Cool Sci Fi

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I like the Braxians. From the opening scenes of this story it’s easy to imagine them. An alien race enslaved by humans. It’s easy to get on board with their plight and cheer for them. The conflict here is the kind that immediately pulls you into the fictional universe depicted. What transpires from there is a pretty good thriller and an excellent romance. We are given plenty to satisfy the appetite in this fast paced, action packed episode, and where we end up feels like it’s just the beginning. Classic sci-fi romance with a good serve of intrigue.

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I want to go to the beach house

The Beach House

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Nothing much happens in the small Australian town of Sunset Point, which is just the way the locals like it. So when an outsider with grand plans threatens to demolish an iconic local landmark to build a huge resort the battle lines are drawn. Young journalist Jessica hopes to make it big with her coverage of the court case, but first she must appease her editor and put a human interest spin on the situation.

At first glance the five people she chooses to background have little in common – but it soon becomes clear that staying at The Beach House has changed all of them in some way.

In telling the stories of Kate, Simone, Tom, Clare and Jack, Jessica too learns some important life lessons.

   Actually, I’ve been to the beach house, metaphorically. Any place with important personal history is the beach house. It’s horrible when you drive past somewhere you remember fondly from some life event years ago and find it’s been re-developed. It’s gone… This is a wonderfully uplifting read. The many stories, brilliantly intertwined, are so real and inspiring… If you’re an Aussie you will probably like this book. If you’re not an Aussie you will probably like this book.

Authentic feel to this one

Children

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Historical Fiction: In the 17th Century Lord Cromwell arrived in Ireland with one mission, to address the Irish Problem. This story follows children stolen from their families and sold into slavery into the Caribbean and their journey back to their homes.

   The setting for this powerful adventure is 17th century on the high seas. Pirates and warring nations. Life and death. The idea of children being stolen and sold into slavery halfway around the world is shocking, and it is aptly portrayed here. The story is confronting in its brutality, in the pain of families torn apart, of innocent people murdered. Beneath an expertly detailed depiction of these atrocities is a sweeping tale of guts, courage and the triumph of human spirit. Set aside a full weekend to be transported to another time by this book.

Expertly revealed

In Conversation With Strangers

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Janine Waldron arrives home unexpectedly to find a scene so shocking that it causes her to lose all reason. She embarks on a road trip across Australia, from Brisbane to Broome, indulging in uncharacteristic behaviour that becomes more degrading and dangerous the further she travels.

As a strange contradiction, people she has never met begin to tell her about defining events in their lives. Realizing the important messages these stories contain, Janine records each one in writing, intending to publish them in a single volume.

This project is her only hope of staying grounded in reality. Is this enough to save this sensitive and creative woman?

   True to life characters and an outback Aussie road trip… this is a touching and shocking human drama, the telling of which begins in turmoil and takes us on two journeys. One is the road trip – onward into discovery and hurt. The other is a series of flashbacks that lead us to our starting point and an expertly crafted reveal. Wonderfully written – mesmerizing… this is a terrific novel.

Full-on wit and intrigue

Presidents

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Just as retired G-man John Hixon recovers from wounds incurred from a security detail in which he saved the life of billionaire investor Julian F. Thibaut, Thibaut calls him again. This time, his talents, intuition, and experience are put to the test as he attempts to protect seven of Thibaut’s friends while investigating a murder. In this, his second novel, FCEtier brings eight new characters into play along with several from his previous novel, The Tourist Killer.

Hixon and company, along with his loyal K-9 corps, must defend their home turf as they seek the truth behind international conspiracies and encounter the seat of ultimate power — the puppeteers who control the world’s finances. Hixon and company discover that those same powerful forces who control the world’s money also control the destinies of those who oppose them. FCEtier takes readers on a breathless and perilous trek through the jungles of politics and the palaces of power.

   Standouts in this novel are the realistic characters and their dialogue, and an intelligent plot. The club of old men at the centre of things seem ordinary and innocuous. You are fascinated by their interactions and their minds, but you wonder where it’s all leading. You are actually pulled quite unsuspectingly into the intrigue – or perhaps it’s a case of the characters being so interesting and well written that you are distracted from the plot and freshly surprised by the way it steadily builds and escalates into a powerful political thriller. Yes, the strength of both the plot and the characters are quite impressive. I’d highly recommend this novel to readers who like an intellectual challenge to go with their serving of wit, humour and suspense.

Witty & Intelligent

Plato's Cave

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Just past actuality and third universe on the left…

Emily Branwell wakes up one morning with a hangover and finds her horoscope is astoundingly accurate, sausages keep appearing out of nowhere all around her, and she can walk through walls. That is confusing enough, but when a huge, threatening shadow appears in the sky, Emily must solve the riddle of her rapidly disintegrating world before reality itself collapses.

In her quest for answers, Emily seeks the help of both psychics and scientists, but finds that ultimately the truth lies far beyond the world anyone knows.

Maybe next time she’ll count her drinks.

Plato’s Cave takes a humorous look at humanity’s search for truth and the meaning of existence through the eyes of someone who wishes the universe would just stop bothering her.

BOOK REVIEW: This is an excellent, highly imaginative story you can just read and enjoy. You could also read it again and again and delve deeper into Plato, I suspect. I liked the witty, irreverent style of storytelling the author used, even apologetic about getting too philosophical or scientific in places. It kept things light and enjoyable and kept the story powering along. Terrific characters, especially the heroine. The sausages… classic!!

Agonizingly good… does not let up

Little Doll

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Little Doll is a dark, gritty story not for the faint hearted. It’s not all bad. Redemption, forgiveness and trust are central themes that are weaved amongst the character’s interactions. If you are easily offended by most things violent, this tale of survival may not be for you.

Laila had already overcome many heartbreaking obstacles in her twenty-five years… but none compared to this. With her brother missing and no other family to speak of, Laila has no idea of the evil that shadows her every move. Now in the hands of a notorious cartel family, she quickly learns that trust and betrayal are a deadly mix.

Aiden had a plan. One that was operating smoothly until Laila surfaced in his father’s mansion. With time against him, he must work night and day to right the wrongs that threaten to expose his ultimate betrayal.

Juan and Aiden share many differences, but the one thing that threatens to tear their family apart is the one thing they want to claim as their own, no matter what the costs.

This series continues with Part Two: Crimson Desert (Bittersweet Duet)

This book contains themes and situations some may find confronting.

   The beautiful young heroine in this powerhouse of a book is dragged through shocking acts of violence, through deprivation, imprisonment, lust, domination, desperation, need, passion, betrayal… She is wonderfully drawn – authentic and endearing in her blend of fight and vulnerability. You’re going to want to personally get your hands on her captors. They are excruciating to read. Our hero is a bit of a mystery so far. The way the heroine is driven to (mistakenly?) hate and despise him is brilliant storytelling. Just how much she is now indebted to him is tantalising…. I’m so glad the next volume is already available. This story is too good to stop reading at this point. A cover to cover edge-of-your-seat thriller.

Historical character brought to life

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“Fight me or Marry me!” Frances Kendrick was not a woman willing to sit idly by and wait for her Prince Charming. An heiress, the best rider, hunter and swordsman in the Royal County of Berkshire in the last year’s of good Queen Anne’s reign, she found the men presented to her either boring, stupid, or most often both. Until she met this scapegrace of a lawyer, Benjamin Child. This sweet romance with a paranormal twist follows their developing passion and the means they used to bring their romance to fruition despite the objections of her trustees.

Set in Reading and thereabouts in 1714, the story commences with the memorial service for Frances’ older brother. Since she is the heiress to a baronet, Miss Kendrick did not want for suitors. She wanted for acceptable suitors, as the men she met were simply not up to her standards. When she finally meets one who is, a circuit-riding barrister named Benjamin Child, her trustee’s refuse their approval. He’s too much of a fortune hunter, gambler and wastrel for their tastes. Despite their difference in rank and fortune, he’s the man for her and she’s the woman for him.

Complications abound in the story, ranging from a gypsies’ curse, to highwaymen, to nobbling jockey’s before a critical horse race, and even to the activities of the Hellfire Club.

Book Review: The heroine is a handful. Way too intelligent and strong willed for the conventions of her time. The way she fights, deceives and manipulates to get what she wants out of life makes for a bit of a romp, but the fact that this tale is based on a true story is quite sobering. It’s also very romantic and interesting because of that. For word of this lady to be around 300 years later, she must have made quite an impression at the time… I felt well enough immersed in the early 18th century setting, with minimal detail allowing the plot to move along quickly, making for a fast and exciting read. There’s a cute supernatural twist that offers another dimension to the tale. This quite cleverly heightened the intensity of the climax and ending with a parallel timeline. It also brought our protagonists to the intersection of storytelling and true-to-life… Well done!

Choices… mistakes… who knows?

turning back

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Kaia Hart seems to have it all: a career as a successful architect, two perfect children, and a handsome husband, Patrick, but she’s haunted by an accident in her past. On a business call, one day, she’s surprised to find Asher, her once-love, has moved to town and will be working with her. In “No Turning Back,” Kaia faces nightmares from her past and big decisions about her future, as the two worlds seem to collide. Will Kaia give up everything for Asher, or will she find comfort in the arms of Patrick?

   This is bad. The exciting kind of bad. An old flame reignited and the blow-torch put on a worn out marriage. This is a complete mess for our heroine. She has a life – a family! Why does wrong have to feel so right? Is it right? After an impactful opening scene we are drawn quickly into the drama. The story is cleverly conveyed through past and present time parallels. We are treated to what is happening with Kaia at the same time as we are learning why. This mix is intriguing. Where the story takes us is beyond the issue of the marriage and the old flame, towards a bleak kind of truth and reality – to a road that must be walked… This is an ordinary yet strikingly powerful tale about the choices we make and the doors we close by making them – about never being able to have that other choice again…. A smart and thought provoking read.

Gruelling, heart wrenching, inspirational

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WITH ANGEL’S WINGS   Stephanie A. Collins

With Angel’s Wings is the true story of Laura, a young wife and mother of a three-year-old daughter. Her husband, Kevin, a marine, is deployed overseas, leaving Laura to give birth to their second daughter and handle the two young children on her own.

Thirteen days after the birth of her youngest, the pediatrician detects a heart murmur. That leads to just the first of multiple diagnoses for both of her daughters, sending Laura on an unexpected and emotional journey into the world of parenting medically-fragile, special needs children.

Right when Laura fears she will break under the incredible pressure, she encounters the beauty of true love, in a most unexpected and unconventional way.

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BOOK REVIEW: As tough, draining and, at times, horrific the experiences depicted in in this story are, they also take us to the title and how angelically blessed our lives can be. My deepest feeling after reading this wonderfully told story is a warm and fuzzy kind of envy. I’m so happy for Laura to have been gifted these children. As gutsy as she has been to nurture and care for them, she deserves every ounce of the love you get from family – the harder the circumstances the more intense and fulfilling that love can be… To the way this story is written – it’s direct and fast moving with enough detail to educate us and give us an appreciation for what is happening. I’m glad the medical info wasn’t glossed over because it is a huge part of the story. The romance is sweet and real. This pair deserve each other, and that’s saying something… This is a fantastic book – definitely grueling, absolutely heart wrenching, and from cover to cover – inspirational.