Chimera Catalyst by Susan Kuchinskas

Chimera Catalyst by Susan Kuchinskas
Publisher: Pandamoon Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (192 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Who Decides What is Human…The

Corporations, Clones or Chimera?

When Finder is hired to locate charismatic, green-haired Miraluna Rose, it seems like an easy job. Crack into corporate databases, brew up some biologics to enhance his thinking, and get the job done with the help of the Parrot, a bird/dog chimera with the finest traits of both species.

The search takes Finder and the Parrot to the sun-broiled streets of Laxangeles, the canals of Seattle and the weirdly mutated vegetation of the Area. It turns out that it’s not a simple missing-person case after all.

Finder discovers that ReMe, a corporation providing medical cloning services, is illegally breeding human/animal chimeras. ReMe is selling these exotically beautiful female creatures, branded as ArcoTypes, as playthings to the wealthy and ruthless.

Miraluna Rose is its finest creation, but she has other ideas. She’s holed up at Refuge, a haven for ArcoTypes, where she’s planning a future of freedom for her sisters. To help the ArcoTypes fight ReMe, Finder and the Parrot will need the help of a couple of sympathetic AIs, the CEO of the world’s largest advertising company and a posse of highly modded, celebrity-crazed media kids.

This exciting adventure is a must read for anyone concerned about where our world and humanity is possibly headed…

Sometimes science causes just as many problems as it solves.

The world building was wonderful. Ms. Kuchinskas’ vision of what life will be like in a few generations was as chilling as it was fascinating. I especially liked her descriptions of how climate change seriously affected the lives of everyone in this society no matter how wealthy or well-connected they were. They painted a very thorough picture of how a culture attempted to rebuild itself after nearly being completely destroyed. What impressed me even more was that this was only one of about a dozen examples of the author stretching her ideas out until they’d reached their logical conclusion. She made me feel like I’d really traveled to the future, and that made it impossible for me to stop reading.

I would have liked to see a little more time spent on character development. While Finder’s personality was described with plenty of detail, there wasn’t enough attention paid to how he changed over the course of the plot. The changes I noticed in him were pretty subtle even though he experienced some pretty exciting, frightening, and unimaginable things during his adventures. There were so many opportunities for him to grow as a person. Had he taken advantage of a few more of them, this book would have easily earned a much higher rating from me as I loved everything else about it.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about the mystery was how much effort it required from me to find any major clues at all. I hadn’t know that kind of storyline was waiting for me when I first began reading, so it was even more fun than usual to shift the way I interpreted certain scenes and start paying attention to anything that might give me a hint about who Miraluna Rose was or why Finder was being paid so handsomely to discover what happened to her.

Chimera Catalyst was the perfect blend of science fiction and mystery. I’d heartily recommend it to fans of either genre!

The Last Detective by Brian Cohn

The Last Detective by Brian Cohn
Publisher: Pandamoon Publishing
Genre: Inspirational, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (232 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

It’s been two years since the invasion.

Two years since the slicks came to our planet and herded humanity together like cattle, placing us under constant watch in the few cities that remain. The lucky ones are left to their own devices. The unlucky few are rounded up and carted off to labor camps to face an unknown fate.

Former homicide detective Adrian Grace was cut off from his family, but has somehow managed to survive. When one of the slicks is murdered, they ask him to find the killer. He reluctantly agrees, and in the course of his investigation witnesses the best, and the worst, that humanity has to offer: a plot to escape the labor camps; a pending war between an in-your-face councilwoman and the corrupt city mayor; and a priest who claims to have befriended the dead alien. But worst of all, he stumbles onto a conspiracy that puts the fate of the entire city in jeopardy. In the end, Detective Grace discovers that the killer might just be the last person he would have suspected.

A story about betrayal, redemption, faith, fear, and hope, The Last Detective is a thrilling look at what happens to humanity when our world crumbles around us.

Humans, by nature are very adaptable- unfortunately this can be good and bad.

Since the aliens conquered humanity, daily existence is just that-existing and surviving. There are no goals, and no real jobs unless you are unlucky enough to be chosen for the labor camps or if you choose to work for the aliens policing the rest of humanity. Adrian Grace used to be a homicide detective, but not anymore. That is, until he is asked to undertake an investigation into the death of one of the aliens.

The Last Detective is a stunning in-depth story that looks at life after the destruction of civilization; and not where many stories try to pick up with the rise of the underdog-but a true look at what happens when there is no impending insurrection, when there is no hope. The Last Detective is an amazing look at the rivers of humanity that flow between the islands of despair in the darkest depths of loss.

Brian Cohn draws the reader into a world that has given up. The plot of The Last Detective is not sadness or the bleakness of reality, but what humanity can and will do to survive. I love how the author took the perspective of Adrian Grace as an individual not set on “fixing” the world, but with a realistic view of the society. While working the case, turn after turn, things change and hidden agendas are revealed.

I love a good mystery and Brian delivers. I was sure I had everything figured out, and then suddenly I was wrong. Not only that, the evidence to the contrary was sitting in front of me the whole time! The dark schemes and the intense dialogue and plot make this one of the best Science Fiction Mysteries that I have read in some time.

I highly recommend reading The Last Detective! It will give you a new view and a very real understanding of human nature!

Love and Deceit by Cheri Champagne

Love and Deceit by Cheri Champagne
Publisher: Pandamoon Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (273 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Lady Katherine Mason is the average gentlewoman. Or is she? Since early girlhood, Lady Katherine has enjoyed creating fine clothing for her family. But she has a secret. A secret that takes her away from her family, and into the home of the Marquess of Withington. The mysterious and angry man engages Lady Katherine’s curiosity… and desire. But as much as she would like to, she is unable to reveal her true identity, for fear of total ruination.

Barrick Gray, the Marquess of Withington, despises the world for its morbid curiosity. He has no intention in encouraging the ton’s interest in his war wounds, but at the plea of his aunt, he has decided to briefly satisfy her request. Once he has proven to his aunt why he should not remain in the public eye, he will return to seclusion at his estate in Scotland. One thing, however, has suddenly captured his attention. A very intriguing sprite has somehow entered his safe haven… and begun to wreak havoc on his life… and his passions.

Neither expects the hunger that ignites between them. Will it lead to true love? Or will it tear both of their worlds apart?

In my opinion it takes a talented author to write a successful book series in which a reader actually loves all the books in the set. I’m excited to tell you that Cheri Champagne is one of those talented and successful authors. I loved book three, Love and Deceit, as much if not more than the other two previous book in the series, The Mason Siblings. Each book is truly unique on its own and could be read as a standalone, however I do think a reader would enjoy book three more if they do read the two previously books in the series.

There is a suspense/mystery story arc threaded through out all three books. It’s briefly re-capped in each book so that I wasn’t feeling lost. I also think there’s a benefit to reading the two previous books in the series because there are brief appearances from the characters mentioned from the other books, it develops a “at home” feeling as you are reading it and provided a bit of familiarity or nostalgia which I found to be comforting. But again, each character is re-introduced in case you forgot who was who or didn’t read the previous books. I love the entire Mason family, including those who have married into it.

The hero in this story, Barrick, was a bit beastly with justifiable reasons. Yet, the heroine, Katherine, was the perfect lady to tame Barrick’s beastly nature for she’s not your typical lady. Together they make for an interesting, entertaining and sensual romance. It took Barrick a while to accept he was in love with Katherine which made the moment when he realized he was in love with Katherine all the more enjoyable.

Katherine’s secret is a big one and how she meets Barrick makes for a creative and interesting plot. The plot thickens as the story goes on. The story has a steady pace with several twists and turns to keep me guessing. I couldn’t put the book down.

There is a side character named Camilla, and without her the story would have been totally impossible. There would have been no big secret for Katherine or the opportunity to meet Barrick or the ability to persuade her brother for permission for her endeavors. This side character had a significant part in the book on three separate occasions. The last occasion left me feeling worried for Camila. I can’t give more detail then that but I was sincerely worried since Katherine was. Camilla was a dear friend to Katherine for countless years. I bring this up because as the story ended, (without an epilogue I might add, and those who follow my reviews know how much I love those epilogues), I finished the book with a heavy, happy sigh and a bit of a book glow looking forward to book four. When all of a sudden it hit me…what about Camilla? Because of that untied thread I have to give four stars. I like all my threads tied and a happily ever after in romance stories. I have on good authority that we will know about Camila in the future, however, that didn’t help my happily ever after book glow feeling, now.

Yet, in no way does that make me at all hesitant to recommend this book. I highly encourage readers to check out this book and the other two in this series. I honestly did love how Love and Deceit ended, with Lane, Katherine’s brother, saying to Barrick “ welcome to the family!” because that is how I feel. I feel personally connected to the Mason family and I genuinely can’t wait for book four to read Lady Emaline Mason’s story.

The Trouble with Love by Cheri Champagne

The Trouble with Love by Cheri Champagne
Mason Siblings Series, Book two
Publisher: Pandamoon Publishing
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (312 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

The heartbroken heroine…

Lady Bridget Mason is hopelessly in love with her best friend, Major Charles Bradley. Since his return from war, however, something has changed him. He has stopped returning her letters, he gives her the cut direct, and when forced to interact with her, he is rude and downright unconscionable. Her hopes for a marriage with Charles have been heartbreakingly dashed.

The troubled hero…

Major Charles Bradley is in a fix. The very same men that kidnapped his sister and her new husband a few months past have given him a warning. They are coming after Bridget. He’d done his best to keep his two identities separate, but they are determined to clash. Despite doing his utmost to push Bridget away for her protection, his love for her has been discovered by his unnervingly indomitable enemy.

Their perilous love…

Charles must face his greatest challenge; he must protect Bridget at any cost. But, will his love’s big secret and Charles’ horrid treatment of her prove the task impossible?

After reading and adoring Book one, in the Mason Sibling Series, Love’s Misadventure I eagerly awaited the release of book two, The Trouble with Love. At times, the wait was unbearable especially as the release date got closer. It is important to know that you can read book two without reading book one.

My anticipation and curiosity to read about Charles, the hero, and Bridget ,the heroine, in The Trouble with Love was astronomical. My hope and expectations were not disappointed. Once again Cheri Champagne demonstrates her ability to write an outstanding love story with intriguing suspense/mystery threaded throughout the story.

The suspense plot was riveting, exciting, and totally unpredictable. The ending left me with my mouth hanging open wondering how I never saw that as a possible outcome. I had plenty theories of my own but none of my theories came close the mark. What an excellent twist!

Let’s talk about Charles and Bridget. I loved them! Why? Charles was always putting Bridget’s safety first above his own life. If I was a swooning gal I’d have fainted several times throughout this story. Charles was brave, strong and no doubt loved Bridget. I knew I’d love Bridget from when she briefly appeared in book one. Let’s just say that Bridget has some amazing skills that you’d not expect from a heroine. Together they are steamy, entertaining and meant for each other.

Now, for anyone who has read book one, I’m happy to mention that Lane and Anna do have a couple of appearances in book two and I expect fans will really enjoy the epilogue in book two. 🙂

It’s safe to say that I highly recommend The Mason Siblings Series by Cheri Champagne. I love reading fast paced, on-the-edge-of-my-seat spicy romance stories! In fact, I read that there is going to be a book three released Spring 2017! I can hardly wait!

Love’s Misadventure by Cheri Champagne

Love’s Misadventure by Cheri Champagne
Publisher: Pandamoon Publishing
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (305 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Miss Annabel Bradley refuses to accept life as a spinster. Her many years of pouring greedily over gothic novels has put her head in the clouds; dreaming and hoping for the love she reads about. She has always held a tendre for her best friend, Lane Mason, seventh Earl of Devon, but she does not want to jeopardize their friendship by telling him about those indecent dreams of hers. Anna, therefore, makes a life-changing decision; she is going to accept the proposal of the next suitor to ask!

Lane Mason is an average aristocrat; absorbed in life in general, and content with his status in society. Amid a frequently occurring moment of self-loathing, Lane shockingly discovers his feelings for Anna. Now armed with the awareness of his love for Anna, Lane decides to perpetrate a devilishly clever scheme. He will pay actors to abduct the two of them in order to give Anna an adventure like the ones she reads in her treasured books.

Lane’s plans go awry, however, when they are kidnapped in truth.

It has been two days since I’ve finished this book and I’m still having a “book glow” from it. I find myself periodically reminiscing about the story and wanting to randomly say “Hell and Blazes!”, one of Lane’s favorite sayings.

I was wary when I read the synopsis because I thought it was going to be just another book about two childhood best friends that discovered later in life they were attracted to each other but they didn’t want to ruin their cherished and valued friendship. The author, Cheri Champagne, did an amazing job of taking an old cliché and turning it into an intriguing story.

I admit that I was thankful for the prologue because the first few pages in chapter one were quite ordinary. I pushed on because I knew it had to get better according to the prologue. By chapter two I was completely hooked. I was delighted by the fact that this novel kept getting better and better with every turn of the page and with every chapter I devoured. Little did I know just how absorbed by this story I would be. I never would have guessed that this book would rank as one of my favorite reads by the end. What a treasure Love’s Misadventure turned out to be.

I had actually refused to put the book down until I reached the ending. I really didn’t want the book to end even though it was 1 A.M. in the morning and I had to get up to work at 6 A.M. What I really want to know is, when will there be a book two in this Siblings Series? I can’t wait to read about Anna’s brother, Charles and Lane’s sister, Bridget. Of course I hope there is a guest appearance of Lane and Anna with an update of their relationship.

Lane and Anna were meant for each other. They were the perfect combination of sweet and sensual, with humor mixed in. Both were strong and confident. I enjoyed watching their relationship progress from a genuine friendship where they truly cared and respected each other to something more meaningful such as true love, even in the midst of being kidnapped. This is where the suspense/mystery takes place. I don’t want to spoil anything but let’s just say this story arc was brilliantly written. I was on the edge of my seat. I do hope that Anna’s brother, Charles can explain it more in book two.

The synopsis mentions that Anna would accept the proposal of the next suitor who would ask. Let’s just say that suitor was a well written twist in the plot. My favorite scene was at the Scarsdale masked ball. I love how the author wrapped up the role of this character at the end of the story.

The author did a wonderful job describing the setting which made me feel like I was in the room with the characters. I could smell, taste the food, visually see the room and feel the fear or excitement that was evolving with each printed word. It was as real as real can get!

I would recommend this book without any reservations. It was an excellent, high quality read with a sigh gasping happy ending. I thoroughly enjoyed falling in love with the characters and look forward to being reunited with them in book 2.