What Sirius Has Been Reading
By Imperial Decree by Angel Martinez
Marsh Kensinger’s work as the utility mechanic for Bremen Station keeps his life interesting – but never quite as interesting as finding a pilot still hidden inside a hibernation drawer in what should have been a salvage craft. He knows he shouldn’t get involved, but the Altairian Imperial crest on the private craft and the semi-conscious pilot’s odd questions pique his always-whirling curiosity.
Still unattached at a concerning age for an imperial son, Prince Shiro Shinohara hadn’t been running from the endless, mind-numbing rounds of omiai his mother, the Empress, had mandated. Not exactly. He’d just wanted a break from persistent suitors at the family retreat on Ceti Tau. The short respite becomes a panicked flight for his life when one of the suitors stalking him attacks the family compound.
Worried for the soldiers he was forced to leave behind, afraid there’s a conspiracy to kidnap him, Shiro confides in the handsome mechanic who found him and in a moment of panic, concocts the fiction of a serious relationship with Marsh. It’s only until Shiro’s people can reach him and he can press charges back home. Marsh is willing to play along and Shiro’s just going to have to keep himself together and not, under any circumstances, fall for the wonderful, generous man who refuses to stop helping him.
This is a stand alone novella in the apparently established universe. I think I have read a first book (or maybe even first two books) in this universe but am not sure. At some point I have read a lot of this writer’s works, but then took a break. It is a SF lite – not sure if it counts as space opera, but the main action takes place at the space station where we have some kind of socialist lite society, but in a good way. Our mechanic and prince are both very nice guys and the mechanic finds the prince in the ship which docked at the station where he lives and works. They have a nice easy chemistry and for a novella the story had enough family interaction and suspense to keep me entertained.
Sadly their super fast, can’t live without you forever was not all that convincing to me. I appreciate that author tried to show that they kind of knew each other already, but as I said was not that convincing to me.
Grade : C+
The Alchemist (Blodwen Forest #2) by Megan Derr
Marcum sacrificed much to be the greatest alchemist on the continent and a master of poisons rivaled by precious few. Power and standing in his father’s court. The chance to build friendships, find romance. His beauty, which was once considered noteworthy, but now is ruined by scars and burns. He is regarded with wariness at best and fear at worst.
Though a recent move to the kingdom of Blodwen, far from his home of Roseberry, offers something of a fresh start, still his ravaged appearance and eccentric ways do him no favors—especially not with Goulet, the handsome, infuriating goblin who will clearly never see Marcum as anything but an ugly, bothersome know-it-all unworthy of the tattoos Goulet inks into all their friends.
Then a goblin is murdered, and Marcum’s laboratory mysteriously destroyed, opening the doors on a nightmare that should have ended for good more than a decade ago, but now seems to have returned with vengeance in mind…
I have read a lot of books by this writer, but at some point I decided to take a break. I read Ami’s review and wanted to come back. I enjoyed it. I mean if you read her work before you know that she explores “from enemies to lovers” trope a lot and this story is no exception. Luckily I am a fan of the trope, but there are some executions that I really don’t like.
I thought this story did okay – both men (well, Goblin and human) know that they don’t hate each other, on the contrary they really want to explore the potential relationship with each other, but when they just start talking they start snipping. Basically they just cannot figure out how to talk to each other and this kind of stupid communication I can tolerate for the *certain amount of page time*.
At some point the story started to slip into *miscommunication* though and, man, I was glad it was dealt with with sometime at the half point of the book. Just how many unfinished sentences we must suffer through? I liked the men though – a lot. I thought it was interesting how Marcum did not shy away from the darker elements of alchemy in order to continue doing good deeds. I thought he managed to walk the fine line just fine and I thought they had good chemistry together.
I did like how familiar fairy tales characters were woven in the narrative – what you expect from them is not always what they would do in these books (I have read the first part in this trilogy as stand alone long time ago, I have not read the revised edition).
The suspense was well done, but this is not really a mystery – the name of the villain is revealed early, it was the matter of catching him that was the main issue in addition to romantic storyline.
Blood Heir (Aurelia Ryder #1) by Ilona Andrews
Atlanta was always a dangerous city. Now, as waves of magic and technology compete for supremacy, it’s a place caught in a slow apocalypse, where monsters spawn among the crumbling skyscrapers and supernatural factions struggle for power and survival.
Eight years ago, Julie Lennart left Atlanta to find out who she was. Now she’s back with a new face, a new magic, and a new name—Aurelia Ryder—drawn by the urgent need to protect the family she left behind. An ancient power is stalking her adopted mother, Kate Daniels, an enemy unlike any other, and a string of horrifying murders is its opening gambit.
If Aurelia’s true identity is discovered, those closest to her will die. So her plan is simple: get in, solve the murders, prevent the prophecy from being fulfilled, and get out without being recognized. She expected danger, but she never anticipated that the only man she’d ever loved could threaten everything.
One small misstep could lead to disaster. But for Aurelia, facing disaster is easy; it’s relationships that are hard.
Word of warning. The below is a very brief frustrated review, but I do think there are couple of spoilers in there. Although maybe I am over thinking and those are not significant spoilers but please beware just in case.
I posted this on Goodreads right after I finished the book (same as the other reviews) and was hoping that my frustration will become less as time passed but it became more, unfortunately.
* spoiler alert ** As do many fans of this writing duo, I loved Kate Daniels books and loved multiple secondary characters in these series, so Julie getting her own series was something I looked forward to. I have not read the online serial which this book was based on very closely, and I just have not read much of it, I basically decided to wait for the book.
I am disappointed. I don’t regret time and money spent on this book, anything they write is a better entertainment for me than many many writers, but this just felt, I don’t know – an artificial construct?
It is fun to return to Atlanta, but I guess I feel that this book pretty much erases the end of Kate Daniels. I certainly didn’t expect Atlanta to become one big happy family after Kate uniting them, but I did felt that some sort of positive improvements and less fractured city will emerge after all of that – apparently not.
Who is this Julie and who is this Derek please? Yes I know they grew up, but why is Julie so annoyingly, unbelievably perfect already? Feels like Kate 2.0 indeed (I did glanced at a couple of other reviews – which normally I try hard to ignore, but I did want to see if at least someone was having similar issues) but Kate felt extremely flawed and not too powerful or at least not fully in touch with her heritage in early books. Why, why would Derek want to leave? I just did not see any signs that he was unhappy in Atlanta before and now he is also not just a powerful shapeshifter but mystically powerful one? What?
Why is there no chemistry between them? Yes, I know this is a very subjective assessment but that was mine.