Tag: Sci-Fi Romance

Review: Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews

Posted March 14, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Silver Shark by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Silver Shark (Kinsmen, #2) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kinsmen #2
Published by NYLA
Publication Date: September 16th 2011
Pages: 96
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three-stars

Claire Shannon is a killer. She uses no weapons, only her mind.
Born on a planet locked in a long war, Claire is a psycher, a woman with the ability to attack minds and infiltrate a biological computer network where psychers battle to the death. But when the war abruptly ends, Claire must hide her psycher's ability to survive. She is deported to a new planet, a vivid beautiful place, where she meets Venturo Escana, a powerful psycher, whose presence overwhelms both her mind and her body.
She thought she had left war and death behind, but now she must fight for her new life and this battle might just cost her everything...

Claire Shannon was born on the war planet Uley. For eons two companies fought over the right to use the planet’s resources, which meant nothing existed there but war and death. It was a gray planet with very little to do but fight, prepare and sleep. Claire is a trained Psycher, someone who can enter the bionet (think psychic plane, like the internet, Matrix style) and navigate through to access data and/or kill enemies. She’s a soldier. All comforts have been given up for the sake of the war. When the war suddenly ends, Claire hides her true self so she isn’t killed on sight (psychers are considered much too dangerous to be allowed to live) and ends up getting deported. Her new planet is filled with light and color, sounds, textures and strange flavors. For someone who lived with nothing but gray, it’s a lot to take in. But she’s determined to fit in and do her best.

She’s given housing, clothes and a job at the outset. She becomes the personal assistant to Venturo Escena, a  self-made businessman and psycher himself. She needs to fly under the radar so she isn’t killed for being a psycher herself, but she’s a true leader, she can’t help but push for more – for herself and others. It isn’t long before she’s indispensable to Venturo…or before she’s half in love with him. When one of her countrymen comes to her for help, she knows she can’t turn them away, even though it means possible exposure of who and what she really is.

The romance is secondary to the rest here, but it really worked. Andrews’ excels at building complex, multi-layered worlds. Both planets were easily imagined, as was Claire’s determination to live and succeed in her new life. I do wish this had been longer, or that there were more books in the series. At 96 pages, this ended much too soon. The conflicts were resolved, but I wasn’t ready for it to end.

3.5 out of 5

three-stars

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Lightning Review: Alphas: Origins by Ilona Andrews

Posted February 9, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: Alphas: Origins by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Origins (Alphas, #0.5) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Alphas #0.5
Published by InterMix
Publication Date: April 19th 2016
Pages: 157
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three-stars

From Ilona Andrews—#1 New York Times bestselling author of Magic Shifts and the Kate Daniels novels—comes a stark, seductive tale of a world torn asunder by supernatural gifts and irresistible passions...
Karina Tucker is driving a van of children home from a field trip when an unplanned detour to a seemingly ordinary rest stop changes her life. There, she witnesses a world beyond humanity’s sight, of frightful powers and chaos, where she is in death’s grip... before an irresistibly dangerous male saves her—only to take her captive.
For she is a rare commodity in the shadowy realm she’s entered.
Karina soon finds herself caught in a violent civil war where those with inhuman powers strive to destroy each other without mercy. And it becomes all too clear that she must make a choice: submit and become a pawn, or take hold of her own destiny and fight for survival against impossible odds.
Alphas: Origins originally appeared in Angels of Darkness.

Karina is on her way home from a field trip with a car full of kids when she unwittingly stumbles into a parallel universe. In order to save her daughter and the other kids she’s carpooling, she agrees to stay and be a blood donor for the Alpha Beast. The Alphas are genetically modified men who have superpowers. Some can move things with their minds, other can shapeshift. Karina is soon wrapped up in their struggles for survival and power.

Andrews has such an amazing ability to build worlds. The creativity and imagination in each novel is astounding. Alphas: Origins is no exception. The world is fantastically built. The premise was interesting, but the story suffered for being short. There was a lot crammed into a small page count, which made the story feel rushed while also suffering from info-dumps that bogged it down. If it had been longer, or a prequel to a longer story, it may have worked better.

3 out of 5

three-stars

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Retro Review: Demon Angel by Meljean Brook

Posted February 8, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Retro Review: Demon Angel by Meljean BrookReviewer: Holly
Demon Angel by Meljean Brook
Series: The Guardians #1
Also in this series: Demon Moon, Demon Night, Demon Bound, Demon Forged, Guardian Demon
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: January 2nd 2007
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, General
Pages: 432
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four-stars

For two thousand years, Lilith wrought vengeance upon the evil and the damned, gathering souls for her father's armies Below and proving her fealty to her Underworld liege. Bound by a bargain with the devil and forbidden to feel pleasure, she draws upon her dark powers and serpentine grace to lead men into temptation. That is, until she faces her greatest temptation—Heaven's own Sir Hugh Castleford...

Once a knight and now a Guardian, Hugh spent centuries battling demons—and the cursed, blood-drinking nosferatu. His purpose has always been to thwart the demon Lilith, even as he battles his treacherous hunger for her. But when a deadly alliance unleashes a threat to both humans and Guardians in modern-day San Francisco, angel and demon must fight together against unholy evil—and against a desire that has been too long denied...

 ******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.
Man, I miss Meljean Brook. Per her website, she’s still writing, but things are going slooow. We haven’t had a new release from her in way too long. Demon Angel isn’t my favorite Brook novel, but it sets up this world so beautifully I had to repost this review. I feel a series re-read coming on.
This review was originally published July 15, 2013

The world building was imaginative, sensual and amazing. I was pleasantly surprised by the way Brook drew me into her fierce battle for souls and the fight between good and evil. I was also drawn in by the two lead characters, Lilith and Hugh. Though they came from two different worlds (literally) and were on opposite sides of an eternal battle, their connection to one another came across as not just sexual, but very emotional as well, which made their constant conflict all the more believable.

I also enjoyed the secondary characters and the relationships they had with Lilith and Hugh. Colin, the vampire they both befriended despite themselves; Sir Pup, Lilith’s hellhound; Savi, Hugh’s roommate and even Auntie, the woman who once took Hugh in, were fabulous characters, and while they played a large part in the overall story, they in no way intruded on the focus of the main story.

There were too many questions left unanswered, I think. Part of the appeal of this book is it really makes you think. Nothing is tied up in a nice, neat little bow, there are questions left unanswered and things you have to figure out on your own. Which was good and bad. I felt there were a few too many things left unexplained. However, because this is the first book of a series, I’m willing to wait for the next book before passing judgment.

I really struggled with the pacing. As much as I enjoyed this book, it was very slow moving. At times, the pace would pick up and I’d be sucked in, unable to set it down, and then it would get bogged down again and I’d have a hard time giving it my full attention. I understand that a lot of the information imparted was important for the story and the basis of the world Brook created, but at times there was Too Much Information. I think, in all honesty, the story could have been 100 pages shorter and been better for it.

Overall, I adored the storyline, the world building and the characters. I can’t wait for Demon Moon. I do hope, however, that the pacing will work better than it did in this one.

I think I’m going to give this one a solid:

4 out of 5

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This book is available from Berkley Sensation. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

*This review was first published at Sanctuary’s Finest.

four-stars

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Review: Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Posted July 6, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Born of Night by Sherrilyn KenyonReviewer: Casee
Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: The League #1
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: September 29, 2009
Genres: Romance, Fantasy, Urban, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 560
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three-half-stars

In the Ichidian Universe, The League and their ruthless assassins rule all. Expertly trained and highly valued, the League Assassins are the backbone of the government. But not even the League is immune to corruption . . .

Command Assassin Nykyrian Quikiades once turned his back on the League―and has been hunted by them ever since. Though many have tried, none can kill him or stop him from completing his current mission: to protect Kiara Zamir, a woman whose father's political alliance has made her a target.

As her world becomes even deadlier, Kiara must entrust her life to the same kind of beast who once killed her mother and left her for dead. Old enemies and new threaten them both and the only way they can survive is to overcome their suspicions and learn to trust in the very ones who threaten them the most: each other.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon. As much as I’ve felt let down over the years, I keep going back. It’s a sickness. For every three or four books, she has a good one. Those are the ones I can’t miss. Born of Night wasn’t exactly one of those books, but it did show me another side of Kenyon that I didn’t know was there. I thought she was all Dark-Hunter, Dream-Hunter, Were-Hunter…you get my drift. No, she’s also sci-fi and fantasy.

Born of Night introduces the reader to the Ichidian Universe and The League of Assassins. The thing is, it didn’t. There was almost zero world building in this book. Not that the book was horrible; it wasn’t. I did like it, but I would have liked to have known more about the Ichidian Universe and The League. All I came out of the book knowing about The League is that they’re a scary bunch of Assassins that you can never leave because they’ll kill you if you’ll try.

This was Nykyrian and Kiara’s story. The Sentella is a group of outlaws that try to police the League. At least that’s what I got from it. Kiara is a Princess from a planet called Gouran. She had a contract on her life and was kidnapped (the why wasn’t explained until ¾ of the way through the book). Nykyrian and his band of misfits (that what I started thinking of them as) saved her from certain death. Nykyrian is the only League Assassin to ever escape and he has a price on his head that anyone would kill for. He is so emotionless and has such little faith in humanity that he wouldn’t be surprised if any of his fellow brothers or sisters in the Sentella turn him in. Because of that, he is constantly on watch.

When they save Kiara, it is his worst nightmare. She is the only person, dead or alive that has ever brought emotion out in him. A beautiful dancer, he has snuck into her shows and she has something in her that he can’t extinguish from his thoughts of the feelings that he thought he had long ago gotten rid of.

Kiara is at first disgusted by Nykyrian, until she gets past her prejudice and realizes he is a man that had a horrific childhood and came out a good man on the other side. She has no idea how she could have overlooked that and looked at him like everyone else, but she is ashamed and she makes sure he knows it.

The thing I didn’t like about Kiara was how wishy-washy she was about Nykyrian. One moment she would accept him for who she was, but then she would see who he really was and what he would do to protect her and she would be horrified and call him a monster. She really made me want to slap her. I understood what and why she felt the way she felt, but she really needed to go one way or the other. And this didn’t happen once or twice. It happened multiple times.

Overall, I did enjoy the book enough to get the next book in the series. I’m looking forward to (hopefully) seeing some more world building. I have complete faith in Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Rating 3.5 out of 5.

Reading Order

Born of Night
Born of Fire
Born of Ice
Born of Shadows
Cloak and Silence
Born of Fury
Born of Defiance
Born of Betrayal
Born of Legend

three-half-stars

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Review: Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh

Posted June 6, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Allegiance of Honor by Nalini SinghReviewer: Holly
Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling #15
Also in this series: Caressed By Ice, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, The Magical Christmas Cat, Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Slave to Sensation, Tangle of Need, Heart of Obsidian, Shield of Winter, Shield of Winter, Visions of Heat, Mine to Possess, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, Hostage to Pleasure, Shards of Hope, Shards of Hope, Heart of Obsidian, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Play of Passion, Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Shield of Winter, Shards of Hope, Allegiance of Honor, Allegiance of Honor, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: June 14th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, General, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 496
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four-half-stars

The “unparalleled romantic adventure”* of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as a new dawn begins for the Psy-Changeling world…  A staggering transformation has put the Psy, humans, and changelings at a crossroads. The Trinity Accord promises a new era of cooperation between disparate races and groups. It is a beacon of hope held together by many hands: old enemies, new allies, wary loners.   But a century of distrust and suspicion can’t be so easily forgotten, and it threatens to shatter Trinity from within at any moment. As rival members vie for dominance, chaos and evil gather in the shadows and a kidnapped woman’s cry for help washes up in San Francisco, while the Consortium turns its murderous gaze toward a child who is the embodiment of change, of love, of piercing hope: a child who is both Psy…and changeling.   To find the lost and protect the vulnerable—and to save Trinity—no one can stand alone. This is a time of loyalty across divisions, of bonds woven into the heart and the soul, of heroes known and unknown standing back to back and holding the line. But is an allegiance of honor even possible with traitors lurking in their midst?   *Publishers Weekly on Shards of Hope
From the Hardcover edition.

There’s a note from the author at the beginning of this book noting that, for her, the series is split into parts. Shards of Hope ended Part 1. Allegiance of Honor acts as kind of a segue into Part 2. Although I tried to keep spoilers for this book to a minimum, it’s impossible not to mention spoilers from previous books in the series. I tried not to go overboard, but if you haven’t read the previous books, you may want to skip this review. 

Since Silence has fallen and the Trinity Accord was formed, a lot of changes have happened. A Psy-Changeling child was born, alliances are being formed between humans, Psy and Changelings, and the major powers in the world have shifted. Where before the Psy were considered the most powerful beings in the world, the humans have made it known they aren’t weak, and the Changelings have stepped up and won the trust of the general public.

That isn’t to say all is peaches and cream, however. There is still plenty of mistrust between the three races, and everyone is constantly on guard. Since the Trinity Accord was formed in haste, there are a lot of holes that need to be plugged to make it a true, solid partnership agreement. And Naya, Lucas and Sasha’s daughter, the first Psy-Changeling baby born in the open in a century, is both loved and loathed. Many seek to use her as leverage to control the Changelings, or see her as a target to eliminate to cause Chaos and eliminate the Trinity Accord.

This novel doesn’t focus on one couple, but rather touches on pretty much all the previous unions from the series. As each couple tries to find traction in this new world, they face interesting and unique problems. Bo Knight is still working to prove the humans are a power in the world. Sasha and Lucas Hunter are trying to formalize the Trinity Accord and protect their new daughter. Mercy and Riley are expecting their Pupcubs to be born any minute. Hawke and Sienna are still waiting for the perfect opportunity to kill Ming LaBon. Ming is trying to gain a foothold in the Trinity Accord so he can work on eliminating it from the inside out. Miane Leveque, the alpha of the BlackSea changelings, is working to find the rest of her missing pack. The threads featuring Father Perez were particularly interesting.

When Singh announced last year that Allegiance would revisit past characters, I was concerned it would be choppy or kind of boring. The story was woven in such a way, however, that the suspense of each individual trial and tribulation kept me hungry for more. Suspense, drama, humor..this novel has it all. Fans of the series will love reconnecting with previous couples as well as seeing certain plot points advance.

I can’t wait to see what Singh has in store for us next.

4.25 out of 5

Reading Order

Slave to Sensation
Visions of Heat
Caressed by Ice
Mine to Possess
Hostage to Pleasure
Branded by Fire
Blaze of Memory
Bonds of Justice
Play of Passion
Kiss of Snow
Tangle of Need
Heart of Obsidian
Shield of Winter
Shards of Hope
Allegiance of Honor

four-half-stars

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