Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: The Teleporter By Lee Hall

Book Review: The Teleporter By Lee Hall (4 Stars)

A humorously crass story of a drunkard turned superhero.

Hall has created a realistic world in which corporations hold the power and the common man has little control over his own life, until fate elects a portion and hands it over in the form of teleportation karma. The transformation of our main character, Kurt, is depicted with a perfect amount of stumbles, physical and emotional, and leaves us rooting for him as he finds his new place in society.

The voice isn’t hindered by formalities; it is free and true to character and, yes, littered with curses. But it fits so perfectly with Kurt’s sarcastic/apathetic personality that it is hard to be bothered by it.

The story picks up quickly and doesn’t linger too long in any one scene. Hall has done a great job at keeping a smooth pace and throwing in just enough detail to encourage us to continue reading without bogging us down. If you’re not used to reading an Irish accent, give it a chapter or two.

The Teleporter was a fun ride that I would recommend to anyone that enjoys shorter scifi stories involving average-joe superheros, technology, and characters that simultaneously banter and care.

Summary (Spoiler Alert!):

The beginning might throw you for a loop because it sounds a lot like the author is breaking the fourth wall. That’s how genuine the voice of our main character, Kurt, is. And he is a complete drunk, a jerk, and is funny as hell. With a love life and a job that are both dead-ends, Kurt relies on booze and his imagination for entertainment. But like all superheroes, Kurt has an endearing quality. Beneath all the swears and drink, he has a conscience and doesn’t truly want anyone to get hurt. He just doesn’t know anything different.

Kurt works for a company called Liqui-tech as essentially their social media marketer/outreach guy. During a planned media event, Kurt runs into his next-door neighbor, Casey. As a journalist, she’s a skeptic and can’t believe their company’s teleportation project doesn’t produce any toxic waste. When Kurt is assigned media coverage for that specific project, Casey’s words get to him. He finds himself soon doing his own recon and, inevitably, succumbing to a vat of the liquid… and scrambling out of the opposite tank.

After sleeping for several days, Kurt awakens to discover he can teleport around his house just by thinking about the refrigerator etc. Learning to teleport and keep his clothes on is a trick he has to learn the hard way. And, ironically, his beloved alcohol is his kryptonite. This made the character’s struggle much more complicated. He can no longer rely on his usual “out” and must learn to cope with his new life on his own. In his jubilee over becoming a superhero, he goes out and makes a big deal about being a superhero in front of a bar full of people. But his efforts in protecting a girl—who’d had her drink spiked—prove he is worthy of said powers.

Teaming up with Casey across the hall, they return to Liqui-tech to search for evidence they can use to hold Mr. Williams, the owner, accountable for. His family owns most of the town, and they disrespect most of the people they come into contact with. Casey and Kurt are caught and put through their own interrogation. Kurt is beaten and thrown out, which brings him new perspective on the divide between upper and lower classes. Emotional over the matter, Kurt returns to his favorite bar and basically tells everyone the teleporter thing was a stunt and they should all go home instead of spending the night out drinking. As mentioned before, Kurt has a heart, though sometimes it can seem buried.

On a walk, Kurt meets two old men, one of which he defends from Mr. William’s entitled brat-of-a-son and takes quite a beating for it. The other who offers Kurt some wisdom on the matter of his skill set. Feeling empowered again, Kurt records a video threat to Mr. Williams and begins practicing his teleporting skills for means of hand-to-hand combat.

A group of his closest companions gather around him demanding it is time for some action because Casey has been taken. They end up infiltrating Liqui-tech with literally no plan. Finding Casey is the next experiment and that Mr. Williams as created teleportation biotech for himself, the crew is thrown into a frenzied series of attacks and defenses ultimately ending in the testing facility. There, Casey is subjected to the teleportation tanks plus a car battery. When she emerges again from the muck as Kurt holds her, she is shot twice… and uncovers her own ability. She’s bulletproof.

Kurt’s former supervisor (before being fired from Liqui-tech), Marcus, ends up being a member of the FBI and has recorded everything. William’s is taken away, and Marcus therein becomes the mentor/guide to Kurt and Casey.

Personal Thoughts:

This book was hilarious, though I’m not usually a laugh-out-loud type. I’m more of the chuckle type. The emotional range didn’t include major moments of anger (which I think would’ve completed the spectrum), but this made for an easier, laid-back type of read.

It was entertaining to find a book about a realistic man that had something supernatural happen to him. We all want to feel like there is this possibility, this hope, that some miracle will pull us out of the muck of everyday life, and we’ll be able to finally change the world. All too often superheroes are from rich families or royalty or gods. Kurt is an unlikely option in our stereotypical world. But here, we get to see him in action. Hope and humor thrive together in The Teleporter.

The Teleporter on Amazon

Goodreads

https://leehallwriter.com/

Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: Asrian Skies By Anne Wheeler

Book Review:

Asrian Skies By Anne Wheeler (4 stars)

(Shadows of War Book 1)

If you like clean, character-driven, female protagonist Sci-Fi, you will enjoy this!

Wheeler has done an amazing job throwing in twists and betrayals like no other. She is a master of interrogation sessions and politics. A perfect blend of easy-to-read sentences with somewhat advanced language makes this a comfortable read. Her scene-setting and world-building are fantastic and mixed into the storyline in ideally sized chunks. Her characters stand out as quite unique from one another.

The action and suspense are well-proportioned to keep the pages turning. There is something magical about the way Wheeler weaves interpersonal details into the main character’s storyline. Some components are predictable, others are wildly not, which makes for an ideal mind game for the reader.

Readers that prefer clean books, both spiritual and not, would like this.  A character-driven story, Asrian Skies delves into the life of Avery Rendron in the beginning and doesn’t slow down until the major action begins about half-way through. Though mild skirmishes dot the initial first half and propel our reading, the midpoint is a major inflection, and the action takes off. While there is mild violence, there is no cursing and no intimacy. Respect and honor are underlying themes which Wheeler has filtered in through her character’s actions and dialogue.

Summary: (Spoiler Alert)

Avery Rendron is a lieutenant for the Commonwealth on Ventana and a princess on her home planet of Asria. After a space-flight training mission goes awry, Rendron finds herself being summoned home and her status as an officer revoked. Her uncle has fled to an enemy planet, and her brother is a deserter. Rendron doesn’t want the life of a royal either: its expectations, rules, or the emphasis on faith.

Returning home does provide an opportunity to see her former love-interest, Merritt Parker. But his job as senior aid to General Teruel, and his connection to the military, take priority—though not in his heart.

An invasion by the enemy, the Haederans, catches Asria off guard. Asria prefers its isolation despite its allegiance to the Commonwealth. Their technology is advanced, yet they cannot understand how the Haederan ships evaded their scanners.

Governor Perrin and his Haederan army take control of Asria like they have many planets, but with mildly less aggression. They attempt to manipulate Rendron into working with them so as to make her people willingly surrender to Haederan rule. But Rendron is too stubborn.

Rendron finds herself working in the shadows for Hadley and Feye, two off-worlders seeming to want to help. Because they are skilled in military maneuvers beyond her grasp, she accepts her role and begins recon to gain any information she can to assist the few rebels in finding a weakness in the Haederan forces.

Escaping with the information she uncovers is a tricky skill Rendron repeatedly fails to acquire until the Haederans grow weary of her disobedience and lock her away.

Beaten and torn inside, Rendron begins to find her faith again. Hadley infiltrates the Haederan guards and manages to steal Rendron in a Nightflier, and they head out on their quest to find a data chip she sent out with her most trusted personal guard just before being imprisoned. But betrayal soon catches up with her, and Rendron ends up walking right back into enemy-occupied territory.

The Haederans have acquired the chip and, with no other use for her, put her on a transport to a ship in orbit. Destined for Haedera, Rendron grows restless for an escape and steals a Haederan fighter. In a daring move, she flies out of the mothership and fakes out the fighters that follow. Bolting out into space, she loses consciousness and blacks out.

Rendron is picked up by a Commonwealth scout ship, the only one close enough to help though not big enough to fight the Haederan fleet beyond. She explains what she’s learned, but they already know everything. Yet having a Haederan ship with a functioning stealth cloak is the key turning point, providing a functioning example of how the Haederans have evaded their scanners and therefore a way to gain equality on the battlefield.

As our main character comes to be the last remaining member of the royal family, she assumes the duties of Queen of Asria. She will no longer fly as an officer and knows this as her duty. Taking charge of the hand she is dealt, Rendron decides she must return home, to Asria.

We are left with the notion that Rendron has put aside her personal dreams so she may do what is best for her people. She no longer wishes to avoid Asria, but return to it, despite its Haederan occupation and rule. Rendron now fights for something greater than herself.

Personal Thoughts:

Hadley was by far my favorite character. He’s an intense, hard man, with (I think) a secret soft side to him. His actions and expressions stand out the most in my mind. He felt the most real of the characters to me because he was steady in his convictions and duty.

I tend to be an impatient reader, more concerned with fast-moving works with lots of tech, weapons, and action. But I still thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was a nice change of pace and allowed me to slow down and take in the scenery.

Something that stuck out to me was when Rendron thinks about how often she brags of her mother’s gardens while proceeding to pick all of the petals off of a flower—in effect, killing it. In retrospect, I see that moment now as foreshadowing (because her mother dies), but at the time I felt confused. How could Rendron love her mother while destroying something her mother worked hard to grow? Either way, it seems like an interesting symbolic reference at the end. These are the details that made me stop and really think about the story. If a book can make us pause and play with the characters in our own minds, I call that a good read!

Find it on Amazon

Goodreads

Anne Wheeler’s Website

If you like this book, Unbroken Fire is book 2 in the Shadows of War series. Find it on Amazon here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: Imprint By Nicholas Adams

Imprint By Nicholas Adams (5 stars)

If you liked Ex Machina, you will like this.

Overview: (spoiler alert)

Imprint follows Malcolm as he tries to find a solution for a debilitating and life-threatening side-effect of the synthetic organs he designed. His wife is the last remaining test subject in a world that destroyed itself thinking “The Scald” was a plague. The Scald is the term for the burns which appear sometime after a synthetic organ transplant has occurred. Good intentions aren’t always enough.

Limited to a bed of gel to support her fragile, disintegrating body, Malcom’s wife, Cynthiana, can no longer participate in daily activities. After being given a week to find a cure for his fatal mistake, at the Warden’s threat of execution, Malcolm attempts to build Cynthiana a new body through which she can wirelessly transmit conscious action and, in a manner, live again.

But the created anthropomorphic being begins to act of its own accord while Cynthiana isn’t conscious. Malcolm studies his wife’s neural activity, attempting to find a connection between the waking sessions and odd behaviors of “Synthia.” It isn’t until he and Synthia are alone that he uncovers the imprinting of personality, interests, behaviors, etc of his wife within the constructed AI. What Synthia does after is unexpected and unpredictable.

This is an easy, short read (novella). I had no trouble following the storyline. I enjoyed the addition of the Canadian French in Malcolm’s wife’s dialogue. Learning a little something while reading for pleasure is a great two-for-one deal. Speaking of pleasure, there are a few steamy scenes, though nothing described in raw detail—a perfect mix.

Definitely cyberpunk/biopunk dystopian fiction. The world in which the story takes place is limited to Malcolm’s residence, specifically his lab, focusing on details of his biomechanical creations. Synthia’s new body is described in wonderful detail, including how she perceives the environment, and him.

Malcolm loves his wife dearly. She is a delight: still actively engaged despite her failing body, reading romances, always attentive to what’s going on when she’s awake. I would fully expect, in any other situation, for her to moan and cry and hate everything because of her state. She strikes me as the strongest of the characters.

The ending, the imprint, is a surprise that couldn’t make more sense. It wasn’t what I’d hoped for, but I won’t give it away. It evoked some strong feels for Malcolm. Anyone that’s had a spouse with a mysterious illness can probably relate. Their bond is obvious, his dedication to her unmovable. I have missed reading about characters with morals, respect, and true love. …And a future hanging wide-open before me.

 

Personal thoughts:

Only two things mildly bothered me: glazing over the week Malcolm originally had to find a solution or face execution with the mention of three weeks later he’s working on the synth body, and the fact Cythiana’s neural expertise didn’t come into play. I expected the Synthia to start working on a project of her own because of that detail in Cythiana’s opening credits. Maybe she’ll find a solution to download her actual consciousness into the body?! Yes? Please? And then the twist… Ha! Proves just how much I should not let my mind do this while reading. And honestly, the ending was a good one, true to life. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Find it on Amazon

Goodreads

Nicholas Adams Website: http://www.nicholasadamswrites.com/

 

 

Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: Deep Cosmos

Book Review: Deep Cosmos by Project Kyle
Available on Amazon November 10, 2018

Deep Cosmos follows two main characters, Sophia and Nerd, as they struggle to escape the grasp of Dr. Crimson, Experiment 1, and the lasting effects of the inhumane experiments conducted at Cosmic 5. Nerd has a secret past, buried in betrayal, something Sophia has in common with him. Nerd isn’t who he says he is, nor is his character. Sophia battles with her trust of him after he rescues her from the potential bloody fate Dr. Crimson has in mind for her. And this event breaks the rules of Deep Cosmos, the organization fighting for good, the organization Nerd is a part of.

Kyle does a fantastic job of weaving in almost unnoticeable details that, as the story unfolds, start popping back into mind. There is twist after twist and lots of action. It starts off “in media res” style then carrying you through the backstory. About a third of the way through, you will find the tension picks up with the addition of new characters and stakes, and it doesn’t let up until the very end! Deception is a key part of the villains strengths, making the story unpredictable.

Nerd’s “odd” behavior in relation to other characters is explained further into story. There is a moment where we are given the truth about his unique abilities that makes his character that much more endearing. He has always set himself apart from others, self-isolating in his behavior, until Sophia. But, in true “do no harm” fashion, Nerd is the ultimate doctor, and the hero, in more ways than just this story. His character sets an example as an individual with Asperger’s, who is a kick-butt intellectual, hilarious, caring, and proves he is worth more than what others judge him capable of.

I absolutely love the little details like the Owl Eyes going off randomly, which makes for a brief and comedic ‘oops’ moment. The hallucinations make everyone seem crazy at first, but they tie everything together further in. I really liked this lead-in because of the subtlety.

There were only a few things that left me a tad disconnected from the overall wonderful book. The beginning, while starting with action, fell into a bit of a slump with the “dead space” between major scenes. Sophia is a V. T. C. warrior but came across rather weak until later in the book. And the literary components were sometimes more of a “tell” than a “show.” I didn’t always feel the connection or get inside Nerd or Sophia’s heads to truly feel the rawness of their emotion. But, I must say, there are still several fantastic moments where we really connect emotionally (especially during character secret reveals).

It is a great, clean story. No cursing or gore. It is acceptable for teens and up. It does have a lot of suspense and will make you wonder who’s associated with who and especially who Experiment 1 really is beneath the mask. Nerd’s character changes the most, and rightly so. It was great to see him come out of his shell and learn how to connect with others, even if it was at such a great cost. He shows us how to resist urges, control ourselves, and make better choices.

**** 4 Stars

You can find author Project Kyle here:

Personal website

Twitter: DeepCosmosbook

Amazon

Blog, Book Reviews

Review: Rise and Run by R. J. Plant

38521544Rise and Run by R.J. Plant

Delightfully engaging and humorous, packed with action… Plant describes the post-apocalyptic world in such vivid detail, you’ll feel like you’re the third consciousness.

Rise and Run follows Felix and Conor on their journey to uncovering their past as they struggle within themselves for dominance while simultaneously fighting for their lives. The heart of GDI, Government Directive International, is set on utilizing them as a biological weapon ─ unwilling, snarky, and a bit of a head-case delinquents.

The characters all have their own, very distinct, attitudes and accents, bringing forth comedic conversations, tension, and spell-binding questions. Everything around them, in every scene, is described in potent depth from the toxic air to the bloody carcasses and broken buildings. Plant is a master of subtly, especially in writing the flickers of emotion even the most hardened soldiers can’t repress.

A fluid and easy read, Rise and Run is all about the challenge of putting the puzzle together and tracking plot twists that never seem to end. The voices of the main characters are genuine and unfiltered. Plant combines the feel of a movie with a first-person shooter role playing game. It’s live action, split-second decisions, and spares no blood.

The main character’s witty perspective, Felix/Conor says everything that we feel as a reader in a rather dry, ironic manner that makes the harsh, thrilling reality that much more entertaining.

Rise and Run is a definite must-read for anyone who’s a fan of post-apocalyptic, thrillers, and hard science fiction. If you’ve got a crass sense of humor you’re going to like this very much.

 

 

(Spoilers beyond this point)

My personal reflection:

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from the vast amount of description and humor. Plant does a fantastic job of creating realistic settings and characters. The plot winds and twists and you never really know what’s going to happen next. This is one of the only books I’ve ever been able to read at a comfortable pace and not feel the desire to skip any parts.

There are a few moments where I got lost in the dialogue as to who was saying what, but nothing that tipped the scale. The only other trouble I had was at the very end. The perspective switches again like it did in the beginning and we watch the main character from a third party, someone I don’t feel connected to as a reader. I had hoped to see the main character healed/healing and maybe a moment of tenderness with another character, but the resolution isn’t definitive. It must be inferred from the other characters on the last pages.

In a way this is fitting with Plant’s style, the ever-elusive clarity on the character’s true situation (not the perceived one).  And, in its own way, this ending shows more to the story than we would not have understood otherwise. So all in all: in the words of a character from the United Irish Republic, year 2042, I call it a fecking good book!

 

 

Blog, Book Reviews, Sci-Fi Fantasy Blog

Book Review: The Unity Game

Book Review: The Unity Game by Leonora Meriel

Genre: Adult Science Fiction

The Unity Game for review postAstoundingly descriptive, beautifully imagined, with unique characters, Meriel will warp your mind, challenge your beliefs, make you wonder, and then want to redefine your understanding of reality.

We begin, following three characters through life-changing moments. Each chapter will follow David on his quest for success amidst visions he can’t explain, Alisdair into his new life only to discover he won’t be staying with the ones he loves, and Noœ-bouk (yes, written with a Latin ligature) in his journey through the last part of his life cycle and what he’s willing to do for a chance to beat his odds.

There are two main plots that run the length of the book you won’t catch on to until the very end. One facilitates the reader’s understanding of the other. It’s a curious monster with philosophies behind our existence and purpose that are enthralling. They lay the framework for the main plot with a twist you won’t expect.

(There are possible spoilers beyond this point)

Muriel really hits home when she breaks down Earth in comparison to the rest of the universe. This is where the Unity Game comes into play. We’re all just, essentially, spirits living multiple different lives in a way to gain experiences to level-up our understanding of the universe and achieve higher status (attain positions on councils etc). The conscious minds take lives on earth as a challenge because it is so unpredictable. The greater the challenge, the more “points” earned. When a consciousness merges with a body on Earth, they forget their “spirit” and won’t remember again until they pass on. Earthlings are described as removing themselves from the God complex (higher understanding of the cosmos) and then denying it exists completely, reducing us to mere “base” structures.

There is little that remains finite about the realms Muriel has created. A Home Planet saved, a granddaughter, a job (repeatedly), and yet there looms this never-ending “now what?” for each character. Even toward the end, passing the knot joining the threads together, there are infinite directions in which the characters’ futures may head, leaving the reader with a sense of hope.

The worlds Meriel has built are beautifully imagined down to every breath the only real measure of time. The three lives/timelines will feel like their own book entirely with raw detail and emotion in every step of their path. Meriel keeps you guessing and searching for patterns on how the pieces will align well into the book. But have faith, she will break your heart, mend it, and trade it out for another all at once in the final pivotal moment.

Be prepared, there are several erotic scenes, particularly with David. While it’s hard to grasp his disloyalty, these scenes will make much more sense when you’ve turned the last few pages. They are raw and primal in an extraterrestrial sort of way. Muriel depicts David’s psychological changes with vivid alacrity: a chaotic blur of images, thoughts, physical sensations, and external reactions that evoke a near-empathetic understanding from the reader.

If you are fans of Socrates, philosophy, or Greek inspired writing, you will love this. Fans of science fiction, fantasy, money, psychological thrillers, space travel, alternate realities, sex scenes, you will enjoy this very much.

This book is not for speed readers. It is meaty and intricate; you don’t want to miss lingering in its depth. It must be absorbed from every angle to truly sense the unity that binds all things.

 

My personal reactions:

The moment that stood out the most was with Noœ-bouk, when he has surpassed his body life and should no longer exist, yet there he is. The parameters around the possibilities are hazy and loose, and some things just happen. But they’re accepted because of the overall theme of consciousness is freedom. I did struggle a bit with the rules of the realms, but that was part of the joy of this book. There really weren’t any rules. It just took some getting used to, some stretching of the mind we’ll call it.

Not having a concept of the plot in the beginning was hard. I didn’t get pick up my first hint until about half of the way through when Noœ-bouk’s Tayr was actually Earth. At seventy-three percent I got my first solid indicator about the Unity Game itself. That’s when the story finally picked up for me and I began to understand the characters, the purpose, and the end goal.

There were a few secondary characters that had segments from their perspectives that I felt pulled me away from the story, but their parts were short. They just didn’t seem crucial to the main plot. But I trusted Meriel had a deeper plan, and I’m glad I did.

It was a bit hard to grasp the collection of these perspectives into the chapters. I believe there’s a theme with the symbols breaking up the parts of the chapters, but sometimes it was in the middle of a perspective, and it wasn’t necessarily for the purpose of a time break. Those were separated by a blank line. I honestly couldn’t catch the pattern despite looking for it. I’m figuring the evolution of the shapes from simple to more complex factors in as well. (Maybe I will understand this on another read-through)

Noœ-bouk’s character was the most critical to the storyline, the most interesting, but also the hardest to connect to. The perspective is difficult to grasp because it is gender neutral, and the lack of emotion makes it difficult to form an attachment. But, the stunning light displays and extraordinary life It has lived keep me hooked.

Toward the end, I figured out Alisdair’s character was more a vessel for explaining to the reader the concepts of the universe, the multi-verse, the lack of actual time, how we’ve all lived thousands of lives already and they’re all happening simultaneously. This was one of my favorite parts. It really scrambles your concepts of “reality” and makes a smoothie out of your brain. But it’s a delight and the places Alisdair and Duncan go are quite magical. The concept of the library without dust and the fact that Duncan created dust with a tap of a finger on a book spine was a nice little detail.

It was mentally thrilling, heart-breaking, and spiritually exhausting. I am definitely going to read this again.

 

Blog, Children's Book Blog

Stocking Stuffers for Kids

Kids already love this little book. I’ve even been asked to read it to students back home. If you need a stocking stuffer or just a cute holiday read for young kids, A Wet Nose Christmas on Amazon is perfect.

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It’s paperback and fits inside a stocking, and at $6.99 costs less than the other kids’ books I just picked up at Walmart. 

If you prefer digital formats, it’s available for Kindle as well at $1.99.

It’s hand-drawn and my first children’s book. I would love your feedback!

The next books are being completed in a digital paint program so they will be full-page images. I can’t wait!

Thanks and Merry Christmas!

♥ Elysia