REVIEW – Sci-fi Space Opera // Galactic Search and Rescue by Carol Van Natta

Galactic Search and Rescue
Central Galactic Concordance Novella 
by Carol Van Natta

Unusually for me I hadn’t read the blurb before launching into this book.  However it is pretty much guaranteed that a Carol Van Natta book will engaging, fast paced and well written and this one was no exception to that rule.  The author’s world building is very solid, enhanced with believable advanced technology and made colourful with political intrigue.


Taz and Rylando have a rescue mission to complete, lives to save, peril to overcome and innocents to protect.  Great writing soon had me caught up in a plot that twists, turns and has an unexpected sting towards the end.  I quickly found myself warming to Taz, she is an incredibly likeable and well rounded character.  Rylando was also easy to warm to and I very much enjoyed reading their story.


The romance, in this, is very low key with most of the “falling in love” aspects occurring off page.  The adventure – or should that be near catastrophe? – in this story is a vehicle that allows each character to realise the true depth of feelings they already have for the other protagonist.  For me this felt more like a sci-fi adventure with a subtle hint of romance swirled on the top just to add colour to the final product.


Whilst the story can be read stand alone, you are missing out on some wonderful stories if you don’t read the whole series!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dystopian Science Fiction

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58102865-galactic-search-and-rescue

Synopsis
When an earthquake shakes up a nearby world, can two star-crossed rescuers save an entire community… and each other?

Experienced rescuer Subcaptain Taz Correa hides her wounded heart. A telekinetic tech-whiz recently transferred to the worst Galactic Search and Rescue unit in the galaxy, she’d hoped after her string of epically bad breakups she’d have a fresh start. But when she can’t fight her feelings for her new teammate, she’s terrified her secret affection will show and cost both their careers.

Subcaptain Rylando Dalroinn’s telepathic connection to animals used to be everything. But he has no idea how to admit his growing attraction to Taz, especially as it’s completely against the rules. And when they’re sent as a team of two to help a devastated town, he knows he can’t afford to let his heart’s desire distract him from their dangerous mission.

As Taz works with Rylando and his unusual squad of trained animal helpers to free a desperate group of citizens, she puts her life on the line to protect her partner’s beloved creatures. But when Rylando realizes the people he’s rescuing are more than just innocent victims, he’ll have to throw out the rulebook to save them both.

Can love—and a clever crew of animals—guide the couple out of the rubble and into a future together?

Galactic Search and Rescue is a pulse-pounding story in the Central Galactic Concordance space opera series. If you like lovers in denial, edge-of-your-seat twists and turns, and intriguing psychic powers, then you’ll adore Carol Van Natta’s thrilling tale.

Note: Galactic Search and Rescue first appeared in the limited-edition Pets in Space 5 science fiction romance anthology. The standalone version has been expanded from the original.

REVIEW – SFR/ Space Opera \ Overload Flux by Carol Van Natta

Overload Flux
(Central Galactic Concordance #1)
by Carol Van Natta

Oh that epilogue! All those hints, clues and teasers! That was a great move to have me needing to read the rest of the series as soon as I possibly can Ms Van Natta.


Overload Flux
 is a well paced, action packed mystery tied up in a space opera bow. The story had so much depth, complex interwoven strands that together formed a wonderful whole. The world building was excellent, exposition guaranteeing that the prose flowed evenly, whilst understanding of the complex world and it’s inhabitants was always maintained. I adored Luka and Mairwen these were two immensely likeable protagonists, each with their own secrets, who somehow managed to be perfect for one another. The way Luka managed to draw Mairwen out of her shell, to show her how to live, how to laugh and how to love, was simply wonderful.


This was also a story of how it can be the little things that truly make for a great love story. From the noticing of expressions, to food choices and grounding one another, it was never difficult to believe in the depth of feeling between Mairwen and Luka. There are adventures to partake in, puzzles to solve, danger to avoid and friends to be found in this delightful book that will definitely be one I will read again.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33012415-overload-flux
Genre – SFR/ Space Opera

Synopsis
The Central Galactic Concordance has been stable for two centuries, but trouble is brewing. A pandemic is affecting hundreds of civilized planets, and someone is stealing the vaccine…

Brilliant investigator Luka Foxe’s hidden mental talent is out of control, making him barely able to function in the aftermath of violence, and the body count is rising. The convoluted trail leads to a corrupt pharma industry and the possibility of an illegal, planet-sized laboratory. In the face of increasing threats, he must rely on an enigmatic, lethal woman he just met, but she has deep secrets of her own.

Mairwen Morganthur hides extraordinary skills under the guise of a dull night-shift guard. The last thing she wants is to provide personal security for a hot-shot investigator, or to be plunged into a murky case involving sabotage, treachery, and the military covert operations division that would love to discover she’s still alive.

Two more lives in a rising death count won’t bother their enemies one bit. Their only hope for survival lies in revealing their dark secrets and learning to trust one another.

REVIEW – SFR/ Space Opera \\ Last Ship Off Polaris G by Carol Van Natta

Last Ship Off Polaris-G
(Central Galactic Concordance #0.5)
by Carol Van Natta

Every time I read a Carol Van Natta book I question myself as to why I leave so long between them. Her writing never fails to captivate nor to entertain me. I quickly find myself drawn into the story, rooting for the main characters and caught up by the exciting plot. The world building was good, with important information woven cleverly into the tale, rather than the reader being subjected to information dumps. Gavril and Anitra were two likeable characters who were nicely rounded, their personalities were very clearly defined, as well as being consistent, helping to build a layered and interesting story, without it being overly complicated.


The focus in these books is definitely more on the space opera aspects, with the romance element a very minor part of the plot. Whilst I loved all the sci-fi feels this gave me, I would have liked to see more on page interactions between Gavril and Anitra, or at least to have experienced their emotions a little more. This is a second chance romance and it felt as though all the falling in love had taken place off-page, two years prior.


Overall this book was very much a winner for me and, whilst I didn’t read it in one sitting, I did read it in one day. I do have the next book in the series, so I will be jumping straight into that one next. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56859258-last-ship-off-polaris-g
Genre – SFR/ Space Opera

When 4,000 colonists are stranded on a dying planet, two ex-lovers and an ancient freighter are their only hope for survival.
Independent trader Gavril Danilovich is trapped on Polaris-G, a frontier planet in the midst of an ecological disaster. The galactic military is blockading the system to contain the mysteriously virulent blight. The planetary government impounded his ship. Even worse, his uncontrolled mental talent for empathy means the colonists’ fear and anger are threatening his sanity.
When government supply depot manager Anitra Helden finds a mothballed interstellar freighter in an abandoned repair dock, she hopes to use it carry supplies the colonists will need when they finally get to leave. Given the planet-wide turmoil, the only person she trusts to repair the ship is Gavril, her ex-lover.
Gavril seizes the opportunity to get his ship back and repair their broken past. Anitra will have to trust him with more than her heart, she’ll have to trust him with secret plans to break the blockade.
Everything changes when they learn 4,000 colonists are stranded. Can Gavril and Anitra pull off the rescue, outmaneuver the military fleet, and win their second chance at love?

Last Ship Off Polaris-G starts the sweeping saga of the Central Galactic Concordance space opera series. If you like characters trying to do the right thing, interstellar intrigue, and second-chance romance, you’ll enjoy Carol Van Natta’s fast-paced adventure.

Bookish Friday

Bookish Friday… Animal Sidekicks.

This weeks prompt for Bookish Friday, hosted by Lauren and Georgi, is “Animal Sidekicks”. My initial thoughts were that the Famous Five was the last book I read with an animal sidekick, then I realised all those Dragons of Pern books would count too. I’m probably going to stretch the prompt so much that it will be in danger of snapping – would Rincewind’s Luggage, from The Colour of Magic, count? Maybe not but Lady Sybil’s swamp dragon’s would.

Hedwig, Harry Potter by JK Rowling

This is probably the closest choice, and most widely known choice, that will appear in my list. I loved reading the Harry Potter books and was so sad at Hedwig’s ultimate fate.

Novo and Boz, Cats of War by Carol Van Natta

Novo and Boz are genetically modified cats who help Kedron (H) and Ferra (h) in their bid to prevent a sinister plot coming to fruition. The fact that Kedron and Ferra fall in love along the way was an added bonus to this great little sci-fi novella.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44320639-cats-of-war


Tiger, Ruthless Sinner by AJ Adams

Ruthless Sinner releases today, so there will be a review on my blog tomorrow. The heroine, Spirit, is an exotic dancer who manages to upset Coop, the local organised crime’s chemist. Tiger’s love of hard wood floors and 2000 thread cotton sheets helps smooth things over and seal the deal between this quirky pair.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53410129-ruthless-sinner

Milo, Rogue Wave by Gwyn McNamee

At the start of Rogue Wave, Milo is the only ‘person’ that Cutter really has any time for. Except Milo is his dog and in this story he really is this man’s best friend. Brave, loyal, fierce, demanding and fond of treats, though whether that describes the man or dog I’ll leave for you to decide!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46034314-rogue-wave

Nibbles, Condemned by Cari Silverwood

Nibbles befriends our heroine, Avalon, whilst she ventures to complete a perilous task whilst in a foreign land. He is a mousebot and proves to be both a faithful friend and a useful ally in troubled times.
Condemned is one of the few reverse harem romances where the male characters have all had their own personality. It’s a Cari Silverwood book so you are automatically assured of great world building and a genuine sci-fi feel to the story.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52004118-condemned

Nora, Becoming His Pet by Measha Stone

If a mousebot pushed things this takes things beyond all reckoning. Nora is the heroine and this is one hot and steamy pet play book. It won’t be for every reader – I didn’t think it would be for me either, but boy oh boy Ms Stone wrote one scorching hot, erotic romance with this one.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43165562-becoming-his-pet

Shelf Control Wednesday



Shelf Control on Wednesday


I’m back joining in with Bookshelf Fantasies and sharing another book that is currently languishing on my TBR list. When your bought-it-so-read it shelf has well over 200 books on it, you know you need to do some remedial work! This is going to go on my reading schedule for May, since I’m enjoying lighter, fluffier reads at the moment.

What’s on your bookshelf crying out to be read?

Ice Age Shifters Collection (Books 1-4) by Carol Van Natta

Ice Age shifters defy the odds to protect their true mates from anyone and anything that stands in their way.
Four complete magical paranormal romances with action, humor, and heart by USA TODAY bestselling author Carol Van Natta. Immerse yourself in the secret worlds of the smokin’ hot Ice Age Shifters today.

Shifter Mate Magic
Lonely bear shifter Trevor must convince a pregnant woman on the run that he’s her mate, and their only hope is a magical sanctuary town. Jackie doesn’t trust shifters. With the feline pride hot on her trail, however, Trevor might be her only chance for survival. Even his indomitable bear may be no match for a dangerous enemy seeking retribution.

Shift of Destiny
There is no such thing as magic, or sexy shifters. Or… is there? Moira doesn’t believe in magic, despite being chased by a crazy billionaire for her supposed “gifts.” The magic of a quirky town has to be a tourist gimmick. Chance, prehistoric lion shifter, believes in Moira, his true mate. He’s determined to protect her and help her find the magic in her blood. But even a top predator can’t guess the lengths to which a desperate billionaire will go to get what he wants.

Heart of a Dire Wolf
Skyla, prehistoric dire wolf shifter, and Nic, sexy tiger shifter, recognize their true mate in each other. Problem is, they’re prisoners of an underground auction. To stay together, they must escape captivity, avoid ruthless hunters, and figure out how to work together if they’re going to crack the secrets of a mysterious new-old sanctuary town. And they better hurry, because the greedy wizards are after the fabled treasures of this vulnerable sanctuary town—and them.

Dire Wolf Wanted
The magical world stands on the brink of war, unless two extraordinary shifters can bridge the gulf between them. Dire wolf shifter Rayne Chekal works to take down an illegal auction house that trafficks in shifters. Arvik Inuktan, secret mythic shifter, infiltrated the auction staff with the same mission. The attraction is instant… and impossible. War is coming. When Rayne and Arvik meet on the battlefield, can they overcome their differences and work together to stop the evil, or will this war engulf the magical world?

Six For Sunday


Books from your TBR that you predict will be 5*


Today I’m joining in with #SixForSunday, hosted by A Little But a Lot. The topic this week is to find 6 books on my TBR that I predict will be a 5 star read. Since my TBR list is currently standing at 705 books I had plenty to choose from 😂.


1. Once A Myth
(Goddess Isles #1)
by Pepper Winters


“There was a boy once. A boy who wasn’t strong enough to save me when I was taken.”

“There was a girl once. A girl called Tess Snow who sat with me in the dark waiting to be sold.”

“There was an owner once. An owner who bought me, entrapped me, and made me his unwilling goddess.”

Eleanor Grace is a naïve dreamer. Trusting and young, she believes her book-loving boyfriend can save her when her freedom is snatched and sold. Squirreled away to an island at midnight, delivered to a man even darkness won’t touch, she’s bound by a contract.

Four men.
Four fantasies.
Four pieces of her soul.

Sullivan Sinclair is the giver of fantasies. Any wish, any desire—he is the master at quenching even the filthiest appetites. His private paradise and perfectly trained goddesses are there for one purpose: to ensure every guest is extremely well satisfied.

He bought her.
He trapped her.
She belongs to him.


I’ve heard great things from my Goodreads friends about this book, great things indeed. It’s a dark romance series by a very popular indie author. I’ve not read any of her truly dark work before, though I do have the Indebted series on my ereader and I’m looking forward to reading them all.



2. Witches’ Bane
(Soul Eater #2)
by Pippa DaCosta


I didn’t earn the name Godkiller, but in three days I’ll own it.

Witches are disappearing all over New York, and Ace Dante couldn’t care less. Until one holds his friend at gunpoint, demanding Ace take the job.

The witch produces his girlfriend’s severed arm, bearing an unusual hieroglyph, and Ace starts to care a whole lot more. He recognizes that mark. It’s connected to Ace in ways he doesn’t yet understand. But why is it on a dead witch’s arm?


Missing witches and severed arms aren’t Ace’s only problems. With a new name around his neck—Godkiller—Ace has a promise to uphold. He has three days to kill the god, Thoth. Or risk Osiris’ wrath. The last time he defied Osiris, he earned a curse that crippled his life and turned him into Osiris’ puppet for eternity.

This time, Osiris won’t be as lenient. Ace must kill Thoth. An impossible task. It takes a god to kill a god, and Ace is just a washed-up mercenary. Isn’t he?

As the spells are cast and the truth is revealed, Ace realizes there’s only one way out.

He must become the monster the gods fear him to be.


The Soul Eater has a new name, and now, nobody is safe. 



Having read and loved book #1 in the series, I need to finish working my way through this mythological/urban fantasy series. This author’s strong characters and twisty plots guarentee a story I will enjoy.



3. Beyond Doubt
(O’Kane for Life #1)
by Kit Rocha


This BREN & SIX novella contains massive spoilers for the Beyond series. It is meant for existing fans of the series who want to get a glimpse of what life looks like for their favorite characters after The End. It may be confusing and unsatisfying for readers not familiar with the world and characters. If you haven’t read the series, please proceed with caution…

O’Kane for Life…

Winning a war might be enough for most people, but Bren and Six aren’t interested in kicking back to enjoy peace. Not when they finally have the time—and resources—to tackle the mess left behind in the sector they now rule.

Especially the orphaned street kids.

Six remembers how hard it is to trust. Bren remembers how hard it is to be patient. Together, they have the skills and the power to make a better world than the one they grew up in—but only if they can be honest with each other about the future they want.

Not just for Sector Three, but for themselves.



The original O’Kane series of books are spellbinding, they are a rough, tough, no holds bared, kinky dystopian smorgasbord. Once you join you are an O’Kane for life and I can’t recommend this series highly enough.



4. Last Ship Off Polaris-G
(Central Galactic Concordance #0.5)
by Carol Van Natta



A bureaucrat and an interstellar trader must overcome treachery and their broken past to save the last inhabitants of a dying planet. 

Frontier planet Polaris-Gamma is dying, afflicted by a suspiciously-timed blight that destroys all crops. Worse, the whole system is now under military quarantine by the Central Galactic Concordance to prevent the catastrophic blight from spreading. The settlers must escape—or perish.

Caught behind the blockade, independent trader Gavril Danilovich finds his interstellar trading ship commandeered in the desperate plan to escape. He tells himself that’s the only reason he stays, and not because he’s worried about the woman he walked out on two years ago—who still lives on Pol-G.

Government supply depot manager Anitra Helden races to gather the last of Pol-G’s assets. Her plan to launch a mothballed freighter off Pol-G may be crazy—but it can work, if she can talk Gavril into helping. Their precious cargo? Four thousand stranded colonists.

Can Anitra and Gavril, and their ragtag crew get past the deadly military blockade?



Whilst there are elements of romance in these books, they focus is very much on the space opera side of things. Whenever I read a book by this author I decide that I really should get through her backlist – however life has a habit of getting in the way of that plan! It’s good to remind myself of just how much I enjoy Ms Van Natta’s writing.



5. Mishca and Lauren
(Volkov Bratva #1 – 3.5)
by London Miller


Lauren was just a girl looking to make a fresh start in New York City, until she meets the man that will change everything she thought she knew. Spanning over two years, from the very beginning, until the sweet end, delve into the Volkov Bratva world and learn how it all began.

Mishca and Lauren: The Complete Collection contains the first three novels of the Volkov Bratva Series, In the Beginning, Until the End, and The Final Hour, as well as the companion novella, Time Stood Still…



London Miller seems to have created a genre all of her own. Whilst these might at first glance fall under the mafia romance genre, her plots and characters are far too complex for such a simple definition. The main male character in this is the brother to Red, who is part of the Den of Mercenaries, a series which feeds into the unparalleled Kingmaker Sage. All of them blend organised crime, romantic suspense and plot twists galore to produce a captivating series of books.



6. Ghosts of Sanctuary (Sanctuary #9)
by Robert J Crane




After a thousand years, Cyrus Davidon returns to Reikonos, only to find things are not as he has left them. Hope has fled, and things appear darker than ever. Surrounded by old friends who have come with him and meeting new allies, Cyrus must confront the dark forces that hold his home city in their grip.



This has languished on my ereader for far too long. I devoured this series when it first came out, waiting on tenterhooks for the next release. There was a wait between book #8, which concluded the original series, and this book. And whilst I would never give up my ereader, purchases do get forgotten when there is nothing physical sat on a shelf to remind you to pick them up and read them.