A series opener with excellent worldbuilding but not enough of anything else.

EVERY SKY A GRAVE

Just as the human race has achieved a stable society that stretches from planet to planet, an elite government agency discovers the seeds of a growing revolution in the opening volume of Posey’s new series.

Long ago, humankind discovered that the key to conquering the universe was language. The Deep Language controls all of reality, and those who can speak it have immense power. An organization called the Ascendance is in charge of the agents who speak the Deep Language, but it works more like a religious group, with the Paragon at the top and her group of agents, called Advocates, following her lead. Elyth, one such Advocate, is tasked with destroying planets where the Deep Language has been compromised, which really means it’s her job to put down uprisings against the Ascendance. Using the Deep Language is akin to magic, in that Elyth knows the correct phrase to say in order to fast-track a planet’s natural death. The Paragon, pleased with Elyth’s work, sends her on a crucial mission to follow a strange speech pattern that shouldn’t exist, and at the end of the trail, Elyth finds a man who shouldn’t exist, either. The notion of language as the fabric of the universe is pretty clever and works well here because Posey goes to great lengths to keep the Deep Language scenes straightforward and easy to follow. But what does that matter when the stakes are so murky? It’s clear that the Ascendance is corrupt, but it’s unclear how, unclear why some people are revolting, unclear why any of this matters other than passing mentions of intergalactic travel and vague menace.

A series opener with excellent worldbuilding but not enough of anything else.

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982107-75-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Skybound Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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The perfect blend of sweet, sexy romance and a riveting, high-stakes survival story.

ICE PLANET BARBARIANS

From the Ice Planet Barbarians series , Vol. 1

A woman stolen by aliens crash-lands on an ice planet and finds love.

Dixon’s wildly popular series—it’s a fan favorite on TikTok and has a podcast dedicated to deconstructing each episode—is finally coming to print. In this first installment of the series, Georgie and at least a dozen other 22-year-old women are stolen from their homes on Earth by green aliens. Something goes wrong, and the aliens abandon their human cargo on an icy planet the women dub Not-Hoth. After engineering an escape plan, Georgie becomes their de facto leader. She bundles up and trudges out to find help and meets Vektal, a 7-foot blue alien and the leader of his tribe, the Sakh. His people have developed a symbiotic relationship with an organism called the khui, which allows the Sakh to survive the brutally cold temperatures of their home planet. Vektal’s people mate for life, but since there are very few women left, he has resigned himself to life without a partner. When he sees Georgie and his khui resonates, a physical response akin to purring, he knows she is destined to be his mate. Explorations of coercion, consent, and free will are woven throughout the story. Vektal’s unorthodox greeting shows that consent might operate differently in his world; but in the end, he learns that humans trapped in the worst of circumstances will still fight to control their own destinies. The book is fast-paced and sexy, but the major appeal might be Vektal. He is a romance main character stripped down to the core: desperate to find his partner and willing to do anything to keep her happy.

The perfect blend of sweet, sexy romance and a riveting, high-stakes survival story.

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-54602-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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Greed, love, and extrasensory abilities combine in two middling mysteries.

LABYRINTH

Coulter’s treasured FBI agents take on two cases marked by danger and personal involvement.

Dillon Savitch and his wife, Lacey Sherlock, have special abilities that have served them well in law enforcement (Paradox, 2018, etc.). But that doesn't prevent Sherlock’s car from hitting a running man after having been struck by a speeding SUV that runs a red light. The runner, though clearly injured, continues on his way and disappears. Not so the SUV driver, a security engineer for the Bexholt Group, which has ties to government agencies. Sherlock’s own concussion causes memory loss so severe that she doesn’t recognize Savitch or remember their son, Sean. The whole incident seems more suspicious when a blood test from the splatter of the man Sherlock hit reveals that he’s Justice Cummings, an analyst for the CIA. The agency’s refusal to cooperate makes Savitch certain that Bexholt is involved in a deep-laid plot. Meanwhile, Special Agent Griffin Hammersmith is visiting friends who run a cafe in the touristy Virginia town of Gaffers Ridge. Hammersmith, who has psychic abilities, is taken aback when he hears in his mind a woman’s cry for help. Reporter Carson DeSilva, who came to the area to interview a Nobel Prize winner, also has psychic abilities, and she overhears the thoughts of Rafer Bodine, a young man who has apparently kidnapped and possibly murdered three teenage girls. Unluckily, she blurts out her thoughts, and she’s snatched and tied up in a cellar by Bodine. Bodine may be a killer, but he’s also the nephew of the sheriff and the son of the local bigwig. So the sheriff arrests Hammersmith and refuses to accept his FBI credentials. Bodine's mother has psychic powers strong enough to kill, but she meets her match in Hammersmith, DeSilva, Savitch, and Sherlock.

Greed, love, and extrasensory abilities combine in two middling mysteries.

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-9365-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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