Okay, I normally don't do this kind of posts but Curiosity Quills Press is one of my favourite publishers and I really enjoy reviewing their books. That's why I thought I might know some people who would also enjoy it.
They are now hosting an event to gain more reviewers in their mailing lists, and as a reward for just signing up you'll get three books of choice from their ebook catalogue. If you would PM me and allow me to tell them I sent you there, I also get three books (which be nice as I really like their books).
I did a quick check of my reading stats this year and so far this year I've read 29 of their books. That's almost 14% of what I've read this year!
I think they publish around 10 books a month, in all kinds of different genres. I've been on their reviewers list for a while now and I generally receive two emails a month (which I'm usually even looking forward to): one announcing new books that can be requested for review, and one invitation to join on one or more blog tours. What I really like is that you don't have to enter anything and it's just fine not to participate if you're busy or don't think you'll like the books.
Some of the books eventually make it up to Netgalley, but I noticed many do not.
Every time I mailed with the staff they have been really friendly, and even writing a negative review for a blog tour (I once wrote a two star review on a book that just wasn't for me and the response I got was just 'too bad, these things happen, hope you enjoy your next book better') is not a problem (which is something I find really important and which is why I'm really hesitant to enter other blog tours).
You can find more information on this event here.
As I'm sure a lot of my bookish friends will agree with me: we have all thought at least at some point 'what if the world was more like the one in a certain book'. Well, the Actuator makes exactly that happen. The so-called Machine Monks feed the machine with their favourite genre-ideas and the Actuator makes it happen. For some reason this is highly secretive military invention (I'd say it would work wonderful in theme-parks as well). But what if security fails and 20-something Machine Monks are feeding the machine at the same time? One moment you're just a Key Hunter, the next you're battling Orcs and the base's Commander has turned into a dragon.
I liked it. It had a very fresh idea and besides, since it focuses a lot on books and genres (and the tropes as well) I didn't feel like it could go wrong. The world is fractured into a lot of different regions, which are all modelled after someone's favourite genre. So, the base is a medieval epic fantasy world but since they need to recover everyone's key (to shut down their part of the simulation) there's an almost unlimited variety of genres possible in the book. Which was something I really liked. The border are strict and everything that's taken from one region to the other morphs into something to fit the genre as best as possible.
In what other book can you find dragons, space opera, vampires, steampunk and pirates without it feeling too crowded? It was a lot of fun, even though not everything added up for me. Why isn't everyone's key just at the base? How do they know exactly what everyone's key is? Also, at a certain point during reading it started to get a bit repetitive as there seemed to be a pattern as soon as they entered a new region. But all in all, I liked it more than I expected and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
Fractured Earth is the first book in the Actuator series, the second book is called The Return of the Saboteur (Review to follow). There's also an anthology with short stories from the different regions called Borderlands.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
*Book source ~ A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Red McLauren is a Key Hunter and when he’s told to escort a group of Machine Monks out to survey some rocks when The Actuator is getting ready to fire up an event he’s uneasy. Something feels off and when the event happens and everything goes haywire he ends up being a leader even if he doesn’t feel like one. Someone has sabotaged the dampeners and the entire world has changed and not for the better. Eighteen confirmed Machine Monks created pockets of alternate realities and four more unconfirmed means the world is in chaos and people are dying by the millions, possibly by the billions. Those from the base are the only ones who know what happened and they need to put the world back before humanity is wiped out. A task easier stated than done.
I can’t recall having read a book that has a machine that can alter reality in the physical sense. I mean, completely change the world into whatever reality parameters the person has selected. The Machine Monks are addicted to the Actuator and get a high from when it substitutes reality for their own. Each Monk has a favorite genre, be it horror, steampunk, historical romance, paranormal, fantasy, sci-fi, etc, so when they feed 20 or so fantasies into the Actuator and the dampeners (which restrict the change to a small testing area) fail those fantasies become realities all over the world. It’s chaos and death. The thought of having to find the keys in each reality in order to change it back exhausted me and I wasn’t even one of the people doing the rescuing. :D
Well-written and fast moving the story made me feel as if I was really there. The characters are great even the ones I wanted to bash over the head, but I have to say that I love Red best. There’s something about a reluctant hero, one who never really thought it would come down to him that I really like and Red is very likeable. The multiple POVs really help with the vast scope of the story and make the experience just that more rich. The thought of the world being carved into different sections of fantasies made real just boggles my mind. It got me thinking…if I was a Machine Monk, what would my slice of the world be like? Uh, oh…I have a feeling it would be a very naughty world indeed. *fans self* All-in-all a solid sci-fi adventure.