Out now! THE LAST MYSTIC–A Review

Hi there! I’m so excited to share a review for a brand new dystopian YA adventure/romance from Susan Kaye Quinn. THE LAST MYSTIC is the fourth book in her Singularity series, and should be read in order. Having loved THE LEGACY HUMAN, THE DUALITY BRIDGE, and THE ILLUSORY PROPHET, I couldn’t wait to read this thrilling series conclusion.

About the book:
What if you knew there was life after death?
Eli is back from the dead… and determined to stop the powerful ascenders who blasted him out to the void. But in the three days he was gone, the world moved on. The girl he loves is determined to build an army of augmented humans to fight the ascenders—with herself as the next Offering. The ascenders are lining up in a death cult based on the charismatic ascender Eli accidentally released from storage—and all the restraints that have kept the ascender world in balance are now off. Everyone is rushing to be the first to bring a Second Singularity—to reach the numinous world from which Eli just returned—regardless of the cost. And the chaos and bloodshed of the first Singularity show just how high that cost can be. How can he stop the world from hurtling off the cliff when he’s the one who proved there’s something to reach, if only you could learn how to fly?

The Last Mystic is the thrilling conclusion to the Singularity series. This philosophical, HopePunk sci-fi series explores the intersection of mind, body, and soul in a post-Singularity world.

My Review:
This is the fourth book in the Singularity series, and needs to be read in order.

Elijah Brighton is not entirely human. Nor is he an Ascender–one of the millions of minds that are electronically connected since the Singularity several hundred years prior. Earth is not the place we know, it’s far advanced technologically, and humans that live here are kept as legacy populations in Ascender controlled cities, or they escape to join the Resistance, or the Makers, or an even lesser-known cult.

Eli has been through the wringer in this series, learning that he’s not simply a human, but one generated with Ascender tech in his very DNA. He was designed to answer the question of whether Ascenders had souls, and if they could transcend technological death into and afterlife. Eli now knows–and he’s the bridge to that destination. When the book opens it’s Eli,coming back from a Fugue–a state on non-consciousness where he can touch the souls of others, including Ascenders. There is a terrifying new foe cutting down humanity to find him–or his body–and bring about a Second Singularity, in which Ascenders will be able to travel into an afterlife, and return–like Eli does. Eli’s first thought is to bring back the consciousness of two of the most respected Ascenders to quell the drive toward another Singularity. These entities have been considered dead, and if Eli can get them to re-integrate with the Orion collective consciousness then he can convince Ascenders they don’t need to sacrifice their minds, or the bodies of humans, to achieve afterlife for their soul.

Eli isn’t only trying to help humanity survive the Ascender assaults; his human girlfriend, Kamali, is next in line to attempt a Second Singularity. She believes that Eli will bring her back from the dead if the Makers are unable to complete the transformation. For Eli, it’s personal, as well as philosophical. He’s funneled the consciousness of many low-functioning bots into the afterlife, and still wonders if he did the right thing–granted he took those “minds” from killer bots that were rampaging through unprotected human populations, but it troubled him. And losing Kamali–even if he could bring her back–is just untenable. Instead, Eli digs deep within himself to find what makes him unique among those on Earth–and he grows into the being his Ascender mentors had always envisioned: more than a bridge, a way to embrace life–human or Ascender. He’s able to rewire humanity and Ascenders to find the divine within themselves and each other, using his deep love of life to open the minds of the populace in a figurative and literal way. It’s a creative means to an end that only builds more love, more connections. The Second Singularity arrives not through tech, but through compassion.

It’s an amazing transition, and an inspiring end to a series built on finding the best of humanity, even when the most powerful haven’t been human in centuries. If you are into futuristic societies and big moral and ethical quandaries, this philosophical take will open your heart and mind to possibility.

Interested? You can find THE LAST MYSTIC on Goodreads and Amazon.

New to the series? The first book, THE LEGACY HUMAN, is currently FREE. Check out my review and catch the buy links here.

Susan Kaye Quinn is a rocket scientist turned speculative fiction author who now uses her PhD to invent cool stuff in books. She writes young adult science fiction, with side trips into adult future-noir, royal fantasy romance, and middle grade. Her bestselling novels and short stories have been optioned for Virtual Reality, translated into German, and featured in several anthologies. She writes full-time from Chicago, inventing mind powers and dreaming of the Singularity.

Chat with her about our coming robot overlords in her Facebook group.

More about Sue: website | Facebook Page | Twitter | For Writers

Power of Hope: BROKEN WIDE–Review and get a FREE book!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a fantastic new YA dystopian novel from Susan Kaye Quinn. BROKEN WIDE is the sixth book in her MindJack series and the last book in the ZEPH trilogy. You can start the whole series with OPEN MINDS, which is free and fantastic, but you absolutely must read LOCKED TIGHT and CRACKED OPEN before jumping into BROKEN WIDE.

About the book:
All he wanted was peace; all he had was hope.
Zeph had spent half his life hiding what he was—keeping his mindjack powers away from dangerous men and running away from everyone he loved to keep them safe. Now that his life is finally coming together—his mom and sister are safe; the girl he loves in his arms—the world is falling apart. The mindreader backlash against jackers is growing daily. Jacker-bigot politicians are stoking fear and gaining power. And jackers on the Fronter’s Purity list are winding up dead on the streets outside Jackertown.

Even the Jacker Freedom Alliance is tearing itself apart.

All Zeph wants is a chance to build a life with Tessa—but even she is losing faith. If there’s no peace between jackers and readers, what future could they have? Then a protest goes terribly wrong, the president starts talk of a Jackertown siege, and a MINDWARE CEO races to develop a dangerous mind-blasting technology. It seems foolish to even hope for peace, but one thing becomes very clear—the only way to put the world back together is to bring down the powerful people breaking it apart.

The conclusion to the bestselling Mindjack: Zeph series, where daring to hope for peace could be the most radical—and dangerous—move of all.

My Review:
This is the sixth book in the MindJack series where humans have evolved the ability to broadcast their thoughts–but the new wrinkle is mindreaders who can hijack your brain. These “mindjackers” are a super powerful minority, being hunted for experimentation and extermination. And Zeph, a “locksmith” mindjacker who can lock and unlock the toughest minds, will do whatever it takes to keep himself and his family safe.

In LOCKED TIGHT, book four, Zeph allied himself with some horrifying persons in the government and private enterprise–people who truly want to hunt down and kill “jackers”–in order to find his missing sister and parents. He’s also infiltrated the jacker population, attempting to get close to the young, powerful and charismatic jacker senator. Hiding his jacker nature from readers has made Zeph a loner, by necessity, and his plan to rescue his family and go back on the run is upset by the new connections he’s made. What if there could be a balance between the jackers and the readers? Could he then find sanctuary instead of isolation?

In CRACKED OPEN, book five, Zeph went undercover as a mole to discover what he could about the anti-jacker technology being mass-produced by MindWare Tech. Working as a bodyguard to the company CEO’s daughter, Zeph gets a front row seat to the danger–especially because his protectee is in love with a jacker, and determined to overthrow her corrupt father. Meanwhile, Dr. Wright, directer of the government’s super-secret jacking lab, is coercing Zeph to take part in a scheme that will tip the balance of power further into anti-jacker territory. Working with the Jacker Freedom Alliance as a mole helps Zeph keep many jackers safe, but it’s a tenuous time and it seems as if all hope might be soon lost.

But, as we all know, hope is a force that wins hearts, minds and battles. Hope is the foundation of BROKEN WIDE.

Fundamentally, the MindJack series is about discrimination, and surviving intact after the powerful have sought to crush you. It’s a timely allegory to the current political climate where discrimination by the government (of any marginalized community) is lauded by people who have fear or prejudice ruling their emotions. For readers, it’s a chilling journey into discovering what the experience might be for a marginalized population. The government has ideologically decided that jackers are Public Enemy Number One, and need to be studied and eradicated. And yet, throughout, it’s a humanizing story. One of hope and desperation, and succeeding against all odds against your most feared, armed, bully.

BROKEN WIDE is the final book in Zeph’s trilogy, and it’s a terrifying ride. He’s desperate to save the people he loves, but soon realizes the plan to eradicate all jackers will lead to more broken families and dead teens–murdered by the purity-minded Readers First Front and sanctioned by the government. Terrified families are listing their jacker members in chat rooms based on the paranoia the government keeps propagating. Despite the danger, Zeph heads back into the chilling Tiller mansion, masquerading as a reader while helping Juliette Tiller find as much evidence as she can on her father–while also gaining intel on the planned attack on JackerTown, and the technology Tiller’s company has built. They need to find weaknesses that jackers can exploit.

Dr. Wright, an unwilling associate of Tiller, agrees to not out Zeph as a jacker, if Zeph will use his jack ability to make mind-blasted super jackers Wright calls “Obedient” for an army that she alone can control. It’s a sick bargain, but it’s the only way to stay alive in the Tiller home. Not that they can stay for long. Tiller’s plans for Zeph and Juliette are straight out of a nightmare, and their need to remain intact soon overcomes the need for intel. And, they leave not a moment too soon. Jackertown, a safe zone for jackers buried within the metro area of what was once Chicago, is under siege. If they are lucky, Zeph might save a few of them with his mindlocking gift.

This isn’t the end of the road, however. No. Zeph’s determined to turn the anti-jacker hysteria with a hefty dose of truth. His surreal experiences take him to the highest levels of power, and he looks true evil in the face. Even as he promises to build more Obedient for the government, he knows he’s going to honor his vow to restore jackers to equal standing–fellow humans with what can be new and helpful gifts. Connecting with the Jacker Freedom Alliance and the mindreading Free Thinkers helps Zeph get the truth out at exactly the right time. Not that anything goes to plan. Still, Zeph’s never thought of himself as a hero–he only acts like one every day, and all the time. Even as he’s making the difficult decisions, it’s all in the hope that he’ll get just far enough to make good on his vow, and protect whichever vulnerable people he can, in whatever way possible. That he finally gets a happy ending is only the sweetest part of the whole series so far.

Interested? You can find BROKEN WIDE on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo and GooglePlay.

Get yourself a FREE book!
The MindJack universe began with OPEN MINDS, the story of Kira Moore, a sixteen year-old jacker learning about herself and prejudice she’s been born into. Kira is a strong MC, and her steadfast commitment to doing the right thing, even if it’s hard, gives readers a protagonist worthy of respect. It’s a super-fast read that tackles real societal problems with grace and confidence. I read this book in a day. Mostly because I couldn’t stop until I knew Kira was safe.

The great thing? OPEN MINDS is a FREE on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, GooglePlay and Kobo. OPEN MINDS is the first in a trilogy, but has a satisfactory ending that resolves completely while leaving room for the companion books to develop.

About the Author:
Susan Kaye Quinn is a rocket scientist turned speculative fiction author who now uses her PhD to invent cool stuff in books. Her works range from young adult science fiction to adult future-noir, with side trips into steampunk and middle grade fantasy. Her bestselling novels and short stories have been optioned for Virtual Reality, translated into German, and featured in several anthologies.

She writes full-time from Chicago, inventing mind powers and dreaming of the Singularity. You can find out what she’s up to by subscribing to her newsletter (hint: new subscribers get a free short story!).

Catch up with Susan on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Hard To Survive CRACKED OPEN–A Review and get a free book!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a fantastic new YA dystopian novel from Susan Kaye Quinn. CRACKED OPEN is the fifth book in her MindJack series and I’m pretty much breathless for the next book already. You can start the whole series with OPEN MINDS, which is free and fantastic, but you absolutely must read LOCKED TIGHT before jumping into CRACKED OPEN.

About the book:
Zeph always knew he was a weapon. He didn’t count on being a spy.

But he made a dangerous bargain with the Director of the Jacker Technologies Division of DARPA–he’d let Wright test his mutant mindjack ability if she’d release his parents. Simple. Occasionally painful. And the screams of his victims fill his nightmares. But it will be worth it as long as she can’t crack open his head and find out his sister, with her super-surge jack-ability, is still alive. And if his parents are finally set free.

Once that happens, he’s gone. Even if it means giving up everything he’s just now getting back. A home. Friends. A girl who believes in peace and love even when the world is falling apart.

My Review:
This is the fifth book in the MindJack series where humans have evolved the ability to broadcast their thoughts–but the new wrinkle is mindreaders who can hijack your brain. These “mindjackers” are a super powerful minority, being hunted for experimentation and extermination. And Zeph, a “locksmith” mindjacker who can lock and unlock the toughest minds, will do whatever it takes to keep himself and his family safe.

In LOCKED TIGHT, book four, Zeph allied himself with some horrifying persons in the government and private enterprise–people who truly want to hunt down and kill “jackers”–in order to find his missing sister and parents. He’s also infiltrated the jacker population, attempting to get close to the young, powerful and charismatic jacker senator. Hiding his jacker nature from readers has made Zeph a loner, by necessity, and his plan to rescue his family and go back on the run is upset by the new connections he’s made. What if there could be a balance between the jackers and the readers? Could he then find sanctuary instead of isolation?

In CRACKED OPEN, the battle lines have been clearly drawn. His employer, a MindWare developer who hired Zeph as a bodyguard to his daughter, believes Zeph’s a reader, and shares all sorts of anti-jacker tech with Zeph, by way of relating how it will help Zeph be a better guard. The government’s shadow lab, run by Dr. Wright, is preparing a jacking operation on the highest levels of government–to destroy any sympathy the President or populace might have for jackers. Once Zeph recognizes how dangerous all of this has become, he reaches out to Kira Moore, one-time spokesperson for the defunct Jacker Freedom Alliance, to offer his services as a mole.

Zeph had rescued his sister in the previous book, but things aren’t all quiet on that front. Her powers are raw and untrained, making Olivia a fourteen-year old walking weapon. Now, Zeph’s trying to find his mom, and he knows Wright has her locked up somewhere. In fact, Wright agrees to release her if only he’ll assist with the grand scheme she’s cooked up. Zeph knows it’s a bad job, but he has no choice if he wants his mom freed. This time, however, he’s got friends who can assist him–and he calls them.

Fundamentally, the MindJack series is about discrimination, and surviving intact after the powerful have sought to crush you. It’s an allegory to the current political climate where discrimination by the government (of any marginalized community) has been lauded by a segment of the population who allow themselves to be led by fear, instead of community. For readers, it’s a chilling journey into discovering what the experience might be for a marginalized population, if the government ideologically decided that (insert your personal minority) was Public Enemy Number One, and needed to be studied and eradicated. And yet, throughout, it’s a humanizing story. One of hope and desperation, and succeeding against all odds against your most feared, armed, bully.

CRACKED OPEN marks the midpoint of Zeph’s three-book story and clearly articulates his rage and fear at the situation he’s in for no other reason than being born different. But mostly, it’s filled with Zeph’s resolve to save his family, and to help all the other jackers out there lead whole lives, not the half-life he’s lived. For being roughly 17-18 years old, Zeph’s survived a lot of bad, bad stuff. And that’s formed him into a weapon. Unlike a gun, however, Zeph has the presence of mind to keep his targeting mechanisms on the bad guys, to ensure he does the most good. Expect things to go from bad to worse, however, and for Zeph to make mistakes–because he’s working within a narrow framework. The day might be lost, but the battle continues. Cannot wait to get my hands on the next book!!

Interested? You can find CRACKED OPEN on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo and GooglePlay.

Get yourself a FREE book!
The MindJack universe began with OPEN MINDS, the story of Kira Moore, a sixteen year-old jacker learning about herself and prejudice she’s been born into. Kira is a strong MC, and her steadfast commitment to doing the right thing, even if it’s hard, gives readers a protagonist worthy of respect. It’s a super-fast read that tackles real societal problems with grace and confidence. I read this book in a day. Mostly because I couldn’t stop until I knew Kira was safe.

The great thing? OPEN MINDS is a FREE on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, GooglePlay and Kobo. OPEN MINDS is the first in a trilogy, but has a satisfactory ending that resolves completely while leaving room for the companion books to develop.

About the Author:
Susan Kaye Quinn is a rocket scientist turned speculative fiction author who now uses her PhD to invent cool stuff in books. Her works range from young adult science fiction to adult future-noir, with side trips into steampunk and middle grade fantasy. Her bestselling novels and short stories have been optioned for Virtual Reality, translated into German, and featured in several anthologies.

She writes full-time from Chicago, inventing mind powers and dreaming of the Singularity. You can find out what she’s up to by subscribing to her newsletter (hint: new subscribers get a free short story!).

Catch up with Susan on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

What’s Your Life Worth? Ask the DEBT COLLECTOR–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m reprising a review for a collection of serials I loved a few years back–and still enjoy today. DEBT COLLECTOR Season 1 by Susan Kaye Quinn is a fantastic ‘future-noir’ sci-fi/action/romance story about people who have the ability to shift life energy from one person to another. This is usually done for money, and the conflicts inherent for those who wield such ultimate power. I’ve long been a fan and friend of Ms. Quinn, having gotten hook on her Mindjacker Trilogy is Hunger Games quality political-suspense-sci-fi-action-thriller with less bloodshed. I’m bringing Debt Collector back to the blog, because it’s fab, and because it’s FREE through 3/25. THere’s even a sequel, of sorts–DEBT COLLECTOR SEASON TWO–that you can jump into if you like this one.

About the book:
What’s your life worth on the open market?
In this gritty urban fantasy, debt collectors take your life energy and give it to someone more “worthy”… all while paying the price with black marks on their souls.

Lirium plays the part of the grim reaper well, with his dark trenchcoat, jackboots, and the black marks on his soul that every debt collector carries. He’s just in it for his cut, the ten percent of the life energy he collects before he transfers it on to the high potentials, the people who will make the world a better place with their brains, their work, and their lives. That hit of life energy, a bottle of vodka, and a visit from one of Madam Anastazja’s sex workers keep him alive, stable, and mostly sane… until he collects again. But when his recovery ritual is disrupted by a sex worker who isn’t what she seems, he has to choose between doing an illegal hit for a girl whose story has more holes than his soul or facing the bottle alone—a dark pit he’s not sure he’ll be able to climb out of again.

Contains mature content and themes.

dc-1

My Review:
The Debt Collector occurs in a future L.A. where pollution and corruption are a daily menace (okay so not very different from now). Still, in this brave new world, everyone’s life’s value is constantly calculated, assessed between the amount of money you could potentially earn versus that which the person might owe. That balance is never breached—if you near the point of equilibrium your lingering life energy is drawn out by a debt collector and transferred to another person more worthy. (Kinda makes me glad my credit card debt isn’t higher, amiright?)

Lirium is a young debt collector. He’s not so keen on the job–honestly, who wants to be a grim reaper? He deals with his depression in the natural way—booze and women—until the night his hired sex worker, Elena, convinces him to give the hit of life energy he generally bestows on his partners to her ailing sister, a child suffering an incurable disease. This turn of events leads Lirium down a path he never envisioned. Unwittingly drawn into the Kolek mafia, Lirium becomes a hit man of the highest order—taking life hits from the dregs of society and selling it to mafia patrons—along with fellow debt collectors Olivia and Valac. Along the way Lirium learns that kids are being illegally transferred out, and he’s compelled to stop the mastermind.

And, did I mention there’s romance? Not the main feature, but still present and pertinent.

Omigod.

I was dying waiting for each episode to go live. Following along with the release dates was like the anticipation of a new The Walking Dead episode—especially when the best characters got killed just after I fell in love with them! As for The Debt Collector, each episode provides a satisfying arc and an excellent resolution while still propelling the overall storyline toward it’s finale. However, now that the serial is complete, you don’t have to wait any time at all to read the whole set.

Interested? You can get the complete 9 episode first season on Goodreads Amazon. It’s currently FREE!

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Royal Romance for THIRD DAUGHTER–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a YA fantasy/adventure/romance that I just adore from Susan Kaye Quinn. THIRD DAUGHTER is the first book in a series that follows the path of a young princess who’s determined to save her country from war, and marry the love of her heart. It’s a sweet series and, with THIRD DAUGHTER currently FREE in ebook form on Amazon, it’s a great way to get started. I’ve read and LOVED both SECOND DAUGHTER and FIRST DAUGHTER, which continue this adventure and love story to completion.

third-daughterAbout the book:
Sneaking out of the palace wasn’t one of Aniri’s best ideas.
But she’s the Third Daughter of the Queen of Dharia—zero responsibilities and zero royal duties. She’s just the backup daughter, in case her older sisters’ arranged marriages—to take the crown or broker an alliance—don’t quite work out. But once Aniri reaches her 18th birthday, she’ll be truly free, and then she can marry the charming fencing instructor she meets for fevered kisses in the forest.

But then the impossible happens—a marriage proposal. From a barbarian prince in the north, no less. And if Aniri refuses, the threat of their new flying weapon might bring war.

So she agrees to the young prince’s proposal, but only as a subterfuge to spy on him, find the weapon, and hopefully avoid both war and an arranged marriage to a man she doesn’t love. But once she arrives in the sweeping mountains of the north, she discovers the prince has his own secrets… and saving her country may end up breaking her heart.

This Bollywood-style royal romance takes you to an alternate East Indian world filled with skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue.

How about a little taste?

“I love you, Aniri,” Devesh whispered.

When he pulled back, she smiled. “I hate to tell you this, Dev, but I already knew that.”

“If you go off with this Prince Malik, and anything happens to you, the Queen may dispense an army to come after you, but I will beat them there.”

Aniri drew in a shaky breath. Prince Malik said he would allow her a lover, even though arranged marriages were expected to be true marriages, especially among royalty. But could she live that kind of life? A secret love on the side while performing the duties of Queen in a foreign land? The idea made her shudder. It pained her every day her love for Devesh was kept hidden. She couldn’t imagine a lifetime of it. Nor could she picture Devesh, with his love of the court and all things political, banished to the frozen wastelands of the north simply to be her consort.

He must have seen the emotions warring across her face. “Tell him no, Aniri. Refuse him and come away with me. We could leave today.”

“Dev—”

He cut her off with a kiss. “We could return to Samir,” he whispered against her lips. “We won’t be rich, but we could travel anywhere you wished, all the places your father would have taken you. We would have all the time in the world. To be together. To learn the truth about your father’s killers. To make a family of our own.”

It was precisely what they had planned. Now it all seemed like a hopeless fantasy. “Dev, I can’t simply abandon my country. If I refuse Malik, and there is war to pay, I cannot just run away… Is this the confidence you wanted to tell me?”

Devesh looked torn, like there was something more he wanted to say but was holding it back. “I cannot offer you a Queendom, Aniri. My love is all I can promise. I hope it is enough to convince you to refuse Prince Malik’s offer.”

He stepped back, and with clasped hands and a short bow, he turned and strode away. Her heart tried to beat its way out of her chest to follow him. If she accepted Prince Malik’s offer, she would lose the man she loved.

Unlike the Jungali prince, she wasn’t sure that was a price she was willing to pay.

My Review:
If you had to marry for love or marry for peace, what would you choose? That’s the question facing Princess Aniri, Third Daughter to the Queen of Dharia.

It’s two weeks until Aniri turns eighteen and can choose to marry her beau–Devesh, a courtesan and emissary from Samir, a neighboring nation and trade partner. Her two older sisters have already married men that complement their station, even when love is not present, and Aniri is determined to follow her heart, not her duty.

Especially when her duty involves marrying Prince Malik, heir to the throne of the barbarous northern Jungali provinces. No. No! NO!

Except, Aniri knows she can’t decline outright–and rumors of a Jungali airship weapon are serious indeed. If Aniri accepts the prince’s proposal she can get close enough to find out if the airship is real–and maybe she can help her homeland and her mother’s Queendom figure out how to avoid a war.

Prince Malik makes it easy on Aniri–he tells her their marriage would be one of business. That she could (discreetly) take a lover if she wished. Hmm… And her mother, the Queen, assures her that the choice is hers.

Aniri does what she must–becomes a spy. I loved her reactions to the “barbarians” she encounters on her journey north! Oh, how sweet to have her realize, “Hey, they’re pretty awesome in their own way!” Then Devesh shows up and tells her the airship is a ruse–a trick to get her to marry Malik. After which she will be killed and her beloved country Dharia overrun by Samir and Jungali. Aniri doesn’t know whom to believe, and espionage is not her strong suit. The political intrigue is high and Aniri barely escapes an attempt on her life.

The tension is fierce throughout. Each new chapter brings Aniri closer to either love, or death. We get a fantastic steampunk world, with an East Indian flair, and a strong female main character who picks up the ball and runs her hardest. Even when she fumbles, Aniri is worthy of cheers because she learns from her mistakes and never quits.

What I hadn’t expected, and thoroughly adored, was Malik’s assistance. He realizes his only shot at peace is this marriage, and he’s willing to trust a confessed spy with the biggest military secret of his country. Aniri could never have learned what was necessary to save her people without Malik earning her forever trust. And Devesh? Well, perhaps an on-the-side lover isn’t the best place for him in the Jungali court. In the end, Aniri does choose her own husband. And she chooses very well indeed.

Three words to describe this Third Daughter? Indomitable. Passionate. Resourceful. She’s my kind of heroine.

And, can I say the cover is exquisite? The internal art (chapter headings and section breaks) is just as lovely, and speaks volumes about the care that went into making this book. I absolutely LOVED it, and would recommend it to any YA reader. Its smidgen of passion–some swoony kisses–won’t make you blush, but will get your heart beating.

Interested? You can find THIRD DAUGHTER at Goodreads, it’s currently FREE on Amazon, and on paperback through Barnes & Noble.

About the Author:
Susan Kaye Quinn is a rocket scientist turned speculative fiction author who now uses her PhD to invent cool stuff in books. Her works range from young adult science fiction to adult future-noir, with side trips into steampunk and middle grade fantasy. Her bestselling novels and short stories have been optioned for Virtual Reality, translated into German, and featured in several anthologies.

She writes full-time from Chicago, inventing mind powers and dreaming of the Singularity. You can find out what she’s up to by subscribing to her newsletter (hint: new subscribers get a free short story!).

Catch up with Susan on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

So Many Great Books!!! 2016 Bests

Hi there! Well, it’s been a YEAR! Ugh! I’m not going to bemoan it too much, because this blog is a way for me to escape the everyday drama. So, let’s do that, shall we!

First, it’s been a book-filled year! 279 books, and 58,968 pages logged through Goodreads, though I’ve forgotten some and ran out of time to add others. So, you’ll see those reviews in the coming year.

I usually make a whole long list, and this year is no exception. It isn’t a Top Ten countdown, or anything. I’d recommend any of these books equally. Hit the links for a full review.

FLIP-THE-BIRD-2Awesome YA books:
Flip the Bird by Kym Brunner. A high school freshman and training falconer falls for a girl whose parents are animal rights fanatics. Big trouble, great messages.

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan. Slice of life book about questioning young gay persons. Really got my heart engaged. Also fell into the Most Challenged (Banned) category that I was interested in exploring.

Girl Against The Universe by Paula Stokes. A girl struggles to get past her guilt, and rebuild her life after tragedies take away half her family.

Simon V. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: Coming out shouldn’t be this way. Simon’s awesome, and lovely.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. I felt transported to 1987 Texas. It’s not a place I’d want to be–but I’d go there just to be with Ari and Dante. Thick book devoured in a day.

Great anybody reads:
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany, James Thorne, and JK Rowling.  Harry’s all grown up, and saving the world, yet again. This time his son is the biggest problem.

illusory-prophetCrossing the Horizon by Laurie Notaro. Brave and bawdy ladies of the air try to be the first to cross the Atlantic.

Illusory Prophet by Susan Kaye Quinn.  A futuristic saga with an enhanced human trying to save the rest of humanity. This is the third book in a series. Get them all.

Goldfish by Nat Luurtsema. Lou is a champion swimmer whose been cast out of the pool. It’s pants-wettingly funny.

Great Gay romance:
My goodness. I read SOOO many of these. (more than 100! in 2016) Here’s a few hightlights:
Fave Hurt/Comfort: WHAT REMAINS by Garrett Leigh. Man. This one broke my heart into a million pieces by the end. A man struggles to support his lover after a traumatic brain injury destroys his partner’s memories of their love affair.

A Bear Walks Into A BarFave Dirty Pleasure read: A BEAR WALKS INTO A BAR is a straight up gay erotica from Eden Winters. There’s no man the big bad bear won’t have. Once, or twice. Multi-partner, orgy and various shifters dead ahead.

Fave Paranormal: WOLFSONG by TJ Klune. Pick this one up to curl up with over a cold weekend. It’s really long, yet the unconventional prose had me riveted. It’s a fated mates, shifter story that blew me away.

Fave Virgin Lover: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT by Jay Northcote. This is so fun, with a nerdy college student trading love lessons for stats tutoring with his sporty neighbor. I enjoyed every moment of them crossing sexytimes off the list.

Fave Steampunk/Alt History:
CLOCKWORK HEART by Heidi Cullinan. A French tinker saves a dying Hungarian with the long-sought clockwork heart technology his master has been hiding for years. Let the pursuit begin.

walk-like-a-manFave Shifter romance: HOW TO WALK LIKE A MAN by Eli Easton. This is the second book in a series, and I think readers will enjoy all of them, but this one is my favorite, so far. The story revolves around a man who used to be a dog, and how he copes with being human, and finding love with a fellow police officer.

Fave Ugly Cry: SELFIE by Amy Lane. Features a Hollywood star living through the death of his closeted partner—and his complete and utter heartbreak. Suicide ideation, depression, coping, and new love. It was a rollercoaster of feels—all of them intense.

Fave Series: CAPTIVE PRINCE by C.S. Pacat. I read all three of these books in a week back in March, because I lost my mind with the first book and dove headlong into the series. Sleepless for at least one night so I could get to the end. Amazing if you like fantasy/political intrigue. PRINCE’S GAMBIT KINGS RISING, are the other two books. Must read.

Fave Sequel: FIGHT THE TIDE by Keira Andrews. This is the sequel to KICK AT THE DARKNESS and it kicked ass. Surviving in a post-apocalyptic world is rough, but it’s easier when your boyfriend is a werewolf. So many zombies…

TOO HOT TO HANDLE - coverFave Het Romances:
TOO HOT TO HANDLE by Tessa Bailey. A chef burns sown her mother’s former restaurant, and cobbles her busted family to go on a vision quest trip from San Diego to NYC. Sweet and raunchy by turns.

JACKSON’S TRUST by Violet Duke. Love for two sports reporters/analysts with an unhealthy dose of crappy family drama.

COCKY BASTARD by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland. Very fun story about a lawyer running from her disastrous past, and the sexy soccer player who scoops her up in the middle of nowhere.

bright-blazeFave ending to a series:
BRIGHT BLAZE OF MAGIC by Jennifer Estep. This is the third book in an urban fantasy YA series that rocks. I recommend all the books highly, but this finale did NOT disappoint. Magic, magical creatures, fighting for your family until the death, a wee bit of love and romance? Bam! It’s all there.

MANNERS AND MUTINY by Gail Carriger. I’ve completely fallen for this steampunk world of intrigue and assassins.

Fave transgender YA read:
THE ART OF BEING NORMAL by Lisa Williamson. Heartbreakingly freaking awesome. Some part of me will always remember this one. For kids/parents who are questioning gender dysphoria, I highly recommend.

Okay, so lots of different stuff to pick from because I have eclectic tastes. Hopefully something piques your interest, too. Share your fave reads in the comments so I can find something new, or just commiserate.

Going forward into 2017, I have a plan to pick up TBR reads on Thursdays, because, wow, to I have a lot of books in my queue. And, I probably won’t be posting quite as many reviews…because I’m back to teaching in February, that shaping young minds takes up a LOT of reading time, yo.

As always, thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Out today! THE ILLUSORY PROPHET–A Review

Hi there! I’m so excited to share a review for a brand new dystopian YA adventure/romance from Susan Kaye Quinn. THE ILLUSORY PROPHET is the third book in her Singularity series, and should be read in order. Having loved THE LEGACY HUMAN and THE DUALITY BRIDGE, I couldn’t wait to read this one.

illusory-prophetAbout the book:
What if you could paint with reality? Elijah Brighton can bring a girl back from the dead, travel outside his body, and absorb a lifetime of memories from anyone he touches in the fugue state. Everyone seems to think he’s the prophet they’re waiting for… including the girl he’s falling in love with. The truth is, the fugue is bleeding over into reality, bringing his sketches to life and haunting him with visions of a girl in metal armor. She stabs him with her blade and denounces him as any prophet worth the name—and it’s not like he disagrees.

People who change the world generally aren’t losing their minds.

He just wants to hide out in his tent and kiss Kamali, but a vision of his death and an attack on the Human Resistance Movement convince him something bigger is coming. Maybe Augustus—the power-mad ascender he barely defeated. Maybe the Makers, a tinkering cult with their own kind of ascendance. But when his best friend Cyrus disappears, questions of destiny and prophethood will have to wait—because the fugue is always showing a version of the truth, and Eli must discover that truth before his terrifying visions become reality.

My Review:

This is the third book in the Singularity series, and needs to be read in order.

Elijah Brighton is not entirely human. Nor is he an Ascender–one of the millions of minds that are electronically connected since the Singularity several hundred years prior. Earth is not the place we know, it’s far advanced technologically, and humans that live here are kept as legacy populations in Ascender controlled cities, or they escape to join the Resistance, of the Makers or an even lesser-known cult.

Makers abhor all Ascender technology, and are governed by an enhanced human called Miriam. Their goal is to wipe Ascenders off the Earth. The main human Resistance faction is harboring Eli, hoping that he’ll assume his role of prophet, and draw more legacy humans to their cause. The Resistance is willing to share the world with Ascenders, as long as they are allowed to live a free life–not governed or limited by Ascender rule. See, legacy humans are never given more than they need to survive, and never receive any Ascender-enhanced or derived treatments for illness or injury; they are pets. A curiosity for Ascenders to amuse themselves with at this point.

Eli has been having scorched Earth dreams of Miriam for some time. He doesn’t want to be part of a battle, especially doesn’t want people dying on his account, but the war is coming whether he makes himself the prophet, or not. In the previous book, Eli destroyed a new and powerful Mind–one that was illegal to build. Augustus, the powerful Ascender who conceived of the Mind, had his consciousness disrupted as a result, but it’s only a matter of time before he is resurrected in a new bodyform, and will come looking for his revenge.

Eli’s need to stay on the sidelines isn’t cowardice. He knows that many–humans and Ascenders alike–will be killed in the ramp-up to what seems inevitable: the Second Singularity. In fact, it seems if Augustus has his way only his select few will make that leap, and the millions of Ascender in the collective will perish alongside all of humanity.

This book is all about Eli’s rise. He’s a teen boy with untapped power. He recently brought his girlfriend back form the dead, but was that a fluke? He doesn’t want to test this power–doesn’t want to tap that power–until it’s too late to not try. Too many are dying for him, for the human cause, and to not try means to give up and let humanity die.

There are so many difficult ethical and moral questions for young Eli. He has loved ones that he wants to save, but he doesn’t withhold his newly-developed abilities from foes, or enemies. Each move he makes could trigger reprisal, and death, but he builds a coalition that is committed to limiting bloodshed wherever possible. It’s not an easy balance to strike. It helps that he’s able to bridge reality and a realm he calls the fugue. When in the fugue Eli can commune with human souls, and Ascender consciousness. Part of his battle is to demonstrate that Ascenders have souls, a step that might unite some of the factions under Eli’s banner.

The book is rife with conflict, always with Eli at the center of the bull’s eye. He’s under attack in many ways, but he’s also fearless in making choices that will help humanity survive the waves of aggression to come. The pace is unrelenting. Between attacks, negotiating the peace, formulating plans, and forays into the fugue, Eli hardly has the chance to catch a breath, let alone a nap. It is his moment to “ascend” into power, not as a figurehead or a prophet, but as a man with a plan who is unwilling to relent. He’s committed to the preservation of life, and it seems that he’s finally figured out how to get to the souls of the Ascenders.

Ultimately, the book ends in a manner that’s miraculous and astounding and fantastic and makes me eager to get the next installment as soon as possible. Eli has stepped into his own in a way that’s going to blow the lid off the status quo in his world. It’s a good thing, too, because it seems he has a new foe to face who may be even more powerful than Augustus.

Interested? You can find THE ILLUSORY PROPHET on Goodreads and Amazon.

New to the series? The first book, THE LEGACY HUMAN, is currently on sale for $.99. Check out my review and catch the buy links, here

Susan Kaye Quinn is a rocket scientist turned speculative fiction author who now uses her PhD to invent cool stuff in books. She writes young adult science fiction, with side trips into adult future-noir, royal fantasy romance, and middle grade. Her bestselling novels and short stories have been optioned for Virtual Reality, translated into German, and featured in several anthologies. She writes full-time from Chicago, inventing mind powers and dreaming of the Singularity.

Chat with her about our coming robot overlords in her Facebook group.

More about Sue: website | Facebook Page | Twitter | For Writers

Out Today! MOSAICS: Stories by Women–Review and a Giant Giveaway

Hi there! I’m so glad to share a release day review for MOSAICS: A COLLECTION OF INDEPENDENT WOMEN, an anthology of poems, short stories and art that celebrate womanhood in all it’s terrible grace. All proceeds will be given to the Pixel Project to support the production of films that will highlight, and hopefully end, violence against women.

Don’t forget to enter the mega giveaway, including a Kindle Fire, a $50 gift card, and a paperback library, at the end of this post!

A project focused on bringing women’s voices to readers and celebrating the stories they have to tell. Including stories by Keyan Bowes, Carol Cao, Chelo Diaz-Ludden, Sarina Dorie, Naomi Elster, Jordanne Fuller, Ari Harradine, Karen Heuler, L.S. Johnson, Tonya Liburd, Kelsey Maki, Julia Ray, Patty Somlo, P.K. Tyler, Deborah Walker, Keira Michelle Telford, Kim Wells, Elizabeth Wolf, and Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.jsMosaic CoverMosaics: A Collection of Independent Women will inspire and shock you with its multi-faceted look at the history and culture surrounding femininity. If gender is a construct, this anthology is the house it built. Look through its many rooms, some bright and airy, some terrifying- with monsters lurking in the shadows.

Mosaics Volume One features twenty self-identified female authors writing about Intersectionality, including women of color, and members of the disability, trans, and GLB/ GSD* (Gender and Sexual Diversities) communities. We have curated amazing short fiction, flash fiction, poetry, essays, and art. It’s personal, political, and a great read.

This collection includes Hugo Award Nominees, Tiptree Shortlists, Pushcart Prize Winners, USA Today Bestsellers, indie superstars and traditionally published talents alike. The anthology combines leading and new voices all proclaiming their identity as Women, and their ability to Roar.

My Review:
This is a collection of stories, poems, and art from female authors collected into an anthology for charitable sale. All proceeds will be given to The Pixel Project to support the production of films that will highlight, and hopefully end, violence against women.

The stories are not related in any way. They are diverse, with characters who are of color, disabled, of varying ages, and in various states of control regarding their lives and opportunities. All together these stories represent many people, all female, who are taking steps toward empowerment. The tone varies from story to story, but you should expect all of them to resound with desire to better their situation. From the African woman whose husband abuses her and her daughters finally taking a stand, to the wheelchair-bound woman fighting Social Security to get her due benefits, to the elderly woman, shamed at the lack of interest she receives from her only child–the one she continually sacrifices herself for, these women want a life free of drama, and pain, and suffering. And they deserve it. And they take it, make it happen.

These are very uplifting messages. The characters empower themselves. Oh, how I gloried with the octagenarian stealing her own car back from her shiftless daughter. Oh, how I giggled when Captain Obvious had to cool his heels so the narrator could tour with Star Girl. Oh, how I felt the rage of gamer girls /deleted by hate speech, or Lilith’s impotence when Ya gave Adam the power to name all in creation. There are so many points of view to experience in this collection.

Length of each offering varies from short poems to longer stories. There’s a little bit for everyone.

Interested? You can find MOSAICS on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win the mega giveaway, including a Kindle Fire, a $50 gift card, and a paperback library!

ALSO!!! For those who dig Facebook parties, there’s a launch party tomorrow March 8th beginning at 9am CDT. Tons of giveaways to be had! Click here for more info.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

What happened to 2015?!

book meme 6So…wow! The year’s end already? I’m a bit stunned, but also grateful. Some years whoosh by like a snowplow burying me under, but this year I’ve had the opportunity to read some really fun books, travel and interact with fantastic authors and review-types, like myself, and enjoy many moments along the way.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I also write, and I’m at the point of sending out a manuscript to agents coming next week. Fingers crossed that I’ll have the chance to promote some of my own fiction one day soon!

Book meme 3For the blog, I’ve gotten some great stats. Nearly 13,000 pages views this year. Not bad for a relatively unknown chick who drones on and on about books. If you’ve signed up to get my posts emailed, you’re in good company–140 of you special folks right now. Thanks for joining me on this madcap escapade! Lots of people are finding my reviews, and reading them/sharing them. I appreciate that so much, because it’s not easy reading and writing content to support the blog. It takes hours and hours each day, in fact. My hubs will attest he’d much rather I gave (most of) it up, so I could just sit and veg out watching TV with him…crossing his fingers that that might ever happen. TV is not really my thing.

book meme 5

Goodreads tells me I read 375 books this year, but it’s been more. I didn’t log all my reads, though there are few that didn’t get reviews there. I have had a great time working with Joyfully Jay Reviews, picking up some excellent reads through their platform and generally interacting with those lovely folks. Authors have reached out to me and I’ve reached back, supporting their fiction in the best way I can. That’s a wonderfully rewarding experience, emotionally, and helps my pocketbook from getting TOO frayed. Yes, there are books that I do buy, and I cherish all my books–whether they were purchased or gifted for my review.

As this is a year’s end recap, it’s apt to highlight some books/series that got into my brain in the past 12 months.

Best read of the year:
No question it was CARRY THE OCEAN by Heidi Cullinan. This book touched my soul and left it altered for the better. Having suffered depression in my life, and having close friends/family with kids on the Autism Spectrum, this plain-spoken M/M romance between a brilliant autistic man and his depressive neighbor was spectacular.

Best YA read:
NOT IF I SEE YOU FIRST by Eric Lindstrom. Touching tale of an orphaned blind girl who learns to “see” everyone she knows in the best light–even herself.

Best YA series:
I’ve really enjoyed reading the Backstage Pass series of contemporary YA romances between the members of the boy band Seconds To Juliet and the smart, worthwhile girls the boys all fall for. There are five books in the series, and I think I reviewed 4 of them…
Abby and the Cute One, Mia and the Bad Boy, Anya and the Shy Guy, Daisy and the Front Man.

Book Meme-1Best Adrenaline Rush:
KICK AT THE DARKNESS by Keira Andrews, a zombie apocalypse M/M romance kept me glued to my iPad long into the night, and the next day.

Best SciFi series:
I’ve really enjoyed the AI world carved out by Susan Kaye Quinn’s Legacy Human series. It’s a bit dystopian, a bit tech and a bit romance. And I love all those bits! Looking forward to reading more of this in 2016. THE LEGACY HUMAN, THE DUALITY BRIDGE, STORIES OF SINGULARITY.

Best contemporary New Adult series:
Karen Stivali’s Moments in Time series is really a must read for me. This is a contemporary M/M romance which is emotional and sexy, at the same time. I’ve loved all four Moments books so far, and eagerly anticipate the next release. MOMENT OF IMPACT, MOMENT OF TRUTH, MOMENT OF CLARITY, and MOMENT OF SILENCE.
book meme 7
Best Paranormal Romance:
THE SECRET CASEBOOK OF SIMON FEXIMAL by KJ Charles rocked my world and set it right again. Historical M/M paranormal romance that kept me turning the page long after I went to bed.

Most Resilient Heroines: (Teen)
Ivy in THE REVOLUTION OF IVY by Amy Engel–She takes on her entire desolate town and finds the true love of her life. YA dystopian.

Lulu in MY BEST EVERYTHING by Sarah Tomp. West Virginian high school senior Lulu’s college fund has dried up, but she can’t bear to stay in her small town any longer. So, she enlists the help of Mason to make a fortune selling illegal moonshine. YA contemporary.

Morgan La Fey in SWORD by Realm Lovejoy. Morgan kidnaps a prince, drags him through the swamps of Camelot and helps him find Excalibur–all to thwart a murder plot. And her execution? Wow. YA fantasy.
Book Meme 4
Best Action/Adventure:
I AM THE TRAITOR is the final installment in the Unknown Assassin series by Allen Zadoff. You really need to strap in and read I AM THE WEAPON and I AM THE MISSION, first. You’ll thank me. YA contemporary.

Best Enemies to Lovers:
Historical
TO LOVE A TRAITOR by JL Merrow really flipped all my historical British M/M romance switches…
Christmas Romance
IF ONLY IN MY DREAMS by Keira Andrews took two battered hearts and shoved them into a car on a cross-country trek to make it home in time for Christmas. Swoon.

Best erotica:
The CAUGHT ON CAMERA series by Lily Harlem is spectacular M/M romance. Just loved all the sexy sexy bits, and the romance that developed between two new-to-porn stars on a filming trip was tender and lovely.

Best Menage:
M/F/M
THREE TWO ONE by JA Huss. Hot and chilling, by turns. This is a dark romance and not everyone makes it out alive.
M/M/M
SHARING A POND by Alex Whitehall. Frog Shifters. Pretty much knocked me out. Not the sexytimes, as those were satisfactory, but the emotional issues were excellent, and I’ve got a thing for frogs, I think.
Historical M/F/M:
THE MISTRESS AND HER MEN by Julia Talbot. A sassy widow and a daring nobleman–plus some BDSM? Yes, mistress!
Historical M/M/M:
RITE OF SUMMER by Tess Bowery was so loving and tender, and troubled.

Best Near Historical:
IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT by Judy Blume, historical fiction featuring her true-life experience of living in a town where three airplanes crashed within 59 days of each other. Harrowing!

Best Recovery Story:
CLEAN by Mia Kerick. This one gave me chills. M/M YA romance between two guys who’ve been down and out and almost didn’t make it.

book-meme-8Best Subculture:
Who knew the Amish would captivate me? I adored Keira Andrew’s M/M Amish Romances A FORBIDDEN RUMSPRINGA, A CLEAN BREAK, and A WAY HOME. They really touched my heart.

Honestly, I could go on for blogs, and blogs. But I won’t; books to read, books to write after all! That said, I’m looking forward to sharing reviews for great books in the coming year and I hope you’ll enjoy reading along with me.

Feel free to send me your recommendations. Goodness knows, I’ll probably pick it up. (Fiction, and preferably romance-ish, though. I don’t review non-fiction, memoir or cookbooks.)

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!
Book Meme 2

 

Nearly There… STORIES OF SINGULARITY–A Review

Hi there! As you know I’m a big fan of the speculative fiction of Susan Kaye Quinn. THE LEGACY HUMAN and THE DUALITY BRIDGE are some serious teen sci-fi/romance. That series is set in the post-Singularity world, where AI rule Earth and beyond. Today marks the release of STORIES OF SINGULARITY, short novellas that give the fans of the series a bit of insider info, and a sneak peek into the novels to come!

Stories of Singularity #1-4 Box SetAbout the book:
Med Bots, Ascenders, Cyborgs… and a Legacy Human or two.
(Companion stories to the Singularity novel series.)

This box set of FOUR NOVELLAS (plus a bonus flash fiction) is set in the universe of Susan Kaye Quinn’s Singularity novel series. Learn why a med bot’s world is tragically different than you might imagine; how a machine intelligence might probe the limits of its constraint; and what dissenting humans might do with a cybernetic enhancement… or five. These short stories each provide a glimpse into a dark corner of the Singularity novels

Fans of the Singularity novel series will find their understanding of the Singularity world enhanced by the novellas, but they can also be enjoyed as standalone stories.

My Review:
This is a series of four stories set in the author’s Singularity world. That means AI are not possible, they rule Earth, and apparently beyond. In these stories, humans have evolved into Ascenders, those which opted to digitize their consciousness into a world collective called Orion, and exist in host bodies that are wholly machine. There are plenty of low-sentience bots who due the menial work, and some smallish populations of Legacy humans, who are mostly kept alive for their genetic diversity. Two of the stories are told from a bot perspective, and two from humans. They are all unique and impart an understanding of humanity in the way Ascenders have long forgotten it.

The first of the stories is RESTORE, a short novella chronicling the events of a medical bot who is brought to the home of an Ascender to treat the Ascender’s legacy human artist-in-residence who is dying.

This futuristic world (post-Singularity) has genetic treatments for all sorts of cancers and infections, but these are prohibited to legacy humans–it is their genetic variability which is valuable, so they cannot change their genetics, even if it means dying young due to otherwise curable diseases.

Tyrus is a powerful Ascender and has brought Unit 7435 to his home to treat Sherrie, a 20 y/o artist whom Tyrus not only supports, he has great affection for her, a feeling which is reciprocated. Unit 7435 and Sherrie are told that Tyrus has acquired experimental medicine that will help Sherrie, and in one way this is true. Sherrie has battled through several rounds of chemotherapy for lymphoma, but is now suffering an opportunistic pneumonia infection.

As the day passes, Unit 7435 experiences, for the first time, emotional connection to a medical situation that is out of control. The tension is great and increases dramatically as the bot continues to check Sherrie’s vitals throughout the treatment. Tyrus and Sherrie express their great affection, while Unit 7435 observes and relates the tale, and the anxiety. The end is stark, but truly awesome. Don’t expect miracles of the human kind.

I was fascinated by the resonance within the bot’s POV. Having spent too many days at the bedside of a terribly ill loved one, this short read captured those experiences with a chilling accuracy that was anything but detached. Bravo!

The second novella, CONTAINMENT is another bot tale. This time, a low sentience Mining Master bot on Thebe, one of Jupiter’s moons, evolves enough to not only demonstrate creativity, but to engineer its own ascendance. I just seriously loved how logical, and yet captivated by beauty this bot was. There is an urgency to the story–Ascenders have put protocols into place that prevent the acquisition of such knowledge, but a la Jurassic Park: life finds a way.

The Master of Thebe recognizes all the fail safes, and works within it’s framework to defeat its own processing. It can and does go several directions that are dangerous, and likely to make it be destroyed, if noticed. I truly enjoyed the end, where we are able to see the human side of Ascendance, and how this is not altogether lost in the electronic mind post-Singularity. Again, being in the brain of a bot takes a bit of adjustment, but I think the goals of this character are human in desire, and fully approachable. #Loved

DEFIANCE third is a short story told from the POV of Cyrus, best friend of Eli MC of THE LEGACY HUMAN and the Singularity books. Cyrus is all alone in New Portland, an orphan of the Legacy sity, who has recently lost his grandfather caretaker. He’s about 17, and street savvy, working for a black market augment and meds dealer, Riley. There are lots of chemical ways Cyrus, and even Eli, could while away their time, but they stay sharp and sober. This is good, because it enables them to make use of their talents when Eli’s mom is diagnosed with lymphoma.

This story is actually a prequel to THE LEGACY HUMAN, so readers know that not only is Eli breaking the law to obtain gen-tech treatment for this mother, it is Cyrus who is supplying the illegal medicine. I really got a sense of Cyrus’ anger and frustration for a system where he feels humans are little more than zoo attractions for the Ascenders. Despite all their advances, their rigid rules and withholding of life-saving treatments are considered by all Legacies (and the off-the grid Legacy defectors) to be cruel and unjust. I loved getting to know Cyrus better, and to better understand all that he went through to help Eli and his mom. At any point Cyrus could have walked away, left New Portland and it’s rules and regime behind, yet he didn’t. He had people to care for, and a dangerous path to take in order to do so. A real subversive hero.

AUGMENT is a novella set deeper into the timeline of the Singularity novels. Miriam Levine is a jiv, a human that has mechanical prosthetics, or augments. Though she was born a Legacy human without legs, the Ascenders never installed the leg augments. No, those only came when Miriam’s father defected after his young wife was left to die of a heart condition. Miriam is 16 and an experienced fighter in the underground augment battle arena. By winning championships she’s earned several other internal augments, called mods. This story opens with Miriam battling a friend and fellow jiv to win the Resurrection mod, a newly developed internal device that would slow her heart and body systems to allow time for natural healing in the event of a catastrophic injury.

See, Miriam has a plan for humanity, and it’s NOT to be Ascender entertainment. No, the colonies of defectors have been looking for a Chosen, one of their own who will be both human and Ascended, and Miriam believes that, with the help of this Resurrection mod, she could be the first survivor of the neural implant procedure that’s part of being Chosen. Even if she dies, she reasons, the status accorded to her as a volunteer in the Chosen pathway will allow permanent care for her still-grieving and mostly despondent father. It’s a big choice for a young girl, and she is an excellent new character into this world. I have a feeling that Miriam and Eli are going to have many confrontations in the next Singularity book.

This is a great read for people who are captivated by dystopian fiction, and the AI augmented future of humanity. As the author points out in her notes, we already have a LOT of AI on Earth, and human augments thrive among us. It’s not a matter of IF this could happen, but WHEN…. 😉

Interested? You can find STORIES OF SINGULARITY on Goodreads and Amazon.

SusanAuthor Susan Kay Quinn
Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the Singularity Series, the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, and the Debt Collector serial, as well as other speculative fiction novels and short stories. Her work has appeared in the Synchronic anthology, the Telepath Chronicles, the AI Chronicles, and has been optioned for Virtual Reality by Immersive Entertainment. Former rocket scientist, now she invents mind powers, dabbles in steampunk, and dreams of the Singularity. Mostly she sits around in her PJs in awe that she gets to write full time.

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