Tag Archives: author: jenn burke

2016 in Review: #10 & #9

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Another year come and gone–and some fantastic reading adventures along with it! As I typically do in January, I want to take some time to review some of my favorite reads of 2016.

Note: These are the best books I read in 2016, not necessarily published in 2016.

#10 Kings Rising by C.S. Pacat

Kings Rising

This long-anticipated conclusion to the Captive Prince series did not disappoint! I was pulled right back into the world of the story–right from the cliffhanger ending of the previous book that left many readers chomping at the bit to get their hands on this. I’m also pleased to see the author’s rise to success in taking this from a free story posted in installments on LiveJournal back in the day to an international publishing contract. It just goes to show that you just need the right person to notice your talent to get your break.

Read my review from August 11 for more on this title.

#9 Phase Shift by Jenn Burke & Kelly Jensen

Phase Shift

And here’s another final chapter in a great series. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I picked up Chaos Station back in early 2015, but I quickly became attached to these characters and their world. Over the course of the five books, the authors delivered some amazing consistency and quality writing that really bring this world to life. I don’t always go for space travel stories, but there was no question for me from the first book that I’d be following this one to the end.

Read my review from May 2 for more on this title.

Phase Shift by Jenn Burke & Kelly Jensen

Phase Shift

Phase Shift by Jenn Burke & Kelly Jensen

Series: Chaos Station, Book 5
Published by: Carina Press on May 2, 2016
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Zander Anatolius has been through a lot. More than any one man should have to go through. And the same could be said for Felix Ingesson. So Zander’s decided to ask Felix to marry him and finally get them both to settle down. Felix isn’t ask keen on the idea of marriage, though Zander thinks he might be able to convince him. But as their past should have warned him, something’s always going to come up at the worst possible moment.

What worse is that what’s come up this time might be the worst possible thing to come up. After a security breach on the ship, Zander catches up with the culprit. And the culprit shifts. That shouldn’t be possible; Zander’s the last of those who should be able to do that. And considering that data about Project Dreamweaver–the experiment that made Zander what he is–is what was taken, things don’t look good. One thing’s for sure, everything else will need to be put on hold until they find the person responsible and stop them before things get worse.

I’ve read this series from the beginning and I have loved every minute of it. It’s an action-packed science fiction story with a m/m relationship between the main characters–what’s not to love? What’s even more great about it, though, is that no aspect of the plot feels forced. I’ve read many m/m sci-fis where the relationship feels thrust into the story. I’ve read m/m romance that tosses a sci-fi background up but doesn’t have it fully developed. You won’t get either of those with this series, for sure.

The final installment takes Zander and Felix back to the beginning. Much as Felix had to confront some of the hardest moments from his past in the previous book, Zander comes face to face with his demons here. And both of them are faced with choices that neither is comfortable with under normal circumstances. But the way they work together is what makes it clear just how much they need each other…on multiple levels.

I must say I will miss these characters, but I’m glad I got to spend five books with them…

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Inversion Point by Jenn Burke & Kelly Jensen

Inversion Point

Book Info

Title: Inversion Point (Chaos Station, Book 4)
Author: Jenn Burke & Kelly Jensen
Published: January 25, 2016
Pages: 216
Publisher: Carina Press
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

Felix was certainly more than glad to get Zander back after he died. And he never expected that things would suddenly be normal for the two of them. But everything just gets more and more complicated by the day. For one, there’s a cult that apparently worships Zander now intent on following them all around the galaxy. It’s not just an annoyance; it’s actually get in the way of them completing jobs. And a new species has emerged, potentially triggering a war when they destroy a probe belonging to the stin. Zander is pulled into the fray as an emissary for the Guardians, and the situation is further complicated by the presence of two individuals from Felix’s past: a former lover in the form of the human ambassador and one of the stin who tortured him during his captivity. It’s an intense situation all around, and everyone is counting on Zander to keep the peace and avoid another war. And it may take more out of Zander than anyone is willing to notice–except Felix, who is finding himself taxed in several ways himself. But if they’ve made it this far, they’ll persevere. Right?

I am beyond pleased with this installment in the series. They say in order to move forward, you have to confront your past. We’ve seen Zander do that more than once in the series. In the process, that means Felix has had to do the same, but not quite to the extent that Zander has. Here, though, we get a glimpse at potential futures for Zander in his role as emissary and a long, dark look at Felix’s past. There are turning points here for everyone, and the way they choose to respond to them is certainly going to shape not only how things play out during the summit and its aftermath but the rest of their lives. Many unexpected twists lie within.

There’s one more book in the series after this one. I can’t wait, but I also don’t want it to end…

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Skip Trace by Jenn Burke & Kelly Jensen

Skip Trace by Jenn Burke & Kelly JensenTitle: Skip Trace
Author: Jenn Burke & Kelly Jensen
Published: October 5, 2015
Pages: 211
Publisher: Carina Press
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★★★★☆

Zander Anatolius has been through more than one person could ever expect to go through and survive. He was part of an experimental super-soldier program that should have killed him–and eventually did. Thanks to a few twists of fate, however, he was revived and made it back to Felix and the crew of the Chaos. But now it’s time for him to return home and see his family, people he hasn’t seen for years, to try to explain everything that’s happened in his life. But the Anatolius family aren’t the only ones waiting on Alpha and Zander’s troubles are far from over. Add to that Felix’s doubts about whether Zander might just be better off staying on Alpha with his family without Felix to hold him back, and Zander’s got more than the Allied Earth Forces and assassination attempts to worry about.

I’ve been hooked on this series since book one, and that connection is still going strong. I guess I would call this light space opera where it just so happens that our protagonist is in a relationship with another man. The science fiction is the core of the story, and I love that it’s all presented without any pretense or feeling like this story is any different than the space operas you might see where our hero must rescue the damsel in distress or finds a woman at every space station along the way. This is simply life for Zed, Felix, and everyone else. And why shouldn’t it be?

But more than that, I love the universe that Burke and Jensen have created. While I’m definitely one who’s starting to think that Zed deserves a break eventually (not to mention poor Felix), I will keep coming back for more as long as they’re willing to write it.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

 

Lonely Shore by Jenn Burke & Kelly Jensen

25129173Title: Lonely Shore (Chaos Station, Book 2)
Author: Jenn Burke & Kelley Jensen
Published: May 25, 2015
Pages: 187
Publisher: Carina Press
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

While Felix and Zander are both happy to have been reunited, their circumstances are nothing but challenging. Zander’s headaches are becoming more frequent and intense, which means he’s blacking out and losing control far more often than he would like. It’s clear he’s deteriorating and there appears to be no hope. But when they learn their might be an option, though an experimental one, Zander decides he needs to give it a try. He might die, but that’s where he’s quickly headed anyway. Add the fact that the Agrius Cartel has caught up with the crew and seems intent on revenge, and it’s a very trying time for everyone on the crew of the Chaos.

This picks up nicely from where the first book left off. The tension felt by every crew member is so intense, I could almost feel it coming off the page. The events here are very trying for everyone and the writing adds a real human (well, I guess I should say “being” since some of them are aliens) touch. I found myself connecting with the characters even more than I did in the first book and definitely look forward to the next installment in the series. If you haven’t started these yet, you are totally missing out on something great!

Chaos Station by Kelly Jensen & Jenn Burke

23595481Title: Chaos Station (Chaos Station, Book 1)
Author: Kelly Jensen & Jenn Burke
Published: March 2, 2015
Pages: 220
Publisher: Carina Press
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Providing a spoiler-free synopsis for this title is really difficult. There’s so much that happens here and it’s all in service to the plot, but I will try.

Loop is on a mission. Having been released from service in the military after the war, he’s lost touch with his teammates until he learns that one of them is wanted on another station. He knows it wasn’t her fault and he can’t help needing to go make sure she is okay. So he secures transport on a cargo vessel–at a high price–to get there, get her out, and get to safety. But when he gets on the ship and runs into Fixer (who he knows as Felix, a former lover he thought long dead) there is suddenly much more to this mission and this story than he expected. And the captain he hired now has a whole series of questions of his own.

Talk about intriguing! I really enjoyed the story that’s here. Many times when I read genre stories with an m/m relationship, one aspect tends to overshadow the other. In this case, I feel like it was very well balanced. The story wouldn’t be complete without either element, but neither element takes the focus. The characters have depth (and a healthy dose of mystery) and there’s a well-developed story and character arc here that I found engaging and, at times, exciting. I’m definitely looking forward to the continuation of this series.