Archive for the ‘Sci-Fi’ Category

Book Review – The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (@RickYancey)

January 2, 2015 Leave a comment

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Book Description:

An Amazon Best Teen Book of the Month, May 2013 Spotlight Pick
The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.


Rick Yancey is the author of the excellent Monstrumologist series which I love, but I staved off reading this new series, mostly due to my ‘post-apocalyptic / dystopian books’ fatigue. But the sequel has been released (The Infinite Sea: The Second Book of the 5th Wave), so it was time for me to dive in!

The 5th Wave is about a hostile alien invasion of earth, and it starts out really creepy, with a ‘being’ visiting a sleeping pregnant woman and ‘inserting’ an alien consciousness within the fetus. Then, the countdown begins. (cue the music).

The book starts up again after the so-called ‘4th wave’ of the invasion, and is told mostly from the point of view of shell-shocked teenager Cassie (who fears she is the last person on earth). To my surprise, I found that I liked Cassie (I usually don’t like the YA heroines I’ve read so far). She had all the irritating teenage girl qualities (especially her tendency to moon over good-looking boys), but I don’t know – Rick Yancey managed to wrap her up in teflon or something – I was really rooting for her. I liked her sarcasm, guts and never-say-die attitude. I suspect though that part of why she didn’t wear out her welcome was that Rick Yancey, (wisely) chose not to tell the entire story from her POV.

The 5th Wave is also told from the POV of a teenage boy nicknamed Zombie, who has been conscripted into a ‘child army’ – whipped into fighting shape ostensibly to defeat the elements of the ‘4th wave’ – the ‘alien-infested’ humans who are busily wiping out what’s left of humanity after the previous ‘waves’.  Zombie is the leader of a rag-tag squadron, whose littlest member is (coincidentally) Sammy – Cassie’s little brother.

And more coincidence (!), Zombie happens to be Ben Parish – Cassie’s unrequited crush back in her previous life. But the requisite teen romance (because there has to be one – it’s like written in law or something) in The 5th Wave isn’t between Cassie and Zombie. Mysterious good (or bad?) guy Evan rescues a wounded Cassie, and they quickly fall in love while Cassie is recuperating under Evan’s care. Personally, I found Evan to be stalker-ish (even Cassie commented on this), but apparently, all that laser-beam intensity is an irresistible quality in a man. (Example – My girl friends who have read the book are in love with Evan – insert eye-roll here).

The 5th Wave ends strong with good action sequences AND on emotional cliff-hangers (the fate of one main character up in the air, other characters may be mortally wounded), so I’m darn glad that I already own book two!

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Putnam Juvenile/Penguin Group) is available on Amazon and other bookstores.

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Book Review – I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: The Search for Sam by Pittacus Lore

August 10, 2013 Leave a comment

Book Description:

Before Number Four, there were One, Two, and Three. Until now we’ve only known that the Mogadorians caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya. But all of that is about to change. . . .

In this heart-racing companion novella to the New York Times bestselling I Am Number Four series, discover what happened to Malcolm Goode — the one human on Earth who can help the Garde learn the truth about their past and help them save our planet.

No one has seen Sam Goode’s father, Malcolm, since he mysteriously disappeared years ago. Sam had always fantasized that he was abducted by aliens. But that was before he knew the truth: aliens do exist, and some of them seek to destroy our world. That was before he himself became another one of their captives. Now father and son are both missing. . . .

But when a rogue Mogadorian named Adam, who now has Number One’s memories, decides the only way to make up for his past atrocities is to return home and infiltrate the Mogadorian stronghold, he’ll find the key to saving both Sam and Malcolm’s life.


I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: The Search for Sam picks up almost immediately from the cliffhanger where The Lost Files: The Fallen Legacies left off. The events in The Search for Sam eventually parallel the last part of The Rise of Nine (the 3rd novel-length book in the series), but it’s not necessary that you’ve read The Rise of Nine first.

In the previous novella The Fallen Legacies, the Mogadorian-with-a-heart-of-gold Adam was left for dead by his father and brother… and since Adam is pretty much the only likable character I’ve met in the series, I was plenty glad that his character survived to live another day. Honestly, if he had died, I would have just given up on the series. The Rise of Nine was so bad, with the surviving Garde continuing to act like spoiled immature idiots and the main Mogadorian villain Setrakus Ra turned out to be so lame. At this point, I’m pretty much only interested in finding out what happens to Adam next.

Adam continues to be a character I can root for, at least, and there’s some interesting developments in this novella about his relationship with the long-dead Garde One whose memories Adam shares after the mind-meld experiment in  The Fallen Legacies. I’m glad that Adam’s character continues to grow and mature, and maybe, he’s also a favorite character of the writers… since he’s really written much better, more defined, than the other Garde characters.

It’s kind of misleading to have titled this The Search for Sam though, since the novella is pretty much still Adam’s story, even though we do meet Sam’s missing dad Malcolm Goode. So, fans of the Sam character may be a bit disappointed since he doesn’t even figure in the story until the very last pages.

At any rate, this one ends in another cliffhanger as to Adam’s fate, and was much too short besides. I really wish that the author (s) had just combined the Lost Files stories into one book, or at least, Adam’s story into one full length novel. His story is definitely the most interesting for me in the I Am Number Four universe.

I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: The Search for Sam by Pittacus Lore is available on Amazon as a Kindle Edition ($3.99).

You can also get the ebook at B&N, Kobo, Sony and the Apple iBookstore.

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Indie Saturday – Author Scott J. Robinson on “The Brightest Light” @skywordz

September 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Today, we have author Scott J. Robinson featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for his original “crystal-punk” action fantasy novel The Brightest Light.

Scott J. Robinson writes:

At some point in their career, every writer will be asked, “Where do you get your ideas?”

Sometimes, for some writers, the answer is easy. (The idea shop on Main Street.) Other times, not so much.

Of course, the main problem is that there is no one answer. At least I assume there isn’t. There isn’t for me. And normally (again, for me) it isn’t even about one idea. For me it takes a collision of ideas to make a story happen.

With my series, Tribes of the Hakahei, I wanted to know what circumstances would be required to allow all (or a lot of) the myths, legends and ancient mysteries of earth to be real. Elves and dwarves, Machu Picchu, religion, Robin Hood, Easter Island and a lot of other things. And once that collided with an idea I had for a fantasy story about twenty years ago (or, at least, the characters), the Tribes of the Hakahei was born.

With my latest story, The Brightest Light, it started with the setting. I had a vision (it sounds mystical, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t) of flying islands. Like all single ideas, it didn’t go anywhere. It just stayed in my subconscious, dashing around in circles and trying to run into things.

It wasn’t until I thought of the Hakahei that the collision occurred and things started happening. The earlier story has fantasy characters playing in a science fiction world– what if I could do something similar in reverse? What if I could make a science fiction story in a fantasy setting?

Each of the flying islands became a world with a different culture and a different feel. I started using steam punk technology– that interesting stuff on the cusp between fantasy and science fiction.

But simplicity was important. I had spent about a decade with Tribes of the Hakahei in one way or another, and was still working on it. That is a four book series with six point-of-view characters from six different civilisations. There are a couple of dozen minor characters. There are aliens. There are other universes. There’s strange technology and weaponry. There are all sorts of things.

I wanted something I could write relatively quickly to clear my palette (to get ready for more of the Hakahei at the time).

So, in the end, I toned the ‘different worlds’ aspect. I also decided against the steam punk and invented the entirely new genre of crystal punk. (It’s about to take off, I know it is.) Crystal technology is more about magic than science so I didn’t need to do any research at all.

I threw in some flintlock weaponry and a bit of a McGuffin and let the action roll. And the action does roll. There are gun fights and knife fights and chases through… Well there are all type of chases through all types of places.

The Brightest Light was a lot of fun to write and hopefully it is also a lot of fun to read. There may be a sequel at some point, but for now it stands as it is– short and easy and ready for action.

I’ve been writing Science Fiction and fantasy novels for as long as I can remember. When I was 11 years old, I wrote an 11 chapter, 11 page novel about exploring our solar system. It was typed up and bound (well stapled) and ended uptravelling around to a lot of schools in the hands of a very impressed District Inspector of Schools (or something similar).

I spent a lot of time starting things I didn’t finish. That changed when, aged 20, I decided to start writing and not stop until I had finished a novel. 19 days later, I had Dramoon. It is the type of novel you’d expect from someone that age and I still have it on my computer somewhere.

Since then I’ve done a lot more writing and imporved accordingly. For many years I was a member of the Vision Writing group in Brisbane along with people such as Trent Jamieson, Marianne DePierres, Cory Daniels and Dirk Flintheart.

I live in Woodford, a small town just out of Brisbane, with my wife and three great kids (my wife is great too) and intend to write for a long time to come.


The Brightest Light by Scott J. Robinson is available on Amazon in Kindle format.

You can also check out Scott J. Robinson’s Amazon Author’s page for more info!

To learn more about Scott, follow Scott on his official website:, blog: Wonders Never Cease, Facebook page: The Space Between, and Twitter: @skywordz. Drop by and say hi!

** Read on excerpt of The Brightest Light! (Right-click-download) **


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Book Review – I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: The Fallen Legacies by Pittacus Lore

August 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Book Description:

Before Number Four, there were One, Two, and Three. Until now we’ve only known that the Mogadorians caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya. But all of that is about to change. . . .

In I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: The Fallen Legacies, you’ll learn the true story behind these ill-fated members of the Garde. Before they were murdered by the Mogadorians, before Number Four was next, they were all just kids on an alien planet called Earth—discovering their powers, trying to stay hidden, and running for their lives.

About the Author:
Pittacus Lore is Lorien’s ruling Elder. He has been on Earth for the last twelve years, preparing for the war that will decide Earth’s fate. His whereabouts are unknown.


I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: The Fallen Legacies by Pittacus Lore is the latest released prequel novella in the YA SciFi/action series I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies) . Now I’ve been pretty critical before, but this one I really enjoyed (and can actually recommend). I still think it’s overpriced at $3.99 (given how short it is), but if you are a fan of the series, I think this one may be required reading (unless an abbreviated version appears in the next book The Rise of Nine). Unlike the previous prequels, The Fallen Legacies actually offers new information and insight on not only the Loric Garde, but their mortal enemies, the Mogadorians (who have apparently been secretly living the high life on Earth all along without anyone noticing them).

Given how the previous prequels (Six’s Legacy and Nine’s Legacy) were written, I had expected this one to also be a straightforward first person POV retelling of the (extremely short) life stories of Numbers One, Two and Three – like an anthology of three short stories maybe. Thankfully, whoever’s ghost writing this latest installment got a little creative.

The Fallen Legacies is narrated instead by… a teenage Mogadorian named Adamus Sutekh (nickname: Adam) who’s a true born son of one of the Mogadorian generals out hunting for the Garde. I thought it was really refreshing to get a different perspective from the I Am Number Four universe, and I liked the peek into Mogadorian life that Adam provides us. Short version – if you’re a sensitive kind of guy, it really sucks to grow up Mogadorian.

We first meet Adam as an obnoxiously smug thirteen-year-old (but then, who wouldn’t be, given the way he was brainwashed – er, reared), but during an experiment in mind-melding, young Adam is unexpectedly forced into reliving the memories of Number One. This experience changes Adam’s worldview drastically, and he is a very different guy at the end – when the novella abruptly (and frustratingly) ends on a cliffhanger.

Adam is the first boy character from the I Am Number Four series who I found to be genuinely likeable and admirable. And I really, really hope that he plays a big part in the soon to be released full length novel The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies) out August 21.

I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: The Fallen Legacies by Pittacus Lore is available on Amazon as a Kindle Edition ($3.99).

You can also get the ebook at the Apple iBookstore.

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Indie Saturday – Author Keira Michelle Telford on “The SILVER Series”

July 28, 2012 1 comment

Today, we have author Keira Michelle Telford featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for her SciFi series of books – The SILVER Series. This is a planned 10-book series of post-apocalyptic dystopian science fiction novels, all centering on the lead character of Ella ‘Silver’ Cross.

Keira Michelle Telford writes :

Anatomy of a Dystopian Society

The SILVER Series takes place in a harsh, post-apocalyptic version of earth where humans are a species on the brink of extinction. The first seven books in the series, The Amaranthe Chronicles, are set in a reclaimed portion of derelict New York City, in a walled community called Amaranthe. Soon after Amaranthe’s inception it was divided into two distinct regions: the Sentinel District (formerly Brooklyn and Queens) and the Fringe District (formerly Staten Island).

And that’s where the real world-building begins.

The Sentinel District is a residential area, populated by financially stable, law-abiding citizens. Food and healthcare are readily available, and accessible to all. They have many of the same creature comforts that you enjoy, but every aspect of their lives is strictly monitored and controlled by their government, the Omega administration. On the flipside, the Fringe District is effectively a prison. If you commit an offense in the Sentinel District, the Fringe District is where you end up—banished for life. There are no laws here, and civil disobedience abounds: violence, murder, thievery. It’s the epitome of everything disgusting and vile that exists in the world today.

On the face of it, the two districts appear to represent two extremes: perfection and imperfection. Utopia and dystopia. Control and chaos. Heaven and hell, if you like. But the closer you look, the more you come to realize that one is simply just a magnified reflection of the other. In the Fringe District, the ugliness is plain to see. The people of this district wear their grudges like armor and battle their demons (and each other) head-on, with no holds barred. In the Sentinel District, battles are won or lost by the stroke of a pen or a well-cast vote. Their methods might be different, but the war is the same.

The Sentinel District encapsulates everything I hate about privilege, nepotism, political control and corruption, and human greed. I loathe it even more than I loathe the Fringe. At least the Fringe is upfront about what it is. The Sentinel District is supposed to be a paradise-on-earth, offering comfort and safety and all the luxuries anyone could ever ask for. It was built upon utopian ideals, but the hope it should’ve brought to the struggling human population trapped within it was soon poisoned by the strict reign of the Omega administration.

On both sides, people are fighting against subjugation and the suppression of freewill. On both sides, people who oppose the status quo are permanently quieted. In the Fringe District, an angry mob might tear you limb from limb for a crime committed against one of their own. Omega would call that murder. In the Sentinel District, you could be sentenced to death without trial if the Banishment & Enforcement Council should so will it. They’d call that justice.

In this world, one man’s crime is truly another man’s law.



Go Inside…. The SILVER Series

Ella ‘Silver’ Cross is a banished Hunter with a grudge. Condemned and left for dead, she’s still mourning the loss of her former life when we meet her in SILVER: Acheron (A River of Pain) — the first installment in a 10-book series.

Before her banishment, she was a Commander in the elite Hunter Division: an army sworn to protect the only remaining human city, Amaranthe, against the Chimera…

Chimera are the unfortunate by-product of a global war that destroyed the Old World more than three hundred years ago. These grotesque, flesh-eating monsters outnumber the human population in Amaranthe 25:1 and must be destroyed at all costs…

Unfortunately, Silver’s banishment means that she’s out of a job—and out of luck. Torn away from her lover, Alex…

…She’s lonely and confused, and welcomes the distraction that mysterious, young Alice provides…

Silver found her naked and terrified, huddling amidst a pack of Chimera. She looks human enough, but her eyes… they’re bright, violet Chimeran eyes. Silver can’t make head nor tails of it, and Alice claims to remember nothing of her life before the night that Silver found her.


Desperate for food and money—and now with Alice to care for—Silver accepts an opportunity to work for the Police Division as an informant. A job which brings her back into the life of her childhood sweetheart, Luka…

And with their reconnection, things promise to get a whole lot more complicated for Silver…

Will she give in to her feelings for Luka? And betray her love for Alex? She’s banished, after all. Alex can’t step foot in the Fringe District, her new prison-like home, filled with murderers, thieves and rapists.

She could never have predicted that her father, Gabriel Maydevine, the Chief of Police, would eventually be able to offer her the chance to be repatriated…

A chance to go back home. A chance to be redeemed. A chance to rekindle an old flame…

The world might end, but love endures.

** All Character artwork by: Kitt Lapeña ( **

Keira Michelle was born and raised in the UK. She moved to Canada in 2006, and there she still resides in her west coast townhouse with a husband and 10 guinea pigs.

Keira Michelle Telford’s The SILVER Series is currently available on Amazon in Kindle format. In series order, these are the ones currently published:

You can also check out Keira Michelle Telford’s Amazon Author’s page for more info!

To learn more about Keira Michelle Telford, follow Keira Michelle on her author website:, book website:, Facebook pages: thesilverseries and silver.acheron, and Twitter: @mylostanddamned.


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Read an embedded sample of “SILVER: Acheron (A River of Pain)” after the jump!

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Indie Saturday – Author Nipaporn Baldwin on “The Society On Da Run: Dragons and Cicadas” (Space Dragon Series)

July 14, 2012 1 comment

Today, we have author Nipaporn Baldwin featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for her collected edition of stories “The Society On Da Run: Dragons and Cicadas” (Space Dragon Series).

Nipaporn Baldwin writes :

My Journey as a Teen Author

I’ve been writing The Society On Da Run for years. It first started out in the pages of my notebook as a furry comic that was akin to The Lion King. A year later, as my harem of notebooks grew, the stories became akin to many anime songs and programs I had been watching at the time (Rozen Maiden having the biggest impact on the story). Along the road it progressed into a story of dragons and became more complex with every story.

I came across Lulu in early 2009 (feels like yesterday) and I became wishy washy with my book length. I asked myself silly questions like:

Should I make it short?
Should I make it long?
If it’s long, they’ll get all of the stories but the price will be horrendous!
If it’s short, they’ll come back for more or they might not come back at all! They’ll miss out on good stories!

It was madness.

I found out about Smashwords thanks to a friend at the Written Word spruz site. In October of last year I fulfilled my dream of releasing The Society On Da Run as a periodical. That marked my first foray into ebook publishing and it was perfect timing, Skyrim (a popular game) was about to be released.

And then what happened?

I offered the first issue for free as part of a Read to Review on Goodreads and (to my horror) it received bad reviews. Before that a nice young man loved the first issue and it’s subsequent stories. When I posted poems and excerpts on Lulu Poetry, Facebook and the Written Word, they were met with acclaim and helped me form friendships with fellow poets and writers. Why did the people from R2R hate it? Somehow those bad reviews hit me like a dumbbell. I didnt comment saying they were wrong, which is what a lot of authors seem to do. Instead I thanked them for their reviews. And then I listened to those reviews. I got depressed and cancelled the periodical. It hurt me to my core. I then embarked on the journey of combining every story from the original manuscript and creating a new genre in hopes of avoiding bad reviews.


242,000 words out of 300,000 (or 500! Gasp!), 777 pages and NO BOUNDARIES! Each month I’ll add a story to it! Sounds perfect!


I missed the periodical series. I missed going onto the Smashwords platform to publish. I missed editing the covers. The more I focused on Dragons and Cicadas, the more I missed the old days. I’ll be going back to the peridical very soon (if I haven’t already).

My book has gone through many changes in the last 7 (or 8) years. I bet you’re wondering: what is it about?

I’ll tell you: it’s short stories and poetry about anything I can think of but a lot of stories are about the space dragon empire, Draconizica, and their war with humanity. They are sick of being slaves to humans. They are tired of being reaped and killed for their bodily resources (the hallmark of the black market). World leaders are no help in the situation so Ashuton Karrucci, the dragon prince and god of dragons, declares war on humanity. The story isn’t “dragons in space.” I made sure to give my dragons a proper background so it wouldn’t feel like I was trying to coin something. I gave them a Conlang (which was HARD), I gave knowledge about their technology, origins, species types, leadership, their science companies, their cyborgs/androids and plenty of other stuff. They are Wyverns, Six-Limbers, bipedal soldiers and Shifters (for you Paranormal Romance gals) and they have a place within the High Divine (my version of a heavily structured Heaven) and They ARE NOT magical. They vary from fluff dragons to brutal savages, just like humans, except they have reasons for being brutal and follow a moral code. There’s also a Wikipage for them:

The dragons have rivals: Crotonians. They are brutal to aliens outside their race but are caring to each other. They are not fully fleshed out in Dragons and Cicadas (it’s only 230k words out of 300ish). The Crotonians are wasp-like beings that live in a hivemind. They have human forms and act like regular people. They are on the same technology level as the dragons and they also have a place within the High Divine. In The Society On Da Run‘s early days, the Crotonians were suppose to be demons whom called themselves Skepretorials (first it was Skedar, which is Swedish for spoons). They would kidnap senators and take over the British parliament.

Then I added more races! An empire of Owls and a godlike race of scientists called Alma Maters, Cicada Gods and the Crozethians. I didn’t want to dilute it with too many races, so I left it at that.

The journey has been long and hard but I enjoyed every moment of it. Crafting such a large universe has taught me a LOT. There’s so much more I want to say about The Society On Da Run (like my strategic use of Interracial Relationships) but I am out of time.

Thank you for reading through my journey and everything I had to say about my book. Links are below! Haste la vista, everypony!

I am a teenage African American poetess trying to open up a new avenue in the world of Dragons: Space Dragons!! And I WILL make it “work.” My stories are mostly flash fiction, short stories and (best of all) poetry. I’d love to one day have my own panel at Comic Con where I can do book signings and talk about my book. An author can dream a reality! (Biography from Smashwords)

“The Society On Da Run: Dragons and Cicadas” (Space Dragon Series) by Nipaporn Baldwin is available on Smashwords: (also on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, including Amazon which is slowly catching up with the periodical.)

You can also check out Nipaporn Baldwin’s Amazon Author’s page for more info!

To learn more about Nipaporn Baldwin, follow  her on her website: dragonshortstories. Be sure to visit the dragonshortstories blog for more about Dragons and Cicadas! Also check out her Facebook page: thedragongod, Twitter: @Thedragonchild and Goodreads page. Drop by and say hi to her!


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Read an embedded sample of “The Society On Da Run: Dragons and Cicadas” after the jump!

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Indie Saturday – Author Catherine Stine on “Fireseed One”

July 7, 2012 5 comments

Today, we have author Catherine Stine featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for her SciFi futuristic thriller novel Fireseed One.

Amy Kathleen Ryan, author of Glow (the first novel in The Sky Chasers series), describes it as “so full of startling ideas that I couldn’t stop reading! Recommended for fans of science fiction, thrillers, or for anyone looking for a story full of big surprises.

Here’s some great reviews by Book Bloggers:

5 stars from The Magick Pen: “I found myself caught up in Fireseed’s futuristic world with characters that made me laugh and cheer them on… Stine’s illustrations really helped put a picture to all the beautiful descriptions… the romance between Varik and Marisa was sweet… a fast-paced read, filled with action and adventure.

5 stars from 909 Reviews Never Lies: “Fireseed One will have you on the edge of your seat… Stine is an author to look out for, and shines brightly with this stunning thriller.

5-stars from Electrifying Reviews: “Fireseed One is an action-packed, emotional thrill ride that focuses on the characters and their journey.

Catherine Stine writes :

I’m thrilled to share my new sci-fi thriller, Fireseed One.

I’ve always liked weird science, particularly unusual hybrids, which abound in Fireseed One. I’m an avid gardener and follow Pharming and GM crop news, so when I did research into transgenic hybrids these last couple of years and found out that there were already lots of actual transgenic experiments going on I got very inspired.

Transgenic hybrids are hybrid plants that don’t exist in nature and must be bred in a lab, for instance, blue roses. But it gets much deeper. Biologists have combined tomato and fish DNA to produce blight-free tomato crops! They’ve also combined mothers’ milk and wheat DNA to create baby cereal and formula that will protect babies in third world countries from fatal diarrhea. Pretty cool, huh?

So, in the creation of Fireseed One, I kept asking “What if?

What if the year was 2089 and all of the Arctic ice had melted, and what was now the USA was a lethal Hotzone? What if there were a digital border wall that separated the two zones and hungry terrorists hacked the border, and stole all of the agar — an algae type plant that the whole world lived on? What if, in the meantime, Professor Teitur, a marine biologist had invented a transgenic hybrid — Fireseed — an edible giant red flower with almost magical breeding properties that could thrive down in the Hotzone with no water in the killer heat?

But what if that marine biologist turned his back on the refugees after one of them stole his wife’s flycar and left her in the desert? And what if a beautiful and shrewd terrorist from the Zone Warrior Collective named Marisa, broke into that marine scientist’s seed vault, trying to find Fireseed, but destroyed all of the agar instead? And what if this Professor Teitur had drowned five weeks prior under mysterious circumstances and his eighteen year-old son, Varik Teitur was left to deal with Marisa, the sea farm, in fact the fate of the entire known world?

Varik, with Marisa his sworn enemy, must hunt down Fireseed One — a supposed plant with an undetermined mash-up of DNA. The catch? The world is now starving and Fireseed, the last hope may have never even existed off of the drawing board!

Is there any comic relief?

Ah, but of course. Gallows humor is a specialty of mine.


Yes, I’m also a published illustrator and have nine drawings in Fireseed One.


Yes, a fire and ice romance that rivals the Arctic’s polar winter and Hotzone summer!

Catherine Stine has held some colorful jobs, including a stint as a sail-maker, a solar-heated swimming pool cover designer, and as a designer of children’s fabrics and watch-faces. As an illustrator, she has done work for Penguin-Perigee, Learning Strategies and Lantern Books. Writing, illustrating and teaching creative writing are her favorite gigs ever.

Fireseed One by Catherine Stine is available at Amazon in Kindle (on sale for $0.99!) and illustrated Paperback formats. The ebook is also available on Barnes & Noble.

You can also check out Catherine’s Amazon Author’s page for a listing of her other books!

To learn more about Catherine Stine, follow  Catherine on her website:, Facebook page: Fireseed One, Goodreads page and Twitter: @crossoverwriter. She also blogs on Drop by and say hi to her!


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Book Review – Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

July 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Book Description:

Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs… Now it’s our turn.

Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even more awful is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, turning everday people into hunters, killers, crazies.

Mason’s mother is dying after a terrible car accident. As he endures a last vigil at her hospital bed, his school is bombed and razed to the ground, and everyone he knows is killed. Aries survives an earthquake aftershock on a bus, and thinks the worst is over when a mysterious stranger pulls her out of the wreckage, but she’s about to discover a world changed forever. Clementine, the only survivor of an emergency town hall meeting that descends into murderous chaos, is on the run from savage strangers who used to be her friends and neighbors. And Michael witnesses a brutal road rage incident that is made much worse by the arrival of the police–who gun down the guilty party and then turn on the bystanding crowd.

Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad? These four teens are on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found, this is a journey into the heart of darkness – but also a journey to find each other and a place of safety.


* Note, the book cover I embedded here is from the UK edition – I just like it better than the US cover

I ended up finishing Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts in one sitting –  I hadn’t planned on losing an entire day just reading (I did have other things lined up to do!), but I just got so engrossed in Jeyn Roberts’ debut YA horror novel about teenagers trying to survive in a world gone mad that I kept on hitting the page turn keys to find out what happened next.

In Dark Inside, the world is rocked by massive earthquakes (right out of something like the 2012 disaster film).  But even more troubling for survivors, the quakes seemed to trigger an infectious ‘rage’ that turn majority of the population into homicidal psychotic violent murderers (yeah, right out of something like the 28 Days Later horror film).

Okay, the plot isn’t exactly original, but Jeyn Roberts managed to make it read ‘fresh’ to me. Ms Roberts added a twist in the story by introducing a spectrum to the ‘rage’ – some infected people (called ‘Baggers’) turn rabid while others seem to retain their intelligence (while remaining ‘evil’). This makes the enemy even more sinister than in a normal ‘zombie’ book since it’s almost impossible to distinguish some of the infected ‘Baggers’ from a normal when they’re not being actively homicidal. There’s definitely elements of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend with the suggestion in the latter part of the book of a new world order rising up from the more sane ‘rage’ infected.

Another big plus for me liking Dark Inside was the author’s teen main characters – the book is told from the points of view of *four different teenage survivors (Mason, Aries, Clementine, Michael) who go on the run, even as they try to make sense of and survive their brutal new world. Ms Roberts did a great job giving each kid well-developed and distinct voices and personalities, and more importantly, making them likable (while still remaining realistically flawed). I ended up really emotionally invested in the kids and cared about what might happen to them – especially Mason! (Spoiler alert)

* There’s actually a fifth POV from a character named ‘Nothing’ who seemed to be among the ‘infected’ and whose identity is kinda revealed in the end. Personally, I actually could’ve done without this POV since I mostly found it to be confusing.

And of course, no surprise, the book ends on a ‘non-ending’, setting things up nicely for the sequel Rage Within (due out in August). Pre-ordered? Yup! 😉

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers) is available on Amazon in Kindle, Hardcover and Paperback editions. *also available at Amazon UK.

The eBook is also available at B&N, Apple iBooks, Kobo books

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