Tuesday, July 21, 2015

NERFA Category Finalists - Goldilox's Reviews

I was lucky to participate in this year's National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award contest, sponsored by the First Coast Romance Writers, a chapter of the RWA. I was the final round judge for the Paranormal and Futuristic category. Yesterday I announced the winner of this year's contest in this category HERE

Today I am reviewing the two runners up! Below you will find some info about each book, along with my Really Short Review. Check them both out!

Wicked Flames
(Solsti Prophecy #3)
Sharon Kay
Release: July 14, 2014
Goodreads  Amazon
Gin Bonham lives with a dark secret. Born with an ability she never wanted, she builds her life around science and logic, running from the terror she is capable of causing. When sexy stranger Mathias spots her on a dance floor and cuts in, he leads Gin in a sensual rhythm that continues long after the music stops. But Mathias hides the fact that he knows exactly what she can do: in the deepest recesses of her mind lurks the power to manipulate fire. Destiny is coming for her and it doesn’t care if she’s ready or not.

Mathias possesses tracking and espionage skills so extraordinary that his fellow Lash demons call him The Hunter. Pursue and interrogate. He never fails. When he is tasked with coaxing Gin to work with the Lash demons against a common enemy, he relishes the challenge. But meeting her awakens a new, primal drive that pulls him toward her even as his tactics break her heart.

Failing to win Gin’s cooperation is not an option. But she is determined to flee, putting thousands of miles between her and any other supernatural creatures, including Mathias. Can she cool the charred embers of her emotions enough to forgive Mathias and embrace what she was meant to become? Or will her ability explode into something more than she can control?
Really Short Review:

Wicked Flames has it all: a lot of secrets, a little bit of action, and a steamy romance! I really enjoyed this book. When I received it to review for the contest I panicked a little at seeing that it is book three in the series, since I never just pick up a book in the middle of a series. Book reader blaspheme! However, once I began reading I was soothed by the fact that you can actually start with this book and be completely fine!

I liked the book's leading lady, Gin, a lot. She is smart and scientific, and I like when a paranormal romance has a smart heroine that actually feels real. Mathias is pretty great himself. He's more of a typical PNR hero...sexy, overly protective, etc. The two of them together are a great combo and I could really feel their flirting and eventual passion sizzle of the pages!

Wicked Flames, and the series its a part of, focuses on a group of demon men and a race of four women with unique powers - the Solsti. Each of the four Solsti possess magical abilities related to one of the four elements: wind, water, fire, and earth. I've already downloaded the Kindle version of the first book in the series. Its currently free on Amazon HERE. Check out the series if you're in the mood for romance - you won't be disappointed! And if you want to start with Wicked Flames, you be able to follow the story just fine.
  4 / 5 stars

Overload Flux
(Central Galactic Concordance #1)
Carol Van Natta
Release: October 18, 2014
The Central Galactic Concordance has been stable for two centuries, but trouble is brewing. A pandemic is affecting hundreds of civilized planets, and someone is stealing the vaccine...
Brilliant investigator Luka Foxe's hidden mental talent is out of control, making him barely able to function in the aftermath of violence, and the body count is rising. The convoluted trail leads to a corrupt pharma industry and the possibility of an illegal, planet-sized laboratory. In the face of increasing threats, he must rely on an enigmatic, lethal woman he just met, but she has deep secrets of her own.
Mairwen Morganthur hides extraordinary skills under the guise of a dull night-shift guard. The last thing she wants is to provide personal security for a hot-shot investigator, or to be plunged into a murky case involving sabotage, treachery, and the military covert operations division that would love to discover she’s still alive.
Two more lives in a rising death count won’t bother their enemies one bit. Their only hope for survival lies in revealing their dark secrets and learning to trust one another.
Really Short Review:

Overload Flux is an interesting and complex science fiction story centered around Luka, a detective whose special abilities war with his psyche and Mairwen, a stoic security guard trying to hide her past. Separately I liked Luka and Mairwen. I especially liked Luka and felt like he was the more relatable character. I always enjoy a good story about damaged characters finding each other, and both Luka and Mairwen are definitely damaged. I ultimately didn't feel their chemistry with each other, but as individual characters I found them to be quite intriguing. Each is hiding secrets from the other and each's secrets, and subsequently their past, come to light as the story unfolds. 

The story didn't resonate with me on a deeper level and the pace of the plot seemed a little slow for me, especially since I tend to expect more action from my sci-fi. However, after finishing the book I learned that others felt a much better connection to this book than I did and really loved it. Please take a look at other opinions on Goodreads and Amazon (links above) and check it out for yourself, especially if you're in the mood for some serious sci-fi!
3 / 5 stars

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