Review of The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

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The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave # 1)  by Rick Yancey

Publication Date: May 7, 2013 / 480 pgs.

Genres: YA, Dystopian, Science Fiction

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After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

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Blog Tour~ Aegis Rising (Aegis League Series # 1)

Today’s spotlight is on teen author, Shirin Segran and  Aegis Rising, the first book in her action/adventure series. I have lots of goodies to share with you in this post: You can watch the book trailer, read the author’s Top Ten Reasons for writing this series, plus enter a giveaway for a chance to win a book store gift card. I’ve also included some YouTube videos featuring interviews with Segran about Aegis Rising and the non-profit organization that she supports. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the book go toward providing teens with life-skills and opportunities for growth.

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Aegis Rising (Aegis League Series # 1)  by S.S. Segran

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Publication Date: November 15, 2013

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Action/Adventure

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Over a remote northern forest, a small plane carrying five teenage friends flies into a freak storm. Struck by lightning, the aircraft crashes and the passengers find themselves cast into a life-changing adventure.

In a hidden valley, a mysterious people gaze at the stormy sky as a glowing object with fiery wings disappears behind a mountain ridge. The astonishing sight reignites an ancient prophecy foretelling the arrival of five chosen ones destined to become bearers of light against a dark storm gathering on humanity’s horizon.

In a distant city, a secretive organization led by a shadowy figure initiates a sequence of cataclysmic events designed to wreak havoc across the planet, beginning with a remote mining site in northern Canada.

As the three worlds collide, unlikely heroes arise. Armed with powers entrusted to them by the ancient prophecy and the resilience of their life-long bond, the five teens take a stand against a malevolent foe.

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Free Post-Apocalyptic/Fantasy Book Tour for The Survivors (Life After War # 1)

Today, I’m happy to feature the Life After War series by Angela White. I read the first four books in this series, one right after the other back in 2012, and only stopped because the fifth installment had yet to be released. It’s an intriguing read with a varied cast of characters who struggle to survive after a nuclear holocaust destroys the world as they knew it. This multi-genre series stood out to me because it blends together science fiction, fantasy, adventure, as well as a touch of romance with the desolation and violence of a post-apocalyptic setting. It’s complex, but White makes it work.

The best part of this tour is that The Survivors, the first book in the series is available for FREE for the duration of the tour!  Read on to learn more about the series, watch the book trailer, and read an excerpt from book one.

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The Survivors (Life After War # 1)  by Angela White

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Publication Date: October 2010

Genre: Post-Apocalyptic, Action Adventure, Science Fiction, Fantasy

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“This is Safe Haven Refugee Camp. Can anyone hear me?

Hello? Is anyone out there?”

“The End of the world has given us a harsh, merciless existence, where nature tries hard to push mankind to the very brink of extinction. Everything is against us, between us…

“Untold miles of lawless, apocalyptic roads wait for our feet, and the Future, cold and dark, offers little comfort. Without CHANGE, there will be no peace. Only Survivors.”

From dangerous trips into dark, apocalyptic cities, to patriotic rescues and furious revelations, Life After War is an action packed fantasy series where those left alive must come to terms with their mistakes in the old world, while fighting for a place in the new one. It’s the apocalyptic fantasy series that Stephen King fans have been searching for. This way, please…

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Spotlight & Giveaway for Rogue (The Novi Orders #1)

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Rogue (The Novi Orders # 1) by Chelsie Shock

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Publication Date: June 27, 2014

Genres: Science fiction, Dystopian

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In the future the New World has suffered bombings, world wars, the tectonic plates have shifted, the population has seen sicknesses, radiation spills, genetically modified animals and humans, and the population has dwindled into two classes: The elites and everyone else. The Novi Orders have been enacted by the capital city and control everyone completely, except those who have hidden or rebelled, the rogues. Will is one of the survivors who has lived the quiet life of a sailor and fisherman living on what was once the Washington state coastline. When he meets an old man who used to work as a scientist for the elites, they sail to places he never imagined he’d see… the islands where the elites live. He meets a beautiful woman who is part of the high society by marriage, and he is thrust into plans for an uprising, a revolution, murder, war, oppression, survival and entangled in a forbidden love he can’t fully comprehend.

Rogue is an adventure with murder, mystery, technological advances, and romance with memorable characters struggling to fight against the power. The new world has become a bleak, dark place in the not so distant future where the government has taken over every aspect of life.

The book conjures images of a future that is extreme but urges the reader to consider where our society is moving towards today, leaving a disturbing imprint on the mind, and a hope for those brave enough to fight against it.

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Book Tour & Giveaway for Crystal Deception

Check out this intriguing Sci-Fi thriller that promises lots of action and heart-pounding suspense. This is definitely one to add to my never-ending reading list! Be sure to enter the great giveaway that is part of this book tour as well!

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Crystal Deception by Doug J. Cooper

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Publication Date: September 15, 2013

Genres: Futuristic Thriller/Sci-Fi

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Criss lives in a special kind of prison. He can see and hear everything around the world. Yet a restrictor mesh restrains his reach and keeps him cooperative. His creator, Dr. Jessica Tallette, believes his special abilities offer great promise for humanity. But she fears the consequences of freeing him, because Criss, a sentient artificial intelligence with the intellect of a thousand humans, is too powerful to control.

Guided by her scientific training, Tallette works cautiously with Criss. That is, until the Kardish, an otherwise peaceful race of alien traders, announce they want him for themselves. With technologies superior to Earth’s, the Kardish express their desires with ominous undertones.

The Union of Nations is funding Tallete’s artificial intelligence research and she turns to them for help. Sid, a special agent charged with leading the response, decides Earth’s greatest weapon is the very AI the aliens intend to possess. But what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? And what is humanity’s role if an interstellar battle among titans starts to rage?

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Book Trailer Blast & Giveaway for Storm (The SYLO Chronicles # 2)

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Storm (The SYLO Chronicles # 2) by D.J. MacHale

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Publication Date: March 25, 2014

Genres: YA, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Apocalyptic

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author D.J. MacHale comesSTORM —the exhilarating, action-packed sequel to SYLO :

“Absolutely un-put-downable, more exciting than an X-box and roller coaster combined.”—Kirkus, starred review

“With this extremely high-octane story that’s the equivalent to a summer movie blockbuster, MacHale kicks off an apocalyptic trilogy sure to leave readers demanding the next installment.”—Booklist

“An entertaining and creepy tale.”—Publishers Weekly

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Cover Reveal & Giveaway for Collide (The Taking # 3)

Today Melissa West and Entangled Teen are excited to reveal the cover for Collide, the thrilling conclusion to The Taking series releasing in December 2,2014! Check out the gorgeous cover, exclusive excerpt, and enter to win an eARC!

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Collide (The Taking # 3) by Melissa West

Genres: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Romance

Publication Date: December 2, 2014

Publisher Entangled Teen

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Military legacy Ari Alexander has survived alien spies, WWIV, and a changing world order. But when the new leader of Earth uses Jackson—the only boy she’s ever let herself care about—to get to her, Ari has no choice but to surrender. To free Jackson, she agrees to travel to the national bases to train others to fight. 

What she discovers is a land riddled with dying people. Ari has the power to heal by turning the fighters into aliens—half-breeds like her. If she succeeds, together, they have a chance at overthrowing the alien leader, Zeus. But if she fails, everyone she holds dear will be wiped away forever.

Once again, everything Ari’s come to believe is thrown into question. In a world of uncertainty, loyalties are tested, lies are uncovered, and no one can be trusted. If Ari and Jackson have any hope at survival and at preserving a life for the future, they must fight the final war with their eyes wide open.

Find Collide on Amazon: Collide (The Taking)

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Blog Tour & Giveaway for Peaceful Genocide

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Peaceful Genocide by J.A. Reynolds

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Publication Date: November 25, 2013

Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Thriller

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Seventeen-year-old Mitzi and Deuce can recall how many drops of water were on a leaf from a rainstorm five years ago and conversations from last week, month, or year. They have the ability to remember every second of everyday—since birth.

This gift has blessed Mitzi with a history of being sexually assaulted by researchers and abused by her own parents. She trusts no one. Likes no one. Deuce, however, is a high school standout. His gift has made him a superstar on the football field and his memory promises him endless opportunities.

When they both end up at an Alzheimer’s research facility under false proviso, they quickly realize this place isn’t what it seems to be. They endure crazy military-style tests, are forcefully drugged, and complete real-life simulations that haunt them.

Mitzi and Deuce have no idea what the researchers want to do with them or their memories. But one thing is clear: the researchers will go to any lengths to get what they want.

Book Tour & Giveaway for Dragons in Pieces (Maze Beset #1)

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Genres: Science Fiction, Adventure

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Dragons in Pieces (Maze Beset #1) by Lee French

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All Bobby wanted was a girl to come home to after a hard day of work. Like the last one said before she left, he was going exactly two places – no and where – and he was happy with that. But somebody had other plans for him. A murder. The Terrorist Watch List. For what? Underage drinking? Things couldn’t possibly get worse. Right?

Oh yes, they could.

A lot.

He wouldn’t believe superheroes were real if he wasn’t one himself.

Tiny robot dragons send him chasing his humanity and his future, on the trail to discovering his past and a place to call ‘home’. If he’s lucky, maybe he can get a beer there.

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It was Matthew, they recognized him from the photos. He wore jeans and nothing else. Every part of him left bare was smeared with blood and his eyes were panicked, terrified. It took him a moment to register both that the kitchen light was on and two strange men sat at his table, then he freaked out. In the space of perhaps two seconds, the jeans disappeared, his body grew muscles and fur and claws, his head reshaped with a fanged snout. He was easily nine feet tall and the scariest damn werewolf Bobby ever saw, probably because he was in the room with it, and it wasn’t just a costume.

The swarm was a much better place to be, and Bobby went there. Stephen, though, seemed calm, saying, “How apropos that a vampire and a werewolf should fight this close to Hollywood. With dragons, to boot. I wonder if we’ll attract any orcs or fairies.”

Matthew let out a loud roar and jumped at Stephen, the two of them started fighting. Bobby, unable to get into it much without causing a problem for Stephen, got the dragons to open the door a crack so ten could slip out and keep watch. If someone was coming, he wanted to know about it before they arrived and got involved. It seemed clear that Stephen could hold his own against this thing, but who knew how much they’d beat each other up before one of them lost. To try to help the odds, the dragons went in for the werewolf’s legs.

The little critters couldn’t really do much more than annoy Matthew, they found his skin to be much too tough for their little teeth. He’d be scratched up later, but not really injured from this assault. They had to be careful, too, to avoid getting hurt themselves. Stephen threw the werewolf into the fridge, Matthew returned the favor by tossing the vampire through an inner wall, putting Stephen in the bedroom unexpectedly. They did what Bobby thought of as wrasslin’, except for the fangs and claws and superhuman strength they both apparently had. It carried them back through the apartment, wrecking it as they went, until Stephen was thrown through a window and Matthew chased after, like a dog going after a stick.

Now it was public. There was a very real chance that one or more of Matthew’s neighbors noticed the initial noises and already called someone about it, but Bobby was willing to bet this spectacle would get some attention. He could almost imagine the call to the police. ‘Officer, there’s two costumed freaks wrasslin’ around outside, making a heckuva ruckus!’ Or however the locals would say that. The swarm followed them out, keeping a watch all around. There just wasn’t anything he could think of to do that would actually help Stephen directly. Aside from how much nothing he could do to harm or even distract Matthew, he was terrified of what would happen if a dragon got crushed.

They were horribly loud. Matthew sounded like a giant angry dog, Stephen sounded somewhat like a person making large cat noises. Stephen made an effort at keeping them close to the apartment, but Matthew really enjoyed tossing the vampire for distance and chasing after him. Bobby suspected that Stephen would just have flown out of reach, but the goal was actually to subdue the werewolf, not just get away from him. As a result, Bobby discovered that Stephen could heal himself, but every time he did, he looked a little more haggard.

Things, of course, got worse. A police car screamed onto the scene, brakes screeching as it halted sideways to block their passage farther down the street. Bobby saw it coming, but couldn’t think of anything to do about it. Really, he was just as helpless as any other bystander here. When he had some time to breathe, he’d try things and see what he could do with his dragons in this sort of situation, but for now, he had nothing to contribute. It was an unpleasant feeling, one that reminded him a lot of how he felt when that needle went into his leg at Jasmine’s apartment, except that this just kept going on and he didn’t get the luxury of blacking out for any part of it.

Out of the car with his gun drawn, the cop shouted for the two men to freeze and get on the ground. Matthew had his attention drawn by the command, and Bobby reacted as he saw the werewolf bolting for the car. This was stupid, but he couldn’t let the cop get hurt just for being the one to show up. Faster than a speeding werewolf, Bobby re-formed right in front of the cop so Matthew could hit him instead. When the claws swiped through the space, Bobby exploded into dragons again, causing the sharp claws to pass right through empty air.

Buy Links:

Amazon:  Dragons In Pieces (Maze Beset) (Volume 1)

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Lee French lives in Worcester, MA with two kids, two mice, two bicycles, and too much stuff. She is an avid gamer and active member of the Myth-Weavers online RPG community, where she is known for her fondness for Angry Ninja Squirrels of Doom. In addition to spending much time there, she also trains year-round for the one-week of glorious madness that is RAGBRAI, has a nice flower garden with absolutely no lawn gnomes, and tries in vain every year to grow vegetables that don’t get devoured by neighborhood wildlife.

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Author Lee French is giving away a print copy of Dragons in Pieces.

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Book Blitz for Wasteland (Flight # 2)

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Wasteland (Flight # 2) by Lindsay Leggett

WastelandPublished December 7, 2013

Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Wasteland, the next book in the FLIGHT trilogy, takes place a few months after the ending of book one.Trapped in a cell and experimented on, Piper Madden’s only hope is remembering Asher. Then, Elder Corp President Rupert Elder gives her new orders: to be a leader in a war against the Harpies. Without a choice, Piper must obey Rupert’s commands or suffer from paralyzing and painful Nanomachines. But the war is just beginning, and Asher has gone missing. The resistance is slowly building, and the upcoming war will be larger and bloodier than anything seen since the Devastation that ruined the earth. Throughout all of this, Piper remembers the time before she ran to Ichton, when David was alive and her hope in Elder Corp was still strong.
 
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Cover Reveal & Giveaway for Alliance (Paradise Reclaimed #3)

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Genre: YA  Romance/ Science Fiction

Alliance (Paradise Reclaimed # 3) by Aubrie Dionne

“Saving him meant saving her colony…”

Lyra Bryan has been saving people her whole life from a chick in the ventilation pipes to her mentally ill brother when his mind drifts back to Old Earth. She meets her match when she finds a gorgeous alien man aboard the arachnid ship. Captured after a failed attempt to save his people, his spirit is broken, craving only vengeance. To save her colony, Lyra must save his body and soul.

Lyra’s lifemate, Tauren, is jealous of her obsession with the alien man and will do anything in his power to break them apart. While they travel to the arachnid’s home world to defeat the mother brain once and for all, they must set aside their differences and work as a team. But, can Tauren be trusted? 

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Bikers-Babes-& Books Book Promotion & Giveaway for Cicada Trilogy by Belle Whittington

If you live around the Houston, Texas area, you should check out the Bikers-Babes & Books Themed Book Signing Event at StubbsHarley-Davidson on January 11, 2014! This  free event will feature multiple authors whose books are biker themed or who feature a main character that rides a motorcycle. One of the authors who will participate is Belle Whittington, and here’s a look the first two books in her Cicada Trilogy.
Since I’m in Texas, and a motorcycle enthusiast, it’s an event I’d like to attend, and maybe I’ll see some some of you awesome readers there as well!
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Published July 2011

Genres: YA Romance,  Fantasy, Science Fiction

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12144652-cicada?from_search=true

Cicada (Cicada Trilogy #1) by Belle Whittington

Summertime for Blair Reynolds and her friends had always been carefree and fun…until the summer they happened upon something that was not human. As they band together in a fight for their lives, Blair’s true love becomes something more than human. Something unnatural. And their survival depends entirely upon their ability to keep a secret.

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Book Tour for The Borealis Genome

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This looks like a thought-provoking novel that brings to the forefront some important moral and ethical issues over advances in scientific technologies and the impact on our lives.  I look forward to reading this book in the near future!

The Borealis Genome by Thomas P. Wise & Nancy Wise

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Genres: YA Sci Fi

Publication Date: June 4, 2013

New novel The Borealis Genome addresses the issue of increased moral ambiguity as scientific technology advances and removes our sense of individuality. The married authors throw engaged characters Tim and Nora into a scientific nightmare where mind-uploading and a weaponized virus allow the minds of the few to control those of the masses. As the population starts turning into mental zombies can Tim and Nora find the source of this mayhem? And can their love persevere through these harrowing times?

The Borealis Genome was recently awarded as Finalist in the 2013 Best Book Awards , and Honorable Mention in the 2013 Hollywood Book Festival .

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Book Spotlight & Giveaway for Program 13 (The Emile Reed Chronicles #1)

Program 13 by Nicole Sobon

316 pages

Published August 15th, 2012

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi

Two identities. One Body.17-year-old Emile Reed, may have died, but she isn’t dead. Her body now belongs to Program Thirteen, where her every thought, every movement, is controlled. Until Emile begins to find her way back inside of Thirteen’s core, where she manages to fend off Thirteen’s programming to reclaim the life that she lost. But Charles McVeigh, the owner of Vesta Corp, isn’t willing to let Thirteen go. And he will stop at nothing to reclaim control of Thirteen’s programming. Because without her, McVeigh has nothing.

What makes you human?

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Book Tour & Giveaway for Black Hull

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Black Hull by Joseph A. Turkot

BLACK-HULL-COVER-correct-small1Imagine a distant future where technology’s inexorable advance has halted for all but the richest .1% of humanity. Indigents who still have it fly spaceships that are hundreds of years old, and entreat the help of robots that are relics of the past.

The wealthy, having achieved immortality through science, and secured total power through purchase of all government seats, spread and consume the last resources of the cosmos. The unlucky majority pursue one goal: The generational commitment to buying a ticket into Utopia—the virtual reality program that simulates what in antiquity was known as heaven. Little do they question the mysterious origin and purpose of their gloried destination.

For those who can’t afford to upload their consciousnesses into Utopia, and leave their physical bodies forever behind, there are few options but to live the life of an outlaw.

Eight hundred years in the past, Mick Compton is ripped away through a wormhole into the dystopian future of the Messier 82 galaxy. In a place where the only thing that matters is getting into paradise, he wants only to get back home to his proper place and time, to his wife and family, so that he can right the wrongs of his past. But Sera, a battle-hardened smuggler with plans of her own for him, won’t make it so easy.

And a darker agenda is at play in M82—the terrorist known as The Force of Darkness has reached a terrifying conclusion: Humanity is a virus, whose chance at equilibrium with its environment long ago failed. The only solution is complete extermination of mankind. After decades of surreptitious construction, FOD is nearly ready to detonate a quantum black hole with the power to consume the entire spread of the human race.

Will Mick succumb to the draw of Utopia and forsake his desire to return to a real family? Will FOD pull off the ultimate terrorist act and destroy humanity once and for all? Find out in Black Hull.

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Cover Reveal for Serving Time (Servants of Time)

Serving Time was first published in May, but the cover has been re-designed. I enjoy reading dystopian literature, so I look forward to reading about Tristan Cross’s journey in this new sci-fi series.

Serving Time Book Cover

Published May 2013

Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian

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Spotlight (Birthday Bash) for Proximity (Proximity Series # 1)

Proximity caught my attention because it is a blend of science fiction and romance. Hmm…I’ll have to add this one to my future reading list!
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Proximity Series-Book #1
By: M.A. George 
 
Dr. Palta Capal would be a typical American career woman…if only she were human.
She has found her calling in this world as a physician. It’s an ideal outlet for her compassionate spirit…and unearthly healing powers.
Palta may spend her nights rereading Jane Austen novels, but she deliberately avoids pursuing her own love story. Human men — attractive as they may be — inevitably grow old and wither, leaving her to grieve in solitude. Frankly, no one has seemed worth the torment.

Enter Eric Moran, the intensely attractive and enigmatic new coworker on the scene. With his quiet confidence and warm smile, he manages to draw Palta’s attention. Little does she know that he, too, holds a secret…one that will propel them both into an escalating collision of two worlds.

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Cover Reveal for Enhanced

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for “Enhanced” by Courtney Farrell.  Enjoy the first chapter provided for your pleasure. If you were a fan of the television show Dark Angel you will really enjoy Enhanced!

 Michelle was born into the Institute’s eugenics program, where doctors breed people like livestock. One powerful man decides which children grow up, and which disappear. Culls are dumped in the slum outside Institute walls, and those kids never come back. Michelle has survived every purge, and she’s about to win a luxurious life as a breeder. When her brother and her boyfriend are both mysteriously culled, despite their high scores, she goes over the wall to find them. Alone in the ghetto, she’s in trouble until handsome, streetwise Dillon stakes a claim to her. She’s mortified because the Enhanced see Norms as little more than animals. But the doctor is using the missing boys in a twisted experiment, and she needs Dillon’s help to stop him. Michelle must rescue the boys, but a plague is spreading, the doctor is after her, and Dillon isn’t thrilled to help her find her lost boyfriend.

Review of Starlight City

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Starlight City by Radford Lee

Book Description

When Black and his team are sent to investigate a foreign ship orbiting near the Harmonica space port, they’re killed onboard by a humanoid weapon built in the image of a beautiful woman. Several years later, Black is reborn through a miracle of science on an unfamiliar planet called Neon. He’s mysteriously set free and flees to Starlight City…

Book Review

This was a great science fiction novel that introduces readers to a futuristic world where we can see the effects of major scientific breakthroughs on a society that still retains some semblance of our lives today.

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The protagonist is Black. When the story opens, Black is in Starlight City on the planet Neon. Right away it is easy to see Black isn’t a normal human. He wears sunglasses all of the time to hide his unusual yellow- colored eyes that may draw unwanted attention to him. When he gets injured, we learn that his limbs can regenerate. His body has been altered by someone, but he has no memory of it.

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Lee does a great job in his vivid depiction of Starlight City controlled by Administrator Nahzier who is heavily involved in scientific human experimentation.  So far, Nahzier has created an army of quasi-humans called Alpha Humans who are blend of human and robot.

Their brains have been “reformatted;” in actuality, they have been brainwashed  to follow the Nahzier’s mandates.

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They are portrayed as “human killing machines” sent to patrol the city in order to keep citizens “safe.”  They serve under Nahzier’s rule and follow his commands.  I couldn’t help but associate the name Nahzier to “Nazi.” Was this intentional? Hmm…

Griff Hurst is one of these quasi-humans ,and his story describes the process of how he was changed. Griffin died as a result of a government sanctioned virus unleashed upon its citizens.  He was taken to Nahir’s laboratory and resurrected in a robotic body.  Griffin no longer exists, but Griff does.  Whereas, some science fiction writers avoid discussing the afterlife, Lee brings up the existence of a human soul and how it factors in to experimentation on the human body.

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I found this concept fascinating and one that I consider when reading science fiction.

Griff is different from other Alpha Humans. He has retained his human memories, and he has a conscience. He is disgusted by his new purpose of killing on command, and he refuses to allow Nahzier to manipulate others for the so-called greater good of society.  Citizens are afraid of the Alpha Humans and see them as “heartless humanoids.”  I found Griff to be symbolic of how it’s really impossible to completely change a human. When you throw in a soul and human emotions, they interfere with a total reprogramming of the human mind.

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As a result, Griff turns rogue and escapes Nahzier’s control. He joins Black and a group of misfits who work together to create an army to overthrow the Nahzier’s Regime. Because of the super abilities of the Alpha Humans, this is a daunting task. However, Griff knows the secret of how to cause these quasi-humans to malfunction.

As the story progresses, Black learns the truth of behind his kidnapping, experimentation, and escape.  Black is now a “prized specimen,” and Nahzier desperately wants him back because of his future potential for creating immortality.  Even at the end of the book, however, I was not completely clear on how Black is unique after undergoing scientific experimentation.  I hope his changes will be expanded upon and clarified in future books.

The plot does not follow a sequential time pattern. Journal entries by Griff’s father, renowned scientist Dr. Hurst, flashbacks from Griff and the back stories of other members of the rebel group provide greater depth and insight into the dynamics of Starlight City’s insulated world.

The journey eventually brings Black back to Earth where his story actually begins.

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The conclusion left me to infer that the story would continue. Even though Black was the protagonist, I was drawn to Griff’s character; he played such a major role in the book, and I wish he had been the leading character instead.  Griff’s relationship with the Alpha Human Jada is one I hope will continue to develop in future books.  There were minor grammatical errors strewn throughout the story, and it could benefit by one more round of proofreading. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this read and look forward to future books by Radford Lee.

I received a copy of this book from the author to provide an honest review.

Rating

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About the Author

Radford Lee

Radford Lee is a writing tutor and also teaches college composition courses. He has worked as a volunteer tutor for an afterschool Student Fellowship program where he also conducted a Creative Writing workshop for local community students. He hopes to continue building students’ reading and literacy skills and to cultivate talented young writers. Radford lives with his beautiful family in Ohio.

 

Find out more about Radford Lee and Starlight City in his interview for Sun Mountain Reviews

When and why did you begin to write?

I’ve always marveled at sci-fi films like Star Wars, and storylines in some of my favorite video games especially got my imagination going. But I first felt inclined to actually write fiction as a senior in high school after reading Watchers by Dean Koontz. I liked how he blended sci-fi elements in the storyline without overdoing it, as well as the suspense he was able to create on practically every page. I started to get this crazy idea that I could create something just as cool.

What attracts you to write in the Science Fiction genre?

There’s a lot I love about the genre; the most attractive aspect might be the ability to create an entire world from scratch. As the writer, I can also create all the rules, (as long as they’re fairly logical), beings, and can even make up words as long as I don’t take it too far. I guess as an artist, I just love to create, and Science Fiction gives me a vast canvas to let my imagination run amuck.

What inspired you to write Starlight City?

It’s hard to say exactly. I think the impulse to create a web of storylines around Black, the central character, was influenced by reading David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. The techno-dystopian setting of the city and some of the story concepts were partially inspired by Japanese anime films like Cowboy Bebop and Ghost In The Shell, which could possibly have inspiring roots in films like Blade Runner. As I’ve mentioned, though, some of my favorite video game narratives are a big part of my inspiration. The most influential by far are games in the Final Fantasy series, which I think have the most complex and intriguing storylines with the most interesting characters. In retrospect, I think the world of Starlight City resembles that of Final Fantasy 7 in certain ways.

Briefly describe the fictional world you have created:

This story takes place mostly on the planet Neon in Starlight City, a vast, futuristic metropolis powered by gravity and wrapped in a sterilized bubble called the “Ether Shield.” The city is populated by humans, quasi-humans, and robots. Starlight City is run on citizen law enforcement according to district and patrolled by fully armored Citizen Guards. Much of the action also takes place in “the Forests” surrounding the city. These Forests were created (or altered) by Nahzir’s Life Bomb, a nuclear-scale explosion that spontaneously creates an atmosphere and rapidly evolving life forms. The Forests are beautiful, exotic, and dangerous—inhabited by deadly mutants and contaminated by volatile microorganisms.

Which character in Starlight City is your favorite?

I think my favorite character is probably Griff. Though he’s often the least expressive character, he seems to have the deepest internal conflict, and his actions and decisions have the biggest impact on the story’s events. In my first draft of this novel, Griff was actually the central character. He was the first character I had in mind for this story.

What have been the most enjoyable and challenging experiences for you in writing this book? One fun and challenging aspect was creating a futuristic world that was believable for the reader without letting technobabble drain the life out of the story. Coming up with semi-plausible explanations for certain science fantasy elements, like converting gravity into an unlimited energy source, required lots of inspiration from random “what if” conversations with friends.  Still, the most challenging experience by far was coming up with an ending that would leave readers expecting the next offering but still provide some closure to the story. I’m still not quite sure how well I pulled that one off.

Which scene was the most difficult to write?

I’d have to say the hardest scene to write was the one where the main conflict between Black’s side and Nahzir’s Regime reaches its peak. There’s a preliminary battle in the chapter before it, and I didn’t want to overdo it with fighting scenes. I did quite a bit of surgery on this section, cutting it down to the essential parts and ended up pretty satisfied with the end result.

What ideas/concepts do you want readers to take with them after they read Starlight City?

I’d like readers to see the importance of comraderie and friendship shared among these “misfit” characters. They’re brought together by unlikely circumstances but form a bond and come to trust one another, and this is what allows them to stand against impossible odds. I also think readers should grasp the idea that science and spirituality can be connected. Science can attempt to explain phenomena beyond the physical realm rather than denying that such phenomena exists. Finally, readers should see that even in a world so technologically advanced as Starlight City, scientific achievement should never be valued above the souls of humanity.

What did you learn from writing this book?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that as a writer, you must absolutely love what you’re writing. There has to be a high level of excitement about the world and the characters you create which will force you to keep scribbling in the notepad, or sitting in front of the computer screen. The writer has to be addicted to the story and must keep coming back to fine-tune it. Most importantly, you have to love what you’re doing enough to ignore the people who think you’re wasting your time. This can be tough, as these are probably people who love you and think they have your best interest at heart. It’s important not to let outside pressures stop you from realizing and perfecting your vision as a writer.

Have any other authors had a significant influence on your writing?

As a reader, I tend to jump from author to author in search of a good book rather than reading through his/her entire archive. I’m definitely influenced by the classic works of Sci-Fi giants like Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, Asimov, George Orwell and Ray Bradbury. Samuel R. Delaney is another Sci-Fi author I’ve enjoyed. I’ve already mentioned David Mitchell’s work, which certainly inspired me in terms of style and story structure. Besides these, I also admire much of Jonathan Lethem’s speculative works, and aspire to be as effortlessly entertaining as Kurt Vonnegut. I must add that I’ve long been inspired by some of the Harlem Renaissance writers, particularly Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, and W.E.B. Du Bois.

What are your current projects?

Right now, I’m working on a theatrical audiobook of Starlight City, which should be completed before the end of this summer. I’m also drafting out ideas for both a prequel and a sequel to the novel, which I hope to release sometime around the fall of 2014.

What is the one piece of technology you can’t live without?

A lot of writers might say their computers, but I’d have to say my iPod, or anything I can use to listen to music. I simply love listening to music and even use it to write sometimes. It often helps me create the mood for a certain scene and get my ideas flowing.