Secret of the Phoenix (Omega Force #6) ★★★☆ ½

secretphoenix (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: Secret of the Phoenix
Series: Omega Force #6
Author: Joshua Dalzelle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 295
Format: Digital Edition



Jason Burke and the crew of the Serenity, dang it, the Phoenix, are hired by an archeologist to transport her to her former dig site and provide protection. She seems very familiar with the team and ship, provides very little concrete information about herself and at every stop Jason and Crew stumble onto other beings trying to kill them.

Turns out the archeologist’s father Indiana [ha, just kidding] was the former captain of the Phoenix and he knew it’s secret: that it was carrying 1 of the keys for a gigantic star destroying weapon. Now Omega Force has all 3 keys. They decide to go to the Death St…..errr, Super Weapon and destroy it.

The problem with that plan is two-fold. One, the ConFed want the key and the weapon and are chasing after Omega Force with a whole bloody fleet. The second problem is that the Super Weapon is actually a sentient AI and it doesn’t WANT to be destroyed.

But the A-Team, no, no, no, OMEGA FORCE is nothing if not resourceful and it’ll take more than Skynet…errr, the Sentient AI and a war fleet to prevent them from carrying out their mission.

As you can tell, I got this mixed up with a LOT of other stories.


My Thoughts:

For all of my snide asides above, I still enjoyed this quite a bit. Probably the most of the series so far in fact.

I did have a big issue though, so lets get that out of the way. If you have a key that is split into 3 parts and only those 3 parts can give access to a Super Weapon, WHY THE PHRACK DO YOU BRING ALL THREE KEYS TOGETHER? I would think that destroying the key/s you have would do the job of keeping the Super Weapon out of everyone’s hands? Why risk someone recovering the most valuable resource in the quadrant/sector/galaxy/universe/whatever or stealing it from you? It just made zero sense to me.

Now, it did make for a great story. So I give Dalzelle that. This was thoroughly fun with plenty of space fighting as well as individuals on the ground. I prefer a good ground pounder battle myself to space ships zipping around going “pew, pew, pew”, so the Galvetic Marine battles were nice.

This was definitely the ending of one chapter for Omega Force. With Book 9, Revolution, having come out recently, I know that there will be at least a second chapter to this series. While not original or mind blowing, it is good escapist fun in space.

On an unrelated note, I know that Crusher and the other Galvetic warriors don’t look like this, but this is what I always picture them as:



★★★☆ ½


  1. Return of the Archon (Book 5)
  2. The Enemy Within (Book 4)
  3. Savage Homecoming (Book 3)
  4. Soldiers of Fortune (Book 2)
  5. Omega Rising (Book 1)

New Frontiers (Expansion Wars #1) ★★★☆ ½

newfrontiers (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: New Frontiers
Series: Expansion Wars #1
Author: Joshua Dalzelle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 274
Format: Digital Edition



Humanity has survived the Phage. Unfortunately, the old Confederation breaks apart due to various members involvement in attracting the Phage. At the same time that humanity is fracturing apart, 2 new alien species suddenly appear. One wants to be a partner with humanity. The other was in thrall to the Phage and worshipped it. So they want to destroy the creatures that killed their god.

Celesta Wright, Jackson Wolfe’s protege, has been sent out to explore and then in a joint military venture with the allied aliens against the genocidal ones. Problem is, it turns out the two alien races are in league and it is a vast trap to destroy humanity’s space fleet capability so that we can be gobbled up at leisure.

Bucking command and taking risks, Wright saves the fleet and on her return finds that Jackson Wolfe has been reinstated in the military, against his wishes. Politicians are playing their games even while humanity is once again facing extinction.

Where’s a good Theocracy when you need it?


My Thoughts:

This was a decent successor to the Black Fleet trilogy.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much. There were several instances of people just doing stupid things. It wasn’t just the politicians either. That always brings things down for me.

The space action reminded me a lot of the space battles in Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series. Sometimes I miss the zam zoom space lasers and explosions of Star Wars’esque battles. “Physics” is only SO enjoyable.

Since this is going to be a trilogy and not an unending series, Dalzelle had better get the story in gear and move things right along. This book felt like setup for another set of hostile aliens to fight humanity. Better be good.

★★★☆ ½


  1. Warship (Black Fleet Book 1)
  2. Call to Arms (Black Fleet Book 2)
  3. Counterstrike (Black Fleet Book 3)

Return of the Archon (Omega Force #5) ★★★☆☆

archon (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: Return of the Archon
Series: Omega Force #5
Author: Joshua Dalzelle
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 325
Format: Digital Edition



Crusher, the biggest, (almost) baddest member of Omega Force has a secret. And it catches up to him in this book.

He is the Archon. The military leader of his system, who was exiled to keep the peace between the warriors and the politicians. As usual, politicians have botched things up even more and a small select group has been tasked with bringing Crusher back so he can restore the balance. Crusher must rescue his mentor, figure out a way to stop this mess from getting any bigger and make the choice of whether he will be staying with Omega Force or not.

And there is a someone working behind the scenes with their own agenda.


My Thoughts:

My initial thought was that the Archon was some super villain from one of the characters’ past. Return of the Archon just SOUNDS ominous. So imagine my surprise when it turns out Crusher is the Archon and the Archon is supposed to be one of the good guys keeping peace between various warrior factions and the politicians in his star system.

This was a cracking good adventure story filled with prison breaks, ship to ship battles and a whole warrior culture just about ready to boil over. We also get to see the aftermath of Lucky [the battle synth robot] sparring, friendly like, with some of the warriors. I hope that in future volumes Dalzelle has the skill to actually write a good one on one battle scene between 2 high powered beings. It would definitely increase my enjoyment of the series as a whole.

I was thinking of bumping this up to 3.5stars because I enjoyed it more than the Brother Cadfael book I had just finished, but when comparing it to the other Omega Force books, it was right in line with them, so my rating stayed at 3. Which isn’t a bad thing. Bookstooge’s Ratings Explained

The writing was the best so far. The verbal fighting between members of the OF, which I found off putting in a previous book, was still here but conveyed in such a way that it didn’t come across as two people hating each other and being forced to get along. It came across as 2 team member with widely varying personalities being in the same small space. That in itself is reason enough for me to keep on reading this series. I feel like this book was better crafted than the previous ones but it is hard to tell objectively. I do know that with this book I would recommend the OF series to someone, whereas before I would have danced around the issue.




  1. The Enemy Within (Book 4)
  2. Savage Homecoming (Book 3)
  3. Soldiers of Fortune (Book 2)
  4. Omega Rising (Book 1)

I Will Make Them Cry – Indie Rant

Comment I recently read online:

“As an author of *redacted* book, I really appreciate your thoughts in this post. I wrote a post once entitled “Tips for writing fair book reviews that don’t make the author cry.” I’m fine with kind, diplomatic, constructive criticism – but some seem unable to write a critical review that is also kind and diplomatic. In can be done.
One review of my book crushed me and upset me for months. (Yeah, I need a thicker skin!) But the reason I was upset was that the reviewer expected my book to be something that I NEVER intended it to be, therefore I found the review unfair. Now, it could be I failed to properly describe my book on the back cover or my title wasn’t ideal, and it gave a wrong impression. It can be hard to “capture” a book with a proper title and back cover description, especially with minimal funds with a self or hybrid published book! But the reviewer could have noted that. Another reviewer, in fact, did such. They wrote that they expected “x” and instead found the book to be “y” and then wrote a positive and glowing review. I was appreciative.
I once read this: “A good book review appreciates and critiques the book that is written, not the book that the reviewer thinks should have been written.” Keeping an authors credentials and experience in mind can also help a review be kinder. Is this their first book? C’mon, it may be quite good for a first attempt and the author’s future capabilities evident. A new author with genuine potential could be crushed and not try again, if they only receive harsh reviews that failed to see the quality of their first attempt. Etc.”






Folks, you are never going to get a review from me that is dictated by a Special Snowflake. I’ll write what I want and if it makes someone cry, boohoo. That just goes to show the wisdom of writers NOT reading reviews of their books. That is a special kind of Narcissism and I’ll not be party to it. I’ll hack and cut and slash and put that book out of its misery.






Emissary (Legends of the Realm #1)

Emissary - Thomas Locke


This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes. by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Emissary

Series: Legends of the Realm

Author: Thomas Locke

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 401

Format: Kindle digital edition



Hyam, former mage apprentice and current farmer, is cast out of his village when it becomes obvious that he has a power that hasn’t been seen in the land for years. Somehow he must get a group together to overthrow the bad wizard and the bad king and save the land. All while bitter about life. Boohoo…


My Thoughts:

Some story tellers can weave their tale in such a way that you become part of the story. They are skillful artists, able to use words like food ingredients in a complicated and tasty recipe. Other story tellers can tell a story in such a way that you can picture what they are telling you. Finally, you have those who just tell a story without much skill and you kind of drag along for the ride.

Sadly, this was an example of the latter. It was a decent story, it just wasn’t that skillfully told.  In the right hands, it could have been a pretty good story. In many ways it reminded me of the Belgariad by Eddings.

I will not be reading the sequel. This just isn’t good enough for me to spend more time on.