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The Mandala Maneuver

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Alexa Craig is well aware she’s known as “The Ice Queen” -- and not out of admiration -- but her reputation has served her well in her diplomatic career. Alien ambassador Lirzhan understands his people are viewed with suspicion and curiosity by the members of the Gaian Consortium, but the Zhore do not casually reveal themselves to outsiders -- not even to someone as intrig Alexa Craig is well aware she’s known as “The Ice Queen” -- and not out of admiration -- but her reputation has served her well in her diplomatic career. Alien ambassador Lirzhan understands his people are viewed with suspicion and curiosity by the members of the Gaian Consortium, but the Zhore do not casually reveal themselves to outsiders -- not even to someone as intriguing as Alexa Craig. But after their ship is attacked during a routine flight, the two strangers must rely on each other to survive on the supposedly uninhabited world where their escape pod has crashed. When Alexa and Lirzhan discover the secret hidden behind Mandala’s wild beauty, they must put duty before desire and risk everything to warn the Galactic Council of a conspiracy that could endanger their lives, their worlds, and the future they have begun to imagine together.

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Alexa Craig is well aware she’s known as “The Ice Queen” -- and not out of admiration -- but her reputation has served her well in her diplomatic career. Alien ambassador Lirzhan understands his people are viewed with suspicion and curiosity by the members of the Gaian Consortium, but the Zhore do not casually reveal themselves to outsiders -- not even to someone as intrig Alexa Craig is well aware she’s known as “The Ice Queen” -- and not out of admiration -- but her reputation has served her well in her diplomatic career. Alien ambassador Lirzhan understands his people are viewed with suspicion and curiosity by the members of the Gaian Consortium, but the Zhore do not casually reveal themselves to outsiders -- not even to someone as intriguing as Alexa Craig. But after their ship is attacked during a routine flight, the two strangers must rely on each other to survive on the supposedly uninhabited world where their escape pod has crashed. When Alexa and Lirzhan discover the secret hidden behind Mandala’s wild beauty, they must put duty before desire and risk everything to warn the Galactic Council of a conspiracy that could endanger their lives, their worlds, and the future they have begun to imagine together.

30 review for The Mandala Maneuver

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cheesecake

    I enjoyed this one but felt like it could have been 'more'. There's POV from both MCs. If you are familiar with this universe, you know the Zhore are always cloaked so that you can't even tell for sure if they are humanoid. (view spoiler)[This is because they are an empathic race and the special cloaks work as a buffer between them and others. (hide spoiler)] Alexa and Lirzhan are both junior ambassadors. She for the Gaian's (Earth) and he for the Zhore. They meet on a routine flight at the start I enjoyed this one but felt like it could have been 'more'. There's POV from both MCs. If you are familiar with this universe, you know the Zhore are always cloaked so that you can't even tell for sure if they are humanoid. (view spoiler)[This is because they are an empathic race and the special cloaks work as a buffer between them and others. (hide spoiler)] Alexa and Lirzhan are both junior ambassadors. She for the Gaian's (Earth) and he for the Zhore. They meet on a routine flight at the start of the story, just before it gets pulled from hyperspace and blown up. Of course they escape to a nearby planet where they have to rough it together through a dangerous countryside followed by the bad guys. Lirzhan is drawn to Alexa before she even knows he's good looking, but finds he has to tread carefully because she's so prickly. She is an orphan brought up by the Gaian Consortium, which sounds even worse then being an orphan now-a-days. She actually owes the Consortium for her up bringing! Like an indentured servant. I didn't mind her prickliness and didn't think it was pushed too far. Usually I don't like my h's to be like that, but it worked with the story. Lirzhan is more of a beta hero but he's quick to defend her and devoted from their first meeting. Good world building, good intrigue. There's the mysteriousness of her companion in his robes. And there's Zhore mating. safety is good (view spoiler)[ I'm pretty sure Lirzhan was a virgin. Alexa has had a few lovers but nothing emotionally meaningful. (hide spoiler)]

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tammie

    The Mandala Maneuver focused a lot more on romance and less on sex than the last book in the series, which was good. I don't think the overall plot was as good as the previous book though. I enjoyed reading another story about the Zhore, however I thought the chemistry between the characters was not as good as previous books.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    This is the fourth book in a series (not counting the short story) and can easily be read as a standalone. So far, I’ve only read one of the previous books, but I had no trouble following the storyline. The important plot ideas are given in the summary above, so I’ll just give you my take on the book: First and foremost, this is a romance. There are a few short action sequences, but conflicts are more often resolved through talking rather than through physical fights. Much of the tension originate This is the fourth book in a series (not counting the short story) and can easily be read as a standalone. So far, I’ve only read one of the previous books, but I had no trouble following the storyline. The important plot ideas are given in the summary above, so I’ll just give you my take on the book: First and foremost, this is a romance. There are a few short action sequences, but conflicts are more often resolved through talking rather than through physical fights. Much of the tension originates in the different cultures and backgrounds of the two main characters. Lirzhan and Alexa come from two fundamentally different peoples, who might not exactly be at war, but who aren’t friendly either. If Alexa and Lirzhan want to be together, one of them has to make a huge sacrifice. The big question is whether (and how) they can make it work. I really enjoyed reading chapters from Lirzhan’s point of view. He’s a likable hero. Probably not what you’d call an alpha hero, he isn’t dominant or openly possessive enough for that. It makes for a nice change from many other romances that tend to go overboard with the alphaness. Lirzhan lets Alexa make her own choices and her own mistakes. He doesn’t think that he knows everything best. He shows that he truly respects Alexa as a person in her own right. I truly enjoyed this book. It’s a lovely romance with two likable main characters. The story is well-written and entertaining and effortlessly managed to keep my interest. If you know and like other books by this author, then you’ll probably like this one, too. And if you haven’t read the author before, this is a good place to start.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jo (Mixed Book Bag)

    The Mandala Maneuver is the fourth book in The Gaian Consortium series and the second I have read. Both it and Breath of Life, book one in the series, feature one of the more secretive races in the Consortium, the Zhore. While Breath of Life is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in a Science Fiction world The Mandala Maneuver is exciting Space Opera. Alexa and Lirzhan are both interesting characters who have to carry the story. There are several familiar tropes in the story but they are very The Mandala Maneuver is the fourth book in The Gaian Consortium series and the second I have read. Both it and Breath of Life, book one in the series, feature one of the more secretive races in the Consortium, the Zhore. While Breath of Life is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in a Science Fiction world The Mandala Maneuver is exciting Space Opera. Alexa and Lirzhan are both interesting characters who have to carry the story. There are several familiar tropes in the story but they are very well used and fit both the characters and the plot. I loved the tension in the story. The danger and the discovery made by Alexa and Lirzhan was very believable. While their escape from the danger did provide some of the tension the pressure put on Alexa after they were rescued really ramped the tension up. The Mandala Maneuver provides both SFR and Space Opera. It is a combination that I love and I found it very well done.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amber Magana

    Love conquers alll Full of intrigue, my mystery, corruption, love against all odds. Great story about a spaceship that crashes odd and beautiful landscape that too and masters must hike through to find their way to help. Odd and dangerous animals I was very impressed with the amount of thought in detail that way into the types of animals that she described. Overall a really good book and a nice read with them good ending

  6. 4 out of 5

    Eliza Jones

    Loved it! My favorite of this series so far is Breath of Life but I was still eager to get into another book with a Zhore hero. It was definitely worth reading and the climax surprised me in a good way.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Mandala This is a great addition to the Gaian Consortium series. Throughout the first half, I was grumbling about the slasher movie stereotypical female, but she redeemed herself in the second half. And there definitely are two distinct halves to the storyline. This book follows the storyline of book two, just as book three follows book one. All of the books can potentially standalone and have an HEA. Alexa Craig is an upwardly mobile Gaian junior diplomat/ambassador for the Galactic Council on h Mandala This is a great addition to the Gaian Consortium series. Throughout the first half, I was grumbling about the slasher movie stereotypical female, but she redeemed herself in the second half. And there definitely are two distinct halves to the storyline. This book follows the storyline of book two, just as book three follows book one. All of the books can potentially standalone and have an HEA. Alexa Craig is an upwardly mobile Gaian junior diplomat/ambassador for the Galactic Council on her way to a new posting aboard a shuttle she thought would be private. To her dismay, there is another passenger. Lirzhan is her counterpart, a Zhores assistant ambassador on his way to the same station. While they are in route, however, their ship is pulled from subspace into realspace, something that shouldn't be possible, then they are fired upon. Lirzhan and Alexa escape in a single passenger pod only to land on an "uninhabitable" planet, Mandala, in the GSC 2897 system. The reason it is categorized as uninhabitable is because of the planet's abundance of flora and fauna and it's lack of valuable minerals. But soon after landing, Alexa and Lirzhan are fired upon by a small craft. And they finally begin to question who wants them dead, and why. A KU library read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tam B.

    This book was a nice idea but the execution lacked. You had the makings of an interesting suspense story - alien and human diplomats attacked in an unheard of manner and stranded on a planet thought to be uninhabited. Bad guys doing "something" on this planet. Political intrigue resulting from bad guys actions that impacts on both leads via their embassies and larger government oversight. But I didn't feel any tension once. I was never nervous for an outcome. I was never really worried for a char This book was a nice idea but the execution lacked. You had the makings of an interesting suspense story - alien and human diplomats attacked in an unheard of manner and stranded on a planet thought to be uninhabited. Bad guys doing "something" on this planet. Political intrigue resulting from bad guys actions that impacts on both leads via their embassies and larger government oversight. But I didn't feel any tension once. I was never nervous for an outcome. I was never really worried for a character. I finished the book and it was an easy read but I was not inspired to seek out others in the series.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    Alexa and Lirzhan are diplomats en route to their new assignment when their shuttle is pulled from subspace and attacked. Both manage to escape in a life pod and crash land on an inhospitable planet, Mandala. While trying to survive hostile wildlife, they uncover a conspiracy that could trigger an intergalactic war. Good character building and plot development. The Zhore are always fun to revisit.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    As I stated in my review for the fourth in this Sci Fi romance series, I'm disappointed that Pope has made the change to graphic sex in this series. That said, I enjoyed this one better than the last due to the sweet romance, and because of the theme of making a stand for what's right, being against prejudice.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mary E. Jung

    Adventurous romance I liked the first half of the book. it was adventurous and romantic. it made sense and was full of interesting alien experiences. I was enthralled. once the second.half of the book came.around it seemed unnecessary. i was merely reading to get to the inevitable character change and happy ending.

  12. 5 out of 5

    jane Meacham

    Trust This was full of love and loyalty. It showed being honest is better than lying and create a closer relationship

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    I couldn't put it down--it grabbed me & wouldn't let go

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    This book is one of the best reads I've had that sticks with you and just want read it again. I had not read any part of this series before but now I've read three more of her books!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Fable

    Another great read! I love this series!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    Loved this book!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  18. 4 out of 5

    2readmore

  19. 5 out of 5

    Vickie

  20. 4 out of 5

    Fran

  21. 4 out of 5

    soapturtle

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Howe

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana Swain

  26. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Eichler-Cline

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nicola

  29. 5 out of 5

    Angela Cunningham

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ana Rosario

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