Monthly Archives: March 2023

Shadows of a Dream by S.L. Harby

Whew! This book starts off running and doesn’t let you go until the last page!

I am a gamer, so I was very excited to get into this story about a player who can go into his game world – but this is such a fresh take on that idea. The players and avatars are “reflections,” and I am trying not to say too much because I’m really bad at avoiding spoilers. 🙂

From the book description: Stephen’s existence has become a wash of malaise, from the job he despises to the life that somehow has spun out of his control. He has grown apart from his wife, her respect for him having faded many years ago. As an escape, once a week, he and his friends get together to play The Game, exploring the magical world of Taerh through role play. Stephen soon learns there is more to Taerh than he ever imagined.

The Game, which he thought to be a construct of imagination, was actually based on visions of a world beyond his perceptions. In his dreams, Stephen sees the world of Taerh through the eyes of his ‘reflection’, Hollis, who lives a life which Stephen could only imagine. When tragedy strikes, Stephen must work with his reflection to unravel a mystery that spans both Taerh and Earth. New comrades in both worlds offer to aid them; although some are true allies, others are motivated by their own selfish desires. As Stephen draws closer to Hollis, he must track down the murderers of his closest friends before he joins them in death.

The world is well fleshed out as are the characters in this novel, and the action is just fast paced enough to keep you hanging on without burning you out too quickly – just like a good DM in a captivating campaign. This was a fun book, and I would highly recommend it. Also, the author is a pretty nice guy – I can’t wait to see what comes next for/from S.L. Harby!

The Curse of Sotkari Ta by Maria A. Perez

Okay, I will be the first to say that while I love a good space opera on the telly (Battlestar, Firefly, Star Trek!!), I’ve not been one to read them because sometimes the tech part is too much for me. I like my Sci-Fi more on the Fi end than the Sci, if you get me?

Well, that was the case until I found this amazing trilogy by Maria A. Perez. I follow her on Twitter and was captivated by the snippets from these novels that she wove into her Very Short Story (VSS365) posts, so I gave the first two a try on KU. Other than the fact that I had my Alexa read it to me, I was hooked almost instantly.

Mina is an Earthian that has been implanted with the DNA of an evolved alien race, the Sotkari Ta. There are others like her all over the galaxy, and an evil empire known as the Lostai are rounding up all of these super-charged beings to activate the sleeping genes and build them into a military force to rule the galaxy. In an escape attempt, Mina is brought together with Montor, another Sotkari Ta from a different planet. He is arrogant, rude, and everything that Mina doesn’t want in a partner…yet.

Oh, y’all I have to stop there because I am so very bad at spoilers, but let me just say that the journey that Mina and Montor undertake has so many twists, turns, heartbreaks and redemptions that I was absolutely dizzy each night when I’d finish reading to head to bed. In fact, there were nights when I stayed up to get through just one more chapter! This book has love, hate, war, spice, family dynamics – the struggle between found family and family of origin. Strong characters and a main character who is a force of nature in Mina. Have a read – you won’t regret the time spent, I promise!