaginative tale of a parent’s journey, a story of community and humanity in a changing world.

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The Review

Captivating and thought-provoking, author Alison Stine shines brightly in this emotional and relevant eco-thriller/sci-fi dystopian read. The novel’s brilliance comes through early on in the use of shifting perspectives, allowing readers not only to see how this dystopian world evolved and grew but allowing them to see how the bonds between these characters formed and how they came to be who they are. The chilling atmosphere comes not from some horrendous mutant beast or alien invasion, but the horrors humanity inflicts on our own planet, forcing the Earth to reshape its landscapes and forcing good people to do whatever it takes to survive.

The character arcs in this narrative are the true heart of this book. The various perspectives we have to allow the reader to see the balance Coral must find in not only surviving for herself but in finding the means to save her son, taken years ago from her to work in a factory. Her ability to find beauty and the means to create art for others while still putting herself through perilous work to earn the means of leaving everything behind and saving her son showcases mankind’s ability to persevere in the face of adversity and find hope in the darkness that surrounds us, a message that rings true for so many people. 

The Verdict

An engaging, emotionally-driven, and thematically important read, author Alison Stine’s “Trashlands” is a must-read novel of 2021! The perfect story of survival, hope, and finding beauty in the most troublesome of times, this story will take readers on a roller-coaster of emotions and showcase a depth of world-building that readers will come to love from this eco-thriller. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Alison Stine is an award-winning poet and author. Recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and an Ohio Arts Council grant, she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow and received the Studs Terkel Award for Media and Journalism. She works as a freelance reporter with The New York Times, writes for The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Guardian, 100 Days in Appalachia, ELLE, The Kenyon Review, and others, and has been astoryteller on The Moth. After living in Appalachian Ohio for many years, she now lives and writes in Colorado with her partner, her son, and a small orange cat.

Buy Links: 

BookShop.org

Harlequin 

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s 

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @AlisonStine

Instagram: @alistinewrites

Goodreads

Q&A with Author Alison Stine

1.      Give us an out of context quote from your book to warm our hearts.

“People had thought there would be no more time, but there was. Just different time. Time moving slower. Time after disaster, when they still had to live.” 

2.      What’s the last book you read that inspired you? 

Lily Cole’s Who Cares Wins: Reasons for Optimism in a Changed World. I’m quoted in the book, which is how we met. She had me on her podcast. It’s a book of ideas and hope for sustainability and environmental action. And it inspires me that she is able to leverage her platform as an actor and model to try to do good in the world. This world really wants you to be just one thing, and she resists that, and converts the attention into calls for action.

3.      Name one song or artist that gets you fired up.

Lana Del Rey’s “Swan Song.” It has a slow build, dark and intense, like I hope my work is. I don’t listen to music with lyrics when I draft, but I listen to the same song over and over again when I revise. That song becomes the heartbeat of the book. And “Swan Song” was one of the heartbeats of Trashlands.

4.      How do you find readers in today’s market?

There’s only so much a writer can control. I do everything in my control–post on social media, do events, publish essays–but at the end of the day, my job as a writer too is to tell the best story I can, to the best of my ability, in the time I’m given. What happens after that is a function of money and attention and decisions that don’t include me. As a disabled writer, it’s especially hard– nobody does year-end best lists about us. I try to remember that the writers I most admire–Octavia Butler, Angela Carter–wrote a ton. They just kept writing. I have to just keep writing, keeping going, too. 

5.      Do you come up with the hook first, or do you create characters first and then dig through until you find a hook?

Every book is different and every book teaches you how to write it. For me, trying to be analytical about things like plot or meaning doesn’t work. If I have a story I can’t let go of, something I dreamed, or something that keeps coming back to me, I listen to it. Often a character speaks first.

6.      Coffee or tea?

Definitely coffee. I’m a lightweight, so I try to limit myself to one cup a day.

7.       How do you create your characters?

One thing that I think is missing from some contemporary literary fiction is work. As someone from a working-class background, what characters do for money, how they feed themselves and live, is important to me, and can define character. Often what you want to do is different than what you have to do. I try to make it very clear how my characters support themselves, which can be a big part of characterization and plot–like in Trashlands, where several major characters work at a strip club at the end of the world– but also, what are their larger wishes? What are their unfulfilled dreams? What do they regret? 

8.      Who would be your dream cast if TRASHLANDS became a movie?

Lana Del Rey as Foxglove, Erin Kellyman as Coral, Eric Roberts as Trillium, MJ Rodriguez as Summer, and the late John Dunsworth as Mr. Fall. 

9.      If you could grab lunch with a literary character who would it be?

Jet from Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic series. I just read The Book of Magic, which reminded me how much I love Hoffman’s characters and that world. We all need an aunt in our lives who’s a witch, someone who’s both no nonsense and a lot of nonsense–and who serves cake for breakfast. (It just occurred to me that I may be turning into that kind of witch myself.) We need someone to remind us of our own personal magic. 

10.  What are you currently reading?

Township, a collection of stories by fellow Ohioan Jamie Lyn Smith, which is slated to be published this December. 

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Here is an Exclusive Excerpt From “Trashlands”

1

Early coralroot

Corallorhiza trifida

Coral was pregnant then. She hid it well in a dress she had found in the road, sun-bleached and mud-dotted, only a little ripped. The dress billowed to her knees, over the tops of her boots. She was named for the wildflower which hadn’t been seen since before her birth, and for ocean life, poisoned and gone. It was too dangerous to go to the beach anymore. You never knew when storms might come.

Though they were going—to get a whale.

A boy had come from up north with a rumor: a whale had beached. Far off its course, but everything was off by then: the waterways, the paths to the ocean, its salt. You went where you had to go, where weather and work and family—but mostly weather—took you.

The villagers around Lake Erie were carving the creature up, taking all the good meat and fat. The strainer in its mouth could be used for bows, the bones in its chest for tent poles or greenhouse beams.

It was a lot of fuel for maybe nothing, a rumor spun by an out-of-breath boy. But there would be pickings along the road. And there was still gas, expensive but available. So the group went, led by Mr. Fall. They brought kayaks, lashed to the top of the bus, but in the end, the water was shallow enough they could wade.

They knew where to go because they could smell it. You got used to a lot of smells in the world: rotten food, chemicals, even shit. But death… Death was hard to get used to.

“Masks up,” Mr. Fall said.

Some of the men in the group—all men except Coral—had respirators, painter’s masks, or medical masks. Coral had a handkerchief of faded blue paisley, knotted around her neck. She pulled it up over her nose. She had dotted it with lavender oil from a vial, carefully tipping out the little she had left. She breathed shallowly through fabric and flowers. Mr. Fall just had a T-shirt, wound around his face. He could have gotten a better mask, Coral knew, but he was leading the crew. He saved the good things for the others.

She was the only girl on the trip, and probably the youngest person. Maybe fifteen, she thought. Months ago, she had lain in the icehouse with her teacher, a man who would not stay. He was old enough to have an old-fashioned name, Robert, to be called after people who had lived and died as they should. Old enough to know better, Mr. Fall had said, but what was better, anymore?

Everything was temporary. Robert touched her in the straw, the ice blocks sweltering around them. He let himself want her, or pretend to, for a few hours. She tried not to miss him. His hands that shook at her buttons would shake in a fire or in a swell of floodwater. Or maybe violence had killed him.

She remembered it felt cool in the icehouse, a relief from the outside where heat beat down. The last of the chillers sputtered out chemicals. The heat stayed trapped in people’s shelters, like ghosts circling the ceiling. Heat haunted. It would never leave.

News would stop for long stretches. The information that reached Scrappalachia would be written hastily on damp paper, across every scrawled inch. It was always old news.

The whale would be picked over by the time they reached it.

Mr. Fall led a practiced team. They would not bother Coral, were trained not to mess with anything except the mission. They parked the bus in an old lot, then descended through weeds to the beach. The stairs had washed away. And the beach, when they reached it, was not covered with dirt or rock as Coral had expected, but with a fine yellow grit so bright it hurt to look at, a blankness stretching on.

“Take off your boots,” Mr. Fall said.

Coral looked at him, but the others were listening, knot-ting plastic laces around their necks, stuffing socks into pockets.

“Go on, Coral. It’s all right.” Mr. Fall’s voice was gentle, muffled by the shirt.

Coral had her job to do. Only Mr. Fall and the midwife knew for sure she was pregnant, though others were talking. She knew how to move so that no one could see.

But maybe, she thought as she leaned on a fence post and popped off her boot, she wanted people to see. To tell her what to do, how to handle it. Help her. He had to have died, Robert—and that was the reason he didn’t come back for her. Or maybe he didn’t know about the baby?

People had thought there would be no more time, but there was. Just different time. Time moving slower. Time after disaster, when they still had to live.

She set her foot down on the yellow surface. It was warm. She shot a look at Mr. Fall.

The surface felt smooth, shifting beneath her toes. Coral slid her foot across, light and slightly painful. It was the first time she had felt sand.

The sand on the beach made only a thin layer. People had started to take it. Already, people knew sand, like everything, could be valuable, could be sold.

Coral took off her other boot. She didn’t have laces, to tie around her neck. She carried the boots under her arm. Sand clung to her, pebbles jabbing at her feet. Much of the trash on the beach had been picked through. What was left was diapers and food wrappers and cigarettes smoked down to filters.

“Watch yourselves,” Mr. Fall said.

Down the beach they followed the smell. It led them on, the sweet rot scent. They came around a rock outcropping, and there was the whale, massive as a ship run aground: red, purple, and white. The colors seemed not real. Birds were on it, the black birds of death. The enemies of scavengers, their competition. Two of the men ran forward, waving their arms and whooping to scare off the birds.

“All right everybody,” Mr. Fall said to the others. “You know what to look for.”

Except they didn’t. Not really. Animals weren’t their specialty.

Plastic was.

People had taken axes to the carcass, to carve off meat. More desperate people had taken spoons, whatever they could use to get at something to take home for candle wax or heating fuel, or to barter or beg for something else, something better.

“You ever seen a whale?” one of the men, New Orleans, asked Coral.

She shook her head. “No.”

“This isn’t a whale,” Mr. Fall said. “Not anymore. Keep your masks on.”

They approached it. The carcass sunk into the sand. Coral tried not to breathe deeply. Flesh draped from the bones of the whale. The bones were arched, soaring like buttresses, things that made up cathedrals—things she had read about in the book.

Bracing his arm over his mouth, Mr. Fall began to pry at the ribs. They were big and strong. They made a cracking sound, like a splitting tree.

New Orleans gagged and fell back.

Other men were dropping. Coral heard someone vomiting into the sand. The smell was so strong it filled her head and chest like a sound, a high ringing. She moved closer to give her feet something to do. She stood in front of the whale and looked into its gaping mouth.

There was something in the whale.

Something deep in its throat.

In one pocket she carried a knife always, and in the other she had a light: a precious flashlight that cast a weak beam. She switched it on and swept it over the whale’s tongue, picked black by the birds.

She saw a mass, opaque and shimmering, wide enough it blocked the whale’s throat. The whale had probably died of it, this blockage. The mass looked lumpy, twined with seaweed and muck, but in the mess, she could make out a water bottle.

It was plastic. Plastic in the animal’s mouth. It sparked in the beam of her flashlight.

Coral stepped into the whale.

Excerpted from Trashlands by Alison Stine, Copyright © 2021 by Alison Stine. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

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