Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, Horror, post-apocalyptic, Science fiction, Thriller

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope. In the tradition of The Stand and Station Eleven comes a gripping saga that weaves an epic tapestry of humanity into an astonishing tale of survival.

Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and are sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.

For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.
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MY REVIEW

This is my first read of a novel by Chuck Wendig and it’s definitely not going to be my last…..

The Wanderers is an epic journey of a band of people, the flock and the shepherds…..trying both to survive and keep the sleepwalkers safe….

Safe from what ? 

White Mask…..a fungal infection that slowly invades a person, giving symptoms of a cold, but as it grows it reaches the brain causing dementia and madness…..where did this disease come from?

There is Stover, a white supremacist who is violent and a vile man, he uses torture, rape and fear to keep control. He believes the walkers are the reason for this illness and so plans to kill them all…..I found this all too real, just listen to the news coming out of America these days…..the hatred is there coming right from the top.

Matthew, a man of god, gets drawn in by the charisma of Stover, until he realises the truth, but it’s too late and he is imprisoned by him…..he does have a change of heart, but can he do the right thing??? 

Then there’s the CDC\EIS group, all doctors and scientists trying to find out how this illness works, is there a cure? How are the walkers surviving with no food, rest or seemingly any consciousness other than a desire to keep moving….woe betide you try and stop them !!

There are incredibly well written characters that you will truly become invested in, willing them on, suffering their fears and doubts, the little successes and those awful moments of failure.

Yes, there will be comparisons to Stephen King’s, The Stand, there is a ‘plague’, and two distinct groups of people but that’s where the comparison ends. (There is a mention of The Stand in the Book too)….In my view, this is even better…

It’s unique and ultimately scary, as it’s so believable. The fear of AI taking over, just look at the fake news bots!!…..Black Swan the all seeing, statistic driven computer programme is terrifying ….

Will the walkers awake? Will humanity survive? What will happen to Benji, Shana, Sadie, Arav, Matthew, Pete, Landry and of course Black Swan?

At 780 pages, this is not a light read, but it is totally and utterly compelling. I loved every single minute of this beautifully harrowing tale. A modern classic and a must read.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book.  This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2lfDyHD

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, a screenwriter, and a freelance penmonkey.

He has contributed over two million words to the roleplaying game industry, and was the developer of the popular Hunter: The Vigil game line (White Wolf Game Studios / CCP).

He, along with writing partner Lance Weiler, is a fellow of the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriter’s Lab (2010). Their short film, Pandemic, will show at the Sundance Film Festival 2011, and their feature film HiM is in development with producer Ted Hope.

He’s written too much. He should probably stop. Give him a wide berth, as he might be drunk and untrustworthy. He currently lives in the wilds of Pennsyltucky with a wonderful wife and two very stupid dogs. He is represented by Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

You can find him at his website, terribleminds.com.(Courtesy of Goodreads)

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Book reviews, Science fiction

Angenga by John Broughton – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB

When Rick Hughes receives a reliquary pendant as a gift from an old friend, he has no idea what’s coming next. Drawn to an old excavation site, Rick stumbles upon a portal that takes him back to the 8th century, in the middle of a Viking invasion.

After discovering a shocking link to the present, Rick is determined to intervene and save the village from devastation – and to find a scientific explanation for what is happening.

With the perils of 8th century England surrounding him, can Rick save his new friends and live to tell the tale?

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MY REVIEW

Rick Hughes is contacted by an old friend, he wants to show him something….Gary, a metal detectorist, has found many treasures and reported them to the correct authorities, but he has found something special….a reliquary pendant ( a reliquary is a container for holy relics)….he gives it to Rick who wants it cleaned properly by a professional.

So we meet Esme, who cleans the ivory pendant…..it is from approximately 870 AD. Rick is immediately smitten by Esme and so a little romance begins.

The story then jumps 5 years ahead ( I have to admit it felt a bit odd to just jump 5 years mid chapter with no real reason for that amount of time)…

Rick and Esme are still together but only just, and Gary invites Rick to an Anglo-Saxon re-enactment event, so off the two of them go all dressed in costume and for a touch of realism, Gary wears the pendant….

Then the story really starts, Rick just touches the pendant and he wakes up a bit groggy 1100 years in the past….he meets local people and his double, Rinc and his wife, who is the double of Esme….this was real wasn’t it? Or is he losing his mind ?

Well it’s real and the adventure begins, he takes Gary and Esme back too and they become friends with the villagers. Gary learns how to make parchment, Esme helps a woman give birth by caesarean, Rick meets Vikings and convinces them he’s a seer…….but they then realise the Vikings are about to arrive and destroy the village and enslave or kill everyone…….So they make a plan to save them…

I loved this, the characters are so engaging and well rounded, and it feels like historical fiction due to the factual elements, which I found to be very interesting,  but with the sci-fi of time travel. Does time actually exist……? Well that’s a question to ponder…..I have to admit the science part went over my head, as quantum mechanics is beyond me, but this didn’t detract from this marvellously entertaining read. The epilogue is just brilliant.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  and this is my honest, unbiased review

You can buy a copy here (only 99p for kindle at the moment too)

https://amzn.to/2INSXrP

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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I was born in Cleethorpes Lincolnshire UK in 1948: just one of the post-war baby boom. After attending grammar school and studying to the sound of Bob Dylan I went to Nottingham University and studied Medieval and Modern History (Archaeology subsidiary). The subsidiary course led to one of my greatest academic achievements: tipping the soil content of a wheelbarrow from the summit of a spoil heap on an old lady hobbling past our dig. Well, I have actually done many different jobs while living in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Leamington, Glossop, the Scilly Isles, Puglia and Calabria. They include teaching English and History, managing a Day Care Centre, being a Director of a Trade Institute and teaching university students English. I even tried being a fisherman and a flower picker when I was on St. Agnes, Scilly. I have lived in Calabria since 1992 where I settled into a long-term job, for once, at the University of Calabria teaching English. No doubt my lovely Calabrian wife Maria stopped me being restless. My two kids are grown up now, but I wrote books for them when they were little. Hamish Hamilton and then Thomas Nelson published 6 of these in England in the 1980s. They are now out of print. I’m a granddad now and happily his parents wisely named my grandson Dylan. I decided to take up writing again late in my career. You know when you are teaching and working as a translator you don’t really have time for writing. As soon as I stopped the translation work I resumed writing in 2014. The fruit of that decision is my first historical novel, Die for a Dove, an archaeological thriller, followed by The Purple Thread and Wyrd of the Wolf, published by Endeavour Press, London. Both are set in my favourite Anglo- Saxon period. Currently my third and fourth novels are available too, Saints and Sinners and its sequel Mixed Blessings set on the cusp of the eighth century in Mercia and Lindsey. A fifth Sward and Sword will be published in November 2019 About the great Earl Godwine. Creativia Publishing have released Perfecta Saxonia and Ulf’s Tale. about King Aethelstan and King Cnut’s empire respectively. Shortly, in May 2019, they will publish In the Name of the Mother, a sequel to Wyrd of the Wolf.

Book reviews, Historical fiction, Science fiction, Thriller

Aurelia by Alison Morton – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB

1960s Roma Nova. Retrained as an undercover agent, ex-Praetorian officer Aurelia Mitela is sent to Berlin to investigate silver smuggling, but barely escapes a near-lethal trap. Her lifelong nemesis, Caius Tellus, is determined to eliminate her. When Aurelia is closing in on him, he strikes at her most vulnerable point – her young daughter.

A former military commander, Aurelia is one of Roma Nova’s strong women, but she doubts in her heart and mind that she can overcome her implacable enemy. And what part does the mysterious and attractive Miklós play – a smuggler who knows too much?

If you enjoy reading mystery books for women with plenty of twists and a female protagonist driving the action, this is for you!

Fourth in the Roma Nova thriller series, where Roman fiction is brought into the 20th century through an alternative history lens and first of the AURELIA trilogy. INSURRECTIO and RETALIO complete the trilogy.

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MY REVIEW

Aurelia is #4 in the Roma Nova series by Alison Morton.  I haven’t read the previous novels, but I had no problems reading this as a stand-alone..

Set in the 1960’s, BUT, the Roman Empire had not ended and still continues as a matriarchal society.

It starts with Aurelia being head of a praetorian guard special forces unit on an operation, but one of their suspects escaped…..

Aurelia’s mother is then injured in a hit and run accident and unfortunately she eventually dies. Aurelia ‘retires’ from her unit to run the family business and take care of her daughter , Marina.  She is constantly badgered by the odious Caius Tellus, who wants to marry her to join their two families….but she’s not interested….will it end here?

When the Silver markets are in trouble, someone is affecting supply and demand, she is called out of retirement and sent to Berlin, undercover to find out more.

Here she comes across an old adversary and is smitten by the enigmatic Miklos…..Caius raises his ugly head again in this exciting, well plotted, unique thriller with incredible world building and characters your will love and hate in equal measure…..I loved it and will be reading more of the series now.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

Currently reduced to 99p….an absolute steal….

You can buy a copy here (click on the image)

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Alison Morton writes the Roma Nova thriller series featuring modern Praetorian heroines. This springs from a deep love of Roman history, six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, adventure and thriller fiction.

All six full-length novels have received the BRAG Medallion. SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO were selected as Historical Novel Society’s Indie Editor’s Choices. AURELIA was a finalist in the 2016 HNS Indie Award. SUCCESSIO featured as Editor’s Choice in The Bookseller.

A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, Alison has misspent decades clambering over Roman sites throughout Europe. She holds an MA History, blogs about Romans, social media and writing. Oh, and she gives talks.

She continues writing, cultivates a Roman herb garden and drinks wine in France with her husband. To get the latest news, subscribe to her free newsletter https://alison-morton.com/newsletter/

Twitter : @alison_morton

Author Page on Facebook

Book details

Paperback: 286 pages

  • Publisher: Pulcheria Press (22 Jan. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 979-1097310165
  • ASIN: B07MGJ6MJJ

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/AURELIA-Aurelia-Mitela-thriller-Thriller/dp/B07MGJ6MJJ

 

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Book reviews, Science fiction

The Gemini Experiment by Brian Pinkerton – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB


Meet Tom Nolan. And meet Tom Nolan. One is a devoted family man recruited for an experiment to unlock the secrets of immortality. The other is a robot replica creating death and destruction. When Russian spies discover the technological breakthrough to turn man into machine, the stakes are raised and Tom (or is it Tom?) must save the day.

 

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MY REVIEW

“Tom Nolan stared into his own eyes. The did not blink.”

Tom had been recently diagnosed with Lowry’s disease, a motor neurone disease and he is aware of the effects this will have on his body….

He is then offered a chance…..to transfer his consciousness into a synthetic clone, which if successful would make him immortal…..given the alternative, he agrees and his body is mapped, the next stage will be brain mapping.

But first the tech needs to be tested, so they offer the same chance to Louis, a lifer in prison with terminal stomach cancer……he jumps at the chance.

The tech works, but it’s not all plain sailing and the replica escapes, violent and unpredictable, and so it’s a race against time to recover it……before the Russians do. Who will be the winner…..is there even a good or evil here?

This feels like a ‘we can do it, but should we do it’ scenario…..yes we’d all like to be free of disease or disability but at what cost to humanity itself….very thought provoking…..

Some great characters and while it’s clearly science fiction it really had an air of possibility about it…scary (reminded me a little of Neill Blomkamp’s movie Chappie) Nicely paced with the action building to a clever end…a credit to Brian Pinkerton excellent, creative writing….loved it…

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here (click on the image)

About the author

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Brian Pinkerton tells stories to frighten, amuse and intrigue. He is the author of novels and short stories in the thriller, horror, science fiction and mystery genres. His books include Abducted (a USA Today bestseller), Vengeance, Anatomy of Evil, Killer’s Diary, Rough Cut, Bender, Killing the Boss and How I Started the Apocalypse (a trilogy). Select titles have also been released as audio books and in foreign languages. His short stories have appeared in PULP!, Chicago Blues, Zombie Zoology and The Horror Zine.
Brian has been a guest author and panelist at the San Diego Comic Con, American Library Association annual conference, World Horror Convention and many other literary and genre events. His screenplays have finished in the top 100 of Project Greenlight and top two percent of the Nicholl Fellowship of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Three of the scripts have been compiled in a collection, Unreleased.
Brian received his B.A. from the University of Iowa, where he took undergraduate classes of the Iowa Writers Workshop. He received his Master’s Degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Brian lives in the Chicago area and invites you to visit him on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter and at http://www.brianpinkerton.com. Brian is also a cartoonist and his web site includes his deranged cartoon series, The Ruts.

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.