This is an omnibus of two novels, Shards of Honor (1986) and Barrayar, published together in 1999. Even if you’re not familiar with Bujold’s VorkosigaThis is an omnibus of two novels, Shards of Honor (1986) and Barrayar, published together in 1999. Even if you’re not familiar with Bujold’s Vorkosigan series or even a sci-fi fan, these two novels are outstanding. The hero and heroine are older than your typical lovers in a romance – she’s in her 30s and he’s 40 – and the development of their romance is a pleasure to read, particularly since they begin as adversaries, if not quite the out and out enemies their societies would like them to be. Cordelia’s Honor is considered more sci-fi than romance, but it has enough elements of both to satisfy any reader of either genre. ...more
After a great experience with Lois McMaster Bujold’s Cordelia’s Honor, I decided to broaden my horizons and give some sci-fi romance a chance. I’ve always loved Star Trek and Star Wars, and I usually limit my sci-fi enjoyment to the small screen, but when I saw Jamie Craig’s A Line in the Ice, I thought I’d check it out. I’m so glad I did, because it was action-packed and a sweet romance. Jamie Craig is actually writing team Vivien Dean and Pepper Espinoza, and I always have the utmost respect for authors who can write together without killing each other, since I can’t imagine that happening in my household without numerous calls to Emergency Services. However, the two ladies who write as Jamie Craig do so seamlessly, and the end result is a pleasure to read. If you look on their webpage (www.jamie-craig.com) you’ll see that they’ve published a number of erotic romances of many types, but A Line in the Ice is more mainstream. You can find this novel for purchase at Amazon and at the Carina Press webpage .
The novel takes place roughly 100 years after the end of the First World War in Antarctica, with a small band of soldiers from around the world battling mysterious creatures emerging from the ice. These strange animals first appeared during WWI around the world, killing soldiers and civilians and causing widespread panic. A small band of soldiers fought off the creatures at the time, but then was never heard from again. Captain Charlie Weller is part of the present day squad fighting the re-appearance of the creatures in Antarctica, and as the novel begins, she and her partner are fighting off one of the animals, only to see a man emerge from the ice. His name is Lysander Davies, and he tells Charlie and her companions that he’s a descendent of a member of that original band of men from WWI. He claims that the “monsters” they’ve been fighting are actually gentle creatures from a place called Illyria, another world under attack by a vicious group called the Aquorians. Lysander has made the dangerous journey through the rift between his world of Illyria and Charlie’s Earth to warn the humans that the Aquorians are on their way. But the more time he and Charlie spend together, the stronger their attraction, which makes the situation all the more difficult, since Lysander will have to return to Illyria in order to close the rift and save Earth.
What first attracted me to this novel was the author’s use of World War I as the time when the Leviathan (the large animals) began to come through the rift. Since the US had less involvement in WWI than many of our allies, it often receives little attention in history courses and as a result many Americans know little or nothing about the war. Choosing to have these creatures emerge at that time was intriguing to me, and the book didn’t disappoint. Lysander’s Great-Grandfather and the other men from WWI who drove off the Leviathan at the time became trapped in another world, Illyria. Lysander has only heard stories of Earth, including parts of Shakespearean plays that his Great-Grandfather had written down from memory. Unfortunately, Lysander has returned to Earth at Antarctica, one of the starkest spots on Earth, and it’s amusing to see his questions for Charlie about the other parts of the world, along with his introduction to technology his great-grandfather could never have imagined possible.
The setting of the book, Antarctica, was particularly effective, reminding me of sci-fi movies such as Aliens, since the space in which the characters move and interact is so confined and the terrain so unforgiving. The harsh cold and limited access to the outside world creates the feel of being cut off from everyone, which increases the tension between the soldiers and facilitates the growing romance between Charlie and Lysander. At times you forget that they aren’t alone, as they soon only have eyes for each other. There are only six soldiers in this forgotten defense against a growing threat, and Lysander’s frustration over Earth’s growing complaisance concerning the rift and the Aquorian threat is palpable.
My only complaint about the novel would be that we see very little of the Aquorians themselves, only learning of them through Lysander until the action-packed end of the novel. We learn about the threat that they present through his accounts of Illyria and what the other humans learned from their experience there, but I didn’t fully understand their motives in attacking Earth. This seems like a very minor complaint, however, since this was precisely the situation the soldiers in Antarctica faced.
I enjoyed the romance between Charlie and Lysander and thought this was an intriguing world. I’d love to see more about Illyria in the future, especially since it was quite the contrast to the stark setting of the majority of the book. When I asked the authors on Twitter if they had any plans for sequels, they replied that there isn’t anything in the works but not to rule it out either, so for now, I’ll have to settle for reading books from their backlist. I definitely recommend this one if you’re a Sci-fi fan.
I received this book for review from the publisher through NetGalley....more
I admit it. I’m a sucker for nerdy heroes. Just look at my husband! Pretty darn nerdy! So when I saw that Zoë Archer’s latest book, Chain Reaction, featured a hero who forms part of “NerdWorks,” I knew this was going to be a winner. At approximately 43,000 words Chain Reaction is fairly short, but there is a lot to love in this book. I’ve read all of Ms. Archer’s paranormal historical novels in the Blades of the Rose series, and highly recommend them, but the 8th Wing series is firmly in the Sci-Fi camp, a departure from her earlier books.
In Chain Reaction, Lieutenant Celene “Stainless” Jur is the 8th Wing’s ace pilot. She flies the stealthy Black Wraith ships, and only a few months ago was captured and nearly sold when an enemy used a disrupter to immobilize her ship. The creator of the disrupter has finally been discovered, and Celene wants to be the one bringing him in.
Engineer Nils Calder is proud of his role in the 8th Wing’s “NerdWorks” (think GeekSquad in space), and he’s managed to find a way to locate the disrupter and lead them to its creator, a disgruntled former NerdWorks engineer. But Nils has had little field experience, and Celene doesn’t want anyone getting in her way on this mission. Unfortunately, her commanding officer insists that Nils is the best man for the job.
Nils has long had a crush on the stunning pilot, and when they’re forced to work on the recovery mission together, he decides to seize his chance and woo Celene, setting off sparks. In the past Celene has felt isolated as a woman among all the other pilots. Her reputation as a pilot is such that others speak of her with awe, and men are inevitably disappointed when they discover the real woman behind the legend. Nils seems to see past that to the real Celene, but can a hotshot pilot and a NerdWorks engineer find common ground when the mission ends?
This was a fast, action-packed read filled with steamy romance. I really enjoyed reading about a beta hero who trusts in his abilities and those of his female companion rather than trying to take over the entire mission. I was surprised that Nils and Celene didn’t set off any supernovas in space, their chemistry was so sizzling. It also helps that the “nerdy” Nils has a tone,d athletic bod and plenty of self-confidence.
Celene is an appealing character as well. It’s always fun to read about competent female characters who really don’t NEED someone to hold their hands but are looking for companionship. Celene is a believable mix of strength and vulnerability, and frankly I enjoyed her kick-ass status among the other pilots. My one criticism would be the choice of her nickname, “Stainless.” That had me cringing throughout the entire book. It just struck me as very awkward.
Chain Reaction is the second book in the 8th Wing series, and the hero and heroine from the first book, Collision Course, appear in the second book, but you can easily read Chain Reaction as a stand alone novel. That said, Collision Course is currently on sale for only $1.99 at Amazon, so catching up on the series won’t break the bank.
I do wish Chain Reaction were a bit longer, because I would have liked to see more of Nils and Celene together and learn more about their enemy, the Praxis. However, given the length, I felt the romance was well developed. I definitely recommend this one if you’re interested in space opera or sci-fi romance.
I received a copy for review from the publisher through NetGalley....more
So funny! I'm way behind on the Vorkosigan Saga, but I think anyone new to the series could pick this book up and enjoy it. You probably wouldn't getSo funny! I'm way behind on the Vorkosigan Saga, but I think anyone new to the series could pick this book up and enjoy it. You probably wouldn't get all of the inside jokes, but it's a very enjoyable read, nonetheless. The series is outstanding, however, so I suggest starting from the beginning.
Ivan is hilarious in this novel, and I like that he doesn't come across as a complete idiot, lol. I stayed up late to finish this one, and it was well worth it....more
This was such a fun sci-fi romance! I've interacted with the author on Twitter several times, and she's absolutely delightful, so I was all the more pThis was such a fun sci-fi romance! I've interacted with the author on Twitter several times, and she's absolutely delightful, so I was all the more pleased when I enjoyed her second book (the first is Rulebreaker) so much. Sasha is a fabulous heroine. I love that she's working so hard to get her life back on track after prison and an addiction to the drug Amber. I was a little worried after reading a few reviews of the book that I wouldn't like the hero, Nate, at first, because he is using her to rescue his sister from Sasha's former lover, a drug dealer. However, he is conflicted from the beginning about using Sasha when she's worked so hard, but he's desperate. I found their romance sexy as all get out, and I love that Nate has so much respect for all that Sasha's accomplished.
Really enjoyed this Sci-fi romance and I'd highly recommend this one to any lover of romance and sci-fi. ...more
I really love the books in the Vorkosigan saga, but I've been reading them out of order. This ranks right up there with Cordelia's Honor. I'd highly rI really love the books in the Vorkosigan saga, but I've been reading them out of order. This ranks right up there with Cordelia's Honor. I'd highly recommend this one to any reader of science fiction and/or romance. Even if you haven't read any of the other books in the series, I think you'll be able to follow along with no problems....more
This is probably tied with Cordelia's Honor as my favorite Bujold book. I loved it! It has all the political intrigue of the series, but we get to seeThis is probably tied with Cordelia's Honor as my favorite Bujold book. I loved it! It has all the political intrigue of the series, but we get to see Miles stumbling around like an idiot in love. Really excellent, and I enjoyed getting to see so much of Mark as well. Highly recommend this one!...more
I really enjoyed seeing Miles in action once again, although I would have liked to see more of how his relationship with Ekaterin unfolds. This takesI really enjoyed seeing Miles in action once again, although I would have liked to see more of how his relationship with Ekaterin unfolds. This takes place over a year after their marriage and is filled with the requisite intrigue and action. A very satisfactory addition to the series, if not my favorite. ...more
Loved it. At first I thought the letters from the heroine to herself would be too much info dump, but I found it hard to put the book down! I'm tempteLoved it. At first I thought the letters from the heroine to herself would be too much info dump, but I found it hard to put the book down! I'm tempted to reread the book immediately. Definitely recommend this one....more