ARC #Giveaway Subject A36 (The Colony Series #1) #YA #scifi #fantasy

Subject A36 won’t be officially released until February 13th, 2020, but this is your chance to win an ARC before publication!

It’s not hard to enter.  All you need to do is:
1.  Tell me your favorite holiday movie (any holiday) in the comments below.
2.  Add Subject A36 to your Goodreads list HERE.

Entries are open until midnight Wednesday, December 11th, and the winner will be chosen at random and announced Friday, December 13th.  The giveaway will also run on my Facebook page and Instagram @tpolen6.  Good luck!

If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?

Residents of the Colony would. And do.

Only the Insurgents can stop them.

Seventeen-year-old Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.

He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.

Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.

Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.

The Gate (Astral Conspiracy #1) by D.L. Cross #bookreview #scifi #aliens #TuesdayBookBlog

He lost his job. He 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.

Fans of action, intrigue, and aliens will love The Gate, the first book in the Astral Conspiracy series. 

Being a sci-fi fan, especially of The X-Files, this book immediately appealed to me.  And look at that striking cover!  It was a must read.

Professor Landon Thorne is having a seriously crappy day after losing his job, his girlfriend, and then being kidnapped and held at gunpoint multiple times.  On the other hand, his theories about aliens, previously panned by experts in the field, may be proven right.  So there’s that.

With double crosses, questionable motivations, and government coverups, it’s hard to know who to trust or what to believe.  Some of the characters are so unlikeable (I’m looking at you, Nadia), you yearn for them to be put in their place.  Or sent to the aliens as a welcoming committee to determine if their intentions are naughty or nice in hopes of sparing the more likeable characters.

I enjoyed the multiple viewpoints and witty dialogue, and the conversations between Tasha and Father Tomas are exceptionally thought-provoking from a religious aspect.

With a mix of archeology, ancient civilizations, and the threat of invasion, The Gate is an intriguing, action-packed read.  I can’t wait for the next book.  Bring on the aliens!

The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss#1) by London Shah #bookreview #YA #scifi

Hope had abandoned them to the wrath of all the waters.

At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean’s surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.

Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father’s been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he’s innocent, and all she’s interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.

When she’s picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.

Now, she’ll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture–and her father might be lost forever. 

The totally stunning cover and concept of humans living at the bottom of the ocean made this a must read for me.

From the watercraft and underwater homes to the sea creatures, the world-building is magnificent.  When Leyla pilots her submersible around London landmarks and during the thrilling marathon, the imagery is outstanding.  And the conflict!  One roadblock after another is thrown into the mix, and nothing comes easy in her quest to find her father.  She’s a brave and determined protagonist, but makes some questionable decisions at times before thinking things through.  Ari is a man of mystery and caution, but a perfect balance to Leyla’s overly trusting nature.  Leila’s world is brimming with mystery and political undercurrents, and she’s forced to question many of her beliefs and things she’s been told.  And that cliffhanger will steal your breath away!

Although the pacing wavers here and there, I enjoyed this highly creative, underwater adventure and will be anxiously anticipating the next book in the series.  Add this one to your TBR!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

#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.

Purchase Link

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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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Recursion by Blake Crouch #bookreview #scifi #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Memory makes reality. That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

Neuroscientist Helena Smith already understands the power of memory. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent. 

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them? 

I’ve read several of Blake Crouch’s books – his Wayward Pines series is bizarre, Dark Matter mind-blowing – and he’s never let me down.  With this book, Crouch has made my auto-buy list.

Trippy, mind-bending, thought-provoking – it’s unlike anything I’ve ever read.  Recursion starts with a basic idea, and then it branches out from there, with tendrils weaving in several directions.  This isn’t a book to read if you’re expecting several interruptions – you’ll want to give 100% of your attention to it, and you’ll need every bit of brain capacity to keep up with this fast-paced enigma.

I really can’t say much about it – you’ll never read spoilers in my reviews – but if you’re a sci-fi thriller fan, this is a must-read.  It’s taken me four days after finishing the book to write the review, because I’ve been turning the story over in my mind.  I can’t recommend Recursion enough – one my best reads in the past few years.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

My Top 5 #SciFi Movie Influences #OWSCyCon2019 #YA

I’m pretty sure I was born a sci-fi geek.  From a young age, I can remember being captivated by sci-fi movies and books.  Normal generally bored me – I lived in the world of normal.  It was the unusual, otherworldly, and improbable that held me spellbound.  Today, I thought I’d share with you the five science fiction movies that made the biggest impressions on me.  Rather than listing least to most favorite, these are listed chronologically.

5.  Planet of the Apes  I’m totally dating myself, but I was in grade school when these movies came out, and I was instantly hooked.  Seeing Charleton Heston awaken to another world where apes were in charge – and they spoke?  I never knew movies like this existed.  But when he saw what was left of the Statue of Liberty at the end, my young mind was blown.

4.  Star Wars  You had to see this one coming.  Light sabers, talking droids, powerful Jedis, space travel, and such detailed world-building – instant obsession.  I’m a fan of the whole series (except any scenes including Jar Jar Binks – such a travesty), and after watching A New Hope, my next obsession was the video game adaptation at the local arcade.  I personally destroyed the Death Star many times over.  You’re welcome.

3.  The Terminator  This movie is at the root of my love of just about anything involving time travel.  It didn’t hurt that Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) looked the way he did.  As Sarah Connor, I would have accepted his offer in a heartbeat.  But seriously, the whole premise that John Conner sent a soldier back in time to protect Conner’s mother – and that man was Conner’s father?  I turned that one over in my mind for days.  I’ll still watch that movie when it’s on.

2.  The Matrix  I was a Keanu Reeves fan long before I saw this movie.  Besides the effects being off the charts cool, once I understood what the Matrix was?  And Neo was The One?  I fell hard for this one, and the sequels that followed.  The idea that what you perceive is reality isn’t, but some people choose to live that way had my head spinning for days.  It might have been my first experience with alternate realities.

1.  Inception  Speaking of cool effects – even if you didn’t get Inception, there’s no denying they were visually stunning.  The whole entering someone else’s consciousness impacted me deeply.  If you ask me, that token fell, and Dom was reunited with his children.

Parts of my young adult sci-fi/fantasy novel, The Gemini Connection, were heavily influenced by The Matrix and Inception.  One of my main characters, Evan, is a Mindbender who enters the minds of others and connects thoughts and concepts, and occasionally battles nightmares.  Evan also shares an unusual connection with his twin, Simon, that is instrumental in saving their dying planet.  To find out more about my books, you can look around here, on my website, or check out my virtual booth here.  I’ve also written a young adult horror novel, Sarah.  Info on that book is included in my sci-fi booth, or you can visit my booth under the horror section here.

OWS CyCon officially runs May 17-19 with the CyCon website and Facebook events acting as the hub for all of our events. Sign up for our newsletter or RSVP to the event to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the bookish goodness we have to offer. Plus, you can read more about our participating Sci Fi authors and their Top 5 favorites in Sci-Fi before CyCon starts. Visit the blog hop page any time leading up to CyCon for the latest posts and your chance to enter our MEGA giveaway (open May 10).

#OWSCycon2019 World-Building Showcase: Arid Alarm by L.B. Carter #scifi #YA

Welcome to another fantastic stop in our World-building Showcase blog hop! On this stop, we’re highlighting a story where the world changes or ends as we know it, but you can find a full list of authors and topics on the OWS Cycon website. Let’s dive in!

Welcome, L.B. Carter!

Before we dive in to the nitty gritty, what is the Climatic Climacteric series about?

The Earth’s climate is changing, and natural disasters are becoming more frequent, more intense, and more deadly: coastal storms, forest fires, drought. Voted the 14th Best Indie Book of 2018 by readers at Read Freely, the Internationally Bestselling upper YA/NA near-future sci-fi Climatic Climacteric series is now (as of April 26) complete with tense adventures of hope, suspense, thrills and a touch of romance! All books are FREE on KU or anyone can start the series for only $0.99 at www.books2Read.com/SilentSiren.

Does language play any role in your world? Does everyone speak the same language, or is there variety? Did you invent any new slang or terminology during your world-building process?

This book takes place in the near-future with as realistic science and technology as I know, so it’s not too different but has some scientific terms… though one of my main characters in book one has some creative word choices for avoiding swears!

What kinds of climates do your characters experience? Do they see a lot of change or is it always the same? Has your world always had this kind of climate, or has it changed over time?

Now this is a perfect question for this series! The premise is what the world will look like as climate change starts to really mess with how people live on the planet! There are some seriously terrifying natural disasters and crazy weather effects that torment my characters: book one focuses on rising sea level and hurricanes/coastal storms; book two focuses on forest fires and technological advances; book three revolves around drought and governmental attention to such a climate.

Is there any kind of faith system in your world? Did you draw inspiration from any real cultures, living or dead?

Since this world is similar to today’s, it’s similarly diverse.

What do people in your world do for fun? Are there sports, games, music, or other activities they do in their free time?

In book one, we follow two characters in high school. There are normal forms of entertainment–Sirena (Rena) uses boxing as a way to destress, they do pottery at school, and some friends are involved in ice hockey. However, with all the chaos Mother Nature is tossing at them, they quickly have to shun games and fun–free time at all–in favor of survival.

What kinds of transportation and other interesting technology do your characters have access to? Are they ahead, behind, or a mix of different kinds of tech compared to where we are now?

This future world has some technological advances to the current one: cars are mostly electric in a too-late attempt to avoid polluting the Earth, though deisel is still prominent in the poorer, disaster-ravaged areas (mostly the Midwest), there are few universities left after an education overhaul but they’re fixated on automatons, robots, drones and helicopters. Importantly to book two, they’re also improving prosthetics for amputees. Genetics is also advancing even if regulations and fears are still averse, but I’m not saying more than that.

Without giving away too much, what can you tell us about your world-ending event and how it led to the world of your story? Was it a distant event or does it happen as part of your tale?

Humans. Anthropogenic ignorance and arrogance caused this climatic climacteric (a term that means period of time) that’s forcing everyone to focus on not becoming part of the Earth’s next mass extinction.

Your Process

When you build a world, what is your process like? Do you do a lot of research upfront, wing it completely, or something in between?

This world is built on years of knowledge gleaned through my extensive education. I’ve studied Earth Science for almost ten years, getting a bachelors, masters and then doctorate, so I’ve cultivated all the research I needed on the potential impacts climate change will have on Earth.

How central is the setting of your story to the story itself? Is it more of an interesting backdrop, or is it integral to the events of the story?

This series takes my characters–and the reader–all over the US in this adventure series! The travels show the various aspects of climate change impacting different areas in various ways: from coast to interior to mountains.

When helping the reader get to know the world you built, what techniques do you use? Do you tend to be upfront about things, or keep the reader in the dark and feed them only bits at a time?

A pet peeve of mine is when authors don’t use “show, don’t tell,” so I try my hardest to pepper things into the story itself, so readers get a feel of the world in how the characters interact with it, rather than listing its state outright. I’m told they’re quite mysterious and suspenseful, so perhaps it’s a bit of “in the dark” unintentionally.

How much of a role does realism and hard scientific fact play in your world-building? Do you strive for 100% accuracy, or do you leave room for the fantastical and unexplainable in your world?

A lot! As a scientist, I find it hard not to base my fiction in fact. I’d say the plot is fiction (I hope), the characters are plausible fiction, and the world and its disasters are scientifically predicted (which is shame). My intention with this series was in part to help non-scientists better understand climate change predictions and exactly how they will pan out into actual effects on humans’ lives.

Do you have any specialized training or background from your “real life” that has informed your world-building?

I’m a scientist! More than that, I’m a science communicator at a university in my day-job, which means it’s my duty to explain the latest and most important results coming out of scientific research to the public. This is a soft version of that.

How do you keep all of the details of your world and characters straight? Do you have a system for deciding on different factors and keeping it all organized, or does it live more in your head?

It’s mostly in my head. I do have character cards to keep track of everyone’s names, background, details. The world is all in my mind.

Did you experience any difficulties while building your world? Any facts that refused to cooperate or inconsistencies you needed to address while editing?

Not with this world because it’s so ingrained in my brain after years delving deep into Earth Science. We’ll see about the next one…

Where can people find you on the web?

I love meeting other bookish friends! Please check out this series, which is now complete as of about a month ago (wahoo!)–find out more info about me and the series at my CyCon booth here.You can also find more information and links to my social media and email at www.LBCarter.com. Subscribe to my newsletter there to get free books, previews of the books I described above and more… like meeting my snuggly garfield-wannabe, Mr. Cat!

Many thanks to my host for letting me pop onto their blog here to chat about my series! I hope it was enlightening and fun. This blog-hop is a great way for me to find new books myself! 🙂

 

For more stops on our End of the World World-building Showcase, visit the tour page on the OWS CyCon website. You can also find more great Sci Fi authors and books on our main Sci Fi event page.