Indie Review: THE CODEX FILE by Miles Etherington

TITLE: The Codex File
AUTHOR: Miles Etherington
PAGES: 264
FORMAT: Kindle
ISBN: 146995303X
BUY IT: Amazon
RATING: 4/5 [in the genre] or 6/10 [all books I’ve read].
FOR: Fans of the Da Vinci Code, V for Vendetta, thrillers, technology, and suspenseful fast-paced plots.

Forget everything you think you know about the internet. If you think nefarious web sites peddling a cocktail of online scams, illegal pornography, racial hatred and vicious computer viruses was all you had to worry about - think again. The government has banned access to the internet and the world wide web, dubbing it an illegal, unregulated zone. Sounds good news doesn't it, until you know that its replacement controls every aspect of your life, from digital content, provision of your gas, water and electricity, and all your money. And with everything and everybody connected, we're all now potential targets if we oppose it. Do you still feel safe? Empowered? Connected? Welcome to the future of the internet. Welcome to the Codex file. Michael Robertson’s family has been murdered to protect the covert government project linked to establishing a new internet. Piecing together what happened leads him to four computers hackers, vehemently opposed to the new network, who provide the only means to hunt down the killers. But uncovering the truth leads to industrial espionage and a plot that leads right to the heart of government as he seeks the truth behind the Codex file.  

I don’t usually read thrillers, but the premise intrigued me enough to check this out. I love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next slightly paranoid nerd. I wasn’t disappointed. The Codex File grabs you with a sickly twisted beginning and yanks you through. Even if you aren’t a big fan of Michael (which I was not, especially when he was getting so unnecessarily paranoid) you really want to see those government baddies crucified. Etherington sets up a world that we can all imagine in the not-too-distant future, which makes the possibility of this government conspiracy all the more terrifying. A world where technology is in everything we do and we’re never safe from invasion. Scared me to death, which made for a really compelling plot.

There writing style was generally good for a thriller. Clear and clean, though there were places where extra descriptions could have been taken out to pick up the pace. I was on the fence about the use of multiple character perspectives throughout. It removes much of the surprise, since you already know some of the pitfalls that Michael and his friends will fall into before they do. However, it sacrifices surprise for a strong sense of dramatic irony. You know they’re doomed, and dying to see how they get out of it. The style grew on me, though I think some of the villain-scenes could have been less transparent. What I liked less was the occasional random interlude into someone else’s mind during a Michael-centered scene. We’d be reading about Michael, then all of the sudden, we’d be in Brown’s head. Why were we not always in Brown’s head, I wanted to know. Convenience. A little author trick to reveal details only Brown could know, but I thought the story stood well enough without it.

Overall, I thought that while the book could have used a few copyediting tweaks, it was a fun, compelling read. I really enjoyed it, and could easily see it sitting on a shelf with a major publishing house’s logo on it, after some revision. As it stands, I highly recommend picking it up. Even if you’re not very tech-y, Etherington does a good job of bringing this not-too-distance futuristic world alive, and making the terror and the suspense real and deeply felt. Great atmosphere. Good read.


Giveaway: Be Pretty Prom Giveaway for Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein

Well, would you look at me.  Aren’t I just the little advertising queen.  Guess that’s what happens when you get to know a lot of awesome authors on Twitter and have a compulsive need to bring them joy and fans.  Anyway, cool author Lisa Burstein is holding a pretty awesome contest to get excited for the release of her new book PRETTY AMY.  The book is about a girl who gets into a bit trouble with the law during prom, and has some adventure and romance along the way.  Keep your eye out this month for my review of the pre-release copy!  But for now, check out the awesome Be Pretty contest and enter to win:

Lisa Burstein has launched a contest giving followers a chance to win one of three designer prom dresses from Kay Unger (Phoebe Couture), and 2 Sephora $20 gift cards in time for prom season. 

You read that right.  Win a Designer Prom Dress.  Lisa Burstein is celebrating the upcoming release of PRETTY AMY, and to sweeten the pot, 3 Phoebe Couture Evening Dresses are being given away.


PRETTY AMY starts on a prom night that goes horribly and hilariously wrong. Prom night or any special night doesn’t always go as planned. There is a lot you can’t control: the weather, your date’s breath and sometimes even the whim of a policeman. 

Luckily, you can control the way you look and PRETTY AMY wants you to look good.

Designer good. $200 Designer good!  Find out more on her website, below. 


Guest Post: S.M. Boyce on the new Lichgates Grimoire pendant!

I own the One Ring. The medallion from the Aztec tomb that Elizabeth Swan wore. The Evenstar and the Time Turner have been on my list forever. So it follows that, basically, I adore jewelry based in fiction. When a world is particularly vivid and accessible to me, I long to live in it. Owning the jewelry from the text—or the swords, the magical devices, even the candy—is one very tangible way to feel like I’m a part of that world. Like some piece of that world is real, even if I can’t access it. Call it dress-up for adults. Because who says you have to stop playing pretend just because you have a few more candles on your cake? Sounds like a recipe for a gray life to me.

I’m sure you fantasy fans are all nodding your heads over there. Because you get it. You collect swords from Tolkien and you’re Link for Halloween and you bought a specially-made wand for the Harry Potter midnight showing. What you may not yet know is that another piece of jewelry from another fantastic fantasy has just been made available to hoard! That’s right: S.M. Boyce is now holding a pre-sale for the iconic Grimoire pendant from her break-out novel Lichgates. Haven’t fallen in love with it yet? Check out the links below, give it a read, and you will. Boyce’s world breathes with life, is fantastically original, and makes you want to re-read it over and over, just so you never have to leave.

So obviously, I will be sticking with my delightful fantasy escapism and buying one (or both!) of the beautiful pendants. Then I, too, can pretend I have an awesome book that can teach me magic and talk back to me. Plus, it’s pretty, has deep symbolism, and comes in two colors—what could be better? To learn more about this gorgeous literary artifact and how you can get your very own, listen to a few words from the wonderful Boyce herself!  (And don't forget to check out the side bar, where you can win prizes by supporting Lichgates!) 

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Hey gang! I’m thrilled to be sharing some awesome news with you, and I’m so grateful that the amazing C. J. let me kidnap her blog for the day to do it. You may remember me from when I was here a last month on my Hidden World blog tour promoting my novel, The Grimoire: Lichgates. To those of you who participated and won some of the hundreds of dollars in prizes, thanks for making that tour so epic!
So today, I’m here with awesome, Grimoire-related news I think you’ll really like. Because we of the modern era like information to be fast and furious, I made this quick video to tell you what all the fuss is about:

Thanks again for having me today! You’re all amazing and I can’t thank you enough for reading Lichgates. You’re making all my geeky little dreams come true.

Learn More:


Art: "Depression with Psychotic Features", from Sketchbook Project 2012

So last semester, I was having a bit of a rough time adjusting to grad school.  I missed all the creative parts of myself that I felt were being smothered under five tons of articles, books, and assignments (seriously, pretty sure all those books weigh about five tons).  So when I stumbled upon the Sketchbook Project by Art House Coop, affiliated with the Brooklyn Art Library, I jumped on the chance immediately. A little pricey, I thought, but worth it to get: a t-shirt, sketchbook, digital copy of your sketchbook posted online, your sketchbook toured around the country and world...pretty sweet deal. And probably the only way I'll ever be a 'famous' artist unless the demand for creepy still-lifes explodes.

So I give you, DEPRESSION WITH PSYCHOTIC FEATURES. (Note: If you don't want to register, you can click the Stop button on your browser after the main page has loaded and before the registration window pops up.) This follows the theme that I chose, Fears and Tears. I mean, come on. How could a girl with skull decor, black roses, and a raven mascot (named Edgar, of course) not pick something with such a delightful possibility of eerieness? Yes, I'm outing myself as a morbid little emo kid. Don't hate, yo.

Anyway, my sketchbook started without any particular central philosophy. I just started to sketch things that struck me as fearful and creepy. I'd just gone through a break-up, so not really hard to find that internal melodramatic flair. As I went, I realized that all of the bits were very representative of a general melancholia, in all the various forms it can take. With a little bit of manic rage thrown in to keep things lively. Being the nerdy psych major that I am, it was a short step to the title. So I hope this sketchbook gives you some insight into disorder and how it twists even the most benign realities. And maybe some of the drawings are kind of cool. We'll see. Comment away!