Bright Star by Talia R. Blackwood

71eFPd+Dg0L._SL1350_Title: Bright Star
Series: N/A
Author: Talia R. Blackwood
Genre: Science Fiction/Futuristic
Length: Novella (164 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 8th, 2014)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts
Blurb: “I am his guardian angel. I don’t know who he is. I know every line of his face—the curve of his lips is carved in my soul—but I don’t know his name. I always called him just Prince.”

Tasked to watch over a young man in suspended animation, Phae, a clone, spends his life alone on an empty spaceship, focused only on the protection of his ward. Prince isn’t scheduled to wake for another twenty years, but an attack on the ship starts the automatic awakening procedure.

Prince relieves Phae’s loneliness and teaches him the meaning of love. However, the mission becomes more complicated than either man was led to believe—and far more dangerous. Their destination is a world held hostage, where clones are disposable and Phae is scheduled for “recycling” when his duty is done.

ISBN: 978-1-63216-278-6

Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5525

Reviewer: Prime
5 of hearts logo red on black smallReview: This is a fantastic book! It’s just… wow! Being the science fiction fangirl that I can be, this book immediately made me think of a mix of Firefly, Star Trek and even some Wall-E. It’s certainly unique, which makes it more appealing. (The use of alien, as seen in most of sci-fi, is what reminded me of Firefly). Not only there, this is packed with emotion and you can feel the plight of both characters. The only problem is I don’t want to gush so much that I give away the entire thing.

The book is written in first person, but the setting and the setup of the plot lends itself to it. The only thing is that the first person actually swaps between the MCs, Phae and Prince, and it might take readers a while to get used to the change in tone when the swap is made. Certainly surprised me when I went from Phae to Prince’s voice.

There are definite subtle differences between the characters that make it interesting: Prince is far for relaxed in his language than Phae is. Prince is the one responsible for words like “yeah” and “crappy” in the beginning, while Phae is more formal, for example he uses the more formal “cannot” to start with but once he’s known Prince awhile, he starts saying “can’t”. There are a few interesting things like that.

Phae is not hard to love. He is the strong silent type. He’s also incredibly sweet, innocent and naive. He’s lived in isolation for many years, completely alone except for the sarcophagus of the man he is watching over, who he calls Prince. He is a clone, raised by another clone for the sole purpose of watching over Prince. It’s bittersweet to read as the love grows between the two men, Phae learn what true companionship, and love is.

Prince on the other hand is much worldlier than his “guardian angel”. Circumstances have forced him to go into suspended animation and sent to some other corner of the galaxy. Because of this, he resents his father and chooses not to talk about his family to Phae. Understandable, I get that. There is also some sort of loneliness in that doesn’t come from actual aloneness, but from lack of love or something thereof. Prince is rather charming, no pun intended, and despite his rough exterior, I think he’s a pretty decent sort.

These characters are so isolated there is very little in the way of supporting characters in the background, unless you count Ship (because ships are characters too!). Of course, there are a few unlikable person when Phae and Prince leave their isolated life, but not a lot of detail was given. My only complaint comes from what happens to Prince and Phae, and the use of the first person voice.

The end is from Phae’s POV, so unfortunately what could have been a few additional, really interesting chapters from Prince’s POV, were skipped to get to the climax. Not that I’m letting this affect my enjoyment of the book. Prince explains things briefly enough, it’s just the engrossed sci-fi nerd in me wanted details!

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *

The Ride by Talia R. Blackwood

fc7ddefbfcdf9158a12656ea66834145.image.300x450Title: The Ride

Series: Apocalypse 03

Author: Talia R. Blackwood

Genre: Post-Apocalypse, Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Length: Novel (232 pages)

ISBN: 9781622321445

Publisher: Silver Publishing (29th March 2014)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3 – 3 ½ Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: An apocalypse forever alters the world and people are forever changed. Emanuel Comstock, a fat, shy guy no one wants around, hides a frightening, terrible power within himself. And the Dark Ones want him.

The world ends and Emanuel reels from shock. His secret love and best friend, Lucian, abandons Manny for a life with Raide and the orphan baby, Brigit. A Dark One kidnaps Emanuel to sell as a slave and he doesn’t fight back. Why bother? He’s just a clumsy guy nobody wants.
The new rules of the world confuse Black Rose. He doesn’t care about Dark or Bright Ones. He wants to be left alone. When Ghost asks him to start an exploratory journey toward the mountains, Black Rose grabs the opportunity, but he’ll need a slave for the trip.
Emanuel and Black Rose leave their former life behind. The struggle to survive in a hostile world among cannibals and monsters is challenging. But Emanuel understands Black Rose is more than just a crook, and Black Rose realizes the humble slave shines with a light much brighter than anyone suspects.
Through their discoveries, inner growth, and mutual awareness, their trip to nowhere turns into a battle to remain together.

Purchase Link: https://spsilverpublishing.com/the-ride-ebook-p-60486.html

Review: This story is part of a series and must be read in order. Emanuel (Manny) survived the merging of two parallel worlds, having his secret love meet another man and the creatures of the night, but now he has been captured by the Dark Ones and sold off as a slave. Black Rose (Darius) was in prison when the world ended and is now with the Dark Ones, he couldn’t care less about the Dark or Bright Ones and just wants to be left alone to survive. Being sent out to explore is the excuse Black Rose needs to leave the Dark Ones behind but he takes his new slave with him as company. As they struggle to survive against cannibals and monsters, both Darius and Manny realize that the other is more than he seems. And they find something in the other that they thought was forever lost.

This is a great addition to the Apocalypse series, which starts just after the end of The Event. Manny is still hurting from the rejection of Lucian, it was one last blow to his self-esteem so when he is captured by the Dark Ones he can’t see the point of fighting. Darius takes Manny with him because he needed a slave; he finds Manny annoying with no backbone and too timid and wants Manny to run away from him. When Manny finally has enough of being treated badly he runs and finds himself in major trouble, when Darius tries to come to his rescue they both find themselves captured and it results in Darius coming to realize how important Manny is to him, and with Manny finding his backbone.

I really enjoyed this addition to the series and was happy to see Manny find someone who appreciated him, even if they had a very rocky start. This story continues with the storyline of the Dark Ones and Bright Ones and we have more discoveries about the Apocalypse and the survivors. The relationship between Manny and Darius is not very pleasant at first with some forced sexual contact; it also has a very strong feel of D/s in the mix, which later adds a bit of excitement to their relationship. We see a huge development in both Manny and Darius as both men find that they aren’t as they see themselves; Manny isn’t quite the fat, timid, shy man he thinks he is and Darius isn’t the bad, mean, incapable of caring man he became. Their fight for survival has them meeting other survivors both Dark and Bright, and in one town just wrong, who add more to the overall storyline and Manny proves to be so much more than just being a sidekick to Lucian.

I have been impressed with the continuality of the storyline as it arcs over the three books but one thing has me stumped and that is Lucian’s continued existence… why? Well we already know that doubles disappeared but Lucian apparently never died in the other world… he was a world-famous rock-star at the time the worlds collided but the accident that would have killed Lucian’s double happened two years before…. And we already know that the worlds were only about 3 months out of sync. Yeah so I am stumped. Other than that, I am liking where this story is going, there’s danger and darkness, some mystery as to what is happening to them all and we are getting great relationships developing. We also know that there are more interesting relationships to come, as they dig into what really happened to the worlds.

I recommend this to those who love post-apocalypse struggles, love developing in hard times, danger and darkness lurking in the background and more stories to come.

The Landing by Talia R. Blackwood

8212589d20cdd68e47dcf1c0fbfbe082.image.300x450Title: The Landing

Series: Apocalypse 02

Author: Talia R. Blackwood

Genre: Post-Apocalypse, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Length: Novella (178pgs)

Publisher: Silver Publishing (23rd November 2013)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥ 3½ – 4 Hearts   

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: In a ruined world, where the darkness spreads, monsters roam, and all hope seems lost, can dreams still come true? 

An apocalyptic event hits the world. Jet pilot Adrian Melser is forced to emergency land; his jetliner crashes in a place beyond recognition—a collision of different realities—where poisonous gases obscure the sun and monsters haunt the night. Adrian still has to take care of his surviving passengers. 

Paul Mendoza sees the plane landing from the prison he’s about to escape from. Under the order of Ghost, a serial killer eager to create his evil empire, he assaults the airplane and enslaves the captain.

Despite violence and oppression, Adrian understands Mendoza is special. The criminal is the man he has always wanted at his side. But a sad past has hardened Mendoza’s heart, and Ghost can’t tolerate losing the most charismatic of his followers.

Harsh reality is not for dreamers. All seem lost. But Adrian wants to preserve hope and fight for the man he loves.

At any price.

Purchase Link: https://spsilverpublishing.com/the-landing-ebook-p-60425.html

Review: This book is part of a series and can be read in any order. Adrian has just received the worst news of his life but he forges on only to discover that what had happened before was just a blip compared to what he now faces. Forced to make an emergency landing Adrian lands in what only can be hell, the world is no longer the same but Adrian’s responsibilities to his passengers means he has to make a sacrifice… of himself. Paul Mendoza is a convict who finds himself following an evil child serial killer when the prison they are held in crumbles around them, but taking the pilot as his slave has him rethinking his position. Despite the life Mendoza has led, Adrian is convinced that there is some good in the man, but getting him away from Ghost, the leader of the criminals, proves to be much more dangerous than either of them thought.

So for those of you who read The Event this book runs parallel and ends just before the two groups meet up. We see the full circumstances that we only heard a bit about and meet the people who survived the plane crash landing and the vile criminals who haunt their area. Adrian is the man who we follow from the beginning, he receives bad news and sees his hopes and dreams being shattered, but finding himself in an emergency, he proves to himself that he can be the man who is needed in an emergency. Being taken prisoner has him still believing in his dreams and for what he will face, he has to cling to his dreams to survive. Mendoza believes firmly that he doesn’t deserve redemption but fighting Adrian’s dreams and trying to shatter them doesn’t work and Mendoza is soon beginning to believe himself. 

We discover the horrors that still exist from the human world, the vileness that managed to survive and is determined to rule the world with darkness, trying to gather the dark ones who also revel in pain and destruction. Adrian and Mendoza aren’t the only characters that we want to meet, we discover Black Rose and Serpent who aren’t as bad as they seem and Ian a doctor who was on his way to meet other survivors. And then we have some characters who we want to wash ourselves clean after we meet them like Ghost who is vile and a mysterious young man (who we also met in The Event) who seems to thrive on lost hope.

This is one of those stories that you can’t easily peg, because the criminal element changes the basic survival needs. It also adds a darker element to the sexual aspects of the story, as there are some scenes of reluctant sexual contact. The scenes between Adrian and Mendoza are darkly hot and they really work together, with Adrian making Mendoza face the future and not the past. There are some scenes of violence and at times even knowing the final outcome (if you read The Event that is) you wonder if they will get away alive. The setting that we are given lets us know of the bleakness that surrounds the characters and it lets us know the fear they are going through, the story is perfectly written and I can’t wait to see whose story is next. 

I recommend this to those who love surviving the Apocalypse, finding love in dangerous situations, working towards redemption and an ending that is happy for now with hope for the future. 

 

The Event by Talia R. Blackwood

9b133b6c249c25bfaa29a375cc682f8f.image.300x450Title: The Event     

Series: Apocalypse 01 

Author: Talia R. Blackwood     

Genre: Post-Apocalypse, Science Fiction, Fantasy    

Length: Novel (188pgs)     

Publisher: Silver Publishing (28th September 2013)    

Heat Level: Moderate – Explicit     

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts    

Reviewer: Pixie     

Blurb: A mysterious event destroys the world and merges two adjacent realities. The Dark Ones are gathering and now more than ever, Lucian and Raide must fight for each other and those they love.

After an apocalyptic event—a devastating earthquake and acid rain—the world merges with a parallel reality. Atmospheric gases obscure the sun and strange entities haunt the night. A group of survivors start a journey to seek aid.

Lucian Seagrave, a city boy with aspirations of becoming a rock singer, discovers Raide, a former monk from the adjacent reality. Raide reads auras and knows Lucian is fated to be his soul mate.

But the Dark Ones are lurking. As any hope to find help fades, Lucian and Raide learn they have to fight for each other and those they love.     

Purchase Link: https://spsilverpublishing.com/the-event-ebook-p-59069.html    

Review: A cataclysmic event causes the world Lucian knew to nearly cease to exist, with the earth churned up and building crumbling Lucian’s small band of survivors seek others and shelter, but with the acid rain and the strange nighttime creatures, they have a harsh journey ahead of them. Raide was a novice monk when the earthquake first struck and the acid rain fell, he watched as those around him disappeared and with another young novice sets out to discover what happened. Raide and Lucian meet, Raide overjoyed that his soul mate still lives and their attraction flares, but the Dark Ones are out there seeking to spread their blackness and Raide and Lucian must fight for each other. 

This is a great story of two nearly parallel worlds colliding, with few survivors and a daunting new world. Lucian survives the earthquake and the acid rain, he rushes to his best friend Emanuel, and they discover nearly everyone else has disappeared. With one other survivor they set off to check on loved ones and join up with those who have survived, they face the desolation and set off for the city hoping there are more people. Raide and Julius are the only survivors at the monastery and they set off to find out what has happened and if anyone else has survived, but they fall into the hands of the Dark Ones before being rescued by Raide’s soul-mate, Lucian, and they all embark on a journey of survival hoping to avoid the Dark Ones and the night creatures. 

This is one of those stories that has quite a bit for us to grasp, somehow two parallel worlds have collided and the destruction is devastating, we have bands of survivors searching for others, but none of them can make sense of what has happened until people from the opposite worlds meet. Mysterious night creatures attack at night and there are bands of Dark Ones or evil people who roam during the day, then we have the various relationships of the survivors. We also discover that some people on Raide’s world have soul mates and some people can see auras, it adds that bit of extra intrigue to the story as well as the fact that Raide’s world was three months in front with time.  

This story holds your attention from the start but you do begin to question Lucian’s relationship with Emanuel early on, but you begin to understand the dynamics of their friendship. Lucian’s and Raide’s relationship is special their coming together is both sweet and powerful. The discoveries we make are good and the slight action we see is great. The band of survivors are an interesting selection and you become invested in their journey and wonder what they face. The world building is great, you get a wonderful sense of the desolation that surrounds them all on their journey with the burnt out cars and destroyed buildings, the piles of empty clothes and the nameless, faceless identification as though those that are gone never existed.   

I recommend this to those who love strange post-apocalyptic events, bonds being made, and relationships being forged, hot sweet loving, kidnappings, and rescues and ending that is also a beginning.