This Is Me--2024 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Themes in the past have covered a range of topics and for 2024 the theme is a personal retrospective that I call "I Coulda Been" which is in reference to my job and career arc over my lifetime. I'll be looking at all sorts of occupations that I have done or could have done. Maybe you've done some of these too!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hot New SciFi from the Amazing Alex: CassaFire

          Does Alex J Cavanaugh, Captain of his own ninja army of loyal bloggers, really need an introduction?  Just in case anyone reading this doesn't know Alex let me briefly tell you about him.   Alex can be found at his namesake blog where he normally talks about movies, music, and other bloggers.  I've known Alex for the past couple of years or so and he is a fine gent and an amazing blogger.

          Alex works in web design and graphics and has a wide range of interests including music, gaming, and  science fiction.  He lives in North Carolina with his wife.

           But I'm not here to talk about Alex, I'm here today to review his upcoming book CassaFire.  I was fortunate to have received a review copy of the book and now I'm going to tell you what I thought.  But before I do here's what the book is about:
 CassaStar was only the beginning… 
The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.
The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren's civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan's technology and strange mental abilities. 
To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves, the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

            I enjoyed Alex's first book CassaStar although I found it a bit too confined to the space stuff, which I guess is a somewhat silly statement since it was a space book.   I couldn't totally relate to the galactic action.  Also I thought too much time was spent in the preliminary training activities even though I will concede this is where most of the character development and story foundation was being set.  Not so much a fault of the author, but mostly my own impatience as a reader.

          Thank goodness in CassaFire Alex has brought most of the story down to Earth--or should I say the planet Tgren.   I like having my feet on the ground and reading about things I can kind of relate to.   The scenario is created well as we get to know the Tgrens and their customs as well as some of the lay of the land.   Now that's more what I want to know about.

           For the space fans there is still plenty of space action with various types of spacecraft from small to humongous.  And there is still lots of flitting about with that cool mind jumping travel that we learned about in the first book.   Then there is an epic space battle which seemed to come and go almost too quickly, but no big deal for me since we've seen that.

           As in CassaStar, the real forte here is the interaction between the characters.  We still have the training sequence where characters are developed, but this time it's done in a far more interesting manner and with more factors at play.  Add in one hot Tgren babe who is Byron's match in skillsets then stir in some romantic tension and now we're talking story.

            For the female readers who enjoyed the male bonding of CassaStar I think you'll like the new relationship far better.   The theme in CassaFire still has to do with friendship and building trust, but this time there is more spark that creates a sizzle in the story line.   Now I see where the CassaFire title comes into play.

          Don't get me wrong.  This is no soppy romance story, so you guys out there don't get nervous.  There is still plenty of action and male bonding and even a bit of drinking and partying going on.  Somehow this book just seemed fuller to me than the first one.  What I think it has is more balance.   It has an energy that kept me engaged and not scratching my head over silly questions like where's all the water come from on the spacecraft for the crew to take so many showers.   This go around Alex just lets the story flow without bogging down too much with mundane things like showers.   But don't get me started on that topic.

        The main character of Byron has grown considerably from being a cocky upstart to a hardened experienced pilot no longer involved in combat, but now in a gritty occupation of transporting materials.  He seems to be overly brooding and aloof, but that allows for further growth as the new story progresses.  The other characters are all well drawn and the dialog comes across as very natural.  We are not overwhelmed with character background, but given enough details for the story to make sense.

       If I had one criticism it would be more directed to myself as a reader.  Alex's writing is excellent.  At times it seemed so good that it was distracting.  My bad.  Maybe I was trying too hard to find something wrong or some little mistake that I could harp on.  Not there, nowhere to be found by me at least.  All I could think was I wish I could write that well and it kind of annoyed me.

        I don't think most readers will have that problem.  Just read and enjoy.   I think you will like this one a lot and be saying, "Bring on the next book!"

         I'll rate this book 4.9999999....   Okay, so I have a hard time giving perfect scores.   I guess according to Amazon ratings CassaFire will be a big 5.

Coming February 28, 2012

CassaFireby Alex J. CavanaughPrint ISBN 978-0-9827139-4-5 EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-6-9Science Fiction - Space Opera/Adventure       

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  1. This sounds really good to me man, I'm looking forward to it. You're definitely right that Alex sure is amazing.

  2. Hi Lee, thanks for this review. I found Alex's blog recently and it definitely sounds as if his books are just as good, or better, to read! I've not read any SF for a while, so this would make a nice change.

    Nice to meet you, I joined your blog because I want to take part in the A-Z this year. Guess who told me about it... yep, Alex!!

  3. Although I'm not a Sci Fi fan I did buy CassaStar and enjoyed it.
    I look forward to his next book.
    Thanks for the review , well penned.


  4. Lee, now that is an honorable and humbling review! Believe me, you can write that well and probably better. I think the tension between Byron and Athee led to more humor, something I enjoyed writing. Thanks so much for the awesome review!

    Yeamie, Nick, and Yvonne, thank you!

  5. Awesome! I enjoyed CassaStar and I'm really looking forward to CassaFire! :)

  6. Hi, Lee, I actually like books and movies where the setting is in space and in space ships. Thanks for the review.

    Shout out to Alex. CassaFire here we come.


  7. I bet Alex is really happy with the 5-star rating.

  8. Alex is made of awesomeness and I just love the trailer! So great of you to do such a major shout out for him!!

  9. Matthew -- You'll have to check out CassaFire.

    Nick -- Welcome to Tossing It Out!

    Yvonne -- I think you'll like the next book even better.

    Alex-- I like it better with the lighter feel. I'm looking forward to more space exploration in the next book.

    Jemi -- I'll be interested to hear your reaction to CassaFire.

    Teresa -- I also like stories that take place in space, but sometimes I get tired of the space battles. I'm glad Alex chose to focus more on characters and relationships more in both of his books.

    L.Diane -- Actually it was a 4.99999.... rating. Five will look good on Amazon.

    S.A. -- I loved the trailer for both books. High quality all the way.


  10. Sounds like Alex has definitely gotten another winner on his hands here!

  11. I need to get over to GoodReads and enter to win a copy of his book!

  12. Well-reviewed, Lee, and best of luck with this one, Alex!

    The other Cavanaugh blogger

  13. Thanks for the review Lee! Glad to hear CassaSatr isn't a soppy romance story hahaha. Its great to see the character arc and how characters grow and learn and adjust to overcome obstacles in their own lives.

  14. Thanks for the review and info! Looking forward to Wednesday!

  15. Good for Alex. It's always good to see artists get a little love from time to time. Writing is a heartbreaking venture these days.

  16. Jeffrey -- I think the upcoming book may be more popular than the first.

    C.Lee-- Someone's gonna win one so it might as well be you.

    Larry -- Thanks. I'm working on my A to Z posts now. I think you might enjoy what I'm doing.

    Stephen -- It has just the right amount of romance. It's not chick-lit though.

    Karen -- I hope I get several visitors for Wednesday. I think it's kind of interesting.

    Beer -- Alex has been a charmed writing life.


  17. I like sci-fi, though not usually what is known, I believe, as hard sci-fi, which this sounds like. I would still give it a second look, seeing as he's a first-rate blogger and a fellow southerner!

  18. Nice review, Lee. I'm looking forward to CassaFire.

  19. Sounds great! Love a space story. Congratulations to Alex!

  20. Have to let my husband know about this, he loves Sci-Fi. Thanks for the review Lee.

  21. Hi Lee .. great back story to Alex' books .. I need to get them to give Sci-Fi another go ..

    Thanks - I'm sure it'll be a great success .. and that 5 star rating is pretty good too .. cheers Hilary

  22. I've heard good things about CassaStar, so it's nice to see positive reviews for CassaFire.

    Have you noticed people are already promoting the A to Z Challenge on their blogs. I bet you'll hit record numbers this year!

  23. Kelly -- I don't think this would be hard sci-fi. It's mostly character driven with no real technical stuff involved.

    thanks to all for your comments.


  24. Hi Lee it's your old friend "Dream Weaver." It has been awhile and please check me out as I will be doing the 2012 Blogging to the Alphabets.

    Can't wait to sign up and catch up to see what you have been up to. LOve your blog(s). Way to go !!!!

    Love ya

    Debra J.

  25. Terrific and thoughtful review. I can't wait to dive into this as I love space ships, battles and lots of humor.

  26. Debra J -- So good to see you back. Glad you'll be joining us in the A to Z.

    Melissa -- I know you like those things. I'm sure you'll enjoy CassaFire.


  27. Hi Lee!

    I hope the new year is treating you well so far :D

    Great review! I'm looking forward to reading this!

    I'm also looking forward to the A-Z Challenge this year. Yes, I AM participating!

    Happy Wednesday,

  28. I don't read much sci-fi, but this does sounds like a good series.


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