November 30th News & Update

Hello, world! SSV has some news to share with our readers and would like to give you a little reminder of what we do here on Silk Screen Views.

General News

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Silk Screen Views is growing fast as ideas burst into life and fires up our inspiration! We’ve created new sections to the site and reconstructed to expand our wings and share our thoughts and news. Two parts that will help you find what you want on SSV. Don’t forget the Search Bar–that’s helpful too!

  1. Site Map:  Unfamiliar with SSV? Want to know the bare bones of what we have to share? Look at the site map for up to date information on what SSV has to offer and a description of what each section is about.
  2. Review Directory:  Relocated under Nexus, this page is an alphabetical listing of all our book reviews on SSV. Books that do not have a current link are placed to show reviews that are to come.

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EDITING & GRAPHIC DESIGN SERVICES

The SSV crew loves the book community and wants to add another dimension to our involvement. We’ve put together a list of services that can help with bringing a fresh viewpoint to a project, add a marketable polish and highlight it to give it the best starting point in a venture. Check out what we offer and see if it fits your needs. Contact us if you have any questions or need more information. Email ~ SilkScreenViews@gmail.com

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SILK SCREEN VIEWS WANTS YOU!

Authors:

  1. Silk Screen Views is open to Author Review Requests. Please check out SSV’s Review Policy.
  2. SSV is looking to host/post/re-post interesting articles about writing that you have written. If you would like to share your articles here on SSV, please email Silk Screen Views or fill out the Contact form on the Nexus.

Bloggers – Reviewers – Authors: 

SSV embraces vibrant, unique perspectives and diversity. We are looking for people to write thought provoking, emotion raging articles in our Rambling and Rampage sections. If you have something uniquely you to share and interested in joining SSV’s adventures, please email Silk Screen Views or fill out the Contact form on the Nexus.

WANTED:  Reviewers to Join SSV!

Due to the rapid growth of the site, we’re looking to add new people to the team! If you love to read, like to share your opinions on everything and anything beneath the sun–take a look at our Reviewers Wanted Post. If it looks like something you’re interested in, please apply!

Note that you must become familiar with SSV Goals, Review Policy and what the site offers. Experience is not necessary but we do require that you have basic writing skills.

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–*SNEAK PEEK*–

Author Interview & Review Series began in order to celebrate our 100th Book Review post and to start adventures that will let readers get a closer look into the authors and stories we consume readily. We aim to bring you entertaining, candid interviews with the author and a unique perspective on the book. Curious about what other authors are coming up in SSV’s AI&R series? Keep an eye on the Calendar.

We have lots of new and exciting things planned for 2014! Keep an eye out and join us on our adventures!

SSV would be nothing without the people who help to run it.

THANK YOU–the awesome SSV Crew!

We would be bored without people who read our posts, the authors who write & publish their stories and the netizens who interact with us on the site.

You have our gracious thanks as well!

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Alien in the House ~ Gini Koch

  • Title:  Alien in the House
  • Author:  Gini Koch
  • Series:  Katherine “Kitty” Katt #7
  • Genre:  Science Fiction
  • Format:  eBook
  • Source:  Own Copy
  • Reviewed by: Sonja
  • Rating:  2.5 out of 5

Description:  Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini have learned the ins and outs of Washington politics, not to mention how to prevail in intergalactic war and foil dangerous plots. But, in the aftermath of Operation Destruction, the Gower girls’ powers are burned out, the entire A-C population has been “outed” as the aliens living on Earth that they are, and, worst of all, ACE is nowhere to be found.

Then murder and mayhem are served up at an important dinner party at the American Centaurion Embassy, and when the dust settles Alpha Team and the Diplomatic Corps have more problems than just a dead Congressman.

Is there a single criminal mastermind—or multiple enemies—behind all the conspiracies that want Kitty dead and the A-Cs gone or co-opted to become the War Division?

The return of the best assassins in the business, the reappearance of two individuals long-presumed dead, Agent Malcolm Buchanan felled by something no one can identify or cure, and new technology that can block even the most powerful empath on Earth … all of this means the game’s officially afoot.

Then Vance Beaumont comes to Kitty with a wild theory that someone is systematically killing off the House of Representatives…

It’s up to Kitty and the rest of the gang to find out what’s really going on and why. But will they be able to stop the killer or killers before the rest of the U.S. House of Representatives become casualties? And will the replacement Representative for New Mexico’s 2nd District, who happens to be Jeff Martini, be the next to die?

Review:  The one where Jeff becomes a Representative. Capital R – like in the US House of Representatives.

Well, the A-Cs were outed in the last book. Now, everyone (and his brother and/or sister) wants to control them or use them for his own nefarious purposes. Therefore, Jeff and Kitty must play politics and diplomats at the A level to keep them free, safe, and on a useful track.

Ugh. This is definitely NOT my favorite book in the series. First of all, we really need a character map. Between the extremely large cast of characters AND Ms. Koch’s random use of first names, last names, and Kitty bestowed nicknames, it can be extremely difficult determine – or remember – who is what. Secondly, yes, I know it is Science Fiction, but, but, but it just passes beyond the realm of  . . . I don’t even know. I guess it just doesn’t make any logical sense. Things seem to happen just because. Just because we need something to move the plot along. Or, just because we need a villain. Or, just because it might be funny. (Key word, might) And, I find it harder and harder to accept these things. I think it would be easier for me if all this happened in another world, rather than mine. I feel myself shaking my head and going . . . not in my lifetime. (Well, Of course not!) But, irritating me in no possible way extends my enjoyment of a novel.

There are two things that really bother me. First of all, those who have followed my reviews of this series may remember my frustration with the whole Kitty thing. Kitty is perfect. Kitty can do no wrong. Kitty is smarter than the entire rest of the galaxy. Every male person in said galaxy is madly in love with Kitty. (Yes, eye rolling, heavily dramatic, deeply unsatisfying eye rolling.) Well, now, (and, yes, we have definitely seen this coming) Jamie is following in Mummy’s footsteps. She is so entirely precocious . . . carrying on conversations with her parents at not quite one. And, oh yes, she has already potty trained herself. No, Jamie is not a major character in this novel – it is just that it takes place on and around her birthday. But, it still irritated me. Yes, I should be used to it by now – but, nevertheless . . .

Secondly – playing with the American political system. Now, I would never EVER say that our system is perfect. Or, that it couldn’t be implemented in a more equitable fashion. But, DON’T MESS WITH IT! At least in a negative fashion. See, it seems that since the Aliens invaded in the last novel, the President has instituted a policy that all elected officials will remain in office for the moment so that Washington doesn’t have to deal with newly elected members and that the government will flow more effectively. (First of all, I need to accept THAT supposition, which strains my belief to a very large extent.) And, now, several members of Congress are dying – so the President and state governors are appointing new officials. And, there is some precedent for this – so it doesn’t make me totally ballistic.

But, suspending elections goes against everything our Constitution and political system stands for. And, our system is designed to continue smoothly (or, at least as what passes (albeit badly) for smoothly) in the face of new members. In this kind of circumstance, it is entirely possible that new blood is exactly what would be needed – to remove that possibility just makes me angry. And, it really colored my appreciation of the book.

Now, other than these two (well, three if you count the names . . . which I should) things, this novel is much like the rest. Maybe too much. I felt the jokes getting a little stale, the conversations getting a bit repetitive and the characterizations getting a little trite. Therefore, I would rate this one a little lower than average for this series – 2.5. I am rounding down to 2 because I am irritated. (And, that means the book was OK – not that I didn’t like it.) Will I buy the next one? Sigh. Yes. I do think without the political venue, I would have enjoyed this a lot more.

Alien Tango ~ Gini Koch

  • Title:  Alien Tango
  • Author:  Gini Koch
  • Series:  Katherine “Kitty” Katt, #2
  • Genre:  Science Fiction
  • Format:  eBook
  • Source:  Own Copy
  • Reviewed by: Sonja
  • Rating:  4 out of 5

Description:  It’s been five months since marketing manager Katherine “Kitty” Katt started working with the aliens from Alpha Centauri, and she and Jeff Martini are getting closer. But when an experimental spacecraft is mysteriously returned to the Kennedy Space Center, Kitty and the rest of her team are called in to investigate. Now the team must survive murderous attacks, remove a space entity from a group of astronauts, and avoid an unhinged woman with a serious crush on Kitty’s high school boyfriend. And that’s all before evil masterminds decide Kitty’s extermination is vital.

Review:  When I finished Touched by an Alien, the first book in this series, I had no intention of continuing this series. Absolutely none. That book was not quite what I expected – really don’t know *what* I expected, I just didn’t get it. That being said, I couldn’t get Kitty out of my head – so I gleefully picked up this one. I really enjoyed this one.

The things that bothered me in the first book are still here. Yep, the A-Cs are still beyond gorgeous. Yep, Kitty (the team member for the shortest period of time) still solves everything. Yet, it doesn’t really bother me here. I think this is because it is more understated and less ‘out there’. At this point, these things are mentioned only in passing and we are not beat over the head with them. Therefore, we get to enjoy the snark and relationships without having to suspend belief that they happened at the speed of light. It is the past.

One thing that I believe Ms. Koch does better here than just about any other novelist I can think of is recap. The events of the previous novel are all mentioned, but only when appropriate and only about a paragraph at a time. This enables allows us to be forgetful and be reminded without having a chapter that is basically wasted as a report of the last novel. I appreciated not only the reminders, but their brevity. As I read the books quickly in succession, I didn’t need the recap, but I did not roll my eyes and skip over whole pages either.

We finally meet Chuckie, Kitty’s best friend. We finally get to meet Jeff’s immediate family. And, we understand why he avoids them. But, then, very few of us don’t have at least *some* members of our family that we do not avoid when possible. In addition, the rule against the inter-marriage between A-C/human is finally addressed. Not quite resolved, but at least it is addressed. I really enjoyed the Pontifex’ treatment of this issue. It made me laugh as I have often thought that leaders in other similar situations must feel the exact same way.

There is still gratuitous sex. Kitty really only has one thing on her mind each and every time she sets out to save the world. And, it isn’t saving the world. I will say this – Ms. Koch has many opportunities to insert more gratuitous sex – and she doesn’t. She does, sometimes, close the door and let our imaginations do the rest. I really appreciate that.

I enjoyed this one more than the last. I give it 4 stars.

Alien vs. Alien ~ Gini Koch

  • Title:  Alien vs. Alien
  • Author:  Gini Koch
  • Series:  Katherine “Kitty” Katt, #6
  • Genre:  Science Fiction
  • Format:  eBook
  • Source:  Own Copy
  • Reviewed by: Sonja
  • Rating:  3 out of 5

Description:  Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini and the rest of the American Centaurion Diplomatic Corps are still recovering from their introduction to Washington D.C. politics, parties, and conspiracies. So when compromising pictures arrive, no one’s too surprised. They’re also the least of anyone’s worries.

Evil androids running amok, birds of all kinds and from all places creating havoc, a Senator trapped in an ever-tightening web of intrigue, and escalating international tensions all seem tough but manageable. But the disappearance of Jeff Martini and Charles Reynolds during the International One World Festival signals more than the usual nastiness — and it looks like even ACE can’t help them.

Then new trouble arrives in old packages and even with the best hackers in the world, beings from near and far, the full might of Earth’s military, and the Wonder Twins on their side, Centaurion Division’s outmanned and outgunned.

Now Kitty’s racing against the clock to find not only Jeff and Chuckie, but to keep the peace between Middle Eastern countries, all while searching for the bases of super-soldier operations — to stop them or die trying.

Review:  This is the one where old enemies return.

Sigh. Honestly, I found this one to be just a bit too much. I know, I know. I managed to get *this* far and haven’t felt that way yet? The story is getting to be a bit overwhelming and the amount of characters of which to keep track just makes me shake my head. When this is teamed with Ms. Koch’s penchant for using both the first names and the surnames of her characters in different times and places, I totally felt adrift in a maze.

We have an old enemy that returns waving a (figurative) white flag. We have blackmail pictures surfacing. We have new pets being ‘transported’ in. We trust people in the Romanian embassy more than our own people – and said Romanians are also smarter than we are. And, no one will tell Kitty anything. Why won’t they tell her? I am so glad you asked. It is because she did not pass a test needed to get a higher security clearance. Of all the things in this series that has asked me to suspend belief, I think this is the hardest. The way it goes down just surpasses my ability to let slide. And, I simply cannot believe any of these highly intelligent people in highly classified places would A) believe the circumstances of the test and B) let it matter when it was so obviously rigged and she needs to know. For seriously three quarters of the story, she is blinded by the fact that no one will tell her anything because she didn’t pass the test. Yet, she still manages to be the one that finally puts it all together and manages to save the world. Sigh.

This is definitely not my favorite of the series. It becomes just a little *too* immersed in actual science fiction while still trying to drag around the things that make Kitty so much fun. It really just bogs down. Our gang has become much too large to follow without a character map. And, too much time is spent trying to make ideas from too many stories gel together. We have Kitty, and Androids, and aliens from all different places, and evil politicians, and brilliant hackers, and diplomats, and spaceships, and monuments . . . I do not think there is anything actually missing from this tale. Except actual cohesiveness.

That being said, it is still about Kitty. She is still a hoot and a half. Again, I laughed my way through. The end came entirely too quickly (I know – can that even *happen* without a cohesive plot?). And, it is the currently the last published book in the series. Therefore, it makes it very hard on the next book I read. Few will be as entertaining as I found this series. And, they all become that much harder to start.

I gave this book 3 stars solely on the strength of the series. Again, don’t read this for any reason except to spend more time with characters that you love.

Alien Diplomacy ~ Gini Koch

  • Title:  Alien Diplomacy
  • Author:  Gini Koch
  • Series:  Katherine “Kitty” Katt #5
  • Genre:  Science Fiction
  • Format:  eBook
  • Source:  Own Copy
  • Reviewed by: Sonja
  • Rating:  3.5 out of 5

Description:  Kitty Martini are also giving up their roles as super-being exterminators and Commanders in Centaurion Division while mastering the political landscape as the new heads of Centaurion’s Diplomatic Corps. Enter a shadowy assassination plot and a new set of anti-alien conspirators, and nothing will ever be the same…

Review:  This is the one where Jeff and Kitty become Ambassadors. (Though, I am a little unclear as to why American citizens need their own diplomatic corps in the United States. Yes, I realize they are A-Cs (or at least Jeff is) but they are still citizens.) To no one’s surprise, Kitty is a bad diplomat. Ok, at least it doesn’t surprise me. It seems to surprise the characters in the book. Exactly what part of her personality seems in any way diplomatic?

Between the events of book 4 and the beginning of this one, it seems there was a diplomatic ‘incident.’ So, at the beginning of the story, she is going to Diplomacy classes. And, she is failing. There are all sorts of characters with her in this class – and only one with which she has made any connection. He is also failing diplomacy classes. In the process, she and Jeff and the remainder of the gang (which is growing by leaps and bounds – in fact, too quickly to easily track) are forced to save the world. Again. This time from the evil politicians. And, from their accompanying lobbyists. In doing so, the gang demonstrates to the world the true heroes that policemen can be. Yes, it is a tad bit (just a teensy bit) convoluted.

You just can’t force yourself to take any of this seriously. Especially since every *single* time Kitty does anything, her mind *always* returns to the bedroom gymnastics. At this point, Jeff just looks at her and smiles and says, “I like the way you think!” I gotta admit, even though I hate the gymnastics, I love the inside joke. And, by this time, the gymnastics take over entire chapters. The chapters are very short and, thus, easily skipped. I like being able to skip them.

I also must admit I have very little use for politicians. From reading this series, I have to think that Ms. Koch shares my view. That being said, simply the best part of this narrative is Senator McMillan’s take on why he is a senator. If only all politicians felt this way . . .

The long and short of it is this: If you like Kitty (and crew) and just want to spend time with characters you love, this book will be  entertaining. If you demand a convincing plot with appropriate building and developing, you probably should have put Kitty aside about 4 books ago. I have to shamefully admit I enjoy all of these books. I laugh out loud and the pages simply disappear. I am not, however, under any illusion that these books are well developed and established – I just enjoy the ride. A more discerning reader might not be as easily pleased.

I gave the book 3.5 stars – will round up to 4 just cuz it makes me laugh.

 

Alien in the Family ~ Gini Koch

  • Title:  Alien in the Family
  • Author:  Gini Koch
  • Series:  Katherine “Kitty” Katt #3
  • Genre:  Sci-fi, Romance
  • Format:  eBook
  • Source:  Own Copy
  • Reviewed by: Sonja
  • Rating:  3.5 out of 5

Description:  Super-Being Exterminator Kitty Katt and the Alpha Centaurian she loves, Jeff Martini, should be finalizing their wedding plans. But that was before she discovers Jeff is in line to become Emperor back on his home world. Kitty knows she is everything a royal family wouldn’t approve of, and is bracing herself for the worst. As it turns out, the royal family is just the beginning. Especially when extraterrestrial Amazonian terrorists are determined to start and end Kitty and Jeff’s nuptial festivities with a bang.

Review:  The one where Kitty and Jeff get married.

The formula for these books stays very close to home. The world is at risk. Kitty and friends must save it. She doesn’t read the regs and runs entirely by instinct and, when it comes to her gorgeous hubby, Jeff, she only has one thing on her mind. And, it is ALWAYS on her mind. No matter the crisis at hand.

Jeff and Kitty spend the whole book planning their wedding. Or, rather, not planning it. Forcing those around them to do the planning for them. (Hey, if it works for them . . . ) Meanwhile, Jeff’s home planet has gotten the word, and, as Jeff is actually in line for the throne, Kitty must pass a series of tests to be suitable as his mate. Note: neither Jeff nor Kitty gives a doodle whether or not she passes. Surprised? I certainly wasn’t. In addition to this, it seems that the entire planetary system is under revolt and political shenanigans. So, naturally, the other aliens have come to earth to continue the battle here. Which allows hoards of other species to do battle with – or ultimately form allegiances with – the A-Cs and crew. It also allows for politically incorrect (hilarious) comparisons and snark from our own dear Kitty. We have dog people, shapeshifters, cat people – all sorts of strange species. Regular Kitty readers can surely see the opportunities available here . . .

Of course, while Jeff and Kitty are off saving galaxies, their wedding is pretty much being planned by itself. Or James. Kitty is blissfully unaware that for the sake of the other mixed couples her own wedding must happen in a timely manner. James is not. Naturally. So, as is typical for this gang, James handles it. With the help of newcomer Pierre. Several reviews have derisively noted that the last third of this book is the wedding – okay, maybe not QUITE that much, but it is a healthy chunk. I actually enjoyed this. There were still political shenanigans ensuing, so it wasn’t TOTALLY wedding related – but it is definitely the focus of the story at that point. But, it is all very much in character for all of them.

One thing about these books really makes me laugh. There are several instances in science fiction of scientific phenomena that are really ‘out there’ and seem entirely improbable. Honestly, I do not know how authors come up with these theories and make the science work. But, Ms. Koch doesn’t even try. Kitty talks to Chuckie, “Do you understand this?” Chuckie replies, “Yes. Would you like me to explain it?” Kitty answers, “Am I going to understand it?” Chuckie, “No.” Kitty, “That’s enough for me.” This plot device, used frequently, allows Ms. Koch to advance some outlandish theories that really do not need any scientific probability. At all. And, it makes me laugh every single time.

I give this book the series standard 3.5 stars – rounded up to 4 for the alien snark. The story is still outlandish. Kitty is still ridiculously relied upon. Yet, the snark is still ever present and, if you maintain the suspension of belief by the boatloads, the series continues to be a laugh riot.