Bonus Book Review Saturday is up, and it's time for a bit of romance--mixed in with plenty of sci-fi and weirdness, of course!
Heart of Desire
You heard nothing happened on December 21, 2012, right?
Here's where the cosmic shift began:
Tess Vaughn’s deepest desire is to give up romance and live a quiet life in rural Arizona. But when the former investigative journalist jogs into the arms of married presidential candidate Senator Harris Cantrell Henry, she finds trouble galore. Tess finds herself pregnant when she calls an end to the trysts. Her daughter Mikka’s paternity and precocious talents are secrets she knows she must keep.
On 11.11.2011, the hyped pre-2012 window of positive opportunity, President Henry announces his intention to engage the United States in the international fight against global warming. But his deepest desire to provide full disclosure of his contact with extraterrestrials remains an uneasy secret. When President Henry disappears, Tess’s fears for Mikka’s safety mount.
My Review: 4.5 Stars
While not a romance reader AT ALL, I found myself enjoying this book immensely. It wasn't for the romance side of things, but it was for the complexity of the story.
The author seems to have a VERY firm grasp on politics, and has created characters that are surprisingly easy to relate to. From the main characters (Tess and President Henry) to the supporting characters (Paul, the Updikes, etc.), all of the people in this book seem like down-to-earth, realistic characters. No cardboard cutout characters here!
The writing is very strong for the most part, though there are a few spots where it weakens a bit. If Dan Brown, Danielle Steele, and John Grisham wrote a book together, this would be it.
The science fiction side of the book is actually surprisingly realistic, and very little of it sounds "made up". It seems to be a very well-researched book, with a lot of different layers.
Half-way through the book, the president seems to suddenly change personalities, a switch I found a bit jarring. There is a lot of religion in the book (Christianity, New Age, and more), which I found a bit off-putting considering how important religion was in this sci-fi book. The ending is a bit trippy for my tastes, but overall the book was pretty darn good!
Here's a Taste:
Huge, bulging black eyes floated toward President Harris Cantrell Henry and hovered inches from his face. He swiveled his neck to look away. Somehow those eyes rotated his aching head back from the blank wall and locked onto his eyes with magnetic ferocity.
Henry made another conscious effort to glance away. Beads of sweat sprouted from his forehead and cheekbones, but his gaze snapped right back to those terrible eyes.
You won’t remember this.
A chill shot through his spine. Someone was talking to him inside his own friggin’ head again. Those damned shape-shifting lizard reviewers who’d visited him some months before on Air Force One?
You will not remember anything.
The hair on the back of his neck pricked up. His second experience with telepathy, and it still jolted the shit out of him.
Like hell, he thought. I remember those lizards and I’m damn well gonna remember you.
Henry’s guts turned watery when he tried to focus through the haze. He could barely make out a single form bent over him, a narrow, gray face and exceptionally large almond-shaped black eyes. A peculiar iridescent glow emanated from them at particular angles, like large insect eyes caught in the sun.
If he’d been prone to religious fervor, he’d think he’d gazed into the eyes of God or the Devil. He stared into them again, suspecting what he’d heard was true, that ET abductees described those big black eyes as goggles or covers that protected vulnerable eyes. Still, they glowed hypnotically with life and purpose.
Henry’s heart almost burst from his chest when he tried to move again, pushing against the sticky sensation, like swimming upstream in molasses. Sleep paralysis? He’d awakened thinking he’d fallen asleep in the back seat of a limo, nested in soft leather, cozy and womb-like, but found himself strapped to this narrow, metal platform suspended at the edge of a drab, semicircular room.
Henry closed his eyes and tried to recall the sequence of events that brought him here. He remembered striding down a White House hallway, his mind churning out mental “to-dos” for his afternoon meetings.
The creature somehow forced his eyes open and recaptured his gaze, making him irresistibly sleepy again. He felt like a goofy cartoon character with eyelids propped open by sticks. All he could see for the next few minutes was a play of light and shadows caused by the twitch of his eyelids. When he finally managed to raise one eyelid to half-mast, figures swam above him as if he were peering through thick, frosted glass.
He found that if didn’t try to force his will on the situation, his surroundings came into clearer focus. At least he didn’t hurt, well, everything except his neck and head hurt, but he’d had chronic headaches for months. As he thought this, his entire body throbbed subtly with a massage-like undulation and he began to feel pretty good.
A pale hand with four spidery digits rose beside an oversized head positioned near Henry’s feet. The creature held a short wand of metal or shiny plastic with a globular end on top. Henry squinted at the variety of shimmery colors moving like northern lights inside the globe, but everything else still looked swimmy. Watching the changing flow of light soothed him. He began to like his placid, motionless position—how long had it been since he vegged out in comfort like this?
The creature continued to channel superfluous telepathic commands. Superfluous, because Henry found he involuntarily responded to the wand’s glow. The simultaneous telepathic commands made by the creature seemed unnecessary. Perhaps it thought humans felt more comfortable when addressed in their native tongue. It sounded contrived and mechanical, more like a computerized voice than anything real.
Without warning, the little bastard jerked him right out of his reverie. Holograms somehow appeared in the small space between the table he reclined on and the one nearby. Various three-dimensional scenes began to unfold in front of him. Assaulted by images of a dying Earth, the creature seemed to be accusing him of destroying the fragile planet through his complicity as a world leader. He puzzled over that for a moment, realizing he’d been told not to interfere with climate change.
He tried to shout, to stop the devilish picture show, but the creature just cocked its head as though showing deep interest. He wondered if the being projected this perception, because it had little facial musculature capable of expressing emotion and seemed to convey its curiosity telepathically.
The creature proceeded to turn up the emotional heat and observed his agony like a scientist observing wildlife. Worse, he thought, like a scat researcher probing an animal dropping.
The holographic images took on a personal note. He watched his wife and children starving, wasting to skin and bones until disease finally took them. Healthy friends and acquaintances dissolved like wraiths, ravaged by exotic diseases. Millions of people burned alive, screaming to ash in huge fires spewing across continents. He tried to close his eyes, to block his mind, rationalizing the visions as a test of his compassionate reaction to a possible future reality. His gut surged, knowing this path probable if greed and technology continued to outpace spiritual awareness. Suddenly he felt enraged by the creature’s manipulation and grieved by the solemn truth. Anger gave him the impetus to flex the muscles of his neck. His head wobbled from side to side.
The creature cocked his head in interest again. You are uncomfortable?
Henry tried his damndest to keep his mind blank. Hell yes, he sputtered, glaring up at those eyes with murder in his heart.
About the Author:
Kate Robinson began writing bad poetry in Des Moines, Iowa and continued to hone her writing chops in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, Wales, and Kenya, which serves her well as chief wordwhacker at Starstone Lit Services near Los Angeles. She is most interested in the appearance of the extraordinary in ordinary daily life and tries always to dance with paradox and absurdity.
Find the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Desire-11-11-11-Kate-Robinson/dp/1500402281
Or Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/154178.Kate_Robinson
Kate likes to hang out on her two blogs: http://katerwriter.tripod.com
You can connect with her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heartofdesire11.11.11Redux
Or Twitter: https://twitter.com/katerwriter