Book Reviews: Sci-Fi, Racing, Africa, and Submissives

Butter is not a spice, it’s a necessity.

This is the third entry in the Silver Ships no-longer-a-trilogy, and it might be the best of the three.
For a quick recap, Alex from New Terra saves an alien ship, repairs it, puts together a crew of his people and the surviving Meridiens, and goes off to figure out how to combat the enemy that disabled the ship in the first place. In the second book they got new allies from the outcasts of the Meridien culture. In this entry they confront the enemy, only to find not all is at it seems.
Halfway through the battles are ended, though with a sequel hook. The rest is taken up with first contact, which has been a recurring theme but now is much different, since they’re dealing with a truly alien race. There’s also a lot of world-building and diplomacy.
My favorite parts are those that have nothing to do with the story, but show off the people and particularly the hero as quintessentially human; the best example is when Alex goes into the cafeteria and yells “Food!” until everyone joins in. I don’t know how well the people are going to take to living on a planet after all that excitement in space, but I figure I’ll find out in the next novel.

Red Flags
This is my first book in this series; it will not be my last.
As a racing fan, and a particular fan of female racers—Danica Patrick notwithstanding—I’m amazed I haven’t heard of these novels before, featuring a female racer who’s always finding bodies or being asked to investigate murders. Those parts are okay, but what thoroughly impresses me are the racing scenes. This book takes place at my hometown (temporary) track, Long Beach, which I’ve photographed the last fifteen years, so I’m very familiar with it all and can say this author gets everything right.
First and foremost, I am loving Kate! She’s serious when it comes to racing, a bit of a goof with her friends, and insecure when it comes to all the guys chasing her. There’s plenty of snark opportunities for her in SoCal; she goes to the Troubador, walks on the beach—at least it wasn’t Malibu—and does other El Lay things, making it obvious the author is contemptuous of the City of Beautiful Angels.
This is one of those rare books I wish I could read again for the first time, especially the Fontana test scene. The only disappointment was the lack of description of the IndyLights race.

White Leopard
A detective novel that takes place in the Western African country of Mali, it features a half-African, half-French private investigator with a murky past in France, hence his being in Africa.
When a French lawyer wants him to get her drug-running sister out of jail, things go from bad to worse. Like most hard-boiled detective stories, the PI goes from one screw-up to another, beaten up over and over; the setting makes no difference. And I so hate it when a babe is killed. . .
Despite all the mentions of places in the cities and countryside, a little more description would have been nice. There’s also one time he gets out of death by a deux ex machina, which was annoying, but otherwise it’s a pretty good detective novel.

Submissive Seductions
Woman gets taken by her friend to a sex auction, where she buys one night with a dom to see if she is indeed a submissive. What it turns out to be is a pretty costly and out-there blind date.
There’s good stuff right away; I’m enjoying the pre-game, the way he talks to her instead of simply commanding her to do his bidding: calming her down, explaining things, the psychology of sexual submissiveness.
About halfway, with the romance having been achieved, I thought it would be the end of it, but no, things aren’t hunky-dory just yet. Kudos to the author for making it one book instead of a sequel.
What made me enjoy this was the main character. I love woman with a sense of humor, and I’m thankful the author wrote this in first person so I could hear her thoughts.
This is technically a romance, and even though there’s some miscommunication problems they weren’t nearly as bad as you usually get in this genre. Even better, no exterior forces—other than the arrest of her boss—played a part. When she went into the Blue Room at the end I was dreading that she would find him with another woman in an innocent but compromising situation, leading to huge misunderstanding, but thankfully that wasn’t the case.


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