*ARC REVIEW* ~Trailblazer (Verdant String #3), by Michelle Diener

#spaceopera #scifiromance #suspense

 

Book Blurb

He’s on a mission . . .
She’s running for her life . . .
And if they get off-planet alive, she’ll have to trust he won’t reveal her darkest secret.

Tally Riva is not what she seems, and even she’s not happy about it. Infected, invaded, she’s not quite sure how to describe it, but on a disastrous mission to a ghost ship, something burrowed its way into her body. Into her mind.

When her commander decides the best cure for what he thinks is Tally’s trauma is to send her on the famous Veltos Trail, Tally goes without revealing what’s really behind her mental anguish. Anything to be seen as normal again, anything to ignore what she’s afraid is happening to her.

But Veltos isn’t the safe place it seems. The chosen military personnel lucky enough to be offered the chance to walk the Trail are supposed to be the only people on Veltos. But Ben Guthrie, a captain in Arkhoran Special Forces, knows they’re not. He and his team have been on Veltos for a month already, tracking suspicious enemy activity, and he’s gone undercover on the Trail in search of a satellite his superiors are sure has been shot down.

When Ben’s worst fears become reality, and they find themselves hunted by a cunning enemy through the thick forests of Veltos, Tally and Ben fight together to survive. And Tally has to decide if accepting the changes inside her will save them both, or be her doom.

TRAILBLAZER is a standalone novel, and the third full length book set in the world of the Verdant String.

Books in the series are: Interference & Insurgency (Two Novellas of the Verdant String), Breakaway, Breakeven, Trailblazer.

My Review – 5 stars

Suspenseful and adventure packed

This is an expertly crafted and suspenseful read with plenty of action and also a romance for the central character Tally. I was so engrossed in the story that after a while I felt as if I was living and breathing alongside Tally and her fellow trail walkers on the planet Veltos where much of the book is set. The story worked well for me as a standalone, although I feel that if I had read the earlier books in the series they would have only added to my enjoyment.

I loved Tally the central character. She is one strong woman despite the trauma she has recently endured of being the sole survivor on a ghost ship, where an alien entity has invaded her body and mind. This makes her vulnerable as she finds herself at war with herself. For although whatever it is that has burrowed inside her is determined to protect her, its host, from harm, she is sometimes compelled to act in ways that are at odds with her free will.

Sent on the Veltos trail to aid her recovery from what was a disastrous mission, she is at pains to conceal what has taken up residence inside her and her oftentimes new abilities. However, she finds it increasingly difficult to keep her secret from fellow trail members as they find themselves the quarry of an enemy who is stalking them. It is especially difficult to hide the truth from Ben Guthrie, a member of the special forces who is on a mission to find out what really is going on on Veltos. Ben too is a strong character and a worthy mate for Tally.

I found the whole premise of the book, combined with the central characters of Tally and Ben and the secondary characters, made for a cracking scifi adventure. The read has plenty of tension and suspense as the plot develops and truths reveal themselves. I was on pins with how far Tally could control the entity inside her and how others would react when and if its presence was revealed. and also whether they would survive the enemy stalking them.

Thoroughly recommended for lovers of sci-fi and space opera who also love romance.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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

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**DOUBLE REVIEW** FRENZY & DOOM (A Daniel Jones Story 1 & 2) by Mark King

I am so glad I had Mark King‘s Daniel Jones Story brought to my attention. There is action and adventure every step of the way in this extremely well-written post-apocalyptic fantasy series! Written for YA, it’s an exciting and thrilling series for anybody age 14+. I was totally gripped – a MUST-READ series!!

BANG. BANG. BANG.

And the ground shook.

BANG. BANG. BANG.

And the ground shook with an almighty force.

BANG. BANG. BANG.

And the ground shook with such terrifying power that once again the soul of humanity would cry out in fear tonight.

SILENCE.

Frenzy 3 v2Title: FRENZY (A Daniel Jones Story #1)

Author: Mark King

Genre: Fantasy, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, action/adventure

Date released: March 1st, 2013

Published by: Book Guild Publishing

Length: 226 pages

Blurb: Daniel leads a peaceful life with his family until he finds out a repulsive secret about the Over-seers, the ‘saviours of humanity’, and his security is blown to smithereens. He enters a world where death is the only certainty and quickly learns to kill – or be killed.

Enter Gwendolyn, with the charm of a snake and a bite that’s twice as dangerous. People skills aren’t her thing but she knows how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world; she’s a hotshot with a bow and arrow and can rustle up a mean rat soup.

Mary is the only person left alive over forty. She’s not too good at fighting but she knows where to find the one thing that could save their lives. Only Mary can remember life before the invasion, before humanity was brainwashed into following the procedures.

Pursued by the Over-seers, the Triclops and the barbaric hunters, can the three brave rebels triumph in their quest for survival? The odds are stacked against them – hold tight for a white-knuckle ride through a landscape of devastation!

REVIEW ***** (5* RATING)

I was blown away by Frenzy! Admittedly, it has been a while since I have read a post-apocalyptic adventure series, but author Mark King drew me in with his great story-telling skills, fantasy and some brilliant characters. I was so hooked I went straight on to read the sequel, Doom!

In a world, not as we know it, but only as Daniel and future generations know, we realise that mankind is isolated in small villages, left only alive to ‘farm’ themselves ready for what they believe will be a time for rest and rewards in the ‘Achievement Centre’, which they are due to attend after their fortieth birthday. This is a world, unlike anything we know now, where humans go back to basics, with no reminders of the past, and a world run by other beings: the Over-Seers!

The story gives the reader a true sense of what it is like to be Daniel, describing his home life, daily routines and reactions perfectly. There is no holding back from description when it comes to Mark King‘s terrific writing. The reader is truly drawn in, feeling every moment as Daniel does.

Daniel is a great, young character, living in a hut with his family, and being able to live off the land, felling trees with his father, in order to trade for food. They are living a relatively comfortable life given the circumstances, aside from the usual lack of sanitary conditions and few clothes, etc. After all, this is all Daniel has ever known.

However, after celebrations of a friend departing to the Achievement Centre, Daniel and his young friends decide to wander whilst playing a game. During this turn of events, Daniel discovers something so incredibly horrifying about the Over-Seers and the future of his human friends! Even more terrifyingly, he is found out, and now has no choice but to run for his life throughout the desolate lands, for he simply cannot return to his village and safe haven of his family.

Not only does he fear the Over-Seers, and the prospect that they could attack his family if they are aware of just who he is, he has to outrun human hunters and the terrifying, ground-trembling Triclops! His insubordinate and mischievous actions have landed him in a horror he has never known. His only slight relief comes when he meets survivors Gwendolyn and Mary, who work with him in an attempt to save humanity!

Initially, Frenzy was a story I would have recommended to 11+ readers, however after learning the secret as Daniel did, and the sheer shock, horror and gore I quickly changed my mind. Frenzy, however is an exceptional read, easy to follow, yet at a nice, quick pace for the adventure it holds. You will be hooked! I would advise it for readers certainly 14yrs+.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Daniel Jones Doom Cover LargeTitle: DOOM (A Daniel Jones Story #2)

Author: Mark King

Genre: Fantasy, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, action/adventure

Date released: December 12th, 2014

Published by: Book Guild Publishing

Length: 238 pages

Blurb: Daniel’s peaceful life has been destroyed after discovering the hideous truth about the Over-seers – the new masters of humanity. Hiding in centuries-old flint mines from Hunters and from the terrifying Triclops machines, Daniel’s recurring nightmares lead him, once more, into danger. With mankind brainwashed under the false hope of a glorious new life in the Achievement Centre, he must return home through a devastated landscape to save his father
from certain death.

Daniel reunites with two fellow fugitives – Mary and her young companion Gwendolyn – to undertake a rescue mission so dangerous that death is the only guarantee. Is it too late for Daniel’s family or is it too late for humanity itself? Daniel Jones DOOM, the exciting new sequel to FRENZY a Daniel Jones Story, is another fast-paced, engrossing chronicle of three rebels who once again risk their lives in a vividly depicted world peopled by memorable new and known characters.

REVIEW ***** (5* rating)

DOOM is another incredibly written, fast-paced post-apocalyptic adventure from author Mark King. The sequel to Frenzy, it continues where we left off with young Daniel Jones surviving with Resistance veteran, Mary, and her young companion, Gwendolyn.

Daniel has begun to have terrible dreams after witnessing the horrific methods of the Over-Seers. He is also aware that it is coming up to his father’s fortieth season, where he knows his dad will be preparing for a life of rest and rewards from the Over-Seers in the Achievement Centre. After a life of being brainwashed by these beings his father, and the rest of humanity, simply have no idea of the horrors that await them. It’s simply too much for Daniel to bear; he must return to his home village to warn his family. Only that would be difficult with the Over-Seers sending Hunters and Triclops to hunt him and his companions down! This boy loves a challenge, and with his friends support they are a team to be reckoned with.

Meanwhile, we learn that the consequences of Frenzy (Daniel Jones book 1) has left John, Daniel’s father, in a tired, weary and fragile state. Not only has he lost his son to the desolate lands, without knowing why, he now also works alone, chopping down trees, with no horse to pull his cart. He is emotionally and physically drained with only the hope of the Achievement Centre to relieve him of his exhausting life.

“… but with losing his axe, his horse, and his son in the space of two days John was not going to take any risks with his chance of entering the Achievement Centre, and in receiving a lifetime of the rewards that were promised.”

I am absolutely hooked with this series, longing to read the next instalment. It is a perfect read for young adults and over, with the right dosage of action, horror and gore mixed with great dialogue, brilliant characters and an addictive storyline.

Will Daniel reach his village to warn his father? Or will be captured by the Hunters, along with his companions? Is it too late for his father to be saved? What will become of Daniel, and all of those he cares about? This truly is a MUST-READ that I would recommend to place at the top of your reading list!

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

FRENZY and DOOM, books 1 & 2 of the Daniel Jones Story were provided by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

You can purchase both following the links below:-

FRENZY

Hardcover Amazon UK

Kindle edition Amazon UK

Hardcover Amazon US

Kindle edition Amazon US

DOOM

Hardcover Amazon UK

Paperback Amazon UK

Kindle edition Amazon UK

Hardcover Amazon US

Paperback Amazon US

Kindle edition Amazon US

 

**BLOG TOUR** ~ Spotlight on *Dissident* by Cecilia London (includes excerpt and giveaway)

DissidentTour

Dissident
by Cecilia London
Bellator Saga #1
Publication Date: 17 March 2015
Genres: Action / Adventure, Contemporary, Dark, Romance, Sci-fi, Suspense,Thriller

Tour: Dissident by Cecilia London
AmazonNookKoboiBooksSmashwords

She once was important. Now she’s considered dangerous.

In a new America where almost no one can be trusted, Caroline lies unconscious in a government hospital as others decide her fate. She is a political dissident, wanted for questioning by a brutal regime that has come to power in a shockingly easy way. As she recovers from her injuries, all she has are her memories. And once she wakes up, they may not matter anymore.

Dissident is a blend of romantic suspense, contemporary romance, political thriller, and speculative fiction. Told mostly in flashback, it details the budding romantic relationship between our heroine, Caroline, and Jack, the silver fox playboy who tries to win her heart.

Part One of a Six Part Series. Each part is a full length novel between 60,000-120,000 words and ends in a cliffhanger. For readers 18+. This saga contains adult situations, including non-gratuitous violence, explicit (consensual) sex, psychological and physical trauma, and an oftentimes dark and gritty plot (particularly in part two).

Excerpt

First time they sleep together 

Jack cradled her head in his hands and kissed her hard, his tongue expertly finding hers. He turned her around until she was up against the wall and kissed her until she could barely take it anymore. She was frantically grabbing at his shirt, his tie, his suspenders. Pawing at his back and neck, anything she could hold on to in order to bring him closer to her. He spread her legs apart with his knee and leaned into her, taking his cue. She grabbed his ass and pushed herself into him until he unexpectedly pulled back.

“I’m sorry,” he said breathlessly. “I promised you that I’d ask before I kissed you again.”

Caroline was having a hard time concentrating. “I – what?”

“I said I’d-”

“I heard you.” Her mind came back into focus. “We kissed right before we left for the fundraiser. Don’t you remember?”

“I do. And you were the one who kissed me. Remember?”

“Now you’re concerned about propriety? After everything you just did to me?”

Jack eyed her up and down. “Yes.”

Caroline grabbed his tie. “Oh, shut up and put your tongue back in my mouth.”

Jack kissed her again as she began to loosen his tie. She was groping at his shirt; her hands were shaking and she was having tremendous difficulty keeping them still long enough to undo the small buttons.

She broke their kiss. “Damn it. Why the fuck is your shirt so complicated?”

“Such coarse language from such a beautiful lady. You can rip it off if you want.”

Caroline fumbled with the buttons. “Like I’m going to ruin an expensive piece of clothing. Screw it.” She trailed her fingers up his neck and through his hair before pulling him closer to her. “I’ll figure it out later.”

His suspenders were much easier to pull down. Caroline could feel his smooth muscles through his dress shirt as they exchanged long, delicious kisses. She moaned against Jack’s mouth and he stepped back from their embrace. He unbuttoned his shirt and let it fall to the floor, then pulled his white undershirt over his head with ease.

Caroline gaped at his chest and arms. He worked out. A lot. She was trying to figure out when he found the time to do it. He was arguably the best looking man in his forties she’d ever seen. She trailed a finger down his abdomen.

“You should have taken your shirt off months ago,” she said. “I would have slept with you so much sooner.”

“That’s what I like to hear.” He pushed her against the wall again. She wrapped her leg around him, pulling him even closer.

“Stop talking,” Caroline said, still distracted.

“Someone’s pretty bossy.” Jack brought his mouth to hers. “And eager. I wonder what for.”

She could feel his cock, hard as a rock, against her hip. Even through his pants she could sense his size, and she gasped.

He pulled back from her. “Do you want me to stop?”

She giggled softly. “No. But I discovered that you aren’t compensating for anything with your giant house and fancy cars.”

He looked down at the bulge in his groin, bringing her hand down to touch it. “You’ll find out soon enough.”

She wanted to find out as quickly as possible. Caroline dropped to her knees, eyeing his zipper. Jack tipped her chin up.

“No,” he said. “Tonight is about you.”

She wanted to argue with him. She really did. She wanted to rip off his pants and let him know exactly how she wanted the night to progress. But he yanked her to her feet and kissed her again, and somehow she lost her train of thought.

“You,” he repeated.

Jack caressed her breasts through her dress and smiled silkily as her nipples grew hard. He kissed her chest again, working his way back down.

“Your clothing is in my way,” he said in a muffled voice.

“You should probably do something about that, then,” she whispered, kissing the top of his head.

“Tell me to stop and I’ll stop.” Jack pulled her toward the bed. “But I really want us both naked, as soon as possible.”

He turned her around and began kissing her shoulders. A shiver ran down her spine and she felt desire continuing to pool inside of her. It had been so long since she’d been touched like this. She missed it. Caroline realized she’d never quite been touched like this before, or at least had never reacted this way.

I’m in way over my head here, she thought.

And as Jack began to unzip her dress and trail kisses down her back, she discovered that she didn’t really care.

About Cecilia London

Cecilia is my pen name. I may or may not live in San Antonio, Texas. I’ve been known to apply quotes from ‘The Simpsons’ to everyday life. I live for baseball season.

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