What if we weren't as unique as we thought we were? What if we were just one form of evolution from DNA placed by aliens around the universe? What if we found a way to find others that were like us - but different?
The Damocles sets off on this very mission, following coded coordinates to a planet far away (like so far I can't really comprehend). When they come out of deep sleep as they approach the planet Didet, they are about to come face to face with Earther's ancient cousins (of a sort). As they prepare to drones to scan the planet before they make contact, their ship has a hissy fit (yes, a hissy fit, the crew talks about the propulsion crystal as if it were a person). They are forced to make contact before they are prepared, and they are trusting Meg, their language specialist, to get them through first contact.
I loved first contact. It was stressful and suspenseful, and Loul (the Dideto) and his POV were fantastic. I loved the hurdles of them trying to learn complex concepts such as trust, family, and question mark. I was excited every time they had a breakthrough and the awe and wonder on both sides. Meg does an amazing job of learning to communicate, and her love of discovery shows in each of her pages.
Now, this might sound like a bit of a dull story, but it was far from that. We have the Dideto government trying to make moves, the media trying to find a new scoop, and the workers just trying to figure anything out. Several times things start to fall apart and the struggle to keep things on track (and not give anyone a reason to shoot at anyone else) is clear in so many of the interactions.
And the ending - well, it was pretty intense for a while. But the actual ending - the last few pages (minutes?) were a bit of a letdown. I wanted to see how it all turned out. I wanted to know just a little bit more about how everyone's story ends. Still, a story that I will be listening to again.
The narrator did a fantastic job. Her portrayals of both the Earthers and the Dideto were fantastic. She caught the emotion and did a great job of distinguishing voices and personalities.
Lady Scandal finds herself wedded to Lord Randolph after losing a bet. An interesting start to the story, and if you've read the first book in Wendy LaCapra's Furies series (which I highly recommend), then this doesn't seem all that unusual for the group of women who run the gaming parties.
But that really isn't the truly scandalous start of the book. It started when Sophia (Lady Scandal) found out that Lord Randolph was more than she thought. He wasn't just someone to satisfy an inch and wrap around her finger. He was trained under her father - a father she hated - as a ruthless political spy. And now Sophia is convinced he's using her.
And maybe he is? I can totally see where Sophia is coming from, but Lord Randolph is far more than anything she really expects, and there are a few things she will end up teaching him and he will teach her.
This book isn't just a romp through historical romance. It has one heck of a suspense storyline that kept me on the edge of my seat. There were a few places that I feel like things were glossed over just to keep the veil around who the bad guy really is in place, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. It seemed unnecessarily convoluted because of it. Kasai - Kasai sounds like a horrible person - and the fact that he can cast such a shadow over our couple without actually making an appearance for a very long time, just shows how much his specter alone can influence and manipulate.
I really really enjoyed their time at the Quaker farm. Elizabeth was an odd breath of fresh air and honesty, and her way of life and way of putting things into perspective left an impression on both Sophia and Randolph that I think will last into their future.
In the end, we have just as many loose ties as we did at the beginning - just different ones. As one part of the Fury's lives seems to wrap up - something else blows wide open. Looks like I'll need to read the third book in the series to get the final scoop on everything.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**
The end of the third book in the Charlie Davidson series was emotionally draining and somewhat traumatic. Betrayal all around, and I wondered how Charlie was going to come out of this one.
Well, she doesn't exactly. Which was a stroke of brilliance by author Darynda Jones to make her seem more human and real. She is no longer the Grim Reaper and PI Extrodiarre, she is also Charlie - the woman who was hurt, betrayed, and tortured - trying to come to terms with what she's going to do next and looking for comfort in her credit card and home shopping channels.
It takes a new case to start to bring her back to herself. And this case was pretty interesting. I loved the look at the psychology behind our memories and what trauma can do to them. There were some pretty nice twists in it as well, and while I sort of had things figured out, there was one really big surprise that I didn't see coming at all. I understand that Charlie's cases need to be action-packed and exciting, but I'd like to see her come of out one without a near-death experience.
Reyes is back and not in Charlie's good graces. But he has a few things up his sleeve still to try and make things right with her. I'm incredibly curious to see where their storyline goes as we find out more and more about Charlie's unknown abilities and Reyes' background and motives.
I think the narrator for this audiobook is one of my favorites. She tells the story so well and is very easy to listen to.
I feel like this book is the real beginning of the world known as Shannara. The Legends of Shannara series starts after "our" world has ended and a small enclave of various races and creatures have taken shelter within a magical foggy shield. The world has been kept at bay as it crumbles under countless disasters, but this small group has lived in peace behind their magical walls, forming the beginnings of the kingdoms and regions I've grown to love over the vast Shannara series.
But the walls begin to crumble, and the outside world comes calling in a rather vicious and bloodthirsty way. Having been protected for so long, the people of Shannara are not prepared and don't even really believe the scouts who spotted the intruders - and the invaders. The outside world has been struggling to survive, and the formerly sheltered valley looks like a place they want to call home as well.
I found a lot of those traditional fantasy elements that I love so much. A handful of people slowly becoming a small part of 5 or 6. Different races and regions coming together, trying to save a world that doesn't even know (or want to admit) that it needs saving. Enemies and dangers hiding in plain sight and betrayal always a possibility with each new turn. By the end of the book, the lines have been drawn and many of the sides have been determined, but I haven't even gotten to the big fight yet. Things are still being prepared, and you never know what could happen next.
Two sisters fighting for the throne and kingdom go from family to enemies. Lu, the fighter and fiercely independent one, and be readying herself to become the first female leader of the kingdom. But her hopes are shattered when her father makes the unexpected decision to give the throne to her younger sister's, Min, fiance. A fiance that has ulterior motives and plans to rule with an iron fist.
Lu is a very strong, but unfortunately stubborn, character. She has a picture in her mind of how things should be and struggles to accept it when that picture is shattered by events unfolding around her. Forced to make allies in unusual places, we are introduced to Nokhai, a man from a culture and magical background thought to have vanished. But they will both find out that he is far more than what he seems, and his race is far from disappeared.
While Lu is a strong and likable character, I felt drawn to the story of Min. The younger daughter that grew up in the shadow of her sister. When she discovers she could be so much more, the power calls to her and she finds herself in the hands of a skilled manipulator that would do anything to keep her under his heel and under his control. He sees her ancient magic as a tool to recreate the world under his rule and wipe everyone who opposes him off the face of existence. She struggles to find out who she is and what her place in the world will be.
This is the first book in the Girl King series, and while it sets the stage for an epic fantasy battle, it is an amazing story on its own as well. There is much more to come in the world, and I feel several surprise revelations on the horizon as the sisters battle each other for the title of King.
**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book**
The first book in this new serial-style series from Lia Davis quickly introduces us to the worlds of the werewolves and the vampires. Distrustful of each other for what seems to have been forever, an unknown force is now trying to bring hostilities into an all*out war. I don't see too much of the person stirring up trouble and killing tons of werewolves and vampires, and Davis does a good job of showing just enough that of them that I really want to know who it is
Kane is the vampire prince, but in order to take his place on the throne, his mother expects him to have a mate first, Problem is, he's pretty sure his mother won't approve of his true mate - his heart and soul cry out for the werewolf princess.
The book sets us up for a bit of adventure, an interesting mix of a menage, and several conflicts to stand in their way. And let's not forget about the potential war brewing in the background, present enough that I never forgot about it, but never fully overshadowing the romance aspects.
**I voluntarily read a complimentary copy of this book**
I loved the story of The Lighthouse Keeper. It was fun, and just the right amount of light-hearted to suspenseful for a summer read. Dawn's character was an interesting one. An odd mix of old-fashioned and modern-day. Her search for a place to call home was always present, but not so much that I felt like I was getting hit over the head with it.
Her treasure-hunter parents were quite hilarious. I loved their conversations, and you could tell they were two people that were completely comfortable with themselves and around each other. But I wondered throughout the book why they hadn't put more effort into finding the missing silver pieces. Dawn's father feeds her information every now and then throughout her search, and I had to ask myself, why didn't he follow up on that? Why wait until now?
The mystery of the missing silver was a really good one. And it did keep me guessing up until near the end, but the author was also very careful not to give away any clues ahead of time.
However, I highly recommend you read this instead of listen to it. The narrator sounded a little too much like the computerized voice you hear on automated systems for me. There wasn't a whole lot of emotion or inflection (until she had to do a man's voice, and that was just overdone). I might continue on in the series. I have no idea what the next book might be about, but I'll definitely read it instead of listen this time.
I have totally fallen in love with Teeny Weeny Tahini. The little faerie has been a part of a few previous Havenwood Falls stories, and she's always been so much fun. I was really excited to see her featured more in one of the stories.
However, the book didn't grab me right away. While I loved to see Tahini flit about, it seemed like it wasn't really going anywhere. It was super light and not the usual feel I've come to expect from a Havenwood Falls book. But then....
Well, then it all got a bit dark when we start to figure out who Shayin Pisik is and what she's up to. Shayin and Matt (the owl-shifter) have clashed in the past, and it's coming back to haunt him and his family. Shayin will do anything to get who she considers the love of her life back, even the darkest of dark magic. <shiver>
I don't know that I would have recognized this as a fairy tale retelling if I hadn't been told it was. I hope we get to see more of Tahini in future books, she really steals the show!
What happens when a witch hunter falls in love with a witch? Well, hopefully nothing in Havenwood Falls. Witch hunter Macy is supposedly warded from her witch hunting blood, and it shouldn't be a big deal that she's dating the witch, Gallad. But her wards start to fail, and to avoid all hell breaking loose, Macy runs.
A large part of this story is Macy coming to terms with her history and legacy. When she stumbles upon distant relatives with a more violent tendency, she is forced to come face to face with what she just might become.
Macy's family, and her boyfriend Gallad, are racing against the clock to find her. If her month away runs out, then the magic will force her to forget everything she knows about her home.
There are some super crazy fight scenes, a very well-written psychological and moral dilemma, and a boyfriend that just won't give up on his true love. All in all, this is a great addition to Havenwood Falls, and I loved the entire premise and history of the witch hunters that live in the town.
Nemesis brings a lot of the Fourth Talisman characters back together again - only to send them off on their own quests once again. I love how Kat Ross keeps her world so large and on such a grand scale but still manages to keep me close to the characters I've grown to love.
In Nemesis, I got to travel deep into the Kiln as Nazafareen hunts the leader of the Vatras, a man from the legends with a tie to the realm of Dominions (the underworld). I found it fascinating that we've made it into the fourth book and I seem to be just now introduced to the real bad guy - very impressive, as there were plenty of plots and plans along the way to keep everyone busy.
There were some rather surprising twists, including Javid's life at the palace under the watch of a royal addicted to spell dust (which, btw, ewww gross, but moving on) that has already gone crazy and is only going to get even more so. But all these scattered storylines are coming together in an amazing way, and I really want to see how all the threads come together.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**