*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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https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/992485.Catherine_Miller

 

 

 

 

*Cover Reveal* At Circle’s End (The Mako Saga #3) by Ian J Malone

 

At Circle's End Promo Cover

 

Title: At Circle’s End (The Mako Saga #3)

Author: Ian Malone

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

Published by: Sharkflight Publishing

Blurb:

In the months since his disappearance, Danny Tucker has retreated to the darkest corners of Alystierian space in search of intelligence on the empire’s new chancellor, Alec Masterson. Backed by a crew of outcasts and fighting from the shadows as the enigmatic Rogue centurion, Danny will stop at nothing to achieve his mission: absolute vengeance for Masterson’s now infamous “Return to Fear” demonstration.

Still, try as he might, Danny can’t remain underground, and with sightings of the Rogue growing more frequent, Lee Summerston won’t rest until the lost Renegade is found. Meanwhile, in the core, Aura stands on the brink of annihilation as imperial forces, aided by an ancient enemy, draw ever closer to her shores.

In the end, scores will be settled, and brothers will rise united… or they’ll all burn together.

AT CIRCLE’S END is the soaring climax to Ian J. Malone’s epic space-opera series, THE MAKO SAGA, and a heartfelt sendoff to sci-fi’s most beloved band of bar buddies turned intergalactic heroes of war.

AUTHOR LINKS:

https://twitter.com/ianjmalone

https://www.facebook.com/authorianjmalone

Check out the author’s website: ianjmalone.net

On Amazon: http://amzn.to/1T7gm7D

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The author is hosting a book and audiobook giveaway:

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**REVIEW** ~ Shield of Winter, by Nalini Singh (Psy~Changeling #13)

Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Romance

Nalini

Book Blurb

Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch – if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake . . .

Having rebuilt her life after medical ‘treatment’ that violated her mind and sought to stifle her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption.

But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness . . .

Review

Nalini Singh has done it again with another 5 * read in her addictive Psy-Changeling series!

I have been a HUGE fan of Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series ever since I fell in love with Sascha and Lucas in Slave to Sensation, the first book in the series. I just adore how this author depicts her alpha heroes and heroines, many of them flawed by the complex society in the alternative future world she has created. This world is as unique as it is addictive and comprises the emotionless Psy, their polar opposites, the tactile changelings and humans. The peaceful co-existence of all is constantly under threat by aggressive competition between the races, including rogue elements and sociopaths.

Shield of Winter continues the story arc, where the safety of all races is being compromised by the dark disintegration of the Psy-Net, compelling many in the Psy race to commit bloody and terrifying actions en masse. Against this backdrop Singh, in what is a real masterstroke, pairs Vasic, an Arrow with Ivy Jane, an Empath, after ex Councillor Kaleb Krychek (yummy book boyfriend alert!) decrees that the only way to try to save the Psy-Net is to awaken the Empaths amongst their race. I should explain that the Empaths are a Psy designation who readers of the series will know have been denied and reviled,  subjected to cruel and invasive medical ‘treatment’ designed to stifle their abilities.

Vasic, who we have met in previous books, has the reputation of being the most emotionless and unreachable amongst the Arrow squad. Like the others he is regarded as an ice-cold killer, charged with doing the dirty work for the ruling Psy, ridding the race of serial killers and others deemed undesirable. He has a dark back story and harbours significant guilt for his past actions, viewing himself as a monster.

Ivy Jane, living on a farm, removed as far as possible from a society that does not understand her gifts and one which has only sought to harm her, is stunned and fearful when an Arrow appears. However, when she hears the true reason for his visit and the role her abilities could play in rescuing her race and the world from a bloody future she does not hesitate to step up to the challenge, despite how broken she believes herself to be. After all what does she have to lose? I loved this character’s inner determination and how she grows into her true designation of Empath (which she was previously unaware of), having undergone reconditioning to such a degree that hermind and personality were almost destroyed. She has amazing strength of character in how she never gives up on Vasic or combatting the darker reaches of the Psy Net is admirable.

Both are victims of their brutal conditioning and there are, as in other books in the series, heartrending details of what they have been through. They are both so invariably strong however, and I loved how despite, or because of the fact that they are opposites in terms of their designation, they fall for each other. Their love story is beautiful to behold. It is not without a great deal of angst before any chance of a HEA is possible. Not only does Vasic have to allow Ivy Jane to break through the shield protecting what is left of his emotions, but time is ticking for him due to a decision he took in the recent past when he had nothing to live for. Now  he has everything to live for, but it may be too late….

This book starts to explore the shadowy world of the Arrows and I was fascinated in learning how they operate and what makes them tick and I look forward to finding out more about Vasic’s colleagues in subsequent instalments. I also enjoyed seeing many of the other characters that I have grown to love, not least Kaleb and Sahara and Lucas and Sascha!

Shield of Winter is another expertly crafted contribution to this addictive series, containing a heartfelt romance, and will appeal to fans of the series and readers of paranormal romance, fantasy and sci-fi.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Purchase Links

 Amazon UK   Amazon US

Connect with   the Author

http://nalinisingh.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNaliniSingh/

https://twitter.com/NaliniSingh

*Promo w/Prologue* Mylea: The Journey Begins by Philip C. Elrod

Mylea The Journey BeginsAuthor: Philip C. Elrod

Title: Mylea:The Journey Begins

Genre: Sci-fi thriller

Released date: June 2015

Length: 253 pages

Blurb: Mylea tells the story of a civilization that has achieved incredible technical and scientific marvels. Yet, now, they appear to be helpless to save themselves from the total destruction of their planet by an approaching black hole.

The only apparent solution to their problem appeared to be here, on Earth. Their arrival could cause a sensation on Earth if it were widely known. The mission must be accomplished with the least possible contact with Earthlings. Can they trust the Earthlings they contact? Can the Earthlings trust them? Will they succeed or will Mylea be forever lost in the dark reaches of outer space?

Mylea: The Journey Begins, by Philip C. Elrod, is a fast paced science fiction novel. It is the first book in the Mylean Universe Chronicles.

About the Author:

Philip C. ElrodPhilip C. Elrod was born and raised in a small town atop Sand Mountain in Northeast Alabama. After serving with the military in Germany, he returned to the United States and continued his education at the University of Florida and Florida Southern College, majoring in Industrial Engineering and Economics.

Phil is a computer system analyst/designer and securities trader. He resides in Richardson, Texas with his wife and his two “bosses”, a Japanese Chin and a miniature Shih Tzu. His interests include writing, reading, astronomy, photography, outdoor cooking, and travel.

Phil writes science fiction thrillers. His debut novel Mylea: The Journey Begins tells the story of a technologically advanced civilization and their desperate fight to survive a cosmic cataclysm. Ultimately, their epic journey brings them to Earth seeking the assistance of a unique earthling. His second novel in the series, The Krakow Klub, deals with what the earthling does with his Mylean legacy. To learn more, go to http://www.pcelrod.com/

Readers can connect with Phil on Twitter and Goodreads.

Mylea: The Journey Begins

Prologue

Long ago, in a galaxy far away…. Oops, wrong story!

About twenty thousand years ago in a small globular galaxy that was in the process of merging with the nearby great spiral galaxy, our Milky Way, there existed a small blue planet much like Earth. The planet was called Mylea. It was much like our Earth, but very different in one significant way: almost all of the land mass of Mylea was contiguous around the middle of the planet, with a huge ocean dominating the lower hemisphere and another somewhat smaller ocean dominating the upper hemisphere.

Mylea was inhabited by an advanced civilization of beings that were remarkably like humans in appearance and shared physical traits. But, mentally and emotionally, there were many significant differences.

As the civilization advanced and matured, the Myleans managed to control warlike tendencies and live in harmony. Early in their civilization, warfare became an alien concept. That alone would set them apart from humans.

Myleans were technologically advanced compared to earthlings. Their scientists even conquered physics at the sub-atomic level, enabling them to generate electricity directly from several forms of matter. Even more importantly, they had been able to conquer the mysteries of gravity and used it extensively, particularly in their transpiration systems.

Life on Mylea was very close to utopian for several millennia and might have remained so for many more. But a disaster suddenly threatened to completely destroy them and their planet. When it looked as though they surely were doomed, their most famous scientist stepped forward and proposed a plan to save the planet and all its inhabitants.

His plan, however, was beyond anything ever conceived before. It was beyond audacious!

But it could be their only hope for survival.

The big question they had to answer was, “Is it possible?”

Transcendence, by Shay Savage

20504754Totally, Utterly and Completely Spellbinding!

Time travel romance/science fiction/historical    Adult read

Transcendence is one of those rare books that as soon as I started  I COULD NOT PUT DOWN! My mind was totally fixated on the characters and the world that the author Shay Savage had created, wondering what would happen next. It is a love story like no other and it is difficult to shoe-horn into one particular genre, as it encompasses time travel, science fiction, historical romance and is also a super sensual and erotic read.

Book Blurb

It is said that women and men are from two different planets when it comes to communication, but how can they overcome the obstacles of prehistoric times when one of them simply doesn’t have the ability to comprehend language?

Ehd’s a caveman living on his own in a harsh wilderness. He’s strong and intelligent, but completely alone. When he finds a beautiful young woman in his pit trap, it’s obvious to him that she is meant to be his mate. He doesn’t know where she came from; she’s wearing some pretty odd clothing, and she makes a lot of noises with her mouth that give him a headache. Still, he’s determined to fulfill his purpose in life – provide for her, protect her, and put a baby in her.

Elizabeth doesn’t know where she is or exactly how she got there. She’s confused and distressed by her predicament, and there’s a caveman hauling her back to his cavehome. She’s not at all interested in Ehd’s primitive advances, and she just can’t seem to get him to listen. No matter what she tries, getting her point across to this primitive, but beautiful, man is a constant – and often hilarious – struggle.

With only each other for company, they must rely on one another to fight the dangers of the wild and prepare for the winter months. As they struggle to coexist, theirs becomes a love story that transcends language and time.

As soon as the book  opens we are introduced to the hero, Ehd and learn about his lonely existence and his struggle to get though the harsh winter since the fire that destroyed his village and tribe a year past. I felt his delight when he discovered a young woman in his animal trap. He is extremely attracted to her form and believes her to be his ideal mate despite her strange clothes and behaviour. It is a mystery where the woman Eizabeth (whom he calls Beh) has come from but Ehd has an overwhelming desire to provide for her, protect her and impregnate her as she is HIS!

It would have been so easy for this book to have cast Ehd as a alpha male who immediately bends the heroine to his will and compels her to accept his sexual advances, but instead Ehd is a beta male through and through, empathising with Elizabeth’s initial fear and her ocassional tears and sadness. He is often frustrated at not understanding her and also when she repels his sexual advances.

Beh’s reactions to waking up and finding herself in an alien landscape and being plucked from the trap by Ehd is realistic, as is how she struggles to adapt to her new reality. Initially she is forced to stay with Ehd to survive, but slowly grows to trust him and shares her own innovations with him to ensure their survival in this harsh world. Their blossoming romance is truly beautiful to behold and when they do ‘get it together’ the scenes are extremely sensual as the couple explore each others bodies and communicate to each other their intimate and carnal needs.

In addition to the originality of the plot and the well drawn characterisations the author’s masterstroke is writing the novel in the first person POV of Ehd. Much of our emotional journey throughout the novel is therefore with Ehd, which is highly unusual in a romance novel. However, such is the skill of the author that we are left with little doubt as to how Elizabeth is bearing up in the strange new world she finds herself in and what she feels about her relationship with Ehd.  I LOVED the many humorous and touching  scenes in the novel where the couple struggle to communicate what they want and need from each other and Ehd strives to prove to Beh that he is the perfect mate for her. Ehd and Beh are without doubt an unforgettable hero and a heroine!

Transcendence is one of my fave reads of this year  and I will definitely be checking out other books by Shay Savage. I recommend it to readers who love historical novels, science-fiction or time travel tales with the focus very much on the psychology of the relationship between the hero and heroine.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Cover Design by Mayhem Cover Creations

Purchase Links

Amazon UK    Amazon US

Connect with the Author

http://www.shaysavage.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ShaySavage7289

Eden by Louise Wise

Eden

Engaging Sci-Fi Romance

Eden is a beautiful story. At its heart it is a science fiction romance, a retelling of beauty and the beast. However, it has a lot of depth, exploring the themes of survival and discovery, overcoming prejudice and redemption. It is also full of action and adventure. It defies being put into a specific genre or even sub genre and in my opinion it is books like Eden, which should be winning major literary awards.

In Eden, Jenny is a pilot on a space shuttle team sent from Earth to survey the planet Eden, the others being Commander Brodie and Matt, the Mission Specialist. Just as they are about to descend to the surface, the shuttle is damaged by asteroids. Nevertheless the crew descend onto the planet in their buggies. Once there, after a brief foray into the immediate environment to assess its flora and fauna, they discover a large crater containing the remains of an alien spaceship, which appears to have crashed some time ago. Excited, yet full of trepidation, as no evidence of extra terrestrial life forms has been found by humans, they approach the craft. Jenny impulsively enters and is apprehended by a large, dark, humanoid, alien who drags her back outside. Brodie and Matt, followed by Jenny, who escapes the alien, run towards their buggies intending to return to the shuttle. However, Jenny falls and is knocked unconscious.

Jenny finds herself stranded on the planet with the alien, whom she names Fly, as it sounds like a shorter version of his name in his own language (they are able to communicate with the aid of an alien translation device which has survived). What follows next is an extremely original story of survival in a hostile yet strangely beautiful environment. Fly is intrigued by Jenny and recognising that she is female views her as a potential companion to satisfy his sexual needs. Jenny is initially terrified of Fly, who although humanoid in appearance has expressionless black eyes and a battered face and is unemotional and at times violent. Fly is pretty upfront about what he wants from Jenny and for some time she lives in constant fear of rape which puts a severe strain on their relationship.

During this time Jenny manages some sporadic communication with Brodie and Matt, using the transmitter on the buggy. She ignores their advice to keep away from Fly as she recognises that she needs his help to survive and she initially plans to gain his trust and kill him. The shuttle is severely damaged and is losing fuel and they too are effectively trapped with nowhere to go. Jenny spends a number of nights taking refuge on the buggy. However, one night some of the native wolf- like creatures violently attack her whilst she is in the buggy. Matt and Brodie hear her screams and the creatures’ howls over the transmitter and believe that she has been killed, although she is eventually saved by Fly. The buggy is badly damaged and she loses contact with the shuttle. Matt and Brodie repair the shuttle as best they can and argue about whether to return to the surface to confirm what has happened. Meanwhile Fly, seeing that Jenny is afraid of him, seeks to try to gain her trust and encourage her compliance. Through sharing his food and shelter with her and eventually teaching her valuable survival skills they slowly get to know each other, discussing their respective cultures and form a growing mutual attraction, friendship and eventually fall in love. They begin to build a life together on Eden.

I do not want to give away any more of the plot, but suffice to say that the love between Jenny and Fly is severely tested in the remainder of the book as the both face prejudice and danger and revelations about Fly’s past.

The two main characters held my interest from the start. Jenny, the human, is a strong, feisty individual at the start of the book, but is severely challenged by the situation she finds herself in. She is ashamed of her initial dependence on Fly for her survival and is repulsed by the very idea of physical contact, let alone sexual relations with him. Fly has been damaged physically by the crash but he is also harsh and unemotional, making it clear to Jenny that is only because she is female that he has not killed her. For a long time she fears that he will rape her to get what he wants and there is one harrowing scene where it appears that her fears are being realised, before Fly redeems himself and begins to open up emotionally.  I loved the way the relationship between them progressed and the turning point in the book where Jenny sees Fly as just another person and they succumbs to their mutual attraction is beautiful. I liked how their love for each other enabled them to grow and learn from each other.

There is a lot of sexual tension in the book between them, but the sex scenes themselves are not graphic, just a natural expression of their feelings at the time. The descriptions of the flora and fauna on Eden are also believable and the planet, which starts off as cold and uninviting, begins to thaw and reveal its beauty mirroring the relationship between Fly and Jenny.

The secondary characters, Brodie and Matt appear weak in comparison with Fly and Matt’s personality in particular is not attractive. He is jealous of Jenny’s professional achievements and like Brodie opposes her relationship with Fly. Brodie is very defensive of Jenny and her safety for reasons that become clear in the book. They too have to grow as individuals and overcome the prejudice they exhibit.

I read a lot of science fiction romance and I can say that this story stands head and shoulders above the others in its freshness, depth and intensity and character development. I would recommend this book to lovers of straightforward romance, science fiction romance and straight science fiction adventure novel enthusiasts. I read the book in one sitting so eager was I to find out what happens. The story can stand alone but Louise Wise’s website states that a follow up novel, dealing with the further adventures of Jenny and Fly, will be released in 2013. I will be purchasing this novel as soon as it is released.

Reviewed by Tina Williams