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Eric Olafson: Midshipman by Vanessa Ravencroft

I first want to be honest with all that I was provided with an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) for my review. The review is unbiased and honest as a free copy does not get me to change my opinion or review style. I just wished to put that out first and foremost so all understand how I came about this book.

Eric Olafson: Midshipman by Vanessa Ravencroft is the book I have been referring to. The book is one in a series of books around the primary character Eric. The book will allow the reader to follow along as Eric starts his sophomore year at the Academy on Arsenal II. What awaits Eric and what will become his “gang” will be told within the pages of this very interesting book. I do want to make sure to point out this books setting is in outer space with Eric being a Midshipman in a Navy who’s ocean is the darkness of space.

The story will unfold as we find Eric traveling back to school as he looks to continue his education at the academy. It’s not easy to make sense of who Eric is but within the first few pages we find that he is quite a unique young man as he had made friends with one of the newest member of the Union, the Coven. He even at one point recollects meeting an admiral and discusses how in the past his confusion on whether to dress as a man or a woman.

The reader will also get an introduction into an often used tool within in writing, the interlude. I can see how some readers may get turned off but such a device, but these are well used within the book. They help to give insight into what is going on in the much larger landscape of the story. You will also get to learn so much more about Eric, and who he maybe even if unknown to himself.

The one point most important that I found within the opening chapters about Eric is a simple scene within a bar at Arsenal Gate. He stopped to get a drink and hope to find some directions on how to continue his trip on to Arsenal II. However, when a Midshipman walks into a bar often patronized by hard working men things can get heated. A simple misunderstanding turns into a near fight as Eric is required to defend himself. The whole thing shows that the young man is willing to try and avoid a fight, but if he must he will. The part that stuck with me was how he dressed down the security officers who came to his “rescue”. They did not follow the proper protocols and they ended up in more trouble than the man who tried to pick a fight with Eric. This showed me that he has a sense of fairness and will not just defend himself in a fight but in general.

The scene in the bar sets up behavior that will become a bit more common place for Eric as the story unfolds. We will find out some of stories behind him in his past as the book continues. You will find yourself wishing you had read the previous book just from what was revealed during the story of this book. The author Vanessa Ravencroft does a magnificent job in not just framing the story but the looks of the other species that are found within and outside of the Union. She will take the reader to worlds and species that may not come to the mind till they are introduced.

The book will eventually give us so much more when it comes to the story. One should not go into this book thinking it’s going to take place just within the training confines of the academy. Instead Eric will be on two very special ships of the Union fleet and even be temporarily given the role of one of these fine ships. The reader will eventually be introduced to the Olafson’s Gang which introduces some of the diverse aliens that are introduced within the pages. The one readers will surely come to sense is that there is something VERY BIG on the horizon that will involve Eric. The before mentioned interludes will introduce the reader to what may come and potentially even more on what makes Eric, well Eric.

Eric Olafson: Midshipman by Vanessa Ravencroft is a fantastic book. There are so many primary plots with minor plots woven within the story the book is hard to put down. You will also find yourself wrapped up within Eric’s life and I found myself wondering how I would handle some of the things thrust upon this character. One can honestly find plenty to like about this book as there are elements of drama, comedy, mystery and so much within the pages you do not need to be a fan of science fiction to love the book.

I want to take the last few lines to thank the great people at Inkitt for introducing me to this great book. I can honestly I am hooked and look forward to what may come within the pages of future books by Vanessa Ravencroft that tell the story of Eric Olafson. I must conclude that I did tell a fib as I am a bit biased as Eric is from a planet that is based in some Old Norse mythology. I myself have some Norwegian heritage so really looked forward to that part of Eric.

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Posted by on May 29, 2017 in Reviews

 

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Leaders A Twin-Bred Novel by Karen A Wyle

LeadersCommunication is something so much of us take for advantage. One must ask themselves how they would survive if suddenly they couldn’t reach that person they are used to communicating with on a daily basis. A great example is imagine how you would deal if suddenly all the cell phone towers stopped working. I can imagine there would be some panic as so many have gotten rid of their land phone lines. There would be no internet access to talk to someone either. There would probably be some major panic across the world if this happened.

I know this is something easy to grasp but image it one step further and mankind had people living on Mars. Communication has gone blank and neither planet can talk to each other. The thought of concern for those on each planet would be tremendous. Who would send a rescue mission first, Earth or Mars? It’s the type of problem we find the Twin-Bred of Tofarn having to deal with.

Leaders is the latest entry in author’s Karen A. Wyle’s Twin-Bred series of books. I will admit it did help me to have read the first two books in the series before this one. I say that not because Twin-Bred and Reach are great books but the great work Wyle uses in creating the characters and world that is used within the pages of all three books.

The Tofa are different then man and events from the previous book saw much of the twin-bred rocketing into space leaving their home world of Tofarn behind.  Only one of their number had stayed behind and he, and his offspring, are seen as outcasts among those around them. They get second glances from others and hear whispers behind their backs. Some would plot to end them or change how society thinks of them. There of course are others who feel the offspring, Lan-sol, is their future leader. Those that have left the planet are also reaching out to Lan-sol inviting him to come and join them.

This problem communication will suddenly stop between the two worlds. Those who blasted into space have landed on a planet they are calling new Landing. Mara, a scientist behind the twin-bred experiment went with her twin-bred and is trying to live a quiet life. As one can imagine, when things go wrong people look to their heroes to save them. Thus, the twin-bred on New Landing turn to Mara to help solve what has happened with communications. They must also decide if it’s really worth the trouble to try and talk to those back on Tofarn. They chose to leave and other than friends what is there back home to really worry about.

It actually is interesting how events on both planets in a way mirror what is happening on the other. There are of course different characters along with different motives, but the main thing is do we care what happened to the others. This is where author Karen A. Wyle’s talent shows through as she is able to blend the events and stories so well throughout the book. Her character development will leave you wanting to take crib notes to ensure you don’t miss a thing as you read the story.

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Red Desert – Back Home (Book 4) by Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli

Back HomeThe media has stories all the time about how humanity is racing to get to our big red neighbor, the planet Mars. There are government, and private industry, all working on what it would take to reach the red planet. There are also books and major motion pictures that have all shown the potential dangers of man going to Mars.

The book Red Desert – Back Home is the final chapter in the Red Desert set of books by author Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli. As readers of the previous books will know the main character Anna is back on Earth along with Hassan. Their ill-fated trip to Mars had led to a remarkable discovery that could almost be ripped from the headlines. There is water on the planet and in this case past readers have found there is more to that water.

The book will use a combination of o some flashbacks to steps into the future to tell a great tale. There are many characters that readers only saw through talks to Earth that will be tossed into the moment. They all will find a massive challenge as something did come back with Anna and Hassan and it is trouble and may be trouble for those in and outside of NASA.

The book is much like the other three in the series as there are many plots and twists. The characters stay true to much that has been learned through the series. There will also be some surprises in some of the earthbound characters that readers are getting their first big glimpse of. The book will not disappoint anyone who has stayed with the series to its conclusion.

The review could be longer but the fact is I want to make this as spoiler free as possible. Readers really should discover the end of this great saga on their own as it is a great read and an accumulation of a great story. It will capture the imagination and plays so well into the world’s appetite regarding Mars. To consider this series is from an independent author that has captured such a sense of the mystery speaks volumes about her. Author Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli has done an impeccable job and uses her background and love of science to create such a real world that the book will be hard to put down till it’s complete.

 

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2015 in Reviews

 

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Blade of the Destroyer by Andy Peloquin

Blade of the DestroyerThere are those that work on the fridges of society that want cash up front for a job they will do. They may not ask many questions but will do the job and see it through the end no matter the cost involved. There are also those that you may see as the scum of the Earth due to their brutality, yet they use some of their payment to help others.  The kindness may not out weight the darkness but at least they are “trying” to help others less fortunate.

Blade of the Destroyer will introduce the reader to just such a character, the Hunter. The city of Voramis knows his name to well and those with enough sense fear the hunter. Those with enough coin can hire the man and know that he will complete his assignment.  They know not to try and trick the man as he will come for them next if they fail to pay. At the same time this dark and deadly man cares for those he calls friends much like a dark Robin Hood.

The Hunter tracks his targets through the help of a magical blade. The blade feeds thoughts to the Hunter and seems to have an unending thirst for blood. If a person is killed with that blade their soul is taken to a place far worse than any hell. The Hunter uses a specific method to get the blade onto the scent of the target and travels across Voramis to find and kill the target on how the contract may wish. In any case the worst thing any man, or woman, can do is become the target of the Hunter.

There are those that live within some of his safe houses that do benefit from the coin he earns. He will help the wretches of society by putting a roof over there home, and even provide bandages. They do not live like kings, but at least better than those on the streets through his bit of kindness. They may not know who he truly is but he does call them friends and his coin helps protect them. –

There however is one major flaw in how the man takes on an assignment. He does not ask questions and one such very rich assignment will lead him to the point of a deep despair. He will find that he has stepped into a well built trap that will lead to danger for himself, his friends and potentially all of Voramis.

Blade of the Destroyer is written by author Andy Peloquin and takes the reader into a well built world.  Peloquin builds a world with a great mythology that will come apparent within the pages of the book. The Hunter will even find out more about who he is within the book and will face even more choices before the book ends. There is darkness and death within the pages but the well developed characters shine through.

Blade of the Destroyer is one of those books that when you start reading you may struggle to put down. The way in which the book is written takes the anti-hero, the Hunter, to a point that you will hope for him to win. You will shudder at first at his lethality but by the end of the book you want him to win. This is something that many authors do struggle with and Peloquin does masterfully.  The book is certainly a great read of those who enjoy a fantasy world, but at the same time just those who love a great story.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2015 in Reviews

 

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Red Desert – Invisible Enemy by author Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli

Invisible EnemyThe last time a reader had seen Anna Persson she had just made a shocking discovery on Mars. She had found the original mission site and what she found inside would make her forget all of the problems she was having back in her habitat. The deaths, a potential murder, and a potential dangerous crew mate where all gone at that moment. However, one discovery cannot change everything as she will find out in this book.

Red Desert – Invisible Enemy, is the third entry in author Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli’s Red Desert series. The book will continue the tail of Anna and Hussan on Mars and reconnect the reader with Mission Control and Anna’s fiancé Jan. A connection that will be part of this series as intrigue will spill from the red planet back to those on Earth.

The book opens with those left in Alpha fighting among each other. Robert is attacking Hassan and he has no recourse but to strike back. The actions of the two men are brutal as Robert seems almost possessed by some unseen force. He blames Hassan for Anna leaving and the laboratory is Robert’s newest target for destruction and it is hear the two men will have a potential final battle. The outcome will not be shared for some time in the book but so much will happen between that point and the story.

This third installment will tell the reader what Anna has found on the planet is not just a living virus but more life. The life she finds will save her from certain death and shock those back on Earth into agreeing to launch a new mission to Mars. One would think that after all the calamity that has been happening with this second, cursed, mission they would not but things change.

Author Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli does it again as she inter winds high drama on Mars with drama back on Earth. Jan will accidentally uncover a dark secret that will shake him to his core. He is so shaken he is willing to make a deal with a reporter and tell this woman all what is happening on Mars. This is just some of the intrigue happening on Earth as Mission Control must deal with all the data they are getting from Mars.

The book is aptly titled with Invisible Enemy as you never know where the danger will come from. It can be from your fellow humans to the minds of those around you. Their thoughts could be hiding an evil intent or even something more serious can be behind everything. The book will take the reader into a great tale that will leave all wanting more and nervous on what could eventually happen on both planets.

If this review isn’t enough to get you interested check out the books trailer.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2015 in Reviews

 

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Dear Dad by John Hazen

Dear DadA child’s life is impacted not just by the mother, but by a strong father figure as well. It’s often up to the father, dad, to be the bad guy. He’s the one responsible to put down the rules, hold the kids accountable, and do all he can to raise good kids. He won’t always look for recognition as a child grows up and isn’t bothered when he sees his child say, “Hi Mom”, on TV. A dad sees that as a reward, that he did his job right and raised a smart, respectful, and great kid.

It’s a main reason the book, Dear Dad by author John Hazen, caught my attention. The book’s description makes it seem like a great science fiction tale as there is time travel. The book also has elements of general fiction in the way the book was written. Dear Dad to me was more than both of those aspects. This to me was a book that really told the importance of a father and son bond that would traverse the boys life, and time.

The book starts with a very ominous letter with John Foster writing to his father that he had a “close one” and almost died. The letter is from 1969 and as you turn the page you find yourself back in time when John’s dad is telling a story. John’s father is a decorated World War II soldier who survived the battle of the bulge and as the book opens we read that story. We learn how his dad was able to take out a machine gun crew saving the lives of others.

The book takes the reader into what I considered a normal boys life as he grew up to become a man. We read on how John grows up with his family in a very small town of Fairbrook, Massachusetts, and attends the local schools. As normally happens a young boy makes a group of great friends and by the time high school comes along often that group begins to break up. This is often due to the social aspects of maturing and in John’s case it was just normal life.

The period of the book, however, is during the turbulent late 1960’s and John is quickly about to turn 18. His dad wants him to run to Canada to dodge the war, as this is not like World War II. Vietnam is sending boys off to a war they don’t know what they are fighting for. It’s brave of Hazen to show this side of John’s dad as even today Vietnam is a tough subject for many. We read what his old friends do to get deferments from fighting, to enlisting, or maybe another branch. John, however, isn’t as lucky as his luck just isn’t there and he eventually gets called to duty.

It’s thus when John gets to Vietnam we get to see the good and the bad of the military during the conflict. The story takes us into John’s eyes as he witnesses the injustice of Vietnam along with race problems that where still strong in the armed forces. However, dark that period in John’s life may be he does makes friends, witness’s horror a horrific act. This act will haunt John’s soul as he thinks what he could have done differently, what if he had tried to help instead of turning his back. It is while he is in Vietnam that an artillery burst sends him flying through the air, and seemingly back in time.

John will find himself embroiled in a long fought war in American History. He will find himself meeting General Grant just before one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The battle is that of Shiloh, which will leave scars not just on the land but on the men who fought there. John will be part of that battle in a unique way and a chance to correct a mistake will come and will be up to him to repeat the past or make things right.

Dear Dad by John Hazen has it’s stories, and the timelines, are tied together by John’s never-ending quest to write to his father. Chapters will open with letters home, or letters from his father. Of course no letters will exchange during the Civil War but John keeps writing. This bond, even through time, is what makes the book so strong. It brings an element of a father and son relationship as the tying factor no matter the time frame. The story has aspects of even unrequited love, but it’s that bond that makes the book so great. This shows that author John Hazen planned this book well as no matter the time frame the characters are strong and believable. Oh and John seems to have “some luck” no matter how old he is.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Reviews

 

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Kin Ship by Author D.K. Snape

Kin ShipChildren of military parents are used to being taken out of school, the life and friends they have to move to their parent’s next base. It is something that becomes a reality for those children and can lead to new and exciting events for the children. In some cases they struggle to make new friends, and make connections but if strong they will be fine.

The question is what if you are not in the military and suddenly some strangers show up at school. Your father has sent them and you are to leave with this people immediately. They look human but do not quite act human, and the bag they use to pack your belongings in holds everything you have at school. The bag is then taken and folded up that it will fit in a pocket.

This may seem strange enough but things get a bit more unbelievable in the book Kin Ship, which is book one in series. A science fiction book written by author D.K. Snape and will bring something new to Aliens and how Earth was initially inhabited. The book has been published by Sirens Call Publications.

Kin Ship will take the reader into Marnie’s life as she is pulled out of school. We learn that the Earth has been on a planet wide alert for years as a strange event happened on the moon. The moon suddenly developed a “moustache” of sorts as something laid itself across the service. There is of course hints of panic, questions, Earth governments trying to posture to find what is that thing. This is something Marnie will find out largely due to the decisions her father makes that impacts his whole family.

As you read you will discover a very plausible theory on how the Earth found humans to be on the planet. There is a gene found within many individuals, like Marnie’s father, that make them candidates to travel the stars. The will find out that they are not the only ones and a large group of families from many types of lifestyles. These people will need to work together on their new journey and will have to form a community.

Author D.K. Snape does a great job of telling the story from the 15yr old Marnie’s mind. We read and learn to understand what has brought all these people together. There are of course aliens and the reason for the moustache on the moon will become known and discover it is called a Beigorri.

Kin Ship is a great read in the science fiction genre and does a great job of introducing new things into the genre. The aliens, their technology and mode of travel are unique and not something I personally have read before. The description of the special gene that makes some members of humanity special is also well defined. The book is part one of a series, so in hopes there will be more Marnie, her family and the aliens (the Euskadaz).

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Reviews

 

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