The Ghostwriter’s Wife (Book 2) by Douglas Debelak

Summary

In author Douglas Debelak’s second novel, Jonathan Fry is still reeling from having his life taken over by an unknown force- possibly the Creator, Himself, in order to tell an incredible story. Just as things seem to be falling back into place, Jonathan’s wife, Annie, begins to experience strange influences, herself. It seems that whoever this unknown force is, they have much more to say.

The Ghostwriter’s Wife’s tale of life, love, tribulation and passion weaves together the supernatural with the natural, the impossible with fact, and finality with immortality. Its simplistic, everyday tone makes it both fun to read and believable. A reader is likely to get the sense that they are listening to a storyteller relate extraordinary secrets of the universe and of life, itself.

Join Annie in the awe and wonder of experiencing Jonathan’s story for herself, and the pain and joy of dealing with the consequences of her actions in The Involuntary Ghostwriter. Join the omniscient storyteller, himself, in his awesome journey to becoming who he truly is.

Characters

Jonathan is back but it is his wife, Annie who is in the spotlight. It was interesting to switch perspective like this for a second book. To see her reaction and account of the last year or so we’ve been with Jonathan, while also moving forward from that piece. It was also awesome to be back and see the rest of the story with the ‘creator.’ Gosh did this novel and its characters pull at the heartstrings!

Plot

Like before there are alternating stories. However, this one was not burdened by Jonathan’s writing and therefore flowed better. Instead it was wrapping up the creator’s story and resolving Jonathan/Annie’s story. It was great to see Annie get involved and begin to grow and change as she found herself again. Or at least something influenced her to let go and live a little. Either way, the two stories never truly intertwine, but are meant to leave one wondering.

Overall

The book flowed well thought it wasn’t as polished as the first novel. It had a punch to it that grabbed on and didn’t let go. Unlike the first book that took me a while to get into this one picked up right where the other one left off and you jog into the first book. My only real drawback was there were so many pieces left unanswered. There were major plot points from the first book that I thought died off in the second book and were never answered. Either it was too subtle or missing.

That being said I was very moved by the ending of the book. In many ways it wasn’t a true ending but a new beginning for all the characters involved, and there was beauty in that. Wondering what I mean by that? You’ll have to read them to find out. Also the ending was thought provoking, leaving me wondering what the author was implying (although I can guess I won’t so say so here).

Rating

4.5 stars (rounded up)

Wow! This had me hooked and I read it super fast. Then I was left to soak in what I’d just read, reflecting for days afterwards.

Where did I get it?

I thank the author for providing a copy to me. This is a voluntary review.

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Technodiversity by Theodore Koukouvitis

Summary

Enter a world where rogue software animates junk to life…

Born on a blasted world where mechanical creatures form spontaneously in the wake of interstellar apocalypse, Rem of the Recycle Canyon must scour laser-lit landscapes for lost knowledge and rip technocreatures apart for scraps of lost technology.

But when she decides to set her first catch free, Rem disturbs the ancient balance between her people and their spacefaring relatives who crave her world’s riches, finding herself in a post-biological world of trouble.

Rem’s defiance against the so-called “gods of hell-space”, and her surprising affection towards her world’s technocreatures, kick off an explosive misadventure that will challenge her convictions and test every skill she doesn’t believe she has.

Will she rise above age-old prejudices, outsmart a computer-god, keep her feelings for a charming but suspicious outsider under control, reach the mythical Hologram Valley and survive its secret?

If so, she might succeed where legendary heroes of old failed and discover the impossible solution to protect her world’s technodiversity… and perhaps even find love in the unlikeliest of places.

Otherwise, she might leave her last breath under a techbeast’s chassis — or worse — find herself banished in hell-space!

Characters

I don’t know where I’m at on Rem, but I for sure liked her better at the end of the novel then I did at the beginning. She was much more redeeming in my mind. I think part of my problem came from the gender switching on the planet, which was interesting but did test what could make sense. It was great at points but tripped me up more than once because it felt almost like she was trying too hard. I actually didn’t realize for a while that the main character was a girl. This was only made worse because her idea of romance was purely physical based and so adding anything else made her seem really shallow. On that note I loved a lot of the supporting characters and my favorite is Sol. What a fun and unpredictable character!

Plot

This book just throws you into the deep end. Thrusting the reader knee deep into the world surrounding Rem. There are actually multiple stories going on within this story. The bigger arcing theme is two parts – one romantic and the other adventure. The Tech learns and it knows. It was full of action and adventure with massive sci-fi overtones and even some humor. The main character is reluctant at first but once she sets her mind to prove she can do it, she jumps in with both feet. A little impulsive? Sure, but also fun!

Overall

Holy world building. This is an intensely immersive world that is well thought out and expertly built. A beautiful shattered world that has advancing tech that is unique and extensive. The flow is a little wonky because some of the chapters are insanely long. While others are quite short and manageable. It was particularly difficult in one of the middle chapters where there was a debate going on in the ‘council’ that seemed to just drag on. It could have been shortened, but thankfully once it wraps up it was the last of its time. Once the second half of the novel starts, it pretty much was page after page because I wanted to know the ending. Let’s just say a lot happens in this book and it keeps you interested.

Biggest complaint is the use of the word ‘badass,’ which was way over done! Gah! To the point of annoying through the second half of the novel.

Rating 

4.5 stars (rounded down)

A stunning sci-fi novel that is an immersive treat! Great world building, a passable main character (thank goodness for Sol!), and a fascinating sci-fi read is worth the time!

Unfathomable Chance – Audiobook

That’s right! After months of work and lots of patience, Unfathomable Chance is finally out on Audible, iTunes, and Amazon. It just released yesterday and now you can get your copy!

Make sure you go to Amazon (click here) and check out the sample!

Are you excited? I know I am!

Audiobook.JPG

 

Fried Brains and Micro Chips by Haze Diamond

Summary

In a future where everyone is constantly connected to the internet by Importal™ chips in their heads, Destry spends a sheltered, isolated life without one, until something goes terribly wrong, and it is up to her and her motely band of unlikely heroes to save the future of humanity.
After the death of her father, Destry’s life remains the same old lazy humdrum existence of compulsive movie watching and getting drunk, all that is afforded to her as she cannot interact with a world that doesn’t see her, and doesn’t want to. Until one fateful day, something goes very wrong with the Importal™ implants, a technological Armageddon, caused by a virus that is destroying the internet and everyone connected to it. Her father, she finds out, feared this might happen and has left her instructions that she must follow to try to put things right. The source of the virus is somewhere in Megacity London and the only way to stop the destruction is to cross the country and get into the city. With everyone else dead or reduced to drooling idiots by the destruction of their Importals™, she is left with little choice but to enlist the aid of her friend Weasel (a paranoid grumpy old Jamaican) and Derek (a mild mannered slightly brain damaged solicitor), to save the day. They leave Spamlington behind, the only home she has ever known, and set out in an old hackney cab on an adventure across the country, into a world she never knew existed.

Characters

Destry is an interesting character. She is the main character with Weasel just as central to the story. Everyone else seems to come and go, which was a very interesting way to story tell. Instead of establishing a group and staying with them, there are two central characters that get other members on the group that come and go as their part of the story comes and goes. Far warning there is fair amount of point of view switches, sometimes multiple times in a chapter. I also think Albert became Alfred for a bit…

Head hopping aside, the biggest issue was the dialogue. It was very difficult to follow, especially at the beginning, because the accents and one of them having a head injury (simplified but good enough). I would sometimes have to read through twice to understand what multiple characters were saying. Although impressive, there were just too many in the beginning all at once. The dynamic of them all at the same time made the read tricky.

Plot

For the first 20% of the book I wasn’t sure what the plot was or even what was going on. I think this may have been due to the subtly of the plot without enough contest or lost among the setting descriptions. All trying to stop a glitch that could bring the human race to their knees. Once it got rolling the plot really took a bizarre but interesting turn. It became amusing in more than a few ways with its feeling of taciturn satire. This is a strange journey that is unique and colorful. For some reason it reminded me of the Fallout games. That being said there were a few minor plot holes that left the novel with the feeling that it needed to be fleshed out more.

I do feel like the author was very passionate about the topics and themes covered in the book. I also could see that they had done their research. However, there was times the story fell away and it became a lecture on topics like ‘humans are killing our planet and turning it into a parking lot’ or ‘humans will reap their own description.’ To the point of it felt very preachy. I actually enjoyed the topics and the themes but it could be smoothed out. Especially because sometimes I couldn’t tie it back to the plot. This isn’t as bad near the end but there are pages of lecture like writing in the beginning and middle that didn’t make for easy reading.

Overall

Fascinating and vivid imagery on the setting without being overtly detailed but following sequence of events very precisely. Master of vocabulary that seems to flow naturally.  However, there were a few confusions of tenses. The author did a wonderful job creating a dystopian future that felt logical and potentially realistic. It was one of the strengths of the novel. The characters that seemed to come and go was also a unique change.

This book had so much potential and so did the author. The writing was wonderful and unique. Although some of the above aspects made it feel long, it was filled with awesome scenes and strange but interesting characters. In short this was a great first try that I feel this author will only improve with each book they write.

Rating

3.5 stars (rounded down)

I would think of this as charmingly bizarre sci-fi. Lots of potential with this author that I imagine will improve with each book.

This is a voluntary review.

Alia Tero by Lull Mengesha and Scott Spotson

Summary:

Alia Tero, a planet cloned from Earth, presents both opportunity and despair for a bewildered young man named Darren Datita, who must deal with its strange rules, evolved from over hundreds of years of experimental society-building designed to enrich everyone. Everyone on Alia Tero must rotate every four months: this means leaving behind current jobs, roommates, lovers, and city of residence, to take on a fresh new life. While readers laugh at the pitfalls as Darren fumbles one new situation after the other, an undercurrent of restlessness—over just who runs Alia Tero—surfaces at unexpected moments.

Characters

This entire story revolves around Darren Datita. The reader follows him through his crazy life, high school forward. Darren is such a haphazard hero. He is rather sweet, although sometimes I couldn’t get a clear idea of what he looked like. I don’t know why this bothered me, but it was like I couldn’t see the full picture. Despite that he was quite amusing and fun! A great story arc where Darren grew and stayed true to the goodness within him. I also like Rachel. Likely because I was seeing her through Darren’s eyes.

Plot

What a unique premise. This felt like a science fiction but an analysis of culture and what a different reality of Earth could look like. If instead of the ‘family’ dynamic it was set up as a continual rotation. Darren gets to experience all of the different types of life but then tries to break/change the rules. He wants the bloodlines to stay together. Although the timeline gets really confusing in the middle. I was really enjoying it right up until the very nonsensical moment when Darren gets transported to Earth. I completely understand why the author did it but for me it cast a shadow across the entire story and undercut its brilliance. Although there were a few scenarios that were a little bizarre and almost unrealistic, it was an enjoyable read.

Overall

As always, the author’s writing is enjoyable and easy to follow. The cheeky story telling and flippant character, made for an overall enjoyable read. Although there was a mention on Santa Claus at one point and I couldn’t help wondering ‘how did Darren know that?’ Also when Darren gets a windfall the people who tell him he is now in a special group that “This has never happened before” and I just thought there was no way. Besides these periodic mishaps, the author weaved an interesting tale. Although a bit long, it was amusing to see Darren working from one system to the other.

Rating

3.5 stars (rounded down)

Overall a unique story with a charming main character that gets a little muddled in the middle. An amusing story!

This is a voluntary review.

The Joint of No Return by Tom Sadira

Summary:

Charlie Hong is on the run from both sides of the law.

He’s spent the last year in hiding, cultivating one last hair-brained scheme to escape his troubles: a clandestine marijuana operation. Just as he’s about to cash in, his cash crop is stolen by a bright light appearing in the night sky. After catching a ride with one of his plants, he finds himself thrown into a world far stranger than anything he could have possibly imagined.

Does the stoned stowaway have what it takes to free the Starseed, a massive living spaceship overflowing with bizarre life forms, from the clutches of a mysterious force field trapping it in Earth’s orbit?

Is he up for the challenge of fighting an evil Reptilian race bent on enslaving humanity?

More importantly, before he decides anything, does he have time to light one up?

Characters

Charlie is a pot head. An amusing mess of a person that somehow survives most of his crazy encounters. Like any good pothead Charlie gets munchies and always has a few joints to spare. Most of the book is following Charlie and a few fun supporting characters coming in – the Captain being the biggest chunk. The villains were repulsive and even the good guys existed in shades of gray – an unexpected depth that didn’t go too deep but just enough to give the characters that much needed complexity.

Plot

This is an amusing sci-fi. I would call this a humorous read for sure, like a Space Comedy. I for sure laughed out loud once. It wasn’t necessarily my humor but the author did well to balance between stoner humor and just plain fun. The plot is all around a fun sci-fi adventure and I really enjoyed the creativity of the aliens and the ship. I even liked the Reptilian race and the idea that they are influencing Earth. It all came together nicely and was enjoyable to read from one chapter to another. I won’t say much more as there are a few fun twists and turns – I’ll leave it for you to read!

Overall

An amusing read with just one too many coincidences. I truly question anyone being that lucky. That being said it was easy to read and follow along with, even when it was a little trippy. A fun short read – I appreciated the brevity of the story. Even the somewhat abrupt ending wasn’t annoying it simply felt like one chapter was closing and if I wanted to read more, I needed to pick up the next chapter aka book.

Rating

4 Stars

A fun sci-fi with a stoner in the lead role. This book will make you laugh at least once, but if you are more of a stoner yourself, I have a feeling this one will leave you rolling. All in all, lots of fun!

This is a voluntary review.

 

The Immundus by Christina Enquist

Summary

Would you sacrifice your humanity to save mankind?

IT’S THE YEAR 2828, and Domus is the last remaining country. Divided into twelve walled cities known as genuses, Domus spans what’s known as the purist lands—lands unaffected by the genetic modifications that killed all other species of mammals. But outside the walls of each genus the Immundus threaten the welfare of those within. From a young age, all citizens of Domus are trained for combat against these intruders.

At sixteen, Nia Luna knows little of the Immundus, except for the citywide alarms that
ring any time an Immundus nears the genus walls. What she does know is that her own species is dying—their numbers dwindling as a mysterious disease called allagine kills
many before their eleventh birthday. The same disease that ravaged her family when it took her sister.

When Nia is recruited into Genesis, a research company pioneering the path to a cure, she knows that her dream to find a cure for allagine is finally within her grasp. But within weeks of starting at Genesis, Nia witnesses something she shouldn’t have—something that changes everything. As she sets down a dangerous path that uncovers national secrets, Nia will have to decide not only what kind of person she wants to
be but also how far she’s willing to go to save humanity.

Characters

Nia is a somewhat normal teenager at first. Just about to finish the year 2828’s version of high school and start her apprenticeship. Although she is only 16 when the book starts, which was important to keep in mind because she sometimes feels quite a bit older than 16, she still had that teenage feel. I would say Nia really didn’t start to shine until her convictions came into place and her moral compass tested. The relationship between her and Eric. Although it was sweet and I liked Eric, it wasn’t until later that he became more of a three dimensional character.

Plot

This story is nothing new – think Pocahontas or Avatar with a Sci-Fi spin to it. That is what this book reminded me of and it was surprisingly good! Although the initial plot was predictable because the author hints at what the Immundus really are right up until they big reveal (thankfully you don’t have to wait long) but the dynamic the story takes is what makes it so good. It is a character torn between a bunch of different directions that she could go and having the conviction to stay true to who she is.

There was also the aspect of science and where the line exists. How far is too far in the name of science? A dialogue that is fleshed out and the author seems to take a stance through Nia. Write what you know – and it showed.

Overall

Except for one confusing scene the rest was well written and easy to follow. The world and history was sometimes a bit of an info dump but it was all very interesting and engaging so it hardly interrupted the flow of the story. This is definitely a strength of the book because after getting over the slightly slow start, I just flew through this book. I also felt like the author did their homework, where the ideas behind the collapse of Earth and the changes all seemed realistic and not too far fetched. Overall an gripping read that I’m curious to see the other side of the coin in future books!

Rating

4 Stars

If you like teen novels and sci-fi this is a great read! Quick, easy to read, and just as easy to enjoy.

This is a voluntary review.