Croma Venture (Spiral Wars #5) ★★★★☆

cromaventure (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Croma Venture
Series: Spiral Wars #5
Author: Joel Shepherd
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 477
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Crew of the Phoenix, with the help of the alien Parren, have found a remaining stronghold of the machine race Drysine. Styx, the last surviving Drysine queen, begins making surreptitious work on the facility and ends up with a new queen. She gives the responsibility of negotiating with the Parren to this new queen, named Layla. Lizbeth Debogande is also the only human currently negotiating with the Parren and she and Layla form a friendship. Lots of politics happen and it turns out that the ruling house of the Parren made a deal with the Deepynines (another machine race that was very hostile to all organic life) and blamed lots of stuff on the currently rising House, the House that Layla is negotiating with. Betrayals happen and it is revealed to all the Parren that 25,000 years of their history was based on a lie. This leads to a huge powershift that allows the House both Layla and Lizbeth are dealing with to become the Head House.

The Tavali, another alien species that Humanity had been at war with, reveal that their whole civilization has been infiltrated by malicious genetic code. Probably by the Deepynine/Alo alliance. Humanity finds itself infiltrated as well. The only species that everyone knows about that can solve a problem of this magnitude are the Rhee. Unfortunately, the Rhee make everyone mentioned so far look like toddlers at a daycare. The Croma are at war with the Rhee and Erik Debogande, captain of the Phoenix, hopes to make contact with the Croma and see if they can get any information on this gene infiltration.

More politics ensue and factions come into play and the Phoenix is used by the Croma and one of their ally species, the Corbi, to further their own ends. This leads to an attack on a gene splicing station in Rhee territory where the Corbi and Croma have told the Phoenix that a huge database exists, which might have the cure for the gene infiltration. Major Trace Thakur is left behind when the Rhee counter-attack with ships just as good if not better than the Phoenix and Styx finds herself outmatched. Turns out the Rhee have gone the route of hybridization and are as much machine race as organic now.

The book ends with the Corbi letting the Phoenix know that they have an operation that can rescue Major Thakur, if Phoenix can get to the Rhee main world and pick her up.

 

My Thoughts:

I did enjoy this book. The action was great and even the politics were edged with action instead of being dry and dusty. I would consider this much closer in tone to the first book than book 4.

That being said, and despite rating it 4stars, I will not be continuing this series until it is finished. Shepherd shows in this book beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has no end-game scenario in play. There is no Final Goal, just the Next Goal. I guess I have more of an issue with the series than this particular book. Shepherd still goes on and on about descriptive scenery that I simply skimmed over. Since I still enjoyed the book, that means that descriptiveness was not at all necessary but a choice on his part.

Once Shepherd decides to get his act together and actually finish this series then I’ll go and read the rest of the books. But until then, I’m done with this series and done with this author. I’ve enjoyed my reads but it is not good enough for me to be willing to keep being strung along.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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Bite This (Kurtherian Gambit #4) ★★★☆½

bitethis (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Bite This
Series: Kurtherian Gambit #4
Author: Michael Anderle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 270
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis:

Bethany Anne and Crew have a lot to do.

One of their smaller companies has created an AI but didn’t tell anyone. They shut it down so there was no chance of it going all Skynet on the world. When BA finds out, she puts her father and some others on the case as they need some super intelligence to help guide them through the coming minefields.

The Company needs a military base as a “Corporate Headquarters” so they can start bringing their own people together, to work and to protect. If any nation state learns what BA is doing or capable of, they’re going to have to protect themselves. They also need a place where scientists can start studying TOM’s spaceship. The spaceship itself needs to be moved from the mountainous area to a secure birth on the super yacht.

BA has given the responsibility of getting Europe back under control to Stephen, another of Michael’s direct children. He has to deal with young vamps on the edge of becoming Forsaken as well as Pack politics. European Were haven’t been dealt with for decades and they are thinking that maybe vamps aren’t tough as all that. Stephen shows them WHY vamps are top of the food chain and Europe starts to settle down.

And if that isn’t enough, one of Michael’s direct children, now a Forsaken in South America, is attacking BA using political connections. BA has to figure out who the politician is and where this Forsaken is actually located. Then she can deal with both of them. Just to complicate things even more, it looks like this Forsaken has a secret formula for making Nosferatu more intelligent and even stronger.

 

My Thoughts:

I have to admit, while reading this, I had the Beach Boys song “Fun, Fun, Fun” running through my head. And BA’s daddy doesn’t take the t-bird away, so yeah, lots and lots of fun.

I complained about the last book introducing a ton of characters really quickly. Thankfully, it pays off here. The book cycles through quite a few POV’s which is only possible because of all the new people. I still say Anderle could have done it a bit slower but it isn’t something I can complain about in this book. Gabby the vampire ends up in the medical box and becomes an alpha vamp probably on the level with Michael. I’m surprised that BA isn’t running some of her own crew through the box to build up a small army of loyal alpha vamps. I consider BA to be Vamp Zero and maybe she doesn’t want any alphas going wild and blowing her cover and destroying her chance to bring the world up to readiness to deal the the enemy aliens. I don’t know. I do know that I would be biting my loyal guards until they were all vamps, especially since they would be daywalkers.

The whole AI storyline is just getting going. There is lot of relocation and talking and plans but the switch hasn’t been thrown yet to bring it back online. I’m definitely interested to see where this plot line goes.

There is a battle scene where Gabby saves a german shepherd by giving it her blood. BA also gives it her blood. So we’re going to end up with vampire dogs. I’m guessing Anderle will use them as Nosferatu detectors and such. I really didn’t care for this inclusion, as I’m not an animal person.

Overall, I had a lot of fun reading this. At under 300 pages, I felt like I just raced through it. I know Anderle has this series in omnibus editions with 3 books in each and I’m tempted to go that route just so I can get a big long draft of BA kicking butt. I know I won’t though, as I’d rather stretch things out and stay a little hungry than burn out. Nothing worse than burnout.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Semper Fi (The Empire’s Corps #4) ★★★☆½

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights containedtherein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards tocopying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions.Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’sExalted Permission

Title: Semper Fi
Series: The Empire’s Corps #4
Author: Christopher Nuttall
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 446
Format: Digital Edition


Synopsis:

Commodore Singh has taken advantage of the retreat of the Empire’s forces to carve out her own little empire. Ruling through fear and setting her underlyings against each other, Singh has a sizeable fleet and a highly developed tech world at her disposal. Captain Stalker and the forces of Avalon and the ConFed are growing and they know at some point they will come to Singh’s attention. Unable to beat her through pure force, the ConFed’s must do what they can to destabilize her power base.

Lt. Jasmine is chosen to lead the small force of marines and support staff to infilitrate Singh’s power base and topple her regime. Starting up insurgency groups, infiltrating the intelligence community and trying to implement a plan that will destroy Singh’s power, Jasmine is in way over her head.

Once she gets captured and tortured, things are looking bad. Thankfully, her marines are loyal and rescue her and in that process capture the head of the Intelligence group and pump him for all he is worth. This also allows Jasmine to blackmail the next Intelligence leader and get key people onto the space stations.

The revolution happens, the world is nominally freed and Singh flees with a much smaller group of ships to plan her revenge. I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of her.

My Thoughts:

First, this was almost ALL groundpounder action. I love Military SF that has that as its primary core. I’m not a huge fan of spaceship battles.

The focus this time was on Lt. Jasmine and her squad instead of on Captain Stalker and the marines as a whole. It worked very well to limit the main characters to less than 10 even while using side and minor characters to flesh out the action. The villains were well done as well. The security guy was a sick and disgusting pedo and abuser and Nuttall did a great job of showing just how filthy he was without going into details or making it graphic for the reader. He walked that line perfectly. Singh wasn’t quite so well done, as I found her descent from sidelined but talented in the Empire to In Charge and ruling through Fear a little difficult.

I think my main issue with this book was Stalker’s attitude. Since he doesn’t have access to the Marine Boot Camp world he is always lamenting how they can’t have any more “Marines”. It seems rather defeatist and not like him at all. I would think that he’d start trying to re-create the marine training program so that even if they can’t have all the implants that the regular marines have, he (Stalker) would have access to highly trained troops in about 2 years instead of just having regular soldiers. I’m hoping another character will come along in a book or two and kick the idea around and make it happen. It NEEDS to happen if he’s to keep his edge.

I didn’t notice, or remember is probably more likely, any egregrious grammar or spelling errors, so that was definitely worth a half-star bump up.

Fun and enjoyable book in a series that is staying the course. I’m satisfied so far.

★★★☆½

ps,

I am using the new wordpress editor and I must say, it is frustrating as all get out. It appears to be change for mere changes sake and nothing is as easy as before. I’m afraid wordpress is going the way of Facebook and changing things “just because”. I can’t figure out how to make extra spaces between paragraphs to work (I usually have extra spaces between Synopsis and Thoughts and between the ending avatar and the text above and below it) and overall it simply isn’t easy. I can’t even tell if there are more options, since everything is so different. I don’t even NEED more options. I can’t find a good tutorial and google’ing just brings up stuff for wordpress.ORG and all their tutorials. Rrrrrghhhh….

pps,

And when I went to schedule this post, it didn’t show me what days I already had stuff scheduled! Now that is totally not good. I can’t keep 2+ weeks ahead if I can’t see what is scheduled when. Sometimes I like to sneak posts in on empty days but now I can’t see what I even have for empty days. Double rrrrghhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love Lost (Kurtherian Gambit #3) ★★★☆☆

lovelost (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Love Lost
Series: Kurtherian Gambit #3
Author: Michael Anderle
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 260
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

BA (which abbreviation I shall use from here-on out instead of Bethany Anne), has to start getting a handle on the Empire that Michael has left to her. With hundreds of companies under her control and trillions of dollars at her disposal, BA can coast if she wants to. Obviously, knowing the threat is Out There, coasting isn’t an option. She has to start assembling a larger team that she can trust. A team not only for fighting the Forsaken but a team to start dealing with the spaceship that TOM came in.

So the recruitment begins. The Fighting Force is the easiest, as she starts picking up specialists that have been disillusioned with the military for one reason or another. The kind of people that don’t blink at finding out that vampires are real AND that they are expected to kill such super powerful beings. BA must also recruit information specialists, business specialists, etc, etc, etc. The list is long and she needs to start spreading the responsibility. So she recruits her dad, The General.

The other part of this book was taking the fight to the Forsaken who had attacked her allies here in the United States. Her and her team head to South America and take down one of Michael’s granddaughters. BA gives the children of said granddaughter mercy as long as they don’t hunt humans, thus assuring herself of more potential allies in the future. She also finds out that one of Michael’s First Children was ultimately responsible and BA realizes she has to take care of the Earth’s Forsaken before she can concentrate on any extraterrestrial problems.

 

My Thoughts:

This book had a LOT of character introduction going on. BA is setting up her own personal infrastructure and it is going to take a boatload of people. Trying to make 10+ people memorable and a character on their own is a tough task and Anderle doesn’t really accomplish it in this 260page book. I just don’t care enough about “Avengers, Assemble!!” for that kind of detail to keep my interest. It was half the book and while necessary for the overall series plot, felt very much like getting dumped on so Anderle could continue on in later books. Not cool.

The couple of battle scenes were enjoyable. I was hoping for a bit more in the fight scene between BA and the Forsaken she had to take down, but BA is just so overpowered that there wasn’t much of a fight. Maybe once she moves on to Michael’s First Children things will be a bit more even? Or even if BA’s fighting teams take them on, that might make for more interesting reading.

Overall, I did enjoy this but there was just too much setup that felt like setup. Hoping the rest of the books don’t follow this pattern.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

When the Bough Breaks (The Empire’s Corps #3) ★★★☆☆

Whentheboughbreaks (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: When the Bough Breaks
Series: The Empire’s Corps #3
Author: Christopher Nuttal
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 422
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The End of Empire.

Belinda Lawson, a Marine Pathfinder (amped up and maxed out with the latest tech), loses her team when the planet Han’s rebellion is crushed. The Terran Marines are being pulled away from Earth on one pretext or another and the Marine Commander on Earth puts Belinda as an slightly undercover Marine bodyguard for the crown prince Roland. Roland has been indulged his whole life and deliberately overfed, overdrugged and oversexed by the Grand Senate, thus making him the perfect puppet. Belinda changes all of that and begins the process of turning Roland into a man.

This follows various storylines showing the destruction of the terran empire and the destruction of Earth. One Grand Senator is making a powerplay to become the next Emperor and centuries of neglect and abuse finally catch up with everyone.

We follow the Grand Senator, Belinda and Roland and then several students at the University. Through their eyes we see as everything unravels, like the bursting of a rotten, maggot infested piece of fruit. It happens quickly, suddenly and violently.

 

My Thoughts:

Now we know that Captain Stalker and the Marines on Avalon will not be getting ANY help from Earth.

I enjoyed this story a lot more than I thought I would. Besides Belinda and Roland, every character we follow is killed at some point in one way or another. I pretty much suspected that going in and was prepared to be completely blahh’d over it. Thankfully, it didn’t happen to me and I was able to enjoy the story.

I was glad to hear the story about the Empire falling apart. If we’d just stuck with Stalker and the group on Avalon we wouldn’t know WHAT had happened and there would always be that little niggling hope that “maybe someone from Earth will save us”. Now, we know that isn’t the case.

I think this was closer to a 4star book in terms of enjoyment. However, there were quite a few grammar slash spelling errors. Most of them were misused words, not incorrectly spelled words. Irreverent was used when Irrelevant was meant. It happened at least 3 times (not that particular word but that particular issue) and just goes to show that you need to PAY someone to rip your book to shreds and point out everything wrong with it BEFORE you put it out there.

Wordsmithing is not something that has a “good enough” line. Taping up a Yard Sale sign crooked is good enough. But using the wrong word isn’t good enough. It is flat out wrong and shows a lack of familiarity with basic English. I felt like I was a beta reader and that just isn’t acceptable for a book that has been put out there, indie or not.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Queen Bitch (Kurtherian Gambit #2) ★★★★☆

queenbitch (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Queen Bitch
Series: Kurtherian Gambit #2
Author: Michael Anderle
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 258
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Bethany Anne must begin cleaning up the mess left behind by Michael. She has to start cleaning up the Forsaken who are starting to make inroads in North America due to Michael’s absence. She has to start putting Michael’s “good” children back on the straight and narrow and have them go back to their duties of keeping the supernatural outside of the purview of the normal world. She also has to put the Council of the Were in their place, as several members are thinking that without Michael around they can begin shoving the humans around, perhaps even ruling them.

While ALL this is going on, Bethany Anne also has to keep in mind that the overall threat is so much greater and her final goal must be to get humanity into space and ready to fight off potential hordes of ravening aliens.

Sometimes, being Queen Bitch just isn’t worth the hassle.

 

My Thoughts:

This was F-U-N!! Nothing deep, nothing worth a re-read but my goodness, Bethany Anne kicks some serious butt. She is pretty much a Mary Sue, but only if Mary Sue was a psycho violent vampire who was trying to protect the planet. I can handle that.

Even through all of this, Bethany Anne is still planning on just how she is going to save the planet. She might be violent but she’s not at all stupid. She’s beginning to make more and more use of TOM and she’s already thinking about how she can use its knowledge to grow humanity’s knowledge AND give her the funds necessary to build the space stuff that will be needed.

Thinking about this book, I would compare it to the earlier MHI books in terms of action and violence. I’d compare it quality-wise to the first MHI book as well. The thing that gives me pause is that Anderle has a bajillion books while Correia has a steady output of steadily increasing quality. I’m kind of afraid to find out where Anderle plateaus or even nosedives. That’s the only problem and that is all in my head.

I almost started in on the next book right away but thank goodness my inner core of self control kept me safe. Nothing is worse than having too much of a good time all at once.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

No Worse Enemy (The Empire’s Corps #2) ★★★☆½

noworseenemy (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: No Worse Enemy
Series: The Empire’s Corps #2
Author: Christopher Nuttal
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 431
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Mandy is on a spaceship to get more training from the Rockrats when her craft is attacked by pirates. is captured and because of her space engineering knowledge, begins working on a spaceship for the leader of the pirates, The Admiral. She is put through her pirate paces and gains their loyalty but has secretly stolen a bunch of explosives that she then plants around the ship.

At the same time, The Admiral sends a ship to Avalon to take it over and the marines are able to take the ship over. They head out to other star systems and help free them and try to make some sort of entity that all the various planets in their systems can participate in. The beginnings of a political system other than the Empire.

The Admiral needs Avalon and its HE3 scoop for fuel, so he gathers his fleet and his mercenaries and attacks. The Marines and some others hold him off for a bit but things aren’t looking good until Mandy detonates her explosives and puts The Admiral out of commission.

The Admiral’s ship is to become the new head ship and Mandy is chosen to help run it. Captain Stalker must now act like the Empire is truly gone.

 

My Thoughts:

I bumped this up half a star from the previous one because of lack of sexual scenes (even though Mandy does have to sell herself to a pirate commander to stay alive) and because Nuttal drops scenes and ship names from a LOT of old and not so old Science Fiction. If you don’t recognize the stories you won’t miss out but knowing them showed that Nuttal has a good SF foundation as well. I find that important in an SF author.

Mandy is the main character this time around while Jasmine, now in charge of a troop of Marines, is the main viewpoint of the military side of things. It worked well and we’ll see if Nuttal uses them again or switches to yet another viewpoint for each future book.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)