Category Archives: Science Fiction

Quote-tastic Monday: Thirst (Energy Vampires, #1) by Jacquelyn Frank & REVIEW

Thirst (The Energy Vampires #1)
Thirst by Jacquelyn Frank




Title: Thirst by Jacquelyn Frank

Series:  The Energy Vampires, #1

Pages:  np (It took me about three hours to read.)

Publisher:  Loveswept

Date:  January 17, 2017
My rating: 1 of 5 stars


A hidden society of vampires—and the humans they love—are at the heart of this opening novel in a biting, all-original series from the New York Times bestselling author of the Nightwalkers saga.

Rafe DaSilva is an energy vampire, soaking up nourishment from the sun—and, only when necessary, drawing sweet sustenance from humans who are pure in body and spirit. As the right-hand man to his queen, Rafe is a key player at a historic peace summit in New York City, which will unite the vampire nations against a common threat: the sycophants, who feed on humanity and kill indiscriminately. But Rafe’s fascination with a beautiful blond police detective may put everything at risk.

Detective Renee Holden has never worked a homicide quite like this. The victim has twin puncture wounds on his neck, and the only eyewitness swears she saw a vampire. Now’s definitely not the time to get distracted by a seductive stranger. But the suave, darkly austere, exotically handsome Rafe DaSilva is a hard man to deny, and as Renee falls under his spell, she also falls prey to his enemies. Desperate to protect her, Rafe lifts the veil on a shadow realm she can only visit—a world of intoxicating power, terrifying dangers, and forbidden pleasures.


Okay, I am combining the review for this book with my regular Quote-tastic Monday post because I cannot bear the idea of having to think about it twice . . . and that should tell you my opinion if the one star does not. I am not sure I have ever given one star to a book and I know I have never given it to a book written by an author I normally like.

My very favorite book by Jacquelyn Frank is Jacob which may have been her first published book. It had an interesting, unique to me, premise of demons in our world and their interactions with humans. AND it was funny. I love funny books.

Thirst is not funny, at all. It also has a unique to me paranormal species: energy vampires. And if that name isn’t bad enough they are referred to as e-vampires. I don’t know why that bothered me so much, but it did. Anyway, they don’t drink blood, they draw energy from their “resources” by biting them on the back of the neck.

Oh yeah, good vampires only feed from good resources. A good resource is someone who lives clean, as in eats healthy, exercises, doesn’t smoke, or do drugs. The reader gets an entire section on organic food just to make it clear how important a clean resource is to a good vampire.

Obviously, bad vampires only eat from the rest of us and it makes them evil.

I can’t even say anymore about that.

As you can tell, I didn’t like the book from the beginning and it never improved. If I hadn’t promised to review it for NetGalley, I would have never finished it. And it got worse. I’ve never had the occasion to use the phrased “jumped the shark,” but now I can.

At the very end, where Rafe is explaining where e-vampires (cringe, cringe) come from, he states that they are actually descendants of aliens whose spaceship was struck by lightning over 500 years ago.

Really? REALLY!!??

Please do not waste your time with this book. Read her Nightwalker series instead. It’s wonderful. This one just isn’t.

Okay, a quote.

Renee, who is a homicide detective, has a chance to infiltrate the bad e-vampires and Rafe thinks it is too dangerous. He has told her that he will not allow it and she reacts as expected . . . badly.

Rafe realized he was going about this all wrong. She was an intelligent woman. He had to appeal to her intellect. And the more he told her what she couldn’t do, the more she would want to do it just to spite him.

Because all intelligent women do things just to spite their lovers. -sigh-

I’m done. So done.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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“Quote-Tastic Monday” is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup. Head on over there to see what everyone else is posting about this week.

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Quote-tastic Monday: Creepy Babies

Sorry I missed last week.  I was at DragonCon in Atlanta and that had priority over everything else.  I will say I got to see Patricia Briggs of Mercy Thompson fame and I caught myself wanting to stay in the room re-reading her books instead of going to panels.  Fortunately, there were a lot of lines to wait in, so I still had time to read.

This week’s quote is from the new Eve Dallas book by J. D. Robb:  Apprentice in Death.  I love Eve and Roarke and it’s hard to believe this is book forty-three.  I don’t know if that includes the novellas she has also released or not, but that is one prolific author.

Anyway, Eve is investigating the murder of an OB/GYN and he has numerous photos in his home of babies he has delivered.  Eve’s reaction is definitely not “Awww.  How sweet.”

Many of the babies — the really fresh ones — struck her as creepy.  They either looked like fish, or really pissed-off alien life-forms.

You know, she has a point.

I finished the book in three days and it only took that long because I had to work.  I cannot wait for retirement!

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Shadows of the Stone Benders (Anlon Cully Chronicles, #1) by K. Patrick Donoghue

Shadows of the Stone Benders (The Anlon Cully Chronicles, #1)Shadows of the Stone Benders by K. Patrick Donoghue
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Title: Shadows of the Stone Benders
Author: K. Patrick Donoghue
Series: Anlon Cully Chronicles, #1
Pages: 316
Publisher: Leaping Leopard Enterprises
Date: May 14, 2016


World-renowned scientist Anlon Cully is unexpectedly swept into the thick of a suspense-riddled adventure when his archaeologist uncle, Devlin Wilson, dies under suspicious circumstances.

Prior to his “accidental” fall off a New Hampshire mountain trail, Devlin made the discovery of a lifetime – unearthing undeniable proof that a technologically advanced society thrived on Earth long before archaeologists thought possible!

The key to this shocking evidence lies in a set of mysterious stones forged by a long forgotten race of ancient mariners. Instilled with formidable powers to build, communicate, fight and heal, the stones draw the ruthless attention of villainous thieves hell bent on their acquisition by any means possible…including murder.

Aided by friend Pebbles McCarver and police detective Jennifer Stevens, Anlon follows traces of bewildering clues left by his uncle in a dangerous chase to unravel the stones’ secrets before the killer strikes again and escapes with the priceless artifacts.

Peppered with the thought provoking intrigue of a Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child thriller, Shadows of the Stone Benders leaves readers questioning the technological prowess of modern man and the belief that Neolithic humans were nothing more than unsophisticated cave dwellers.


This is a hard one to review. I really liked the plot. It was out there, but this is a science fiction novel, so out there is good. There is a romance, but it is definitely a subplot – important, but not critical to the story line.

This is the first book in the series, so I was concerned there might be a cliffhanger ending. I hate cliffhangers, but no, the author does an excellent job of bringing everything together while leaving room for the next book.

So, why did I give it only two stars.

It was the over-the-top dialogue. The personalities of the characters were established and then the author would have them react in this dramatic fashion. Not just once, but throughout the book.

For example, one of the characters, Eleanor/Pebbles, has just figured out something about the black stone. Now, she and Jennifer, a police detective, have just met. Jennifer’s response is “Way to go Eleanor!” shouted Jennifer. She shouted, not stated, not exclaimed, but shouted. It just didn’t fit the personality that had already been established for Jennifer.

Later on, Jennifer has been interviewing a bank president. He is Asian and she is knowledgeable enough to know how to address him properly and respect his culture. However, at the end of the interview, when he has given her some much needed information, she says, “Min-Jun, you da man!”

This is to an older Asian gentleman!

And it goes on. It’s not just Jennifer’s part either. The same thing happens with Pebbles and to a certain extent with Anlon – the male lead.

I couldn’t get past it.

The plot is good. Without the dialogue issues, I would have probably given this book a 3.5 at least. I do know this is a debut novel, so surely the author will get better. I just don’t know that I’m willing to give him another chance.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Illusion Town (Ghosthunters, #13) by Jayne Castle

Illusion Town (Ghost Hunters, #13)Illusion Town by Jayne Castle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Illusion Town
Author: Jayne Castle
Series: Ghosthunters, #13
Pages: 352
Publisher: Jove
Date: July 26, 2016


With its opulent casinos and hotels, the desert city of Illusion Town is totally unique—and will take you on a thrill ride you’ll never forget.

Hannah West isn’t the first woman to wake up in Illusion Town married to a man she barely knows, but she has no memory of the ceremony at all. For that matter, neither does Elias Coppersmith, her new husband. All either can remember is that they were on the run…

With Hannah’s dubious background and shaky para-psych profile, she could have done much worse. The coolly competent mining heir arouses her curiosity—as well as other parts of her mind and body. And even her dust bunny likes him.

But a honeymoon spent retracing their footsteps leads Hannah and Elias into the twisting underground catacombs, where secrets from both their pasts will come to light—and where the energy of their clashing auras will grow hot enough to burn…


I know it’s a cliche, but Jayne Ann Krentz aka Jayne Castle has done it again. She has written a fun, romantic mystery with clues that will lead you right down a dust bunny hole. Do dust bunnies even live in holes?

Hannah is a dream walker with a twist. She has a doppelganger who always has the answers. It’s just Hannah doesn’t always have the right questions.

But she’s not crazy or fragile regardless of what the parashrink said.

Elias is a Coppersmith. Yes, of those Coppersmiths. We met his family in the previous book, Siren’s Call, and he is just as strong in his talent as is expected.

And he doesn’t think Hannah is crazy or fragile either.

I love Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle/Amanda Quick books regardless of what name she is writing under, but I ADORE her dust bunny books. They are all good, but I have to admit I didn’t like the last few books set on Rainshadow Island as much as I have the others. I am so glad she has moved her setting to Illusion Town (where the thrills are real). They just seem more like her earlier writings.

In other words, this book is even better than the last one.

Read them. Read all of them. You don’t have to read them in order, but why not? You will love them all.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Marked in Flesh (The Others, #4) by Anne Bishop

Marked in Flesh (The Others, #4)Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Marked in Flesh
Author: Anne Bishop
Series: The Others, #4
Pages: 416
Publisher: Penguin/Roc
Date: March 8, 2016


For centuries, the Others and humans have lived side by side in uneasy peace. But when humankind oversteps its bounds, the Others will have to decide how much humanity they’re willing to tolerate—both within themselves and within their community…

Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn, see the new, closer companionship as beneficial—both personally and practically.

But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don’t realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others—and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs…


I read the original book in this series, Written in Red, when it was first released. I just happened on it at our public library and decided to give it a try. It was and is wonderful. Somehow or other, I missed the release date of book two, Murder of Crows, and decided to wait for the third book, Vision in Silver, so I could read them straight through. Again, they are absolutely wonderful.

Finally, finally, I was able to get a copy of Marked in Flesh as an early reviewer copy. There is no doubt in my mind that they just get better and better. I love the entire concept of humans not being the top of the food chain. All you have to do is look around and you know we are not doing the best job of taking care of the earth. Maybe we need someone/something to slap us down.

Anne Bishop’s writing is magnificent. These are not just novels; they are works of literature, but so very readable. Each of her books are nearly impossible to put down, so I strongly suggest you wait for a weekend or take a sick day from work (grin) before starting one. You won’t be happy if you get interrupted.

My only criticism of Marked in Flesh is I wanted to see more of Sam. He’s in there. It just wasn’t enough to suit me.

Now, when will book five be released?


This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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1001 Islands by K. T. Munson

1001 Islands1001 Islands by K.T. Munson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Title: 1001 Islands
Author: K. T. Munson
Series: n/a
Pages: 196
Publisher: CreateSpace
Date: July 27, 2015


The sliver of moonlight cast eerie shadows across the deck of The Dark Revenge. The Silence at the helm stood embracing the obscurity. His foreboding presence matched the anticipation aboard the ship, and no one spoke for fear they would break the stillness that encompassed them.

Tonight, everything changed.

The Dark Revenge gained on the Regatta. The raiders said nothing but he could hear the shuffle of taut female clothing and the tension in the air. It hadn’t sensed their existence, and drifted like heedless prey. Princess Roxana slept, unsuspecting of what was hunting her in the inky blackness of the night.

There was only one thing on the minds of The Silence’s crew as they drew near; Hang the Kings, Crown the People.


My opinion of this book changed throughout the reading. At first I didn’t care for it simply because each of the beginning chapters focussed on a different character/situation. I figured they would all come together eventually, but I still found it confusing. I didn’t like the feeling that I need to be taking notes to keep everyone straight.

However, when the plots did come together, it was wonderful. I really liked all of the “good guys” and the “bad guys” all came to a bad end (pun intended). The female characters were strong even if they had been taught they were not supposed to be. The male characters were also strong, but not obnoxious with it. At least, the good guys weren’t.

There was a plot twist in the character’s roles that I did not see coming and I really appreciated. It made perfect sense once it became apparent, but I was totally blindsided up until the reveal.

It’s hard to define the genre. It’s definitely science fiction because it takes place on another planet . . . or is it just another world, one where witches and elementals exist which would make it fantasy? It’s almost historical because of the methods of travel and way of life of the characters. It is definitely an adventure novel (there are pirates after all) with a little bit of romance thrown in.

Like I said, it’s hard to define.

What it is though is good. I enjoyed reading it. I liked the protagonists. I like the way the plot worked out for everyone.

But, . . .

the ending is abrupt . . .

and the author acknowledges that in the notes. She said there is a possibility of further adventures which is all well and good,

but . . .

I don’t like to be left hanging and it reduced my enjoyment of the book.

Read it. The ending is not a cliffhanger; it just doesn’t go far enough to suit me.

This book was sent to me by the author in return for an honest review.

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Down the Rabbit Hole anthology

Down the Rabbit Hole (includes In Death, #41.5)Down the Rabbit Hole by J.D. Robb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Down the Rabbit Hole anthology
Author: J. D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Elaine Fox, Mary Kay McComas, R. C. Ryan
Series: contains In Death, #41.5
Pages: 432
Publisher: Jove
Date: September 29, 2015


You’re late for a very important date…

Enter a wonderland of mesmerizing tales. It’s a place that’s neither here nor there, where things are never quite as they seem. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s whimsical masterpiece, ranging from the impossible to the mad to the curiouser, these stories will have you absolutely off your head.

Don’t be afraid to follow them…



Wonderment in Death by J. D. Robb
Alice and the Earl in Wonderland by Mary Blayney
iLove by Elaine Fox
A True Heart by Mary Kay McComas
Fallen by R. C. Ryan


I grabbed this book for one reason: Eve and Roarke. Wonderment in Death is a short story/novella that relies heavily on the Lewis Carroll Alice books as do all the stories in this anthology. Eve, of course, is not familiar with the books and has to rely on Roarke and Peabody to make the connection.

The story is typical Eve and Roarke. There is a horrific murder or series of murders. Nothing is quite what it seems and it’s hard to tell if the murderer is insane or evil. I don’t know why it makes a difference to me, but it does. For some reason, insane is not as frightening as evil.

Anyway, Robb is able to concentrate on the story without having to worry about any backstory because the series is so well established. There are over forty books after all. The plot progressed quickly, old friends showed up, and the bad guy was caught.

What more can you ask for?

The only story I felt dropped in the middle of was Alice and the Earl in Wonderland. There were many references to a previous story, but enough detail was given to make this one enjoyable. And yes, I’m tempted to find the original story and read it.

The other three stories worked perfectly as standalones. I enjoyed all of them and I am sure other readers who follow those authors will enjoy them as well.

If any of these authors are autobuys for you, this book is worth the price. However, I think you need to already follow Robb’s In Death series to really enjoy her contribution.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Bengal’s Quest (Breeds, #30) by Lora Leigh

Bengal's Quest (Breeds, #30)Bengal’s Quest by Lora Leigh

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Title: Bengal’s Quest
Author: Lora Leigh
Series: Breeds, #30
Pages: 352
Publisher: Berkley
Date: June 23, 2015


New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh tells a story of two Breeds who are united by animal desires, only to find it’s vengeance that stirs the mating heat…

He was a shadow, ever shifting and insinuating, able to blend in everywhere and anywhere. The elusive ideal conceived and created by the Genetics Council, he went by just as many names as he had identities—the last one being Gideon.

Now calling himself Graeme, he hides in plain sight, terrifyingly close to his goal. A rogue Bengal Breed, he has loyalties to no one but himself. And he has a need for vengeance that surges hot and swift through his veins.

Graeme plans to exact an extreme and ruthless vendetta against those who wronged him—Breed and human alike. All will suffer his wrath: those who created him, those who pretended to love him, and those who betrayed him.

That includes the one at the center of it all: a seductive, enigmatic woman helpless against the man whose desire is just as desperate as his need to destroy.

And he’s on her scent…


Okay, the good and the bad.


I love the Breed books. I have loved them since the first, Tempting the Beast, was published a decade ago. There is something about a human/animal mix that is fascinating, yet they are not shifters. The sex in these books is amazing and the differences the animal genetics bring to it heats it up even further.

I love the Breeds and their mates whether Breed or human. I even love the ones that irritate me to no end. Yes, Jonah, I’m talking about you.

My heart breaks for the suffering the Breeds have and are still enduring, but it also soars for the strength they exhibit even after all that suffering.
The storylines are wonderful and characters from previous books are integral to later books.

Bengal’s Quest is not exception.

I have been waiting for G’s book whether he is Graham or Gideon. He has suffered so much and deserves a happy ending. With Cat, he finally gets that ending.

But man does he have to work for it.

G has done so much to protect Cat, he almost loses her. She doesn’t trust him and she can’t believe he really cares for her. Her tiger has been suppressed for so long that she doesn’t trust her instincts either.

G only seems to know how to keep secrets. He does it to protect Cat, but she only knows that he doesn’t trust her with his secrets. How is she supposed to trust him?

Of course, it works out in the end. This is a romance after all, but the heartbreak along the way is painful.


There is nothing bad about the story itself. It’s just this is book thirty (that’s right, 30!) in the series which makes it confusing to keep straight. I have read all of the books in this series and I still have problems remembering the things that happened in the past. Unfortunately, these things are critical to the storyline of Bengal’s Quest. The author tries to give enough backstory to help the reader, but there is just so much going on.

This is definitely NOT a book that can be read as a standalone.

The other “bad” thing about this book is something that I have found in many of Lora Leigh’s recent books. The lack of editing is painful. I realize I have an advance reader’s copy, so it is not the final version, but this one should never have made it to the publisher’s desk. Because it is an ARC, I would not normally mention it in a review, but I have other published books by LL which have the same problems with editing. In all honesty, I no longer buy anything but her Breed books due to that.

I hate that this problem with the mechanics of writing takes so much away from my enjoyment of her books. The stories, this one included, are wonderful. The writing is wonderful. All it would take is a proofreader to make the books themselves wonderful.

Will I recommend this book to other readers? Of course, but only with the caveats regarding the backstory and editing issues.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Siren’s Call (Rainshadow, #4; Harmony, #12) by Jayne Castle

Siren's Call (Rainshadow, #4; Harmony, #12)Siren’s Call by Jayne Castle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Siren’s Call
Author: Jayne Castle aka Jayne Ann Krentz
Series: Rainshadow, #4; Harmony, #12
Pages: 336
Publisher: Jove
Date: July 28, 2015


In the mysterious world of Harmony, there are places filled with unexplored marvels. But Rainshadow Island isn’t about to give up its secrets…

In the alien catacombs of Rainshadow, there are creatures whose compelling songs lure the unwary to their death. That’s why Rafe Coppersmith, hired to clear out the catacombs for exploration, needs a music talent. He’s knows the perfect one, but she probably doesn’t want anything do with him…

Ella Morgan had once fallen hard and fast for Rafe, but then he disappeared for months…and he’s not about to tell her why. Ella, too, has secrets that only her dust bunny knows. She’s not just a music talent, she’s a Siren: a paranormal singer capable of singing men to sleep—or to their deaths.

But once on Rainshadow, Rafe and Ella will learn that surrendering to passion doesn’t come without risks—and fighting fire with fire only adds to the flame…


Goodreads calls this series Rainshadow. It is also part of the Harmony series. None of that matters. Those of us who read and love this series KNOW that they are all actually “the dust bunny books.”

Early in this series, the author introduced a companion animal, not a pet, called a dust bunny. They have stolen the show for me in all of the books. Yes, I love the human characters, their talents, and the romance that evolves between them. But the books just wouldn’t be the same without the dust bunnies.

In Siren’s Call, Ella has a talent we haven’t seen before. She has an affinity for music . . . especially alien music and she can use it to disable and even kill. There are fairy tales about Sirens, but everyone knows they don’t really exist. For Ella’s sake, everyone has to keep believing that.

Rafe has suffered a major psyburn and believes he is going insane. His talent is gone and although he wants Ella, he knows he has nothing to offer her. It’s only a matter of time until he is committed to a mental hospital or dead.

However, Rafe is a Coppersmith and his family’s corporation needs a strong music talent to protect people from the dinosaurs in Wonderland. Yes, I said dinosaurs AND Wonderland.

Doesn’t it sound great?

I had my suspicions about the identity of the bad guy, but not until the very end. It’s always a good thing when I can be surprised.

This book could easily be read as a standalone, but there is so much backstory I recommend the entire series starting with Bridal Jitters. This first book in the series does not have a dust bunny, but it is wonderful anyway. If you really get hooked, there are additional books that take place in our past and during contemporary times which interconnect with the dust bunny books. I recommend them all.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Heart Fire (Celta’s Heartmates, #13) by Robin D. Owens

Heart Fire (Celta's Heartmates, #13)Heart Fire by Robin D. Owens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On the planet Celta, accepting a HeartMate can be the greatest challenge in the universe…


Antenn, an architect hired to build a cathedral in Druida City, dares not think of his HeartMate. Even though he yearns for her, he’s taken steps to ensure she will be forever unknown to him. After all, how could he, a commoner who grew up in the slums, the brother of a murderer, be worthy of any woman?

Tiana, a priestess, has her own fears about being a HeartMate. She’s watched her friends struggle with such a stormy destiny. She’s sure her HeartMate has never claimed her due to a terrible scandal involving her Family, and she’s set aside hopes for love.

Antenn’s gotten the commission of his life. The cathedral will make him famous, but more, it will last for ages and prove to others he can contribute to Celta…if the controversial structure isn’t destroyed while being built. Tiana, too, is an integral part of this process, but the villain who wrecked her Family is ready with firebombs. Can they trust each other in dangerous circumstances to succeed…and to love?

Thirteen? This can’t possibly be the thirteenth story in the Celta’s Heartmates series. I have loved these books since the first one was published. I have no idea how I discovered them, but I am so glad I did. Like every series, there are some books (and Fams) I prefer more than others, but I enjoy them all.

Heart Fire is one of the good ones. Antenn and Tiana are both likeable people with their own personal problems to overcome. Antenn comes from a violent background and Tiana suffered from a violent episode in her childhood. Both of them keep too much bottled inside which interferes with the Heartbond.

They are both dedicated to their careers and neither feel that it is the right time to begin a serious relationship. Sex? Of course. There is plenty of time for a sexual relationship, but not time enough to commit to a Heartbond.

But this is Celta and the Heartbond will win out.

Antenn’s Famcat Pinky was introduced in an earlier book and has been with him since he was a child. Tianna has just met her Famcat Ratkiller although he also made a small appearance in an earlier book. Another recurring character is the Turquoise House. He is a young sentient house and I love him. I enjoyed watching his development towards becoming a Residence.

Since this is the thirteenth book, there is plenty of history available. The author does an excellent job of reminding longtime fans of what has happened before without overwhelming them with backstory. However, there is enough backstory to keep new readers from being confused.

I have to say, she gives just enough of the earlier books to make me want to go back and read them again.

Heart Fire is wonderful as a stand alone novel, but I highly recommend the entire series. We’re in the next generation of characters and it is fun to see their lives now.

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