Vorpal Blade

BOOK 1: Into the Looking Glass  by  John Ringo

Vorpal Blade   description:

The sequel to Into the Looking Glass. William Weaver, PhD. and SEAL Chief Adams are back and Bill got himself a ship! The former SSBN Nebraska has been converted, using mostly garage mechanics and baling wire, into a warp ship ready to go “out there.” But as everyone knows, the people who really are going to bear the brunt are the poor Security guys, Force Recon Marines who are kept in the dark and fed manure all day. That is until they land on an alien planet, get partially wiped out and then load back up again. Ranging in topics from the best gun to kill armored space monsters to particle physics to cosmology to health and beauty tips, Vorpal Blade is a return to the “good old days” of SF when the science problems were intractable and the beasts were ugly. The monkeys are out in the space lanes and ready to rock. As soon as they get another roll of duct tape.

BOOK 2: Vorpal Blade   5 STARS

I loved that this shows how the world has evolved since humans have encountered aliens. More so, that it wasn’t some endless panic, but an easy acceptance. They’d destroyed the evil ones, and the good ones, Adars, are accepted into society. Especially considering how the Adar’s technology has greatly advanced life on Earth. However, the main story is the spaceship they’ve built with said technology meshed with good ol’ human rigging, and them going into space to find what else may be out there. Ringo does a great job with making these people normal in the most bizarre environments. They’re marines that you might meet on any base, and yet now they’re among the stars meeting new aliens and fighting new battles. The best part was the pranks they play, and the way they deal with any who don’t quite get along with the others is pretty humorous. It is a great sequel that in no way lags, and keeps the adventurous, exciting, new feel that made the first one so great, because this isn’t rehashing the same old thing even as they are still hunting down Dreen. But that is just a small part of the greater story line. If you liked the first one you definitely need to check out the second.

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The Warlord of Mars

BOOK 1: A Princess of Mars  by  Edgar Rice Burroughs

BOOK 2: The Gods of Mars

The Warlord of Mars   description:

John Carter risks everything to rescue his wife, Princess Dejah Thoris, from the clutches of his evil adversaries, but he is always just one step behind! His battles cover the face of the red planet, as his quest carries him ultimately to the mysterious northern pole. Will this civilization, submerged in ice, prove fatal to our hero? This is the third of eleven in the popular ‘Martian’ series by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

BOOK 3: The Warlord of Mars  4 STARS

In a way, this completes the journey that began in the first book. He’s still searching for his wife, and now her father and grandfather. I love that we have gotten to see all of Mars, and the different races, and what their lives are like. What makes these books so great is that John Carter, is just himself. He’s the greatest swordsman of 2 worlds, he can defeat any foe, and has taken on armies. But he knows he’s not much beyond a fighting man. He has his smarts in coming up with rescue plans, but he’s not exactly made out to be the smartest man there ever was. He tends to just be lucky, and often shows himself as being a bit ditzy. Like not understanding why Dejah Thoris doesn’t recognize him when he’s in disguise, while at the same time completely accepting that no one else around her recognizes him either. He’s a fighting man, and he does whatever it takes to save the woman he loves, but he’s also someone who takes others advise, and seeks help from those willing to give it. It really makes him out to be more realistic than you expect, and a hero that you can’t help but root for time and again as he fights for all that is good and right in the world, and thus completely changes this world he’s fallen into forever.

Lauren’s Barbarian

While this is a spin-off series of The Ice Planet Barbarians, it’s still rather tied to the series and I disagree that it can stand alone. At the very least you should read the first book of IPB.

Lauren’s Barbarian  by  Ruby Dixon  description:

A lush, tropical island on an icy planet makes no sense.

Then again, not much makes sense anymore after waking up and finding myself not in bed but on a strange world populated by aliens. Since that moment, I’ve learned that nothing is normal anymore and I’ve got to roll with the punches. I can handle this, though. I’m strong and capable.

So… washed up on a tropical island? Got it handled.
Separated from the others in my group? Handled.
Stranded alone with a brutal but delicious alien man that can’t speak English but has great…ahem…body language? Yup, handled.

Add in the fact that my cootie – a symbiont I need to survive – has chosen my big, hulking alien friend as my fated mate? Let’s just say that the situation isn’t the only thing that’s going to be handled.

But it isn’t long before I learn that the tropical island paradise is a death trap and we’re all in grave danger, aliens and humans alike. To survive this, I’ll need my tempting guy to give me a hand with the situation…good thing he’s got four of them.

BOOK 1: Lauren’s Barbarian   4 STARS

This book starts when they’re finally letting the captives out of the pods, and how they all reacted, and what exactly happened while Taushen and Brooke were away. First off, I’m so glad we finally discovered the secret of the island Josey saw way out at sea. It also does tie into events that happened earlier in the IPB series, and so it was nice that even as it’s breaking off into a rather new story line, it’s still staying consistent with the previous books of this world. Though at first I was a little miffed that we finally find the 4 armed natives that was hinted at previously in the carvings of Croatoan, and it turns out they also are blue with tails and horns, and also calling themselves Sakh. But honestly it was rather clever of Dixon to think about the different species mixing together, and who knows how other Sakh ended up on the island, but it’s not really that far-fetched. Once I realized that it made me like it all the more. And again we’re dealing with a human and alien overcoming a language barrier, and having to work together to save the tribe. It was developed nicely, and of course it sets up for so many more stories with the new Icehome tribe, and learning how they’re going to come together and survive this new world they’ve all suddenly been tossed on. Lauren is likeable and practical. She’s a little unsure of resonance at first but she doesn’t put up a big fight with it, which was nice to be able to have someone just happy to have a man that’s completely devoted to them. The set up of the island and the tribes was interesting, and of course leaves me wondering about the mysterious 4th tribe that no one meets. But altogether it was a fun addition to the series whether Dixon wants to call in the same series or not.

Barbarian’s Tease

Due to the number of books in this series I’m just going to add the link to the list of books I’ve reviewed by Ruby Dixon.

Barbarian’s Tease  by  Ruby Dixon  description:

It should have been a one-night stand.

I never intended to seduce Taushen, but things happened. I don’t dwell on the past and while it was great, I’m not looking for a relationship. Of course, try telling that to Taushen. The big blue alien’s in love after one night, and it’s making things darn awkward. We’ve got bigger problems than whether or not I’m his woman, like the ‘cargo’ of the space ship that landed here.

But Taushen’s not giving up. He thinks I’m his mate.
And he’ll do anything to keep me.

BOOK 16: Barbarian’s Tease  4 STARS

I hesitated to read this book for so long because of all the people making it sound like Brooke was just this horrible person, but honestly I really felt for her. I don’t consider it a spoiler since it all happens within like the first few pages of the book, but it turns out while trapped together on the ship Brooke was basically roofied, and Taushen unwittingly took advantage of her during a time when she couldn’t stop herself. Brooke is upset over what happened, while she had technically enjoyed it she still hadn’t been in a position to say no. And Taushen is equally mortified to know she hadn’t truly wanted him, and that he’d misunderstood when she tried to tell him she was roofied. But what actually upset me wasn’t that Brooke wasn’t willing to be his mate after that, why would she suddenly change her mind when she’d never wanted to be anyone’s mate, and hadn’t truly been throwing herself at him. It was that Taushen suddenly pushes her aside, won’t let Brooke talk to him, and then his idea to fix the situation where he’d taken advantage of her (even if he too was in a way a victim) was to kidnap her. Then act like a child over the idea of someone else playing with his toy. The beginning was a bit much to swallow, and it made me really not like Taushen. However, Dixon does move the characters on past that, and they do finally get to deal with their issues, and come to truly understand each other. There’s a lot of growth on both of their parts, and Taushen does quickly understand the mistake he’s made and does his best to remedy them and do right by Brooke. As Brooke puts it, these aren’t human men, their culture is completely different, and you can’t judge them by human standards. I mean yes there has been a lot of kidnapping going on, but this was the first one that really bothered me. Regardless, as the plot develops, and the ending comes about setting up the new spin-off series, it turns out to be a good story, and has me wanting more.

Barbarian’s Rescue

Due to the number of books in this series I’m just going to add the link to the list of books I’ve reviewed by Ruby Dixon.

Barbarian’s Rescue  by  Ruby Dixon  description:

Bad day? Try mine on for size.
Rogue slavers have landed on the ice planet and captured the tribe. The only ones not snatched? Me, a walking human motormouth with no skill except that of incoherent babbling, and Warrek, who’s as silent as he is attractive. Two more unlikely people have never been paired together.
And now we’re supposed to form a rescue team.

Saving the others is either going to bring us closer together – or drive us completely apart. I’m pretty sure the feelings I’m having for my alien companion are as unrequited as they are inappropriate, but since we aren’t going to make it out alive, what harm is one teeny, tiny kiss?
Who knew that one kiss could change everything?

BOOK 15: Barbarian’s Rescue   5 STARS

There are so many reasons to love this book. I love Summer, and her inability to shut up and her need to fill the silence makes her a rather amusing character, but she isn’t just some silly girl. With the need to rescue her new tribe, it’s her ability to strategize and think of every angle that ends up saving the day. Yes, she needs Warrec and he’s definitely no slouch in the saving-the-day department, but I love that she’s not just some helpless female. She plays the biggest role in all of it, and the twist near the end in their relationship (you’ll know what I’m talking about) was hilariously perfect. Got to love a woman that knows what she wants and goes for it. Lets not forget how sweet and good Warrec is, and bless his heart for being so quiet he struggles to know what’s the right thing to say or how to express himself. He’s a good balance for Summer, and I do like that it’s delving more into the worry and possibility of resonating with someone other than the one you actually love. While in some ways I fear that ever happening, it is a possibility in this world, and I like that it’s not something the characters are just ignoring or willing to just say the khui will decide like the Sa-Khui tend to be willing to do. Though in past books it shows not all of them were so willing to go along with such either.

Spoiler Alert: While it’s not a real complaint, since it wasn’t enough to knock it from 5 stars, it does kind of bother me that in those crates while all the men were aliens all the women were human. I understand obviously for the readers a human woman may be easier to relate too, but I enjoyed the books about Farli and Asha as much as I did about any of the humans, and so it would’ve been nice to throw in perhaps an alien woman too just considering that this is a huge galaxy and if they’re trading in alien men why wouldn’t they trade in alien women. Or perhaps even have thrown in a human man. Something to kind of mix things up a bit more. Once again it wasn’t that big of a deal, and I’m sure I’ll love all the books to come dealing with these new comers, but it’s just a thought.

Prison Planet Barbarian

Prison Planet Barbarian   description:

Being kidnapped by aliens is one thing. Being kidnapped by aliens and then sent to a prison planet is something infinitely worse.

Here in Haven’s prison system, I’m stranded among strangers, enemies, and the most ruthless criminals in the galaxy. There’s no safety for a human woman here, especially not one branded as a murderer. I’m doomed to a fate worse than death.

Then…he decides I should be his. His name’s Jutari. He’s seven feet tall, blue, and horned. He’s an assassin and one of the most dangerous prisoners here. He’s like no one I’ve ever met before…and he might be my only chance.

This story stands completely alone and is only marginally connected to the Ice Planet Barbarians series. You do not need to read those books in order to follow this one.

Prison Planet Barbarian  3 STARS

This book is definitely separate from the Ice Planet Barbarians series. However, if you are reading the series I wouldn’t check this out until you’ve read Barbarian’s Lady, because you do get a mention of Chloe and her connection to the women there. This was a fun look into the rest of the galaxy, seeing more species and how things are ran, and their view on humans and knowledge of them. I really enjoyed this book, and having read Dixon’s other series, it was fun seeing the connections of the different aliens and the galaxy out there, and it’d be great to see how far she can take all of this. I just didn’t like that for once we could see a relationship form between a messakh and a human outside of the influence of a khui, or even the tribe that survives off such pairings, and actually see how they might come together, but instead we get Jutari being influenced by a primal urge. There is no real relationship other than Jutari wanting Chloe, and deciding she is his, and Chloe needing him for protection. Even within the Ice Planet series you’d get more development between the couples that show why they’re a good match, and this just felt too rushed through.

Alien Former continued…

Book 1: Alien Former  by  Ashley L. Hunt

Alien Former Collection description:

Joanna Angeles is ready for anything. She has been dispatched to a frozen planet at the back end of nowhere, accompanied only by an advanced Artificial Intelligence known as Barbas. Her mission: to transform an unliveable frozen wasteland into a home for over a hundred-thousand colonists within ten years. Unbeknownst to her, the brutal glacier world is not as lifeless as she thought. When her planetfall is mistaken for the coming of a deity by a local ranger, Volistad, Joanna finds herself embroiled in an ancient war.

Can Joanna and Volistad find common ground, despite their vast differences?
Can they forge a connection to unite their two peoples? Or will the ice-bound world of Chalice claim them all?

Join Joanna & Bardas in their mission to survive to this exotic and new harsh planet…

alien-formerBOOK 1-5: Alien Former   4 STARS

So I bought the complete collection, which is supposed to be books 1-5, and as you can see I already read book 1 and wrote a review for it, but this collection just has it as one whole book, nothing separating out the different stories that can be bought, which makes me think it was previously just chopped up and never meant to really be 5 separate books. I hate it when authors do that, but since it is being sold all together for just 99cents, I’m not going to dock it for having done such. Just give you a heads up, you might as well just go for the complete collection.

Continuing from the first review I did of just book 1, this does continue to develop the characters very well. I feel like I finally got a good picture of Joanna, and really like her character and who she becomes. Understanding the gods that are trapped beneath the surface, and the history of what they were and how they came to be there, was actually a really interesting look at human nature, and a great sci-fi tell all around. Volistad and his people dealing with the upheaval of their beliefs was really well done, and helped show how hard people want to cling to their faith but also the power they may have built upon it. Honestly, even though it’s marked as sci-fi romance, the romance part doesn’t overshadow the plot, and anyone who likes alien adventures would enjoy this. My main problem with the book is it really needs better editing. I almost knocked it down to 3 STARS because of it, but the rest of it was so good I didn’t want to do such. But there are a lot of typos, as well as repetitiveness, which is  a pet peeve of mine. Like yes we get that Barbas’ presence feels like someone reading over your shoulder, and other such description that she got stuck on and felt the need to repeat over and over.

 

Alien Former

Alien Former  by  Ashley L. Hunt   description:

Joanna Angeles is ready for anything. Sent to Chalice, an alien world, with state-of-the-art equipment and a ten-year time limit, she is determined to change the harsh environment of her new world into a welcoming home for the hundred-thousand colonists that are depending on her. How will she survive the most brutal environment she has ever faced? Can her Artificial Intelligence companion, Barbas, truly be the perfect lover? Can she succeed in her mission when her new home seems to be determined to kill her?
Join Joanna & Barbas in their mission to survive to this exotic and new harsh planet…
Readers should be 18 and over due to mature situations and language.

alien-formerBOOK 1: Alien Former   4 STARS

This book was like an futuristic astronaut got dropped into a Beowulf epic. Joanna is being sent by the Pan-American government to get a new planet ready for more people to come live on. She’s got all this advanced technology, the best of which is Barbas, an AI who’ll have you questioning what it means to exist. Plus the relationship between Joanna and Barbas is kind of wonderful in how they become best friends and are struggling together to survive on this harsh world. Yet, instead of her landing amongst a super advanced alien race or barbarians, they land in a world where the aliens are basically at the stage of vikings, and hold that warrior ideology, which is enhanced by their own magic and mythos. And magic is the best way you can explain it when you have groups of people who can create storms or bring a person back from the dead with shaman talismans. Instead of the sci-fi and fantasy worlds clashing, they’re just woven wonderfully together. In an infinite universe with worlds evolving in different ways, magic should be a possibility. My main complaint is that while I love Joanna, and you do feel for her, it feels like there’s not enough explanation about the Earth she is leaving behind, and even when it comes to describing her, you only get the barest image. Which is strange considering Hunt does a great job of building Chalice/Ravanur, letting you know exactly what the people look like. Which is nothing like the cover, cause they’re all white and wear leathers from what they’ve killed and armor, so really don’t get the cover. Also they’re stories of how life came to be on their world, their beliefs of why it’s frozen there, and the scary hints that it may not all be stories, was all very in depth. In the end it had me snatching up the next book as quick as I could.

Barbarian’s Hope

Due to the number of books in this series I’m just going to add the link to the list of books I’ve reviewed by Ruby Dixon.

Barbarian’s Hope  description:

Seasons ago, I resonated to the quietest of tribesmates, a male content to love me from afar while I was the center of attention. We could have been happy. Despite our differences, I loved him and he loved me.

But then a terrible thing happened…and my world was never the same again.

Now resonance is giving us a second chance, but…I’m afraid. What if what I have with my mate is too broken to be fixed? What if there’s no hope left for us at all?

barbarains-hopeBOOK 10: Barbarian’s Hope   5 STARS

I love how Dixon continues to include threads from other stories to make these books so well developed. We’re getting another holiday, and in that we see how the events in Ice Planet Holiday continue to affect certain members of the tribe. As well as the return of the one eyed Metlak, and further proof that they are an evolving species far more than the Sa-Khui ever gave them credit for. But of course this is all about the broken relationship between Hemalo and Asha. For a character you start out basically hating, Asha has become someone I’ve really been hoping gets a happy ending, and here we finally get to see the struggles she’s going through, and the problems that tore her and Hemalo apart. The tragedy of losing a child is a serious topic, and Dixon deals with that perfectly. Yes this is just as naughty as the previous books, but it doesn’t cheapen Asha’s or Hemalo’s feelings and working through their grief, and it’s really things like this that has made this series so wonderful to read, and a step above so many other writers attempting to put out the same and failing horribly at it. I loved this story for so many reasons, and it’s why I can’t stop reading this series.

Barbarian’s Heart

Due to the number of books in this series I’m just going to add the link to the list of books I’ve reviewed by Ruby Dixon.

Barbarian’s Heart   description:

I’ve never spent a day without my mate since arriving on the ice planet. I’m happy and in love, and we have a beautiful child together. All that changed when the world shook.

My mate nearly died.

He wakes up from his coma…and he can’t remember me. Or our son. Every memory of the past two years is gone. And that changes everything between us. How can I love someone that doesn’t remember me?

How can I not, when I know he’s still my mate underneath it all?

heartBOOK 9: Barbarian’s Heart   4 STARS

Is it wrong that I went into this series for the romance, but now all I want is to know more about this planet’s past and the other possible aliens that lived there. Even maybe figure out where the Sa-khui came from, though we’ll probably not be learning more from that ship. And Dixon does deliver in little teasing bits that sets my nerdy heart a flutter. But enough about that, this was a really sweet tale. I read at the end of the book how she had wanted to make it more action packed like the others, but how ultimately it didn’t fit the characters at all, and I agree. While there is a little here and there that would just be a part of a barbarian life, this one is a bit more low key, but that allowed Dixon to really focus on the relationship and emotions these characters were going through in trying to figure out how to be a family again. I think she did a great job with both of them. Especially on Stacy’s end, knowing her mate is still alive and yet in a way going through the grieving process because she’s basically lost the man she knew. Also, it was interesting seeing the dynamics of the relationship when there wasn’t a khui forcing them together. While other books had couples fall in love beforehand, having one like this that were brought together because of the khui really figuring out if they love each other without its’ initial spark was rather wonderful. Sure Stacy has her memories still, but this man is now a stranger, and for Pashov, Stacy is basically just a strange being that popped up suddenly into his life for all he remembers. Altogether, this one might be the more romantic and emotionally touching of the books.