Journey of Tara
on June 10, 2011
A spaceship awaits you on this getaway to Terra, formerly known as a peaceful world of united alien races and humans. That was until a virus brought by the aliens who reached out to them nearly made them extinct. If you are one of the ones who got left behind and survived, congratulations. You are now living on every smuggler's dream. All for being forgotten--on Earth.
A fresh touch of imagination can be found here with some familiar marks of sci-fi, without the quantum mechanics capable of creating a brain meltdown (which some like myself are cool with too). This story has a Cowboy Bebop-like setting, also known as a Space Western. The "Final Frontier" is also one for you Trekkies. If you like either, or simply both, then you will like this story. Because however you choose to make a mess of our once-cozy humanity, and then spread it across the universe, you're going to get a lot of lawlessness between all that free space.
There be fun, wit and characters for us grown ups in here, but young adults will enjoy this too. Especially if they are the type to dream of a computer that can think and work for them; also known in here as Mar. Forget Mac--I want Mar. This story kept me guessing to what happens next as well, which is a welcome override to my foresight circuits. Now struggle to stay alive through your promised "vacation" without a home calling card. Dealing with the androids will be the easier part.
Brian Hutchinson has a great touch of charm in his writing that glows in here through Tara and Dirk, as well as his other characters. If you're looking for some soft science fiction, leave the chemistry textbook behind in the void and pick this up. If you never read any science or speculative fiction in your life, this is a pretty good starter book for you too. But do mind the androids. They wont share your enthusiasm for leftovers.
A Cheerful Smoke for the Dead
on June 16, 2011
If you're into vampires and want a fresh, but grounded in an older time take on them, this short story will give you a good spook. I'm very interested to see if Ron Leighton's upcoming novel will have the same effect. I will be carrying extra lights around until then.
on June 17, 2011
Syd has a lot of inner-conflict to defeat before she can take on the villain after her, and Michelle Brooks has it down in its very best poetic take.
This is a darker take on YA that you may find to be a welcome change from the norm. If you are or have ever been a teen who didn't have it easy, this is the perfect book for you. If you're still hugging all your stuffed animals however, you might find Syd's character a bit more tricky to connect with.
Fate is going to help Syd out, only it won't be in a way she wants. It will be in a much more challenging way--by throwing her into her past life, so she might have a better chance at getting her present-one figured out.
Finding love will help set her on the right path, and the discovery of her secret talent. But that won't shift her perspective to include any pink bunny rabbits.
Up against the villain in here, that will prove to be a good thing.
on July 13, 2011
If you ever dreamed about being an astronaut and seeing the stars, in 2017, Intrepid is the space shuttle to take you there. But when Lance and his crew inadvertently become part of the reason for a devastating nuclear war on Earth, there stands one chance for the Intrepid to set things straight and save a lot of lives. It includes time travel, but it's not going to be easy and the cost of what they will have to sacrifice is set high.
Steve Stone adds a vivid touch to detail in this story and real characters you want to follow. He brings this ride right along speculative fiction, making you feel as if you're right there and a part of the thrill of it. Lance will do what is necessary against the weight of his conscience, while keeping hold of it as well. With the help of the teenager James, both will keep you emotionally bound to the humanity of it all. Even as their mission is ultimately turned into that of playing god to save a lot of people.
The second book, Intrepid - The Two Storms, looks to be an equally good read that I will be looking into in the near future.
Blood Skies (Book 1)
on July 15, 2011
If you ever wanted to hunt down some vampires, here is the squad to take along to do it. Bring your guns, bows, grenades and machetes, but don't leave your warlock behind. You're going to need Eric Cross to survive after The Black, the apocalyptic hell that our world has become.
When Cross' sister gets taken, his original mission of hunting down a traitor takes an unexpected turn. He will be up against some brutal vampires, but expect to find golems, unicorns, spirits, zombies, massive wolves and a world where being a normal human barely makes the cut anymore. In this war you will have to accept and become a part of the fantasy if you are to stand a chance of surviving, as there are arcane nightmares everywhere.
Beautiful imagery and writing in here that will help you accomplish just that, at a pace full of action. But don't dream too deep into it all, as you already have a short life expectancy by being a warlock, and the living are soon to become the fantasy.
I will be watching for future works from Steven Montano, as this debut novel, Blood Skies, will stay on my shelf for reading again in the future.
Lor Mandela - Destruction from Twins
on Aug. 25, 2011
Part one starts with building the foundation to an intriguing fantasy world, but it's not one without corruption. When Lantalia becomes the next Vritesse, Anika devises a plan to steal the powers from her twin sister and it will lead to worldwide, catastrophic consequences.
Now the only hope is currently on Earth, the teenager Maggie, believed to be the Child of Balance and the only one who can solve the riddle of the Advantiere. Part two throws Maggie to Lor Mandela and back, and becomes an even more serious problem when her father's life is put at stake. Soon it becomes a race against a perishing world and an army set to destroy those who might escape its fate.
There are lots of likable characters set in this fantasy world. Ruled by magic and plenty of mayhem, it keeps you guessing what happens next at a quick pace. I look forward to reading the sequel, Four Hundred Days.
Intrepid - The Two Storms
on Aug. 31, 2011
The stages for The Two Storms are set. One is a political one when the Russian and American Presidents are shot, the other is a devastating hurricane.
As with reading any sequel I always set the bar higher, and for this one I wasn't disappointed. The characters all fall into place and are easy to keep up with. Confronting a hurricane with a neutron bomb from a B-2 Spirit gets serious cool points as well. Going against mother nature comes with an awesome sense of class this round. But first the Intrepid crew will have to survive another attempt at time travel to get behind the storms with enough time in their hands to prevent them.
After that, saving the world from a Cold War comes down to taking on street gangs to get to bottom of who The Chinaman is, and just as importantly, who he is working for. I was left right up to the very end trying to figure out the mysteries of identities here. I will read on to Intrepid - Revelations.
The Shadowed Path
on Oct. 24, 2011
The Shadowed Path is a book that quickly pulled me into a vivid Roman Empire-like world, immersed in dark fantasy elements. Two nations on the brink of war, and between them a place all its own; the Shadowland. Here it is the waystalkers, inhumanii connected to the earth, who are at one with its darkness. But on the outside of their world, they are slaves to humans who they cannot kill. The rules change when the enemy bends some of these lethal waystalkers to their advantage, and Marcus and his companions barely escape alive.
Marcus didn't want to get sent away from his comfortable, rich life to join a merchant caravan on a such a treacherous journey. On getting out of the Shadowland four years later, he finds nothing remaining of the life he left. When things begin to escalate violently in his search for answers, his quick-wits, calm demeanor and fighting skills gained from the Shadowland make him an awesome character to follow.
When Sheena joins the story, she goes from a woman in despair to one bent on vengeance. Her shattered mind due to the traumatic loss of her family gives her character an even more suspenseful edge, particularly when she aims her vengeance at Marcus.
I'm curious to see what happens next with Marcus and Sheena and how the waystalkers will further play out. A great deal of the four years in the Shadowland has yet to be revealed as well, as the imprints it has left on Marcus and his friends are significant. Great characters, story, and action, makes this a series I will be following closely.
on July 17, 2012
Wormwood is an angel, post-apocalyptic story with a gripping emotional current from start to finish. Not having to survive high school to feel all this was a refreshing bonus as well, as these angels stay grounded in our world without having to go to class, first.
Tiamat isn't only hot, he's a complex character weighed down by the grief and immorality of his responsibilities. When he saves and falls in love with Kali, things get really complicated. This strong heroine isn't about to give up and make the angels' mission of destroying humanity easier. Even if she is in love with one of them.
The colliding sparks between Tiamat and Kali left me constantly guessing to what would happen next, and I really enjoyed the hints to mythology within this fast-paced book. I look forward to the next one of the series.
The Hellandback Kids: Be Careful What You Wish For
on July 28, 2012
The Hellandback Kids is a fantasy story intertwined with fun and some good spooks. Strange things start to happen around the Hellandback kids, leading them to blaming each other instead of looking deeper into it. When their visit to their great-grandmother's home lands them in an alternate reality, they are served life lessons catered to them in a manner they won't soon forget.
Lots of well-developed characters in here and surprises that left me guessing to the end. Trisha was my favorite of the kids, as her alternate reality really made her think twice of what she had once daydreamed of, only to have to get through a more realistic nightmare version of it. The Bundlebobs are neat creatures as well.
If you're looking for a newly-imaginative fantasy adventure, this is a great book for tweens and up.
Split Blood: The Ancient Codex - Part One (Book #1 in the Split Blood Series)
on May 24, 2013
I absolutely loved this book as it had everything magically that I love to read about!
Witches, werewolves, vampires, fairies - I wasn't left wanting until the end!
I loved going on the journey with witch Faith as she grew from a child into a challenging teenager who wanted to branch out from her circle, I loved the way the author kept her forbidden relationship with vampire Rohan authentic and didn't tame the romantic scenes but didn't try to make it a 'Fifty shades of Magic' either!
The friendship with Lily is touching but I can't wait to find out how she gets round her own arranged marriage and her personal dilemma and I really want to know what Lowell's (werewolf) problem is with Faith?
I went through a mixture of emotions with this book as every chapter takes you on different journeys and I can't wait to find out what happens next.
Highly recommended if you like your YA with a kick ass twist!
Selling Outside the Square: Creative Ideas to Help YOU Make More Sales
on June 19, 2013
'Selling Outside the Square' will make you look at selling in a whole new way, even if you never sold anything in your life. Bob Boog adds his own personal touch and experiences in this informative book that will teach you how to connect with different generations of people, and how they think when it comes to purchasing things.
Also in this book are the selling lines that will work best with different types of customers, and how to use technology (or less of it) to make your sale. This is a must-have book for anyone in the business of sales or looking to get into it, and interesting even for those who aren't, as it will change your perspective of the consumer's mind.
on Sep. 16, 2013
This was an interesting and informative approach on dreams and individual spirituality, tailored to be understood by a teen audience. The reader gets to follow Kara and Sara, who are both twins, as they learn how to interpret their dreams, as well as see the bigger picture of the world and where we fit into it all.
There was a lot of family unity throughout the book and much to learn, all told as a heart-warming story that really pulls you in. This is a great book to start with if you’re looking to expand your way of thinking and holistic approach to life, and not in a textbook-style kind of way like many books of this topic are written as.