Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Freedom's Embrace (A'yen's Legacy #4) by Rachel Leigh Smith #futuristic #romance

Title: Freedom's Embrace (A'yen's Legacy #4)
Author: Rachel Leigh Smith
Genre: Futuristic Romance
Publisher: Rachel Leigh Smith
Available: GoodreadsKobo, B&N, Amazon (pages 321,  $4.99)
Rating: 5*
Rater: Pippa


They made the wrong choice. Putting it right requires going into a war.

A'yen's Reign: Year Two
Taran has served Nicco, prince of Marcase, for twenty-three years. While on a fact-finding mission to Corsica--a planet annexed by the empire thirteen years ago--Taran and Nicco are kidnapped by the Freedom Alliance and taken deep into the Corsican hardwood forests.

Da'Renna, sister to King A'yen's linked bodyguard, has loved Taran since the moment he saw her. Leaving him behind wasn't easy, but her brother needed her more. Hearing about Taran's kidnapping makes her wonder if she made the right choice.
With the help of a friend from Corsica, Da'Renna and her brother sneak in to find Taran. When mercenaries take her hostage, Taran must make the choice he dreads most: his master, or his soul-mate.
If Taran loses his girl, he'll never find his way to freedom.
Note: This novel stands alone and is a great entry point into the A'yen's Legacy futuristic romance series

What I liked:
Fully fleshed and complex, tortured characters you can immediately sympathize with (though I wanted to slap the main couple). I was so happy to see more of Ro and Jasmine even though this wasn't their story, the majority of that having taken place in book three. This book can stand alone so you don't have to read the previous three to be able to follow the majority of it (although personally I was glad I had as it gives you more back up/lead up to this story and the politics/history behind it). It continues to build on the A'yen universe and the slow crawl toward freedom for all the Lokmane. This is a story about divided loyalties, what freedom means to an individual, and what they are prepared to sacrifice for love. This is perhaps the smoothest read of the series so far, and not only progresses the story but also ties up some loose ends from the previous books.

What I didn't like:
I actually can't pick up on anything I didn't really like. The 5* rating says it all. Aside from getting frustrated with the central couple (which is the whole purpose of the story), and maybe a bit too much of the cupping faces again (but touch is so much more important to a Lokmane because of the almost spiritual connections couples share), I can't fault it.

In conclusion:
Recommended for those who want to try scifi romance but are put off by the prospect of having to wade through a lot of science, or for paranormal/UF lovers looking for something a bit different to the usual vampires, shifters, demons etc. You don't even have to have read the previous books in the series as this can stand alone (though personally I would suggest that you do).

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Delirium (Debt Collector #1) by Susan Kaye Quinn #cyberpunk #urbanfantasy

Title: Delirium (Debt Collector #1)
Author: Susan Kaye Quinn
Genre: Cyberpunk/Urban Fantasy
Publisher: self
Available: Amazon $0.99 (Kindle) 44 pages
Rating: 4*
Rater: Pippa

What's your life worth on the open market?
In this sexy, gritty future-noir, debt collectors take your life energy and give it to someone more "worthy"... all while paying the price with black marks on their souls.

Lirium plays the part of the grim reaper well, with his dark trenchcoat and jackboots—he's just in it for his cut, the ten percent of the life energy he collects before he transfers it on to the high potentials, the people who will make the world a better place with their brains, their work, and their lives. That hit of life energy, a bottle of vodka, and a visit from one of Madam Anastazja's sex workers keep him alive, stable, and mostly sane... until he collects again. But when his recovery ritual is disrupted by a sex worker who isn't what she seems, he has to choose between doing an illegal hit for a girl whose story has more holes than his soul or facing the bottle alone--a dark pit he's not sure he'll be able to climb out of again.

What I liked:
I love tortured, damaged heroes who aren't portrayed as alpha a-holes, and Lirium is definitely one of these, as well as being a kind of futuristic Grim Reaper showing signs of an unfortunate conscience. The writing is excellent, as is the pace and world-building. I had no trouble with the first person perspective.

What I didn't like:
I'm not a fan of serialized/episodic stories even if they don't finish on a cliffhanger. This reads more like a prologue/first chapter, while I want a complete story, be it short, novella or novel. On that basis I'm unlikely to pick up the rest of the episodes.

In conclusion:
This kind of reminds me of Looper with a side order of Dark City/Bladerunner in feel. If you like a blend of urban fantasy with cyberpunk, tortured anti-heroes, and enjoy serials, this is for you. If this ever comes out as a complete novel, I'll pick it up. In the meantime I'm off to see what else this author has that isn't serialized.