Life On Base: Quantico Cave
Readers Favorite – Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite
Readers favorite 5 stars:
Quantico Cave is a coming of age story written by Thomas P. Wise and Nancy Wise. Stephen and Jimmy are best friends, for now that is. Their fathers are in the Marines, so the length of time their families will be in the same location is an unknown quantity. They both love Triangle, the small historic town in Virginia that is home to Quantico. There are woods and streams to play in and a small group of friends to play ball with. Being the son of a Marine officer has its stresses, besides the worry over relocation. Stephen’s father has high expectations for his son and expects that he will perform with discipline and honor, no matter what.
Thomas P. Wise and Nancy Wise’s coming of age story, On Base: Quantico Cave, is marvelous. The authors explore the stresses and strains military children experience being part of a military culture. The Marine dads are stern, and some kids have scars, which may not always be on the outside. On Base: Quantico Cave is filled with scenes from the outdoors, as the kids play ball and explore the surroundings. I’m a sucker for caves and caving and was thrilled when Stephen explores the cave under the tree roots. The BB gun battle was quite reminiscent of Lord of the Flies and was filled with the tension of battle, a war game played by kids who’ve been indoctrinated into a culture that extols success in spite of pain. My only complaint would be that when I had finished the story, I wanted more. Perhaps there’ll be a sequel to this coming of age, action and adventure story? I hope so.
Luxury Reading – Reviewed by Nina Longfield for Luxury Reading
For a child growing up on a military base, life is different from that of the outside “ordinary” world. The children follow order and rank just as their military serving parent or guardian does. Authors Tom and Nancy Wise show this unique military up bring in their highly readable and engaging middle grade novel Life on Base: Quantico Cave.
Stephen is a determined twelve-year-old boy. He strives to live up to his father’s esteem and plant himself as a leader amongst his peers. He is no longer the new kid at Quantico Base, Virginia, but he’s not one of the old kids either. His family transferred from California to Virginia with the beginning of a new school year. Stephen is a kid used to changing schools and finding new friends. When his old friend, Rick, from California arrives on the base, their former friendship is tested by the differences in their father’s ranks. Stephen is now an officer’s son and he is not supposed to fraternize with a Non-Commissioned Officer’s (NCO) kid. Rick’s presence brings about a certain degree of chaos to Stephen’s orderly existence. Suddenly, the two are locked in a competition that Stephen does not fully understand. Stephen is challenged with ideas of friendship, loyalty, and order as he considers what is right for him and tries to bring Rick back around to being his friend.
Life on Base is a well written, engaging, and edifying middle grade novel. There is plenty of action and dialogue pushing the story forward. The first two chapters seem to read at both a rushed pace and a slow pace. Don’t be put off. Stephen, the main character, is showing the reader what life is like on base, what is expected of the children, how things are different and, at the same time, how similar it really is to life outside the base. The novel takes off with the introduction of Rick in the third chapter. At this point, action pushes the story with minimal exposition about life on base. As one reads, the reader becomes aware that ordinary is more a state of mind rather than a common sameness with the outside world.
I found Life On Base an enjoyable read. I was not brought up on a military base, but I get a sense of that childhood lifestyle from the Wise’s likeable novel. I liked Stephen as the narrator. His sense of determination became clear as the story progressed. Stephen’s resolve and attempts to mend old friendships gave the novel a satisfying feel from beginning to end.
The Borealis Genome
Chanticleer Book Reviews – Reviewed by J. Parry for Chanticleer Book Reviews
When technology, genetics, biology, and the quest for eternal life combine, what could possibly go wrong? Quite a bit, it turns out. The Borealis Genome begins as a smooth, ambling tale told through the eyes of some of its characters in vivid detail. Scenes are intricately painted in warm, pacifying colors. However, these scenes are juxtaposed with psychological disconcerting subject matter along with some gruesome and disturbing events. With each turn of the page of this YA/New Adult thriller, the ticking clock speeds up.
Brutally violent murders are plaguing Philadelphia, perpetrated in zombie-like fashion, mostly by adolescents. We relive a young boy’s torture by two of his own family members before he’s left in a pool to drown. We see the world through the eyes of an observant 12-year-old boy, Tommy, trying to be tough enough to withstand the rough ‘play’ of the boys he is hanging with. We, the readers, wonder if he’ll meet a similar fate.
If you listen to the news reports, all these deadly incidents are isolated: There is no zombie-virus; there are no zombies. Meanwhile, Tim has cause to think otherwise. The pursuit of some connection to the seemingly random killings across the Northeast becomes his obsession, involving his fiancé and his best friend via cryptic text messages and secret meetings. Will they find something to link these events together? And if they do, will they be able to do anything about it?
Dr. Denat is the director of computing sciences at a facility researching cures for Alzheimer’s disease and he is Tommy’s father. Dr. Denat is the mastermind behind an artificially intelligent program that can restore memory function by transplanting those memories to a new “host.” In this way, the company, named Environmental Consciousness Ltd. (E.C.), can sell the means of extending one’s life through an engineered person made from your own DNA and memories, albeit edited – think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – but even better. It’s similar in concept to Being John Malkovich – except that you have your own “John Malkovich” after you die.
Tommy goes happily along with his dad to work, as he has before, and we can see his pride in his father as they enter the research facility. We see the center through Tommy’s twelve-year-old perspective as he fluctuates between being awed by the glass and architecture and his father’s position and then becoming bored when he is reminded by his father to sit quietly while in his office.
The ancient Mr. Oldham, the owner of the company drops by and invites Tommy to view one of his experiments. Tommy obediently follows him to his lab where he views Dr. Oldham’s experiment, at first, with resignation, then curiosity, and then disgust. Dr. Oldham is pleased with Tommy’s inquisitiveness and patience. Tommy is sweetly naïve, but intimated in the research center’s sterile and laboratory surroundings. However, apprehensive begins to set in as he begins to comprehend what he was just shown by the ancient Dr. Oldham.
We wish Tommy would have more apprehension—much, much, more.
From here the story takes off at breakneck speed as we learn about the Dr. Oldham’s secretly intended purpose for the research. And he believes Tommy might just be the missing element that he has been searching for to achieve his own personal goals for his research.
The reader is given glimpses of E.C.’s rosy marketing efforts to potential elderly clientele Jurassic Park-style – from a moving tram behind a protective barrier. What they don’t see is that sometimes biology throws in a monkey wrench by mutating its viruses, computer programs always have bugs, and human error, and other unpredictable elements come into play. E.C.’s artificially intelligent program, like HAL, becomes a self-protective force corrupted by the uploaded consciousness of many minds. Tim and his friends end up fighting not only for their own lives, but for the future of humanity.
The Borealis Genome takes on a unique perspective of the zombie vs. humans’ tale. For it is a tale of the ancient quest for eternal life, but one using the latest in high-tech, state-of-the-art scientific research that creates its own type of Black Death.
Tom and Nancy Wise’s children contributed to the book’s storyline; they provided the clever cover art and, undoubtedly, to the text messaging most adults would find undecipherable but adds credence to the story to YA and New Adult readers. Adults who also enjoy a good zombie story with a twist (that’s a little gory, but also intellectual) will enjoy this YA thriller. It might, just might infect your own thoughts and memories more than you might realize….
The Borealis Genome is Grand Prize Award Winner in the Dante Rossetti Writing Competition for YA and New Adult Fiction, a division of Chanticleer Blue Ribbon International Writing Competitions.
Kirkus Reviews – Wise and Wise’s debut novel delivers a science-fiction tale of zombies and cloning in modern-day Pennsylvania. It also provides the gore that readers expect in a zombie novel without ever going over the top. Overall, the Wises offer readers a solid tale of intrigue that also explores humanity’s greed for knowledge, money and immortality. An engaging read for sci-fi and zombie fans.
Readers’ Favorite – Reviewed by Maria Beltran –
Readers favorite 5 star-shiny-webTom Wise and Nancy Wise have served readers well by giving us an exquisite book in the form of a fiction that deserves to be read. This story, like all other terrific tales, will break your heart and will bring readers to a powerful, atmospheric place. The authors write without pretense and show us what it is to be human. The characters are palpable and intriguing. The story is sensitive, quick-witted and ambitious. The most admirable part of the story that makes the reading experience enjoyable is the fact that the authors know exactly what they are after in their narrative. As a result, they achieve it with admirable grace. The Borealis Genome is one of the best books that I have read lately. It not only held my interest but also succeeded in surprising me every time I turned the page. Intensely compelling, the places this book takes readers are certainly worth the journey.
Midwest Book Review by Diane Donovan, eBook Reviewer MBR –
“The power of The Borealis Genome lies in its ability to stay one step ahead of reader expectation, and to provide information and twists which are revealing and surprising.”
The Borealis Genome comes across as a thriller; but from the first few paragraphs it’s evident that so much more is involved, with a healthy dose of science and science fiction moving it more into the ‘sci fi/thriller’ genre. It’s all about zombies, genetic manipulation gone awry, and the efforts of a CDC agent and his fiance to get at the heart of what is proving to be a manufactured epidemic bankrolled by the rich. The power of The Borealis Genome lies in its ability to stay one step ahead of reader expectation, and to provide information and twists which are revealing and surprising. There are no easy answers and no neat conclusions.
“A great, engaging, and chilling read!” – Must Read Faster
“This was quite a unique take on the “zombie genre.” The story starts off with wonderfully descriptive scenes that caught my attention right away. I loved how this was a collaboration between a couple, yet I couldn’t tell one bit. Sadly, when I read a book that is co-written by two people I can tell when the “styles” switch. This time I did not! Fluid writing and a cohesive story is what I found!
This book was a great but also scary read into what could potentially be the future. The type of zombie described within this book is the most terrifying sort there could ever really be! It’s a bold take, a great story, and wonderful characters. Tim and Nora are well written and have a great presence on the page.”
“. . . moments of great romance.” – The YA Lit Chick
“Although the middle of a ‘zombie virus’ outbreak doesn’t exactly seem like the best place for romance, The Borealis Genome still manages to have moments of great romance. The relationship between Tim and Nora is heart-warming, definitely adding to the plot of the novel. Overall, I enjoyed reading The Borealis Genome, and I would definitely recommend it to those with a soft spot for disease and zombies (in fiction, that is.)”
“. . . witty, romantic, and unique.” – My Reading Addiction
This husband/wife writing duo has really managed to pen a novel that is witty, romantic, and unique. It made me think of Warm Bodies, however it is quite different. Really only the premise is the same as far as the Zombie takeover. But this one is on a much smaller scale and the actual Zombie takeover happens a lot slower. Its almost more suspense/mystery like in the aspect that they are trying to find out what is causing the mutation. I think its a very imaginative novel and comes together nicely. There were a few slow parts, but the novel as a whole is a success.
“. . . sweet/innocent type of love . . . ” – Texas Book Nook
This was a different take on a Zombie Apocalypse if you will. It doesn’t focus on the zombies as much as the slow change to Mental Zombies and how to find the source and stop it. There is a love story at the center of the story between Tim and Nora and I really enjoyed it. It was a sweet/innocent type of love that helped cut the tension of the storyline.
“I enjoyed the evolution of the Zombies . . .” – A Life Through Books
Not entirely unique in concept, but the execution of the novel was unique. I enjoyed the evolution of the Zombies, this novel was set at a slower pace as far as the outbreak was concerned and it made the outcome that much more exciting when it happened. The authors do a great job of providing details that help the reader feel like they are a part of the world. Great writing and a well-developed plot in general.