Book Review: Kill Code by Clive Fleury

Kill Code by Clive Fleury

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Title: Kill Code
Author: Clive Fleury
Publisher: TCK Publishing
Publish Date: December 5, 2018
Genre: Science Fiction
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 4.29

from Amazon:

It’s the year 2031. Our future. Their present. A world decimated by climate catastrophe, where the sun’s heat is deadly and the ocean rises higher every day. A world ruled by the rich, powerful, and corrupt. A world where a good man can’t survive for long.

Hogan Duran was a good man once. He was a cop, forced to resign in disgrace when he couldn’t save his partner from a bullet. Now Hogan lives on the fraying edges of society, serving cruel masters and scavenging trash dumps just to survive.

But after four years of living in poverty, Hogan finally gets a chance to get back on his feet. He’s invited to join the National Security Council, the powerful paramilitary organization responsible for protecting the rich and powerful from the more unsavory elements of society. All he needs to do is pass their deadly entrance exam, and he’ll be rewarded with wealth and opportunity beyond his wildest dreams.

But this ex-cop’s path to redemption won’t be easy. The NSC are hiding something, and as Hogan descends deeper and deeper into their world, he starts to uncover the terrible truth of how the powerful in this new world maintain their power…and just how far they will go to protect their secrets.

In a world gone wrong, can one man actually make a difference, or will he die trying?

Kill Code is the first novel in an exciting new dystopian science fiction series from the mind of award-winning author, screenwriter, and director Clive Fleury.

Fans of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, and Divergent by Veronica Roth will be captivated by Kill Code.

You’ll also love this book if you enjoy:
· Dystopian novels and stories
· Stories about futuristic societies
· Stories about disgraced cops
· Stories about unlikely heroes
· Stories about conspiracies
· Stories about injustice

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In a not too distant future, climate change has led to a dystopian world where the rich and powerful rule. Hogan Duran gets the chance to join the National Security Council (NSC). It’s a prime position protecting the rich and powerful. Hogan and the other applicants are put through a grueling, and deadly, test to win the highly sought after position. There are secrets in the NSC though, and Hogan starts to question everything during his time there.

Hogan is a tough former cop looking for a chance at a better life. He thinks he’s got the opportunity if he can pass the challenging tests issued by the NSC. Of course, things are a lot more complicated than they first appear.

This is a quick and entertaining science fiction story. The dystopian world is dark and gritty. The characters are strong. The plot is exciting. Good read for fans of dystopian novels. The ending does set it up for a sequel.

I received a free digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: After Terra: Year 200 by Daniel Coldspring

After Terra: Year 200 by Daniel Coldspring

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Title: After Terra: Year 200
Authors: Daniel Coldspring
Publisher: Independently Published
Publish Date: April 7, 2016
Genre: Science Fiction
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 4.38

from Amazon:
Love, what’s it worth? For Matt Garrison, it means a journey to Neptune to find a gem for his girlfriend. What awaits him there is more trouble than he imagined could exist, as he is swept up into a deadly heist against the Solar Consortium, alongside the most dangerous elements of the fringe. The Consortium controls the Solar System 200 years beyond Terra’s demise, and they now want Matt and his crew dead. But there is more buried in the grave of a shattered world than anyone, even the Consortium, thought was possible, something waiting to be discovered by a seemingly outdated man like Matt…

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Matt gets more than he bargained for when he heads off to Neptune in search of a ring for his girlfriend. His journey soon takes a turn for the worse. He ends up crossing paths with a misfit crew, and joins them on an adventure.

Matt is a cropper, aka farmer, who is a a good guy, though a little naive. The misfits he gets involved with include Jessie and Obed. Jessie is a bad-ass who enjoys her weapons, fighting, and sex. Obed is a less than honorable hacker. The remaining crew is just as entertaining.

This story takes place 200 years after Earth has been destroyed. The remaining humans live on other planets, and are ruled by the Consortium. One of the things I liked about this novel was that the story takes place in our star system.

A fun sci-fi novel. This is a space opera, space western, and dystopian story all wrapped into one exciting adventure. I don’t read many space operas or space westerns, so I’ll compare it to a TV show… Firefly. Humorous, action-packed, and outrageous.

I received a free digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Camouflage by Ivy Keating and Scott Spotson

Camouflage by Ivy Keating and Scott Spotson

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Title: Camouflage
Authors: Ivy Keating and Scott Spotson
Publisher: Champagne Book Group
Publish Date: September 23, 2018
Genre: Science Fiction
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 4.0

from Amazon:
A missing man, a new police chief and an unexpected New England town mystery.

When Sean Dermott, the newly appointed police chief, sees the report that a popular local high school coach is missing, his growing fascination with the alluring Vanessa Strauss, who reported the disappearance, makes him determined to solve the case.

The investigation leads him and his team deep into Quarry Head Park, a local scenic preserve with nature trails and expansive views. There is no sign of the missing man, but what he does find terrifies him to the core.

From the depths of the park, a deadly prehistoric looking creature emerges, attacks swiftly and silently, leaving devastation in its wake. In the chaos which follows, it is up to Chief Dermott and a team of scientists to fight for balance by ensuring the safety of his town and preserving this remarkable discovery.

He will risk his career, his reputation and even his own life to stand by what he believes to be right. The question is, will he succeed, or will all be lost?

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A man is reported missing in a small New England town. While investigating the case, the police become aware of an unusual creature living in the nearby nature preserve. The police chief contacts a local scientist/researcher to identify the animal. As the case unfolds, the police and scientists try to find balance between preserving a prehistoric animal and protecting public safety.

The characters are realistic and likable. The police chief is a little on the young side, and feels he needs to prove himself in his new job. Besides working hard on the two cases – missing man and prehistoric animal – he finds himself attracted to the woman who reported the missing man. A romance develops.

I especially liked the researchers. They were the right amount of excited and academic about a new, or rather, old, species being discovered. The scientists want to help, and the story does a good job with them explaining things to the police as they learn new information.

The scientists want to discover where the creature came from and what happened to its environment that caused it to move near the town. If they can figure that out, maybe they can return the animal back to its natural habitat.The police and scientists are working hard, but there are opposing sides. There are those who want to protect the animal and those who want to destroy it.

A sci-fi mystery with adventure and romance. Entertaining, thrilling, and fast-paced.

I received a free digital copy of this book from Kimberly Costa at Caffeinated PR Services, in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Last by Hanna Jameson

The Last by Hanna Jameson

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Title: The Last
Author: Hanna Jameson
Publisher: Atria Books
Publish Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: Dystopia
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 3.78

from Amazon:
Jon thought he had all the time in the world to respond to his wife’s text message: I miss you so much. I feel bad about how we left it. Love you. But as he’s waiting in the lobby of the L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland after an academic conference, still mulling over how to respond to his wife, he receives a string of horrifying push notifications. Washington, DC has been hit with a nuclear bomb, then New York, then London, and finally Berlin. That’s all he knows before news outlets and social media goes black—and before the clouds on the horizon turn orange.

Now, two months later, there are twenty survivors holed up at the hotel, a place already tainted by its strange history of suicides and murders. Those who can’t bear to stay commit suicide or wander off into the woods. Jon and the others try to maintain some semblance of civilization. But when the water pressure disappears, and Jon and a crew of survivors investigate the hotel’s water tanks, they are shocked to discover the body of a young girl.

As supplies dwindle and tensions rise, Jon becomes obsessed with investigating the death of the little girl as a way to cling to his own humanity. Yet the real question remains: can he afford to lose his mind in this hotel, or should he take his chances in the outside world?

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Jon is staying at a hotel in Switzerland when nuclear war breaks out. The hotel is in a remote enough location that the employees and guests of the hotel are safe from the bombs, but cut off from society. Some people from the hotel decide to leave and find their way home, but Jon and 20 or so others remain at the hotel. After a couple of months in the hotel, the water pressure starts to disappear. While investigating the cause, the body of a young girl is found. Jon takes it upon himself to find out what happened to the girl, and he becomes obsessed with identifying the killer. Meanwhile, supplies decrease and tensions between the hotel residents increase.

Jon is an American visiting Switzerland for an academic conference. The novel is told from his point of view using a diary/journal style. Jon and his wife have a troubled marriage, and he feels guilty for how he left things with her. Part of his behavior is a result of his guilt, and his need to make things right.

We never know much about the attacks, just that various cities in the United States and Europe have been bombed. After the attacks, communication (i.e., internet access) is mostly lost. The hotel has resources, so they have basics like food, water, and shelter. It would have been nice to know a little more about the attacks, but that is not the primary focus of the story. The relationships between the survivors is the focus, and is very realistic. The hotel residents are varied in their nationalities, backgrounds, beliefs, and personalities. This seems accurate, and creates a lot of conflict.

This novel is more of a character study, and not a lot of action takes place. Based on the book description, I was expecting more mystery than is delivered. Still, the characters and their interactions were believable and interesting.

Fantastic setting. Interesting characters. Slow paced. Good for fans of apocalyptic stories with a little mystery.

Fun fact: My family and I were vacationing in Hawaii when we received a notification about a ballistic missile threat, so the whole finding out about the end of the world in a notification on your phone is kind of realistic.

Missile threat notification

I heard about this book from fellow book blogger Amy Sullivan @ Novel Gossip. Thank you for recommending this book and sending me the Netgalley widget!

Book Review: Time Crawlers by Varun Sayal

Time Crawlers by Varun Sayal

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

Title: Time Crawlers
Author: Varun Sayal
Publisher: Kindle Direct Publishing
Publish Date: June 15, 2018

Alien Invasion, Dark Artificial Intelligence, Time-Travel, High-Tech Mythology, Djinn Folklore, Telekinetics, and life-consuming Cosmic Entities are some major themes in this book which has six tightly-knit, fast-paced Sci-Fi stories.

1. Nark-astra, The Hell Weapon
The weapons he possesses make him the destroyer of worlds, and he burns for revenge. A high-tech take on ancient Indian mythology.

2. Death by Crowd
The dark desires of the masses; darknet websites fueled by a crypto-currency. What lurks in the background – an advanced artificial intelligence?

3. Genie
He rubbed a lamp alright, but what he got was the shock of his life. An entirely sci-fi take on the djinn myth.

4. Time Crawlers
There are individuals who existing in multiple time periods at once, and there are those who know about them….

5. Eclipse
No attacks, no blood-shed, yet there was an invasion and a conquest. Who are these shapeshifter aliens being hounded by an eclipse?

6. The Cave
The fate of an advanced imperial race hangs in balance as a dark celestial entity meets a legendary protector.

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A collection of six short science fiction stories. The stories concern parallel universes, aliens, and technology.

The stories:
1. “Nark-astra, The Hell Weapon” – Apocalyptic revenge using high-tech weapons.
2. “Death by Crowd” – A disturbing darknet world and artificial intelligence.
3. “Genie” – A guy meets a genie, and gets a quick intro to parallel universes and technology.
4. “Time Crawlers” – Time travel and those who know about it.
5. “Eclipse” – Aliens amongst us.
6. “The Cave” – An apocalyptic alien presence.

An imaginative and engaging collection. Several of the stories use dialogue, in fact, some were all dialogue. I enjoyed the humor used in some of the stories. “Genie” was an especially humorous story. Overall, a good collection of short stories. “Death by Crowd” and “Time Crawlers” were my favorites. A quick, fun read for fans of sci-fi.

I received a PDF of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Vox by Christina Dalcher

Vox by Christina Dalcher

by Christina Dalcher

Women in the US lose their rights very quickly when the political climate changes in this dystopian novel. Along with losing all their rights, women also lose their voices when they are no longer allowed to speak. Each woman and girl is issued a device to wear that counts their words. They are allowed to speak 100 words a day, and if they go over, they suffer terrible shocks.

The beginning of the book is about the state America is in and how it came about. The second half of the book is a little more exciting and leaned more toward a thriller.

I enjoy dystopian novels and was looking forward to this one. The premise of women and girls losing their voices was very interesting, and what drew me to this novel. Unfortunately, I didn’t love it. The story was disjointed, and the characters were unbelievable and unlikable. The most interesting parts of the book were those that dealt with linguistics.

I received a copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter
by Blake Crouch

Jason is a physics professor at a local college. He is happily married and has a teenage son. That all goes away one night when Jason is abducted and wakes up where his life is not his life – his job if different, his wife is not his wife, and his son was never born.

It starts with an ordinary evening at home, but then Jason’s world gets turned upside down and inside out. A fun ride for fans of science fiction. This is also a romantic story. The love a man has for his family can be a powerful thing.

A unique and complex novel. Fast paced and lots of action.

Book Review: A Spider Sat Beside Her by K. E. Lanning

A Spider Sat Beside Her by K.E. Lanning

A Spider Sat Beside Her
by K.E. Lanning

I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Lowry Walker takes a graduate position on the new International Space Station. Her project involves gathering Landsat data over Antarctica. One day, while working on her project, the ISS becomes the target of a terrorist attack… and Lowry is the only witness. Unfortunately for Lowry, she is drawn into a political nightmare with the corrupt government of Amerada (the merged USA and Canada).

I was really excited to read this book. I love a good thriller, and my background is in environmental science (bonus, I used Landsat data in my master’s thesis). So, it sounded like something right up my alley. Sadly, I did not love this novel.

I liked Lowry, but she seemed more naive than she should have been based on her past. She made some decisions that didn’t seem likely from a strong, smart woman. Maybe it was supposed to show she had weaknesses, especially since she’s coming off a recent divorce.

I was interested in the science, but that wasn’t really a main point in the book. I was a little confused on what happened with the melting ice caps and population migration. The political climate of Amerada seemed toxic, but it also wasn’t explained very well.

I did enjoy some parts of the novel, but I had a hard time getting into this one. It took me much longer to finish than books normally take me. Partly because I haven’t been reading as much lately, but also because it didn’t hold my interest. Maybe too much was going on, or character development was poor, but by the end of the book I was confused and thinking I must have missed something.