Friday Book Club #22

Friday, July 5, 2019

 Come see me, Darbi Bradley, Jessica Jellish, and Thien-Kim Lam at BlerDCon 2019! We promise to keep things (mostly) PG-13 and have a rollicking good time!

Read & Have Opinions On:

Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh (Paranormal Romance, M/F)
Kidnapped as a young girl, her psychic powers harnessed by a madman, Memory lives a caged and isolated existence...until she comes face-to-face with a wolf. Labelled an empath by her bad-tempered rescuer, Memory knows that her 'gift' is nothing so bright. It is a terrible darkness that means she will always be hunted.

But Memory is free now and she intends to live. A certain growly wolf can just deal with it.

Alexei prefers to keep his packmates at bay, the bleak history of his family a constant reminder that mating, love, hope is not for him. But Memory, this defiant and fearless woman who stands toe-to-toe with him awakens the most primal part of his nature--and soon, he must make a choice: risk everything or lose Memory to a murderous darkness that wants to annihilate her from existence...

My Thoughts: To me this is the kind of uncomplicated paranormal romance that makes me love Nalini Singh. No, I wouldn't say it's particularly groundbreaking, but learning more about the diversity within the empath group through Memory was super interesting. Plus it allowed a good look into the ways in which Singh will balance different strengths to solve the current "big bad". Alexei is a grumpy alpha in the best way, pushing Memory to do more while also being just the right amount of overprotective that we've come to love from shifters. Add in plenty of time with characters from previous books and you've got not only a guaranteed fun read the first time around, but one I'll continually pick up for those "feel good" moments.

Nothing More Certain by R. Cooper (Paranormal Romance, M/M)
Emery Elward returned to Trinity Creek with no intention of doing anything but repairing the farmhouse he grew up in, starting a business, and tending to the graveyard linked to his family’s property. He has no interest in renewing past friendships. But one old friend is determined to get Emery out from behind the cemetery’s iron gates.

My Thoughts: I have already touched on my love for R. Cooper before, and honestly it doesn't change with this third installment of the Familiar Spirits series. She kind of does that thing that I love about Laura Florand - emotionally complicated characters who take more than a little time to not only admit to themselves how they feel, but also to their love interest. I guess it's as far as I go into angst? It ends up giving me more emotional satisfaction, that I get to follow the journey of two people becoming friends, then lovers, then more (or whatever the order those take) without a lot outside forces imposing reasons that the two shouldn't be together. The fact that Emery and Ezra grew up together adds another layer to their HEA, and Cooper takes Ezra's powers in a slightly different (and more potentially terrifying) direction than previous books. Highly recommended!

Terminal Uprising by Jim C. Hines (Sci-Fi/Action/Comedy)

Human civilization didn’t just fall. It was pushed.

The Krakau came to Earth in the year 2104. By 2105, humanity had been reduced to shambling, feral monsters. In the Krakau’s defense, it was an accident, and a century later, they did come back and try to fix us. Sort of.

It’s been four months since Marion “Mops” Adamopoulos learned the truth of that accident. Four months since she and her team of hygiene and sanitation specialists stole the EMCS Pufferfish and stopped a bioterrorism attack against the Krakau homeworld. Four months since she set out to find proof of what really happened on Earth all those years ago.

Between trying to protect their secrets and fighting the xenocidal Prodryans, who’ve been escalating their war against everyone who isn’t Prodryan, the Krakau have their tentacles full.

Mops’ mission changes when she learns of a secret Krakau laboratory on Earth. A small group under command of Fleet Admiral Belle-Bonne Sage is working to create a new weapon, one that could bring victory over the Prodryans … or drown the galaxy in chaos.

To discover the truth, Mops and her rogue cleaning crew will have to do the one thing she fears most: return to Earth, a world overrun by feral apes, wild dogs, savage humans, and worse. (After all, the planet hasn’t been cleaned in a century and a half!) What Mops finds in the filthy ruins of humanity could change everything, assuming she survives long enough to share it.

Perhaps humanity isn’t as dead as the galaxy thought.

My Thoughts: Apparently my path to science fiction is through humor and action? I knew I enjoyed book one, but who doesn't love the idea of a found family who are Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse? The absurdity of it all drew me in initially, but the strength and growth of the world and the main cast kept me going in book two. Mops is the center, but the rest of her crew get multiple chances to shine on their own, as smart, heroic, quick thinking beings, who find causes to be passionate about. Not everyone's ending is happy, but it's true to them, and book two introduces some new twists and turns regarding humanity's present and future (and a line in one scene that makes highschool me SING, but it's also a spoiler so message me if you wanna know more). It's not a stand alone, I think you get much more out of it having read book one, and I really can't let go of the idea that this would be a fantastic show ala Farsape.

I'm Looking Forward To:

Polaris Rising: A Novel by Jessie Mihalik (Sci-Fi Romance/M/F)

A space princess on the run and a notorious outlaw soldier become unlikely allies in this imaginative, sexy space opera adventure—the first in an exciting science fiction trilogy.

In the far distant future, the universe is officially ruled by the Royal Consortium, but the High Councillors, the heads of the three High Houses, wield the true power. As the fifth of six children, Ada von Hasenberg has no authority; her only value to her High House is as a pawn in a political marriage. When her father arranges for her to wed a noble from House Rockhurst, a man she neither wants nor loves, Ada seizes control of her own destiny. The spirited princess flees before the betrothal ceremony and disappears among the stars.

Ada eluded her father’s forces for two years, but now her luck has run out. To ensure she cannot escape again, the fiery princess is thrown into a prison cell with Marcus Loch. Known as the Devil of Fornax Zero, Loch is rumored to have killed his entire chain of command during the Fornax Rebellion, and the Consortium wants his head.

When the ship returning them to Earth is attacked by a battle cruiser from rival House Rockhurst, Ada realizes that if her jilted fianc√© captures her, she’ll become a political prisoner and a liability to her House. Her only hope is to strike a deal with the dangerous fugitive: a fortune if he helps her escape.

But when you make a deal with an irresistibly attractive Devil, you may lose more than you bargained for . . .

Tamiko and the Two Janitors by Forthright (Urban Fantasy)

In doing her part for world peace, she puts one crosser’s whole world at risk.
Conspiracy theories, werewolf scares, and protest rallies have hampered the peace process in America, where social and political unrest keep most Amaranthine from declaring themselves. Those not in seclusion rely heavily on illusion to mask their true nature.

As the newly appointed principal of a small elementary school, Tamiko Reaverson is doing her part for world peace. She rallies her community’s support and applies for Hisoka Twineshaft’s school revitalization project, which will bring Amaranthine to her hometown. Little does Tami realize that Fletching was founded by one of the oldest and largest urban enclaves in the United States. And two of her staunchest supporters—janitors at her school—share a secret neither wants exposed

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