Inevitable Ascension (Inevitable Ascension #1) by V.K. McAllister

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5 Stars:  Life in Eden

Rapid fire delivery is what I describe husband and wife duo Andrew & Sasha McAllister's Sci-Fi novel Inevitable Ascension (Inevitable Ascension #1). Dystopian novels grow on trees; I tend to skip them but give me characters that I can invest my reading time, with a world that is tough as nails, also I need characters that I can connect with, the duo team of Andrew & Sasha delivered a YA Fantasy book with enough of everything.

Inevitable Ascension embarks on the adventures of Violina and Lux. Witty banter, a heist, eccentric pop up characters, weapons, political intrigue, and just enough world-building of "Eden" that doesn't slow down the reading with unnecessary information, a hook into the world of Eden will bring back the reader for more adventures. Inevitable Ascension plays with the theme of humanity's true self of greed, violence, the relationship with nature, and the will to survive. Violina and Lux face a mission to save "Eden" from the second sun exploding, a heavy burden but Violina and Lux make a great pair to face this end game. Andrew & Sasha know how to handle the plot device of time travel to fit their novel, well balanced in their storytelling.

Andrew & Sasha McAllister's book is a solid YA Fantasy book maybe they will grow this series and see it's potential or perhaps a graphic novel. Violina and Lux are well written enough to help us immerse ourselves in this steampunk world.

 

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3Essays on Imagereality by Scott Navicky

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5 Stars: Obsession with Imagereality

Lately, I have been focusing on my perspective, how do I perceive art, photographs, entertainment, social movements, and looking for fulfillment in my isolated self-imposed exile from America. 3Essays on Imagereality by Scott Navicky caught my attention, to push myself in reading something I would have passed by, but I get drowned in Science Fiction request that when something that will drive my intellect, I now take that risk of regretting time spending in reading something outside my comfort zone. Scott Navicky pushed me to better my perspective with his witty writing, structure, as I kept pondering my interpretations of art, have I been dismissive at times in not seeing their true meaning? Nick writes "to be forever chasing means never to experience fulfillment; Understanding imagereality means understanding how to find fulfillment in unfulfillment." 3Essays on Imagereality has me wanting to forever be on the chase of appreciating art and life.

3Essays on Imagereality is greatly served by following the thoughts and philosophy of Ghost "chasing" Imagereality, an overthinker that gives the book essential layers for the reader to deconstruct going from Nietzche to pop culture references, and witty musing on the offbeats of life. Ghost is out their perceiving images, making connections in meaning from his perspective, perspective isn't right or wrong; we often confused that with purpose when it comes to art. I don't perceive Ghost as a failure, boozehound maybe but Ghost's obsession with imagereality makes him a scholar that is worth reading.

Scott Navicky had my brain go into overtime, highlighting parts of the book I need to read up on, I will add 3Essays on Imagereality paperback to my collection. It is an amusing and witty 5 Star outing for Scott.

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Some Picnic! by Ian Robinson ( with little help from Athena)

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4 Stars: Horizon Gourmet Picnics of KwaZulu-Natal

Here's to living well or a reader's chance to know lifestyles beyond their borders in Some Picnic! by Ian Robinson. In the very remote places of South Africa, Ian and his supportive wife Athena takes us on a journey of fine dining, starting a business, the do's and don'ts of gourmet picnics, delicious recipes, cultural experience with the people of KwaZulu-Natal, and the art of living well.

Ian Robinson is a man with a plan life experience allows Ian to write a fountain of information that one could take and apply it if they are inclined to open a business. Chapters on dealing with banks and loans, wholesale, the going rate on buying handmade picnic baskets from a group of local woman, and marketing, I walked away with a brief education and dream of opening up my cozy cafe in China. I must say I want the same determination as Ian Robinson and hopefully also have a smart wife like Athena, within the pages of business talk Ian manages to write words of love for Athena, and paragraphs of living good which is not an accessible or attainable goal for everyone, but worth the attempt. Ian takes us briefly to his childhood and being a money saver having this lesson on saving money in a piggy bank is an example of good discipline for children shaping them to be successful when they are older. Ian and Athena Robinson's Horizons Gourmet Picnics is a family affair with their children helping out again giving valuable life lessons to children sets them up to find the sweet life. The good nature outlook of Ian and planning does pay off for him, but it is not a book on living vicariously ( you can), but we too can take what he knows and go for it.

Ian touches on some history of South Africa and the beauty. I wish he would have expanded on it more but in fairness, authors show us what they want and if I want to know more, get myself on a plane and see the beauty of South Africa and eat all of the gourmet food so lovely written in this book.

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Beyond the Spiral Gates by Mutch Katsonga

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“Children that thirst for compassion and love! The forgotten dried up well in which they cast their buckets... is the well of loneliness! The love for which they thirst is no more than a lost dream! The well of loneliness is wet with their tears and heavy dark clouds steal the limelight from their stars each night!”

5 Stars: "Prison is no Fairytale."

With A Bastard's Indie Book Review I carefully select books I want to read and from the description and sometimes the cover I like to anticipate that I will end up enjoying the book and writing a review. Reviews are essential for all authors out there trying to tell the world about their book, their insights on life, education with entertainment, whisking you away to another life, the more you relate, the more real it is to you. Beyond the Spiral Gates by Mutch Katsonga is the book that I relate to, as the narrator tells his truth a coming of age that reads more like a war journal but for boys. I say relatable because I saw glimpses of this institutionalized world with its foundation called foster care from my own life and what I shared in "Life of a Bastard" and from those that were left behind on "the battlefield," so many friends gone and lost forever, institutionalized.

Beyond the Spiral Gates's truly traumatized narrator reflects his life in Wicksfield, an institution for criminal boys, the writing will keep the reader invested in finding out what is this place. A reader could be naive that a situation like this could exist, but as Morgan Freeman once said "prison is no fairytale," knowing that I was once on that road of ending up in such a cold and loveless place unfit to reform, Wicksfield is all too real. The fast-paced and gripping narrative of Beyond the Spiral Gates adds to my appreciation that my coming of age didn't embark a prison stop. For the narrator, escaping Wicksfield and his religious tormentor's is the only logical answer from coping with isolation, exorcism, brutal abuse, and most likely a sad and lonely death. What about the dangerous criminal "boys"? The problem with our society is how do we properly reform "boys" when we have in the past created inhuman institutions run by sadists usual under the guise of GOD and country. Trust me I had a small taste of sadism in my coming of age, and from that, I never view it as reforming for the better, but a way to make a Frankenstein. The narrator's escape's plan becomes the battlefield with fellow soldiers, dangerous woods, hunting dogs, feverish guards waiting to get their hands on those who dare to flee from a house of horrors.

Mutch Katsonga explores human nature, spirituality, morality, and what kicked me in the heart is the betrayal that narrator felt a shared experience where you end up on the edge of insanity and eventually hitting rock bottom. I want a book to make me feel emotionally invested, angry, hopeful, and sometimes a sinister joy of the sadist or bullies getting theirs. I highly recommend Beyond the Spiral Gates by Mutch Katsonga as a significant and fresh coming of age story.

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Paper Sons: A Memoir by Dickson Lam

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5 Stars: Dropping Raw Science

Oh, how I like memoirs to be raw... Some people have nothing to say or share something relatable to your life, you close those books and forget about it I won't forget the realness of 'Paper Sons: A Memoir by Dickson Lam". Pages upon pages smacking me with the struggles of someone I don't know but want to know because I share that want of writing what is real without filters to protect the lies and memories that may hurt those involved. We can wallow in our pain and past, but perspective is far more therapeutic, meaning take a look at someone else's American experience compare and contrast to your own life. After reading ask yourself did that person successfully overcome or succumb to their past, either way, you can walk away with valuable lessons.

Dickson Lam opens up with the death of his student Javon King he writes with such earnest, and I felt the loss as I turned the page Dickson begins to share things that I feel I haven't heard too many Asian Americans share their thoughts or family history of the ugly side of the American experience. We don't learn about the lynching of Asian Americans during the gold rush, but we know that every group that has ever immigrated to America ended up being exploited with the bonus of good ol' American violence. Dickson drops the science on living in the projects, Mao, Malcolm X and the culture of exclusion. The fully developed characters that Lam writes paints a picture of love-hate within his family it's all a struggle to be someone when you start out with a bad hand, but memoirs have to show the ugly, the darkness, the abuse because we get exposed to knowledge of self and how to get past the past.

I feel that Dickson's book reads like a journal rich with thoughts and mazes of dysfunction and realism that inspires for truth and understanding that we share in life more than we think.

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