The nominations are:
The Wanderer and the New West by Adam Bender
The Wanderer and the New West by Adam Bender is a dystopian view of an America that many may well see as a path the country is already headed down. Federal rule has virtually ceased and all power lies with the States - no longer is it the United States of America. Even the individual states have virtually given up trying to rule and law is implemented at the behest of corporations, one of the greatest of these being the Breck Ammunition Company. Into this lawless environment strides the impressive Wanderer. Nobody knows who he is or where he came from, but his mission, it seems is to protect the innocent and to fight injustice. With his trusty sidekick, Kid Hunter, the Wanderer joins forces with wannabe journalist Rosa Veras as they attempt to "clean up" the New West.
I came to this book expecting to be reading a Western, but was more than pleasantly surprised to discover this is so much more. Set some time in the future, in a world not too dissimilar to where we currently find ourselves, the values and importance of the free press and of morality shone through this story. The characters themselves, especially Kid Hunter and The Wanderer are necessarily caricatures of the old west's most famous gunslingers and fighters of injustice. I found myself incredibly caught up in Rosa and her group's fight to expose the evil and corruption inherent within the corporation and to bring some justice to the State of Arizona. The story was reminiscent of the old westerns I'd read as a child, without becoming overly soppy. The humour was genuine and some of the banter between the Kid and the Wanderer, truly inspired. I couldn't put this book down and read it quickly and easily. An excellent story - The Wanderer and the New West by Adam Bender; I recommend it highly.
Visions - Almana Book 2 by Julayn Adams
Visions (Almana Book 2) by Julayn Adams is the second of a planned trilogy following the adventures of Almana an Angel who is sent to a dystopian earth to try and help humanity recover from its ails. Heaven has almost given up on humanity, but Almana (Ali) still believes there is enough good in humanity for them to overcome the evil. She fell in love with a human, Cam and their souls were entwined, but when Cam was killed, Ali had to face the bleakness of a life without her soulmate.
Ali and her friends live in the forest, hiding from the evil ruler of Los Angeles, Equis, who they fear will one day send his Armageddon army against them. Ali and her friend Alexa dream of taking back Los Angeles from the evil that has befallen it and restoring humanity to a loving, caring community. For now, though, survival is the key and Ali, with help from her brother Patrick will do their best to ensure their community survives and flourishes.
It is some time since I read the first book in this series, but I remember it well as it made a significant impact on me at the time, as Julayn Adams' debut novel. I know I tend to repeat myself a little, but watching an indie author grow and develop throughout a series, is one of the most rewarding things about being a reviewer. Almana was a good debut novel, but Visions, its follow-up is simply superb. Adams' writing has tightened and credit to her editor, the editing is faultless in this book. The characters that I grew to love and identify with in Almana are all back in Visions and we have a whole new cast joining the band of survivors which adds diversity, interest and significant conflict. I love watching Indie authors get even better and Adams definitely has, with visions.
There are some neat little twists and turns in this story, that I particularly enjoyed and the book sets the scene perfectly for the final installment in the trilogy, Insurgence, which I am waiting for, with bated breath. Having written a trilogy myself, I know how hard it is for the author to sustain the tempo right to the end, but thus far Adams is showing every ability of being able to do just that. Julayn Adams has rocketed toward the top of my favourite indie authors with Visions and I have every confidence she will bring the series home, with a bang, with Insurgence. Great stuff!
Miguel Traveler #1 - The Man From Texas by Daniel McFatter
Miguel Traveller #1: The Man From Texas by Daniel McFatter takes us on a broad, sweeping science fiction/dystopian/philosophical/contemporary literature journey through the past, the present and the future. Miguel Morgan wakes up in the womb of a machine that he instinctively understands, is his new mother. Once, violently released from her warm embrace, Miguel takes the reader on a journey through a West Texas of the future, known now as the Outfar. During his adventure he will encounter, befriend and try to assist some of the few remnants left of humanity. This is a future world of fear and horror – where the few good humans left are terrorised by evil, zombie-like creatures afflicted with the laughing sickness. As time progresses we journey back with Miguel to current times as he recalls how he ended up in this place and he begins to question who or what he now is, plus his purpose in this harsh, new world.
I found Miguel Traveller #1: The Man From Texas to be an absolute breath of fresh air, especially as a debut novel from Daniel McFatter. The characters, especially the irrepressible and very identifiable Crunchy, were both endearing and believable. I loved that Miguel was himself a fatally flawed character and was constantly questioning why he was given the responsibilities and power he clearly had. There was a strong philosophical thread flowing through the story that I found compelling. Based principally on the teachings of Taoism and of Buddha, but stretching through to include those of the modern “new age” thought as expressed in The Secret and The Law of Attraction, this deep thinking by the main character gave the story a greater depth and impact than just a dystopian thriller would have done. McFatter, in my opinion, beautifully tied together the different threads of the story and in good dramatic fashion left the reader wanting more at the end. I am sure this is just the first of a series on Miguel and his journeys, so I am looking forward to seeing Daniel McFatter’s next iteration of this character.
drum roll please!
EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES LIFE PRESENTS TO YOU AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!
HAVE A GREAT LIFE AND SPREAD THE LOVE!
CHANGING THE WORLD – ONE READER AT A TIME