Friday, September 4, 2015

BOOK PROPO: Chimera by NJ Tanger

The Stephen’s Point colony is dying. Desperate, the colony must restore the ancient colony ship Chimera for a dangerous return journey to Earth.

To sixteen-year-old Theo Puck, the Mandate to crew the Chimera seems like a game—one he isn’t invited to play. A brutal murder changes everything: left with no choice, Theo has to complete the Selection training and make it aboard the Chimera or face terrible consequences.

Selena Samuelson wants to do what she does best—fly. Piloting her father’s ore trawler is the only life she’s known before a horrifying accident strands her aboard the Hydra, the station responsible for rebuilding the Chimera. Forced into the Mandate testing against her will, Selena encounters an unexpected ally, forever changing the way she sees the Chimera and herself.

Forced to make dark choices in order to survive, Theo and Selena’s fates intertwine. But behind the scenes, someone else sets into motion events that could destroy everything they’re fighting to protect.

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Theo had seen Stephen’s scratchings before at the various shrines that dotted the mountain ranges. The Order considered them prophesies, left behind by the original navigator of the Chimera. Many of them looked just like the drawings in Stephen’s journal, the book the Order referred to as The Emergent Intellect. Neither the journal nor the drawings meant much to Theo, but he’d never admitted his doubts to anyone, least of all his mother. She believed in Stephen and his prophesies. Almost everyone did. If genuine, a new discovery of scratchings would make the value of the hacked Selection list seem trivial by comparison.

“Theo? You should come out now. I just wanted you to see—”

“And now I see,” Theo snapped. He twisted his shoulders, inching himself down and forward, scraping with his fingertips. If he could get through the opening and down into the cavern …

A tiny current of air rose from below. Theo gagged. The air smelled bad. Like rot. What was down there?

“What are you doing?” Meghan’s voice was faint; his body filled the hole like a cork, muffling her. “You can’t fit!”

“I can make it,” Theo shouted. “Put your back against my feet so I have something to push on.” A second later, Meghan’s sturdy back pressed into his feet. Theo shoved forward, clenching his teeth as rocks dug into his abdomen and hips. The downward slope that had seemed so manageable before became unbearable, his head pounding from the blood flooding it. The walls tightened around him, closer, squeezing, crushing. Frantic, Theo pushed harder. Reaching with his arms, he felt along the lower portion of the opening, searching for leverage. Below him, the light from his fallen handscreen dimmed and then went black.

The rock was moving in, constricting, pushing the air out of his lungs. Devastating terror threatened to overwhelm him. “Help! You have to get me out!” Theo’s panicked voice echoed into the depths, taunting him.

“Stuck?” Meghan asked, voice coming hollow and tiny. He felt her shift against his feet, the cool air of the upper cavern cold on his ankles where his pants legs had rolled up. Then Meghan’s hands circled his feet and yanked. Theo slid two inches, legs catching against the rough rock, one of his shoulder blades catching.

“Stop, I can’t move!”

Theo’s chest deflated again, breath coming short—his lungs wouldn’t expand. He was suffocating. He would die. His mind filled with images of his homeroom at school, his house, his sister Liddy, his father and mother. Crystalline awareness flooded him, a calm, almost benign understanding. This was how people like him died: in the stupidest way possible, stuck in a tiny hole in a giant mountain, trying to impress a girl.

A pair of hands tightened around his dangling wrists and without a shred of tenderness, jerked him through, down into the cavern below.


About the Authors

Nathan Beauchamp
Nathan M. Beauchamp writes speculative fiction ranging from hard science fiction to magical realism and horror. His short fiction has appeared in Spark, Pantheon Magazine, the Exigencies Anthology, and numerous other fine magazines and anthologies. He holds a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Western State University and lives in Chicago with his wife and two young boys.

Joshua Russell
Joshua has spent most of his life as a filmmaker. He has worked as the writer, director or producer for several highly-awarded short and feature films including: OMG, NOSTALGIC, DOG JACK, FANCYPANTS, F-LOAD OF SCOTCH TAPE, the upcoming feature ABSOLUTION and documentary 147 PIANOS. He has taught screenwriting for almost a decade at Columbia College and DePaul University. The Universe Eventual book series is his first foray into fiction writing.

Rachael Tanger
Rachael Tanger is from the Midwest and currently resides in Chicago. She was an English major and attended Purdue University. In the last fifteen years she has worked in advertising in varying capacities, most recently as a freelance consultant in SEO and marketing for small businesses as well as non-profits and religious organizations. Her experience in the multi-faceted world of modern marketing covers everything from website and graphic design to search engine optimization and print campaign rollouts. Rachael has lived in several major US cities, as well as London, England. Along with her husband, she has traveled three continents, homeschooled, and blazed new trails. Rachael is dedicated to the crossroads of art and technology and values the flexibility of owning her own creative-focused business.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

REVIEW: Forsaken by SJ Harper


Join Agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong.
She protected him. He loved her.
They can trust one another with their lives, but what about their hearts?

Special Agent Emma Monroe is a Fallen Siren seeking redemption. Thousands of years ago, she was banished from Mount Olympus by Zeus and cursed by Demeter for failing to prevent the kidnapping of Persephone by Hades. Now she’s working for the FBI, seeking salvation while searching for and finding the missing. Her partner, Zack Armstrong, is a werewolf with a grievance of his own.

The former Black Ops sniper who once carried out a string of questionable assignments is atoning for his past. Ironically, Zack’s just discovered an important piece of his past has been magically wiped from his memory—an affair with Emma. It doesn’t matter she used the spell to save his life, that’s something he’ll never know. With trust eroded and love overshadowed by betrayal the only thing holding them together is the job.

When the son of multi-billionaire Roger Maitlan is kidnapped and his babysitter murdered in cold blood, Emma and Zack travel to New York to work the case. They go undercover, infiltrating a playground of private dungeons where those who are rich and powerful can live out fantasies without consequence. What they find is a conspiracy born of a twisted mind and fueled by greed. The clock is ticking. Will Zack and Emma be able to find the missing boy and their way back to one another?

Title:  Forsaken
Series:  Fallen Siren
Book #: 2.5
Author:  SJ Harper
Approximate Book Length:  135 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  18+
Sexual Content:  Moderate


*This book does not stand alone at all. I reveal no actual spoilers, but if you’ve not read the previous book, you’ll get an idea about the ending.*

This series has always kept me enthralled, even when it made me mad or sad. One of the reasons for that is the case the couple works through in each book. The mystery has always been very well done and well-paced, keeping me guessing and glued to the page. This time wasn’t as strong in that department, though it was still exciting and contained a curve ball or two.

However, with how the last book ended, I was mostly interested in Emma and Zack’s relationship. I was not left nearly as sad as I was in book two, though things are still sort of open ended. There were some steamy scenes that I appreciated, but ultimately I’m just rooting for them so hard that every obstacle and misunderstanding just makes me want to cry for them.

Bottom Line:

Forsaken is a quick interlude for Emma and Zack in the series, but it puts a much needed band-aid over the heartbreaking ending of book two. Don’t miss it!