Book Review: Tar by Taylor Hohulin

Tar by Taylor Hohulin

A Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (11/27/18)

Summary:

For as long as Brendan has been alive, there has been tar in the world. Tar infiltrated the world as an infection that took over the bodies of people who got too close to it. Tar attacks the body by hollowing out the insides and replacing blood with blight. There is no cure. Brendan has managed to survive as a salvager, trading his finds for a fitful night of rest in one of the converted hotels that offer safe shelter. The only protection from tar is to stay away from it and those infected, but as easy hauls dwindle in Brendan’s town of Newhaven he must venture to new places and take more risks. Brendan has never known a world without tar and he has become very good at avoiding it, until one day when another gang of salvagers bumps into him. That same day, Brendan runs into another stranger who believes that Brendan is the key to ridding the world of every last speck of tar. If Brendan believes this stranger and goes with him on this quest, would he be better off without a world of tar?

Keywords:

Cyberpunk, Evil, Tar, Post-Apocalyptic, Survival, Mistrust, City, Infection, Distance, Monsters, Avoidance, Salvage, Shelter, Ruin, Power

My Review:

Every book I’ve read by Taylor Hohulin is better than the last. The writing style sucks you into the first page. Being thrust into the middle of an action sequence keeps you reading past the first page. The world Hohulin has built keeps you reading through to the end of the first chapter. By then you are hooked and you haven’t even gotten to the good part yet.

The three main characters were fully developed and had such distinct personalities and backstories. They all felt so alive and real. Brendan does everything he can to stay alive down to the careful skepticism of every stranger, acquaintance and even friend. He doesn’t let down his guard. Almost all his actions are propelled by his strong will to survive. He is one of the most selfish people you will read about. Hohulin cleverly builds Brendan’s character throughout the book, showing us just how far he will go to survive and then puts Brendan into a position where he will have to make a difficult choice. Is there an alternative? Can Brendan make this kind of decision? As a reader, I was so hopelessly obsessed with Brendan and the way he approached the apocalyptic world he lives in, that I finished this book in less than two days.

I loved Krystal! She was the empathetic do-gooder who was easily taken advantage of, always looking for the good in people. And yet, years and years after the apocalypse, she still survives. She is the opposite of Brendan in so many ways and yet they are friends. She is smart and tech-savvy but also the voice of reason and humanity for Brendan. Will she be able to influence him enough that he can set aside his own will to survive and help others or will he finally prove to her that the world is a terrible place?

What is tar? It is more than a simple alien substance. It creates the worst monsters out of people. It is a substance that zombifies its host, but also sticks to inanimate objects, waiting for any victim to walk too close.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on 11/27/18 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Taylor Hohulin’s Website

Twitter

Goodreads

Book Review: The Watch & Wand: The difference between science and magic is a matter of perspective (Project Gene Assist Book 2) by Allie Potts

The Watch & Wand: The difference between science and magic is a matter of perspective (Project Gene Assist Book 2) by Allie Potts

A Science Fiction/Cyberpunk/Dystopian Novel published by Axil Hammer Publishing (12/5/17)

Summary:

A worldwide economic collapse has left society in shambles with only basic technology. Stephen is able to connect to what’s left of the grid to play a video game with a stranger. What’s left of tech is easy for Stephen to manipulate. It’s not enough to sneak off to play games online and Stephen longs for excitement. That’s exactly what he gets when he has to go to town to get parts. He meets a girl on the run from the new government enforcers – the Watch.

Keywords:

Genetic Engineering, Science and Technology, Rivals, Technology,  Future, Dystopian, Survival, Dark Ages, War, New Government, Towers, Grit, Magic, Evolution, Economic Collapse, New Order, Salvation, Friendship, Romance

My Review:

I was immediately immersed in this post-apocalyptic world. First the focus was just in Stephen’s barn as he connects with a stranger through an online video game. Then the world expands as we see Stephen’s home life “off-the-grid” on the farm. We don’t linger there long before Stephen is off to find parts to fix the grid and our world expands a bit more as we see what a typical town looks like. The world continues to expand as Stephen’s adventure continues and his problems increase.

Stephen was a great character. He underwent a significant change throughout the story. He was willing to take a chance on the strange girl and help her, not expecting anything in return. She, Bean, was also a character I immediately took a liking to in this story. She had many secrets and I liked the mystery that surrounded her. Stephen and Bean together made for a great team and the romance that built between them felt very natural and sweet. Their romance was not the focus of the story, which I appreciated. The story remained focused on Stephen and his goal and the overarching plot that kept sweeping Stephen up in its grasp.

The world felt full. The technology and world building were explained adequately. The only parts that was harder to understand and appreciate fully were the magical element, but I thought the author did a good job integrating the fantasy element into the story and the world.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this novel. This is my honest review.

This novel was published by Axil Hammer Publishing on 12/5/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Allie Potts’ Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: The Fair & Foul (Project Gene Assist Book 1) by Allie Potts

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The Fair & Foul (Project Gene Assist Book 1) by Allie Potts

A Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel published by Axil Hammer Publishing (11/4/15)

Summary:

Juliane is a PHD scientist who wants to change the world with her algorithms. Everything she loves in life centers around her work and being recognized for what she’s done. When her career is everything to her, will she be able to set aside her pride to continue working on collaborative projects where she won’t get the credit she’s due?

Keywords:

Cyberpunk, Genetic Engineering, Female Main Character, Science and Technology, Technological Advances, Body Modification, Evolution, Progress, Vision, Future, Workaholic, Lack of Empathy, Romance, Love, Lust

My Review:

This novel reminded me of the dangers of advancing too fast as a species with technology, like the story in the Mind Space Series by David Moore. The Fair and the Foul reminded me a lot of the Mind Space Series due to its time jumps in the story to show the breadth of the technological advances.

The ending was a bit abrupt, but I was so glad all the hints were fully explained. I wouldn’t have understood what was really going on without the big ending reveal.

The way the technology was referenced was a bit over my head, but I really enjoyed its grounding in real technology and the fact that the scientists seemed to really know what they were talking about.

What gripped me most about this book was the depth of the relationships between the characters and the complexity of these relationships. Juliane’s constant struggles as a top female scientist in a male-driven environment were fascinating and unfortunately very true.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

This novel was published by Axil Hammer Publishing on November 4th, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.50

Links for more information:

Allie Potts’ Website

Goodreads

Twitter