Demons Do It Better by Louisa Masters

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary

I work for Lucifer. Only, it’s not as cool and satanic as it sounds.

The truth is, I’m an admin assistant who applied for a job that sounded kind of interesting and ended up working for the Community of Species Government. I’m the only human in the office, and basically I ride herd on a team of rambunctious shifters and demons.

I also spend a lot of time avoiding Gideon Bailey, the demon I had a one-night stand with right before I took this job. He hates me, and I really want to avoid being murdered. But I’ve been offered a promotion that will mean working with him, so we’re both going to have to get over it.

Plus, people are going missing. Pregnant people. And the word is that someone is dabbling in genetic experimentation. Putting a stop to that is more important than the sexual tension Gideon and I have been ignoring… isn’t it?

Review

Why didn’t I read this book sooner?! This was such a fun read.

Sam, a human, unknowingly applies for a job with the Community of Species Government which is very much not human. It turns out to be one of the best decisions he’s made though. He’s found a family with the group he works with and he enjoys his work again. Turns out, the guy he hooked up with a couple nights ago? Well they now work at the same agency and he’s a lot grumpier at work then he was in the bedroom.

What did I love about this book? Sam’s personality. He might be a short fella, but he is larger than life. He’s sarcastic, witty, and the kind of person I would love to be friends within real life. He keeps you grounded and makes sure you don’t get too big of a head lol.

Then the shift in Sam’s character. I don’t want to give too much away, but I loved this twist and then the resulting events afterwards. Gideon, a demon who is hot as hell, finally melts just a bit towards Sam.

This book is definitely here to establish the bigger storyline. Pregnant people going missing, genetic experimentation involving both humans and members of the community. The case hits close to home, once Sam learns more about where he came from, and it pushes them to work harder to find out how save these people.

What I wish there was more of? A little more resolution. I felt like the story had just got started and then it was over.

Give this book a try. I’ve already scooped up the second in the series because I need more of these characters in my life!

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Hunting Astrid by Thea Landen

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary

Astrid Carlisle enjoys her job at Satera Industries, the massive interplanetary organization whose enigmatic leader is concerned with profits first and legalities second. Stationed at company headquarters, she can stay out of harm’s way while making good use of her programming skills and keen eye for talent acquisition. Unfortunately, both the busy nature of her work and her office’s remote location leave her feeling dissatisfied with her personal life.

Fresh out of the Central United Space Marines, Tabitha Knox is ready for change, hoping the next stage in her career can take place in the private sector. Employment with Satera Industries would offer her the exciting, fast-paced work she craves, with generous financial compensation to match. All she has to do is get through the rigorous screening process and prove her worth.

The two women meet during the early stages of Tabitha’s application, and their mutual attraction is instant. However, Astrid has been hurt in the past and is cautious about moving too quickly, leading her to devise a plan. She suggests the pair enter the simulations used to test applicants and fight their way through the various environments. If Tabitha can successfully track her down in each phase, she’ll win the ultimate prize: a lucrative job, plus Astrid’s trust and submission. Everything she wants is within reach, but will she be able to achieve her dreams while hunting Astrid?

Hunting Astrid is a futuristic sci fi slow-burn FF romance from the talented author Thea Landen.

Review

This is a super-quick, satisfying science-fiction read. My only complaint? I needed more!

We’re thrust right into the action of Astrid’s job at Satera Industries as we follow candidates as they work their way through a virtual reality that Astrid helped create and rank the candidates. One catches her eye, even without knowing what they look like. Red is skilled, cautious, but has the potential to be a leader.

If all that wasn’t attractive enough, once Astrid learns who Red is after a training exercise, and seeing her on the subway on their way home, Astrid is physically attracted to Tabitha. No matter how intense Astrid’s initial feelings for Tabitha, she’s still scared because of past relationships.

Oh my goodness, I felt Astrid’s conflicting feelings in my soul. She wanted to become close to Tabitha, but she was terrified of getting hurt again. Eventually, they find a way to get closer, hunting missions through virtual reality. The prize? Tabitha would get Astrid anyway she wanted her.

Landen had a way of putting you in each of the virtual realities these characters found themselves in. I enjoyed being put right into the tropic rain forest, in a city under attack. It was rich and seamless. This is what you want in a science-fiction story, no matter how short, it was a well-developed world that I wouldn’t mind visiting again.

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Breaking the Surface by Rebecca Langham

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary

Alessia is an Outsider—a member of the not-quite-human community that has recently been released from their underground prison. Shortly after their liberation, Alessia is given an ultimatum: obey all the United Earth Alliance’s demands, or her mother will forever remain a hostage—a mother she’d believed dead for fifteen years. Reluctantly, she agrees, though she has no idea what those demands may be, or how she will balance her obligations to the UEA with her responsibilities to her people and her family.

As the UEA tightens its grip on humans and Outsiders alike, it becomes clear that meaningful social change will not be possible without a revolution. Alessia and her peers embark on a mission to discover just how far the government is willing to go to maintain their monopoly on power.

What Alessia and her comrades discover, however, goes much deeper than they’d ever anticipated. Who are the Outsiders, really? What secrets of their destiny lay hidden within a top-secret space station? And why are the Outsiders linked to an emerging disease the UEA seems desperate to keep secret? As they delve deeper, it isn’t only Alessia’s identity that will be called into question, but the fate of the entire planet.

Review

Breaking the Surface is the second in Rebecca Langham’s Outsider Project series. One thing I would recommend is reading this series close together. If you don’t, you may find yourself a little lost with everything happening in this book.

With that said, this was a great sequel. Not only was I glad to find out what was in store for Alessia and Lydia, but we were allowed to see all the characters that I fell in love with in the first novel. Each character grew and adapted to the life they had been thrust into.

The romance between Alessia and Lydia took a back seat to the main plot. I liked the moments between Lydia and Alessia, but we got to see them develop as characters distanced from each other.

I zipped through the last 40% of this book. I was completely engulfed in learning the history of the Celestials. It was startling, but it was very much possible in this universe. Hell, I could even say something like be possible in our world.

If you are a sci-fi fan, then this series is a definite must read.

Get your copy here

The Audacity by Laura Loup

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary

May’s humdrum life gets flung into hyperdrive when she’s abducted, but not all aliens are out to probe her. She’s inadvertently rescued by Xan who’s been orbiting Earth in a day-glo orange rocket ship, watching re-runs of “I Love Lucy”.

Seizing the opportunity for a better life, May learns how to race the Audacity and pilots her way into interstellar infamy. Finally, she has a job she likes and a friend to share her winnings with—until the Goddess of Chaos screws the whole thing up, and Xan’s unmentionable past makes a booty call.

The Review

The Audacity is one of those books you are either going to love, or you’re going to hate. I LOVED this book. It’s fresh, reminiscent of Douglas Adams’s writing, breaks the fourth wall, and keeps you laughing throughout.

May, a Sonic Drive-In carhop gets pulled right off of earth and out of the monotony of her life to find herself in space in the middle of an adventure even her wildest dreams couldn’t have imagined. She’s rescued by Xan, an a blue alien who has a fondness for ‘I Love Lucy’ and a slightly questionable profession. They go on to race the Audacity, find their way out of hijinks and several conundrums.

The friendship between May and Xan was probably my absolute favorite part of this book. They picked at each other, helped each other, and worked together to find answers to their problems. It’s the kind of friendship you want to have in your life. Xan had May’s back and May had Xan’s.

I cracked up at the use for coffee. Felt for May and the corn that Xan supplied her with. Don’t ask, just go read it to find out what I mean by that. May was pretty kick ass and I look forward to find out more of the adventures that this crew will end up on. The cast of characters featured many on the LGBTQ+ spectrum and while it wasn’t the focus of this book, it was good to see the representation in these characters.

Get your copy here

In the Ruins by Hailey Turner

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Audiobook Review

Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: Truth and lies.

Captain Jamie Callahan knows the Metahuman Defense Force frowns on fraternization. For once in his life, he’s breaking all the rules. Having Staff Sergeant Kyle Brannigan on his team and in his bed is worth the risk of being found out. When a mission comes down requiring Alpha Team to go undercover in order to infiltrate a criminal alliance, Jamie knows it won’t be easy. Putting his family’s name on the line is nothing compared to the role the MDF wants him to play—that of a billionaire’s son, discharged from the military, with a lover on his arm, looking to make his own shady business deals.

Dirty little secret.

Kyle knows the only way to be with Jamie is to hide their relationship from their superiors. Waking up to Jamie at home is more important than being together in public, or so Kyle thought, until he comes face to face with what he’s been missing. Pretending to be a couple on paper for the sake of the mission thrusts Kyle into a world of incredible wealth and a social status he’s not sure he belongs in, but he’ll do anything to stay by Jamie’s side.

Play the game to win.

Surrounded by the enemy, Jamie and Kyle need to trust each other now more than ever. Their covers—and the life they’re trying to build together—depend on it.

The Review

First, let me talk about the greatness of Greg Boudreaux as a narrator. He’s got one of those voices that just hit the spot (with everyone but Annabelle, but that’s just nitpicking about southern accents). I could probably listen to him speak with an English or a Scottish accent for days. Oh and the Russian accents *shiver*. I loved hearing Alexei’s speaking parts. Boudreaux had a way with differentiating between different characters with his voice. I didn’t get lost in conversation sections. I knew who was talking and how they were feeling in that moment. He made it very easy to get lost in this world and I highly recommend listening to his work. I already have his other three works in my to listen list.

Now on to the story!

In the Ruins picks up a few months after In the Wreckage ends. We see the MDF going undercover to continue their fight against a group of criminal organizations who are working together, instead of fighting each other, for power.

They utilize Jamie’s family wealth as the background for the teams covers. There are a lot of challenges that come with this. Jamie has to become a person he used to be and never wanted to be again; selfish, overbearing, unkind. Kyle experiences what Jamie’s life was like before the Marines and just how wealthy Jamie’s family is.

Also, Jamie and Kyle can publicly be together due to Kyle’s cover as Jamie’s arm candy. They can hold hands, they can kiss, they can sleep in the same bed without having to sneak out of the room early in the morning. These two men have chemistry that is out of this world. It’s obvious that that their relationship has continued to grow. The scenes with only two pair of them together, oh boy. Just turn the AC down and grab a fan, cause things just got hot. They are beyond intense.

Their mission was always at the forefront of their minds. Even if I lost track of what the mission actually was at some points. I liked that the action balanced out with the romance parts. This universe that Turner has created is amazing. I could see what Jamie’s apartment looked like. Then I could see 2285 London, the underground, the museum where the gala took place. The way she described the characters and the settings, it was opulent. That’s the only word that would do this world justice.

There were a few parts that dragged on for me and got a bit slow. I think it may be because I got so attached to Alexei. Will I continue this series? Most likely. I really enjoy the detail Turner puts into her novels and her characters. Should you read this? If you like sci-fi, military, steamy romances, yes. One hundred percent yes.

 

A Ferry of Bones & Gold by Hailey Turner

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Five out of Five Stars

The Summary:  When the gods come calling, you don’t get to say no.

Patrick Collins is three years into a career as a special agent for the Supernatural Operations Agency when the gods come calling to collect a soul debt he owes them. An immortal has gone missing in New York City and bodies are showing up in the wake of demon-led ritual killings that Patrick recognizes all too easily from his nightmares.

Unable to walk away, Patrick finds himself once again facing off against mercenary magic users belonging to the Dominion Sect. Standing his ground alone has never been a winning option in Patrick’s experience, but it’s been years since he’s had a partner he could trust.

Looking for allies in all the wrong places, Patrick discovers the Dominion Sect’s next target is the same werewolf the Fates themselves have thrown into his path. Patrick has been inexplicably attracted to the man from their first meeting, but desire has no place in war. That doesn’t stop Patrick from wanting what he shouldn’t have. Jonothon de Vere is gorgeous, dangerous, and nothing but trouble—to the case, to the fight against every hell, and ultimately, to Patrick’s heart and soul.

In the end, all debts must be paid, and Patrick can only do what he does best—cheat death.

The Review

This is the first time I’ve read anything by Hailey Turner. Obviously, I have been missing out because I need more! Especially, in concern to Patrick and Jono. Jeez, those two fellas, I just fell in love with them.  I was enchanted with the entire world. There were Gods, mages, sorcerers, werewolves, werecreatures, seers, vampires, demons, and more.

Patrick is a red-headed, stressed out and annoyed mage who has been through hell and back. He gets sent to New York to help investigate a series of extremely violent crimes, where supernatural forces have been involved.

Jono is a werewolf from London, who bartends at a local supernatural bar. But there’s a bit more to him than everyone knows.  He is one hell of a guy. He’s very protective, strong and smart.

Both Patrick and Jono’s lives are influenced by the Gods. Patrick has a debt to pay and Jono, I have a feeling we’ll be learning more about how the Gods influence him in future books. They worked together, not just the police but the supernatural community to stop any catastrophic disaster from hitting New York City from Ethan Greene who will do whatever it takes to become a God.

I’ve been on a paranormal, procedural, romance kick. This book spoiled me rotten. Not only was there a case that needed to be solved but it all played into something much bigger than those cases.  The action of the scenes were vivid, fast paced, and had my heart pumping. I had to know what was going on with Patrick and Jono and the rest of the crew. I NEEDED TO KNOW.

The romance between Patrick and Jono wasn’t the main focus. There were a couple of intense scenes and you could feel the buzz of attraction throughout the novel.  I feel like I’m about to keyboard smash from how much I enjoyed these two men. They were both strong, honest, and willing to fight for each other. Like I said, I loved them and all the other characters.

So the question is, should you read this? OMG YES. I’m actually going to check out the other books Hailey Turner has penned. Because damn, this book was good.

 

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Rebecca Langham Interview

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I took a few minutes to talk with Rebecca Langham to pick her mind about Beneath the Surface and to see what she had upcoming. Fun fact,  Rebecca Langham is Australian!

What drew you to writing about ‘aliens’?

“One of my favourite things about sci-fi is its ability to consider social and political themes using a distant frame. The Outsiders were always about the concept of humanity’s fear regarding difference, as well as our own obsession with being superior as a species.”

Why did you call them Outsiders?

The concept came from a lot of reports I kept seeing about how the Australian government treated asylum seekers. Then there were all the HORRIBLE comments on Facebook articles, with everyday people always saying they were “illegal” and we shouldn’t waste our resources to help them…but there’s actually no such thing as an illegal asylum seeker because Australia has ratified multiple UN declarations that ensure the rights of people fleeing persecution.

‘Outsiders’ is all about the rhetoric of public discourse. The irony of the term becomes clear by the end of the novel. None of us are Outsiders — but words and attitudes can make us feel that way.

I myself see a lot past historical events in this book like segregation and even events here in America now. What appealed to you to write this?

As a History teacher, I’m fascinated by the notion of memory. There’s not a specific historical event reflected metaphorically in BTS, but rather a thematic discussion around the ways that ‘self’ is defined by the past. The difficulty is that the past can be controlled and manipulated. Women’s history is an obvious example of this, but there are many. The notion of ‘revised history’ has gained a lot of traction in recent decades as a result.

Winston Churchill said “History is written by the victors”, and I wanted to — even just for my self — look at how it may impact upon the collective and individual identities of people to always feel that they’d been in the wrong, that they somehow owed the world a debt because history books have told them as much. I’m not an expert in psychology or anthropology and I can’t pretend to have painted an accurate picture, but these are the larger forces of historical representation that I find quite fascinating and which in turn influenced the novel.

What are your future plans and what can we look forward to from you? Are you planning any more books or currently working on any?

I’m working on the second book — the follow up to Beneath the Surface. The story isn’t finished just yet. It’s a tricky novel to write because the characters have a very new reality to deal with, and there are a few more answers about the government conspiracy to be found.

After that, I have a list of ideas long enough to spend the next five years writing. I take a while to finish books (thanks to my children and full time job).

 

 

Beneath the Surface by Rebecca Langham

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: When a change in collective conscious sends the Outsiders, a group of aliens, to the shadows below the city, humans reason that the demonization of their peers is simply more “humane.” There’s no question, nor doubt. Just acceptance.

Lydia had embraced that sense of “truth” for as long as she can remember. The daughter of a powerful governor, she has been able to live her life with more comforts than most. Comforts can be suffocating, though, and when the opportunity to teach Outsider children in their private, “humane” community becomes available, she takes it.

What she finds beneath the city is far from the truth she had grown to know. There she meets Alessia, an Outsider with the knowledge and will to shake the foundation of all those who walk above ground. The two find a new and unexpected connection despite a complete disconnect from the technological world. Or perhaps in spite of it.

Still, it takes a lot more than an immutable connection to change the world. Lydia, Alessia, and a small group of Outsiders must navigate a system of corruption, falsehoods, and twists none of them ever saw coming, all while holding on to the hope to come out alive in the end. But it’s a risk worth taking, and a future worth fighting for.

 

The Review

Beneath the Surface is Rebecca Langham’s debut novel.  It’s a science-fiction novel that delves into the tougher issues of what any society can and does experience. Lydia, who is the daughter of a powerful politician, choses to teach in an underground community where the Outsiders are housed. She teaches an extremely scripted version of history as to what happened and why the Outsiders were kept underground. It was for their own good, a way to protect them and one day they’ll get out of the underground societies. Once it’s safe for them.

Upon her arrival, Lydia first meets Jez, her teaching partner who is also a hybrid of the human/outsider species. That’s why she’s always remained underground, teaching and denying herself the chance to fall in love and to find friends. I think this is a moment that makes Lydia stand still and think. As she begins to get situated and teach she starts to interact more with the Outsiders. She sees Alessia throughout and she feels drawn to her. It’s definitely a tough pill to swallow. You’re taught a certain rhetoric all your life and you start to see something different. Then you’re attracted to an Outsider? That’s a lot.

Romance took a backseat to the main plot of Beneath the Surface. I think that if there had been more written about their romance, it wouldn’t have fit in the story. There were breathless kisses, scenes that could have been more detailed but you knew how the two felt about each other. It was more than attraction for them.

Fermi also had a bit of a romance going as well. I loved Fermi. He was so bright, happy and full of energy. So to see a secondary character get attention was exciting.

I found myself throughout the entire novel making connections to past and current events. I blame the historian in me but I saw segregation, racial tensions, and refugee issues. There were so many ways that this made me stop and think.

I enjoyed the amount of detail that had been needed to create such a huge, diverse world. There were at times I felt myself walking through the hallways, experiencing the rush of emotion. I could feel happy, sad, anxious and angry in a rapid manner. And it was all essential to the plot.

But the ending is what had you opening your eyes and thinking, oh my gosh. That’s so true. It’s something that I never saw coming but looking back there were plenty of little clues.

This is one you should definitely give a read.

This way to the Author Interview!

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The Facility by Sarah Elkins

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The Psychic Underground Book One

Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: Being psychic is just another aspect of life for Neila Roddenberry. So are dreams of a past life as Nikola Tesla. She’s sure that last part is the result of reading the wrong mind at the wrong time without realizing it. Neither are things she talks about much. Her friends know she’s psychic, but no one knows about the dreams. She’s twenty-three, asexual, and unemployed with ambitions to become a freelance artist and writer.

On the way home from visiting friends, Neila gets caught up in a terrorist attack, then wakes up in an underground psychic testing facility. Raised by a doomsday-prepper father, Neila is unusually prepared for the possibility of being whisked away to a secret lab somewhere. When she is faced with the choice of working for the scientists studying psychics at the facility, she takes the job as both an agent and a test subject.

But not everyone in the facility wants to be there.

 

The Review

There’s more than what meets the eye with Neila Roddenberry. She’s a psychic, thinks she may have had a past life as Nikola Tesla, Asexual and ends up being in the wrong place at the wrong time, exposing her abilities and gaining the attention of a shady governmental facility. Not everyone at the facility had the choice of being there though.

What attracted me to The Facility wasn’t the fact that there was shady government going-ons and psychic powers, but the fact that Neila is Ace. It’s hard to find books featuring an Ace character and one with a plot like this? Yeah, I didn’t expect to come across it but so excited that I did. There was a lot of diversity in this book there is an ace character and transgender character and they stand up to anyone who tries says anything hurtful about this.

Neila is smart. When she wakes up in an underground facility, she figures things out quick and makes sure she makes a few demands that offers her a better standing and is considered an agent rather than just a resident.

The only reason this didn’t get five stars was how much set up there was and then when I got to the end it wasn’t enough. Then I find out it’s the first in a series so I’m excited about that. I liked the action, how much I wanted Neila and the others to overcome the Blues. I needed to know more about Henry and the organization he was part of. There’s still something picking at the back of my brain about Henry and I need to know more.

I do think that Elkins represented and Ace character well. I’m looking forward to reading more by her and hope to read more books with more Ace characters in them!

I would definitely give this a read.

Pre-Order at NineStar Press: Here
Releasing March 5, 2018

Space Mac by Emma Jane

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Three point five out of Five Stars

Summary: Cocky escort Mackenzie “Mac” Jones has just the right type of blood so that when he steals an odd silver brooch from a client, it transports him to a strange planet. Frightened and confused—and confronted by aliens—he flees and ends up bumping into a handsome humanoid male named Teevar.

But Teevar and his companions are also on the run, and Mac finds himself embroiled in the affairs of his new friends with no idea how to get back to Earth. Can Mac and Teevar survive long enough to work out their feelings for each other? And will Mac ever see home again?

The Review

What you need to know about Space Mac is that it is one hundred percent a space adventure. You get thrust into a universe, just as lost and confused as Mac is BUT when it all starts to unfold, that’s when it gets good. I almost gave up on this in the beginning because I couldn’t get into the first few pages (yes, I’m that reader when it comes to sci-fi) but as soon as Mac met up with the crew? That action drew me in.

So before the good, here’s the bad. I felt that there was something missing. I needed more explanation to why Mac had been taken. More than what was given. I needed to know more about Ral and Leanara other than they committed a crime (nothing specified or I completely missed it which is possible) and they were a ragtag group running for their lives.

Teevar, I loved. I felt kinship with him. He was very much an outsider on his planet. Even when he was planets away, he still had that fear that someone was going to see him and they were going to treat him like he was on his home planet. Mac challenged him and pushed Teevar out of his comfort zone.

Mac had that arrogant, I’m human and that makes me important vibe. But Lenara and the crew put him back to rights. I think that is what saved him was the way he interacted with Teevar towards the middle/end. In the beginning, he was a dick. Running for your life in space can change things though.

There were a few sex scenes but there were more cut to black scenes. So if hardcore sex is your thing, you won’t find that here. I thought everything was appropriate and sometimes I’m in the mood for less descriptive sex scenes so I read this book at the perfect time.

There were space shenanigans, con-man tactics and a huge universe that I hope Emma Jane goes on to the explore. It was left open so she could. Definitely one I would give a read!

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