*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* ~ 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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*REVIEW* ~ Breeder; Planet Athion (Tradrych Strain #1), by Marissa Farrar

#reverseharem #dark #scifiromance #planetathion

Book Blurb

Sent in a worldwide asteroid strike, the alien race, the Trads, sneaked onto Earth to steal women away to repopulate their own planet. I, Tara Chase, am one of those women. I believed my lover to be a gorgeous human man, only to be shown the most terrible of truths… He’s anything but.

Now I’m on his planet of Tradrych, and after a three month stint in cryostasis, I’ve woken to find myself a prisoner on the verge of birthing his child. And I’m not the only one. I share the facility with numerous other women, all close to giving birth. The aliens who tend to us look like handsome demons, with scales, horns and even a tail. There are multiple Trads to every human woman, and I know once this baby is out of me, I’ll be handed back to them to impregnate again. I see the way the Trad males working at the facility look at me—with hunger in their flame-filled eyes.

When the time comes for us women to give birth to the aliens inside us, we’re taken away and never seen again.
My time is close now, but I won’t give up without a fight.

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

Great start to Tara’s story – 4 stars

This is a great start to Tara’s story set in the Planet Athion sci-fi world. The tale is a harrowing one –  the heroine Tara finds herself imprisoned on the planet Tradrych, about to give birth to an alien offspring after being tricked into becoming pregnant by its father who took the form of a human when he seduced her on Earth.

The author does a good job of conveying the reality of the horror Tara and her fellow prisoners are compelled to endure and how they each deal with it in their own way. The descriptions of the cruel and aggressive race that has impregnated and kidnapped them, beings complete with horns, scales and tails, is a terrifying one and their situation  seems all but hopeless. Their immediate and long term future as breeders to the Trads is heart breaking.

It is here that the story takes off as we are introduced to Trads, Nad and Miko, and the slave Athion, Diarus, who are not at all what they first appear. I will not reveal any more but suffice to say that Tara’s future is one which is very much tied to these three males – it is a reverse harem story after all! However, the plot is fraught with plenty of tension and danger as well as some inter-species lovemaking scenes that I enjoyed immensely. Will throwing her lot in with the three males help her situation or will things only get worse?

I admired Tara’s strength of character in how she coped with her situation and reacts to the three very different sexy males who are attracted to her.

Recommended for lovers of erotic sci-fi romance who enjoy a diverting storyline and inter-species loving within the context of a reverse-harem theme.

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*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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*RECOMMENDED READ* ~ Catherine Miller’s Deridia series

#sciencefiction #scififantasy #scifi #scifiromance #romance #topread

I read Mercy, the first book in Catherine Miller’s Dredia series earlier this year and quickly became hooked, immediately downloading and reading the rest of the series, Trade and Mercy.

I loved this series! I’m partial to science fiction romances, in particular when they focus on relationships between different races and this theme is at the very heart of this series, which explores human relationships with aliens. The setting for the series is the planet Dredia, where the ancestors of a group of human colonists had the misfortune to land. The existence of the humans is desperate. Some are barely tolerated by the planet’s indigenous races and eek out a meagre existence in the Wastes, whereas others have even been enslaved by the planet’s violent race of slave owners.

Each book deals with how a different human female is either compelled or chooses to leave all she knows and is thrust into the society of another of the planet’s races. In Mercy Prim’s life is so desperate in the Wastes that she offers herself to one of the visiting Arterians who is on a trade visit. In Trade the Marzons insist that one of the human colonists bond with one of their own, it being their custom to form such alliances to solidify both peace and trade. Finally in Thrall, Ness who has failed to perform her tasks to the level expected by her harsh Narada slave masters is given as part payment to visiting traders.

I found each read to be compelling in its own way as they each explore what it is like to be different and/or reviled by society and the challenges faced by couples whose relationships challenge the accepted norms within their society. Each romance is very different and each a slow burn and there is a great deal of emotional angst. Not only do all the women experience very real difficulties in adjusting to their new realities, but each of the males have their own personal struggles to contend with. I hugely enjoyed the author’s voice and found each book an emotional rollercoaster of a  read.

In Mercy Rykkon the healer is viewed as an outsider by his own village and his decision to return home with Prim, a human woman, is not one that his people accept easily. Also how will two individuals from such diverse races possibly bond given all their differences?

In Trade  Heather is compelled to sacrifice herself for the good of the human community. Her marriage to Machrus one of the Marzon necessary to ensure her people’s safety. The twist here is that her bridegroom too is far from willing. Their story was a compelling read as the couple at first formed an uneasy alliance, then respect for one another before a slow burn romance developed. And what of Machrus’ people, will they accept her?

Thrall was a particularly emotional read as Ness, a slave, has been made to feel utterly worthless by her former masters and finds adjusting to life with Olivar, the man to whom she has been given as part payment for goods, extremely difficult as she has never had the freedom to think or act for herself.

Mercy

Dishonourable.
Unwanted.
Outsider.

Such are the slurs cast upon Rykkon, however undeserved. As the only village healer, his people cannot cast him out entirely, but there is little comfort in such a life when he has long known that no mate from his clan would willingly join with him. It is a lonely fate, but one Rykkon has learned to accept. That is, until one tense exchange between his people and the humans brings him an offer he simply cannot ignore.

The humans are not their slaves. Nor their property. Nor of any great concern. But neither are they free. It is by the provisions of the Arterians they scrape out a sorry existence in the Wastes, and by their goodwill alone that they continue to survive. Scavenging for hasart beetles under the two suns is the only life the desperate colonists have known since their ancestors first landed on the desolate planet. It was all they knew. It was all they hoped for.

Until one day, a young female dares to ask for more.

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Trade

Gullible.
Foolish.
Weak.

She had always done as she was told. She dug in the sands until her fingers bled so that her people could have something to barter. She packed up her sparse belongings without complaint when it was time to flee the Wastes, leaving behind the only home she’d ever known, and the site of the bittersweet memories she carried of her lost family. It was easier that way, to obey and not to question, knowing her own judgement to be faulty.

But when her people learn that the exchange for living on alien land and securing their safety is the price of one of their unclaimed women, the limits of her compliance are tested, as she is given in marriage to a man she does not want from a species and clan she does not know.

Only to discover that he feels precisely the same about their ill-begotten trade.

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Thrall

Slow.
Useless.
Failure.

Ness had always tried to do as the masters told her, tried to fulfil her expected purpose within the time allowed. She was a thrall and nothing more. Every pain was a lesson, every hurt was for her betterment. And someday, perhaps, she could earn honour enough to serve the Narada in a household.

But when the masters tire of her repeated failures to produce the allotment required of her, she is chosen, not for the death she expects, but to serve as payment to a people she has never seen, whose ways are strange and utterly impossible for her to accept.

Taken in by a man who claims that he is not her new master, she is troubled when he does not comprehend the defective nature of the thrall he has been given, and how unworthy she is to be in his service.

And, perhaps even more concerning, his persistent belief that she is no slave at all.

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*REVIEW* ~ Dark Horse (Class 5 #1) by Michelle Diener

#spaceopera #scifi  #adventure #romance

I’ve been having a real binge on out of this world romances lately and Michelle Diener’s Dark Horse is just one of the books I’ve read in the sci-fi genre! Thankfully books 2 and 3 in the series, Dark Deeds and Dark Desires have also been released, so I will be able to get my fix of the series in the near future.

The series is considered a space opera – I wasn’t too sure what space opera meant and how it differed from sci-fi but according to Wikipedia it is defined as:

” a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, as well as chivalric romance, and often risk-taking. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it usually involves conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, futuristic weapons, and other sophisticated technology. The term has no relation to music, but is instead a play on the terms “soap opera

Dark Horse certainly fits the bill as it has a fair amount of battle and adventure scenes using sophisticated technology, plus a romance between the respective female and male lead. The romance is on the sweet side and the focus is on the female leads and her character development. I really enjoyed the read as Michelle Diener is an accomplished and talented writer, weaving an original plot line with great character development and world building – I particularly liked the focus on AI’s (Artificial Intelligence). The series is certainly one of note for fans of the genre.

dh

Blurb

Some secrets carry the weight of the world.

Rose McKenzie may be far from Earth with no way back, but she’s made a powerful ally–a fellow prisoner with whom she’s formed a strong bond. Sazo’s an artificial intelligence. He’s saved her from captivity and torture, but he’s also put her in the middle of a conflict, leaving Rose with her loyalties divided.

Captain Dav Jallan doesn’t know why he and his crew have stumbled across an almost legendary Class 5 battleship, but he’s not going to complain. The only problem is, all its crew are dead, all except for one strange, new alien being.

She calls herself Rose. She seems small and harmless, but less and less about her story is adding up, and Dav has a bad feeling his crew, and maybe even the four planets, are in jeopardy. The Class 5’s owners, the Tecran, look set to start a war to get it back and Dav suspects Rose isn’t the only alien being who survived what happened on the Class 5. And whatever else is out there is playing its own games.

In this race for the truth, he’s going to have to go against his leaders and trust the dark horse.

My Review ~ 5 stars TOP READ

Superb

Dark Horse is the first instalment in Michelle Diener’s Class 5 series, but also works as a standalone read just as the other books in the series do. The book is a compelling introduction to the series. It is flawlessly written with an original and suspenseful premise and plot, with a strong female lead and a swoonworthy male counterpart, with strong characterisations and world building.

In it, Rose has been abducted from Earth and has been held on an alien ship where she has been treated abominably  by her over inquisitive alien captors, the Tecran. We don’t actually witness the torture she has been subjected to first hand, as by the time we are introduced to Rose, Sazo, an artificial intelligence has taken steps to prevent it happening again. Rose is unexpectedly plunged into a very dangerous situation, when the ship she is incarcerated on confronts a ship of the Grih fleet.  Not only that, but most of the Tecran crew on her vessel are dead and Rose must escape the ship to survive. She manages to escape to the adjacent planet but is then taken by the Grih, headed by Captain Dav Jallan.

Dav would like to trust this human called Rose but fears that she is not being entirely truthful about her part in the Tecran’s demise. The unexplained deaths of the Tecran crew are worrying. Can he trust her or is he putting the fate of his people and the other races in the alliance in danger? On board Dav’s ship Rose is not exactly being held captive but neither is she trusted by some of Dev’s crew and other s in the alliance. In fact her safety could well be compromised if and when she is compelled to reveal what she knows.

The read is full of adventure, suspense and intrigue. I particularly liked the interplay between Rose and the AI Sazo,  how their relationship developed and how it impacted on Dav’s relationship with Rose. Dav’s race the Grih are not unlike humans, apart from being more technologically advanced and I loved how he defended Rose from those from his race who viewed her as just another ‘orange’, his race’s term for a sentient alien being.

Rose is a character to admire. Abducted from her home planet and thrust into a life where aliens are very much a reality, she gives as good as she gets and is very willing to learn and adapt. I enjoyed reading how she grows in stature as the plot develops as she tries to secure a future in her new reality, a future which she only dare hope will include Dav for whom she is developing feelings for. As to Sazo, her saviour, she is compelled to put her trust in him and his agenda. However, Dav’s loyalty is truly torn. Dare he risk his career for a woman who is hiding the truth and whose knowledge could endanger his kind? The fate of Sazo, the AI is closely linked to the couple’s future and the story develops in an unexpected way.

An original read and highly recommended.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25615831-dark-horse?from_search=true

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