Tag Archives: sci-fi

Review of Wanted and Wired (Wanted and Wired #1), by Vivien Jackson

I picked up a copy of Vivien Jackson‘s Wanted and Wired from Amazon, when it was free.

Description from Goodreads:

Rogue scientist • technologically enhanced • deliciously attractive
Heron Farad should be dead. But technology has made him the man he is today. Now he heads a crew of uniquely skilled outsiders who fight to salvage what’s left of humanity: art, artifacts, books, ideas-sometimes even people. People like Mari Vallejo.

Gun for hire • Texan rebel • always hits her mark
Mari has been lusting after her mysterious handler for months. But when a by-the-book hit goes horribly sideways, she and Heron land on the universal most wanted list. Someone set them up. Desperate and on the run, they must trust each other to survive, while hiding devastating secrets. As their explosive chemistry heats up, it’s the perfect storm…

I quite enjoyed this. There were several points I especially liked and a few that irked me, but the average definitely fell on the positive side.

The things I enjoyed were the snark, the high quality of writing, the world, the woman with sexual agency, the fact that there were incidentally gay characters and that the main characters were other than white.

On the negative side was the rape-as-backstory, the fact that the sexual agency I appreciated eventually became distracting as Heron and Mari just never let up.

All in all, I can’t wait for more of Jackson’s Tether series.

Review of The Innkeeper Chronicles (#1-3.5), by Ilona Andrews

I bought book one and two, Clean Sweep and Sweep In Peace.  Then I won the third, One Fell Sweep, through Goodreads.

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night….Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

I have a really odd relationship with Ilona Andrews books. I enjoy them, but I almost never rate one higher than 3 stars. I like them but just don’t think they’re all that great…but taken together, I always want another. They’re like hard candies, not anything special but once you’ve had that first one you just want to keep popping them in your mouth until your tastebuds burn. That’s me and Andrews. I don’t think the books are great, but I always want another one. What am I supposed to do with that?

This is no exception. I thought it was a lot of fun, though bordering on utterly ridiculous and there were several too-coincidental-to-be-believed moments. But I liked all the characters; as always I appreciated the strong female and alpha male willing to let her lead, there are a ton of little easter eggs hidden in it and I’m already ready for the next one.

*Technically I read and reviewed this book in 2016, but I’ve just gotten around to reading the rest of the series and have brought this review forward for continuity.

Dina DeMille doesn’t run your typical Bed and Breakfast. Her inn defies laws of physics, her fluffy dog is secretly a monster, and the only paying guest is a former Galactic tyrant with a price on her head. But the inn needs guests to thrive, and guests have been scarce, so when an Arbitrator shows up at Dina’s door and asks her to host a peace summit between three warring species, she jumps on the chance.

Unfortunately, for Dina, keeping the peace between Space Vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the devious Merchants of Baha-char is much easier said than done. On top of keeping her guests from murdering each other, she must find a chef, remodel the inn…and risk everything, even her life, to save the man she might fall in love with. But then it’s all in the day’s work for an Innkeeper…

I didn’t like it as much as book one, but still enjoyed it. I still like Dina and her inn-keeping. I still liked the writing and I’m still curious about the threads left open. I’ll certainly be continuing the series. But if I thought book one walked the like of ridiculous, this one went full bore. And good lord, every little thing is described in such overwhelming and distracting detail that I wanted to beg characters not to change costume, so that I didn’t have to suffer another page long description of their new clothing. But for the most part, this is classic Andrews for me, I didn’t love it but I still want more.

Gertrude Hunt, the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, is glad to have you. We cater to particular kind of guests, the ones most people don’t know about. The older lady sipping her Mello Yello is called Caldenia, although she prefers Your Grace. She has a sizable bounty on her head, so if you hear kinetic or laser fire, try not to stand close to the target. Our chef is a Quillonian. The claws are a little unsettling, but he is a consummate professional and truly is the best chef in the Galaxy. If you see a dark shadow in the orchard late at night, don’t worry. Someone is patrolling the grounds. Do beware of our dog.

Your safety and comfort is our first priority. The inn and your host, Dina Demille, will defend you at all costs. We ask only that you mind other guests and conduct yourself in a polite manner.

I think I liked this one the best of the three, so far. For some reason, I erroneously thought this was a trilogy and the end of the series. So, I’m both disappointed to find it didn’t wrap up and delight that there will be more. But I like that we saw familiar characters coming back together, instead of a barrage of new ones, and some important progression in Dina and Sean’s relationship.

I did think some of the threats being planet-level was a little too much and all the jumping around the galaxy never seemed to take long enough. But I’ll be looking for more of the Innkeeper Chronicles.

Review of Apocalypse Alley (Blue Unicorn #2), by Don Allmon

I received a copy of Don Allmon‘s Apocalypse Alley through Netgalley. I reviewed book one, The Glamour Thieves, here.

Description from Goodreads:
Home from a six-month assignment to war-torn East Asia, genetically engineered supersoldier Noah “Comet” Wu just wants to kick back, share a beer, and talk shit with his best friend, JT. But JT’s home has been shot up like a war zone, and his friend has gone missing.

Comet’s only lead is a smart-mouthed criminal he finds amid the mess. His name’s Buzz Howdy. He’s a con man and a hacker and deserves to be in jail. Or in handcuffs, at least. The only thing the two have in common is JT. Unless you count the steamy glances they’re sneaking at one another. They have those in common too. But that just makes Comet all the more wary.

Despite their mutual distrust, they’ll have to work together to rescue JT before a cyborg assassin gets to him first. Racing down a miserable stretch of road called Apocalypse Alley, they must dodge radioactive spiders, a lonely cannibal, and a killer Buick. They also try to dodge each other. That last bit doesn’t work out so well.

Honestly, I didn’t love this one like I did The Glamour Thieves. I liked it just fine, but there was no love. I still got a thrill out of Allmon’s world and there is a lot of humor in the book that tickled me and I really like the writing style, but the romance literally goes from gun-to-the-head-of-a-stranger to in love, in less than six hours. There is just no way to make that work for me, even if the two go through some heavy stuff together. Almost especially if they go through a storm together, because then you have to sort what feelings are just leftover from the experience and what is real. The book doesn’t even touch on that little psychological reality.

Plus, the book just never stops. There are no rest points in the narrative and I, personally, needed them. And lastly JT and Austin are hardly in the book and I missed them.

Having said all that, I’ll still be on board for book three. This might not have shown like the star book one was, but it is still a fun read and I look forward to more of Allmon’s work.