Astronaut David Dixon’s first mission to space goes horribly wrong when shots are fired on a Russian space station. He finds himself making an emergency landing from orbit and becomes the most wanted man on Earth.
Desperate to unravel the plot he’s found himself in, he takes his pursuers on a wild chase from space to the backstreets of Rio and beyond. Dixon’s survival relies on his skills as a pilot and willingness to do whatever it takes – crashing a passenger jet into the Mexican desert to pulling off an incredible heist in Low Earth Orbit.
If space doesn’t kill David Dixon, Earth will.
I really enjoy Andrew Mayne books. He has a way of sucking me into his stories and his humor is OFF the charts. I found myself actually laughing out loud a few times.
I felt I was holding my breath this whole story. There was something exciting happening nearly every page. In fact, it was almost too much at times and the character kept finding himself in more and more impossible situations. In fact, there were times I was like, there is no way this character is getting out of this and Mayne proved me wrong by finding a unique and fun way to release the character back into the wild.
So, David Dixon is a bit of a geek. Mayne doesn’t really describe what he looks like, or if he did, I missed it because I was too distracted trying to figure out how the character was going to escape his latest trap, but I imagined David being attractive, but not overly so, more like a charming geek. He doesn’t exactly turn women’s heads but he’s attractive enough that women are not immediately turned off by him.
David is a hard-core geek. He’s always wanted to be an astronaut and he has to jump through several hoops for that to finally happen. And when it finally happens, it’s by accident. David is an understudy, for lack of a better term, a back up plan in case something happens to the astronaut that the big dudes picked for the job. And that’s exactly what happens, the astronaut that was supposed to have gone on the mission gets food poisoning the night before the launch and David is called in to replace him. While getting ready, David spots his superior and hero stuffing a gun into his gear. David is pretty sure that’s not part of the approved items for the mission but he doesn’t say anything because he doesn’t want to get this guy he looks up to into trouble and he doesn’t want to jeopardize his first mission. He’s also wondering, did this mission just get dangerous?
The crazy starts after getting into outer space and they run into some trouble and are not going to be able to dock with the original space station and instead, have to dock at the Russian station or there is a good possibility they will die. After docking to the Russian station, David is asked (forced) to stay on the rocket while his two comrades step foot onto the station to try and see how they can get back to Earth. Not long after his comrades have been on the station, shots ring out and the woman comes stumbling back to the ship, gives David a microchip and tells him to leave and go back to Earth. He doesn’t want to leave without her or his hero boss but he realizes that if he doesn’t leave, he will die and he detaches from the Russian space station.
He barely makes it back to Earth and crash lands in Rio. His landing is publicized so his enemies know where he is and immediately begins chasing him. David asks some kids to help him escape from the people hunting him and he heads to the stadium based on a mysterious message he received on the rocket before he landed. Only, when he gets there, he can’t tell if the person he’s supposed to meet is friend or foe.
Turns out he’s foe.
Once David has eluded the people who’s chasing him, for the moment, he contacts a Senator that he knows backed the space program that he participated in. He finds out that the chip that the woman handed him back on the Russian space station is a “key” of sorts that will unlock nuclear weapons trained on the US. After the Senator promises to help him get the chip into the right hands, because you can’t trust anyone in the government, they are all corrupt, (sounds familiar), he feels relieved and hopeful that his nightmare journey is over.
Only, the Senator gets killed and he’s back on the run. He turns to a reporter that is a thorn in the US space program’s side and together they form an alliance to try and find a man who basically helped create the space program and who is not only an insider, but a powerful insider.
The whole story was one exciting adventure after another and it was interesting and fun to see David think quick on his feet and MacGyver his way out of situations. It was always clever and somewhat believable but then again, I’m not a bit science fiction reader so it may not have been believable to readers that actually knew what they were reading.
I love these types of stories but there is no way I could write something like this. I’m not imaginative enough to wiggle my character out of a seemingly impossible situation. I don’t have the problem-solving skills to make it not only feasible but plausible. Mayne does a good job of not only helping his character to escape but to make it plausible enough for me NOT to roll my eyes at the creative solution. I envy this type of writing as I think it’s exciting and fun and it’s entertaining to see Mayne torment his characters so much.
Though this was a plot-driven story, Mayne does a good job of hinting at a love interest with the super smart reporter and I’m looking forward to reading the second book in this series to see if, or how, that relationship develops. But this story is more action and adventure focused so if you’re looking for a fun, fast, exciting read, this is the book for you.
And if you’re a science fiction geek, this book is outta of this world – give it a read.
The guy I collided with drove an expensive car and was drop-dead gorgeous. Too bad he was also a total jerk. We argued over whose fault it was and any other thing that came out of his condescending mouth.
Eventually, the police came and we went our separate ways. The insurance companies would have to figure things out. I had a job interview to get to anyway—one I was excited about.
Though that excitement changed to disappointment the moment the person interviewing me walked in. The guy from the accident.
Yeah, so I didn’t get the position.
The problem was, I really wanted it. No, I needed it. Anything to get me out of my current career and back into working with kids.
So, even though Hollis LaCroix was as intimidating as he was devastatingly handsome, I went back to see him and begged for a chance.
To my surprise, he gave me a shot taking care of his troubled niece.
At least my attraction to him wouldn’t be able to go anywhere. I wasn’t about to jeopardize my job or the strong bond Hailey and I formed.
But resisting the magnetic pull between us wasn’t that simple. (Then there was our little underwear game—don’t ask.)
We continued to flirt without crossing the line—until it finally happened.
This is the part of the story where we fall in love and live happily ever after, right?
Well, life has a way of throwing some major curveballs.
Ours was one I didn’t see coming..
I had no intention of giving this story anything over three stars. And then the authors threw in a curve ball at the end and I ended up with tears in my eyes. Okay fine, four stars it is.
This review will contain spoilers – so if you haven’t read it and you want to read it – don’t read any further. You’ve been warned.
Elodie is an attractive woman. And she uses her looks to flirt with married men in the hopes of providing evidence that they are cheating on their wives. She’s an investigational decoy employed by a detective agency. She hates it, but it pays the bills.
Her best friend, Bree, shows her an ad for a nanny. Elodie has a degree in child development and her true passion lies with being around children and that’s what she really wants to do with her life. So, taking her life by the short and curlies, she applies for the job.
On her way to the job interview, she gets into a fender bender with a handsome man. They spar back and forth, the police arrive, they file their complaints and they go about their business. Elodie makes it to her interview and is speaking with her female interviewee when lo and behold, who walks into the interview but the guy she had a fender bender with.
I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at this “coincidence,” but whatever – it’s a convenient way for the hero and the heroine to meet and start to interact.
Elodie doesn’t get the job as Hollis, the man who hit her, though he swears it’s the other way around, says no way in hell is he hiring her for the job. How can he trust her to take care of his niece if she can’t even drive to the interview without an incident?
Elodie leaves in a huff and stops by the building’s cafeteria to grab a coffee where she meets Hailey, an eleven-year old girl with a sassy mouth. They hit it off, primarily because the girl reminds Elodie of herself at that age. She soon learns that Hailey is Hollis’ niece and now she really wants the job as she wants the opportunity to help steer this girl away from the troubled path she finds herself on.
Since Elodie and Hollis exchanged personal information at the accident, she knows where he lives and not having anything to lose, she goes to his apartment to basically beg him to give her a chance.
Hailey sees her at the door, says she enjoyed talking to her in the cafeteria and talks her Uncle Hollis into giving her the job.
Elodie is a divorcee whose husband cheated on her. Hollis’s childhood friend, then girlfriend, Anna, turned down his marriage proposal and stated she was seeing someone else. Both of them have relationship/abandonment issues and are very cautious around one another though their physical attraction for each other starts to become impossible to ignore.
Hollis takes Elodie home one evening and excuses himself to use the restroom. While in there, he sees Elodie’s thongs draped over the shower rod to dry. (Why does it always have to be thongs? I LOATHE thongs. They are the most uncomfortable form of underwear known to man. I would rather go commando than wear a thong – but whatever). Elodie is mortified that he’s that close to her underwear but whatever, she wasn’t expecting to ever find her boss in her bathroom so he would have to deal with seeing her intimates.
The next morning, as she’s getting ready to catch the train into the city to be with Hailey, she realizes her black thong is missing. She looks everywhere for it and soon realizes that Hollis must have taken it. She gets to his apartment and while Hailey is busy doing something else, she goes into Hollis’ bedroom to see if he had indeed taken her underwear. She finally finds it, under his pillow, and feeling naughty, she exchanges her current thong (*rolls eyes*) with the black one under his pillow.
This back and forth goes on for some time with neither one of them of saying anything but continuing the “game.” Elodie knows Hollis is doing naughty things to her underwear because it smells like his aftershave.
I have to say, this naughty back and forth was entertaining and fun and the authors do a really good job of building the sexual tension. However, I’m starting to get a bit bored with the story as it’s not really progressing and it prompts quite a few eye rolls from me, (literally), because it’s borderline cliche.
Elodie’s friend, Bree, who pointed out the ad to her in the first place, has an incurable lung disease with an impossibly long name. She’s not doing well and Elodie has to sort of halt the attraction she’s feeling for Hollis in order to be there for her friend. Bree also happens to be the stepsister of her Elodie’s ex-husband, which was an interesting twist. Bree calls a family meeting and everyone gets together at a lake house so Bree can basically give everyone her dying wishes.
Hollis, knowing that Elodie is at the lake house with her ex-husband, goes a little crazy because he doesn’t want Elodie’s ex to talk, or trick, her into getting back together, and that prompts him to make a decision, he wants to try and have a relationship with Elodie.
Elodie agrees but both want to proceed slowly( i.e. no sex) because they’ve both been burned and they don’t know how Hailey will take the news that her uncle and her nanny are dating.
Bree takes a turn for the worse and ends up in the hospital. Bree’s family is there and when Elodie and Hollis arrive, Elodie is shocked to witness Hollis’ reaction to Bree. (They had never met before this point because Bree never physically felt up to meeting Hollis).
It’s soon revealed that Bree IS Anna. Bree’s full name is Brianna. This is a complete game changer for Hollis and Elodie and they grapple with their guilt and desire to be together.
This is where I started to get into the story. The story was a bit formulaic at this point and though I wasn’t exactly bored, I wasn’t exactly enjoying the story either – I was simply going through the motions. But when the authors threw that curveball into it, that was enough to push me into the land of caring.
I really appreciated the complicated nuances of the complicated emotions that both Hollis and Elodie went through. They wanted to be together but they felt like they were betraying Bree/Anna. I found their reactions believable and that really pulled me into their stories, I became vested in their lives from that point onward.
As I mentioned, the story was a bit ho-hum up to that hospital scene. I would have liked to have seen more of a relationship struggle between Elodie and Hailey as it was mentioned she was a “troubled” teen but I didn’t really see any evidence of that. In fact, I felt like Hailey was incredibly easy going and that relationship clicked from the very beginning. I get why the authors likely didn’t put much more effort into that aspect of the story as they wanted to focus on Elodie and Hollis, but I feel like that would have helped develop Elodie’s character a bit more.
Hollis is a player but he doesn’t really exhibit any of the player personality, in my opinion. He’s so obsessed with Elodie that he comes off as a bit if a puss and Elodie has way too much power in this dynamic.
I also think it would have been interesting to see more of Hollis and Bree/Anna’s dynamic after the initial surprise of finding her in the hospital. Instead of these interactions happening, the authors chose for Bree/Anna to write them each letters explaining her reasons for leaving Hollis and in essence, giving them both permission to be together. I can understand why the authors chose to write the story that way, but I wish the last part of the book had been expanded on a bit more and a little less “perfect” relationship scenarios highlighted. Those bored me. It was too good to be true for a little too long.
Overall, it was an interesting read. It evoked emotion for me and like I said, I teared up at the end. That hospital scene definitely elevated my rating from three stars to four stars – mainly because it was so left field and took me completely by surprise.
Responding to Goodreads comments:
Itstarted out great. The first half was a page turner with great characters, some amazing chemistry, and a very slow, steamy buildup. It took a looong time for the h and H to finally get together, which did get a little old. But overall i really enjoyed the first half.
The second half on the other hand…..not so great. It almost felt like a completely different book. There was absolutely no heat between the lead characters. None. Nada. Zip. The h and H learn something about their relationship that shocks them (and me, to be honest. Something for which the author should get a few props, I suppose). But after this revelation the H was a bit too moody and cold. And the heat that was building between them for the first half of the book was gone. I no longer cared what happened between them. I just wanted to get it over with. The story became sad and depressing and a bit of a downer to be honest.
The ending was a happy one, but by that point I had completely checked out.
It’s funny, the negative comments on this story all begin with, “it started out great! But then the second half of the story was a downer.” I feel the complete opposite. I feel like the first half was boring as hell and the second half was where it got interesting. I appreciated the twist and the complex emotions that came along with all of that.
But, I will say, I do agree with some of the negative comments – it does seem like Hollis is settling for Elodie as “second best.’ His love for her is really more physical whereas his relationship with Anna was deeper, more fulfilling than with Elodie. It does make me wonder if Anna had lived if Hollis wouldn’t have dumped Elodie and been with her instead. And it does seem like Hollis is a bit “stuck” in the past when it came to his love for Anna. She was the love his life and yet he’s now with Elodie …??
I think it’s important to remember that there are different types of loves in life. I think that was what the authors were trying to tell us in this story. It is possible to love more than one person in life – it all depends on circumstance and timing, really. Who knows if Hollis would have picked Anna over Elodie at that point in his life. He would always have feelings for Anna, but were those feelings out of loyalty and memory, or feelings that he wanted to explore and share into his future?
I wasn’t expecting such complexity with this story and the fact that I ended it with a glimpse of the iceberg under the water was enough for me to give this four stars.
I forgot to talk more about the invisible piece of art, but I swear, this was not a joke, see the show notes below for more details. AOC makes a some (more) stupid comments this week and it’s all I can not to insult her, screw it, she’s stupid. Concealed carry weapons may be the norm and schools can’t make students leave their constitutional rights a the door – the secret? Don’t let them tread on your rights, yo. Book review of the week is Black Coral by Andrew Mayne and I go over an hour again – dang it!
There is a lot to cover today. It seems like the world continues to get more “woke” and crazy every day. I guess my biggest question is – we all know this stuff being forced down our throats is crazy, WHY are we allowing it to happen? Are we afraid to speak up? If you don’t speak up, does this mean you agree with these agendas? It’s something to ponder. Do you think the experimental injectable contains a microchip? Why are magnets sticking to COVID injection sites? Book review is science fiction this week: The Solar War by A.G. Riddle. Take a moment to remember our brave men/women who have served our country this weekend!
A cold wind blows across the snow-covered desert, a chill that oozes through my parka like water soaking in, never drying. The frigid air bites at my exposed neck as I watch the sun peek above the horizon. The sky grows more clear each day as the particles from the asteroid ejections are removed. As the haze fades away, the sun shrinks, as if it’s a light slowly drifting away. That’s what living on Earth feels like, a desolate planet constantly growing darker and colder, with no hope of it ever stopping.
We thought the war was over. We were wrong.
They decimated Earth during the Long Winter. Now the grid has returned, and they won’t stop until the human race is extinct.
On a ruined world, humanity’s last survivors fight against impossible odds. In their darkest hour, they discover a new hope for survival. But it comes at an unthinkable price, with consequences that will change everything.
I don’t read a lot of science fiction – not because I don’t like the genre I just prefer mystery/thriller, but once in a while I like to dip my toes in an alternate universe and try something different.
“The Solar War” is book two of the trilogy and so far … it’s interesting, but not earth shattering. The first book of the Trilogy starts with humanity struggling to survive on Earth because for some reason, the sun seems to be fading away. Less sun and warmth is making its way to Earth thereby causing a deep freeze and in a perpetual state of winter. NASA gets involved and sends some people out into space to find out what is going on and they soon discover some alien force seems to be harvesting the sun’s power and leaving Earth in the cold and dark.
I won’t give book one away, but suffice it to say, the humans severely piss the aliens off and they come back in book two for revenge by raining asteroids down on Earth and killing 99.9% of the population. The few remaining end up making a deal with an alien form – leave Earth or they wipe out the human race.
I’m about 56% way through the book and I’m not quite sure what to think about it yet. There is non-stop action and the story alternates between James and Emma’s points of view. James and Emma are married, they have one small daughter and Emma is pregnant with baby number two.
Riddle’s writing style is … different. Riddle is almost telling the story as opposed to showing the story to readers but it’s not overly obvious and it somehow … works. Riddle covers a lot of ground and yet he is somehow successful in drawing the reader into the story – almost as if the reader is a historian and writing about the series of events. It’s hard to describe the style and I can’t decide if I like it or not.
I’m not super invested in the main characters and in fact, I tend to like the minor characters more. They have more of a personality than James and Emma, in my opinion.
The relationship between James and the alien is almost stilted. Like they are both going through the motions and are not really invested in what their decisions. It’s like Riddle skims the surface of the story instead of taking the time to really dive under the surface. The story almost feels like reading a textbook, in some ways, if that makes sense. It’s informative, interesting, (most of the time), but dry. It’s like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, without the jelly.