Review: Special Offers by M.L. Ryan – Landra’s Take

Rating: Maybe

Genre: Sci-fi/Urban Fantasy

Magic and Aliens collide in this story. Hailey bought a Kindle to stop cluttering her house with books, instead she gets the essence of a 100+ year old Courso alien, Sebastian, in her body. The ultimate goal is to reunite Sebastian’s essence with his body. How she’ll get that accomplished she’s not sure, but Sebastian’s more than gorgeous friend, Alex Sunderland, is willing to help.

This book introduces an alien race, Courso, from an alternative dimension. I have to admit, I’m a geek when it comes to sci-fi so I was definitely interested in the species, background etc. Ryan does a good job of creating a believable group of aliens with alternative abilities, laws, and rules. The book doesn’t play too much into their own customs or practices, but focuses more on the interaction of Courso’s in the human world and the laws they’ve enacted to protect humans from Courso’s who would like to do whatever they wanted.

As far as character’s go Hailey is a snarky, take-it-as-it-comes kind of gal. The book is told entirely from her POV. Being possessed doesn’t really bother her as much as it would some, and she has a pretty strange day job… chinchilla milker, anyone? With an overbearing religious mother, an evil cat named Vinnie, and friends who just want to see Hailey get over her divorce and hook up with a nice guy, Hailey’s life is pretty much boring until the Kindle incident.

The guys are both gorgeous, alien cops. Who doesn’t like gorgeous, alien cops? Sebastian and Alex have some extra-large language attributed to the lengthy time spent on Earth, and both  have distinct personalities, but I noticed the lengthy, formal way of talking tended to bleed over into Hailey’s dialogue and thoughts. For me, the formal language took some getting used to and the author explained it away without issue. Otherwise, Sebastian was probably my favorite character. When possessing Hailey’s body the conversations are hilarious and I loved the idea of having a man live in my head for a while.

As to why this book is a maybe for me it comes down to over amount of telling and monologue. The first chapter is entirely back story  info dump and Hailey’s perspective. Some of this toned down about a quarter of the way into the book, but the majority of the first portion was very hard to get through. No action, and just an overabundance of what Hailey was doing throughout her day. When we finally get to the meat of the story, the possession and subsequent search for Sebastian’s body, there was a huge lack of conflict. A little was thrown in here or there, enough to propel the story, but I found myself skimming paragraphs of descriptive details or more internal monologing to get to dialogue, conflict, or some sort of romantic tension.

Overall, the concept and the sci-fi perspective was interesting. I would’ve liked to have seen more action, more fleshed out conflict between the 3 main characters and a more determined villain (the guy didn’t go after them, but waited for them to show up). This is the first book in the series and it did end with a bit of a cliff-hanger. The second book is currently available so if you’re up for a ride, then you won’t have to wait to find out what happens.

Special Offers is available at AmazonBarnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo

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Author Interview: Keir- Pippa Jay

Keir Pippa  Jay GreenFun times and Sci-fi are what you get with Pippa Jay, when she’s not stuck to her computer writing away at her next story. Luckily, I snagged her at a good time and was able to get some answers to those crazy questions I thought of after reading through Keir.

1.) The whole book I thought the Sentiac was the bad guy (cue villain spooky voice) instead I was introduced to another big baddy– Siah-dhu. My question who do you think would win a all out fight villain against villain? 
Oh, interesting – I hadn’t thought about that! Since the Siah-dhu are pretty much the ultimate evil in my Universe, I think they’d win. But you can never tell… (bwah-ha-haaaa!)

2.) Quin and Keir are connected because of the Sentiac and we discover why in the book, but I wondered continuously if all of Quin’s friends were connected to the Sentiac in some way? 
Indirectly you could say that, because Quin’s obviously met them during her travels. But none of the ones you’ve met so far have the Sentiac DNA.

3.) You introduce a ton of species from Bird/Human hybrids to Reptilian’s. Where did some of these ideas spawn and is there any plan for a book that will guide us through the Pippa Jay universe? 
Oh, the ideas come from all over the place! The avian Surei was inspired by the Hawk people from Buck Rogers and the lead singer from my fave band, who wears feathers in his hair. My Metraxians – I have a soft spot for reptiles, and I feel reptilian races in scifi often get a bad rep (Silurians in Doctor Who, Zorgons in Zathura, the Visitors in V etc). So I wanted mine as (mostly) good guys. My haemovores are probably from reading too much Anne Rice in my teens. I’m working on more books in the same Universe which explore those other races, and there’s a glossary on my blog here – http://pippajay.blogspot.co.uk/p/travellers-guide-to-universe.html
– which will give also give you a little sneak peek at some other things to come. Which reminds me I should update it soon! *adds to towering to-do list*

4.) For the romance readers, or those who love Sci-fi but shy from the romance, what is your definition of Sweet Romance as it relates to Keir? 
Although the romance is an important part of the story, it doesn’t dominate it. Sweet for me means it’s intense but my characters aren’t spending all their time getting it on with lots of explicit scenes.  

5.) You recently had a short story published, Terms & Conditions Apply, can you tells us more about it and does it relate to Keir and Quin’s Universe at all? 
I wrote Terms & Conditions Apply for a sub call by Misa Buckley that sadly never came to pass, but she gave me permission to use the premise. It’s a hot scifi romance short, totally unrelated to the Keir and Quin Universe. In a way it’s a tragedy, yet it does have a HEA, even if a controversial one. Writing it was a personal challenge – to do something far spicier, and away from the comfort zone of my own created Universe!

Bonus Question: Will there be a story about Sky and/or Taler?
Wow, that’s spooky! I do have a story about them in progress, though I can’t give you any idea about a completion date right now. I’m planning to do a series of Origin stories for some of my secondary characters as time goes by – the first has just gone to my editor. But Taler and Sky both feature in my upcoming June release Gethyon.

A stay-at-home mum of three who spent twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay bases her stories on a lifetime addiction to science-fiction books and films. Somewhere along the line a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her various characters, she spends the odd free moments trying to learn guitar, indulging in freestyle street dance and drinking high-caffeine coffee. Although happily settled in historical Colchester in the UK with her husband of 19 years, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Get a copy of Keir at:

Lyrical Press Inc

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Review: Kier- Landra’s Take

Genre: Sci-Fi Romance

Rating: Maybe

Enter a sci-fi universe that transcends race, gender, and even individual thought…

That’s at least how I felt following Quin and Kier’s haphazard adventures jumping between planets and points in time. These two travelers seek redemption in their own way, as a well as a path to follow for the remainder of their days. There’s action, plots, and plenty of discovery in this story. This book really felt like a two in one, and I found myself easily drawn to the second half of the book more so then the first half.

What I liked:

The fantasy/sci-fi aspects. Pippa has created a wonderful universe outside of our own with multiple races that vary in looks and cultures followed with brilliant scientific technologies. I honestly wanted to be in the universe and be able to jump to planets just like Quin; dark powers or not. I enjoyed the romance, of course I did, I’m a romance junkie. The sweet aspects of the budding attraction and tension were well-developed and attended; no rushed romance here. Quin is not the average heroine. She’s flawed and has had multiple relationships before Kier. This isn’t about soul mates, but about finding someone to share time with. There’s also no clean-cut, black/white decision-making. The conflicts and resolutions require some grey line hovering where Quin and Keir can’t fully condemn those who seek to either destroy, meddle, or help them. Finally I liked the villains. I wanted more history about them, origins and all the fun stuff. Pippa will you please give me more Sentiac early stories?

What I didn’t like:

The setting descriptions dragged a bit. I was so jockeyed up by all the action and dialogue interactions my attention lacked when a descriptive paragraph came. I paid attention for the 3-5 sentences, but anything longer had me skipping to the next piece of dialogue. I didn’t like the internal wishy-washy that Kier had for 3/4 of the book. I’m sorry I really liked Kier’s desire to be better than what anyone thought of him, but besides his powers and massive size I thought Kier was a bit of a wimp. I didn’t seem him surviving very far without Quin. Sure he’d survived on his own before meeting Quin, but even I was a bit surprised at that. If course I’m a fan of the alpha male and Kier is not an alpha, so that could be a bit biased. Finally, I felt a bit disjointed mid-way through. This felt like two short stories molded into one book and I think the jarring wouldn’t have happened if there was something to announce the transition or segway from one part of Kier’s development to the next part of his journey.

Overall, this is a good merge of Sci-Fi and Romance. If you’re a sci-fi/fantasy fan you’ll enjoy Kier hands down. Romance fans, you’ll enjoy the second half of this book the most. This was more of maybe for me because I felt so in the middle with everything. There were good aspects and turn offs. I think Pippa Jay is worth a read if you’re at all feeling a bit of interest and I look forward to seeing what she’s got coming next.

Kier is available at:

Lyrical Press Inc

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

This Week’s Read: Kier by Pippa Jay

keir (2)Outcast. Cursed. Dying. Is Keir beyond redemption?
For Keirlan de Corizi–the legendary ‘Blue Demon’ of Adalucien–death seems the only escape from a world where his discolored skin marks him as an oddity and condemns him to life as a pariah. But salvation comes in an unexpected guise: Tarquin Secker, a young woman who can travel the stars with a wave of her hand.
But Quin has secrets of her own. She’s spent eternity searching through space and time with a strange band of companions at her back. Defying her friends’ counsel, Quin risks her apparent immortality to save Keir. She offers him sanctuary and a new life on her home world, Lyagnius.
When Keir mistakenly unleashes his dormant alien powers and earns instant exile from Quin’s home world, will she risk everything to stand by him again?

 

Get your copy of Keir here:

Lyrical Press Inc

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Author Interview: Scott Cramer

for_twitterThis week, Night of the Purple Moon author Scott Cramer joins me for an interview!

Scott Cramer and his wife reside outside Boston in an empty nest/zoo/suburban farm/art studio with too many surfboards in the garage. You can find him on Facebook, at his blog, and on Twitter: @cramer_scott.

 

1.     This idea is terrifying. What inspired you to write it?

I’ve written two other YA novels. Both are sitting in my drawer. I think they have a lot of potential and I will revisit them someday. Both are very quiet character-driven dramas.

In Night of the Purple Moon, I wanted to go big. I wanted to write a high-concept story, a story with an expansive canvas, where the challenges are huge and the stakes high. Early on, though, I discovered that it still had to be a character-driven story.

2. Night of the Purple Moon deals with a lot of heavy life and death issues and difficult choices, and sometimes it’s hard to believe the characters are still kids. Did some of your characters surprise you with their actions/reactions?

With the internet and social media and TV and evolving parent styles, I believe that kids today are much more mature and knowledgeable than they were a decade ago.

Emotional maturity is another topic, but in general they are smarter and more competent than previous generations.

It’s easy to imagine absolute chaos and paralysis happening if all adults suddenly died. But in certain circumstances, with the right mix of kids, I think they would do reasonable well.

Finally, as an author, I always hope that I deliver enough reality so that readers are willing to suspend disbelief in some areas, and go along the ride.

3. Sailing is an integral part of life on Castine Island. Are you an experienced sailor, or did you have to research that?

 I know how to sail and I have raced small sail boats. I also love to read sailing adventures. The greatest sailing/adventure story of all time is Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing.

In NOPM, sailing offered a bountiful topic to further explore the theme of man vs. nature and the emotional and spiritual growth that crossing bodies of water symbolizes, and heart-pounding moments of survival.

4. What was the strangest/most surprising information you found during your research?

  had been looking for something that separated pre-pubescent kids from the rest of the population. Having the space germs attack testosterone and estrogen, which the body produces in increasing levels at puberty, I thought worked pretty well. Then I discovered, at least in the case of testosterone, that the body produces much less in older males. That would permit older males to survive a bit longer than younger men. Early in the book, Abby and Kevin get to meet their neighbor, an old man, just before he dies.

5. Can you give us any insight into what’s next for Abby, Jordan, and Toucan?

 Book 2 is called Colony East. When the demand for resources and supplies far outweighs the supply, then some hard decision must be made. Who gets what? Who decides? Is it better to care for a few well, or try to care for many and risk spreading supplies too thin? I am hoping to have the book ready in June 2013, but I also want to make sure I am happy with it before I publish.

Sounds fantastic! Thanks again for the interview, Scott!

Scott Cramer and his wife reside outside Boston in an empty nest/zoo/suburban farm/art studio with too many surfboards in the garage. You can find him on Facebook, at his blog, and on Twitter: @cramer_scott.

And don’t forget to check out Night of the Purple Moon at:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Goodreads

Review: Night of the Purple Moon – Cate’s take

Genre: MG Science fiction

Rating: Yay!

It was just supposed to turn the sky purple for a little while, but the comet passing close to Earth introduces germs into the atmosphere that kill anyone who’s hit puberty. Thirteen-year-old Abby Leigh and her brother Jordan are trapped with their two-year-old sister on Castine Island, Maine. There are no adults. No cops, no medical personnel.

The Night of the Purple Moon is a “what-if” scenario that will terrify anyone over the age of thirteen. What would happen if a comet passed through our atmosphere and deposited hormone-attacking space germs into the air? What would happen to those left behind? Scott Cramer seeks to answer that question, and the result is almost The Lord of the Flies-esque. Abby, her neighbors, and her siblings attempt to reestablish a sense of order on the small island during an otherwise chaotic time. The book does not hold back. Abby’s group experiences awful losses, from the chickens and cows that helped their group stay fed, to some of their own. For Abby, puberty is a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode.

Cramer understands well how to ratchet up tension and suspense all the way down to the “OMG WILL THEY SURVIVE” ending that kept me turning the pages, scared to death for the characters as it practically came down to the wire for them. Overall, Moon is a powerful story about the will to survive and the strength of family. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good science fiction story with heart, and I’m anxiously awaiting the sequel.

Night of the Purple Moon at:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Goodreads

2012 Year in review + what’s coming in 2013

Our inaugural year has been a whirlwind. We’ve review 23 independent and small press published books, conducted various author interviews, and we reviewed genres from horror to historical romance.

Both Cate and I have been introduced to author’s we never would have read without this blog, and I’ll admit some of them I’ll be following in the future. I suspect a few of them will have some successful careers.

The Indies format has also changed over the course of 2012, as we found that our original structure wouldn’t hold up to the demands of the days of our lives :). Who knew you couldn’t read all day, every day. I’ve been living in denial and repressing rage. That daily life caused a few posting delays and some other hiccups, but in all we were pleased with our turnout.

Our big thanks our to the authors who’ve let us review, the readers who’ve stopped by to check out what we think, and the overall support we’ve received from the independent and small press industry; including other blogs who’ve referred readers, re-tweeted info, and spread the word about our reviewing prowess (my ego needs a bit of boost).

Now 2013 which, will be awesome…awesome! *in the tone of Darth Maul* we’ve got big plans. First and foremost we’ve added a new review, the wonderful Aussie awesome Mari Dunham. She’s an import, but we thought opinions across the pond would be wonderful. Next we’re sticking to our 1 person review format which means instead of 2 you’ll get 3 reviews each month.

Not to overdo things, but in week 4 of each month we’ll be bringing back some of our author’s we reviewed last year for guest posts to discuss various things about what interests them and their personal writing journey’s. You can learn a lot from the experience of others, and we encourage readers to drop  by because there will also be free book giveaways. I love books, but even better is free books.

The New Year is upon us, before we get to that we must revel in the joy that is Christmas. To those who celebrate Merry Christmas. For those who observe other practices may you have a wonderful holiday season full of joy, good food, and good company. ‘Till the new year dear readers and since we all lived hopefully that means things are looking up!

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