Entwined by A.J. Rosen

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Book: Entwined

 

Author: A.J. Rosen

 

Book Series: Standalone for now

 

Rating: 3/5

 

Recommended For…: romance lovers, ya fantasy, mythology

 

Publication Date: August 25, 2020

 

Genre: YA Fantasy

 

Recommended Age: 14+ (bullying TW, slight sexual content, cliches and tropes galore)

 

Publisher: Wattpad Books

 

Pages: 288

 

Synopsis: Avery Montgomery doesn’t even know if she wants a soul mate.

As a member of the Hellenicus—a race founded in antiquity and descended directly from the Greek gods—Avery’s attending her first Gathering where she’ll gain the ability to entwine her thoughts with her destined soul mate and be tied to them forever.

But all is not as it seems at the Royal Court. There are severe and strange looks from the elders, whisperings from the ancient Dodona tree, and encounters with spirits who seem to know Avery better than she knows herself.

Throughout these whirlwind events at Court, Avery finds herself torn between her feelings for the wise and protective Vladimir and the passionate, fun-loving Adrian. Unwilling to surrender her independence or to betray her heart, Avery must decide once and for all if she’ll give in to her desires and risk the wrath of the Gods.

Because who are you if your destiny lies with another person?

 

Review: Overall, this was a good read. The book had some good character development and the story was interesting for the most part. The writing was pretty good and I think the pacing was great for this book.

 

However, the book needs to be polished a bit more. The book is a bit disjointed in spots and it’s hard to follow along in some spots. The book also relies a lot on clichés and tropes, which make it hard to read because it’s a bit of a cheesy read. The book also isn’t as developed in world building as I would have liked it to be.

 

Verdict: It’s pretty good.

Crackle and Fire by Russ Colchamiro

CrackleandFire

Check out the upcoming release from Russ Colchamiro! Crackle and Fire is the first installment of a brand new genre-blurring series!

Crackle & Fire front cover FINAL

Crackle and Fire: An Angela Hardwicke Sci-Fi Mystery (Book One)

Expected Publication Date: September 1st, 2020

Genre: Sci-Fi Mystery/ Fantasy

Angela Hardwicke isn’t just any private eye.

She’s a PI from Eternity, the cosmic realm responsible for the design, creation, and maintenance of the Universe.

When accountant Gil Haberseau hires her to find an intern with stolen corporate files, Hardwicke soon finds herself embroiled in a deadly case of lies, intrigue, and murder, clashing with vengeful gangsters, MinderNot rallies, and a madman who’s come a long way to get what he wants.

In Russ Colchamiro’s thrilling Sci-Fi mystery Crackle and Fire, Angela Hardwicke learns once and for all that when it comes to being an intergalactic private eye, there’s no telling what threats she may face on-realm and off… including the demons that lurk deep within her soul.

Crackle and Fire elegantly combines PI noir with science fiction and fantasy.” — John L. French, author of The Magic of Simon Tombs

“Angela Hardwicke is one of the most memorable characters in detective fiction.” — Sawney Hatton, author of Everyone is a Moon

BONUS STORY INCLUDED! The AI-themed Angela Hardwicke murder mystery, “The Case of Jarlo’s Buried Treasure”

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Pre-Order Now!

About the Author

Russ Colchamiro Headshot

Russ Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking space adventure, Crossline, the zany SF/F backpacking comedy series Finders Keepers: The Definitive Edition, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, and is editor of the SF anthology Love, Murder & Mayhem, all with Crazy 8 Press.

Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, two ninjas, and crazy dog Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, Altered States of the Union, Camelot 13, TV Gods 2, They Keep Killing Glenn, Thrilling Adventure Yarns, Camelot 13, and Brave New Girls.

He is now working on the first novel in a new series featuring his hardboiled private eye Angela Hardwicke, and the first of three collaborative novella projects.

Russ Colchamiro| Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway: For a chance to win a digital copy of Crackle and Fire AND a $5 Amazon gift card, click the link below!
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CrackleandFire

Blog Tour Schedule

August 24th

Horror Tree (Guest Post) https://www.horrortree.com

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

August 25th

Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://www.tsarinapress.com

Rajiv’s Reviews (Review) https://www.rajivsreviews.com/

Rambling Mads (Review) http://ramblingmads.com

August 26th

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

Meli’s Book Reviews (Review) https://melisbokreviews.wordpress.com/

August 27th

Book Dragons Not Worms (Spotlight) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1

I’m into Books (Spotlight) https://imintobooks.com

PoptheButterfly Reads (Spotlight) https://popthebutterfly.wordpress.com

August 28th

Mind of Luxe (Review) http://mindofluxe.wordpress.com

Tranquil Dreams (Review) https://klling.wordpress.com/

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

Blog Tour Organized By:

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Excerpt

EXCERPT 1
At first glance there’s nothing special about Wazon Road. Just another hipster club along another hipster side street along Cobblestone Alley. The usual multi-color strobe lights and flashing orbs are in sync with the electronic music.
Yet there’s an energy here. An expectancy. Heads are bobbing.
Maybe it’s the booze and sweat and even the sweet peppermint being pumped into the air. Or maybe it’s the drugs—I spot four dealers and five prostitutes I know—but I’ve been to enough of these events to know there’s something else going on.
Normally I would’ve gone classic Hardwicke—pinstripe suit, fedora—but not tonight. My outfit needs to fit the occasion.
Lucky for me I don’t give a comet’s gas what these club punks think, so I busted out my black leather pants, leather boots with buckle clasp, white T-shirt, maroon lipstick, and thin-cut leather jacket. It’s got enough pockets to conceal what I need, but flows easily with my movements. No gun, but I’ve got my taser if I need it.
And if Wazon Road is like every other hipster club, there will be enough action to keep even the most focused mind distracted.
Since it’s a private galaxy unveiling, there’s some deep pockets in attendance. Waylan Gir is sipping a martini by the bar. Sarna Ri’n is in the VIP section, no doubt surveying for another sucker to bilk, and Evelyn Aaer-Von-Maroo, in her royal blue crepe-knit trumpet dress with off-the-shoulder neckline, is making her way to management’s private box overlooking the club.
She’s worth a second look.
I hate being in nightclubs more than I hate eating P’linco mushrooms, but you pick up a ton of actionable intel there. When money’s in the room, leeches follow.
A confection of magenta, yellow, and emerald lasers crawl along the ceiling. The music intensifies as the speakers unleash a gorgeous alto voice, nearly operatic, the woman producing a wordless song, a rolling stream of escalating and de-escalating aahs.
Nini hands me a cold beer. “Cheers.” She clinks it against her pomegranate cocktail. “You look hot tonight. Nice to see you out of uniform.”
She’s one to talk. Whistler was right. Damn.
Nini’s rocking a silver cowl sequined dress with an open back and split side. It dangles from her small, black body. If she wants a friend tonight, she’s getting one. She works long shifts in the ER covered in every fluid that can come out of a person’s body, but when she’s off duty, she’s glam all the way.
“I’m looking for Strident Eyes,” I say. “I bet there’s someone in the management box, but I can’t get up there.”
Nini raises her eyebrows, hands me her drink. She lets her hands fall along her hips, shuffles her dress, and puckers her ruby-painted lips. She’s even got my motor running. She winks at me.
“I saw Evie von M up there. I’ll give it whirl.”
Eighty or so guests undulate on the dance floor. Magenta lights flow over them. I stop a barback as he loads a black tub of discarded drink glasses, soggy napkins, chewed-up straws, and an empty prophylactic pill bottle.
“Strident Eyes,” I say. “You seen?”
He broods, as if I’m overlooking the obvious. I slip him a few credits. The barback gestures with his head. “Over there. By the tables.”
“I see ’em.”
He pulls away into a streak of light, revealing a MinderNot tattoo on his forearm.
“Nice ink. How goes the rebellion?”
“It’s not a rebellion,” he huffs indignantly “It’s a statement. The Minders need to unfuck E-Town before E-Town fucks us. If they don’t, we know once and for all there are no Minders. It’s the great big lie. Total con job.”
“One person’s lie is another person’s mantra. Sometimes the reverse. And usually… both at the same time.”
“Be ignorant if you want. But this town is fucked up. Way more than usual. If the Minders are really running the place… then run it. If not, we gotta tear this muthafucka down and start doing shit our own way. Fuck the Minders. They’re already fucking us.”
Ah, youth. So much angst and nowhere to stick it. They’re still too young to accept that responsibility isn’t a dirty word, but rather one of the most critical elements of self-worth. Yet they’re old enough to have learned that life is a helluva lot harder than they ever thought it would be. So they pick a new boogieman and call it a cause.
The MinderNots are pushing back against the forces of the Universe, convinced anything they can say, think, feel, or do will change the fabric of Existence.
That the MinderNots can exert control.
Who knows? Maybe they can. Wouldn’t be the craziest thing I’ve seen.
But this guy’s right about one thing. The Minders do need to get their shit together.
I’m about to make my way over to the Strident Eyes table when the club goes dark. There’s a collective murmur, then silence.
Normally I’d switch on my plasma sensor contact lenses that enable me to see and identify various particles floating in the air. Another one of Bernice’s little toys. But I forgot to put them in. I also forgot the scout orbs they synch to. They’re damn useful when doing recon. Roll them on the floor and they give a ground-up view of any room. Always nice to know what you’re walking into.
I reach for my leather jacket. With a press on the zipper, the teeth doubling as a fluorescent green glowstick—thanks again, Bernice.
A hiss of steam emerges from the center of the room, pushing everyone back. Outlined in purple fluorescent light, a square reveals itself on the floor. Ten feet away, another purple outline.
With an electrum hum, white panes alight within the purple-outlined squares. Platforms rise.
Standing atop the squares, one each, are a man and a woman.
Bindu and Barkley. The galaxy designers.

EXCERPT 2

Gil surprises me. I just assumed we were headed to the Breslin, Anders & Li headquarters. I had an ulterior motive. I wanted to case the joint, see how I might sneak back in later.
Instead we shoot across town, to the Nova District. Gil leads us into Dante’s Pizzeria, then flicks his eyes at the aproned guy behind the counter.
Without a word, counter guy buzzes us through a steel door in back, that leads down a flight of stairs, then through a hallway drenched in the aroma of hot pizza and fresh garlic knots.
Gil slides back an accordion gate, which opens into a narrow elevator with copper plates. He punches in a series of raised buttons on the wall mount and pulls on a mechanical lever. Rather than descend farther into the basement, the elevator rotates 180 degrees, then opens into a small room with chipped brown walls. We approach the door adjacent to us.
Gil holds his ID tag up to—I’m not sure where the surveillance camera is—but there’s a buzzer. The door opens in.
Gil surprises me again. With all this cloak and dagger I expect a room filled with high-tech gadgetry, including buttons, lights, and a team of engineers milling about. Instead there’s one guy—late-20s, plump, glasses, bowl haircut with shaggy bangs—sitting behind a drafting table with no drawers. The room is well-lit, with peach walls, various plants, a blue sofa, white coffee table with books, magazines, and 3-D tablets on top, and a window view of the sun sparkling off the ocean.
The seascape is a hologram—we’re deep inside the bowels of this building—but I can’t tell the view from the real thing.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d think we’re in the waiting room of a boutique travel agency. Maybe we are.
“Clancy,” Gil says. “How’s it hanging?”
“Low as my left toe,” Clancy says without looking up from the screen.
“I hear ya. Listen, Clance, I gotta new recruit. Need to see if she can handle the jump. Mind if she goes? You know how it is. Newbies.”
“Love to help, Gil, but I’m kinda busy.”
I’m not sure watching intergalactic parkour constitutes as busy, although I get the appeal. It is pretty cool.
“Sure, sure,” Gil says. “But Dino just pulled out a fresh pie. Pepperoni and olives.”
Clancy looks up. “I’m listening.”
“Now that I think about it… extra olives. Extra pepperoni. Extra mozzarella.”
“Aaaand…?” Clancy leads, raising his voice. His eyes follow.
“Grape soda. Extra-large. Pie’s waiting.”
“You got twenty minutes. Then I need the room.”
I wait until Clancy leaves. “This is the way to Earth? Come on.”
“Don’t be fooled. Clancy’s a top-flight technician. And what you see,” Gil says, “isn’t always what you get.”
He sits down at the keyboard, punches in a code. There’s a hum, a whir, and a series of vibrations. A glass chamber unfolds from the wall.
“That’s clever.”
“We’ll see. In you go.”
“Twenty minutes isn’t enough time, Gil. It might take a while.”
He waves me off. “You can be there a minute, a day, a month, or a year. Doesn’t matter. But whenever you come back, it’ll be like you never left. You’ll be back faster than I can blink.”
“All right, then,” I say, not convinced his timeline will play out as he’s purporting. Only one way to find out. “Let’s do it.”
Gil approaches. He’s standing close. Too close. He reaches up to my left ear, his breath hot on my neck. Instinctively, I grab his wrist. “What’cha doing there, Gil?”
“I need to place this tracker behind your ear. All you have to do is tap it once, and no matter where you are on Earth, what’s happening at the time, or how long you’ve been gone, it’ll instantly transport you back into the chamber, to this very moment. It’s how it works.”
The last time I had Gil in my grip, he was frightened. Now it barely fazes him. Maybe I’m losing my touch. Or maybe he’s getting used to me. I release his hand. “Go ahead,” I say. On the tip of his finger he presses what looks like a contact lens behind my left ear. I feel it dissolve under my skin.
“It’s in,” he says.
Gil sits back behind the terminal. He gestures for me to enter the chamber. I do. He punches in a series of commands.
“It’s called a Cressa tab. This will send you to Earth, to Arthur’s house. You’ll arrive no more than one minute after I brought him to Eternity. I can’t send you back before or during my recruitment of Hanson. It’s VCP protocol. We can’t interfere with that timeline or it initiates an automatic lockdown and pulls you right out. But when you arrive there, he will have just left.”
“Got it. How will I know if”—I’m now standing in Hanson’s living room—“it worked?”

The Poet’s War by Francis O’Neill

the poet's war

 

It is Europe’s darkest time in near memory. American warrior poet Alistair Stears, thrown into Italian WWI through his mother’s love for an Italian colonel, experienced a convoy of the dying through burning provinces of Italy in the terrible retreat of 1917. It brought from him the great English poem of the Italian war.

One war later, all gracious things await destruction, knowledge is burned, thought coarsened, manners trashed, perverted faith and truth follow the dictators’ flags-vultures to grace. Stears is a famous poet now, married into German-Italian nobility and determined with his wife to fight the Axis powers. He risks everything to protect Italy and all else he loves. He finds that the bravest and fiercest resistance may be the rightness of a poem, the closing of a letter, the welcome of guests, the embrace of a bride, faith toward a fallen friend-and that it may also come from the barrel of a gun. Spanning both world wars, The Poet’s War finds loyalty, patriotism, war, deception, intrigue, romance, love, and death swept up in a maelstrom that spans generations and changes Europe forever.

 

A Q&A with Francis O’Neill Author, The Poet’s War 

Question: How, if at all, did writing this book differ from writing your earlier works in the 

80s and 90s? 

Francis O’Neill: My ‘style,’ a word I rather shy from, is never and always the 

same. Reading my first real book (Agents of Sympathy) it seems written by anyone but 

me; if you ask me to say exactly where the difference lies, I don’t think I could. My 

characters, now and ever, float up out of deep pools, and I am always startled to meet 

them. 

Question: Who do you consider to be the great “warrior poets” whom your protagonist 

Alistair may or may not be modelled after? 

Francis O’Neill: True ‘great warrior poets’ are very scarce, both being rather full-time 

jobs. Alistair (and I) would insist that the saint, the warrior, and the artist meet as points 

of a triangle, by which they are joined–but they are not the same. Castiglione, Alistair’s 

hero and the great essayist of the courtier-warrior would agree, though he did not quite 

say it. 

If you mean ‘poets of war,’ then, 1,2,3: Homer, Virgil, the poet of Le Geste de Roland

Question: What can a return to the era of grace and civility teach us in modern times? 

Francis O’Neill: Grace has nothing to do with an era, though more understood in 

certain past eras than our own. What is it, and what is it not? Among those I have 

actually known the two most certainly endowed with grace have been HH Prince Geza 

von Hapsburg, and my grandmother’s late head parlour maid. How seen? A certain 

lightness. A capacity to make everybody nearby somehow happy by doing nothing that 

anybody can see. Attention. Voice. 

In the Revolution, by the guillotine (it was abominably run, as you might expect), a 

nobleman and a lady he knew well, both condemned and filthy from the dungeon, were, 

as you might say, ‘next to go.’ He said, “Madame, I fear that this time I must pass in 

front of you.” She replied, “Mon ami, surely you will not take my lady’s prerogative from 

me at the very end.” Magnificent, because grace is never so much grace as in the face 

of terror. 

Grace is not a time. It is not crinolines. It is light. It is holding yourself up from the floor. It 

is preferring loyalty to advantage. 

Question: Do you have a personal philosophy? 

Francis O’Neill: Believe in God. Have good manners. Never mail a letter the day you 

write it. Don’t keep women waiting. Don’t eat chocolate with Sauternes or a cigar. Never 

be rude unintentionally. That’ll about do it.

Night Owls and Summer Skies by Rebecca Sullivan

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Book: Night Owls and Summer Skies

 

Author: Rebecca Sullivan

 

Book Series: Standalone

 

Rating: 1/5 (because I can’t rate it 0/5)

 

Diversity: Lesbian main character and side characters, but not well done

 

Recommended For…: I can’t recommend this, it’s extremely problematic

 

Publication Date: June 30, 2020

 

Genre: YA Contemporary

 

Recommended Age: can’t recommend, dnf-ed

 

Publisher: Wattpad Books

 

Pages: 288

 

Synopsis: You have to step off the trail to find your path….

When her mother unceremoniously dumps her at Camp Mapplewood for the summer, Emma Lane’s hopes of repairing their fractured relationship are gone with the wind. Now she’s stuck in the wilderness facing her worst fears. Trees? Terrifying. Spiders? Even worse. And don’t even get Emma started on how she feels about camp activities. But Emma’s got a plan, and she will do anything in her power to get kicked out of camp, from sleeping in to playing practical jokes on her fellow campers. Yet when Emma draws the attention of her illusive and attractive camp counselor Vivian Black, she has to come to terms with the fact that how her summer starts isn’t necessarily how it might end. Will Vivian be the key to unlocking Emma’s fears once and for all?

 

Review: I had to DNF this read at 40% in. The book wasn’t for me at all. The book’s main character is really unlikeable. She calls herself gay instead of lesbian (which is ok, but it kind of gives off the vibe that being a lesbian isn’t good), she had anxiety and depression but doesn’t show the reader these issues and it isn’t wrote in the story well, and the whole relationship between Emma (our main character) and Vivian really upsets me. Vivian is older than Emma and there’s a power difference with Vivian being a counselor, and then Vivian does some things like kissing Emma and allowing Emma to sleep in her sleeping bag. Honestly, this is akin to professor/student relationships and shouldn’t be tolerated either. I don’t like the “bully is actually interested in the main character” trope because it sets a precedent that violence in a relationship in any form is ok and that’s not ok. Lauren didn’t have anything wrong with her per se but she is a bully and she sexually harasses Emma and Vivian and it’s not a good thing and doesn’t deserve good ending. I think it would have been better if Lauren was given some therapy or was shown to have remorse in the book but it doesn’t come off that way and doesn’t happen. Aside from these problematic issues, the book is also not well written and has some extremely harmful elements to it for people who identify as LGBT+.

 

Verdict: Not recommending.

Percivious Insomnia by J.J. and A.J. Cook

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the Smith Publicity. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Percivious Insomnia

Author: J.J. and A.J. Cook

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 4/5

Recommended For…: sci-fi lovers, pandemic reads

Publication Date: August 27, 2020

Genre: Sci-Fi

Recommended Age: 16+ (violence, alternate history, drugs TW, pandemic TW)

Publisher: FriesenPress

Pages: 240

Synopsis: An insomnia pandemic is sweeping the globe, leaving people unable to function and society on the brink of collapse…

Dr. Cooper Delaney believes he has the answer: Noctural, a new sleep-aid—one with absolutely no side-effects—which in early testing shows 100% effectiveness.

The only problem is, it doesn’t work. With no warning. No explanation.

Unable to accept the drug’s inexplicable failure and unwilling to concede to the competition, lines are crossed, ethical boundaries are pushed to the breaking point, and disturbing realizations come to light that could completely unravel civilization as we know it… and throw into question humanity’s place in the universe.

A jetset medical thriller meets sci-fi adventure with an unforgettable cast of characters, Percivious Insomnia presents an alternate history so compelling that it could possibly be true. The first book in the Percivious Trilogy from husband-wife author duo JJ Cook & AJ Cook, MD, Percivious Insomnia sets a unique and original course for fiction of the future, and paints a timely, prescient portrait of today’s globalized society… and what may exist beyond the realm of our current understanding.

Review: For the most part I really liked this book. The concept of the book was interesting and for the most part the character development was well done. I also liked the pacing of this book.

However, the execution of this book was a bit short. The plot didn’t keep me intrigued after a bit and the book didn’t do well at showing and not telling. The book also didn’t have that much world building.

Verdict: It was good, just needs more editing.