Uncommon Ground, by Kelly Jensen
Series: Aliens In New York, Book 1
Publisher: Self-Published (for Kindle Worlds)
Release Date: June 22, 2017
Dillon Lee’s grandfather was a conspiracy theorist. Every summer he’d take Dillon on a tour of New York City while entertaining him with tales of aliens. Fifteen years later, after a phone call from a lawyer, Dillon is carrying his grandfather’s ashes from landmark to landmark, paying a sort of tribute, and trying to figure out what to do with his unexpected legacy. When someone tries to steal the ashes, a guy Dillon has barely met leaps to the rescue, saving the urn and the day.
Steilang Skovgaard is a reclusive billionaire—and not human. He’s been living in Manhattan for over twenty years, working on a long-term plan to establish a safe haven for his people. For seven years, his reports have gone unanswered, however, and he is the only surviving member of his interstellar team. The connection he forms with Dillon soon after meeting him is something he’s missed, something he craves.
But after someone keeps trying to steal the ashes, it looks as though Dillon’s grandfather was involved in more than theories—and might not have been exactly who everyone thought he was. Steilang doesn’t know how close he can get to the truth without revealing himself, and Dillon is running out of people to trust. Can these two work out what’s going on before the thieves set their sights higher?
The desire for home – wherever that may be – is the underlying theme of Uncommon Ground, a slightly melancholy but sweet novella about two lonely people who have nothing in common, but who find they are more similar than they could have imagined.
Lang is an alien living in New York. He has been on Earth for 25 years, but has never managed to make any lasting connections, despite his love for all things human – including a never ending fascination with kitchen gadgets.
Dillon is grieving the loss of a grandfather he never really knew. With his unusual eyes, multiple piercings and purple hair, Dillon never really feels like he fits in anywhere, or with anyone. That is until a handsome man comes to his rescue.
Despite the instant attraction between Lang and Dillon, there’s this feeling that the connection between the two of them is more than superficial, more than just sexual chemistry. There is an easing of loneliness, and a feeling of rightness that draws them together. I’m not usually a fan of insta anything in books but this one definitely works.
If I had one complaint about this novella, is that it feels like there is more story than pages, especially near the end where there the introduction of Lang’s leader and a rival team of aliens almost overwhelms the story. I’m no writer, but I always feel like less is more when it comes to short stories and novellas. If there was a little more editing, or a few more chapters, this story would have been almost perfect.
Having said that, if you’ve been afraid to dive into a SFF book because you weren’t sure if it was your thing, this book would be ideal. It reads more like a contemporary romance with a splash of SFF, then a full on SFF experience so I’m thinking it would be the perfect introduction to anyone looking to expand into that genre.
If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.
Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.