Tag Archives: scifi

Devon’s Island by SI Clarke (Book Review)

Other stories will take you to Mars. This one will take you inside the boardroom, the pub, and the bedroom with the people planning the mission.

Gurdeep is an engineer and a soldier. Georgie’s a food scientist. One is pragmatic with a tough outer shell; the other’s an optimist, a person of ideas and compassion. Together, they’re humanity’s last hope for survival.

In the span of a single afternoon, the couple find themselves in charge of planning and establishing a self-sustained colony on Mars. They have 160 slots to fill with experts from all over the world as they set about designing an all-new society with its own government, economy, and culture – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

With 1,114 days until the launch, excitement and tensions run high. Earth’s second chance hangs in the balance. Between strict genetic requirements and the dangers of the dystopian almost-present, will everyone make it to the final countdown?

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

 

Devon’s Island is divided into three Acts; therefore, I will discuss each Act separately. 

 

Act One: This section was mainly dedicated to the recruitment of individuals who’ll be beneficial to the starting process of colonizing Mars. It was more scientific-based. SI Clarke discussed how much air, food, and water humans consume. Clarke also pointed out scientists needed to combat the issue of bone loss in space. Spoiler’s alert! It all had to do with stopping the body’s production of TSG-6. Whether you’re a science geek or not, I think you’ll like Act One.

 

Act Two: This portion of the story dealt with how many people would be needed to populate Mars. It was suggested no men would go, but that idea was promptly shut done. Instead, everyone agreed 160 people would go. (144-150 women and 10-16 men)

They would also take 25,000 genetic material. 

When you are starting a new civilization, life is essential. People die, so babies must be born to continue the preservation of the human race. How the people in charge went about ensuring it was a bit extreme. 

*no one over 36

*sexual orientation meeting

*must sign over reproductive rights

Every step the powers that be took had a purpose. Earth was becoming less habitable, so we must adapt. Goodbye Earth…Hello Mars. 

 

Act Three: And we have liftoff! It takes about a year to travel to Mars. As you would assume, space travel is no life on the beach. I’ve never been to space, but I suspect Chapter 27/Devon depicts life in a spacecraft quite accurately: overwhelming smells and lights, no privacy, always too hot or too cold. 

This portion of Devon’s Island was my favorite. I was fascinated by how much the initial crew was able to accomplish. They had bees, apple trees, and daisies. Heck, they also had coffee plants. You wait, in a few years, I bet the first Starbucks will be opening its doors. 🙂

But in all seriousness, Act Three was the darkest section of the three. Human life on Earth was in chaos. As with Act One & Two, SI Clarke touched upon real-life happenings: mass shootings, hate crimes, terrorism. Clarke was correct, “The world was getting darker by the day.”

Currently, we are working on getting the human race to Mars. However, will we get there before the world implodes, before we turn on each other, kill each other off?

After reading Devon’s Island, I DID NOT wonder if technology would allow us to create a colony on Mars and thrive there. No, I wondered if the human race will survive long enough on Earth to make the trek. Times are becoming more combustible by the hour… how long do we actually have on this planet? Days? Weeks? Years? Or how about hours?

 

And on that note…

Good job, SI Clarke! Love the story and the section titled –> It’s Science, Bitches. 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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A Crown in Time by Jennifer Macaire (Book Showcase)

Introducing TEMPUS U, the brand new time-slip series from Jennifer Macaire. From the far future to the distant past, A CROWN IN TIME is the perfect, action-packed read for fans of Jodi Taylor.
 
Since it was perfected in 2900, time travel has been reserved for an elite, highly trained few. However, on certain occasions, a Corrector is needed to rectify a mistake in the past.
Do your job well, and you’ll go down in history. Fail, and you will be erased from Time . . .

 

The first in an exciting new time-slip series, from the author of the action-packed Time for Alexander series, Jennifer Macaire. A CROWN IN TIME will have you on the edge of your seat from the very first page . . .
 
In the far future, a convicted criminal is given a chance at redemption. The Corrector Program at Tempus University is sending Isobel back in time, to the year 1270, to rewrite history.

Her mission? To save the crown of France.

If she follows the Corrector’s Handbook everything should run smoothly. But soon, Isobel finds herself accompanying a hot-headed young noble on his way to fight the infidel in Tunis: a battle Isobel knows is fated to be lost.

Isobel must fulfil her duty, knowing she can never return to her time, knowing one wrong move can doom the future, or doom her to be burned as a witch . . .

Praise for Jennifer Macaire’s Alexander series:
‘Fascinating . . . jam-packed with adventure and colour.’ Jodi Taylor
 

 
 
 
 
~~Excerpt ~~

 
Jean was already perched on the railing, his feet drumming excitedly on the wood, his eyes glowing. ‘Look!’ he cried, pointing toward shore. ‘The Saracens have arrived!’

In the indistinct light of dawn, I could make out a huge crowd of men and horses milling on the beach. I looked to the right. Another small army was camped on the bluff overlooking the harbour. On the left, tents were scattered across the land, and I could clearly see the glitter of light on the metal spearheads.

My head swam and I gripped the wooden railing until splinters dug into my palms. Unexpectedly, my stomach heaved, and I retched over the side of the ship.

‘Are you all right?’ Jean hopped off his perch and put his arm over my shoulders.

‘It’s just nerves.’ I wiped my mouth with a shaking hand. A shiver of fatigue washed through me, so I sat down on the deck.

‘There’s a whole shipload of sick people,’ said Jean conversationally. ‘They’ve all got swamp fever.’

‘Oh great,’ I said. ‘Malaria. That’s just what we need. I suppose King Louis is going to attack the Saracens?’

‘He’s planning to do that, yes.’ Jean’s face fell. ‘Our ship won’t be fighting, though. We’re going to retreat a way back and keep the king’s ship covered.’

‘That sounds like a sensible idea, don’t you think?’

‘The knights have been getting ready. I can hear the clanging of armour coming over the water. The sound carries well in the early morning. The horses have been kicking the sides of the ships.’

The noise of iron-shod hooves striking the wooden planks was distinct. The knights must be the first ones off. The ship crews, protected from arrows by large wooden panels, manoeuvred the ships backwards towards the beach. The ships carrying the mounted soldiers were simply hollow vessels that the horses surged out of in a tight group down two enormous gangplanks. There were thirteen of these ships, one having sunk on the way to Sardinia.

Our fleet boasted ten of another type of ship, designed for the archers with towers and shields. These, including the king’s own archers on their own special ship, would cover the cavalry’s flanks. The ships holding foot soldiers bobbed around the edges of the battle, searching for an opening to land.

The full force of the king’s army landed that afternoon and drove the Saracens out of the harbour without much trouble. The knights galloped their heavy chargers out of the bowels of the ships onto dry land, the archers rained arrows on the hillside and the foot soldiers charged gamely up the beach.

The Saracens retreated toward Carthage, their fiery horses galloping with their tails held high in the air like flowing flags.

Jean, Charles, and I cheered.
 
‘What happens next?’ asked Charles, his face pink with excitement.

‘We set up camp.’ Jean sounded morose, disappointed to have missed the action.

‘There will be other battles,’ I said, just as gloomily.

‘We’d best get our things in order if we’re leaving the ship,’ said Charles, ever practical.

I looked out over the water, toward the king’s ship floating so close to ours. All the flags waved jauntily in the hot breeze, and the king sat under his awning and waved his thin white hand at the soldiers on shore. His face was serene, joyful with the painless victory. However, it wasn’t a victory, really. The Saracens had simply wanted to see exactly what kind of an army the French king had brought. Now they knew.

 
 
 
 
Jennifer Macaire lives in France with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves cooking, eating French chocolate, growing herbs and flowering plants on her balcony, and playing golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories. 
 

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Nevermore: Raven Crawford Book 2 by J. C. McKenzie (Book Review)

Rundown waitress, part-time private investigator, and full-time shifter, Raven Crawford, always gets the opposite of what she wants most.  She works two jobs but can’t pay the bills. Her confrontation with Queen Lloth has unexpected and unfortunate consequences, and her love life is a hot mess.

With failure and disappointment honed to painful perfection, Raven’s life is riddled with complications, including her troublesome attraction to the lethal Lord of Shadows. When her latest case leads to a group hell-bent on destruction, she must decide who to trust. Will she choose wisely, or will she fail once again and become the next casualty in a war between the Mortal Realm and the Underworld?

 

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

When I read Conspiracy of Ravens (book one), I was immediately drawn into the story. Every character, no matter how big or small their role, captivated me. I liked the good guys/gals and even found myself warming up to the questionable characters as well. 

After reading Nevermore (book two), I can safely say it shared similar qualities with its predecessor: suspense, mystery, love, passion, shocking developments, humor, action, and plot twists. 

However, unlike CoR (acronym), I wasn’t instantly engaged with the storylines. I didn’t particularly care Robert (Raven’s ex) kept vanishing on his fiancée (Sarah). I didn’t mind Kelly Clementine (the teacher) was attempting to cheat the system and collect disability checks. I wanted more Cole and Raven time. I also wanted Bear to have more of a presence this time around. 

Oh, we did get more Cole time. Let me say; he will never have to resort to toys when he has shadows at his beck and call. *wink, wink* 

As for Bear, he didn’t grace the pages too much but Mike (younger brother) sure did. He brought the funny many times over. 

Even though I didn’t take a sudden liking to the sequel, my opinion changed halfway into the book. 

Raven’s two cases (Robert and Kelly) were linked. Bombshell after bombshell was dropped. When you think Raven’s life can’t become any more complicated, she learns another big secret that will change everything for her. I can’t wait to see how she’ll handle the latest curveball. 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:  ❤❤❤❤

 

~~ CHECK OUT BOOK ONE! ~~

Raven Crawford knows better than to venture into the seductive world of the dark fae or agree to any of their salacious promises. She plans to pay off her debts so she can get on with her life and stay far away from the denizens of the Underworld.

Unfortunately, her numbskull twin steals from the most tempting and lethal fae of them all. Now, Raven must help the Lord of Shadows get back what her idiot brother stole. Her only weapons? Just a little ingenuity and a whole lot of snark. It’s suicide for sure, but she’ll do anything to protect her twin.

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J.C. McKenzie is a book-loving, gumboot-wearing, unapologetic science geek. She’s the author of the Carus Series, an urban fantasy five-book saga published by the Wild Rose Press. Born and raised on the West Coast, J. C. sets the majority of her books in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance with sassy heroines and brutish, alpha-type men.

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Conspiracy of Ravens: Raven Crawford Book 1 by J. C. McKenzie (Book Review)

Raven Crawford knows better than to venture into the seductive world of the dark fae or agree to any of their salacious promises. She plans to pay off her debts so she can get on with her life and stay far away from the denizens of the Underworld.

Unfortunately, her numbskull twin steals from the most tempting and lethal fae of them all. Now, Raven must help the Lord of Shadows get back what her idiot brother stole. Her only weapons? Just a little ingenuity and a whole lot of snark. It’s suicide for sure, but she’ll do anything to protect her twin.

 

 

Shadows encased them. Her scalp prickled as if someone reached out and gripped her head with giant fingers. Raven twisted around to find a large figure blocking out the moonlight.

“You!” she hissed.

“Move.” Cole’s deep voice punctured the quiet forest and silenced Mike’s whimpering.

Before she could demand answers, Cole flowed forward, gathered them both in his arms and pushed them into the darkness of the trees. A shadowy film settled over them, much like the dark cloak when Cole had pulled her into the shadows at Bear’s apartment.

A branch snapped down the deer trail to the right.

Cold settled over her skin.

Moments later another large, looming figure entered the clearing. Luke. Again. She couldn’t lose these two dark fae. They kept hopping back into her life like rabid fleas.

 

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

Conspiracy of Ravens is by far my favorite J.C. McKenzie novel

I loved how she didn’t limit herself to stereotypical shifting scenarios. Human body to ONE particular animal… No, not for JCM. JCM didn’t limit any character’s power, and the story was better for it. 

Mystery.

Passion. 

Love.

Anger.

Humor. 

Danger.

Magic.

Deception.

Heartache. 

Surprises. 

Plot twists.

You’ll find all the above in Conspiracy of RavensYou’ll also find yourself eagerly grabbing for book 2 in the series, Nevermore

Special note to the author: I love how Raven curses. “Odin’s scrotum!” 😀

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:  ❤❤❤❤1/2

 

Kindle Purchase Link

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Barnes and Noble Purchase Link

Apple Books Purchase Link

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Goodreads

 

 

 

J.C. McKenzie is a book-loving, gumboot-wearing, unapologetic science geek. She’s the author of the Carus Series, an urban fantasy five-book saga published by the Wild Rose Press. Born and raised on the West Coast, J. C. sets the majority of her books in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance with sassy heroines and brutish, alpha-type men.

J.C. McKenzie’s Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter |

Goodreads | Amazon | Newsletter

 

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Yuletime at Cherrywood Hall: Once Upon a WolfPack Anthology by Veronica Cline Barton (Book Showcase)

Once Upon a Wolfpack

Contributing author, Veronica Cline Barton

I was so honored to have my short story, Yuletime at Cherrywood Hall, Pippa’s First Christmas, included in the #WolfpackAuthors anthology that was published earlier this year. The anthology is a compilation of works by authors of all genres, and all proceeds are donated to the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC) My contributed short story is one close to my heart—it is a prequel to a storyline in the 3rd book of my #cozymystery series, Deadly Receptions; the Debut of Castlewood Manor. It tells the tale of a tainted bridal veil from years gone by and introduces the readers of my series to Aunt Pippa, the beloved ancestral aunt who saved the Cherrywood Hall estate with her marriage to Charles Lancaster, the 4th Marquess of Kentshire.

The short story takes place in the weeks before Christmas. Pippa has been receiving demeaning messages criticizing her every move as an American married to the popular marquess. A chance snowstorm brings her nemesis to Cherrywood Hall. Pippa meets her husband’s previous fiancé, the author of the critical notes–a jilted woman who is filled with anger at the woman who holds the position and privilege that she thought would be hers. As a blizzard rages outside, her mind is set on deadly revenge…Will Pippa’s first Christmas at the hall be her last?

Read more about the #WolfPackAuthors anthology and the great cause it benefits here:

The idea was simple: form a group of authors based on the mantra, “Do good things for the right reasons.” We are a pack – #WolfPackAuthors. Together, we expand exposure for our books, help one another with all aspects of the process, pick each other up when the lonely life of writing gets us down.

As with wolves, words can be dangerous or healing. The reintroduction of the wolf, hunted to the brink of extinction, carries such far-reaching results as to make vegetation grow on what was once barren, and to change the paths of rivers. Considering these powerful facts, we chose to donate the proceeds of this anthology to Lockwood Animal Rescue Center /LARC, a facility with a unique mission. They are one of the few organizations focused heavily on wolves, integrating military veteran rehabilitation into the caretaking process.

In this collection of work, you will find a showcase of many of our members’ talents: A young girl betrothed to a werewolf, yet her father, a human, is the true monster. Two snipers who lay in wait, an otherworldly supreme being watching them, in the form of a majestic wolf. A she-wolf sets her sights on a young woman, married to the man she loved. The paradoxical story of the big bad wolf, who through no fault of his own sets out on a calamity filled adventure. A batch of witty private investigators at work solving crime. A sarcastic banshee, a shapeshifting detective, and a vampire, all friends, investigate a string of murders. There are many others, varied in style or genre.

Come on an adventure with the WolfPackAuthors. We’ve got the stories you want; together, we hope to make the world a better place for wolves, humans, and those who dare to dream.

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Cozy MysteryYuletime at Cherrywood Hall: Veronica Cline Barton
Fairy Tale/ ParodyUnfairy Prosecuted: J.W. Crawford
Fairy TalePoppy: Tia Fanning

Fantasy/ SupernaturalFor the Love of the Pack: Sharon Lopez
Horror/ Meta horrorThe Untold One: B.L. Clark
HorrorFrost Harbor: Alexander Pain

LiteraryOmega Road: Lee M. Tipton
Magical RealismAn Early Snow: Andi Marchal
P.I./ DetectiveThe Wolf: Joe Congel 

P.I./ Detective, Cozy MysteryMrs Solberg’s Problem: CW Hawes
PoetryWolf Pack United: Angie-Marie Delsante
PoetryWelcome to the Den: Lori Katherine

Romance/ SupernaturalThe Soap Maker’s Mother: Christina van Deventer
Science Fiction/ MilitarySacha: Jeff DeMarco
Science Fiction/ ParanormalWolf Cry: Z Gottlieb
Science Fiction/ ParanormalCircus of the Night: Stefan Angelina McElvain
Urban FantasyTrue Nature : Luna Selas

 

Veronica Cline Barton earned graduate degrees in both engineering and business and has had successful careers in the software and technology industries. Her lifelong love affair with British murder mysteries inspired her to embark on a literary career. The Crown for Castlewood Manor and Cast, Crew, & Carnage; the Filming of Castlewood Manor are the first and second books in what she calls her My American Almost Royal Cousin Series. When not traveling and spinning mystery yarns, she lives in California with her husband, Bruce, and her two cats, Daisy and Ebbie.

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