SciFi Book Review: Valiant Dust

Valiant Dust by Richard Baker

Sikander Singh North has always had it easy―until he joined the crew of the Aquilan Commonwealth starship CSS Hector. As the ship’s new gunnery officer and only Kashmiri, he must constantly prove himself better than his Aquilan crewmates, even if he has to use his fists. When the Hector is called to help with a planetary uprising, he’ll have to earn his unit’s respect, find who’s arming the rebels, and deal with the headstrong daughter of the colonial ruler―all while dodging bullets.

Sikander comes from a royal family, but entered the military. Some of his crewmates believe he gets special treatment or hasn’t earned his place. But he soon proves his worth and his skills with his new placement. And when Sikander and his ship are tasked with subverting a planetary rebellion, he finds his emotions get a bit involved as well.

Valiant Dust is the first in a new, military scifi series. Sikander is a likeable character with a sense of honor. The unique, future-worldbuilding of cultures and casts is strong and detailed but not overwhelming. And the characters are engaging. I enjoyed this fast-paced adventure with plenty of action, intrigue and a bit of romance. I definitely look forward to reading more in this promising new series.

Book Review: The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I love these behind-scenes books of the art behind my favorite films. And this latest is fantastic.

Art of Star Wars the Last Jedi Art of Star Wars the Last Jedi Art of Star Wars the Last Jedi Art of Star Wars the Last Jedi

There are early concepts of characters and wardrobes.

Art of Star Wars the Last Jedi

And stunning images of new aliens.

Art of Star Wars the Last Jedi

Early concepts of Canto Bight.

Art of Star Wars the Last Jedi Art of Star Wars the Last Jedi Art of Star Wars the Last Jedi

The new weapons and new ship designs.

Art of Star Wars the Last Jedi Art of Star Wars the Last Jedi

And my favorites are usually the beautiful location shots and scenic concept art.

The Last Jedi was a visually stunning film. And this book of the art behind the film is fascinating and makes for a great gift, coffee table book, or collector item for fans. I look forward to going back and reading the little details now. But the art alone makes this book a must for me.

Book Giveaway: Blood Fury

Courtesy of Ballantine Books, I have a copy of Blood Fury by J. R. Ward for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends February 2. I’ll draw a name on February 3, and notify winner via email.


Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Blood Fury

Book Giveaway: Scythe and Thunderhead


Simon & Schuster is partnering with for a new giveaway!

Live As If You’ll Never Be Gleaned
Start the new year living life to the fullest! One (1) winner receives:
• Copies of Scythe and Thunderhead
• Plus a 2018 planner and colorful pen set to kick-start the new year!

Prizing and samples provided by Simon & Schuster.

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends January 19. I’ll draw a name on January 20, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Book #1 Synopsis: Scythe
Two teens must learn the “art of killing” in this Printz Honor–winning book, the first in a chilling new series from Neal Shusterman, author of the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Scythe is the first novel of a thrilling new series by National Book Award–winning author Neal Shusterman in which Citra and Rowan learn that a perfect world comes only with a heavy price.

Book #2 Synopsis: Thunderhead
Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the chilling sequel to the Printz Honor Book Scythe from New York Times bestseller Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

The Thunderhead cannot interfere in the affairs of the Scythedom. All it can do is observe—it does not like what it sees.

A year has passed since Rowan had gone off grid. Since then, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. His story is told in whispers across the continent. As Scythe Anastasia, Citra gleans with compassion and openly challenges the ideals of the “new order.” But when her life is threatened and her methods questioned, it becomes clear that not everyone is open to the change.

Will the Thunderhead intervene? Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?

Author Bio:
Neal Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, including The Unwind Dystology, The Skinjacker trilogy, Downsiders, and Challenger Deep, which won the National Book Award. Scythe, the first book in his newest series Arc of a Scythe, is a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows. The father of four children, Neal lives in California. Visit him at and

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Scythe and Thunderhead

ThinkGeek Exclusive: Star Wars Plush Bouquet Review

Star Wars Bouquet

Want a unique Valentines gift for the special geek in your life? ThinkGeek has some exclusive plush bouquets available.

Star Wars Bouquet

The bouquet comes in a nice, large box that wont damage the display.

Star Wars Bouquet

Each of the 9 character plushes comes tied with a string to a stick. Each are sturdy and gathered together with black fabric and a red bow. After displaying, the recipient can remove each plush from the bouquet as well.

Star Wars Bouquet Star Wars Bouquet Star Wars Bouquet Star Wars Bouquet Star Wars Bouquet

The bouquet comes with the following characters: BB-8, Han Solo, Leia, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, a Porg, Wicket, R2-D2, and Yoda.

It’s an extremely cute gift. These little guys will definitely go on display as soon as the holiday is over!
And there are several more plush bouquets to choose from, if Star Wars isn’t your Valentine’s thing.

** received this product for free to provide an honest review.**

Book Review: Gunslinger Girl

Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely

Seventeen-year-old Serendipity “Pity” Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She’s been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great.

When Pity learns she is about to be sold off by her father, she decides to escape to the West. However, the place she flees to has it’s own set of rules. And earning her keep may destroy her soul. Pity is talented with her mother’s hand-me-down pistols. But she’s never had to kill a man.

Gunslinger Girl is set in an alternate world of a Wild West, after America had a second Civil War. The land is harsh, and still allows for backward and cruel treatment of women. I was hesitant with the first couple chapters, but the story picked up and wasn’t as dark as it initially felt. Pity and her love interest are sweet and relatable. The story is fast-paced and full of drama, intrigue, suspense, and a bit of romance. Events build to a surprising and action-packed finale. And this captivating debut leaves off in an interesting way that will leave readers eager for the next in the series.

Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok Releases Digitally on Feb 20 and 4K and Blu-ray on Mar 6!

Press Release:
Marvel Studios’ “Thor: Ragnarok,” electrified both audiences and critics alike and now fans can enjoy the colorful cosmic adventure at home. Fans who bring home the Ultimate Cinematic Universe Edition (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital) of “Thor: Ragnarok” will experience all the thunderous action and lightning-fast wit in stunning 4K Ultra HD with next-generation high dynamic range (HDR) visuals and Dolby Atmos immersive audio. Exclusive, never-before-seen bonus features include deleted scenes; hilarious outtakes; an exclusive short: part three of the mockumentary “Team Thor,” retitled “Team Darryl” and featuring an eccentric new roommate; the evolution of MCU’s heroes culminating in “Avengers: Infinity War;” numerous making-of featurettes which explore the unique vision of director Taika Waititi; the story’s unstoppable women; the effortlessly charismatic Korg; the tyrannical leader of Sakaar, the Grandmaster; and the film’s comic-book origins; audio commentary by Waititi; and more. The action, humor, drama and spectacle, bursts into homes Digitally in HD and 4K Ultra HD™, and Movies Anywhere, on Feb. 20 and on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™, DVD and On-Demand on March. 6.

Fantasy Book Review: Have Sword Will Travel

Have Sword Will Travel by Garth Nix and Sean Williams

It is strange enough that Odo and Eleanor have stumbled upon a sword in a dried-up river outside their village. It is even stranger that Odo is able to remove it from where it’s buried. And it’s REMARKABLY strange when the sword starts to talk.

Odo and Eleanor have unearthed Biter, a famous fighter from earlier times. By finding Biter, Odo instantly becomes a knight – a role he is exquisitely unsuited for. Eleanor, however, would make a PERFECT knight — but she’s not the one with the sword.

Odo is a strong and humble young man who doesn’t have any desire to be a knight. Whereas the brave Eleanor dreams of being a night. But an enchanted sword chooses Odo to be a knight, when they pull it from the river. For their first quest, the friends decide to investigate the river drying up. Odo is convinced he can give up being a knight then and pass the honor to Eleanor.

Have Sword Will Travel is a fantasy for middle readers that all ages will enjoy. The story is full of humor, adventure, and excitement. It reminded me of one of my favorite fantasy authors – Lawrence Watt-Evans. Specifically, his classic – The Misenchanted Sword. I loved that both men and women can be knights in this land, and Eleanor has an attainable goal if she can prove herself. This is a fun story with engaging characters that I thoroughly enjoyed. I would love to read more adventures of Odo and Eleanor – this would make for a great series.

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