Tag Archives: ya science fiction

Lies My Memory Told Me by Sacha Wunsch 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 whose parents have developed a memory sharing system discovers her parents hiding secrets from her, and the young man she’s most comfortable around appears to be fearful of her in author Sacha Wunsch’s psychological mystery novel, “Lies My Memory Told Me”.

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The Synopsis

From the thrilling voice of Sacha Wunsch comes a heart-stopping psychological mystery in a world where memories can be shared—but maybe not trusted.

Enhanced Memory changed everything. By sharing someone else’s memory, you can experience anything and everything with no risk at all: learn any skill instantly, travel the world from home, and safeguard all your most treasured secrets forever. Nova’s parents invented this technology, and it’s slowly taking over their lives. That’s where Nova comes in. She can pick up the slack for them—and she doesn’t mind. She knows Enhanced Memory is a gift, and its value outweighs its costs.

But Kade says Nova doesn’t even know the costs. Kade runs a secret vlog cataloging real experiences, is always on the move, and he’s strangely afraid of Nova—even though she feels more comfortable with him than she ever has with anyone. Suddenly there are things Nova can’t stop noticing: the way her parents don’t meet her eyes anymore, the questions no one wants her to ask, and the relentless feeling like there’s something she’s forgotten.

But there’s danger around every corner, and her own home might be the most dangerous place of all.

The Review

The author did a fantastic job of building the tension and suspense of this YA Sci-Fi read! The story starts by integrating this futuristic new mythos and technology into the settings of this narrative, and it really highlighted the highs and lows of advancing technology in our own world and the way virtual worlds and experiences have slowly begun replacing the real-life experiences this world has to offer. 

The character arcs here held the biggest twists and turns in the narrative. The protagonist, Nova, evolves into such a complex and emotionally invested hero in this YA world, and the twists not only in her story but in her relationships were shocking to read. The heart and emotional pull of this narrative came in the exploration of the morality of technology, and what truly defines our identities as well. 

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The Verdict

Highly entertaining and a great balance of suspense and world-building, author Sacha Wunsch’s “Lies My Memory Told Me” is a must-read YA Sci-Fi read of 2021! The shocking finale will have readers truly invested in the characters and their arc, and the only critique I can offer is that the Epilogue in this book feels a bit rushed, and leaves enough room for world-building and mythos to have hope the author will revisit this world again someday. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Sacha Wunsch grew up dividing her time between the family farm in Canada and traveling to numerous fictional worlds. She was a bookseller before discovering her love of writing mind-twisty novels – which has proved an excellent job since she gets to blame all the TV she watches on her love of storytelling. She now splits her time between the city and the lake, and still travels to made-up worlds as often as she can.

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/lies-my-memory-told-me/9781335018274 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lies-my-memory-told-me-sacha-wunsch/1138272834 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lies-My-Memory-Told-Me/dp/1335018271 

Target: https://www.target.com/p/lies-my-memory-told-me-by-sacha-wunsch-hardcover/-/A-83991421 

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Lies-My-Memory-Told-Me-Hardcover-9781335018274/212186456 

LibroFM: https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781705040577-lies-my-memory-told-me?bookstore=wakefieldbooks

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Sacha_Wunsch_Lies_My_Memory_Told_Me?id=vdo5EAAAQBAJ

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/lies-my-memory-told-me/id1541146528

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/in/en/ebook/lies-my-memory-told-me

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: https://sachawunsch.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sachawunsch

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sachawunsch/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55920773-lies-my-memory-told-me?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=yWdh9NEb7s&rank=1 

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Excerpt From “LIES MY MEMORY TOLD ME”

Prologue

The platform was a hundred and fifty feet up.

I tried not to look down.

I hadn’t even known I was afraid of heights until the moment I stood up there.

The stranger came up to me, grinning. “You’re going to love it,” he said.

I swallowed.

My entire body was sweating, most notably my palms, slipping as I tried to grip the safety harness.

Was I really going to do this?

No. I was going to get unclipped, turn around, and simply climb back down what felt like the millions of stairs stretching below me.

And then, just as I started to turn, someone pushed me off the platform.

I screamed as I dropped, nothing but air beneath me.

And then… I started to glide.

The scream kept coming a few seconds more, but my heart did a flip before it could reach my mind. I was soaring. Over the treetops. Whizzing along the zip line at high speeds. It was the best thing I had ever felt.

I had never been this free. Which made sense, I was essentially flying, after all.

Giggling was very much not in my nature, but there I was, giggling anyway. I closed my eyes to get a better sense of the wind on my face, but when the sweet scent of fresh-blooming flowers greeted me, I opened them again. Sure enough, the trees several yards below my feet were blooming some kind of large purple flower.

I sucked in a breath, wishing I could inhale the whole scene, wanting to appreciate it as much as I could—savor it—knowing it wouldn’t last forever, and landed gently on the other side.

I did not have to be pushed off the second platform—barely able to wait my turn to jump again. I soared from platform to platform, wishing nothing more than for this to go on forever, grinning all the way, and realizing only at the last second that the final landing platform wasn’t a platform at all, but a deep, cooling pool.

I sucked in a breath, and with a final burst of adrenaline, I splashed into the crystal-clear water.

TWENTY MINUTES EARLIER

“Come on, open it,” Mom said, her smiling beaming.

I held the small, beautifully wrapped box, unable to imagine what it was. My parents knew I wasn’t really that into jewelry, and neither were they really, but what else could be in such a small box?

I tore into it and flipped the lid open.

Which confused me even more. It wasn’t a ring or a pendant, just a small metal disk.

Dad sensed my confusion. “Give it a second,” he said, beaming even brighter than Mom.

In a blink, a form emerged, a hologram above the disk. There was no sound, but it looked like the person in the hologram was gliding through the tops of trees high in the air.

“This is…really cool,” I said, and meant it, but couldn’t help but feel like I was missing something.

Mom was practically bouncing on the couch. “We wanted to do something special for your birthday.”

“Thank you” was all I could really think to say. The disk was pretty cool, but what the hell was with their enthusiasm?

“You’re welcome Nova,” Dad said. “But this isn’t the whole thing. It’s the experience of it that’s the real gift.”

“The experience of it?”

Mom had gotten up and gone to the desk by the front door. She picked up another box, this one unwrapped, and pulled something from inside.

“Here, you put this on,” she said, handing me a clunky set of headphones plugged into a small handheld device about the size of a phone.

“The disk goes in there,” Dad said, and showed me how to open it, setting my new present inside.

And then I experienced my first ever zip line.

As the experience ended, I blinked my eyes open, a hundred percent sure I’d be soaking wet, but I was sitting right back in my living room. The sensation was a bit disorienting, but my parents were staring at me like they were about to explode.

“What was that?” I asked, grabbing the hem of my shirt, which I couldn’t quite comprehend being dry.

“That was Enhanced Memory,” Dad said, but the look on his face said so much more—like if he’d had feathers, they’d be plumaged out like the most badass peacock of the bunch.

“What did you think?” Mom asked, clasping her hands like she had so much energy whizzing through her body she had to do something to hold it in.

“Well obviously it was amazing, but by the way you two are acting, you already know that.” I couldn’t help but grin. They were just so cute sitting there all proud of themselves. “But seriously, what is this? What is Enhanced Memory?”

I’d seen 3D movies and had even tried virtual reality once, but this was way beyond either of those. This was next level.

“It’s simple,” Dad said. “The headphones are equipped with dozens of…well, let’s call them electrodes for sake of ease, though really, they’re more advanced than that.”

“Okay,” I said, mostly with him still, although knowing Dad it wouldn’t be long until the science-y droning took hold and steered him right off the layman’s term trail.

“And these,” he said, taking the disk out of the machine and holding it up, “are Memories.”

“Memories.”

Mom nodded. “We discovered a way to extract memories and reproduce them.”

“Wait, you guys created this?”

Mom nodded, her smile huge and eyes wide. “This is what we’ve been working toward all these years.”

My mouth dropped open. I knew my parents had been working on some kind of project for a long time, but I guess I hadn’t really been that interested in what it was.

Mom laughed at my stunned expression while Dad came over to give me one of his signature kisses on the top of my head.

“Happy birthday, sweetheart,” Mom said, beaming.

I mean, they were scientists and science was basically the last thing I wanted to pay attention to, so I never really asked many questions.

But this was way beyond science. This was…actually kind of awesome.

A smile crept across my face. I couldn’t wait to try it again. 

Excerpted from Lies My Memory Told Me by Sacha Wunsch, Copyright © 2021 by Sacha Wunsch. Published by Inkyard Press. 

Star Song by Edward Willett Review

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

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

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The Synopsis

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

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

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

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

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

The Review

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

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

The Verdict

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

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://edwardwillett.com/

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

Misfit by Jo Zaida Review

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

Two teens find themselves caught in a war between two orders for control of not only their world, but the world of the dead as well in author Jo Zaida’s “Misfit”, the first book in THE ASURA CHRONICLES series.

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The Synopsis

Two clashing orders battle for power over their world and the realm of the dead, using teenagers as their pawns. The teenagers, however, have other ideas.

In the New World, Elle is visited by a ghost from the Asura, a realm existing between the mortals and the Gods. The Asura challenges everything she thought she knew about herself, her family and the Ministry that controls them, and throws her into an adventure of chaos and discovery.

River, meanwhile, has been welcomed into a secret organization with tantalizing promises of a better future. But not everything is as it seems. His loyalty to his father is challenged as he gets pushed into a strategic engagement with a girl he does not like, and starts to discover more about the Alliance’s darker schemes.

Worlds collide for young adult readers who will love the fast-paced thrills, the chemistry between characters, and the interplay of dystopian fantasy and science fiction, self-discovery and friendship in Misfit, book one of The Asura Chronicles trilogy.

It is a perfect cross-market read for fans of Hunger Games and Harry Potter, both young adult and adult readers who are searching for the next enduring sci-fi/fantasy classic. 

The Review

A fantastic exploration of a futuristic society that has blended technology with the spiritual realm, the author has expertly layered this YA narrative with elements of politics, themes of morality, and the complex relationships we form with our families. The author does a wonderful job of exploring each faction introduced in the world of this novel, both the good and the bad, and highlights how no one side is ever truly “right” and the other “wrong”. Instead those in power, no matter what side they choose, deserve to be challenged and held accountable when situations arise.

The world-building in this novel was incredible. Richly layered throughout the novel, the author crafts an impressive story of those who pass on from the world and the few who manage to ascend, in essence, into a state of higher spiritual existence. On top of the secret societies and shady government operations hoping to take control of these beings, the author also creates complex and interesting characters that are multi-dimensional. The hardships and struggles these teens have not only with these factions fighting for control but with their own family lives make this story shine brightly, and also showcases that both politics and family are rife with secrets and lies that have the power to change things forever.

The Verdict

An engaging, entertaining, and beautifully written narrative, author Jo Zaida’s “Misfit” is a fantastic YA sci-fi and dystopian fantasy read. The first in what proves to be an exciting and much-needed new YA series, the book expertly wades into some complex themes that deserve to challenge YA readers everywhere and highlights how young people are just as powerful and needed in the evolution of a nation or faction as anyone else. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab this amazing read for yourselves today!

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About the Author

People say that authors write themselves into their characters. But I am not Elle. 

Does the way the world works frustrate me? It does. Am I stubborn and rebellious? Sometimes. I hope I’m a little less moody…

Like Elle, I love traveling and adventure. 

I also love books, cats, music and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

https://www.theasurachronicles.com/

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jo-zaida?list=author_books

I am You am I by Thorsten Nesch Review

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

Two teenagers who couldn’t be unlike one another find themselves in a strange situation when they find they have switched bodies with one another in author Thorsten Nesch’s “I am You am I”. 

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The Synopsis

She comes from a rich family in Vancouver and enjoys horse back riding, he lives on the wrong side of town and calls boxing his hobby. Two very different teenagers changing their bodies accidentally and have to live the life of the other. The funniest body switch comedy you will read.

The Review

This was a fun and exhilarating YA read. The author has perfectly captured the voice and the tone of the genre, blending a mix of sci-fi and classic body-switch-level storytelling with humorous and witty characters that speak to the audience and the protagonists themselves. 

The novel provides much-needed humor and entertainment into the narrative, while also balancing this with rich storylines and dynamic topics that range from social injustice to inequality amongst us all, especially in a setting like high school between different people. Preconceived notions about how others live and who they are as people are often fraught with unnecessary tension and could escalate to violence easily, and yet in a classic move in this storyline, readers and the protagonists get to see how everyone has troubles and hardships to endure and finding common ground can be the answer to finding peace with one another as well.

The Verdict

An engaging, evenly-paced, and thoughtful YA sci-fi comedy novel, author Thorsten Nesch’s “I am You am I” is a must-read. Brilliantly told with a fresh voice from the author’s outstanding writing and rich protagonists that engage readers from every walk of social status, this book is one that will not be easy to put down. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Since 2014 I live in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

My stories received literary grants and awards nationally and internationally. In the last years I did more than 1500 readings in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy and on two cruises.

My first novel was nominated Best German YA Debut and I won the Hans-im-Gluck-Award 2012

Jury: „His style is a stroke of luck for literature“

http://thorstennesch.com/

This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria 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 desperate to find her lost brother awakens a long thought lost automaton, and with him the secrets of a powerful country in author Emily Victoria’s YA Fantasy, “This Golden Flame”. 

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The Synopsis

An Ember in the Ashes meets Mask of Shadows in Emily Victoria’s #ownvoices debut YA fantasy, This Golden Flame, in which asexual Karis, a servant to the mysterious Scriptorium, accidentally awakens long-dormant automaton Alix, initiating an epic adventure full of magic, rebellion, and finding where you truly belong.

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible?she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father?their nation’s greatest traitor?once tried to destroy the automatons.

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

The Review

What a brilliant fusion of sci-fi and fantasy within the YA genre. The world-building that the author has done here allows readers to witness a world where they can seamlessly see where magical runes and magic itself end and technology and advanced science begin. The fictional setting that the characters find themselves in harkens back to a similar time as Ancient Greece, adapting many of that era’s way of life and the pursuit of knowledge while at the same time observing ancient customs and beliefs. 

The thing that stood out the most for me as a reader was the amazing character development the author brought forth to this read. The protagonists in this story, Alix and Karis, are both fantastic as readers get to see from both perspectives. However, Karis was an especially inspired choice for the protagonist, as her status as one of the heroes of this tale not only gives representation to the asexual community within the larger LGBTQ+ community but inspires young asexual people to embrace their identity no matter what. This is an extremely important territory the author has entered, and it adds to more representation within the YA genre. 

The Verdict

A stunning, engaging, and breathtaking world of magic and wonder, author Emily Victoria’s “This Golden Flame” is a must-read YA sci-fi and fantasy read. The author brilliantly brings an important LGBTQ+ character to the narrative and creates a fascinating world of science and magic that astounds the reader and creates a world that is brimming with possibilities but haunted by corruption. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Portraits

Emily Victoria lives on the Canadian prairies with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, works at her public library, and has just finished her Masters of Library and Information Studies.

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/this-golden-flame/9781335080271 

Powell’s: https://www.powells.com/

book/-9781335080271 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/this-golden-flame-emily-victoria/1134633347 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335080271

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/This-Golden-Flame-Emily-Victoria-ebook/dp/B07ZXCWTYF/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1603379509&sr=8-1 

Chapters: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/this-golden-flame/9781335080271-item.html?ikwid=this+golden+flame&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=3

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ww/en/ebook/this-golden-flame

https://www.instagram.com/avictoriantale/

https://www.avictoriantale.com/

Blue Fire by E.C. Blake Review

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

Three individuals from different factions in an almost magical and deadly world find themselves forced to work together to stop a rising threat to them all in author E.C. Blake’s epic YA Fantasy, “Blue Fire”.

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The Synopsis

From the author of the acclaimed fantasy trilogy The Masks of Agyrima, published by DAW Books, comes another epic YA fantasy adventure

Centuries ago, the people of Nevyana were forced to leave their old kingdom across the sea after it was devastated by the War of the Twelve Gods. The only three gods to survive that war, Vekrin of the Earth, Arrica of the Sun, and Ell of the Moon, agreed they would thenceforth cease to meddle in the affairs of humans – but first, each of them gave their followers a final magical gift.

In different ways, Vekrin and Arrica gave their followers the gift of Blue Fire, a force that could provide light, heat, and protection – or be turned into a powerful weapon. But Ell, who had fought against the other two in the war, chose instead to utterly transform her followers into the Nightdwellers, nocturnal creatures with fur, teeth, and claws.

Enmity quickly arose among the three groups. Now, the Nightdwellers rule the night, killing any ordinary humans they find after sunset. Vekrin’s followers became the Citydwellers, sheltering each night behind stout walls of stone, guarded by the Blue Fire-powered firelances of the priests. And Arrica’s followers became the Freefolk, travelling the wilderness, camping within a fence of Blue Fire but always in danger of Nightdweller attack.

When sacred objects for channelling Blue Fire are stolen, three sworn enemies, Petra of the Citydwellers, Amlinn of the Freefolk, and Jin of the Nightdwellers, set out to find them, and their paths converge on a collision course with the truth. Can they bridge the centuries-old divisions among their communities? Or will Blue Fire, turned to destruction, bring Nevyana crashing down in chaos and bloodshed?

The Review

What a truly incredible and rich fantasy world the author has crafted. The exploration of this world does a great job of highlighting how belief systems and those in power can often lead people to see enemies where only allies stand and create a divide that doesn’t need to exist. Utilizing a brilliant YA adventure, the author is able to convey deep and complex themes of setting aside differences, seeking allies instead of enemies, and leaving the past behind to build a brighter future. 

The two key components to this novel have to be world-building and character development. The author showcases a wide range of emotion and interaction amongst the characters early on, giving three very different protagonists who must overcome the fear and mistrust and even in some cases hatred they’ve had instilled in them from an early age. Meanwhile, the world-building is detailed and engaging, giving readers a rich history and mythology to delve into throughout the entirety of the novel. 

The Verdict

A fascinating, entertaining, and evenly-paced read, author E.C. Blake’s “Blue Fire” is a must-read YA fantasy. An epic tale of rich mythology, deep and thoughtful protagonists, and twists and turns that challenge the heroes as they navigate a rapidly changing world, fans of the YA fantasy and sci-fi genre will absolutely love this amazing read. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

E.C. Blake was born in New Mexico, “Land of Enchantment,” and the state’s nickname seems to have rubbed off: he started writing fantastical stories in elementary school and wrote his first fantasy novel in high school. He’s been a newspaper reporter and editorial cartoonist, a magazine editor, a writing instructor and a professional actor, and has written (under another name) more than 30 works of nonfiction, ranging from biographies to science books to history books, but his first love has always been fantasy. He now lives in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, with his wife and a daughter whose favorite stories all involve “sword-fighting princesses.” Come to think of it, so do his.

http://www.ecblake.com/

Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray Review

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

A galactic-wide disaster within the hyperspace lanes lead a group of Jedi travelers to lead their companions to an abandoned space station, but soon find themselves at the center of a dangerous mystery in author Claudia Gray’s novel, “Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark”. 

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The Synopsis

Padawan Reath Silas is being sent from the cosmopolitan galactic capital of Coruscant to the undeveloped frontier—and he couldn’t be less happy about it. He’d rather stay at the Jedi Temple, studying the archives. But when the ship he’s traveling on is knocked out of hyperspace in a galactic-wide disaster, Reath finds himself at the center of the action. The Jedi and their traveling companions find refuge on what appears to be an abandoned space station. But then strange things start happening, leading the Jedi to investigate the truth behind the mysterious station, a truth that could end in tragedy….

The Review

What a fantastic new canon to explore within the greater Star Wars universe. As a longtime fan of the franchise, I have devoured anything related to the series, and getting to explore an entirely new era set before the events of the main films was a real treat. 

The author’s true power shines best through the amazing character development that occurs here. From new heroes like Reath to dangerous threats like the plant-creatures known as the Drengir and the powerful criminal organization looking to halt the Republic’s expansion into the Outer Rim, the Nihil, the story takes readers into some amazing corners of the galaxy while also establishing connected and engaging new characters. 

The twists and turns this story takes are fantastic to see unfold. The already established Nihil is unique to me, as their character development is reminiscent of both real-life pirates and Vikings, who utilize violence and ruthless battle while also clinging to ideals of freedom through taking whatever they like. Yet their backstory is complex and shows promise as the High Republic continues to grow. The introduction of new aspects of the Force and Jedi Order, from the Wayseeker who operates outside of the Jedi Council’s purview to the Drengir and the connection to the Force itself, will surprise fans and make for a new and powerful foe. 

The Verdict

A masterful, entertaining, and action-packed blockbuster of a read, author Claudia Gray’s “Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark” is a must-read for all Star Wars fans. This new initiative into the High Republic excels in this novel, and the author’s brilliant dive into the Star Wars mythos highlights the endless possibilities this galactic series has for storytellers around the world. I cannot wait to read more about this era of the Star Wars universe, and hope everyone will grab their copy of this fantastic read today!


Thank Disney Publishing and Netgalley enough for this review copy.


Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Claudia Gray is not my real name. I didn’t choose a pseudonym because my real name is unpleasant (it isn’t), because I’d always dreamed of calling myself this (I haven’t) or even because I’m hiding from the remnants of that international diamond-smuggling cartel I smashed in 2003 (Interpol has taken care of them). In short, I took a pseudonym for no real reason whatsoever. Sometimes this is actually the best reason to do things.

I live in New Orleans. So far, in life, I’ve been a disc jockey, a lawyer, a journalist and an extremely bad waitress, just to name a few. I especially like to spend time traveling, hiking, reading and listening to music. More than anything else, I enjoy writing.

http://www.claudiagray.com/

Eden Rising (Eden Rising #1) by Andrew Cunningham Review

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

Two young teens find themselves in a fight for survival as they become one of the few survivors of a planet-ending event, and must discover how far they are willing to go in order to live in author Andrew Cunningham’s “Eden Rising”. 

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The Synopsis

“The Earth died in less than a minute. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. It’s not like the planet ceased to exist altogether. It just seemed like it. Cities were reduced to rubble. Millions of people died that day. I’ve since been told that 95% of the Earth’s human population was wiped out. I don’t know if that’s true—I mean, who can know that for sure? It’s not like we still have any of the technology that we once used to determine such things. But I do know that it was almost empty of people—live ones, that is…”

Thus begins the journey of Ben and Lila, two ordinary teenagers forced to rise to extraordinary heights when faced with a world that has suddenly and inexplicably died. Dealing with the sorrow of all they have lost, but the love they have found in each other, they set off on an odyssey that will bring them to the limits of human endurance and face to face with the frailty of their very existence. From the extreme violence of many of the surviving humans toward one another, to a world physically falling apart at the seams, Ben and Lila are determined to make it through the devastation in their quest for a place to quietly share their life together. In the process, they have to become as violent as the world around them in order to survive, while struggling to hold onto the humanity that will keep them sane. Eden Rising is a survival tale and a love story, but it is also a book that delves deeply into the human psyche to discover just how far we would go to survive, and how much inner strength can be found when things are at their absolute worst.

The Review

This audiobook was not only well read, but incredibly well-written. The action kicks up immediately, as the two protagonists find themselves going from awkward teen romance hanging in the air to waking up and finding the people of the world dead. 

The author does an amazing job of leaning hard into the dystopian YA sci-fi genre, while also bringing a maturity to the narrative by examining the psychological affect an apocalyptic event like this would have on any survivors, let alone two young teens forced to grow up very quickly. The pain of the loss brings to them a bond that highlights a growing romance, while the horrors they endure in the narrative and the lines they must contend with crossing showcase complex and deep character developments, a key to this novel’s pacing and delivery overall.

The Verdict

A must-read, heart-pounding audiobook and novel, author Andrew Cunningham’s “Eden Rising”, the first in the Eden Rising series, is an edge of your seat dystopian YA novel that is not to be missed. Memorable characters, romance and deep psychological character studies all define this amazing novel, and readers will not be able to get enough of this wonderful work. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author 

Andrew Cunningham is the author ten novels, including the award-winning Amazon bestselling thriller Wisdom Spring; the “Lies” Mystery Series (All Lies, Fatal Lies, Vegas Lies, Secrets & Lies, and Blood Lies); the Cape Cod terrorist/disaster thriller Deadly Shore; and the post-apocalyptic Eden Rising Series (Eden Rising, Eden Lost, and Eden’s Legacy). As A.R. Cunningham, he has written a series of 5 humorous children’s mysteries in the Arthur MacArthur series for middle-readers. Formerly an interpreter for the deaf and a long-time independent bookseller, Andrew has been a full-time freelance writer and copy editor for the last 18 years. A 4th-degree Master Blackbelt in Tang Soo Do, Andrew finally gave up active training when his body said, “Enough already!” Andrew was a long-time resident of Cape Cod, and he and his wife now live in Florida. He can be contacted at info@arcnovels.com. Visit his website at www.arcnovels.com. He can also be found on Facebook (Author Andrew Cunningham), and Twitter (@arcnovels).

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

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

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

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The Synopsis

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

The Review

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

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

The Verdict

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

Rating: 8/10

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Links:

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

Facebook: https://facebook.com/warriorsofpotentia

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

Author Bio: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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