#Review: CassaFire #sci-fi #book


Title:  Cassafire

Series: Cassastar #2

Author: Alex J. Cavanaugh

Genre: Space Opera

Pages: 240

Reading Level: Adult

Content: PG (military subject matter, some violence, & adult situations)

After reading book one in this series, I needed a break. The first book caught me off guard. I had no idea it would be so emotional. I fear I may have waited longer than necessary, but the wait was totally worth it. Like the first book in this series, this sequel has its action packed moments, psychologically challenging struggles, and of course, its gut wrenching moments of joy, sorrow, despair, and then hope.

In CassaFire, we find our hero, Byron exploring the known universe in the service of scientists. To put it plainly, the world’s greatest combat pilot is a taxi driver for smart people. Of course, we know he’s doing this to fulfill a promise he made to Bassa, from book one, but what we don’t know is just how exciting space exploration is about to become for the not-quite-middle-aged pilot.

This installment of the Cassa series does two things right away that as a fan of this world pleased me to no end. It brought in more galactic races and it uses more “special abilities” or powers. The geek in me loves that Cassians can’t live without their telepathic abilities and it’s interesting to see how these abilities are perceived by others in the universe.

Author Cavanaugh does an excellent job of touching on some very sensitive subject matters without bringing the story down or belittling the subjects’ importance. He touches on subjects such as: racism, superiority and right, colonization, choice vs duty, and more. There is even a slight, yet significant romance to keep you wondering what will come in the future.

I think this book is suitable for all readers, though younger children may not understand some of the deeper points and those averse to sci-fi themes may have trouble seeing beyond the setting to appreciate the true message of this piece, which I believe is love and loyalty grounded in personal experience and not simply tradition and duty.

See my review of CassaStar here.

I give this book a 5.


This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like a Kindle copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Get a print copy with free international shipping at this link: Book Depository.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#BooktagsBlogHop No. 2: CassaStar by @AlexJCavanaugh #sci-fi #amreading


The purpose of this blog hop is for readers and writers to share what they are reading, have read, are writing, or have written with others. This is not about promoting free or discounted books, though some of those may be featured. This is about book lovers sharing what they love about books. This blog hop is about the Joy of Reading and the Joy of Writing with tags of your choosing and is hosted by me, Toi Thomas, the third Monday of the month. Learn more here.

This month’s optional theme is: gratitude or acceptance.

Excerpt from Chapter 15

Reaching the last file in the database, he paused. Simply labeled ‘Byron,’ it gave no indication as to the contents within. Curious, he explored the file and discovered four separate areas. The first section contained information from his official and personal record. His complete history and profile were represented, and he frowned at the discovery. Noting his Cosbolt training record, Byron remembered that as his instructor, Bassa had enjoyed full access to his files. He’d apparently saved them for future reference.

Exploring the next file, Byron opened what appeared to be a journal chronicling Bassa’s personal experiences. Confused as to why this was located in his file, Byron scanned the entries. The first one was written not long after his arrival on Guaard. It described a pilot in training whose cocky, indifferent attitude stemmed from loneliness and insecurity rather than malice or rage. Bassa concluded his assessment that all the boy needed was a friend. Byron’s eyes widened in disbelief and he scanned the other entries. Every single one was about him.

Uncomfortable with the thought of invading Bassa’s privacy, Byron moved to the next file. A prerecorded video flashed on the screen and he leaned back in the chair. His chest tightened when Bassa’s image appeared, and he realized the recording had been made from his very position.

“Good day, Byron,” said Bassa’s image, a faint smile on his face.

Byron’s mouth fell open. Bassa had recorded a message for him.

242 words from: CassaStar (CassaStar #1) © 2010 Alex J. Cavanaugh

My Thoughts

I’m actually reading CassaStorm (CassaStar #3) right now and am behind on my review of CassaFire (CassaStar #2), but with this month’s theme being acceptance or gratitude, I had to revisit the first book in this series. There is so much happening in this story by the time this passage comes along and as much as I hate to give away spoilers, I can only hope the true meaning of this passage remains a bit vague.

The passage is a revelation of acceptance for Byron in a way I can’t elaborate on without outright spoiling, but it’s clear that he has discovered something and it’s affecting him in an emotional way. Before and after this passage, the gratitude Byron feels for the off-scene Bassa is difficult to process. These two character experience life and combat together, and to say that they are like brothers is an understatement- they are brothers at the very core of their souls.

I have many friends who care about me and a wonderfully loving and supportive family, but I haven’t had a friendship like what Bassa and Byron have since I was in high school. That kind of friendship is precious and rare.

Find this title at Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Goodreads

What are you currently reading? I’d love to know.
Next blog hop post date will be December 21, 2015.

Be sure to hop around and see what others are reading so you may continue to pile onto you TBR list.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Review: Cassastar

Title: Cassastar
Series: Cassastar #1
Author: Alex J. Cavanaugh
Genre: Space Opera
Pages: 246
Reading Level: Adult
Content: PG (military subject matter and some violence)

This book is not what I expected it to be at all and I loved it. The words “Space Opera” are suitable to describe this but there’s something else in this story that goes beyond sci-fi, fantasy, and space war.

CassaStar tells the story of a young Cassian named Byron who is talented and troubled. All he wants is a chance to escape Cassa and become a fighter pilot so that his life can have some meaning. His only problem is that, when compared to everyone around him, he has a bad and arrogant attitude, but he is good at what he does … oh and he’s “special”. Then there’s Bassa, enter wise man/mentor, but that’s where I’ll stop. I don’t want to give too much away.

I must confess that as chicks go I’m not much for emotional outpouring which is probably why I like action, sci-fi, and fantasy, but this book has given me a whole new perspective. When considering the very nature of the Cassians, I don’t believe I would be viewed even half as well as Byron was and he was pretty much an outcast with undeniable skills.  It’s one thing to make friends and to be able to mingle with your peers on a social level, but CassaStar takes social interaction and emotional bonds to a whole other level, plus there’s space ships and highly advanced technology involved.

This whole story is written in a very matter-of-fact way as to imply that everything that’s happening in the story is as it should be. You forget from time to time that you are not a Cassian and that you are simply reading a story. You are however supplied with a few moments that fill you with utter amazement as you imagine the pilots sorting through space and time and then going on grand adventures in their down time.

This is an action packed story, but it takes a while to get your heart rate going. Nothing is slow moving, but the author does take his time to really develop his characters and set up each scene for whatever it is that’s about the happen: a space battle, an emotional breakdown, a behavior evaluation, or even an intense dream.  With all this story has to offer, I’m still shocked that it all boils down to a great buddy story. This book is about friendship in a way most people haven’t considered. When two men go into war willing to die or live for the other, exciting things happens.

This story is suitable for most audiences though young children may not have the maturity to understand it and many women will not be initially attracted to it. I would challenge men and women to read this story and find that they probably really enjoy it, even if it is for very different reasons.

I give this book a 5.


This review has been posted to GoodReads. If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Much love today for a Cassa Series box-set by @alexjcavanaugh & @DancingLemurPre #sci-fi

Image from alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com; go check him out.

Once upon a time in

a galaxy far far


No, this isn’t that story, but it’s right up there with it in awesomeness!

If you haven’t read the Cassa Series yet, this is the perfect time to do so. This new boxed set puts the whole trilogy in one place for you devour in a matter of days…
because yeah, it’s that’s good!

Spaceship battles, military banter, aliens, high action, bromance,
and so much more! 😉

The Amazon Best-Selling Series box-set releases today!

By Alex J. Cavanaugh
ISBN 9781939844118
Price – $5.99 eBook boxed set
Science fiction/adventure (FIC028010) and science fiction/space opera (FIC028030)

CassaStar – Few options remain for Byron. Slated to train as a Cosbolt pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth to his instructor, Bassa. As war brews on the edge of space, Bassa must make a decision that could decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission destined to stretch their abilities to the limit?

CassaFire – Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters behind him, the detection of alien ruins sends him to the planet of Tgren. Forced to train a Tgren named Athee and deal with an eager young scientist, he feels invaded. Tensions mount as the ruins reveal a potential weapon, plunging him further into the chaos. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

CassaStorm – Commanding the base on Tgren, Byron watches as a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the planet. When the war hits Tgren, it triggers nightmares in his son. The ancient alien ship begins transmitting a deadly code and the probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago returns. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

Find it here: Amazon US | Amazon UK

 Barnes&Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

Please help spread the word. This story deserves to be shared.

Meet the Author

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and co-host of the A-Z Challenge.
Blog | IWSG | Twitter

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords