Thursday, April 25, 2019

Shape of Secrets Review Tour

Seven year old Zane vowed to become a superhero. As a child too smart to fit in, he studied chameleons and muscle groups to learn to alter his appearance.

Now Zane is starting his first job at Penthes Pharmaceuticals, where he finds layers of corporate secrets and learns that knowledge is dangerous. Good thing he excels at blending in.

Once upper management discovers him, life gets more complicated. A sales trip to the South Pacific leaves Zane dealing with an unsolved murder, an unsavory boot camp manager, and new friends with abilities as surprising as his own and with problems far worse.

Zane wants to help them all. First, however, he has a few work-related issues to handle. Someone at Penthes will kill to protect mysteries the company has worked so hard to keep hidden. He has to figure out who, and then use his unique talents to stay alive.

As one boy came close to the bushes where he hid, Zane saw his own bare foot sticking out over the orange-brown soil. He dare not move it, so he thought hard about his foot and tried to flatten it tight against the ground.

The skin on his foot had started to burn and itch, and an alarmed Zane saw his foot was blushing. At least, it had turned an orange brown that mimicked the dirt. It had been his first inkling he could do more than make his body's shape twist and warp. Zane watched his orange brown foot in fascination while the neighbor boy ran by.

Every so often after that, Zane's skin would surprise him in the same way his muscles did. He could feel a color change coming, but didn't know how to control it. He figured he needed a wise teacher, like Balthazar.

"Can I learn to do that when I want to, wise one?" he asked his chameleon. He tried to make the feeling he felt when his skin did this. He concentrated hard on his arm. At first nothing happened. Then, yes. He felt the feeling. He made the feeling. His skin went from its normal color to a tan orange.

"You and I are going to be great friends," Zane told Balthazar as his grin widened. "You can teach me ways to fight bullies and you'll be the only one who knows what I can do."

My Review:
4 stars

After reviewing the first and last book in the series, this time it’s on to book 3. As a note, while this is book 2 in the series, it’s not a direct sequel, more like a companion novel set in the same universe. I would definitely recommend reading the entire series in order though since there are people and events here that do come up later in the series.

As I’ve said before, I love the amount of research this author puts into her books. The worlds and backstories she builds come to life because of it, and I learn something new every time I read one of her books.

I also loved the characters. This book is focused on multiple storylines and characters, and the mystery is how they all fit together. Plus, then there’s the actual mystery plot, which once it started going, kept me on the edge of my seat.

Which bring me to the main downside again: the pacing. The book was slow to start, and with all the different storylines and characters, there was a lot going on, which made it hard to focus at times. Some judicious editing and cutting down on content would have helped the story flow more smoothly.

All in all, I’m still enjoying this series, and recommend it to sci-fi fans or anyone looking for something different.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

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Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour.

Author Bio and Links:
Sherrie Roth grew up in Western Kansas thinking there was no place in the universe more fascinating than outer space. After her mother vetoed astronaut as a career ambition, she went on to study journalism and physics in hopes of becoming a science writer.

She published her first science fiction short story long ago, and then waited a lot of tables while she looked for inspiration for the next story. When it finally came,  it declared to her it had to be a whole book, nothing less. One night, while digesting this disturbing piece of news, she drank way too many shots of ouzo with her boyfriend. She woke up thirty-one years later demanding to know what was going on.

The boyfriend, who she had apparently long since married, asked her to calm down and  explained how, in a fit of practicality, she had gone back to school and gotten a degree in geophysics and spent the last 28 years interpreting seismic data in the oil industry. The good news, according to Mr. Cronin, was that she had found it to be entertaining and ridiculously well-paying. The bad news was the two of them had still managed to spend almost all of the money.
She was now Mrs. Cronin, and further good news was that they had produced three wonderful children whom they loved, even though, to be honest, that was where a lot of the money had gone. Even better news was that Mr. Cronin turned out to be a warm-hearted, encouraging sort who was happy to see her awake and ready to write. "It's about time," were his exact words.

Sherrie Cronin discovered that over the ensuing decades Sally Ride had already managed to become the first woman in space and apparently had done a fine job of it. No one, however, had written the book that had been in Sherrie's head for decades. The only problem was, the book informed her it had now grown into a six book collection. Sherrie decided she better start writing it before it got any longer. She's been wide awake ever since, and writing away.

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  1. Thanks for hosting me. I appreciate the review and being featured on your blog! (Because some people do like to read this collection in order, please let me mention that Shape of Secrets is actually the second novel in the collection.)
    A question for those who comment: Are you more likely to pick up a book if it's labeled as fantasy or as science fiction? As someone who writes books that fall somewhere in-between, I'd love to know!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Rita. Good to see you here again. I appreciate getting comments! Good luck in the giveaway.