*ARC REVIEW* ~ Dark Matters (Class 5), Book 4, by Michelle Diener

#space-opera #scifi #romance

Blurb

DARK MATTERS . . . taking matters into her own hands

A time bomb, waiting to go off . . .

Lucy Harris is on the run, not sure where she can turn to for help, or if help is even available. But even as her abductors chase her down, she realizes they don’t just want to recapture her, they want to erase her.

When your very existence puts a planet at the risk of war, there’s no choice but to do everything in your power to stay out of your enemies hands.

A predator . . . waiting for the chance to pounce

The powerful AI battleship, Bane, is accompanying the United Council envoy to Tecra to mete out the punishment the Tecrans have earned for breaking UC law. He revels in the power he’s about to have over his old masters. But his mission isn’t only to rain down retribution on the people who kept him chained for years, he’s also looking for a human woman his fellow Class 5 thinking system mentioned in the final seconds of his life. Paxe admitted to taking Lucy Harris from Earth, and Bane has been looking for her ever since.

A warrior conflicted . . .

Commander Dray Helvan thinks the Grih made a mistake in not pushing for war with the Tecran, but he’s had to accept the compromise, that he and the other envoys from the United Council will go to Tecra and dismantle its military from the top down. His mission is not one of his choosing, but when he and his team arrive, he’s handed a very different job. While he distrusts Bane on principle, when the thinking system tells him there’s a woman running for her life on the planet below, he will do whatever he has to to see her safe. And if that means war for Tecra, well, then it means war.

This is book 4 in the award-winning Class 5 series.

My Review ~5 stars

An action-packed and suspenseful read

Dark Matters contains plenty of action, suspense and also a sweet romance between the heroine Lucy and Commander Dray Helvan, who is tasked with retrieving Lucy from the planet Tecra before her enemies can destroy her.

The book is the latest in Michelle Diener’s excellent Class 5 series and this instalment once again delves into intergalactic politics, the use and abuse of advanced AI battleships and the fate of the human women who are unwillingly thrust into the centre of this world. This is Lucy’s story.

I enjoyed how the author wastes no time in thrusting the reader straight into the action, leaving us under no illusions as to the danger that Lucy finds herself in. The stakes are certainly high, with Lucy’s fate a pivotal one in the fragile interplanetary peace. I liked that Lucy is a strong character psychologically, given all she has been through. That said, the situations she finds herself in as she attempts to survive on a hostile planet and flee her abductors mean she has to constantly challenge herself which requires much courage on her part. Dray, the fearless and intelligent commander, is the perfect mate for her. I enjoyed their evolving romance which was interweaves seamlessly with the developing plot and I was rooting for their HEA.

The influence of the AI battleship Bane is ever present and although he is committed to ensuring Lucy’s safety he is also seeking revenge against his old masters, their common enemy the Tecrans. This provides plenty of tension as he is literally a loose cannon whose actions could jeopardise peace at any moment. Bane is very much a main character in his own right. I read with interest his growing bond with Lucy in particular and how his character develops throughout, particularly as he gets to know the human Lucy and learns to reflect further on his own feelings and motivations.

Thoroughly recommended for fans of space opera and sci-fi who enjoy a strong and thought provoking plot, excellent character development and some romance with their read.

Reviewed by Tina Williams
Please note that an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for a fair and honest review.

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*ARC REVIEW* ~ Unintentional Obsession (Lotus Adaamas Series Book 2), by Layla Stone

#scifi #scifiromance #romance

Book Blurb

Make a deal with the wrong Demon and you’ll always be in his pocket.

Nara made a deal with the wrong Demon and now he’s forcing her to do something she can’t do without getting sick. When she can’t deliver, she’s given over to another Demon for safe keeping. She shouldn’t hate Shine as much as she does. It wasn’t his fault the Demon planet is run by a horrible person who refuses to listen to her when she says she’s not a doctor.

Shine shouldn’t hate the female that was thrown at his feet and told to keep an eye on her. It wasn’t her fault a black hearted Demon runs the planet and thinks he can do whatever he wants to whoever he wants, but there’s something about her that gets under his skin.

Two people who couldn’t be more different find out they have more in common then they expected. When the time runs out, will Nara be able to do what it takes to keep Shine alive?

My Review

Faced paced and sexy sci-fi romance ~ 5 stars

If you are after a fun and sexy read with suspense and danger thrown in then this page turning read definitely ticks all the boxes. It is the second book in the Lotus Adaamas Series (the first being Unintentional Addiction which I have also read and recommend). Although the book refers to events and characters in the first book it can certainly be read as a standalone.

The book contains a strong female lead, the Numan Nara, and the Demon Shine, who we met in the first book. Both are forced together by the evil demon Karr who controls much of what happens on the planet. Nara and Shine have interesting if heart breaking back stories and on the face of it have little in common. Yet as circumstances get ever more dire for the couple they form an attachment and I was soon keeping my fingers crossed for their Happy Ever After.

I enjoyed the humour as well as the sexy scenes which were balanced by the danger and suspense represented by the heinous actions of Karr. The read also contains some clever world building through the descriptions, language and concepts introduced by the author.

Recommended for readers who love sci-fi romance containing quirky but loveable characters with a dose of danger.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

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*REVIEW* ~ A Discarded Son (The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book 3) by Lorna Peel

#historicalfiction #histfic #romance #victorian #ireland

Book Blurb

Can Will and Isobel right the wrongs of the past without hurting those closest to them?

Dublin, Ireland, 1881. Isobel Fitzgerald’s mother, Martha, marries solicitor James Ellison but an unexpected guest overshadows their wedding day. Martha’s father is dying and he is determined to clear his conscience before it is too late. Lewis Greene’s confession ensures the Ellisons’ expectation of a quiet married life is gone and that Isobel’s elder brother, Alfie Stevens, will be the recipient of an unwelcome inheritance.

When a bewildering engagement notice is published in The Irish Times, the name of one of the persons concerned sends Will and Isobel on a race against time across Dublin and forces them to break a promise and reveal a closely guarded secret.

My Review

An emotional and well-crafted family saga ~ 5 stars

This is the third instalment of Lorna Peel’s excellent series The Fitzgeralds of Dublin. The author transports the reader effortlessly to Victorian Ireland and I quickly settled into the read.

Will and Isobel, once again at the centre of the story, continue to do their utmost to do the very best for themselves and their extended family and friends as they are confronted with numerous surprises, good and bad. It was a pleasure to follow them all as they endeavour to adapt and survive what life throws at them.

It is evident that the author has meticulously researched her subject material, from the day to day domestic endeavours of middle class families, to medical practices and the treatment of those with learning difficulties, the law and the wider social and political situation in Ireland at the time.

Will and Isobel are a couple whose lives I have followed since reading A Scarlet Woman and A Suitable Wife (click on book titles for reviews). I enjoyed reading how their love and mutual respect for each other continue to deepen as their relationship develops. I have also enjoyed reading about the other characters in their extended family and circle of friends, which the author develops further within this novel.

The read is perfect for readers who are looking for a rich and authentic work of historical fiction, one with elements of romance, family loyalties and commitment.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

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*REVIEW* ~ Bait: Planet Athion Series (The Tradrych Strain Book 2), by Marissa Farrar

#reverseharem #planetathion #dark #scifi #erotic #romance

Book Blurb

I’ve been kidnapped to an alien planet, and forced to give birth to a creature that isn’t even human.
But now I’m fighting back…

The discovery that two of the alien Trads, Nad and Miko, and the slave Athion, Diarus, are part of a rebel group came as a shock. Even more of a shock is discovering I have feelings for each of them, and, it seems, they feel the same way about me.

Now I’ll do anything to help them, including handing myself over to the most dangerous Trad in the area, Polityk Borys. I’m offering myself up as bait, and there’s a good chance he’ll take the bite.

This is a dark sci-fi romance and is reverse harem. It is also part of the Planet Athion multi-author reverse harem sci-fi world.

My Review ~ Nail-biting continuation of Tara’s story 5 stars

I loved the continuation of Tara’s story, which is full of suspense and action and also some sizzling scenes of inter-species loving! The novella can be enjoyed as a-standalone but reading the first instalment is highly recommended to fully comprehend the world Tara finds herself in and the past horrors she has endured.

Her wish to help the other women who are being compelled to act as breeders by the race of Demon like Trads is her motivation to helping the rebels by offering herself up as bait to gain access to information held by Polityk Boris. Some of the scenes are very dark as Polityk Boris typifies all that is hateful about many of the Trads. Although Trads, Nad and Miko, and the slave Athion, Diarus are on her side, it soon becomes clear that the heroine has bitten off more than she can chew with the depravity that is commonplace with her new owner.

Will she have to abort the mission? Can she possibly escape? How can Nad, Miko and Diarus help her when they have their own problems to face?

Once again I enjoyed the suspense and the fast paced plot and the developing relationship between Tara and her lovers. Readers of reverse harem will enjoy reading this series, especially those who enjoy tales set in a sci-fi world.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

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*ARC REVIEW* ~ The White Scorpion: A James Ryker Thriller #5, by Rob Sinclair

#spies #spythrilller #thriller

Book Blurb

Rule number one for an agent of the secretive JIA is to follow orders, no matter what.
But James Ryker has never cared much for rules. He only wants to do what is right.

Assigned to join of crew of elite security personnel in Chabon, Africa, Ryker’s mission objective is clouded by politics and obfuscation, and he knows only that to protect British interests in the region, he is to infiltrate the close protection team of the government of Chabon, a country with a dark and violent past.

Arriving in Chabon’s crumbling capital, Kilpassa, Ryker finds a country on the brink of civil war. A growing civilian rebellion threatens peace, with claims of atrocities committed by both sides, including the frail government run by enigmatic President Benyu – a former military general who took control of the country in a violent coup.
Drawn into Benyu’s inner circle, it soon becomes clear to Ryker that in Chabon, the lines between good and bad, and right and wrong, are nearly impossible to identify.

With a crisis of epic proportions unfolding before his eyes, Ryker knows one thing for sure: with or without the backing of his superiors, he must take drastic action, and quickly, or risk putting millions of innocent lives in danger.

My Review ~ 5 stars

Rip-roaring spy thriller 

The White Scorpion, the 5th book in the James Ryker series, is another rip-roaring spy thriller from the imagination of Rob Sinclair. I was glued to my Kindle from the first page until the last, fully immersed in the read, which combines politics, espionage and at times some unapologetically bloody and brutal scenes.

Ryker is enticed out of his semi-retirement by his former boss Peter Winters in the Joint Intelligence Agency, and tasked with protecting President Benyu, the leader of an unstable African state to maintain the country’s stability and protect British interests. He is not operating alone, the team he is assigned to comprising others from a military and special services background, all hitherto unknown to each other.

Ryker and his team on the ground find that their very lives are on the line as they are at the mercy of diplomatic power play involving their paymasters in the intelligence services and HM government. They find they have to navigate the internal politics of an African state whose charismatic but volatile leader has his own agenda and whose country is teetering on the brink of rebellion. Who can Ryker and his colleagues trust in this murky world of politics and personal ambition?

Ryker’s character arc has developed over the course of the series and although he is very much a  highly skilled spy, assassin and killing machine when needs be, he is now a man with a conscience. He needs to know that his orders are there for a good reason and will not hesitate to seek revenge against those who deserve his wrath. We witness the shift in his moral compass throughout in his dealings with colleagues and those he encounters throughout his mission. I thoroughly enjoyed the relationships Ryker has with the other characters in the novel, particularly Moreno, a member of his team and Peter Winters his boss.

This engaging and well researched read is fast paced, gritty and oftentimes bloody in content and leaves the reader guessing until its denouement. It is recommended to fans of action packed but thoughtful spy thrillers and anyone who relishes a diverting read whatever the genre.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that an ARC pf this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

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*ARC REVIEW* ~ The Monster Chained (Fenris #4), by Samantha Macleod

#eroticromance #NorseMythlogy 

Adult/18+ content

Book Blurb

Is Val-hall truly the sanctuary Óðinn promises? Or is it a beautiful trap?

Sol and Fenris escaped King Nøkkyn’s castle for the isolation and dubious safety of the Ironwood forest. Yet, as Sol’s pregnancy progresses, they are forced to admit that a cave in the wild forest is no place to raise a baby. But with no family, no gold, and the flames of a civil war burning all around them, where can Sol and Fenris possibly find refuge?

When Óðinn the All-father, leader of the fabled Æsir and Vanir warriors, offers the couple a home within his legendary fortress Val-hall, Sol and Fenris feel they have no choice but to accept. However, even surrounded by the beauty and abundance of Val-hall, Sol fears the dark prophecy unleashed by King Nøkkyn will follow them all the way to Asgard. And Fenris, despite his assurances to the contrary, may one day fail the strange tests of strength the Æsir demand as proof of his loyalty.

My Review – 5 stars

Pulled at the Heartstrings – have tissues at the ready! 

The Monster Chained, the fourth instalment in the Fenris series by Samantha Macleod, is beautifully written, weaving a tale of love and self-sacrifice with Norse mythology. Be warned though you will undoubtedly need tissues at the ready! The plot threads from earlier novellas in the series are drawn together in an unavoidable noose that tightens around Sol and Fenris. The read also contains a great deal of hotness and there are a number of explicit lovemaking scenes.

In this instalment we witness Fenris go all out to prove his loyalty to Óðinn and his warriors. The author delves deep into the legend that is Val-hall and I hugely enjoyed reading the scenes of debauchery that typifies life there. We meet many of the characters we have encountered in earlier books in the series, and in other works the author has based around the Norse myths and legends. I was especially pleased that Loki, Fenris’ father, makes an appearance!

Yet despite securing sanctuary for Sol and their unborn child all does not bode well and the story progresses with an increasing sense of foreboding. Who can Fenris and Sol trust? Are they amongst friends of foes? What alternative do they have to secure their safety? As I found out more and more about Fenris’ past, particularly his early years my heart bled for him and I was left fearing for the couple’s future.

This steamy and heartrending read does end on a cliffhanger and I so need the final novella in this series now!

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of his book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

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