#BadMoonRising: The Gate (Astral Conspiracy #1) by D.L. Cross #sciencefiction #aliens

If you love the idea of an Indiana Jones-like character caught up in the midst of an alien invasion, add The Gate to your TBR.  I  just finished it a few weeks ago, and I’m chomping at the bit for the next book in the series.  This author would choose to join the Ghostbusters over the X-Files team, and I agree wholeheartedly with her logic.  Welcome Staci Troilo (writing as D.L. Cross)!

Would you rather walk through a haunted graveyard at midnight or spend the night in a haunted, abandoned house?

I’d definitely prefer the graveyard. Go ahead and call me weird (it wouldn’t be the first time—or the last), but when I was a kid, I used to walk up to the cemetery and hang out there. The setting (surrounded by woods with lots of trees spaced throughout) was beautiful, and I found it peaceful. And I got to visit departed family members. (No, I don’t think that’s the only place to talk to the dead, but I do feel close to them when I’m at their gravesites.) Besides, it’s got to be easier to run from a ghost across open land than up rickety stairs in a dilapidated house, right? (And don’t get me started on how stupid people are to run UP steps when they’re being chased.)

Would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf? 

As much as I love wolves, I’m going to have to go with vampire. They’re in control of when they turn, they have no health issues, and they never get old. (I feel every one of my years right now, and several more I haven’t earned yet!) I’m not even convinced daylight would be a problem, as there are stories where it’s not (Vampire Diaries rings, The Originals, the ridiculous sparkly vampires…).

Would you rather be part of the X-Files team or Ghostbusters?

I have to go with Ghostbusters on this one. As much as I love sci-fi and the X-Files, the Ghostbusters have more fun. (And if it’s the reboot—which I hated—I’d get to work with Chris Hemsworth, so… not really a question at that point, is it?)

If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in the same setting, where would you choose?

Absolutely Italy. There’s so much history there (which factors into many of my stories) and I’ve always wanted to go. The food, the culture, the scenery, extended family… what’s not to love? It wasn’t even a question I needed to ponder.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I’ve got several works in various stages. It’s kind of daunting. I never used to work on more than one project at a time. Now, I have several going at once. And I like it that way. It keeps me from getting bored.

Next year, under pen names, I have 13 works scheduled for publication. They’re currently under various stages of completion, from barely-a-concept all the way through formatted-and-ready-for-publication. I’m also doing (or at least trying) NaNo this year, and if all goes well, I’ll have at least one title to publish as Staci Troilo in 2020.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?

Here’s an odd twist for you—I think writing men is easier than writing women. This is a time when Ivory Tower Princesses don’t need Knights in Shining Armor. Today’s heroine needs to don her own shield, wield her own weapon, and not only save herself, but save the man and everybody else. She’s a difficult character to write. Too soft, readers call her TDTL or a simpering b!#@%. Too hard, readers complain she’s cold and unrelatable. I think achieving the right balance in a female character is much more difficult than writing a well-developed male character.

He lost his job. Lost his girl. Now it’s all he can do not to lose his life.

Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs — he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously.

Until an alien armada targets Earth.

Now Landon’s in high demand — by the US government and someone far more sinister.

They race across two continents to the Gate of the Gods, the one place on Earth that might give humans an advantage over the aliens. But no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

And not everyone will make it out alive.

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Bio

Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.

 

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The Sanctuary by Caryn Lix #bookreview #YA #scifi #TuesdayBookBlog

Alien meets Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds in this thrilling debut novel about prison-guard-in-training, Kenzie, who is taken hostage by the superpowered criminal teens of the Sanctuary space station—only to have to band together with them when the station is attacked by mysterious creatures.

Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.

As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.

But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.

At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.

As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows. 

Think Alien and X-Men rolled together and dropped into a space prison.  I’m asking myself why it took so long for someone to come up with this scenario.

The author provides more than adequate world-building to understand the rules of this world and how these characters arrived at the positions they’re in, but omits just enough to allow speculation and mystery, and I liked that.  I formed all kinds of theories, but have to wait until the next book to see if I’m even close.

Kenzie is an admirable protagonist, and has to deal with some hard truths, but never curls into a ball of self pity and bemoans her situation.  The girl is a fighter.  What I really enjoyed was the diverse cast of supporting characters.  All are well-drawn, with unexpected traits that make them seem more realistic.  None are there for decoration – they all play integral parts in the plot.

At 480 pages, this is a long novel, but with the tense action scenes and near constant fight for survival, the pages flew by for me.  A lot of information is given in this book, but I feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s going on in this world.  Highly recommend!  Sanctuary is scheduled for publication July 24th, 2018.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

Pandemic (Infected #3) by Scott Sigler

8087710The explosive conclusion to the New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with Infected and Contagious.

The alien intelligence that unleashed two horrific assaults on humanity has been destroyed. But before it was brought down in flames, it launched one last payload-a tiny soda-can-sized canister filled with germs engineered to wreak new forms of havoc on the human race. That harmless-looking canister has languished under thousands of feet of water for years, undisturbed and impotent…until now.

Days after the new disease is unleashed, a quarter of the human race is infected. Entire countries have fallen. And our planet’s fate now rests on a small group of unlikely heroes, racing to find a cure before the enemies surrounding them can close in. – Goodreads.com

Pandemic is the third in a series and although I haven’t read the first two, I had no problem jumping right into this one as the author gives a brief summary at the beginning of the book.

To say this book is action-packed and fast-paced is an understatement.  A lot is going on in this story and there are numerous characters, but I never found it difficult to keep them straight.  The character that became my favorite actually started out being one I didn’t care for at all.  I initially found Dr. Tim Feely (Dr. Feelygood) to be creepy, repulsive, and the kind of man who overlooks a women’s intelligence, instead speaking to her in sexual innuendos.  But he redeemed himself – can’t tell you how, but it took a lot for me to change my mind about him.

Something I found interesting was that this male author had mostly female characters in positions of power – can’t say I’ve ever seen that before and it was a nice change.  I also liked that some of the characters were faced with hard choices in almost impossible situations and the author didn’t shy away from that.  The science of the story fascinated me and could easily make a reader become paranoid about what they could catch from just touching surfaces or breathing air, which just added to the story.

Although the last fifty or so pages flew by because of the action and tense situations, I felt like the story could have been tightened up a little in the middle.  There were parts that  seemed to drag a little and I was ready to wrap things up and move along.

I’d recommend Pandemic to anyone who enjoys action/adventure, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic thrillers.  Pandemic is scheduled to be published January 21, 2014.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.