Category Archives: Futuristic/Time Travel

Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre

doubleblind

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

Origin in Death by J.D. Robb

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In a private and heavily secured facility closing a case, Eve and Peabody are stunned hear Eve’s name over the paging system. Rushing to find out why, they’re surprised to find they’ve been called to attend renowned cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Wilfred B. Icove, Sr., He’s definitely been murdered and it looks like a professional job.

Eve and her team search but can’t find a motive. Convinced no one that age had no blemishes in his past, Eve and her team dug deeper. Discovering incomplete information puts Eve on the trail of wisps of a motive. The middle of that trail has Eve facing the murder of Dr. Wilfred B. Icove, Jr. But the killer left bread crumbs and Eve gobbled them up and quickly came up with a theory.

An engrossing conspiracy tale with an exciting end and an extreme minimum linking the case to Eve’s past all appealed to this reader. Brief appearances by the usual support cast made sure fans got glimpses as well. Also, I enjoy the subtle changes in Eve over the last few outings. While humanizing Eve more, her social awkwardness gained another dimension.
Rating:4.25stars

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

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

Imitation in Death by J.D. Robb

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Eve’s latest fan, a copy-cat killer admires good work and decides Eve could be the ticket to fame if not fortune and a reproduction of a Jack the Ripper style murder would be the perfect way to announce his intentions. When Eve arrives at the gruesome murder scene of a street companion, not only is the victim literally shredded a pristine invitation to catch him at the game accompanies the body.

Several possibilities muddy the suspect pool while Eve and Rourke take advantage of Somerset’s waning vacation and Peabody is set to take the exam. Other fan favorites, like the EDD guys and Mavis have cameos and not much book time. This reader confesses the intrigue of this outing was a little fuller than usual making the villain not as easy to determine. Overall a satisfying read.
Rating: 4.25stars

Knight of Darkness by Kinley MacGregor

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Varian du Fey has been serving Merlin as a knight of the round table as an assassin for Merlin, though he was born to Lancelot du Lac and Narishka, an Adorian that sits at Morgen’s right hand. Due to the circumstances of his conception, Varian wasn’t shown kindness or love and was kicked out of his home and away from Morgen’s court.

Varian dislikes the work he’s given, he isn’t mistreated but he isn’t well liked or trusted because of his parents. Reluctantly taking his latest assignment to take part in Morgen’s court and find the identity of the grail knights and get the information to Merlin so she can finally defeat Morgen.

Merewyn bargained away her beauty for temporary servitude but circumstances changed the cost to eternally serve Narishka. Though the castle inhabitants aren’t kind to her, Varian sympathizes and shows compassion. Narishka sees Varian’s compassion as a weakness to be exploited and uses the opportunity to trap him and get him to join Morgen and help her finally defeat Merlin. He has to choose.

This outing presumes you’ve read its predecessor leaving the reader to fill in many blanks. Such as the time travel which is done off page so the modern slang and conveniences really seem and feel out of place; another is that Camelot has been overrun with the evil, dark magic of Morgen le Fey and that the reader is aware that both Morgen and Merlin are female.

Having read both books of this dark duology and noted Blaise’s appearances in Dark Hunter series this is still not a favorite series. With such a convoluted tale, including unnecessary idiosyncrasies (i.e. time travel) it might have been less confusing to layer the story more evenly between the realms of Camelot and man.
Rating:3stars

Sword of Darkness by Kinley MacGregor

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The opening line may well have been… come with me gentle reader to a time of swords in stones, magic and a man named Kerrigan. When Camelot fell to the evil Morgan things changed and a sword, Caliburn, along with its scabbard gives its wielder immortality and invincibility.

Peasant, liar and thief, Kerrigan’s ability to pull the evil fey sword from the stone saves him from pursuers and fulfills its promise. Aligning himself with Morgen makes him the evil king of evil Camelot and the scourge of Arthur’s knights as they battle for dominion of the legendary round table.

Aspiring seamstress Seren is refused status by the guild and is approached by Gawain and Agravain of Arthurian legend. They tell her she’s to mother the next Merlin and must be protected but Seren believes they intend to steal her virtue. She thwarts their plan and changes fate by escaping the safety of their clutches and runs headlong to Kerrigan. He swept her off her feet for himself and Morgen.

Kerrigan warns Seren he’s evil incarnate as she touches his lost humanity, a crone advises Seren how to escape the realm and the fate before her and Seren thinks she’s confused in her own nightmare. The conceit of time travel isn’t used to a great advantage here for this reader’s taste when they only brought INXS cd’s and correctly used modern phrases that look ridiculous on the page. A confusing mess
Rating:3stars

Born of Legend by Sherrilyn Kenyon

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Dagger Ixur is legend, a name to instill fear and the name Jullien eton Anatole has used for the last five years. Unable to ignore a boy traded by Slavers, he steps in. Tivali Vice Admiral Ushara ‘Shara’ Altaan’s searched for her son for three days. She didn’t expect to see him rescued or protected by a handsome, powerfully built Andorian in tatters and in need of help himself. Or the quickening of her heart.

The warrant for his life was written to ensure Jullien would find no quarter in the galaxy. It listed every slight he’d ever caused anyone. Coupled with cruel his Andarian ancestry, Jullien was hunted and he was weary. Jullien uses the name of Dagger Ixur on Shara’s planet to make it a little more difficult to locate him and where Shara challenges her family to keep him safe.

Engrained hatred dies hard and there are long memories of the tales of Jullien’s grandparents and their mistreatment of the Fyrbloods. Those minds are anxious to put hands to purpose and visit the same atrocities on Jullien. Shara can’t help falling for the hidden selflessness and kindness she sees in her personal hero while others see her attraction and want to stop it.

Jullien is able to work and somewhat make friends as he regains his strength, rests properly and eats well but can’t trust given his past and a large bounty on his head. Some don’t like what they see and make plans. Loyal, dedicated and protective kick-a** warrior, mother and friend, Shara, was just what Jullien needed. He was so tired of wanting what he couldn’t have and he wanted her most.

So frigging emotional! So frigging repetitious! So frigging exhausting! Even if there are tears and great snark a reason becomes a justification, becomes an excuse becomes a pity jamboree and a drinking game all in one. Shara would ask didn’t anyone ever… Jullien’s response was invariably no, never… then a guilt attack capped by some ridiculously selfless act and a new supporter is gained.

More convoluted Andarian politics and power plays abound. Questions are added to the guilt, betrayals, heartbreak and sweet scenes to set the stage for the inevitable, predictably vicious battle and hard won victory for the couple’s new day. There seemed to be several endings and in this reader’s opinion without the repetition, the page count could’ve been halved and several scenes were overdone.

The betrayals visited on Jullien rival any in the Dark Hunter universe and endless selfless acts changed a villain into an incredibly desirable hero. Jullien’s past was detailed most recently in Born of Betrayal, having the transgressions trotted out, ad nauseum, quickly became tedious for this reader. Repetition doesn’t make a great book even if a good read’s hidden in the dross.
Rating:4.25stars

Portrait In Death by J.D. Robb

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Eve is thinking best day ever! Summerset will be gone for the next three weeks, nothing could be better despite the sidewalk melting heat. When she answers the phone he realizes just how right she was. The call leads Eve to a busy corner and a body stuffed in a disposal like so much garbage. Not only that but this murderer likes to pose and take pictures of his victims.

As Eve follows the leads she ends up someplace she’s never been learning about something she never considered. She’s completely out of her element at the college learning more about imaging and data streams than she’d care to. But Eve isn’t the only one out of her comfort zone as Roarke gets news that takes him on an emotional sojourn resulting in a trip to Ireland.

For a change it was good to see Eve give Roarke the same unconditional support he gives her in every outing that she usually reserves for her cases. This reader is completely bewildered how every serial murder case, which are the only kind Eve works, triggers memories of Eve’s own abuse.
Rating:4stars

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