Book Review: Hollow World by: Michael J. Sullivan


Rating: 5/5

Publisher: Tachyon Publications

Publication Date: April 15, 2014

Origins:  From Publisher for Review

Book Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: The future is coming...for some, sooner than others.

Ellis Rogers is an ordinary man who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing, but when faced with a terminal illness, he’s willing to take an insane gamble. He’s built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he’ll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. He could find more than a cure for his illness; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time began…but only if he can survive Hollow World. 

Review: When Ellis Rogers receives his diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a death sentence (as the median life expectancy in IPF patients after diagnosis is 2 to 3 years), he decides to take the plunge and use the time machine he’s built in his garage. He arrives 2,000 years in the future and stumbles upon a murder, which is something now unheard of in the future. In Hollow World, Ellis just may find everything he’s ever wanted- even the things he never realized he needed.

HOLLOW WORLD is a beautifully written science fiction tale. The author created a very well-developed and intricate version of Earth’s future and gives it perspective through the eyes of someone from our time. Ellis Rogers is a man with a lot of pain in his heart and it’s absolutely fascinating to watch him discover the future. HOLLOW WORLD isn’t a science- or action-heavy novel, so if you’re looking for that, this might not be the book for you. However, if you enjoy thought-provoking sociological and philosophical questions wrapped in a time-travel adventure – you’ll love HOLLOW WORLD. The writing is absolutely solid, deceptively simple, and will leave you utterly changed. HOLLOW WORLD is one of the best science fiction books I’ve read in a long time. Pick it up!!

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Book Review: Conspirators of the Lost Sock Army and the Loose Change Collection Agency by: Dan O'Brien


Rating: 5/5

Publisher: Createspace

Publication Date: February 5, 2014

Origins:  From Author for Review

Book Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: You're never too old to have one more adventure.

Brought to life by Steve Ferchaud's vibrant drawings, this story for all ages by Dan O'Brien lets us know that it is never too late to have one more adventure.

Review: CONSPIRATORS OF THE LOST SOCK ARMY AND THE LOOSE CHANGE COLLECTION AGENCY is a delightful story for children of all ages! I loved the illustrations as they really brought the story to life. It was neat to see an ordinary human (and an elderly one at that!) answer the call of the leprechauns to assist in defeating The Scourge and his Lost Sock Army. The story brought a smile to my face and warm fuzzies in my heart. CONSPIRATORS OF THE LOST SOCK ARMY AND THE LOOSE CHANGE COLLECTION AGENCY truly does show that you are never too “something” for a wondrous adventure! 


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Book Review: The Darkest Joy by: Marata Eros


Rating: 5/5

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: February 18, 2014

Origins:  From Publisher for Review

Book Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: “I don’t want my broken fixed. . . .”

Six months ago, Brooke Starr was one impeccable piano performance away from Juilliard. Now, she is lonely, devastated, orphaned . . . seeking solace in a place where the sun never sets and trying to make sense of the dark tragedy that clouds her shattered heart.

There are no coincidences. . . .

Deep-sea fisherman Chance Taylor can’t imagine what his life would be if he’d never taken that midnight stroll to the pier. Had never seen the intriguing, raven-haired girl swan dive into the Alaskan sea. Had never plunged into the icy waters to rescue her . . . and finally felt her electric charge.

As their blazing chemistry consumes them, Chance is determined to save Brooke from her demons. But Brooke knows she must find her own footing. She thinks she’s already lost everything—until the terror of her past catches up with her and threatens all that she has left: her life, her love, and the freedom to choose between drowning in grief and finding joy in the darkness.

Series: The Darkest Joy (1)

Review: Brooke Starr is a piano prodigy poised to go for her dream of Juilliard when, on the way home for Christmas, she hears her whole family being murdered over the phone. Leaving everything behind, including her music, she moves to Alaska and into her Great-Aunt’s old cabin. She takes a position as a deck-hand on a deep sea trawler, but when she gets to Alaska she realizes she might be better off with her family. When she jumps off the pier into the frigid Alaska, Chance Taylor jumps in to save her life. Chance’s only love is the sea but, after saving her life, Brooke gets under his skin and into his heart. When Brooke’s past catches up with her and a killer comes to complete the cycle, Brooke and Chance have to save themselves to save each other.

THE DARKEST JOY will take your breath away. The poignant and heartbreaking emotions Brooke experiences are written in a way which will have readers easily empathizing with her. The explosive chemistry between Chance and Brooke is exquisitely hot, hot, hot! I did want to shake the crap out of Brooke for not answering her phone when the FBI kept calling, but I can understand her need to put the past in the past. All of the characters really created a spark, so lively and well-developed. I loved the fact that Brooke found hope when she thought all was lost. THE DARKEST JOY is a truly enthralling read!

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Author Interview: Lawrence Weill, author of Incarnate


Publisher: BlackWyrm

Publication Date: February 15, 2013

Book Links:  Amazon

Synopsis: Lara Joyner has seen the signs in the direction the leaves blow, in the patterns made by the clouds at dawn, in her readings of the Tarot, and in the answers to her prayers. Her son Dale is the second coming of Christ. While that makes her responsibilities overwhelming, she can fail neither her son nor humanity. But to sit on the throne next to the Almighty will be her reward. Once Dale's true identity is revealed, Lara will forever be known as the mother of God. Dale is not quite certain what it might mean to be Jesus, but he knows that if he at least goes through the motions, he can keep his mother from hearing the voices, and, perhaps, protect himself and his younger brother Louis from danger. Incarnate follows Lara and her sons as she attempts to have him perform miracles. If he could only realize his power, she knows his destiny and hers. Their world turned upside down by their mother's hallucinations, Dale and Louis try to make sense of what is happening and survive a life of mysterious dangers. Meanwhile, their father and older sister frantically search for the two boys to bring them to safety. A psychological study, Incarnate is a story of how delusion overpowers reason and how the resilience of youth can persevere.

Interview: Q. How did writing this book affect you?

Lawrence Weill: I have been writing since I was young and this is actually the fourth novel I have written, so in that regard, this is a book that is a natural progression in my writing life.  That said, this particular novel is very close to me since it is a fictionalized account of events that occurred to me and my brother when we were children.  Telling this story allowed me to look at these events and have a better understanding of them.  More importantly, it allowed me to share these events with readers, who have responded well to the tale.

Q. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Lawrence Weill: Writing is so multifaceted, it can be daunting: writing, revising, editing, revising again, proofreading, revising, and so on.  And then the hard part (for me) begins: the business end of writing.  Finding the right publisher and getting a reading from them are huge tasks and even after that is done, there are the practical aspects of marketing the book.  Setting up signings, book fairs, readings, book clubs, discussion groups – all of these take time to research and set up.  I like the book tours, but putting it all together can be very time consuming.

Q. Do you plan any subsequent books?

Lawrence Weill: I am working now on two different books.  One is creative non-fiction called Dad's Table. It involves growing up in a small town being raised by a single father who was quite the character.  Each chapter ends with recipes my father passed along to me.  He was a fantastic cook.  The other is a novel tentatively titled Invisibility.  It is a farcical look at one man's dialectic into obscurity.

Q. What are you currently reading?

Lawrence Weill:  Evil is Always Human by Eddie Whitlock. It is a compelling story of a poor sharecropper family attending a public hanging.  Very southern gothic.

Q. Please tell us your latest news (book-related or not!).

Lawrence Weill: We are having our fourth grandchild in October!

Q. Please tell us a fun-fact about yourself!

Lawrence Weill: If I have a threatening dream, I will try to frighten away whoever or whatever is the threat, to the point that I will sometimes yell at the offender in the middle of the night, very loudly.  Pretty scary for my wife when I do that.

Q. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

Lawrence Weill: I would love to learn to blow glass.  I am also an artist, working in pencils, charcoal, and oils in two-dimensional art, and wood and copper (primarily) in sculpture, but I have always been fascinated with the fluidity of glass.  I would enjoy glass blowing, I think.

Q. What gives you the most joy in life?

Lawrence Weill:  My everyday life is very fulfilling.  I have a very joyful life.

Q. Which of your characters would you want to be and why?

Lawrence Weill: I am Louis in Incarnate, so I have a ready answer for that.  But all my characters carry a little bit of me, so I certainly have empathy for all of them, but Louis is me.

Q. How do you like to spend your spare time?

Lawrence Weill: I read a lot.  I love to garden, although my space is fairly shaded, so that is a challenge.  I draw, paint, sculpt, photograph all manner of things.  I enjoy fishing and generally being outdoors.  I like to play music (guitar and harmonica) and listen to music (from old rock to jazz to opera – I like it all!)

Q. How did you come up with the title?

Lawrence Weill: Originally, I titled the book After the Songs of Apollo, which is the final line in Shakespeare's Love's Labour Lost. It is a reference to the counterbalancing between happiness and mirth and sorrow and despair.  I decided to use Incarnate because I thought the reference was perhaps too obscure, but I kept the line as the frontispiece for the novel.  Incarnate carries with it the double entendre of the incarnation of Christ, which is what the protagonist believes about her son, and the protagonist herself.

Q. When did you know you would be a writer?

Lawrence Weill:  I think I knew I wanted to be a writer very young, when I spent days writing a short story for my seventh-grade English class.  When the student teacher who read it returned it, telling me it was the best short story she had ever read, I was hooked.  I doubt it was all that good, but her encouragement started me off!

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Book Review: Schasm by: Shari J. Ryan


Rating: 4/5

Publisher: Booktrope Editions

Publication Date: January 25, 2014

Origins:  From Booktrope Publishing for Review

Book Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: Chloe Valcourt drifts between two worlds: the dark reality of her domineering mother and feeble father and the vivid fantasy of her imagination. With her condition comes the harsh observation of doctors who intend to cure her of it. But a chance encounter with a handsome and vaguely familiar young man in her dream world hints at the possibility of hidden truths—and a life she can’t remember. As her drifts become a greater escape from the cruelty of the real world, Chloe finds herself lost between what is real and what is imagined, questioning her very existence. Can she remain in the lush new imagined landscape to find happiness in a realm of her own invention? Is she doomed to return to the harsh reality of the outside world forever? Or will she become trapped somewhere between the two…unable to return to either?

Series: Schasm (1)

Review: Chloe Valcourt was diagnosed with a ‘disorder’ when she was a child. The doctors feel she has some type of schizophrenia, but cannot pinpoint exactly what the diagnosis should be. Chloe “drifts” between reality and a world of pure imagination. Her mother hates her and her father does his best, but is beaten down by her mother’s behavior. In her drifts she meets Alex, a boy who says he knows her and teaches her more about her drifts than any doctor. SCHASM questions the nature of reality and our perceptions. I felt badly for Chloe because it seemed like everyone was against her. If I were her, I’d want to spend all my time in the drift, too. As Chloe learns more about Alex, things really start to get unusual. SCHASM will leave readers not knowing they are right side up or upside down. SCHASM is a great book which will have you reevaluating your own reality!

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