My Thoughts: Note: I am reviewing this book as a part of the blog tour conducted by Zooloo’s Book Tours! Thanks a lot for including me in this exciting tour!
Earth 101 is a YA sci-fi novel that introduces the reader to aliens that look like humans and takes us on an unexpected journey into outer-space. The story starts off with an introduction to our main protagonist Jayne. Weird things are happening around her, friends are disappearing and no-one seems to remember them once they are gone. Only Jayne remembers them! This is an unexpected and intriguing situation to be in. As she tries to uncover the truth, the reader follows her as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery and love.
I love how Jayne is full of emotions and extremely thoughtful. Her love for her family and friends is seen quite evidently. Having recently been in an accident, she is also dealing with the trauma of the same. The other characters in the book are interesting and well developed. Everyone has a role to play and I love how the author has brought out the interpersonal relationships among the characters. This helps the reader to understand them and relate to them.
At first, I found it a little difficult to get into the book, the idea of people disappearing without an explanation was confusing. However, as the story progresses, a lot of the plot is revealed and then it becomes more gripping. The concept of aliens living among humans and other planets with inhabitants is intriguing and well delivered in this debut novel by the author. Without revealing too much, I would also like to include that there is time travel and a visit to the time of the dinosaurs! Imagine that!
By the end of the book, I was excited and thoroughly satisfied with how the story turned out. I cannot wait to read the next book (if there is one) and recommend this to all sci-fi fans out there! Give this book a try, you won’t be disappointed.
Read on to know more about Sverrir Sigurdsson, his book and advice for all his readers!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m originally from Iceland, born and raised there. At the age of 19, I left my country to explore the world. My first stop was Finland. After getting an architecture degree there, I took on an international career so I could see the world and have somebody pay for my travels. I’ve visited 60 countries on 5 continents, and done work from building a harem for the ruler of Abu Dhabi to building schools in poor countries in Africa and elsewhere.
What prompted you to start writing your memoir?
I love telling stories of my international adventures. My friends encouraged me to write them down. So I did and saved them as “episodes” on my computer, kind of like dumping photos in a shoebox. Then I showed some pages to my wife, Veronica Li, who’s a published author. She read them and was surprised to discover what an interesting guy I was. She helped me put my episodes into a memoir called Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir.
We wanted to make it a human interest story that appeals to a wide audience. At the time of our writing, Iceland was a tourist hot spot. (In a country of 360,000, we had 2 million tourists in 2019!) The literature on Iceland, however, was mostly travel guides. We decided I could tell tourists about my country by introducing them to my family, our way of life, and the road we’ve traveled to be where we are today.
How easy/difficult was it to write your memoir?
Writing is never easy, but fortunately we were two heads working together. We make a good team because we’re so different. I’m a hardware person good at brick and mortar stuff, while Veronica is a software person, in tune with feelings and human relationships. Our strengths and weaknesses complemented each other.
During the pandemic lockdown, we were most happy to have our writing to obsess about. We would have gone crazy otherwise!
How much time did you spend on writing on average per day?
Veronica and I both like to write in the morning. From around 9am to noon, we would be at our respective desks. When something needs to be discussed, we know exactly where to find each other.
What is one thing you discovered on this journey that you did not know beforehand?
I’ve always known Icelandic fishermen have a tough life, especially before the advent of modern technology. But I didn’t know how tough it was until I listened to a recording of my uncle Óli, which was part of the National Library’s cultural heritage project. My uncle, a fisherman since the age of 10, talked about the blustery, icy weather, the cramped conditions on the boat, the monotony of the food (fish and potatoes), the nonstop work once the boat reached a fishing ground, and the danger of storms. Many have perished, including my own grandfather and his first-born.
Reliving the hardships of previous generations makes me appreciate all the more the progress Iceland has made in a short time. From a dirt poor nation, it has become one of the most prosperous in the world.
How do you feel about your Viking ancestry?
First of all, are Vikings good guys or bad guys? To Icelanders, they’re heroes, adventurers who brought home wealth and glory. To people of the British Isles, they’re definitely villains who pillaged and plundered. This type of Viking, however, lasted only 200 years. After that period, Icelanders left home to serve a foreign leader and prove themselves in battle before returning home.
Modern-day Vikings are yet another breed. Being a small nation Icelanders have to go overseas to study and learn from more advanced nations. I think of myself as an example. I left Iceland to study architecture in Finland, and afterwards I traveled the world to acquire experience. Except that I didn’t return home as planned. I’m now settled in the US. My heart, however, will always be Icelandic. Be they heroes or villains, I admire my Viking forefathers for their self-sufficiency, resilience, and endurance.
What kind of impact did this journey of discovery have on you?
My friends often call me a Viking for running around in short sleeves when they’re shivering in jackets. I never took their joking to heart. But writing my memoir made me discover how truly Viking I am. My childhood in Iceland taught me all the skills I needed to survive in the world. The moment I finished high school, I left my homeland to make my fortune. Retracing my journey makes me realize that I’ve indeed found my fortune, not in riches but in the wealth of experiences gathered from the places I’ve visited and people met.
What kind of books do you like to read? Give us some examples or recommendations.
I like to read thrillers, especially those that involve international politics and intrigue. Some of my favorite authors are Frederik Forsyth, John le Carré, and Richard North Patterson.
Which is your favourite place to visit or talk about?
Despite my worldwide travels, my favorite place is still Iceland. I guess you’ve heard about the volcano eruption going on there. Icelanders call it a “tourist eruption,” spectacular fireworks that attract tourists but does no harm. This area is part of the volcano belt that gave Iceland its name, “land of ice and fire.” In south Iceland, where I spent summers working on a farm, glaciers lie atop volcanoes gurgling and biding their time to erupt. My book cover shows the scenery of this area: in the foreground stands a cliff with a doorway carved by the sea, in the middle a mountain that was once an island, and in the background the snow-capped volcano that shut down Trans-Atlantic air travel in 2010. The landscape is the wild and wonderful creations of violent volcanic activity. Each of these features was formed when fire met ice or seawater, causing the rapidly cooling lava to turn into a rock formation called “tuff” or palagonite. Iceland is full of such fantastic landscape.
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
My true love is carpentry. In my youth I’d aspired to become a carpenter when I grew up. My older sister nudged me to take it one step further and become an architect. I’m most grateful to her for helping me choose my career. In my heart, though, I remain a carpenter. One woodwork project or another is always on my plate. I just finished building a fence around my backyard to keep out the deer. Hope it works!
Finally, what message do you want to share with us readers?
I encourage everyone to travel, not just as a tourist, but to live and work for a spell in a foreign country. You’ll be surprised what kind of opportunities you’ll find. Most of all, you’ll be surprised to find out who you are and what you’re capable of.
Book 3: Once Upon A [Broken] Time (Releasing March 31, 2021)
Book 4: Once Upon A [Hidden] Time (Upcoming)
Book 5: Once Upon A [Chosen] Time (Upcoming)
About the Book:
All her life, Myra Farrow has been obsessed with medieval castle-and the kings and princes who once inhabited them. When Steve Bernard, a wealthy videogame designer offers her to model for a princess character in his new game, Myra can’t resist his offer to enter the mysterious, colourless, and cursed Hue Castle. But unknown to Myra, her soul is bound to it by blood and sorcery. When she enters the castle’s doors, she awakens dark powers, time travelling through a cursed mirror, torturing her present, and rewriting her future, leaving Steve Bernard with millions of questions.
Edward Hue, the last of the Hue royal bloodline, has never stood in the sunshine, nor felt the rain, or held a living flower. Cursed from birth to live in darkness and bring death to all he touches, he is at the mercy of his cruel, tyrannical father King Stefan, who will not rest until he shatters Edward’s soul and makes his son into a diabolical copy of himself. Edward’s one hope is the mysterious woman, who walks into his life through a cursed mirror, out of his dreams, and introduces him: love.
Will Myra break Edward’s curse and bring him out of the darkness, or destroy him utterly? Will Steve ever be able to finish his game without Myra? Past and future collide in a tale of love, obsession, betrayal, and the hope for redemption.
This is book 3 of [STOLEN] SERIES
‘Love doesn’t need someone’s consent or approval. It is as inevitable as life and death…. But never in my wildest dreams had I imagined loving someone so deeply and immeasurably.’ – Myra
This book picks up where the previous one left off. Now that Myra has come back and decided to stay, she is forced to deal with both Prince Edward, the man she loves and the King, his father. Torn between her loyalty towards Edward and her need to be careful in front of the King, Myra is walking a very fine line towards trouble. The story follows her journey as she navigates this world, her scenes with Edward are heart-warming and filled with love.
The author shows us different perspectives, brining the various characters to life. We follow the story from Edward’s point of view as he struggles to hide his true feeling towards Myra from his father. He tries to protect her and also handle the fact that she has travelled through time to be with him. We also learn about steve, Myra’s fiance in 2015 and the one behind the company Excalibur that is coming out with the game: Once Upon A [Stolen] Time, purely based on Myra’s experiences and narration.
It was a pleasure to read about so many characters and their different perspectives which bring Hue castle to life, both in 1415 and 2015. This story is well-written and gripping. It is a must read for fans of this series and romance in general! Readers are in for a treat with this continuation of the [Stolen] series, filled with the right amount of intrigue and romance to keep them hooked until the end.
I truly enjoyed this book and as a fan of the series and Samreen Ahsan’s writing, I must admit that I am now eagerly looking forward to the next book! I do hope Myra breaks the curse and they find their happy ever after in this intriguing Beauty and the Beast retelling!
Exploring a mysterious cave in the mountains behind their house, John and his sister Sarah are shocked to discover they’ve time traveled to ancient Egypt!
Now they must work together to find a way back home from an ancient civilization of golden desert sand and a towering new pyramid, without parents to save them. The adventures abound—cobras, scorpions, a tomb robber, and more! The two kids have to trust each other, make friends who can help, and survive the challenges thrown at them . . . or be stuck in ancient Egypt forever.
For readers graduating from the Magic Treehouse series and ready for intense action, dive into this middle grade novel rich with meticulous historical detail.
The Eye of Ra is a fun-filled adventure that will take the readers into Ancient Egypt through a mysterious cave. The story is well-written and the characters are realistic and inquisitive. I thoroughly enjoyed this story as it took me back to the days when I would read Enid Blyton’s adventure series.
The author keeps the story light while giving us a glimpse into Ancient Egypt and the way of life, a history lesson without being obvious and preaching. This first book in the series introduces us to some wonderful kids and their thoughts related to friendship and family. As the story progresses, through shared experiences and support, they find their way back to the present day, having learnt a great deal out of the experience!
I highly recommend this book for everyone, no matter their age, as everyone has a child waiting to explore and let their imagination run loose!
Look out for Book 2, SOL INVICTUS, which will release in February 2021!
I am delighted to host Author Roy Huff on the blog. Roy has also contributed a guest post on Time Travel!
Read on to know more about the author: his thoughts, his books and the genre of SF/Fantasy!
Roy Huff is a Hawaii-based best-selling author, peer-reviewed research scientist, and teacher. After overcoming significant childhood adversity, he moved to the islands and hasn’t looked back. He’s since earned five degrees, trained on geostationary satellites for NASA’s GOES-R Proving Ground, and written numerous bestsellers. He stumbled into writing, but what he didn’t stumble into is his love for all things science fiction and fantasy. Later, he contributed a series of fiction and non-fiction books as well as widely shared posts on how to design life on your terms. Despite early challenges, he embraces optimism, science, and creativity. He makes Hawaii his home, where he creates new worlds with the stroke of a pen and hopes you’ll come along for the amazing ride. You can download Roy Huff’s free sci-fi short at https://www.royhuff.net/salvationship or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram @realroyhuff
I grew up in the South very poor. My family suffered through many challenges, and I lost my father when I was 21 to HIV/AIDS. Mental illness inflicted and continues to inflict pain on many immediate family members, but I’ve personally been fortunate. I moved to Hawaii to go to college, and after a delay and initial financial hardships, I was able to complete five degrees. I’ve had the privilege to work on some amazing projects including a grant for NASA/NOAA related to geostationary satellites (GOES-R). I’ve since begun writing and teaching.
What prompted you to start writing?
I’ve always been an academic, so nonfiction and academic writing was something I’ve done for as long as I can remember. That accelerated in college. In my early 30’s, I began writing fiction, in part inspired by a professor Jayson Chun and UH West Oahu.
How did the series ‘Everville’ happen?
I was working concurrently on my fourth and fifth degrees, writing a creative paper titled Everville for an English class. We had to share the paper with other students in the class, and one student commented she wanted to read an entire book on Everville. The rest is history.
What inspired you to write SF/Fantasy?
I’ve always loved science, so there is a natural love for imagining how technology will evolve from science in the future. In both science fiction and fantasy, I find an element of both escapism and wonder. They offer an avenue to plan new ideas and revisit societal constructs that aren’t always possible in the present environment. Speculative fiction can also be therapeutic, a place to go to recharge one’s mind and separate oneself from anxiety, abuse, or the realities of a harsh life. Of course, you have to come back to reality at some point, but fiction can provide an outlet in an often unforgiving world.
How much research went into the writing of this series?
The amount of research just depends on the topic. I have some level of background knowledge, but there are always times when I have to sketch an idea or thought and jump onto a search engine to find what I need. It’s usually not an awful lot, but research is still necessary from time to time.
How easy/difficult was it to write this series and create the characters for it?
Super easy, but the real challenge is making those characters compelling and the story engaging. Doing that requires asking the right questions and adding interesting flaws and motivations. How long that takes depends on a host of factors that can span hours or months.
How much does your day to day life inspire your characters?
All of it.
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I love traveling, hiking, movies, and fiction on both the screen and in books and audio. I enjoy walks, spending time with family, learning, and good conversation with interesting and kind people.
How much time do you spend on your writing on average per day?
It varies widely. I’ve tended recently to write between 30-90 minutes daily if possible, or about 2-10 pages. But I used to be more of a marathon writer with 8-12 days of up to 45 pages a day. I wrote book three in the Everville series in six days. Recently, I feel more comfortable with 3-4 weeks for a rough draft if that’s my sole focus. But I’ve tended to stretch that out over months to gather a more sustainable routine within life’s other constraints. I’ve always done more traveling recently (the current pandemic excluded) which aligns to a more moderate but consistent pace.
What do you like best about writing a story?
There is no one thing. But, I like leaving a legacy behind. I enjoy creating new worlds and exploring ideas that haven’t been fleshed out by other works of fiction.
What kind of impact do your stories have on you?
Writing encourages me to grow, pay attention, and listen. It forces me to consider reasons and motivation but also to question the effectiveness and validity of societal expectations and rules. I usually write more optimistic fiction, so my own stories can give me reasons to hope and make me feel like I’m leaving something constructive behind to positively impact other people.
How much inspiration do you draw on from real life experiences, with respect to plot, characters etc?
All of it. Every thought, experience, feeling, or emotion provides subconscious or explicit inspiration for every part of the story.
Finally, what message do you want to share with us readers?
I wish to inspire my readers and give them a glimmer of hope for a brighter future. It may not seem like it, especially in trying times, but the arc of humanity has moved towards greater tolerance, reduced poverty, less violence, and longer life spans. Expect this trend to continue. I’ve woven that belief in my writing.
So why write about time travel? Fiction is a great way to explore what could be and what might have been. Time travel in particular allows the writer to fix mistakes as an individual and as a society. Who hasn’t thought about changing something in the past? Why not take advantage of that?
And what about the future? Why not imagine seeing the future and steering it in a direction that benefits you? In essence, it’s the most direct way to blend the benefits of fiction with real human desires and emotions. It’s escapism combined with the ultimate reality check. It forces you to confront your demons and develop a solution to vanquish them.
Time travel takes on many flavors. Writers can use the paradox trope as a literary tool to show character growth, forcing them to face reality instead of fantasy. I generally don’t like the paradox because it takes some of the fun out of the genre, and there are other more intriguing options to show growth that is unique to time travel.
Lifting time travel constraints allows the writer to explore those human conditions that usually don’t get explored. It forces the writer to find compelling motivations and character growth to engage readers.
Depending on the mechanism of time travel, one unexplored prospect is immortality. Humans, and all creatures, are limited by a finite lifespan which provides a sense of urgency. What happens when that urgency is removed.
And what about power? They don’t call Doctor Who a Time Lord for nothing. If you were immortal and could manipulate time, what would you do? What would your story look like? This is mine.
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
I picked up this book after watching Season 1 of the TV show Outlander on Netflix. The series caught my attention and kept me hooked and yearning for more. Once my interest was piqued, I had to give the book a try more out of curiosity to see how close to the story the series was.
The story itself interested me to some extent. The concept of traveling back into the past and getting caught up in a time much different and more primitive compared to the one you live in is indeed an adventure. For Clarie however, it started off as a nightmare. The moment she stepped through the stones at Craigh na Dun, she found herself 200 years in the past, and in the sight of her husband’s ancestor, Captain Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall. Thus starts a story of discovery, love and friendship set in the time of the Jacobite rising. Armed with knowledge from the future, Claire is forced to bide her time until she can return to the stones and find her way home. In an ideal world, things should have worked out that way, but her encounter with Jack Randall also brings her in contact with Scottish Highlanders and Jamie Fraser.
What do you do when you have to marry a handsome highlander to save your life from the English soldiers? How do you reconcile with the fact that you are already married, 200 years in the future? Is it alright to make a life in the time where you are now? What do you do with the knowledge you have of the past when you end up in the past?
With the above questions arising, Claire is faced with a much bigger challenge, starting with acceptance from the Highlander Clans as well as the fact that she might not go back to see Frank. She is forced to accept her fate and in time falls in love with Jamie, thus further tearing her apart, torn between her vows to Frank and her current marriage to Jamie. Not one to be very superstitious or believe in magic, Claire finds herself in an unimaginable situation, where her skills as a nurse come into action to help.
A well-written story, this first book in the series will keep the reader hooked until the very end and leave them yearning for more. The characters are well crafted and wonderfully portrayed with the plot moving at a steady pace. It is possible to believe in love and magic and this is made more evident through the love that blossoms between Jamie and Claire as they understand and accept each other. The decisions Claire makes, and the path she takes, the people she meets, all seek to set the course of this story!
The book is well worth a read and the series is equally worth watching!
The widowed wife of a North Carolina plantation owner, Gabrielle awakens in this life with a broken heart and a sharpened spirit. Living in one of the darkest times in American history, she finds herself running a safe house for the underground railroad during the American Civil War. In order to save a life, Gabrielle must make a sacrifice that could damn her host for eternity. Everything’s different this time. The rules have changed, Morrigan has changed, and Arawn is more dangerous than ever. He has sent a hunter after Gabrielle and she has to use every ounce of her new powers if she is going to survive.
When jilted Sophie Bowen stumbles into a stone circle filled with fireflies, she wakes up in a very different place—and time.
Beaten down by Lincoln’s War and personal tragedy, Gabriel Merritt feels his life has become a lost cause.
In a post-war South still licking its wounds, Sophie and Gabriel struggle to understand the place they each find themselves in, while fighting a war of attraction.
And a mysterious twelve-year-old girl just might hold the key to it all.
I loved this story. It is a lovely romance novel filled with magic and the message that finding a soul mate knows no boundary of time. Sophie time travels from the future to the past at the exact moment that she wishes her life to be different. At the same time that she appears in the past, a 12 year old girl turns up by her side and they are found by Gabriel who is himself on the verge of ending his life. This is the period after the civil war and true to his time he is a strong believer in God and a follower of principles. Finding the two girls he takes them in going against the way of society and inviting a lot of criticism.
This story deals with how each character faces their troubled thoughts and learn to accept and realise who they really are. Sophie names the girl Angela and finds a kind of connection with her even though the girl refuses to speak. There is something mysterious about her which will cause the reader to keep questioning her existence until the very end. Through a lot of ups and downs, Sophie and Gabriel end up getting married as Gabriel says its the right thing to do since Sophie is living in his house. Eventually the two of them realise that they love each other but it takes Sophie travelling back to the future for them too truly realise how much their love has grown.
When Gabriel turns up in the future, it proves that love knows no boundaries of time. The truth about Angela is revealed eventually and will leave the reader shocked. A wonderful second book in the Tennessee Waltz series, this is as heart warming as the first. The reader will feel the pain and the love of each character through their journey of discovery and hats off to the author for making that possible.
The characters are well thought out and though not perfect, they are easy to relate to making the reader believe that they truly exist in the world created by the author. The author describes the setting and places with the right amount of detail making it easy to imagine it all.
This is a perfect book for all the romantics out there and for fans of the first book Kiss Me, I’m Irish.
Emily Musgrave is heading a direction she never wanted to go in Regency England–namely a convent to turn her from her waywardness. But it’s more loneliness than rebellion that motivates her to escape her certain fate.
Liam Jackson is going nowhere fast in modern-day Tennessee. Playing his Dobro in seedy bars and backward dives along with his fiddling sister, Tinker, is doing nothing for his music career–and even less for the dark places in his soul.
Pixie mischief can not only change time-lines, it can change hearts. Because sometimes a girl just needs a little magic in her life.
About the Author:
Living so close to Nashville has provoked Bella to take up fiddle lessons. Until her tunes no longer sound like amorous alley cats, she writes weird romance (which includes Gothic romance, science fiction romance, apocalypse, time travel, paranormal, fantasy romance–and possibly sasquatch).
This book is a Time Travel Romance. Emily Musgrave, the heroine of the story lives in Regency England, a period when the society was into art and architecture. Emily, a rule breaker to some extent is not happy where she is and when she is being sent off to the convent, she tries to escape thus falling into darkness and waking up to the modern day world. She is found by Tinker who fins her because of her love for all things sparkly and gold. Tinker is accompanied by her brother Liam who is a musician trying to make his way in the industry and get recognition.
Tinker and Liam take Emily in until she gets her bearings. The story then follows their journey from one place to another as Emily tries to cope with the truth of time travel and deal with adjusting to a modern day world. The focus then shifts to the chemistry between Liam and Emily and the feelings they develop for each other with Tinker playing the moderator.
As the story progresses however, we come to know some truths about Tinker and the reason for her being where she is. depicts the the relationship between the key characters and how Emily accepts her fate and supports Liam as she finds out about his past. The author beautifully This story is a lovely romantic novel and will touch the reader’s heart many times. It is a light pleasing read and will keep the reader smiling all through. With Emily’s attraction to Irishmen, the reader gets a good laugh and it is easy to sympathize with the characters. A reader’s belief in magic and love will be strengthened by reading this story.
I really enjoyed reading this book as it gave me a chance to unwind and enjoy a light read. I recommend this book for all romantic out there! It’s worth it.