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review 2019-12-20 06:34
Greenfire by Saranne Dawson
Greenfire - Saranne Dawson

Nazleen is the ruler of the Hamloorian people. Like all Lieges, she is Cerecian: a descendant of Stakezti, a mysterious golden-haired child who had special powers (telepathy, visions of the future, the ability to wield green fire). It was Cerecians who wielded their green fire against the violent Warriors and brought peace to this land. Since then, a female Cerecian Liege has always ruled Hamloor, reluctantly choosing a mate from among the Warriors when it comes time for her to conceive an heir.

Nazleen knows that she will need to choose a mate soon. Her choice will almost certainly be Miklav, the Warrior Chief. He's a Warrior, so she'll never be able to fully trust him, but he seems to be a good man, and he's made some changes to Warrior society that she finds surprising, intriguing, and a little unsettling. However, first she must deal with news that may shift the balance of power more in Miklav's favor: there have been several sightings of aliens, some of whom might be male Cerecians. There have only ever been female Cerecians, and it's uncertain whether these possible male Cerecians are peaceful or as prone to violence as the Warriors.

Love Spell futuristic romances (which weren't necessarily "futuristic") used to be my catnip. If I found one at the library or on a used bookstore shopping trip, I wanted to read it. I figure I've probably owned this particular book for at least 15 or 20 years. I never seemed to be in the mood to read it, but I couldn't bring myself to offload it either. Love Spell nostalgia, I guess.

Sadly, this didn't turn out to be a hidden gem. I don't think I'd have liked it even if I had read it back during the height of my "futuristic romance" reading. The beginning was weighed down by overly complicated and confusing world-building. The story had potential but was generally boring. Even worse, this wasn't a romance. I don't care what the cover art and branding make it look like, it's not a romance.

It's possible to see the bones for a couple potentially decent romance novels in this book. In one, Nazleen and Miklav, two rulers who see each other as political adversaries, work together to investigate a potential threat towards their people and gradually begin to care for each other. In the other, Nazleen grew up believing that Cerecians were only ever female, while Zaktar believed that Cerecians were only ever male. After a disastrous meeting, they tried to patch things up between them for the good of their people, but also because they found themselves drawn to each other.

Two thirds of Greenfire was the first romance. This confused me, because the back of the book indicated that Nazleen and Zaktar were the book's heroine and hero. It was possible that this was somehow a stealth poly romance, but the Cerecian Sisterhood's visions of

Miklav being killed in a war

(spoiler show)

didn't seem like a good sign.

I initially figured that Zaktar would show up early on,

kill Miklav or somehow cause his death, and then spend the rest of the book trying to get Nazleen to trust him.

(spoiler show)

As pages and pages went by with little more than a single instance of telepathic contact between Nazleen and Zaktar that Nazleen thought might have been a hallucination, I became more unsure of the route this story was going to take. I also found myself thinking that this read far more like SFF with romantic aspects than an actual SFF romance. Although Nazleen and Miklav had sex, Nazleen never truly trusted Miklav and made it clear that he didn't have her heart. Miklav actually seemed more emotionally involved with Nazleen than Nazleen was with him, despite the fact that he had a long-term lover with whom he'd had a child (Hamloorians, and Warriors in particular, rarely had lifelong monogamous relationships).

I disliked Miklav's lust for political power and his controlling behavior. However, at least he had a significant on-page presence and had spent a good deal of time with Nazleen. The same couldn't be said about Zaktar. And yet. (Major spoilers from this point on. MAJOR.)

About two thirds of the way through the book, Zaktar killed Miklav. He could have held back and just stunned him, but instead he deliberately killed him - he wanted Nazleen after having briefly seen her, and he viewed Miklav as his rival. Nazleen tried to kill him in return and ended up miscarrying - yes, she was pregnant and Miklav was the father. Zaktar saved her life by carrying her into the Cerecians' sacred green fire...an act which the two later found out was an ancient Cerecian marriage ceremony. So, no matter what Nazleen did, she was unwillingly bound to someone. Nazleen spent most of the Zaktar portion of the book avoiding him, to the point where Zaktar thought he'd end up having to go back to his people alone, but once that "unwittingly married" bit came up, Nazleen's resistance magically evaporated and the two of them had sex in the sacred green fire. The end. Literally the end. The book just stopped right there.

It was bad enough that the book's supposed hero didn't really meet the heroine until the last third of the story, after he'd killed the man she'd chosen as her mate.

(spoiler show)

That ending, on top of everything else, was a slap in the face. On the plus side, now I get to offload this book and free up a little shelf space.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-12-20 02:20
Triumphs are not always absolute...but sometimes they are
Lost Souls - David Mack

Star Trek Destiny #3: Lost Souls by David Mack concludes the trilogy that began with Gods of Night and continued with Mere MortalsIf you've been following along with my reviews over the last several days you'll recall that I wasn't completely blown away by the last two books and a lot was riding on the final installment. *drumroll* My faith was justified and I was not disappointed! While it did take me ages to read, I definitely enjoyed this one the most. My suspicions about the Borg were confirmed (don't worry no spoilers here!) and all of the loose ends were neatly tied up. (As in any good Star Trek episode!) It's pretty much impossible for me to go into any details about the plot of this book without completely giving away everything from the first two so if you haven't read them read no further. Essentially, Erika Hernandez has essentially joined the crew of the Aventine and the Federation is in a much better position to counteract the Borg attacks since the Caeliar's powers have adapted her to telepathically link to the hive mind and impersonate the Borg Queen. O_O Things get super serious super quick and the puzzle pieces really start to fall into place about the Borg origin. It has it all: tearful farewells, emotional death scenes, close calls, and happy reunions. I personally think this would have worked better with two books instead of the three but if wishes were horses I would definitely never have gone horseback riding. 9/10 for Lost Souls.

 

PS Picard finally starts to resemble himself and I like him again.

 

PPS I still haven't watched Nemesis but I know a key plot point and I am not happy.

 

What's Up Next: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-12-13 19:49
Subspace tunnel sounds like a euphemism
Mere Mortals - David Mack

Star Trek Destiny #2: Mere Mortals by David Mack continues the trilogy that I began discussing on Monday. We find our crews separated across not only vast distances but also by time itself. Hernandez and 3 members of her crew are stranded with the Caeliar in the 1500s trying to find a suitable planet to inhabit without any hope of returning to their lives back on Earth in their time. Riker and the crew of Titan have reached the homeworld of the Caeliar in the present day and things do not go according to plan...in fact events quickly snowball out of Riker's control. Meanwhile, Picard and Dax are going through subspace tunnels in the style of eeny, meeney, miney, moe trying to find the one which will lead them to the Borg's point of origin and hopefully onto a path of defeating them. 

 

The best parts of this installment were those which followed Hernandez's struggles to adjust to her new existence and the glimpses of the Federation President scrabbling to put together a formidable force to defeat the approaching Borg Armada. There are two reasons I think that I preferred these two storylines: I still haven't watched Nemesis and still feel confused by this reality and Mack's depiction of familiar faces did not sit right with me particularly in regards to Picard. Sometimes I find that the best Star Trek novelizations are the ones where the author focuses more on the storyline element and less on the characters which the audience typically knows really well. In this case, Mack's description of the Caeliar race and their culture coupled with the (unknown to me at least) Captain Hernandez and her never-ending quest to escape/understand her captors was exactly what I wanted in a great sci-fi novel. Conversely, the dramatic characterization of Riker's faltering marriage and Picard's inner struggles against the Borg felt stilted and forced. 

 

By this point, I was way too invested not to continue so if you're wondering how I felt about the conclusion you can check back next week for that (although hopefully you're checking every day (-:). 7/10 for book 2 in this trilogy.

 

What's Up Next: The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity by Byron Reese

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond and The Science of Supervillains by Lois H. Gresh & Robert Weinberg

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-12-11 00:07
I bet the Borg Queen never got invited over for slumber parties
Gods of Night (Star Trek: Destiny #1) - David W. Mack

Star Trek Destiny #1: Gods of Night by David Mack is the first part in a trilogy which was a journey from beginning to end. Firstly, let me start by saying that when I initially ordered these I did so not realizing that they were written quite a few years ago which did cause me some confusion early on. (I bought them at a discount rate as an ebook set so I really should have put 2+2 together.) Secondly, let me give you the heads up that I didn't have (because I really went in blind, ya'll) that you need prior knowledge about The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, AND Nemesis (which is the one I had not seen (and still haven't seen)) if you want to have any hope of following along. If you haven't seen these you are going to be 1. lost and 2. very much spoiled for future events. 

 

Now that that's all out of the way let's delve into the meat and potatoes of the plot of this book. Like most books that begin a series Gods of Night really lays down a lot of foundation for future action. And there is a lot of information to get through because there is a mess load of time travel back and forth with many, many different characters. (Hint: I didn't love this.) The reader follows 4 different Starfleet crews through multiple time periods which are denoted at the start of each new chapter. You have to be paying a lot of attention and since I read these as ebooks I found it a bit more challenging. Basically, the Caeliar are chanced upon by the Columbia and her crew and found to be so much more technically advanced that there is no chance of overpowering, negotiating, or escaping. The Borg are back and instead of assimilating they have changed their mission to one of annihilation. The Federation is trying to muster up the forces to stop the Borg without any success and the crew of the Columbia are just trying to get back home. SO many characters and so little time (ha time travel pun). I didn't love this book but I did continue the series because by the time I'd gotten to the end of this segment I was too invested to stop...and I'm glad I kept going because by the third book the action was intense, guys. (Wait til you get to the end!) For Gods of Night a 6/10 but check for the reviews of Mere Mortals and Lost Souls in the coming weeks to see what I thought of those and my overall series rating. ;-)

 

Quick rundown of details:

The Columbia captained by Erika Hernandez, the Aventine captained by Ezri Dax, the Titan captained by Will Riker, and of course the Enterprise captained by Jean-Luc Picard. The aliens encountered: the Borg and the Caeliar. The times explored: too many to recount.

 

What's Up Next: Robot Dreams by Sara Varon

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-09-25 11:00
Release Day Review! Uncontrollable (Beyond Human #3) Nina Croft!

 

 

Quinn Sutherland, second in command of the Tribe, a group of powerful telepaths, has always been certain of who and what he is — one of the good guys. All he wants is to keep his friends safe — no easy feat when everyone in the world is after them. While on a rescue mission, he meets a mysterious FBI agent, who appears to know a lot about them, and seems to want the same thing he does. But her assignment could literally mean the death of him…

 

When Melody Lyons is inducted into the Federation’s elite Time Control Unit, it’s the pinnacle of her ambitions. Only when she’s sent back to the twenty-first century to eliminate a group of rogue time travelers, she never guesses she’ll fall for a man who died two thousand years ago… Quinn awakens emotions she hadn’t known existed, and for the first time, her loyalties are tested.

 

 

The third book in the Beyond Human series is quite interesting with thrills, romance and some very intriguing elements. Quinn and Melody are solid convincing characters that readers can relate to which makes it easy to become caught up in their story. The romance has an unusual obstacle to be overcome which keeps this relationship on pins and needles throughout the story no matter how strong this couple’s sizzling attraction is and since the stronger the attraction gets the harder Quinn and Melody try to keep emotions tucked in tight and keep their objectives in sight at all times. This keeps the sparks flying as well as keeping emotional turmoil flowing from the pages and ensures that readers want to know every last detail of this couples’ romantic journey to their happily ever after.

 

Thrills and interesting elements keep readers turning the pages of this steady to fast paced and smooth flowing plot. First, Melody is from the future so that gives readers a word of possibilities for readers to imagine and adds to the adrenaline pumping atmosphere of the story and then there is the all the exciting events that keeps readers on the hanging on the edge of their seat, prison breaks, shoot outs, astonishing secrets revealed and a trip through time and space with some surprises along the way as well. Unfortunately, this series should be read in sequential order in order to get maximum understanding of the events taking place as readers may feel as if they have dropped into the middle (this would be me as I missed the first two), also while this couple gets their happy for now, the story ends on a cliffhanger so readers have to wait impatiently to find out what happens next.

 

 

Author's Book Page - http://www.ninacroft.com/book/uncontrollable-beyond-human-3/

 

 

Add to your shelves -

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41442728-uncontrollable

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/books/uncontrollable-by-nina-croft

 

 

Uncontrollable is the 3rd book in the Beyond Human series -

 

Author - http://www.ninacroft.com/book-series/beyond-human/

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/series/187426-beyond-human

 

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H7QPM8X?ref=series_rw_dp_labf

 

 

which includes -

 

.5 No More Lies (The Telephath Chronicles anthology)
1 Unthinkable
2 Unspeakable
3 Uncontrollable

 

 


AVAILABLE in print or ebook -

Entangled - https://entangledpublishing.com/uncontrollable.html

 

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H28K56V?tag=entangpublis-20&name=Uncontrollable

 

A-UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07H28K56V?tag=entangpublis-20&name=Uncontrollable

 

A-AU - https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07H28K56V?tag=entangpublis-20&name=Uncontrollable

 

A-CA - https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07H28K56V?tag=entangpublis-20&name=Uncontrollable

 

B&N - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/9781640636774?name=Uncontrollable

 

iBooks - http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9781640636774?name=Uncontrollable&uo=8&at=1010lsQz

 

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/uncontrollable-9

 

GPlay - https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Nina_Croft_Uncontrollable?id=iShrDwAAQBAJ

 

Growing up in the cold, wet, north of England, Nina Croft spent a lot of time dreaming of faraway sunnier places and ponies. When she discovered both, along with a whole load of other things, could be found between the covers of a book, her life changed forever.

 

Later, she headed south, picked up the perfect husband along the way, and together they volunteered to work in Africa. There they discovered a love of exotic places and a dislike of 9-5 work. Afterward they spent a number of years travelling (whenever possible) intermingled with working (whenever necessary.) Eventually they stumbled upon a remote area in the mountains of southern Spain and the small almond farm they now call home.

 

Nina spends her days reading, writing and riding her mare, Gencianna, under the blue Spanish skies—sunshine and ponies. She reckons this is proof that dreams really can come true if you want them enough.

 

Nina's writing mixes romance with elements of the paranormal and science fiction

 

 

 

Website - http://www.ninacroft.com/

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3378320.Nina_Croft

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/authors/nina-croft

 

Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/Nina_Croft

 

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/NinaCroft.Writer/?ref=br_rs

 

 

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