Ratty (blinger) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 27, 28 and 29 - 2010

Book 27: Moonstruck by Susan Grant – 378 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Peace was for little girls and Coalition starship admiral Brit Bandar was one tough woman. A mere intergalactic treaty could never get her to trust the Drakken Horde. There was too much bad blood between the Coalition and the Horde and, for intensely personal reasons, Brit wasn't sure that she was through spilling it. But now a peaceful accord had made Finn Rorkken, a notorious Drakken rogue, second in command on her starship, and--through some grand cosmic irony--front and center in her thoughts...and her heart. Warleader. Pirate. Either title sat easily on Finn's battle-hardened shoulders. Though second in command to "Stone-Heart" Bandar? That one would take some getting used to. Peace required as much sacrifice as war so he'd comply even if his reaction to the gorgeous admiral fell decidedly outside protocol. But would he end up kissing or killing her if the galaxy's tentative truce turned into all-out war?

Of all of Grant’s books that I’ve read, this one is my favourite. It sits within the same universe as the Otherworldly Men series but moves its perspective away from the Jasper family and into a region of space called the Borderlands. I’ve heard it compared to Star Trek: Voyager, specifically the relationship between Captain Janeway and First Officer Chakotay, the implication being that this story is really just that particular romance (I loathe to call it a romance because in my view it never was) taken to its conclusion. Personally, I disagree, but I can see why the comparisons would come up, and moreover, why I would then love this story so much (not, for the record, because I ever wanted a Janeway/Chakotay romance, but rather because I was – and still am – a massive Voyager fan). Brit Bandar is the best Captain on the Coalition side of the recently concluded millennia long war with the Drakken Horde (a war essentially won by the Coalition). She’s ruthless, ferocious and up until now, has spent twenty years finding ways to take out as many Horde as possible. Finn Rorkken is the only Horde leader to ever get away from her – she’s chased him all over the Galaxy. Of course, when she finally comes face to face with him, it’s to be told that he’s to be her new second-in-command on the first Unity ship (a three-way alliance between the Coalition, the Horde and Earth – which was declared a political shrine in the Otherworldly Men book ‘My Favorite Earthling’). There’s an instant chemistry between the pair (a big strike against any similarities to Voyager) but whilst Finn is reasonably open to anything further, Brit is true to her nickname of ‘Stone-Heart’. With this as a premise, I was always going to be interested, and the story didn’t disappoint. It’s a bit hard core on the sex, but otherwise altogether endearing, with just enough sub-plot to make the story not solely about the relationship. I think the thing I loved the most was the epilogue, which really nicely wrapped up the story (warm fuzzies ensure!). The only thing I think I would have liked, that was absent, would have been a look at some of the reactions of outside persons to the relationship – but that’s definitely more my personal preference than any fault on part of the story. Overall, I would highly recommend this to not just sci-fi/romance lovers, but romance lovers in general…or pretty much anyone who liked the romantic aspects of Star Trek (before you laugh, there were such aspects!). Definitely my genre of choice!

27 / 50 books. 54% done!

9479 / 15000 pages. 63% done!

Book 28: The Warlord’s Daughter by Susan Grant – 314 pages

Description from Amazon:
The war is finally over. But Wren's life is in tatters. The only living offspring of the notorious Drakken Warlord, her genes could very well start a new dynasty of terror. And the Coalition can't have that.
She alone holds the key to finding a legendary treasure. Having seen enough bloodshed, shy, petite Wren vows to destroy it before anyone, Drakken, Coalition or Earth, can get their hands on it - but she'll need help.
The Drakken's ruthless evil turned Aral toward the Coalition years ago. War is all he knows, until he finds passion and love in the most unlikely of women - the Warlord's Daughter. But will trusting each other with their secrets risk not only their hearts, but their lives?

More love! This one was a bit different from the others. Only one major sex scene, and a lot more spaceship fun. It follows several stories, eventually converging into two separate stories and then into one. One follows Wren, the Warlord's neglected Daughter as she tries to stay alive in the new, unified universe that just happens to want her dead for her father's sins. Another story follows Aral, one of the Warlord's battlelords who turned spy and single-handedly brought down the Warlord. Then there's Vantos, famed runner whose survival during the war crossing back and forwards across the Borderlands is of no use now that the war is over. Finally, there is Hadley and Bolivarr who appear in Moonstruck. The pair are now a couple, and Hadley is no longer Brit Bandar's PA, but a fully fledged captain sent on her first mission to try and find an ancient text belonging to the Goddesses. Eventually, all four groups converge on board Hadley's ship, the Cloud Shadow, for a show down that may serve to be the only thing that will save Wren from a revenge execution. I must say I missed Brit and Finn from the previous book - those two really grew on me - but it was nice to hear little remarks about the pair of them (primarily that Brit was no longer helming spaceships but teaching students and that the pair were married and expecting a baby - I really liked hearing that, it wrapped Moonstruck nicely). Hadley and Bolivarr's relationship felt less mysterious and sweet in this one, but at the same time, there was a resulting maturity to Hadley that was nice. I liked Wren and Aral, pitied Wren for her circumstances, Aral for his father's torture, envied Wren for the easy fix to her poor eyesight (a couple of drops of nanomeds into her eyes and boom! she can see - if only!). It was a good read, a different perspective on the war. There was only one flaw: at the end, two of the characters move to Australia, the problem in that being that they move to Western Australia. Come on Susan, everyone knows the best beaches are on the Eastern Coast of Australia - who goes to Perth when you can have Brisbane?

28 / 50 books. 56% done!

9793 / 15000 pages. 65% done!

Book 29: Sureblood by Susan Grant – 376 pages

Description from Amazon:
Five years ago rival space pirate captains Val Blue and Dake Sureblood stole one incredible night together. But their brief, passionate history ended with the assassination of Val's father and the condemnation of Dake's clan. Now Val struggles to prove her mettle—to herself and to the dissenters amid her own people. Every successful raid is a boot heel ground into the burning memory of Dake Sureblood—and their secret son is a constant reminder of their shared past….
Ambushed and captured before he can clear his name, Dake Sureblood returns from a hell like no other to expose the true killer of Val's father. But as the identity of their enemy becomes chillingly clear, the former lovers must put aside their mistrust and join forces to protect their clans and their precious son.

This is the final book in the Borderlands trilogy, and my second favourite of this series. It moves out into an area of the Borderlands controlled by several clans of space pirates who make their money by chasing down ships that have stolen resources from the region’s mining lord. Normally, the different clans have an unspoken agreement that whoever gets to a ship first, gets it, but during one particular desperate circumstance, Val Blue, daughter of the leader of the Blues, and Dake Sureblood, young leader of the Surebloods team up during a raid. It’s the start of many things: a discussion regarding clan collaboration, a romantic entanglement between Val and Dake, and an event that creates a seemingly irreparable fraction between the clans. The first thing I must say about this book is that I loved the very idea of the Surebloods, who are an almost Viking like people, big, tall and powerful. The main Sureblood, Dake, is a commanding presence, 6’5 and huge, and that in itself is really hot in my book (my favourite male character in my own series is a 6’5, giant of a man who also happens to be King of an entire planet – he’s uber sexy!). More attractive is the fact that he really wanted to make the Borderlands a better place. Val was similarly determined but more flawed as a person – independent to a fault but prone to wearing her heart on her sleeve. As a team they are ferocious and after reading this book, I have developed a distinct love for space pirates (I even went as a space pirate to Halloween). Perhaps the only major flaw was the fact that the ‘bad guy’ was obvious right from word go and I did spend an awful lot of time wondering why it was taking everyone so long to work it out. Nonetheless, it was a good read, another one I’d definitely recommend to all who are fans of sci-fi/romance.

29 / 50 books. 58% done!

10169 / 15000 pages. 68% done!

Currently reading:
- How to Make Gravy
by Paul Kelly – 552 pages
- Nobody’s Prize
by Esther Friesner – 306 pages
- The Truth about Diamonds
by Nicole Richie – 224 pages

And coming up:
- A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book the Second: The Reptile Room
by Lemony Snicket – 190 pages
- The Star King
by Susan Grant – 358 pages
- Jennifer Government
by Max Barry – 335 pages
Tags: pirates, romance, sci-fi

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