by R.J. Furness
Published by Createspace on October 16th 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy
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Ideal for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent!!
"Settle in for daring leads, vicious enemies, and an immersive world. Intriguing twists unfold a well-paced tale of survival and the age-old question, who can you trust?" Emily R. King - Author of The Hundredth Queen Series
R.J. Furness brings you his debut novel, and the first in the DISSENT series. RENEGADES is here!
The Great Freeze changed everything…
“Ellie loved riding the orgo. She had often dreamt about it since being a small child. Now that her father wasn’t around to voice his opinions, she finally could. Twenty years had been a long time to wait.”
Centuries from now, during a new ice age, only three human colonies are known to exist. Scorr Tanta, the first city, is vast and resourceful, whereas Eklips is more desolate. Ellie, on the other hand, works in Port Harmony; a harbour town. As an apprentice orgo-keeper, the only highlight is getting to ride the animals that she cares for. Then, a chance skirmish at the market draws her closer to Haylee and her friends, and everything begins to change. Desperate to join them, Ellie has heard many tales about Haylee and her group of renowned warriors. What she doesn’t know, is how much danger follows them. Ellie is soon tugged into a much different world than she had first assumed. A world built on dissent, and filled with secrets.
‘The story has me gripped and wanting more. I can’t believe I have to wait for the next installments!’
'Thrilling, enthralling and immersive. Dive into a world you won't want to wake up from.'
Dissent Renegades is a novel by author R. J. Furness. The story takes place on Earth- though many years into the future after most of the planet froze over- and follows Ellie- an undercover warden from Scorr Tanta who poses as a caretaker for Orgos (a large creature that can be ridden like a horse, though reminds me of a smaller version of a long-neck dinosaur). During Ellie’s time as an apprentice for an older gentleman named Cedric, Ellie bonds with one of the orgos named Sage. It is also during this mission in Port Harmony that Ellie meets a young man named Evan, a market trader. And while Evan is easy on the eyes, fair mannered, and steady- his sister Haylee hold all the qualities of a fearless leader- strong, dependable, passionate, and loyal. Her followers- Tik, Ditto, and Morrigan are the perfect reflection of her attributes as a leader with their unwavering faith in her, and steadfast loyalty.
This futuristic, post ice-age world is broken into different colonies- Port Harmony, Scorr Tanta, Eklips, and the caves. Dissent Renegades takes you through most of this terrain- which I absolutely loved, as I enjoy a good story that provides an imaginative setting. These different locations also provided an opportunity to bring different characters into the story. The mix of characters was refreshing- for example, this wasn’t a story that focuses strictly on good vs. evil- one set of “good” guys fighting one set of “bad” guys. We were able to see the good, the bad, and the murkiness in between. Rada- the cold, domineering ruler of Scorr Tanta constantly tries to exercise her power and control over her people. She operates behind this veil of strength and competency- though these machinations are really a bid for complete dominion (which Ellie begins to see beyond, thank goodness). Then there’s Kayden, another ruler with a sick appetite for controlling people by making them slaves- and punishing them severely when he sees fit to do so. Finally, Ermine is a warden operating with fierce indignation, anger, and cruelty.
My favorite part of this story? The fact that there really aren’t too many “damsels in distress” who need the guy to come swooping in to save them. On the contrary, the females in this story hold their own and often do all the saving. Ellie is naturally curious, fearless, and begins to see beyond all the lies she was raised believing. She proves her loyalty to Haylee on more than one occasion by saving her life. Though, I suspect Haylee would have managed to make it through some of those situations had she had more time to think of a plan of escape. Haylee knows how to hold her own in a fight and remains strong and confident even in the face of insurmountable odds. Her desire to care for and protect the Elrupe (a different species of beings) also made her a favorite of mine. Ditto also saves the life of a slave girl named Pandra and pays a price that still makes my heart ache to think of it. Also- Pandra with a mace…eh, not something you’re going to want to be on the receiving end of. And Morrigan is fiery and loyal as well. All things considered, the females of this story really carried the true strength and power needed to succeed (sorry Evan and Tik!). And Widget? This little guy cracked me up (seriously though, I need a widget in my life).
The dash of something brewing sweet and beautiful between Ellie and Evan was the perfect little cherry on top of a story that was brimming with adventure and intrigue! Dissent Renegades was an exciting adventure filled with imaginative creatures, breathtaking settings, nail-biting action, and unforgettable experiences! I can’t wait to see where the next adventure takes these characters! And thank goodness for a good story that involves STRONG female protagonists!
FIVE STARS for Dissent Renegades!
Eye of the Colossus
Publication date: April 19th 2018
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction, Steampunk
The City of Jade Spires, the biggest in the 6-moons, is a breathtaking symbol of hope and unity for the four races. But it’s also a hub of corruption. Holly Drake is proof of that. Fresh out of prison for a mistake framed to look like cold murder, she’s broke, jobless, and branded with a prison record.
When she lands a gig stealing back the Eye of the Colossus jewels, the chance for a big payout means she won’t have to depend on anyone else. She’s never had that kind of freedom. She’ll do it. Even if the work is only a shade lighter than outright crime.
But soon she finds herself pursued by thugs from the Shadow Coalition, an underworld government that wants her dead. Pulling off the heist without getting killed means putting trust in recruits she hardly knows. The clock is ticking to get the jewels, but a mistake now could be fatal. Chasing across the 6-moons to complete the job will test her grit and determination to succeed when everything is stacked against her. More than that, finding out just what secrets the 6-moons hold will either turn her into the hero the moon system needs, or destroy her…
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I’m passionate about human rights, animal rights, and living life with no regrets. I love how becoming a parent has deepened my devotion to making the world a better place. I do that best by crafting stories that attempt to answer hard questions–the ones I think about most–while also being entertaining and fun. I live in a landscape that reminds me of my place in the universe, under an endless sky and towering mountains that are older than human memory, and I love it here.
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To Discover a Divine
by Tessa McFionn
Published by Fiery Seas Publishing on March 20, 2018
Genres: Sci-Fi Romance
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When Kahlym cal Jhuen, freedom-fighting leader of the Chandar Stria, breaks into a prison ship controlled by the Rimmarian Thrall, he only expected to rescue two of his crew. But when he discovers a terrified female during his escape, he is immediately captivated by her unique beauty and makes a snap decision to take her with him. However, his good deed backfires when he learns he has stolen the Thrall Emperor’s prize.
Down to her last dollar, Evainne Wagner expected nothing out of the ordinary when she stepped out of her Boston apartment. Instead, she found herself in the middle of an intergalactic firefight, complete with strange soldiers with deadly weapons pointed directly at her. Salvation arrives in the nick of time in the form of a mysterious leather-clad warrior, skidding in and whisking her away. Trusting her heart, she follows, hoping to find answers as well as a way home.
Safely on board his ship, he learns more about her and her rare skills, triggering the memory of a half-forgotten prophecy spoken at the time of his cursed birth. Outcast because of a cruel twist of fate, he finds unexpected acceptance, even affection, from his new passenger.
Could she be the one who holds the future of his people, as well as his own heart, in her tender hands?
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Excerpt from CHAPTER FIVE
The heart beneath her ear beat with a strong and even tattoo. She couldn’t remember the last time anyone held her like this and she wanted the moment to last just a little longer. A couple stuttered breaths later, and she was as ready as she was going to be, given the circumstances.
“Sorry about that,” she muttered. She attempted another deep inhale, cringing at the stinging pain and silently berating her lame words. Not that it makes any difference. He can’t understand you anyway.
“Why should you need to apologize?” The melodic and heavily accented voice that poured over her skin took her by complete surprise. Her eyes flew open, and she tightened her grip on his warm arms, relying on his sheer physicality to anchor her into reality. “You have done nothing wrong. Except perhaps not letting me know the extent of your injuries sooner. Are you all right?”
Swallowing hard, she gave a slow nod as her brain fired on more than two cylinders. Was he speaking English now? Her brow furrowed as she kickstarted her tongue, giving voice to her foremost thought. “Why can I understand you now?”
“It was only a matter of adjusting the universal communication unit to include the speech patterns of your world. As long as you remain on board, you will be able to speak with anyone on my crew.”
She sniffled, hoping her voice didn’t sound as breathy and weak to him, her mind struggling over his overly wordy explanation. “Oh-kay.”
“It appears I have taken you by—”
Out of the corner of her eye, she spied cautious movement, leaning away as she reached out to capture his approaching hand. She swallowed back the last of her tears as she carefully studied the anatomy of an alien.
She repeated the word over and over to herself as she touched his brushed-copper skin. His five fingers were longer than hers, the nails a Goth’s delight: black and slightly curled into points. She didn’t want to think about claws, but her body didn’t mind thinking about how those tips might tease when dragged lightly across her back. She explored the back of his hand, tracing the length of his fingers and following the lines of his buried bony skeletal frame before she turned it over. His palm was smooth, not etched with furrows and valleys as hers. She laid her open hand against his, her pale skin appearing almost translucent and nearly childlike as it rested atop his mammoth metallic palm.
His size, the sheer physical presence of him, centered her somehow, opening her mind to accept the reality of her current trip down the rabbit hole.
“This is real, isn’t it?”
Review Of To Discover A Divine
To Discover a Divine is the first novel in the Rise of the Stria series by author Tessa McFionn. The story follows Evainne Wagner- a young woman barely getting by in Boston with her pet goldfish, and Kahlym cal Jhuen- a freedom fighting extraterrestrial in a galaxy far from our own. Evainne literally steps into another galaxy one day while leaving her apartment and ends up smack dab in the middle of a prison ship. Naturally, this doesn’t turn out to well for her. Believing she is in a dream, Evainne rationalizes the action going on around her and ends up saving the life of a mysterious man who, in turn, helps her escape the ship.
It is during this escape that Evainne suffers a near-fatal injury that leaves her helpless and relying on the good intentions of captain Kahylym (her savior) and his equally intriguing and magnanimous crew. However, when she shockingly heals herself with a mental technique she learned during her tumultuous childhood, Kahlym and the others realize she is far more than merely human- and her presence on the prison ship was no coincidence. As Evainne comes to grips with her newfound and exacerbated talent, she also struggles with her burgeoning attraction and feelings toward the enigmatic captain. Kahlym also finds himself ambivalent when confronted with his own feelings toward Evainne and how he wishes to proceed with this knowledge. Unfortunately, a betrayal sends Evainne and Kahlym on a harrowing adventure in the galaxy as they try to keep Evainne and her newly discovered talents out of the hands of their enemy- the Thrall emperor.
The characters in To Discover a Divine were fascinating to me. Evainne’s childhood was far from happy- though this gave her an opportunity to make connections that will later serve to assist her in her travels beyond this galaxy. I imagine it takes a lot of mental and emotional fortitude to suddenly find yourself thrust from one galaxy to another and then have to find a way to keep yourself from being the pawn of a political game. In addition to this, she was able to handle her feelings and attraction towards Kahlym surprisingly well. She didn’t dwell too long on the fact that Kahlym looks differently than normal human men and that he holds a high position on an alien planet. Kalym cal Jhuen was also delightfully layered. His childhood was also devoid of love and joy (except for those precious moments provided by his two older brothers). This lack of affection and the cold machinations of his parents eventually forced Kahlym to leave and join a band of freedom fighters of the Stria who operate outside the control of the Thrall. Kahlym’s instant attraction to Evainne and his constant struggle to control his more passionate advances were charming.
And the chemistry between Evainne and Kahlym? Well…it was sizzling hot! I was shipping their relationship so hard! They were basically the epitome of the perfect couple (minus the whole growing up in different galaxies and being slightly different species part) with their ability to think creatively, fight flawlessly, and protect others they care about. To Discover a Divine was a fast-paced, passionate, sizzling, and thrilling adventure that made me want to climb inside it and be a part of it all! And I’m not going to lie…Kahlym makes me want to find a tall, golden extraterrestrial man for myself! *sigh*
One last thing: I do wish to learn the fate of Evainne’s goldfish at some point. Since she was snatched from Earth, who is going to discover her absence and take care of the fish? I guess it doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things- it was just something I was wondering about.
Happy Reading! And FIVE stars for To Discover a Divine!
About the Author:
Tessa McFionn is a very native Californian and has called Southern California home for most of her life, growing up in San Diego and attending college in Northern California and Orange County, only to return to San Diego to work as a teacher. Insatiably curious and imaginative, she loves to learn and discover, making her wicked knowledge of trivial facts an unwelcomed guest at many Trivial Pursuit boards.
When not writing, she can be found at the movies or at Disneyland with her husband, as well as family, friends or anyone who wants to play at the Happiest Place on Earth. She also finds her artistic soul fed through her passions for theatre, dance and music.
A proud parent of far too many high school seniors and two still living house plants, she also enjoys hockey, reading and playing Words With Friends to keep her vocabulary sharp. She is currently the treasurer of the San Diego chapter of Romance Writers of America and loves spending time working with such amazingly intelligent and creative writers.
I get asked quite often which I prefer- Indie authors, self-published authors, or traditionally published authors?
And the answer is this…I love them all!! No matter the path the author chose to take to get their novel out into the world, I am going to check their novel out if it sounds and/or looks intriguing. With the technologically advanced world we live in, it is easier than ever to peruse authors from all publishing backgrounds. In fact, I found some of my favorite self-published and Indie authors right on social media! I swear, Twitter and Facebook have me pegged- the powers-to-be on these social media platforms know just the right advertisements to toss into my newsfeed- books. From all types of authors. I’m going to be honest- I NEVER scroll past a book advertisement. NEVER. That’s considered sacrilege in my world.
And the best part about loving novels from Indie authors, self-published authors, and traditional publishers?
I have MORE books to choose from! I’m not limited to just one subset of novels. I’ve perused the shelves at Barnes and Noble, Mr. Paperback, Borders, and Book-a-Million and have, on occasion, walked away frustrated because they didn’t rotate their stock- I have already seen everything there is to see there. So, I’ll jump onto Amazon, Goodreads, and my social media sites and start digging- and bingo! I “walk” away with a treasure trove of novels I want to read- with a majority of them being from Indie and self-published authors.
I also get asked- Are Indie and self-published authors as good as traditionally published authors?
And the answer is YES! Yes, yes, yes. A million times yes! I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been blown away by a novel written by an Indie or self-published author! For example, just recently I read a novel titled Beyond the Wicked Willow: Chronicles of a Teenage Witchslayer by M.J. Rocissono (see my review here). I have always been a fan of young adult adventure/fantasy stories. In fact, back in grade school my future was based around which magical house I would join at Hogwarts and whether or not I wanted to be an auror and fight Death Eaters or work at the Ministry of Magic- as you can probably guess, I was a HUGE Harry Potter fan. And while I never received my acceptance letter to Hogwarts, I still find time to satisfy my thirst for action and adventure by losing myself in novels such as Beyond the Wicked Willow. The author weaved a story that was JUST as engaging to me as Harry Potter, and the writing was beautifully done. There is also the Dissent Renegades by R.J. Furness (stay tuned for my review!), a novel I’m currently reading and unable to pull myself out of (well, just long enough to write this post). Dissent Renegades satisfies my thirst for action, adventure, strong and relatable characters, and phenomenal writing!
Beyond The Wicked Willow by M.J. Rocissono
dissent: Renegades by R.J. Furness
I am just as likely to pick up a book by nationally acclaimed Veronica Roth (the author of the Divergent trilogy who is traditionally published) as I am novels written by some of my favorite Indie and self-published authors. So, for me, as long as the story is well-written, has an engaging and feasible plot, and has well-developed characters, then it doesn’t matter how it was published.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Do you shy away from Self-Published or Indie authors, or do you dive right in? I’d love to know what you think!