Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nebula's Music by Aubrie Dionne

Title: Nebula's Music
Author: Aubrie Dionne
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Publisher: Lyrical Press Inc
Rating: 5 stars
Rater: Pippa

Plot summary:
Each note brings her one step closer to the truth.

When the cyborg Nebula plays the piano she experiences memories from a time before her creation. These memories…which involve a captive rebel fighter being held on their ship…bring with them complex human feelings and awaken a desire for her to discover her origins.

Radian is the long lost love of the woman from which Nebula was made. He’s vowed to avenge his finance’s death and rescue her sister from the Gryphonites, a fierce race out to enslave the galaxy.

Nebula grapples with her identity and how much of who she is comes from someone else’s past. She is not the woman that died, yet she is undeniably drawn to Radian.

Together Nebula and Radian seek to rescue his fiancĂ©’s sister and end the Gryphonites’ cruel reign. But can Radian learn to love again and can Nebula accept a past made from someone else’s memories?  

The good: I LOVED this book. It's as beautifully composed as the music mentioned within the story. I was enthralled by the central character Nebula and her blooming emotions, her struggle to deal with memories of her former life as a human. The tension, both romantically and dramatically, are maintained throughout the story, and the technology is touched upon but not so in depth that you feel as if you're plowing your way through a scientific text book. There's some lovely world-building and vivid descriptions.

The bad: This is pure nit-picking. I thought the description of the filthy interior of the Gryphonite space ship was a bit OTT - yes, they are the bad guys but do they have to be dirty too? I would also say this is more a science-fiction adventure with an element of romance rather than a full-blown SFR. Some fans of the genre might find the single closed bedroom door scene doesn't satisfy their expectation of romance, although I was absolutely fine with it myself.

In sum: This is a poignantly sweet and smooth science fiction story with a touch of romance. A delight to read, and one that left me wanting more. Much, much more.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jaq's Harp by Ella Drake

Title: Jaq's Harp
Author: Ella Drake
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Rating: 4 stars
Rater: Pippa

Plot summary:
In a world of floating islands and bio-engineered beans, the bad guys are taken down by agents of the Mother organization—agents like Jacqueline "Jaq" Robinson. Instead of accepting her next routine assignment, she sets out on a mission of her own—to destroy Giant Corp, the company responsible for her sister's wasting illness. Jaq must steal her cure from Giant's headquarters high above the city...even though she'll be brought face-to-face with Harper English, the man who left her to go deep undercover at Giant.

For Harp, Jaq had been a distraction the mercenary thought he couldn't afford. But once he sees her again, Harp knows he's made a mistake. Even though she vowed he won't have her again, it's clear they still have a powerful attraction. Harp's determined to get a second chance with Jaq—if they can escape Giant Corp and get back to solid ground in one piece...

The good: I loved the play on Jack and the Beanstalk with a good dose of a dystopian world, advanced technologies and the contrasting privileged lifestyles of those in the floating cities. There's a real sense of the desperation of the landers. My heart ached throughout for Jaq, and I was desperate for her to get her HEA. I wanted this book to be longer so I could enjoy more of the world building and great descriptions throughout.

The bad: I felt there was too much back story crammed in between the dialogue at the start of the story, which slowed things down and made it harder to get into. I also couldn't understand Harper's initial reaction to Jaq. Considering these are both supposed to be professionals in a high-risk job, and both in very real and serious dangers with more than their own lives at stake, he just came across as a complete jerk in his behaviour. However I did warm back to him later. The ending also didn't quite do it for me although I can't quite pin down why.

In sum: I would read this one again, and look for other works by the same author. A good novella for fans of science fiction romance, and recommended for those who may not have read the genre before and want a taster.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hunted by Elle Hill

Title: Hunted
Author: Elle Hill
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Rating: 5 stars
Rater: Pippa 

Plot Summary:
Gray Leigh knows a hundred ways to stop someone’s heart from beating, but has no idea what lies inside her own. Born a Hunter, she has spent her entire life honing herself into a weapon against Leeches, superhuman beings who feed off the pain and misery of humankind.

One rainy afternoon, the Clan Council assigns Gray to protect Simon Romero, a human biologist whose research has uncovered the existence of Leeches. As they face Leech assassins and a psychotic ex-Hunter, Simon grapples to fathom this new, violent world into which he’s been plunged. Meanwhile, Gray struggles to reconcile Simon’s kindness and pacifism with her own ascetic warrior’s life. 

As the day passes into another, Gray finds herself increasingly determined to keep Simon safe, not only because it is her duty, but because she has finally found something that means as much to her as killing.

The good: I love the author's skilful character descriptions, and the way she manages to convey the details of this underlying paranormal world that most humans aren't aware beneath the real one they know without it being an info dump. The bedroom scene is hot without dominating the story as some books do. The story goes straight into the action, and frankly ended far sooner than I would have liked.

The bad: I really can't find much to complain about. Personally I would have liked a little more of the story from Dr.Romero's viewpoint, as he's as much a newcomer to the world of Hunters and Psychic versus Leeches as the reader.

In sum: I would recommend this to fans of paranormal romance in general, but especially those who might be looking for something new without shifters, vamps and witches. I don't normally read paranormal or urban fantasy, but the story and the writing held me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

St. Martin's Moon by Marc Vun Kannon

Title: St. Martin's Moon
Author: Marc Vun Kannon
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Echelon Press Publishing (May 30, 2011)
Available: $13.99 PB/$2.99 kindle at Amazon 
Rating: 4.25 stars
Rater: Dihanna

Plot summary:  Joseph Marquand is Earth’s best werewolf hunter. He is called to the Moon to hunt the vermin, and to do his level best to make the Moon a safe place for normal humans to live. Unfortunately, however, his own demons are complicating his focus - and as you can imagine, the werewolves have entirely different plans. 

The good: This author is an exceptionally skilled writer with a vivid imagination. His plot is original and well thought out, his descriptions are well written, and the adventure is non-stop. I enjoyed every page, and found the story immensely satisfying.

But: This is a profoundly masculine book that not only includes a lot of fighting, but is told from a distinctly male perspective. There are really no women present, and no women’s points of view, and despite trying very hard, I couldn’t quite connect with the protagonist. 

In sum: I highly recommend this book to all lovers of science fiction. The story is both well told and satisfying.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Don't Bite the Messenger by Regan Summers

Title: Don't Bite the Messenger
Author: Regan Summers
Genre: Paranormal (Vampire) Romance [novella]
Publisher: Carina Press (January 16, 2011)
Available: $3.19 at Amazon
Rating: 5 stars
Rater: Lauri

Plot summary: Syd - "Mary" - works as a messenger. For vamps. In the Anchorage, Alaska darkness. And she takes her life into her hands every time she does. To avoid being bespelled, tracked, trapped, and claimed, Syd must change her appearance and mask her personal scent every day, and she, as smart messengers do, has to avoid traveling the same routes and becoming too comfortable with anything. One crazy night Syd meets Malcolm, a far too handsome dude who lends her a very serious helping hand - er - lip. Sparks fly, but Syd can't let lust complicate her life. Unfortunately, life has other ideas.

The good: I read this story in one sitting. From the first page, I found myself engrossed. Ms. Summers' descriptions are exceptionally well written without being overdone. The action is well balanced with the character development. None of the elements are neglected. I laughed when funny things happened, and ached for that second kiss.

What needs work: Far too many sentences start with pronouns, but it doesn't take a significant chunk away from the story. It annoyed me because I also write, I think, and non-writers may not notice it.

It isn't often that I come across a book this - well - good. It may sound trite, but this is most definitely a must-read if your interests lie in pararomance or modern vampire romance.