Waning Moon by PJ Sharon

Waning Moon

by PJ Sharon

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Four Stars

Lily Charmichael lives outside the prosperous, advanced cities solar barriers that provide shielding from the deadly rays of the sun and radiation poisoning of future Earth. Instead she spends her life hiding in a cobbled-together survivalist compound her uncle Sam created to hide his orphan niece Lily and nephew Zeph from discovery. If the agents of the government find the siblings, the little freedom they have will disappear. Lily and Zeph’s altered DNA give them each amazing powers, Lily to heal and Zeph’s to kill.

A stranger named Will wanders into one of Uncle Sam’s bear traps one evening and Lily, against her better judgment, takes him in and helps him. Is he really a starving teen looking for his father, or does he have more sinister motives?

When uncle Sam’s cancer requires medication, Lily must brave discovery to travel with a caravan from the local village to the trading town of Albany. Will travels with her, planning to continue his search for his father once they arrive. Can Lily evade capture in the dangerous, government-controlled town? Can she trust Will? While she is gone, will Zeph give in to his deadly impulses and lose control?

PJ Sharon has written a truly entertaining tale. I could really feel for Lily with her amazing power coupled with the stigma of unnatural life. Her struggle to restrain and protect the brother she loved made me hurt for her. She is a brave character with a strong sense of stealth despite her typical teenage insecurities and special worries about herself. Her differences give her drive and purpose rather than crippling her.

The character of Will gives so much to Lily’s mission, taking it from a quick dash to a complicated and exciting adventure. Her forgiveness and understanding shine through in her treatment of him. I love that she as a character can accept his struggle and sympathize with him even when he breaks her trust.

I loved the mix of future and present in the makeshift tech, and the thought that obviously went into what a failing Earth ecosystem would look like and how people would cope.. The dying Earth issues the characters faced added a danger, complexity, and urgency to everything.

Other than some mild passive writing and a few too many uses of “as” and “ly” adverbs, this book rocked the indie platform. Though it is the beginning of a series, I didn’t feel cheated of a good ending or a loss of interest in the next tale of Lily’s struggle. I approve this title for Awesome Indies. http://awesomeindies.net

I received this book from the author for the purposes of an unbiased review.

Buy on Amazon

Silent Symmetry by J.B. Dutton

Silent Symmetry cover lo-res

Silent Symmetry

by J.B. Dutton

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance

Five stars

A tragic car accident in their hometown in Wisconsin took away Kari’s father when she was very small. Kari arrives in New York ready for a new life. She is excited to support her mom in a new job and maybe a little romance.

A scholarship at the exclusive Chelsea Prep for Kari turns out to be one of the job perks of Mom’s new job as an IT at the Temple of Truth. The secretive organization intrigues Kari and she can’t help but snoop into its secrets. Even their apartment contains strange connections to the organization. The mysterious connection two cute boys in her class, Noon and Cruz, have to the ToT doesn’t make nosiness any less irresistible.

The deeper she delves into the ToT’s secrets, the stranger and more mysterious things get. When she discovers her part in the organization and its goals, life and existence turn out to be way more complicated than she ever imagined.

This book was my most interesting pick out of my long, long, read-and-review list. The title and the synopsis grabbed my attention from the start and I chose Silent Symmetry to read first for the summer. This book didn’t disappoint!

I felt engaged by Kari and her sad past, but also by her eager desire to care for her Mom and her positive attitude. The story began with many questions. When some of those questions were answered, I somehow found myself with more. I loved the natural way J.B. wove the tale, interlaced with questions resolving and mysteries uncovered. Even the ending left questions begging for a sequel.

Silent Symmetry was an entertaining and fast read that well deserved the first read of the Summer. I approve this title for Awesome Indies.

I received this book from the author for the purposes of unbiased review.

Silent Symmetry is available as an ebook here:
bit.ly/SilentSymmetry (Amazon.com)
bit.ly/SilentSymmetryUK (Amazon.co.uk)

Available in paperback here:
bit.ly/SilentSymmetryPB (Amazon.com)
bit.ly/SilentSymmetryPBUK (Amazon.co.uk)

Drayling by Terry J. Newman

Drayling

by Terry J. Newman

Genre: Science Fiction

Uri Graves is a government official in a Society purposefully and willingly cut off from communication and movement outside local districts. Under the Dunstan Heathfield Revolution, the BFF, or the British Friendly Federation, lives a life of peaceful tranquility. But Uri and his fellow Drayling district citizens are plunged into a disturbing position when the upper government begins changing their way of life. Is the new Archwitan, the highest leader in the BFF, corrupt? Why are these strange and unpatriotic changes being wrought? Is their lifestyle even what is seems to be–what it’s supposed to be? Uri, his son Marius, and a team of fellow Drayling citizens are going to find out, even if it means treason.

Set in the future permeated by the gentility of a time gone by, this book was a calm, dignified, fascinating political mystery. The peacefulness of the book’s ambiance didn’t detract at all from the enormity of the story’s tragedy. Despite a puzzling font irregularity, Terry presented a diverging tapestry of refined life and the precarious footing on which it stood.

The characters exuded childlike innocence and earnest desire for right. Uri was a mixture of experience and knowledge paired with naiveté and a trusting disposition. The characters treated every setback with calm deliberation and attention to one another’s feelings. I couldn’t help but like them and hope for the best for their sakes. I particularly enjoyed the ending which revealed their understanding of the sham their life had been and the colossal challenge of rectifying it.

You can even tell by my writing in this review how the book’s atmosphere affected me. I felt like I was reading a Regency novel a Sci-fi, and a political drama all at the same time. Bravo, Terry!

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Amazon UK

Revolussion by Kathy Bell

Revolussion

by Kathy Bell

Genre: Technothriller, Science Fiction

The Earth is in danger from alien species, and the only one standing in their way is Dawn Ingram. Oh and her two hundred and twelve kids and grandkids. Strange things are afoot between Dawn and her progeny as they work with the Three Eleven team and Storyteller Stew Singleton to prepare for 11/11/11 and the war with the Efigee. Can they defeat these heartless creatures and save the planet or will they be harvested to build their ships?

This book really shows how much Kathy Bell has learned about writing. The complexity of the book is unmarred by rambling or confusing descriptions. Kathy tells us just what we need to know with flair. The character of Dawn has matured into something other than human, but still relatable. She and her descendants share that touch of creepy that fascinated me. I loved the twists and turns as they scrambled to discover what was happening and how to set it right. The science was a blast and Dawn’s struggle with her maternal instincts, her desire to save humanity, and the enormity of what she has to do is compelling. I even liked the corny use of some of the more hokey science fiction traditions. They fit and added irony rather than corniness to groan about. Kathy’s ability to depict the individual feelings of the many contributors to the Pluman collective as well as their shared experiences was excellent, and the effect was really cool.

Kathy’s Acknowledgements said that it took her three years, and those were three years well-spent. Even if the first book makes you want to give Adya Jordan a wedgie, like it did me, I’d encourage you to push on because the second book was way better, and this one was a delight to read.

Buy on Amazon

Merlin’s Wood by Anne Hamilton

Merlin’s Wood

By Anne Hamilton

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult

An argument about the washing up and a questionably scientific experiment in an old hollow tree miraculously tosses twins Holly and Reece out of the reality they know and into another world.  Holly and Reece  tumble through fantastic alien scenery right  into a battle to repel an invading force from taking over the alien planet where they’ve landed. Can they convince the bizarre natives they are friends and not foes? Can they trust the ones on their side? Will they ever get home?

This story is a delightful explosion of fantasy. Technology mixes with magic. Amazing beings and their cultures play their part in a chilling society and an even more chilling battle for the planet. Holly and Reece grow from bickering children into selfless adults, learning to value their talents and each others’ as they strive to protect their new friends and return home. Written to include both of their perspectives, Anne explores the differences between the creative personality and the practical personality. Their circumstances force the two characters to grow to understand one another and appreciate the close relationship that plagues them at the start of the book.

The imagery of this book is amazing, giving it a dreamlike quality, full of disorienting but delightful twists and turns. Anne includes just the right amount of description to suggest your imagination see all the wonders without struggling over long descriptions.

I have a young friend with a high reading level for her young years, and this would be perfect for her.

This story contains a refreshing lack of objectionable material. There were no swear words, no inappropriate situations, or other issues that I would worry about discussing with younger kids.

Thanks for another fantastic story, Anne! I can’t wait to read the sequel.

Buy Merlin’s Wood here:

http://www.buyaustralianbooks.com.au/book/annehamilton/merlinswood/

Evolussion by Kathy Bell

Evolussion

by Kathy Bell

Genre: Science Fiction, Technothriller

In this second installment, Adya Jordan, who has been transformed into Dawn Westgrove, knows about the undefined threat to Earth and that she has a big role to play in saving the planet. Now what is that? We jump ahead past the alarming concept of one woman and 29 men pre-emptively repopulating earth and proceed directly t to the birth of the last of Dawn’s 53 children, Hope. (Don’t worry. She has superhuman powers, so it isn’t as awful as it sounds.)

Nicholas Weaver, the initiator of the regressions, makes his long-delayed final incarnation to search for Dawn’s daughter, Hope. This is his last chance to see the planet saved and see his true love one more time. Once he finds his long-lost love, his daring experiment to save Earth is revealed, and Three Eleven’s extensive and world-changing preparations can be put into action.

I won’t ruin the surprise, but a new and more terrible danger appears with the implementation of defense against the first. Dawn and her children are not what they first appeared to be and a malevolent force threatens Earth, instead of a random disaster. Dawn has to step up to rescue Humanity again!

This book is even better than the last, without the confusion of why Adya/Dawn is always perfect and always knows everything. In fact, she moves beyond her area of expertise facing the horrible threat she discovers faces Humanity. She’s older, more mature, and has faced sorrow. Still, the entire planet is on her side, including the supernatural.

Many themes are touched on in this book. Dawn loses children to disaster and faces the breakup of an important relationship. She gives birth, is deposed from her position under grave suspicions, and communes with the spirits of the planet. Busy lady! Though they are all dwarfed by the danger to the world, Dawn faces each with all the strength she can, and the help of a plasmid that is more than just a cell anomaly in her body.

I already have the third book and will be reviewing it soon, but be prepared to buy all three books, because you just can’t turn away from the fate of the world!

Buy on Amazon

Visit Kathy’s blog http://kathybellauthor.wordpress.com/

The Warden War by D.L. Morrese

The Warden War

by D.L. Morrese

Genre: Science Fiction

In this second leg of Prince Donald’s adventures, he is older, wiser, and he knows most of the details about the threat to Westgrove. But he needs proof. Now how does he stop it? The Gotroxians are not going to magically animate the giant Warden statue to attack Westgrove. The information is false, it is manufactured by Chief Advisor Horace Barter to manipulate King Leonard into war for his own reasons. Will young, inexperienced, overlooked Prince Donald be able to convince the king of the deceptions of his father’s closest and most trusted advisor? Will he survive to obtain the proof he needs to convince him? With his friends from the first book, Kwestor and Muce, along with Trixie and Nash and a dog named Moe, they will certainly try.

This book had less humor but more substance than The Warden Threat, the first book in the series. There was lots of guy stuff in this book too–descriptions of military operations and battlegrounds, and strategy. Also fighting, kidnapping, and Androids.

D.L. really makes a world you can believe in with his writing. I kept thinking to myself, “They wouldn’t have used the term ‘dating’ back then!’ or ‘women wouldn’t have asked the men to dance!” but then I remembered that this wasn’t medieval Earth! This was a Science Fiction tale with Androids mixed in. I had just read the section about Androids and then believed this was a historical tale! This is because the story is so engaging and plausible that I really felt like it could have happened.

Prince Donald is becoming a man, learning how to control his emotions (sort of) and how to take responsibility for his kingdom. His genuineness is endearing and his valor is impressive. I really appreciated the moral messages about responsibility and loyalty included in the story, and I would let my 11-year-old boy read both books if he could get his homework done first. (Don’t get me started about that.)

If you read The Warden Threat, you pretty much have to read The Warden War. You can’t leave poor Prince Donald and all of Westgrove and Gotroxia hanging!

Buy here:

Paperback Edition: Amazon.com
E-book Editions: Amazon.comAmazon.co.ukBarnes & NobleSmashwords

Learn more about the author: http://dlmorrese.wordpress.com

The Warden Threat by D.L. Morrese

The Warden Threat, Book #1 of Defying Fate

by D.L. Morrese

Genre: Science Fiction

Prince Donald is an “extra prince”, a fourth child and third son in the Royal Family of Westgrove.  He is treated like a child and considered to be a consolation for the queen so she has someone to mother. Donald longs to become a hero and matter in the world. He is permitted to tour the country and attempt his heroics with the guidance of Kwestor, an experienced ranger and pessimist. Along his journey, Donald’s view of life expands with each day. He learns to view the people of his country as people, not just a mass of peasants. He learns about laundry and cooking, and at last, adventure. He also learns much about disappointment. Muce, a “Notso” (not so tall as the tallfolk, not so fair as the fairfolk) joins him along the way and helps him connect with the people of the kingdom. The three stumble at last upon adventure, and Donald leads them out of the country to discover the truth about “The Warden”, a great stone statue said to possess great powers. What they learn is not what Donald expected, but is nonetheless, a true threat.

DL Moresse has woven a complex tale about adventure, not of action, but of truth and life. Donald, a typical bored teen, is slapped in the face by reality.

DL’s book is filled with dry, ironic humor that adds to the sense of growing up and finding depth in the world. Subtly, through the idiocy of some characters and the wisdom of others, he guides the prince through the grim but amusing realizations about life.

It seems that this book might be labeled “Volume One” rather than “Book One” because the book ends just Donlad discovers the true threat. Usually this kind of ending makes me highly resentful, but not with The Warden Threat. It was so full of the prince’s maturing, interesting characters, and a realistically broad country that I didn’t feel cheated by not hearing an ending. Life doesn’t end after twenty one chapters anyway, does it?

The tone of the book is funny, but not giggly or “LOL” funny. Irony is thick. Silly and stupid things happen, but they have too much purpose and truth to really cut up about. The thinking stops the laughing, because everything Donald does, we have probably done and don’t want to admit it. I loved Donald for his naiveté and earnest desire to do dumb things.

The Warden Threat was a broadening and reflective read without being heavy. I really enjoyed it!

Author’s Website: http://dlmorrese.wordpress.com/

See on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12621763-the-warden-threat

Buy on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MAWTUM (ASIN: B005MAWTUM)

Buy on Smashwords: (free using Coupon Code ST74N) http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/87730 (ISBN: 9781466105966)

Buy at Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-warden-threat-david-morrese/1105858334

Regression by Kathy Bell

Regression

by Kathy Bell

Genre: Science Fiction

 

Mystery surrounds Adya Jordan. She may look like a forty-year-old wife and mother, but her past holds a deeper, and much longer story. This story begins its revelations when her car is struck by another in a traffic accident and she awakens in the hospital. But she finds that she is now fourteen years old. Struggling to discover why she is young again, catapulted back to her younger days, she explores her world and journals her memories.

Telling all of her experiences would ruin the surprise! Suffice it to say that she finds a home in a company called Three Eleven. The leaders of this company are just like her, sent back from the end of a different lifetime, but all male. The company, nonexistent in the reality she remembers, is bent on discovering a great and cataclysmic mystery, occurring on November 11, 2011, unless they can all find out what it is and prevent it.

This story took me less than two days to read because it was so well-written! Events flowed seamlessly and one adventure lead to the next. I was always wondering what would happen on the next page. The concept of the cataclysm and its solution was fascinating, and Kathy Bell thought a lot about every aspect of the scientific approach to preventing the end of the world. She also threw in a dash of magic with the supernatural occurrences witch drove Adya toward salvation.

The character of Adya was loving and emotionally real, but I think it was a mistake for the author to create her with no flaws. Adya never made a gross error. She had no idiosyncrasies. Not only that, but she always knew everything and was always right. If it weren’t for her warmth, I would have disliked the character for being a preachy  know-it-all. The only thing that saved her for me was her fervor for humanity, her fellowmen, and her own children. She would have been one of my favorite characters ever if she had managed to get dressed down or say the wrong thing. Heck, if she hadn’t known everything about everything all the time that would have done it. She didn’t even burn the steaks at her barbecue! Toward the middle of the book I wanted to put a frog in her bed or tie her shoelaces together or something. A feeling of sympathy for her faults and a sense of shared humiliation would have made me love Adya Jordan.

That was really the only thing I would change about this book! Adya was still a pretty awesome lady and the story was a super-duper page-turner! I really appreciated the classiness with which Kathy treated the more intimate moments of the plot, too. Sexiness was preserved but trashiness was not included.The action was well-timed and the plot was smooth as butter.

Now I really need to get the next book, Evolussion! You will too if you read Regression. Just do it. You know you want to!

For more about the author, visit http://kathybellauthor.wordpress.com/

Purchase on Kindle

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