Titanborn by Rhett Bruno

May 18, 2018: Update on this post!!!

Rhett Bruno has recently published his first fantasy novel with a co-author! I’m really excited about it – Web of Eyesthe first book in The Buried Goddess Saga


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Titanborn

by Rhett Bruno

This fun new space drama/thriller, Titanborn by writer, Rhett Bruno, was published this year by Hydra (an imprint of Random House – not the evil organization trying to take over the world and destroy S.H.I.E.L.D….you’re safe folks). Mr. Bruno kindly gifted me a copy in return for an honest review. And I am so honored that he did!

Malcolm Graves is a bounty hunter employed by one of the ruling corporations in the known galaxy. Earth has been crippled by a meteorite and colonies of humans have taken to the stars. Now – 300 years later – two major corporations vie for the top of the hierarchy while people born on and off Earth are mere pawns in their games. Malcolm lives in a world of his own. Hopping from planet to planet and looking for the next assignment that will get him paid.

Unfortunately for Graves, the powers that be see fit to pair the veteran with a new partner, a Cogent. Graves, who has worked mostly on his own his entire career, is extremely unhappy about the new arrangement and more than a little curious about the corporations newest recruits. With the new partner, Zhaff, comes the frustrations Graves expected, some perks he didn’t, but also more questions than he could have anticipated and more answers than he wants.

Graves is mostly reliable, if not a bit on the grumpy side. Flawed and, for the most part, honest about it.  Zhaff is an interesting character to read. He is a rigid rule-follower where Malcolm is a loose, moved-by-his-gut loner. A by-the-book rookie who is young, strong and extremely intelligent, Zhaff is a thorn in Grave’s side.

I thought this was a really fun read. I was surprised in all the right places. When I finished the novel, I was so stunned that I immediately emailed Mr. Bruno and tried to express my immediate “feels” – so many!!!! But I don’t do spoilers!

What I do like to do —-interview the author! Here are a few questions for Rhett:

SR: When did you start your first novel? 4115521
RB: My first novel was actually a fantasy epic called ISINDA that I started writing at 15 or 16. It’s hard to remember which, but that was the first time I decided to try putting together an actual story,
SR: Is your favorite genre to read sci-fi? What do you like about writing science fiction? 
RB: It is. I actually didn’t really discover sci-fi until college, and I think that’s what turned me into the writer I am today. High school never really pushes you to read what you’re interested in, so I lost faith in reading for a long time. I love the imagination involved. I can never get into contemporary fiction because I live in that world, but scifi takes familiar things and pushes them to extraordinary limits. I suppose that’s what I love most about it. As far in the future as it takes us, good, relevant scifi draws from current events in a way that makes you think.
SR: What was your favorite book as a kid – say around 10 or 11? 
RB: At that age, I have to say it was some Merlin book series about a wizard. I honestly can’t even remember what it’s called, maybe simply MERLIN, but I do remember absolutely loving the books.
SR: What is your favorite part about the writing process? Least favorite? 
RB: Finishing it. There’s nothing better than typing END at the bottom of a manuscript. Of course there’s still a ton of editing and work to do, but the satisfaction is real. Least favorite has to be getting stuck. I’m a perfectionist, so I can’t keep writing and save a part I couldn’t figure out for later, so I obsess over it until I can make it work. Being a better outliner might help…
SR: If you could choose any fantasy/sci-fi world to live in, which one would it be? 
RB: That’s tough because so many are pretty deadly ha. I’d have to say Star Wars. No world has ever captured my imagination like it, and the chance at having the force + the ability to travel between planets seamlessly is tough to deny.
SR: Do you have any words of advice to offer beginning writers? 
RB: Yes. Don’t make the same mistake I did early on. Keep reading! Try to focus on the genre you want to write in and you’ll learn a ton. Another bit of advice, don’t forget about editing. To me, it’s the largest determining factor in wanting to be traditional published vs. self published. Good editing is expensive, and not every publisher has good ones on staff. Publishing a book in the best possible condition is a team effort. Send your MS out to betas and friends, get feedback. One set of eyes is never enough to determine if a story works.
SR: Can you give us a little blurb about your Circuit series? 
RB: Sure. On the outside this is an epic space opera rife with space-battles, but the heart of The Circuit Series is it’s flawed characters. This is a story about how their lives intertwine in unexpected ways, taking each of the four POV characters to places they never thought they’d go. These are broken people who have lost someone or something, and long for it back. In the end, The Circuit is about them coming to grips with their fates within the backdrop of a terrible war caused by one man’s blind lust for vengeance.
SR: What is your current favorite book? 

RB: It’s a tough call, but out of anything I’ve read in recent years I think it still has to be THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss. He’s just such an incredible writer, and a lot of reading for me is research.

Thank you, Mr. Bruno for sharing your book with me.

You can follow Rhett C. Bruno on goodreads and on insta @rcbruno44!

** Check out a new addition to the Titan universe!

Summer Stories

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What stories do you plan to get lost in this summer?

I don’t know about you, but the slower pace of summer is a great time for me to catch up on my TBR pile and I get super excited about a good summer series on TV and salivate over summer blockbusters at the theater!!!!!

Summer TV

imagesMy summer binge that I am most excited about is Hell on Wheels. The dark western about the construction of the competing railway lines westward into the harsh frontier of the Americas. Season 5 was just released on Netflix a couple of weeks ago. I love watching it on Netflix because I can watch all episodes at once for full effect.

In an effort to seek revenge for the brutal murder of his wife and young son at the hand of Union Soldiers, former Confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon hunts down their attackers. In doing so, he finds himself the foreman of transcontinental railroad. The “town” that follows the building of the railroad is called “Hell on Wheels” and brings together some of the roughest characters possible. Characters to hate, love and question. This is a true western series with dirt, mud, blood and the hardship of an unfamiliar terrain.

Needless to say, I am extremely excited to hunker down with this fifth and final season of one of my favorites!!

Summer Reads

Aside from book reviews that I am wading through, I have my own TBR pile that will sadly outlive me. However, summer is always a time for me to catch up where I have fallen behind.

Currently I am making my way through the Parasitology trilogy by Mira Grant. This fun, exciting and suspenseful series is a quick read and begs the question – What would we do if we found a cure for…everything! and then discovered  that it could end the human race!!!!!  This is enough of a “zombie” thriller that it keeps my Walking Dead appetite sated for the time being (if that’s possible). (rated PG13 for violence and intensity, language)

**Excellent reads for your middle schooler!

89716 Al Capone Does My Shirts is an interesting novel of historical fiction with a male protagonist. The story describes life on Alcatraz for families of guards, focusing on the activities of their children. Moose, the main character, is 12 and new to the island. He is also the caretaker of his sister, Natalie, who is Autistic – as she would be diagnosed today, but in the setting of the novel, it is unknown as to what makes her different from the other kids.

Gennifer Choldenko’s historical note at the end of the book as almost as interesting as the story itself. While some adaptations were made to the historical context of Alcatraz for effect, Choldenko seems to use quite a bit of interesting research to form her setting and plot. (rated: this novel is completely appropriate for students 6-8th grade and older)

Counting by 7s is a compelling story of loss, grief, coming of age, and individualism. Willow Chance is extraordinary…to most people she is a “weirdo”. But not to her parents. Willow is the precious gift to a couple who was unable to conceive and waited seven years to adopt a baby. 15937108

Now in middle school, Willow’s extremely orderly life is turned completely upside down. Willow often counts by 7s as a calming technique, but even that no longer helps. Despite the pain she experiences, Willow learns what love and relationships are with people other than her parents.

This is a deep and emotional story completely appropriate for students 6-8th grade and older.

Summer Blockbusters

Well, I was finally able to take my kids to see the new adaptation of The Jungle Book. Wow – totally worth it and super fun. New comer Neel Sethi is a fun, energetic and talented choice for Mowgli and accomplishes the job of creating a believable man cub wild enough to be completely at home in the jungle.

The CGI and other cinematic effects bring Kipling’s story to life in a new and amazing way. Christopher Walken as King Louie was perfection. My girls LOVED the movie and we had a blast watching it together on a hot summer afternoon.

This movie is intense and suspenseful. All of us found ourselves jumping in our seats several times. While this movie is not “scary” per se, the intensity may make it inappropriate for small viewers.

And the movie I have waited all year to see, X-MEN: Apocalypse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And it did NOT disappoint.  I thought the movie was fun and exciting and everything I would want an “origin” story to include. I’m a huge Patrick Stewart fan, but I really do love James McAvoy as Professor X.

I recently watched Ex Machina on Amazon Prime. Oscar Isaac plays one of the main characters, a disturbingly despicable narcissist with a god-complex. Fittingly, he also plays Apocalypse. Needless to say, Apocalypse is an even more disturbing villain in my opinion because I could catch glimpses of Isaac underneath all that makeup.

Jean Grey, played by Sophie Turner, is far less annoying than normal. I found her much stronger and appealing as a hero than previous adaptations of the character. Scott Summers…meh, not so much.

There have been murmurings and disagreement as to the appropriateness of the Wolverine cameo – I loved it! As he is and will always be, my favorite of the XMEN, I thought it was a spot-on rendition of his escape from Striker. It also established a link between himself and Jean Grey which all fans know will be important later in their story.

I was extremely pleased with this installment of the XMEN saga and highly recommend the film.

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Get your story on…and wear sunscreen!

(stella and sam pic – thebookfarminc.com; Hell on Wheels pic – tvovermind.com; Al Capone and Counting by 7s – goodreads.com; XMEN – imdb.com)

Take a little listen…

I LOVE audio books! How amazing that I can clean, fold laundry, drive, watch my kids in the pool, go for a walk or whatever and never have to put my book down! And, if you are lucky to come across a great narrator who makes the experience even more magical, all the better! And there are some great narrators out there…and sadly, some not so great ones.

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So, I would like to offer up some suggestions for some great summer listens!

 

 

Harry Potter series read by Jim Dale

Pictures of Hollis Woods read by Hope Davis

Chronicles of Nick series read by Holter Graham

Lies of Locke Lamora read by Michael Page

In the After duology read by Julia Whelan

Ender series or Ender’s Shadow series read by a series of amazing narrators

Ramona series read by Stockard Channing…yes, Rizzo!!!!

Thirteen Reasons Why read by Joel Johnstone and Debra Wiseman

Unknown Assassin (previously called Boy Nobody) series read by John Salwin

Patricia Cornwell novels read by a series of great narrators

The Giver quartet read by a series of great narrators

All the Light We Cannot See read by Zach Appleman

Between Shades of Gray read by Emily Klein

Pirates!the true and remarkable adventures of Minerva Sharpe and Nancy Kingston, female     pirates          read by Jennifer Wiltsie

 

These are just a few audio books that have stood out to me over the years. It is not exhaustive by any means. Check out your local library – most libraries are equipped with Overdrive at this point and you can find so many books and audio books (for free!). A shout out to the Richland Library here in Columbia, SC with Overdrive set up with over 30,000 titles!!!!

Hope you can find a story that sucks you in this summer! More titles to come!

I want to know:                                                                                                                                                    What are you reading/listening to while you sunbathe this summer?

 

(For book review requests, there is now an email contact in the sidebar. I look forward to hearing from you!)

 

Movie Monday

**DISCLAIMER** Clearly it is NOT Monday. However, I began this post on Monday with every intention of finishing said post ON MONDAY. Unfortunately, 2 of my little sprites came home from school sick – and since all magical creatures need nurturing and care, I was called away from my writing duties.  Soooooo, let’s try again.

Mondays will heretofore be known as “Movie Monday”! Who wouldn’t rather think movies on a Monday than….well, than anything that usually occurs on Monday.  You’re welcome.

When I was a kid, I spent lots of time with my dad engrossed in Star Trek and Star Wars. I know, I know. Most nerds out there want to be one or the other, Trekkie or Jedi, Marvel or DC, monsters or aliens…do we really have to make a choice? On this forum, NO! We don’t! We are going to embrace it all – from the “Trouble with Tribbles” to A New Hope. That’s how my dad raised me – to treat all syfy entities the same.

A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY…

And so, it is with great enthusiasm that I embark on this discussion about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I know some fans were less than pleased with the new installment, however, I found it enjoyable, fun, exciting, memorable and an excellent tribute to the original Episodes IV, V and VI.

BB8 found its way into our hearts as the lovable android sidekick. And following in the footsteps of R2D2 and C3PO, almost stole the show.  Everyone is happy that Epi VII didn’t experience another mishap like JarJar Binks…

The filming itself was simple and understated.  It seemed that with the newer installments of Epis I-III that filmmakers were trying to awe the audience with over the top special effects. Star Wars has no need for special effects – IT HAS LIGHT SABERS! ….and a Wookie.

I was super excited to have Chewie back in the game. Harrison Ford and Ms. Fisher were spot on.  Their presence made the film endearing and almost like coming home.  Thank goodness no one let slip any spoilers before I was able to see the show – otherwise I wouldn’t have nerded out with a shout of excitement and joy when the Millennium Falcon made its first appearance.

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The acting was on par with previous Star Wars features.  No one is going to win an Oscar for the series, but he or she will certainly find an incredible fandom previously unknown.  Daisy Ridley was memorable as Rey and portrayed a remarkable, budding young Jedi. She was strong willed and persistent without being offputting as a character. John Boyega’s character Finn was a great complement to Ridley’s Rey. The two played well off one another and both are characters I look forward to seeing more of in future episodes.

So what are your thoughts? Did you like the new installment? Or not? Either one is perfectly acceptable. Jump on in with your thoughts. Oh, and may the force be with you.

(Star Wars images from: Rey: hitfix.com / Finn: thesource.com)