Tag Archive | Novella

The Fall of Fort Bragg by Rachel Aukes

the-fall-of-fort-braggSource: ARC from the author
Format: Kindle
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This is a Kindle Worlds novella in the Extinction Cycle by Nicholas Sansbury Smith.

I appreciated the opportunity to read this story written in the Extinction Cycle world as created by Nicholas Sansbury Smith. In this book we get to meet Horn’s wife, Sheila, and their girls, Tasha and Jenny.

This story did not disappoint. For all Aukes is not Smith, her story had the same level of horror, suspense and pacing I have come to expect from Smith’s books. I could have easily been fooled into thinking Smith had written it. Kudos to Aukes for remaining true to the series in this regard. Not that a change would have been awful; after all, this story is about a different group of people.

Not much else to say, really, except that fans of the Extinction Cycle shouldn’t miss this addition to the canon. It’s excellent.

Creatus: They Exist by Carmen DeSousa

Creatus - They ExistSource: Own Collection
Format: Kindle ebook
Overall Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

For four thousand years, creatus have concealed themselves from the humans who hunted them almost to extinction. Unwittingly, one creatus will endanger them all…

As with most of his family, Derrick Ashton knows his future and what position he’s destined to fill within his unique society. Everything changes, however, when he breaks one of his family’s strictest laws and falls in love-with a human.

In his quest to protect the woman he can never have, a twist of faith propels him into a new role that will cause dissension among his family and endanger the anonymity that they’ve strived for thousands of years to protect. Now, he will risk everything to save the girl from humans and his own kind. The one thing he can’t save her from, however…is herself.

This novella tells the story of how Derrick comes to be Kris’s Dark Angel, the person always there who looks out for her. I read this book before reading any of the other books in the Creatus series, and it has piqued my interest. Very intriguing, filled with hints of more to come, and quite a few surprises.

I definitely need to get on with reading the rest of the series now.

Pirate Bound by Carysa Locke

Pirate BoundSource: Copy from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Talented Pirates have suffered loss. Some years ago a deadly virus swept through the female Pirates, decimating them. Now the Pirates face extinction since they have few viable females to bear talented children. Then the Pirates come across two female Talented, Sanah and Nayla, exhausted and wary, who have escaped from a Talented organisation known as Veritas. Nayla is a biokineticist, able to heal on a cellular level, who’s Talent is required by their brother Niall – working for Veritas – for it’s killing abilities.

What a fantastic story. Each of the main characters, and a few of the secondary characters, are well developed with differing personalities, goals and desires. Dem’s qualities as a protective hero make him very endearing, and I enjoyed his internal battle with his Talents. That really made me chuckle. Cannon was an extremely insightful Pirate King who really keeps his finger on the pulse. It would be nice to one day read more about him, and also about Treon, Dem’s enigmatic brother.

Inventive and well-written, I hope to read many more books about the Telepathic Space Pirates. This definitely checks all my boxes in space opera, psychic talents and romance. This is excellent stuff right here, reminiscent of the best of Anne McCaffrey.

Winter’s Edge by Mike Sheridan

Winter's EdgeSource: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

The year is 2047. Seven years after a global war has devastated mankind, the apparatus of the old security state has rebuilt itself into an even greater monster: the Strata State. But there’s a difference–The Outzone. A choice too dangerous for most to consider.

Not Frank Brogan. When three Outzone bandits cross into New Haven and murder his wife and daughter, Lieutenant Frank Brogan quits his specially-trained police unit to hunt them down. Leaving the safety of the Strata State, Brogan enters the Outzone–a quasi-sovereign tract of land ceded from federal jurisdiction–and travels to its de facto capital, Winter’s Edge, where he picks up the bandits’ trail. In a violent city controlled by rival gangs, he needs to use all his hard-won skills as a police officer and war veteran to survive.

It isn’t long before Brogan’s quest takes him out of the city and deeper into the lawless territory. Can he survive encounters with the nomadic tribes that roam the Outzone’s mountains and plains to finally confront the men who murdered his family?

Set in a convincing post-apocalyptic world, Winter’s Edge is a fast-paced thriller that explores the contrasts between New Haven’s authoritarian Strata State and the Outzone’s dangerous and fragmented society.

This story opens with a news clipping about the murders of a mother and daughter, Sarah and Jessica Brogan, at the hands of three Outzoners. They are survived by husband and father Frank Brogan, a lieutenant in the New Haven police force. Frank elects to abandon his job in the police and head into the Outzone in search of the murderers.

This story really comes alive once Frank hits the Outzone. His time spent in New Haven within Strata State carries scant details. We don’t really get a sense of the actual environment within which he moves. But we do gain an understanding that it is relatively hi-tech in some ways.

The Outzone, by contrast, is low-tech and gritty. A relatively lawless region in the American Mid-West (or thereabouts), it is largely run by tribes, clans, gangs and oficinas. For some people fighting and dicing with death is part and parcel of their way of life, while others find ways to live a more peaceful existence. I really liked that we met people on both sides during the course of the story.

I’ve discovered lately that I often have a pervading image that runs through my head while reading a book, and this one is of semi-arid desert, with small, low bushes and plenty of rocks and pebbles visible inbetween. Of course there were areas the characters go to that were vastly different from this – this is just what got stuck in my head.

An excellent debut in the post-apocalyptic dystopia genre, with clear depictions of events and a compelling main character in Frank who one roots for throughout. There is also a well-defined group of secondary characters, each of whom plays an important role in the story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Winter’s Edge, and look forward to more from Mike Sheridan.

*****

Minor spoiler: There was one moment of violence in the book where Sheridan caught me off guard. I’m used to reading violence (prefer reading to watching), but this was sheer genius. Took me a while to recover from it too. Kudos to Sheridan for that one!

*****

For fans of post-apocalyptic and dystopia.

Cloak and Silence by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Cloak and SilenceSource: Own collection
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

One of the fiercest soldiers the Phrixians have ever produced, Maris Sulle has been an outsider from the moment he was born different from the rest of his family. He grew up with a secret that cost him everything——his birthright, his family, and his military career. In all his life, he’s only had one love, and he has sacrificed his own happiness to see his best friend reunited with the woman he loves. But now that his good deed is done, he feels lost and adrift. Even though they do their best to include him in their new family, Maris is once again on the outside looking in.

Ture has spent his life hiding from everyone around him——his family, the world, you name it——while trying desperately to fit in. Badly hurt by everyone he’s ever known, he trusts no one except his own best friend. And honestly, he can’t understand why he trusts her. Nor can he believe her when she describes a loyalty between friends the likes of which he’s never seen.

But when Ture is in his darkest hour, he’s saved by a hero he thought only existed in novels. A man who is every bit as scarred and mistrusting as he is——one who has no interest in being dragged into another relationship with anyone.

Having spent his life as a living study of doomed relationships, Maris is well aware of the courtship and fiasco that invariably follows. Still, there is something about Ture he can’t resist. Something that won’t let him walk away when he knows he should.

But when old enemies return to threaten them both, they either have to stand together or die alone.

The paramount thought I came away from this novella with was “band of brothers”. Maris and his friends are a band of brothers. Without having read any of the other stories in The League, I could sense their loyalty to one another, clearly brought about through adversity. Ture, a stranger to friendship and loyalty, doesn’t believe it can exist, despite his best friend Zarya’s insistence that her betrothed, Darling, will come and rescue them. To Ture’s great surprise, that is precisely what happens. But Darling is not alone. There is another soldier with him, the mysterious and much-talked about (by Zarya) Maris. As Ture is subsequently taken to Darling and Zarya’s palace to recover from the ordeal, he and Maris grow to become friends, and more. But their developing relationship doesn’t come without its consequences.

A quick read, excellent characters and tight plot. This is my first Sherrilyn Kenyon – I originally picked the book up based purely on the cover, and only subsequently found out who Kenyon is – and I won’t mind reading more of her books.

Note: this is an M/M romance.