Lenni Reviews: "Pathogen" by Jessica L. Webb

 

*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is recommended 18+

In this second entry into the Kate Morrison Mystery Series, Dr. Morrison is tapped to solve a mystery surrounding a deadly viral outbreak in a rich little town called Hidden Valley. Working with her girlfriend; Sargent Andy Wyles, Kate scrambles to simultaneously treat her patients, find out how to stop the virus, deal with demanding rich people, and navigate her new relationship with Andy.

This is not the type of book I usually pick up as medical thrillers just aren't my thing but this time I wanted to step out of my comfort zone. I found the collection of smart, capable people to be a relief. There are ill meaning characters and a pretty annoying bully but nobody working to solve this problem is grossly incompetent. Sometimes a stupid character will be used for plot purposes but not here.

Andy and Kate are a true power couple; quick thinking, intuitive, and well-developed but I do feel I would have needed to read the first book to get the full impact of what happens between them. This is especially evident in the ending (which I will not spoil) where the combined events and stresses of both books impact the ending. And as this is an LGBT novel, there is a little smut but the soul of this book is the medical mystery. It may not be my usual fare but I enjoyed it nonetheless. 3.5 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: "Fenced-In Felix" by Cheyenne Blue

*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated for 18+

Felix Jameson has been working on turning her family's land into a hospitality business including cabins, campgrounds, and trail rides with her own horses. As she's doing errands and distributing some promotional materials around her small Australian town, she meets Josie, a drifter currently bar tending at the local watering hole. Felix tries to avoid getting involved but Josie also needs a place to board her horse; Flame. But Flame looks eerily like a recently stolen racehorse, leading Felix to wonder what this woman she has fallen for may be involved in.

This book is in a series called "Girl Meets Girl" but it functions perfectly fine as a standalone story.

I got a real good sense of the Australian outback and Felix and Josie as characters. I love how the mystery surrounding the horses moves their relationship and while that initial event brings them together; it follows along with them in a very real way. As the mystery deepens, so does Felix and Josie's connection. It's also comforting for everything to be wrapped up in a realistic way so we avoid an unrealistically neat ending.

If I were to nitpick, I would say that the ending needed an epilogue for some of the unanswered questions as to the fate of the horse after the investigation (I am trying to avoid spoilers). Also, it kinda bugged me in the beginning when Felix kept saying Josie wasn't beautiful. And I don't mean "she wasn't beautiful; she was - insert descriptive term like 'compelling'-". It it was just eh, not pretty. Ok then, what are you attracted to? Just her butt? I got over it but it raised my eyebrow... Overall? 4 out of 5. A very sweet and saucy lesbian romance.

Lenni Reviews: "Counting to Zero" by A. J. Quinn

*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

The NSA orders Dr. Emma Thorpe to put together a team of hackers - off the books - in order to help the US government fight cyber terrorism. One of the people tapped is Paxton James, currently in an Indonesian jail because she was set up for a crime she didn't commit. Paxton is willing to deal as long as it gets her out of jail and it doesn't hurt that Emma is hot. But trust won't come easy to the betrayed Pax or the hardened agent Thorpe and they must learn to deal with their mounting attraction and fight a cyber criminal with ties to Pax's criminal past.

If you like your romances a little slow, this is a good example of the main couple having an instant attraction but not the insta-love so many romance novels tend to use as a trope. The situation these characters are in gives them some real issues to deal with so the real focus of this novel is the cyber crime. Quinn has created some smart, interesting, and fun characters who are a pleasure to get to know but somehow, it all comes off a little rushed. Granted, they're chasing a cyber-criminal trying to kill people so it's not like they have time to sit around and have tea to discuss their feelings. There is enough here to enjoy a quick, romantic thriller with some strong female characters. If I had one real gripe, it's that Pax must be part terminator because every ten seconds she's getting injured and recovers unrealistically fast. 3.8 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: "Pathfinder: Exodus Book Two" by Gun Brooke

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In the wake of utter chaos on their home planet, the Oconodians are fleeing their world on a massive ship called Pathfinder. Due to riots caused by Changers; people who have developed various sorts of powers, this ship will take them on a long journey to a new world. Chief engineer and seasoned soldier Adina Vantressa has the responsibility of keeping all two million people aboard safe by overseeing the proper functions of all the systems keeping them alive. One of those millions is Briar Lindemay; a nurse who, along with her sister Caya, have boarded the ship in search for a better life. Briar joins the expedition as a nurse but also is hiding the fact that her sister is in fact a changer and Briar has illegally boarded the ship to protect her young sister from the violence at home. Thrown together by an obvious sabotage attempt, Adina and Briar become fast friends with a chance at something more. But the same sabotage that brought them together was not the first and with Caya's ability to see visions increasing in strength, Briar is forced to decide if her budding romance is worth risking her sister's safety or Adina's life as well.

The science fiction elements to this story are spot on and very interesting. This novel starts off running and doesn't stop for very long; even when the main characters are trying to get to know each other. What is gratifying about this book is since the situation is so dire, every character has no other choice but to be strong. Male or female; every character is a professional trying to ensure the survival of millions of people during a major interplanetary evacuation and resettlement so nobody is whining here. I know readers are sometimes on the lookout for strong female characters in particular and Brooke gives us an excellent balance of capable people where gender isn't important.

As for the romance, if you're looking for some steamy trash, this isn't the place. In  my opinion, this is a science fiction novel with romantic elements and a couple of steamy scenes here and there. And I mean mature rating steamy, so don't be shocked by some woman on woman sexytimes.

Coming into this series on book 2 makes it so I cannot comment on how this book relates to the first but Pathfinder does end with the promise of more. But since the romance was so secondary in my opinion, I would love to see more about how these adrift settlers manage when they get to their destination. This is not to say that the romance is not executed well, it's just the story surrounding it was very cool. Briar and Adina are a cute couple and your root for them to come through the chaos around them. Kudos so you, Brooke! I look forward to book 3.