Invictus

by Ryan Graudin

When you’re sick in the hospital and need a good book, you want one that’s going to take you far, far away from your bed and those four off-white walls. So a LOT was riding on Invictus. And it was… perfect. It’s everything you could possibly want in a novel; fun, time travel, paradoxes, the future, adorable red pandas, alternate reality, time pirates… the list just keeps on going. It’s a thrill ride you can’t put down, and I loved every second of it.

Summary33152795

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past. 

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

Musings

Time travel can be a whole mess for authors to tackle, and easily lead to plot holes or inconsistencies. But Invictus quickly lays down the rules and sticks to them, which makes for a killer story and an addicting read. Time travel done right leads to something un-put-down-able. If it did break any of its own rules, I didn’t notice, and was kept sucked into the story.

The plot also never gets dull or feels to drag out. Every few chapters, it’s as if the novel shifts completely: it throws every expectation or prediction you have on its head. The twists are so massive they completely alter the way you relate to the book itself, and that right there means there’s never a dull moment. If this were a TV show, they would have enough cliffhangers to have you on the edge of your seat all season long.

As for the characters, they’re lovable and fun. They’re bursting with personality, and they’re a tight little loving family, the kind that sort of warms your heart to see. Just wholesome perfection, with fun quips and snappy dialogue, along with great use of talents. It was also refreshing to skip over the will they, won’t they of Far and Priya, jumping straight into their comfortable relationship. Which means certain scenes all the more heartbreaking.

And to top it off, the descriptions are just killer. I love the future, which is just so dang hopeful, despite all the things that supposedly happened between now and then. I love the time-traveling historians, and their respect for history. And every travel back in time makes you feel as if you’re really there: the author has such a way with words you’re completely engrossed.

All in all, this is a fantastic read. If you need a novel to pick you up, you’ve got it right here. Not to mention, it’s a standalone – a fully self contained story that will have you hooked from start to finish, and thinking about it for ages after.

P.S. If you love red pandas, well, you’re in for a treat!

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Cassidy

A Spin-Off novel in the Color of Water and Sky Series
By Andrew Gates

I’m so excited for the release of another Andrew Gates book! As you might have seen if you follow this blog, I’m pretty hooked on the Color of Water and Sky series. It’s some of the best science fiction I have ever read: it’s complex, it’s dramatic, and it’s got twists so unexpected it will make your head spin. Cassidy is no different: in fact, it changes everything. [Mild Spoilers if you haven’t read Iris and Kholvaria].

Summary51ranl61ubl

The world thinks them dead. But they are very much alive. After a deadly attack from an unknown enemy, Captain Sara Gessetti and Lieutenant Damien Saljov are separated from the Cassidy X20 experimental submarine and left to drown in the depths of the Atlantic. Cut off from society, from technology, even from each other, both pilots struggle to survive in this harsh new world, where danger lurks around every corner. But they are not alone. The surface holds many dangers, and some of them come from within…

From the pages of The Color of Water and Sky, this official spinoff story takes place in parallel to books 1-3 in the series.

Musings

What’s so thrilling about Cassidy is that we finally get to see what has really happened to the characters we ‘lost’ in the prologues. Sara and Damien were at the helm of the submarine that started this whole mess, way back in the very beginning of Iris. And now, not only have they survived, but they’ve been sucked into the narrative as well. We follow Sara, and she struggles to stay alive on a mysterious floating farm, and Damien, as he becomes the ambassador of an entire species. Both suffer and struggle to survive in this unforgiving world, not knowing if the other has made it or not.

It’s truly exciting to see the events of Iris, Kholvaria, and the soon to be published Veznek, from an outside point of view. Sara, seeing and not understanding the death and devastation we witnessed on the Atlantic Station. Damien, experiencing firsthand the fallout of the missile launch Parnel triggered at the very end of Kholvria. Having these new points of view completely changes how we experience both losses.

And then… what happens next? Cassidy answers questions and raises new ones as well, making it an essential companion to the main series. It makes me even more excited for the events of Veznek! I really can’t wait to see where the author is taking the series, because he proves time and time again that I really cannot predict it at all.

If you’re looking to see what happens to your favorite characters from Iris and Kholvaria, you’re just going to have to wait until Veznek. But if you’re dying to know how Sara and Damien survived, and what the world is like away from team Iris? This is the book for you. I expands the universe Gates has created and leaves you dying for more!

Read it now! – Amazon

Alienation Blog Tour + Exclusive Excerpt

Readcommendations

Welcome to the Alienation BLOG HOP TOUR!

Please take your seat and strap yourself in, as we take you on an intergalactic tour. You will be amazed, entertained, and educated. Manoeuvre through the cosmos and be astounded at all you see. Hunt down the hidden words that will get you to your final destination where a one-of-a-kind award awaits one lucky traveller.

We’re here to celebrate the release of Alienation, book two of the humorous Sci-Fi series, Starstruck!

Alienation Large

Sally Webber’s dream is coming true: Zander is back and taking her out for a night on the town–on a planet hundreds of light years away from Earth. 

But when an accident separates her from her alien tour guide, she’s thrown into the seedy underbelly of an insane city where nothing is as it seems. Suddenly lost and desperate to get back home, Sally is willing to do anything to get out, even if it means accepting spontaneous marriage proposals, crashing some fancy parties, or joining what appears to be the space mob. 

All she wanted was some decent interstellar pizza, but now it might be the end of the world as evil nanobots and an out of control AI try to take the universe by force, and the only one who can stop them is missing in action. Sally has no choice but to try to stop them herself–if she can stay alive that long.

Pre-order your copy now!

Alienation is the fantastic sequel to the hit sci-fi comedy, Starstruck by S.E.Anderson.

Today’s word is: Undercity.

In the Dark


And now – the Exclusive Excerpt!

Da-Duhui.

This alien place now had a name: a word I could throw into my mind to classify everything I saw. To make sense of it. Da-Duhui. A city, light years away from my home.

Blayde decided this was the best time to close the window. Instantly, the air in the room shuddered and took a breath, as if a filter had been turned on. I breathed easier, relishing in the freshness.

She jumped down to the floor in a classy superhero landing, then looked up to check her handiwork. Five pairs of feet raced past the window, shouting muffled words.

“Are we… are we safe, here?” I asked.

Blayde shrugged. “Sure, so long as we don’t touch anything else.”

“And where are we?”

“Da-Duhui,” she said, cocking her head sideways. “Are you in shock? You realize we just had this conversation?”

“I got that bit,” I said, glancing around, “but what’s this place?”

“Museum? Art gallery? Could go either way,” said Blayde. “Try not to touch anything. There’s probably more alarms here than there were in that last place.”

“So, you have been here before?”

“M’yeah,” Blayde muttered. She pulled a tattered book from her inside pocket: her journal. She flipped through the pages, a look of intense concentration on her face. Her lips turned to form into a small frown. It was a look I was beginning to think was permanently baked into her features.

“I’m pretty sure we have,” said Zander, forcing concentration, as if that would help him stare back in time and bring up the memories locked in his mind. “I have no idea when, but recently enough that I recognize it. I know it was a good trip, though.”

“I’ve got two lines in the journal,” Blayde said, jamming her finger at the page as if to squash a bug. “Visited Da-Duhui. Avoid for a while. Don’t eat the pizza. And that’s it, so not much to go on.”

Zander rubbed his temples, squeezing his eyes shut.

“Hopefully some memory will surface,” he said, suddenly back to his usual cheerful self, “How long ago was it?”

“Before Ja’karon. Now, that was a good time. We should have taken Sally there.”

“You were almost eaten by a swamp-beast, and you tried to sell me into marriage with the earth king. Yeah, that was fun.”

“Don’t be so dramatic.” She grinned, slamming her journal shut. “He obviously liked you. And I didn’t get any complaints from you. Anyway, it was much more interesting than Da-Duhui, where the only thing I cared enough to write about is their bad food.”

“This place is plenty interesting,” said Zander, “and most of all, it’s safe. There’s no drama: just a good, classic alien city to show Sally. Harmless.”

Blayde let out a snort, making me wonder just how harmless this place was. If her idea of fun was narrowly avoiding death, I wanted to stay away from the places she gave five stars to on Yelp.

“We just escaped deadly fumes and a gun squad, Zander,” she said.

“But the upper levels are really nice.”

“If we can get Sally there in one piece, yes.”

“Which we will.”

“All this for dinner away from earth?” Blayde looked at me now, squinting in doubt. “You get much better food on her planet. I think. Honestly I wasn’t around long enough to check.”

“This isn’t about the food, Blayde!”

“Then again,” I said, “if you mentioned to stay away for a while, that’s probably for a reason, right? Should I ask…?”

“Ask all you want, but I don’t have an answer,” Blayde said as she stuffed her journal into the inside pocket of her red leather jacket. “You can’t expect me to remember everything. My mind has much more interesting things to focus on.”

“But it is safe, right?” I asked. My eyes glanced at the window the security guards had run past. Had they seen our faces? Would they come looking for us?

The siblings exchanged long looks. Blayde communicated with her eyebrows alone, raising and dropping them as she shifted through a wide range of expressions. Zander seemed to understand her, sort of; after a minute of watching her emote a variety of eyebrow poses, he let out a sigh and broke eye contact.

“As safe as it possibly could be,” he answered. “Crime rate is null on the higher levels. But you don’t have to worry about that: We’ll make sure nothing happens to you. I promise.”

“What Zander means to say,” Blayde interjected, “Is that this is a fun trip, and definitely not business. So, there’s nothing to worry about.”

“Remind me, what would a business trip for you two involve?” I asked. Blayde rolled her eyes. Typical. Well, I hadn’t known her all that long, certainly not enough to know what typical was. But it seemed typical enough.

“Let’s find something fun to do,” Zander said, rubbing his hands together with that smug grin on his face that meant something exciting was about to happen. The kind of grin that stretched too wide for his face. He looked like a kid in a candy store.

“First of all, let’s stop standing around this place, okay?” said Blayde, “it gives me the creeps.”

“Something gives you the creeps?” I asked, trotting after her as she walked towards the room’s only exit. “You? The immortal intergalactic space… what are you exactly? Travel blogger? A cop? An assassin?”

She shot me a glare. “I have a bad vibe, that’s all. Give me a break, will you?”

“Sorry, I just…”

Run run run run run!” shouted Zander, snapping my sentence in half, flashing past us in a whirl of black leather. His hand caught mine and tugged, and suddenly I was running after him, an alarm ringing in my ears.


 

Exciting, right? And only 10 days left until the release!

Follow this blog tour starting at your first stop UrbanHype101 and if you get lost in cyber space, come back to UrbanHype101 for the tour map.
There’s something new to read see or hear on each of these stops.

Don’t forget to hunt for that special word and if you find ALL of them, send them to scavengerhunt@bolidepublishing.com and you could win a signed copy of Alienation and a gift pack of unique swag. This contest is open internationally.

16h October Buried In Bookland

Starstruck and Alienation Add

No Vain Loss

By M.C. Frank
No Ordinary Star #3

I’m going to try to keep calm during this review, but it’s going to be tough: followers of this blog will recognize this series and remember how obsessed I am with it*. I am currently a massive ball of excitement. The series had set my expectations very high, and I’m happy to say it did not disappoint with No Vain Loss: It delivered beauty until the very end.

Summary29215280

A soldier is summoned to the North Pole, days before the year changes, told to fix the great Clock for a celebration. He has no idea what to do.
A girl, hunted for the crime of being born, almost dies out on the ice. She is rescued by the last polar bear left alive.
A library waits for them both, a library built over a span of a hundred years, forgotten in the basement of an ice shack.
The world hasn’t known hunger or sickness in hundreds of years. It has also forgotten love and beauty.
This is the One World.
The year is 2524.

In No Vain Loss, the world is on the brink of the greatest war humanity has ever known. Lives will be lost. New truths will be revealed.

Musings

When people say epic conclusions, they’ve never seen anything as epic as this. The book picks up the exact second No Plain Rebel stops, and from there the pace hits the accelerator 1000%.  We are at war, in the middle of a battle, good versus evil with confused soldiers trying to save the world. As a reader, you’re so grabbed into the book that even from the very start, it becomes impossible to put it down.

And, somehow, the author still manages to introduce massive twists to the story that make total sense and yet take you completely unawares. At about the halfway point, I gasped audibly, making the woman across from me in the metro glance up in shock.  I wanted to tell her everything, before realizing she would have no idea what I was talking about.

I’m so sad this series has come to an end. Not only was it a great read, but it was an amazing examination of what it means to be human. It’s made me see daily routine in a completely different way. Appreciate the moments I have with my friends, my pets, even with my food. The ending reads like poetry, and it’s so beautiful, and warm, it left me feeling full inside. No Vain Loss was the perfect finish.

The No Ordinary Star series has to be one of the most perfect series I have ever read, because it gave me everything I wanted out of my reading time. Character to adore, to root for, to ship, to watch grow. A plot that never felt contrived, always unpredictable and that makes you want more. And a lyrical style full of love for the human race.

This series made me feel hope. Love, loss, passion, excitement. I’m going to reread it often, and my friends need to know about it.

Do yourself a favor: read this series. You’ll love every second.

*So obsessed, in fact, that a quote about just how obsessed I am now is on the cover of the paperback edition of this book. 

 

No Ordinary Star

(No Ordinary Star #1)
by M.C. Frank

One of the best things about being a blogger is being a part of a ‘street team’. I had been seeing this book everywhere on Tumblr and Instagram, and the summary had me intrigued. So when the author asked if anyone was interested in reading, reviewing, and possibly joining their team, I saw it as a perfect opportunity to finally see what the hype was about. Oh gosh, I’m so glad I did!

Summary27419429

A soldier is summoned to the North Pole, days before the year changes, told to fix the great Clock for a celebration. He has no idea what to do. 
A girl, hunted for the crime of being born, almost dies out on the ice. She is rescued by the last polar bear left alive. 
A library waits for them both, a library built over a span of a hundred years, forgotten in the basement of an ice shack. 
The world hasn’t known hunger or sickness in hundreds of years. It has also forgotten love and beauty. 
The year is 2525. 

Inspired by the short stories of Ray Bradbury, this futuristic novel is set in a world where Christmas -among other things- is obsolete and a Clock is what keeps the fragile balance of peace. 

Written in three installments, this is the breathtaking and sensual story of how two unlikely people change the world, and each other, one book at a time. 

Musings

The year is 2525 (and yes, the song will get stuck in your head every time you read that number). The world is completely different to what we know now: men and women live apart, born from test tubes and raised on pills that stop them from feeling hunger, exhaustion, or even emotions. It is a world without love, or Christmas. Only one man is left from the old days: a clockmaker in the north pole.

When a soldier is called upon by the clockmaker, only to discover the man is his grandfather, who has recently been murdered, his world changes forever. And when a young woman, a felon, escaped her execution only to find herself at the north pole, she and the soldier must depend on each other for survival. It is together that they discover the clockmaker’s secret library, and together that they must discover what it means to be human.

The feel of this novel is so unique. It reminds me a little of “The Northern Lights”, but combined with “The Giver”, along with a strong foundation of dystopia. But it has something special to it that truly sets it apart from the massive sea of YA dystopians we have available. Some spark that makes it truly beautiful.

The characters are strong and relatable, despite their different world. Astra is one of those protagonists you just want to know more about. The author feeds us a trickle of information about her painful past, building the world Astra lives in and making us cringe at her torment. In many dystopians, women are reduced to their wombs, but here it’s even worse: they’re reduced to their eggs.

And yet, it reads like a love letter to humanity. A reminder of all things beautiful we need to cherish now. Like books, or like clockwork. Family and love. There’s a heartbreaking scene where the two read “The Steadfast Soldier” together, which stirred up emotions inside I didn’t expect: I didn’t think the novel would hit me so hard.

It’s a slow, silent beauty, like snow falling at night. It probably sounds incredibly odd for me to say this about a book, but hey, I’m as surprised as you are. If there’s one criticism is that it is too short: it really is “Part 1” and not “Book 1”, as we only get the worldbuilding and the beginning of character growth. I wonder if the author will release all three parts (when the third one comes out) as one book one day.

All in all, this series is going to quickly become my newest obsession!

A massive thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this book to review. She’s definitely got a new fan!

After Atlas

by Emma Newman

I was having quite a bad day when this book showed up on my doorstep, completely out of the blue, like a gift from the universe. I had never read Planetfall, but had heard great things about it, so you can imagine I was pretty stoked to get After Atlas, which is set in the same universe, but not exactly a sequel so I could actually jump right into it. Well, I dove. And the trip was insane.

Summary28361265

Govcorp detective Carlos Moreno was only a baby when Atlas left Earth to seek truth among the stars. But in that moment, the course of Carlos’s entire life changed. Atlas is what took his mother away; what made his father lose hope; what led Alejandro Casales, leader of the religious cult known as the Circle, to his door. And now, on the eve of the fortieth anniversary of Atlas’s departure, it’s got something to do why Casales was found dead in his hotel room—and why Carlos is the man in charge of the investigation.

To figure out who killed one of the most powerful men on Earth, Carlos is supposed to put aside his personal history. But the deeper he delves into the case, the more he realizes that escaping the past is not so easy. There’s more to Casales’s death than meets the eye, and something much more sinister to the legacy of Atlas than anyone realizes…

Carlos – or Carl, for short – is a detective for Norope’s ministry of Justice, serving out a fifty year contract before he can be free. Only a baby when Atlas took off with his mother, the media’s been on his back for years trying to get him to talk about how it feels to be abandoned like that. His past is murky, and filled in in small increments as he leads the investigation into the murder of Casales. He has a history with Alejandro: his father brought him into the Circle, the cult Alejandro leads, and Carl might be the only person to have ever gotten away. He’s determined to solve the murder.

There’s two aspects of this novel running in parallel: the story of Carlos, a detective solving a case, and the story of Earth, in shambles after Atlas left. This future earth is both a backdrop and a major player in the story, a complex society where everything is managed digitally, real food is a delicacy and actual privacy is worth all the money you have. Usually, when you have two narratives side by side, one is likely to overshadow the other, but here I was impressed that both were so compelling. I both had to know how the murder when down, and also wanted to stay longer in this word, exploring the complexities that Newman has conjured onto the page.

The ending, which ties in with Planetfall, was brilliant, but I am sure I would have enjoyed it even more if I had read Newman’s first book. I still enjoyed the novel as a separate piece, but now I’m desperate to read the first one so I can see the hints the author dropped along the way… while at the same time being completely crushed by the twists. So cruel!

I really have to thank Roc for sending me this book. It releases next week on Tuesday the 8th of November.