Monday, July 27, 2020

Hero Bear: Small Town Romance (Fate Valley Mysteries, #1) by Scarlett Grove

Hero Bear (Fate Valley Mysteries, #1)Hero Bear by Scarlett Grove
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Grizzly bear shifter Sunshine Blackthorn arrived in Fate Valley, Missouri, before Christmas to be the maid of honor at the wedding of her good friend from school, Melody Banks. Like Sunshine, Melody is also a shifter, a cougar, and she had discovered her fated mate, a rare shifter-human match, through the matching program, The first order of business is for a memorable bachelorette party, and after a fun night of dancing and not a few drinks, Melody and the other bridesmaids talk Sunshine into signing up on the site to find her own match.

Former Marine, Harrison Cole, came to Fate Valley after his enlistment was complete to work as a firefighter. But after a close call at a fire, he begins to think that maybe there should be more to his life than just service to the community. Also a grizzly bear shifter, he, too, signs up to see if can give him a hand in finding his fated mate.

The day of the wedding is gorgeous, but during the ceremony, a fire suspiciously breaks out in the Fate Rock Chapel. Rather than letting it ruin the whole event, though, the wedding is quickly moved to the wine cellar adjacent to the chapel where the reception was to be held. Harrison is one of the responding firefighters, and he and Sunshine are drawn to each other by their grizzly bear instincts over the surrounding chaos. Their realization that they are fated mates in seconded when the program matches them up as well. They immediately work to getting to know each other better while they search for the chapel arsonist among the wedding guests, not all of whom are precisely ecstatic about the human groom wedding the shifter bride.

Hero Bear has a nice mystery and investigation going on, but the focus of the story is really the romance of the two grizzly shifters getting together. This is apparently a spin-off story from an earlier series, and although it can be read on its own, I have the feeling it would have been more enjoyable if I’d read the previous series beforehand. There were a few references and cameo appearances from characters from these books. Alert: the book does contain explicit sex scenes.

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Friday, July 24, 2020

From Beer to Eternity (Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon Mystery, #1) by Sherry Harris

From Beer to Eternity (Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon Mystery #1)From Beer to Eternity by Sherry Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A smart children’s librarian solves this cozy mystery set in paradise!

Before Chloe Jackson’s best friend, Boone, deployed to Afghanistan, he had her promise him that should anything happen to him; she would take care of his grandmother, Vivi. He added the stipulation that she couldn’t tell his grandmother that this was his final wish. So when a sniper’s bullet took his life, Chloe took a leave of absence from her job as a children’s librarian in Chicago, loaded up a few things in her hand-me-down VW beetle, and headed to Emerald Cove, Florida, to keep her promise.

Chloe’s expectation of caring for a sweet, little, gray-haired lady quickly evaporated when she met the actual Vivi who turned out to be the vibrant, independent, feisty, 70-something-year-old, hell-on-heels owner of the Sea Glass Saloon right there on the beach of the Gulf of Mexico. Grandma Vivi certainly didn’t seem to need, and definitely didn’t want any help from Chloe, and in fact, appeared to dislike her on sight! But Chloe persevered and starts waitressing at the bar to help Vivi and her one employee, Joaquin, out, all the while sleeping in her car or aboard Boone’s tiny boat moored at the nearby marina and hunting for a needle in a haystack: an affordable rental at the height of tourist season.

Just as Chloe is getting this waitressing thing down, she discovers the body of one of their regular patrons out back by the dumpster with one of the bar knives stuck in his throat. And when suspicion falls immediately on Vivi and, seemingly, no one else, Chloe begins to question all the suspects that the police are overlooking. She knows she’s on to something when she’s almost run off a bridge one night, and then someone tries to set fire to Boone’s cottage where she ends up staying. But, even though she wants to pack up and return to Chicago, she believes a promise is a promise and becomes more determined than ever to clear Vivi’s name and find the real killer.

From Beer to Eternity is the first book in the new series, Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon, by author Sherry Harris. While dealing with issues of grief and loss, it is still a fun and exciting start to the series. Chloe is so likable! She’s smart and kind and is quite a sympathetic character as she goes through quite a lot making good on her promise to her best friend (and that’s before she finds the dead body!) I enjoyed the ways she used her skills as a children’s librarian to gain her footing in the unfamiliar bar setting and her comparison of toddlers at the library and the bar patrons. I was ready to sign up for either a course in library science or bartending!

Because she was a total stranger to the community (like a reader is), her investigations really begin at ground zero, and I liked that. We were both discovering clues at the same pace. She had to ferret out all the hidden history in Emerald Cove herself. And speaking of Emerald Cove, I wanted to make a reservation for a vacation there; it sounds ideal.

All in all, the mystery was logical and plausible with bad guys we immediately knew were up to no good and secret villain lurking behind the scenes and a façade of gracious kindness and a smile for Chloe to uncover in the nick of time. I highly recommend this book to cozy mystery readers and those that like the beachy-bar setting in a paradise of a vacation spot, and those that enjoy a smart librarian as the protagonist.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving a free copy. #FromBeertoEternity #NetGalley

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Grevy Danger (Kenya Kanga Mysteries, #1.5) by Victoria Tait

Grevy DangerGrevy Danger by Victoria Tait
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Along with her friends, Chloe and Thabiti, Mama Rose is participating in a project to document the numbers and locations of the endangered Grevy’s zebra, when she is called upon to render medical aid to another of the volunteers. The young woman had become violently ill during the night, but there was nothing Mama Rose could do, and she tragically succumbed to whatever had caused her reaction. Only days later, the young woman’s older sister, also a volunteer on the project, experiences sudden seizures while at the closing banquet, and she, too, swiftly passes away.

With no signs of violence and the whisper of a possible drug interaction, the deaths are determined to be of natural causes. But when Mama Rose overhears a suspicious conversation between the older sister’s husband and a pal and recalls the man messing around with a deadly Desert Rose plant, she puts herself in the way of the two men getting away with murder.

Grevy Danger is a novella occurring about a month after the events of Fowl Murder, book 1 in the Kenya Kanga Mysteries by Victoria Tait. Mama Rose is still extremely active as a para-vet, and Craig, her disabled husband, has good days and bad. Many of the characters introduced in the previous book make an appearance and seem to have settled into a more established relationship with Rose and Craig. I really liked that Thabiti is doing well and regularly comes to spend time with Craig while Rose is out ministering to her animal patients or helping Dr. Emma at her animal pharmacy in the town of Nanyuki. I’m glad the bad guys get their just desserts.

I recommend Grevy Danger to those that read and enjoyed Fowl Murder, and this novella is currently available for free through the author’s website at

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Broomsticks & Burials (Magic & Mystery, #1) by Lily Webb

Broomsticks and Burials (Magic & Mystery #1)Broomsticks and Burials by Lily Webb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Unemployed journalist, Zoe Clarke, had almost given up on ever finding another newspaper job when, out of the blue, the editor of the Moon Grove Messenger, Mitch Harris, phoned and hired her sight unseen. Accepting, she caught the bus to her new town as instructed only to discover on arrival that Moon Grove was a town accessible only to witches, warlocks, vampires, and other supernatural beings. Unknown to Zoe, as her parents had been killed in a car accident when she was a small child, her heritage included witches. And that was not the only surprise greeting her. It turns out, her boss is a werewolf, her new roommate is a fairy, and the reporter she’s replacing was murdered while following a story!

Broomsticks & Burials is the first book in the Magic & Mystery series by author Lily Webb, and it is an impressive start. The characters are delightful, the town of Moon Grove charming, and the plot ticks along like a time bomb. This was a story I didn’t want to put down!

Zoe is a determined and capable young woman from the start. She gets the job done and still has the time and energy to pursue the forbidden story her predecessor was working. Her new roommate, Flora, is a beautiful fairy with a kind heart and a game spirit. I enjoyed their interactions a lot.

Zoe takes her cat, Luna, with her to her new beginning in Moon Grove, and I loved that once they were in town, Luna begins to talk. According to Luna, she was cursed to live life as a cat, and I look forward to finding out about that in the future.

Besides a compelling mystery story with scary vampires and a hard-nosed werewolf police chief and Zoe learning about her witchy powers, I liked the developing relationship with the local Channel 666 news anchor, shifter Beau Duncan. He shifts into a golden retriever, and it was fun seeing that animal’s characteristics represented when he was in his human form.

With its quaint shops and their appropriately supernatural names and offerings, Moon Grove is a charming town to be hidden away out of mortal sight. But I liked that it experiences its own issues with politics and governance like any other small town around.

In all, the story was a fun introduction to the series and an exciting murder mystery. I highly recommend it to cozy mystery readers that enjoy magical and paranormal elements in their stories.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Clue of the Twisted Candle by Edgar Wallace

The Clue of the Twisted CandleThe Clue of the Twisted Candle by Edgar Wallace
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When mystery writer, John Lexman, is convicted of murdering a dangerous moneylender, his best friend, T. X. Meredith of Scotland Yard believes his story that he didn’t do it and searches for the evidence that would free him from prison. But before news of his exoneration can reach him, John is helped to escape from his prison work crew and secretly spirited away by the mysterious Remington Kara, a despised acquaintance of John’s wife from before their marriage. John and his wife, Grace, disappear never to be seen or heard from.

As the years pass and no word comes from John, Kara who returned to London continues to live the high-life under the watchful eye of Scotland Yard. He has an unsavory reputation for blackmail, a shadowy involvement with the underbelly of society, and is in constant fear of death from those he wronged back in his native Albania. T. X. continues to wonder and worry about John and Grace and maintains his vigil for any sign of his old friends.

During his latest check-up on Kara at his home in town, T. X. encounters and is instantly attracted to the man’s new private secretary, Miss Holland. However, just like her boss, she is hiding secrets of her own. When Kara is found stabbed to death inside his locked and impregnable bedroom and both Miss Holland and the manservant go missing, T. X. is compelled to investigate.

Although originally published in 1918, this locked-room mystery was still entertaining after over 100 years. The plot is solid and the dialogue surprisingly crisp and modern. T. X. is charming and capable and quite delightful as he falls for Miss Holland who is a feisty, competent young woman, and probably the most surprising character in the entire story considering the times.

I recommend The Clue of the Twisted Candle to mystery readers that enjoy a vintage feel and the locked-room device, in general.

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The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Guest ListThe Guest List by Lucy Foley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It promised to be the poshest wedding of the season. The bride, Jules Keegan, is the founder of The Download, one of the hottest, most influential, online magazines of the day. The groom, Will Slater, is the handsome and charismatic star of the successful television show, Survive the Night. On a remote island off the coast of Ireland, the nuptials are to be exchanged in front of 200 of their closest and dearest friends…or are they? Someone thinks the bride is making a terrible mistake.

What an enjoyable suspenseful story! Told in short chapters from the alternating viewpoints of different members of the wedding party or those closest to them, the story of the bride and groom and their families and friends is revealed much like a slow-burning fuse. It is an incredibly atmospheric telling with its setting on an abandoned island with a dire history, its luxuriously appointed ‘Folly,’ the crumbling ruins of the old church, treacherous bogs, and a black storm brewing in the near distance.

As each character takes a turn at narrating, the author gives and leaves out just enough information to keep the reader in the dark or guessing but not connecting the dots too soon. I know I missed some clues along the way to the big reveal later on. One thing I experienced is some characters I didn’t care for at the start of the story, and ones I did, flip places in my emotions by the end. That change in attitude was entertaining in itself. But the end does come, and it is a doozy!

I recommend The Guest List for mystery and thriller readers that don’t mind that slow, inexorable burn to the exciting denouement.

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Fowl Murder (Kenya Kanga Mystery, #1) by Victoria Tait

Fowl MurderFowl Murder by Victoria Tait
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rose Hardie, known as "Mama Rose," and her invalid husband, Craig, live a quiet, retiring life in Nanyuki, Kenya, where she serves the surrounding communities as a volunteer para-veterinarian and all-around helping hand. They had lived a frugal, tight existence, but a happy one for the most part, since their early marriage when Rose was accused of killing a poacher and spending a week in the grim local prison.

One day after Craig left the house to work on the farm, leaving young Rose, her best friend, Aisha Onyango, and the house girl alone, a mob of men that had stormed their farm’s inner compound. Rose had discharged a shotgun in their general direction in self-defense, never intending to hit anyone but just to scare them away. However, a week after the incident, she is informed that she killed one of the supposed poachers, was arrested, thrown in prison, and interrogated unmercifully until Aisha, a budding attorney, managed to get the charges dropped. But afterward, their friendship was never the same. Aisha drifted away into a high-profile career in Nairobi, and Rose was left believing for the past 40-plus years that her dear friend was ashamed of her and her reckless actions that day.

But now, out of the blue, Aisha and her family, two adult children, are back in Nanyuki and living nearby in Guinea Fowl Cottage. The two women immediately renew their acquaintance, but Rose can tell that Aisha is afraid of something and is back in Nanyuki because it is safer than staying in Nairobi. On top of that, Aisha is reopening the case against Rose that happened all those years ago. Before Aisha opens up about what is going on and why she is stirring up the old trouble, she is struck down in her home, and the local police are ordered off the case calling it an accidental death. At the urging of the police commissioner, Mama Rose and Aisha’s son, Thabiti, decide to uncover the truth of Aisha’s murder.

FOWL MURDER is the first book in a new cozy mystery series, the Kenya Kanga Mystery series, by author Victoria Tait, and features the amateur sleuthing abilities of 60-something “Mama Rose” Hardie, and her young friend (Aisha’s son), Thabiti Onyango. They are supported by other great characters such as the caught-between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place police commissioner Akida, the mysterious Sam – the barman, and newcomer to Kenya, Chloe. The author has Rose feel her age and describes her aches, pains, and fatigue (she has arthritis), and this made her feel that much more real to me. In addition, like many wives of her age and at this stage of their lives, she’s also dealing with the gradual decline of an aging spouse. Again, this helped bring this character to life for me. I could relate and appreciated this realistic portrayal.

The Kenyan setting with the descriptions of the beauty of Mount Kenya, the dryness of the surrounding area, and the consequences of the lack of rainfall were fascinating, as were the little details of everyday life there. The portrayal had me feeling the heat and dust and grit. I liked the sprinkling of Kiswahili words throughout and often referred to the helpful glossary explaining them at the end of the book.

“Mama Rose” is a keen observer of people and understands human nature. She is a well-known and well-liked member of the community, so people talk to her. She takes the various threads of information she gathers and weaves together the solution to the problems she’s investigating in a logical, straightforward way. There were a couple of good possible suspects to cross off the list, and her investigation took care of some of them while subsequent events eliminated others for her. The book was a gratifying reading experience.

I recommend this book to cozy mystery readers in general but especially to those that have read and enjoyed the Alexander McCall Smith series, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. I look forward to more in series myself.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving a free copy from Reedsy Discovery.

See my original review on Reedsy Discovery!

A Corpse At the Castle (The Highland Horse Whisperer Mysteries, #1) by R.B. Marshall

A Corpse at the Castle (Highland Horse Whisperer, #1)A Corpse at the Castle by R.B. Marshall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Isobel “Izzy” Paterson takes two of Lady Letham’s mares to the stud at the Queen’s Balmoral Castle, she ends up being one of the last people to see the curmudgeonly stud manager, Hamish Duncan, alive. He is found trampled to death by the Queen’s prize stallion, Eagle, later that night. However, the local police sergeant, hunky Dean Lovell, starts questioning whether Hamish’s death was actually an accident and begins to look at Izzy and Craig MacDonald, Hamish’s assistant, as possible suspects.

Feeling an attraction to Craig, Izzy decides to investigate on her own using her specialized computer skills to clear both their names. But when little inconsistencies pop up, Izzy starts questioning Craig’s motives, and with Sergeant Lovell showing an obvious personal interest in her, she starts working alongside him to figure out what really happened to Hamish and if Craig may have had a hand in his boss’s death.

A CORPSE AT THE CASTLE is a lovely start to the new series, The Highland Horse Whisperer Mysteries, by author R. B. (Roz) Marshall with a fun and homey feel to its equine-themed, Scottish Highlands setting. Izzy and Trinity are smart and charming young women with a lot on the ball, making their way in new jobs, and they play well off each other with their different strengths. I enjoyed Izzy’s internal dialogue and conflicted thoughts as she tries to navigate her way through the relationships with two handsome, eligible bachelors at the same time while trying to do the right thing by both. I enjoyed reading about her dark web computer adventures, too, and hope that there is much more to do with this skill in future books.

I recommend this to cozy mystery readers and those that would like the horsey setting (which offered me quite a number of new tidbits of information about an animal and sport I know nothing about.)

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving a free copy.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Crime Beat Girl by Geri Dreiling

Crime Beat GirlCrime Beat Girl by Geri Dreiling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Plot twists I didn’t see coming!

With her engagement and life in D.C. stuck in neutral, journalist Debbie Bradley returns to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, to be there for her mother, who was recently diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. Her mother, Beth Hughes, is a renowned personal injury attorney and is not pleased that her daughter has dropped a promising career in the nation’s capital (and a fiancé), to come home and play nursemaid when she feels she doesn’t need one. But Debbie’s decision to relocate is facilitated by a timely opening for a city/crime beat reporter on a new, upscale magazine focused on the town called River City, which happens to be under the direction of an old friend and former college mentor.

Although not thrilled with the column’s moniker, Crime Beat Girl, Debbie jumps in with both feet, and on her way to her first assignment, she witnesses a joyride gone bad, which ends with one 15-year-old dead and the 13-year-old driver in jail awaiting trial. But as Debbie delves into the deep background of the incident and other stories, she begins to get some traction, both in recognition and in contacts, from her well-written and well-researched pieces. She also attracts some unwanted attention from those that don’t want her asking questions or snooping around.

One contact she’s determined to cultivate is that of the lead detective investigating several of the police calls she’s covered: Daniel Flannery. Detective Flannery, a prickly 20-plus-year veteran of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, seems like a stand-up kind of guy, but his reputation was tarnished years earlier and while his fellow officers respect, appreciate, and support him; the brass, including the mayor, not so much. Mayor Jim Robinson, a former SLMPD officer and, at one time, Daniel’s best friend, is now married to Flannery’s ex-wife and publicly criticizes the detective every chance he gets.

Debbie also meets the defense attorney representing the young teen driver involved in the deadly joyride. Chase Laclede, like Debbie herself, is the child of two lawyers only rather than running from a future with the law; he embraced it and is quickly making a name for himself defending those that can’t afford their own representation.

As Debbie follows her stories and her column strikes gold, she suddenly finds herself targeted by some unknown someone: getting shot at and nearly run down by a car in the park. And when her mother receives some good news regarding her health situation, Debbie begins to wonder if St. Louis is the place for her, or should she go back to her life in D.C.?

Crime Beat Girl is a good story with plot turns that absolutely took me by surprise. I can honestly say, “I didn’t see that coming!” and am smacking my forehead going, “Of course!” Debbie Bradley is a smart, strong-willed young woman who is in the middle of some significant life changes. Her fiancé of several years seems only to have eyes for his career, and she feels the need to progress. She and her strong-willed mother (she comes by it naturally) are trying to navigate their adult relationship while living in her childhood home. And third, she is starting a new job in an (almost) new location. She’s very likable, and while in some circles being a reporter is a bad thing, she is portrayed as having pure and heartfelt motives behind her vocation. I liked the description and details of what this particular reporter’s daily working life was like and her role in the process of “feeding the monster.” The conflicts she encounters are understandable and natural, not contrived. I rooted for her success the entire book.

I enjoyed the setting of St. Louis and that it was somewhere other than New York or L.A. Debbie’s stories are set at various locations in that city’s changing landscape, and she gets involved with people at every level of the community. Some of the oldest families in St. Louis are (fictionally) portrayed, at both extremes of the social strata. The author drops in places and facts that were fun and interesting as well as references to some very current and still emotionally-charged events.

Finally, although there is no mention of this being the start of a new series, it certainly feels like one (and I certainly hope it is.) There are some developing storylines related to possible love interests, not only for Debbie but maybe for Beth as well, and I would like to see how they pan out. Readers will close the book on a couple of other lingering questions; however, they are not life-altering cliffhangers for the readers if this is Debbie’s solo voyage.

I recommend CRIME BEAT GIRL for mystery readers in general, those that would enjoy a reporter as a positive protagonist as the sleuth, and those that like a strong female lead.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from Reedsy Discovery.

See my original review on Reedsy Discovery!

Sunday, July 12, 2020

The Secret Santa Mystery (Highland Horse Whisperer, #0) by Roz Marshall

The Secret Santa Mystery (Highland Horse Whisperer, #0)The Secret Santa Mystery by Roz Marshall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

At the annual bank Christmas gathering, Izzy Paterson’s Secret Santa gift includes a cryptic riddle hinting that someone at Bleubank is siphoning off vast amounts of cash: enough cash to make a difference in Bleubank’s solvency. The next week at work, Izzy, the lead IT security analyst, gets the assignment to track down the high-tech thief.

What a great introduction to Izzy and other characters that play a significant role in the Highland Horse Whisperer series! The writing was excellent, the story flowed, and the characters came alive for me. The equestrian theme is interesting and maintains just the right balance with the mystery as not to overwhelm the reader. The mystery was solid, and its resolution really sets the stage for why Izzy and her friend, Trinity, are heading to new jobs at the actual start of the series. The series has a great backstory, and this is a very generous background prequel.

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Monday, July 06, 2020

Calliope (Calliope, #1) by Scott Mari

CalliopeCalliope by Scott Mari
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An exhilarating tech-forward tale of humanity overcoming alien invaders!

Calliope was just a child when the aliens invaded Earth, killing her parents and leaving her on her own to survive in the chaos and the breakdown of society in the aftermath. When she was eventually pulled in to the rebuilding safety after their departure, cleaned up and sent to school, an almost feral loner, she had an insatiable need to learn all she could to defeat the aliens if, and when, they returned.

A genius with at least three degrees under her belt, Calliope makes her way to the old Lunar Colony on the moon, now a remote science station devoted to advancing humanity’s defenses against future alien attack. Her optimism for what she can accomplish there is immediately challenged when she finds the station’s scientific culture laden with suspicion and ruthless dog-eat-dog ambition. The station’s big dog is Mattias, an arrogant and incompetent sycophant of the military representative, Admiral Sinchan, who hasn’t produced a single innovation to further operations in months, immediately sees Calliope as competition to crush and destroy.

Calliope’s determination is unwavering and she establishes her own working lab away from Mattias’ evil intentions, prying eyes, and blatant appropriation of her designs as his own. And once settled, she pulls out all the stops to design an attack spacecraft that is quick, lithe, nimble, and with innovative lasers for weapons while Mattias focuses on encumbering all available resources to produce the largest ship he can utilizing missile weaponry. Trading technology and creating partnerships with the other scientists and engineers sidelined by Mattias’ selfish manipulations, Calliope begins to come out of her lonely shell exercising social skills she’d forgotten she ever had, discovering she has deeper feelings for one man in particular.

While advancing her plans for capturing mineral-rich asteroids from the area around Jupiter, Calliope finds that the aliens are working on their own plans right there in the same asteroid belt. This alarming discovery puts everyone’s activities into overdrive as they desperately work to be ready for their imminent arrival. This time the humans want to surprise the aliens and catch them off-guard by attacking first. Unfortunately, they are betting on Mattias’ larger ships not realizing they are too big, too slow, too cumbersome, and inadequately armed with the same missile technology that failed against the aliens when they attacked Earth.

CALLIOPE is an exciting story of an orphaned underdog that pulls herself up by her bootstraps and powers through to success with sheer determination and strength of character. She’s naturally a loner, and although she starts out as an awkward and socially-stunted young woman, she eventually finds her center when she comes in contact with some decent coworkers that believe in her and her abilities.

She still has setbacks, though; the story has a couple of villains that see to that. Mattias, the lead scientist on the station, is arrogant, self-satisfied, and downright mean. I really wanted her to beat him as his own game.

The science station faces hardships and difficult problems throughout the story, and Calliope and the good people around her work to overcome them while burdened with the red tape and interference from above. But, the story is Calliope’s, and you can’t help but root for her as she meets each challenge head-on and, most of the time, alone. I liked that the character kept going and going – head down and nose to the grindstone. Something we can all relate to on some level: I know I did.

The story is heavily-laced with technical thinking, problem-solving, and activity, making this a great, hardcore SciFi tale. The author’s settings on the moon and asteroids were descriptive, had great variety, and I could easily visualize Calliope’s surroundings. However, my favorite part of the story is Calliope’s journey from her spacecraft to her asteroid command center and her self-talk through the aloneness, the fear, the danger, and the physical stresses. It was absolutely riveting!

And what kind of story would it be without some awesome space battles as well? These were exciting and desperate, very well written, and very fast-paced. I suddenly realized I was holding my breath as I read!

I recommend this book to readers that would like a tech-heavy SciFi tale with evil first-contacts and a strong female protagonist with an indomitable spirit.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from Reedsy Discovery.

See my original review on Reedsy Discovery!