Category Archives: good vs. evil

Contact Us – Flash Forward meets 24

contact us cover macyImagine everyone in the world sneezing simultaneously, followed by a brief, yet excruciating bout of pain. Then, within 24 hours, most of the world’s population dies in their sleep. And if that weren’t enough, the survivors are contacted by an alien in the guise of Walter Cronkite and given What would you do? Contact Us documents the lives of some of the survivors–top advisor to the president Charli Keller, long since retired and presumed dead former agent Jake Corby, among them–as they strive to discover the cause and meaning of the sneeze, pain, and culling, in order to save the human race.

Contact us was a quick and entertaining read. Part Flash Forward, part 24, the plot–absurd though it was at times–kept propelling me forward. Charli is a strong, female character who takes the lead in the investigation. Jake is far too driven by his emotions, but learns to rein them in when necessary. Cronkite the Alien is a weird character, who, for all of his peculiarities, had me thinking more like Nixon on Futurama than not, but the caricature works; people trusted the real Walter Cronkite–it’s not a stretch to imagine a shape-shifting alien who chooses to look like him in order to gain a similar trust with the people of Earth. Or is it?

Though Al Macy’s story is farcical at times (not usually my cup of tea), I enjoyed the story. The characters–the human ones, at least–are smart and relatable. Even though the population of Earth suffers a culling, the aftermath isn’t necessarily dystopic. Sure they’re at the whim of a psychotic alien, but they’ve been given the blueprints to all of these useless inventions, and now their resources will go further, and the environment will replenish itself, besides.

Contact Us is a contemporary sci-fi that discusses modern themes and offers a horrific solution to our woes. It does what all good fiction must , which is to help us shed light on the shortcomings of our modern world.

Mamabear give this book:

four-bears

Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Divine Fall – a clean romance with a steamy side

rp_DivineFall250-200x300.jpgIn Kathryn Knight’s Divine Fall, Jamie meets Dothan, the handsome and mysterious stable hand, Dothan, who works at the barn where she likes to ride. They soon strike up a relationship, which worries her “adoptive” grandfather, Nathaniel, who disapproves. Dothan, it seems, isn’t the only one with a secret past, and neither one is as they seem.

Divine Fall begins with a Twilight vibe, in which a supernatural boy saves a regular girl from potential harm and they fall in love, and Fox Run, where the story takes place has some parallels with Forks, but that’s where the similarities end. There is also a Romeo and Juliet feel to it in that overprotective Nathaniel forbids Jamie from seeing Dothan, and like the infamous star-crossed lovers, they refuse to listen, which almost leads to their demise. Knight’s novel is a suspenseful page-turner. In Divine Fall, she explores a universe where Nephilim walk the earth, in a clean, romance thriller that is not without its steamy side.

I recommend Divine Fall to lovers of paranormal fiction searching for a new take on the genre. Though the protagonist is quite mature, without parents, and living on her own, teen girls will still be able to identify with her. Because the protagonist is quite mature, Knight’s novel will also appeal to readers of new adult (and adult) fiction as well. My initial comparison to Twilight aside, Divine Fall is a quick read, sure to keep you questioning Dothan’s origin, his connection to Nathaniel, and whether Jamie will choose to embrace Dothan, Nathaniel, or neither, as the story unfolds.

Mamabear gives this book:

five-bears

Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Dexter Meets Game of Thrones

blade of destroyer coverIn Blade of the Destroyer: The Last Bucelarii Book I (Volume 1) by Andy Peloquin, the Hunter is an nameless hunter of many faces with one directive – to hunt and kill his prey. His one faithful companion is Soulhunger, a dagger with supernatural powers, urging him to kill. The Hunter is an immortal with no memory, no match, no family ties; the perfect assassin. But when he becomes entangled with The Bloody Hand and the Dark Heresy, he may have met his match. Before he knows it, the Hunter has become the hunted, and long lost memories roil to the surface. Will the Hunter live to kill another day?

I have to admit fantasy’s not usually my favourite genre, but Peloquin’s nudged me one step more toward it. Blade of the Destroyer had me hooked from the first pages, probably because I like the idea of telling the story from the point of view of an anti-hero, hence the comparison to Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter. As an author, I found creative satisfaction in the notion of alchemical masks, made of a clay that molds to one’s face and which cannot be identified as false face.  Just when you think the narrator must be the most heinous person on earth, Peloquin introduces some even more villainous than the villain, and the reader begins to wonder if the Hunter is strong enough to survive, not just one, but five foes that make up the order of The Bloody Hand.

In Blade of the Destroyer, Peloquin sets up a flawless, medieval world (hence the comparison to Game of Thrones), centring on the city of Voramis and stretching beyond.  The Hunter is more than a mindless killing machine. Rather, he is a living, breathing person to be pitied, for he is all alone in this world. If not done with care, writing the mind of a killer could be off-putting. Instead, Peloquin has created a creature that, in spite of his career choice (which may be more ordained than chosen), evokes pathos in the reader. Congratulations to Peloquin for his creation.

Mamabear gives this book

five-bears

Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A Modern Ghost Story

Troubled+Spirits+eimageAnnie sees ghosts. Harmony, is an amateur ghost hunter. It’s no wonder the two of them are best friends. Determined to help the ghost in the old, abandoned school building transition to the other side, Annie, Harmony and their friends put the building on lock down, just like Harmony’s idol, Zak Baggins of Ghost Adventures fame, but when they do, they get more than they bargained for. Before they know it, a ghost has attached itself to Annie and Harmony’s hurt and in the hospital. Who is the ghost in the old school? Why is the ghost so drawn to Annie? And what’s the story with Annie’s new boyfriend, Drew?

In Troubled Spirits, Teri Lee pens a good, old-fashioned ghost story that answers these questions, and forces the reader to question what happens to spirits after people die, particularly those who are…well…troubled. I love that Harmony patterns her ghost adventures after Zak’s. Ghost Adventures is a guilty pleasure of mine, and at times, reading Lee’s book was like finding myself in an episode of the show.

Though at times the story seems formulaic (I admit I knew the story with Drew long before Lee reveals his secret), I kept reading because I wanted to see if I was right. And even though I was, I wasn’t disappointed at the revelation. I’m an adult, author and English teacher. I deconstruct literature for a living. A teen audience might not be as literary device savvy as to figure it out and I think the average teen would find the ending the bombshell Lee intended.

Troubled Spirits is good, clean fun that delves into the world of modern ghost hunting with two, more than capable, female protagonists that take care of themselves and the big bad in town, on their own, in true Buffy the Vampire Slayer fashion. The way Harmony and Annie and the gang handle the ghosts and themselves is more than enough to make Zak Baggins proud.

Mamabear gives this book

five-bears

Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Shroud

the-shroud-cover

What if you could clone Jesus? Would you bring about the second coming, or unleash something more sinister?

The Shroud is a cautionary tale for the new millenium. In it, David Moore tackles the controversy behind human cloning, melding it with the basic human need for hope, in a world that seems to have none.

After scraping blood samples from The Shroud of Turin, priests clone Jesus Christ, naming him Christian, but the boy is born without a soul, leaving him open to possession by the devil. The earth soon becomes a battleground between good and evil. The stakes? The souls of every living person on the planet. Can Christian be defeated by mere mortals? Can he be defeated at all?

The Shroud is an interesting read, tackling the good vs. evil and world domination archetype head on. Some questions plagued me as I read (such as why the old couple commits suicide and how Christian becomes so powerful so quickly), and although they are satisfactorily addressed later in the story, I wanted to know sooner. The suspense carries forward momentum as the plot draws to a climax. The final battle has a clever approach, bringing the story to a believable full circle.

The message behind The Shroud is that men should not play God (as in the cloning of human beings) and that any of us could become a hero, given the right circumstance. Though there are quite a few errors–primarily in punctuation–throughout,one is able to forgive them due to the gripping story line. The Shroud is a fast-paced read, sure to entertain any of its readers.

Mamabear gives this book

four-bears

Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest 
review.