Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Time Travel Serial Review: Sweet Child of Time (The Chronicles of the Harekaiian #7) by Shanna Lauffey

Sweet Child of Time (The Chronicles of the Harekaiian #7)
by Shanna Lauffey 

A mysterious folder on a rich man's computer has taunted Kallie for too long. She has to know what it contains and whether it includes sensitive information about her people. Complications along the way send Kallie through time and space and her attempts to find someone who can hack the file leads her to a Harekai she didn't expect to see again.

Surprises lurk within the secret files of a rich man's files and Kallie's attempts to uncover the truth bring insights into every aspect of the path her life has followed. Confusion over how to deal with an enemy at a vulnerable moment tests her sense of compassion, but an accident of timing may lead to someone close to her getting lost in time forever!

My Review:
Sweet Child of Time is the latest installment of the Chronicles of the Harekaiian, an intriguing serial featuring an offset of humans with the ability to time or distance travel at whim. In this one, Kallie feels the pull of adventure and can’t resist it. Despite being safe from Mason and the others who were targeting her people, she can’t let it rest.

Like in some of the previous stories, Kallie hops through a few times, takes in a concert, dabbles in espionage, and thwarts her enemies. All in a day’s work. There were no huge revelations, but she does come to a life-changing decision and we do learn more about a seemingly inconsequential character from an earlier episode, making me thing the fellow might not be as innocent as he’d seemed.

These books are a running story, not individual novels, and are meant to be read in order.

Overall, this was a pretty good episode, not earthshattering, but good. Folks who like time travel, nostalgic peeks into history, and action would probably like this serial.

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

About the Author:

Shanna Lauffey is a native Californian currently living in Europe. She spends her time between homes in Sweden, France and the UK. She writes Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance in her spare time between attending university and travelling.

Her first novel, She-Wȕlf, was released 1st January 2012. A Science Fiction series involving time travel is in progress.

Follow Shanna on AmazonGoodreads, and Twitter @ShannaLauffey.

Books by this Author:
Chronicles of the Harekaiian Volume 1 (Books 1-5)

Chronicles of the Harekaiian

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

YA/NA Fantasy Review: Protector (Princesses of Myth #1) by Joanne Wadsworth

Protector (Princesses of Myth #1)
by Joanne Wadsworth

To love and protect…across worlds.

Eighteen-year-old Faith Stryker is prepared to leap out into the unknown world beyond her home shores of New Zealand to experience life. Only she never expected to encounter Magio, a planet with two warring countries, where its people reach adulthood at eighteen by coming into their strength and prophetic abilities. Only after Faith discovers she’s a Halfling—thanks to her warrior father she’s never met—does her own skill of forethought develop.

Peacio’s Prince Davio Loveria is sent to the young Faith Stryker by his grandfather, but not all goes as planned. Davio discovers Faith isn’t just a Halfling, she’s also his soul-bound mate—an intense relationship he cannot, nor will not, give up.

With two wars now waging…one of land and the other of the heart…can the young couple find their place in the world?

My Review:
Protector is a YA, contemporary fantasy featuring Faith, a teen who has captured the eye of a clairvoyant king from another world. He’s sent protectors to watch over her until she comes into the powers he’s predicted. Meanwhile, Faith is on the fence. She hardly believes what her new friend Belle is telling her, despite the fact that she’s able to communicate with her telepathically. And then the Prince shows up, and she can no longer ignore the truth.

This was a fun read. Faith is likable, feisty, and no nonsense. Despite being caught up in a bond she neither understands nor can escape, she’s not one to give in to the demands of others. She does what she feels is right and fights for her family. There is insta-love, sort of, from the mated bonding, but again, Faith isn’t a pansy. I enjoyed how she stands up to Davio.

As for the magic system, well, it’s intriguing, but occasionally it seems awfully convenient. For example, it’s rather easy for those who can port to jump over to another world, and it also seemed way too easy to learn.

The description of the book states each of these are standalone, but after reading Protector, I feel like there should be more. I want to keep following Faith’s story, but it seems each of the other books will focus on one of the other girls introduced in this one. Also, Faith isn’t a Protector, so why is the book named Protector?

Overall, I liked the story. Though it did have insta-love, some overly convenient plot points, and some repetitiveness, I think folks who enjoy modern YA fantasy would enjoy this one.

I picked this book up while it was on a free promotion.

About the Author:
Joanne Wadsworth is a NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling Author who adores getting lost in the world of romance, no matter what era in time that might be. Hot alpha Highlanders hound her, demanding their stories are told and she’s devoted to ensuring they meet their match, whether that be with a feisty lass from the present or far in the past.

Living on a tiny island at the bottom of the world, she calls New Zealand home. Big-dreamer, hoarder of chocolate, and addicted to juicy watermelons since the age of five, she chases after her four energetic children and has her own hunky hubby on the side.

So come and join in all the fun, because this kiwi girl promises to give you her “Hot-Highlander” oath, to bring you a heart-pounding, sexy adventure from the moment you turn the first page. This is where romance meets fantasy and adventure…

Follow Joanna on her website, on Twitter and on Goodreads.

Books by this Author:

Highlander Heat Series:

The Matheson Brothers Series:

Clan Matheson Series:

The Fae Series:

The Matheson Warriors Series:
, Highlander's Claim, Highlander's Courage, Highlander's Craving

Princesses of Myth Series:

Billionaire Bodyguards Series:
, ,

Thursday, June 8, 2017

New Release: Hacked (Tucker Mystery #4) by Ray Daniel

Hacked (Tucker Mystery #4)
by Ray Daniel

Publication Date: June 8, 2017
Publisher: Midnight Ink

An online controversy threatens to take Tucker offline for good. #TuckerGate

Aloysius Tucker vows vengeance when a hacker terrorizes his ten-year-old cousin, Maria. Promising Maria that he’ll unmask the hacker and get an apology, Tucker goes online to get justice. But the resulting flame war turns deadly when the hacker is murdered. Now more hackers, the whole Twitterverse, and a relentless bounty hunter agree on one thing: Tucker is the killer and must be stopped.

His inbox filled with death threats, Tucker battles Anonymous, Chinese spies, and his own self-destructive rage while chasing a murderer the online community has named the HackMaster. Can Tucker build a case against the killer and clear his name before the death threats come true?

My Review:
Hacked is packed with thrills, and even though it’s part of a series, it reads great as a standalone. This is a book of righteous online indignation leading to lethal offline consequences. The author does a great job of making an exciting and dangerous situation plausible.

Most of the characters are well-developed and interesting. Maria, the victim of the online bully, has her own secrets. Tucker’s a master hacker, but he’s just as susceptible to the pull of internet drama as everyone else. The bullies that go after Maria are punks online, but real people with families and lives offline. And, well, CapnMerica doesn’t quite fit the well-developed criteria, but he was incredibly interesting.

Even the villain, the HackMaster, is more than anyone could guess. I found the outcome surprising, but logical. I had an inkling of suspicion about midway through, but there were several candidates for that suspicion. I didn’t ultimately figure it out until just about the same time as Tucker did.

Overall, I loved this story. While it’s pegged as a mystery, it has its fair share of thrills, too. I’d recommend this to folks who love mysteries and thrillers, particularly if they dig stories about hackers.

I picked up the advance review copy of this book from NetGalley.

About the Author:
Ray Daniel is the award-winning author of Boston-based crime fiction. His short stories “Give Me a Dollar” won a 2014 Derringer Award for short fiction and “Driving Miss Rachel” was chosen as a 2013 distinguished short story by Otto Penzler, editor of The Best American Mystery Stories 2013.

Daniel’s work has been published in the Level Best Books anthologies Thin Ice, Blood Moon, and Stone Cold. Terminated is his first novel.

For more information, visit him online at raydanielmystery.com and follow him on twitter @raydanielmystry.    

More Links:
Amazon Profile          
Goodreads Profile

Books by this Author:
Tucker Mysteries in order of publication.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sci-Fi Review: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet #1)
by Orson Scott Card 

Andrew "Ender" Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. The result of genetic experimentation, Ender may be the military genius Earth desperately needs in a war against an alien enemy seeking to destroy all human life. The only way to find out is to throw Ender into ever harsher training, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when it begins. He will grow up fast.

But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway almost as long. Ender's two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. While Peter was too uncontrollably violent, Valentine very nearly lacks the capability for violence altogether. Neither was found suitable for the military's purpose. But they are driven by their jealousy of Ender, and by their inbred drive for power. Peter seeks to control the political process, to become a ruler. Valentine's abilities turn more toward the subtle control of the beliefs of commoner and elite alike, through powerfully convincing essays. Hiding their youth and identities behind the anonymity of the computer networks, these two begin working together to shape the destiny of Earth-an Earth that has no future at all if their brother Ender fails.

My Review:
Ender’s Game is one of those books that I’ve wanted to read for some time. I saw the movie when it came out and liked it, but never got around to picking it up as a book. Glad my friend and I got into a talk about books because he reminded me about this.

This is a story about a child genius who is enlisted into an intergalactic army and molded into perhaps the most gifted commander of his time, all before the age of 12.

First off, I dig a good sci-fi with all the technology, the space science, the what ifs, and the deep questions, and Ender’s Game delivers. Ender and the other kids are part of it, much smarter than they should be and given the responsibility for the fate of humankind, though most don’t really understand it. And that leads into the next thing I found fascinating.

Ender, unlike most of his peers, knows he’s being used, that the game is bigger than just a game, that his teachers are not his friends, that his friends are not his friends, not really, not when he has to lead them. He knows that no one will rescue him but himself. He’s the victim and the savior all in one. And it just draws you right in. Rooting for him. Rooting for his success, even though deep down you know it’s terribly wrong how he’s being used. And all through it, the shocking reminders that he’s the age of a kindergartener or first grader.

This story toys with ideas of morality. The author gives us the perspective of those in charge of the Battle School and the children’s training, so we have a peek into that mindset of knowing that despite your love for those children, you’re going to break them so you can build them into what they need to be. Despite that you’re going to do it because it needs to be done, even it if means prison or worse if the war is in fact won, if the gamble pays off.

Overall, I loved the story. It’s just one of those books that truly does deserve to be labeled a classic. I devoured it in a day and a half. I highly recommend this to folks who love sci-fi and underdog stories.

There are four more books, but this one reads well enough that you could stop with it and be satisfied.

I purchased my copy of this book.

This is the second book I've read by Orson Scott Card. The other was The Seventh Son for which you can read my review here.

About the Author:
Orson Scott Card is best known for his science fiction novel Ender's Game and its many sequels that expand the Ender Universe into the far future and the near past. Those books are organized into the Ender Quintet, the five books that chronicle the life of Ender Wiggin; the Shadow Series, that follows on the novel Ender's Shadow and are set on Earth; and the Formic Wars series, written with co-author Aaron Johnston, that tells of the terrible first contact between humans and the alien "Buggers." Card has been a working writer since the 1970s. Beginning with dozens of plays and musical comedies produced in the 1960s and 70s, Card's first published fiction appeared in 1977 -- the short story "Gert Fram" in the July issue of The Ensign, and the novelette version of "Ender's Game" in the August issue of Analog.

The novel-length version of Ender's Game, published in 1984 and continuously in print since then, became the basis of the 2013 film, starring Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, and Abigail Breslin. Card was born in Washington state, and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He served a mission for the LDS Church in Brazil in the early 1970s. Besides his writing, he runs occasional writers' workshops and directs plays. He frequently teaches writing and literature courses at Southern Virginia University.

He is the author many sf and fantasy novels, including the American frontier fantasy series "The Tales of Alvin Maker" (beginning with Seventh Son), There are also stand-alone science fiction and fantasy novels like Pastwatch and Hart's Hope. He has collaborated with his daughter Emily Card on a manga series, Laddertop. He has also written contemporary thrillers like Empire and historical novels like the monumental Saints and the religious novels Sarah and Rachel and Leah. Card's recent work includes the Mithermages books (Lost Gate, Gate Thief), contemporary magical fantasy for readers both young and old. Card lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, He and Kristine are the parents of five children and several grandchildren.

Source: http://us.macmillan.com/author/orsonscottcard

Find more books by this author on Amazon.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Apocalyptic Review: Nicolae by Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins

Nicolae  (Left Behind #3)
by Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins

First they were Left Behind. Then they formed the Tribulation Force. Now they must face Nicolae. In the most explosive of the three books so far, the seven-year tribulation is nearing the end of its first quarter, when prophecy says that "the wrath of the Lamb" will be poured out upon the earth. Rayford Steele becomes the ears of the tribulation saints at the highest levels of the Carpathia regime. Meanwhile, Buck Williams attempts a dramatic all-night rescue run from Israel through the Sinai that will hold you breathless to the end.

My Review:
Again, pretty good.

I enjoyed Buck's rescue mission most due to the many close calls and quite a good chase near the end. Still, there were some issues with how things go down, particularly in how careless Buck is with his identity, and then just going home as though nothing happened.
That leads me to the next point. How do any of these people think they're fooling Carpathia? They are so careless in so many ways, thinking Carpathia is unaware, but with his resources, that wouldn't make sense.

Do I want to keep reading? Sure. I'm curious. The books feature a good deal of intrigue and action, including some epic disasters. However, a lot of things don't quite add up, particularly the main cast thinking they're pulling something over on Carpathia.

Overall, I liked this book and would recommend it to folks who enjoyed the first two in the series. This installment features some thrills and a major cliffhanger.

I purchased my copy of this book.

About the Authors:

Timothy "Tim" F. LaHaye was an American evangelical Christian minister, author, and speaker, best known for the Left Behind series of apocalyptic fiction, which he co-wrote with Jerry B. Jenkins. He has written over 50 books, both fiction and non-fiction.

Timothy "Tim" F. LaHaye was an American evangelical Christian minister, author, and speaker, best known for the Left Behind series of apocalyptic fiction, which he co-wrote with Jerry B. Jenkins.

He has written over 50 books, both fiction and non-fiction.

Jerry Bruce Jenkins is an American novelist and biographer. He is best known as co-author of the Left Behind series of books with Tim LaHaye. Jenkins has written over 185 books, including mysteries, historical fiction, biblical fiction, cop thrillers, international spy thrillers, and children's adventures, as well as non-fiction. His works usually feature Christians as protagonists. In 2005, Jenkins and LaHaye ranked 9th in Amazon.com's 10th Anniversary list of Hall of Fame authors based on books sold at Amazon.com during its first 10 years. Jenkins now teaches writers to become authors here at his website. He and his wife Dianna have three sons and eight grandchildren.

Books in this Series: