Tag Archives: Adventure

A Review of Inevitable Ascension by V. K. McAllister

Inevitable Ascension

by V. K. McAllister

Inevitable Ascension is all over the place. I mean it never stops moving. Violina and Lux hop across time and run into trouble no matter where or when they are. The whole book has nearly a video game feel to it. You don’t have any idea what is coming up next, because you don’t know whether this time and place is going to exist or not. Much of the plot is based on the idea that time travel to the past may change the present, but maybe not, because maybe the present already reflects the fact that time travel had already happened, or is going to happen. Try to get your brain around that idea. I was intrigued by this premise. It kept me interested.

Is Inevitable Ascension great literature? No, but is a very different book, and fun to read. Will you like it? I don’t know, I did. Sometimes I got a bit confused, but I always found my way back. I enjoyed the concept and the action. The writing was a bit hit and miss, at times, but it worked for me. Overall, a unique and fun book. Kind of a YA, Steampunk, Fantasy, Time Travel, Action Adventure. If that sounds like your kind of book, then I think that you will like it.

I give Inevitable Ascension 4 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up!

I received a Digital Review Copy from the author.

Book Description

1Violina, a girl polarized by love and loathing, finds herself thrown into a post-apocalyptic world with mankind on the brink of extinction. Discovering the means to travel back in time, she sets out to save the world by preventing the events leading up to the apocalypse. But as her quest advances, she becomes increasingly disgusted by the evil inherent to humanity and seeks lethal justice against all who wrong her—a list that grows exponentially until it encompasses all of mankind.

What was it that gave people the right to live?  Was it simply being born?  No. Everyone is born to no credit of their own. It’s the choices people make that determine whether they deserve their lives, and by that standard, everyone Violina knew deserved to die — everyone except for Lux.

Book Details

File Size: 706 KB
Print Length: 236 pages
Publisher: KZA, LLC (September 12, 2015)
Publication Date: September 12, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B015AS2FTA
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
X-Ray: Not Enabled
Word Wise: Enabled
Lending: Enabled
Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Who is V. K. McAllister?

We’re a husband/wife duo with a unique approach to writing. We work simultaneously and in secret before combining what we come up with, resulting in dramatic and unexpected twists! Crazy? Yes, yes it is, but it’s surprisingly fun and effective. 🙂

A Review of Noise by Brett Garcia Rose

Noise

by Brett Garcia Rose

What is Noise? It is a story told from the point of view of a person who loves his sister. A sister who was with him in an orphanage in Nigeria. Lily is missing somewhere in New York City. Leon will do anything to find her. Oh, by the way Leon is deaf, but that won’t stop him. Leon and Lily spent many years on the streets, and Leon will kill anyone who gets in his way.

Mr. Rose writes with a scalpel rather than a pen. His prose is trimmed down and tight. He gets his story across with a concise style that works very well to tell Leon’s story. This allows the story to proceed quickly, and keeps the reader wanting more. You don’t get bogged down with unnecessary details. He still manages to fill out the major players so that they feel real. Just not a person that inhabits my reality. Anyway, I hope that they don’t. I don’t want to live in this New York City.

I give Noise 4 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! This was a very good first novel. Mr. Rose has something to say, and you may want to listen.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

noise book coverThe world is an ugly place, and I can tell you now, I fit in just fine.

Lily is the only person Leon ever loved. When she left a suicide note and disappeared into a murky lake ten years ago, she left him alone, drifting through a silent landscape.

Or did she?

A postcard in her handwriting pulls Leon to the winter-cold concrete heart of New York City. What he discovers unleashes a deadly rage that has no sound.

A grisly trail of clues leads to The Bear, the sadistic Russian crime lord who traffics in human flesh. The police—some corrupt, some merely compromised—are of little help. They don’t like Leon’s methods, or the mess he leaves in his wake.

Leon is deaf, but no sane person would ever call him disabled. He survived as a child on the merciless streets of Nigeria. He misses nothing. He feels no remorse. The only direction he’s ever known is forward.

He will not stop until he knows.

Where is Lily?

Book Details

Paperback: 236 pages
Publisher: Velocity Imprints (June 17, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0991549406
ISBN-13: 978-0991549405
Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces

About the Author

brett headshotBrett Garcia Rose is a writer, software entrepreneur, and former animal rights soldier and stutterer. He is the author of two books, Noise and Losing Found Things, and his work has been published in Sunday Newsday Magazine, The Barcelona Review, Opium, Rose and Thorn, The Battered Suitcase, Fiction Attic, Paraphilia and other literary magazines and anthologies. His short stories have won the Fiction Attic’s Short Memoir Award (Second Place), Opium’s Bookmark Competition, The Lascaux Prize for Short Fiction, and have been nominated for the Million Writer’s Award, Best of the Net and The Pushcart Prize. Rose travels extensively, but calls New York City home. To learn more, go to BrettGarciaRose.com, or connect with Brett on TwitterFacebook, and Goodreads.

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A Review of Alive by Scott Sigler

Alive (The Generations Trilogy #1)

by Scott Sigler

A young woman awakes suddenly. She is trapped. She can’t see anything. Her hands are held at her sides by some kind of straps. Her feet can’t move either. Something is trying to bite her neck. She must get free. She struggles and is able to break one hand free. She grabs the snake and then bites its head off. But she is still trapped. She has to escape. She doesn’t know why she is here. She doesn’t know who she is. She just knows that she needs to be free.

That’s how Alive begins. You are seeing the panic and horror through her eyes. You will discover who you are and where you are, but before you can figure anything out, you need to escape. You have many more puzzles to figure out. The story is one of discovery. Everything is unknown.

Scott Sigler is beginning a new Young Adult series. This is a well written firsthand account of M. Savage. She is the person you see, and the story unfolds from her point of view. You get to know her as she gets to know herself, since she has no idea who she is, where she is, or why she is there. There are more people, but they are as lost as she is. The story is their story of discovery.

I enjoyed this book. It’s a very quick read, partially because it’s a short book, but also because the book is very hard to put down. It is definitely the first book in a series, but since there is some plot resolution, I’m not labeling it a serial, even though you will be anticipating book two. I hope it comes out soon.

I give Alive 4 1/2 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! You should read Alive, if you want to get in on a new, exciting young adult series.

If you would like to listen to the FREE audiobook of Alive, it’s available at Scott Sigler’s blog. Click here Alive, episode 1. Scott is podcasting the whole book. A new episode is out each week! Scott Sigler podcasts all of his books for free!

I received a Digital Reader’s Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

Alive lFor fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Red Rising comes a gripping sci-fi adventure in which a group of teenagers wake up in a mysterious corridor with no knowledge of who they are or how they got trapped. Their only hope lies with an indomitable young woman who must lead them not only to answers but to survival.
 
“I open my eyes to darkness. Total darkness. I hear my own breathing, but nothing else. I lift my head . . . it thumps against something solid and unmoving. There is a board right in front of my face. No, not a board . . . a lid.”
 
A teenage girl awakens to find herself trapped in a coffin. She has no idea who she is, where she is, or how she got there. Fighting her way free brings little relief—she discovers only a room lined with caskets and a handful of equally mystified survivors. Beyond their room lies a corridor filled with bones and dust, but no people . . . and no answers.

She knows only one thing about herself—her name, M. Savage, which was engraved on the foot of her coffin—yet she finds herself in charge. She is not the biggest among them, or the boldest, but for some reason the others trust her. Now, if they’re to have any chance, she must get them to trust one another.

Whatever the truth is, she is determined to find it and confront it. If she has to lead, she will make sure they survive. Maybe there’s a way out, a rational explanation, and a fighting chance against the dangers to come. Or maybe a reality they cannot comprehend lies just beyond the next turn.

Book Details

Series: The Generations Trilogy (Book 1)
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (July 14, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553393103
ISBN-13: 978-0553393101
Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 1 pound

About the Author

ScottSiglerNew York Times best-selling novelist Scott Sigler is the author of the INFECTED trilogy (INFECTED, CONTAGIOUS and PANDEMIC), ANCESTOR and NOCTURNAL,  hardcover thrillers from Crown Publishing; and the co-founder of Empty Set Entertainment, which publishes his Galactic Football League series (THE ROOKIE, THE STARTER, THE ALL-PRO and THE MVP).

Before he was published, Scott built a large online following by giving away his self-recorded audiobooks as free, serialized podcasts. His loyal fans, who named themselves “Junkies,” have downloaded over eight million individual episodes of his stories and interact daily with Scott and each other in the social media space.

Scott reinvented book publishing when he released EARTHCORE as the world’s first “podcast-only” novel. Released in twenty weekly episodes, EARTHCORE harkened back to the days of serialized radio fiction. His innovative use of technology puts him at the forefront of modern-day publishing and has garnered brand-name exposure among hundreds of thousands of fiction fans and technology buffs.

He’s been covered in Time Magazine, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher’s Weekly, The Huffington Post, Business Week and Fangoria. He still records his own audiobooks and gives away every story – for free – to his Junkies at http://www.ScottSigler.com.

A Michigan native, Scott lives in San Francisco but still roots for his beloved Detroit Lions.

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Blog Tour: Gambit by C.L. Denault

About Gambit:

Gambit CoverIn Earth’s battle-ridden future, humans have evolved. Those with extraordinary skills rise to power and fame. Those without live in poverty.

Sixteen-year-old Willow Kent believed she was normal. But when a genetically-advanced military officer shows up in her village and questions her identity, long-buried secrets begin to emerge. With remarkable skills and a shocking genetic code the Core and its enemies will do anything to obtain, Willow suddenly finds the freedom she craves slipping through her fingers. Greed, corruption, and genetic tampering threaten every aspect of her existence as she’s thrust, unwilling, into the sophisticated culture of the elite Core city. To ensure peace, she must leave the past behind, marry a man she’s never met, and submit to the authority of a relentless officer with a hidden agenda of his own.

Her life has become a dangerous game. How much will she sacrifice in order to win?

Get Gambit in paperback or for your kindle today!

About the author:

cldenault_authorphotoC.L. Denault is a speculative fiction writer who loves dreaming up tales of adventure and intrigue. A former systems analyst, she gave up her nerdy code-writing skills to care for her family (including a son with special needs), and currently lives among the vast stretches of cornfields in Illinois.

Writing stories and posting on The INFJ Café are her biggest passions, along with drinking coffee and watching sci-fi. When she’s not hanging out with her husband and kids, she can usually be found at a library or tucked away in the shadowy corner of a hip coffeehouse. She’s also been glimpsed sneaking into her garage, late at night, to work on her time machine.

Her debut novel, Gambit, is the first in a Young Adult dystopian series.

Find out more at cldenault.com, twitter or facebook.

A Review of Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Golden Son

Book II of the Red Rising Trilogy
by Pierce Brown

Red Rising was one of my favorite books from 2014. I loved the premise and the characters. Too bad I read it last January and not last week; because when I started reading Golden Son, I was lost. The story just starts right from the end of book 1, without any review or little memory prompts that many authors give at the beginning of the second book in a trilogy. He doesn’t help you out, so the best thing to do would be to reread Red Rising before you start reading Golden Son. I wish I had. And obviously, it goes without saying that you can’t just start reading the trilogy in the middle with Golden Son.

A lot goes on in this middle book of the trilogy, but like most middle books, the main purpose is to get you from book 1 to book 3. There is a lot of action, many people die, ships are destroyed, and battles won and lost. There are unexpected plot twists, and some new ideas come to light. At the end of Golden Boy it feels like everything may fall to pieces, so the next book will have to have a lot in it to bring us back up. Next January I will have to read all three books , one after another.

I really like this series. Mr Brown brings this story from the foreseeable future to life. This isn’t a story of battling aliens for the future of earth, it’s a story of the struggle of man to break free of the bonds put on him by other men. The Golds and Reds are humans, along with the Pinks and Blues and Grays and all the other genetically modified humans in the story. The Golds are on the top of the heap, but can they remain there once the other colors awaken? We have to wait for book 3 to find out.

I give Golden Son 4 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! If I had just finished reading Red Rising, it may have gotten 4 1/2 or even 5 Stars, who knows.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

Golden Son 2With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown’s genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation. Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom.

As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within.

A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love—but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution—and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people.

He must live for more.

Book Details

Series: The Red Rising Trilogy
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (January 6, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345539818
ISBN-13: 978-0345539816
Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds

About The Author

Pierce BrownPierce Brown spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for his cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a manager of social media at a startup tech company, toiled as a peon on the Disney lot at ABC Studios, did his time as an NBC page, and gave sleep deprivation a new meaning during his stint as an aide on a U.S. Senate Campaign.

Now he lives in Los Angeles, where he scribbles tales of spaceships, wizards, ghouls, and most things old or bizarre.

http://www.redrisingbook.com
http://www.pierce-brown.com

The Book Description and Details are from Amazon. Golden Son

A Review of The Genome: A Novel by Sergei Lukyanenko

The Genome: A Novel

by Sergei Lukyanenko

I loved this book! When I first started reading it, I was blown away. I kept saying to my wife, “I love it.” The universe that Mr. Lukyanenko built was very believable. It was logical and convincing. He didn’t lay out pages upon pages of scientific facts to support his ideas. He just told the story and you believed it. When a novel is set in a future that is part of the story and doesn’t rely on extending technology and science, then it doesn’t become dated. This book was written in Russian in 1999, but feels like it was written this year.

What makes this book work so well is the convincing way that Mr. Lukyanenko introduces his initial two characters. You believe that master-pilot Alex Romanov really was injured and had just gotten out of the hospital. When he meets Kim and helps her, everything starts to gel. You understand what a spesh is. You learn how different types have different characteristics and abilities. How they become honed for a particular job. Then you just can’t wait to see where this story is going.

Mr. Lukyanenko then proceeds to flesh out your knowledge of his universe by introducing the other members of the crew. Alex gets a job as captain of a small starship and has to hire a crew. As he interviews candidates, you learn more about customs. The universe works.

The Genome was a fairly lengthy book, but felt much shorter. It starts out as a great, timeless sci-fi book, and along the way some philosophical questions come out. How can people be deprived of the ability to love, just to be a specialist, just to be able to perform their jobs. Is that right and necessary? You start thinking that maybe this is going to be a real thoughtful book.

And then, there is a murder on board the ship. One of the non-human passengers is killed and brutally butchered. This changes the story from a normal adventure story to a murder mystery. This is the only part of the book that is a bit of a stretch. This is where you have to suspend disbelieve and go along with the author and let him tell his story. It works, but does seem a little silly at times.

I am so impressed by this book. I don’t know who translated it, but they did a marvelous job. Even though you can get some idea that it was written in Russian, it works very well for an American reader, The sentence structure is natural, and never feels awkward.

I give The Genome 4 1/2 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up! It is nearly a 5, but some things just were just a little bit off. Don’t let that stop you though, it is a great science fiction book. No fantasy, Not dystopian. A rarity, a story to be embraced by all science fiction fans.

I received a digital review copy from NetGalley.com and the publisher, Open Road Media.

Book Description

The Genome by Sergei LukyanenkoA science fiction thriller by the author of Night Watch, the hit novel that inspired two major motion pictures

Five months after the horrific accident that left him near death and worried that he’d never fly again, master-pilot Alex Romanov lands a new job: captaining the sleek passenger vessel Mirror. Alex is a spesh—a human who has been genetically modified to perform particular tasks. As a captain and pilot, Alex has a genetic imperative to care for passengers and crew—no matter what the cost.

His first mission aboard Mirror is to ferry two representatives of the alien race Zzygou on a tour of human worlds. His task will not be an easy one, for aboard the craft are several speshes who have reason to hate the Others. Dark pasts, deadly secrets, and a stolen gel-crystal worth more than Alex’s entire ship combine to challenge him at every turn. And as the tension escalates, it becomes apparent that greater forces are at work to bring the captain’s world crashing down.

Book Details

Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (December 2, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1497643961
ISBN-13: 978-1497643963
Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 4.4 x 1.2 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

About the Author

Sergei Lukyanenko was born in Kazakhstan, then a republic of the Soviet Union. In 1985 he entered the Alma-Ata Medical University, where he began to write science fiction and publish his first books. Though Lukyanenko completed his medical course, he realized that he would never be a doctor. In 1997 he moved to Moscow, and since then has published prolifically. Many of his works have become bestsellers and have won science fiction awards. Night Watch and Day Watch were released as films in 2004 and 2006, respectively. Lukyanenko’s writing has been translated into more than twenty languages and continues to be hugely popular.

The Book Description and Details are from Amazon. The Genome

A Review of Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Afterworlds

by Scott Weterfeld

Afterworlds was such an interesting concept. It is the story of a high school senior, Darcy Patel, who writes a book in one month, gets an agent, and has a big-time contract by the time she graduates. She has until September to do rewrites and then start on the second book. She has a year to finish that. She decides to postpone college and use her huge advance to fund her move to New York City, where she feels that she will be in a literary atmosphere, and will therefore be “A Real Writer”.

This, by itself,  would be an interesting story, but Mr. Westerfeld adds another story. He lets you read Darcy’s novel. This book’s two stories are told in alternating chapters. One chapter of the novel, then one chapter about the novelist. Most of the time this works, but sometimes it feels a bit forced. If I hadn’t read and enjoyed some of Mr. Westerfeld’s earlier YA novels, I might have put Afterworlds aside, but since I really did need to read it, I pushed forward, past the spots that annoyed me, and finally the last third became more engaging. The book ends strong, so I came out thinking, “Yeah, that was really pretty good.” There were some flaws, but worth reading.

Since half of the book is about the life and the craft of a novelist, there is a lot of discussion centering around writing a YA novel. Most of the people in the Darcy side of the novel are part of the publishing industry. So budding writers will be drawn to this book. They will imagine that they, too, could write the next great YA novel and get a huge advance. I think that Mr. Westerfeld has found a way to grab the interest of quite a few teens that I know.

The novel half of the book is what keeps the tension up, so it had better be worth that huge advance. Well, it’s OK, but I don’t think that it would make it as a standalone book. The same could be said about the novelist portion. This book really only works when both parts are working together. I think that is why the middle third of the book is problematical, and why the start and finish work so well.

Afterworlds isn’t perfect, but if you know, going in, that you may struggle in the middle of it, maybe you will plow right though and not be discouraged and quit before the end. There are some parts that may not appeal to the parents of younger reader. There are quite a few F-Bombs thrown into the conversations, and then there is Darcy’s female love interest. Not big problems, but I think that parents should read the book first, then they can decide if it’s OK for their kids.

I give Afterworlds 4 Stars out of 5. It’s a YA book, it’s told from the point of view of a teen, who just graduated from high school, but it isn’t only for teens. Everyone can read and enjoy this book.

I received this book for free from edelweiss and the publisher, Simon Pulse, in return for an honest review.

 

Book Description

Afterworlds coverFrom the #1 New York Times bestselling author Scott Westerfeld comes a smart, thought-provoking novel-within-a-novel that you won’t be able to put down.

Darcy Patel has put college on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. With a contract in hand, she arrives in New York City with no apartment, no friends, and all the wrong clothes. But lucky for Darcy, she’s taken under the wings of other seasoned and fledgling writers who help her navigate the city and the world of writing and publishing. Over the course of a year, Darcy finishes her book, faces critique, and falls in love.

Woven into Darcy’s personal story is her novel, Afterworlds, a suspenseful thriller about a teen who slips into the “Afterworld” to survive a terrorist attack. The Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead, and where many unsolved—and terrifying—stories need to be reconciled. Like Darcy, Lizzie too falls in love…until a new threat resurfaces, and her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she cares about most.

 

Book Details

Hardcover: 608 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (September 23, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1481422340
ISBN-13: 978-1481422345
Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 1.7 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds

 

About the Author

Scott WesterfeldScott Westerfeld’s teen novels include the Uglies series, the Leviathan and Midnighters trilogies, and the so-called “NYC Trilogy”: So Yesterday, Peeps, and The Last Days. Scott was born in Texas, and alternates summers between Sydney, Australia, and New York City. His next book, Afterworlds, comes out September 23, 2014.

The Book Description and Details are from Amazon. Afterworlds

 

A Review of Barren Grounds: The Story of the Tragic Moffatt Canoe Trip by Fred “Skip” Pessl

Barren Grounds
by Fred “Skip” Pessl

Barren Grounds is a true story of a group of young men who, in 1955, came together to attempt to retrace an epic canoe trip in the wild country of northern Canada. Mr. Pessl wanted to clear the air, to correct some ideas that were previously published in A Death in the Barrens by George Grinnell .  Death on the Barrens GrinnellArt Moffatt, the leader of the expedition, and the author, Skip Pessl were friends, so when A Death in the Barrens portrayed the trip as poorly planned and executed, and doomed from the start, the author felt that he had to tell his and Art’s side of the story.

Mr. Pessl uses excerpts from his journal along with journal entries from Peter Franck to describe the 900 mile canoe trip from Northern Saskatchewan to Hudson Bay. He also includes excerpts from Art’s journal, and some notes from J. B. Tyrrell’s account of his 1893 journey over the same route, published in the Geographical Journal, November 1894.

This was an interesting book told through journal pages that were written during the trip. The major problem with this trip was that Mr. Moffat wanted to film this adventure for a  documentary movie, and asked Mr. Pessl to preserve it on 35mm film. This caused many delays. Nice weather was spent filming and therefore the time on the water was shortened. This, along with the kind of casual, ivy league college, attitude that this was a fun adventure and what could go wrong, This cavalier approach to the beginning of the trip led to tragic results as winter set in.

I liked this book, but wonder who the target audience is. I think that both books should be read together to get the complete picture of this trip. I have started to search for a copy of Death on the Barrens, and will see what Mr. Grinnell has to say.

I give Barren Grounds 4 Stars out of 5, and recommend it to anyone who is interested in outdoor adventures.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

 Book Description

Release Date: July 1, 2014

In 1955 Arthur Moffatt led an expedition consisting of young college students and recent graduates to the Inuit lands of Nunavut, Canada, to follow the path of the 1893 Tyrrell expedition and to film and photograph the group’s progress. The expedition, a 900-mile epic journey across the Barren Lands of Arctic Canada, has stirred controversy and criticism for over fifty years. The trip has been variously described as “the pioneering venture in modern recreational canoe travel” and as “an excellent example of how not to conduct a canoe trip.” Delays took their toll on the adventurers, exhausted by the seemingly endless paddling through unknown rivers and lakes, the trek across the windswept tundra, and torment by voracious insects. Threatened with diminishing food reserves and increasingly harsh weather, the members of the expedition were forced to travel with greater speed and less caution, and ultimately a fatal mistake was made. Two of the canoes capsized, dumping four men into the frigid waters. Moffatt, the leader, died of exposure. It took the survivors ten days of arduous travel with minimum food and equipment to reach the safety of the Hudson’s Bay Company post.

Barren Grounds features passages from the journals of two young Moffatt party members and excerpts about the 1893 expedition of Joseph Burr Tyrrell, along with entries from the journal of Art Moffatt himself.

Part cautionary tale, part nail-biting adventure, the book will appeal to outdoorsmen and armchair adventurers alike.

Product Details

Hardcover: 212 pages
Publisher: Dartmouth (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1611685338
ISBN-13: 978-1611685336
Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

About the Author

FRED “SKIP” PESSL, a Dartmouth graduate (’55) who was a member of the ill-fated Moffatt party, retired as a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. He lives with his wife, Molly, in Bellevue, Washington.

The book description is from Amazon.  Barren Grounds: The Story of the Tragic Moffatt Canoe Trip

A Review of The City By Dean Koontz

The City
By Dean Koontz

This is a wonderful book to read slowly and savor. You need to take your time and live inside of this story for a few days. You don’t want to have to read this book quickly, just to say that you have, to write a review, to stay on track, to complete your task. Because this book is a book to read slowly and enjoy, it isn’t going please some reviewers. They want a book that they can sit down with and read from front to back, finish in a certain number of hours, and then sit down, break the book apart, and write a review. If you do this, the story will never make it past the walls of your analytical mind. You will be hung up on the style, or wording, or something else that will prevent you from swimming in the life of Jonah Kirk. So slow down, put off that deadline and just enjoy one of the best narratives of the year.

Mr. Koontz has given us a magical story, a story of a young man who was only ten in the late sixties, but this story is told by the Jonah Kirk of today. This narrative style allows for a foretelling of the future, since Jonah knows what has already happened. But he only give glimpses, no spoilers. This is a very unique way of telling the story.

The characters are so believable and full of life, and the writing is so richly textured, that you feel like you become part of the story. That is why you need to take your time, and allow everything to ripen, to become full of flavor.

This story has everything that you can wish for in a novel. It has heroes and villains, a bit of magic, young love, music, great quotes and ideas that make you think about your life, and fabulous writing to tie it all together. Mr. Koontz has outdone himself.

I know that I’m going to reread this book many times. I am also going to listen to the audiobook. My Public Library doesn’t have The City as an audiobook yet, but I will request that they purchase a copy.

I give The City 5 Stars out of 5, and Two Big Thumbs Up! This is going to be one of the “Must Read” books of 2014. Put it on your list, you won’t be disappointed.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from NetGalley.com.

Book Description
Release date: July 1, 2014

#1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz is at the peak of his acclaimed powers with this major new novel.

The city changed my life and showed me that the world is deeply mysterious. I need to tell you about her and some terrible things and wonderful things and amazing things that happened . . . and how I am still haunted by them. Including one night when I died and woke and lived again.

Here is the riveting, soul-stirring story of Jonah Kirk, son of an exceptional singer, grandson of a formidable “piano man,” a musical prodigy beginning to explore his own gifts when he crosses a group of extremely dangerous people, with shattering consequences. Set in a more innocent time not so long ago, The City encompasses a lifetime but unfolds over three extraordinary, heart-racing years of tribulation and triumph, in which Jonah first grasps the electrifying power of music and art, of enduring friendship, of everyday heroes.

The unforgettable saga of a young man coming of age within a remarkable family, and a shimmering portrait of the world that shaped him, The City is a novel that speaks to everyone, a dazzling realization of the evergreen dreams we all share. Brilliantly illumined by magic dark and light, it’s a place where enchantment and malice entwine, courage and honor are found in the most unexpected quarters, and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart.

Product Details

Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Bantam (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345545931
ISBN-13: 978-0345545930
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.0 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds

About the Author

Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.

The book description is from Amazon.  The City

A Review of End of Days by Robert Gleason

End of Days (Paperback) by Robert GleasonEnd of Days (Paperback)
by Robert Gleason

This book is not an easy read. There are a lot of things that will make you want to quit. I was about a third of the way though and I was thinking, “What the heck is going on? Am I going to keep reading or should I just give up now?” Why did I feel this way? Let me tell you.

This is a thick, large size paperback, with small type. I needed real good light to be able to read it easily. The kindle version with adjustable font size would be a great option.

The action takes place all over the globe, and is told from many different characters points of view, and some of those characters aren’t even human. There is a large, intelligent rat, a computer in an orbiting space station, and a whole bunch of sentient nuclear devices, bombs, cruise missiles, etc. These bombs and missiles are talking and telling you what is going on. The computer is an advanced AI device, and won’t talk to anyone. And a talking rat! Well that really made me wonder about this book.

Many of the human characters don’t feel real at all. They are caricatures. Their mission is to tell Mr. Gleason’s story of the future. And they do, sometimes it’s more like a sermon or a documentary instead of a novel. Mr. Gleason wants to warn us about the impending Armageddon. He is using this piece of just-about-fiction to drum it into our thick skulls.

OK, so you don’t give up. You make it to the halfway point. Now the book begins to jell. You get used to the weird, non-human characters. You begin to get in the flow of the book, and then it’s OK. Once you make it over the hump you can start to enjoy reading End of Days. The rest of the book is an exciting, fairly straight forward apocalyptic novel. Like any good near-future science fiction novel, most of the science has a ring of truth to it. The nuclear destruction of the planet and most of the human race isn’t a pleasant idea to have to think about, but Mr. Gleason’s hypothesis seems to be based in fact.

Mr. Gleason is a very skilled writer. He can really craft a sentence. I really did like the way he wrote. But this book is more than just a novel. This is a platform to warn us, maybe to make us get involved, to do something so that this novel, End of Days, isn’t what our future holds for us, and our children and grandchildren.

Should you read this book? I don’t know. If you can put in the work, plow through the weird style, and then digest what Mr. Gleason is saying, you will get something out of it. Not an easy read, but it ended up being worth the work to me. I give End of Days 4 Stars out of 5, and a Thumbs Up.

I received a copy of this book for free from Forge Books.

 

Book Description
Release date: May 6, 2014

Lydia Lozen Magruder—the great-granddaughter of a female Apache war-shaman—has seen visions of the End since childhood. She has constructed a massive ranch-fortress in the American Southwest, stocked with everything necessary to rebuild civilization.

Now her visions are coming true. John Stone, once a baseball star and now a famous gonzo journalist, stumbled across a plan to blast humanity back to the Stone Age. Then he vanished. Lydia’s only hope of tracking him down lies with her stubborn, globe-trotting daughter Kate, Stone’s former lover.

Meanwhile, a Russian general obsessed with nuclear Armageddon has also disappeared…as have eight or more of his Russian subs, armed with nuclear-tipped missiles.
In Robert Gleason’s End of Days, the world is armed for self-destruction. Who will survive?

 

From the authors website http://robertgleasonbooks.com/
A small terrorist organization enlists its best and brightest to sneak into the nuclear storage facilities of the world’s great powers and smuggle out ample nuclear-bomb fuel for their mission. Then, the terrorists cobble together a crude nuke capable of wreaking staggering devastation, Hiroshima- or Nagasaki-style. Then, the terrorists nuke the great powers, framing other great powers for the crime. In retaliation, the great powers start nuking one another. In a flash, the small terrorist organization has orchestrated a global nuclear Armageddon.

Sounds like horror fiction? In fact, it’s an extremely plausible likelihood, according to noted editor, author, and the world’s foremost expert on nuclear terrorism, Robert Gleason. In his resoundingly acclaimed new novel, END OF DAYS (Forge Books; September 20, 2011; $24.99 Hardcover; ISBN: 978-0-7653-2992-9), Robert Gleason brings this horrific scenario masterfully, chillingly, and, above all, believably to life. Inspired by a prediction futurist Herman Kahn made 50 years ago, this gripping work of fiction is backed by Gleason’s rigorous research—nearly 30 years’ worth of probing the alarming lack of security at nuclear storage facilities in the U.S. and other countries; the shocking availability of nuclear bomb-fuel and bomb-building technology for sale, by governments and on the black market; and the ease of making crude but frighteningly effective nuclear bombs.

Gripping and harrowing, END OF DAYS weaves an intricate, action-packed plot around the very real possibility of nuclear apocalypse. It begins in Mecca with Kate Magruder, intrepid reporter. She has come to cover a revolutionary pilgrimage: Russian’s minister of defense, Vladimir Malokov, nicknamed “Mad Vlad” for his wild and ruthless antics, has abruptly converted to Islam. But Kate’s real reason for following the flock is much more complicated. Her former field partner and ex-lover, John Stone, MLB star turned maverick journalist, may also be in Mecca—hot on the trail of loose nukes. As Stone demonstrated in a disturbing video message, virtually anyone can stroll into any one of the Soviet Union’s many ill-secured nuclear storage facilities, scoop up handfuls of bomb-grade plutonium, and, with the help of a hunk of cannon (easily bought or, almost as easily, stolen), whip up a working model of the Hiroshima “gun-barrel bomb.” Apparently, a lot of potent nuclear material has gone missing and, if Stone’s hunches prove right, have fallen into the hands of Mad Vlad—or someone even more dangerous.

To add aggravation to Kate’s anxiety, her mother, Lydia Lozen (L.L.) Magruder, still a force to reckon with at age eighty-one, is increasingly tormented by her visions. The great-granddaughter of an Apache shaman, L.L. has seen glimpses of darkness since childhood. But now, her dreams of the End of Time come in horrific detail, with bombs that actually speak to her. From her private oasis and impenetrable fortress in the Sonoran Desert, L.L. masterfully runs her global media empire. Yet, as Kate begins to fear, her mother and her ex-lover share a sense of foreboding much too powerful and plausible not to be taken seriously. Kate also has unsettling inklings of her own about President Ali al-Haddad of Dar-al-Suhl, a small country near Turkey with a bellyful of oil. Studying his picture, taken on his recent goodwill visit to Moscow, Kate can’t shake the feeling that something about Ali and the two women photographed with him, identified as his sisters, seems…frightening. Driven by a huge cast of fully drawn characters, END OF DAYS is filled with hard facts about real-world nuclear security risks and vivid depictions of the probable fallout. Along the way, Gleason compels readers to consider:
Formidable nuclear weapons like the Black Stealth Crow, “a creature of inconceivable cunning, elusive as smoke, invisible as night,” designed to evade infrared detectors, change shade in a flash, and hide in plain sight;
The catastrophic impact of a nuclear terrorist strike on Beijing…or on New York City’s lower east side, decimating Wall Street;
Hellfire on earth—ignited by nuking the Yellowstone caldera, a gigantic, super-volcanic crater. Such a blast would wreak the unspeakable—a hurricane of blazing embers, a cyclone of infernal ashes, and mountains of debris—across most of the U.S. and southern Canada.

Packed with shocking twists and earth-shattering possibilities, END OF DAYS is, in the words of New York Times bestselling author Douglas Preston, “terrifying, outrageous, eerily prescient” and, to quote New York Times bestselling author Whitley Strieber, “unforgettable.” Grounded in meticulous research, END OF DAYS is also a chilling cautionary tale of what ultimately will happen if our current state of lax nuclear security and unchecked nuclear proliferation persists.

 

Product Details

Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Forge Books; Reprint edition (May 6, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765377160
ISBN-13: 978-0765377166
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds

 

About the Author

ROBERT GLEASON has dedicated nearly 30 years to researching the threat of nuclear terrorism and the possibility of nuclear annihilation. He was recently featured in the History Channel special “Prophets of Doom.” He has also had an extremely long and exceptionally successful career as an acquisitions editor in New York publishing. Stephen King, Robert Heinlein, Nancy Friday, Harold Robbins, Father Andrew Greeley, Joy Fielding, Margaret Truman, Jack Anderson, Whitley Strieber, Ed McBain, Ice-T, Reggie Jackson, and Former Secretaries of Defense Casper Weinberger and William Cohen are among the hundreds of notables and bestselling authors that Gleason has signed up and edited.

He has worked for Simon & Schuster-Pocket Books, Playboy Press and for the last 28 years at Tor/Forge Books, where he is executive editor. He has published more than a dozen novels on his own and coauthored several, most recently, Apocalypse 2012. In 1995 New York City named a day after Robert Gleason for the work he’d done for prison literacy—which included editing and publishing a sizable number of inmates and ex-offenders—and which has included speaking in many, many prisons. He had a starring role in the History Channel’s two-hour special, PROPHETS OF DOOM.
Robert Gleason was born in Michigan City, Indiana. He has an AB in English literature from Indiana University, a master’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin and he attended the Sorbonne, all of which were financed by seven hellish years in the Gary steel mills. He has worked in New York book publishing as an acquisitions editor pretty much forever. When he began, he says, he and his colleagues “chiseled books on the walls of caves.” He lives in New York City.

 

The book description is from Amazon.  End of Days (Paperback)