In this short story duology, Arline Todd showcases her talent for romance and sci fi with two very different storiCourtesy of CK2S Kwips and Kritiques
In this short story duology, Arline Todd showcases her talent for romance and sci fi with two very different stories. Also included in this book, is an excerpt of six from her first full length book, Deadly Syndrome, released earlier this year.
In Outside the Dome, Sophie escaped the city to have freedom from its strict laws, leaving her beloved husband behind, inside the dome. However, her love for Daniel keeps bringing her back to the outskirts, in the hopes of finding a way to reach him and hopefully help him leave the city as well. When she is captured and imprisoned, doomed to a limited future as “body part stock” for the hospital… or is she?
There is quite a bit of action squeezed into this short story, guaranteed to keep you reading through to the end. In spite of their separation, Daniel and Sophie have a strong connection that time and distance cannot destroy, made even stronger when he discovers the real reason she left him behind. I was horrified by the future Sophie would experience if she did not escape, and thrilled at the outcome.
Haven, the second story in this duology, is true sci fi. Here, we meet a sentient life form, who has escaped from his home planet after it was destroyed. He has been floating through space for unknown lengths of time, alone as possibly the only survivor of his kind. He continues to hope that one day he will find other survivors, now that he has found a possible new home on a planet reminiscent of the one left behind.
I had a harder time wrapping my head around this second story, just because “pure” sci fi is not a favored genre of mine. I am more inclined to fantasy, though I do enjoy sci fi on occasion. However, I had faith that Arline would keep me entertained, and that she did. I was intrigued by our protagonist and his species. The vivid imagery of the world he finds shines through, so I felt like I was with him on his journey.
How appropriate that the overarching theme through both of these stories is one of hope and anticipation for the future. I have been friends with Arline for several years and as long as I’ve known her, she’s been talking about her dreams of having her books published. I am so happy to say that with her second release, Outside the Dome, she is having success and shows no sign of stopping. Keep writing Arline, and I’ll keep reading.
If you are like me and kicking yourself for missing Beneath the Thirteen Moons in its first incarnation, then nowCourtesy of CK2S Kwips and Kritiques
If you are like me and kicking yourself for missing Beneath the Thirteen Moons in its first incarnation, then now you can rest easy because Kathryne Kennedy’s first book is available once more. And I for one am thrilled to finally be able to get this book in my hot little hands.
Mahri Zin is a swamp rat, making ends meet as a smuggler of zabba root, prized for the power it gives the user to See into the minds of others and influence the environment. She’s proud and she’s a wilding, able to use zabba’s power far more than most people, as yet unaffected by overdosing as happens to so many others. Now her village has been struck ill and is in desperate need of a healer. Mahri has no qualms about kidnapping a healer to save her people, though she gets a little bit more than she bargained for in the process.
Prince Korl Com’nder has the gift of healing, but he also has a duty to his family as rulers of the Sea Forest. He’s always been granted anything he desired, so he gets a rude awakening, quite literally one night, when he is kidnapped by an outlaw who demands he save her family and their village from a terrible illness striking them down. The last thing he wants is to be whisked away into the expansive waters of their world, though he soon finds out that is exactly what he needs.
Now Korl and Mahri must join forces to save Mahri’s village, and defeat an enemy determined to steal the crown rightfully belonging to Prince Korl. However, there is only one way to do both of those things, and it comes with a price that means permanent changes to both their hearts and their lives.
Beneath the Thirteen Moons is a beautifully told and incredibly realized fantasy world from The imagination of a master, Kathryne Kennedy. The Sea Forest planet is a world inhabited by humans crash-landed there so long ago they no longer remember their original home. The landscape is so brilliantly done that I was right there with Mahri on her adventures. The world is so amazingly vivid that I had no difficulty imagining the beauty of the world and its inhabitants. I especially loved the natives of this striking land. We don’t start seeing them until later in the story but they were so exotic, compared to Mahri’s people.
Korl and Mahri have an immediate attraction, though Mahri is resistant for so long, convinced she had no need for a partner again, after losing her mate. They are consistently at odds in the beginning and I loved watching the fireworks as Korl’s royal pride clashes with Mahri’s determination to save her village. Korl knows right away he desires Mahri, no matter how resistant she is to his charms. Seeing the relationship develop between this couple, as Mahri comes to terms with her growing love for Korl, makes for many sigh-worthy moments. The character growth happens gradually throughout the novel until both Korl and Mahri reach the point where we know their love will carry them through everything thrown their way.
Beneath the Thirteen Moons is a delightfully entertaining blend of fast paced action and tender emotion, interspersed with plenty of humor (most often in the form of Mahri’s scene-stealing companion, the monkfish Jaja), and breathtaking intrigue. All of the elements I’ve come to expect from Kathryne Kennedy are here, and it is evident that her skill for painting magical worlds was present from the beginning, only growing and becoming more sophisticated with time and practice. I so thoroughly enjoyed my travels to the world of the Sea Forest that I hope we get a chance to come back for a visit in some later book.
Whether readers are new to the Heart and Soul universe or have been following along forCourtesy of CK2S Kwips and Kritiques
A CK2S K2 Recommended Read!
Whether readers are new to the Heart and Soul universe or have been following along for a while, they will find three enjoyable stories in Love, Heart, and Soul Moments.
In Love: Marten and Lysie we get to catch up with two of my favorite characters. Lysie is due to have their children any day now and Marten is doing everything he can to be prepared. Little does he know that Felys women are nothing like Argon women when preparing for birth, nor are Felys babies! Just like their mama, they follow their own time table and not Marten’s.
Marten and Lysie are special to me as their book, Love’s Bewitching Thief, was my first foray into Angela Verdenius’s imagination and I have never looked back. Love: Marten and Lysie is a humorous adventure romp. Marten is beside himself trying to keep up with the changes brought about by their babies’ imminent birth and Lysie just wants to get cozy.
With Heart: Davan and Delias, we meet a new couple who were introduced in Soul of a Hunter but never got their own story… until now. Delias has been crazy about Davan for as long as she can remember, but he sees her as nothing more than an irritation. Or does he? When Delias gets caught up a dangerous escapade, Davan’s emotions may be a little too much to handle for a few troublemakers.
Davan and Delias takes place chronologically after book 5 in the series, Soul of a Hunter. The sparks flying between these two are enough to keep the fire burning on a cold winter’s night. Both are very resistant to the idea of a relationship between them and spend as much time telling themselves they don’t love the other one as they do arguing. Suspense is high in Davan and Delias through a smuggling operation that Security Officer Sabra is trying to shut down. All of Davan’s protective instincts come roaring to the surface when Delias gets caught up in the investigation and this sure provides some highly emotional moments. Seeing these two grow as individuals and as a couple is a delight to experience.
Soul: Cam and Sabra picks up right where Davan and Delias left off, continuing the story of an investigation into illegal slavery. Sabra and Cam are trying to adjust to their new relationship while Sabra faces one of her most dangerous cases yet.
Having not yet read Soul of a Hunter (though it is waiting for me to start!), I didn’t have all of the background on Sabra’s life and what made her into the suspicious woman she is, unable to trust that people aren’t always out to get her. However, while that story may have showcased Sabra’s transformation in love a little stronger, I did not lose out on any enjoyment of the story. I cried for Sabra as she fought to overcome her demons and put her full trust in Cam, her mate. Cam has infinite patience, never rushing Sabra into anything she was uncomfortable with and made me fall a little bit on love with him also. As to be expected from any “Soul” title in the Heart and Soul series, Cam and Sabra is very dark in tone, but remains a beautifully told love story.
Love, Heart, and Soul Moments is Angela Verdenius's first collection of short stories in her Heart and Soul universe and it was a great sampling of her writing. While I absolutely adore her full length, deep romance novels, I hope she decides to try her skill at this format again in the not too distant future. We have three stories, one each of her "Love," "Heart," and "Soul" titles respectively, each showcasing a different kind of story in the series. It is usually pretty easy to tell what type of story it will be from the title and this collection follows the same concepts. Her "Love" books are usually lighter and a little more comedic, with the heat level amped up several degrees. Her "Soul" books are usually dark and intense, and her "Heart" books fall in the middle, more along the lines of traditional romance stories. There is almost always a strong suspense thread through the stories and that is found here as well.
I strongly encourage readers to rush out and buy their copy of this collection. Prepare to curl up on the sofa and immerse yourself in Love, Heart, and Soul Moments. I promise you, it will be worthy of your time and attention as you soar across the universes with three loveable couples.
Angela Verdenius has done it again with her latest story in the Heart and Soul series, SCourtesy of CK2S Kwips and Kritiques
A CK2S Recommended Read!
Angela Verdenius has done it again with her latest story in the Heart and Soul series, Soul of a Predator.
When two predators meet, passions are sure to rage...
Elyse is a half mutant ex-space pirate who's part mutant on a mission. Shaque is a space bounty hunter and an enemy of Elyse ever since she tried to kill him in their last meeting.
Now they meet again after a young girl keeps delivering mysterious packages to Elyse for her to give Shaque. When one of these packages contains a picture of Shaque's sister, missing for twenty years, and Elyse with blue eyes instead of their now-brown, the two reluctantly team up to find answers. Elyse has no memory of Shaque's sister and he is convinced she's hiding something from him. Each has their own agenda but can they see past their differences to solve the mystery together? What of the bloody noses Elyse keeps getting that shed a single drop of blood? Then there is the mysterious illness that strikes Elyse down with no warning?
Neither Shaque nor Elyse ever expected that their final showdown would lead to the conquering of their hearts and souls.
What a book! Angela has again delivered a powerful story with so much adventure and passion that one galaxy can't hold all of it. Readers are guaranteed to find their emotions surging from the opening scene. Shaque and Elyse are both passionate people in their own way, though they show it in different ways, if they show it at all. As such, the sensual heat between these two predators is blazing hot every single time they are together. That also means that when these two give in to their passion the sex will make you blush. This is definitely a hotter entry in the Heart and Soul series. Yet in the midst of the passion, we find many examples of tenderness. Shaque especially surprised me with the depth of emotion he experiences, considering he is usually so stone faced and restrained. Where Elyse is involved he can be incredibly gentle as well.
I also have to say I didn't think Angela could write a story to affect me more than Soul of the Forgotten, but Soul of a Predator really got to me every bit as much as the previous book did. Elyse's story in particular was very heart wrenching. The final confrontation scene brought tears to my eyes many times it was so powerful and emotional. I can't say anything more specific than that or I'll give things away, but I don't see how anyone can read Soul of a Predator and not be moved.
Of course, as emotional as Soul of a Predator is, the action is through the roof as well. While there are some moments of calm, this novel is an adventure ride full of pirates, bounty hunters, slavers, mutants, and totally creepy bad guys. The underlying mystery is very strong, driving most of the unfolding events. We also have a more paranormal touch to this book in the form of the shadow beings the Overlord and his people control. We are left hanging a little bit on this part of the plot as well, which leads me to believe we haven't seen the last of these nasty guys.
Take a ride through the galaxy visiting the Outlaw and Lawful sectors, and everything in between. You are bound to experience quite an adventure ride with Soul of a Predator. I can't wait to see where the talented Verdenius takes me next!