solar eclipse
Book Reviews

A Quick Read with a Big Concept

Photo by Bryan Goff on Unsplash


Today’s book does a great job of packing a lot of story into a small package. If you enjoy Sci-Fi, you’ll want to stick around for this:


If you buy something through these links, I get paid. I never recommend anything that I don’t believe is an interesting and high-quality product. See my Disclosure Page for more information.

Lonely Phoenix, by Stephen L. Thompson, is a philosophical exploration of life in space. But rather than focus on well-worn tropes like intergalactic wars, alien viruses, and hostile living conditions, this story does something completely different— vampires. Or one vampire. But before you run away with images of blood-drenched teeth and lustful teenagers, this is nothing like Twilight. Instead, the characters tackle the burden of long life and the loneliness inherent in being one of a kind (at least on the ship).

Though some scenes (especially with women) feel a little stiff, the concept is intriguing. In fact, by the time I reached the end of the book, I found myself wishing there were more. This is a book that could easily be stretched into a series, trilogy, or simply lengthened. A great read when you’re looking for something quick to top up your Goodreads Reading Challenge.

One Character's Lucky Break
Book Reviews

One Character’s Lucky Break

Well, that was lucky.

One Character's Lucky Break

Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

This post contains affiliate links. That means I earn a commission from clicks or purchases made through these links at no cost to you. See my Disclosure Page for more information.

Okay, I have a confession. I don’t know how to play poker. And I’ve only played the lottery once. Even then, I only did it to give back to the student scholarship it funded. So, gambling isn’t really in my wheelhouse.

But this character could play poker in her sleep. And win.

She is one lucky ducky. Or is she?

 

One Character's Lucky Break

Ella Hote is a graduate student on the verge of earning her master’s degree in quantum physics. And her final project, a quantum computer, is nearly complete when the story opens. But she unwittingly stumbles upon more than she was bargaining for. After a series of lucky coincidences and terrible accidents, Ella realizes that some things don’t add up.

Does luck really exist? And if so, will anybody believe her?

Conservation of Luck, by Lesley L. Smith, is a first-person sci-fi novel that touches on quantum physics, relationships, personal responsibility, and addiction. Though not always likable, Ella is a compelling character. She wrestles with the implications of her discovery rather than choose a side (selfish or altruistic) right away. And she’s often oblivious to the lies she tells herself, both about love and addiction. It’s an incredibly realistic portrayal of an all too common problem.

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Paperback: 335 pages

PS: Want to read another book by the same author? Read this review.

A Sci-Fi Read That is More Than it Seems
Book Reviews

A Sci-Fi Read That Is More Than it Seems

This Sci-Fi novel had me on the verge of tears.

A Sci-Fi Read That is More Than it Seems

Photo by Jaclyn Moy on Unsplash

This post contains affiliate links. That means I earn a commission from clicks or purchases made through these links at no cost to you. See my Disclosure Page for more information.

Not many books will make me cry. Maybe that’s because I subconsciously avoid depressing books. At any rate, this week’s sci-fi novel tore at my core like Edward Scissorhands in a fistfight.

And it was 100% worth it.

A Sci-Fi Read That is More Than it Seems

A Sci-Fi Read That is More Than it Seems

Sabrina Sabriya knows a few things. She’s an orphan, most of humanity died in a nuclear fallout, and religion is evil. And her best friend, Lindsey Mehdina, is her opposite in every way. Whereas Sabrina prefers practicality and usability, Lindsey is a colorful and visionary artist. Literally. And Lindsey’s visions can see into the past, present, and future.

This is a book of dualities. Religion versus science, flamboyancy versus minimalism, humanity versus machines, man versus woman.


City on a Hill, by Ted Neill, is a post-apocalyptic dystopian novel that delves into the human condition. And holy crow does it ever dig deep!

Since Sabrina was raised by the head of the city, a man she calls “uncle,” she has certain views of the world. Because of that, she enlists in law enforcement. And in the process of furthering her career, she slams up against several difficult truths. While she struggles with these difficult new truths, she is forced to make an impossible choice.

Rating: 4.8 out of 5

Paperback: 402 pages

 

PS: Want more dystopian fiction? Read this review.

 

 

 

Book Reviews

An Ideal Read for Shakespeare Fans and Sci-Fi Lovers

This week’s book references several delectable bits of culture from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to The Pirates of Penzance. And, of course, Shakespeare.

An Ideal Read for Shakespeare Fans and Sci-Fi Lovers

An Ideal Read for Shakespeare Fans and Sci-Fi Lovers

An Ideal Read for Shakespeare Fans and Sci-Fi Lovers

This post contains affiliate links. That means I earn a commission from clicks or purchases made through these links at no cost to you. See my Disclosure Page for more information.

If you’re a bit of an English Lit nerd who’s a sucker for Shakespeare quotes, you’ll enjoy this book. Set in the far future, this week’s novel features a diverse cast of spy performers. Oh, and did I mention the main character’s a clone?

A Jack By Any Other Name, by Lesley L. Smith, is a delightful romp through the galaxy. But it’s also a thrilling whodunit. Jack Jones is a clone tasked with solving his own murder. Talk about meta, right? Unfortunately, he’s also a months-old rush cloning job in an 18-year-old body. Having lost 30 years of the original Jack Jones’ memories, he is ill prepared to take on his new task. On top of that, he has all the maturity of a newborn, having been thrust into a body full of raging hormones with little time to adjust. And that makes for a rather unlikeable character at first, but it is a pleasure to watch him evolve over the course of the story.

This book also has a lot of sexual references (hormones, remember?) but without graphic or explicit depictions of intimate encounters. This may be a pro or a con for you depending on how steamy you like your reads.

As in other Lesley L. Smith books I’ve read, there is an unforeseen plot twist. But this particular twist opens up some important questions for the main character and propels him forward in his journey of maturity and self-discovery.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Get It Now:

P.S.: If you’re a huge science fiction fan, you should read this review, too.

A Thrilling Sci-Fi Book Written by a Woman Scientist
Book Reviews

A Thrilling Sci-Fi Book Written by a Woman Scientist

This tale’s a thrilling ride through time and space.

A Thrilling Sci-Fi Book Written by a Woman Scientist
This post contains affiliate links. That means I earn a commission from clicks or purchases made through these links at no cost to you.

This week’s book is by a woman who is quickly becoming one of my favorite indie authors. Wielding a Ph.D. in Elementary Particle Physics and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction, Lesley L. Smith brings a lot to the literary table. The book I’m reviewing today is the second in a series. As I’ve mentioned time and again, I rarely read book series in order and this time is no exception. I jumped into this book with both feet and absolutely no idea what happened in book one. And I was not disappointed.

Quantum Murder is an action-packed adventure with thrilling highs and lows. I gravitate towards books with catchy first lines, and the opening line of this book definitely hits the mark:

“My morning was going great until I got arrested for murder.” ~Quantum Murder by Lesley L. Smith

The protagonist, Madison Martin, is a physicist and professor who discovered a way to manipulate reality (I’m assuming this occurred in book one). She and a select few others are able to create, destroy, and teleport at will. As you can imagine, this kind of power leads to some dire consequences. But the book is deeper than a typical Sci-Fi or Mystery complete-the-quest or solve-the-murder trope. The narrative touches on romance from the woman’s perspective, which is totally empowering and completely different from the majority of traditional male-gaze narratives in Sci-Fi. Seeing the world through the eyes of a brilliant woman scientist is refreshing. And the plotting isn’t too shabby, either.

Rating: 5 out of 5


You Catch These Book Reviews?

Issola · Reversion · The Dead Room · Naheli’s Sacrifice · The Reviled · After Jessica · Running Out of Time · Wixon’s Day · Little Computer People · The Book of Jhereg · The Adventures of Technicality Man · When the Future Comes Too Soon · Love is Love · The Bear · Dragon God · Balfair’s Confinement · Don Quixote & Candide Seek Truth, Justice, and El Dorado in the Digital Age · Shoebox Funeral · The Plainview Lottery · The Lady Who Loved Lightning · Loreless · Breaking Up Is Hard To Do… But You Could’ve Done Better · I Was Picked: The John Challis Story · The Touch: A Supernatural Story · Jake & The Dragons of Asheville · Kat Cubed · Transgender Manifesto · The Stolen Sky

Grab Bag Post
Grab Bag

Fillius Glint Finally Comes to Print

Taco trees, teleporting messenger squirrels, and a serious case of the houseplants. What’s a world of magic without a little mayhem?

Fillius Glint Print Cover

Physical copies are available to booksellers worldwide starting TODAY! Print copies feature a brand new cover and afterword.

Ask your local bookstore if they have Fillius Glint in stock. And don’t forget to add Fillius to your shelf on Goodreads!

Not sure what’s so great about this book? Still on the fence about whether or not it’s right for you?

To help you decide if this is the kind of novel you would enjoy, here’s what early reviewers have said about Fillius Glint so far:

“An animated, inventive, and infinitely entertaining sci-fi tale.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“I would recommend this book for readers who enjoy Terry Pratchett’s books, who want to read a fresh and utterly different style, and who like fantasy mixed with humour and a dash of absurdity, in the most positive sense of the word.”

—Rabea Scholz, fantasy author

Seem like the book for you?

Fillius Glint

Thank you so much for stopping by. Please come again soon! *waves*

Wishing you the best,

Ditrie Marie Bowie


Image of Ditrie Marie Bowie
Ditrie Marie Bowie (née Sanchez) is a Puerto Rican in British Columbia, Canada who writes fiction. She is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) and co-editor of Strange Stories to Tell in the Park. Bowie is also the creator of the webcomic, This Writer Can’t Draw. A classically trained pianist and former educator, she has lived in three different countries spanning two continents. And she met her spouse in a video game.


Got what it takes to top the leader boards?

LP QUEST

Image of an old fashioned arcade machine.

I’m counting on you.


Free to Share, Not to Sell

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

I love books.
Book Reviews

Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Book Rec

A mysterious calamity, an island of survivors, manipulation, intrigue, and a centuries old secret that could kill them all.


Did you know? Every time you make an Amazon purchase from one of my links, you’re supporting this site.

The Dead Room, by Stephanie Erickson, is a gripping dystopian novel set on an unnamed island in the Northern Pacific 322 years after an apocalypse.

The islanders know little of what happened to wipe out most of the human population, but their leaders, the nine elders, teach that the islanders are the final remnants of humanity.

The elders aren’t just leaders, though, they are also privy to secrets passed down for generations.

And Ashley Wortham doesn’t trust them.

Not one bit.

“No one knows what claimed so many lives over three centuries ago, and no one asks, except Ashley Wortham. She can feel the secrets all around her, begging to be uncovered.”

~excerpt from official Amazon book blurb

Ashley and her best friend, Mason, embark on an adventure that keeps the elders on their toes and poses as many questions as it answers.

  • What do the elders do with bodies after a funeral?
  • Are the islanders really the last people on Earth?
  • What caused the apocalypse?
  • Why is Ashley the only person asking questions?
  • Can any of the elders be trusted?
  • Will Ashley and Mason survive the elders’ wrath?

The Dead Room is the first book in a trilogy, and was published in 2015. It ends with a devastating cliffhanger that will have you immediately lunging for book two. The sequel, The Dead World, was released in 2016. The third book has yet to be released.

Spoiler Free, Guaranteed

Written in deep third person, the narrative opens with Ashley Wortham as she comes to terms with a horrific incident that has changed her status on the island. It is here that we learn the social hierarchy constructed by the first elders to preserve peace (or maintain power) and to ensure the propagation of the human race. Marriages are carefully arranged to avoid inbreeding, duties and partners are assigned at the will of the elders, and rumors abound of the harsh punishment meted out to those who dare defy the status quo.

But as the story presses onward, the POV shifts to highlight Mason and several of the elders on the island. It soon becomes clear that the elders are more nuanced and complex than they initially appear. Perhaps they know more about the apocalypse than they are letting on.

But when Ashley, and her best friend Mason, go down the rabbit hole, no one is prepared for the truths they uncover. What will they do when they discover the downfall of humanity lies within their own island, deep inside the dead room?

~excerpt from official Amazon book blurb

Content Warning Note: If you are triggered by mention of domestic abuse, this may not be the book for you.

The islanders are procreation-focused out of necessity and operate on a cisgender binary, hetero normative, forced marriage system, but Erickson does a beautiful job demonstrating that this often produces disgruntled, unhappy families.

There is also a clear caste system set in place based on an individual’s ability to contribute to society, but people who overproduce in their assigned duties are labeled show-offs and shunned. Not only that, but at one point Mason calls Ashley out on using ableist language as a way to insult him.

More by Stephanie Erickson

Goodreads: 2 other series

Website: Stephanie Erickson Books

Twitter: @sm_erickson

Facebook: Stephanie Erickson

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoyed this post! Is there a particular book or genre you think I should review? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time I’m…

Wishing you the best,

Ditrie Marie Bowie


Did You Catch These Book Reviews?

Issola · Reversion


Want to support my work?

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com


Free to Share, Not to Sell

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

I love books.
Book Reviews

Medical Thriller Book Rec

Rabid chimpanzees, a raging drug war, a needle-phobic scientist, and a resort-like hospital with a dangerous secret.


Did you know? Every time you make an Amazon purchase from one of my links, you’re supporting this site.

Reversion, by Amy Rogers, is a science-based medical thriller that is not for the queasy of stomach nor the faint of heart. If you’re searching for a book with cover to cover action by a woman author who’s devoted to including real science into her work, this is the book for you. Set in southwestern Mexico, this novel features a mysterious and deadly illness much like in Michael Crichton’s book, The Andromeda Strain. Except the disease featured in Reversion is based on a real virus (rabies) and an actual biological occurrence: genetic reversion (hence the title of the book). This near-true-to-life aspect of the novel makes the plot even more compelling.

There are several tantalizing questions that drive the suspense.

  • Can the revolutionary treatment devised by the main character, Dr. Tessa Price, save seven-year-old Gunnar’s life or will his genetic disorder win in the end?
  • Trapped in the hospital, will Tessa, Gunnar, and their companions survive the battle between two rival drug cartels?
  • What is causing the rapid spread of the mysterious, rabies-like illness, and can the disease be stopped before it’s too late?

Spoiler Free, Guaranteed

The story revolves around Palacio Centro Medico, a fictitious and profoundly isolated medical facility which caters to wealthy tourists. The hospital is located on a peninsula near Acapulco, but rather than have staff and patients approach the facility by way of gang-infested roads, the hospital requires all visitors to arrive by air.

Dr. Price arrives at Palacio by helicopter, eager to check on the progress of Gunnar’s treatment. (Note: Dr. Price is not introduced until the second chapter. The book opens with Cristo, a member of Palacio’s research staff, on an errand that sets the whole tone for the novel. However, the events of the first chapter aren’t mentioned in the official book blurb, and I’ve opted here to eschew the details.)

Over the course of the book, Rogers reveals Dr. Tessa Price’s motivations to cure Gunnar’s illness: Tessa lost her infant son, Benjamin, to a genetic disorder. It’s this passion and haunting guilt that pushes Tessa to have her new rabies-based treatment smuggled into Mexico when she was denied testing approval in the U.S. The fact that Tessa and her colleagues can treat Gunnar at Palacio Centro Medico says something about the facility’s dubious relationship with ethics– and the law.

When the hospital is taken over by a brutal drug cartel, Tessa hides with a remarkable trio of Palacio clients—rich Texan Lyle Simmons, his much-younger Brazilian girlfriend, and his protection dog, a German shepherd named Dixie—only to learn that the gangsters aren’t the only deadly threat they face. A rabies-like infection that began in the Palacio’s research chimpanzees has spread to humans. Tessa investigates and finds a shocking connection to her gene therapy experiment. In the wake of this discovery, Tessa must weigh the value of one human life against another—including her own.

~excerpt from official Amazon book blurb

Content Warning Note: As stated before, if you can’t handle or dislike graphic violence and clinical details, this is not the book for you. If you are sensitive to ableist words and phrases, particularly in regards to mental illness and nuerodivergence, you may want to skip this book, as well. There is at least one instance of the “c” word (in an ableist context, not the female body part context). As mentioned in an earlier post, there is a lot of harmful, systematic crud that’s baked into our language and idioms. Highlighting the problem is not meant as an attack but as a gentle prod toward awareness for readers and writers alike (myself included).

Amy Rogers has a beautiful, clean writing style with close attention to detail and pacing. There’s a large cast of ethnically diverse characters, and it’s obvious she has put a great deal of research and care into her writing. If you are a science-minded person hankering for a good piece of fiction with scientific details that won’t make you cringe, then this is the book you’ve been waiting for. Better yet? As of this post, you can download it on Kindle absolutely free.

More By Amy Rogers

Amazon: Petroplague Teacher’s Guide 

Goodreads: 2 novels

Website: AmyRogers.com

Twitter: @ScienceThriller

Facebook: @ScienceThrillers

Publishing Company: Science Thrillers Media

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoyed this post! Is there a particular book or genre you think I should review? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time I’m…

Wishing you the best,

signature

Do you create? Earn More. Join Patreon today.

Make

Feeling down in the dumps? Boost your mood and reignite your creativity. Get weekly comics and inspiring articles delivered right to your inbox. Sign-up is quick, easy, and 100% spam-free. Click here now to get started.


Want to support my work?

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com


Free to Share, Not to Sell

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Book Reviews

Character Spotlight: James Alan Gardner’s Oar (1 min. read)

144H.jpg

Oar is one of my all-time favorite characters, and I discovered her by chance. I was reading through my husband’s considerable book collection, plucking books off the shelf at random. I’m not a stickler for digging through stacks and reading a series in order. I may be a plotter when I write, but I’m pantser when I read.

Even though Oar’s adventures began in a Festina-narrated book called Expendable, I came to know Oar in her own voice in Ascending.

If you haven’t met Oar, here’s a taste of her POV:

This is my story, the Story of Oar. It is a wonderful story. I was in another story once, but it was not so wonderful, as I died in the end. That was very most sad indeed. But it turns out I am not such a one as stays dead forever, especially when I only fell eighty floors to the pavement. I am made of sterner stuff than that.

And then you find out she’s made out of glass. Isn’t that delicious?

She begins the book as an entertaining, hyper-intelligent being with a low social/emotional IQ. Though she has the body of an adult (and naked) woman, she has the maturity level of a child.

Oar is not a perfect person, fascinating characters rarely are. She can be vain, petulant, and lacking in empathy. But over the course of the book, her understanding of the universe and other intelligent beings deepens as she blossoms into emotional adulthood. It is a beautiful and hilarious coming-of-age that is well worth the journey.


Post may be re-shared for non-commercial purposes with credit to Ditrie Marie Bowie. If shared digitally, a link back to this blog is preferred.