Review for Bootstrap’s Journey by Chris Johnson

Bootstrap’s Journey is a time travel science fiction book; it is set in 2042 and 2017. The main character is Anthony Nowlan, the inventor of a time travel device.
I love this book, my fantasising with time travel made this book appeal to me. Chris gave a lot of thought to the paradox of moving through time, and the way he presented it in the book was marvellous.
The book itself is quite short, which makes you be whisk away by the narrative. I enjoyed myself reading this book, as I nearly did it one sitting. The characters were well explored, and I hope there might be a sequel in the works.

5 out of 5!


Half Bound Release Day Blitz

Title: Half Bound (A Helheim Wolf Pack Tale)
Series: Half Blood Series #5
Author: Lauren Dawes
Publisher: Vixen Publishing
Date of Release: November 30, 2017
Genre: Dark urban fantasy/paranormal romance
Audience: Adult
Page Count: 288 pages
Format: e-book and paperback

An accident. An abduction. A choice.
Casey is no stranger to double standards. Her whole life has been filled with them, and as the only daughter of a werewolf alpha she has been fighting an uphill battle since birth. She’s determined to become an enforcer—a soldier for the pack—and even more determined to prove to everyone that she is more than capable of looking after herself…that is until she takes a phone call that could end not just her dreams, but also her life. She is faced with a decision that will not only test her loyalties, but also her own inner-strength.
Crippled by obsession. Resuscitated by love.
Broken and barely healed, Andrea has finally escaped the man who instead of loving, honoring and obeying her, beat, tortured and terrorized her. Uninterested in anything other than finding herself again, she is blindsided by Brax who holds the power to heal her shattered and distrusting heart. 
Half Bound is the electrifying conclusion to the Half Blood Series. 
Book Links
Screaming. High. Keening. Agonized.
Saxon recognized the emotions because he had had them too. He’d screamed until his throat was raw and his mouth was dry. He had suffered unbearable pain, blanketed over by drug-induced hallucinations or vivid dreams. He preferred the dreams to this reality he was now living in. Another scream. It caused him to grit his teeth.
The poor bastard.
It was probably just another one of Vivian’s attempted converts. He had heard enough drips of conversation about what she was doing here; she was biting people, trying to bring them through the Change, but what Saxon couldn’t figure out was, for what purpose? Was she trying to create her own pack?
A scream that chilled the marrow in his bones echoed through the walls. Another followed and Saxon stopped breathing completely. He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to clear the drug cloud fogging his brain. He recognized that voice.
Casey was here.
“No,” he rasped. He strained his neck, trying to turn around to look at the wall—as if there was suddenly a window he could look through to see her there. But there wouldn’t be a window. He would just have to use his imagination to come up with the ways she was being tortured. Hearing her distorted voice over the phone had given him hope even though he didn’t deserve it. That hope crumbled, though, when she’d agreed to come…
For him.
He’d had a lot of time to think about whatever this was between him and Casey. She was the most infuriating female he’d ever met. She was nothing like the refined woman he thought he would eventually settle down with. He didn’t think he’d get the privilege of getting mated to a female wolf. He would have been content with a human, but…then there was Casey.
Casey, who had blown into his life like a breath of fresh air. She challenged him, antagonized him, battled with him. And she was here now, protecting him when the roles should have been reversed. He couldn’t let her sacrifice herself. Despite the leaden feeling in his body, Saxon tried to break the ties on his wrists and ankles again. He struggled for a brief moment before fatigue took over. Whatever they’d been giving him, and whatever they continued to give him, was keeping him weak.
“I knew her mewling would rouse you.”
That voice, that vicious purring made Saxon’s blood pressure spike. He flared his nostrils, confirming it was only Vivian in the room with him. That meant…
“Kade is with her,” Vivian taunted. “He is with her and he is not being a very good host.”
About Lauren:
Born in South Africa and raised in Sydney, Lauren Dawes is an urban fantasy/paranormal romance writer and the author of the Dark Trilogy and the Half Blood Series. In 2009, she quit her full-time job teaching English as a Second Language to finally begin writing “that book”, letting her overactive imagination pour out onto the digital pages.
She currently lives with her husband and daughter in whatever city the army happens to posted them to.

Other titles by Lauren Dawes

Half Blood Series
Half Blood (Half Blood #1):
Half Truths (Half Blood #2):
Half Life (Half Blood #3):
Half Cast ((Half Blood #4):
Dark Trilogy

Dark Deceit (Dark Trilogy #1):

Dark Desire (Dark Trilogy #2):
Dark Devotion (Dark Trilogy #3):

Àodàlìyǎ, the land that never was.

To celebrate NAIDOC, I thought I would share a future story of mine. It is about an alternative world where the First Fleet didn’t happen, and now in this new empire of Àodàlìyǎ, the aboriginal people are the spiritual leaders of the nation.

This idea came to me why I was running a White Wolf game, Vampire the Masquerade. In this setting, you have a simple rule, only one vampire for every 100 thousand people. Which means having more than ten in a city in Australia, was strange and wrong.

So on the spot, I created a new Australia where in the book ‘1421 when China discovered the world’, they found Australia which was filled with our people. Instead of sending in armies or colonists, the Ming Dynasty saw the Aboriginal people as an enlightened race. Emperor Zhū Dì, Zhū Gāochì and Zhū Zhānjī send emissaries to Australia to learn of the Dreaming and the Culture of the people. This of course took many years, but eventually, leaders of then Native Aboriginals, came together to form a pact with the Ming Dynasty, where sharing of knowledge was the paramount agreement.

So over a hundred years, the Ming Dynasty traded with the new Council of Elders, and there was much travelling back and forth to mainland China and the shores of Àodàlìyǎ. Soon towns started to appear, and new concepts of agriculture and technology occurred but to appease the Council, it needed to be in alignment of the environment. Part of the landscape and honouring the land.

The formation of the Council of Elders, sent people to all walks of life in Àodàlìyǎ, more and more People came together to share knowledge and stories with others. By late 1500’s, all of Àodàlìyǎ was apart of the Council. Trade with the Māori and other island nations occurred, and the Council sent an invitation to the Māori Elders to join with them.

In the beginning 1600’s, the Dutch ‘discovered’ Àodàlìyǎ but didn’t find learn the fledgeling nation as they still looked at the mangroves of Northern Western Àodàlìyǎ. Due to the fall of the Ming dynasty in the late 1600’s many Ming nobles fled to Àodàlìyǎ to escape death in their homeland. There was no new contact with the new Shun Dynasty, as the pact made with the Ming and the because of the sanctuary is given to the old Dynasty. The integration of  Chinese, Aboriginal and Māori people was well under way in the late 1600’s and the beginning of 1700’s. The Council used the knowledge gained from the Ming Dynasty to create many cities and towns, Māori trained to protect the shores of Àodàlìyǎ (which now includes New Zealand), and due to the fall of the Ming, many Chinese people came to Àodàlìyǎ to find a new home. Soon they became citizens of Àodàlìyǎ and eventually became part of the Council.

The integration of  Chinese, Aboriginal and Māori people was well under way in the late 1600’s and the beginning of 1700’s. The Council used the knowledge gained from the Ming Dynasty to create many cities and towns, Māori trained to protect the shores of Àodàlìyǎ (which now includes New Zealand), and due to the fall of the Ming, Chinese came to Àodàlìyǎ to find a new home. Soon they became citizens of Àodàlìyǎ and eventually became part of the Council.

So now we move forward to Cook’s contact, which has changed. Cook landing on Àodàlìyǎ didn’t happen as our history tell us. Due to the contact with Ming China, the Council knew of the English and met with Cook and agreed with trade and contact with Àodàlìyǎ. Cook still saw a ‘primitive’ race, but he was deadly wrong.

Thus the First Fleet was boarded and captured by the Māori Defenders, and that goes into a whole new place.

There are still a lot of holes in this alternative history.

So that is my idea, there is more to it, but I think that is enough for people to digest.

To pick up Kayla: Genius head to these links,  AU Link, CA Link, US Link, UK Link

For Briana: Knight, just click these links,  AU|CA|US|UK


Flag of Àodàlìyǎ concept

Chapter One (New)


Here is the links to chapter two and three.

Journal entry one, Twenty-third of Harvest, 1007 FK.

Within two weeks I will be on the front line. Fighting an enemy that has powers beyond our imagination! It reminds me of something I read in school about the end of the Massacre of Magic, and the invasion of those Beasts and their shambling rotten minions! I would never have thought we would stumble upon those creatures from history in Greywalker Reach. How could the Earl and his soldiers miss this? Earl Feo has a lot to answer for! The bloody forts are just three days ride away!

Anyways, I’m beating a dead horse, or in this case, a dead Favinonian and dead people rising is just one of the problems I am dealing with.  I can’t believe the assassinations, the rebellion and all those weird-

Mela’s grace, I don’t have much time to write this, I cannot get distracted. 

I survived Greywalker Reach, I’m not sure if I will survive this war. But people need to know where it all started. That town, where I met my ‘family’, Lake Merrin.

Now we are heading to the war to end all wars. I regret so many things: Friends dying, losing the love of my life, and most of all, meeting that monster Zlata! After Greywalker, I know where she came from. Holy Saints of the Trinity save us.

The best thing to do is start when it all began, just two years ago, when I came to Lake Merrin. Back then I was a nobody, and all I cared about was money, women, and grog. Or was it grog, more grog and lots of grog, and paying for women? I was a wastrel. A scoundrel who only cared about himself and the next drink!

How things change. My story is one of change, just like Favinonia changed through the last two years. From when I signed up at the Hall in Lake Merrin; to catching that charter, to the uprising and finally to these horrific current events.

Should I start from when I first arrived in Lake Merrin? Or three months later when I finally got off my arse to sign up? By Jenell’s Book, I was lazy! Back to the start, where was that?

Oh yeah, having that quiet drink in that dingy inn, the Anvil and Musket on the docks of Lake Merrin…

What a beautiful day on Lake Merrin, that morning breeze from the shoreline is why I love this place. Except that the smells of the tavern downstairs can be a little on the nose.

Still, I don’t understand why the lake is named Lake Merrin as well. Was the town named after the lake or was the lake named after the city?

Who cares? Time for my liquid breakfast!

Now I just have to try and not wake up my ‘beautiful’ companion. She will just want me to spend more money on her. She can throw back grog even more than me.

Why did I choose this place? Black mould, greasy windows and cockroaches as big as my fist. That’s right. Two silver slips a week, can’t complain about the Anvil and Musket. What is a Musket anyway?

Gently closing the door, I stumble down those rotten steps, and there is something putrid in the air. It’s Bruce, I can smell from the stairway that enters the common room. His fragrance is like torture to my disturbed gut; a mixture of sweat, vomit and ale so old it’s rancid. At least he is working, not passed out in a booth. He is one of the reasons I need to drink my worries away.

There he is in all his morning glory behind the crack stone excuse for a bar. Patchy beard that looks like the hind end of a mangy dog, cauliflower ear and an apron so stained it looks more stain than apron. Ah, Bruce, you are such a sight.

“Greetings, good barkeep. Can I have your finest ale? Hold the roaches or rat droppings.” I hold back my laughter at myself, today I am the soul of wit!

He looks up at me, “Oh – it’s you. Your rent’s due!”

Pleased to see you too Bruce. “I know, I know. Um, can I make it up later today?”

“Do I have to get Malik to talk to you again?”

That son of a motherless goat! “No Bruce you do not! Here.” Two more notes gone! I need a job. “My ale?”

As I watch him with my cup in his hand about to pour my amber liquid, there is something moving in the glass.  Before I say anything, Bruce notices and just shakes it out. Jara’s Hammer that is so wrong.

I think it just ran into another glass…

“Can I have a cleaner glass, Bruce? It looked like two roaches were making babies in the bottom of it.” He reaches for the one that also has a shadow inside it, “Um, can it be that one.” I point out one, nowhere near the baby factories.

“Bloody stuck up white-back!” I love being a half-breed, I get so many nicknames. He grabs another glass. “Five coppers!”

Holding my glass of pure heaven on Amsul, then shoving his other hand in my face. What? So, if I had that other one, it would have cost me one copper?

Handing over a printed five copper note. “One thing Bruce, what is a musket?”

He smiles, a bit of last night’s food still stuck in his teeth and I get a gust of rancid breath. He pulls a weird weapon from beneath the counter. I assume it is a weapon, it’s a metal tube, connected to a club. He points the tube at me.

“Do you want to find out what it does too, or are you going to piss off?”

No idea why he’d point a tube at me when the club section of the weapon looks scarier. With Bruce’s oversized arms, my head would be cracked after one blow.

“Nope, I’m good!”

He puts the musket back under the bar as I walk away. I’m not sure what it does, and I don’t want to find out. Where to enjoy this weak-as-piss ale? Ah, next to my friendly neighbourhood drunk, Stinky Pete. Don’t know his real name as he seems to be asleep most of the time. But Stinky Pete is a great listener.

“Hey, Pete.” Sitting down in this booth, I can smell he has pissed himself again. Mela’s sacrifice he is in a bad way this morn. “Don’t need a hug today, we are the best of friends aren’t we?”

Pete’s reply is quite fragrant and so loud I can feel it through the soles of my boots. If it isn’t out one end, it is always the other.

“So, Pete, what should I do today?”

He coughs and burps for a change of tempo.

“Yeah, I know, a job. After spending five years in the army to gain my citizenship, those were some dark days. Every job I go for now is just some slack jaw job, I am better than this.” Quaffing my drink again. “Pete, my friend what am I going to do?”

He does take his time to answer, mouth flutters as he lets out a huge breath. “Well, my funds are not going to last me long, with pissing off Bruce all the time or dealing with Malik and the Dock boys.”

By his snoring, I know Pete understands.

“It’s the same thing every day. Find a labouring job to earn money, only to have it taken away by the Dock Boys. Bloody Malik and his butt-monkey Jimmy always find out when I have money.”

This conversation needs a drink. Ah, my amber brew! I nearly forgot about that.

“Oh, cause you know Pete, they demanded my money to pay back the last loan with interest. Then Malik in his element turns around and lends me money so I can survive. Not much I can do.”

I can see Pete is pondering my last statement.

“You are right, Pete! Unless you are a knight, in the military, or a registered Adventurer, the law isn’t always around to protect you. They are the only ones allowed to carry arms or wear armour. And then I don’t have to put up with their nonsense.”

Pete shifts slightly and lets out a fart even worse than the last one. I drown my nose in the sweet elixir of my ale. He finishes, and he should be proud of his eruption. By now my brew is finished.

“Pete, you have outdone yourself as well, shouting me a drink.” I grab his pouch off his belt, and there is one silver slip inside, enough for two more drinks.

“I’ll grab you one as well, Pete, don’t you worry!”

I’m glad to be moving back to the bar, allowing me some fresher air. I don’t call him Stinky Pete for nothing.

“Bruce, couple more ales!”

“Sure.” I think he said sure; there was an ‘s and e’ in his grunt.

I look forward to living in a proper place one day, maybe with a beautiful woman to cook me dinner.

“Thanks, Bruce, keep the change!”

It’s not like there is any – but it’s better to pretend he isn’t ripping me off. Pete is still sleeping, dropping his glass in front of him, I take a long draw of my ale. Even though I know he might not drink it, it was his money. Like always, the best thing for the morning, a good lukewarm brew!

As I drop my drink on the table, I spy my lady ‘friend’ coming down the stairs. She looks at me and waves. What is her name again? Cin or Bel? Damn it.

“Hey there, handsome.” She grabs Pete’s ale and has a long swig. “I woke up, and you weren’t there.”

Cin or Bel? She is staring at me. “Sorry, love, I wanted to come down and have some breakfast,” Shaking my half empty cup. “Have I told you lately how beautiful you are?”

Well, it is a stretch, with her acne and scabby skin but she is cheap and warm. I think she is blushing, but I can’t tell.

“You are embarrassing me.”

“It is part of my charm,” As she walks off to her ‘pimp’ Bruce, I smack her on her arse. Turning back to Pete. “Sorry about that Pete, I will get you another drink later. So, what were we talking about?”

Pete lets out a loud snore. “Oh yes, thanks, Pete. The Watch is out of the question, and I am never going back to the army. So, I could head west to the City States, join a mercenary band like my ‘dad’ was a part of. But again, that is too close to army and those encounters I had with rogue groups.”

I can see Pete is uncomfortable about this, me too. “So, the Mercenary band is out, City Watch is out, Army is out, so Pete what is left?” He ‘shrugs’, I think. “That means there is only one option, join the knighthood!”

Standing up brandishing my cup like a sword. I laugh. Pete ‘laughs’. “Yeah, could you imagine that, me being part of the Duke’s Shields? Bloody Jara, they are some stuck up prigs.”

The creaky front door swings open, Bruce needs to oil that. And for Jara’s Hammer, it is a Dock Boy. It is the rat-faced one, not sure what his name is, but he is always in that huge group that corners me. If we were one on one— “Ah, it seems that it is time for me to go, Pete,” Ratty sneers at me and forcefully flings the door open and runs out.

“You are right Pete; the only answer is becoming an Adventurer. I guess I’m off to the Hall.”

Jara, Mela, Jenell, what horrible timing for the Dock boys to be looking for me. I thought I would be not seeing them all week. They have been thick as thieves with that rogue charter, Fellowship of the Sword. I hate that group, ex-Duke’s Shield. Helmut and his thugs, love killing people for fun and money. Especially that brute Roth with his oversized meat cleaver. I don’t want to be on either gang’s list.

Running up those rotten stairs into my room, I might duck out through the secret back exit. I’m glad that there is a back door, I shouldn’t be caught by the Boys.

Looking around my room, what do I need? My peace-bound sword is a definite, my armour vest; my Jack, a must if I run into some more Dock Boys. Some knives and done. Feel like I am missing something. Oh yeah, where is my slip pouch of savings? That’s right in with my dirty underwear, glad I have the foresight to hide money. No-one will look there.

Taking a deep breath, I open my door a crack to see if anyone is in the corridor. Good, it’s empty. Only twenty steps and I am out that back door.

Out the second level and more subtle exit, strange that I am using it for avoiding the Dock Boys instead of being a wife or loved one worrying that their husband is cheating on them.

Heading down the even-more-rotten back steps, making sure to miss the exposed rusted nails and other disease-ridden objects. The last thing I want is to be heading to the Medical-shrine to have some Green treat me. I stop in my tracks and think. How am I going to make it to the Hall?

If I can make it to Route Street, avoiding Fish and Dock as that is their territory, I will be free and clear. In my mind’s eye, I know there are three back-alley ways from the Anvil to Route Street. That should be easy.

Now should I duck over to the other side of Route to more alleys so I avoid the morning crowds, or would it to be better to blend in?

Blending will be better, just have to make it to that fantastic busy morning traffic. Down the steps, and there is the first turn.

I am glad of my scouting experience from the Army. Otherwise I wouldn’t have noticed the heavy breathing. Who is in this next alley? I take a quick look. A Dock Boy, a brute of a half-breed, he must have some dwarf in him. His dark, heavy beard and pointed ears are a dead giveaway.

What to do? Bold is best in this, he might just be waiting for someone else. “Hey, what are you doing here? Doesn’t Malik have you lot on the docks every morning?”

He turns to me and bunches his shoulder, if he bunched anymore, he’ll rip his shirt. “Oi, you stay right here.”

He starts sauntering toward me. Drawing my dagger from my back sheath, I hold it in my fist. He grabs me, my first instinct is to stab him but I squash that thought, and I smash him across the face with the pommel instead. As he drops to the ground, I step around him and run.

Only rat-face and that brutish truth-spawn have seen me, only one more lane and I’m blending into that morning crowd. The second alley is clear, maybe I should have killed him. No time to worry about that.

And of course, caught up with my own thoughts there is another gang member. “You  .”

He goes for a grab but my training kicks in, and I twist towards him so I would have a clear shot to knee his ‘Jara’s Hammers’.

He drops to the ground clutching at his groin. I am nearly home free, Route is just a stone throws away.

As I peek out, I see only carts, fish, market goods, fishmongers, labourers and dock workers. A crowd is the best place to blend.

Just moving out of the alley way I hear someone call out. “There he is, Malik!”

Of course, someone is pointing me out. Why do they have such a hard on for me today? I owe the Dock Boys less than others.

As the crowd parts, I see that son of a thankless mother, Malik! Thank you so much, faceless mob.