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. 

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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.

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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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Follow Connection by Dana Claire Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Mar 15 Kickoff & Interview

Sal Bound 4 Escape Mar 16 Guest Review

Bee Book Pleasures Mar 17 Review

Gud Reader Goodreads Mar 18 Review

Jas International Book Promotion Mar 19 Review

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

Mark S.Teddy Rose Book Reviews Mar 24 Guest Review

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews Mar 25 Review & Guest Post

Kimberly Amazon Mar 29 Review

Betty Toots Book Reviews Mar 30 Review & Interview

Lily Amazon Mar 31 Review

Lisa’s Writopia April 6 Review

Lisa’s Writopia April 7 Guest Post

Donna Amazon April 9 Review

Ashley’s Bookshelf April 12 Review

Katy Celticlady’s Reviews April 13 Guest Review & Excerpt

Linda Lu Goodreads April 14 Review

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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Short Story Review: Tagged by Henry Bassett

There are many forgotten games we played as children, one of which was tag. You would call “Tag, you’re it!” just before making physical contact with another and something would pass from you to them, but what if that thing left something behind in you too?

An unknown entity has infiltrated an office, whilst the staff go about their daily routines unaware of its presence. As it systematically picks its victims, will those who remain suspect anything or will it succeed in consuming them all?

My Review

I chose to read this short story after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. I read Recently Deceased by the author a couple of days ago, and I found it thought-provoking, so I wanted to see what Tagged had to offer.

I have found that I like the author’s writing style, even when I come across a story like this that almost seems unfinished. It’s set in an office where something is happening to the workers, one by one as they touch each other. It affects each worker in a different way.

But what is it? Where did it come from? What happens when the day ends? There’s so much more I want to know. I felt a little robbed when the story ended.

About the Author

Henry Bassett is an ebook writer first published in early 2019 with The Dead Chronicles of Martha Railer series; a supernatural urban dark fantasy which comprises of six instalments. He went on to write dark fantasy one-offs and, at this time, is working on a new dark fantasy series The Black Bear Brotherhood.

Book Review: Space Academy by Hannah Hopkins

It’s the year 2100. Earth is dying. A young woman, Elsie, has risked everything to get her newborn son, Will, aboard ‘The Mayflower’ – a spaceship that will transport a select number of people to a new planet they can call home. Elsie’s luck takes a turn when she discovers the captain of ‘The Mayflower’ is an old friend. He allows her to board with her son, giving them a place on the luxurious Floor One, where they live amongst the most honoured of ‘The Mayflower’s’ passengers.

Thirteen years later, and Will is ready to start school at Space Academy, an institute specialising in subjects such as Alien Studies, Technology, and Rocket Control. While a pupil there, Will starts to uncover secrets about his father’s death, becoming wrapped in a mystery that he and his friends must solve if they are to have any hope of saving humanity from the threat that lies in wait.

Lose yourself in this brilliantly addictive novel as it takes you on a journey through the stars. But be warned – you might be surprised by what you find.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Space-Academy-Hannah-Hopkins-ebook/dp/B0883G654X

US – https://www.amazon.com/Space-Academy-Hannah-Hopkins-ebook/dp/B0883G654X

My Review

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

Space Academy has some good ideas, but there’s so much left unsaid. There is mention of a war and something about the AIs rebelling, but not much else except that people had to leave Earth. There is a ship named The Mayflower that the characters are from, but at some point other ships are mentioned. I was a bit confused.

The story about Will and his friends is a good one. They end up having a strong bond by the end of the school year after going through so much together.

Although I enjoyed the story about Will and friends, I was left with many questions such as how the Space Academy was able to be a clear bubble and never get damaged, how the rocket races worked inside The Mayflower, why robots were still being used if there was a rebellion, and so much more. If there are more books in this series, I’ll be tempted to read them to see if any of these questions are answered.

About the Author

In 2017, Hannah Hopkins released a self-published novel entitled ‘The Split’; the story of four teenagers navigating life after Earth as they journey through space to a new planet. Two years later, the book was picked up by ‘The Conrad Press’ and re-vamped as ‘Space Academy,’ with a new cover, new title and new additions to the story. ‘Space Academy’ was released in 2020, kickstarting Hannah’s career as a writer.

 Hannah is currently busy writing a historical fiction novel with a feminist twist. She spends the rest of her time working at a University and caring for her two young children in the UK.

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/hannahhopkinsauthor

https://www.instagram.com/hhopkins94/

https://www.hannahhopkinsauthor.co.uk

Book Review: The Mysterious Disappearance of Kurt Kramer Book 1 by Mike Wells

17 year old Rachel is crazy about Kurt, but she’s not sure the feelings are mutual. When his parents invite her and his best friend on a family vacation in Aruba, they encounter a strange object on the beach. Kurt disappears. He begins communicating in bizarre ways that shake his family to the core. Rachel realizes that he’s stuck between worlds…she’s the only one who can bring him back.

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.

It’s been a while since I read anything by Mike Wells but I like his writing style so when I came across The Mysterious Disappearance of Kurt Kramer Book 1 on my TBR list, I decided to read it.

The Mysterious Disappearance of Kurt Kramer Book 1 is a short sci fi young adult thriller about some kids who find something that fell from the sky, and when they investigate it, Kurt disappears. Of course, Kurt’s parents have trouble believing them until he tries to communicate through the TV. Unfortunately, nothing is resolved in the first book, and since the second book isn’t available to purchase without purchasing the first one too, I’ll have to wait to find out what happens next.

Since this book is short and there’s no resolution, I would have preferred that it was just one complete book, but it is a good read as far as it goes.

About the Author

Mike Wells is an American bestselling author of more than 25 “unputdownable” thriller and suspense novels, including Lust, Money & Murder and Passion, Power & Sin. He is also known for his young adult books, such as The Mysterious Disappearance of Kurt Kramer, The Wrong Side of the Tracks, and Wild Child, which are used by English teachers in high schools and colleges worldwide. Formerly a screenwriter, Wells has a fast-paced, cinematic writing style. His work is often compared to that of the late Sidney Sheldon, with strong and inspiring female heroes, tightly-written scenes, engaging action/dialogue, and numerous plot twists. He currently lives in Europe and has taught in the Creative Writing program at the University of Oxford.

Please follow Mike’s blog at:

http://mikewellsblog.blogspot.com/

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Spotlight & Giveaway: Overstrike by CM Angus

Overstrike: Volume I of the Fixpoint Trilogy

When Matt Howard’s grandfather told him he must alter history to protect his newborn son, Matt thought the old man was crazy…

…Then he realised it was true.

Overstrike spans 4 generations of a family haunted by the prospect of an approaching alternate reality where their child has been erased from history.

Touching on themes of retro-causality, ethics and free will, and exploring ideas of cause, effect and retribution, it follows the path of Matt Howard, whose child, Ethan, is at risk, as he, his father and grandfather attempt to use their own abilities to manipulate reality in order to discover and prevent whoever is threatening Ethan.

Overstrike is volume I of Fixpoint, a trilogy about a family who discover their inherited ability to manipulate reality. It enables them to effect changes in order to safeguard themselves and all that they hold dear. But even seemingly small changes in a timeline can have unforeseen and far-reaching consequences. Follow the stories of the Howards on a journey exploring reality, time and our own sense of self.

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Overstrike-Fixpoint-Trilogy-C-Angus-ebook/dp/B0848N8P5J

US –  https://www.amazon.com/Overstrike-Fixpoint-Trilogy-C-Angus-ebook/dp/B0848N8P5J

About the Author

CM Angus, author and writer of Speculative fiction, Sci-fi and Horror grew up in the North East of England and now lives in Yorkshire with his wife and children. He is interested in all things creative & technological.

Currently working on Fixpoint, a series of books with each piece tackling different aspects of discontinuities in time and is a Speculative Fiction spanning 4 generations of a family haunted by the prospect of an approaching alternate reality where their child has been erased from history.

Social Media Links –

https://cmangus.blogspot.com

https://facebook.com/author.cm.angus

https://amazon.com/author/cmangus

https://goodreads.com/cm_angus

Giveaway

Win 5 x Overstrike T-shirts  (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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