*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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Review~The Mercenary (The Araloka Chronicles Book 1), by Petra Landon

#spaceopera #sci-fi #romance #interspeciesromance

Book Blurb

2018 RONE award finalist for Sci-Fi / Time Travel

She’s a prisoner of the Imperial Forces. He’s a nomad with a mercenary army. Can a girl’s desperate gamble and a fierce warrior’s love turn the tide of war and rewrite the destiny of their corner of the galaxy?

In a distant corner of the galaxy, Sector Araloka burns in the flames of a deadly war. The Budheya people are one of the worst affected.

Saakshi
Imprisoned by the Ketaari Imperial Forces, a young Budheya rebel is sent to a distant space station to work in an alehouse. For a girl who has known only hardship in her short life, things could be worse. Until an old foe walks into the alehouse.

Zoran
Zoran is Hadari’Kor – notoriously fierce mercenaries who only fight for hire. Drawn to a weary-eyed server girl, Zoran is forced to confront age-old traditions and question his role in the war.

The Rebel & The Mercenary
Alone, friendless and far from home, Saakshi makes a desperate gamble to trust an enigmatic stranger whose hot gaze haunts her dreams. The echoes of this unlikely alliance reverberate across the sector. As a relentless enemy hunts Saakshi, Zoran must fight with everything in his arsenal to protect her. When passion ignites amidst the embers of a smoldering war, will a warrior’s quest for justice bring a mighty Empire to its knees …

Author’s Note : A spirited and resilient rebel, a fierce warrior with a mighty heart, a fiery passion that flares amidst the debris of a deadly war and a love that will alter the fate of an entire quadrant.

This is a standalone story that sets the scene for The Araloka Chronicles – a collection of SciFi Romance tales with Space Opera undertones.

My Review

Fantastic start to a new series – 5 stars

I so loved this! I adore sci-fi romances, especially when they involve inter species relationships. I thoroughly enjoyed the pairing of Saakshi and Zoran, the rebel and the mercenary – they are perfect for each other but have many obstacles to overcome before they can secure their HEA.

The plot centres on their romance but it also introduces us to the politics and the wider issues at play. The narrative contains some great world building and I enjoyed learning about the various personalities and factions within the Alliance and the Imperial Forces, the later who are holding Saakshi prisoner and who have control over her destiny. The reader is also introduced to other characters who will no doubt have a role to play in future instalments which I am eager to read.

Saakshi is a strong woman who has gone through a lot and she clearly needs protecting from an enemy who does not have her wellbeing at heart. Zoran is truly an honourable male and Saakshi is one lucky girl indeed to have him on her side as a knight in shining armour. I enjoyed the interplay between the couple for although Zoran is a very dominant male he ultimately takes great care to allow Saakshi the space to determine her own future.

Although the romance is a sweet one there are a number of sizzling scenes and also ones containing violence and threats of violence as Saakshi seeks to escape from an old foe who has a score to settle with her. Zoran will have to question his role as mercenary and decide what is important to him. Can he protect Saakshi? Will they have a future together? What impact will his actions have on the political power balance? Will Saakshi ever be able to return to her home planet?

All in all a fabulous read for fans of sci-fi romance, especially those who enjoy sweeping space operas.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Amazon UK

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http://petralandon.com/

*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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*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

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Check out the author’s website: ianjmalone.net

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

Ian J Malone Author Pic small

 

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