4.17.2018

Book Review: Anchor Leg by Jack Croxall #mystery #sciencefiction #thriller


Stranded 750 million miles from Earth. Stranded with a saboteur. Stranded with a killer.

Humanity has spilled out into the Solar System, into a succession of giant space stations known as the Relay. Seren Temples is a security apprentice running the Relay's remote Anchor Leg. When sabotage strands her vessel near another damaged ship, Seren and her team are sent across to investigate. The second ship is a zero-G graveyard. Inside its vast hold, nothing but a single vial of frozen blood.


My review:

Anchor Leg follows the journey of Seren, a young security apprentice and her tough initiation into life aboard a cargo ship. Set in deep space, she's running away from an over-populated Earth and determined to build a new life for herself. What she gets is a baptism of fire aboard a space ship, with a crime to solve. 

The fast-paced plot grabbed me straight away, and the twists and turns kept me hooked until the end. As well as the superb world building, Croxall managed to bring real life to the characters. I became invested in their futures, and was genuinely sad when the story ended. I wanted more from this world he'd created. 

Anchor Leg skillfully combines the science fiction, thriller, and crime genres. It's a mystery set in space, and I loved it. If you like your crime stories to be dark, taut, and containing a speculative angle, this is the book for you. 

4.03.2018

Because we have a little tilt


Spring has sprung in the Northern Hemisphere. Though some of the days my flowers were hidden in the snow, the rain has washed the frigid temperatures away. People are celebrating by wearing shorts even though they still have tuques on, and others are pushing through their rigorous spring cleaning.

Many of our beliefs, myths, and annual events revolve around the changing seasons. Demeter welcomes her beloved daughter back from the underworld and the world grows lush again. Fertile bunnies hide chocolate and colored eggs. Masses gather in the streets of India to throw powered dyes at one another.

But what would the changing of seasons be like on other worlds?


The changing of seasons depend on a planet's axial tilt, but not many other planets have tilts like Earth's. It's rare to have four regular seasons like we do. In fact, most planets have no seasons or wildly fluctuating ones.

It's interesting to imagine what the beliefs and myths in the lives of other worldly beings might be like. Would they even have annual events like we do?  Would they celebrate instead things like the passing of a comet in a regular orbit around their solar system or have myths about the great storm that swirls constantly in the south? How would it shape their minds to have no seasons or ones that could not be predicted?

One things for certain, aliens would likely see Earthlings' traditions as baffling and ridiculous. So much of who we are is based on the fact our planet has a little tilt.

What do you think an alien culture would be like based in a world with no seasons or wildly fluctuating ones?

3.21.2018

For You, I Will by Georgia Lyn Hunter #supernatural #romance #Book #Review



It should have been the happiest time of their lives…

As a Guardian of the realm, Blaéz is aware of the danger that can shadow him, but he’s determined to give his human mate the wedding of her dreams. Flowers, ring, and all, including following a baffling mortal tradition of abstinence—a challenge he gamely takes on.

Then the past and future clash…

Things start to unravel when an old rival from an accursed life he thought long over suddenly reappears. Blaéz realizes it’s a tie he must sever and finally put an end to a longstanding feud. A straightforward job, until his vindictive nemesis snatches his mate.

It’s a time of reckoning…

Now Blaéz must face his own dark and painful past for a future with the one woman who is his very heartbeat. If he doesn’t, it just might destroy everything he’s fought for…


Author’s note: This novella is set after book 3 in the Fallen Guardians’ series and gives you further insight into the lives of the Guardians. For better reading enjoyment, it is best if you fully immerse yourself in the Fallen Guardians’ World first. No cliffhanger.


Review by Cathrina:

When Georgia Lyn Hunter sent me the ARC to this new installment for her Guardian Series I was thrilled. FOR YOU, I WILL is a novella tying together, literarily, in matrimony, Blaez and Darci. However, they stumble upon some lofty roadblocks. It didn't read exactly like the previous books with the action-packed combatant sequences, this tale read more like an altra-superb romance. I liked the intense scenes between Darci, Blaez and Finnen (his twin brother).

If you like to read speculative fiction with devastatingly handsome immortal guardians that have supernatural powers and action-packed, fast-paced, and lots of steamy scenes, then you'll love these books.

Georgia Lyn Hunter has hit another home run with FOR YOU, I WILL.

3.06.2018

Legend of the Mothman #Paranormal

By Jason W. (https://www.flickr.com/photos/fokket/4011253068/) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Have you heard of the Mothman? Have you seen him?

The first sighting happened in November 1966 near Clendenin, West Virginia. Six men were digging a grave and saw a winged figure fly overhead. Three days later, two couples in Point Pleasant stated they saw a similar flying figure.

"A flying man with ten-foot wings. Its eyes glowed red when hit by the car lights."

During the next few days, there were several other sightings. Some claimed to have premonitions about a bridge collapse. A month later, a local bridge, the Silver Bridge, collapsed and killed 46 people.

Was the Mothman trying to warn them?

The legend is mixed up with UFO sightings and visits by 'men in black.' A wildlife expert suggested the sightings were a sandhill crane. However, there are too many 'reliable' eyewitness accounts of the creature and strange lights for the 'mothman' to be so easily dismissed.

In 2016, more sightings of the Mothman were reported in Chicago. I have to wonder what this elusive being wants. I have to wonder in general.

On a trip to the remote Oregon town that inspires Settler (the town where The Rifters is set), I misread a sign. I can't remember the 'mundane' words, but I recall reading, Premonition Center. At the time, I was looking for ideas for book 4 in the series, and the Premonition Center stuck with me.



The Mothman is a natural fit with premonitions, and I mixed in a little Mothra as well. Moths are very abundant in the summer months here. When I'm astronomizing, they often bombard me in the eye or cheek.

Oregon always inspires my stories, especially The Rifters series.


The Tracer, Rifters Book 4 releases March 13 and is available for preorder!


The portal connecting Earth to other worlds reopens, and Daelin Long stands ready to rescue her sister. After a winter of strenuous training, she’s prepared to battle the evil her sister warns against.  Only, the rift is more unpredictable. The Mothman arrives whispering of death and transports Daelin to a land with seven moons. There, she faces a monster that can exist in two universes at the same time. Refusing to believe her fate is sealed, Daelin searches for the way home. With only her staff, her wits, and an uninformed detective, she dares to lead the fight. Otherwise, her sister and Earth don’t have a chance.


Kobo / Googleplay / iBook / Nook / Smashwords /
Amazon / UK / DE / AU / CA / FR / ES / NL / IT / MX / BR / IN / JP

And the Rifters Box Collection Books 1-3 is on sale for 99c!

A monstrous secret hides in the backwoods of a remote western town—a portal connecting our world to forty-two other universes. The visitors—most would call them terrifying—often have devastating effects. Their destruction hasn’t been intentional… until lately. The usual band of protectors, The Rifters, defend us with daring and weapons built from coils, gears, and crystals, which is no longer enough. Earth’s survival depends on an outlaw from 1888 and a librarian with a knack for ghosts.
The Rifters Box Collection includes: The Rifters, The Initiate, and The Reader.
Amazon / UK / AU / CA / DE / FR / IT / ES / NL / MX / BR / IN / JP

2.20.2018

#BookReview: Southern Spirits by Angie Fox

Review: Southern Spirits (Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries Book 1) by Angie Fox

Book Blurb:

One simple mistake…
For a girl who is about to lose her family home,
Releases the ghost of a long-dead gangster,
And opens Verity Long’s eyes to a whole new world.

When out of work graphic designer Verity Long accidentally traps a ghost on her property, she’s saddled with more than a supernatural sidekick—she gains the ability see spirits. It leads to an offer she can’t refuse from the town’s bad boy, the brother of her ex and the last man she should ever partner with.

Ellis Wydell is in possession of a stunning historic property haunted by some of Sugarland Tennessee’s finest former citizens. Only some of them are growing restless—and destructive. He hires Verity to put an end to the disturbances. But soon, Verity learns there’s more to the mysterious estate than floating specters, secret passageways, and hidden rooms.

There’s a modern day mystery afoot, one that hinges on a decades-old murder. Verity isn't above questioning the living, or the dead. But can she discover the truth before the killer finds her?

My Review:

Verity Long becomes an accidental ghost whisperer when she inadvertently releases and grounds the spirit of Frankie “the German” Valentine to her ancestral home—which she’s about to lose simply because she left her fiancé at the altar (trust me, he deserved it!) and her would-be rich mother-in-law is suing her. Of course, Frankie has a plan on how to save her home and it’s not strictly legal. It just involves a little trespassing, and with one thing and another, shots are fired and the cops are called.

The cop who shows up is her ex-boyfriend’s brother, the handsome Ellis, who doesn’t know Verity but holds a grudge. And of course sparks fly about like it’s the 4th of July. They need each other and Ellis makes an offer Verity can’t refuse, one that will save her family home from being sold at auction. All she has to do is stop the vengeful spirits haunting his property from destroying all the costly remodeling he’s done. With the gangster ghost Frankie’s help, she makes contact. Some pretty bad spirits are haunting the place, but that’s the least of her worries when she uncovers…I’ll just leave it there so I don’t drop any spoilers.

What makes this book fun is the contrasting personalities of the sweet young woman and the developing relationship with the hardened gangster. Frankie pulls some self-serving gangsteresque moves, but he’s not all bad. Trust me, if I got to choose my afterlife location between Frankie’s speakeasy style hangout or Verity’s southern style ancestral home, the gangster might be more fun. 

This is just the sort of escape book I like. It keeps me amused, and has just enough ghostly shenanigans to keep my attention without stressing me out.

This is the first book in the series, and I liked it well enough to read a couple of others, as well as some of her short stories. 

Five out of five stars to Angie Fox!
What is your go-to genre for relaxation?
Have you read Angie Fox?


2.13.2018

Untethered Realms Welcomes Alex. J. Cavanaugh


The Realities of Space Travel

Speculative fiction provides us the opportunity to explore beyond our world. Writers get to imagine what’s beyond the edge of our solar system while trying to infuse as much reality as possible. Just what are the realities of space flight though?

Travel time isn’t as fast as portrayed in the movies. We haven’t achieved light speed. Not even close! The space shuttle traveled at a rate of 18,000 mph/29,000 km/h. It can circle the Earth in ninety minutes, but getting all the way to Mars would take over six months. With current technology, it just isn’t going to go much faster.

That leads us to the next reality - ship requirements if we’re to travel farther than the moon. It would take a much larger ship than the space shuttle. It would need to store more supplies, possess a stronger propulsion system, more shielding against radiation, and larger accommodations for the crew. They would also need room to carry equipment for Mars or whatever planet was their destination. They are working on a ship that can travel to Mars, but that’s a lot of things they need to consider when constructing it.

Perhaps the scariest reality is the effect of space travel on the human body. Without gravity, an astronaut’s bones lose minerals at a rate of 1% a month. On earth, the average is a little over 1% per year. Astronauts also experience pressure in their heads and vision problems, along with mental difficulties resulting in depression or sleep disorders. Radiation is a problem–on the space station, humans receive ten times plus the amount of radiation as they would on Earth. This increases the chance of cancer, radiation sickness, and nervous system damage. After six months on the space station, astronaut Scott Kelly’s skin became super-sensitive and he developed a hive-like rash whenever he touched anything. These issues would compound during a long trip, bordering on life-threatening.
 
This is where the freedom of being a speculative fiction writer comes into play. Unless we are writing about current or near-future situations, we can circumvent these issues. We can invent things in our minds that will not only solve these problems but propel us beyond existing projections. Set a story in another solar system or galaxy and we can blow past all imagination. The boundaries of space no longer apply.

We need to be aware of the limitations of today’s space travel, but we don’t have to be confined by them!


About our awesome guest: Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, CassaStorm, and Dragon of the Stars. The author lives in the Carolinas with his wife.


Find Alex on his website, Twitter, and the IWSG.

2.06.2018

Drink & Be Hairy, Scary, Merry?

There are plenty of things in this world to look forward to:

  • The weekend
  • A great movie release
  • Your birthday


The list can go on and on. Instead, I'd like to focus on one of the things that many of us look forward to in different ways...and it isn't just a human or earth thing either...

It's our drinks.

See, most folks look forward to that first cup or three of coffee, cappuccino, or cafe au lait in the morning.

Another drink that some folks look forward to is a nice shot of whiskey. Best be careful, it might put hair on your chest.
Credit: The Art of Manliness
Getting supernatural, blood is the drink of choice for those of the vampire persuasion. If one is of the "let's not drink up all the blood of our neighbors" mindset, there's Tru Blood.
Credit: True Blood online
If you have a god-like need to quench your thirst, ambrosia is said to give satisfaction and immortality.
If you're ever out on the spaceways, zipping from one planetary system to the other, take a tip from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and be careful of the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. I understand the effects of this drink can cause you to be merrier than anything or anyone in your wildest imagination.
Mixing instructions
As for me, a nice glass of wine will do.
What about you? Do you have a special drink that you look forward to, perhaps a concoction of your own making that friends enjoy at gatherings, or something that brings that long, exhausting day to a nice closure? Heard of any "out there" drinks of interest?

Please share in the comments :-)

1.30.2018

Untethered Realms Welcomes Graeme Ing

EMERGENCE

A new sci-fi adventure by Graeme Ing


Hello everyone, Graeme here.

I’m a huge fan of a particular sub-genre of sci-fi which inspired this book, but it would be a complete spoiler to say which, sorry. :) Let me know if you figure it out after reading the book.

I had another goal when writing Emergence too. I’m particularly fond of books that keep you guessing. Where things are not what they seem, and you suspect that from the beginning. Have you read that type of book? Like the layers of an onion.

You find yourself attempting to figure out the true reality, and form a theory. Then there’s a revelation in the book that either confirms or betrays your theory. At this point, you’re like “Oh, okay, I think THIS is happening.” Then the author drops another bombshell. “Oh! No, I bet it’s THIS.” And on it goes, you trying to predict the final revelation. It’s exciting to wonder if you interpreted the clues correctly.

It’s this type of mystery that I set out to capture in Emergence, though it’s more an adventure tale than a true mystery. And it was a huge challenge for me to pace the revelations, without doubt the toughest book I’ve written so far. I hope I pulled it off, but only you, dear readers, can answer that. :)




A dying world has many secrets.

Porl's world is dying. Crops fail. Birds fall from the sky. Is this a repeat of the Cataclysm that decimated the Ancients’ world a thousand years ago?

Porl loves to fix things and is compelled to solve the mystery - and save his people no matter the personal cost. Disobeying the will of the town Elders, Porl uncovers a secret they want hidden. When caught, the Elders banish Porl into the wilderness, alone against the savage Mad-Ones.

As the Mad-Ones hunt him, Porl discovers the world isn't what he believed. The more he learns about the mystical Ancients, the more he unravels an incredible reality he never imagined.

Nothing is what it seems. The harshest truth he uncovers is that in seven days everyone he loves will die. Yet the final secret of the Ancients, on how to save his people, still eludes him…

(Paperback coming soon)


If you want to contact me, I love discussing books and hearing recommendations.

1.23.2018

Book Review: Disposal (Pop Travel #3) by Tara Tyler

35218103

Blurb:
In the future, many problems are the same, but cool gadgets make chasing the bad guys more fun.

Cooper and Geri are finally in a good place, but their bliss is short-lived. When Cooper's rebellious nephew Jimmy comes down to stay with them in Atlanta for a summer internship. Now he thinks he's found the girl of his dreams in a fiery, exotic beauty. Pursuing her against all words of warning into a dangerous underground world, he ends up getting kidnapped by her powerful Drug Lord father. Geri tracks him down, but gets herself kidnapped as well.

Now it's up to Cooper to use all his resources to save them, including the hot homicide detective Geri secretly despises, and the latest sketchy gadgets his genius friend Hasan needs field-tested. Sure, why not? Cooper will try anything to get his family back.

Christine's review:
In this third book of the thrilling Pop Travel series, Cooper and Geri's home life is disrupted by a visit from Jimmy, Cooper's unruly nephew. Jimmy pursues a beautiful young woman whose father turns out to be a drug lord. He finds himself kidnapped, and when Geri goes to save him, she ends up in the drug lord's clutches too. Cooper enlists the help of his genius friend Hasan to find them, but will he end up captured like his family or worse?

This sci-fi series is so much fun. It's a fast-paced ride in the not too distant future where people can travel through teleporters and still sometimes get a little sick from it. Cooper and Geri are a wonderful team. Neither of them will back down and will do anything to save those they care for. Of course I still love the parts with Hasan. His geeky quirkiness and immense intelligence have him coming up with all sorts of strange gadgets. Most untested, of course. Cooper gets the fun of that!

I highly recommend the Pop Travel series to sci-fi and thriller fans alike.

1.09.2018

Read, Write and Relax

Congratulations! If you're reading this, then you survived 2017 and the holidays. I don't know about you, but by the end of the year I'm ready to wrap it up and move on. Completing another year is quite the accomplishment, and moving into a new year brings a special kind of hope for the future.

As a writer with a day job, I'm busy juggling and balancing things in my world. The day job satisfies my financial needs, while the writing life satisfies my soul. Both are necessary to my happy existence. Inevitably I get to the point in the new year when things get hectic. Sometimes I'm so busy reacting to the next "thing" that comes my way that I forget to breathe. Then anxiety sets in. For someone who once suffered from Panic Disorder (it's a real thing), it's not the way to go.

The world is such a busy place these days that we're all in a mad dash to get things done. The good news is that people have recognized the human need to decompress. And in typical modern fashion, we're only fingertips away from instant gratification. So I went in search of some quick go-to options for de-stressing and decompressing. 

I find the sound of running water soothing (as long as it isn't a broken pipe, overrunning toilet or flood!) And I adore rain! There's actually a name for people who love rain: Pluviophiles.


But it doesn't have to be rain. I love the sound of ocean waves too. Preferably from a hammock, sort of like this one... 



~~~~~~~~~~HERE ARE SOME APPS YOU CAN TRY~~~~~~~~~~


If you love the sound of water, try one of these:



You can meditate anytime you have a few free minutes at either of these apps:


Or, if you don't go in for meditation, but need to unwind, try these breathing exercises:


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There are so many apps these days to help with stress and anxiety. There's even a Psychiatrist app! 

I'm not a great one for exercise, but a short walk helps me to unwind and gets my creative juices flowing. I get my best ideas during walks. 

BUT, of course my favorite way to relax is snuggling down and getting into a good book (sometimes with whisky and chocolate!)

What is your go-to technique for relaxing?