A Worthy Compliment to 1984

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The Phoenix Cycle cover

Steve and Leslie have reached their Phoenix Cycle. They have been handpicked to join the Guard, for Steve, or the Inner Circle, for Leslie.  They have the option to decline and live the remainder of their lives in the New San Francisco district called Edingburg, all of this overseen by the General. This is their opportunity to rise or forever condemned to the slums.

The IRA has been tried to fight and overthrow the General for twenty plus years. Steve has that fight in his blood. But, what about Leslie? Is she as committed to the cause as him? Steve wants all the citizens of New San Francisco to know the truth and join them in their fight.

Collopy’s novel, The Phoenix Cycle: The Best Shall Rise is full of philosophy and tends to be a bit over my head. But, that is my limitation, not yours. The perspective changes from time-to-time. It’s a true dystopian similar in nature to Orwell’s 1984.

It is also a very long book. So, if you are not into philosophical debates, then I would not recommend it. Otherwise, it appears to be a very well received book, especially in the United Kingdom.

4 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from the author for review consideration. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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One Cool Detective

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Liquid Cool cover

Cruz is thrust into the role of private detective by his life-long friend, Run-Time. Before, he was classified as a laborer who spent most of his time restoring hovercars. Their mutual friend, Easy Chair Charlie has been gunned down in a shootout with police. Or, did something else happen that was made to look that way?

From the moment that Cruz accepts the case of Easy Chair Charlie someone tries to kill him. He solves the case almost instantly but the shootings continue. There is more to the case than one originally thought.

Other cases come his way and word quickly spreads that Cruz is in business through his frenemy, Phishy. He hopes his newfound profession will sway his future in-laws’ opinion of him. He has hired Punch Judy, a former felon with bionic arms as his secretary/office enforcer.

Dragon’s first novel in the Liquid Cool Cyberpunk Detective Series, Liquid Cool is a fun read and a real page-turner. It is well written and edited. If you like detective stories in a futuristic setting, this is the book for you.

The story has layers upon layers of mystery that must be uncovered to get to the bottom of Easy Chair Charlie case. It seems that almost everyone connected tries to lead Cruz in a different direction. Cruz has a lot of street smarts and is an expert at nonconforming. He tends to see what others often miss.

The ending is satisfying though there was no way to have known from the information provided how it would turn out. I personally like to be able to cobble the clues together and guess at the who done it. That won’t be the case when you read this book.

It is also a long book that takes several chapters to get you engaged. Don’t give up on it though. It’s worth the read.

4 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from the author for review consideration. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Saving Home

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Girl of Blood cover

After saving the planet Mhakerta The Four return to Aristozonex to find themselves under arrest. It seems the Syndicate Fleet Commander was killed in an ill-fated mission to Cwelt. Separated due to the nature of their ‘crimes’ they must somehow escape before execution and reunite to absolve themselves.

Trattora and Velkan are rescued by Velkan’s former owner, Sarth, with the help of Buir and Ghil. Sarth demands control of the dargonite on Cwelt she feels she is owed from their previous meeting. A run-in with body poachers who are searching for Trattora places Sarth in an unholy alliance with them to share the dargonite. The body poachers also take possession of Trattora and Velkan for safe keeping.

Ayma and Phin have friends inside the Fleet help them escape and take over the stealth fighter once again. They set off on a search to locate and liberate Trattora and Velkan. Finding them is one thing, successfully freeing them and escaping is quite another.

Meanwhile, on Cwelt, Parthelon has somehow become chieftain. He has struck a deal with the Maulers for mining rights of the dargonite. The Maulers then ambushed the Syndicate Fleet. Can The Four come together and return to Cwelt and overthrow Parthelon and the Maulers?

Hinkens’ third novel in The Expulsion Project series, Girl of Blood, is a non-stop, action-packed thrill ride. It’s a good mixture of adventure and romance in a sci-fi universe. There are plenty of twists to keep you interested all the way to the very end.

Nothing Trattora sets out to do is ever straightforward or easy. With guidance from her friends, she grows up significantly and learns to temper her impulses. She grows into the leader her father always expected her to become. Watching her mature over the course of these books has left me satisfied.

And, as Trattora has matured, so has Hinkens’ writing abilities. I applaud her work and look forward to wherever the next adventure takes her. I highly recommend this and every book Hinkens has written thus far.

5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from the author for review consideration. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Guest Review – Zombie Theorem

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Zombie Theorum cover

Zombie Theorem a Conspiracy Military Survival book: The Culling Book One by James Wallace

The book was well written and edited. The characters are fleshed out and their dialogue is great. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to see where the story goes in book two.

The only negative was the repeated find zombies, kill them and do it all over again and again.

4 out of 5 stars.

Gary Deariso

It Came From Below

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Erebus cover

Dr. Linda Graves, a forty-four-year-old astrobiology researcher with the University of Washington, falls down a previously undiscovered fumarole on Mt. Erebus. Mt. Erebus is an active volcano in Antarctica. Her research partner, Brett Thompson, a Homer, Alaska native and the team’s mountaineer and safety specialist, repels down to her. While at the bottom of the fumarole Dr. Graves collects eukaryote specimens to ship back to the university. At the shipping dock, there is an accident and the container with the eukaryotes is ruptured. And, that is when the horror begins.

It is the end of the season and winter is fast approaching. The researchers are packing up to go back home leaving only a skeleton crew remaining at McMurdo Station, also known as Mac-Town. When the transport never arrives to take those remaining at the Lower Erebus Hut, part of the Mount Erebus Volcano Observatory (MEVO), to Mac-Town Dr. Nathan Hunter, the Principle Investigator for the expedition and a professor of geochemistry at NMT, has Brett lead them via snow machine down the mountain. Upon arriving they come onto a scene that can only be described as straight out of a horror movie. There are dead bodies everywhere and a person running at them with a crazed look in their eyes.

Once they realize that there is no one there to help them leave they seek refuge anywhere they can. But, each noise they make brings out more crazed people intent on killing them. These people resemble zombies even though they are still alive and are easily killed. The group stumbles upon Dr. Graves who has been in hiding since the epidemic broke out. She fills them in on what has happened and they conclude that they are alone in fighting this. No one is coming to help.

Bird’s novel, Erebus, is a frightening look at being left alone with a killer at the bottom of the world. He has done quite a bit of research to make the characters and the location as realistic as possible. The suspense is palatable. The horror is unimaginable. Bird has done an excellent job of telling this story.

I am not a horror fan and I hate zombie stories. This book is so well written that I forgot all about that and thoroughly enjoyed it. Bravo, Steven Bird, bravo.

5 out of 5 stars.

The Maid’s Story – 1960s

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The Help cover

Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan is a white socialite in the early 60s struggling to find a career in journalism while living in the deep South. All of her friends are married and having children. And, they all have black maids. Even Skeeter’s family has a black maid. Some folks treat their maids like family. Others treat them worse than the hired help that they are.

Aibileen Clark is a black maid. She’s a God loving, church going woman. Most of the time she keeps to herself and stays out of the limelight. She is currently working for Mrs. Elizabeth Leefolt, one of Skeeter’s best friends. Mrs. Leefolt isn’t the type of person that should be having children. They are more of a nuisance than a joy to her. And, Aibileen is doing her best to raise Elizabeth’s children to love themselves and be kind to others.

Minny Jackson is a black maid in the household of another of Skeeter’s friends, Mrs. Hilly Holbrook. Minny has a sassy mouth and has a hard time keeping a job. She needs the money with five children and a husband working two jobs. Hilly is a mean, spiteful woman who is the head of the Junior League of Jackson, Mississippi. She treats Minny as though she is a disease.

Skeeter finds herself at odds with Hilly and the idea of outdoor bathrooms for the colored help. The inhumane treatment that she witnesses spark an idea to write the stories of the maids as told by the maids. Aibileen is the only one to agree at first. As things deteriorate in the South with the federal government pushing for desegregation, her editor urges her to get the book to her as soon as possible with at least a dozen stories.

Stockett’s first novel, The Help, is about the book itself being written. It is both funny and sad. The stories are about true love and friendship as well as hate and racism. There is a lot we all can learn from these stories. Social injustice to any group is unacceptable. These ladies worked long hours under almost slave-like conditions just to feed themselves and their families.

5 out of 5 stars.

The Fight To Live Is Strong

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She is swept off at a very young age to a private academy presumably by friends of her recently deceased parents. There she excels and becomes a deadly soldier at age 16 in the fight against evil factions. Desiring to learn more about the world she leaves the academy at age 19 and takes off using the fortune her parents left to her. Once her trek is over she decides to return to the academy only to find it under siege by the man with the cigar. This is not her first encounter with him.

Rochester, the cigar man, has her captured and then put through a series of physical and psychological experiments that test her will and ability to live. These tortures go on for months and months – each more deadly than the last. And, that is where I stopped reading.

As hard as I tried I could not get into this novel. I kept reading and got as far as about chapter 15 or so. The chapters are not numbered so I’m not certain. Anyway, about a third of the way through. There were no glaring grammatical or plot issues. The hook for me wasn’t there.

Raymond’s debut novel, Life’s Defeat (Life’s Series Book 1), never names the protagonist. Her character is very well-developed as is the mindset of the antagonist. I’m sure Rochester’s desire is to turn her into a soldier for his side and have her go against her former team. It takes too long to get to that point. The lack of action and the prolonged torture became boring to me.

Giving Raymond the benefit of the doubt and assuming it is just me, I will give the book 3 out of 5 stars. I wish her the best of luck.

I received this book for free from the author for review consideration. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.