Book Review: Valkyrie Rising by Eric C. Currie

Valkyrie Rising (Warriors Wings #2) by Eric C. Currie

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION: Two years after the initial invasion of Hayden’s World, the newly reinforced Hayden Militia is in a state of stalemate with the remaining enemy forces but neither side is content to leave things at that.

The alien alliance has dispatched their varsity to clean up the resistance on Hayden while the USF has officially activated Task Force V, the latest and most advanced combat ships built by humans.

In the end there are some things you decide in the skies, but some can only be settled in the mud.

Print Length: 255 pages
Age: Adult Sci-Fiction
Sold By: Amazon Digital Services

RATING – 4 STARS

This is the sequel to “On Silver Wings,” and from the author of “Into the Black: Odyssey One.” If you’ve read my reviews of those, you’ll know that I’m already a big fan.

With “Valkyrie Rising” we get the return of our protagonist. Sergeant Aida is back. But, this time she’s in her element as part of a larger force. And as readers, we’re no longer just focused on the conflict evolving on a lone world, but we’re also exposed to a much larger epic. So while keeping tabs on Aida, we’re also able to see the greater story unfold where she plays but a small role. It’s a great way to keep the comforting intimacy of the characters we know, while expanding the scope of the story into something bigger – bigger conflict, bigger stakes, bigger cast, bigger!

Somehow, Currie has managed to keep each book intense, and full of conflict – but still end on a really satisfying, fulfilling note. Instead of following the “Star Wars” formula (introduce the conflict, dark episode, vindication of the good guys), he’s made each book a complete story arc. Personally, I find that a much funner and more satisfying way to read a series.

Looking forward to the next book…

4 star book review

Recommended to Sci-Fi readers.

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Book Review: On Silver Wings by Evan C. Currie

On Silver Wings by Evan C. Currie

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION “In the future, mankind has colonized other worlds, mined asteroid belts, and sent ships so far into the blackness of space that light from their drives won’t reach Earth for centuries. Through it all, life has been found in almost every system we visited and yet we’ve never encountered another intelligent species.

Until now. When the Colony on the planet known as Hayden’s World stops transmitting on their CASIMIR FTL system, a Solari Fleet Task Force is sent to investigate. When they arrive there are enough oddities in the situation that they in turn send in a special operations unit to contact the colonists and determine what happened. Only one of those operators survives to make planet fall. Sergeant Sorilla Aida finds herself against an alien force of unknown power and capability. Her only assets?

A depleted suit of power armor, her rifle, basic kit, and a few hundred Hayden born civilians looking to take back their home. Just what she was trained for.”

RATING 4 STARS

I picked this up after reading Currie’s “Into the Black: Odyssey One.” That was a great read, and I was anxious to see what else he’d done. I wasn’t disappointed.

As opposed to a lot of science fiction, here we’re given a great female protagonist. And instead of a utopian future and amazing tech, you’ll find a universe that you can easily relate to. Humanity is still the same. And so, when the protagonist is dropped into truly alien experiences, you’re along for a great ride.

The pace is quick. But character development and relationships aren’t sacrificed for plot. I wish my daughter read more action/adventure and sci-fi, because there are so few great female characters out there. Here’s one where the fact that the story centers on a female marine is simply taken for granted. It’s a non-issue, there’s no pandering, and the story tears along dragging the reader with it.

Since this isn’t a space epic, the scale is much more local – and it works. That alone would be a nice change of pace, but the fullness of the story and the great characters make it a 5-star book.

4 star book review

Recommended for Sci-fi readers and anyone who likes a solid cheap kindle book.

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Book Review: Redshirts by John Scalzi

Redshirtsby John Scalzi

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION:

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship “Intrepid,” flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy belowdecks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what thestarship “Intrepid” really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives

Print Length: 318 pages
Age: Adult Sci-Fiction
Publisher: Tor Books; 1 edition (June 5, 2012)
Sold by: Macmillan

RATING: 2 STARS – WISHED IT WAS BETTER

I love John Scalzi… Android’s Dream, Agent to the Stars, Old Man’s War, Ghost Brigade, and more are all awesome reads.

That said, I was incredibly disappointed by Redshirts. The idea was brilliant – and it starts out with great potential. But, it quickly drifts from being a great parody into murky meta territory.

Maybe I was the problem… I couldn’t quite follow when I was supposed to be taking the story seriously. Maybe there were some transitions in there that I missed. But, I think it’s more likely that I just can’t bring myself to appreciate what Scalzi was trying to do.

If you’re just discovering Scalzi, pick up any of his older works first. You won’t be disappointed. Once you’re a fan, maybe you’ll want to give Redshirts a chance. Go into it with an open mind, no preconceived notions, and see what you think. It’s original. It’s fresh. It just wasn’t for me.

Recommended for: Sci-Fi fans, general adult fiction, and Scalzi fans.

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Book Review: Scandalous by Ella Steele

SCANDALOUS by Ella Steele

Mike’s Review

Description: “Warning: This novel contains sexually explicit content.

Millionaire Jack Gray earned his fortune creating erotic art for discerning clientele. He doesn’t use a brush to depict these hauntingly beautiful portraits–he uses bare skin. A sterling reputation is the only thing standing between Jack and poverty as he skirts the thin line between fine art and cheap sensationalism. To ensure that his character remains beyond reproach, an assistant observes his sessions.

While interviewing for a new assistant, Jack hears her voice–Abby Tyndale–the girl who got away. The last time Jack saw her was over a decade ago. After years of romantic tension she had nearly kissed him, but then disappeared without a trace. He hasn’t seen her since. Until now. When he learns that his lost love joined the clergy after she fled to West Texas, his heart sinks. She’s forbidden, forever set apart by her vows.

Jack’s life quickly spins out of control as Abby grows closer to him, and worsens when his client list is stolen. The financial blow alone is damning, but it’s the scandal brewing beneath the surface that he fears the most. Jack and Abby’s livelihoods rely on their reputations. A single scandal will destroy them both. While fearing a contrived scandal, they have courted a very real one as their romance reignites.

This erotic romance is an addictive tease that will leave you breathless and begging for more.”

Reading level: Adult
Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: Laree Bailey Press (Aoril 30, 2012)

5 STARS-NOT TO BE MISSED!

Normally, I never would have thought to pick this up… But, under another pen name, the author writes a series (Demon Kissed) that my daughter absolutely loves – and that I’ve really enjoyed. Going in, I knew this wasn’t a book for my kids, but I was really interested in seeing what the author did.

It was awesome. I’ve read romances before… Stuff like Janet Evanovich‘s early stuff, and they’re cute. Light, fun, easy reads. Scandalous, while still being light and fun, is much more. It’s hot! Apparently the difference between a “romance” and an “erotic romance” is a helluva lot.

The book has an unusual protagonist, and all of the characters are a lot of fun. The author’s art references are deeper than you’d ever expect… And the plot has enough twists and conflict to keep you reading – even when you aren’t breathing heavy from the good parts. Yep. Expect to blush.

With the summer around the corner, bring this one down to the pool. And guys, throw a copy in your wife’s suitcase if you’re going away…

BOOKS are better than icecream, 5 stars, awesome books

Recommended for fans of Fifty Shades of Grey, H.M. Ward, Demon KissedJanet Evanovich, and romance readers who want something a little hotter than usual.

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Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

fifty shades of grey, 50 shades, el james, erotica, romance, sexy reads, 3 star book reviewsFifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Marie’s Review

DESCRIPTION: ”

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.”

Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: Vintage (April 3, 2012)
Recommended Age: Adult

REVIEW: 3 STARS-IT WAS OKAY

I admit that I read this because I was curious. Everyone was talking about it and said it crossed into Mommy-porn land. I was wondering if that was next to Disneyland or what? Anyway, I found out it was pretty close to Kinky World, and up the street a ways from Bondage-O-Rama.

People kept telling me that you have to read through the end, that it’s like walking away from Pulp Fiction in the last 5 minutes (which I did). So, I plowed through this thing even though it wasn’t my normal read. This is what I have to tell you people: YOU SUCK! 😛 This book ended with a cliffhanger! And it ends on a downer with an unfulfilled ending!

Normally I LOVE cliffhangers, but this one totally pissed me off. Through this whole story, I thought Ana would realize what she does at the end of the book, but she doesn’t. She seems to have the mental aptitude of a brick. I understand she’s new (a virgin), but she did graduate from college and was smart enough to get employed–can she really be this dumb?

Fifty Shades is more a myriad of kinky sex scenes than anything else. I would have liked the book to be about 50% shorter. And please know that it appears that this series is not a series, but three books broken apart in part A, B, and C.  It has three stars because there were things that I did like about it.  Christian appearing perfect but really being rather messed up was interesting.  I liked the dark edge the book had, and that was portrayed mostly through Christian.  I would have liked to learn more about the character in 500+ pages, besides his sexual preferences.  It felt like the footing for a good story, which is why I read the whole thing.

three star books, ya books 3 stars

This book is the first in the Fifty Shades Trilogy.  It is followed by Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.

Recommended for adult readers who want spicy sex scenes that are a little different, romance readers, and erotica fans.  If you enjoyed Twilight, this is supposed to be the grown up version where the sexual tension is met.

Buy this book on AMAZON or B&N