Lost Valyr (Project Enterprise #7) by Pauline Baird Jones – Review

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About Lost Valyr

She’s a scientist in the wrong galaxy. He’s an alien in the wrong century. Can their love reset a terrifying future?

Dr. Rachel Grant knows her way around the Garradian tech on the Kikk Outpost. But the technology she encounters in an alien medical lab stumps even her brilliant mind. With a little help from her scheming parrot sidekick, she manages to push the right buttons and transport them to an uncharted planet…where they find a recently defrosted alien, who heats up Rachel.

Valyr wasn’t going to warm up to the bright-eyed scientist anytime soon…not after she pried centuries of cryosleep from his cold fingers. But waking up in the wrong century is nothing compared to the robots targeting his still-frozen team. And their situation only gets worse when he discovers the spiderweb of destruction trailing in the robots’ wake. With their backs against the wall, Valyr is blown away by Rachel’s determined passion in the face of impossible odds… but they’ll need more than a chemical reaction to survive what is headed their way.

Lost Valyr is the seventh standalone book in the explosive Project Enterprise sci-fi romance series. If you like heart-pounding chemistry, ragtag bands of misfits, and action-packed space battles, then you’ll love Pauline Baird Jones’ rollicking romance.

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Review of Lost Valyr

I always enjoy meeting up with old friends from previous Project Enterprise encounters. Colonel Braedon Carey, Helfron Giddioni, Doc Clementine, Robert Clementine, Emily, and of course, Sir Rupert. Of them all, Doc was the very first Project Enterprise heroine that I met (yes, I read the books out of order), so she is an old friend. I can’t quite see why Rachel finds her so daunting but she does.

Almost immediately, Rachel gets herself into a situation that she is pretty sure Doc and the other brass are not going to be please about. The sitrep – transported off planet, by alien technology, to a medical lab containing a recently awakened-from-cryosleep man named Valyr. Sentient, talking parrot Sir Rupert is Rachel’s work companion and he has made the trip with her.

The transport, by all appearances, was merely an elevator. Alien technology. You gotta love it. I like how all these humans are trying to maintain a presence in a galaxy furnished with all the cool gadgets they don’t understand and, many of which are still being discovered (i.e. they have a lot of nerve). Wouldn’t that be a dream job though! What else are they going to find?

Sir Rupert, who was interesting in Time Trap, gets even more intriguing in Lost Valyr. His talents and goals are slowly revealed. In fact, he is the one that got the elevator to ‘work’. With a co-worker like Sir Rupert, things are going to get interesting. He also has a delightful sense of humor.

Next up are the robots. Are they good or bad? They attack outposts, looking for something and at the same time are pursued by Zaddek (more on Zaddek in a sec). And despite the robotness of their actions, some of their thoughts are a bit human-tinged. Some, not all. So what is their purpose? And where do they fall on the good-to-bad scale? I enjoyed this group of robots as characters and as major plot enhancers. But beware, they are on their way to the outpost where Rachel, Rupert and Valyr are hanging out.

If you don’t want to wonder if a character is good or bad, lets talk about Zaddek. So, a spider as a bad guy. Personally, I like spiders in my garden.  But up close, they are creepy looking.  No two ways about it, Zaddek is really bad! He has been known eat his own crew members. That has got to hamper his overall effectiveness as a captain. What if he eats the very person that can save the ship. Who would volunteer to crew for such a captain? No one. Can you say ‘shanghai’? But there is at least one crew member that is doing what she can to get the hell off the ship and in doing so, Savlf may do more than save herself. Zaddek and Savlf have a very unhealthy relationship. The trouble is Zaddek, like so many successful evil geniuses, is arrogant. Now, we all know that arrogance in the criminal mastermind is a fatal flaw. Zaddek’s arrogance prevents him from realizing just how unhealthy the relationship with Savlf is (mwah, ha, ha). I have to say, Zaddek is so evil, that knowing his weakness from the beginning, gave me hope for all the good guys.

Lets talk about the romance in the the room – Rachel and Valyr. Valyr doesn’t talk much. Rachel seems to make up for it. Though much of conversation is internal, they still seem to communicate well. Rachel thinks that because she is low ranking she won’t get to keep her ‘alien’ like Doc and others that were allowed to keep their odd and alien matchups. Does Valyr want to keep her? He has some unexplained mission, and might have other things to do.

By the end of the book, Rachel and Valyr do seem to have become a couple.  However, Valyr’s presence and purpose are not clearly defined. Readers of the series may link him with events that took place in a different part of the galaxy. Lost Valyr, more than most books in the series, hints at previous stories. Now, I am not saying you have to read the other stories. Lost Valyr is a fine story all on it’s own. If you have read the rest of the series, you will appreciate this one all that much more.

There is so much going on in Lost Valyr. Amazon says there are 337 pages. You need all those pages to cover all this ground. There is romance, aliens, cryosleep, the US Military in Garradian space, old friends from earlier books in the series, the Gadi, robots, Zaddek and his crew, and lest I forget to mention, there is Bangle, the helpful AI of the central outpost. Plus, Ms. Jones’ delightful brand of quirky humor enhances the overall reading experience. Read Lost Valyr. You will not be bored. However, you may be in danger of losing sleep.

The author provided a copy of her book so I could bring you my honest review.

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Meet Sir Rupert from Lost Valyr – Guest Post by Pauline Baird Jones – With Excerpt

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Regular WWMB readers know that I am a fan of the quirky humor that is abundant in the books of Pauline Baird Jones. But ever since the Pets in Space phenomenon, I am even more of a fan. So I asked Pauline if she would like to feature Sir Rupert today.

Nyssa Juneau – Artist

Guest Post by Pauline Baird Jones

I commit random acts of plotting, which results in random acts of writing. When I decided that my pet for Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 was going to be a parrot, I had no clue what role he or she would play in the story. Possibly because I had no clue what the story was going to be about. I knew one thing about the story.

I knew that Briggs, from The Key and Girl Gone Nova would be the hero.

Readers had been requesting a story about the gruff, older Sergeant Major who was almost as mysterious in many ways, as the Project Enterprise expedition.

Choosing Briggs as my hero created an almost insurmountable problem for me. He was currently stationed in a highly top secret location in another galaxy equipped with alien cloaking technology, so no one could ask for directions or get in very easily.

Not exactly the location for a coffee or dinner date.

Plus, for a short story, I needed the “meet” with the heroine to happen fast and for them to be relatively isolated from other sources of help.

And then something mystical happened. I “saw” my heroine and she had a parrot on her shoulder.

Why? Who was she? Where was she going?

I remembered a rebel time travel organization from Nebula Nine and suddenly I had a plot percolating inside my head for what was to become “Time Trap.” Eventually, the story spilled onto the page and I learned a lot about Sir Rupert, my parrot. But there was still a lot I didn’t know about him.

So when he strolled onto the scene in Lost Valyr, I was excited for round two with this sentient—and in my humble opinion—very funny parrot.

No surprise he added some challenges to the writing.

He’s a very strong personality.

He doesn’t just nudge, and occasionally shove, Rachel, he also made his presence in the plot known in some interesting and surprising ways.

He had some goals that weren’t always compatible with Rachel’s.

And, as we learned in “Time Trap,” he has some abilities that can be helpful—but also dangerous for him if they become widely known.

While Sir Rupert gets a partial resolution to his story in Lost Valyr, there are still threads that could be picked and explored. So I have a feeling that we will meet up with Sir Rupert again.

Here’s an excerpt featuring my wily avine:

“The ticking is bugging me. And the music helps me concentrate.”

The other brow rose. “Concentrate?” His expression asked how that was possible.

She grinned. “You have to feel the beat, get into the zone.” She started to move her upper torso to the beat of “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress.” Something she’d never be, but it had a great beat. She kept the moves subtle and then held her hands up, flexing the fingers. “Rock’n roll. You rock to it and the inspiration rolls.”

She turned to the console, laced her fingers and gave them a nice stretch, then dove in. The music changed to a mellow version of “Twist and Shout.”

“It feels less loud if you feel the beat,” Sir Rupert said, moving his head in time to the organ solo. Rachel gave him a thumbs up and noticed Valyr trying not to look incredulous. Though he wasn’t trying very hard. The edges of his mouth were twitching again. All the best heroes had a sense of humor, in her opinion. Not that he was a hero, well, he wasn’t her hero. He might even be her downfall when she presented him to Doc.

“It helps to move,” Sir Rupert told Valyr, adding a few hops to his routine.

Her gaze lifted just in time to meet Valyr’s—and a flicker of heat flared in the yummy brown depths. And then it was gone, and she wondered if she’d imagined it. Probably imagined it. Her sense of humor prompted her to tease him just a bit.

“Just a small shoulder shake?” She wriggled hers, sort of surprised at herself. Maybe it was the red shirt? When his brows arched and his shoulders didn’t, she gave him an impish smile.

His lips twitched again, which she took as a positive sign of…something. He crumpled the wrappers from her former lunch, stuffed them into the brown lunch bag and looked around for some place to put them. If there’d ever been trash cans in their room, there wasn’t now. He finally set the bag on the floor and drank the rest of the water, then set that bottle by the bag. It bothered him, which was curious. She filed it with all the other curious things about him. She should get to work, but her eyes stayed glued on him, even as her body kept time with the song.

He rubbed his temples, then with an interesting reluctance, looked at the Urclock. She couldn’t see his face, but there was a lot of tension in his super straight back. He lifted his hands, flexing them as if he wanted to do something with them, but wasn’t sure what. Her inner physician noticed that he was getting more flexible and his color was better. Nothing in their research indicated this swift of a recovery from cryo-stasis. His brows drew together in a scowl, and his hands curled into fists. So small at first, she wondered if she imagined it, his shoulders twitched. When they did again, right on the beat, she had to bite her lip to keep from laughing. The heart of rock and roll was hard to resist. She ticked the volume up just a little.

To her surprise, Sir Rupert began to sing along. He leaned his head toward hers and, well, it would have been rude to an important ally not to join in. Valyr swung around to stare at them as they—and their voices—rose in the final crescendo.

She grinned at his dropped jaw—which he snapped shut—and said, “We could take our act on the road.”

Sir Rupert lifted a claw for her fist bump. “Indeed.” He looked thoughtful. “One could make the case that we are on the road—and off-road.”

Rachel laughed. “And running into the ditch—” She met Valyr’s gaze and forgot what she was going to say. His head tipped to one side, and well, she didn’t know what his gaze said. Other than it curled her toes in her expedition issue boots. She was a genius, but also a girl. She’d observed attraction, both the good and the bad. She’d wondered what her type was. She had not expected it to be a thousand-year-old, recently defrosted alien.

About Lost Valyr

She’s a scientist in the wrong galaxy. He’s an alien in the wrong century. Can their love reset a terrifying future?

Dr. Rachel Grant knows her way around the Garradian tech on the Kikk Outpost. But the technology she encounters in an alien medical lab stumps even her brilliant mind. With a little help from her scheming parrot sidekick, she manages to push the right buttons and transport them to an uncharted planet…where they find a recently defrosted alien, who heats up Rachel.

Valyr wasn’t going to warm up to the bright-eyed scientist anytime soon…not after she pried centuries of cryosleep from his cold fingers. But waking up in the wrong century is nothing compared to the robots targeting his still-frozen team. And their situation only gets worse when he discovers the spiderweb of destruction trailing in the robots’ wake. With their backs against the wall, Valyr is blown away by Rachel’s determined passion in the face of impossible odds… but they’ll need more than a chemical reaction to survive what is headed their way.

Lost Valyr is the seventh standalone book in the explosive Project Enterprise sci-fi romance series. If you like heart-pounding chemistry, ragtag bands of misfits, and action-packed space battles, then you’ll love Pauline Baird Jones’ rollicking romance.

Buy Lost Valyr to defrost a fast-paced interstellar love story today!

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Links

Add Lost Valyr to your Goodreads shelf:

Pre-Order Lost Valyr:

Amazon          Ibooks          Kobo
B&N          Google

Purchase Time Trap from Pauline’s website:

Purchase other books in the Project Enterprise series:

 Purchase Nebula Nine:

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About the Author

USA Today Bestselling author Pauline Baird Jones never liked reality, so she writes books. She likes to wander among the genres, rampaging like Godzilla, because she does love peril mixed in her romance.

Find Pauline at:

Website: http://www.paulinebjones.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPaulineBairdJones/
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Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Pauline-Baird-Jones/e/B000APFS0M/
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Youtube (Dead Author Live Videos): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC246_a-liiXa_Y_uRlSQZgQ

Aftermath: Hathe Book Three by Mary Brock Jones – Feature with Excerpt and Giveaway

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Recently, Mary Brock Jones contacted me and wanted to know if I would like to review her new book in the Hathe series – Aftermath. I really would, but I have a long list of other books to review. But here’s the thing. I had already purchased books 1 and 2 of the series. I hadn’t read them yet, but there they were, waiting for me on my Kindle!

So I took that as a sign that I must to read the series!  Actually, it was very easy to convince myself.  🙂  So, yes, there will be a review of Aftermath later this summer.

Surely I am not the only one who has a few unread books on their e-reader? Are you collecting a series before diving in? Can’t resist the Bookbub deals? Are new releases impossible to ignore? Lately, have you read a gem that you forgot you had? Comment at the end of this post.  Feel free to comment on other subjects too, like maybe about the new book Hathe!.  On Monday at 7:00am Iowa time, I will draw two random winners who will receive a box set of Toil and Strife: Hathe Book One and Two. Thanks to Mary Brock Jones who has kindly provided these books!

Now, enjoy reading about the latest book in the Hathe series – Aftermath.

About Aftermath

War or Peace. It doesn’t matter. There is always an enemy.

Jacquel des Trurains, acclaimed hero of the resistance, has been charged with overseeing the restoration of Hathe after the Terran occupation.

But it won’t be easy. Years of oppression have left their mark on every dirtsider who stayed behind. And what of the Hathians who fled to the moon? The greed of a few for the sparkling jewel of the colonial worlds could destroy everything when they return.

So, Jacquel’s bosses decide he needs some help, and they send him Rheia asn Postrova. Rheia spent the war embroiled in twisted diplomatic games to protect the secrets of Hathe from the Terrans. Now she’s been sent to teach a stubborn man how to play nice with his fellow Hathians.

Together, they must find a way to heal their home.

But Rheia has secrets of her own, and Jacquel soon discovers that diplomacy is just a subtler war with a wiser enemy.

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Excerpt from Aftermath

Prologue

Jacquel des Trurains brought his flyer down in the courtyard of his home. He had raced down those steps and climbed that far wall, played in this courtyard with his friends. Childhood memories, lost in some half-remembered time before the war. He peered through his viz screen, trying to make the past match the present, but failed.

Whatever it was that had made this place home no longer lived here. Gone, waiting to be restored like everything else on Hathe.
What did he expect? Five years of abandonment. Five years living under Terran rule since any had set foot here. The fake radiation signals had kept the Terrans out of the City, but not even Resistance tricks could stop the erosions of time.

“Let me go in first,” he’d told his superior. “The parents don’t need to see the worst of it.”

“Do you?”

“No, but better than some unknown cleaning crew.”

Now, Jacquel wasn’t so sure. He opened the flyer’s hatch but couldn’t move. Not yet.

Weeds grew through the pavers, a wild vine sprawled over the upper colonnade roof and the air was filled with the skittering sounds of small animals frightened by his flyer, while a drunken mass of greenery over the entrance door warned of a buzzers’ nest.

At last, something he could fix. He threw himself down the steps, grabbed a broken bract from the hanging creepers and knocked down the old nest.

“My home now,” he said to the abandoned greenery. “My home.”

If he repeated it often enough, he might just believe it.

Up the steps and slam a hand against the door control on the massive front doors. A sickening pause, as if the house system needed to be shocked into life again, then the door opened to his palm print, still swinging smoothly on command. Inside was almost as he remembered, but overlaid with the stale whiff of emptiness. He coughed as a cloud of dust hit his face, scuffed up by his first step in the door. His step-mama was due to arrive in two days, back from her refuge on Mathe. She mustn’t see this. He called up central control and ordered a crew of cleaning bots.

“Please complete details of work required,” said the automated form.

“I’ve only just walked in the door.”

“Full analysis of most urgent work required before the order can be processed.”

Stupid anachronism. “Fine then. I’ll get back to you.”

He kicked at the rug, releasing another cloud of dust, then turned and flung wide the big doors, the front reception windows, any window within reach, letting in the sun and free air of Hathe.

“Make it better.”

There was a falafaux flowering in the garden and the faint scent of it whispered through the windows. He drew in a deep breath of the outside air and, for the first time, began to feel at home.

“Right. No point putting it off,” he said, his voice battering against the answering silence of the house.

He was a professional. This was a mission, a job that must be completed and in proper order. He made himself look at walls and structures, scanning and recording physical details, rather than memories and heartaches.

The main house systems had kept working throughout the long silence. There was dust, stale air, but no damage or water entry, no signs in here of the wildlife living in the garden. He checked each room, counting down his list. Reception rooms, main hall, living and dining areas, the great kitchen, staff quarters, his parents’ bedroom and offices. The staff quarters and kitchen would need to be restored before he let Manny, their old housekeeper, see them again. She would either read him a huge lecture or burst into tears, and neither could he bear.

Lastly, he came to a door at the end of a hallway. His own quarters. He stopped, laid a hand on the familiar whorls etched into the surface, then palmed the lock and pushed the door open. He could do this.

The outer room looked as if he’d just left. An antique book of poetry lay open beside his favorite chair, a sweater draped carelessly over the back of it, and his collection of book cubes on Alliance history sprawled untidily over the shelves above his desk. A drawer sat partly open and a broken stylus hung drunkenly over the lip. The room of a history student, forced to leave hurriedly.

He’d thought himself so clever when he’d put together the montage. He pushed open the bedroom door and saw the same carefully contrived scenario, untouched since the day he’d left. He pulled the bed covering straight, lined up the rare Antoni light on the bedside table with its opposite on the far side and set all to rights in the carefully ordered tidiness that he preferred in his private rooms. Only when the last piece was resting in its proper place did he approach the painting on the far wall. An interactive collage by asn Lucino, so expensive that surely even the Terrans would leave it untouched if they braved the radiation signals protecting this place. His fingers traced a whirl in the upper left corner, pushed a flower just so, then tapped on the lower frame panel. Beside it, a space appeared in the wall. A small cavity no wider than a hand’s breadth.

He pulled out the pack of info slivers and cubes and counted each one. All present; all still there. His personal files, research notes, and the cube of precious holo-vids. His family, his first day at school, a holiday on Phoebus. Then he reached right to the back, and his hand clenched tight around one more cube. He pulled it out and set it on the table beside his bed. Then touched it and stood back as the holo-image sprang to life.

Three figures, caught forever in perfect miniature. Two young men and a woman, standing on a hilltop in an eerie half-light. He and his two best friends, Bendin and Marthe asn Castre, on the night of their graduation, the miniature faces alive with the excitement and expectation of that day.

Bendin was at the front as always, big, strong and tall with shoulders already showing the promise of size to come. Head high and filled with the magic of his personality. Jacquel looked at his own figure, slightly back and to one side. Sun and moon, they’d been dubbed by the public, thanks mostly to Bendin’s golden hair and his own silver gilt. Bendin, the laughing golden god of them all, and Jacquel, the slimmer echo at his side. But not sad, never that. He was laughing in this holo-pic; they all were. His figure looked across at his friends, and he saw exasperation mingling in with the laughter. That wasn’t unusual in those days either.

Between them stood Marthe—so tiny, so vital, her dark hair touched with a shimmer of sunlight and wearing a smile that sat halfway between anger and glee. Now he understood the look on his figure’s face: he’d been caught in another of the asn Castre twins’ feuds. Something about a banged foot and Bendin teasing Marthe; but also a protective hand Bendin had shot out to his twin and the strength in the arm that pulled her up to the final summit.

Where were they now, those bright youths of yesterday? Those three laughing faces?

Jacquel couldn’t stop the twist of his mouth. Not here, and no longer laughing. Bendin’s grave lay far from here, a hasty wartime resting place. Plans were in place to rebury him with full honors in the memorial avenue of the main city cemetery. As for Marthe? Heartsick and hiding, her doctors and family all desperately trying to get her to fight back. Fight for her own life and that of her half-Terran child.

Only he had survived unscathed.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered to Bendin, and to all the other bright-eyed youths who could not come home. “I couldn’t protect her, and I couldn’t save you…but I did protect Hathe. We won our freedom back. Isn’t that enough?”

Suddenly the images were too much. He crashed the cube and slammed the holo to the floor. The three youthful images sprawled on the mat, lying drunkenly to one side.

Still they laughed up at him.

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Links

Add books in the Hathe series to your Goodreads shelf:

Purchase Hathe:

AMAZON US          AMAZON UK          AMAZON CA

AMAZON AU          APPLE          KOBO

NOOK          OTHER

Hathe Book One and Two now available in a box set for all major ebook retailers. Marthe and Hamon’s story, complete in one volume.

 

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About the Author

Mary Brock Jones lives in Auckland, New Zealand but loves nothing more than to escape into the other worlds in her head, writing science fiction and historical romances. Sedate office worker by day; frantic scribbler by night.

Her parents introduced her to libraries and gave her a farm to play on, where trees became rocket ships and rocky outcrops were ancient fortresses. She grew up writing, filling pages of notebooks and filling her head with stories but took a number of detours on the pathway to her dream job. Four grown sons, more than one house renovated and various jobs later, her wish came true.

You can find Mary here:

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See all my books at: https://www.books2read.com/ap/xKEN3n/Mary-Brock-Jones