Book Review: The Athena Operation by Dalton Cortner

athenacover (3)Title: The Athena Operation
Author: Dalton Cortner
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

In a future where wars and poverty are quickly on the rise, the universe has hit its ultimate enemy: itself. Once known for their dedication and loyalty to the good of the universe, the seythra, a strong-willed alien race, have attacked and declared war on the rest of the universe. Now, throwing their immense numbers against the opposition of the Confederate Military, hope is dwindling. Trust between factions, races, and planets are weakening by the moment. What caused the seythra to rebel? Why can they no longer be reasoned with? And most importantly, can anyone stop them in time?

Seraph Aydrian, an infamous soldier one reprimand away from termination, must lead an army of soldiers, mercenaries, and civilians against the seythra assault and not only stop the chaos and destruction, but uncover the dark and sinister motives that are driving the murders.

The Athena Operation is a unique, spellbinding novel that is refreshing yet manages to stay true to the more classic tropes of science fiction. One of the highlights for me was that the story didn’t get too technical – one of the things I often find off-putting about science fiction is getting lost in technical explanations. Here, the story and plot flowed well, and I found any explanations were short and to the point, and easy to understand.

Seraph Aydrian, our main character, is tasked with leading an army of soldiers, mercenaries and civilians against the assault of the seythra – a race of strong-willed aliens that have declared war against the rest of the universe. Because of the large number of seythra and the fragility of trust between factions, races and planets, it will be the toughest battle of Seraph’s career.

I really enjoyed Seraph. He’s not perfect, in fact he has quite a few flaws, but I found him all the more enjoyable because of those flaws. The writing was fast-paced, and the plot held quite a few surprises.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science-fiction, and I look forward to the sequel.

Book Review: The X-Cure by Bruce Forciea

xcurefinalcover-600Title: The X-Cure
Author: Bruce Forciea
Genre: Medical Thriller / Science Fiction
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Dr. Alex Winter, a brilliant biomedical engineer, teams with Dr. Xiu Ling, a beautiful Chinese scientist, to discover a revolutionary cure for cancer. But Tando Pharmaceuticals, the world’s largest and richest drug producer, also has an interest in the cure, and when they discover that the treatment is flawed as recipients begin to die after four months, causing a media frenzy and a drop in Tando’s stock, they call upon their ‘Mercenary Soldiers of Medicine’ to maintain global domination.

In The X-Cure, Dr. Alex Winter, a brilliant biomedical engineer, has teamed up with Dr. Xiu Ling, a beautiful Chinese scientist, and together they’ve discovered a revolutionary cure for cancer. Although quite a technical topic, the author did a great job of explaining it in terms regular human beings, with no medical background, can understand as well. Alex and his team have to work in secret, to prevent their cure from being discovered by Tando Pharmaceuticals, a corporate giant, and the world’s largest and richest drug producer. Tando Pharmaceuticals are ruthless, and would stop at nothing to dominate the world drug market.

When it turns out the treatment is flawed as patients start dying after four months, Tando Pharmaceuticals enlist their ‘Mercenary Soldiers of Medicine’, putting the lives of Alex and his team in severe danger.

While the idea of a pharmaceutical company employing hit men might seem farfetched, it actually works under the circumstances set out in this book, and it’s not all that unbelievable once you start diving into the story.

This is a fast-paced, suspenseful thriller with just the right balance between story and characterization.

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Book Review: Awakening by D.B. West

Awakening CoverTitle: Awakening (The First Tale of The Trine)
Author: D.B. West
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.
 

America’s worst fears are realized when a hospital is the target of a suspected terrorist bombing. As our first responders descend on the area, a discovery is made that will change the course of human history. Three aliens emerge from the wreckage, and three humans are chosen as Earth’s champions. Will the bond they share be enough to save us all from destruction?

In Awakening, a hospital is the target of a suspected terrorist bombing. But as first responders get to the scene, they discover something that will change the course of human history. The terrorist bombing turns out to be something different, and the creatures emerging from the wreckage aren’t human: they’re aliens, dressed in blue-tinted armor, and with plans President Clark can only guess at. Three humans are chosen as Earth’s champions, and they alone can save humanity from destruction.

This book reads much like a scifi movie. The pacing is fast, and we tumble right into the action, right from the start, and from then on, race from every scene to the next until an epic climax. The characters are three-dimensional, especially the major players, but the book focuses more heavily on plot than on characterization, making it feel even more like you’re reading a movie.

Awakening had quite a few unexpected but welcome surprises, and a fluent writing style. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good, fast-paced scifi novel.

Book Review: A Family War by Stewart Hotston

30174284Title: A Family War
Author: Stewart Hotston
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Helena is one of the Oligarchs, genetically-enhanced, centuries old families who rule the world. As a new world war begins, she is ordered to find a boy who could save the human race from genocide. Yet all is not as it seems; Helena’s finds enemies on all sides, intent on bringing about the war with all its horrific consequences. To make matters worse, Helena’s own integral AI, accidentally freed from its constraints, challenges both her motives and her identity, yet she has no choice but to accept its treacherous aid if she is to have any hope of surviving those who need her dead.

In A Family War, a group of elites have found a way to enhance their genes by incorporating technology into their bodies, making them live for far longer, and making them far stronger than ordinary people. They’re called the Oligarchs, and they rule the world of business, and as such the world. The world has stumbled back into a class-system, with people who have had no enhancements belonging to the lowest class, and being responsible for labor. But when some of the Oligarchs decide these regular humans are no longer needed, and a new world war ensues.

Helena is one of the Oligarchs, but she’s keen on stopping the world war, and on preventing the genocide on the human race. She must find a boy who could save her family, humanity, and put an end to the war. Most of the book focuses on Helena’s journey, which is both a “real” journey and an emotional one. The Helena we meet at the start of the book is vastly different from the Helena we see toward the end.

I loved how the technology was explained – simple enough for readers to understand without having to break their heads over it. The writing was great too, and I really enjoyed reading this scifi novel.

Book Review: Genesis by Matt K. Turner

indexTitle: Genesis

Author: Matt K. Turner

Genre: Science Fiction / Thriller

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tech icon Aiden Markusson has it all—the lake house, the luxury car, the fastest growing company in Seattle, and the love of his life wearing his engagement ring. But his perfect life comes apart at the seams when he begins to experience blinding headaches, sensory distortions, and strange bursts of physical strength. His growing paranoia and need for answers lead him down a rabbit hole of bio-engineering and corporate conspiracy until he realizes he’s not losing him mind. It’s worse than that.
Genesis is a mind-bending thrill ride through the near future where Aiden’s hunt for the truth plunges him into a world of ruthless mercenaries, hacker enclaves, and the bleeding edge of body modification. Faced with the possibility he’s not even human, Aiden must learn to harness his newfound abilities in time to save the woman he loves, an entirely new form of life, and the future of the human race.
Film and television writer Matt K. Turner storms out of the gates with his debut sci-fi action thriller. Blending a mixture of heart-pounding action, psychological depth, and comedic wit, Genesis introduces a confident new voice that will grab science fiction fans and newcomers alike.

In Genesis, tech icon Aiden Markusson has the seemingly perfect life. He’s wealthy, he’s engaged to the love of his life, his company is growing extremely fast. But then, his perfect life starts to unravel when he begins to experience terrible headaches, that come with sensory distortions and strange bursts of strengths. As he grows more worried about what is going on, and who or what is behind it, he is plunged nito a world of mercenaries, body modification and bio-engineering, hackers, and conspiracies.

Facing the truth might be tougher than Aiden ever imagined, as he’s faced with the possibility that perhaps he isn’t entirely human. While strugglign with that, he also has to race against time to learn to control his newfound abilities, for the future of humanity depends on him.

I really liked the slow set up, where we’re introduced to Aiden and spend some time in his mind before the story really takes off. Genesis was very suspenseful, and after the first few slower chapters, I found myself engaged in the story, and I couldn’t stop reading. Despite focusing on some complicated matters, the book never trailed off into difficult scientific explanations (as I’ve found is often the case in scifi) and instead offers an enjoyable, suspenseful rollercoaster of a plot with realistic characters and a few very surprising twists.

Book Review: Trapped by Alison Aimes

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00009]Title: Trapped
Author: Alison Aimes
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance
Release Date: March 3rd 2016
Publisher: Indie Published
Print Length: 239 pages
Format: Paperback and Digital
Print ISBN: 978-0-996-4683-1-2
Digital ISBN: 978-0-9964683-0-5
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

HIS PLANET. HIS RULES… Trapped by Alison Aimes is an action-packed, sexy sci-fi that takes you to the brink of oblivion on a planet where only the strong survive. When Bella West crash lands on penal planet Dragath25, the only thing standing between her and a mass of brutal criminals is one of their own, a ruthless loner known only as 673. But what starts out as a desperate trade based on protection and raw lust soon blossoms into a scorching need that will push them both to the edge. A tale of unbridled desire, stunning sacrifice, and unwavering love, Trapped is the first book in The Condemned Series.

Cadet Bella West has one simple objective when she joins the scientific mission to Dragath25, the notorious penal planet housing Earth’s condemned. Earn the credits necessary to save her family from starvation. But when her shuttle crashes and the majority of her crew perish, her simple mission becomes complicated fast. Now, to stay alive she’ll have to depend on one of Dragath’s own. But such protection doesn’t come free.

Convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, 673 has become more beast than man after eight grueling years on an unforgiving, hazardous planet of dirt and rock—and even more treacherous inhabitants. He doesn’t look out for anyone but himself and he certainly never grows attached. So when the bold female offers him pleasure in return for protection, he takes the deal without hesitation. He never expects how her touch will alter him. Or the growing realization that saving her may be the key to his own salvation.

But as dangers mount and their ‘simple’ deal unravels will he prove to be her surprise savior or her ultimate downfall? Because caring for someone on Dragath25 may prove the greatest hazard of all.

When reading Trapped, I could barely believe it was the first book I read by this author. Alison Aimes has an unique imagination, and she manages to craft gritty, but believable, scifi worlds. In Trapped, Bella West crashes on Dragath25, a penal planet where a person’s life isn’t worth much. It’s a harsh world, where survival is the only thing that matters, and in order to survive, Bella has to make a deal with 673. He is ruthless, a criminal, but there’s another side to him too.

I liked Bella. She’s always taken care of others, and even on Dragath25, she’s still putting others’ needs in front of her own. She wouldn’t leave without her friends, for example, no matter how dire the situation ahead of them. Throughout the book, she went through quite the development, and the Bella at the end is a more mature and stronger version than the Bella we encountered at the start.

673 started out as rather unlikeable – he cared about no one but himself, or at least that’s what he liked to believe. But soon enough, he starts opening up to Bella, becoming more of the person he was before he was brought to Dragath25, and then he becomes more likeable, and by the end, I really felt for him. He’s actually a decent person once you strip away the layers of guilt he’s felt for all this time.

With excellent world building, great writing, and a lot of hot, sizzling chemistry between the main characters, I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys scifi romance.

Mini-Reviews: Freaks of Nature, She’s Not There, Dead Investigation

minireview

Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.

Freaks of Nature

Tite: Freaks of Nature

Author: Wendy Brotherlin

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

The global Ebola-X pandemic of 2022 lasted five months, two weeks, and six days before a cure could be found. In its wake, it left a generation of psionic freaks, who can turn a single thought into a weapon…or worse. Fifteen-year-old Devon McWilliams is one of those freaks, but Devon rates a big fat zero on the scale of cool psychic abilities. Days after escaping from his psionic detainment facility, the military intercepts him. Regaining consciousness, Devon finds himself restrained aboard a military airship headed toward certain death. Aboard this one-way flight to doom are six other psions. One of them, a telepath named Bai Lee Chen, claims to have the means to escape. All the others have to do is convince her that they’re worthy of freedom by allowing her to telepathically replay their memories. The last thing Devon wants to do is reveal his useless plant-talking prowess to this destroy-you-with-a-thought crew. To complicate matters further, he’s crushing hard on Alya, the group’s lovely healer. Devon knows he must keep his wits about him if he’s going to survive this wild ride. And that’s going to be a tricky thing to do around a telepath who seems to have a diabolical agenda all her own.

Review: A great YA superhero / scifi novel. Devon was my favorite of all the characters, and I loved his quirky sense of humor. The plot was unique and entertaining, and not predictable at all. I’d like to read another psion adventure soon, so I’m looking forward to the next book.

She’s Not There

Title: She’s Not There

Author: P.J. Parrish

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

They say it’s better to battle the devil you know. But what if you don’t recognize him before it’s too late?

She knows her name is Amelia, but after waking up in a hospital battered and bruised with just the clothes on her back, it’s all she knows. Unable to piece together her shattered memory, she’s haunted by a vision: menacing faces and voices implying her nightmare is far from over.

Relying only on her wits and her will to live, Amelia becomes a fugitive from a mysterious man, and a life she can’t even remember. But the past she’s fleeing has no intention of letting her go.

Review: Amelia doesn’t remember anything, after she wakes up in the hospital. She barely remembers her name. But she does recall being afraid of her husband. She goes on the run while Alex hires a PI to look for her. The good: Amelia’s amnesia added an additional angle to this book, and made the story more original. Amelia’s memory slowly returning and pieces of her past being exposed was the most intense part of this book for me. I had to change my opinion about the characters a couple of times. The bad: rushed ending, and some parts of the book were unbelievable.

Dead Investigation

Title: Dead Investigation

Author: Charlie Price

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal

Rating: 2,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Dead Investigation is a mesmerizing stand-alone companion to Charlie Price’s acclaimed debut mystery, Dead Connection.

Murray Kiefer—friend to the dead—is happy to be living in an old shed on the grounds of the local cemetery. It’s a better home than the one he ran away from. Yes, he’d rather no one knew he can communicate with those buried beneath the tombstones, but word got out last fall when he unearthed the solution to a fellow student’s murder. Now people think he’s some kind of freak show, or want to use his ability for their own ends, or don’t care that he might not want to get tangled up with another investigation. But there’s been a brutal killing—maybe more than one. And Murray can’t pretend he isn’t hearing strange things beyond the graveyard that may help police unravel the crime. Yet even he doesn’t know that getting involved will ensnare him and the two people he cares about most in a deadly scenario that could bury them all.

Review: The plot of speaking to the dead has been done over and over again, but not often as bad as here. Maybe it’s because I hadn’t read the first book (although I doubt it) but I had trouble connecting to the characters. All of them were bland and boring, and Pearl was just a drama queen. The dialogue made me cringe a few times, and didn’t seem appropriate for teens at all, it just wasn’t very realistic.

Book Review Corlex: Episode 1 – Titan and the Reaper by Jacob Ingalls & Ryan

51Bdjr2xaXLTitle: Corlex: Episode 1 – Titan and the Reaper

Author: Jacob Ingalls & Ryan

Genre: Sci-Fi

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

The sound of the Solar Trains cry above as he hunts for his bounty, today a half-cyborg pirate, tomorrow a nano-bot infused scoundrel.
He is one of the few of his kind, he chases the Solar System’s worst villians alone, only equipped with his wits, and the fastest draw in the Galaxy.

Corlex is a bounty hunter out on a mission when he stumbles upon a Reaper, an assassin of sorts. Out here, he’s the only one capable of stopping her. In this fast-paced, short read that’s ideal for when you have some limited spare time but not too much, we learn more about Corlex and about the Reaper he captured.

The world-building is off to a good start, as is the story. The world of Corlex seems intriguing enough, and I wanted to know more. The story picked up fast, and while it does offer some closure, it entices readers to grab the next installment and read on.

The characterization wasn’t always perfect though, but since this is the first episode and the reader needs to be introduced to the characters, that’s a forgiveable and minor flaw.

An enjoyable, fast read recommended to sci-fi fans.

Book Review: Regina Shen: Vigilance by Lance Elrick

25182782Title: Regina Shen: Vigilance
Author: Lance Elrick
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction / Dystopian
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Regina Shen is pursued by the notorious Department of Antiquities for her unique DNA. She jumps the Barrier Wall into the Federation to find her kidnapped sister. Stuck on a heavily-guarded closed university campus, she must use her wits to escape and rescue her sister without letting either of two rival Antiquities inspectors capture her.

I previously read and reviewed the first book in the series, Regina Shen: Resilience, and after reading it, I looked forward to starting the second book in the series. Regina Shen: Vigilance takes place two years after the events of the first book.

Mo-Mere believes Regina is ready to jump the Barrier Wall, and start looking for her sister. After two years of training, studying and honing her survival skills, now is the time for Regina and Colleen to be reunited and to find some answers. Except, well, what did you expect, things don’t go as planned. For Regina, she’ll have to remain vigilant and find out who she can trust and who she can’t – but the same counts for the other characters too. DeMarco is still after her, and will do whatever it takes to capture her. Regina’s quest to find her sister brings her to university, close to where they’re holding her sister – but will she able to find her and save her?

I thought this book was more thrilling even than the first, and I already enjoyed that one a lot. The ending was very surprising, and I actually had to re-read it; I hadn’t expected some of the plot twists.

I loved Regina in the first book, but I liked her even more in this one. She’s grown as a person, she’s more determined than ever, and she knows how to keep her head cool in dangerous situations.

The new characters were an excellent addition too, especially Ester. A solid sequel to the first book, and a great addition to the series. Can’t wait to read the final part.

Book Review: The Fall of the Midnight Scorpions

midnightScorpion-510Title: The Fall of the Midnight Scorpions

Author: Thea Landen

Genre: Sci-Fi Romance

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

A year has passed since Ro Bernard escaped from the Midnight Scorpions, a clandestine group of mercenaries that exists in the outside world as little more than myths and rumors. Though haunted by the reprehensible acts she committed and witnessed as a member of the organization, her primary focus is keeping a roof over her head and food on her plate. A chance encounter leads her to Karin Cassels, whose son died in the Scorpions’ underground laboratory. While sharing details about her son’s research, Ro reveals the most disturbing information she has on the group. Their leader, scientist Dane Zedek, has been integrating cybernetic parts with human soldiers in the hopes of building himself a lethal army that will help him achieve even greater political power.

The women hatch a plan to take down the Midnight Scorpions with two ultimate goals: kill Zedek, and rescue Callum, Ro’s lover who was the first of the scientist’s experimental hybrids. For additional assistance, Dr. Cassels directs Ro to Reggie Quinn, a drifter who is no stranger to odd jobs and risky situations. Reggie agrees to join the cause in exchange for a percentage of whatever they loot from the Scorpions’ base.

They embark on an adventure throughout three warring countries to assemble their team and gather the necessary materials for their schemes. Along the way, Ro tries to fight her growing attraction to Reggie, especially as reminders of her unhappy past keep resurfacing. Love and redemption wait for her at the end of her mission to defeat the Midnight Scorpions…assuming she makes it out alive.

 The Fall of the Midnight Scorpions shows sci-fi romance at its finest. Ro Bernard, a former member of the Midnight Scorpions, a band of mercenaries, is struggling to keep a roof over her head and some food in her belly. When she meets Karin Cassels, whose son died at the hands of the Scorpions. Ro and Karin come up with a plan to kill Dane Zedek, the leader of the Scorpions and a scientist of the insane variety, save Ro’s lover who has been turned into a hybrid thanks to aformentioned crazy scientist and take down the Scorpions once and for all.

Ro and Karin enlist the help of Reggie Quinn, who agrees to join in exchange for loot. Reggie’s morality is questionable at times but that doesn’t stop Ro from feeling attracted to him…

I don’t want to spoil the plot, so I’ll just say that it did held a few interesting surprises and that I genuinely enjoyed it. The author has a casual writing style and even though it’s science-fiction, there are no page-long descriptions or explanations of how things work. It’s quite fast-paced too. The characters were great, especially Ro. She was complex and had a lot of different emotions vying for attention in her mind; although she still loved Callum, she felt attracted to Reggie, and it complicated matters for her, but made it all the more interesting for the reader.

An enjoyable read from start to end, with engaging characters and an interesting plot mixed with sizzling romance.