Tag Archives: space opera

Mara’s Awakening: The Mara Files (Book One) by Leo Flynn (Book Review)

The first in an explosive science fiction series of short stories, this is an action-packed and addictive book from an emerging author.

 

Mara Keres. A trained warrior and formerly highly respected peacekeeper.

Note “formerly.”

Once, she had her life under control. Once, she had the trust of the galaxy.

Now she rots in the same prison she used to sentence people to. Solitary confinement for six years. Would’ve brought anyone else to their knees.

Not her.

Then an offer resurfaces, almost too good to be true. Ghosts of her past and demons come back to haunt her, will she ever make it out alive?

Sometimes, facing your worst memories is worth the risk.

 

Featuring a badass anti-hero, secrets, betrayals, twists and turns, this gripping story will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you wanting more.


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

 

While the writing was a bit choppy, overall, it was a nice start to a series. There was suspense, action, deception, revenge, and a prison break. Oh, and I mustn’t forget there was a wicked cool weapon — Skyfall Swordbow. As you probably surmised, it’s a weapon used as a sword or a crossbow. That weapon wasn’t the only tool at Mara’s disposal. She also could fire bolts from her hands.

She’s a lethal weapon, one that used to be on the side of justice before wrongfully incarcerated. I look forward to reading what trouble awaits her while she’s on the run. And, I hope to see more backstory on Mara and other key characters. 

 

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

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Book Two

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Leo Flynn writes poetry & gripping, action-packed SciFi, like The Mara Files, his debut, an exciting science fiction short story series. Other galaxies, reading, talking too much about writing and music consume his waking hours.

 
 
 

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The Last Imperator by M L Tishner (Book Review)

 

How much will she sacrifice for peace?

After six months of campaigning, Rei and the other Volocio have barely convinced half the star cluster to vote for the Federation.

Activist groups from all sides are calling for a war Rei is destined to declare, but she won’t do it. While she wants to kill the Dominion Sovereign – Anekris Praymer – she wants to destroy him herself. She can channel lightning – she is the god queen – she doesn’t need more than that and the whole star cluster doesn’t need to go to war for it.

But tensions are rising beyond both their control and when both Rei and Anekris are trapped together after an attack – they strike up an uneasy alliance.

As time progresses, Rei finds herself wondering – will they remain enemies or will they join together and finally unite the Federation and Dominion?

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Niklaryn

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


WOW, what a marvelous read! 

The Last Imperator by M. L. Tisher had continuous action sequences, betrayal, family drama, love, magic, and surprise developments. It’s the type of story you’ll want to pull an all-nighter to read so that you can finish it in one sitting. I would’ve done just that, but I had to teach the following morning, so I reluctantly put the book aside to catch some zzz’s. However, come bright, and early the next day, I hurried back to The Last Imperator. 

M. L. Tisher did a spectacular job developing a solid storyline. I loved every dramatic moment—sibling against sibling. Even though this story took place in space and with individuals who possessed unique talents/powers, M. L. Tisher gave them qualities we would see here on Earth: anxiety and panic attacks. The Last Imperator didn’t shy away from mental illness; you’ll read multiple mentions of it. As a person who suffers from several mental issues, I appreciated how M. L. Tisher presented it in The Last Imperator.

 

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

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Mari, a native Hoosier, currently lives in southern Germany where she entertains people with her adventures as an American expat in the Land of Beer and Pretzels on her blog adventuresoflamari.com as well as the adventures of her pugs, Abner and Roxy. When she’s not writing, Mari cooks, snowboards, dances to the beat of her own drum, reads late into the night, and binge watches Netflix with her husband. The God Queen is her debut novel.

 

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The God Queen: Rebirth Book 1 by M. L. Tishner (Book Review)

The return of the God Queen is not what everyone hoped…

Humans have long since spread their numbers among the stars. Now far, far into the future, war has torn the Tyre Star Cluster into two major political factions. The militant Dominion have gained the upper hand in the last decade when their champion murdered the hope of the progressive Federation: Niklaryn Ettowa. Some considered the war to be almost won.

Yet there are those who claim the war will not be ended by mortals…but by the rebirth of the gods. 

Rei lived most of her life bartending on one Earth’s backwater towns. She daydreams of something more, traveling the stars, and destroying the man who murdered her brother Niklaryn. Her dream is within her grasp only if she accepts her fate as the God Queen.

Bronx is disillusioned with being a reincarnated god, let alone a reaper. He pays his penance by keeping people at a distance and taking up the mantle of a combat medic. When the sister of his old mentor Niklaryn storms in to join the cause will he find something worth fighting for?

Together with others, they must help the Federation tip the scales in their favor, but everyone seems to have their own plans for what the gods should do.

Jupiter Ascending meets X-Men in this epic New Adult space opera bursting with star-crossed romance, elemental magic, and an adventure across the star cluster, perfect for fans of A Spark of White Fire.

 

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

 

The God Queen is broken up into two sections: The Woman and The Goddess.

(Part One) The Woman read as if it was picking up from a prequel. One hundred pages into the story and I finally contacted M. L. Tishner (the author) to ask if there was perhaps a prequel to The God Queen. M. L. Tishner responded there was NO PREQUEL. She stated things were taken out, but it was all in the sakes of her readers. 

While writing and editing stories, authors are faced with difficult decisions. What to keep and what to toss away is a hard choice they have to make before the book goes to print.

While writing and editing stories, authors are faced with difficult decisions. What to keep and what to toss away is definitely a hard choice they have to make before the book goes to press.

For me, I missed not having more information on key characters: Niklaryn, Infiernen, Negander, to name a few.

 

 

(Part Two) The Goddess was a thousand times better than Part One. Secrets were revealed, past/present connections were explained more, and we finally saw some real emotions from central characters.

It’s in this section that I actually started to like the characters, particularly Bronx. He’s a character you’ll want to hug and tell him everything is going to be okay.

Even though I found Part One lacking in character development, I do recommend reading this book. Why? Part Two was pretty good, and I think the series has great potential.

(Book II, no release date yet)

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤

 

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Mari, a native Hoosier, currently lives in southern Germany where she entertains people with her adventures as an American expat in the Land of Beer and Pretzels on her blog adventuresoflamari.com as well as the adventures of her pugs, Abner and Roxy. When she’s not writing, Mari cooks, snowboards, dances to the beat of her own drum, reads late into the night, and binge watches Netflix with her husband. The God Queen is her debut novel.

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Child of the Stars by G.E. Stills (Book Showcase)

For the 18+ reader: Strong language and descriptive sex scenes.

Elvie is not only cautious but she’s a workaholic. Winning an all expenses paid Mexican getaway is just the type of vacation she needs to get away from work and escape reality. She craves whimsical romance and adventure. What she gets is far more than she ever imagined in her wildest fantasies. Once on the island, Elvie meets Thad who is both handsome and exotic. She feels an instant attraction to him not realizing just how much her life changed the second she encountered him. Romance takes on an entirely new meaning for Elvie when she becomes intimate not only with Thad, but his best friend, Giann. This is completely outside her normal existence, but at the end of the week, she learns her adventure is just beginning. Now she is flitting among the stars, living a new life, and destined for a new world. 

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For a time she sat at the table sipping her coffee. Elvie reached up and fingered the diamond settings of her collar and smiled while her thoughts drifted over all that had taken place in such a brief time. Just a few days earlier she had been getting ready for a sad return to the reality of her real estate job and never seeing Thad again. Now she was married to two fantastic men who loved and cherished her. She was onboard a for real spaceship, not the ones from her childhood fantasies, and now she was fliting among the stars. On the way back to their rooms she stopped and activated one of the view screens located in the corridor.

Elvie gazed out at the blackness of space and the millions of pinpoints of light that permeated it. “I’ve really done this,” she whispered to herself. “I’ve consented to leaving Earth to be with these wonderful men. Just as my tattoo says, I’ve truly become a child of the stars. And compared to their age, I really am a child. Leaving Earth to live among the stars isn’t the only thing I’ve consented to. I’ve agreed to be their baby factory.”

Gentle fingertips glided across one of the dimple dermal piercings on her back making her aware she was no longer alone. Moments later Thad’s chin rested on her shoulder. “Good morning, my precious gift,” he said. He embraced her, and his hands moved down along her curves. He laced his fingers together just below her navel and rested them on her lower stomach. “Are you okay?” he asked and brushed his lips to her shoulder.

Her grip around her mug tightened and shivers raced along her spine. “I feel fantastic.”

“Sore?”

“Not anymore. I used some of that miracle paste Giann gave me.”

“No regrets?”

“None. Just feeling a little melancholy about leaving my home forever, but being with the two of you is the only thing that matters to me now.”

“You mean everything to us as well, precious.”

“It’s strange, we’ve only known each other for a few days and yet being separated from either of you has become unthinkable. I’ve come to think of you as my men.”

“That is part of the bonding process we are going through. We are joining in mind just as much as we were physically joined last night. Giann and I, think of you as our woman as well. Speaking of, I see our woman didn’t conceive last night.”

“It will probably take time to get the birth control medicine out of my system.” She laughed. “With the amount of semen you and Giann put in me, I feel certain I’ll get knocked up soon.”

“Good morning,” Giann said in his baritone voice. He pinched her chin between his fingers and turned her head to kiss him. His lips were soft and his face scratchy with a morning growth of beard. Together they were arousing. Everything either of these men do is arousing.

“I’m going to get some coffee,” Giann said. “Do you need some more?” he asked her.

She rested her head back against Thad’s chest while he continued to caress her, stoking the embers inside her again. “Yes please,” she said.

“I’ll bring you a cup as well, Thad,” Giann said and strode away.

When he returned, the trio stood gazing at the display and taking sips. “Where’s Earth now?” she asked.

Giann reached out and twisted a knob located below the screen. The view magnified and narrowed to a smaller section of space. He punched in numbers on a keypad located next to the knob. One of the tiny points of light began to pulse slowly.

“Earth’s sun is hard to see and Earth itself is too small to locate, but that pulsing star is Earth’s sun.”

Elvie gazed at the tiny point of flashing light among the vast number of other points and sighed.

“How about we begin your first flying lesson?” Thad asked to pull her away from her melancholy thoughts.

 

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Normally zany and often naughty talking, G. E. has a serious and compassionate side if you can find it. He cares deeply for his friends and hasn’t met an animal yet he didn’t like. He is terrified of heights so hasn’t braved the tramway ride in his home town. He lives in the southwest while longing to live by the sea. He often says, “We have the sandy beaches but where is the water?”

He heeds the call of the many characters that pop into his mind and demand to have their stories put in print. Their tales are both serious and humorous. A multi-published author his stories cover many genres including contemporary romance, paranormal romance and science fiction. His stories are both erotic and non-erotic in nature. G.E. is the leader of a local writers group and in addition hosts a meeting of his own locally on fiction writing bi-monthly.

G.E. Stills loves to hear from his readers and can be contacted at any of these sites.

Website / Blog
Personal Facebook Page / Facebook Author Page
Twitter / Amazon Author Page  / Goodreads / Google+

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Synthesis:Weave by Rexx Deane (Author Showcase / Interview)

Welcome, Rexx!

 

  1.  For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?

(Rexx) Nobody is ‘born to write’. I am no exception. I’d never been particularly good with grammar, and had no idea about the more complex rules (I probably still don’t, truth be told). How to write dialogue was beyond me, and I had no idea where to start with plot.

The closest I’d ever come to ‘proper’ writing was when I entered an Interactive Fiction competition in 2004 (IFComp) and wrote a text adventure based on the legend of the origin of Tai Chi. I really enjoyed describing locations and creating puzzles, and I was happy with that, so it never occurred to me to write a novel.

In 2011, I met my partner, Kris. He wasn’t a particular fan of many of the TV programs I enjoyed, but I convinced him to watch a boxset of that 90’s classic, Babylon 5, and he fell in love with it. Around this time, I convinced him to start using a wheelchair because of his disability and, after some strong initial resistance, he took it up and found the wheelchair liberating. In 2012, I started a new job at a software development company that focused on behaviourism, and while working there I realised that I could *learn* to write. It was just a skill other people learn, after all.

By 2013, Prompted by my love of Babylon 5 and games like Mass Effect, I had started making notes. Kris provided the inspiration for several character notes and plot points; I was desperate to write something scifi that involved a wheelchair, but didn’t ‘fix’ disability. Once I’d convinced myself I’d got enough notes to start forming a plot of sorts, I started reading books about the various components of writing and finally put pen to paper / fingers to keyboard. At this point, Kris started training to be a fitness instructor, so I used the time while he did his courses to begin writing.

Come the end of 2013, I’d completed the first draft of Synthesis:Weave. It was another year of editing (and seven more drafts) before I handed it over to my editor and subsequently rushed to publish it. Now, years later, and after having written the sequel, I regretted that decision and went back to tear it down in a rewrite, which has now been published as a second edition in August 2018.

 

 

(Kam) I’ve read many backstories and I find yours to be one of the most intriguing ones I’ve read. As for Babylon 5: I’m more of a “Star Trek: The Next Generation” kind of gal. I love Picard! BTW: Kris, in the photo above, is an inspiration to all who think that something is impossible. There’s no shame in trying. If you fail, that’s ok, at least you tried. 

 

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.

(Rexx) For me, writer’s block seems to come about because of two things that actually have the same cause: lack of information.

I’ll get stuck because I’ve not thought of some way for characters to get out of/into a situation, or not enough backstory. I’ll also find myself paralysed when I don’t know where the plot should go next – usually because it could go in far too many directions. Both of these are down to not having a vital piece of information – be that something I need to think of in backstory, or some way of limiting what can happen next.

I’m a plotter, although I don’t go to such depth as planning chapters and scenes. Instead, I plan ‘waypoints’ – information I want to relay to the reader, significant events I want to happen, problems that can occur, and occasionally fully-written scenes I want to insert. I don’t necessarily know the order of these when I write them, so once I’ve got enough I’ll go through and group them into themes which often end up representing the start, early middle, late middle and ending of the book’s plot.

I start writing and then see where each of these points leads, so getting stuck is a consequence of not having the right piece of the puzzle to put in next to continue the flow. It can sometimes be remedied by writing on paper instead of using a keyboard; the medium forces me to go forwards without being able to stop and edit what I’ve put down. Other times, prompting myself about the problem before driving to work or doing some other menial task will mean I suddenly have an idea when I’m not expecting it.

 

  1. Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

(Rexx) I currently write science fiction, although I like to veer slightly off-genre to mix things up a little. Only recently, I discovered that my work falls into ‘solarpunk’. While I will read dystopian, I wouldn’t want to write it and prefer upbeat/optimistic scifi.

When I’m not writing or doing my day job (as a systems developer), I like to play computer games. I don’t spend as much time reading as I probably should, but I do read to my partner before bed, so I guess that counts.

I’ve been in a group of RPG players for just over 10 years now, and we play 3rd edition D&D – although it took them nine years to convince me to have a go at running the game myself. They enjoyed it, and I recently convinced them to give Traveller (scifi rpg) a go. I think playing D&D has fed back into my writing and given me a way to understand the characters I write and get into their heads. Similarly, writing has furnished me with the tools to make up my own adventures and encounters with greater ease.

(Kam) I’ve played D&D once in my life.  My husband introduced me to it because he spent so much time playing it in his youth. He hoped I would love it too but I didn’t. Guess I’ll stick with Yahtzee, Uno, and Scrabble. 

 

 

  1. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(Rexx) If I think people might be interested in scifi, I’ll mention my novel(s). I’m actually more proud of the fact that I write than of the work I do every day, simply because it’s easier to talk to people about writing than it is to explain the technicalities of my day job.

My relatives and friends are proud of my writing (or so they say), but at times it’s a delicate balance to keep from getting obsessed with writing and have it getting in the way of my relationship with my partner.

 

  1. Will you share with us your all-time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

(Rexx) I’ve read mostly ‘classic’ scifi and fantasy authors, and very few contemporaries, hence my skewed favourites.

Ursula Le Guin

Isaac Asimov

Arthur C Clarke

Carl Sagan

Gregory Benford

Julian May

Anne McCaffrey

Andre Norton

Michael Cobley

Alan Dean Foster

(Kam) Some of these names are not familiar to me. For that, I say thank you. I love being introduced to new authors/reading material. 

 

 

  1. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love to see cast in the parts?

(Rexx) I’m going to be self-indulgent. I want to see Synthesis:Weave on screen. I wrote it to feel like a movie.

Bill Nighy (the British actor, not the science guy) as a particular enigmatic figure.

Rachel Weisz as Monica Stephens

Tom Hiddleston or James McAvoy as Sebastian

Bryce Dallas Howard as Sebastian’s sister, Janyce.

Emily Blunt as Karan

Ben Cross as Agent Gladrin (I had him in mind when writing the character)

A genuine amputee (double or otherwise) to play Aryx. Favouring Kurt Yaeger, although there are several paralympians who would suit, if they could act!

 

The laws of physics are about to change …

A tsunami on a space station.
An explosion with no trace of the bomber.

Cyber-security expert Sebastian knows evidence doesn’t magically disappear, yet when he and his colleague Aryx, a disabled ex-marine, travel the galaxy to find the cause, there seems to be no other explanation.

Can they unravel the mystery before his family, home, and an entire race succumbs to an ancient foe?

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  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(Rexx) I’ve finished the sequel to Synthesis:Weave, and at this time I’m working on the cover for that, along with plotting the final book in the trilogy. I’ve also got ideas for an unrelated mild scifi set on present-day Earth, which I want to centre on a female character – it’s going to have a completely different feel to anything I’ve written so far.

 

 

  1. Where can we find your stories, and is there a particular reading order?

(Rexx) Ebooks are available on Kindle, Kobo, Google play and Nook (all DRM free, so you can read it on any of the devices you own, regardless of which platform you purchase it from). Paperback and hardback formats are also available.

The preferred reading order is the order in which they were written. Synthesis:Weave was written first, followed by the short story prequel, Synthesis:Pioneer, which, when read after S:W, gives the ‘oh, so that’s what they meant!’ factor.

Synthesis:Weave 2, Afterglow is due out in March 2019, and follows immediately on from Synthesis:Weave.

 

When Calendula accepted the post of linguist aboard the Fluorescent Lightingale, she felt as though she’d been accepted as a token crew member. Little did she know what pivotal role she would play in Earth’s future.

Please note, Synthesis:Pioneer is a prequel short story to the Synthesis novel series only, and not a full-length novel.

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  1. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

(Rexx) By contact form on rexxdeane.com, or on Twitter @RexxDeane – I don’t tend to use Facebook much now and have been distancing myself from that platform, although I do have a page there.

 

  1. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(Rexx) I would like readers (and perhaps writers) to remember that just because a book has a character with a disability, it’s important not to make the disability the focus of the book. Disabled people just want to get on with their lives, and quite often get sick of being lectured or constantly presented with books that say they should behave a certain way. To be presented realistically, disabled characters should be the same. Just have them “get on with it,” and readers will love your book for it.

 

 

Your final comments (Q10) are absolutely true. People don’t want to be seen for what they can’t do but praised for the things they’ve accomplished. Disabled or not, we are all capable of truly amazing feats.  

I want to thank Rexx for sitting down with me today. I also want to thank everyone who’s reading this and decides to share, comment, or purchase Synthesis: Weave and/or Synthesis: Pioneer. Remember, reviews are helpful to authors. They love them. I’m sure Rexx especially loved the ones posted to Goodreads. (See below)

 

Chris B. (Synthesis:Weave), 5⭐: A Scifi story that keeps you gripped from beginning to end, with many twists & turns, a must read for all Scifi fans, it’s an excellent read, looking forward to a second book in the future 🙂

 

Alastair (Synthesis: Weave), 5⭐: I read this, and I liked it. Full of inventive ideas, spaceships, aliens and mystery. What’s not to like?

 

Rose E. (Synthesis: Pioneer), 5⭐: This is a very short SciFi story about 30 minutes of reading in which we get an introduction to ‘The Synthesis Series’, and a brief insight into the very varied crew on board the ‘Fluorescent Lightingale’. 

This tale centres around the linguist aboard who goes by the name ofCalendula a talented young woman who uses all her senses. I particularly like how the author describes what she smells and hears upon boarding the ship. 

I really do not wish to say more otherwise the story may be spoiled, but I do know that I will be moving the main story up my reading list.

 

(Kam) Yes, I know the last review had a typing error but I didn’t think it was appropriate to change it. It’s their review, not mine. Plus, I don’t think the error undermines the love Rose had for the story.  😛 

 

 

 

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