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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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The Darkside War (Icarus Corps #1) ★★☆☆½

darksidewar (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: The Darkside War
Series: Icarus Corps #1
Author: Zachary Brown
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: YA SF
Pages: 241
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The aliens have conquered us. They destroyed Washington, DC, made examples of other capitals of the world and now occupy Earth. And they are the good aliens.

Devlin’s parents are the leaders of the Protest Movement. After millions died in violent protest, it was thought that only non-violent protesting was the way to go. Unfortunately for humanity, “protesting” is a 4 letter word for the aliens. Devlin is caught in a sweep and unless he joins the aliens new hybrid armed forces, his parents will be executed on world wide television.

Devlin goes to military academy on the darkside of the moon. The bad aliens make a sneak attack and it is up to the recruits to get a message to Earth to warn them. They succeed but find out that there are what appear to be humans working for the bad aliens and that the bad aliens have blockaded Earth’s system and we’re on our own.

The book ends with Humanity swinging into a full time war footing alongside the good aliens instead of under their boot.

 

My Thoughts:

This was everything I was afraid Red Rising was going to be. (RR turned into a good, fun book thankfully). Imagine that the Millennials now run the world and aliens invade.

I just kept shaking my head in disgust at what was being written. This was deliberately Young Adult (but with a boatload of profanity) in tone but even still, the whole mindset of the characters were so “today” that it hurt. I was thinking, Robert Heinlein wrote a lot of juvenile books with young protaganists but they were still competent human beings. These kids in this book? Bunch of special snowflakes. I mean, the main character punches a girl while wearing power armor because she steps between him and another guy who hate each other. I don’t care what anyone says, unless your life is in danger, you don’t hit women, period. A man is so much physically stronger and as such needs to keep himself under control. The profanity level is also another indicator of just how out of control these characters are. If you as an author are going to write simplified SF, then that type of language has no place in it. These weren’t military recruits swearing because that was the mythos but because they were selfish, stupid kids who couldn’t control themselves for 1 minute.

Then the whole “Peaceful Protest” thing. This assumes that the people/aliens you are protesting against actually care about what you think. Once again, it is a completely modern YA idea that everybody cares about ME because I’m so special, blah, blah, blah. I realize that Earth was completely bent over by the aliens and that millions died in the occupation, but my goodness, where is the Underground military? You’d think they’d have their young people infiltrate the alien/human army and learn about the aliens and their weaponry, etc. But nooooooooo.

The final issue I had was how much Devlin simply “changes”. He’s a spoiled kid at the beginning and now is some sort of leader in the new army at the end. He goes through a LOT during the bad aliens attack and in warning the Earth has chances to really grow up, but it wasn’t written in such a way that I believed he did grow up.

The idea for this book is great. Even when I was done reading, I was really tempted to keep on going with the series. ( Reading Over The Shoulder reviewed this last year but never reviewed the later books. Considering they haven’t posted since September, I’m also wondering if they’re just done with blogging.) After writing the above though, I realized this is a book that simply contains too many things that rub me the wrong way.

Not recommended and I won’t be reading any more by “Zachary Brown”, whoever that cowardly piece of excrement is. If you’re going to use a fake name, don’t bloody advertise that you’re using a fake name and that you’re actually a really good writer with awards under your belt. Especially if you’re going to write such a sub-par piece of simplified puff.

★★☆☆½

 

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)

 

 

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)

 

 

Death Becomes Her (Kurtherian Gambit #1) ★★★☆½

deathbecomesher (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: Death Becomes Her
Series: Kurtherian Gambit #1
Author: Michael Anderle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 271
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Michael, the Father of All Vampires, is awoken after one of his children is killed. He sets out to find a replacement but there is only 1 candidate that fits Michaels very exacting standards. He contacts General Reynolds to setup the interview.

Bethany Anne Reynolds, a black ops of black ops agent, has been diagnosed with an incurable blood disease that will kill her in less than 6months. She has only told 2 people, neither of them being her father. So when she is summoned to her father’s base, she assumes one of the two spilled the beans.

Bethany Anne is recruited by Michael. She is now officially dead and her record of existence has been closed. However, Bethany Anne was not recruited to simply be a new child of Michael’s, but Michael’s own replacement as he realized that events in the world were moving faster than his 1000 year old brain could handle. New blood was needed (I think I made that pun all by myself!).

It turns out that what turned Michael into a sunwalking alpha vampire a millenia ago was an alien scout sent to change any sentient races it found into beings capable of fighting an enemy that the aliens, the Kurtherians, were no longer able to fight. Now with an alien computer in her head, Michael disappeared and the kickass attitude that has gotten her through life so far, Bethany Anne must face down all of Michael’s children plus all the residents of the Unknown World (what the supernaturals refer to themselves as collectively).

The book ends with Bethany Anne forming a new proto-team of her own and taking down of Michael’s grandchildren who had gotten out of line. But with the Forsaken, children of Michael who have rejected all his strictures, life, or death, isn’t going to be easy for Bethany Anne.

 

My Thoughts:

My first impression of Bethany Anne (you have NO idea how sick to death I became of that two name nomeclature by the time this book was done) was that I hated her guts. She was piss and vinegar with a bad attitude. Thankfully, once she is made over by the alien machine, and starts acting like an alpha vampire, it’s more palatable. I still don’t particularly care for her, but I stopped actively disliking her by the end.

There was a lot of setup in this book, what with introducing vampires, the shape changers and then the whole “alien” thing. That took this from a “so stereotypical urban fantasy that I want to gag” to a much wider scope of story that could be, and will be, told. Also, Bethany Anne didn’t have any love interest in this book at all, so that was nice.

The action scene where she destroys the werewolves and then goes after the vampire that set them on her was nice and I wish there had been more of that. But at under 300 pages, Anderle had to really choose what to include in this and honestly, I think he did a good job of balancing everything.

This was another book that came across my radar because of PG’s Ramblings. He was dead on about the profanity too, so be aware of that. It only took me a year to get around to reading this. So take that into consideration if I ever tell you that your review has inspired me to read Book X. It’ll be a while

* grin *

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Empire’s Corps (The Empire’s Corps #1) ★★★☆☆

theempirescorps (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: The Empire’s Corps
Series: The Empire’s Corps #1
Author: Christopher Nuttal
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 505
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Captain Stalker leads a disastrous rescue attempt on a slum on Earth and ends up with thousands of civilians dead. When he speaks “Truth to Power” (so help me my eyes almost rolled out of my head at the bloody cliched phrase) he and all 80+ of his marines are exiled to a planet on the rim of the Empire, Avalon. He is given a huge budget by the Marine Commander and very vague instructions.

The Empire is tottering and the rim planets will soon be on their own. Marine Commander hopes that Stalker and his marines can keep Avalon from falling into barbarity.

Once on the planet, Stalker is faced with the problems of an entrenched political/economic elite who want to keep thing the way they are even while that path is leading straight to revolution. Stalker deals with the bandits, then deals with the Opposition forces and the Council all in one fell swoop.

The book ends with a Space Navy ship dropping off a note telling Avalon that the Empire will be sending no more ships to them for the foreseeable future.

 

My Thoughts:

PG’s Rambling has been reviewing this series on and off even though he’s more of a spaceship kind of guy while I prefer the ground pounder action. And that is exactly what this book, and series I assume, is all about: Space Marines during the decline of a galactic empire.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first.

“Truth to Power”. For fracks sake, responsible people don’t use that hackneyed phrase, only people like the Occupy movement, ie, those with too much time on their hands and no drive to actually support themselves. Thankfully, it was only used 2-3 times but that was just 2-3 times too much. Nuttal also writes about homosexuality enough that I won’t be surprised if I end up dnf’ing this series in another book or two. Thankfully here it was not “PC homosexual character spewing modern liberal cant, CHECKMARK”. He also writes about brothel’s and prostitution and they are both legal in this book universe. One of the characters opines “It’s ok as long as they “want” to get into that business”. It never works that way and always ends up as a legal sex slave trafficking. I was more concerned about the attitude behind it than that it was included. There was also one sex scene that was used as a plot device, so I can’t accuse it of being completely gratuitous, but another one like it in any future books will push this out of bounds for me.

Now on to what I did like.

80 highly trained marines on a backwoods world. Nuttal makes as much hay with this as he can and I loved every second of it. They are like wolves going through a pack of puppies.The fighting was awesome and Nuttal doesn’t make the mistake of writing the bandits or Opposition as complete chowderheads. They are clever and when they have armaments equal to the Marines, a real threat. One thing I was kind of edgy about was how the bandits raped a lot and it was definitely used as a device to make them “Despicable”. It was never described in detail but I just found it bordering on the tasteless with how it was written.

The politics side of things felt a little too pat and easy but considering that Captain Stalker has had to deal with Earth Politics, whatever Avalon throws at him isn’t nearly at the same level. I do appreciate that Nuttal doesn’t try to make his badguy characters to be grey, ambiguous “oh, those poor misunderstood” type of badguys. They are bad, period. Thank goodness for that.

Nuttal is an indie, as far as I can tell, but besides the repeated misspelling of “deport” and its various forms, nothing stood out (depot and depoted were the main culprits). At 500 pages, I was expecting a lot more than that in all honesty. I enjoyed his writing style and his characters had enough depth so they were unique and not just the same character with a different name.

I do look forward to reading more in this series (there are 14 books and it appears that book 14 is the final book) and if it works out, I’ll probably be trying other series by the author.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Seal Team 13 ★★☆☆☆

sealteam13 (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:
Seal Team 13
Series: ———-
Author: Evan Currie
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 337
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

10 years ago a Seal Team witnessed the destruction of a destroyerboat by tentacles. The 2 surviving SEALS were drummed out of the service and burned for their report. Monsters like that don’t exist.

Incidents like that have been increasing and Admiral Karson realizes that the United States Armed Forces aren’t getting the job done of finding out what is going on. He re-calls Harold “Hawk” Masterson, one of the surviving SEALS and has him assemble a team that can handle such incidents. When a town in Alaska suddenly goes off the radar and the police and national guard sent in to investigate disappear, Karson realizes it is time for his team to annointed by fire.

Masterson and crew, all survivors of various unexplained events, head in. With Alexander Norton, known simply as The Black in the supernatural community, Masterson wants to prove that his team can handle such threats and begin fighting back against the supernatural.

Lots of hints are dropped about The Veil, something that keeps an ignorant humanity protected from the worst of the supernatural. Apparently, if someone witnesses something, they can cross the veil and see things. Unfortunately, it also means that those “things” can now see them.

The town of Barrow, Alaska, has been taken over by a vampire and its inhabitants turned. Masterson must destroy the alpha vampire while battling off thousands of shambling zombie/vampire things. The Team wins, deals with the instigators of the whole thing and come to the attention of masters of the Supernatural.

Now the Armed Forces can fight back, with Seal Team 13.

 

My Thoughts:

This was originally supposed to be the start of a series, but considering that we’ve never seen another one I’m guessing Currie lost interest, or something. That is why I put that this is just a standalone.

I was expecting something along the lines of the Monster Hunter International series but with SEAL’s instead of a private organization. Things started out with a bang and I was rather excited. Sadly, it did not coalesce into the awesomeness I was hoping for.

Firstly, the whole Veil thing. It is sideways referenced so many times that I had the idea of what it was but no clear idea in actuality. It would appear to literally be a Veil of Ignorance. If you don’t know about the supernatural, they can’t affect you. But the attacks by supernatural beings seems to give lie to that. How does a Kraken take down a whole Destroyer if it supposedly can’t interact with those who don’t know or believe? Same with the whole town of Barrows who were all zombievampirized. The idea was cool but the execution was not thought out the best or at least, not explained very well.

Second, the sniping at Christianity and America. There is an instance where The Black holds up a cross and tells the main character that the cross is an ancient celtic symbol of the sun and the symbol of punishment for the worst scum by the romans and asks the main character which he thinks would be more effective against vampires. Then an instance of the a secondary character being from the Canadian Special Forces and Currie praises them and snipes at the SEALs. Neither of those instances are huge, but it was one more thing that rubbed me wrong.

Thirdly, plot related things. The Black knows about the vampire and knows that bullets can’t kill her. But does he tell the rest of the SEAL team or at least let them know that only his special knife might have a chance of killing her? Nope, he waits until they’re already attacking before he lets loose that info. There were several instances like this where a real SEAL team would have all the info possible before proceeding.

Finally, and least important but most noticable to me, was the continued references to Masterson as “Harold “Hawk” Masterson”. Ok, we get it. Use it at the beginning of the book, but in the last chapter? WE KNOW THAT ALREADY.

Overall, this came across as slapdash and mediocre at best. I like the idea, a lot, but the execution was poorly done and I doubt I’d try a book 2 even if Currie (who has improved tremendously through his career to date) wrote it now. I’d rather him focus on his Scourwind trilogy and finish that up.

★★☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)