Tsunami Blue by Gayle Ann Williams

Tsunami Blue
Gayle Ann Williams

OK, I’ve been looking forward to Tsunami Blue since it won Dorchester’s Shomi Writing Contest. If you follow the blog, you know I am a fan of that now defunct line, so I asked about it when I saw it was coming out from Love Spell. :) This is a review of an early copy of the book sent by the Publisher.

The Premise: After a series of devastating waves, the world in the near future has been reduced to a series of islands. People are constantly afraid of yet another wave sweeping them away, and chaos reigns. Groups of pirates called Runners roam the seas and shores, killing and raping without consequence or conscience.  Kathryn “Blue” O’Malley is Tsunami Blue, a girl who can predict the waves. She uses her radio to warn people of impeding danger, hoping that someone believes and lives are saved. She’s spent many years in hiding with her dog Max for company, until one night a man washes up on the shore. Soon afterward the Runners come, hoping to use Blue’s gift for their own benefit, and Gabriel Black, the man she saved, drags her unwillingly with him.

My Thoughts: If you are a fan of futuristics who misses the Shomi Line, this book is a welcome treat. It fulfills my expectations: a science fiction romance which is set in our world some time in the future. Gayle Ann Williams took the recent disasters in South East Asia in 2005 and created a dystopian future.  The oceans have taken over and can communicate it’s intentions to Blue, teasing and taunting her about it’s next move. When Blue was young, she was in Thailand with her family and she heard the ocean tell her it was coming. Her cries for people to move to higher ground saved a lot of lives, but her family was lost and Blue was left with her ruthless uncle, a man who became a Runner and used Blue for his own power games. At the start of this book Blue’s uncle is long gone, but she remembers living as a young girl among the Runners. Think of those groups of killers that terrorize everyone else in movies – the Smokers in Waterworld,  the marauders in Mad Max, or (to less of an extent), the Reavers in Serenity and in Firefly and you have a fair idea of what a Runner is.

Part of the conflict in the romance is that Gabriel Black is a Runner. Blue sees the marks on him that identify him as such and she’s horrified that she saved his life. When he takes her with him, she regrets her decision even more. But Gabriel has a mysterious personality. He’s fastidious with his boat, a very different type of person than the usual Runner. Then there’s the mystery of why he was on Blue’s island and what he wants. As the book continues you realize there’s a lot he’s not saying. There are a few revelations that are held back. I’m still not sure why Gabriel hadn’t just explained himself rather than waiting.  Maybe it was to prolong the suspense about whose side he was on, but it’s fairly obvious he is the hero and thus cannot be bad (heh).  It’s clear to the reader, although not to Blue, that Gabriel has been in love with her for a long time. He’s been looking for her for years and there’s a romantic notion in loving someone from afar, but it could veer into stalker territory. I think Gabriel managed not to cross over the “creepy” line.

In the meantime, Blue is the first person narrator of the book. She has a somewhat young, sarcastic voice (she swears a lot but is trying to reform), and I found her likable. She feels a great responsibility in her gift and wants to save people, especially the children, and she’s also got a tough-girl edge. She may have been saved by Gabriel on her island but she saves him too (more than once). And there’s a little bit of humor in the way she narrates things that I loved:

“Max trotted towards the door, but not before stopping to give this Gabriel a lick on the hand. He was rewarded with a lazy scratch behind the ears by those long, slender fingers. Max clearly did not understand the difference between friend or foe. Or loyal subject and traitor. And Gabriel Black, if that was truly his name, didn’t seem the least bit worried that I was twirling a 12-inch blade.”

The only problem I had with her is related to my complaint about Gabriel not being forthright earlier in the book. Trust was a conflict in the relationship but the conflict was prolonged so it made Blue sound like she “doth protest too much”. She flips back and forth between melting for Gabriel and then realizing she shouldn’t and then she contemplates his death or stealing his ship. She kept voicing her suspicions to the reader but her actions didn’t match her words.

That is probably the only quibble I have on my part because I enjoyed the rest of the romance. I thought that it had had a lot of sweet moments and that as a couple Gabriel and Blue were well matched. Gabriel had a seriousness that complimented Blue’s sarcasm and a skill in guessing what was on her mind.

So I liked Tsunami Blue. I think I got my copy on a Thursday, started reading it Friday night, and finished it Sunday morning (and this was a busy weekend with people visiting). I had a fun time imaging Blue’s world and her voice in my head.

Overall: Very good. Buy it for sure if you like futuristic romance and liked the Shomi line. It’s a fun book with a sarcastic narrator and good pacing. It makes me think of a summer action movie in words.

Buy: Amazon | Powells

Other links:
Guest post by Gayle Ann Williams at Galaxy Express

Book trailer:

Razor Girl by Marianne Mancusi

Razor Girl (SHOMI)
Marianne Mancusi

Razor Girl is a book from Dorchester’s Shomi line. I loved this line but it has been dissolved, oh well. I plan try to read all the Shomi books I can find anyway (Viva la SF romance! RIP Shomi!)

The Premise: In the year 2030 a mysterious “flu” decimates much of the population. Razor Girl starts just before this, focusing on Molly Anderson and Chris Griffin, once typical teens with a budding relationship, who are torn apart by what’s happening around them. Six years later, they rediscover each other as adults in a “a plague ravaged, monster-ridden wilderness”. Molly, whose father is a conspiracy theorist and scientist, has had extreme modifications done to her body and has been in an underground shelter since she last saw Chris. She has to meet her father in Disney World so that they can literally save the world. Meanwhile, his time on the surface has changed once-geeky Chris (now Chase) into a man, but he remembers all too well the betrayal of Molly’s abrupt disappearance six years ago.

The book jumps back and forth between the past, when Molly and Chase are teens and things are beginning to happen, to the future six years later, when the two meet again.

Excerpt of Razor Girl

My Thoughts: I’d read this author’s YA offering, Boys That Bite (as Mari Mancusi), and it wasn’t for me, but I wanted to give her adult writing a try and found I liked Razor Girl much better.

I quite like the idea that Molly is a Razor Girl, based off of Molly Millions in William Gibson’s Neuromancer, but I never read that book, so I wonder what references I may be missing. I did read Gibson’s Burning Chrome, which has Johnny Mnemonic in it and Molly Millions makes an appearance, but I don’t really recall it very well. Anyway, there seems to be enough to understand it.

Molly has retractable blades that come out of her fingers and ocular implants, and because she has to be tough, she doesn’t cry; her tears are redirected to her mouth and she spits. It’s clear from what he’s done, her father is very extreme in his beliefs, and his influence is felt throughout the plot. Molly has been taught how to fight because of her father’s paranoia, which is helpful when she comes out of her shelter to kill off the zombie-like creatures that now populate the streets (man, zombies are popping up in a lot of my reads these days).  Molly’s enhancements give the book a bit of an eighties movie vibe – like Tank Girl or  Mad Max, and it makes for a very cool cover (one of Tez’s favorites).

As I mentioned earlier, the story jumps back and forth in time from a teen to adult perspective. One chapter would happen in the 2030, one in 2036. For the most part it worked, although a couple of times I ended up guessing what happened when they were teens from what I’d inferred when they were adult. As a teen it seemed really sweet how big a crush Chris has on Molly and how he wins her over eventually by just being a nice guy who was willing to listen to her. Once he’s an adult, he has some resentment towards Molly’s disappearance, but I can’t help feeling he still has an idealistic view of her that never goes away. OK, maybe that’s part of love, but I’d like to see more acknowledgment of each other’s faults in a couple. I think that there was something missing and this was part of it – not enough delving into the characters for me. Even when Chase is hiding a serious problem and gets himself into trouble because of it, it felt like we only scratched the surface into that issue before it was “resolved” and put away, as were other serious incidents.

One minor nit I will mention – this is a copy editor thing that threw me out of the story. A character who Molly has just met, knows her name without her telling him what it was.

Overall: Not bad. Razor Girl definitely has the traits of the typical Shomi: a futuristic setting, action (with zombies!), and romance, but sometimes my attention wandered and I’d want to put the book down, particularly in the scenes when they were adults. I can’t really put my finger on why, so it could just be a personal reaction. Anyway, I seem to prefer the teen perspective: the romance then was cute, and because of their past I could believe in the couple reconnecting, although I felt that Chase idealized Molly.

Other reviews:

Popin’s Lair gave it 5/5
The Good, the Bad, and the Unread gave it a C (similar thoughts to mine in their review)
Katiebabs gave it a B (I really liked her review)

Netherwood by Michele Lang

Netherwood (SHOMI)
Michele Lang

I've been wanting to read Netherwood ever since Tez pointed it out as a Shomi release that may have been overlooked by people.  It does seem like this one got less press than other ones and it's release came and went in March 08 without me noticing. The blurb sounded interesting – a futuristic story about a Sheriff after a criminal she knew in virtual realities "bad part of town" – the Netherwood while she was Amazonia and he was Avenger, competitors and lovers. Sheriff + wood makes me think Robin Hood so I was hoping that we'd see some kind of space age retelling perhaps, but this book doesn't exactly go there.

The book started off very promising with Talia Fortune, heir to FortuneCorp and new Sheriff reviewing holographic recordings of her time in Netherwood, specifically her last meeting with Avenger. She knows he's a criminal (as are all people in Netherwood), and she's tracked him to Fresh Havens where her Uncle Stone is mayor. When she arrives on the planet she discovers grave sabotage on Fresh Havens and two missing technicians. Talia *knows* the senior technician is Avenger and sets off into the Gray Forest to catch him.

Overall: I really liked the premise but the execution did not work. There were too many ideas going on which weren't very well thought out. Everything sort of sounded cool and interesting but were so vague that my suspension of disbelief wouldn't stay suspended. We have:

  • The real vs virtual world where more people spend their lives in the virtual one over the real. And within the virtual world there is the seedy underbelly called The Netherwood.
  • Big Corporations (6 of them) that took over everything.
  • Machines starting to take over everything, and people being tools for them to take over (vaguely reminds me of The Matrix).
  • The Gray Forest idea – a strange forest with strange bloodthirsty beasts. But it has it's own soul and thinks?
  • Kovner's strange abilities like viewing the future and reading/speaking into minds
  • Talia herself being "foretold" as being the only one who can save them.
  • People being able to do strange things somehow without any real explanation
  • The concept of being able to download your consciousness to the virtual world when you die and living forever, but at an unknown price.
  • Cloning, space travel, the speed of technological advances, biowarfare and so on..

If some of those ideas were taken out and saved for another book, and if more time spent on making the plot strong, I would have liked this book more. With all of the above going on, I kept seeing plot holes, inconsistencies, and incomplete explanations which weakened the whole story.

On top of that - while the hero and heroine were interesting, they began to annoy me. Kovner's zen know-it-all attitude and smiles in spite of bad news was annoying. Talia going from a gung-ho, confident young thing, to realizing she doesn't know it all, to martyr annoyed me. I believe she got very dramatic towards the end about three times about being a threat to the group! Enough already woman, we got it! And the romance itself wasn't interesting. Maybe most of it happened off-screen before they met – there was a back story to the two of them. Although Talia wants to capture Kovner, he wants to save her because of their back story, but I got no hints about what that was.  I don't see why they like each other other than they are the two main characters.

Lastly – the ending – it sort of petered off and didn't really satisfy me. I can't say much more than that.

What that didn't make this book a complete failure for me was that the writing itself was okay. Despite a couple of typos (FourtuneCorp, fingr), it flowed well (it was a first person past tense point of view in case people wanted to know). There were some interesting ideas in there, I just wish there was less. So in the end this became an average to below average read to me rather than a good read. I would not completely close the door on reading something else from this author because I think there's potential, but I'd prefer a tighter plot next time.

Other reviews:

Other links:

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Shomi contest winner

Huh, check this out, the winner of the Shomi writing contest was announced as Gayle Williams. The blurb for her book sounds pretty interesting (via Romantic Reads):

"TSUNAMI BLUE By Gayle Williams

The book takes place after a number of major tsunamis have reduced much of the world to a series of islands.  Kathryn "Blue" O'Malley, known as Tsunami Blue, is a voice of hope across the radio airwaves, for she has a special ability to predict where the next tsunami will hit and can warn her fellow survivors.  She lives alone on an island with only her dog Max for company, hoping to stay under the radar of the Runners, pirates of the new world order who would use her gift only for their own gain.  When a Runner washes up on her shores, she guardedly takes him in–not knowing the pirates are just as much after him as they are her.

Gayle Williams lives on a small island off the coast of Washington state.  This is her debut novel, and was heavily inspired by a trip to Southeast Asia in 2004.  Her plane landed 12 hours after the historic tsunami devastated the area."

I think I'll put this on the list of books to look out for.

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Countdown by Michelle Maddox

Countdown (SHOMI)
Michelle Maddox

Michelle Maddox is the pseudonym for Michelle Rowen. Under Rowen she who writes quirky paranormal books. Countdown is the first book for her Maddox identity.

This is another Shomi book, which makes it 4 for me! I quite like futuristic romances, which is pretty much what this imprint does. As usual the cover has a manga-like look, but I have to say the expressions on the faces of these people are very wooden! Actually, the people at genrereviews had more to say than I did about the cover.

Moving on. Countdown starts with our protagonist Kira Jordan waking up in a dark room, handcuffed to a wall. Then she realizes someone is in the room with her, and he's not happy about it either. He's Rogan Ellis, and he admits he was convicted of murder, and he signed up to play a game called "Countdown" – if he wins, he can go free instead of sitting out his 500 year sentence, but losers die in this game too. Kira has no idea what's going on, she never signed up for any game, but very soon she realizes she has no choice but to work with Rogan. If they are more than 90 feet from each other, implants in their heads explode, and if they don't work together to get to the end of 6 levels, they die. Meanwhile they are doggedly pursued from one level to another by floating cameras and a gameshow announcer's voice who cheerily describes what's going on to the rich subscribers of the game.

This is a standalone book with a first person point of view. Kira is constantly trying to figure out both how to survive and whether she can trust Rogan. Is he really a murderer? The people running the game want her to think so, and will lie to them to add to the overall watchability of the show, but Kira has an ability and reads Rogan as a good person. She's not sure what to believe and goes back and forth. Meahwhile she feels attracted to him in the middle of all that they're going through.

Overall: This was an action filled book that reminded me of a sci-fi movie from the 80s. Sort of Mad Max and Tank Girl with a mix of Running Man thrown in. Michelle Maddox admits that Running Man was an inspiration. I thought that overall it was a fast, escapist read. Perfect for when you aren't really in the mood for something heavy and just want to read something fun. It has a few bits I found a little cheesy, but I still enjoyed it for what it was. It succeeds in entertaining the reader, and I thought that there was just enough to make the plot interesting - the game, their budding romance,  their pasts, what each is hiding from the other (what he know's about the game, her mild ability to "read" people) -  things keep moving along and keep the pace of the story going.

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Around the blogosphere

1) Book Blogger Appreciation week is reving up at My Friend Amy's blog. This is for book bloggers – "Think of it as a retreat for book bloggers and a chance for us to totally nerd out over books together. And of course, shower each other with love and appreciation."  There's also contests for readers too, so worth checking out if you're not a book blogger too.

This week nominations are starting for your favorite book blogs in a variety of categories. I'm planning to vote.

 

And there's a couple of giveaways related to books I've reviewed:

2) Ann Aguirre has a contest on her blog where the prize is a $200 gift certificate to the bookstore of your choice – just buy a copy of Wanderlust and prove you've bought it. I've posted a review of this book before and recommend it. My review is here – vox | livejournal. The review of the first book in the series  Grimspace, is here: vox | livejournal.

 

 

 

 

3) There's also a contest at book binge – win 7 shomi novels! I like the idea of this line. It's relatively new and it has a focus on futuristics with plenty of action and a little bit of romance. I've read:

Of those three I'd say I enjoyed Driven the most. There are other titles out that I haven't had a chance to read yet. I've been eyeing Countdown by Michelle Maddox and Netherwood by Michele Lang.

 

To enter:

Leave a comment, or post on your own blog and Shomi a link, telling me what Shomi novels you've read or are interested in reading before midnight, Saturday August 30th and you'll be entered to win a major Shomi Prize package.

This contest is open to all (not just U.S. and Canada).

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Hidden by Eve Kenin

I'm on the Eve Kenin mailing list after I read Driven last year and I really enjoyed myself.  I think I'm just addicted to high action, high-tech stories that have romance thrown in. When I read Driven, I had a smile on my face because I was just so happy to find something like this. Siberian Ice Truckers!! In the future! Come on now. I reviewed that book over here (Sigh, back in Sept 2007 when my TBR was only 97).

Anyway, I was on the mailing list so when the author of Driven sent out a note about sending ARCs of the second book of that series – Hidden to people willing to review the book, I couldn't reply fast enough. I got the book last week friday, and by sunday- I'd read it all. My fiance got to hear me crow over it too:

Me: *pet pet pets book* "OMG July release date! I got my hands on it in APRIL. That's like 4 months!!!

Him: Yes dear.

OK, so this book continues in the same world as Driven (post apocalyptic, perpetual winter, governed by corrupt people and populated by the dregs of society) but focussing on new characters. You can probably read Hidden without reading Driven, it is pretty easy to grasp what's going on. One of them is Tatiana – sister of Wizard, the hero in Driven (book 1). In Driven Tatiana's whereabouts are unknown, but she is mentioned as someone Raina met, and as Wizard and Yuriko's younger sister. Unlike her older siblings, Tatiana is described as having different powers (empathy seems to be her particular skill). Duncan Bane, the bad guy in book 1 believed she could tell the future, which is something Wizard and Yuriko can't do, but she also was a lot weaker physically and unable to heal as quickly as them.

In Hidden, it is never explained how, but somehow after the events that happened in Driven, Tatiana has escaped her prison and is outside in the frozen Northern Waste. She is a lot stronger than she used to be – apparently she was late to bloom into her powers, but she does have more than before. Her goal is to use them to stop a new bad guy – Dr. Gavin Ward, who for years has been using her as a test subject, and has developed a deadly plague using her genetic material crossed with some nasty diseases. All she knows is that there is a secret underground lab and that someone named Tolliver is in charge. Her plan is to completely destroy this lab, Dr Ward, and Tolliver.

Following a lead Tatiana runs into a mysterious stranger – Tristan, who shows up again later, and after something happens, they both end up trapped underground. Both of them are attracted to the other, but both have their secrets about who they are and what they can do. In terms of plot, there was a part where I thought Tatiana should be figuring out what's going on a wee bit sooner, but I guess this could be a nit. More nits – there were a couple of parts where I thought things felt a little glossed over and unexplained - like contacting Ward, or how Tatiana escaped, or even what happened to certain characters. The best part is probably the action. There were some scenes that had me on the edge of my seat (Residence Evil scenarios and a tense scene with a laser grid). Other action outdoors in the Waste against giant trucker rigs and gunfights - this seemed similar to Driven, so didn't excite me as much.

Because Hidden was set in the same place as Driven, the Northern waste, I was already used to this area and it didn't wow me in the same way the second time around. I still felt that it was well-written and interesting, and I could really see the snow and ice in my mind's eye, but I would love to see other parts of this world other than the Northern Waste. I'm beginning to wonder what the cities and other places mentioned like Neo-Toyko look like. There are hints about acrobats in Neo-Toyko, and at one point Tatiana talks about a conservatory with trees somewhere else and I was really drawn to that, but the plot in this case didn't lend to much travelling out of the Waste.

I also had an interesting time comparing Tatiana with Wizard. In Driven, Wizard is almost robotic in his analytical responses and lack of emotion. Meanwhile, in Hidden, Tatiana often responds to people in a really formal, analytical way like Wizard, but her abilities seem to make her more in tune with her emotions than Wizard was. And because she as had very little social interaction, she doesn't really know how to read people's facial expressions or hide her own feelings under a mask. I like that there was a difference between the siblings as to how their upbringing affected them. I was also interested to see how Tristan has an unusual for the Waste upbringing – often trying to be chivalrous – shielding Tatiana, eating with a napkin on his lap. While Tatiana found this odd and fascinating, she decides not to be insulted by it. Definitely a different interaction between these two from what we saw between Raina and Wizard.

Overall - Addictive writing, full of action and an interesting world, but perhaps one grade below what I felt for Driven. I wasn't as *spellbound* this time around, but it did make for a quick and enjoyable read. That's a positive review, but I think maybe Driven made my expectations very high. Not sure if my judgement is colored by my memory of book 1..? Would I think this if I hadn't read Driven first? Not sure, but it could be that someone reading Hidden without having read Driven would have a higher opinion.

The cover – I think I like the artwork on this cover a smidge more than the first book, probably because the facial features of the two characters are clearer. I'm undecided on the typeface though. I think I like Driven's better.

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Wired by Liz Maverick

Wired (Shomi)
Liz Maverick

I just finished Wired by Liz Maverick, the first book to come out from the  from the Shomi line. So far I'm liking the futuristic aspect of these books (I reviewed Driven which I liked a lot over here). I guess since paranormal is big now – that's sort of a melding of fantasy + romance, that it makes sense that sci fi and romance is another blend that would work as well. 

This book is told from the first person point of view of L. Roxanne Zaborovsky, a programmer who gets intercepted from going to the 7-11 one night by two men. What follows is a non-linear story where time gets manipulated like a record being scratched by a DJ – forward and backward, reset and spliced, Roxy lives through the same situations a few times but with different variables. The two men interested in Roxy are doing this all in order to ensure the right future outcome occurs, but who is doing it to keep the future as close as it was meant to be as possible, and who is doing it for their own ends? Roxy has to figure out why she's important and who to trust and she flip-flops on that decision.

I read some of Liz Maverick's Crimson City novel, and I prefer her first person voice here to the third person voice in that start of the series. Roxy's story had an urgent pace, and the story flowed well.

The comment I have would be similar to many other reviewers – I think because I expected this to have romance I noticed that the romance was cut short. But I can't imagine how the author could put more romance into this – Roxy is being thrown into a weird reality and doesn't know who to trust, and keeps reliving certain things over and over. Where is the time for some wooing in there? It was a stretch as it was that Roxy trusted people enough for the romance that was in there. So.. maybe if this wasn't expected, this wouldn't even be an issue? I ponder.. Not only that, I think half of the romance happens off screen – around the timeline of the book, not so much during it, and the reader has to just make their own assumptions. I didn't mind this, other people looking for more romance might.

The one thing that confused me in this book was the timeline thing. I felt comfortable with the record player idea of time, it keeps playing forward but it can get pulled back and sped forward and things can be changed in it. On top of this was the idea of time as a wire where you took splices of one piece and put it on another and made up a whole wire, and eventually it all gets used up, there is no more wire left. BUT, I got so confused by one wire bit changing here then being spliced there even though they're two different timelines really parallel to one another – and somehow this works? My head wouldn't quite wrap around it. I was actually thinking of perhaps a diagram of this on the book flap somewhere..

Light, interesting read.

Link to a dear author review. Link to guest review on the good, bad and unread.

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Driven by Eve Kenin

Driven (Shomi)
Eve Kenin

So Dorchester publishing has this new line of futuristic romances called Shomi fiction. All the covers of the books so far published are manga inspired, and the stories are a fusion of romance with sci fi, fantasy, thriller, action, and manga type genres. It's very unique sounding and I like cross-genre books so I've been keeping an eye on Shomi. So far Wired by Liz Maverick, Moongazer by Marianne Mancusi, and Driven by Eve Kenin are out. I'm probably going to pick them all up eventually. 

Excerpts for: Wired ,  Moongazer , and Driven

My first buy was Driven because … seriously – it has siberian ice-truckers in it. I was gravitating to it because that sounded really interesting, plus I kept seeing good reviews for it, liked the excerpt, had $5 in Borders bucks burning in my pocket and a hankering for a HEA. Also a disregard for the length of the TBR (97).

The world in Driven is a post nuclear landscape with an extreme climate. Much of it is governed by a corrupt New Government Organization and by big business (headed by bad guy Duncan Bane). The two main characters are a couple of toughies who value supressing emotion and making quick decisions to stay alive in their harsh environment (a sub-zero Northern wasteland). Raina Bowen is in hiding from Duncan Bane, and determined to win the 50 million interdollars awarded in to the first trucker to deliver their cargo to Gladow Station. Wizard is the contact she was supposed to meet at Bob's Truck stop so that she can get a special license to ride the ICW, the Intercontinental Worldwide. Unfortunately, things go wrong at their first meeting, and the two are thrown together for longer than expected. There is a lot of action as they run from and fight the bad guys – who do remind me of the bad guys in the Mad Max movies.

The story is told from a third person POV, and mostly centers on Raina, although a couple of times the focus shifts to Wizard and his take on the situation. I thought the quick shifts to Wizard was a little odd in the story, and it felt very romance-like to get a tell-not-show, short internal monologue but it wasn't done often. Wizard has a robotic personality which I enjoyed. He reminds me of Data on Star Trek; he has a hard time with human interaction, misses subtle humor and sarcasm and confused about sayings because he tries to interprete them literally. Raina is similar in having a tight rein on her emotions, but not such an extreme case as Wizard (she has them) – she keeps people at a distance and has long hardened herself to expect betrayal. I enjoyed how she pointedly shoved Wizard away when he encrouched her space and hid her feelings even when she found herself attracted to him. It was an interesting relationship to see develop between the two loners.

I thought the author did a great job blending both light science fiction and romance. Lovers of only one of those camps may be turned off by the presence of another genre blended in here, or they may enjoy reading something different. I definitely liked the blend. There are sex scenes and while they did go on a little, they didn't feel gratuitious. The world-building was done well – information (on technology, politics, communication, whatever) was given as needed, not as a huge info dump, and the plot was action packed and well paced. Even till the end it kept my interest. There was a good balance between the story and the focus on the relationship. A recommend for those who like romance and who like cross-genre books. Maybe futuristic romance is going to be the next big thing after paranormals in romance? Hmm.

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