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Book review: Vazdrag – Daniel J. Strait (@daniel_strait )

Onward the group proceeds through the black door. Onward in their quest and… around reviewin circles? Surely that can’t be right. But that is exactly what is happening. The latest Black Door seems to be a trap, sealing them within a strange labyrinth. Tempers rise and passions stir as they find themselves trapped. But as with all things, this too is a challenge to be overcome, a way to prove themselves of being worthy to journey onward. The Roarrgs possess a ‘magic’ of the likes this motley crew have never witnessed, strange contraptions, and metal ships capable of flight. They appear gracious hosts, but can they be trusted? These beings suggest they can be of help, but their help has a price, a dangerous price.

Daniel J. Strait’s Vazdrag is the third book in the Silver Tears series. Nakiata, Shadow of Thought master, has already gathered two other members of the prophecy, and only two remain. Vazdrag picks up from the point where book two finishes. During their latest adventure, you see a shift in the bonds already formed between the three main characters, Nakiata, Ka’tia, and Dravone, and building tension between them. Daniel J. Strait possesses a very direct tell-style narrative which favours explanations, and focuses on world and character building. From beginning to end you see the characters grow, develop, and evolve, not only with skills but on more personal levels too. I noticed the most alteration in Nakiata, and it is a development I will watch with interest. The direction of this particular instalment has taken a more science-fiction turn, showing the author’s aptitude for cross-genre writing. Action, adventure, trials, and danger await at every turn, along with the hope of new allies, until once more another adventure awaits.

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Book review: Relics of Andromeda – Jonathan Michael Erickson (@EricksonAuthor )

Anka had been raised to fear relics, touching them was taboo. Their power had razed reviewcities, and had destroyed the bridge between worlds. So when one called out to her by name she knew true fear. She was a warrior in her village, brave, quick, and strong, yet the pull was impossible to resist. As is their way, when a person discovers a relic a walk down the Long Road is made to secure the item in Ankharra. With her on this journey is her friend and shaman, Tamreh, and her closest friend, Trevor. Little do they know the journey they are about to undertake is nothing like the one the expected. All is not as it should be, as it has been for the relic carriers before, and this change in tradition breeds distrust, distrust that in answered in drastic actions.

In Jonathan Michael Erickson’s Relics of Andromeda, time travel, myths, fear, foreboding and danger unite in a tangled web to deliver an intriguing and gripping plot. There is some fun and amazing use of science fiction technology. Along with attention to world building, cultures, ideas, and implementations which made this a real pleasure to read. I enjoyed the struggles of the main characters and their gradual tempering as the plot progresses. You are invested in the characters from the start, which is a feeling that only grows through their hardship, discovery, and betrayal. Jonathan Michael Erickson has created an amazing, deep, and complex world, matching it with characters, structures, history, futures, and a threat every bit as deep. Action, betrayal, heartache, heroics, and daring fill this book to the brim as past, present, and future collide. I can honestly say I am on pins to find out what happens next.

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Book review: Sarah Y. Westmoreland – Najee: Awakening (@SWestAuthor )

Akinia had barely survived the torture. She had been flayed and beaten to the brink of reviewdeath, healed, and forced to endure again. But even then they could not turn her. It had been a long road of recovery, and her insistence about being let back in the field, instead of hidden away on Paméd, only threw fuel on an already volatile fire. Her recovery, however, is hampering her, it is slower than she wants. Frustrated, she goes on a trip to meet the family she never knew she had, knowing this was just another way to pacify her until she regained her strength didn’t make it any less daunting, or enjoyable. Having never known her family it was a welcome distraction since she feared she would never recover and become the person they expected her to be, especially since her powers betrayed her, spiking and lashing out at those closest to her. There is only one place she may get answers, an ally met once and only breifly, but with her newest mission she dare not consider it. But before she knows it, fate takes the decision from her hands. She was warned to refuse the mission, perhaps she should have listened because things soon turn bad, and to survive she will either find herself, or be destroyed.

Having read Sarah Y. Westmoreland’s first book in the Najee Series I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next, Najee: Awakening, and it did not disappoint. This is an amazing series driven forward by the strong characters, their development, and the dangers and strife they face. The more Akinia grows the more she will nestle herself in your heart, a strong teenager who has suffered and endured more than any adult should. She has the weight of the future on her shoulders, and it is a burden she feels she cannot carry. She is not alone, Nath makes for an excellent supporting protagonist, along with her masters, uncles, and new found family, a support network she had never before had, but needs more than ever. Sarah Y. Westmoreland writes in a gripping and addictive style. I said in my review of the first book that it has a very Star Wars vibe to it and, whilst this remains true, I would go as far to say in some ways I find it surpasses the written works of this title. I give this series my wholehearted recommendation, not only to fans of Star Wars, but Sci-fi lovers, and even simply people who enjoy a character driven plot filled with action, danger, and discovery.

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Book review: Sarah Y Westmoreland – Najee: A Glimmer of Hope (@SWestAuthor )

Akinia was obsessed with learning, in fact, she had learnt to hack in order to expand the reviewmaterial she had access to. One thing she never discovered though was why she had been left as a nearly new-born baby at the orphanage, nor why the necklace, her only possession aside from a plain blanket, protested anyone’s touch but hers. She never thought herself destined for greatness, so the sudden arrival of the Najee to adopt her came as a surprise. In the blink of an eye she had become a warrior, one who needed training, but a warrior none-the-less, but never could she have imagined the future about to be laid before her. She is the one they have been waiting for, now they must ensure she is ready for the task ahead.

Fans of Star Wars are bounds to love Sarah Y Westmoreland’s Najee: A Glimmer of Hope. As I was reading I saw a heavy influence, it put me in very much in mind of this popular science fiction. The Najee are much like Jedi in the sense they have their own special weapons, training, and a similar master-apprentice hierarchy. Akinia is a strong female protagonist, and despite being only 14, is very mature, reflective, and adaptive. She, along with other main characters, shows great growth and affinity. Allies and friendships form, trust and alliances build, but there is always the threat of something a little darker. Well-written and perfectly paced, this is one story that will keep you hanging on to the very end. Action, adventure, thrills, and chills from start to finish make this an amazing start to what looks to be a gripping and promising series.

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Book review: Francis Halpin – The Seventh Guard

Robert was a repair technician at Best Buy, one who had hung on to his job solely reviewbecause he was so good at repairing things, his social skills, however, were indeed lacking, to the point he was banned from customer interaction. After work he conducted his own experiments, determined to break reality by discovering a hidden glitch. Then he saw it, or more accurately the program he created did, small breaks in the physical laws of our world. It was a message, of that he was certain, but he had no idea how dangerous breaking this encryption would be, his entire perspective on the world, on what was possible, was about to change. If Jennifer’s step-father wasn’t dangerous enough, he was about to discover a new enemy, one who was more powerful than he could ever imagine, one who would stop at nothing to see his demise.

The Seventh Guard by Francis Halpin is an intriguing Science Fiction focusing on the main character Robert as he tries to unravel his destiny. It all started with a flickering light, a cryptic clue he felt he must interpret. It is written at a steady pace with a narrative written with such style you keep turning the pages. You can’t help but be drawn into Robert’s plight, wondering if there is a greater destiny afoot, or if the flickering light is simply unlocking something in, what his girlfriend described as, his ‘on the spectrum’ personality. Robert is a strong lead character supported by David and Jennifer, in their supporting roles which help to build a fuller picture of him, his life, and the world around him. Intrigue, a quest for truth, and hidden mysteries fill the book to the brim, and leave you wondering what the ultimate conclusion will be.

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Book review: Michael Lee Kirk- Digger Day (Jaden Crusoe Book1)

Diggers were spread across many of the worlds, it was a capital offence to kill one reviewoutside the sanctioned hunts. Hunts designed to give people hope of obtaining a vaccination to suppress the Chira Plague. The odds of success were one in one-hundred and thirty two. It was for this reason criminals were sent on the hunts and mostly, the Forest Planet had to order in hunters. That was until a tragedy gave the town the perfect excuse to be rid of a pair of troublemakers. This is the tale of one of those boys, Jaden Crusoe, a tale never heard in its entirety until such a time the truth had to be known. Jaden was well known and respected for joining the thirteen worlds, but his story tells a different tale, of a boy, courage, and circumstances.

A gripping, atmospheric, action-packed read is what you’ll get if you pick up Michael Lee Kirk’s Digger Day (Jaden Crusoe Book 1). From the onset the stakes are high, the impending doom of all against a foe who cannot be destroyed, but to understand how this comes to be, you must first learn the truth of what really happened, therein lies the first adventure. The book follows the story of a number of characters, with a bold font highlighting important names in a person’s story arc to make it clear whose tale you will be following. Well written with clear attention to details in not only the world building, but character development as well. A futuristic world with classes, cliques, technologies, traditions along with their own problems and strife, not to mention the overall setting and benefits and problems with the Collective. It is clear a lot of work went in to making this a tight, well-written and engrossing read, further enhanced by beautiful pictures with the chapter headers.

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Book review: TK Rising – Pink House (@etkrising )

Daniel had two parts to him, there was the boy everyone saw, and then another part of reviewhim, a part he shoved away and disassociated himself with for so long. That part of him was a murderer, and it was with that part of him the thing that came tearing into his closet one night resonated with. Its name was Phearus, it had been damaged, its memories were unclear, and it was hunting the worst of man to feed to the thing hunting it through the tear. Just as Daniel resonated with it, it in turn became part if him, and in time Daniel sought to feed that lost part of him, drawing him closer to Phearus who has long been absent from the cupboard in the pink house. Just as Phearus is starting to think of Daniel as his son, he was torn from 1981 into the future of another dimension, and he will do whatever it takes to get back to him before history says he disappeared.

Fictional historical meets futuristic sci-fi all rolled into the timeline of a single being, that is precisely what you’ll get if you pick up TK Rising’s Pink House. Gods, turf wars, human meddling, primitive natures, and of course, the hunt. The book follows two main plotlines, the first of Daniel, a boy turned serial killer, and the second of Phearus Elconn, son of Godriel Elconn and heir to the greatest house on Alta. There are some tense situations, and times where you really don’t know who to root for. This character-driven plot will push you to the edge of your seat with some of the atmospheric and gripping scenes you’ll encounter. Horror, time travel, gods, and mortals all wrapped in a tightly woven story filled with its own unique complexities. It is the  third book of the Blue Star series but information about the multi-verses, territory control and events are explained at the front to allow to the reader to simply pick up the book and enjoy.

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Book review : D G Lamb – Forging the Blade (@AuthorDGLamb )

Joshua felt like he owed Hobo, and he needed the money, so how could he refuse to help review.jpghim retrieve something? He was only twelve, but his potential had not gone unnoticed, perhaps had he known the true cost of helping him that day his life would have taken a different path. But, again, he needed the money to survive, something statistics suggested would be near impossible. He did everything asked, performed better than Hobo had dared to dream, and his reward had been the loss of his freedom, or had it been the gift of life? A white room, a school like structure, all training him and other Recruits. But for what he didn’t know, only that they suggest he was better with them, and perhaps he could agree. But he was always one for questions, and some of them have answers perhaps best unknown. There is one thing he comes to learn, they are been forged, tempered and honed to be part of something bigger, something operating in the shadows.

Forging the Blade is the second Volume in D.G Lamb’s Driven to the Hilt. Despite no knowledge of events from the first book I found I had no issues in picking this up as a stand alone tale. D.G. Lamb writes with Dynamic formatting which, if I am quite honest, isn’t something I particularly enjoy, but I can certainly see its appeal. Joshua, the main focus of the book, is a fantastically conceived and deep character who shows tremendous strength, resolve, and growth, along with the other Recruits as they learn their place in this new life. The book is written in parts, each one focusing on a particular aspect or area of Joshua’s life, and the transitions, and transformations he begins to undergo. This is the kind of book that hooks you immediately and refuses to let go. It has so much to offer, from intellectual discussions, to an injection of comedy. D.G Lamb has created a believable cast, enjoyable plot, and exceptional story with some great descriptions, and incredible development. The choreography of the action scenes, even the subtleties of altering relationships are written brilliantly. There are layers to this plot, both visible and unseen. If you’re looking for a character-driven tale of intrigue, and growth then look no further. 

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Book review: Trisha McNary – Alien Pets(@Trisha_McNary )

Antaska had longed to travel into outer space, but her only chance to do so was to be reviewchosen by one of the Verdante. It was easier said than done since  it seemed as if Potat, her cat, wanted to sabotage her at every turn. Despite this she was selected. But little did she know humans were to Verdante what Potat was to her, a pet. M. Hoyvil, her new owner, soon finds himself concerned for her safety when her initial attraction to one of the almost human trainers earns her a dangerous level of unwanted attention. Pair that with the fact she keeps hearing telepathic voices, and she’s in for one hell of a trip.

I found Trisha McNary’s Alien Pets really easy to get into. Written in character specific third party no question is left unanswered, from the musings of long-suffering Potat as she attempts to steer her pets’—both her human and the newly acquired Verdante—path, to the ever-darkening thoughts of Eegor. There is some great character development and author does an amazing job in creating believable science fiction settings and atmospheres. I really liked Antaska’s strong character and her drive to improve, there were times where her stubbornness and reluctance to embrace her developing telepathy became frustrating, and not only to Potat, but as a cat person I must admit Potat was my favourite character, if we could hear cats thoughts these would be very close. This book is filled with interesting ideas, and is fun to read. Conflict, uncertainty, adaptation and challenges, the markers of any big change, fill every page of this entertaining tale

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Book review: Alon Lavie – The Rise of Europa Prince (@VENOMSECTOR42AL )

The timeline is off, events have been accelerated for one simple reason. Black Widow. A reviewcold, callus, creature with her sights set of Earth. Her intelligence is well established, and the glass web, know everything. Well, almost everything, they are not at full capacity but that will change. Countries are dropping like flies to her control. Her arrival acted as a catalyst forcing the other insect species to bring forward their plans for hostile invasion. The Europa Prince is on its way housing the great invasion fleet. Ayana, an agent for the US Department of Defence, is determined to stop her at every turn. Armies are building, alliances being formed and lost, and the very fate of Earth rests on the shoulders of but a few.

I often don’t like reading books written in the present tense, but the author made it so effortless that I didn’t really notice. The Rise of Europa Prince is the first instalment in Alon Lavie’s The Venom Sectors and whilst part of what I imagine will be a much larger series is easy to follow as a complete story in its own right. It is full of strong female characters with diverse and interesting personalities, not to mention packed with action, suspense, and a touch of mayhem. Things in this book go from bad to worse, an invasion fleet is on the way and the people of Earth have less time than expected to form a plan. Timescales are altered and the threat is upon them before they are prepared. A character driven plot like this allows ample time to develop characters, relationships and motivations, and the sci-fi aspects are easy, perfect for a newbie sci-fi fan who finds too much tech info overwhelming, while still holding appeal to regular sci-fi readers.

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