Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Girls from Alcyone: Merchantman by Cary Caffrey

Title: The Girls from Alcyone: Merchantman
Author: Cary Caffrey
Genre: Scifi/Space Opera (short story)
Publisher:
Alcyone Studio (July 13, 2013) 
Available: $0.99 at Amazon
Rating: 4 stars
Rater: Pippa





From the publisher:

Sigrid Novak embarks on an all or nothing mission to secure vital supplies for the girls' homeworld of New Alcyone. But with a price on her head the size of a planet, and pursued across the galaxy by the Council for Trade and Finance, finding a willing trading partner proves a more complicated problem than Sigrid thought.

Fortunately, there are always the Merchantmen


What I liked:

I loved The Girls from Alcyone so this was an immediate buy for me, and I wasn't disappointed. Another exciting adventure with the lovely, kick-ass Sigrid, a space station, betrayal, and technology from the super-advanced to the seriously dodgy. It fulfilled all my main wishlist items for scifi/space opera.

What I didn't like:

I can't really say there was anything I didn't like, aside from it was over too quickly. The only reason I couldn't rate this five stars like TGfA is that it just didn't have the same emotional punch as the novel, and I felt I had to reflect that in my rating.

In conclusion:

As an addition to Caffrey's universe, this is a quick, enjoyable read, and long enough to give you a decent taster of his work. I would personally, however, recommend reading The Girls from Alcyone first because of the complexity of the world building, and references made to events in the novel during Merchantman. Give me more!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Reckless Rescue by Rinelle Grey

Title: Reckless Rescue (A Barren Planet Romance #1)
Author: Rinelle Grey
Genre: Scifi Romance/Space Opera
Publisher: Self (27th February 2013)
Available: $2.99 at Amazon
Rating: 3 stars
Rater: Pippa



 

From the publisher: 

Marlee's people are dying—the valuable anysogen gas that covers their planet is making the entire population infertile. When the council tells her she must leave her partner and choose another to improve her chances of having a baby, she’s devastated. She swears she’ll never love again—it hurts too much.

Tyris thinks he has everything he wants, despite his world suffering from overpopulation—until his wife leaves him because he is forbidden to have children.

In an attempt to convince his world, and his wife, that he’s worthwhile, Tyris goes hunting for a lost planet said to contain untold riches in the form of anysogen gas.

When he crashes on her world, Marlee and Tyris agree to pretend to live together while they try to repair his ship and escape from the planet. But as they battle the harsh winter on the planet together, keeping their distance becomes even more challenging than the snow, the council and the risks of a real relationship...


What I liked:

I loved the premise about the essential FTL fuel becoming scarce, a similar situation to present day with fossil fuels running out, but combined with the horrible side effects of nuclear power when it goes wrong. Marlee and her people are in a terrible, emotionally desperate situation on their planet, with a real moral conundrum that promised much conflict. I liked the idea of Tyris's quest, and the concept of the contraceptive chip being forced on anyone with a criminal record. The romance was sweet and the bedroom scenes tastefully done. Forbidden love (and in a way, this is a play on that trope with partners being chosen, but then forced to break up) is one of my favourite themes, and this story does it with a twist.

What I didn't like:

Emotionally, the story fell flat for me. Considering how many options there were for serious conflict,  the tension was lacking, particularly in the romance. It didn't go deep enough. Plus it had a slightly weak plot line toward the end regarding the lack of enthusiasm to escape amongst some of the colony members that wasn't adequately explained. The opening scene also made me dislike the two characters intensely, leaving me with little sympathy for the hero at the start. This was mitigated somewhat throughout the story with Tyris supporting Marlee, but I couldn't empathize with him totally.


In conclusion:

If you like dystopian scifi with romance and aren't looking for the 'everybody dies' scenario, this could be for you. Some interesting world building and differing concepts of society, but not visceral enough for me. I really, really wanted to love this story but can only say it scored a 'like' - I would probably read the sequel to see how the overall story arc develops, although it wouldn't be high on my TBR priorities at the moment.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Made for Her by Jessica E Subject

Title: Made for Her
Author: Jessica E Subject
Genre: Military/Futuristic Erotica/Romance
Publisher:
Decadent Publishing Company, LLC (January 12, 2013) Available: $2.99 at Amazon
Rating: 4 stars
Rater: Pippa



From the publisher: 


After terrorists murder the love of her life, Major Mikayla Jones trains squadron after squadron of the clones her husband helped develop to take to the skies. When she discovers a young clone of her husband in her newest class, her world spins out of control. How can she command the look-a-like when she can’t help but yearn for him to fill the ache in her heart?

Dare was created to be the best. As the first Daniel clone to leave Onatria Labs, he needs to prove he is more than just a DNA copy. To do that, he must rely on the wife of the man who donated his genes. But when she refuses to train him, Dare faces discharge and a return to the labs. Can he convince Major Jones to finish his training—and find a way into her bed? Or will long-kept secrets unhinge the entire clone project?


What I did like:

I'm a huge fan of the idea of cloning, and of Jessica's previous works in general. Being faced with a clone of your lost love sets up great potential for emotional and ethical conflict. There's also a brilliant plot twist that was a tear-jerker, and had me physically reeling - I really hadn't expected it. The ending will leave you reaching for a hanky and hoping for a sequel.

What I didn't like:


For me, this focused a little too much on the sex rather than the emotions behind it and the inner conflict of the main characters. For all his claim of wanting to be the best, Dare seemed more set on getting into Jones's panties, and for all her 'I shouldn't', she didn't put up as much resistance as I would expect. I felt it could have been deeper and been explored more. It wasn't as heart wrenching as some of her previous works, and I would have liked to know much more about this near future world, and the cloning process.


In conclusion:


Fans of military-based scifi romances and erotica will enjoy this. For me it lacked some emotional depth, and I prefer my scifi more offworld, although I loved the cloning aspect and the big twist. While this particular story may have missed the mark for me a touch, I'm still a huge fan of J Subject's writing and will be back for more.



DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that this blog does NOT accept submissions of erotica. Any erotica reviews posted on this site are of books bought or personally gifted to the reviewer (Pippa) and not through general submission to Critique de Book.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Starheart by Greta van der Rol

Title: Starheart (Ptorix Empire #4)
Author: Greta van der Rol
Genre: Scifi Romance/Space Opera
Publisher: Self (latest edition April 2013)
Available: $3.99 at Amazon
Rating: 4 stars
Rater: Pippa



From the publisher:


Freighter Captain Jess Sondijk thought she had her life under control until Admiral Hudson's Confederacy battle cruiser stops her ship to search for contraband. His questions reopen matters she had thought resolved. What if her husband's death during an official boarding wasn't accidental?

Hudson has his own questions. Who in the Confederacy is trading with the Ptorix? And what price is high enough to pay for starhearts, the prized jewels the aliens call the windows of the soul?

Jess and Hudson's interests collide in more ways than one as they follow a shadowy trail of deceit and corruption in search of the truth. But while Jess is more than willing to put her life on the line to protect what's hers, Hudson must balance the risk of inter-species war at worst and the end of his career at best, in a deadly game of political intrigue, murder and greed.


What I liked:
This was a fun book, in the true spirit of classic space opera akin to Star Trek and it's ilk, with good tension and interesting plot twists. A spunky heroine does it for me every time, and we get that in Jess. She's had it tough and skirted the grey area between legal transport and smuggling. She's smart, confident, and yet caring - no coming over as a hard-nosed bitch determined to be the match of any man, and yet being totally up to the challenge. Personally I enjoyed the secondary story line with her first officer Santh, and would have liked more on him. In that respect, the story felt slightly unbalanced.

What I didn't like:

So why didn't this rate a five? In a word, Hudson. I cannot stand smug men. In spite of his charms, his attitude just made me want to slap, and despite the situation they were in, I begrudged Jess surrendering. Also, one major stunning revelation at the end gave me a very 'huh?' moment. Not because I object to the content. I just couldn't see the overall point to the story, except to cause some additional conflict. But forgiveness came far too quickly to make it a significant conflict, so I felt a little 'why do it?', unless it has more relevance in another book in the series.

In conclusion:
This is classic space opera that Star Trek fans would probably enjoy. It had my heart going and had me rooting for the good guys and gals, and I would definitely read more by this author. It also stands alone well despite being labelled book four, so even someone totally new to the series would be able to enjoy this without reading the others (as I did).