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Currently Browsing: sci-fi/fantasy
Feb
20

Review: A Kiss for A Cure by Sidney Bristol

Review: A Kiss for A Cure by Sidney Bristol A Kiss for a Cure Author: Sidney Bristol  Release Date: Feb. 4, 2013 Publisher: Lyrical Press Fuller Center #1 Genre: Sci-fi Romance, Novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: What’s a girl to do when her parents gift her with a man for Christmas? Caught between two kingdoms, Jordan has given up the privileged world of intergalactic court life to become an interstellar biologist researching space sharks. Unexpectedly saddled with a husband from a race who are rumored to be sex fiends, her life is yanked in a direction she doesn’t want. But Cai isn’t human and he must have the emotional feedback of a mate in order to survive. Charged with protecting Jordan, can he win her heart and keep her safe from harm? Will they survive the challenges that arise…sexual, emotional and political? Time is ticking away and it’s not on their side. What I’m talking about: Living alone on a space research center, Jordan didn’t plan to do much for the Christmas holidays. In addition, as the illegitimate daughter of two powerful parents (who were forbidden to marry) from neighboring kingdoms, Jordan is used to being alone. So when Jordan discovers that the package from her parents contains a male – a husband none the less, she doesn’t know how to respond.  Cai is from a race of people that requires emotional feedback and physical intimacy in order to survive. Agreeing to marry Jordan seemed like an ideal opportunity to Cai, and he can’t understand why Jordan finds the situation so appalling. Now he’s stuck between wanting Jordan and wanting to give her the freedom she desires. I completely adored A Kiss for a Cure. The opening sequences as Jordan watched her “present” open to reveal a man were priceless. The humor was subtle but stellar. Lines like “Sane people did not receive men in boxes for Christmas from their parents,” made me smile and sometimes laugh out loud.  I am a science-nerd at heart, and sci-fi is my first love. I totally geeked out over the wonderful play-by-play as Jordan attempted to scientifically break down Cai and his race’s need for physical and emotional feedback. Her responses as a scientist and her need to find a “cure” were perfectly played. The premise behind the story and Cai’s “condition” was well thought out and presented to the reader in an effective and entertaining manner. The story is full of wonderful descriptive scenes such as...
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Jan
24

Review: Dreamspinner by Lynn Kurland

Review: Dreamspinner by Lynn Kurland Dreamspinner Author: Lynn Kurland  Release Date: Dec. 31, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Trade The Nine Kingdoms #7 ISBN: #978-0425262191 Genre: Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      Aisling of Bruadair has lived a provincial life, removed from the evil creeping over her land. Her ordinary existence changes forever, though, when she is sent to the opposite end of the world to find a master swordsman. If she fails, her life–and her country’s safety–will be forfeit. She just never expected that swordsman to be a wounded elven prince masquerading as a simple soldier.      Powerless and scarred from long-ago conflict, Rùnach of Ceangail has spent years in obscurity, ignoring battles he can no longer fight. And although he has been drawn back into the world, he fully intends to live an unremarkable life far away from events he knows he cannot change…      Until Rùnach meets Aisling and realizes that she is far more than what she seems, that their alliance has attracted unwelcome notice, and that some battles must be fought.  What B is talking about:      Sold into a life of hard labor by her parents when she was only a girl, Aisling dreams of nothing but gaining her freedom on her next birthday. Fate has other ideas, however, and Aisling is forcefully thrust into the battle between good and evil that is threatening the Nine Kingdoms. Sent, under a curse of death, on a quest to find a savior for her country, she can trust no one, not even the kind, scarred soldier who insists on accompanying her on her journey.      Robbed of his magic by his own father years before, Rùnach of Ceangail wants nothing more than a simple life as a soldier of fortune, living out his extremely long life alone. But, when his path crosses that of a mysterious young woman in disguise, his curiosity overrules his better judgment, upending all his carefully laid plans.      As the seventh of the Nine Kingdoms novels, Dreamspinner relies so much on the series’ history that I would highly recommend it be read as part of the bigger story. References to minor characters, as well as those completely absent from this novel, left me feeling somewhat detached at times, and unable to appreciate all of the characters’ reactions within the narrative. This is entirely understandable, however, given that each novel of the Nine Kingdoms is substantial...
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Jan
4

Review: Make Believe Anthology

Review: Make Believe Anthology Make Believe Authors: J.A. Belfield, Terri Rochenski, J. Keller Ford, Lynda R. Young, Kelly Said, Jennifer M. Eaton Release Date: Nov. 23, 2012 Publisher: J. Taylor Publishing Genre: Fantasy/ Science-Fiction/ Paranormal Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher/Author What VampBard’s talking about: Sacrificial Oath by Terri Rochenski Summary:  An impetuous act unwittingly makes Alesuela the fulfillment of the Sovereign’s Blood Oath to their Goddess. In five days, she’ll be forced to make the greatest choice of her life: become the virginal sacrifice already promised, or force the man she loves most to die in her place.  With an impossible choice in front of her, she searches for ways to undo the oath, and in her quest, finds not everything in her life is as she expects. VampBard’s Take:  I completely fell in love with Alesuela, our main character.  This fantasy story, while well-devloped and properly resolved, was entirely too short.  Ms. Rochenski created characters, settings and a world that were crafted in a manner that allowed the reader to make significant connections.  We had Man v. Man, Man v. Nature, and Man v. Self conflict, all in this whirlwind of a short story that leaves me, as a reader, begging for more.  5 stars: Personal favorite – a must read (A+) The Amulet of Ormisez, J. Keller Ford Summary:  There is only one way to save Elton Fletcher’s brother from an insanity-ridden death. After years away from home, fighting for his people, Elton returns to discover his only sibling, Cayden, possessed by greed and malice, and responsible for malicious, unthinkable deeds. Cayden, though, isn’t the only one afflicted by the Amulet of Ormisez, and Elton finds himself in yet another battle, where the price of failure could be his own life. VampBard’s Take:  Again, LOVED this story!  At the conclusion, I was left wanting more of the adventures that Felicity and Elton would take in the future.  I adored the magic, and the use of the selkies.  Shh.  If a story mentions anything about lore in which I’m familiar or obsessive, it’ll get and retain my attention, no matter what.  Elton was the classic hero in this fantasy tale.  Although it was evident from the beginning that Cayden was evil at present, I was unsure as to whether Elton would be the true hero or not!  Felicity, bravely looking after her mistress, became the ultimate heroine at the end of the story.  EXCELLENT story, with room in the plot for something...
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Dec
31

Quickie Review: A Perfect World by Kris Cook

Quickie Review: A Perfect World by Kris Cook A Perfect World Author: Kris Cook  Release Date: March 24, 2011 Publisher: Forbidden Passion Press Genre: Sci-Fi Romance, Erotic, Novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Purchased with my own funds About the book: In a world where death has been virtually conquered and beauty is the norm – a husband goes to extreme measures to ensure his wife is approved to have their baby. Will Greg be able to agree to William’s wicked request so that Seana can become a mother? What I’m talking about: In the future, people live in a world full of medical wonders, where humans can live without disease for as long as they want. Because of this, there are rules, such as zero population growth…  which means there must be a death for a child to be born. Also, a female cannot have a child after she reaches 38 years of age. Greg and Seana go to rich relative William to ask if he’ll willingly die so Seana can get pregnant. William agrees, but the kicker is that he wants to impregnate Seana himself (the old fashion way) before he dies.  A Perfect World is a very short story, not even novella length, which leads little time to develop characters or provide any solid backstory. However, Mr. Cook still finds enough space to create an interesting concept for a future world. The sci-fi features are presented with enough detail to fabricate a thorough picture for the reader.  Overall the story is enjoyable, but rough around the edges. Due to the shorter length, the insinuated bonds and “I love you’s” felt unnecessary and contrived. But with that said, I still had a little tear in my eye at the pinnacle of the story. A Perfect World is a fun, erotic sci-fi short. Due to the length, there isn’t much story or plot, but the premise is solid and enjoyable.  My Rating: Liked it, but I had some issues – recommend (B) Purchase Info: A Perfect World: An Erotic Science Fiction Short...
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Oct
24

Review: Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher

Review: Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher Ghost Planet Author: Sharon Lynn Fisher   Release Date: Oct. 30, 2012 Publisher: Tor Science Fiction ISBN: #978-0765368973 Genre: Science Fiction Romance Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: NetGalley About the book: Psychologist Elizabeth Cole prepared for the worst when she accepted a job on a newly discovered world—a world where every colonist is tethered to an alien who manifests in the form of a dead loved one. But she never expected she’d struggle with the requirement to shun these “ghosts.” She never expected to be so attracted to the charming Irishman assigned as her supervisor. And she certainly never expected to discover she died in a transport crash en route to the planet.  As a ghost, Elizabeth is symbiotically linked to her supervisor, Murphy—creator of the Ghost Protocol, which forbids him to acknowledge or interact with her. Confused and alone—oppressed by her ghost status and tormented by forbidden love—Elizabeth works to unlock the secrets of her own existence.  But her quest for answers lands her in a tug-of-war between powerful interests, and she soon finds herself a pawn in the struggle for control of the planet…a struggle that could separate her forever from the man that she loves. What Nima’s talking about: I haven’t enjoyed a book this much in a long time. Sharon Lynn Fisher’s Ghost Planet grabbed me into one of those book trances that leaves you unable to do laundry, sleep, or function in the real world until you finish.  When forced to put the book down, you walk around in a book bubble thinking about the plot and how it might twist and turn until you can pick it up again.  This is when you decide pancakes are awesome for dinner so you can go back to your comfy spot and slip back into the emotions of the book. I love science fiction and have never felt that it should exclude romance.  Relationships always drive a story whether it’s between warring factions, governments, scientists, or star crossed lovers.  Where would Star Wars be without Hans and Leia?  Ghost Planet blends them seamlessly and this is a story where neither the science nor the romance takes a backseat to the other.  They both hold their own in a way that as they interact, they are each become more.  The sum is greater than its parts. The science is also approachable for those of us who didn’t major in molecular biology. More than anything, this is a...
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Sep
10

Review: Wrayth by Phillipa Ballatine

Review: Wrayth by Phillipa Ballatine Wrayth Author: Phillipa Ballantine  Release Date: Aug. 28, 2012 Publisher: ACE Book of the Order #3 ISBN: #978-1937007751 Genre: Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      In the Empire of Arkaym, the Order of Deacons protects and shelters the citizens from the attacks of the unliving. All are sworn to fight the evil forces of the geists—and to keep the world safe from the power of the Otherside…      Although she is one of the most powerful Deacons in the Order, Sorcha Faris is still unable to move or speak after her last battle. Even her partner, Merrick Chambers, cannot reach her through their shared Bond. Yet there are those who still fear Sorcha and the mystery of her hidden past.      Meanwhile, Merrick has been asked to investigate a new member of the Emperor’s Court. But when Sorcha is abducted by men seeking Raed Rossin, the shapeshifting rival to the throne, Merrick must choose where his loyalties lie. What I’m talking about:      Welcome back to Ms. Ballantine’s amazing world of Arykham. It’s been two months since the explosive ending to Spectyr, the second Book of the Order. We discover that our heroine Sorcha has been in a catatonic state since those events, only able to move her eyes and push emotions through the bond with her Sensitive partner, Merrick. Her not-quite ex-partner and ex-husband, Koyla is hanging on to their weak bond, attempting to usurp her bond with Merrick. Raed Rossin, Sorcha’s lover and rightful heir to the throne, is off searching for his treacherous sister, possibly never to return. And Merrick, who is still recovering from losing his first love, has been spending a lot of time with the Emperor’s sister, the Grand Duchess Zofiya. All of this frustrates Sorcha beyond capacity because she cannot take charge of herself, let alone help those she loves. But wait… there’s more! Sorcha’s first partner, Garil, and Raed’s first mate, Aachon, kidnap Sorcha so that she can lead them to Raed. If you are confused… keep reading!      The opening of the story is full of immediate and intense action. There is no learning curve in Wrayth, and because of this, I highly recommend reading the first two books before jumping into this one. (Also, this series is one of the best out there and you would be remiss if you didn’t read it from the start.) The...
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Aug
14

Review: Enchanting the Lady by Kathryne Kennedy

Review: Enchanting the Lady by Kathryne Kennedy Enchanting the Lady Author: Kathryne Kennedy   Re-release Date: Aug. 1, 2012 (reissue) Publisher: Sourcebooks Relics of Merlin #1 ISBN: #978-1402269820 Genre: Historical Romance/Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (292 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Their magic lives within each one of them… In a Victorian England with a rigid hierarchy of magic, lion shape-shifter Sir Terence Blackwell is at the bottom rung of society. Only Lady Felicity Seymour, who has no magic, no inheritance, and no prospects, may be willing to judge the man strictly on his own merits… However deeply it may be hidden… When family pressures push Lady Felicity into a terrible fate, she has only Sir Terence to turn to. As the two outcasts are propelled by circumstances beyond their control, they are forced to explore the unseen depths beneath society’s facade. And what they discover about each other is more real and more beautiful than they ever could have imagined… What G & U are talking about: Enchanting the Lady is the first book in the Relics of Merlin series.  Although an interesting world and premise, the story fell a little flat for Gikany and Una.  Based on the book description above, we just expected either something a little more or maybe something a little different. A very good description would be this is fluffy romance mixed with loose magic.  There are some very interesting elements; the hierarchy of the aristocracy based on their ability and depth of magic is one of them.  Your level in society is more than just your bloodlines, but the quality that is produced – magically speaking.  Felicity loses her birthright because she fails to perform the magical tasks that a lady of her caliber (and inheritance) should be able to perform.  It is for this reason that she has no prospects combined with no dowry; her chance for marriage also seems bleak.   However, an interesting caveat to this hierarchy is the status of shapeshifters.  They are immune to magic, and are able to shift into a singular animal.  Our hero of Enchanting the Lady, Terrence, is a lion shifter.  Since he is not only a shifter but also a successful spy for the Crown Prince, he is granted the position of Baronet.  This entitles him to a high place in society, even though most of society shuns shifters.  Gikany and Una found this juxtaposition very intriguing, although a tad bit black or white. The story progresses quickly, albeit...
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Jul
16

Review & Giveaway: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Review & Giveaway: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness Shadow of Night Author: Deborah Harkness   Release Date: July 10, 2012 Publisher: Viking All Souls Trilogy #2 ISBN: 978-0670023486 Genre: Paranormal Fantasy Format(s): Hardcover (592 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      Shadow of Night picks up right where A Discovery of Witches left off.  Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont, a witch historian and vampire geneticist respectively, have timewalked to Elizabethan England on their hunt for a magical alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782—its sudden appearance and sudden disappearance have upended the delicately ordered world of magical creatures (witches, vampires, and daemons), threatening to unleash unprecedented metaphysical chaos.       Though Diana and Matthew have escaped the threats of the present, they soon find the past holds its own challenges—Diana must find a witch to continue her magical education, a task made difficult by a rash of witch hunts across the British Isles.  And Matthew finds himself back in a life he thought he left behind, reuniting with friends and family that had long been reduced to memory, opening wounds he thought had healed.  Some of those friends comprise the infamous School of Night, a coterie of visionaries that includes Christopher Marlowe and Sir Walter Raleigh.  Together, Matthew and Diana must navigate the new dangers of an old century—bringing them closer and closer to solving the mystery of Ashmole 782. What VampBard’s talking about:      NOTE: Shadow of Night picks up immediately after the first title, A Discovery of Witches, ends (seriously, it was a cliffhanger, and I was ecstatic that I had the second title at the ready).  So, yes.  Read the first book of the trilogy.  Have the second on stand-by so you can immediately pick it up and begin reading where the first book leaves off!  Consider yourself warned!      As A Discovery of Witches draws to a close, our hero, Matthew, and heroine, Diana, are preparing for a journey.  Shadow of Night begins upon arrival at their destination (See?  I’m even keeping the review spoiler-free for the first book!).  This is where I started to  **squee** like a fan-girl.  Excellent depictions of some major authors of the time as well as mathematicians and scientists.  Can I simply state that the first 20ish percent of this book had me riveted!  The interactions with Matthew and Diana and the School of Night members were fascinating for me! “Mad, bad, and dangerous to know” described this group perfectly.  We hadn’t joined a cozy reunion of...
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Jul
13

Review: My Lady Mage by Alexis Morgan

Review: My Lady Mage by Alexis Morgan My Lady Mage Author: Alexis Morgan  Release Date: July 3, 2012 Publisher: Signet Eclipse Warriors of the Mist #1 ISBN: #978-0451237446 Genre: Fantasy, Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley About the book: A cursed destiny. A band of warriors. And one troubled kingdom.      It is whispered in Agathia that the legendary warriors of the mist-cursed by the gods-can be summoned only when a champion is needed and the cause is just. Gideon, their captain, knows this to be the one path that will lead his men to redemption-lest they face an eternity of damnation.      Years have passed since anyone has journeyed to the river’s edge, but times are desperate. Oppressed by a cruel guardian whose dark magic threatens to destroy her people, the beautiful and courageous Merewen calls upon the bespelled warriors. In Gideon she finds more than a champion, and in his arms, more than protection. However, their enemies are fighting with a power darker than anything than they imagined, and should Gideon fail, she will lose everything she holds dear-including her heart. What I’m talking about:      Lady Merewen’s family possesses a good magic that allows them to “communicate” with and care for the horses of the land. This gift provides the family and keep with a secure financial status. Their talent is passed to one member of each generation, and that family member is head of the household. However, when Merewen’s father passed away, her evil Uncle Fagan stepped in and was awarded custody over the keep. His greed and desire for power has corrupted many men in the keep, and Fagan’s neglect as all but broken the manor. After finding an ancient text that promises the help of the Warriors of the Mist, Merewen dares a trip to the River of the Damned to call upon the gods. And the gods answer her call by sending the fabled warriors to aid her.      The mythology of My Lady Mage isn’t one hundred percent original, however it’s different enough to make the story interesting. The world-building is subtle yet complete, drawing me in over the course of the book. The setting is similar to the historical lands of England, with god-sent immortal warriors in a river instead of a Lady in the Lake and King Arthur. Each of the five warriors have secrets and stories to share that will be divulged as the series progresses.    ...
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Jun
29

Review: Hunter and Fox by Philippa Ballantine

Review: Hunter and Fox by Philippa Ballantine Hunter and Fox Author: Philippa Ballantine  Release Date: June 26, 2012 Publisher: Pyr Shifted World #1 ISBN: #978-1616146238 Genre: Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (340 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      In a world that is in constant shifting, where mountains can change to plains, and then to lakes, Talyn is the Hunter for the Caisah, and a wreck of a once-proud person. She has lost her people, the Vaerli, and her soul working for the man who destroyed her people. All unknowing, she carries within her a Kindred, a chaos creature from the center of the earth that wants to help bring the Vaerli back to power. However, she has lost the ability to communicate with it.      Little does the Hunter know that salvation is looking for her, and it wears the face of gentleness and strength. Finn is a teller of tales who carries his own dreadful secret. He sets out to find answers to his path but ends up in the city of Perilous and Fair where he meets Talyn. He knows the danger and is yet drawn to her. Their fates will be bound together.      Meanwhile, the Hunter’s lost brother Byre is searching for his own solution to the terrible curse placed on the Vaerli. He sets forth on a treacherous journey of his own, which will intersect in the most unlikely place with that of Talyn and Finn. The ramifications of this encounter will be felt by all the people in Conhaero, from the lost Vaerli to the Caisah on his throne. What I’m talking about:      Hunter and Fox is a true fantasy and with that comes a complex new world full of magic and inhabited by beings with an array of abilities. Key to the story are are: 1) the primary heroine, Talyn the Dark (think Xena).  She is Caisah’s bounty hunter. She is Vaerli, a once powerful race with seven magical gifts, to include the ability to “move and see” through time.  2) The bad guy, Caisah, ruler of Conhaero. His power is supreme and his sanity borders on madness. He has broken the once powerful Vaerli, stealing their powers and making Talyn his killer.  3) The understated hero, Finbarr (Finn) the Fox. He is a talespinner with a gift for storytelling. He follows Talyn with love in his heart, telling others the stories of the Vaerli, hoping to make a difference. 4) The...
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