Audiobook Review: Progeny by Ray Jay Perreault

Their society was efficient and controlled by the Conformity Council who enforced the Four Laws. All was well until Helen followed the laws and discovered how her kind were created.

Helen followed the third law, to Expand Their Knowledge, and studied a lessor creator on their planet. Within that creature’s DNA she found a second DNA string which described another creature. That information along with artifacts of the lower creatures provided important clues.

Who created them, and why?
Should she use the second set of DNA, to clone their creators?

Amazon

Audible

My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This is an interesting short story. It’s a quick listen and intrigued me enough that I want to listen to the next book to see what happens.

I thought that I wasn’t going to like the narrator until I realized that the characters were all robots. He used a monotone voice because of that, and it didn’t take me long to get used to it.

It’s a whole new world in the future after humans have depleted the resources that support life and only robots remain. It’s been a long time because the robots don’t remember that they were created by humans.

Helen, one of the robots, finds evidence that humans created them, and although robots don’t have emotions, they are curious. She wants to create whatever the DNA string is that was left behind so long ago. Will she be allowed to do just that? I think the answer is in the next book (full-length), and I’m going to start listening to it right away!

About the Author

Ray is a prolific author that enjoys science fiction. He feels that genre is fertile ground to understand ourselves and where we’re going. He has written a mix of Sci-Fi stories, but tends to focus on stories with computers, post-apocalyptic themes and stories with strong morals, loyalties, and drama.

Ray was a Senior Pilot in the US Air Force and traveled to 27 countries around the world. His C-130 assignments ranged from landing in a farm field in Paraguay to entering East Berlin and experiencing Russian controllers giving him false headings.

Ray’s other assignment was as a T-38 instructor pilot. “The T-38 is the best plane in the word; two pilots, two engines, and two afterburners.” Two of his remarkable experiences included training the first class of female pilots and receiving an Air Commendation medal for saving a T-38 that blew an engine during a touch and go, saving himself and the student pilot on board.

After his Air Force career, Ray enjoyed a long and exciting career with Northrop Grumman. During the 28 years at Northrop, some of the highlights included work as the Lead Wind Tunnel test engineer on the F-20, F-23, F-18, and B-2. His career progressed to be the Deputy Manager of Engineering for the Tri-Service Stand-Off Attack Missile (TSSM). Later he was responsible for all the computers at Ryan Aeronautical, then all of the computers on the B-2 Bomber program.

Ray hopes you enjoy his work, and he looks forward to sharing many new and exciting stories.

Book Review & Giveaway: The Loneliness of the Time Traveller by Erika Rummel

The Loneliness of the Time Traveller by Erika Rummel

Publisher:  Inanna Publications (June 18, 2022)
Category: Science Fiction, Time Travel, Crime, Suspense, Supernatural
ISBN: 978-1771338783
Available in Print and ebook, 298 pages

Loneliness of the Time Traveller

Description

“It is a dreadful thing to be possessed, to be invaded by a spirit woman who commands your body and soul and looks out at the world through your eyes. It happened to me in 1778. Pray it will never happen to you.”

Adele’s diary tells the story of her domination by an incubus Lynne, a serving girl in a London ale house who died a violent death and commandeered Adele’s body for eight years. Can Adele be held responsible for Lynne’s crimes? Will the evil spirit return and renew her tyranny over Adele’s mind?

Lynne has moved on into the 21st century, but the transmigration has left her emotions flat. Lynne is eager to go back to her first life and experience once more the passion she felt for her lover, Jack. To do so, she needs a channel to the past: the manuscript of Adele’s diary, if only she can find it.

A time-slip novel set in contemporary Los Angeles and 18th century London, The Loneliness of the Time Traveller is a story of love, crime, and adventure combined with fantasy, a little bit of Jane Austen-style irony, and a healthy serving of social criticism.

Amazon
Indiebound
Bookshop.org
Inanna Publications & Education, Inc.

Guest Review by Sal

With, ‘The Loneliness of the Time Traveller,’ Erika Rummel brings you into a world of strange creatures who prey on the weak and dying, and can sometimes take over a person’s life entirely. These creatures are called transmigrants, a type of supernatural spirit who, after losing their original body, can inhabit the body of another person and stay there indefinitely.

Most of the time, the bodies that transmigrants inhabit get used up, dying on their own after the creature usurps the soul of the rightful inhabitant. But not every time. Enter Adele Collingwood. Adele is only a young woman when she has a brush with death. After her father’s sudden death, Adele is struck down by a fever that nearly claims her life. It is during this time, while she is on her deathbed, that a transmigrant named Lynne finds her.

Lynne makes herself right at home in Adele’s body, and stays with the girl for the next eight years until a shocking event Causes her to move on. Adele and Lynne commit a crime together, and centuries later, after Lynne has been through many more bodies, she decides that she wishes to return to Adele’s life, and that she must find a sample of the girl’s writing to travel back.

Rummel has written what, I think, stands as a modern classic science fiction novel. ‘The Loneliness of the Time Travel,’ has action, supernatural elements, shocking twists and two main characters, one whom you love to hate and one whom you can only root for.

Do you like your Sci-Fi novels to mix in horror and historical fiction? Then this is the book for you. Rummel has an excellent talent that makes the reader engage with the story in a way that they wouldn’t necessarily do with other books. I highly recommend this genre bending, unique novel. Five stars all around!

About the Author

Award winning author, Erika Rummel has taught history at the University of Toronto and Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo.

She divides her time between Toronto and Los Angeles and has lived in villages in Argentina, Romania, and Bulgaria.

She has published eight novels and more than a dozen books on social history of the Renaissance. A recipient of international fellowships and literary awards, she was honored in 2018 with a lifetime achievement award by the Renaissance Society of America.

Erika’s Website: http://www.erikarummel.com/
Erika’s Blog: http://rummelsincrediblestories.blogspot.ca/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/historycracks

Giveaway

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Book Review & Giveaway: Saving the Seas for the Purple and Green by Nancy Carlisle

Book Title: Saving the Seas for the Purple and Green: A Story of Cleaning Up the Ocean by Nancy Carlisle
Category: Children’s Fiction (Ages 3-7), 34 pages
Genre: Juvenile fiction/science & nature/environment
Publisher: Sage Green Press
Release date: March 2022
Content Rating: G. There is nothing even close to PG or R in this book, it is totally G

A young girl loves the tide pools that she sees on her runs by the ocean, but one day notices garbage amongst the colorful creatures she finds there. Along the beach she meets conservationists cleaning up the beach who educate her about the dangers that trash pose to ocean life. She decides to help also.

Buy the Book:
Amazon
add to goodreads

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from iRead Book Tours. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Violet likes to be outside and enjoys going to the beach. While she is there, she sees sea creatures in tide pools and elsewhere on the beach. Sadly, she also sees a lot of trash. She learns from people and posters that trash, especially plastic, is a big problem in our oceans.

Saving the Seas for the Purple and Green is a story for children about the ocean and the problem we have with plastic. There is also extra information given on many pages about recycling, ways to possibly help with the crisis, etc. What an inspiration for kids to get involved!

Saving the Seas for the Purple and Green gives children the hope of making a difference. Washed Ashore is honored to have our work highlighted.”— Angela Hazeltine Pozzi, Founder of Washed Ashore

“A simple, relevant, and informative read that gives kids a positive outlook on what can be done to reduce our impact on the ocean.”— Taylor Lane, Creator of the Cigarette Surfboard

About the Author

Nancy Carlisle is an author and illustrator who writes hopeful books for kids that interweave facts and fiction about the environment and global responsibility. During her 38-year career as a sustainable architect and researcher, her focus was on the environment. She led work nationally and internationally on sustainable and energy efficient buildings and communities and won awards for collaboratively designing award-winning sustainable buildings, a laboratory campus, and improving the energy efficiency of U.S. laboratories. Since retiring, Nancy has worked as a volunteer teaching English as a Second Language and mentors first generation college students. She is a strong advocate against plastic waste not only because it pollutes our oceans and water but also because it contributes CO2 to our atmosphere.

​Nancy enjoys the outdoors and international travel. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Society of Environmental Journalists. She studies botanical illustrating and French language. 

connect with the author: website

Giveaway

Enter to Win a Signed Copy of
SAVING THE SEAS FOR THE PURPLE AND GREEN
Plus $25 Amazon Gift Card
(one winner/USA only)

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Aug 15 – Character Madness and Musings – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
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Book Review: Gateway: Destination DC by Jeff Dawson and Larry Welch

Muki, Abdul, Judith and Larry endured a harrowing thirteen days in the bowels of the Pioche Complex with Professor Leonoid Skorzenzy. Relieved they survived the adventure, will they be able to resume the summer vacation they originally started out on or will the events of the past continue to haunt them?

And what of Nathan Francisco? Will he allow the kids to leave the confines of Nevada unscathed or will he make sure they never enjoy their new found fortune?

Did the message Judith deliver to General McCulloch reach the appropriate authorities, or is there something more sinister infecting the US GOVERNMENT?

Strap yourselves in for the continuing adventures!

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. I read the first book in the Gateway Series, Gateway: Pioche, and really liked it so I was looking forward to reading the second book.

Muki, Abdul, Larry and Judith were students at Stanford who are geniuses (geeks) and decided to go on vacation before starting work. They went Vegas and won a lot of money after learning to count cards from Larry. The mob is after them because they want that money back.

The characters are different and fairly well developed. Judith was not likeable at all in the first book, but she is getting better the more she’s with the other three. Abdul continues to put things in a Star Trek scenario but not nearly as much as in Gateway: Pioche, maybe because their situation is much more serious right now. Larry seemed to be the “normal” one but now that he’s time traveled twice, he has some mental issues including anger.

Destination DC kept my interest throughout. There was a lot of action and the graduates had mobsters following them as well others trying to kill them because they knew too much. It’s an edge of your seat page turner. I don’t recommend reading this book without reading the first book first.

The only issue I had was that it was hard to keep up with the conversations sometimes, who was talking to whom.

I am going to read the next book in the series, Destination DC, soon because I have to know what happens next!

About the Author

Mr. Dawson was involved in the road construction business for over twenty-five years. He endured great highs and lows: fathered three children, went through a divorce, two failed business ventures, bankruptcy, multiple surgeries and a reunification with his high school sweetheart, Debbie, who he would kiss goodbye for the last time seven months later.

His last surgery in 2010 forced him to temporarily exit the construction industry. With one career behind him, he ventured into a new one—writing. The first stories he wrote are real life scenarios dealing with losing loved ones to cancer: his partner, father and Debbie. These works are both honest and heart-warming. He holds nothing back as he allows readers to look deep into the psyche of one who has loved and lost so much.

He has also written books in the following genres: science/fiction, time travel, Baseball coaching manuals, horror, poetry, alternative history and erotica.

He currently lives in the DFW area spending time with friends and family.

Audiobook Review: Our Dried Voices by Greg Hickey

In 2153, cancer was cured.

In 2189, AIDS.

And in 2235, the last members of the human race traveled to a distant planet to begin the next chapter of humanity.

Several hundred years after their arrival, the remainder of humanity lives in a utopian colony in which every want is satisfied automatically, and there is no need for human labor, struggle or thought. But when the machines that regulate the colony begin to malfunction, the colonists are faced with a test for the first time in their existence.

With the lives of the colonists at stake, it is left to a bright young man named Samuel to repair these breakdowns and save the colony. Aided by his determined friend Penny, Samuel rises to meet each challenge. But he soon discovers a mysterious group of people behind each of these problems, and he must somehow find and defeat these saboteurs in order to rescue humanity.

Amazon

My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

The idea that the human race gets lazy because everything is provided to them is interesting and probably spot on. From what I witness these days, if everything was provided for us, it wouldn’t take long for most people to devolve.

The main characters, Samuel and Penny, aren’t very well developed but that’s as it should be. The way Samuel solved problems was interesting, but there was too much detail/focus on those tasks.

It took me a while to get used to listening to the dialogue in Our Dried Voices. The narrator did a good job, but it was hard to get used to the way the people communicated with each other.

The book starts slowly, and I kept waiting for it to pique my interest, but it wasn’t until the last few chapters that I really got into the book. I’m glad I read Our Dried Voices, but it’s not a book I’d pick up to read a second time.

About the Author

Author of entertaining stories for smart readers. Download the short novel The Theory of Anything for free at https://www.greghickeywrites.com/anything-amazon.

Greg Hickey wrote his first novel, Our Dried Voices, while spending a year in Sundsvall, Sweden and Cape Town, South Africa, playing and coaching for local baseball teams. That novel was published in 2014 and was a finalist for Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Science Fiction Book of the Year Award.

Today, he still loves sharing stories while staying busy with the other facets of his life. He is a forensic scientist by day and endurance athlete and author by nights, lunches, weekends and any other spare moments. After his post-college travels, he once again lives in his hometown of Chicago with his wife, Lindsay.

Website: http://www.greghickeywrites.com/
Twitter: greghickey5

Book Review: Gateway: Pioche by Jeff Dawson and Larry Welch

June 2016—Stanford, Ca. GRADUATION for Muki, Abdul, Larry and Judith. Six years of cramming for finals and pursuing double master’s degrees has finally paid off. It’s time for them to enjoy the fruits of their labor. A trip to Las Vegas and the blackjack tables before entering the word of commerce and research.

Their good fortune at the tables doesn’t go unnoticed by the local mob boss, Nathan Francisco, who decides, “What money comes to Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Instead of enjoying their winnings, the graduates become engaged in a hair-raising, life-threatening pursuit through the sleepy town of Pioche, Nevada. Eluding their pursuers, they wind up northeast of town at an abandoned military complex. Not wanting to tempt fate, they decide to stay put for a day and explore the complex.

What and who they find could unravel the truths surrounding the most debated conspiracies of the past—who shot John Fitzgerald Kennedy, what happened to Judas Iscariot after betraying Jesus, did America really land on the moon in 1969. And finally, will Judith Anderson be able to purge her family’s ties to the Third Reich when she comes face-to-face with her great-grand father Martin Bormann?

Prepare for the most riveting tale of time travel!

Note: This book contains strong language. Not recommended for children under 13.

Amazon

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Muki, Abdul, Larry and Judith are students at Stanford who are geniuses (geeks) and decide to go on vacation before starting work. They choose Vegas and learn how to count cards from Larry. They’re not just going to play blackjack, they’re going to win at blackjack. Unfortunately, they win enough money to get noticed by the mob and end up running from them and into an adventure like no other.

The characters are different and fairly well developed. Judith is not likeable at all, and I’m guessing that the only reason she hangs out with the geeks is that no one else wants to be around her. I wouldn’t be able to stand being around Abdul for very long. I like the old Star Trek but enough is enough! Muki and Larry seem closer to normal, although Muki does have a kickass side that is way better than normal.

It took me a while to get into this book, but there were many interesting and exciting parts such as each time the “graduates” traveled back in time. When they were being chased by the mob was intense. Unfortunately, there were a lot of slower moments in between including scientific information that was a little too in depth for me but that’s a personal preference.

I am going to read the next book in the series, Destination DC, soon because I have to know what happens next!

About the Author

Mr. Dawson was involved in the road construction business for over twenty-five years. He endured great highs and lows: fathered three children, went through a divorce, two failed business ventures, bankruptcy, multiple surgeries and a reunification with his high school sweetheart, Debbie, who he would kiss goodbye for the last time seven months later.

His last surgery in 2010 forced him to temporarily exit the construction industry. With one career behind him, he ventured into a new one—writing. The first stories he wrote are real life scenarios dealing with losing loved ones to cancer: his partner, father and Debbie. These works are both honest and heart-warming. He holds nothing back as he allows readers to look deep into the psyche of one who has loved and lost so much.

He has also written books in the following genres: science/fiction, time travel, Baseball coaching manuals, horror, poetry, alternative history and erotica.

He currently lives in the DFW area spending time with friends and family.

Book Review: Captain Arnold and Other Tales of the Abnormal by Arthur M. Doweyko

Join Dr. Arthur Doweyko in a mind-boggling excursion into alternate realities with stories designed to stretch your view of our Universe. Robots, angels and ghosts will be your companions as you travel through a life that could have been and struggle to change a life that should not have been. PLUS Enjoy a bonus. His award-winning essay FIVE REASONS TO WONDER An exploration of the meaning of existence through several very curious observations of the world around us. 

Amazon

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I enjoyed all of these short stories. I read this book while I was out of town, and I knew it would be a couple of weeks before I posted my review, so I made a few quick notes as I read it. While glancing through my notes, there were quite a few that I wrote “odd ending” or “weird ending.” That doesn’t mean I didn’t like them but that the endings were not what one would expect.

I was beginning to think that none of the stories would have a happy ending, but there ended up being a couple that did. Although I liked all of the stories, I had my favorites of course. The last two stories, “Guardian Angel” (yes, about a guardian angel) and “Lost and Found” (about Arthur who lost his father when he was a kid), were my absolute favorites.

Several of the stories such as “Retirement,” “What Goes Around” and “Son” were really out there but I also liked them a lot. The title story, “Captain Arnold,” is about a sick boy and it’s interesting, exciting, and sad all in one. “Edge” and “FLib734” are science fiction and weird but very good.

If you like short stories and don’t mind reading things that are a little different, then you definitely should get this book!

About the Author

As a scientist, Arthur has authored 100+ publications, and shares the 2008 Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award for the discovery of Sprycel, a new anti-cancer drug. He writes hard science fiction, fantasy and horror. His debut novel, Algorithm, which is a story about DNA and the purpose of humanity, garnered a 2010 Royal Palm Literary Award (RPLA) and was published by E-Lit Books, NY in October, 2014. His second novel, Angela’s Apple, now called As Wings Unfurl, won 1st Place Best Science Fiction Novel at the 2014 RPLA and has been published by Red Adept (July, 2016). He has published a number of award-winning short stories, including several with Honorable Mentions in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future competitions. He is currently working on a novel about the last creature with a human brain. He lives in Florida with his wife Lidia, teaching and wandering the beaches.

Website: http://www.ArthurMDoweyko.com
Twitter: aweyken

Book Review & Giveaway: The Connection: Two Worlds. One Connection. by Dana Claire

The Connection: Two Worlds. One Connection. by Dana Claire

Publisher:  Chamberlain Publishing House (December 11, 2020)
Category: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Aliens, Romance

Available in Print and ebook,  280 pages

Beatrice Walker thought she lived in a normal world—that is until she learned she’s a living hostel for an alien energy source, and apparently the answer to preventing extinction.

Bea has no memory of her last moments with her mother. The week they’d gone missing is a complete mystery. Suddenly moved back to her hometown with her father, Bea has rekindled her friendship with her two best friends—and seems to have caught the attention of an arrogant, yet gorgeous boy named Cash Kingston. But there’s more to Cash than his annoying attitude and good looks. Cash isn’t human, and he’s now in charge of protecting Bea from those who know what she keeps safe inside her: the energy source that once belonged to his murdered girlfriend.

Tensions mount as Bea learns her energy source must be paired with the one Cash holds to protect both their planets from an imminent threat. But what Bea doesn’t realize is there’s more to her than being human a host, that her feelings for Cash are not just a prophetic plan that will save their planets, and that the fate of everything lies in her choices.

Amazon
Barnes&Noble
IndieBound

Guest Review by Sal

Thrilling Young Adult romance with a science fiction twist! Beatrice Walker is a normal high school girl, living in a normal town with her normal father. The only thing abnormal about her is that she suffers from traumatic amnesia surrounding a camping trip where her mother unfortunately died. At least, she thinks that that’s the only abnormal thing about her, until Cash Kingston moves back to town.

Cash is the hottest, most unapproachable guy in school; that is, until he approaches Beatrice out of nowhere. A strange spark flares to life between the two, and Beatrice soon learns that Cash is not who—or even what—he seems to be and that the two are connected in an unexpected and otherworldly way.

Beatrice and Cash have a relationship that starts out as very adversarial but watching the two of them grow to care about and trust each other is one of the high points of this novel. I love a good love/hate relationship and they have that in spades!

The action scenes were tense and well written and the dialogue was witty in a way that was realistic for teenagers. Dana Claire’s characterization was on point and her atmosphere was pitch perfect. I loved the sci-fi elements that were brought into play. She really made the universe seem even larger than we assume it is!

I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed reading this book but I think you should take my advice and go read it for yourself. It was a quick read that I couldn’t put down once I started and I feel like that will be true for many readers. I’m so excited to see that there are more books coming for this series! I can’t wait to see where it ends up going next!

Praise for Connection by Dana Claire

“To begin with The Connection is an interesting book to wrap your head around, the opening chapter leaves patches and mystery which I find a good thing, it dragged me in and made me want to figure out why this dystopian time was like what it was.
The main characters name is Beatrice Walker and the story, though not followed from her perspective, is based all around her. After the next couple of chapters, you get the concept of the whole new world and its so bitter sweet and beautifully unusual that you just want to discover more and more about this story.
The made-up memories that are written have so much meaning and you get to experience these moments all over again. Then ending is so amazing, Dana Claire really knows how to leave a reader wanting more.”-John Kerry, Let’s Talk Knowledge

“After the first chapter, I could tell that this book was going to resemble The Lux Series. The lux series is one of my all-time favorites, so I was genuinely interested in seeing where the author takes this story. I’m happy to say that I was not disappointed. I honestly couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.
One thing I was not anticipating was the never-ending action. I loved how there was never a dull moment, as our main characters seemed to never catch a break.  Dana Claire has a way of getting under your skin because Beatrice and Cash have made it to my favourite characters list. I can’t wait to see what the author does next! I really hope it’s the sequel to this novel. That cliff-hanger at the end makes me want to read book two as soon as possible.”- Jessica Marie, The Mermaid Reader

“Enthralling and well- crafted story. The author’s descriptions are so vivid you feel as though you are in the book. The plot of the story is suspenseful and hard to predict the next move because right when you think you know what is going to happen the story goes into a different direction. Dana Claire took me on a roller coaster of emotions all the way from the first page. I found myself not being able to stop until I completed the book. The Connection is indeed an outstanding and ingenious read. I eagerly look forward to reading more of her books.”- Chinnie N., Amazon

“Sci-fi fantasy can be challenging, but Author Dana Claire did a fabulous job with this novel. The characters are great. They develop throughout the book in such a powerful way. I love Bea, AND I love her with Cash. The Connection is a book I could not wait to read every day. I loved falling into this story because I thought about the plot even when I wasn’t reading it. A telling sign it’s a great novel!”-Hey It’s Carly Rae

About the Author

Author, Dana Claire, believes that a good story is made through strong character development. When readers become attached to the characters’ emotional state and are invested in their objectives, the readers are there for the long haul backing the characters and their emotions. How cool is it to read a book and think about the characters long after you’ve read the last page? She believes that the beauty of reading is that one can live a hundred lives within the stories of books.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a vampire, slay a dragon, or use a time machine, there’s a book for that.

Website: https://danaclairebooks.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/danaclaire143
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanaClaireBooks/

Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card

This giveaway is open to Canada and the U.S. only and ends on April 16, 2021 at midnight pacific.  Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Teddy Rose Book Reviews Mar 15 Kickoff & Interview

Sal Bound 4 Escape Mar 16 Guest Review

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Suzie My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews Mar 23 Guest Review & Excerpt

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Mindy A Room Without Books is Empty April 15  Review

Audiobook Review: Bernie and the Putty by Steve LeBel

Title: The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty
Author: Steve LeBel
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publication Date: 12/4/20

Not all gods are created equal….

Even on a world where everyone lives forever and abilities are god-like, there’s always one who struggles to keep up. His name is Bernie.  

More than anything, young Bernie wants to be a great universe builder like his father. In school he learned to build suns and planets and to create life. When he gets the chance to build his own universe, Bernie finds it full of problems: mysterious asteroids, unexplained volcanoes, and shifting continents, all threatening to destroy his beautiful planet.

Bernie discovers the problems were caused by an evil god who will do anything to destroy Bernie and his planet. Can Bernie save his world? Maybe, but it would have helped if he’d studied harder back in school. You’ll laugh out loud as the plot takes twists and turns that even omniscient gods could not have foreseen.

If you enjoy imaginative and unpredictable worlds, like Harry Potter, Peter Jackson, or the tales of Terry Pratchett (Diskworld), then The Universe Builders is for you. It’s epic fantasy and science fiction at its best – for both adults and young adults. 

Winner of 16 Awards for Excellence:

  • Grand Prize, Writer’s Digest
  • Best Book of the Year, IAN
  • Gold, Readers’ Favorite
  • Gold, San Francisco Book Festival
  • Gold, eLit Awards
  • Gold, Independent Author Network
  • And 10 more awards…

My Review:

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I had read this book when it first came out, and I thought it was great, so I jumped at the chance to listen to the audio version. Bernie and the Putty is fantasy/science fiction full of drama and suspense. There are more books about Bernie, and I’ve read them all. It’s been several years since I read the first book, and as I listened, I was surprised at how much I had forgotten.

Steve LeBel has created a world full of gods who are more like humans than we would imagine. Unfortunately, most of the gods believe that their creations have no feelings so they have no qualms about destroying a universe if it didn’t turn out the way they wanted. Bernie is not like other gods and refuses to blink out a universe because of a mistake or two or ten.

The characters are well developed and have mostly human characteristics. Bernie, the main character, is a young god, just out of school and a good guy. He doesn’t have many friends because of Billy, a typical bully, who threatens anyone who tries to be Bernie’s friend. He does have two good friends though who stick by him through thick and thin. When it looks like Bernie will probably lose his job as a builder, they do what they can to help.

The narrator did an excellent job with timing and with the different voices. I hope he continues to narrate the Universe Builder series.

Bernie and the Putty is mostly about the conflict between Bernie and Billy but there are side stories that are just as important. The book is well written and it even makes it easy to understand how to build a universe! This would be a great addition to any library. This is the book that made Steve LeBel one of my favorite writers.

About the Author

How best to describe an author who writes humorous fantasy?

Do we tell about bookshelves full of fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal books, his love of mythology, or the years he spent as dungeon master? Or is it more important to know his favorite player-character was a chaotic-good elven fighter / mage? And what about that stack of old comic books he never seems to get rid of?

There’s a serious side too. The other half of his bookshelf bulges with titles on management, marketing, computer programming, and financial analysis. What about his years as a hospital president, the many businesses he created, or all the time he spent in board rooms? What about his early years counseling drug addicts, or his years as a stock trader?

Is there a pattern to his travels around the world? Why choose places like King Arthur’s Camelot, the Temple of Delphi, Buddha’s Tree of Enlightenment, China’s Forbidden City, or the Great Pyramids of Egypt? What is he seeking?

And what does this have to do with writing good fantasy?

Perhaps it’s that dichotomy within Steve that makes The Universe Builders such a compelling read.

Book Site:  www.TheUniverseBuilders.com
Email:  Steve@TheUniverseBuilders.com
Facebook:  SteveLeBel.Author
Twitter:  SteveLeBel

Audiobook Review: The Code by Peter McAllister

Author: Peter McAllister
Narrator: Josiah Robinson
Length: 5 hours and 26 minutes
Publisher: Momosa Publishing LLC
Released: Jul. 31, 2020
Genre: Science Fiction

We unconsciously imprint our prejudices on Ais. Can they become mentally ill like their creators?

If one becomes psychotic, is shutting it down murder?

What if he fights back?

Liam, a gifted engineer, is trying to save the world, by finding a way to let industry mine for metals without the environmental disasters that make the news. Nanobots mining asteroids are the answer, and they are being tested on the dark side of the moon. But Gene, the AI tasked with helping him, spirals down the path of schizophrenia and is on track to mine the moon to dust – and without the influence of the moon, the ecosystems that mankind depends on for its survival as a species will be lost. This leaves Liam and his colleagues to battle the creation and his own demons to save humanity – who are oblivious to the potential destruction around the corner.

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I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Peter McAllister. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Gene, an AI programmed to use nanobots to mine ores on the moon is mistakenly using the incorrect software. It causes Gene to perform his task too well and by the time it’s discovered, Liam and his colleagues are hard-pressed to figure out how to stop Gene before the AI causes the end of the world.

The thing I like most about The Code is that it seems believable to me, and it isn’t super technical. I’ve read several books about out-of-control computers, and they were so technical with little character development that I had difficulty finishing them. The Code is not like that! Instead of being technical, the techs say this is possible or that is possible without going into detail.

Liam, the main character, is well developed. He’s very intelligent but has a mental illness as well which he takes medication for. I found it interesting that they think that Gene is schizophrenic. It seems crazy that an AI could have a mental illness, but their reasoning is sound.

The narrator did a good job relating the story. His timing and inflections were good, it was easy to follow, and he changed his voice just enough to know when someone else was speaking.

If you like science fiction without all of the technical talk, I definitely recommend The Code.

Peter McAllister an engineer, scientist, turned technology manager who wants to share the stories that keep him awake at night.

In his professional life he works in IT where tools such as AI are becoming prevalent. This behind the scenes knowledge, along with his previous work at the intersection of technology, business and people puts him in a great position to speculate on the future.

He lives outside of Melbourne with his wife, four cats and the kangaroos that visit them.

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Josiah Robinson is an actor, narrator, and producer based in the Chicago area. He has spent the last 10 years acting in regional theatres across the U.S., exploring the improv and musical theatre scenes in Chicago, and most recently, venturing into the fields of audiobook narration and voiceover. He is also a producer with a passion for creating high-quality audio projects, which serves him well when his career takes him off the stage and into the studio.

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