Category Archives: Futuristic Romance

Born in Death by J.D. Robb


Though it’s freezing cold and 4am, intrepid detective Eve Dallas can cope with the gruesome murder of an affianced couple from a high profile accounting firm better than the birthing coach class she and her multimillionaire husband Roarke attended the evening before for Eve’s friend Mavis or the images of birthing that were Eve’s nightmares aterward.

Emotionally traumatized with childhood familial issues, Eve and Roarke are completely out of their element supporting Mavis through the final stages of her pregnancy in easily the most hilarious read of this long running series despite the grisly murders. Things become more complicated for them after Mavis pulls the friendship thread when a single expectant mother doesn’t show up for her baby shower.

The international and financial implications and insinuations of the murder case bring distress to the Dallas/Roarke household but doesn’t lack for suspects as Eve begins to work the possible kidnap Mavis’ friend and persistently searches to find a common thread to see if the cases overlap. All the secondary characters are onboard to help more doggedly than ever in this fast paced suspense tale.
Rating:5stars

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Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre

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Once the most famed jumper in space, Sirantha Jax has been delegated to an ambassadorship as the new crop of jumpers go though basic training since the fall of the Corporation. She’s wondering why when diplomacy is definitely not one of her strong suits. Yea she needed money but the Conglomerate took the money approved her dead before hiring her and her crew to play diplomatic.

Jax’s task is to convince the insular Ithiss-Tor their worlds should become allies against the ravenous Morgut. Many Ithtorians are against the alliance, they don’t see the Morgut straddling trade routes, gaining more territory and leaving death in their wake as a Ithtorian concern. Failing at this sensitive and critical mission would fall in line with her mother’s expectation for the Syndicate.

Plots abound with multiple agendas in play and a wide array of possible missteps waiting to befall the inexperienced ambassador and company. Meanwhile the Ithtorian’s have an ongoing battle with factions against the alliance are in sensitive positions.

Book one held adventure and action, and two was full of angst, this outing is talky with political maneuvering, posturing and fumbling by the Ithtorians and a toned down newly matured Jax while March is an animated husk, blandly going through the obligatory motions and the great supporting characters are stellar once again. This reader is uncertain about whatever evolution the next outing will bring.
Rating:3.25stars

Haunted in Death by J.D. Robb

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Radcliff Hopkins planned to restore Number Twelve to the former glory and untarnished reputation it had when his grandfather owned the building a century ago. But that was not to be. Radcliffe’s murdered just outside the building with an antique and illegal handgun adding frills to the already rampant urban legend that the address was haunted or cursed.

Though the team is excited, spouting theories that fit supernatural assistance, haunting, the curse and the facts at hand, pragmatic Eve is having none of it. She won’t be swayed to accept the possibility of improbability and impossibility having a place in her investigation. Not even when an 85 year old murder case is inexplicably linked to Radcliff’s murder. While Roarke helps he keeps his own counsel.

This outing colors outside the lines with a supernatural thread taking it away from its usual police procedural formula. The usual elements of the series are condensed in this shorter read and fans don’t miss what they’re used getting when they visit the 2060 gang this time.
Rating:4stars

Born of Vengeance by Sherrilyn Kenyon

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Major Ember Wyldestarrin is mad. Personally, her sister, Alura slept with Em’s latest boyfriend and professionally she’s assigned recently demoted royal celebrity playboy Captain Bastien Cabarro as her new wingman. As Em got her second wind to rant about Bas’ many flaws, a bomb hits critical areas in and near the facility. Em rushes into the rubble to find Alura and sees her being rescued by Cabarro.

While Bas’ mother dotes on him, his father and siblings would trade him for a hairpin. Alura flirts but Bas only wants Em. Knowing Bas will propose, his father warns Em if she accepts, Bas will be disinherited and disowned if he survives a series of near death assignments. Em harshly breaks both their hearts and ends their personal and professional relationships. Alura was there with comfort and tricks.

Alura was almost the only one happy at her wedding to Bas and when he escaped their reception for air he inadvertently caught part of a transmission about a plot against his family with details about the military. As it was reported by Bas, his father dismissed it. When the attack happened, Alura testified that she’d overheard Bas plotting his family’s deaths and relating military secrets. Bas was convicted.

Em fought tears at Bas’ sentencing, knowing Bas was innocent, Alura lied and was involved in the conspiracy and everyone should worry for their way of life with Bas’ uncle on the throne and in charge of the military. A disgraced Bas is sentenced to 15 years as a Ravin, a live target for League training with a tracking device embedded in his body and a life expectancy of eight weeks or less.

Bas beat the odds daily, living a solitary life in the Oksanan desert except it wasn’t solitary (cue flashbacks to Born of Fury & Born of Legend), visits from the Tavali and Sentella, not to mention random bounty hunters. After the tracker’s removed, a few good meals and re-acquaintances with family Bas is ready to settle accounts. Next thing he knows, Em is back.

This outing was a fangirl’s delight complete with the Sentella, the DR, the League steeped in political intrigue and just damn outlaws. No thread is left un-spun as this full outing gave desirable Bas a hero’s background and complicated romance. The pieces lifted from earlier reads fit and flow well here and shed light more light on their impact. The fairly good bonus read featuring Thia makes way for a spinoff.
Rating: 5stars

Memory in Death by J.D. Robb

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No sooner than the Icove case wraps and thanksgiving with family passes than Eve’s family of a sort arrive in time for Christmas. Regrettably her former foster mother’s convinced Eve’s capability and wealth are a result of their time together and recognition in coin to her would be proper but Roarke and Eve don’t buy it. This isn’t a fuzzy feeling reunion and there’s nothing wrong with Eve’s memory.

With the holiday festivities going full blast, Eve needs closure and she and Roarke plan to ensure their messages were received loudly and clearly. When they arrive at the hotel Eve’s first on scene to discover the unfortunate woman in a congealed pool of her own blood. Eve had a clear memory of a kindness the victim’s son extended as she approached the family left behind.

As Christmas descends, flimsy evidence and niggling suspicion both mount for our brilliant detective as she closes in on a suspect. Once intrepid Eve caught a whiff of motive and method this dangerous villain’s days of freedom were numbered despite being daring, provocative, elusive and quite clever as the elaborate plan unfolded. .

The team was in cameo mode doing what they do best with a nod to their own holiday plans but their bits were fitting for this personal story. While most of the character pieces showed Roarke and Eve’s intimate, multi-faceted relationship helping Peabody and MacNab personally and clearing the air personally and professionally with Charlotte further mellowed Eve’s curmudgeonly persona.

While this reader is not a fan of every case connecting to or flashbacking to Eve’s traumatic childhood, for this outing it was definitely apropos but markedly restrained. Flawed Eve is very good at being herself but this installment certainly left readers a new and somehow improved, socially awkward, whole yet very flawed Eve to go forward with.
Rating: 4.5stars

Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre

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The formerly omnipotent Farwan Corporation had swept their dirty deeds under the rug, declared Jax dead and seized her assets before they had to relinquish power to the formerly impotent Conglomeration due to Jax’s recovered memories and testimony. In need of a job but un-needed for jumping or teaching Jax is offered a conglomerate job as an ambassador to a world of bug-like creatures.

Though Dina, March and Jax return, March and Jax are different enough to be new characters. New characters were welcome additions and a visit to March’s home planet gave him food for thought. Great additions to the crew, horrible heartbreak, a shiny new villain, angst galore, more duplicity, buckets of action, a handful of surprises and this read could thrill many a fan-girl. But not this one.

An inability to connect with the leads here and the amount of angst put the outing squarely in the like but not love category for this reader. Also, the logic was off enough to be an issue for my taste, Jax is too dead to the government to reclaim her assets while being alive enough for the government to demand her testimony and for them to overtly hire her. Trusting manipulative Ramona despite their past. Nope.
Rating:3.75stars

Survivor In Death by J.D. Robb

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The household was asleep and so was Nixie Swisher’s best friend but Nixie wanted a snack and snuck out of bed to get it. That saved her life. Shadowy men make their way through the house and murder everyone else unaware of the tiny witness that was able to call the police. Nixie attaches herself to Dallas and a still healing Peabody makes her case for Dallas to be Nixie’s caregiver for a few days.

While Eve doesn’t have the capacity to give Nixie all she needs, Eve does give her as much as she can and is able to separate her own trauma in perspective and apart from Nixie’s as she pulls in the other help she needs. Nixie’s impact on the household has the staunch and stalwart Summerset dusting his parenting skills as he pitches in to help and Roarke fumbles his way through as well.

Nixie’s heartbreaking as she tries to find her way through things she doesn’t understand while Eve and company are treated to an intense cat and mouse chase across the city as the body count rises when the culprits try to secure anything that could lead back to them. Their actions lead Eve to a thread without a knot in it just waiting to be pulled.

The breezier writing style of this enjoyable and fast paced outing also had easy to invest in secondary characters and a tight storyline. Scenes from Eve’s past are usually the worst part of the read for my taste but were apropos as they easily underscored Eve’s thought process for this case.
Rating: 4.75stars

Grimspace by Ann Aguirre

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Sirantha Jax’s stellar career has made her legend. Possessing the rare J-gene, instinctive deep/grimspace navigation without instruments while psychically linked to a pilot. Jax’s successful jumps ensured the Corporation remained a galaxy-wide monopoly for trade, work or education. When Jax alone survives a jump the Corporation locks her in a facility to force her to confess to their truth.

Meanwhile a group of rogues led by the mysterious and taciturn March instigate a coup and rescuing Jax is their opening volley. The rogues want to change all that, develop their own skills, run their own trades and open their own schools, etc. Now that the Corporation has tossed Jax aside, other groups and factions hopes she’ll join their faction and cause to live outside Corporation directives.

Jax is wary of her reluctant rescuer and doesn’t know if March is there to help or hurt her. Plus she doesn’t know these people and isn’t sure she wants to! And don’t they see she’ grieving! Indoctrinated at an early age and imprisoned since the Corporation turned on her, Jax is used to a different lifestyle but adapts quickly to her new surroundings though he isn’t sure she’s the answer the renegades need.

Jax’ rescue thwarts the Corporation’s plan and they’re relentless in hunting her. This reader was immediately intrigued by the story but didn’t invest in the characters as quickly. As the story gained momentum, so did Jax and March’s explosive friendship and attraction in this intricate and layered world where betrayal and deceit are commonplace.

This medium-paced, well done cat and mouse galaxy chase is littered with hidden agendas, likeable, well defined characters with good chemistry and a shadow-y, all-seeing but faceless villain in the Corporation. The ending is too neatly accepted for my taste but isn’t a cliffhanger and leaves enough tantalizing tidbits on the table to want a few more rounds with this crew.
Rating: 4.5stars

Visions In Death by J.D. Robb

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Eve and Peabody are stumped by their latest case of a mutilating killer rapist that poses the victim’s remains as supplicants. A psychic comes to offer her services with seemingly accurate details of the killing including the body found was not actually the first victim, shortly afterward another body is found across town. With no excuse to turn her down, Eve reluctantly accepts the resource.

Peabody and Eve’s new working relationship begins to settle into equality as the partners chase clues and complement each other’s styles. Eve tones down Peabody’s perkiness over her own life changes and Peabody humanizes Eve to the point she shows off her new human traits and vulnerability while she shares pieces of herself. It’s also great for Roarke to reap the benefits of a human wife!

While subtle, the more procedural vein of this outing was noticeable with a twist that surprised. Also the supporting characters were more involved here. While I like and sometimes enjoy this series enough to want to binge on it, especially watching robotic Eve imitate humans, the exhausting trope of every single case being linked to Eve’s childhood saps that desire.
Rating: 4stars

Special Agent:Austin The D.I.R.E. Agency by Joni Hahn

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This guilty pleasure of a series is back with Austin Rose trying to follow big brother, Jayden’s footsteps and earn a place on the elite DIRE team. In town for Riordan’s wedding and planning to surprise Jayden, when he showed up with Jayden’s fiancĂ© Hope Powers, Austin falls for assassin Belle Mason’s scam.

Belle’s mission to infiltrate the agency for takedown targeting Hope as the link is thrown when she sneaks into a pre-wedding party and sees Austin Raised as an emotionless soldier, Belle works for the mysterious Madam and dreams of building a new life for herself and her sisters and is totally unprepared for Austin’s physical and emotional effect on her and has to choose between him and her sisters.

Though not enhanced and despite Jayden’s protests, Austin’s assigned by Mitchell under DIRE’s aegis to interrogate Belle. While she’s reluctant to just give information to DIRE, Belle’s willing to bargain with Austin for it. All bets are off when Belle finds out Austin lied to her and he really is a DIRE agent.
Rating: 4stars

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