Book reviews, Science fiction

Jaffle Inc by Heide Goody & Iain Grant – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Alice works for Jaffle Tech incorporated, the world’s biggest technology company and the creator of the Jaffle Port, the brain implant that gives users direct access to global communications, social networks and every knowledge source on the planet.

Alice is on Jaffle Standard, the free service offered to all people. All she has to do in return is let Jaffle use a bit of her brain’s processing power. Maybe it’s being used to control satellites. Maybe it’s being used to further space exploration. Maybe it’s helping control self-driving cars on the freeway. Her brain is helping Jaffle help the world. And Jaffle are only using the bits of her brain she doesn’t need…

But when a kind deed goes wrong, Alice gains unauthorised access to her entire brain and discovers what she has been missing out on her entire life: music, art, laughter, love… 

Now that she has discovered what her mind is truly capable of, how long will the company bosses let her keep it?

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MY REVIEW 

Oh my, where do I start…..?

Alice works for Jaffle Inc, they developed a brain port that gives everyone access to information, eliminated the dementia epidemic and blindness. In return you agree to Jaffle using the unused part of the brain for data processing, everything from traffic to terrorists….

There are many levels of Jaffle, from Jaffle Lite, cleaners and janitors to Jaffle Freedom where you have access to your full brain…..all at a cost!

Everyone is bland, doing their job and living a life of structure and beans….

But then Alice helps Rufus Jaffle with a brain virus issue and as a result she ends up with his memories, and access to her brain……oh and a blue whale.

She then notices colours, smells and taste…..she starts to laugh for the first time….she also experiences anger and emotions for the first time.

With the building supervisor, Herberg she finds out about a new upgrade due which will reduce people to basic drones…….Can they stop the upgrade? How can the blue whale help?

Alice is a great character, wild and wacky and a reformed lover of bacon. Hattie is just brilliant and as for wiggler, never underestimate a pig.

This is full of humour, the whale with a tail is hilarious, it’s a clever tale of large corporations making decisions that affect human lives with little respect or consideration, just for power and greed. At times slightly bizarre but this science fiction tale is an immensely enjoyable read.

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. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

you can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2QbWaqP

 

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Book reviews, Fantasy, Historical fiction, Science fiction

Ten Thousand Doors Of January by Alix. E. Harrow – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In the early 1900s, a young woman searches for her place in the world after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut. 

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

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MY REVIEW

January Scaller, 7years old and lives with her father’s employer, Mr Locke. He is a wealthy man who is a collector of antiquities and items from around the world. January’s father, Julian is Mr Locke’s Agent, who searches for these items and in return January is cared for and even has a nursemaid.

January finds a diary and writes stories to keep herself amused, she is bored and lonely. One day she runs off and finds a Door, going through it, she finds  another world…..She returns, Locke finds her, throws her diary away and locks her in her room for days until she learns to behave……so she does, for ten years. But she still has the silver coin she found in the other world…

I don’t want to say too much about the actual plot, other than it is utterly mesmerising.

A beautifully written piece of literary fiction, with magic, alternate worlds, and even a vampire. A tale of movement, of not standing still, of taking chances in a world where you don’t feel you fit in….what is behind the next Door?

“Those of you who are more than casually familiar with books—those of you who spend your free afternoons in fusty bookshops, who offer furtive, kindly strokes along the spines of familiar titles—understand that page riffling is an essential element in the process of introducing oneself to a new book. It isn’t about reading the words; it’s about reading the smell, which wafts from the pages in a cloud of dust and wood pulp. It might smell expensive and well bound, or it might smell of tissue-thin paper and blurred two-color prints, or of fifty years unread in the home of a tobacco-smoking old man. Books can smell of cheap thrills or painstaking scholarship, of literary weight or unsolved mysteries.”

I haven’t read a book like this before, it is a masterpiece of storytelling by Alix E Harrow. It will touch a nerve for anyone who loves books, as we know each one opens a door to another world. An absolute 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 ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here 

 

https://amzn.to/34xhdHz

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

I’ve been a student and a teacher, a farm-worker and a cashier, an ice-cream-scooper and a 9-to-5 office-dweller. I’ve lived in tents and cars, cramped city apartments and lonely cabins, and spent a summer in a really sweet ’79 VW Vanagon. I have library cards in at least five states.

Now I’m a full-time writer living in with my husband and two semi-feral kids in Berea, Kentucky. It is, I’m very sure, the best of all possible worlds.

My debut novel–a historical fantasy called THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY–will be out in Fall 2019 from Orbit/Redhook. 

(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, Science fiction

Neon Empire by Drew Minh – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Rare Bird Books and California Coldblood Books are proud to bring you the remarkable debut novel from social media maven and marketing expert Drew Minh,

Neon Empire.

Imagine a city fueled entirely by social media.

Rising out of the American desert, this city is a real-world manifestation of a social media network where fame-hungry desperados compete for likes and followers. The bloodier and more daring posts pay off the most. As crime rises, no one stands to gain more than the city’s architects—and, of course, the shareholders who make the place possible.

This multiple-POV novel follows three characters as they navigate the city’s underworld: Cedric Travers, a has-been Hollywood director; A’rore, the city’s lead social media influencer whose star is fading; and Sacha Villanova, a tech and culture reporter.

Bold, colorful, and seductive, Neon Empire is a radically inventive

new thriller for the social media era. It’s due to publish on July 9, 2019.

Thank you so much for your time.
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MY REVIEW 

Set in the near future, this is an artificial world in a city called Eutopia…which sounds to me how I imagine Vegas to be….with all the famous European landmarks in one, bright, neon, strobe lit place. Full of social media celebrities and ‘influencers’ vying for supremacy and a complete lack of scruples.

Eutopia is bright, flashy, decadent and so so seedy…..an upmarket Blackpool! Everything is an advert, a marketing opportunity…….scary in that we are not far off that now.

The story follows 3 main characters on their travels through this almost psychedelic world, there is a plot, with a missing person, politics and money but it really is about this dystopian world where money and fame drive everything, the real and manufactured events to raise those ratings… very clever and utterly terrifying.

Thank you to California Coldblood Books for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

Drew Minh is a digital strategist living in Los Angeles, CA. He has previously published short stories and nonfiction in 3AM, Word Riot, Litro UK and many others. NEON EMPIRE (coming out September 10, 2019) is his debut sci-fi novel.

Book reviews, Historical fiction, Science fiction

A Superior Spectre by Angela Meyer – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

 

“A brilliant, deeply unsettling work.” Books + Publishing

 

Jeff is dying. Haunted by memories and grappling with shame, he runs away to a remote part of Scotland with a piece of beta tech that allows him to enter the mind of someone in the past. Instructed to only use it three times, Jeff – self-indulgent, isolated and deteriorating – ignores this advice.

In the late 1860s, Leonora lives in the Scottish Highlands, surrounded by nature. Contemplating the social conventions that bind her, her contented life and a secret romantic friendship with the local laird are interrupted when her father sends her to stay with her aunt in Edinburgh. But Leonora’s ability to embrace her new life is shadowed by a dark presence that begins to lurk behind her eyes, and strange visions.

A Superior Spectre is a novel about curiosity, entitlement and manipulation. It reminds us that the scariest ghosts aren’t the ones that go bump in the night, but those that are born and create a place for themselves in the human soul.

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MY REVIEW

Jeff leaves his life behind in Melbourne, Australia to travel to Scotland with his Andserv robot helper and companion. He is dying, but has declined medical treatment.

He has, and uses tech that assigns you a hosts mind in the past, where you can see and feel what they feel, but they are unaware. He visits Leonora in the 1860’s…..in her mind …a time travelling parasite. I have to admit to disliking Jeff, as he was a self-indulgent, yet self pitying man whose desires control everything he does…with little thought for the effect he is having on Leonora’s mind.

Leonora is a simple kind soul, with a secret romance with the local laird, William. But her life is one of hard work and oppression as a woman in the 1860’s. The descriptive writing really brings this to life.

Jeff uses his invasion of Leonora’s mind to pass his own desires to her…..an abuse,  of male domination and as a result she feels she is possessed. It also shows society’s double standards when it comes to female sexuality, and promiscuity is seen as a mental illness.

A beautifully written, almost poet mix of historical, gothic fiction and sci-fi with real atmosphere and both likeable and reprehensible characters. Thought provoking and something rather special. I’m sure this will be a favourite amongst Book clubs everywhere. A definite must read.

Thank you to Ruth Killick Publicity for the opportunity to read this marvellous book for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2N0LKrO

 

About the author:

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Angela Meyer’s Joan Smokes won the inaugural Mslexia Novella Competition in 2019. Her short fiction has been widely published, including in Best Australian Stories, Island, The Big Issue, The Australian, The Lifted Brow and Killings. By day she works as a publisher for Echo Publishing, an Australian imprint of Bonnier Books UK, and in this role has discovered and developed a range of award-winning, globally published and bestselling talent, including global number one bestselling author Heather Morris. A Superior Spectre, Angela’s debut novel, is already shortlisted for a number of prestigious awards.

Angela Meyer is @literaryminded on Twitter and Insta. @literarymindedblog on Facebook. You can find her online at literaryminded.com.au where there are also some book club questions for A Superior Spectre.

Saraband is @SarabandBooks

 

Book reviews, Science fiction

Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Sometimes spaceships disappear with everyone on board – the Lost Ships. But sometimes they come back, strangely altered, derelict, and rumoured to be full of horrors.

Opal is on a mission. She’s been seeking something her whole life. Something she is willing to die for. And she thinks it might be on a Lost Ship.

Opal has stolen Clarissa, an experimental AI-controlled spaceship, from the military. Together they have tracked down a Lost Ship, in a lonely nebula far from colonised space.

The Lost Ship is falling into the gravity well of a neutron star, and will soon be truly lost … forever. Legends say the ships harbour death, but there’s no time for indecision.

Opal gears up to board it. She’s just one woman, entering an alien and lethal environment. But perhaps with the aid of Clarissa’s intelligence – and an armoured spacesuit – Opal may stand a chance.
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MY REVIEW 

Opal is searching for a Lost Ship…it’s been missing for 14 years and her sister was on it when it disappeared. Sometimes they come back! They have tech that could be worth a lot of money……but there are things worth so much more…

Opal is alone on a small ship with the AI, Clarissa…..stolen from the military and hacked to ensure it obeys her commands…..

They find a ship, could it be the one?

With Clarissa’s help, Opal gets on board, but she’s not alone….what are the pink blobs? And those fairy lights are mesmerising!

With something unknown chasing her, she relies on Clarissa for navigation, but then things get worse as the military arrive……! 

‘Shoulda brought a bigger gun’

This is a totally immersive and fast paced read that is full on, non stop action.  With a tense atmosphere broken only by the humour and ‘friendship’ between Opal and Clarissa.  The chill of the darkness and those creepy synth dolls made me shudder! ….I loved the strong female character, intelligent and fearless (very Ripley-esq) and likeable too. I can’t wait to read the next in the series…

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. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2ZyoWWR

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Karl Drinkwater is originally from Manchester but lived in Wales for twenty years, and now calls Scotland his home. He’s a full-time author, edits fiction for other writers, and was a professional librarian for over twenty-five years. He has degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science.

He writes in multiple genres: his aim is always just to tell a good story. Among his books you’ll find elements of literary and contemporary fiction, gritty urban, horror, suspense, paranormal, thriller, sci-fi, romance, social commentary, and more. The end result is interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

When he isn’t writing he loves exercise, guitars, computer and board games, the natural environment, animals, social justice, cake, and zombies. Not necessarily in that order.

LINKS

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Newsletter

Book reviews, Science fiction

Comatose by Tony Estrella – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A fast-paced speculative thriller about the science of sleep and dreams by an international healthcare and lucid dreaming expert.

Author Tony Estrella brings together is experienced in healthcare, futurist and lucid dreaming expert into a riveting speculative novel that will change your perceptions on why we dream.

Lucid dreaming is knowing when you are dreaming and taking control of your dreams. Many people, including top athletes, use lucid dreaming to practice real-life skills, improve mental preparation for important events, think creatively or problem-solve. Most people have had lucid dreams as children, but even adults can learn techniques to dream lucidly.   

Comatose follows the lives of four strangers who are trying to cheat death. On the surface, these people – a famous Hollywood director suffering from terminal brain cancer, a budding scientist in Artificial Intelligence whose honeymoon tragically ended with a freak plane accident, an angry orphan who lost her closest family to a tragic accident, and the leading medical expert in treating comatose patients – appear to have nothing in common.

However, once they independently uncover a link between lucid dreaming and comas, their lives start to intersect. They uncover astounding opportunities to ease individual suffering and pain as they crisscross different time periods and distant locations in their odysseys. The competing factions careen forward into a life-threatening race for survival and supremacy, ultimately leading to an exciting conclusion that explains why we really dream.

MY REVIEW 

Comatose revolves around five characters:

Sumire who on her honeymoon with Fernando was involved in an air incident and ended up in a coma….

Fernando is an AI developer and Dr Hajji is Sumire’s Doctor, a specialist in coma…and he understands what Fernando is going through due to losing his own wife…

Daya, who has been in a coma, but awakened, only to recall a dream and Him…..he left her and she is trying to see him again in her dreams…Dr Hajji is monitoring her.

Arnold has stage 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme and is trying to extend his life by using meditation to lower his metabolism and is considering cryogenesis at one point (I can understand his fear though)…

Are dreams a glimpse into an alternate reality? 

A very interesting, intriguing tale full of emotion and the science of sleep, coma and AI…Unique and compelling.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour, 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/2YKDh2n

 

About the Author

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TONY ESTRELLA has worked in Asia, the US, and Europe as health startup founder & investor, corporate innovation leader, and strategic advisor. Tony is a regular speaker and panelist at industry conferences around the world. During his talks, he provides insights as a serial healthcare entrepreneur and a corporate executive. Comatose, his first novel was selected as a Semi-Finalist by the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative writing competition.

Tony is an alumnus of University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School (MBA), London Business School, and the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (Electrical Engineering). Tony currently resides in Singapore with his wife and daughter.

More information about Tony Estrella and Comatose can be found at:

http://www.tonyestrella.com

Book reviews, Fantasy, Science fiction

The Undoing Of Arlo Knott by Heather Child – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

WHAT IF YOUR LIFE HAD AN ‘UNDO’ BUTTON?

Arlo Knott develops the mysterious ability to reverse his last action. It makes him able to experience anything, to charm any woman and impress any friend. His is a life free of mistakes, a life without regret.

But second chances aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. As wonderful as his new life is, a mistake in Arlo’s traumatic childhood still haunts him and the temptation to undo, undo and keep undoing could be too much to resist.

Mainstream crossover fiction for fans of Matt Haig, Gail Honeyman and Rowan Coleman, from the author of Everything About You.

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MY REVIEW 

This starts with young Arlo helping his mum in the garden, he’s holding the ladder for her while she sands down some woodwork. He is then distracted by a slowworm and moves away from the ladder……..the tragedy that follows haunts him with guilt….could a slight boy have actually made a difference…?

Arlo then discovers he has a ‘gift’….he can jump back in time a few seconds….with practice this gets a little longer….at first he uses it to get himself out of situations, like eating his nans shortbread, or breaking something….but then he starts using it for his own gain, revenge on a bully, chatting to girls. Somehow just knowing what to say!

He becomes a selfish, self centred young man and takes advantage of many people…but then he falls in love with Sabra, a musician, who came into his life due to an accident that he had caused…….it changed her life plans forever.

While this all seems so lucky, Arlo is always tormented by his actions and never really satisfied with anything and this is a tale of sadness and a bit of melancholy….so many what if I’s?……his gift is a bit of a curse. Can Arlo come to realise his actions have far greater consequences…..? Or will this be his undoing?

I found this to be a captivating read, beautifully written and so thought provoking……who hasn’t had moments of regret and wondering….what if? I can thoroughly recommend it and this will be a must read for Book clubs everywhere.

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 ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2YyALMi

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Heather Child’s experience in digital marketing has brought her into close contact with the automation and personalisation technologies that herald the ‘big data’ age, She lives in Bristol and Everything About You was her debut novel.

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.