Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Book Review: STAR WARS-Aftermath - Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig
STAR WARS: Aftermath
Disney / Del Rey
Science Fiction
Rarely do I let other reviews influence my reading of a book. However, and I am not sure why, Wendig's Aftermath has been getting hammered on Amazon. It is averaging just 2.5 Stars. And I, for one, don't get it. Not at all.

Aftermath takes place after the war on Endor. The Death Star has been destroyed by the rebels. The Empire is reeling from the loss. Hero-Pilot Wedge Antilles was on a mission. Witnessing the sudden arrival of Star Destroyers over the planet Akiva, he knows something is up. Attempts at getting word back to the Rebel Alliance are thwarted. Communications are being jammed. Caught in an attempt to escape the threat posed in the area, Antilles is captured by the enemy.

Rebel fighter, Norra Wexley is on the planet surface of Akiva. With the war against the empire coming to an end, she desires reestablishing a relationship with her son, Temmin. Her goal is to get him off the planet, and escape the Outer Rim (since it is till not safe. The Empire was beaten, but is not gone). She receives word of Antilles' capture and knows she must put together a rescue mission.

Temmin is in a tough place. Long ago his father was arrested by the Empire, and removed from the planet. His mother, Norra, took off in an attempt to save her husband, leaving their son in the care of her sisters. Feeling abandoned, and neglected, Temmin puts his emotions to good use and his street smarts excel into a lucrative business. When his mother shows up demanding he leave the planet with her, he defies her demands because he has different ideas about his own future.

Things change when platoons of stormtroopers attack Akiva. The Empire wants to re-establish dominance along the Outer Rim. They need to reacquire a foothold in the galaxy as they rebuild, and organize.

The Star Destroyers are holding a summit in space. Titles are up for the grabbing. Self-promotion is abundant, while chaos and disorder drive the Empire.

Loaded with action, a host of amazing, strong characters, Wendig has crafted a fantastic extension into the Star Wars book library. I loved this story. It is filled with bounty hunters, crooks, Admirals, and tie-ins to the Disney animated series, REBELS. Wendig tells the tale in first person, and does it well. His writing is crisp, taut. The dialogue is spot on. I felt like I was watching a Star Wars movie from the first page until I finished reading the last chapter.

I have ordered Book 2 in the trilogy, Life Debt. I am going to wait outside for the mailman ... he should be here already!

Phillip Tomasso
Author of the Severed Empire Series
Wizard's Rise
Wizard's War
Queens of Osiris 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Book Review: TOO WILD TO TAME - Tessa Bailey

Tessa Bailey
Too Wild to Tame (Romancing the Clarkson's #2)
Contemporary Romance

“If you spend the night underneath me, you’ll wear your satisfaction like a billboard baby.”- Aaron

Whoa right?!?! When you read Tessa Bailey you expect hot, steamy, sexy, naughty and everything in between. That quote from Aaron is one of many that shows Too Wild to Tame does not disappoint in that department.

Dirty talking Aaron’s depth was a pleasant surprise however. I was expecting Aaron to be a cocky, egotistical, typical politician type. Don’t get me wrong he definitely was in the beginning but then he was blindsided by one of my favorite Tessa characters to date, Grace.

Grace is a wild child who doesn’t fit the typical cookie cutter mold she is expected to fit into given where she comes from. I loved watching Aaron and Grace dance around each other throughout the book and seeing how each of them brought out hidden qualities in the other (including Aaron's hidden Alpha side which honestly no man should ever hide that side! Just saying).

The depth of the characters and the development of their stories as the book goes on really made this book a little different from other Tessa books but in a very good way! Excited to meet the next Clarkson sibling!

Eliza Wise is a Travel Planner, and mother of 4 school age kids who started reading as an escape from reality and is now an active member of the Indie Romance Community.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Book Review: RED RISING - Pierce Brown

Pierce Brown
Del Rey / Random House
YA / Dystopian

On the planet Mars, the world is split into castes, and those castes are represented by colors. Gold being at the top; Reds at the bottom. When I say “bottom,” I mean bottom. The Reds mine the bowels of the planet. It is a dangerous job. It is one they are proud to do. Their mining will one day allow people to live on the planet’s surface. In a way, they feel like they are saving humanity.

Darrow, the main character, operates a drill. It requires brains, and skill, and more than a little bit of recklessness. Recently married, Darrow puts his time in on the job, and then enjoys spending time with his wife, Eo and family. There are guards in place, and although the Reds volunteered to mine on Mars, there still needs to be order. Food is scarce. Competitions are devised. Groups that dig deepest win. Winning involves baskets of food and other hard-to-get items. Darrow’s group has never won before. The skeleton visible under his wife’s skin is constant proof of the failure. The need to provide, and protect family is what Darrow clings on to.

Eo is more than a strong wife. She is a strong person. She reveals a truth to her husband. It shatters the world Darrow has always known. The Reds have been lied too. Mars is already a thriving planet. Government has kept them in the mines for generations; has let them starve needlessly. Unfortunately, the knowledge shared comes with a price. There is always a price. With it, Darrow agrees to undertake a secret assignment. He will leave the Reds and become a spy. After enduring a year of changes, training and education, Darrow infiltrates the Golds.

Now as a Gold, Darrow is sent to school. The school is not unlike The Hunger Games’ battlefield. Except, in Brown’s book –it is worse. Darker. More violent. More ruthless. The students are split into Houses. The Houses are overseen by Proctors. The Proctors report to leaders. At the end of the game there can only be a single winner; a Primus. Each House ultimately needs to pick a leader. The Houses will then battle against each other, until one house is left standing. Until one Primus has control over it all.

It isn’t that the other students will not get sponsors after the games. The talented and skilled ones will. It is the Primus will have his pick.

As you can then imagine, the war begins at home. Months go by as each House struggles to establish it’s own Primus. From there, Houses are then pitted against houses. Who will win? Which House will be triumphant and which student will be the victorious Primus of the games?

If Red Rising is like The Hunger Games — it is The Hunger Games on steroids. Brown has clearly created a world with defined language, and defined hierarchy. The characters are well-crafted. I read the book fast, constantly needing to read what happens next. I’d set the book down, and think about it until the next time I was able to pick it up. A powerful story full of violence. It is intense, dark and infuriating — I loved the Red Rising. Loved it. I and cannot wait for the sequel.

Phillip Tomasso
Author of the Severed Empire Series