Monday, 29 December 2014

Review: Gemini Cell by Myke Cole

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

US Navy SEAL Jim Schweitzer is a consummate professional, a fierce warrior, and a hard man to kill. But when he sees something he was never meant to see on a covert mission gone bad, he finds himself—and his family—in the crosshairs. Nothing means more to Jim than protecting his loved ones, but when the enemy brings the battle to his front door, he is overwhelmed and taken down.

It should be the end of the story. But Jim is raised from the dead by a sorcerer and recruited by a top secret unit dabbling in the occult, known only as the Gemini Cell. With powers he doesn’t understand, Jim is called back to duty—as the ultimate warrior. As he wrestles with a literal inner demon, Jim realizes his new superiors are determined to use him for their own ends and keep him in the dark—especially about the fates of his wife and son…

Gemini Cell is a prequel to Cole's Shadow Ops trilogy.

I have to say I quite enjoyed Gemini Cell. It's a big departure from the 'contemporary fantasy/sci-fi/romance' I usually read. I had my eye on the others in the series and when this one came up I grabbed it.

Blunt and very violent in places, the story was well tempered by the relationship between Jim and Sarah. For me, she was much the main character as Jim. She isn't a typical military wife which is, why I think, she has so much appeal.

This book has tons of gritty, in your face action, conspiracies and heart wrenching moments. Even reading the blurb, I was still pleasantly surprised by how MUCH went on. To be honest, the bulk of what I read is fantasy and sic-fi romance. Because of this, the biggest point of tension for me was Jim and Sarah's forced separation. For me, as much as Gemini Cell is a fantastic paranormal-military read, I was more than satisfied with the very human relationship Jim and Sarah had and my need to root for it was well supported throughout the book.

The only thing that might hold me back from continuing with the series is price. As I said I've had my eye on the other books in the series and while they aren't exorbitantly expensive, they are more than I usually spend.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Review: Mine to Keep by Denise Rossetti

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

He's all puppy charm, but he smiles like a wolf. Trust him? She'd have to be out of her mind.

All Sandy wanted was some R&R in Sydney before joining the Earth Ship Siren as head of Military Police. What she gets is a night of mystery and pleasure with a man so wickedly fascinating he can't possibly be law-abiding.

For professional con man Peter Stanton, Master Sergeant Alanna Sanderson, with her kick-ass body and cool blue eyes, is the most fun he's ever had. Eight months later, on the Siren, he gets to meet her again, but now he's Prisoner 141, and they're out among the stars, half way to the penal colony on Solitaire.

When a micrometeroid shower strikes the convoy, Sandy and Prisoner 141 are stranded on a stricken ship. Will he pull off the ultimate confidence trick and sacrifice Sandy for his freedom?

If only she could command her heart as easily as she wields her stun gun, because when he betrays her, as he surely must, she's going to have to kill him.

Mine to Keep is book 5 in the ES Siren Series. The series contains books by Denise RossettiShona Husk and Mel Tescho and follows several ships making the long voyage from Earth to give humans a fresh start on the planet Solitaire.

I've read books four, five and six in the series before sitting down to review the second instalment of three stories in the series.

In this one, Master Sergeant Alanna Sanderson finds herself face to face with Peter Stanton, a con man who bears the humiliation of getting caught.

Although I'm amazed that three authors could put a series together so seamlessly I must admit my preference is for Rossetti's contributions. For me, her characters come to life. They are the most grounded in themselves and relatable. There is a real humanness about them I find appealing and for Mine to Keep and Yours to Desire it's the way I can identify with her characters that brings the stories to life. 

I will definitely continue with this series.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Review: Beyond Galaxy's Edge by Anna Hackett

Ambitious Patrol Captain Nissa Sander has spent three years at the galaxy’s edge keeping the law and order, and chasing scoundrel smuggler, Justyn Phoenix. But the charming rogue has always outwitted her and she’s had a hard time ignoring his hard body and handsome face. But when one of the galaxy’s most important documents—the US Constitution—is stolen, Nissa finds herself working with the very man she’s been trying to throw in her brig.

Justyn Phoenix embraces life and offers everyone a wink and a smile. He’s also in love with a spit-and-polish Patrol captain. Yep, crazy in love, and he knows she’ll never love him back. But when the opportunity arises to work alongside Nissa on a wild and crazy mission to recover the US Constitution, he can’t resist.

But nothing on this treasure hunt is as it seems. The trail leads them to fake documents, rival treasure hunters, and a millennia old mystery. As the hunt takes them beyond the galaxy’s edge, Justyn and Nissa will face the firestorm of their desire, and soon learn if they can survive long enough to save the galaxy.

Beyond Galaxy's Edge is the fifth title in The Phoenix Adventures by Anna Hackett.

The series continues to grow and like the books before, always surprises me with something new. So many interspecies romance novels stick to the strictly human female and the alien male. This one doesn't. Captain Nissa Sander, our heroine, is part reptile. I loved to see her golden skin, smooth head and soft scales through the eyes of Justyn Phoenix and yes, although he's inescapably drawn to her outer beauty her tough, quick thinking personality is what really drives him crazy.

I have to admit I was curious how Hackett would pull me from my comfort zone of the other Phoenix brothers, Nik, Zayn and Dathan and immerse me in the lives of their smuggle cousins. We met Justyn and Nissa in On a Rogue Planet, though briefly.

I liked Justyn right away. Always full of humour and very sweet to Nissa and she was so easy to root for; a career soldier out to prove herself to her father. She needed more than anything to take a chance and find herself. Hackett took them both out of their element and I to me it felt like she let them be to figure things out for themselves. Their actions and decisions made their characters stronger and gave me a real sense of how they grew together.

Also, more great settings. A steampunk planet (smitten!) and a very dangerous jungle planet.

If you haven't picked this series up, start here At Star's End. Tons of fun, action, adventure and steam!

I received a copy from the Author in exchange for my review.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Review: To Walk in the Way of Lions by H. Leighton Dickson

The conclusion to the sweeping epic that began in 'TO JOURNEY IN THE YEAR OF THE TIGER, the story picks up where Journey leaves off, in the harsh deserts of Khanisthan. The team is running under a very set of different dynamics than before, for not only will they be forced to confront enemies tracking from the North and a hostile force from the Palace following from the South, but they must face their own demons that are plaguing them from within. It's man against man, cat against cat, Seer against Alchemist, knowledge versus ‘the Way of Things’ – a Sci-Fi 'Pride and Prejudice and Lions', like you’ve never read it before.

From the ruthless wilds of Khanisthan to the wind-swept shores of the Mediterranean Sea, the beauty and savagery of the Upper Kingdom unfolds like a living thing before them as they travel and Kirin will find out what it means to follow the code of Bushido to the gates of death and beyond…

This is the journey of six individuals as they travel beyond the edges of the known Empire, into lands uncharted and wild. Theirs is a journey of magic and mystery, science and swords, romance and intrigue. It is a journey of different perspectives and unexpected kharma and love found in surprising places. It is a journey that takes place five thousand years or so in the future, naturally in the Year of the Tiger.

To Walk in the Way of Lions takes everything I loved about Book 1, To Journey in the Year of the Tiger and manages to make me fall in love with the world and characters all over again.

I've laughed, been saddened, felt anxious and let out great happy sighs. Dickson's places and characters are immersive and addictive. I'm so very glad there is another book in the series.

Again, I find myself wanting to say so much my voice feels blocked by the sheer volume of things to say. These stories continue to be amazing, the characters touching and relatable and the adventure so encompassing all I can express is the fantastic experience spread through Dickson's pages.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Review: Beneath a Trojan Moon by Anna Hackett

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

Fortune teller Relda Dela-Cruz is a woman with a secret. One she’ll do anything to conceal. She hides in plain sight on the market world of Souk, content with running her profitable fortune-telling business and never letting anyone too close. But when assailants attack her in pursuit of a powerful artifact, Relda collides with the city’s handsome, new marshal. A man who leaves no stone unturned and no secret covered.

War has left former Galactic Special Forces Captain Hunt Calder tired and empty, but one look at sexy Relda—with her wild curls and lush curves—brings him back to life. When she’s threatened over the mysterious Trojan Moon, Hunt will let nothing stop him from protecting her. Even Relda herself.

As they face alien attackers and killer droids, Relda can’t resist her burning attraction to Hunt. But she knows he’s the most dangerous threat of all, because he doesn’t just want her body, he wants her trust and her secret, too. A secret with the power to destroy Hunt and Relda, the city, even the planet itself.

Beneath a Trojan Moon is a novella in the Phoenix Adventures Series.

I adored Relda right from the start. She gave someone who broke into her shop a job and pays a young street kid to run messages she could send electronically. Her hidden abilities show us why we should like big, rough Hunt the moment we meet him.

Hunt has been left worn by years in the Special Forces, the only bright spot in his life is Relda though he doesn't have a chance to get close to her until she's in danger. Then, all bets are off.

Beneath a Trojan Moon is a sweet complement to the action driven romance of the three novels preceding it in the series although action is in no way lacking. In those, the destination is puzzled out then sought. Great journeys had, chases run and galaxies crossed. All in pursuit of a happy ending and home.

In Beneath a Trojan Moon, Relda and Hunt fight for the home and happy ending already surrounding them. Their great adventure is in discovering and protecting what they have together.

Although this novella can be read as a stand alone, I found my familiarity with Hackett's sci-fi world helped me dig in right away and appreciate Relda and Hunt's backgrounds.

Beneath a Trojan Moon holds up to the others in the series in terms of action, butt kicking heroines and the alpha males who welcome them as both their weakness and their strength.