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Archive for December 5th, 2017

NA Sci-fi Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
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Irina Proffer leaves home to follow creepy visions inspired by odd tarot cards. In BC’s capital, she uncovers a world of fringe genetic science and supernatural mystery. A job that feels too good to be true and a powerful first love almost derail her, but the conspiracy she encounters is terrifying and undeniable.
An engineered earthquake overshadowed by a planned Armageddon forces Irina and her friends to travel south. Their investigation launches a journey that takes them through the Pacific states, into the Mojave Desert, and through a mind-bending portal to London – all while Irina’s love fights for his life.
As the group faces a vicious pandemic virus, they race south again, this time chasing a timeless evil through Europe and Africa. When they finally confront a demonic alien outside a Nairobi slum, it costs them everything as they fight to stop the end of the world.
Book 1
Irina Proffer leaves mundane small-town life behind when she experiences visions inspired by a strange deck of tarot cards. To get answers, she travels from her northern British Columbia home to the province’s coastal capital. She quickly discovers a world of fringe genetic science and supernatural mystery.
Working for Innoviro Industries, Irina is drawn in by a powerful first love and compelling, yet dangerous questions about the nature of the company’s business. Meeting other ‘variants’ brings Irina closer and closer to the dark truth about her origins. She finds herself at the heart of two overlapping love triangles as she scrambles to escape her employer’s grip.
Before she leaves the city, Irina realizes she has merely scratched the surface of a frightening conspiracy on a global scale.
 Amazon     Goodreads
My Review
4 stars

Irina Proffer starts experiencing visions inspired by a strange deck of tarot cards. She leaves her small town in northern British Columbia and travels to Victoria to learn more about these visions and herself. What she discovers is a company called Innoviro Industries. She also learns about the Variants, people with special abilities. But the more she learns, the more she starts to distrust Ivan and his plans. It quickly becomes a battle as the Variants gather to stop Ivan and his plan for the world.

I really enjoyed this story. It is a great start to a new series and has some wonderful characters. Irina starts out lost but comes into being a strong leader when it comes to standing up to Ivan’s crazy plan. Of course you have to have betrayals. Who does she trust, who is really on her side, etc.

This book is a wonderful start to a new series that covers so many genera. It’s not just about the romance and love triangle. There is a fantasy/paranormal aspect and thriller as they rush to stop Ivan. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

 Excerpt from In Irina’s Cards

From Chapter 4:

The restaurant was full and the combined conversations created a loud chatter. Dim candlelight, a few glass chandeliers, and an antique-looking piano in the corner set a romantic atmosphere that sparked another twinge of embarrassment. On the other hand, the abstract and industrial mixed media wall décor had me looking around for art and film students. Aside from a few biker bars, the edgiest hangout I knew of in Prince George was an indie coffee shop – and it had only been open for a few years when I left.

We made our way around and between tables. Everyone in the restaurant looked like an artist or an intellectual. I felt like an ugly duckling in my plain, boring clothes, but I was glad for the first time since starting my new job that not all of the blue dye had gone from my hair. Jonah reached the table and pulled out a chair for me. We sat down and Cole scowled.

“Dude, what’s up with the timeline fail? We’ve been here for like, half an hour,” said Cole.

“Ignore his attitude. I’m Faith,” the girl said as she extended her hand to me and grinned happily. The flickering light glinted off a stud in her nose and a ring in her eyebrow. She wore dark makeup on her eyes and mouth. She had the same coffee brown eyes as Cole. I couldn’t tell if it was her features or the eyeliner and lipstick, but she looked striking in a bold, exotic way. As we shook hands, her gaze shifted over to Jonah.

We looked at our menus in awkward silence, waiting for a server, sipping our water. I sighed and put down my menu. I could feel Cole’s eyes on me as I watched Faith stare at Jonah, the only person still looking at his menu. I gave in and glanced back at Cole briefly with a small smile. This was all heading in the wrong direction. The time for tact expired along with my patience.

“So I take it we’re all mutants here,” I said casually.

Jonah sprayed water onto his menu and coughed. Cole looked at me urgently. Faith’s mouth made a small ‘O’ under her confused frown.

“Seriously, I came here, to Victoria, because I started having visions of this place and I wanted answers. All I’ve gotten is cryptic nonsense. Other than meeting you people, I’ve learned next to nothing. Rubin is all vague double-talk. It’s getting old. I want to know what you all know.”

Jonah looked at me and took a breath as if to say something. He decided against it and looked around our corner of the restaurant. Nobody paid any attention to us. He placed his hand over the droplets of water on his laminated menu. The water coalesced into puddles under his palm. As he concentrated on the small pool, it lifted off the menu and spread into a donut shape. The circle broke and the stream became a spiral, getting thinner and thinner until it evaporated into steam, absorbed into Jonah’s hand.

Faith’s frown turned into a smile as she looked at Jonah. She picked up one of the unlit candles on our table and pinched the wick between her thumb and forefinger. As she released it a flame sprang to life.

“Well, I’m not breaking this table, that’s for damn sure,” said Cole.

“That’s okay. I saw your street-fight with that bouncer when I first got to town,” I said.

Cole rolled his eyes, but I couldn’t worry about his temper. I wanted to keep talking about Innoviro and Ivan. “So, now that we’re making progress, albeit moving into some surreal comic book world, tell me what’s the deal with Innoviro. What the hell does this company really do?” I felt my adrenaline rise.

“I’m not risking my job so you can get a head start on whatever Ivan has in mind for you. You’re acting like there’s something bad going on here. He helps people like us.” Cole looked over at Jonah. “For some of us, being different is actually a health risk.”

“Dude, leave it alone!” said Jonah.

Faith frowned again. “You’ve met Rubin. He’s like a recruiter. He told you that much at least, didn’t he? He works with Ivan to find people like us and help, if they need it.”

“And what if I don’t need help?” I said.

“You may help others. We’re not all different in the same way. Some of us were born this way and some of us were … made,” said Faith.

“Ivan will talk to you about all of this soon enough. We’re really not allowed to and I think the reasons for that will start to be obvious. It’s not the kind of research the government likes. You can’t put this kind of stuff in a job posting and you definitely can’t chat about it at parties.” Jonah looked around the room again.

“So they’re doing tests on people.” I felt the unease in my gut churning faster. “On us.”

Book 2
 
Irina and her renegade variant friends are scrambling to pick up the trail of their former employer, Ivan, and his globally catastrophic scheme. After strategically sharing their story with the media, the group heads south from Vancouver to Seattle hoping to recruit more experienced—and lethal—variants to their cause.
Their attention develops a laser focus on an engineered disaster mere days ahead of them. Ivan is using what staff and resources remain of Innoviro Industries to set off a violent earthquake in San Francisco. While they fight to stop the earthquake, Irina pushes the love of her life Jonah as far away as she can, trying to keep his unstable genetic degradation in check.
Irina’s friends think they’ve seen the worst that Innoviro could bring forth by the time they reach a secret facility in the Mojave Desert. As they near the property, the group uncovers a horror none of them had ever imagined.
My Review
5 stars

Irina and the rest of the variants have slowed Ivan’s plan for the world. They travel to Seattle and share with the media what he has been planning. They learn that he is hoping to set off an earthquake in San Francisco and try to stop him. But as they follow him into the Mojave Desert they learn that there is so much more to his plan for the world and they may not be able to stop him.

I thought the first book was good. I love where The Compendium went. Irina and the group try to get information about Ivan out to the media. They learn of Ivan planning an earthquake and rush to stop him. But not everyone in Irina’s group are entirely on her side so it seems they keep falling short.

I loved the twist when they got to the Mojave Desert facility. If you think Ivan was crazy before, you have no idea. What a way to end this book!! This is a great series and one that I recommend reading in order. You could read The Compendium on its own but you get more of a feeling when you read them in order. I hope Irina and the group can save the world.

Excerpts from The Compendium

From Chapter 10:

I awoke standing on an orange cliff under a purple sky. An unfamiliar canyon wound under the horizon on either side. I looked down to see a river of metallic sludge oozing along the canyon floor. Chunks of debris floated in the sludge. Steam intermittently bubbled here and there. The sky darkened as I watched the river. Lights streaked across the sky, red and white, blinking. Black pellets fell from the lights, exploding in the distance as they hit the ground.

A figure walked through the smoke left by an explosion on the cliff directly opposite from me. While the smoke cleared, Ivan reached the edge of the cliff. His face distorted with a ripple. He reached up with both arms, burying his hands in his hair. His fingertips pulled on his scalp. Ivan’s expression melted. He peeled off his face in a downward motion taking the rest of his body with it. In Ivan’s place stood a red-eyed humanoid reptile with giant curling horns, identical to what I’d seen reflected in the window of Ivan’s apartment.

The horned figure let out a ferocious roar. The ground shook. The landscape shivered until the canyon transformed into a green valley below dry sage-covered hills. Ivan seemed himself again, smiling and tapping his wristwatch, strolling toward me. I shuddered, shaking my head. The green grass floor trembled and a crack opened horizontally between us. Trembling turned to shaking. The crack ripped into the ground in both directions until a canyon separated us.

A hand brushed my cheek. I whirled to find the source of the touch. I found myself lying in bed back in the guest bedroom in Josh’s farm house. I shouted and sat up.

Book 3
The end of the humanity and an unrecognizable future Earth are now days away. After their first glimpse of the Terra Nova virus, Irina and her variant friends know their former employer’s plans are almost at hand. Their failed attempt to publicize Ivan and Innoviro Industries’ horrific activities has left them utterly reliant on their own wits and weapons.
After surviving a catastrophic earthquake in San Francisco and destroying a secret viral testing facility, Irina’s crew has traveled by a variant portal to London. On the other side of the world, they begin tracking when and where Terra Nova will be unleashed on the world. They know stopping Terra Nova is only the beginning of unraveling Ivan’s plans to reinvent the planet, but if they can’t stop this virus, there will be no one left to save.
Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads
My Review
5 stars

After discovering the Terra Nova virus, the group can see where this is going. Telling the world about Innoviro Industries and Ivan has done nothing to stop him. It’s up to Irina and the group. But will they stop the virus in time. They travel through a portal to London tracking the virus hoping to stop the release. But the question is if they will stop it in time and save the world.

Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, they do. The group is doing everything they can to stop Ivan but it seems that he is always one step ahead of them. Now it’s a race against time to try and stop the Terra Nova virus. If they don’t make it, there won’t be anyone left to save.

Ivan is truly insane with his determination to affect the world. But I think the best part is watching Irina’s group learn to work with each other to the best of everyone’s abilities and attitudes. I love this series and can’t wait to read more from Christine Hart.

Excerpt from Terra Nova

From Chapter 1:

Faith returned with four glowing green drinks in a cup holder tray. Clear plastic cups, lids, and straws let the liquid inside glow through. It smacked of something that would spawn ninja turtles. “These are the Incinerator’s own toxic spills. They’re just vodka and sprite with a capful of that crap they put in glow sticks. Did you know you can drink that shit?”

Jonah reluctantly took a plastic cup. “Are you sure we should drink it?”

“It’s not going to kill us. No more so than the alcohol.” Ilya picked up a cup and took a long generous pull on his straw.

I took an experimental sip. It tasted like vodka and sprite. There was a mildly synthetic aftertaste, but nothing toxic. I took another, much larger sip. Aha – the warmth I’d been craving since my shower. I might stand a chance of sleeping tonight after all.

Jonah followed my lead and took a slurp on his straw, pausing to let the liquid do its work. He leered at me with a devilish grin and grabbed my hand, pulling me off to the dance floor. His touch radiated energy into me, right through my skin waking up every cell in my body.

He leaned down and kissed me, running his hands through my hair. His powerful grip felt restrained, as though his mind fought to control his body. The intensity surpassed our first night together. After we had spent so long mocked by his unstable mutation, first hurting me and then nearly killing him, we were both finally stronger than ever.

“I can’t help myself. I need to touch you. I don’t ever want to let you go. We’re going to make up for some lost time tonight.” His lips brushed my ear as he spoke. His fingers traced the line of my neck and it sent shivers down my spine. So much for sleep!

About the Author

Located on BC’s beautiful West Coast, Christine writes speculative fiction for YA & NA readers.  She has an undergraduate degree in writing and literature, a corporate background in communications and design, and an Etsy alter-ego named Sleepless Storyteller. Christine shares her eclectic home and lifestyle with her metal working husband, dancing daughter and rocket enthusiast son.
Contact Links
I recieved all three books in The Variant Conspiracy Series from Reading Addiction Virtual Books Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of these books.
RABT Book Tours & PR
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The Learn by Tony Halker

Blending reality, history and legend, about a time when women were considered as important as men, taking power in an oral society that worships the Goddess. A whole Celtic Druid world is laid out before us, incorporating beliefs, technology and the natural environment.

A Celtic boy, a beach scavenger, is pledged to the Learn, a life of endurance, a path to become sworn Druid: scholar and warrior. Young women and men progress, becoming Priests and Druidii. Friendship, affection, passion and care develop as novices mature, confidence emerging.

Seasonal battles of winter and summer bring rich festivals when seeds of men are taken by women in pleasure to prove fertility. Small damaged, hurt peoples on the margins of Celtic society blend in and out of vision.

At frontiers with Nature, dependent for everything on what the earth gives or takes, an emotional response to the natural environment defines who people are and the values they live by.

A lyrical novel resonating with modern readers through portrayal of character, language and history; arising from a landscape of today, yet centred in the Celtic Bronze Age of North Wales.

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 Tony Halker

Author’s Bio

Born in London, one of five children of mixed Scottish, English and Welsh parentage, of people who had hard lives.

A life long avid reader of fiction, I am in awe of those who create worlds with words that we can escape into and learn from.

My main hobby other than reading fiction, has been mountain biking for over twenty years: off road on trails over woods, hills and mountains. Walking is an obsession in any terrain, particularly the beaches, mountains and hills of North Wales, hence the setting for my debut novel.

With degrees in Geology and Business Administration; I worked as a geologist for seventeen years; now “lapsed” but trying. I worked in underground mines, surface exploration and geophysics.

A world traveller for work and pleasure through the UK, Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and Australasia, I lived overseas in a number of countries. Favourite places always to return to are North Wales and Western Scotland.

Following my life in Geology I developed a career in business management, working in hi tech marketing and as Product Manager, Chief Executive and MD, as well as becoming an entrepreneur in my own right.

I am privileged to have known and worked with people of different cultures, backgrounds and views of the world.

Website

My Review

5 stars

Owayne is the son of a beach scavenger. One day an object is found and his mother takes it to the Druid Merle. She convinces Merle to take Owayne and teach him how to be a druid. What follows is Owayne’s Learning about being a druid, from how to properly chose sides in a fight to the Goddess, and everything in between.

But it is a pivotal time for the Celtic Bronze Age. New things are being discovered, like a wooden wheel. Owayne has to learn to balance the traditional oral histories and bring his people into the new world. And for all changes, there will always be those that don’t want to leave the old ways.

This is a great history of the druids and their role in this world. I loved following along with Owayne and learning about how important it was to be a druid. This is a great history and you will learn a lot.

On the other hand this book is pretty steady, truly melodic in its telling. But because of this, if you like action packed thrills; this book may be a bit slow for you. But over all I enjoyed the story. It is easy to tell that the author has a love for this time period and has done his research.

I received The Learn as part of the 12 Days of Clink Street from Authoright for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Pen 33

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Pen 33 (Grens & Sundkvist – 1) by Anders Roslund & Borge Hellstrom

Bernt Lund harbors a sickness. He is a monster, an unrepentant child molester and serial killer. In the mind of society, in the minds of his nine-year-old victims’ parents, and in the minds of his fellow inmates, he is a waking nightmare. And now he has escaped from custody – the worse scenario imaginable for Aspsas Prison’s Department for Sexual Crimes.

Detective Superintendent Ewert Grens is about to encounter the most profoundly sickening case in his career, and perhaps in Stockholm’s history. During the course of one long, hot summer, Sweden will face an explosive series of events that spread across the country like wildfire, events that call into questions the very nature of humanity, duty, forgiveness, and self-defense. And justice.

Pen 33 is an unflinching exploration of what people – both criminals and victims – are capable of when they choose to relinquish self-control.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Roslund and Hellstrom are Sweden’s most acclaimed fiction duo.

Anders Roslund

Award-winning journalist Anders Roslund is the founder and former head of Kulturnyheterna (Culture News) on Swedish television, and for many years worked as a news reporter – specializing in criminal and social issues – and as an Editor-in-Chief at Rapport and Aktuellt, Sweden’s two foremost news programs.

Börge Hellström

Borge Hellstrom was an ex-convict who brought unique insight into award-winning novels about the brutal reality of criminal life. He worked with the rehabilitation of young offenders and drug addicts, and is one of the founders of the crime prevention organization KRIS (Criminals Return Into Society).

Their DCI Ewert Grens novels have won the Glass Key Award, the Best Swedish Crime Novel award, the CWA International Dagger, appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, been translated into 31 different languages, and sold over 2 million copies worldwide.

Website

My Review

4 Stars

Bernt Lund is a very messed up pedophile. After two girls are kidnapped, abused, and killed he is caught and taken to prison. While being transported he escapes. DCI Ewert Grens and his partner have been assigned to this case. They start looking out for Lund around schools and such but they miss him and he gets his hands on another little girl. Her father is beside himself and decides to take the law in his own hands.

This is an over simple review of the events of this story but trust me, there is so much more to this book. Although it is horrible and the subject matter could trigger people, it is a brutal look into pedophilia and what can happen to the victims.

But this story also explores the sex offenders in prison and punishments. You also get a taste of vigilantism. It’s not right to take the law into you own hands but sometimes it seems that is the best way to solve the problem. But then again, is the information you have about the person correct and do they really need to be punished. What happens when you get a large group involved and they are working on emotion more than facts?

There is so much to this book. It will quickly draw you in and leave you reeling from what you read.

I received Pen 33 from Quercus for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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