#BookReview: The City of Mirrors

by Justin Cronin

About the book:

In life I was a scientist called Fanning.

Then, in a jungle in Bolivia, I died.

I died, and then I was brought back to life… 

Prompted by a voice that lives in her blood, the fearsome warrior known as Alicia of Blades is drawn towards to one of the great cities of The Time Before. The ruined city of New York. Ruined but not empty. For this is the final refuge of Zero, the first and last of The Twelve. The one who must be destroyed if mankind is to have a future.

What she finds is not what she’s expecting. 

A journey into the past.

To find out how it all began.

And an opponent at once deadlier and more human than she could ever have imagined.

My Review:

The City of Mirrors is the final book in the trilogy The Passage.

In the second book, the twelve were felled, and this changed the outcome for mankind. Or so they thought. Zero was still out there somewhere. He is the one who must be destroyed if mankind is to have a future.

All I can say is that this third and final book in the series didn’t disappoint, and the finale is not what I expected. Even though each book stands at around 700 to 800 pages, the author outdoes himself with fresh material at every turn. While these three tales make for epic reading, I cannot recommend this trilogy or the author highly enough. I rate The City of Mirrors a solid five stars. Go out and buy this series. I’ll be looking out for more books by Justin Cronin.

***

NOTE ON RATINGS:  I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!  — Highly Recommended.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.

3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read.  Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it. 

2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.

1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

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When You Can’t Find Your Past Participle

Check out my post about finding the right past participle (not as painful as it sounds!) over on Story Empire >>>

 

Hello SErs. Happy Wednesday. Harmony here 🙂 While writing my current book, Exodus, I ran into a little difficulty … well, it felt more like a brick wall, lol. What tripped me up well and tru…

Source: When You Can’t Find Your Past Participle

Book Review: Red Eyes in The Darkness by D L Finn #TuesdayBookShare

A great book review for Red Eyes in the Darkness by D L Finn over at Joan Hall’s place … I just bought my copy >>>

 

Hey everyone. A couple of weeks ago on Story Empire, Craig posted about the length of stories and our short attention spans. (If you haven’t read that post, click here.) While I still love to…

Source: Book Review: Red Eyes in The Darkness by D L Finn #TuesdayBookShare

September Book Reviews @WendyJayneScott @Sandra_Cox @BalroopShado @bakeandwrite @StephenBentley8 @MrAlldredge @SpotInMyHeart @WAKENOVELLA @kay_castaneda @BauerJ1138 @bookishaly @llkane2152 @harmony_kent

Some great book reviews here, including one for my latest …Fallout! Check them out over at Denise’s place >>>

 

 

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  FALLOUT by Harmony Kent “Fallout” is a post-apocalyptic story that left me thinking and then rethinking again. Set in space where humans settle after the earth becomes uninhabitable, a virus…

Source: September Book Reviews @WendyJayneScott @Sandra_Cox @BalroopShado @bakeandwrite @StephenBentley8 @MrAlldredge @SpotInMyHeart @WAKENOVELLA @kay_castaneda @BauerJ1138 @bookishaly @llkane2152 @harmony_kent

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – The Red Dress by Abbie Johnson Taylor

 

An inspiring author over at Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore >>>

A welcome to Abbie Johnson Taylor to the Cafe and Bookstore. Abbie has featured here on the blog for Sunday Interview, and it is a pleasure to add her books to the Cafe. Her latest release in July …

Source: Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – The Red Dress by Abbie Johnson Taylor

#BookReview: Swamp Ghosts

by Marcia Meara

About the book:

Wildlife photographer Gunnar Wolfe looked like the kind of guy every man wanted to be and every woman just plain wanted, and the St. Johns River of central Florida drew him like a magnet. EcoTour boat owner Maggie Devlin knew all the river’s secrets, including the deadliest ones found in the swamps. But neither Maggie nor Gunn was prepared for the danger that would come after them on two legs. 
On a quest to make history photographing the rarest birds of them all, Gunnar hires the fiery, no-nonsense Maggie to canoe him into the most remote wetland areas in the state. He was unprepared for how much he would enjoy both the trips and Maggie’s company. He soon realizes he wants more than she’s prepared to give, but before he can win her over, they make a grisly discovery that changes everything, and turns the quiet little town of Riverbend upside down. A serial killer is on the prowl among them. 

My Review:

4.5 Stars

I loved this book and read it in one sitting. The author obviously knows and loves Florida and its wildlife, and she portrays all of that wonderfully in Swamp Ghosts, the first book in the Riverbend series.

The main character is Maggie Devlin, who is one tough cookie. After a violent and abusive marraige, she vows off men, but then–8 years later–a ‘big, dumb Viking’ shows up, and everything’s up for grabs. All of the cast play a role and all are three-dimensional and well developed. 

While I sussed out who the killer was fairly early on, it didn’t spoil the read for me. If anything, it enhanced it, as I could see how much danger the other characters were in around this monster in their midst.

The only thing that let this read down for me was the end. The main denouement came far too early, and I felt that the final chapters were drawn out, and I grew impatient with it. Even though the book is listed as Romance/Suspense, I felt that the gripping resolution could have been closer to the close of the tale. Hence the loss of the half a star. Otherwise, this book is a great read that I couldn’t put down.

The book is well formatted, and the narrative pretty clean of errors. All in all, I would highly recommend this author, and I look forward to reading the next two books in the Riverbend Series. So, a solid 4.5 stars from me.

***

NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.
4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it. 
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines. 
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

Purchase Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Jane Risdon, D.G. Kaye and Balroop Singh

Three books with three great reviews. Check them out over at …

Welcome to the second of this week’s Cafe and Bookstore updates with recent reviews for some of the authors on the shelves. The first review is for Jane Risdon.. Undercover: Crime Shorts her …

Source: Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Jane Risdon, D.G. Kaye and Balroop Singh

Week In Review

A Ghost Tour and Writing Links over at Joan Hall’s place today >>>

 

Hey y’all. Time for another Week in Review. This week’s photo is one I took a few years ago. In November 2015, my husband and I visited Vicksburg, Mississippi. We both like history, par…

Source: Week In Review

#BookReview: The Lying Room

by Nikki French

About the book:

*** THE BRAND NEW STANDALONE NOVEL FROM THE MASTER OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SUSPENSE ***
The Lying Room reasserts Nicci French as the master of duplicity, suspense and sleight of hand’ Sam Baker

Neve Connolly looks down at a murdered man.
She doesn’t call the police. 

‘You know, it’s funny,’ Detective Inspector Hitching said. ‘Whoever I see, they keep saying, talk to Neve Connolly, she’ll know. She’s the one people talk to, she’s the one people confide in.’
A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things.
She has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate. She is only human, after all.
But now one mistake is spiralling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger.
She can’t tell the truth. So how far is she prepared  to go to protect those she loves?
And who does she really know? And who can she trust?
A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things.
Could she be a murderer? 

The Author Tried

My Review:

Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster UK for this ARC of The Lying Room.

I so looked forward to reading this author. Until I read the first few lines. That was enough to let me know this would be an arduous read. While some sentences begin with a capital letter, the majority do not. The same with proper nouns-most of the names are all lower case. For a trad pub, I’m shocked. This is basic writing and should be taken care of well before it gets put out for review.

So, pushing on and forcefully ignoring all of that, I soon grew bored, and then almost comatose. I’m sorry, but I don’t need a book full of what food folks eat, nor do I need all the other minutae of life. Along with the vast amount of over description, the character ruminates a lot. Not much of it seems that relevant to the plot. Also, new information is dropped in, seemingly apropos of nothing, and this feels like I’ve missed half the story or something.

All in all, if I hadn’t committed to reading and reviewing this free advanced review copy, it would now be sitting on my DNF shelf. I can’t express how disappointed I feel. It gets one star, because, you know, I have to give it something. I usually try and finish any review on a positive note, so here goes … I love the cover and the title!

***

NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.
4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it. 
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines. 
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

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The Gate

A great review for a great book … Staci Troilo’s sci-fi The Gate is getting some love over on Kevin Cooper’s blog >>>

Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs – he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously. Until an alien arma…

Source: The Gate

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – Order No.227. From Stalin With Love by Marina Osipova

This short read looks so awesome, I just bought my copy! Check it out now >>>

 

Delighted to add another book to her shelf in the bookstore. A novella – Order No.227. From Stalin With Love by Marina Osipova About the book “It is necessary to defend each position, each me…

Source: Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – Order No.227. From Stalin With Love by Marina Osipova

#BookReview: Olive Again

by Elizabeth Strout

About the book:

Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire moments of transcendent grace.

My Review:

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books (UK) for this ARC of Olive Again.

This is a collection of short stories based around an old lady known as Olive Kitterage, some more loosely connected than others. I haven’t read the first volume, Olive Kitterage, and I don’t feel this is a pre-requisite for reading this second volume as the two stand alone well.

The first 25% of the book seemed to jump around at random and cover unrelated characters. Only after the first quarter did it start to gel more for me. Most of the stories after that had an obvious link to Olive, but a couple still felt tenuous at best.

Some of the narrative suffers from head hopping, and at times, I had to go back and read a section again to try and grasp which character’s POV we had jumped into.

A few of the stories seemed disconnected and more like vignette slice-of-life type tales with no real beginning, middle, or end.

Some of my favourites were: Heart–well rounded and shows personal growth for Olive.

The End of the Civil Ward Days–all about reconciliation.

The Poet–Soul searching for old-aged Olive.

All in all, a poignant collection of tales ideal for those times when you don’t have a lot of leisure to sit and read a novel. Easy reading and some of the stories will touch your heart.

Olive Again gets a firm 3 stars from me.

***

NOTE ON RATINGS:  I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!  — Highly Recommended.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.

3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read.  Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it. 

2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.

1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

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Keeping Up to Date

It’s often the simple ideas which are the best … check out Joan Hall’s great post on how to keep yourself straight while writing a novel over on Story Empire >>>

Hi, SE Readers. Joan with you today. In recent weeks, Staci has shared some of the tools she uses when plotting a new novel. I’m more of a panster rather than a plotter, but there is one tool I’ve …

Source: Keeping Up to Date

#BookReview: The Twelve

by Justin Cronin

About the Book:

In his internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed novel The Passage, Justin Cronin constructed an unforgettable world transformed by a government experiment gone horribly wrong. Now the scope widens and the intensity deepens as the epic story surges forward with The Twelve.

In the present day, as the man-made apocalypse unfolds, three strangers navigate the chaos. Lila, a doctor and an expectant mother, is so shattered by the spread of violence and infection that she continues to plan for her child’s arrival even as society dissolves around her. Kittridge, known to the world as “Last Stand in Denver,” has been forced to flee his stronghold and is now on the road, dodging the infected, armed but alone and well aware that a tank of gas will get him only so far. April is a teenager fighting to guide her little brother safely through a landscape of death and ruin. These three will learn that they have not been fully abandoned—and that in connection lies hope, even on the darkest of nights.

One hundred years in the future, Amy and the others fight on for humankind’s salvation…unaware that the rules have changed. The enemy has evolved, and a dark new order has arisen with a vision of the future infinitely more horrifying than man’s extinction. If the Twelve are to fall, one of those united to vanquish them will have to pay the ultimate price.

My Review:

I loved The Passage, book one in this epic trilogy, but I adored book two, The Twelve.
Though the story covers various timelines and many characters, the whole thing is woven together skilfully and seemlessly.
The narrative is superbly executed and is a work of art. I especially loved the narrative tension between Lila and Grey. The way the author portrayed their interactions is fantastic. By this point in the story, Lila has lost her mind (little wonder!), and Grey tries to navigate the morass and minefield of her confusion and delusion. So many times while I read, I found myself exclaiming, ‘wow’. And then there are the one-liners such as this: ‘The song didn’t end so much as turn a corner an fall down.’ I love the imagery and descriptive writing that fills the pages.
As soon as I finished The Twelve, I got up and grabbed the final book in the series, City of Mirrors, and I’m loving every page of it so far. I cannot recommened Justin Cronin and his The Passage trilogy highly enough, and The Twelve gets a solid five stars from me.

***

NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.
4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it. 
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines. 
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

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Book Review ~ Swamp Ghosts by Marcia Meara #TuesdayBookBlog

A great book review for Marcia Meara’s Swamp Ghosts over on Joan Hall’s blog. I have three of the Riverben books waiting for me to get around to reading them, and now I’m even keener to get started >>>

Hey y’all. It’s time for another Tuesday Book Share. I’ve been able to wheedle down my TBR list in the past few weeks. One of the books I read was Marcia Meara’s Swamp Ghosts, the first of her Rive…

Source: Book Review ~ Swamp Ghosts by Marcia Meara #TuesdayBookBlog

Keep a Lid on It with #Scrivener

A useful post on managing projects in Scrivener over on Story Empire >>>

Keep track of a project at any time can be difficult. If your not able to do so things can become a monstrous mess that can consume the good intentions behind your goals. The same is true of managi…

Source: Keep a Lid on It with #Scrivener

The long and short of it

A great post positing the question of what’s best, long or short? Check it out on Story Empire >>>

 

Hi gang, Craig with you again today. I’ve been pondering word counts lately. There are multiple reasons, both personally and from a marketing standpoint. On a personal basis, I tend to write short.…

Source: The long and short of it

Book Review: Black Crow Speaks @FrederickAnder2 #shortstories

A fantastic review for an author I’ve not come across before now, over at Mae Clair’s place today >>> (I’m off to buy my copy now, it looks so good)

 

In my post yesterday, I mentioned having read a third book last week but not having the time to write a proper review. Black Crow Speaks is a book I have been patiently waiting —okay, not so patien…

Source: Book Review: Black Crow Speaks @FrederickAnder2 #shortstories

A Different Take on Manuscript Analysis

Check out this post on Pitch meetings and how these funny videos can help you in your writing and revision over at Story Empire >>>

Ciao, amici! When my turn rolls around to post at Story Empire, I almost always tell you how I do something or how the industry does it: dialogue, media kits, story bibles, basic plots… I usu…

Source: A Different Take on Manuscript Analysis

#ShareAReviewDay Tuesday – Unknown Reasons by Joan Hall

A great review for Joan Hall’s Unknown Reasons over at Marcia Meara’s place today >>>

Happy Tuesday, Everybody! This morning, we are getting the ball rolling with an excellent review of Unknown Reasons: Driscoll Lake Book Two, by Joan Hall. I know you’ll enjoy it and be glad t…

Source: #ShareAReviewDay Tuesday – Unknown Reasons by Joan Hall

How to Get Universal

In case you missed this … check out how to get universal book links (and why you need them) over on Story Empire >>>

 

Hello SErs, Harmony here 🙂 A while ago, I tried using universal links to take interested folks to my books’ sales pages … the links didn’t work. So, I gave it up as a bad job. Re…

Source: How to Get Universal

#BookReview: The Family

by Louise Jensen

About the Book:

The latest psychological thriller from master story-teller, Louise Jensen, will leave you breathless.

COULD ONE MOTHER’S MISTAKE COST HER DAUGHTER EVERYTHING?

Laura is devastated when her husband dies, leaving her and their almost grown-up daughter, Tilly, alone. When the insurance company refuses to pay out, Laura is in danger of losing the house and has no choice but to seek help from elsewhere.

Oak Leaf Farm, a community that lives just outside of town, seems to be everything that Laura and Tilly need, so when this self-made family offer Laura the lifeline she’s been looking for she gratefully accepts.

But all is not right on the farm and when both Laura and Tilly are drawn to the community’s handsome and charismatic leader, mother and daughter find themselves on opposite sides of the battle lines…

My Review:

Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for a free ARC of this book.

The Family brings us the sudden death of a husband. An argument with the inlaws. A widow and her daughter left alone and in financial difficulty. Then enters Saffron and Alex, who offer Laura and Tilly shelter at a local farm turned kind-of-cult. As if things weren’t bad enough already, they soon take a turn for the worse.

I love good psychological thrillers with plenty of twists and turns and familial betrayal. Somehow, this book offered all that but failed to fully deliver. Many of the thrilling bits ended up feeling like ‘the boy who cried wolf’, in that they never ended up being what you’d been led to believe. Read that scenario enough times, and you find yourself not reacting anymore. Add to that lots of typos and miswritten sentences, and the whole thing starts to feel frustrating. As this is an advanced review copy, I have to let a lot of the technical issues go in the hope they will be rectified before publication.

The narrative jumped between Laura and Tilly for the most part, with the odd visit to Alex’s head. I didn’t find myself connecting with or caring for any of the characters. I never got to know them well enough to invest in them. Everyone remained vague and not all there for me.

Finally, the end was so unsatisfying and left way too open. Also, the sheer number of coincidences felt too far-fetched and unbelieveable. Large parts of the book did keep my interest, however, so this has left me feeling somewhat ambivalent while writing my review.

I’ve given it two stars, because it wasn’t an awful read. Some parts were quite good. On the other hand, I didn’t love it either. So, two stars it is (see my review notes below).


NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.
4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

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Confessions and Questions

It’s confessions and questions time over at Story Empire today >>>

 

Hi Gang, Craig here again. I decided to park the Expansion Packs for a while. Writing posts here is kind of like dowsing, in that I really don’t know what our readers might want. There is a certain…

Source: Confessions and Questions

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Jeanine Lunsford, Marcia Meara, Judy Penz Sheluk

Three authors to check out over at Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore >>>

Welcome to the second of the update posts this week for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore. The first author is Jeanine Lunsford for her book Remembering First Love (The Rivera Sisters Series Book O…

Source: Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Jeanine Lunsford, Marcia Meara, Judy Penz Sheluk

Week in Review

 

More great writing-related links this Friday over on Joan Hall’s blog >>>

Hey, Y’all. It’s Friday again. (Yeah!) That means it’s time for another weekly wrap up. I’m changing the format a little this week. Since I decided to add a Thursday Thoughts post…

Source: Week in Review

Friday Writing Question: Who?

An interesting question and a thought-provoking post over on Story Empire today >>>

 

Hey SE Readers. Joan with you today. It’s time for another writing question. All of us have people who have impacted our lives. Most of the time, we think of people who have had a positive influenc…

Source: Friday Writing Question: Who?

Friday Finds #writetips #humor #qotd

Check out Staci Troilo’s Friday post, which has lots of great writing-related links >>>

 

Ciao, amici! How was your week? Mine was a little bumpy, but that seems to be the case for many of my friends. Like my grandma would say, there must be something in the water. I hope your week was …

Source: Friday Finds #writetips #humor #qotd

Housework won’t kill you, but why take a chance?

Check out a few funny memes over on thestoryreadingape’s blog … I’m definitely that one in the kitchen, lol >>>

Reblogged on WordPress.com

Source: Housework won’t kill you, but why take a chance?

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – Misleading, Misdirection and minding your own business, and more one liners…

 

These are so hilarious, I even emailed the link to hubby, lol … well worth a look over at Sally’s place today >>>

Now time for those one liners.. as usual please place your groans rated 1-10 in the comments! Love may be blind but marriage is a real eye-opener. If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidenc…

Source: Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – Misleading, Misdirection and minding your own business, and more one liners…

Sci-Fi Thursday: AATIP

Great post today … do you believe Aliens exist? >>>

 

Ciao, amici. This is the last of the new blog features. Since I’m writing science fiction, I thought it was only right to talk about it. Today, my inaugural topic is the Advanced Aerospace Th…

Source: Sci-Fi Thursday: AATIP

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