The Kraken King by Meljean Brook

My thoughts...

I love the Iron Seas books and am absolutely thrilled when one is released. I read this book as a serial. At the time, about half of the serial had been released. I gobbled up as much as I could and impatiently waited for the next parts. The experience taught me that I do not like serials. If another of my favorite authors releases one, I hope I have the patience to wait until all the parts are released before I start reading it. 

This book is full of adventure and romance. The romantic tension between writer Zenobia Fox and former rebel leader Ariq is absolutely fabulous and kept me reading. Some of Ariq's lines swept my heart away. 

"You are my queen," he told her. […] "I am your sword and your shield. I am your wolf and your steed. Mountains will tremble at my approach for they know I will tear them apart if ever they stand between us."

Gosh, what a guy!

Many different political plots thread through the story. If you haven't read the other Iron Seas books, this probably isn't the one to start with. Read The Iron Duke first. (One of my ALL TIME FAVORITES.) As for this book, it's on my keeper shelf and I know I will re-read it again and again.

Back Cover Blurb:

A former smuggler and thief, Ariq—better known as the Kraken King—doesn’t know what to make of the clever, mysterious woman he rescues from an airship besieged by marauders. Unsure if she’s a spy or a pawn in someone else’s game, Ariq isn’t about to let her out of his sight until he finds out…

After escaping her fourth kidnapping attempt in a year, Zenobia Fox has learned to vigilantly guard her identity. While her brother Archimedes is notorious for his exploits, Zenobia has had no adventures to call her own—besides the stories she writes.

But when she jumps at the chance to escape to the wilds of Australia and acquire research for her next story, Zenobia quickly discovers that the voyage will be far more adventurous than any fiction she could put to paper…


The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn Fisher

Genre: Sci Fi Romance

Backcover Blurb: 

Our world is no longer our own. We engineered a race of superior fighters - the Manti, mutant humans with insect-like abilities. Twenty-five years ago they all but destroyed us. In Sanctuary, some of us survive. Eking out our existence. Clinging to the past. 

Some of us intend to do more than survive. 

Asha and Pax - strangers and enemies - find themselves stranded together on the border of the last human city, neither with a memory of how they got there.

Asha is an archivist working to preserve humanity’s most valuable resource - information - viewed as the only means of resurrecting their society.

Pax is Manti, his Scarab ship a menacing presence in the skies over Sanctuary, keeping the last dregs of humanity in check.

Neither of them is really what they seem, and what humanity believes about the Manti is a lie.

With their hearts and fates on a collision course, they must unlock each other's secrets and forge a bond of trust before a rekindled conflict pushes their two races into repeating the mistakes of the past.

My thoughts:

Good sci fi romances are hard to find. I can only guess that this is because the romance reading masses have yet to discover the pleasures of this particular sub genre. I think its day to shine is coming though. Books like this are sure to help. It had intrigue and sexual tension from the start and is riddled with plot twists.

The author doesn't tell the reader everything up front. I love reading books like this if the writing is gripping and I like the characters. I'm quite happy to keep reading to figure out what the heck is going on. It takes a certain type of writing to skill to pull off and this author does it very well. For the first quarter of the book, there's a bit of a mystery around exactly how the two main characters ended up together. Even the characters don't know.

 I liked Asha and Pax from the moment they appeared on the page. Despite their curious circumstances, the chemistry between them was instant and continued throughout the story. Just when it looks like everything might be alright between the two of them, tricky plot twists appear and pull them apart. I love how the author stayed true to the characters, even when I was wishing the romance would hurry up and blossom. 

In the acknowledgements at the front of the book, the author mentions going to a ScienceOnlineSeattle seminar where they discussed "garage bio," a kind of DIY bioengineering that, among other things, has the potential to create havoc in our world. She uses this concept in her world building. I adore that! Taking a nugget of real life and twisting it into a whole new world is one of my favorite pastimes. The author won my heart with that little reveal. Plus I'd never heard of garage bio. Learning new things from romance novels is a quite pleasurable way to learn! 

I'll definitely be looking for more books by this author. 

I highly recommend this book to readers of sci fi and paranormal romance, as well as romance readers who like post-apocalyptic settings. 

Bitter Spirits: A Roaring Twenties Novel by Jenn Bennett

Genre: Paranormal romance with a hefty dose of mystery

Winter Magnusson, top bootlegger in San Francisco, has been cursed. A friend points him toward Aida Palmer, spirit medium, for help. Though Aida is on her own in the world, she's a good girl, just looking to get to by. Winter has "bad boy" written all over him and is completely intrigued by Aida. For all his toughness, he falls for her and woos her with a charming gentleness. But his curse pulls Aida into trouble too and he's determined to protect her. Off they go on their adventure and tracking down clues to the bad guy. 

I've read enough paranormal novels that I'm always craving something different. The time period that this novel is set in is just that. Plus, Winter is of Swedish descent, another novelty in this type of book. Or at least it hit the right spot for me. I loved it when he'd slip into his native tongue. Plus, Bennett's writing style is just right to grip a reader and pull her in for a fabulous escape.

I read this book about a week before the second novel in the series was released. I've already gobbled up the second one too. I think I'm in for a long wait for the third. Being a series reader is a lesson in patience!

The Mark of the Tala: The Twelve Kingdoms

Genre: Adult romantic fantasy

I'm a big fan of Jeffe Kennedy, and I had my eye on this book from the moment I learned of it. This is a new series about three sisters. The first book is about the middle sister, who hides in the shadows of her to-be-queen older sister and beautiful younger sister. But Andi is the one who carries the mark of the Tala…the mark of her people's enemy…a mark she inherited from her mother. Because her mother died when Andi was five, she doesn't know about her heritage. Enter the hero…Rayfe, a Tala who's been waiting for Andi for a long time and is eager to teach Andi about her powers. 

The story is very much an adventure, which I love. The romance is steamy and there are explicit scenes. It's written in first person, which is not my favorite, but I definitely loved Andi's voice. In fact, I'm sad that the second book will be in the youngest sister's voice. I want more Andi! 

The book doesn't end on a huge cliffhanger. It's more that the story is unresolved. Be prepared  to wait a long time for closure. The second book comes out at the end of 2014 and the third book is scheduled for June 2015. Word to the wise: if you don't want to know what happens at the end of this book, do NOT read the blurb for the second book before you finish this one.

I hope this series goes beyond the trilogy. There are some great characters in this book that I'd  love to see in their own books…especially Dafne!

(Dear Jeffe Kennedy,

Would you please write Dafne's story?

Thank you very much,

Anise Rae)