Tag: science fiction

Book Review: The Dark Intercept, by Julia Keller

the dark intercept
Image belongs to Macmillan-Tor/Forge


Violet Crowley is the sixteen-year-old daughter of the founder of New Earth, the safe home of people with the right to leave the sordid conditions of Earth behind. The Intercept keeps New Earth residents safe, and it monitors emotions and occasionally uses them to keep that safety intact. Julia has never known anything different, but when Danny, a cop and her long-time crush, is almost killed on Old Earth, Violet decides to investigate what he’s up to, and ends up finding out secrets she never imagined.

I enjoyed The Dark Intercept very much. The concept was unique and intriguing, and the book takes a hard look at what people are willing to put up with for their idea of safety. Technology is taken to the extreme in New Earth, and the idea is terrifying. Violet is pretty typical for a teenager, with her crush and her preconceived ideas of what’s really going on. She matures some in the book, but she still has a tendency to forgive all of Danny’s lies and actions, which is a bit annoying. The characters are rather one-dimensional, but I feel they will develop more as the series continues.

Julia Keller is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer. The Dark Intercept is her new novel.

Galley provided by Macmillan-Tor/Forge via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Book Review: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

beasts of extraordinary circumstance
Image belongs to St. Martin’s Press.

Weylyn Grey was orphaned and raised by wolves. He met Mary when she was 11 years old, when he saved her from an angry wolf. Weylyn knows strange things happen around him—like stopping that tornado on Christmas Day—but he prefers to give the credit to his horned pig, Merlin.

Freak storms, trees that grow overnight, hurricanes that mysteriously dissipate; Weylyn has been around them all. Though it all, his love for Mary stays strong, until he realizes that she might come to harm. Then he knows he must move on. Instead of stopping hurricanes, the magic in his life now consists of fireflies who make phosphorescent honey. But, through it all, his love for Mary remains strong. All he needs is the courage to knock on her door.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is classified as fantasy/sci-fi, but to me, it’s more magical realism. It’s different from anything else I’ve ever read, and different is a very good thing. This is told not only from Weylyn’s point-of-view, but from that of those who know him. There is magic on every page, and wonder hides here as well.

Ruth Emmie Lang was born in Scotland, but moved to Ohio when she was four. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is her first novel.

(Galley provided by St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)



Book Review: Select, by Marit Weisenberg

Image belongs to Charlesbridge Teen.

Julia Jaynes is part of a group of highly-evolved humans living in Austin, Texas. Rich, beautiful, and powerful, they keep to themselves and try not to draw more attention to their media-popular circle. Then Julia saves her sister from drowning, and the media attention she causes makes her powerful father punish her by sending her to public high school.

There Julia meets John, a tennis prodigy and a nice, regular guy. When Julie discovers she can read his mind—sometimes—she uses the power to encourage John, and her feelings start to grow. Living with the regular humans isn’t as bad as she thought, but Julie is desperate to get back in her controlling father’s good graces, before their circle disappears from society for good.

So…the cover of this book is what caught my eye first, and the premise is fantastic. I read all of it, but Julia was a bit too erratic for me. Does she hate her father? Does she love him? Does she want to stay with the super humans? Does a life of freedom with the regular humans sound more appealing?  What is really going on with the evolved humans and Julia’s powerful father? And why did he separate the younger members and try to destroy the more powerful ones’ talents?

I don’t actually know the answers to any of these questions, and that bothers me. Julia can’t make up her mind, and a first-person narrative should have some insight into the character, but it doesn’t. (I saw several comparisons to Twilight in other reviews, and that is sadly accurate.) I loved the premise of this book, but the execution and character development was lacking.

Despite her name, Marit Weisenberg is only a quarter Norwegian. She lives in Austin, Texas. Select is the first book in the Select series.

(Galley provided by Charlesbridge Teen via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Dream Me, by Kathryn Berla

dream me
Image belongs to Amberjack Publishing.

Babe is always the new girl in town. Always. So, when her family moves to Florida one summer, she doesn’t expect much, just a regular life working for the local country club and its upper-class members. But she makes friends and starts to imagine a life there. Then the headaches start, terrible, blinding ones that seem to be caused by the dreams she has every single night.

Zat is a dreamer from a far distant future where people no longer dream and Earth is dying. In his dreams, he sees red-haired Babe and longs to experience the life she embraces. Instead of leaving Earth with his family, he chooses to travel back in time and live in Babe’s dreams, but he never imagines those dreams will cause her so much pain. While Babe clings to their dream life together, Zat tries to pull away so he no longer hurts her. Soon they must make a choice between dreams and reality.

I’ve read some great books lately, and Dream Me is one of them. The whole premise is unique, since Zat only exists in Babe’s dreams, but the characters are so vivid they feel like I know them personally. Zat’s bleak existence made me feel sorry for him, and I could relate to Babe’s tough exterior, caused by her challenging life. These characters are deep and compelling, and the novel blends YA with fantasy seamlessly, with an added does of mystery—what is Zat hiding? Will they find a solution? Even the setting—the steamy Florida coast—lives and breathes on the page. If you love YA, fantasy, romance, or sci-fi, you should read this!

Kathryn Berla lives in San Francisco. Her newest novel, Dream Me, hits shelves on July 11th.

(Galley provided by Amberjack Publishing in return for an honest review.)

Storm Damaged, by Kerry Adrienne

(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Loose Id, LLC.)

Kerry Adrienne is the author of several novels in different genres. Her newest book, Storm Damaged, is a fantasy/sci-fi romance.

Humans don’t know that mermaids exist, but they have a large tribal society and prefer to keep themselves apart from humans. Except for Mari. Desperate to get away from her domineering mother and her controlling fiancé, she left life under the sea behind to open a tiny souvenir shop on the island. She’s happy there, until her landlord, Chase tells her he’s selling the bar under which her shop is located.

Suddenly Mari’s happy fantasies of a relationship with Chase, the former Navy diver who lost his brother in a diving accident and is now afraid of the ocean, go up in smoke. Chase wants to get as far away from the ocean—and memories of his brother’s death—as possible, but before he can, a hurricane moves in, trapping him and Mari on the island. Will she be able to convince him to stay, or will her sea life come back to haunt them both?

Storm Damaged is a breezy story of two people both running from something. Mari has struggled for years against her family’s expectations, as well as her fiancé, while Chase is intent on running away from what haunts him. Their journey towards each other is a fun, engaging read touched with a little bit of magic.

(Galley provided by Loose Id, LLC via NetGalley.)

Children of the Comet, by Donald Moffit

(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Open Road Media.)
(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Open Road Media.)

Six billion years in the future, Earth has been destroyed, and the human race has left to settle a world on the edge of the galaxy. The colonists have everything they need to start a new life, but some of them want to head back home and start over there. The home galaxy is deserted in the wake of the destruction left behind after the decimation of the earth. Or so the survivors think.

On the surface of an icy comet grows a great tree unhampered by gravity or atmosphere. Torris’s people must harvest frozen airy daily, and hunt meatbeasts and stovebeasts to survive. When Torris goes on his vision quest to the top of his tree, he finds out the world is a far different place than he ever imagined. He meets Ning, a female hunter from a nearby tree-bearing comet, and his world changes forever. But the cultural differences between his tribe and Ning’s are nothing compared to the revelations in store when a massive starship arrives, bringing changes Torris and his tribe could never have foreseen.

Children of the Comet is the newest book by sci-fi master Donald Moffit. The intricate tale of humanity’s descendants—both Homo sapiens and a new species—is intriguing and well-crafted, with science layered between adventure to create a story that will intrigue even readers who aren’t science fiction fans.

(Galley provided by Open Road Media via NetGalley.)

Winell Road: Beneath the Surface, by Kate Foster

(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Jet Black Publishing.)
(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Jet Black Publishing.)

Kate Foster is an English author who lives in Australia. She has three sons who keep her very busy, and she has loved to read and write for as long as she can remember. Her newest book, Winell Road: Beneath the Surface, is the first book in a middle-grade series reminiscent of Men in Black.

When you’re 12 years old, living in a boring neighborhood with weird neighbors is the worst thing that can happen. Welcome to Jack Mills’ life. His mom likes to spy on the neighbors and create odd recipes. His dad is the inventor of such things as the Camera Belt and the Self-Closing Window. His best friend is away on one of his clandestine vacations and can’t be reached. So when Jack sees a spaceship one afternoon that no one else has seen, he’s on his own.

Until a new neighbor moves in, extremely tall Roxy Fox. With Roxy’s help, Jack is soon on a mission to find an item that could save the galaxy from horrible aliens intent on destroying the world. But Winell Road has secrets that Jack never suspected, and these secrets could be enough to thwart Jack’s mission. For good.

Winell Road:  Beneath the Surface is a fast-paced middle-grade adventure story with the feel of Men in Black. Jack is a smart, resourceful boy with more abilities than he’s ever dreamed off, and he finds out that the world is a far stranger place than he imagined. The action is non-stop and will keep readers riveted.

(Galley provided by Jet Black Publishing via NetGalley.)

The Corridor, by A.N. Willis

(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Alloy Entertainment and the author.)
(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Alloy Entertainment and the author.)

A.N. Willis writes young adult fiction, preferably with a science fiction bent. This is probably a result of her obsession with sci-fi TV shows when she was growing up. Her first novel, The Corridor, just hit shelves.

The Corridor appeared out of nowhere 17 years ago, a link to a parallel world, Second Earth. The Mods—genetically modified human from Second Earth who built the Corridor—frighten First Earthers. Mods are more: more brains, more strength, and powers that can’t be predicted, so they are tagged and detained in research labs.

The Corridor has been a part of Stel Alaster’s life as long as she can remember. Everyone knows what it did. Everyone knows that the Mods, with their scary powers, caused its creation and the disasters that ensued. But Stel is the only one who knows that she has a power, too: she can open a portal to Second Earth, or any of the parallel worlds she soon discovers. If anyone finds out, she’ll be imprisoned just like the Mods.

Then the Corridor starts emitting terrifying bursts of energy, and Stel realizes she’ll have to act if she’s to save her family and the world she loves. With the help of an escaped Mod, and a boy she met in a third universe, she sets out to discover how to stabilize the Corridor before it’s too late.

The Corridor is a fast-paced, riveting read filled with adventure, mystery, and a little bit of romance. First Earth is a world like our own, yet changed by the Corridor. Twists and turns will keep the reader eager to find out what happens to characters that are realistic and relatable. The Corridor is a fantastic read for anyone desiring adventure mixed with mystery in an exciting new world.

(Galley provided by Alloy Entertainment via NetGalley.)