Tag Archives: friendship

Review of KINDLE Ebook Aftermath – Book 5 of the Sirantha Jax series by Ann Aguirre #Brainfluffbookreview #Aftermathbookreview

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At the beginning of the year, I made a resolution to pick up with series I’d thoroughly enjoyed, and yet somehow lost track of. Otherwise, I’d continue endlessly continue to be led off to the new shiny and not allow myself to follow a character’s development over a well-told narrative arc. And as I’m a particular fan of character-led stories, this wasn’t the smartest way to get the best of out my reading experience. So I got back in touch with one of my favourite, groundbreaking, adrenaline-junkie heroines – Sirantha Jax – see my reviews of Grimspace and Killbox.

BLURB: Sirantha Jax has the right genes—ones that enable her to “jump” faster-than-light ships through grimspace. But it’s also in her genetic makeup to go it alone. It’s a character trait that has gotten her into—and out of—hot water time and time again, but now she’s caused one of the most horrific events in military history… During the war against murderous, flesh-eating aliens, Sirantha went AWOL and shifted grimspace beacons to keep the enemy from invading humanity’s homeworld. The cost of her actions: the destruction of modern interstellar travel—and the lives of six hundred Conglomerate soldiers.

Accused of dereliction of duty, desertion, mass murder, and high treason, Sirantha is on trial for her life. And only time will tell if she’s one of the Conglomerate’s greatest heroes—or most infamous criminals…

REVIEW: I am so glad that I picked up with this series, again! I recalled the last book and the desperate strategy that Jax uses to prevent the terrible, flesh-eating Morgut aliens from invading the whole of human-space. And so this one starts with Jax in a lot of trouble, and at a very low point in her life. Whatever you do – in the event of encountering this book without having read at least Killbox – put it down and backtrack. I make a hobby of crashing midway into series, and it won’t work with this one. You will simply have missed too much of Jax’s amazing journey to fully appreciate who she is and where she’s come from.

I found this book immensely moving. Sirantha Jax was a real hell-raiser in the earlier books and has been through all sorts of life-changing experiences. I’m delighted to see that they have, indeed, changed her, which isn’t always the case with our kick-ass heroines. I was on tenterhooks throughout her trial – as I know only too well Aguirre isn’t necessarily kind to our gutsy protagonist. And then the resultant adventure that she’s embroiled in also originates by her trying to put right a wrong that she inflicted earlier. I’m conscious that I’ve managed to make this sound as if it’s a rather dreary read – it isn’t. There is plenty of danger and action. But I love the relationship between her and Vel, her Ithtorian companion (think of a large, upright cockroach) as it goes on deepening and they appreciate each other as firm friends. Friendship isn’t always fully explored in space opera – but this one is beautifully portrayed.

I came away with a real sense of loss on leaving this world. With the current upsurge of popularity in space opera adventure, I hope readers will consider picking up this fabulous series. Highly recommended for fans of character-led, high-octane space opera.
9/10

Review of Dear Thing by Julie Cohen

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Himself doesn’t usually do mainstream fiction – particularly with curly writing on the cover… So when he enthusiastically recommended this book, I paid attention. Would I enjoy it, too?

dearthingAfter years of watching her best friends Ben and Claire try for a baby, Romily has offered to give them the one thing they most want. But Romily wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming feelings that have taken hold of her and which threaten to ruin her friendship with Ben and Claire – and even destroy their marriage. Now there are three friends, two mothers and only one baby, and an impossible decision to make…

This wasn’t a book I would ever have picked up – but that didn’t prevent it from immediately hooking me into the story. Cohen’s style is readable and punchy. I initially really bonded strongly with Claire, but as the book progressed I increasingly sympathised with Romily. Cohen managed to write her small daughter without lapsing into sentimentality – not always an easy trick to accomplish when small children make intermittent appearances in an adult book. Especially when one of the main themes revolves around what makes a good mother – something of a burning question in these days of increasing concern about the way we parent. And as Romily finds herself unexpectedly bonding with her unborn baby, she is torn – does she keep her promise to her friends? Or keep the baby? Cohen certainly knows how to pull a story along. I devoured this book in three greedy gulps.

For me, the best bit was how both very different women reacted to the situation confronting them – and the way their relationship and attitude to each other changed. Claire’s story was no less engrossing or heart-tugging than Romily’s problem and anyone who has ever longed for a baby will sympathise with her plight. And while Romily tends to stumble into her own muddles through her impulsive nature, Claire is the victim of biology. Small wonder she becomes a tad over-controlling about the aspects of her life she can alter – I found the way Cohen depicts this both clever and moving.

Any grizzles? Well, while I found Jarvis completely convincing, Ben bothered me. On one hand, he is quite able to implicitly acknowledge Romily’s affection for him for years – to the extent that they go out for pub quizzes together as best mates. That seems entirely plausible. What I find difficult to swallow is his sudden need to then become painfully honest to Claire, given the dire consequences. Nope – didn’t ring true, given his capacity to gloss a thorny problem for years and years. However, given how much Cohen got right and the skill with which she negotiated this highly emotional story, it wasn’t a deal-breaker.

The ending works well – which again, is no mean feat, given the complexity of the problem. I certainly won’t be by-passing Julie Cohen’s books again, and if you’re looking for a well-written, readable novel about some of the complications that contemporary issues can pose for family life, I highly recommend this.
9/10