Review: Haven 6 (New Dawn, Book 3) by Aubrie Dionne

haven6Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Eridani is the only woman on board The Heritage ship who hasn’t found herself a man, but she more than makes up for this lack of male interest when she is sent on a mission to perform covert operations on an alien planet, Haven 6 where she can find more info on how best to destroy them.

Review: When Eri goes on a mission to Haven 6, she never thinks she will meet anyone on the same level, let alone a man, but when she meets Striver, she falls for him. After a while he has her questioning her loyalty to those on The Heritage as she can understand his point of view on his people. He acts as leader of his people, and does a good job of keeping them from the cruelty of the outsiders who live over the wall.

Good Points:

  • The cover art captures the two characters very well as you can identify with them now that there are faces you can put to them.
  • Striver understands Eri’s plight at being ridiculed over her parents, while he doesn’t judge her on being different from her peers on The Heritage.
  • The story is told in flashbacks, but if flashbacks aren’t your thing, this might not be for you.

Bad Points:

  • It is a complicated plot that can sometimes be overcomplicated.
  • There is very little sex in this novel as it is meant for those of 16+ who are Young Adult readers.

Overview: If you liked book 3, then why not have a look at the previous two in the series. I’m sure they won’t disappoint.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Haven 6 (New Dawn)

Review: Secrets Vol: 29 – Indulge Your Fantasies

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

In Sweet Talking the Opposition by Saskia Walker Marcus Weston was the last person Eliza thought she’d meet on a cruise on the Rhine River, but when she is there for a business conference she has to play it very cool. She has to be careful as he was a man from her past she had nearly fallen in love with, and, in her mind, didn’t want to make the same mistakes she did back then. Her thoughts soon change though, as she thinks about what it would be like if she did make out with him again, yet this time she would be the one in control. Marcus is the sort who is very sure of himself, and likes to tease the opposite sex as well as make use of them in the bedroom.

Sweet Talking the Opposition is a comical tennis game of two opposites who trade insults as Eliza doesn’t want to be involved with him is met by Marcus who would stop at nothing to see her again. The reader will get the impression that he is pleased to see her again and might have the same feelings for her he had before. For all his bad points in her eyes, she does reflect on past memories of Marcus that are rather flattering – he is the only man who made her feel like a real woman – and gave her multiple orgasms.

Chimera by Nathalie Gray delves into the strange and often dangerous slums of Earth several years into the future. A man who has run from everything his whole life is in search of justice, yet he moves like an assassin, cold and calculated, his every movement deliberate, and not to be taken lightly. He is also a man who is the sort of person he is due to his own circumstances alone, who does as he is told. In his most recent assignment, he has to deal with a politician who turns him on in more ways than he wants to imagine.

He is in for a rough ride with her if he lets her get the better of him, but then again he has never met a woman like her in his life. In Chimera, he has to give in to his urges or he might not get another chance. Sensual and erotic, this will give readers what they really want after a hard days work.

Edge by Dominique Sinclair has Noah Tyler who usually gets what he wants, and where Cat is concerned – she is certainly no exception in his eyes. Finding her and cuffing her in the process, she is angry when she finds out he intends to take her out of the building alive and take her back to the headquarters. Cat, or Catlina is one of the first women to be trained by the Department of International Intelligence, but she left before and never told the one man who might be interested in her as a former lover, Noah.

Be prepared for some sensual love-making and deep conversation in this story of love, deception and intrigue. Espionage, dodging, lies and deceit are in this story, but there is also love and sensuality by the bucket load too, so keep reading.

Beast in a Kilt by Niclole North takes readers back to fantasy where Torr, a Highland Warrior has adored a young lady, Catriona, but only as a friend. She is love with him, but he doesn’t understand her interest in him until she is made to marry an awful Chieftain who she doesn’t even take a fancy to. What can she do but run to the only man she can get to help her – Torr, but will he aid her or be more of a hindrance?

In this Highland fling of a romance, Catriona has to think up every trick in the book to seduce Torr into her bed so she can have him instead of the Chieftain, but in order for him to fall for her; she has to go further than that.

This is a story which is a part of a series of stories for Red Sage, Devil in a Kilt being the first. It is a comforting and energetic story full of sensuality, and bribery on the part of the heroine. The two of them are like each other in many ways though, as he is a part of a higher order that use him, just as she is being used – so in a way they are both needing to get their way to freedom and a better life.

Red Sage publishes some of the best erotic romance around, so it is a good idea to read this one as it has something for everyone to look at – fantasy, comedy, thriller, sci-fi and Highland.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Secrets Volume 29 Indulge Your Fantasies

Review: Women on the Edge of Space by Daniell Bodnar and Cecilia Tan

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

After an interesting and in depth introduction by Danielle Bodnar about the science-fiction genre, its reasons for intriguing her to want to have a compilation of stories based in deep space, the reader is treat to four stories of how women cope with their lives in space starting with an unusual tale of love that knows no bounds.

In The Many Little Deaths of Cicilia Long by Shanna Germain, Shanna has Cicilia, a girl who has died after her girlfriend dumped her in a callous way. She has had many other deaths since then, and her mother never helped when she mentioned that she could have dated boys instead – the way many would think is she would have been dumped by men anyway, as there is nothing different from a woman dating another woman, or a man – there are players and cheats everywhere regardless of gender. Cicilia has a chance of finding happiness, but is it at a dear cost to her?

Fair as the Moon, Clear as the Sun by Laurel Waterford has a woman along with others on a mission to bring God’s word to the masses in space, but all one girl can think of is getting clean after the heat gets too much for her, and being around such pretty girls, she finds it hard to concentrate on her purity and her devotions. One such girl is Mary who she forms a bond with deeper than the others she is met with, and one night she does something even she did not think would happen, they have a deep intimacy that she can never forget, or mention to the other girls or, for that matter, Father Graham.

Adrift by Kaysee Renee Robichaud opens on an intimate moment where two women have made love and this is the aftermath, the two of them laid in bed relaxing, contemplating. Lydia and Adrianne, subordinate and captain have shared her bed, and are both explorers in deep space wanting some time out from their chores, and the command of the ship and Lydia wants to spend more time with her, yet there is little chance of that even though they have just found each other – what can she do to make their relationship more than a one night stand?

Unfolding Her Wings by Elizabeth Black has Sun, a woman who is in the months before she has a baby, known as Parent 1 her partner, Gatria Parent 2. She misses her, yet has an open relationship where she introduces other women to their bed. Sun has all the problems a new mother would; the morning sickness, fainting spells and cravings for food she would never have contemplated eating before. This story is a sensual one where her lover, Shira gives her the most pleasure before they return to normality again. Though they have their intimacy, she still wants Gatria to return to her, as she is starting to see the world that has been built around them as a form of confinement, and she desires more than anything to spread her wings and explore.

And with all kinds of people in them, mainly women who love other women, there is a sensuality factor that brings the question of prejudice out there for the readers to find out about, and what can be as intriguing as that?

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Women on the Edge of Space

Review: Spice ‘n’ Solace by K.C. Burn

by Sharon S., guest reviewer

When it comes to m/m I am very forgiving of the plot device used as long as I love the characters and connect to them. Funny, how this doesn’t hold true for my m/f reads, damn double standards <G>.

I would classify this novella as an erotic read, which means it was a little more detailed than I like and some of the word choices could have been classier, but that is just me. That being said, I loved the main characters, Kaz and Jathan. I eat up tender sub/dom stories like this.

The story is a Sci-Fi and takes place on a futuristic planet where gay men are not respected. The plot device had promise, but it was never explored to the extent that would have made me enjoy the world building, but this is a novella, so only so much can be done.

The chemistry between the Kaz and Jathan and the sub/dom play make this story worth reading. I give them 4 stars. I give the rest of the book 3 stars.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Spice ‘n’ Solace

Movie Review: Paul starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost

A couple of sci-fi nerds from Britain visit America for comic-con and a road trip to the UFO hotspots in the southwest, including Area 51, the Black Mailbox, Roswell, and Devil’s Tower. Along the way they meet a real alien and have to help him get away from the “Men in Black” gang and his own kind.

Paul is written by the same group of creative minds that also wrote Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, etc. Paul is a parody of alien/sci-fi flicks like Hot Fuzz is for cop movies and Shaun of the Dead for zombie films. Paul is not as good as Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead, which Simon Pegg and Nick Frost also star. It had several problems for me.

The first is most definitely the swearing. They went for overkill expecting it to be funny, but in the end it came across as spastic, annoying, and trying too hard. Why try to make it crazy swearing? It wasn’t even close to tit-sucking-big-ball-dropping-freak-yeah-good… See? Terrible. The R rating is without a doubt for all the F-bombs dropped in the movie.

The extreme fundamentalism Christian aspect was stupid too. What next? I don’t see how the religion bashing could work with any other religion… and honestly I’m kind of sick of Christianity getting bashed (in [YA] books and movies). There’s much good in the many different denominations of Christianity, in the teachings of Christ Jesus, and God. Why doesn’t this get showcased ever? What’s so cool about being an atheist or anti-Christian? I don’t get it.

The romance between Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) and Ruth Buggs (Kristen Wiig) is at times sweet, but is not very fleshed out. It’s there for laughs and as a throwaway more than anything else.

I did like Paul. I thought he was funny and there are a lot of cool aspects to his character from the Vulcan mind meld to the built-in chameleon invisibility. He’s funny and is constantly providing the film with wisecracks and sci-fi related jokes. One of the funnier ones is Paul helping Steven Spielberg with E.T. Paul has been helping the entertainment industry with their science fiction for a long time. Seth Rogen, the voice actor for Paul, did an amazing job and had good timing.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: Paul

[phpbay]paul rogen, 10, 617, “”[/phpbay]

Movie Review: Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt

Originally this was a movie that I thought to go see in theaters with my dad (we like to see all the Sci-Fi movies together as a father/daughter bonding thing). I’m glad then that I went with a friend who’d read up on the movie instead, because the movie wasn’t all that sci-fi to me. It was much more metaphysical and romance driven.

The Adjustment Bureau is left vague and open-ended. Who are they? Well they go by different names – so really are they aliens or angels? The workers carry around little black books that when open reveal a complicated Etch A Sketch with moving parts. How they read it is a bit of a mystery also, but they know when people are going off the plan. You can identify them by hats, as they must wear hats to go into and out of the doors in the city to reach different areas of the city quickly and quietly with the bonus of avoiding human traffic. They report directly to the Chairman (God?) the creator of the plans and overseer of their execution.

Matt Damon plays David Norris, an aspiring politician with roots in Brooklyn, which gives him mass appeal. He plans to go far and to go as high as possible in the political system which coincides with the Adjustment Bureau’s plans for him. Then he meets Emily Blunt’s character Elise Sellas. This screws up everything as David begins to take fate into his own hands and ruins the plan… the plan that must be followed at all costs. But is the price something David is willing to pay? That’s the question as he tries to meet again and again the elusive Elise and avoid the men in hats.

Plus – They don’t step on denominational toes in the movie as far as I can tell.
Minus – Elise Sellas as a character is a rallying point for a cause, not a fully fleshed out character.

My theory behind The Adjustment Bureau (because they did leave it open to interpretation): I’m going to pick a funny answer which is not at all true… They are the programmers behind earth, a planet size computer, built to find the ultimate question of the universe to which the answer is 42. lol (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: The Adjustment Bureau

[phpbay]adjustment bureau, 10, 617, “”[/phpbay]

Review: Once Upon a Time in Space by Heather Massey

The Situation: Earth is a dying hunk of rock in the wasteland of space, but humans are doing their best to deny it while digging tunnels deep under the surface to avoid the sun’s harmful rays. Humanity is 40 billion strong and counting. There aren’t enough resources to go around, jobs are limited and nobody has enough to space to think let alone live. Desperate doesn’t even being to cover it.

The Hero: Nick Venture is leader of a tunneling team, but he’s fired, and so is his team.  He can hardly believe it. Just when he was supposed to get a place of his own the company cans them in order to not comply with their side of the agreement. He stops by a bar before calling it a night and his act of heroism leads to an unjust imprisonment that’s the equivalent of a death sentence. Lucky for him, his secret heritage, works like a get out of jail free card. In exchange he must do something he’s clearly unqualified for, but he’s going to try to do his best. He’s going to claim a newly discovered habitable planet.

The Heroine: Raquel Donovan is a space pirate searching to revenge herself on a military man abusing his position and his power. For years she’s been building a reputation for herself as the deadliest pirate in the galaxy. They call her the Siren. When this eye-patch toting captain captures Nick’s ragtag crew near one of the solar system’s outer planets sparks fly. She never expects him to turn the tables on her and put her in a position she can’t refuse. Another earth? Impossible!

Review: I regularly follow Heather Massey’s blog on science fiction romance and I’ve picked up a thing or two about this genre. Massey has written a book with elements she thought the genre needed more of and really that’s the type of book authors should write. While I don’t read much science fiction romance, I watch a lot of sci-fi with my father and I can honestly say this story had a very unique take on the Earth-in-peril plot. The tunneling underground was extremely well done and the space exploration and pirate endeavors were interesting and well thought out. For the sci-fi Heather Massey gets 5 out of 5!

That said, I wasn’t too hot on the hero. I like my heroes more alpha and Nick Venture is really more of a beta hero. He’s the leader of a ragtag, but experienced group of individuals in space flight, while he had none. I don’t really understand why being Christopher Columbus’s last descendant qualified him for the job or the respect he received. He kind of bumbled along and got lucky because he was an out of the box thinker.

I also thought the romance was a tad unbelievable with Raquel being so hot and cold (a double standard?  Heroes can usually get away with this…) She constantly pushed Nick away and considering how much time spent away from each other on separate ships with little communication, I found it hard to buy Nick’s near instant-love for the sexy pirate.

Recommended: For SFR fans, readers who love beta heroes, female pirates, and characters beating all the odds for a happy ending.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Once Upon A Time In Space

Review: Luminous Nights by Michele Hart

by Susan S., guest reviewer

Summary:

Blank Blank (sorry, no-spoilers) is using the pseudonym Jack Luminous. Luminous, hero, is a Draco Alliance Imperial Marshal (galactic super cop). His job is to protect Draco (an entire galaxy sector with 15 worlds). When Alliance Gemini tick prototypes are stolen, he’ll do what he must to track down and retrieve the identity-switching gadgets. Even, if it means becoming a convict named BoDo Faus. He’ll spend the next 5 years in planet Null’s penitentiary; becoming Ten-Three (inmate Ten Million Three). After a prison escape, Ten-Three boards a spaceship named the Caprice.

Heroine, Captain Rachel Marie Waters was expecting someone else to board. Nonetheless, the mail carrier follows her itinerary and transports Ten-Three to Desmonda Station. But, after dropping him off, she hears the chaos. He’s shooting at his pursuers. And commands her to get him away from Desmonda, claiming he’s an I-Marshal. She doesn’t want to follow this man’s orders. But, when he blackmails her, needs must when the devil drives.

Will Rachel ever discover this man’s true identity? Is he a cop, a cold-blooded killer, a new-breed of both, or something else entirely?

Recommendations: I’m recommending this novel to Star Trek Trekkers, Star Wars Warsies, and science fiction enthusiasts. Romance readers will only get what they want after reading 255 pages.

Review: Simplicity would’ve made this a better read for me, e.g., only two hero names. Any more than that becomes hard-to-follow. Aside from simplicity, I never connected emotionally with the hero. He lies to Rachel. Deceives her. Then on planet Bellatrix he even punches her in the shoulder (trying to stick to his alias amongst criminals). After some time he becomes more caring and less cold blooded. That didn’t work for me. Then, when he finally reveals his true identity, it felt… anticlimactic.

Let’s talk about the author’s strength: Gadgets! You’ll love her: Gemini ticks, Rachel’s video screen, and Jack’s weapons. Especially the C-Breaker.

Favorite Character: Tonia. A blue-skinned teenage-princess.

What I Enjoyed: When Jack plays out his fantasy. He’ll paint Rachel in a way, she’ll never forget.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: Luminous Nights

August 2010, eBook, Pages 347, Futuristic/Science Fiction, Siren-BookStrand, Siren Publishing, Inc. ISBN# 1-60601-884-1