I am about halfway through this one and was not able to finish before today because of mommy and baby illness. A couple of misunderstandings, and I am a little late to post, but here we go. So far, I am enjoying this story. Melchiorri has come up with a fun and unique idea with interesting characters and a bit of mystery folded in. So far, I am catching themes of the ethics of weaponry and scientific advancements involving the human genome. As science advances more and more, these questions are going to come up in our own lives, and I love reading speculative fiction that mulls over them and tells a “What if” story. I am looking forward to finishing and posting a full review for everyone to see. In the mean time, check it out!
The Human Forged
A Sci-Fi/Thriller by Anthony J. Melchiorri
In 2094, stealing a person’s identity is virtually impossible when every medical record, government document, and bank account is tied to their DNA via a personal Chip.
Implanted beneath the skin, this microscopic device also augments people’s real world senses with a network of information, sending data and communications directly to the AR lenses in their eyes or the receivers in their ears. Nick, a former Army Specialist, is about to find out what happens when that vital connection is severed.
Venturing into an underground rave in an abandoned Estonian prison, Nick is encouraged to live life naturally, untethered by technology. But all is not as it seems.
Nick is abducted and cut off from the rest of the world, including his fiancée. He unwittingly becomes embroiled in a biotechnological nightmare and embarks on a dangerous adventure to return home. The only person that might be able to help him is a man Nick never knew existed—his clone.
I grew up in Normal, Illinois. After a regular (it’s hard, but I refuse to make a pun of it) childhood in Normal, I left for the University of Iowa to get a degree in Biomedical Engineering. But, I couldn’t give up reading and writing and there really wasn’t enough of that in engineering (unless you’re into thick, no-thrills books on thermodynamics and polymer physics). I picked up a second degree in English while working on the Biomedical Engineering degree and have since counted myself fortunate for making that decision. Iowa City, North America’s only official UNESCO City of Literature, is a thriving hotbed of writers and readers, with some of the best visiting the city for their renowned workshop or famous authors dropping by to read a story they’ve written and chat. I had the opportunity to meet plenty of great writers and storytellers that inspired me to keep writing, even when I graduated and entered a doctoral program at the University of Maryland for Bioengineering.
Today, when I’m not writing and reading, I’m primarily working on tissue engineered blood vessels, gearing my work for children with congenital heart defects. I get to work with awesome 3D printing technologies and am always astounded by the rapidly advancing technologies coursing through the veins of universities and research settings. Much of my writing has been inspired by those advancements and my conversations with other researchers, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and many others interested in our evolving world.
On Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend the release party for Cat Winters’ new book “The Cure for Dreaming” at Powell’s Books. When the event schedule had first come out I brushed over her name, zeroing in on William Gibson (who, alas, I will not be able to see as I had originally planned). It took me a couple of weeks and a second go-over on the events page to connect the release party with the book I had been coveting on other blogs for weeks. I am glad I didn’t miss it, because it was great fun, complete with snacks, visual aids, costumes, and giveaways. I picked up the book on Saturday and am about halfway through and enjoying it immensely.
Here are a few takeaways from the reading and the Q&A Session:
Cat Winters has a young adult novel, short story, and adult historical fiction novel in the works. We can expect a lot more from her!
She is inspired by Victorian and Gothic literature. Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” plays a large role in “The Cure for Dreaming”.
She has a soft spot for “Wuthering Heights”.
“The Cure for Dreaming” was inspired by the music of Kristen Lawrence from Halloween Carols.
The cover illustration is a colorized version of an actual hypnosis session done in the 1800s.
She will probably stick with historical fiction for a while.
“The Cure for Dreaming” opens on Halloween because it was the day before the presidential election in 1900.
She spent hours researching and pouring over images for “The Cure for Dreaming”.
Now for the pictures! Please forgive the quality. It was a rainy, blustery day and I didn’t have a proper cover with me to tote my good camera from the car to the shop, so I was relying on my phone.
I am excited to announce the release of “The Younger Gods” by Michael R. Underwood. I was over halfway through my Galley when the publisher contacted me to ask if I would like to feature the title and host a giveaway. I was quite enjoying the story, so I happily accepted. “The Younger Gods” is a fun new Urban Fantasy series complete with mythical creatures, fun characters, and evil cultists bent on bringing about the apocalypse. Everything you could ask for in an Urban Fantasy, really, and just in time for Halloween! I am giving away two free copies. Check out the summary and excerpt below and enter the giveaway. The winners will be announced when I post my review on Monday, October 20th.
Jacob Greene was a sweet boy raised by a loving, tight-knit family…of cultists. He always obeyed, and was so trusted by them that he was the one they sent out on their monthly supply run (food, medicine, pig fetuses, etc.)
Finding himself betrayed by them, he flees the family’s sequestered compound and enters the true unknown: college in New York City. It’s a very foreign place, the normal world and St. Mark’s University. But Jacob’s looking for a purpose in life, a way to understand people, and a future that breaks from his less-than-perfect past. However, when his estranged sister arrives in town to kick off the apocalypse, Jacob realizes that if he doesn’t gather allies and stop the family’s prophecy of destruction from coming true, nobody else will…
I’d never met lycanthropes before. There were no packs in the Dakotas. My father and grandmother had seen to that years ago.
I was starting to understand why. Our family’s sorcerous might was unmatched, but a wolf moving through thick brush, especially with a pack at her back, could make quick work of an unprepared sorcerer, unless the sorcerer was willing to bring down an entire forest to protect themselves.
It’s what Grandmother had done.
One of the many races made by the gods in the first days, lycanthropes could move among humans without notice, only revealing their power when they wished. When their creator, the moon, was strongest, so were they.
Antoinette cleared her throat. “I am Antoinette Laroux. And a friend told me to show you this.” She produced the Nataraja statue, holding it out in the scant inches between herself and the looming wolf-woman.
The woman chuffed once, very canine in that moment, all pretense of humanity cast aside. She looked Antoinette dead in the eyes, then sized her up, gaze going to her feet and then back up to her eyes.
She took a single step back.
“So you know the Nephilim. Fine. Why are you here?” “Someone’s after the Hearts. She’s trying to awaken the Younger Gods.”
The wolves snarled as one. All of them, the woman included. “And you’re here, what, to warn us? As if we aren’t always on guard? There’s precious little of the earth left in this place. You think we aren’t always vigilant?”
“We want to help,” I said, breaking with Antoinette’s request.
The woman snapped at me, baring her teeth. “You smell of the Deeps, boy.”
Again, judged before I was known. Even thousands of miles away from my family’s center of power, I was just a Greene to them. Even if I bested Esther, would I ever be rid of that stain, or would I carry it with me my whole life, my family’s sins painted clearly across my face with the distinctively bland look of our family?
“We’ve had a long day already,” Antoinette said, by way of explanation. “But he’s right. We’re trying to get the whole city to join up so we can stop this woman. She’s ridiculously powerful.”
“Her power means little here,” the woman said. “Her power comes from the Deeps, but this is the horizon, the union of earth and sky, and we are protected.”
“Tell that to the Hidatsa and Arikara packs,” I said. They’d been the last two to give up the fight. The Hidatsa had fled west. The Arikara had been eradicated.
“We are not them. But we take your offer as it is intended, in recognition of the Nephilim’s friendship to our pack. Go. This island is sacrosanct. Help the others, and when the time comes, call for us and we will be there. Our fangs will tear her throat and spill her lifeblood. It will be washed away by the Hudson and her stain sent out to sea.”
A cheery sort, this one. I could just imagine what she’s like at parties.
“Care for some juice?”
“I will rip this cup to broken shreds and see its ruin smote uponthe mountain.”
“No, thank you.”
“Thank you for your time,” Antoinette said. “How will we call you?”
The woman reached into her sweatshirt, and produced a spent exoskeleton. Cicada, possibly a grasshopper. I’d always been an indoor child. “Crush this beneath your boot and we will know.”
“Will you know where as well?”
The woman snarled at me. “We will know.”
I elected not to probe further, trusting the wolf-woman’s confidence.
Antoinette accepted the exoskeleton, handling it with care and sliding it into the pocket with the Shiva Nataraja statue. “Thank you for your time. We will go now.”
The woman nodded, and another wave of shadows passed over her, leaving behind the wolf she had been before.
In an unexpected act of kindness, the wolves led us to another way down the hill, such that we were able to leave the park with no more bruises and scrapes.
About the Author
Michael R. Underwood is the author of “Geekomancy”, “Celebromancy”, “Attack the Geek”, “Shield and Crocus”, and “TheYoungerGods”. By day, he’s the North American Sales & Marketing Manager for Angry Robot Books. Mike grew up devouring stories in all forms, from comics to video games, tabletop RPGs, movies, and books. He has a BA in Creative Mythology and East Asian Studies, and an MA in Folklore Studies. Mike has been a bookseller, a barista, a game store cashwrap monkey, and an independent publishers’ representative. Mike lives in Baltimore with his fiancée, an ever-growing library, and a super-team of dinosaur figurines and stuffed animals. He is also a co-host on the Hugo-nominated “Skiffy and Fanty Show”. In his rapidly vanishing free time, Mike studies historical martial arts and makes homemade pizza. He blogs at MichaelRUnderwood.com/blog and Tweets @MikeRUnderwood.
This giveaway is sponsored by the Pocket Star Publishing, an imprint of Simon and Schuster. Winners’ e-mail addresses will be given to the publisher who will e-mail back promo codes. Two winners will be chosen on 10/20/2014. Each will receive one promo code from the publisher for an ebook copy of “The Younger Gods”. EBooks are available for download in all file formats save for Kindle.
On Thursday night I had the pleasure of meeting Deborah Harkness, author of the best selling All Souls Trilogy which contains the books “Discovery of Witches”, “Shadow of Night”, and “The Book of Life”. I found the series shortly after the first book was released on a front display at Barnes and Noble. I have always been a fan of stories about witchcraft and the occult. On top of that, the cover was beautiful. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but I will freely admit that the more attractive the cover, the more likely I am to notice it. I don’t think I even read the synopsis before picking it up, and I normally meticulously pour through reviews and ratings before committing my treasured free reading time to a new book series. I was not disappointed.
The All Souls Trilogy is the story of reluctant witch Diana and her vampire companion Matthew as they work together to find out the secrets of a mysterious manuscript that might hold the key to saving the supernatural world. No one knows what is in the manuscript, but that isn’t stopping them from hunting it down. Diana and Matthew’s journey take them on an action packed journey around the world, through the past and the present, surrounded by an amazingly rich cast of characters.
Deborah Harkness is a history professor and it shows in her work. Her approach to the supernatural is intelligent and grounded in history with scientific explanations to back up the existence of the paranormal. The character’s fears, their world views, and their actions are guided by evidence of how supernatural beings were thought of and dealt with historically. During the Q&A session she revealed that the idea came to her one day as she stared down a wall of supernatural fiction inspired by the recent release of “Breaking Dawn”. Knowing what she knew about history, it seemed strange that supernatural beings in these stories walked amongst normal people with no one noticing, and that witches seemed happy to be witches, which “historically was not a good career path for a woman”. So, Diana’s character, a witch who did not want to be a witch, was born.
Ms. Harkness’ sense of humor, her passion for her stories and characters, showed through as she spoke to the full house at Powells. I cannot wait to dig into “The Book of Life” which is currently waiting for me to finish reading “The Belial Stone”. Until then, I will leave you with a few fun facts from the Q&A.
Ms. Harkness’ favorite historical character is Elizabeth the 1st, but for no particular reason.
She handles her fame by thinking of her fans as an extension of her students, only when she enters the room for a book signing, she knows everyone has done the reading.
There was an attempt to make a movie out of “A Discovery of Witches”, but it ended in an amicable breakup.
Male lead Matthew Clairmont is based on a missing poet named Matthew Roydon.
Originally Ms. Harkness thought she would be writing one book, but around page 400 she realized that is was going to be much longer than one book.
If you enjoy historical fiction and supernatural stories with a hint of romance and are looking for something a little bit different, I highly recommend the All Souls Trilogy.