Books

Haywire by Justin R. Macumber

9780983765585_p0_v2_s260x420Like science fiction?  Are you a fan of old school action/adventure stories?  If this is you, Haywire is a must-read book.  This story is science for the sake of fiction, and that’s what makes it shine.  It’s a fast paced novel that doesn’t get bogged down in the technical aspects of space travel or try to sell you on the plausibility of technology that exists in this futuristic look at our world.  The story doesn’t spend time explaining the politics of the future or try to tell a less that subtle cautionary tale of what’s to come.  Haywire is, from page one, a quick moving story about interesting characters.  Space is the setting for this book.  There’s no dull, heavy handed lesson in science or technology to slow the pace of the story.  If you’re looking for an in-depth explanation of space travel, or how wormholes helped humanity reach out into the stars, you won’t find it here.  That’s not what this book is about.  It’s far more grounded in the lives of the characters, and that’s what I loved about it.

When an alien race attempted to invade our solar system, the people of Earth created an army super soldiers who were powerful enough to drive them back to where they came from.  What happened after that is entirely unknown.  100 years passed and no one on Earth knows what became of the aliens or Earth’s super soldiers.  At least, until one of those soldiers returns home.  She is sick with an alien infection, and she is the only one with a chance of stoping the next great threat to Earth.
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Xom-B by Jeremy Robinson

xom-b-by-jeremy-robinson-smallThis is, by far, one of the more unique genre fiction novels that I’ve had the pleasure of reading.  And while the title implies a zombie based plot, the book is more distinctively science fiction than it is horror.  Set in the not distant enough future, this is at its core a cautionary tale— an all too plausible, “what if” scenario that at first seems somewhat farfetched.  But by the end of the book, odds are that you’ll find yourself no longer considering the events of this book as implausible as they might have first seemed.

First and foremost, Xom-B is the tale of one man’s wide-eyed and innocent discovery.  It’s told from the first person-present perspective.  While at first this point of view was a little jarring and unfamiliar to me, it soon became more comfortable.  I have no doubt that it was the right perspective from which to tell this particular tale.  So much of what happens is made much more effective by the real-time first person point of view, and I think my initial discomfort from the perspective came simply from the fact that so few books utilize this perspective.
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Influx by Daniel Suarez

influx_iconInflux, the latest novel from Daniel Suarez is certain to be another smash hit.  Daniel’s first book, Daemon was a bestseller and foretold technologies that are only currently seeing the light of day.  Modern tech like Goole’s still-in-production Google Glass, and lesser altruistic advents such as the recently dismantled Silk Road.  Part two of Daemon was titled Freedom™, and was another massive success.  This was followed by Kill Decision which proved to be only moments ahead of its time since it dealt with drone warfare and posed a question that is becoming crucial at this very point in time: should automated systems or artificial intelligence be allowed to make critical life and death decisions?

Book number four from Mr. Suarez, Influx, deals with a fictional government agency who’s mandate is to police leaps in technology that are deemed disruptive.  The BTC, or Bureau of Technology Control, is proactive in its efforts, striking at scientist and innovators before they can bring key innovations to market— innovations that are certain to change the world in some profound way.  When such a technology comes to the attention of the BTC, the innovator behind the discovery is offered membership into the unique and secret organization.  But only if he or she agrees to keep their discovery from the world and continues development while working for the BTC.  But what happens when someone refuses?
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Refuge Omnibus Edition by Jeremy Bishop and Friends

refuge-omnibus-big-by-jeremy-bishopRefuge was a five book serialize release from Jeremy Bishop and a host of additional talented authors that is now available in an omnibus edition.  If you tuned in to the series as it was released on a weekly basis, you could buy the books as they were released.  But now that the five book series is complete, the omnibus version is available.  It contains the complete series in a single book, and at a reduced price.

Each book in the series was co-authored by Jeremy Bishop and another author.  Each guest is a talented and accomplished author in their own right, so the tag-team effort insures that each book is nothing short of spectacular.  Book one is written by Jeremy Bishop and Jeremy Robinson.  Fans of Robinson’s work will recognize Jeremy Bishop as the pen name that Robinson reserves for his horror work.  His collaboration with his alter ego is as fun as the book is chilling.  With book 2, Bishop teams up with Daniel S. Boucher.  Book 3 pairs Bishop with Robert Swartwood who wrote The Serial Killer’s Wife and The Calling, among numerous other thrillers.  Book 4 teamed Bishop with David McAfee of 33 A.D. and 61 A.D. fame.  And book 5 concludes the series by pairing Bishop with Kane Gilmour, author of ResurrectThe Crypt of Dracula, as well as co-author of several of the Jack Sigler books.
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Beyond Judgment By Richard Bard (Brainrush #3)

beyond_judgementI fell in love with the series when I read books 1 and 2 back to back. I had impossibly high expectations when I started reading book 3. To the point where I was nervous… worried that the third installment couldn’t possibly live up to my lofty expectations. Especially after waiting a year for the latest release.

All of my worries were for nothing. Book three was a smash hit that managed to surpass my expectations in every possible way. It was an action packed thrill-ride from beginning to end. But maybe even more impressively, the way book three ties into the events and characters from the earlier releases actually managed to pull at my heartstrings. While the book was an action thriller, it had more than a few touching moments that were brilliantly written.
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Sideloading eBooks Onto The Kindle Reader

kindle_paperwhiteThere are a couple of reasons why Amazon grew to dominate the e-book market early in the game.  First, the store’s selection is first-rate.  A ton of content is key.  But the real brilliance on the part of Amazon was the way the store tied into the Kindle Reader.  Buy a book online and the Amazon website makes it very easy to pop that new book onto a Kindle compatible reading device.  It doesn’t matter if that reading devices is a Kindle branded reader,  iPad, iPhone, Android device, or even a laptop/desktop Mac or PC.  Just click the buy button on Amazon.com and select your destination device (assuming you have more than one device registered in your Amazon account).  Amazon’s backend infrastructure takes care of the rest.  Just buy the book and start reading… very easy.

But what if you buy a book from Smashwords or you download it directly from an authors website?  If that book wasn’t purchased through the Amazon store, getting it onto your device suddenly becomes a lot less intuitive.  Actually, it can be a down right painful experience… Until you know the tricks.  But there is good news.  There are a number of ways to get those books onto your Kindle compatible device.
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Grey Lady, by Paul Kemprecos

paul_kemprecos_grey_lady_iconThere’s something about a detective story that’s told in the first person.  When it’s done right, it just works.  That is, hands down, the case with Grey Lady.  But it’s far more than you classic who done it? mystery.  It’s also a wild ride with a riveting plot that pulls you in at the start and keeps you locked locked within the pages for the duration.  Everything centers around a character named Aristotle Socarides, better know as “Soc” to his friends and adversaries alike.  And while this is book 7 in a series, that shouldn’t prevent anyone from jumping into the series right here.  I haven’t read the earlier books yet (Though they have all been added to my to-read list now).

This a tale of murder, a rich man’s mental break with reality, and the search for the great white whale immortalized by Herman Melville.  What do all of these things have in common?  Not a single thing, unless you’re Paul Kemprecos.  But for an author with his pedigree, they’re the base ingredients for a fantastic mystery thriller than involves lost American history, scrimshaw, hive based drone technology, and cannibalism.
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Omega by Jeremy Robinson and Kane Gilmour

omega_book_iconI have so many things that I want to say but I can’t because I don’t want to spoil this amazing novel for anyone.  So no spoilers here.  It’s enough to say that this book takes the team, and a couple of characters in particular, to some very interesting and unexpected places.  Adding to the fun, Omega takes what we know about the series so far— and some of the characters— and just turns all of that on its ear.  There’s some really brilliant stuff that you wouldn’t expect to see surface this far into a well-established series.

Of course we get the requisite gun toting, ass-kicking that we expect from our favorite special-ops team, and a few things are revealed that threaten to make us look back at the earlier books in an entirely different way.
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Warbirds of Mars: Stories of the Fight, by Kane Gilmour and Scott P. Vaughn

warbirds_iconI picked up Warbirds of Mars: Stories of the Fight without knowing exactly what to expect.  It’s a collection of short stories that are all set in the same world, each written by a different talented author.  Additionally, the book contains some outstanding original artwork that was inspired by each story.  Together they make for a unique and engaging experience.  And while I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I started reading this nearly 500 page novel, it was a book that surpassed even my wildest expectation.

Warbirds of Mars began as a web comic.  Stories of the Fight marks a substantial change in format for the content, but one that serves the story at least as well as any comic.  Warbirds of Mars takes place in a world where an alien force invaded Earth in the middle of World War II.  At that point, history as we know is shifts from all that we know to have been true.  Nazis side with the alien invading force while much of the free world struggles to remain free from enslavement or outright extermination.  Along the way, a resistance force rises up to bring the battle to both the Martians and the fascist regime.  They call themselves the Martian Killers— a larger than life, comic book like group of resistance fighters who champion mankind’s rebellion against an enemy equipped with superior technology and manpower.

What makes this book particularly interesting is the collaboration of a group of disparate and talented authors and artists.  Each one bringing his or her own style and flair to subject matter.  As a result, every chapter of the book is unique in content and tone.  For fans of genre fiction, this is nothing less than a unique and thrilling experience.  No single author could’ve created a story with such scope and diversity.  Some of the perspectives chosen by the authors border on brilliant.  Some stories offer seat of your pants action and thrills, others offer chills, while at least one will bring a smile to your face and a tear to your eye.
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Kindle Automatic Book Update Feature

kindle_iconI just noticed something interesting in the Manage Your Kindle section of the Amazon Store:

Automatic Book Update
Opt in for automatic book updates to receive new versions of your books when we have confirmed that improvements were made. In order to retain your notes, highlights, bookmarks and furthest reading locations, ensure that all your Kindle devices and reading apps have the “Annotation Back Up” setting turned on.

This new feature (or feature that is new to me) would then automatically grab the latest updated copy of any book you have bought through the Kindle store. It’s an optional feature that is turned off by default. Still, you might be wondering why it is off by default when it seems like an amazing and useful feature.

First and foremost, some folks don’t like the idea that their precious books could be changing without their knowledge. So it’s best to let people opt into the feature. Secondly, and most important to me, is that any notes, highlights, or bookmarks I’ve made to the book can’t carry over to the updated copy when it downloads. It’s an understandable limitation of the technology. If the books were updating on their own, that novel you spent hours annotating for your thesis, or even this months Group Read could suddenly see all of your hard work literally disappear overnight.
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