e-Pocalypse: The Digital Dystopia is Coming by Steve Bellinger

e-Pocalypse: The Digital Dystopia is Coming by Steve Bellinger
Publisher: Wordwooze Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (169 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Matty Williams’ retirement as a computer tech goes awry when he and his girlfriend Divvie discover that new social technologies are subtly affecting the minds of their users. As they delve deeper into the technological marvels revolutionizing the lives of virtually everyone on the planet, they are set on a course that leads directly back to their employer, Roydon Technologies.

Now there’s the latest gadget, augmented reality glasses known as “Augies,” that can literally recreate reality for the user, all controlled by the ruthlessly efficient global computer system with the deceptively reassuring name of NANA.
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Will Matty, Divvie, and their super geek friend, Howard, save humanity from a life of programmed subservience, or will their attempt to thwart NANA result in something even worse?

Technology can be a double-edged sword.

Matty was a complex and fascinating protagonist. There were times when I wondered if he’d ever move past his deep-seated distrust of new technology and social media, but his rants about those topics did make sense when viewed in the context of his backstory. I liked the fact that his occasional surliness in these areas was so well explained. It gave his personality a lot of depth and made me wonder what would happen to him next no matter how far I read into his tale.

Sometimes I struggled to keep up with the large cast of characters. Part of the issue was due to how quickly many of them were introduced in the first few scenes. Another piece of the puzzle had to do with how often characters were introduced with only a few details about them as individuals. As much as I otherwise enjoyed reading this book, having a clearer understanding of who all of these folks would have bumped it up to a full five-star rating.

The pacing was well done. At first I found it a little slow to be honest, but I rapidly changed my mind about that once I realized how many subtle hints were embedded into the plot about what was really going on with the Augies and all of the hidden messages in the various forms of technology in this universe. This is something that should be read slowly and carefully. It expects readers to put in a certain amount of effort into piecing the clues together regardless of what does or doesn’t seem to be happening in the storyline. I was quite pleased with how Mr. Bellinger pieced everything together here so seamlessly.

e-Pocalypse: The Digital Dystopia is Coming should be read by anyone who likes reading about technology and the ways it can be misused.

Angel by the Bed by Pam Farley

Angel by the Bed by Pam Farley
Publisher: Wordwooze Publishing
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (87 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

There is a saying that all true love ends with tragedy, but it was not that way for Dan and Gabby.
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Gabby and Dan’s short-lived affair cannot be forgotten, not even after Dan’s
death in the trenches at Gallipoli.

He chooses to become Gabby’s guardian angel to be close to her. After more than ten years, the Fates who rule Heaven have other plans for him. They assign him a task to befriend Gabby’s husband, Doctor Tom Harrington, and encourage his work on a new vaccine.

Dan is thrown into a chaotic life which tests more than his soul. His battle-damaged body is one hurdle that Tom helps him to overcome, but no one, not in Heaven or on earth, can stop him from loving Gabby.

A moving love story where the man goes off to war leaving his beloved to wait for him – but he doesn’t come back. It’s interesting that the story is told by the ghost of Dan. He acts as a guardian angel to Gabby, the woman he loved in life. He’s quite happy with this and watches Gabby marry and have children. Then his role is changed as he is asked to keep the husband Tom on track to research and develop a vaccine for whooping cough. To do this Dan must return to life in the body he had when he died. The torn apart, badly damaged body of a man who died in the war.

This is an unusual love story spanning several decades. Many of the minor characters play an important part in Dan and Gabby’s life the second time around. I found the plot to be very well thought out and it intrigued me as to how the story would end. There were a lot of suggestions and no real answers until the final few pages. Good book with a lovely storyline.