lgbtqia content · sci-fi / fantasy

REVIEW: Ashore (Staying Afloat #2) by Isabelle Adler

The descriptive bit: Staying Afloat is a great sci-fi series written by Isabelle Adler. NineStar Press was kind enough to send me the first book in the series (Adrift) so that I could read and review the new addition: Ashore. Matt Spears is Captain of the Lady Lisa and her small crew. He’s a small-time smuggler with enough of a conscious that he tries to keep things marginally legal. When a job comes up that will make the crew some good money, Matt meets pilot, Ryce Faine. But Ryce isn’t who he seems to be and neither is the mission!

In Ashore, the adventures and misadventures of the Lady Lisa and her crew continue. When the ragtag group lands for repairs they end up in a tangle with local thugs. One of the crew members, Val runs into one of the men who was responsible for the death of his wife. Val wants revenge and soon the group is entangled in another mess.

My thoughts bit: Adrift was a great read! In the first installment of the series, the Lady Lisa is heading towards a planet on which there is a secret location. Ryce Faine had taken control of the ship and won’t give them any details about their journey. Captain Spears finds himself becoming intrigued by his mysterious guest. As the two men get to know each other, it’s revealed that Ryce is half-Onorean. The Onoreans are a scientific species and control the conception and birth of their offspring. Sadly, Ryce’s mother was raped by an off-worlder and gave up her son because he represented everything she was ashamed of.

One of the things I loved about Adler when I read her first books was the detail she puts into the worlds and people in her stories. The first story I read of hers was much shorter and I loved the character development. This series is no disappointment in character development! Matt Spears is basically a good guy, he drinks too much, can’t survive without coffee and he likes to hook up with people when they swing past a bar. Things get interesting when a bit more of Matt’s past is revealed. He’s had some run-ins with space pirates and still suffers nightmares because of the brutal assault that happened. Estranged from his family, Matt is fiercely protective of his ship and his crew.

Ryce and Matt manage to chip away at each other’s walls as they continue along with the mission. They end up with their lives in each other’s hands and learn that they can, in fact, trust each other. Ryce’s secret mission is a bit morally ambiguous. I don’t want to reveal too much about it here in this review, because it was an absolute pleasure to read along as it was revealed in the book.

Suffice to say that by the end of the book there is a fledgling relationship between Matt and Ryce.

In the second book, Ashore, the adventures of the crew continues. The Lady Lisa is in desperate need of repairs and happens to end up where Val (The engineer) comes face to face with the man who murdered his wife. Set on revenge, Val tangles with the wrong people and then the rest of the crew finds themselves up to their eyeballs in trouble. New crew member Ryce (Yes, he stayed), and Matt are having trouble understanding what they mean to each other and how or even if their life together will work.

The space-pirate-politics (who knew that was even a thing) is so well written that I was sucked right in! I’m so on-board with Matt’s story and I really can’t wait for the next part of the series. Adler is very skilled at giving the reader enough detail to get hooked on the characters and still leaving enough to look forward to!

This series is a rip through space with a kick-ass crew who love each other in spite of their quirks. These books are action-packed, intriguing, and full of heart. I’m a fan.

The warnings bit: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: violence, mentions of rape (both men and women), torture, dismemberment (finger), extreme violence, descriptions of dead bodies.

I received an ARC of Adrift & Ashore by Isabelle Adler from NineStar press via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

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