Lenni Reviews: “Orbit” by Leigh Hellman

*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

Committed troublemaker Ciaan Gennet runs afoul of the law one too many times and ends up sentenced to probation at a spaceship port facility. He blonde hair makes her a target for bullies so she hopes to keep her head down and serve her time without incident. But when a captain with obviously suspicious cargo docks his ship, Ciaan gets caught up in a multiplanet conspiracy that puts her life in great danger.

Perhaps a little slow going until Ciaan ends up on the spacecraft but it’s still interesting. Great characters, awesome worldbuilding, and a great spin on some dystopian concepts. We have a smart woman of color as our main lead and I love reading about a motley crew of space rebels. Very cool book. 4.9 out of 5.

Press Release: "The Thousand Year Beach"







An Idyllic World Inhabited By A.I. Beings Faces Extinction From Malevolent Invaders

San Francisco, CA, May 22, 2018 – VIZ Media’s Haikasoru science fiction imprint delivers a new literary release with the publication of THE THOUSAND YEAR BEACH on June 19th.

THE THOUSAND YEAR BEACH, by TOBI Hirotaka, will be released in print with an MSRP of $16.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN. An eBook edition will also debut on June 19th for the Amazon Kindle, and in Apple’s iBooks Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Book Store, the Kobo eBooks Store, and the Google Play Store.

Designed to imitate a harbor town in southern Europe, the Realm of Summer is just one of the zones within the virtual resort known as the Costa del Número. It has been more than a thousand years since human guests stopped coming to the Realm, leaving the AIs alone in their endless summer. But now all that has come to a sudden end, as an army of mysterious Spiders begin reducing the town to nothing. As night falls, the few remaining AIs prepare for their final, hopeless battle… War between the virtual and the real begins in book one of the Angel of the Ruins series.

“THE THOUSAND YEAR beach presents an idyllic virtual world, still running long after having been abandoned by humans, that suddenly finds itself invaded by an impossible force,” says Nick Mamatas, Editor. “Renowned among SF fans and critics, we invite readers to discover TOBI Hirotaka’s first full-length novel this summer.”

Author TOBI Hirotaka was born in 1960 and won the Sanseido SF Story Contest while still a student at Shimane University. From 1983 to 1992 he actively contributed short stories to Japan’sSF Magazine. After a hiatus of ten years, he returned in 2002 with his first full-length novel, THE THOUSAND YEAR BEACH, which took Second Prize in SF Magazine's Best SF of 2002. In 2004, Kaleidoscape, his collection of revised and new works, took top honors in that year's Best SF awards in the magazine, as well as the 2005 Japan SF Award. One of the stories from the collection, “Shapesphere,” also won the 2005 Seiun Award for Best Japanese Short Story of the Year. In 2010, “Autogenic Dreaming: Interview with the Columns of Clouds” earned TOBI his second Seiun Award for Best Japanese Short Story. The work also appeared in English in The Future Is Japanese anthology (published by VIZ Media). He won his third Seiun Award for “Sea Fingers” in 2015, which appeared in English in Saiensu Fikushon 2016.

For more information on THE THOUSAND YEAR BEACH and the Haikasoru imprint, please visit Haikasoru.com.

For more information on other titles available from VIZ Media, please visit viz.com.

About VIZ Media, LLC

Established in 1986, VIZ Media is the premier company in the fields of publishing, animation distribution, and global entertainment licensing. Along with its popular digital magazine WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, DRAGON BALL, SAILOR MOON, and POKÉMON, VIZ Media offers an extensive library of titles and original content in a wide variety of book and video formats, as well as through official licensed merchandise. Owned by three of Japan's largest publishing and entertainment companies, Shogakukan Inc., Shueisha Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is dedicated to bringing the best titles for English-speaking audiences worldwide.

Learn more about VIZ Media and its properties at viz.com.

Lenni Reviews: Three Days in April by Edward Ashton

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Have you ever wondered what would happen if someone rewrote The Happening and made it... Well, all around better and cool? Then welcome to the technothriller Three Days in April.

In this world, there Augmented people, non-Augmented people, AI's that can run your house, and NatSec watching through every connected device in the net as well as cameras everywhere. Augmented people can connect and download information right into their heads,  have increased speed and agility, or strength. Then one morning in April, most of the people in Hagerstown keel over and die. Then the town is turned into a smoking crater. Our main protagonist is Anders, a down and out Augmented who is perfectly happy in his mundane teaching job when his friend Doug asks him to decrypt some documents he "found" suddenly Anders is involved in a massive conspiracy against all of humanity; genetically modified or not.

When I tell you this is The Happening and Ghost in the Shell, I am not kidding. While not suicides, a bunch of people all of a sudden drop dead in a painful way and everybody understandably scrambles around like crazy people. But then we THANKFULLY flee from any Shyamalan-ian mistakes for some cyberpunk, government conspiracy goodness! Having read (and LOVED) the Avery Cates series, this novel is a tense ride that won't let you go, with an ending ripe for a continuation should Ashton decide to write one. The characters are dynamic, real, and fun in this fantastical setting. I'm glad I gave this book a read and if you like cyberpunk, I think you will too.

Three Days in April is available now as an ebook and in paperback on October 13, 2015.

Lenni Reviews: Soda Pop Soldier by Nick Cole

In this dystopian future, companies hire gamers to battle it out for the rights to advertising space. After my initial hesitation and brief fit of hysteriucal laughter at the thought of eHarmony, Match.com, Christian Mingle, and Farmers Only battling out in a cage match for the right to inundate us with their insipid nonsense (Three-way battle between Papa Johns, Little Caesars, and Dominos? Would CiCi's buffet be an unexpected challenger? Man, I laughed for DAYS!), I started this book with a bit of guilt that I'm not a huge gamer and a healthy load of disbelief this concept would be pulled off in an enjoyable way.

The book is written well. You follow professional gamer PerfectQuestion as he struggles to win for his company, broke, cheating girlfriend, drinking a lot, and at the end of his rope; willing to join an illegal online gaming universe referred to as the Black. Things get out of hand and the online battle for his life spreads into the real world.

By no means is this a 'bad book.' Nick Cole has the writing chops to pull off the gaming action and PerfectQuestion's desperation, so the reading is nice and smooth. Cole's work reminds me of Jeff Somers' work (but Cole is MUCH less depressing). My only complaint perhaps would be it's 100+ pages in before PerfectQuestion is directly threatened. It was cool and all to see PerfectQuestion in action and get to know how his job works and how sick and twisted the Black is, but it seemed to me our protagonist should have met with the main conflict sooner.

Although, I certainly wasn't bored. I was pulled right into the world and loved every second. My hands were twiching for controller buttons and the descriptions left me fiending for some playtime with my consoles. I truly cared about PerfectQuestion, even without knowing his name. I clicked instantly with what Cole is saying about what the anonymity of being online does to people's behavior and how easily the consequences of that behavior can leak into your offline life. I had fun reading this; it was an unexpectedly enjoyable romp. If you're into tech heavy scifi, first person shooters, and the trials of just a normal guy trying to survive, I think you'll enjoy this book.

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