Never Enough Time, by RTW Lipkin

What if your entire life passed by in just seven days? 16-year-old Delaney Archer’s mother is always complaining that there’s never enough time to get anything done. Delaney, on the other hand, always waits until the last moment to do everything. Nevertheless, she’s the top student in her class. She’s even about to graduate as valedictorian . . .Until one morning, when she wakes up in a strange place. Suddenly, she finds herself in graduate school. Seven years of her life have disappeared without a trace since she went to bed last night . . . but how? It takes a while for Delaney to get used to things. But it’s not all bad, right? After all, she can drink alcohol now, and she’s almost finished school . . . Then she wakes up the next day . . . and another seven years have passed. Every day is another brand-new adventure for Delaney as she struggles to adjust. But no matter what she tries, she just can’t seem to break the cycle. Now she just has to figure out what’s happening . . . before time runs out . . .

Time travel- check. Confused protagonist- check. Available on NetGalley- check. I finished reading this almost two months ago, and I can’t seem to remember the ending. I remember that as a supposedly smart protagonist, Delaney is pretty dumb, willing to accept ludicrous scenarios to explain her time jumping. Every singe character is annoying, with Sara being the worst of them all. The selfishness and hedonism is rife throughout. Really, Sara and the boyfriend are wretches of humanity, and for someone so smart, Delaney should’ve cut them loose long ago – especially since she didn’t even know them! Many reviews complain about the swears, but apparently, those reviewers have never encountered a teen in the wild- which Delaney was supposed to be, albeit in an adult body.

Overall, the book wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t very good either. There were a lot of issues, with flashes of brilliance. The fact that I can’t remember the ending so soon after finishing the book makes me think that it wasn’t that great. Never Enough Time truly is a middle of the road book. I’d award it just to the positive side of middle of the road with 3.5 stars. I saw that the author wrote another sci-fi novel, Prediction, so I think I’ll check that out at a later date.

R. T. W. Lipkin lives in New York with her husband and three cats. Her genre-defying novels occur at the intersection of science fiction and fantasy, with mystery, romance, and adventure threaded throughout.

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Buying Time, by E. M. Brown

In January 2017, something very strange happens to screenwriter Ed Richie. He wakes up one morning to find that he has been shunted back in time nine months and is now inhabiting the body of his younger self… Worse is to come: the following day he jumps three years, to 2013, with all his memories of the intervening years intact. What is happening to him? Is he going mad? And where will his involuntary time-travel end? Meanwhile, in 2030, journalist Ella Croft is investigating the life of screenwriter and celebrated novelist Ed Richie, who mysteriously vanished in 2025. She interviews friends, acquaintances, and old lovers – and what she discovers will change not only Ed Richie’s life, but her own… Buying Time is a time-travel novel like no other. No man is rich enough to buy back his past – unless that man is Ed Richie…

Any time I see a time travel story on NetGalley, I’m ready and willing. It includes an aging novelist? Yep, I can totally relate. I liked the shifting between Ed’s romp through time, and 2030 Ella, and her fight for LGBT rights. Oh, and she’s also trying to track down Ed, and solve the mystery of his disappearance. Often when reading an A-B story, one of the branches is boring. Not the case with Buying Time. Brown fills in interesting back-story with the Ella “B” line.

Ed Richie isn’t a very likable character, but that’s not a bad thing, since his time-traveling situation rings true. The theme of the story is one of sadness and regret. Who among us hasn’t remembered that thing that they did, and wished they could go back and make a different choice?

Overall, this was a good sci-fi read, and I’ll definitely check out other works by Brown. Four stars.

Eric Brown was born in Haworth, West Yorkshire, in 1960, and has lived in Australia, India and Greece. He began writing in 1975, influenced by Agatha Christie and the science fiction writer Robert Silverberg. Since then he has written over forty-five books and published over a hundred and twenty short stories, selling his first story in 1986 and his first novel in 1992. He has written a dozen books for children; young adult titles as well as books for reluctant readers. He has been nominated for the British Science Fiction Award five times, winning it twice for his short stories in 2000 and 2002.

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http://www.ericbrown.co.uk/


What Fate Portends, by Clara Coulson

Seven years ago, the exposure of the paranormal led to the tumultuous downfall of human society. Now, the legions of the fae rule the broken world, and humanity has nothing left but a handful of protected cities and a heaping helping of regret. Enter Vincent Whelan. Half fae and former cop, he’s become the best-known stretch scavenger in Kinsale, North Carolina, braving the “stretches” outside his city to recover precious items lost in the collapse. He makes good money. Lives the good life. Has a good future in store. As long as he can ignore his traumatic memories of the past. But when a new job with an odd twist blows onto his doorstep, Vince finds himself unwittingly drawn into a vast conspiracy lurking underneath Kinsale’s thin veneer of civilization. Old friends suddenly return to haunt him. New enemies appear at every turn. And Vince fears he isn’t prepared to confront either one. But if he doesn’t put his detective hat back on and solve this case on a tight deadline, then what’s left of the city he calls home might just crumble to dust.

I already knew that Clara Coulson is a solid writer, but switching from a beloved series (City of Crows) to a new one is always risky. You’re always comparing the new series to the old one. I’m relieved that Coulson’s writing prowess continues in this new series, and the flavor is different enough from City of Crows, that it doesn’t feel rebranded.

The world building is fun, and we’re thrust into the action right away. That action sets the tone for the rest of the story, and we immediately like the protagonist. But Vince has secrets. Secrets that can get him killed, and throw the world into chaos. Protagonists just have the worst luck, right?

As usual, the characters are compelling, suffering from foibles, and they overcome these foibles to show us their hidden strength. It’s easy to identify with Vince as he struggles to live in his society. This is trueurban fantasy, whereas City of Crows is hiddenurban fantasy. The supernatural creatures live along side humans.

Another great read from Clara Coulson, and I look forward to reading more in this series. Although I received an advance reader copy from the author, the editing and formatting is suburb. Five stars, and a must read for fans of urban fantasy.

Therin-Knite

Clara Coulson was born and raised in backwoods Virginia, USA. Currently in her mid-twenties, Clara holds a degree in English and Finance from the College of William & Mary and recently retired from the hustle and bustle of Washington, DC to return to the homeland and pick up the quiet writing life. Clara spends most of her time (when she’s not writing) dreaming up new story ideas, studying Japanese, and slowly reading through the several-hundred-book backlog on her budding home library. If she’s not occupied with any of those things, then you can probably find her playing with her two cats or lurking in the shadows of various social media websites.

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Space Carrier Avalon, by Glynn Stewart

Avalon was the flagship of the Castle Federation in the last war, now twenty years past. The first of the deep space carriers, no other warship in the fleet holds as many honors or has recorded as many kills. No other warship in the fleet is as old. Accepting the inevitable, the Federation Space Navy has decided to refit her and send her on a tour of the frontier, showing the flag to their allies and enemies as a reminder of her glory – and then decommission her for good. But Avalon has been a backwater posting for ten years – and has problems a mere refit can’t fix. The systems along her planned tour have been seeing pirates for the first time in decades, and there are rumblings of Commonwealth scouting ships all along the border. It may be Avalon’s final tour – but it looks to be anything but quiet!

This review is going to seem critical, so I want to start by saying that I enjoyed the read. The new cover drew me in when I saw it on netgalley. If it had the cover featured on Goodreads, I would not have requested it. I still was reluctant to read it because there are a few negative reviews that left me wondering. There is even a plot point in the beginning of the book that had it been written differently, I would’ve stopped reading. It made me angry – but in a good way. I’ve always felt that fiction should make us feel something. Space Carrier Avalon is an engrossing read.

The book is not without issues though. My biggest complaint is the character’s continuous use of another character’s full name and rank. Rank is usually truncated in the military. I can sometimes overlook it if the story is about a paramilitary organization, but the Castle Federation series is straight military sci-fi. No one would’ve ever called me “Mechanical Gas Turbine Systems Technician Second Class Petty Officer Mark Gardner-” they would’ve called me “GSM2 Gardner,” “Petty Officer Gardner,” or simply “Gardner.” (Even subordinates.)

Which brings me to another peeve about this story. Most of the commissioned & enlisted crew would’ve called each other by their last names. In this novel, first and last names are used interchangeably, and I spent the first quarter of the book just trying to figure out who everyone was. This resulted in a lot of flipping back to see who was who. When I was on active duty, I spent almost all my time with another turbine tech- duty rotations, visits to the galley, etc. I didn’t even know his first name for two or three months.

I get that this is supposed to be hard sci-fi, and some people love all the little technical details, (I imagine people playing Warhammer 40k with their tape measures, and other accouterments) but there was way too much technical information for me taste. I really didn’t need to know warhead yields, the percentage and implementation of mass manipulators, or even the progression of shipbuilding in the world. Maguffins are perfectly fine in futuristic sci-fi; especially with faster than light travel. It just seemed like the author spent an inordinate amount of time explaining tech that seemed to slow down the story.

Of course I experienced the opposite of this when it came to the origin of the Castle Federation and the disposition of Earth. It wasn’t until the last quarter of the book that I realized that Earth and the Terran Commonwealth were the antagonists, and the Castle Federation were descendants of humanity trying to live the Libertarian dream of being left alone with the overzealous Terrans trying to unify the universe under their banner. Some creepy Manifest Destiny stuff.

Overall, I liked Space Carrier Avalon. I especially liked the concept of the protagonists effectively being aliens, and Earth being the “bad guys.” Not everyone would agree with my quibbles about the story, and that’s cool. Fandom is a varied and splendiferous thing. Kudos to the author for the Star Trek references – they made me smile. I’d give this story four stars, and a warning of a sexual assault as a plot point in the beginning of the story in case someone would be triggered by that. I’ll definitely read the next in the series if it wanders my way.

Glynn Stewart is the author of Starship’s Mage, a bestselling science fiction and fantasy series where faster-than-light travel is possible–but only because of magic. His other works include science fiction series Duchy of Terra, Castle Federation and Vigilante, as well as the urban fantasy series ONSET and Changeling Blood. Writing managed to liberate Glynn from a bleak future as an accountant. With his personality and hope for a high-tech future intact, he lives in Kitchener, Ontario with his wife, their cats, and an unstoppable writing habit.

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Sundered Rock now available

Hello, all! My latest short story is live on Amazon. It’s a 7000-word prequel to Days Until Home. It’s LGBT, and I wanted it out for Pride Month. If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, then it’s free. Here’s the description of Sundered Rock:

The only way Adelaide can provide for her family is by doing what she does best: keep a ship’s engine running in the black of space. Sapphire would rather starve together than be separated from her soulmate.

When Adelaide takes a job on the long haul space freighter Sundered Rock against Sapphire’s wishes, can their family survive the separation, or will everything that matters to Sapphire and Adelaide be torn asunder?

Sounds cool, right? It’s enrolled in the StoryTellerUK2018 contest, so getting the word out would be wonderful. You can pick up a paperback of it, but at $9.99, it’s not really a good deal. After the StoryTellerUK2018 contest is over, I’m going to have it in a short story collection like Warmache. Warmache and other storieswill be priced at $14.99, and will include all my novellas and shorts published under my pen name, M. A. Gardner, including the first Brass Automaton, and Nala’s Story.

I’ve decided that once I move through my current supply of novellas, I’m going to stop bringing paperback versions to shows and events. $9.99 is a lot for a 140-page paperback, and if I combine them into a collection, then I’ll sell them for $14.99. So, Payson Book Festival and Fandomania will be the last opportunities to get the old paperbacks.

So, starting in September, Sundered Rock and other storieswill include Body Rentals, Forlorn Hope,Escape, and Paradox. I’m still deciding on if I’m going to keep producing multi-language editions like Escape. I may only have those available in the UK and Europe.


Future Warrior, by Lexi Revellian

When Liam Roth fails to arrive from 2135 – his own time – to collect her for a date, Floss discovers that the timeline has changed. In the now totalitarian future, the rich and successful Roth she knew is a failure with an abysmal Citizen Credit Rank, who works as a barista and struggles to make ends meet. Through him, Floss and Jace meet an amateur dissident group who offer the Time Rats the biggest, best-paid job of their lives: overthrowing the Global Union’s oppressive rule.

I’ve enjoyed the first two Time Ratsbooks, so liking the third was a foregone conclusion. The story is fun and exciting with more time traveling. Everyone likes to read about a ragtag group of rebels overthrowing the totalitarian monolithic government. It’s also fun to see characters we’ve come to know in different situations. Liam Roth as a failure was a great read, because he essentially becomes another character. I spent half the book wanting him to return to the Liam Roth of books one and two, and the other half hoping that this new Liam Roth would soldier on as it were. As usual, the characters are well written, and I hope that Lexi writes more in the universe.

Four out of five stars for Future Warrior, and with all three books in Kindle Unlimited, you should totally check them out.

LexiRevellian

Lexi Revellian enjoys reading intelligent, pacey books with humour, and that’s what she tries to write. She believes it’s a crime to bore the reader. Her day job (using her real name, Lexi Dick) is designing and making jewellery and silver; she has made pieces for Lady Thatcher, the Athenaeum and Her Majesty the Queen.

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Rebirth, by L. Fergus

The God of Evil has forgotten who she is. After defeating the Harbingers, the gods deemed Kita a threat to all existence. Stripped of her memories, she is left to languish in Angelica, a new playground city for the ultra-rich of the United Earth Empire. There, beneath the waves of an oceanic moon, Kita makes her living using her skills as an assassin to protect the pampered elite. But fate is fickle. Trouble is brewing on the frontier: first contact has been made between humanity and an alien race. Humanity has been watching Kita for a decade and knows her history. They also know that even in her diminished state, she is powerful and they want all the weapons they can muster against this new threat. Can the humans convince Kita to fight for them or will she remember who and what she is and escape to the other side?

The story of PL/Kita and her unknown past with hidden talents is nothing new in the world of literature. I’ve read most of L. Fergus’ books on Wattpad, and while Rebirth isn’t the first story in a long series, it is one of the best (Birthright is another solid read.) In a world where literature is accessible to almost anyone, there’s a lot of content out there. You can read many LGBT fantasy stories by many talented authors, and L. Fergus’ prose and attention to detail is top-notch. When some authors go into a lot of description, my brain often gets distracted, and it pulls me out of the narrative. This isn’t the case with Rebirth. There is a lot of description, but it’s presented in such a way that it feels natural reading about Kita and her world.

Rebirth gives us something I think is wonderful: We see how Kita, as PL, sees her world. We share in the wonderment. We share in the confusion. We’ve read her as a powerful God, and now we see her at the other end of the spectrum. In modern society we struggle with classism. We struggle with identity. We struggle with the basic tenants that make us part of society. We witness all these foibles as Kita discovers who she is. We follow her pratfalls as she comes to grips with her mistakes.

One of the important things that Rebirth tells us is identity. In the first chapter, Kita performs a daily ritual to make herself “normal.” She hides her true self out of fear of what society and others think of her. She hurts herself to conform to the ideals of her environment, and in doing so, she loses her identity. This commonality in the LGBT community has gone on for many years, and many wonderful people hide what they offer the world. I think it appropriate that Rebirth be published during pride month.

I enjoyed reading Rebirth, and I was glued to the page as the saying goes. Every book is not without flaws. I found some of Kita’s antics a little immature, but no worse than the antics of a celebrity or a spoiled millionaire. But still sigh-worthy. As a stand-alone, I’d rate Rebirth four and a half stars. As of the writing of this review, the book is available for purchase tomorrow, and I recommend fans of science fantasy check it out – especially since it’s free to read via Kindle Unlimited.

L. Fergus is a Wattpad featured author of science fiction, including The Fallen Angel Saga, which has more than two hundred thousand reads. The books Birthright and Rebirth have won over ten awards, including Best Overall. Like L. Fergus’ main character Kita, L. fosters teenage girls to give them a supportive place to grow up and thrive.

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