Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Review: Yours to Uncover by Mel Teshco

Is she willing to sacrifice everything to keep her secret and her lover safe?

It's the year 2202. Earth is grossly overpopulated and seriously polluted. Rita Songworth has spent half her twenty-two years trying to escape the dying planet. It's taken the last five of those years to realize making it in the hard-ass infantry is her only way out, via space transporter Earth Ship Siren.

But the journey to Unity, the new colony, isn't easy. Rita has to resist an attraction to hard, brutish prisoner, Tristan MacFallan, whose masterful hands create more than the beautiful art he's been assigned to make. His forbidden touch affects her profoundly and he sees things in her no man ever has before. But obeying Kane, her ex-lover and malicious lieutenant, who is appointed to keeping the prisoners under guard, comes at a high price. Is she willing to sacrifice everything to keep her secret and her lover safe?

I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Yours to Uncover is the first of three novellas in the ES Siren series, each written by a different author.

In the case of Yours to Uncover, I’ve come up against a personal trope-fobia. For me, any story where some rich and powerful man makes things very hard for our heroine and her underdog hero is one I’ll avoid. For example, Titanic. The injustices thrust upon our hero and heroine are so stressful I’ll move on to something else. Granted, everyone saw the movie, loved the move, and it made a lot of money but that particular storyline is one I avoid as much as possible.

In this case, however, I requested a copy for review so I stuck with it. If I hadn’t requested a copy for review it would have slipped quietly off my kindle. So why did I request it? The covers are gorgeous and I'm a big fan of sic-fi romance.

I found moving through something in my “avoid” list was not only good for me (yes, we're not always going to review books we'd pick out for ourselves), but in the process I found an author I’ll read more of and a great series to continue.

I like the way this series portrays our heroes as disadvantaged (they are prisoners, chosen for their strong backs or because they have skills useful in building a successful colony) and the heroines are women of rank among the solders in charge of their journey. In Yours to Uncover, this doesn't prevent the heroes from being strong characters.

Zane (as he's called in the story) or Kane (as he's called in the blurb) is sick, despicable and mean. Everything I'd expect from the mess of a Lieutenant cast to spoil the relationship between Rita and Tristan.

Overall, I enjoyed Teshco's writing and found the world building and character development to be as much as can be done considering a novella. I know this type of against the odds love story is popular and if it's your thing, then here it is.


Monday, 25 August 2014

Review: Eternally Yours by Gina Ardito

I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Jodie Devlin's suicide is not the end, merely the beginning. With her future as a living human irrevocably destroyed, she must become an employee of the Afterlife until a new existence can be created for her. In the realm on the other side of death, she’ll learn how to retrieve ghosts who have lingered too long on Earth. If only she didn't have to work beside a good-looking, arrogant man who baffles and challenges her at every turn.

It's no wonder Luc Asante is so bitter toward women. His former wife ordered him taken off life support, condemning him to service in the Afterlife as one of Death’s bounty hunters. Now he has a trainee—a female trainee who’s as soft-hearted as he is hard, as impulsive as he is methodical. In a place where perfection is the norm, she revels in her imperfections just to drive him nuts.

Traveling through time and space to bring peace to lost souls, Jodie and Luc will be forced to come to terms with their differences and their pasts, to discover a love that might bind them for eternity.

I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

I liked this one. In many places I liked it a lot.

It was a little lumpy to get in to and took a while for me to want Jodie and Luc together. I didn't feel any tension or attraction for a long time but that was understandable, Jodie was still hung up on making things right with those she left behind.

The biggest distractions for me were all the pop culture references. They weren't subtle and complementary to the story. Instead they were obvious and completely iconic. For me, my personal experiences around those references forced me from the story. Those experiences prevented me from seeing the references in the context the author may have intended or in a light that that enhanced the plot. Pop culture references are difficult to place. Too esoteric and they are lost but too powerful and they hide the real meaning of a scene or characters comment.

Fortunately, as Jodie let go of her earth bound experiences she also stopped referring to the movie Ghost and Vulcan mind melds. For me, that was when the story began to develop.

Eternally Yours finally grew into a sweet love story. For me, though, it felt like I'd moved on to another book. I wanted a happy ending, strong resolution and all the lose ends to come together. They certainly did, and well, Luc and Jodie both made their own journeys and I liked the result.

I will definitely move on with the series. Gina's writing won me, pulled me through when I was challenged with the beginning and was a big part of how pleased I was with the ending.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Indie Pick: The Legacy: Fate by G. G. Atcheson

LX (or Alex for us Earthlings) is a Navigator. From the moment of his birth until he became of age, he prepared for his calling. On a routine exploration mission that shouldn't have taken more than a few months, an incident propels his spaceship light-years away from his destination, leaving him stranded on the third planet from a star called Sol.

The laws of survival are strict; he must not fraternize with the natives. However, an encounter with Mellie changes everything. She has speed and strength unknown to Earthlings yet strangely similar to his own species. This new discovery compels him to learn more about her and those who call themselves vampires. For her, he will break rules, his people's rules, until there is no turning back.

Meanwhile, mysterious storms are devastating cities. When they learn of their origin and the humans fail to see the threat, he, and his new friends, might be their only chance, but to save them and the one he loves, he may have to break his primary Oath: the vow never to take a life.

The words Vampires and Aliens in a review first caught my eye. 

Like, yeah!

I didn't even read the blurb and jumped right in to experience the plot without any expectations.

This book took me by complete surprise. It has action, neat space ships, world peril and bad scientists. And vampires AND aliens (can't ask for more!) Plus romance, soldiers, really bad aliens and magic.

Plus it's a super fun story with lots of humour, a good guy who puts everything into doing the right thing and a sweet ending that had me saying yes!

I look forward to the next adventure, links below to both Legacy: Fate and Legacy: Destiny.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Review: Incarnate by James Kahn

Five Stars

I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Vic learns that his fiancée is being stalked, Guys dreams of a 19th-century murder, and the connection between their twisted tales leads to a shocking surprise involving reincarnation. Bestselling author James Kahn - doctor, writer, and musician - has worked with celebrated filmmaker Steven Spielberg, Star Wars creator George Lucas, and renowned sci-fi editor Judy Lynn Del Rey. Not only do his fiction credits include the movie tie-ins for Return of the Jedi (on The New York Times bestsellers list for months), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Goonies, and Poltergeist, he's also written for such television shows as Star Trek: Voyager and Xena: Warrior Princess.

I don't know how to describe this book without using words you see printed on the front of all thrillers; gripping, action packed, intense. Somehow simply using words like that after seeing them so many times feels like taking the easy way out in spite of the fact those words accurately describe Incarnate.

I requested this upon seeing the word reincarnation, a favourite of mine, and loved how the plot twisted it about. Reincarnation was there, but it wasn’t a book about reincarnation. Just like it had the theatre without being about the theatre and plenty of great medical detail without being a medical thriller. The characters were well placed in the story, each strong and relatable. Whether I felt they were good or bad, they earned those feelings from me.

Kahn lures you in, as I’ve found in his other works as well, so deeply that when the plot releases a big moment your senses are wide open. So many big revelations, ‘bad things’ and oh my God surprises gave me cause to flinch inside and reread the passage to relive the moment again.

Many thanks to the publisher for the opportunity to experience this book.