A well-judged and absorbing mix of genres with strong characterizations.

THE DIAMOND ROSE

A SENTINEL 10 NOVEL

A young woman suddenly gains potent psychic abilities and grapples with an inappropriate romantic attraction in this debut novel.

Enjoying a rare vacation at a ritzy Panamanian resort, Amanda Griffith is set on relaxing with her best friend, Lydia Shelby. They’re ready to celebrate after finishing medical school and will soon be busy residents, Amanda in anesthesiology and Lydia in psychiatry. Or that’s the plan until a solar flare changes their lives drastically. They’re attacked by a smoky black column of pure evil that renders Lydia unconscious. Acting instinctively, Amanda zaps the entity with a surprising blast of energy from her fingertips. The mystified Amanda learns from Matt Chadwick, a young man at the resort who had tried to help, that solar flares can cause some people, called Sentinels, to quickly develop formidable psychic talents that last 10 years. The Committee, an old and secret organization, directs Sentinels in battling evil, for which they’ll be well paid. Both women turn out to be Sentinels, but Amanda is the most powerful type, a Sentinel 10. As such, she’s given especially cushy compensation, yet the work comes easily for her once she begins. More difficult to handle is Amanda’s explosive confrontation with her inner darkness and a potentially ruinous romance. Valenti, in her engrossing novel, at first seems to be offering a familiar plotline about discovering supernatural abilities to fulfill a special destiny. But Amanda isn’t a young adolescent, and the story’s true focus is her love triangle with a ruggedly handsome but emotionally unavailable pilot and a psychopath who can feel normal emotions only when he’s with her. The author nicely ties the plots together and skillfully establishes the psychological groundwork for her characters that makes Amanda’s dilemma believably wrenching, helping to counterbalance her considerable powers, beauty, and wealth.

A well-judged and absorbing mix of genres with strong characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77742-730-6

Page Count: 258

Publisher: Brigid Book Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Like a popcorn action flick: fun but lacking in substance.

YOU HAD ME AT WOLF

Two wolf shifters must catch a criminal in the midst of hazardous winter weather: Action, adventure, and romance kick off a new series by Spear (Falling for the Cougar, 2019, etc.).

Private Investigator Nicole Grayson has an edge that some of her colleagues don’t. She’s a gray wolf shifter, and her heightened sense of smell makes for excellent tracking abilities. When her latest assignment, investigating a fraudulent life insurance claim, leads her to an isolated ski lodge inhabited by a group of shifter brothers, Nicole realizes that this particular mission is different. Blake Wolff has finally found peace and quiet, as he and his brothers have turned their land into a sanctuary for wolf shifters like themselves. When Nicole turns up at the lodge, sniffing around and looking for answers, Blake volunteers to help. The sooner she wraps up her investigation, the sooner Blake can return to maintaining the calm community the Wolff siblings have built. The suspense never fully delivers despite the setup of dangerous situations and the characters’ ability to shift into wolves. Of course, the bad guys get caught and the good guys prevail, but the stakes never seem terribly high. With corny, on-the-nose details such as having Wolff and Grayson as surnames for gray wolf shifters, it's hard to tell if Spear is in on the joke or if some things sounded better in theory than reality. The brightest spot here, as in most of Spears’ books, is her dedication to writing strong heroines with interesting professions, and Nicole fits perfectly into that box. She’s capable, competent, and a force to be reckoned with in a difficult situation. Blake is happy to let her take the lead without any egos getting in the way, which is something all readers will appreciate.

Like a popcorn action flick: fun but lacking in substance.

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-9775-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Another brilliant odyssey from Bouchet.

STARBREAKER

From the Nightchaser series , Vol. 2

Tess Bailey and her crew agree to a rescue mission which is practically suicidal, but as they prepare, she discovers deep secrets about her past that may give her and her rebel allies more leverage in their battle for freedom from the Galactic Overseer, though at great cost.

Nightchaser Tess Bailey, her ship, Endeavor, and her rebel crew—which now includes her lover, Shade Ganavan, until recently a Dark Watch bounty hunter—have been given the task of freeing Reena Ahern, a scientist who could save Demeter Terre, a planet that was poisoned by the Galactic Overseer when it stood up to him, killing 90% of its population. Unfortunately, Reena is imprisoned on Starbase 12, “the most secure place in the known universe.” First, though, Tess and Shade have a meeting with her uncle, Nathaniel Bridgebane, second-in-command to the Overseer, during which Tess realizes her uncle is likely an ally. They also meet his lieutenant, Sanaa Mwende, who joins their crew and helps Tess get a clearer picture of the dangerous game her uncle has played all these years. As the crew prepares for their rescue mission, Tess' first love reappears; then the crew agrees to a smaller job liberating some food supplies during a Dark Watch personnel switch and wind up rescuing hundreds of people the Overseer captured for their superblood—which, like Tess', is impervious to disease and heals extremely quickly. The stakes rise as people across the galaxy are about to be tagged and tracked, all in order to find the blood that will be used to create an army of supersoldiers, annihilating any possible rebellion. Help for their mission also leads to more secrets regarding Tess’ past being revealed, setting up more hope and more danger for the next book in the series. The Nightchaser space opera continues with tons of action, romance, pathos, and fascinating worldbuilding.

Another brilliant odyssey from Bouchet.

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6716-2

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more