Tag Archives: philosophical

The Unexpected Inlander by Kellyn Thompson (Book Showcase)

Agent Christopher Rockford has been the best assassin in the agency for eight years, and he loves his job. He loves his solitary lifestyle. He loves keeping the world safe by getting rid of anarchists who threaten their orderly society. He loves his comfortable life as a member of the wealthy Coastal upper class.

But in pursuit of a target, he meets Jenna, a mysterious civilian who belongs to society’s lowest and most shunned group. Meeting her is a life-changing experience. She makes him feel for the first time, and he is instantly captivated.

She boldly stands in the face of everything he has ever known and was taught to believe. He begins to see the world through her eyes, causing him to question his job, his lifestyle, and The Order he so obediently serves. It’s not long before he can’t imagine his life without her.

There’s just one problem: He knows she would leave him if she ever found out about his job. He knows this because he asked her how she felt about assassins in their government, and she was utterly disgusted with the idea, even though she believes their existence is just a myth.

As their relationship grows and intensifies, he knows he cannot keep the truth from her for long.

But Jenna has her own secrets to keep.

Set in an orderly world of near-perfect surveillance, genetically modified humans, and extreme socioeconomic divide, The Unexpected Inlander will take you through Chris’s journey of self-discovery and learning that change begins within.

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With his phone still set to alert him when Adam moved, Chris decided to go to a bookstore he had seen the previous day. It was just beyond the Coastal District but still in walking distance. As Chris left the familiar blocks he had walked with Jenna, the tension in the atmosphere increased. Even in the Coastal District, the air and attitude were more uptight and anxious than anywhere on the Coasts, but citizens looked at him more suspiciously here, and their clothes were noticeably ragged and worn. The officers walking among the citizens were constantly checking hands and bags. Chris also noticed that officers here carried a baton in addition to a firearm. At one corner was a group of riot police with helmets and shields.

Everyone walked swiftly and kept to themselves. Several people bumped into him without apologizing. One citizen tried to reach into one of Chris’s pockets when he bumped into him, but Chris blocked his arm before he could do it. An officer saw the incident and immediately arrested the man, who argued, “He can afford to be robbed.” The officer, without any acknowledgement to Chris, put the man in handcuffs. Chris kept walking without looking back. He heard the man say “Coastal scum” and spit on the sidewalk, earning him another citation from the officer.

He reached the bookstore, and an officer at the door pointed to a sign, which reminded citizens that no bags were allowed in the store, to keep their hands where the officers could see them, and specifically for Coastals to keep their hands out of their pockets. Chris nodded to the officer to acknowledge that he saw the sign and walked into the store. The clerk at the register did not acknowledge him, continuing to frown as she stared out the window. The store was small and had a rank smell to it of old water damage that had never completely been cleared away. There was only one other customer in the bookstore, a Coastal, and he looked nervous in the unfamiliar territory. He smiled at Chris and greeted him in the Coastal custom, grateful to see a fellow Coastal.

Chris probably had more books in his own house than were on the shelves in this bookstore. Education was strictly enforced in The Sectors, and everyone was taught reading and writing in the emerging Common Language. But books were strictly censored, and most Inlanders worked for most of their waking hours and thus did not have time to read. All the books in the store were in the Common Language. When he saw one he had not read before, he took it off the shelf. It was used, as all the books in the store were, but it did not look like it had ever been opened.

Chris took it to the counter, and the clerk scanned the book without looking at him or saying a word. She flipped through it and stopped at a page. It had a note in the margin written in a language she did not recognize. Chris saw that it was written in Spanish, but he did not have a chance to read it before she marked over it with a thick black marker and threw the book in the trash can. Still without meeting his eyes, she waved him away, indicating he needed to choose another book. He did, and this time she scanned it, flipped through it, took his card, charged him, and put the book on the counter for him to pick up—all without looking at him or speaking to him. He took the book and left without acknowledging her. The other Coastal in the store quickly got a book and caught up to Chris walking on the street, staying a few paces behind him. When they got back to the blocks where more Coastals were, the man said, “Have a good day,” to Chris and walked away with ease. Chris got lunch to take back to his hotel room, and he resumed his position on watch.

 

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A few things about me:

  • Yes, Kellyn Thompson is a pen name. Why? Because I write non-fiction science articles and am into SciComm, for which I use my given name. I thought it would be best to keep my fiction writing separate from the non-fiction science writing, ergo I used a different name when I decided to write fiction.
  • I do love writing (hence my first blog post, titled, “Why I love writing“), but I hate writing about myself. Maybe this blog will help me on that front. But I much prefer the solace I find in the objectivity of science or the dreamy unreality of fiction.
  • I reside in the great Pacific Northwest in the United States.
  • I have a dark sense of humor. My whole family does.
  • I need at least two cups of coffee to get going in the morning. It’s not a good idea for me to try to do anything substantial before finishing that second cup.
  • I love animals and biology and the magic (er…science) of life in general and, of course, books and cats.
  • I loooooooove being dramatic in my fiction writing, haaaaate being dramatic in real life.
  • And, finally, in case it’s not obvious, I am very new to blogging–Thank you for your patience! and any tips you have 🙂

 

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The Shop Before Life by Neil Hughes (Book Review)

After two happy centuries in the prelife, Faythe is battling the most dangerous human emotion. She’s bored.

But when she accepts a once-in-a-prelifetime opportunity to become Apprentice at the magical Shop Before Life, her days become dreadfully interesting.

Now she helps customers with the most important choice they’ll ever make: who to become in the afterprelife–or “life”, for short. Will they be born on Earth with MATHEMATICAL GIFTS? Or perhaps they’d prefer DELIGHTED BY CATS?

But Faythe has questions of her own. Like–what exactly is in these jars of human traits? And who is the mysterious Supplier who creates them?

Unfortunately, these questions could awaken an ancient conflict and even destroy the Shop itself. They should maybe mention that sort of thing during orientation.

Management are going to be furious, but their divine punishment must wait. Right now, Faythe needs to discover the secrets of the Shop in order to save it.

If she fails, nobody will become themselves ever again . . .

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

Life is a fickle b!tch. People are born. People live. People die.

People speculate what comes after death. Some people believe there’s a heaven and hell. While others stand firm in the knowledge, nothing is awaiting us in the afterlife. With all the discussion on the after, people rarely speak of the before. This is where The Shop Before Life became very interesting to me.

Whether you have faith in a higher being or not, this story will get you thinking. I can’t disclose the bombshell Faythe discovered when she met Management; however, I will briefly talk about the shop and the jars of traits.

 

Every possible trait was available to those who entered the shop.

1.) Grab a basket and browse the numerous aisles.

2.) See something you like, add it to your basket.

3.) Once you fill your basket and can’t carry anymore, head to checkout.

4.) Now, you are all set to journey to Earth and be born.

 

Sounds simple, right?! Ah, the simplest ideas and jobs often prove most challenging.

Have you ever been to the store and the shelves haven’t been restocked yet?

Something you want is out of stock?

Maybe your favorite store closed down?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then how upset did you become?

The people of prelife reacted in the same manner you’d expect a living, breathing person to behave. Yup, they went off the rails.

Life on Earth was affected because of the events happening in and around the shop.  I won’t say how though. (No Spoilers)

 

I encourage everyone to read this story. It’s highly entertaining, thought-provoking, and the perfect book for many age groups.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:❤❤❤❤

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As well as The Shop Before Life, Neil Hughes is the author of Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life, a hilarious and useful guide to life with anxiety. Along with writing more books, he spends his time on humorous talks about mental health, standup comedy, physics, computer programming, and everything from music, video games, languages and pub quizzes. He struggles to answer the question “so, what do you do?” and is worried that the honest answer is probably “procrastinate.” He would like it if you said hello at enhughesiasm.com

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Vices/Virtues by Beatrice DeSoprontu (Book Review)

A sexy, erotic novel with heart, Vices/Virtues is a testament to the beauty of life, love and family.

Cristela was bred to be the perfect liar. By day, Cristela is a good-girl poster child. By night, Mistress Clara masters the hidden erotic realm of an S&M dungeon. With her knack for duplicity things should work smoothly except for one complication – friendship. The quirky array of fellow dominatrices at the dungeon are nothing like the stereotypes she expected. Divided between her affection for the girls at the dungeon and her desire to keep her fetish activities secret, Cristela fears her two worlds are colliding. Can Cristela break her history of deceit? In a world of vices and virtues, salvation isn’t something you find, it’s a path you make.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

In Vices/Virtues, Beatrice De Soprontu didn’t just write elaborate BDSM or S &M scenes. Each chapter did feature at least one client and their kink, but Beatrice also dived into the lives of each dominatrix. We stepped into their pasts and learned who or what brought them to the dungeon.

Some backstories were more interesting than others. I didn’t particularly care for Clara’s past, but I did find her present storyline appealing. No matter which dominatrix Beatrice featured, the result was the same, each lady had a troubled past and needed this outlet/job for personal reasons.

 

Let’s get kinky…

There were some clients I won’t soon forget. Funny, gross, sad, sweet, and just plain weird… Beatrice sure did enlighten this reader on a few kinks I had no clue existed.

 

Check out three of the many clients featured in Vices/Virtues.

 

Gluttony: I know there’s a kink for everything, BUT Mr. Chen’s took the cake. (This line will be funny once you read the chapter.) I laughed so hard my stomach hurt.

Temperance: Who is the right mind wants someone to step on their penis intentionally?! I mean, come on. I accidentally tap my husband’s and he’s down for the count for a minute or two. Yeah, Randall’s kink was rather weird.

Wrath: Mr. Norman + colon cleanse = I just threw up in my mouth.

 

I wish I could share all the various clients and their requests. Clara did see a variety of men, and not all were creepy or weird. You’ll discover some were sweet and a little sad.

One thing that did surprise me was the lack of female clients. Women are sexual beings who also need an outlet for their desires. Unfortunately, this wasn’t reflected in Vices/Virtues. It was pointed out on page 225 that Clara “hadn’t seen or even heard of a female client.” This declaration bothered me. I wondered why no women have walked into the dungeon. Seemed odd. Unrealistic.

 

There were a few HAPPY surprises I’d like to share as well.

1.) The ladies sitting around discussing religion was unexpected.

2.) Their pay scale was broken down, and I was shocked at how little they brought home. It didn’t seem like nearly enough for some jobs.

3.) There was definitely no Hallmark ending, but this was no Hallmark story either.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤1/2

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Beatrice De Soprontu began writing at the age of four, when she scribbled on the walls with a crayon. Now an adult, she mostly scribbles on her home computer surrounded by her noisy children and their less noisy father. Born and raised in New York City, (which includes: Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, maybe even Staten Island – a.k.a. the real New York and not the tourist trap that is Manhattan), she enthusiastically travels the world on a budget whenever she gets the chance.

Website LinkGoodreads Link / Twitter Link 

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