Blog Tour: Scorched Earth

by Kathleen McFall and Clark Hays
Publisher: Pumpjack Press
Pages: 318
Date of Publication: February 14th, 2021
Categories: Science Fiction / Hard Boiled Detective

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The year is 2188 and the Earth—long-ago abandoned for Mars by the plutocrats—is scorched by poverty, disease, and environmental collapse. What these wealthy elite don’t know is that on his last trip upuniverse, Detective Crucial Larsen stumbled onto a secret that could destroy them. But he doesn’t intend to use it. Fighting back against the ruling Five Families of Mars is a fool’s game destined for failure—or worse, he thinks. Plus, he never wants to set foot on that damn planet again. Then Melinda, his long-lost love and a staff scientist on Mars, begs for his help clearing her fiancée of a murder charge. Crucial jumps on the next q-rocket, hoping maybe this time he can patch things up with Mel. His investigation ultimately leads back to the radiation-blasted sunbelt, where cannibal lizard-people—a climate change mitigation genetic experiment gone terribly wrong—hold the key to a different future, if only Crucial can stay alive long enough to unlock it.

Praise for Scorched Earth:

“Others have attempted to blend the genres of an investigative detective piece with sci-fi, but few achieve such a seamless integration as do McFall and Hays … a compelling saga, edgy and different, thoroughly absorbing.” 

Midwest Book Review



Clark and Kathleen wrote their first book together in 1999 as a test for marriage. They passed.  Scorched Earth is their ninth co-authored book. Pumpjack Press  ║  Pumpjack Press on Facebook ║ Authors’ Facebook ║ Authors’ Instagram Connect with Kathleen Goodreads ║ Amazon ║ Facebook ║ Twitter Connect with Clark Goodreads ║ Amazon ║ Facebook ║ Twitter

BLOG TOUR: My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi

CoverGenre: Science Fiction/ Realistic Fiction

Shelf Location: Middle Grade

Rating: ★★★★★

This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Penguin Young Readers partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from the publisher, some quotes may have been changed prior to publishing.

Book Synopsis 

In the summer of 1984, 12-year-old Ebony-Grace Norfleet makes the trip from Huntsville, Alabama, to Harlem, where she’ll spend a few weeks with her father while her mother deals with some trouble that’s arisen for Ebony-Grace’s beloved grandfather, Jeremiah. Jeremiah Norfleet is a bit of a celebrity in Huntsville, where he was one of the first black engineers to integrate NASA two decades earlier. And ever since his granddaughter came to live with him when she was little, he’s nurtured her love of all things outer space and science fiction–especially Star Wars and Star Trek, both of which she’s watched dozens of time on Grandaddady’s Betamax machine. So even as Ebony-Grace struggled to make friends among her peers, she could always rely on her grandfather and the imaginary worlds they created together. In Harlem, however, she faces a whole new challenge. Harlem in 1984 is an exciting and terrifying place for a sheltered girl from Hunstville, and her first instinct is to retreat into her imagination. But soon 126th Street begins to reveal that it has more in common with her beloved sci-fi adventures than she ever thought possible, and by summer’s end, Ebony-Grace discovers that gritty and graffitied Harlem has a place for a girl whose eyes are always on the stars.


“Harlem Shuffle” by The Rolling Stone

“Welcome to New York” – Taylor Swift

“Hello Brooklyn”- Beastly Shuffle

“My Girl”- The Temptations

“Eye of the Tiger”- Survivor

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” – Cyndi Lauper

“Another One Bites the Dust”- Queen

“Never Gonna Give You Up”- Rick Astley

“Parents Just Don’t Understand “- Will Smith

Final Thoughts

Ebony is an imaginative twelve-year-old girl who is spending the summer away from her Grandfather. Her Grandfather is described as a person who started Ebony’s love for using imaginative space tales to handle situations she’s facing. Her Grandfather Jeremiah Norfleet is a famous African American who integrated NASA. Ebony must learn to adjust to the new culture associated with living in Harlem with her Father for the summer. Ebony’s imaginative personality has her friends in the area describing her as weird and quiet. Her once best friend, Bianca, is now a foreigner to her as they continue to argue over differences during her trip. Ebony’s fascination with space, her Grandfather, and Star Trek leave her labeled as an outcast. Will she learn to try to fit in for the summer, or will she continue to struggle with adjusting to the area? Will she break out of her shy shell for a bit to let someone other than her family?

This book is written in a way that combines the imaginative tales between a granddaughter and Grandfather. It showcases the special bond between the two. Jeremiah Norfleet facilitates an environment filled with an imagination that stays with Ebony even through her travels to New York City. I love the comic strips inserted into the novel. The images provide a visual view of the descriptive text. Ebony reminded me of myself when I was younger, but of course, growing up in the 90s was different than growing up in the 80s. However, I was raised by my grandmother, who was born in the 40s, which allowed for exposure to 80s culture. It is a challenge for someone to fit into an area where they feel they don’t belong regardless if members of their race live in that area. The more you read the novel, the more you understand the symbolism behind the title. I assume the ice cream sandwich is black on the outside but white on the inside. That is a standard description of the black community associated with someone who is deemed as being caucasian on the inside but looks black. The term is dubbed to anyone who doesn’t fit in, speak the same lingo, or like the same the music. I love that the author incorporates the challenges faced by African Americans in Harlem during that period and how she develops Julius, Ebony’s Father.

If you’re interested in reading a novel that highlights uniqueness, imagination, and focuses on an African American/Black family during the 80s in Harlem, then this is your book. I recommend this for all upper elementary and middle-grade youth.

Author Bio

bi Zoboi is the author of two novels for young adults, including Pride and American Street, a finalist for the National Book AwardShe holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely !

You pre-order  copies of this book from Penguin Random House

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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

24233708Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Science Fiction
Pages: Print 352
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Author: Hank Green 
Rating: ★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a printed copy that I purchased from Amazon. I also listened to an eAudiobook checked out from my local library using Libby by Overdrive. This review is no way tied to the library or the publisher. 

Goodreads Synopsis 

The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship–like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor–April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world–everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires–and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.

Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity, and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.

Favorite Quotes

“Basically, do your best to mock and deride their connection to and appreciation of you because, deep down, you dislike yourself enough that you cannot imagine anyone worthwhile actually wanting to be with you. I mean, if they like you, there must be something wrong with them, right?”

“Just because you can’t imagine something doesn’t mean you can’t do it.”

Final Thoughts

Let me start by saying that I loved all the books written by his brother John Green and only bought this book based on the assumption that he would be different. I usually don’t read a lot of science fiction books, but this one shook me to the core.

However, the book did start a bit slow and boring for me. It wasn’t until I started listening to the audiobook that it became interesting. There are so many complicated twists and turns in throughout the story, that there were points where I had to rewind and listen to a section again. The more I dived into the book, the more entertaining it became, and the more I started enjoying it. I liked the discussion of how people of today rely heavily on social media platforms to get news. The book is written as if the main character, April May, is telling her story from her perspective. April May tells her story to the reader by explaining every interaction between her and the Carl’s, every decision she made and even a bit of commentary of her choices, and a lot of self-reflection. It was a unique way to get into the mind of the main character and honestly watch her develop and understand her actions. April May is established as a sarcastic, self-obsessed, afraid, optimistic individual who later lets her selfishness consume her and the people around her. After her first encounter with Carl, she becomes the center of attention globally and her life changes dramatically. She now gets the attention she has always wanted, but in the wake of her being pushed into the media, she must decide how much she is willing to sacrifice for Carl. Throughout the remainder of the story, April May builds new friendships, new relationships, and a who community of enemies that could have an ulterior motive for her life. She also works hard to understand the purpose of the Carls, whether or not they are harmful, and whether or not she is special.

Hank Green did a phenomenal job with the writing of this book and the development of each character. The main character is developed as a strong female lead who has some serious identity issues but is seen as normal. The supporting characters each have their storylines developed around the main character without discrediting their worth in the plot. I enjoyed the humor, the relation to society today, and the discussion of the influence of social media. If you haven’t picked up this book, I highly recommend it.

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Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

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Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross by Marie Lu,, is a Young Adult Fantasy Fiction novel. The book focuses on the game Warcross with the main character, Emika Chen, serving as a Bounty Hunter. Emika Chen is tasked with the challenge of catching a “criminal” in a virtual reality game setting. The book begins with giving a background history on Emika Chen and how she started her career as a bounty hunter.
I was a little skeptical about this book prior to reading it. I noticed that it has been a popular book since the release this year. I absolutely loved this book. I loved the virtual reality, the romance, and the plot twist at the end. I did not expect that and I did not expect that cliff hanger. I am hoping for the best for Emika and Hideo. I am hoping their romance flourishes into something great but for now I will have to make assumptions. I see there will be a second book releasing for this series some time next year, I hope.
I give this book 5 out of 5 star rating! I recommend it for others interested in YA Fantasy.
*This image was taken from the following site: *