Tag Archives: science fiction

Child of Etherclaw by Matty Roberts (Book Spotlight / Author Interview)

CHILD OF ETHERCLAW by Matty Roberts

 
 
The bonds of family go well beyond blood.

But can those bonds hold when the blood itself carries a devastating secret?

Fenlee’s opal necklace had always radiated a certain warmth since her mother’s death. But now, at sixteen, her world begins to unravel as the stone sparks to life, revealing itself to be an otherworldly artifact of untold power.

Between her mechatronics studies at the academy and scavenging expeditions beneath the sprawling city of New Cascadia, Fenlee and her adopted brother, Elliot, try to decipher the mysteries of her necklace and its link to events in Fenlee’s past.

But they’re not alone in their search.

Strange undercity dwellers offer cryptic warnings, drones track their movements, and deadly corporate agents lurk in the shadows. When tragedy rips Fenlee’s family apart, she must learn to use the artifact’s power to save those who are deeply precious to her. But nothing can prepare her for the dark truths that she will uncover on that journey…

“Lee,” Elliot mumbled. “I’m not who you think I am.” 

 

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Meet the Author:

Author Matty Roberts

Matty Roberts began their career in journalism where they earned an Emmy and had the privilege of working on several other award-winning projects. They hold an MS from Johns Hopkins University and are now an engineer in renewable energy in Denver, Colorado where they live with their wonderful partner, two extraordinary kids, and the best doggie ever. In addition to writing, engineering, and parenting, Matty is a vegan enby nerd who is in love with this world and will forever be doing all they can to make it a better place. And they may be known to occasionally play in a punk band here or there.

 
 

Do you have a profession outside of writing?

Yes, I work as a software/data engineer in renewable energy. I’m very passionate about making the world a better place, and it’s an industry I’m proud to be a part of. Though I started my career as a journalist a while back, that didn’t last long once the Great Recession hit and I found myself (and all my coworkers) laid off. Still feeling as though I’d just finished college, I found myself back once again pursuing additional education so I could find gainful employment. I loved journalism, but for someone so young and inexperienced as myself, there were just no opportunities at the time.
 

How long have you been writing?

 
I’ve been writing forever, though very little of it shall ever see the light of day. I’m talking everything from awkward fanfiction to overly verbose LiveJournal posts that served as a dumping ground for my angsty opinionated thoughts.
I’ve written a number of partial novels and short stories, but Child of Etherclaw is the first one that I feel confident enough in to release.
 

What do you find to be the most important element of a great book?

 
For me, the most important element of any book is character development. A rich character arc is critical to keep me engaged. I enjoy sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and other genres, but without a well-developed character that I can identify, the best plot out there will lose me. And the characters need to be a little mushy, you know? Sure, “strong” characters are great, but often times too much strength can flatten a character out. I want a character who gets embarrassed, who has anxieties about seemingly trivial things, and who struggles with inner conflicts and self-doubt. I need a character who can cry—whether they do so on-page or not.
 

Do you have any great book recommendations?

 
Absolutely! Some of the more enjoyable books I’ve recently read include:
SAWKILL GIRLS by Clare Legrand
The LIFEL1K3 series by Jay Kristoff
The WANT series by Cindy Pon

And I’m currently reading ENTANGELMENT by Alina Leonova. It’s got a fantastic dystopian society with cyberpunk vibes and a wonderfully unique cast of characters. I’m not quite through with it yet, but would recommend it without hesitation.
 

What advice do you have for people writing their first novel?

 
It’s quite an endeavor just getting through the first draft of a novel. There are times when you feel as though the words come faster than you can type, and other times when you feel your creativity buried under a few tons of rapidly setting cement.
 
Among all the advice out there and the endless how-to guides, I think the most important thing that bears repeating over and over is to celebrate yourself. You wrote 200 words today? Cheers! That’s awesome! You cut out a scene that just wasn’t working and actually had a net loss of 1,000 words? A round of applause! It’s hard to let go of your own writing, but you recognized the need to and you should feel accomplished! Set goals that are small, realistic, and achievable. And when you reach them, celebrate yourself. You deserve it.

 

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Two Roads to Paradise (Book 2: Be Careful What You Wish for Series) by Gordon Jensen with Cara Highsmith (Book Review)

TWO ROADS TO PARADISE (Be Careful What You Wish For Series) by

 
​Although the reappearance of the Alpha Centauri I crew was miraculous, it was not the celebratory homecoming they expected. Their return to a world reeling from a pandemic that wiped out more than half the population thrust them right into the center of controversy and conflict.
 
Now, three years later, though the tide has turned and the survival of the human race seems to be secure, the survival of human relations is far less certain. The cure should have been the injection of hope the world needed to restore balance and end the chaos of the last four decades. Instead, the complex implications for personal rights and freedom have fractured the North American territory in such a way that the division may never be repaired.
 
As the crew dispersed to find their place in this new landscape, Hunter Young found himself embedded in the Marshall administration as an agent for the mysterious K Group. What had been a relatively uneventful assignment suddenly becomes a whirlwind of adventure as he is called to a rendezvous that requires a long and circuitous journey.
 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book ToursI voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
Two Roads to Paradise carried on three years after the finale of The Way Out. Readers will see precisely how divided the world has become: land and viewpoints. Yeah, we are pretty divided now in our views. 


The book discusses free health care in the blue zones and how red zones have better taxes. It talks about gun control and abortion rights, which we all know are hot topics right now. I imagine they’ll be major talking points for many more decades to come. 


Gordon Bensen and Cara Highsmith (co-authors) created unique maps located in the front and back flap. These maps show 13 zones and their colors: red and blue. Yup, those are the same colors that represent Democrats and Republicans. Don’t worry about memorizing the zones because they will be introduced again through colorful welcome signs. I love those, btw! 


Two Roads to Paradise was slower going and didn’t hold my interest compared to its predecessor, The Way Out. However, I did enjoy reading about people’s viewpoints regarding the “governing” of the various zones. 


Oh, a shocking and disturbing bombshell unveiled by two teen girls to Hunter on their trek to NOLA. It shows how inhumane a person or group can be. I’d love to tell you what, but I want to discover it for yourself. 


With any government or country, there will be individuals who deflect and fight the system. The Resistance was comprised of a couple of shocking members. Again, no spoilers. 


While this book didn’t knock my socks off, it ended with me wanting more. So, with that said, I will be tuning in for book three because I have to see how the final moments play out in the next installment. 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

 
 
 
Meet the Authors:
Author Gordon Jensen

Gordon Jensen holds an MBA from University of Rochester, New York, Simon School of Business and a bachelor’s degree from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. After working in finance In New York for several years, Jensen went back to Minnesota to run the family business. He retired after selling the the business and is now fulfilling a number of life-long dreams, including writing a novel series.
 
 

Author Cara Highsmith

Cara Highsmith has always been drawn to the world of books and has found herself working in this industry in one capacity or another for the majority of her adult life. She holds a Master of Arts in English from Belmont University and did work toward a PhD at Middle Tennessee State University. Cara was on the editorial team at Hachette Book Group USA, working with several New York Times bestselling authors, for nearly four years. After leaving Hachette in 2008, she began freelancing, developing proposals and manuscripts for agents, editing and ghostwriting for authors, and assisting clients in preparing projects for self-publishing. Cara is a master of being a jack of all trades, but currently spends her free time working on several personal writing projects and enjoying life on a beautiful northern California mountain.
 
 
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The Way Out (Book 1: Be Careful What You Wish for Series) by Gordon Jensen with Cara Highsmith and Gordon Thomas (Book Review)

Picture
 
 
When the Alpha Centauri crew returns to earth after a failed mission to explore a distant planet, they quickly learn the world is not how they left it.

Under new global leadership, the planet has managed to go decades without conflict, except for one major problem. Thanks to a pandemic caused by a mutation in a new strain of GMO corn, the world’s population plummeted to 2.6 billion, wiping out a disproportionate amount of men and leaving the globe run almost entirely by women. The mutation altered the human DNA, making it impossible to produce male babies and increasing Y-chromosome related diseases.

Because of their lack of exposure, the Alpha Centauri crew, especially the men on board, now find themselves in high demand. The Powers that Be think they are the solution, but with that solution comes the inevitable hunger for power and control. As greed, self-interest, and corruption rear their ugly heads, a planet that had found its way to peace is thrust into turmoil once again.

So, the question becomes: Are they really the answer to a seemingly unsolvable problem? The world may soon come to understand that sometimes getting what you wish for isn’t the gift you think it will be.

The Way Out is at once a brilliant and relatable work of post-apocalyptic fiction. Think The Handmaid’s Tale mixed with Netflix’s The Wilds, and a touch of Interstellar, the movie. It’s a uniquely told story that will have you waiting as impatiently as the crew to understand the New World Order of the near future.

BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon.com
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
The Way Out (Book 1: Be Careful What You Wish for Series) by Gordon Jensen with Cara Highsmith and Gordon Thomas was labeled science fiction, but I could see the possibilities of real-life implications. 


One day, we will be traveling to distant planets because Earth won’t be able to sustain life any longer. I’m not sure if a space crew will encounter a black hole on the journey, but that’s a plausible scenario.


Now, entering a wormhole and traveling in space/time is where things get a little science-fictiony. I’m not an astrophysicist or any other type of scientist, so I could not tell you the probability that’ll happen. Again, that’s where the sci-fi aspect of the story comes into play. 


If that could happen and a crew “lands” in the future, they would be overwhelmed, much like the crew of Alpha Centauri. 


What I found fascinating about this story was its setup. It was interview logs between a reporter and the crew and members of present-day Earth. The second thing I found interesting was how Earth had changed in the forty years the crew was presumed dead. No, apes didn’t replace humans. However, the population has taken a big hit. A virus has endangered the lives of humankind. Men are being an endangered species. WOW! Women also control everything. YES! 


With untainted DNA arriving on planet Earth, every powerhouse wants to possess the males. They are considered a hot commodity. 


We’ve seen a virus take hold of the world and know firsthand the destruction it can unleash. So, this scenario (in my mind) could be plausible (one day). 


Note: The book does discuss Roe v Wade. I bring this up only because, as I am writing this, it was overturned by the SCOTUS. 
 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤
 
 
 
 
Meet the Authors:
Author Gordon Jensen

Gordon Jensen holds an MBA from University of Rochester, New York, Simon School of Business and a bachelor’s degree from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. After working in finance In New York for several years, Jensen went back to Minnesota to run the family business. He retired after selling the the business and is now fulfilling a number of life-long dreams, including writing a novel series.
 
 

Author Cara Highsmith

Cara Highsmith has always been drawn to the world of books and has found herself working in this industry in one capacity or another for the majority of her adult life. She holds a Master of Arts in English from Belmont University and did work toward a PhD at Middle Tennessee State University. Cara was on the editorial team at Hachette Book Group USA, working with several New York Times bestselling authors, for nearly four years. After leaving Hachette in 2008, she began freelancing, developing proposals and manuscripts for agents, editing and ghostwriting for authors, and assisting clients in preparing projects for self-publishing. Cara is a master of being a jack of all trades, but currently spends her free time working on several personal writing projects and enjoying life on a beautiful northern California mountain.
 
 
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Nova’s Blade: A Young Adult Dystopian Cyberpunk by Will Scifi (Book Spotlight)

Content Rating: PG-13 + M: So there are no curse words or sex scenes in the book. There is violence such as people getting stabbed, limbs cut off, head cut off. There is a mention of an abortion in it, no depiction of it. No suicides’, but talks about it as well.

 
 
THIRTY-TWO WOMEN. ONE ARENA. A BATTLE TO THE DEATH.
After a long war, corporations have replaced countries. Sports are fought to the death. The most popular game is Last Valkyrie, a live tournament where women kill each other for marriage into a powerful family.
For Nova, living in poverty with her mother and sister is a harsh reality that she cannot escape. But when she is kidnapped and forced to fight on the show, her world changes. If she refuses to fight, the bomb in her head goes off. Now winning means her freedom.
With death lurking at every moment, Nova has no idea if her next fight will be her last. But one thing she knows for certain: only one is making it out alive.
Perfect for fans of Hunger GamesThe Selection, and The Princess Trials. You won’t want to put down this exciting page-turner!
 
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Meet the Author: 
 
Author Will Scifi

 
Will Scifi is a pen name for an author from California. He loves reading and writing mainly science fiction that touches on themes surrounding American culture. He draws inspiration from the over 500 movies he has watched in the last 5 years, books, tv shows, and real life. When he is not writing, he can be found in the gym or watching movies at home or in the theaters. He thanks all of his fans for their support and highly encourages anyone who has read his work to always leave a review.
 
 
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Discovery of the Five Senses Book One – The Urban Boys Series by K. N. Smith (Book Review)

THE URBAN BOYS: DISCOVERY OF THE FIVE SENSES by K.N. Smith
 
Welcome or unwelcome. Fate has arrived.

A suspenseful incident in a forbidden preserve heightens the senses of five friends. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell become super-gifts that forever change the world. But furious battles confront the boys as they try to understand their sensory super powers in a race to save mankind. With light beings and mysterious strangers complicating their plight, will the boys be able to defeat the evil Druth before it’s too late? Get prepared for the twisting and grinding of this award-winning, action-adventure story — an edge-of-your-seat narrative for young and mature readers alike.  ​

 
 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Discovery of the Five Senses Book One – The Urban Boys Series by K. N. Smith deals with the responsibility of having extraordinary gifts. As Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker (Spiderman), “With great power comes great responsibility.” 


Imagining a life with powers is fun, but, after reading this story, maybe it’s not such a glamorous lifestyle after all. Let’s take enhanced hearing, for instance. Readers will watch as several teens, past and present, have difficulty navigating their new heightened senses. I get annoyed with the (low-volume) constant ringing in my ears, so having an overload of loud sounds 24-7 with no off-switch would be horrific. After you read Discovery of the Five Senses Book One – The Urban Boys Series by K. N. Smith, and I highly encourage you to read it, you’ll better understand why being normal, a non-super being isn’t that terrible. 


Despite the struggles the teens faced, they did help others by using their super skills. With their senses working on overdrive, they also became black belts in martial arts. Okay, maybe not technically black belts, but they could whoop some A**. Their newfound fighting skills came in handy QUITE  a bit because danger followed them. They also sought out criminals to battle. I really enjoyed these scenes, especially when ***** used nunchucks. Yup, I omitted the name on purpose. NO SPOILERS! 


If you’re a teacher or parent reading this story with your class or child, ask them the question below before starting the story and then again after you’ve finished it. See if their response changes and if it did, why.


Discussion question: “What sense would they like heightened?”

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
 
K.N. Smith

 
K.N. Smith, winner of the “Best of” in the category of “Outstanding Young Adult Novel” at the Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Awards, is an author, screenwriter, and passionate advocate of literacy and arts programs throughout the world. She inspires people of all ages to reach their highest potential in their creative, educational, and life pursuits. She lives in California with her family. 
 
 
connect with the author: 
 website ~ facebook ~ goodreads
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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