Book Review: Refraction by Terry Geo

Title: Refraction
Author: Terry Geo
Genre: Science-Fiction / Fantasy
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Most stories start at the beginning; this one begins at the end. At least for Maria. Her sudden death sends shockwaves through her family and pushes her grieving mother to the very brink of insanity. After exhausting every avenue conventional medicine has to offer, Maria’s father, Henry, brings together the world’s greatest minds in the hope of carving out a new path. Months pass, and as Henry watches his beloved Elena slowly drift away, he begins to lose faith. It is only then that a solution presents itself. A discovery so momentous, it saves Elena and reveals the most important scientific and technological breakthrough in modern history.

Silicate is founded; a privately funded facility which delves deeper into the human mind, able to discover answers to questions we are yet to ask. Securing Silicate’s secrets becomes of utmost importance; even after treating hundreds of patients, the public are still unaware of the wonders and terrifying reality Silicate has unearthed . . .

The world you know is only half the story.

Refraction was not at all what I expected. In ways, it went beyond what I had expected, diving into unconventional, unexpected territory, while at the same time dealing with issues that are known to all of us. A family, dealing with the loss of a loved one, for example, is something all of us unfortunately have to deal with at some point in their lives (however, in this story, it’s the worst sorrow of all, that of parents losing a child). Trying to find a way to reach out to those we love, even after death, is something all of us have probably longed for at some point or another as well, and this book deals with exactly that, with grief, with trying to move on, with trying to save the people we love. And it’s by going on this quest, venturing into this unknown territory of the human mind, that miraculous wonders and terrifying truths are uncovered.

The book is quite long (it was 700+ pages in the PDF I read), but it reads lightning-fast, and once you start reading, it’s hard to put down. For a debut novel, it’s especially surprising that the author manages to craft such an original, well-researched story, while keeping up the fast pace and still being able to introduce the reader to myriad characters that each bring their own uniqueness to the table.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the book had quite a few twists in the storyline that I didn’t see coming, and this doesn’t happen very often!
I’m definitely interested to read more works by this author in the future.

Book Review: Psy’s Last Mission by Jacob Steinberg

Title: Psy’s Last Mission
Author: Jacob Steinberg
Genre: Science-Fiction
Rating: 3 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Our planet was hit. Our planet was destroyed. We are now searching for a new planet

Julia is the Naval Officer of Space City, a spacecraft colony inhabited by 5 million people. The spacecraft was on a 2,000-year journey to a viable planet but was hit by an asteroid and destroyed a few decades before reaching its objective.

It is Julia’s task to find a new planet for the people of Space City. She and her team find an unknown planet but before being able to observe it, they are caught in its atmosphere and forced to land.

Once on it, Julia decides to inspect it and goes on a tour of the planet, leaving her team behind.

She finds the source of the planet’s energy which leads her to inspecting the plants’ secrets, which will change everything she thought she knew.

In Psy’s Last Mission, Julia is the naval officer of Space City, a spacecraft colony inhabited by five million. Julia is tasked to find a new plane for the people of Space City, and when on the lookout to investigate a new planet, they’re caught up in the planet’s atmosphere and are forced to land. Once on the planet, Julia decides to inspect it while leaving her team behind, and as she tries to find the source of the planet’s energy, she’s in for more than she bargained for.

I wanted to like this book, but I couldn’t like it as much as I had hoped I would. Some ideas were great, but the execution was lacking. Some chapters were very well-written, others were bland. The editing could also be better overall, and this brought down the reading experience a lot. Some parts of the book were over-the-top and even made me roll my eyes. Overall, though, it had a solid story and some fun surprises.

Book Review: In The Wrong Hands by Avi Domoshevizki

Title: In The Wrong Hands
Author: Avi Domoshevizki
Genre: Technothriller / Crime / Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

In the Wrong Hands, a thriller full of unexpected twists and intriguing characters, delves into the real-life world of DNA editing, where science and science fiction are about to meet and change the face of medicine forever

Two unrelated bodies…

A homeland security agent is found dead. Shocking evidence reveals the cause of death is the simultaneous collapse of the man’s blood vessels. When a second body, sharing the same gruesome symptoms is found the hunt is on for a frightening new kind of killer.

Two friends fighting for their lives…

A vicious assault on his leading genetics researcher puts Dr. Ronni Saar, the CEO of Double N, and his friend Gadi, a former military police investigator, on the trail of a sophisticated killer. The deeper Gadi digs, and the more he learns, the more dangerous the terrain becomes. When the search for the truth puts the two men and their wives directly in the path of the killer, they learn a painful truth – no one is beyond suspicion.

And then the killer knocks on their door…

After a long year of research, the author, an experienced high-tech entrepreneur, paints a realistic and sometimes frightening picture of where the science of DNA manipulation can go when left in the wrong hands. Science or science fiction? You decide.

When a body is found with as cause of death the simultaneous collapse of the man’s blood vessels, that’s shocking. When a second body is found, with the exact same cause of death, that’s enough to cause panic. A new, highly sophisticated killer is on the loose…

Ronni Saar, CEO of Double N, a genetic research organization, and Gadi, former military police investigator, are the two men perhaps most-equipped to catch the killer. But the search for the truth could lead them right to the killer’s doorstep, putting their own lives, and the lives of their family, at risk.

Despite containing a lot of technical and medical information, this was explained in an easy, straightforward way that made it easy to understand. Despite the fast-paced plot, it’s the characters, intriguing, three-dimensional, complex, that carry the story.

Science and science fiction collide in this mind-bending thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.


Book Review The Matriarch Matrix

Title: The Matriarch Matrix
Author: Maxime Trencavel
Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

The Matriarch Matrix – A speculative fiction novel of origins, faith, passion, and the pursuit of peace.

It was always his destiny to save her. It was always her destiny to die. The fate of the world hangs on their choices… 

The past foretells her future…

What does it take to change a loving child of peace into an assassin for a dangerous and powerful oligarch? Zara Khatum knows. Once a fighter for her Kurdish people, the memory of the atrocities inflicted by her captors has Zara seeking one thing: vengeance. But the voices of the ancients call to Zara. In the past, in another life, she knew the secrets of the artifact…

Twelve thousand years ago…

She is Nanshe, revered matriarch of the family she led away from the monsters of the north. In the land that would one day mark the treacherous border between Turkey and Syria, she created the temples at Gobleki Tepe and founded a dynasty, heirs to a powerful object. For millennia, Nanshe’s descendants have passed down the legend of the artifact: “The object can save. But only a man and woman together can guide the salvation of others.”

Heirs to destiny…

By fate or destiny, Zara is thrown in with Peter Gollinger, a quirky Californian from the other side of the world and the other side of everything she believes. But he, too, is heeding the voices of his ancestors. Joined by Jean-Paul, a former Jesuit priest, these three people—from wildly different religions and cultures—must find a way to work together to solve a twelve thousand-year-old mystery of the powerful object that spawned a faith. The world teeters on the precipice of war. The outcome depends on them. And one of them is living a lie.

The Matriarch Matrix is a rich and deeply layered epic story – a spiritual odyssey with a heartbeat of an action adventure. It may make you think, ponder, reflect upon where we came from and where we are going. It blends our past with a speculative future of things that are not so far-fetched. It blends the drama, the comedy, the romance, the tragedy of three protagonists with different cultures, traditions, and beliefs – a Sufi woman, a Jesuit priest, and an alien origin believing atheist. Their journeys separately and together will be a test of their respective faiths and their inner search for personal and family redemption.

The Matriarch Matrix is an unique science fiction adventure that pushes the boundaries of the genre in more than one way. Zara Khatum, the main character, isn’t your typical heroine, a far cry from it even. She was once a fighter for her Kurdish people, and went through hell at the hands of her captors, leaving her to seek vengeance first and foremost.

Yet, in another life, she was someone else entirely. A family matriarch, who led her loved ones away from the monsters of the north. She created temples and founded a dynasty with as main purpose to protect a powerful object that hides mysterious powers.

Back in the present day, Zara must work otgether with Peter Gollinger, a quirky Californian, and Jean-Paul, a former Jesuit priest, to solve the mystery of the artifact she swore to protect in her past life.

The book is science-fiction / fantasy in a certain sense, but the way Dan Brown’s books are, while still being firmly set in our contemporary world, the fantasy/scifi part involves an ancient mystery begging to be solved. I quite enjoy this set-up, and was glad to see it here too. However, while I generally enjoy Dan Brown’s books, I have to admit The Matriarch Matrix is of a whole different sort, much more complex, with a lot more layers, and an extremely complicated yet intriguing main character.

For me, even more than the plot, which is very engrossing all by itself, I was charmed by Zara, our protagonist, a woman who is complex and strong, who has her own code of morality, who went through hell yet fights for her beliefs.

While I liked Peter, the other main character, too, I didn’t like him as much as I liked Zara. He was more the stereotypical geek, extremely smart but also extremely clumsy and quirky.

Told partially in the present, partially in the past, this book pushes the boundaries of genre, as well as of time and space, and ultimately provides an outstanding reading experience to anyone who picks it up.

Book Review: Killers, Traitors & Runaways (Outcasts of the World II)

Title: Killers, Traitors & Runaways (Outcasts of the World II)
Author: Lucas Aubrey Paynter
Genre: Cosmic Fantasy
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

As reality nears its final days, worlds fall to ruin. A benevolent god is shackled, and when freed, will create a new one … allowing only the pure of heart. A company of seven have united on a bloody quest to stop him, but have little hope of emerging victorious.

The outcasts are adrift—they have a mission but no means to fulfill it. Airia Rousow, the fallen goddess who set them on their path, is gone. Guardian Poe, her intended successor, believes deification will absolve him of his sins and his remorse alike. And Zella Renivar, daughter of the Living God, is still hunted by her father’s agents, drawing danger on them all.

Trapped in this storm, Flynn is able to find and open the ways between worlds, but cannot discern which path is the right one. Since losing the trust of his closest friend, the temptation to fall back on his former, deceitful ways grows with every crisis he faces.

These are heroes not of virtue, but of circumstance—and it will fall on Flynn to keep them all together.

About three years ago, I reviewed Outcasts of the Worlds, the first book in this scifi fantasy series by author Lucas Aubrey Paynter. I rated that book 4,5 stars, and remember really enjoying it although, since it’s been several years, I had forgotten a great many details of what happened during the book. However, once I started reading the sequel, Killers, Traitors & Runaways, it didn’t take that long for those details to come back to me.

The heroes in this book are truly the most unlikely band of heroes you’ll ever meet. The “outcasts” as they’re called, are still on a mission, but it’s become impossible for them to fulfill their task. Flynn is still my favorite chracter, same as he was in the first book, although he’s struggling a lot thrughout this book. Flynn has the ability to find and open paths between worlds, but finding the right path is the real difficulty, especially now he can no longer rely on his best friend. With every step they take, Flynn leans closer and closer to the deceitful ways he’d often utilized in the past, and to returning to the man he swore he would never become again.

The world-building, pretty much like in the first book, is still extraordinary. This is one of the best cosmic fantasy series I’ve had the pleasure of reading, and the way all the tiny plotlines and side plots tie into a much larger, much grander plot is pretty amazing. I can only hope that Lucas Aubrey Paynter finishes his next book, soon.

Book Review 5th Floor Below by Menahem Misgav

Title: 5th Floor Below
Author: Menahem Misgav
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Science Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Could Israeli scientists have stumbled upon the secret to eternal life?

In a highly secured research facility atop Mount Carmel in Haifa, a group of military scientists are involved in space research. Captain Dr. Naama Kashti, a beautiful young Israeli physicist, is exposed to an unknown substance that made her body undergo very lengthy life cycles during a short period of time. Thus begins a futuristic drama about discovering the formula for both the fountain of youth and the well of desolation. Can this heavenly spark assure its possessor eternal life?

The world is shaken to the core by the stunning possibilities and perils

The dramatic secret shakes the foundations of government and is leaked to the international media. Intelligence agencies of the super powers send greedy fingers to Israel in order to extract fragments of information discovered on Mount Carmel. The Vatican is horrified by the possibility of eternal life that was not given by divine providence. This futuristic science novel is replete with theological explorations of truth, scandalous probing of human nature, and romantic fortitude alongside cynical promiscuity.

In 5th Floor Below, Israeli scientists involved in space research accidentally stumbled upon the possible secret to eternal life. Dr. Naama Kashti, a beautiful physicist was exposed to an unknown subtance that made her body undergo very lengthy life cycles during a short period of time. While science can’t explain what’s happening, this doesn’t stop them from experimenting with what might happen next.

Of course, this news shakes the foundation of the government and when the media gets hold of the news, things get even worse. The Vatican is horrified that eternal life could exist. Intelligence agencies from all over the world are travelling to Mount Carmel to find out more about the scientific miracle that has occured. And it turns out that finding the secret to eternal life might not just be a miracle… It might also be extremely dangerous.

A futuristic thriller about the implications of a discovery so magnificent yet so terrifying it would rattle the world to its core. The characters are endaring, in particular Dr. Naama Kashti herself. Sometimes, the book gets a little science-y, explaining things in a rather lengthy way, but one can easily look over that and instead embrace the fast-paced writing and thrilling twists.

A solid read for fans of futuristic thrillers.

Book Review: The Aeon Star

Title: The Aeon Star
Author: Lauren T. Hart
Genre: New Adult, Sci-Fi
Age Group: New Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Jenny has never wanted for more than the simple, normal life she has; helping her parents care for her seven younger siblings, working for her dad at his church, going to college someday – hopefully in the fall. And one day, settling down with the boy next door to start a family of her own…

There’s just one problem. Jenny was never meant to have an ordinary life. She can ignore the nightmares, her parent’s overprotective natures, and even the sense that she doesn’t really belong. But try as she might, she can’t escape her destiny and when the dangers and secrets of a past she can’t remember come hunting for her, her simple life doesn’t just crumble it shatters.

Nick Grace is a researcher looking for a way to destroy an ancient evil – one that sounds hauntingly similar to Jen’s nightmares. Nick says he wants to help her find answers, but can she trust him? The inescapable pull she feels toward him whenever he’s near only makes her more unsure.

As the danger looms ever closer, she will have to make a stand against her enemies as well as her friends in this compelling urban-sci-fi page turner, with just the right amount of romance, that will keep you guessing up to the very last plot twist.

In The Aeon Star, 19-year-old Jenny wants nothing more than a simple, normal life. With seven younger siblings to care for and working hard to start college, she barely has time for anything else. Her life is planned out. She even knows already who she plans to settle down with and start a family of her own – the boy next door.

But Jenny isn’t mean to have an ordinary life. She senses she doesn’t really belong here and if her nightmares are any indication, then the destiny awaiting for her isn’t as peaceful as she hopes it is. Her life is about to be turned by an ancient evil that seeks to destroy her. She’ll need allies if she wants to defeat her enemies, and one of those allies is Nick Grace, a researcher who wants to help her find answers. But can she trust him?

The Aeon Star reminded me of why I enjoy urban fantasy so much. The book is lengthy, at 500 pages, and it might’ve also worked as 2 books, but despite the length, it never really felt that long. I was so enthralled in the world the author described that I barely noticed how long the book was. It started off with action and a fast pace, and never slowed down. The romance was a good addition too, and it didn’t overwhelm the story but just added to it.

An intriguing, engaging read recommended to fans of urban fantasy and new adult books.

Book Review: 2036 The Proof

Title: 2036 The Proof
Author: Zvi Speiser
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by thep ubolisher in exchange for an honest review.

Will the most profound secret of the human race, seeded millions of years ago, finally be discovered?

Can Heller and Thorne figure out why scientists keep getting involved in accidents?

What do a huge asteroid rushing into earth, human DNA going crazy in a lab, exploding stars and an ancient sect have in common? All have been ingeniously woven together in this riveting science fiction thriller. Join Chicago police Detective Rick Heller and investigative journalist Will Thorne as they try to figure out why scientists connected to these discoveries are almost killed and a security guard is murdered.

Can the US president marshal covert scientific knowledge to safeguard the world?

When Will Thorne discovers a mysterious link among the asteroid, the DNA and the exploding stars, US President Emily White tries to use this top-secret tinder box, revealing the discovery of humanity’s deepest secret, for a peaceful message to the human race. Her initiative ultimately results in aggressive religious riots that threaten human security throughout the world.

Can an ancient, secret sect be the key to human salvation?

In 586 BCE, soldiers of the Sect of the Guardians gave their lives to secure the hiding place of the Ark of the Covenant, which they had removed from the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. What is the ancient secret, more than 3,300 years old, that the Guardians are ordered to hide at any cost?

First of all, 2036 The Proof has an amazing cover. I just need to put that out there, I’m in love with the color scheme, the font, everything. Amazing, and it’s what pulled me in to read the book even more so than the blurb did, while it’s usually the other way around.

So for the plot, a lot of things are happening at once. A huge asteroid is rushing toward earth, human DNA is going crazy in a lab, stars are exploding, and it all seems to lead to something terrible about to happen. Chicago police Detective Rick Heller and investigative journalist Will Thorne are square in the middle of the madness, and are trying to figure out what is going, and why scientists related to these discoveries keep getting into accidents.

The mystery seems to go back to an ancient sect dating back from 586 BCE, and humanity’s deepest secret, kept hidden for centuries. It reads kind of like The Da Vinci Code, with humanity itself at stake and a good amount of science fiction thrown in.

A fast-paced, engaging science fiction thriller about humanity and what it means to be alive.


Book Review: Rook (Bridge & Sword: Awakenings #1) by J.C. Andrijeski

Title: Rook (Bridge & Sword: Awakenings #1)
Author: J.C. Andrijeski
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

From USA TODAY bestselling author, a psychic warfare alternative history set in a gritty version of Earth. Contains strong romantic elements – a book in the Bridge & Sword World. Apocalyptic. Psychic Romance.

“You are the Bridge…”

Allie Taylor lives in a world populated by seers, a second race discovered on Earth at the beginning of the 20th Century. Psychic, hyper-sexual and enslaved by governments, corporations and wealthy humans, seers are an exotic fascination to Allie, but one she knows she’ll likely never encounter, given how rich you have to be to get near one.

Then a strange man shows up at her work — then another — and pretty soon Allie finds herself on the run from the law, labeled a terrorist and in the middle of a race war she didn’t even know existed. Yanked out of her life by the mysterious and uncommunicative Revik, Allie discovers her blood may not be as “human” as she always thought, and the world of seers might not be quite as distant as she always imagined.

When Revik tells her she’s the Bridge, a mystical being meant to usher in the evolution of humanity–or possibly its extinction–Allie must choose between the race that raised her and the one where she might truly belong.

A couple of years ago, I reviewed Rook by S.J. Andrijeski. It was one of the first books I’d received as a reviewer on this blog, so it still holds a special place in my heart. I really enjoyed it, so when the author told me she had rewritten the book now that she’s grown and matured as an author, and if I wanted to read it again and leave a review, I was thrilled to get back into the world of Rook, reacquaint myself with the characters and the setting, and enjoy this fabulous story all over again.

When rereading my original review, my main complaint then had been the complexity of the book, and the world. I feel like part of that problem has been solved now in the rewrite. The world building is clearer, and while still a complex, multi-layered world, the explanations are clearer and take less time, which means that for the reader, it takes less time to fully fall into the world and setting.

Things that were vague the first time around are now clear, and the writing has improved too. I already thought it was pretty good, but I could see improvements still. Even the characters, Allie and Revik in particular, were better laid out and outlined, and were just overall slightly more interesting than in the first book (although I already thought they were pretty intriguing back then).

One of my favorite aspects of the book is still the ser mythology and prophecies and factions, and all the lore that comes with that. This was indeed an improved version of book one. I hope I find the time soon to read the other books in the series, because when re-reading this one, I’ve come to realize just how much I’ve missed this world and these characters.

PS: The new cover looks amazing too, and I like it better than the first one.


Book Review: Redfern by G.D. Tinnams

Title: Redfern
Author: Gary Tinnams
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

“Humans don’t project past their own frequency. It’s why you’re so isolated as a species. The beings of other frequencies can only witness what you build and feel what you destroy.”

Earth – Tomorrow – The Singularity:-

The machines have taken over and mankind is cast out.

Millennia later, the inhospitable planet of Redfern is in the process of being made habitable for the proposed rebirth of the entire human race. All is proceeding as planned until Enforcer, Ted Holloway, witnesses the unexpected appearance of a long dead and former friend – A man who can become invisible and immaterial, a man that can penetrate any and all security.

A man whose very existence should be impossible.

As Ted and his superior, Lisa Carmichael, investigate further, they face dangers and creatures that challenge their very concept of reality and also encounter the colony’s caretaker Machine Mind and the human Security Commissioner, both of whom have opposing and intricate agendas of their own.

For the true nature of Redfern is stranger and more deadly than anything Holloway or Carmichael can possibly imagine.

And it could change or destroy humanity forever…

Redfern is an unique kind of book, one that offers an original plot, a solid setting and an intriguing cast of characters, all combined in one. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down.

The book takes place several millennia in the future. Machines have taken over, mankind was cast out. Now, the inhospitable planet Redfern is being made habitable for the proposed rebirth of the human race. All is going well, but then a security breach occurs – Terraform Control spotted an intruder in one of the domes, a ghostly man who can walk through the Terries. A man who Ted recognizes, although it’s impossible, far beyond impossible even.

Ted and his superior, Lisa Carmichael, investigate further, but the more they find out, the more danger they find themselves in, and the more secrets they uncover that could change just about anything.

Ted Holloway and Lisa Carmichael were both intriguing characters. Lisa in particular was witty, intelligent, and had a strong personality. All the characters were well developed, even the secondary ones like Jason and Shandra, and they all added to the plot.

I don’t want to spoil things, but this book went in directions I never saw coming, and continuously kept me on the edge of my seat.