NYC Midnight Challenge Entry: Eve Resurrected

Eve Resurrected

November 2022 (First Round)
Genre: Science Fiction
Word: Pare
Action: Hair Falling Out
Time Constraint: 24 hours
Length: 250 words

Sophie awoke to a blast of frigid air, pain, and blinding light. God, was she hungover? It must’ve been a rough night. Groaning, she squinted at the man in a surgical mask and cap leaning over her hospital cot. Oh. Make that very rough.

“What hospital is this?” she croaked, her fingers registering the tubes connecting her body to the room’s white walls. Her parents were probably freaking out. Where was her phone?

The man straightened stiffly. “That is difficult to answer, but I can reassure you that you are safe.” Although his tone was calming, the words came out stilted, like English wasn’t his native language. “May I ask what you remember?”

Sophie ran her fingers through her hair, only for a clump of her blond locks to separate from her scalp. Horror rose up her throat like bile, and she muffled a shriek. “What’s wrong with me?”

“Do not fear. Radiation was a necessary component of the revival process, but you are well now.”

“R-revival?” A deep wrongness niggled in Sophie’s gut. “Who are you? What happened to me?”

“My name is Tom. I am an android created to ease your transition.” Tom stared at her with pale, unblinking eyes. “You, Sophie Jones, are the first human to successfully recover from cryosleep.”

“Android?” This was a joke right? A nightmare? “But where are the people?”

Silence stretched between them. “Until now, humanity was extinct. You are the only one, Sophie.”

Her newly reborn wails echoed long and loud. 

JUDGe’s Feedback

This one placed 9th, just barely squeaking into the second round, but I’m not going to lie, I may have to write this full-length novel one day.


{2061}  I like the pace at which you allow Sophie to wake up. There’s not much of a panic in her thought process early on, and that really helps the build to the ending.

{2290}  This story has a nice contrast between the clinical and the mammalian. It’s comedic that the first thing Sophie imagines is a self-inflicted hangover. It’s a clever choice too to make the first human to be revived semi-dependent on parents. That helps with making her all the more lost when the truth is revealed.

{22}  The story is unique, and I especially appreciate that in this “hard” science-fiction plot the focus was on the feeling and reaction of Sophie rather than the mechanics of the world. The story attempted to keep the focus on what is interesting and compelling—the story—rather than the science-fiction universe surrounding it. By doing that, the science-fiction aspects feel more fully realized than if they were over-explained. That balance is well-maintained.  


{2061}  I wonder if an image or something could pass through Sophie’s mind as she’s trying to make sense of “revival.” Is there anything in her memory that might hint to what’s happened?

{2290}  I think Sophie’s reaction at the end is a bit preemptive. Sophie does not yet know if there are others undergoing the revival process, and indeed if her parents are safely in cryosleep. As reader, I pondered long about why Tom did not answer Sophie’s question about which hospital they were in.

{22}  The set-up is distinctive, which is great and not easy. The focus on Sophie feels like the right decision. However,  it is not clear to me how she is waking from cryosleep and her first reaction is that it was a “rough night.” That feels a little like a cliche when someone wakes and doesn’t know what’s going on. It distracts from what is working and it feels false when authors do that. It feels like a crutch. There has to be a more interesting way into that moment that doesn’t feel familiar and does something to reveal character and story. Why doesn’t she remember? What kind of things does she do in her life (beyond drinking)? Does she actually remember something hazily? There are a lot of things that could be done with that to match how distinctive the rest of the story is.

Into The Churn Cover Reveal – Preorders LIVE!

Me & my Into the Churn copy! Are those hearts in my eyes?!?!

AHHHHHH! FINALLY! You all. I have been living with this secret since I first saw the cover in September, and it has been KILLING me. And then the ARC came last week, and I seriously wasn’t sure I was going to make it! Sorry, you’re going to have to forgive me for the caps everywhere but I’m so excited for this book release I can’t take it! 🤩

One thing I absolutely adore about Whimsical Publishing is how each one of their covers is a work of art. Non-figuratively. Micheline is an incredible artist, and I’m blown away with her ability to capture the feel of my romantic sci-fi in her artwork. Micheline’s passion for these characters and this story honestly makes me want to cry happy tears. This book incorporated so many of my experiences and feelings as an international/collegiate fencer and ultramarathoner, so it truly is a book of my heart, and I’m so excited to share with everyone!

Naturally, I have to tease with the blurb first though:

Earth was tame. Belethea is not.

Seventeen-year-old Ezren Hart interns in her mother’s terraforming lab, studying Belethea’s deadly storms with the dream of giving her backwater planet open teal skies. But when budget cuts threaten to shut down her mother’s lab, Ezren enters Belethea’s Race Royale, the system’s deadliest and most lucrative race. To win, she’ll have to run, drive, and fight her way across Belethea’s barren landscape while navigating its savage and volatile storms. With her planet’s future, and her family’s, on the line, she can’t afford to lose. But first, she’ll have to convince her handsome royale partner that their planet is worth saving.

Foster Sterling is a jaded ex-prodigy royaler still reeling from his partner’s death in a training accident. When Ezren Hart comes charging into his life, her passion reminds him of what he once loved about racing and his dream of returning pride to their planet. Still, no matter how fast they go, they can’t outrun the mysterious string of deadly accidents following them like a curse. As Foster falls harder for Ezren, he races to piece the clues together. But with time running out and their survival on the line, he’ll have to decide if their dreams are worth their lives.

Perfect for fans of underdog heroes, slow-burn romance, and high-stakes sci-fi, INTO THE CHURN races across a new planet of savage storms and dazzling tech. Fall in love with Ezren and Foster as they battle side-by-side to save their scrappy world on a ruthless interplanetary stage where appearances are everything, speed means survival, and the only thing deadlier than the storms are the other racers.

Two royalers, besieged by tornadic storms, running across a mauve, rocky terrain under a teal sky peppered with foreign planets

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Isn’t it beautiful!?!? 😍😍😍 And to make launch even BETTER, Whimsical Publishing is giving away some incredible preorder incentives – including artwork of scenes from the book!

Preorder incentives include character art of emotional scene in their royaler suits, awkward scene with a shirtless Foster, bookmarks of cover art, map art, and signed bookplate! Preorder incentives only available with orders through

Okay, is this even real life? Someone pinch me. I’m legit still in shock. To get in on all the amazing preorder goodies, you can preorder INTO THE CHURN from Whimsical Publishing’s site here.

You can also add Into the Churn on Goodreads here! Stay tuned to both my Instagram @hayleyreesechow and @whimsicalillustration for more character art and sneak peeks in the coming weeks!

All right. I have more secrets, but I thinks that’s all I can give away for now. Please excuse me while I go happy screech around the office for the rest of the day.

Totally not considering walking around like this for the rest of my life or anything… 😂

Audiobook Review – Into the Drowning Deep

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant follows a research vessel and the many characters upon it as they go out to investigate the disappearance of another entertainment vessel whose crew was… well… eaten by mermaids.

And I really enjoyed the first third of this book. The characters are varied and interesting, and as they’re battling their demons and beginning to set off it really gives off Jaws like vibes. We are going to hunt a monster… and we are both excited and kind of scared, but it’s okay because we’re prepared for anything, right? …right?!?

Should’ve brought a bigger boat.

But as stuff starts going down, people are dying and blood is washing the deck, I didn’t feel the rise in tension that I felt like I should have. Mostly because the characters are surprisingly …okay with it? They’re kind of like “oh well, we knew people would die, but we have TO DO THE SCIENCE!” I really felt like there would be more people storming the cockpit to get them turned around.
So, I felt like the middle got a little mushy for me and the reveal/climax at the end felt a little underwhelming.

This book had all the capacity to read as a stand-alone (while still part of a larger series), but rather, it feels like it got stretched a little too thin and then just kind of ended.
Still! While I don’t think I’ll be picking up the sequel, if you like mermaids that eat people and interesting characters, I recommend giving this a look (or a listen because the audiobook narration is fantastic.)


As a mechanical engineer, I would’ve been sure the shutter system worked. Just saying.

Thanks for reading!

Book Review – The Drift

This sci-fi dystopian follows Samara, an enslaved, enhanced assassin, and her mark, the idealistic resistance leader, Tristan, as their fates intertwine with that of their brutal, divided world.

I really enjoyed the intricate world-building in this tiered, futuristic society, and the action scenes kept the plot moving at a quick pace. Tristan is easy to like with his unassailable optimism, his devotion to his friends, his cause, and his interesting powers. And while it took me some time to warm up to Samara, she comes a long way throughout the story, and I was rooting for her by the end. Wyatt makes for an interesting, conflicted villain, and the side characters all have very distinct personalities. Probably my only real critique is there is an interesting element of fate running through the book which gave it a little bit of an insta-love spark that I wasn’t a huge fan of, but I think that’s just my subjective opinion.

Overall, I thought this was a very engaging, unique story that I would definitely recommend for fans of sci-fi, dystopian, and a slow burn romance. Heads up though, because the cliffhanger will definitely have you asking for the sequel!


Real talk, we need more sci-fi romance in the world! NEED!!!

Thanks for reading!

Book Review – Skyward

So, I guess I should start by saying I’m not a huge Sanderson fan. I read Steelheart and got maybe halfway through The Way of Kings before my library loan ran out and I didn’t renew. But, my husband (a huge sci-fi fan), had this downloaded on my Kindle and basically demanded I read it on our last roadtrip.

Told from the first-person, Skyward follows a girl on a faraway planet besieged by aliens desperate to prove herself as a fighter pilot after living in the shadow of her father’s legacy as a coward.

Things I liked: this was a fairly quick read, the battle-mechanics of the ships were cool to imagine, it definitely kept me reading with my questions about the aliens and Spensa’s father, and the world-building (in the typical Sanderson fashion) is impeccable.

But… I did think it started off pretty slow, and the characters, in general, just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t really love any of them, and since there are a lot of characters, I didn’t really feel the super strong bonds I thought they probably had. Although I enjoyed how the plot came together, it just seemed like there was something missing for me. I think part of it too was the comedic relief of one character just didn’t quite hit for me, although my husband thought they were hilarious, so you know… to each their own. (Also, I feel like I may be currently under the influence of a reading slump… so I’ll put that disclaimer out there too.)

A solid read recommended for anyone that enjoys YA SFF. Although I probably won’t read the sequel, I can totally see how someone could love this series.


I fear Locke has succumbed to the inevitable reading slump. Alas, what choice do we have but to press on!

Thanks for reading!

Magazine Issue Review – Snake Eyes (Planet Scumm #11)

So this was a fun surprise! Planet Scumm is a sci-fi lit mag, and this issue featured eight short stories by femme, trans, or nonbinary authors. I don’t read a whole lot of short stories, but this was a well-written collection that trended towards darker stories with heavier themes, and always kept me guessing what would come next. I loved the artwork that went along with each tale and although a couple of the stories veered into the bizarre, I came away feeling super satisfied with the read.

My favorites were A Defiance of Violins by Ana Garden, Real Sugar is Hard to Find by Sim Kern, and An Eventual Feast by Lindsay King-Miller.

In A Defiance of Violins, I loved the subtle romance in the bleak world, where hope manages to wiggle its way through despite the odds. In Real Sugar is Hard to Find, the mother-son relationship that develops throughout their little adventure in their divided world really resonated with me, and left me with a smile. And the building tension and fascinating premise of An Eventual Feast were expertly executed, with the perfect ending to the bring the story and the collection to a close.

I definitely recommend this issue to anyone interested in darker, beautifully written science fiction that takes us off the beaten path into new worlds disturbingly familiar to our own. And I’m definitely curious to see what the next issue brings. Thanks so much to the publisher for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.


Word to the wise, watch out for snake eyes.

Thanks for reading!

Book Review – LIFEL1K3

I put this book on my Amazon list after I loved Illuminae and Geminae. I wasn’t crazy about Obsidio, and then Aurora Rising wasn’t really for me, so I guess this was like a tie-breaker for me on Jay Kristoff. And I can say, this was probably my least favorite so far.

Lifelike takes place in a tech-filled dystopia full of androids, logikas, etc. It follows scrappy Eve after she finds a lifelike (basically a high-tech android) and starts getting chased by all kinds of bad. The world was cool, and while I usually like sci-fi slang, it felt a bit too cutesy/light for the bleak setting. Although I loved the action and the world-building, I had trouble connecting with the characters, and I found their quirky catchphrases (“don’t call me little” etc) to be a bit irritating. Even so, I would’ve given it four stars if it weren’t for the ending.

I felt like Eve did a complete 180 in the last 3% that didn’t seem to jive with anything I knew of her character. If you’re a Jay Kristoff fan and looking for a quirky YA sci-fi, I think you’ll probably enjoy this book, but it left me feeling dissatisfied and a bit annoyed, so I don’t think it was quite for me.



Thanks for reading!

Book Review – Hail Mary

My husband (a *huge* sci-fi fan) absolutely loved this book, and basically shoved it to the top of my TBR so that we could talk about it. I loved The Martian, so I was definitely interested in giving this a go. One thing I noticed from the beginning is that Ryland Grace and Mark Watney have a LOT in common. They’re both highly intelligent, independent, passionate scientists, Grace just has a cleaner mouth.

This book follows Grace as he wakes up in a strange room without memories and basically tries to remember who he is and what he’s supposed to be doing. The story goes back and forth between him in “the room” and remembering his past. So… in the beginning, we spend a lot of time with Grace by himself, and there are a LOT of scientific explanations.

While I totally enjoy the way Weir manages to explain complex science in a way that I can understand, I felt like the balance was a little off in Hail Mary, and it seemed to slow down the pace quite a bit. Also, Weir introduces a few very powerful sci-fi elements, that had me asking my husband questions about potential plot holes. (To which he said: don’t think about it too much. XD) However, I absolutely loved the secondary character that comes in about midway. Overall, I thought the premise was super interesting, and on the whole, it was definitely an enjoyable read.

I will say, I thought the ending felt a little incomplete. I can’t say too much more with giving anything away. Still, I totally recommend this for any fans of sci-fi. My husband gave it a glowing a five star review, but while I thought it was a solid sci-fi I didn’t quite love it as much as The Martian.


Just a little fan-doodle. *jazz hands*

Thanks for reading!

Book Review – The Interstellar Slayer

The Interstellar Slayer is a fun science fantasy adventure that takes us into a thoroughly interesting and detailed universe. In a way it reminded me a lot of The Mandalorian in the way that the story follows this rather taciturn assassin as he navigates through this rich new universe on a mission from his guild. There’s plenty of action to show off his interesting, magic-like abilities that make him so effectively deadly, and we also got a glimpse of some colorful side characters and lore which I’m sure get more facetime in future books.

Honestly, the only criticism I have this book is that it packs of lot of info into such a short book, and we didn’t get to know the characters as much as I would’ve liked. But with lots of sequels to follow, there’s still so much to explore and see through Hozark’s adventures. Definitely recommend for anyone looking for a fun new space-fantasy world to explore with a fresh new magic system and lots of action. Thanks so much to Booksirens for the free ARC!

 ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ½   

Cheers to a fun sci-fi! Alas, if only I had a cute mug to toast with!

Thanks for reading!

Book Review – Obsidio

Obsidio is the final book of a trilogy, so this review will be a little shorter. I *loved* the first two Illuminae books, so I was eager to dive into this one. Unfortunately, I do think this was the weakest of the trilogy. Asha and Rhys didn’t have a whole lot of chemistry to speak of, and I felt like Asha and her story just fell a little flat in general. I think the first half dragged a little, but the second half more than made up for it. I loved seeing the characters from the other books in action, and Aiden, to me, totally makes these books. For some reason, I can’t help but love our AI anti-hero.

In this book, we also find out who the analysts are that have been transcribing/narrating the videos… and weirdly it took me out of the story. I felt like the narrative of this book was less suited to the epistolary style. This book didn’t have the big mind-blowing twist of the other two, but it still made for a satisfying ending to the trilogy.


Tula giving the Illuminae series her full attention.

Thanks for reading!