A Review of Power Surge: A Novel by Ben Bova

Power Surge: A Novel

by Ben Bova


I had high hopes for this book. It sounded really good, but it didn’t live up to its hype. The story was quite predictable, with only a couple of mild surprises. The characters felt generic. It seemed like I had met them all before, just “their names were changed to protect the innocent.” It isn’t that Power Surge was badly written, it’s just that it could have been so much more.

I give Power Surge 3 Stars out of 5. I really don’t recommend it, but other reviewers seem to have found something in it that I didn’t, so your experience may differ from mine.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

Book Description

Power Surge_coverSix-time Hugo winner Ben Bova brings us Power Surge, a gripping political thriller on the cutting-edge of science and technology

Dr. Jake Ross came to Washington, D.C., to make a difference. As the science advisor to a newly-elected freshman senator, Jake has crafted a comprehensive energy plan that employs innovative new technologies to make America the world’s leader in energy production while simultaneously boosting the economy and protecting the environment. The facts―and the science―are on Jake’s side, but his plan soon runs afoul of entrenched special interests, well-funded lobbies, cynical bureaucrats, pork-barrel politics, and one very powerful U.S. Senator.

To keep his plan alive and secure a sustainable future for America, Jake needs a crash course in the way Washington really works. Everyone keeps telling him that his plan has no hope of succeeding, but Jake is determined to prove them wrong even if it kills him . . . something that certain hostile parties may be all too happy to arrange.

Book Details

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (August 11, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765334976
ISBN-13: 978-0765334978
Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.4 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 1 pounds

About the Author

Ed Chappell
Ed Chappell

BEN BOVA is a six-time winner of the Hugo Award, a former editor of Analog, former editorial director of Omni, and a past president of both the National Space Society and the Science Fiction Writers of America. He is the author of more than a hundred works of science fiction and fact, including his most recent novel, Power Play. He lives in Florida.


FORGE BOOKS, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, is a New York-based publisher of hardcover and softcover books, founded in 1993 and committed (although not limited) to thrillers, mysteries, historical fiction and general fiction. Forge includes books by bestselling and critically acclaimed authors such as Douglas Preston, Eric Lustbader, W. Bruce Cameron and Ralph Peters. Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, is also the home of award-winning Tor Books, which annually publishes what is arguably the largest and most diverse line of science fiction and fantasy ever produced by a single English-language publisher.

A Review of Death Before Decaf by Caroline Fardig

Death Before Decaf (A Java Jive Mystery)

by Caroline Fardig


I had a good time reading this first book in a new series by Ms. Fardig. She knows how to tell a good story. She got me interested in what was going on right from the start. I immediately liked her main character, Juliet Langley. She is fun and fierce. She says that she has to break out the Redheaded She-Devil when she needs to get tough.

Pete Bennet is her longtime best friend and owner of the Java Jive, the coffeehouse in Nashville. She met Pete 10 years ago when she was a freshman in college. She needed a job, so she applied at Java Jive. Pete was behind the counter. His dad was the owner. They connected right away, as friends, never anything more, even though the urges may have been there. They kept it on a safe level all these years. Pete gave her the moniker of “The Redheaded She-Devil” when she found out that her college boyfriend, Danny Wright, had cheated on her with her roommate. She taught him a lesson!

I liked everything about Death Before Decaf. The characters are fun but believable. The mystery kept me guessing right up until the final chapter. And who doesn’t love a book based in a coffeehouse. I’m a nut for anything coffee related, and that is what drew me to the Java Jive seriesbut the quality of the writing kept me interested. I’m going to keep my eye out for the next book in this series, Mug Shot, scheduled for April 2016.

I give Death Before Decaf 4 1/2 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up! If you like fun, light, somewhat sexy mysteries that feel very today, then you will love this new series by Caroline Fardig.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the Publisher.

Book Description

Death Before Decaf by Caroline FardigPerfect for fans of Janet Evanovich and Diane Mott Davidson, Caroline Fardig’s captivating new mystery novel takes readers behind the counter of a seemingly run-of-the-mill coffeehouse . . . where murder is brewing.

After her music career crashes and burns spectacularly, Juliet Langley is forced to turn to the only other business she knows: food service. Unfortunately, bad luck strikes yet again when her two-timing fiancé robs her blind and runs off with her best waitress. Flushing what’s left of her beloved café down the toilet with her failed engagement, Juliet packs up and moves back to her college stomping grounds in Nashville to manage an old friend’s coffeehouse. At first glance, it seems as though nothing’s changed at Java Jive. What could possibly go wrong? Only that the place is hemorrhaging money, the staff is in open revolt, and Juliet finds one unlucky employee dead in the dumpster out back before her first day is even over.

The corpse just so happens to belong to the cook who’d locked horns with Juliet over the finer points of the health code. Unimpressed with her management style, the other disgruntled employees are only too eager to spill the beans about her fiery temper to the detective on the case. Add to the mix a hunky stranger who’s asking way too many questions, and suddenly Juliet finds herself in some very hot water. If she can’t simmer down and sleuth her way to the real killer, she’s going to get burned.

Book Details

File Size: 2866 KB
Print Length: 289 pages
Publisher: Alibi (November 17, 2015)
Publication Date: November 17, 2015
Sold by: Random House LLC
Language: English
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
X-Ray: Not Enabled
Word Wise: Enabled
Lending: Not Enabled
Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled

About the Author

Caroline FardigCaroline Fardig is the author of Death Before Decaf and the Lizzie Hart series. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.

A Review of Ghost Sniper: A World War II Thriller by David Healey

Ghost Sniper: A World War II Thriller

by David Healey


Ghost Sniper is a good World War II story. It starts on Omaha Beach during the “D-Day” invasion. The story is told without graphic details, no blood and guts. The actual facts seem to ring true, but I’m not a WWII expert. The characters are likable and authentic, even the German sniper.

The story is told from two Points of View. The German sniper, Kurt Von Stenger, is the Ghost Sniper. He is a professional soldier, and has taught sniper classes, so he is a formidable foe. His American counterpart, Micajah Cole, grew up around guns, and was the best shot in the entire 29th Division, but since the US Army didn’t have a sniper unit, he had an M1. He connected with a lieutenant during the fighting on the beach. He had a rifle with a scope. Cole used it to knock out a machine gun installation, so they weren’t killed that first day of the invasion of Normandy.

The rest of the book continues with the action in Normandy. It shows how difficult it was to gain any ground. It tells a story of how important snipers were to both sides during the conflict, and how the Allied Forces were sometimes dependent on the local resistance. It was an exciting story, and one that keep me interested. I don’t normally read WWII fiction, but I enjoyed this book.

I give Ghost Sniper 4 Stars out of 5, and a Thumbs Up! If you like military fiction, I’m sure that you will enjoy it.

I won a copy of this book from a contest run by the author.

Book Description

SCN_0006June 6, 1944. On the dawn of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, two snipers find themselves fighting a battle all their own. One is a backwoods hunter from the Appalachian Mountains in the American South, while the other is the dreaded German “Ghost Sniper” who earned his nickname on the Eastern Front. Locked in a deadly duel across the hedgerow country of France, the hunter matches wits and tactics against the marksman, both of them one bullet away from victory—or defeat—as Allied forces struggle to gain a foothold in Europe.

Book Details

Paperback: 298 pages
Publisher: Intracoastal Media (February 7, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615945902
ISBN-13: 978-0615945903
Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces

About the Author

David Healey’s 13 novels and nonfiction books have been published by Jove Books (Penguin Putnam), the Agatha Award-winning Bella Rosa Books, and The History Press. He worked for 21 years as a newspaper reporter and editor, and won awards in feature writing and editorial writing from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and Suburban Newspaper Association. He has written freelance articles for many newspapers and magazines, including The Washington TimesAmerican HistoryBlue & GrayRunning TimesChesapeake Bay MagazineOut & About, and Delmarva Quarterly. He is a member of the Eastern Shore Writers’ Association, where he edits the Words Between Bays blog to showcase writers and writing on the Delmarva Peninsula. He is also an author member of the International Thriller Writers and a contributing writer to the ITW’s The Big Thrillmagazine. He is a frequent speaker on regional history and writing topics. In 2011 he was recognized as a Chaney Visiting Scholar by St. Mary’s College of Maryland. A graduate of Washington College and the Stonecoast MFA program, he is now a fulltime professor of composition at Kaplan University.

Follow him on Facebook at http://facebook.com/david.healey.books and visit his website at http://davidhealeyauthor.com.

A Review of A Fistful of Clones by Seaton Kay-Smith

A Fistful of Clones

by Seaton Kay-Smith


When I read a book, I go out of my way not to have any preconceived notions about the story. Sure I will read the book’s description when it is first offered. How else would I know if I might possibly like to read it, but then I put the title in my calendar, and don’t read anything else about it until the date that I need to read it.

When I first started reading A Fistful of Clones, I didn’t really get it. Then it grew on me. I finally came to the conclusion that it felt like a movie. Kind of like one of the Coen Brothers films, think Fargo. The characters were all just a little off. Nothing was quite normal, but then once I got used to them, I started to see the humor in nearly everything that was happening. It was just absurd, but in a good way. I’m putting A Fistful of Clones back on my TBR list, maybe next May, because I want to read it again, but I don’t want to have it fresh in my mind. I think that it will even be better next time.

Now that I have read A Fistful of Clones, and I am preparing to review it, I discover that it started out as a screenplay. I can imagine that it would make a great film, if it was done right. It could be a real dog or a cult classic. The director would have to walk a fine line. He would have to keep his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, and allow the quirkiness of the characters to come out. It can’t be played straight. It really is a comedy, not a Sci-Fi flick about clones.

I give A Fistful of Clones 4 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up! If you are ready for a subtly funny book, filled with odd characters, in odder situations, written by a new Australian author, then A Fistful of Clones is the book for you.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

A Fistful of Clones“If anyone else were to kill them it would be murder, for Henry, it would be suicide.”

Henry Madison is an apathetic young man with little to no ambition. When he loses his job and his girlfriend in one day, he is destitute and signs up for paid medical testing. the doctor creates clones of Henry and when these clones escape and start causing havoc in Henry’s life, he is hired in secret by the strange doctor and trained to hunt the clones down one by one and kill them. Henry soon finds out, however, that personality isn’t genetic but made of the experiences you have, and as time progresses, his clones become less carbon copied than he was lead to believe, growing their own identities and challenging Henry’s perception of what it means to be Henry Madison and of what it is right and what is wrong.

Seaton explains the genesis of his novel: “I first wrote ‘A Fistful of Clones’ as a screenplay between 2010 and 2011 and received an honourable mention for it in the 2011 Sundance: Table Read My Screenplay Competition. Then, not knowing how to get the screenplay made into a film, I decided in the summer of 2013/2014 to turn it into a book. So while it only took a few months to write the actual novel, I actually did the ground work and worked out the plot and the characters over a much longer time period.”

Book Details

File Size: 727 KB
Print Length: 192 pages
Publisher: AUS Impulse (March 1, 2015)
Publication Date: March 1, 2015
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
Language: English
ASIN: B00S47T19C

About the Author

Seaton Kay-SmithPreviously a writer and performer on Australia’s ABC2’s The Roast,  29-year-old Seaton Kay-Smith has also written for Dan Ilic’s A Rational Fear and performed stand-up comedy one-man shows at Sydney Fringe (2012-2014), Adelaide Fringe (2013) and Sydney International Comedy Festival (2013-2015).

Seaton is currently head writer at Sydney film and design collective, Paper Moose, where he has written several award-winning short films and an online sketch comedy series called Nick and Seaton (https://www.youtube.com/user/Palaceof…).

Seaton’s one-act play Arctic Fevers was selected and performed as part of Theatre 451’s 2014 season in Melbourne. In 2014, he wrote, produced and performed in Lost Pilots, a comedy radio series on FBi Radio, Sydney (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/l… ).

In 2015 Seaton released his debut novel A Fistful of Clones*, an e-book through Harper Collins’ Impulse Imprint. Seaton now has a feature film in development with Beyond Productions. He still performs stand-up comedy mainly in Sydney but also in other cities.

* Seaton was a finalist for a feature film screenplay, also entitled “A Fistful of Clones”, for Sundance: Table Read My Screenplay in 2011 and this screenplay was the starting point for his novel.

A Review of Children of the Comet by Donald Moffitt

Children of the Comet

by Donald Moffitt


This is a very difficult book to review. There are two scientific concepts that are the basis for Children of the Comet. These brilliant ideas have the potential for a fantastic book.

  1. If a spaceship is traveling at a speed very close to the speed of light, time slows down for its passengers. The closer to the speed of light that you get, the more time compresses. So if you spend 50 or more years traveling at near light speed, billions of years will pass for the rest of the universe. Then when you turn around and head back to Earth at the same speeds, you may arrive back at Earth 7 billion years after you left. It is as if you were a time traveler.
  2. If a tree can be genetically modified so that it could live in a vacuum and also could use the icy material in a comet to furnish its water and minerals, then that tree could grow to be hundreds of miles tall. This could furnish wood for building in space. After many thousands or millions of years, these trees could become living worlds, with people and animals living in and on them.

I could imagine so many great epics that could be told using either of these ideas. Children of the Comet could have been one of those epic books, but the promise was only partially realized. The first half of the book, especially the portion that takes place on the tree is great. The second half is more of the typical sci-fi space opera. It wasn’t bad, just disappointing. I was so excited. I thought that this might really be great. Then it ended up just being average.

So I guess that I have to average it out. Great concepts, great story line and characters on the tree, average finish, makes for a 4 Star book. I still give Children of the Comet a Big Thumbs Up, because I love the ideas that Mr. Moffitt had. I just wish that the whole plot could have lived up to its potential.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

Children of the Comet - Donald MoffittIn the far future, on top of a gigantic tree rooted in the ice ball of a comet, a young man’s journey leads to unexpected encounters

In this brand-new cosmic adventure by the author of The Genesis Quest and The Jupiter Theft, Torris, son of the Facemaker, knows only his small community at the base of the great Tree on a comet with almost no gravity or atmosphere. Torris’s daily struggle for survival includes harvesting frozen air to keep breathing, dodging flutterbeasts, and hunting meatbeasts for food. When it comes time to make his vision quest to the top of the Tree, Torris is completely unprepared for what he finds: first, a thieving and hostile fellow quester; then, Ning, a female hunter from a neighboring tree-bearing comet, who has catapulted across empty space in search of food to save her family; and ultimately, alien visitors in a massive starship that has spent billions of years crossing the galaxy.

Shocked at the cultural differences between his home and Ning’s and stunned by the changes precipitated by the arrival of the spaceship, Torris must learn quickly, adapt even faster, and face an uncertain and rapidly changing future unlike anything he has ever imagined.

Book Details

Paperback: 332 pages
Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (October 13, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1497682940
ISBN-13: 978-1497682948
Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces

About the Author

moffittDonald Moffitt (1931-2014) was born in Boston. A former public relations executive, industrial filmmaker, and ghostwriter, he wrote fiction on and off for more than twenty years, often under one of many pen names. In 1977 he published his first full-length science fiction novel, The Jupiter Theft, under his own name.

Moffitt was a visionary novelist, praised for his scientific accuracy and his high-speed, high-tech stories. He lived in rural Maine with his wife, Ann, until his death in December 2014.



And the winners are…

Contest Winners for

Power Surge by Ben Bova

Power Surge_coverMy lovely wife, Norma Jean, drew the two winning entries tonight, and here they are!

Susan V. from NM

Rose W. from MI

I have sent your names and mailing address to Laura Etzkorn, a Publicity Assistant at Tor/Forge Books. Thank you Laura for letting me host this Giveaway.

#giveaway for #PowerSurge by #BillBova ends tonight!


Go to this page to enter!

The contest will end October 8th at 11PM EDT!

Giveaway for Two Copies of Power Surge by Ben Bova (US and Canada Only)

2 (maybe 3) chances to win! Contest ends 10/8

Power Surge_coverTOR/FORGE Books would like to invite you to enter a contest to win a copy of POWER SURGE, a new political thriller at the forefront of science and technology written by six-time Hugo Award-winning author Ben Bova. As the 2016 elections rapidly approach and the debate over sustainable energy continues to heat up, this new fiction presents an all-too-real political landscape that I think would really intrigue you. Booklist says “those with both a passion for climate science and the politics surrounding it will find POWER SURGE meticulously fashioned out of all their hopes and fears.”

I've read them, so that I can tell you about them.

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