Smokin’ Hot Book Sales



Hey Space Cadets, I just wanted to share another blog recommending some good stories with you! All of these are listed at $0.99 USD, so get them now while they’re still on sale. While I own all of them, I haven’t gotten around to reading them all. But I vet before I buy, thanks to the sample feature on Amazon. I thought they we’re all worth my money, so I’m happily recommending them to you!

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Cyber Monday Sales



Hey Space Cadets, how are you guys enjoying your Cyber Monday?  I’m fine, spending time with my family and writing.  I wanted to share some awesome deals with you, in honor of the Day of Epic Interwebs Sales! Hopefully, you manage to find your special deals, without ending up in some Dickens Novel poor house! Continue reading

Book Review: A Fistful of Credits


Hey Space Cadets, how’re you doing?  I’m good, working on finalizing the edits on a short story and starting writing my super secret book. Meanwhile, I’m still reading and wanted to share what I’ve enjoyed lately. Here is the next installment in my series of book reviews.  I’ve just finished editing the final book of  the Sleeping Legion Series, which is with Boss Man for final approval, and am working on editing a short story that was accepted into The Expanding Universe 3 Anthology.  Finally, I have two recent publications to recommend to you. If you haven’t read it, Operation Breakout and a Four Horsemen Anthology, For a Few Credits More are available on Amazon.

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World Building Wednesday: Cover Art



Hey Space Cadets, how are you doing today?  Things are good here, the interview with The Dead Robots Society Podcast went well.  As soon as I know when it’s going to go live, I’ll spread the word.  I tried not to sound like too much of an idiot, but you’ll have to be the judge of that.  And on the writing front, I’m half way done with my short story for the Four Horsemen Anthology.  I’ve also started the outline process for book four, which we’re tentatively titling Maternal Vengeance.  I don’t know the date book three, Operation Breakout, will go live but I’ll keep everyone posted.


Now, on to today’s World Builder Wednesday!  Today we talk about cover designs!  I’m no expert, and I’m actually colorblind, so this is a hard one for me.  My friends Corey and MLS Weech are actually much better at this part, so you should check them out if you want an expert opinion on the topic!  To my way of thinking, there are several steps you have in picking the cover for your next best seller, and I’m sure I’m missing a few. So rather than tell you this is the way, let me just say that this was my way. That’s right, the Burger King of cover designs.


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The first step in picking out a cover was to figure out my genre, since I know each genre and subgenre have their own idiosyncrasies.  Once I knew where my book would fall in the pantheon of fictional greatness, it was a simple matter of looking at other well received covers in that genre.  I found out what expectations they created, trying to get a general feel for my own design.  This step is the most dangerous, as you could spend hours drooling over art and lose yourself so completely that your wife and kids send out the hounds and form a search party.  Be warned, never browse covers alone!  Seriously, that’s my PSA for the day!!  Don’t do it, you’ve been warned!


Once I knew what I wanted, overall, I started to figure out designs for my own book.  How could I come up with a cover for my own book that fit within this niche?  You want to do two things; show your reader what type of book they’re getting, and not create false expectations of your own book. You don’t want pictures of spaceships on your novel if they’re planet bound.  Nor would your cover have some half naked beefcake if you’re writing lesbian erotica.  The cover HAS to show the potential reader what they’re likely to find inside.  For me, this meant considering the overall theme of the book and scenes from within it.  How you choose to go about it is largely dependent on the book you write, but you have to have a starting point for any potential artist you hire.


After you pick the general idea you want for this masterpiece, you begin the second most dangerous part; browsing the portfolios of cover artists.  This is another phase that can suck you in, and still your soul.  You could lose days, weeks, maybe even years rousing the artistic awesomeness of the various cover designers out there.  Don’t be that guy, be disciplined and direct.  After all, you have to get this done an expedited manner so you can write the next great American novel there’s always more books to write, so you can’t afford to get sucked into the outer trappings.  I was lucky for this stage, I had another author, Chris Kennedy, lend me his cover designer.  He made it easy by serving as the middleman, but I know this will always be the case and don’t need to learn to stand on my own.  My advice, at least for finding good cover artists, is to start searching now so when you’re ready you just have to reach out.  And find several you like, as you never know when they’ll be available.


Just to show you an example of my process for my pending short story, “No Marine Left Behind.”  This story tells Sashala’s journey during Phase Guinshrike of Tim C. Taylor’s Renegade Legion, into Lance’s world in Fortress Beta City.  For this story, I told the artist to give me space Marine’s in bad assed power armor.  I wanted them to be in some burning woods after a shuttle dropped them off, and I wanted the dying Beta City in the background.  This is the progression of the art in question.  Hopefully this helps clear up my muddy explanation of the process!  If not, least you get pretty pictures!!


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Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry! 




–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.


Marine Monday: Tirunesh Nhlappo



Hey Space Cadets, how’re you doing today?  I’m doing good, coming down from my editing high.  Corey and I just spent four hours reading through the first 14 chapters of Operation Breakout, with another longer session planned for tomorrow to get through to chapter 30.  Tomorrow I also have an interview with The Listeners of the Dead Robot Society, one of my favorite podcasts!  I’ll share before it goes live, though I won’t know the exact date right away.  And I’ll try not to look too much like an idiot, I promise!!  Finally, I’ve made good progress on my submission for the Four Horsemen Anthology.


Now, on to today’s Marine Monday!  For today’s chat let’s talk about what was leaked to me by our friendly neighborhood LegionLeak source!  We have the official bio of Field Marshal Tirunesh Nhlappo.  Now the important parts!  Remember, destroy this message after reading it so the anonymous source can live long enough to continually feed us excellent intelligence!  Without further ado, here is the leaked document!

Nhlappo 1Nhlappo 2Nhlappo 3


Hopefully you enjoyed this sneak peek into our favorite bad assess official dossier.  If you did, stay tuned for next week as we anxiously wait for the latest documents smuggled our way!  And if you wanna drop a little into the LegionLeaks tip jar, they wouldn’t mind one bit!



Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry! 




  –> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.


SciFy Shenanigans: Felix R. Savage



Hey Space Cadets, how’s everyone doing today?  I’m doing amazing, yesterday I had to rewrite some chapters in Operation Breakout because the developmental editor caught a glaring error.  Yeah, I had one character in two places at once!  Oops!!  But, I think the resulting chapter was even better than it was before which is always the goal.  I’m 1k words into the “Luck of the Draw” short story for the Four Horsemen Anthology which has been fun to play with.  It’s a tale of a bounty hunter, think Judge Dredd meets Barney Fife with a touch of Don Quixote mixed in for good measure and you’ll get a hint of the shenanigans to come!


Now, let’s get right to the point of my latest blog posting!  Yes, I’ve gotten bit by the interview bug!  I’ve started the Warrior Weekend Series, the Family Friday Series, and now the ‘SciFy Shenanigans’ series that only serves to talk with other authors of science fiction!  If they write in any of the science fiction subgenres, then I’ll interview them, so here goes nothing!


The plan here is to create a template to talk to authors about their latest books and their process.  They’ll be able to pitch the other stuff too, of course, but when authors have deep back catalogues it’s hard to get into the weeds with them.  Those weeds have grown too high, so I took a weed whacker to the mess.  Here’s the final results!  Now grab your popcorn and enjoy the ride!  Today, we have science fiction author Felix R. Savage under the big top!


Just a taste of his prolific portfolio!


Felix 2.PNG

He keeps some mighty fine company!


Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of All Ages,……


First, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

Hello JR, it’s great to be here! I cannot reveal too much about myself as it might compromise my operational security. See here. However, my fiction is more of a reaction to my background than a reflection of it. Example, I majored in history and now I write about the future! Go figure.


What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I enjoy roller-skating.


I’ll go out on a limb and assume that if you write books you also enjoy reading them.  What other genres do you enjoy reading, and how have they affected your writing?

Everything I read feeds into my writing and I’m omnibibliovoracious. I made that word up just now. I read every genre under the sun with the exception of romance (sorry). In the last week I have read two thrillers (by Gregg Hurwitz and Cate Holahan), a new economics book (Tyler Cowen’s The Complacent Class), and a time travel sci-fi book (Extracted, which was a Kindle First selection and one of the only GOOD Kindle Firsts I’ve found yet).


Who are your biggest writing influences?

Other authors. I read something great and think “I want MORE of this,” but there isn’t more to be had, so I have to write it myself, and in the process it turns into something completely different. But still moreish, one hopes.


Who are your favorite authors and books?

How long can this blog post be? Kidding. Some of my all-time favorite authors are Iain M. Banks, Tolkien (of course), C.S. Lewis (of course), Peter F. Hamilton, Robert Harris, George Macdonald Fraser, Douglas Adams, Evelyn Waugh … Hmm there is a pattern here. All Brits and nearly all dead. Peter, stay healthy and keep writing!! Oh and my favorite NEW author is Gavin G. Smith (another Brit), whose space opera series you should go and pick up RIGHT NOW.


What is your preferred writing style?

All day every day. Sadly I have a 9 to 5 job so this is a dream rather than the reality at present.


How did that lead you deep into the weeds of the writing life?

You mean there’s any other way to live? *tries to see out of weeds* Nah. I’m happy right here!


When did you get serious about your writing?

At the age of 11.


What is your current novel?  Tell us a little bit about the premise?

I just wrapped Shiplord, Book 3 in the Earth’s Last Gambit Quartet. This series starts out in the present day and involves a first contact scenario like nothing you’ve ever read before. I call it “techno-realistic science fiction.” Nearly all the technology in the series either really exists, or could be developed based on stuff we have. There are a few bits of armwavium here and there. See if you can spot them!


Shiplord is obviously a series, where can we expect it to go?

Book 4 will be entitled Killshot. It will involve a stupendously thrilling battle for the future of Earth!!!

Where did you find the inspiration for Shiplord?

As I mentioned above, I often get inspired by other authors. In this case it was John Sandford. He co-wrote a sci-fi book called Saturn Run. I really liked the concept, but I thought the execution left something to be desired, and the less said about the ending the better. So I decided to do the same sort of thing but do it right. You judge whether I succeeded or not!


Your characters from Shiplord are sent into a gladiatorial death match. Who wins? 

My money’s on Jack. There is a reason his nickname is Killer, and it isn’t entirely ironic!


What do you listen to while you write? Or do you prefer silence? 

Unfortunately I have no choice in the matter. I either write to a soundtrack of my co-workers nattering, or (on weekends) kiddie shows on the iPad or noisy children’s let’s-pretend games.


What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve looked up in the name of research – or what do you think the government has maybe flagged you for?

You’re trying to catch me out here, aren’t you? *adjusts tinfoil hat*


What was your favorite part of writing Shiplord?

I enjoy ALL of it except research. Thankfully I have help with that? Bill Patterson, my science consultant, is a paragon of patience and answers all my scientific questions without laughing in my face. You’re a rock star, Bill.


Which actor/actress would you like to see playing your main characters from Shiplord?

If I ever got a film deal, I wouldn’t mind if they were played by clay animation models.


Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? 

Since I have a day job, every bit of free time is writing time.


Do you aim for a set number of words/pages per day?

As many as possible.


When you develop your characters, do you already have an idea of who they are before you write or do you let them develop as you go?

I start out with a clear idea of them which always turns out to be wrong.


How did writing your current novel differ from your writing your previous novels? 

This one was tough. It is the story of a space voyage. The voyage takes two years. How do you write an interesting story about people cooped up aboard a spaceship for two years? It’s kind of like a country house mystery except the country house is a bunch of tin cans attached to a nuclear reactor.


If Shiplord had a theme song what would it be?

Something by the Red Army Choir.


Shiplord is full of many amazingly talented characters and I imagine it was really fun to create some of them, but which one was your favorite and why?

I try not to play favorites. It’s not fair to the others.


What advice do you have for writers who are just starting out?

Put your head down and write as much as you humanly can, because you will probably need to write a LOT before you start to get the hang of it. Improvement is a never-ending journey. And read a LOT, too. That is just as important as writing.


I hope you enjoy this little conversation, and if you want to find out more about Felix R. Savage then follow the rabbit trail to their warren in the internet!  If they don’t like it, beat ‘em with a carrot and keep on truckin’!  And watch out for those lizard people, I hear they bite!



Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!




–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are screen shots taken by JR Handley and used under the Fair Use Doctrine.

–> Some of these interview questions were inspired by my good friend TeacherofYA, and are used with her permission.  If you have kids who love to read, she’s the girl who’ll make the literary introductions!  You should check her out, after a lifetime of reading, your kids will thank you.


World Building Wednesday: Technology Creation



Hey Space Cadets, I hope everyone is doing great and voted in my friends Clash of the Covers contest!  I’m still working on the Four Horsemen Anthology and hit a bit of a time snag.  Try not to shudder, but I had to do something disgusting and unpleasant…. I filed my taxes today.  I know, I cried too, there’s no shame in it!  As for the next novel in the Sleeping Legion Series, well I’ll start outlining that this month and writing it as well. I will keep you posted on the progress as I try to bump up my production speeds!  Pulp glory here I come!


Now, on to my World Building Wednesday topic!!  Onward I say!  Today we talk about how I figure out the technology of my futuristic worlds.  Let’s start with your restrictions, which is especially important if you’re writing in someone else’s sandbox.  In Boss Man’s universe there is no such thing as FTL because science doesn’t think it is viable at the moment.  That doesn’t mean it is impossible, but because of the perceived improbability of this method, he decided against using it.  Other limitations imposed on your technological development might come from your subgenre; is it space opera, military science fiction or hard science fiction.


A famous example of how this played out would be from Star Trek, where they got around the limitations of science as we know it by using warp drive.  This used Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity.  He speculated that the speed of light in a vacuum will be the same from any frame of reference moving at a constant speed. I won’t go all technical (Translation, I don’t know all of it), but basically it showed that FLT wasn’t possible.  However, he speculated that you could instead bend space-time to traverse long distances in an expedited manner.  Then Mexican physicist, and SciFy Nerd, Miquel Alcubierre theorized it might actually possible, without violating the theories of his predecessors.  Way back in the dark ages of 1994!  I mean, they didn’t even have Facebook back then.  Or Myspace, for us old timers in attendance!  If you want to know more, click the links at the bottom of this post.


When I write science fiction in my own universe I plan on running with the theory Dr. Alcubierre gave us and traveling faster than light, if not in fact, then in deed.  So, now that you’ve considered your own limitations you need a starting point.  I tend to look at science and technology as we know it and then postulate where it might go in the distant future.  This is mostly guess work, lots of technical research and some good ole fashioned SWAG!  Not that kind of swag, but a scientific wild arse guess!  Okay, quasi scientific in my case but work with me here!  This does require you to know your world so you can have the end points, since the starting points would be today. 


How do I stay abreast, well I follow several science blogs that break it down for you Barney Style.  I’ll work on collating it for you as soon as I can.  Another way I use is to pick the brain of my father-in-law, a trained biologist and my dad who’s a mechanic who understands machines.  Then I made friends with people way smarter than I, and let them prevent me from looking like an idiot.  Well, more of an idiot than normal!


To recap, basically I do some research to know the limitations I’m starting with and then I guess where things might go in the future.  But that’s how I do it, what is your process?



Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!  





 –> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.



Faster-Than-Light (FTL) Travel

Interstellar Travel

Warp Drive

Marine Monday: Zempi Milisyen-Hoia



Hey Space Cadets, how is everyone today?  I’m great, I’ve finished my first Sleeping Legion short story and am starting another in the Four Horsemen universe before jumping into book four. I’ll be co-writing with Corey Truax, my current editor, and fellow author and Mesopotamian Veteran. This story is the tale of an intergalactic bounty hunter, with loads of shenanigans and insanity to follow.  If this co-writing works out, Corey and I will write a new series, which we’ve titled “The Odera Chronicles.”


Okay, so on to our regularly scheduled Marine Monday! Today I was leaked, by our friendly neighborhood LegionLeak source, the official bio of New Order Janissary Zempi Milisyen-Hoia. Now the important parts!  Remember, destroy this message after reading it so the anonymous source can live long enough to continually feed us excellent intelligence!  Without further ado, here is the leaked document!




Hopefully you enjoyed this sneak peek into our favorite Janissary’s official dossier.  If you did, stay tuned for next week as we anxiously wait for the latest documents smuggled our way!


Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!  





 –> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.


Bromancing the Editor



Hey Space Cadets, for today’s post I wanted to do some general house cleaning.  My third novel, Operation Breakout, is with my editing team.  I’m 11k words into a short story, chronicling Sashala Kraevoi’s journey between The Human Legion series and my own.  She has been a lot of fun to write, and I think you’ll get a kick out of it.  Boss Man is releasing the rights to publish it so we can practice the process, preparing us for life after my current contract.  I appreciate this, but I don’t know the specifics as my minions are handling those details so I can keep writing.


So, let’s elaborate my plans for life after The Sleeping Legion Series.  I have one short story, “Civil Unrest,” which was submitted to an open call for an anthology with Tickety Boo Press.  I was also invited to write in an anthology being organized by Chris Kennedy.  It’s set in the Four Horsemen Universe, which currently has a four-book series written by Mark Wandrey and Chris Kennedy.  It has been a lot of fun to prepare for, and I’ve already laid out the story, as Corey Truax wrote about here.  Then we have two universes we have started outlining, with the potential for our anthology to turn into a series as well.  I know, I know, everything I’ve written seems to scream SERIES to me.  When I die in 100 years, I’ll likely still have stories I want to tell.


So, how did this collaboration happen?  It started with a short story I wrote to practice my craft.  It was for an anthology, but I missed the deadline and couldn’t get it under the 5k word cap.  My editor, Corey Truax, had so much fun editing it he crossed the line from developmental editor to co-author.  He rung me up, and said we could go one of two ways.  The traditional editing process, or… we could play in the same sandbox and see what happens.  Well, with the hive mind the genesis of my story was more exciting and dynamic.  It went from MY story, to OUR story in no time flat.  Our main character, Alexis Monroe, was more 3 dimensional and compelling.  Our wives demanded we give them this story, one where the female lead was a real person who just HAPPENED to be female.  I didn’t think that was as big of a deal, I mean I try to do that with all of my stories but when your wife orders, the smart husband obeys.  Hey, I like Corey and all but I wouldn’t wanna bunk up with him cause our wives kicked us out!


What can you expect going forward?  Great stories, and hopefully a continually engaging blog.  As we develop this process of co-writing, ironing out the wrinkles, we will blog about our process.  Some of this will be posted under the World Building Wednesday blogs.  Let’s face it, most of my process has already be written so I will only add to those posts if it is something new and exciting to read.  I will maintain a blog schedule of at LEAST every other day, and use the leeway to write more stories, and troll more blogs.  Because we are self-publishing Sashala’s story, I will have my wife/mother team write a few posts about that side of things to keep everyone abreast of the comings and goings in the Handley Trenches.  This includes choosing cover art and all the other minutia that both scares and excites me!


Now that I’ve bored you to tears, I’m proud to say that the next round of beers is on Corey!  Honest, would I lie?  I mean, I am SURE he would LOVE to buy everyone beers!!  Cold beers, just as the gods intended.  Sorry Boss Man, but someday I WILL convert you!



Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!  





 –> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.


Book Review: Asbaran Solutions


Chris Kennedy Alt Header.PNG

Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews.  As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m about half way through book three of The Sleeping Legion Series and loving it.  Loads of action, some surprises and a lot of exploding goodness.  I’ve also been outlining my next project based off of my short story from the Roswell Anthology, and thinking it’s gonna be the next big thing in science fiction.  It feels like a winner, but you’ll have to wait and see!


On to this specific review.  I was given this book by a local US Navy veteran and seasoned author to review and couldn’t say no.  No really, he might go all Tonya Harding on me!  Plus, as a veteran, I feel obligated to support other veterans where possible.  I won’t buy substandard things just BECAUSE they’re a veteran but if it’s a choice between two good things and one provider was a veteran, I’ll pick that.  I mention that, so you can read my review in as transparent a fashion as I can manage.  With that said, I truly did enjoy this book and I can only hope this comes through in my review.


Title:  Asbaran Solutions

Author:  Chris Kennedy

Price:  $4.99 USD (Kindle Edition)

Obtained:  I received an ARC for an honest review on Amazon and GoodReads, but liked it enough to buy it once it went live.  I’m even going to buy the other novels in this universe and likely review them as well!

Pages:  332




Rating:  5/5 Grenades




First, let me say that none of what I’ll say in this section couldn’t be found on the back copy of the novel.  I wanted to provide a spoiler free review, so here goes nothing!  Ultimately, this is a family saga, a tale of redemption and one mans journey to familial acceptance.  One of the main characters, Nigel Shirazi was first in line for the chairmanship of Asbaran Solutions.  It was to be his birth right, commanding one of the prominent “Four Horsemen” mercenary companies.  That is until his maladaptive behavior cost him everything, ending in hedonist downward spiral.  And finally, a rock bottom where he is disinherited.  After being discarded by his birthright, he enjoys the life of a rich playboy until something happens to rock his world.  An enemy gets to his family, and Nigel is all that stands between this hidden foe and the destruction of Asbaran Solutions and the Shirazi family line.  In the end, the adventure is partially Nigel’s war within himself.  If he can gain some self-control and self-discipline, he just might restore all that was lost.  All he has to do is rescue his sister from an unbeatable foe, easy peasy.




There are three main characters in this story; The Asbaran Solutions mercenary company, Nigel Shirazi and Thomas Mason.


Nigel Shirazi:  He is the principle main character in this story, on a quest of personal redemption.  By saving his sister, he seeks to save himself and prove his worth to the family who’d dismissed him so many years ago.  At first, I really didn’t like the spoiled man-child that we met in the beginning of the story.  However, as time went on he sort of grew on me as Nigel grew into himself.  He had a definitive character arc, was flushed out and thoroughly described.  You never felt like he was a blank shell, he was a character all on his own.  If we met in real life, I’d either drink a beer with him and swap war stories or shoot him on sight.  Would really depend on whether I met the Nigel from the beginning of this book or the one from the end.  I deeply respected his love of family, and his sense of familial obligation.  Blood really IS thicker than water, and it was nice to see that this was a sentiment Nigel understood.


Thomas Mason:  He was your stereotypical soldiers soldier and helped guide and shape the path of the troubled Asbaran Solutions.  He also has some personal reasons for going with Nigel on what appears to be a suicide mission, though I can’t go into that without giving some spoilers.  He offers the military background, and serves as a foil to Nigel’s playboy ignorance.  Overall, I really liked this character and would love to read more about him.  I wouldn’t mind if he got his own book as well, giving him room to develop into an even more flushed out character.


Asbaran Solutions: This is the company that is at the heart of the adventures of Nigel and Mason.  For Mason, it’s a job and a personal journey you’ll have to read about but for Nigel it’s so much more.  For Nigel, it’s about saving his sister and his families honor.  It’s a connection with his heritage and his forefathers.  The special time he spent on his grandfather’s knee learning about the galaxy and the mercenary life that Earth provided to the sentient species whom inhabited it.  With its mere existence, this company drives the plot and serves as the invisible puppet master pulling all the strings.




Like most of the military science fiction I love to read, this was an action-packed novel.  The beginning was a bit of a slow start, but once it took off it never really lagged.  I wasn’t able to read this book from start to finish in one setting because of its length but I wanted too.  I believed that the tactics worked for the novel, especially the aerial ones, but what do you expect from a naval aviator?  The action on the ground was believable, though lacking in tactical sophistication and depth.  However, when you had a bad assed mech like their CASPer’s you can get away with a run and gun strategy.  The story flowed seamlessly from one plot point to another, which made it easy to read and follow.  There were a few times where I was confused by what was going on, but this was likely because of my TBI.  After I backtracked and re-read the part that got me it became very clear.



World Building:

This is the first book I’ve read by Chris Kennedy, but I’d heard good things and his reviews were solid. I wasn’t disappointed!  This world was very flushed out, and left you curious about the world.  Heck, I bought his book AND the other book in the universe after I read this one.  While this is science fiction, and you definitely need to have some suspension of disbelief for the aliens Chris Kennedy invents, within the universe he builds they’re totally believable.  I also found myself sympathetic to Nigel, as he struggles on his quest for redemption.  Asbaran Solutions definitely had shades of the Prodigal Son, though with a metric butt ton more death and explosions.  The one part I wasn’t thrilled about was the concept of Earth evolving into a system of the mercenary corporate planet, without any nation states, but it is a common trope in science fiction.  Overall, this didn’t dissuade me from enjoying this story and I’m aware that many people LOVE those kinds of universe set ups.  In a nut shell, the world building gets an A- from me, but only because of the lack of explanations on HOW we became a planet without nations.




This book was chalk full of visualization, and you could definitely imagine yourself in this world.  It felt very flushed out, and there were times where you could even smell the aliens.  I love it when a book is this immersive, where it takes you deeply into the world.  For me, if a book isn’t described enough that I can imagine myself into the story.  If a story is truly good, I often find myself imagining what happens when the book ends.  That doesn’t work in books where the world wasn’t flushed out.  In this category, Chris gets an A+++!




I think that the easiest way for me to explain my thoughts, is to tell you how I received the novel.  Like with the Wraithkin novel, I was given a free ARC (advanced reader copy) eBook a little over a week before the novel went live.  In return, I was to post an honest review on Amazon for the author on the day it launched.  I loved this book, it was definitely 5 out of 5 Grenades.  Chris Kennedy had me hooked from the beginning, and kept it going throughout the whole novel.  I went on to buy a copy, because I liked it enough that I wanted to support the author.  I also went on to purchase the Cartwright Cavaliers, another novel in the Four Horsemen Universe.  It’s an amazing adventure, a look into Chris Kennedy’s twisted imagination, and leaves you wishing that his therapist has a therapist.  This is a book I would happily recommend, and an author I will definitely read again.  Heck, I would even recommend that you buy the novel!  But hey, it’s easy to spend someone else’s money!  This is definitely a novel worth buying, versus merely reading for free at the library.



If this book sounds like it’s right up your alley, check it out!  You won’t regret it!  Well, unless it keeps you up all night and you’re late to work… and then your boss fires you, because you became a book addict and a rabid Chris Kennedy fan.  And then you track him down, and climb into his window in your skivvies and he shoots you with grapeshot.  Okay, the fanboy/fangirl syndrome MIGHT kill you.  Be warned, but enjoy the high!



Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!




–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.