Bookish Giveaway & Review: War of the Worlds: Retaliation by Mark Gardner & John J. Rust

Scroll to the bottom for the giveaway!

Narrator: Samuel E. Hoke III

Publisher: Article94 (2017)

Length: 7 hours 38 minutes

Gardner’s Page ~ Rust’s Page

Starting in 1898 with the final throws of the Martian invasion, humanity is at a breaking point. However, the human bacteria prove deadly to the Martians and on mass, they die, leaving their advanced technology for the humans to scavenge. Skipping ahead to 1924, the world leaders have decided it’s time to take the fight to Mars and a massive invasion is launched.

I’m a fan of HG Wells’s works, including the original War of the Worlds. So of course I was thrilled to dive into a novel that told a story of what humans did afterwards. How does a failed Martian invasion change the course of humanity’s history? Gardner and Rust give a decent answer to that question.

I think this book would have extra interest to those who have studied WWI. There’s plenty of European and North American names to recognize in this novel such as Charles de Gaulle, Rommel, George Patton, and so on. You don’t have to be particularly knowledgeable about any of these historical figures to enjoy their characters in this tale. I was a bit surprised that the Asian countries weren’t represented at all. Also, since it was a world wide Martian invasion in 1898, I was initially hopeful to see how that great leap in tech affected many of the countries in Africa and South America. Alas, those continents are barely mentioned.

There’s plenty of great tech in this tale. First, I really enjoyed that some tested and true war machines of WWI were in this book, like the Fokker airplanes. There’s also some brand new vehicles made especially for the Martian invasion. However, I did notice that the physics of Mars was skimmed over when it came to actual battles.

Now, let me get out my little polished soap box. There is exactly 1 female character (Nurse Hill) in this entire book and she doesn’t appear until the last hour of the story and she isn’t plot relevant at all. There’s a few other ladies mentioned as wives or mothers. This pains me. Here we are in this fascinating science fiction novel that’s essentially about the survival of the species, and the women aren’t present. Sigh…

OK, so moving on. I loved that we got a look into Martian society through the Martian characters. Their society is suffering from stagnation and the inability for their leaders to admit that there’s a real threat coming from Earth. I really enjoyed watching the various Martians struggle with this.

The pacing of the story is good with strategy, reflection, and action all well intermingled. I never suffered from battle fatigue nor did I feel that the story bogged down here or there. As an aside, I liked that Hitler was receiving psychiatric help and was an exceptionally minor character in this book.

I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobook Worm.

The Narration: Samuel Hoke was a very good fit for this story. He performed several different accents as needed and was consistent with them throughout the story. Each character was distinct. 

What I Liked: We’re invading Mars!; fun technology; we get the Martian viewpoints; several historical figures make appearances; a worthy ending.

What I Disliked: Almost no women; Africa, Asia, and South America are barely mentioned; physics of Mars is skimmed over.

Check out more reviews on the blog tour.

About Author Mark Gardner:

Mark Gardner is a US NAVY veteran. He lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degree in Computer Systems and Applications, and is the Chief Operator for an Arizona radio group.

Website ~ GoodReads ~ Twitter

About Author John J. Rust:

John J. Rust was born in New Jersey. He studied broadcasting and journalism at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey and the College of Mount St. Vincent in New York. He moved to Arizona in 1996, where he works as the Sports Director for an Arizona radio group.

Facebook ~ GoodReads ~ Twitter

Synopsis of War of the Worlds: Retaliation:

1898: Martian tripods lay waste to Earth’s cities. The world’s armies are unable to stem the tide of destruction. When all hope appears lost, common bacteria kills the alien invaders. From the ashes, the human race uses the technology left behind by the Martians to build new, advanced weapons.

1924: Armed with their own spaceships, tripods, and jet fighters, the nations of the world are ready to take the fight to Mars. George Patton, Erwin Rommel, Charles de Gaulle, and Georgy Zhukov lead their troops in battle across the red planet to end the alien menace once and for all. But the Martians have one last, desperate plan to try, and if successful, it could mean the end for all humanity.

Audible ~ Amazon

About Narrator Samuel Hoke III:

Samuel E. Hoke III is a 6’0″ Scorpio who summers in Virginia with his wife two amazingly wonderful black cats named Inca and Maya. In the winter they all head to central  Florida. Samuel is a veteran of the corporate world including IBM and Bank of America he now pursues his lifelong passion of acting.

Samuel has a Bachelors degree in Liberal Studies from Norwich University and an MBA in Global Technology Management from American University. He also conducted a Pre-Doctoral studies in Strategic Leadership at Cornell University. Samuel enjoys Rock and Roll music, photography, fast cars, and international travel.



Win an Astoria VR 3D Immersive Virtual Reality Headset! There will be 2 winners! Ends July 17th, 2017.

War of the Worlds Giveaway

Audiobook Giveaway & Review: Floating Ink by James Livingood


Scroll to the bottom to catch the Audiobook Giveaway!

Narrator: Rebekah Amber Clark

Publisher: Long Tail Writing (2016)

Length: 1 hour 13 minutes

Series: Book 1 Echo on the Water

Author’s Page

Ruth, once an orphan living on the streets, became employed by the aliens that invaded Earth. The Xenophen made her a Caretaker, giving her special abilities. Even as she appreciates her security as an adult, she still doesn’t trust the Xenophen. She stumbles upon an odd pattern in a series of numbers. Under threat from the Xenophen for her discovery, she flees!

Once again, James Livingood brings to us a new take on an old theme: alien invasion. Opening on an outdoor celebration, the story shows a young Ruth organizing and putting to use scraps of things. Then the unexpected aliens, which look something like giant floating ink blots, come and change everything. At this point I was intrigued but still expecting a pretty straight forward alien invasion story.

The story flashes forward a bit and now a young adult Ruth spends her days in service to the Xenophen. She’s not happy about it, but a chunk of humanity is in the same boat as her, like her human boss. When Ruth comes across the peculiar code and reports it, she is immediately visited by a Xenophen. It makes it’s threats clear – her Caretaker abilities will be taken away (which could be quite messy and potentially fatal) if she pursues this any further.

At this point I want to give a nod to the alien tech incorporated into this story. The Xenophen use some sort of ‘bubble’ tech that allows Ruth and other human workers to float info in front of them while they work, like we would have several computer screens up in a control room. Also, flattened bubbles act as platforms that carry the workers around, like very fancy elevators. This was all well done in such a short story, the author using imagery quite well to get it across quickly to the reader.

Yet one more thing goes awry and Ruth’s old street instincts kick in. She flees into the nearest woods. There she meets Henry, a well-meaning if a bit judgy sort. While he’s only in the story briefly, he serves as an example to Ruth of what it is to live away from the Xenophen influence.

From here on out, things get weird, in a good way. Ruth is on a strange and wondrous adventure, if at times a bit scary and confusing to her. Ruth meets more unusual people in her journey and by the end, things may not be as we think it is. Or perhaps that is just one more trap laid by the Xenophen? The story ends on an open note, leaving me ready for the next installment.

I received this book free of charge from the author.

The Narration: Rebekah Amber Clark’s narration is fantastic. She does this multi-voice thing for the Xenophen. Also, Ruth’s voice ages as her character does. Clark even went to the trouble to make a PA announcement sound like it was really coming over a PA system. I love it when narrators make these little extra efforts on short stories!

What I Liked: The book cover art; the Xenophen bubble technology; Ruth has been given these mysterious Caretaker abilities; Ruth’s strange adventure after she flees the Xenophen; excellent narration!

What I Disliked: Nothing – I really enjoyed this tale!


The author is graciously offering up 5 copies of this audiobook. That’s right! We’re going to have 5 winners! So, do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer these questions in the comments below: 1) Do you have an account? 2) What is one of your favorite alien invasion stories? 3) Please leave a way to contact you if you win. Giveaway ends Nov. 5th 2016, midnight.

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