Tuesday, May 14, 2019

SciFi Review: Crossline by Russ Colchamiro

Crossline
by Russ Colchamiro

Description:
Perfect for fans of Firefly, Flash Gordon, Stargate, and Escape from New York...

Hotdog pilot Marcus Powell has been selected to test Taurus Enterprises' Crossline prototype craft and its newly developed warp thrusters, which, if successful, will revolutionize space travel as we know it.

But during his jaunt across the stars, Powell is forced into a parallel universe -- including a parallel Earth -- where he finds himself at the center of an epic battle he may have been destined for all along.

Meanwhile, back home, reclusive oil tycoon and Taurus CEO Buddy Rheams Jr. -- who sent Powell on that very mission -- has a mysterious past and a secret agenda, one that could prevent Powell from ever making it back to his wife and little girl.  From author Russ Colchamiro, Crossline is a psychedelic, action-packed romp across time, space, and dimension that asks the question: once you cross the line, can you ever really go back?


My Review:
Crossline attempts to tackle the complexities of time, space, and alternate dimensions. Neither of the two Earths are our own, so the author takes liberties with both, imagining the what-ifs and throwing not one, but two dimension travelers into the mix.

The story starts off strong from a sci-fi perspective by launching us into space along with Powell, but for me, I didn’t really get engaged until we shift to Buddy’s story, and oh, what a story that is! It’s one of those cases where I develop a favorite character early on, and then whenever time is spent on someone else, I’m on edge until the story goes back.

I also very much enjoyed Jesse and Chandra’s story, though Jesse would be my favorite if I had to pick between them. She’s sort of the bridge that holds everything together, and the fact that she’s basically a preschooler makes it all the better. She really shines in the finale.

Oddly enough, what should have been the main draw, what happens to Powell, was where I had issues. I found certain scenes confusing and others lacking the emotion that I think they were meant to convey. Despite some intriguing and exciting parts, too many scenes in Powell’s story hop from one to the other or progress only through deus ex machina (the muffins being one example).

Overall, I really enjoyed this story, particularly the parts featuring Buddy and Powell’s wife and daughter, Chandra and Jesse. The unique blend of mystical, scientific, and hypothetical make it an interesting read.

I’d recommend this to folks who dig sci-fi with a bit of paranormal/tribal fused in. It’s a good length and worth a read!

I received the review copy of this book from the author via Lola’s Blog Tours.


About the Author:
Russ ColchamiroRuss Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking space adventure, Crossline, the zany SF/F backpacking comedy series Finders Keepers: The Definitive Edition, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, and is editor of the new SF anthology Love, Murder & Mayhem, all with Crazy 8 Press.

Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, two ninjas, and crazy dog Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, Altered States of the Union, Camelot 13, TV Gods 2, They Keep Killing Glenn, Camelot 13, and Brave New Girls.

He is now working on the first novel in a new series featuring his hardboiled private eye Angela Hardwicke, and the first of three collaborative novella projects.

Russ is repped by The Zack Compnay.

For more on and Russ’s books, you can visit www.russcolchamiro.com, follow him on Twitter @AuthorDudeRuss, and ‘like’ his Facebook author page www.facebook.com/RussColchamiroAuthor.

You can find and contact Russ Colchamiro here:

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Paranormal Romance Review: Sorceress (Spellcaster #3) by Claudia Gray

Sorceress (Spellcaster #3)
by Claudia Gray

Description:
To save the lives of countless people in Captive’s Sound, Nadia has sworn herself to the One Beneath, to black magic. Her plan, and the town’s only hope, is for Nadia to learn enough sorcery to strike back against the forces of darkness. But now that she’s separated from her friends, her family, and her Steadfast, Mateo, Nadia is more vulnerable than ever to darkness. And as the sorceress Elizabeth summons torrential rains and brings the One Beneath closer to the mortal world, Nadia is running out of time to stop her. The final battle lines are drawn, surprising alliances are made, and true love is tested in the action-packed conclusion to the breathtaking Spellcaster series.

Sorceress is richly woven with New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray’s signature dark magic, captivating mystery, and star-crossed romance.


My Review:
As with books one and two, I borrowed this audiobook from the library.

This was a great conclusion to the trilogy! I had no idea how they were going to dig themselves out of the holes they dug in book two. Kept me guessing until the end.

I loved how the different storylines play out. Recommended for fans of YA and Paranormal Romance. The audio was very well performed.


About the Author:


Claudia Gray is not my real name. I didn't choose a pseudonym because my real name is unpleasant (it isn't), because I'd always dreamed of calling myself this (I haven't) or even because I'm hiding from the remnants of that international diamond-smuggling cartel I smashed in 2003 (Interpol has taken care of them). In short, I took a pseudonym for no real reason whatsoever. Sometimes this is actually the best reason to do things.

I live in New Orleans. So far, in life, I've been a disc jockey, a lawyer, a journalist and an extremely bad waitress, just to name a few. I especially like to spend time traveling, hiking, reading and listening to music. More than anything else, I enjoy writing. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Epic Fantasy Review: Faith of the Forsaken by Jonathan-David Jackson

Faith of the Forsaken
by Jonathan-David Jackson

Description:
Angels and demons walk among us. Nathan Miller, an assistant pastor in a quiet town, doesn’t believe in them. His life is thrown into chaos when terrorism strikes his town and a reactionary religious militia rises against it, and a surprise encounter with a demon-possessed young woman forces him to face the truth.

The archangel Uriel knows Nathan is heir to supernatural powers and could be the key to victory. While he guards Nathan he must also protect humanity from a terrible secret that could destroy them all. In this blood-soaked epic they are about to learn that evil cannot be bargained with, but is it too late to stop the Apocalypse?

My Review:
I found Faith of the Forsaken intriguing on many levels. The angels and demons roaming around, influencing humans, and battling each other. The humans dealing with their daily lives, finding themselves acting out of character, thinking the terrible things they’re doing were their own idea.

The story was deeper than I’d expected based on having read the other books by this author, whose works tend towards the absurd, but always seem to wrangle up a point and always amuse me in some way or the other.

In Faith of the Forsaken, faith itself is a central theme. Those who have it are bound by it, rely on it, and in the case of the demons, are restrained by it. Those who’ve lost it are devastated, having to find their own reasons to be and do, and sometimes failing to find those reasons.

Despite the heavy nature of some of the things going on, there was still enough of the ironic and the absurd to result in a few chuckles. The demon romance, the slow loris (google it), and the ultimate being reminding folks just why he’s ultimate in quite an ultimate way are just a few.

The characters and the plot are well developed and interesting on both sides of good and evil. The story progresses in a believable way within the confines of the Christian faith assuming one had a window into the unseen. The arguments, the predictions, and the biblical references come across as believable as well. The story doesn’t take itself too seriously, but there’s an attention to detail that I think folks will appreciate.

Overall, I loved this book. Fans of angels and demons, fantasy, and battles between good and evil will very likely enjoy this story. It’s deep and light at the same time. Plenty of action, battles, and build up, as well.

I received the review copy of this book from the author.


About the Author:
Jonathan-David Jackson was born in Gastonia, North Carolina, at 3 in the morning on May 14, 1987. At first, he could not walk, talk, or indeed use the toilet. After a year of intensive training in NC, he moved his family to Kingsport, Tennessee, where he finally overcame those early disabilities. Soon, he was walking and talking as good as anyone, and perhaps better. Walking and talking wasn't good enough, though, so he also learned to write.

He wrote and wrote, and with gentle encouragement from his wife, he finally wrote a book. Then he wrote this biography. Then he wrote other books. Perhaps he'll do more things; that would certainly be exciting.

Amazon  |  Goodreads  |  Website


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

YA Review: Love is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson


Love Is the Drug
by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Description:
Emily Bird was raised not to ask questions. She has perfect hair, the perfect boyfriend, and a perfect Ivy-League future. But a chance meeting with Roosevelt David, a homeland security agent, at a party for Washington DC's elite leads to Bird waking up in a hospital, days later, with no memory of the end of the night.

Meanwhile, the world has fallen apart: A deadly flu virus is sweeping the nation, forcing quarantines, curfews, even martial law. And Roosevelt is certain that Bird knows something. Something about the virus--something about her parents' top secret scientific work--something she shouldn't know.

The only one Bird can trust is Coffee, a quiet, outsider genius who deals drugs to their classmates and is a firm believer in conspiracy theories. And he believes in Bird. But as Bird and Coffee dig deeper into what really happened that night, Bird finds that she might know more than she remembers. And what she knows could unleash the biggest government scandal in US history.

My Review:
Love is the Drug is an amazing and beautiful book. Heartbreaking, chilling, and as real as fiction can get.

There are tones of thriller, science fiction, and young adult romance with some heavy themes adding a greater depth than most young adult fiction. I particularly enjoyed how Bird grows from who her mother wants her to be into who she really is.

I borrowed this audiobook from the library. I found the narrator's voice smooth and beautiful, and she performs this story flawlessly.

Strongly recommended.


About theAuthor:


Alaya (pronounced ah-lie-ah) lives, writes, cooks and (perhaps most importantly) eats in New York City. Her literary loves are all forms of speculative fiction, historical fiction, and the occasional highbrow novel. Her culinary loves are all kinds of ethnic food, particularly South Indian, which she feels must be close to ambrosia. She graduated from Columbia University in 2004 with a BA in East Asian Languages and Cultures, and has lived and traveled extensively in Japan.

Author Links:


More Books by this Author:

  

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Paranormal Romance Review: Steadfast (Spellcaster #2) by Claudia Gray

Steadfast (Spellcaster #2)
by Claudia Gray

Description:
Nadia, Mateo, and Verlaine have saved Captive's Sound from the dark Sorceress Elizabeth...or so they thought. Despite their best efforts, a crack opened and a new, greater evil seeped through. With Mateo as her Steadfast, Nadia's magic is magnified and she is more powerful than ever. But there is still so much she doesn't know about the craft, leaving her open and vulnerable to a darker magic...which has begun to call Nadia's name.


My Review:
I enjoyed this very much. Nadia does make some poor decisions, but the side characters are great. I listened to the audiobook. Borrowed from the library.


About the Author:


Claudia Gray is not my real name. I didn't choose a pseudonym because my real name is unpleasant (it isn't), because I'd always dreamed of calling myself this (I haven't) or even because I'm hiding from the remnants of that international diamond-smuggling cartel I smashed in 2003 (Interpol has taken care of them). In short, I took a pseudonym for no real reason whatsoever. Sometimes this is actually the best reason to do things.

I live in New Orleans. So far, in life, I've been a disc jockey, a lawyer, a journalist and an extremely bad waitress, just to name a few. I especially like to spend time traveling, hiking, reading and listening to music. More than anything else, I enjoy writing.