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Review by Riley.

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About Perfect Gravity

Second in a snarky, sexy sci-fi romance series with the perfect balance of humor, heart, and heat. When someone tries to kill powerful continental senator Angela Neko, Texan outlaw and old flame Kellen Hockley is the only man who can keep her safe…and help her save the world.

Kellen Hockley usually keeps quiet about his past, but once upon a time he loved a girl named Angela. He hasn’t seen her in a decade, but now he has to break the news to her that his team of rogue treasure hunters accidentally killed her husband. He’s had better days…

It’s not the news that’s delivered to Angela Neko that breaks her apart—it’s the rumbly, Texas drawl delivering it. She can’t believe she’s hearing Kellen’s voice again. But there’s no time for distractions. When Angela’s own life is threatened, yielding up all of her lies and secrets, she and Kellen must figure out how to reverse the geopolitical firestorm she lit to save the world, to save Kellen’s cat…and just maybe to save each other.

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Review of Perfect Gravity

Perfect Gravity is the second in Vivian Jackson’s series that starts with Wanted and Wired. I’m not really sure what the series title is. Goodreads says it is Tether. Amazon says it is Wanted and Wired. It doesn’t really matter. Both books are set in the same world with the same set of characters. Both books are complete stories that stand alone.

Vivian Jackson can really write a nice sentence. A lot of nice sentences. And then string them together to make a story that is one of the best investments in time that I have made this year. I love her writing as much as her ability to tell a tale.

Jackson’s writing is kind of unprose-esque, where ‘prose’ is defined as ordinary, everyday way of speaking. While I might think it would be cool to think and to talk the way she writes, in truth, I do not, nor do I know anyone who does. Nevertheless, it is colorful, eye-catching, whoa-stop wordsmithing and frankly, I am jealous. Here are some of my favorites:

He had a terrible voice, composed entirely of flats and sharps. But holy fuckturtle was he pretty.

And the core Kellen was more compassionate than eleven-tenths of the human population.

He was smitten. Incurably so. Probably had never gotten himself fully unsmut…

Most of us say ‘sharps and flats’. Leave it to Ms. Jackson to turn things around to get my attention. That ‘flats and sharps’ line was in the prologue, so as soon as I started the book, I knew I was in for some fun stuff. Here are a few more phrases I appreciated:

“brain-screamingly”
“creepifying blue-bloodery”
“Schrödinger-esque uncertainty”

I’m not sure which I appreciated more – the writing or the story. If I am honest, sometimes I got so caught up in the writing that it got in the way of me just sitting back and enjoying the story. Not too much though.

Leaving behind my admiration of the writing, I’ll move on to the story and characters. Non-stop action comes to mind. Also, heat-fueled emotion. Very emotional. In a good way.

Angela is an alpha heroine. As a long time politician, she is accustomed to taking charge, making decisions and expecting others to follow. She is a strong, intelligent woman.

On the surface, Kellen may appear to be beta, supportive and taking his cues from Angela. But in his own animal-filled world, he is the supreme commander because of his utmost respect for the animals. With people, again, his respect for others enables him to intuit when to take charge and when to allow others to lead. I think I fell for Kellen, more than I have for any other heroes I’ve read about lately.

Kellen and Angela have a past. They met, fell in love, and moved on when they got older and personal goals got in the way of their relationship. That is the short version. It is, of course, much more complex and you will see the story told through flashbacks and remembrances. When they reunite in the present time-line of the story, the past will be both a blessing and a hindrance. I could tell, they were still in love. But they also had the same personal goals that would get in the way. Kellen and Angela will need to figure each other out for the relationship to grow into something sustainable, and to achieve perfect gravity.

Perfect Gravity has politics, war, ethics, social change, romance, animal rescue, people rescue, good cyborgs, bad cyborgs, and lots and lots of tech. And a cat. I must not forget to mention Zoink. Zoink is a cat, cybernetically altered to be a sort of communications officer, translating between humans and animals. Zoink’s speech is a bit formal, but she gets her point across. “Lucky cat says sum of luck is proportional to number of belly rubs sustained,……More rubbing is urgently required.” Despite Zoink’s high-tech-edness, Zoink is still a cat that purrs, rubs against people and has her favorite humans. Zoink is one cool cat!

Ms. Jackson must be a scifi/fantasy geek. I felt the influence of Firefly and The Princess Bride, and there was at least one direct Dune reference. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more classics, directly or indirectly referenced, that I did not notice.

At the end of Perfect Gravity, it is hard to tell where things will head next in this series. But there are other characters whose stories might yet be told. For one thing, the space station that played a role in Wanted and Wired has gone dark. What happened to it and the queen that ran it? Then there is fae-light Marie, quirky, cheerful, and yet, with the ability to be ruthless when needed. And finally, Garrett with his alien conspiracy theories. I kind of like the idea of introducing aliens to this world, just when they don’t need any more complications.

Five stars for Perfect Gravity – I love this series!

Through Netgalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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