Category Archives: Book Reviews

SciFi Book Review: Black Star Renegades

Black Star Renegades by Michael Moreci

Synopsis:
Cade Sura holds the future of the galaxy in his hands: the ultimate weapon that will bring total peace. He didn’t ask for it, he doesn’t want it, and there’s no worse choice to wield it in all of space, but if he doesn’t, everyone’s totally screwed. The evil Praxis kingdom is on the cusp of having every star system under its control, and if that happens, there’ll be no contesting their cruel reign. Especially if its fanatical overlord, Ga Halle, manages to capture Cade and snag the all-powerful weapon for herself.

Cade can’t hide from Praxis, and he can’t run from the destiny that’s been shoved into his hands. So he only has one option:

He has to fight.

Cade’s not going to let destiny send him on a suicide run, though. With some help from his friends―rebels and scoundrels alike―Cade’s going to use this weapon to chart a new destiny for the galaxy, and for himself.

He just has to do so before everyone around him discovers that he’s a complete and total fraud.

Review:
Cade doesn’t have high ideals and doesn’t care about being a hero. So when the weight of saving the galaxy falls in his hands, he tries to find someone else to wield the responsibility. But Cade has a good heart and has no choice. He and his new crew have to face an evil force, even when the odds are against them.

Black Star Renegades is an exciting space opera. It has been compared to Star Wars meets Guardians of the Galaxy – and I heartily agree. There are great characters – even a snarky robot. A fast-paced plot with plenty of action, adventure, intrigue, drama, and humor round out this thrilling story. This impressive debut novel is a lot of fun. It works well as a standalone, but this creative universe and cast of engaging characters demands a series.

SciFi Book Review: Batman: Nightwalker

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

Synopsis:
The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.
The city’s elites are being taken out one by one as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is about to become eighteen and inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Industries and all the tech gadgetry that he loves. But on the way home from his birthday party, he makes an impulsive choice and is sentenced to community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most nefarious criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.
The most intriguing inmate in Arkham is Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. A girl who will only speak to Bruce. She is the mystery he must unravel, but is he convincing her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees?

Review:
Bruce is sentenced to community service, cleaning at Arkham Asylum after angering the police with reckless behavior. While there, he meets the mysterious killer Madeleine – and feels an immediate connection to her. His fascination with Madeleine puts him in danger, but he may be the only who can get the truth from her.

Batman: Nightwalker is an exciting story set before Bruce becomes Batman. This Young Adult story is engaging and exciting. Despite being young and brash, Bruce has a good head on his shoulders and his priorities straight. The story will keep you guessing to the end. It’s fast-paced and full of mystery and drama. This was a lot fun, despite the darker setting of Arkham. Young Batman fans will enjoy this one.

SciFi Book Review: Star Trek: Discovery: Drastic Measures

Star Trek: Discovery: Drastic Measures by Dayton Ward

Synopsis:
It is 2246, ten years prior to the Battle at the Binary Stars, and an aggressive contagion is ravaging the food supplies of the remote Federation colony Tarsus IV and the eight thousand people who call it home. Distress signals have been sent, but any meaningful assistance is weeks away. Lieutenant Commander Gabriel Lorca and a small team assigned to a Starfleet monitoring outpost are caught up in the escalating crisis, and bear witness as the colony’s governor, Adrian Kodos, employs an unimaginable solution in order to prevent mass starvation.

While awaiting transfer to her next assignment, Commander Philippa Georgiou is tasked with leading to Tarsus IV a small, hastily assembled group of first responders. It’s hoped this advance party can help stabilize the situation until more aid arrives, but Georgiou and her team discover that they‘re too late—Governor Kodos has already implemented his heinous strategy for extending the colony’s besieged food stores and safeguarding the community’s long-term survival.

In the midst of their rescue mission, Georgiou and Lorca must now hunt for the architect of this horrific tragedy and the man whom history will one day brand “Kodos the Executioner.”

Review:
The events in Drastic Measures was referred to in the episode “The Conscience of the King” of the original Star Trek series. Governor Kodos decides to murder thousands of colonists in order to save a small group to survive a looming famine. After the devastating massacre, Starfleet steps in to aid in the relief effort and hunt down those responsible. Lieutenant Commander Lorca loses someone close to him and takes the job personally. And Commander Georgiou arrives to take charge of the situation.

The story is told from varying points of view that feel like reading a news article about what happened on Tarsus IV. It’s a shocking premise that leads to plenty of drama, heartbreak, and suspense. We get to see a different Lorca – one who is pushed to the edge and broken from losing a love interest. This novel was hard to put down. And fans of Discovery will love this early look at Lorca and Georgiou and several fun cameos from other familiar characters. Even knowing that Kodos escapes to show up years later with the Enterprise, this stirring read does not disappoint.

Fantasy Book Review: Ink



Ink by Alice Broadway

Synopsis:
There are no secrets in Saintstone.

From the second you’re born, every achievement, every failing, every significant moment are all immortalized on your skin. There are honorable marks that let people know you’re trustworthy. And shameful tattoos that announce you as a traitor.

After her father dies, Leora finds solace in the fact that his skin tells a wonderful story. That is, until she glimpses a mark on the back of his neck… the symbol of the worst crime a person can commit in Saintstone. Leora knows it has to be a mistake, but before she can do anything about it, the horrifying secret gets out, jeopardizing her father’s legacy… and Leora’s life.

Review:
Leora lives in a land where everyone is tattooed with their life story. People without tattoos are considered “blanks” and outcasts. When she realizes that her deceased father had a mark on his neck that labeled him a traitor, everything she believes is put into question.

Ink is a thought-provoking, dramatic fantasy for teens and adults. This inspired world is fascinating and beautifully written. It’s a quick read with plenty of intense suspense. There are some fun and surprising twists along the way. And this gripping story had me hooked until the surprising finale.

Fantasy Book Review: Markswoman

Markswoman by Rati Mehrotra

Synopsis:
Kyra is the youngest Markswoman in the Order of Kali, one of a handful of sisterhoods of highly trained elite warriors. Armed with blades whose metal is imbued with magic and guided by a strict code of conduct, the Orders are sworn to keep the peace and protect the people of Asiana. Kyra has pledged to do so—yet she secretly harbors a fierce desire to avenge her murdered family.

When Tamsyn, the powerful and dangerous Mistress of Mental Arts, assumes control of the Order, Kyra is forced on the run. She is certain that Tamsyn committed murder in a twisted bid for power, but she has no proof.

Kyra escapes through one of the strange Transport Hubs that are the remnants of Asiana’s long-lost past and finds herself in the unforgiving wilderness of a desert that is home to the Order of Khur, the only Order composed of men. Among them is Rustan, a disillusioned Marksman whose skill with a blade is unmatched. He understands the desperation of Kyra’s quest to prove Tamsyn’s guilt, and as the two grow closer, training daily on the windswept dunes of Khur, both begin to question their commitment to their Orders. But what they don’t yet realize is that the line between justice and vengeance is thin… as thin as the blade of a knife.

Review:
Kyra is a Markswoman, an assassin who has a psychic link to her sword. When her mentor dies under mysterious circumstances, Kyra immediately suspects her cruel Mental Arts instructor, Tamsyn. Kyra flees and finds herself among a separate order of male Marksmen. And they agree to train her to duel Tamsyn when they hear her story.

Markswoman is the first in a dramatic, new fantasy series. The worldbuilding is intriguing, with magical weapons and a mysterious history. The pacing is steady. And the story and characters pulled me in. Full of intrigue, drama, action, and a bit of romance – this first installment sets a high bar. It’s an impressive debut. The suspense builds to a cliffhanger ending that left me eager for the next in the series.

SciFi Book Review: Black Panther: The Young Prince

Black Panther The Young Prince by Ronald L Smith

Synopsis:
Black Panther. Ruler of Wakanda. Avenger.

This is his destiny. But right now, he’s simply T’Challa-the young prince.

Life is comfortable for twelve-year-old T’Challa in his home of Wakanda, an isolated, technologically advanced African nation. When he’s not learning how to rule a kingdom from his father-the reigning Black Panther-or testing out the latest tech, he’s off breaking rules with his best friend, M’Baku. But as conflict brews near Wakanda, T’Challa’s father makes a startling announcement: he’s sending T’Challa and M’Baku to school in America.

This is no prestigious private academy-they’ve been enrolled at South Side Middle School in the heart of Chicago. Despite being given a high-tech suit and a Vibranium ring to use only in case of an emergency, T’Challa realizes he might not be as equipped to handle life in America as he thought. Especially when it comes to navigating new friendships while hiding his true identity as the prince of a powerful nation, and avoiding Gemini Jones, a menacing classmate who is rumored to be involved in dark magic.

When strange things begin happening around school, T’Challa sets out to uncover the source. But what he discovers in the process is far more sinister than he could ever have imagined. In order to protect his friends and stop an ancient evil, T’Challa must take on the mantle of a hero, setting him on the path to becoming the Black Panther.

Review:
T’Challa and his best friend M’Baku are sent to school in Chicago when Wakanda becomes too dangerous. But M’Baku drifts away as he chooses different, cruel friends. And T’Challa discovers a dangerous plot that he feels compelled to investigate and protect those he cares about.

Black Panther: The Young Prince is a great introduction to T’Challa as a youth. This story is geared towards middle readers, but is a fun read for older fans as well. There are some fun, believable characters that pull the reader into the story. And the plot is an exciting mystery, with drama and suspense. I thoroughly enjoyed this fast-paced, engaging novel. And it’s a great book to tide over fans until the Black Panther film releases.

SciFiChick’s Best of 2017

Only 109 books read this year. I was slacking!
I’m also a month behind on compiling this list! But here is the list of my favorite books that I read that were published in 2017:

SciFi

Star Wars: Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden
Reviewed here.

Star Trek: Discovery: Desperate Hours by David Mack
Reviewed here.

Invictus by Ryan Graudin
Reviewed here.

Star Trek: Section 31: Control by David Mack
Reviewed here.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Headlong Flight by Dayton Ward
Reviewed here.

Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
Reviewed here.

Fantasy

Besieged by Kevin Hearne
Reviewed here.

Nightshift by Charlaine Harris

Youth/YA SciFi

Star Wars: Rebel Rising by Beth Revis
Reviewed here.

The Release by Tom Isbell
Reviewed here.

Alone by Scott Sigler
Reviewed here.

Replica by Lauren Oliver
Reviewed here.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale
Reviewed here.

Youth/YA Fantasy

Wings of Fire: Darkness of Dragons by Tui T Sutherland
Reviewed here.

The Adventurer’s Guild by Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos
Reviewed here.

Have Sword Will Travel by Garth Nix and Sean Williams
Reviewed here.

The Quest to the Uncharted Lands by Jaleigh Johnson
Reviewed here.

Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull
Reviewed here.

The Dragon’s Price by Bethany Wiggins
Reviewed here.

SciFi Book Review: Sinless

Sinless by Sarah Tarkoff

Synopsis:
In Grace Luther’s world, morality is physically enforced. Those who are “good” are blessed with beauty, while those who are not suffer horrifying consequences—disfigurement or even death. The daughter of a cleric, Grace has always had faith in the higher power that governs her world. But when she stumbles onto information that leaves her questioning whether there are more complicated—and dangerous—forces manipulating the people around her, she finds herself at the center of an epic battle, where good and evil are not easily distinguished. Despite all her efforts to live a normal teenage life, Grace is faced with a series of decisions that will risk the lives of everyone she loves—and, ultimately, her own.

Review:
Grace is a mild-mannered, pious 17-year-old. She’s easy to like and relate to. She remains beautiful by doing good and praying. Those who commit sins or even curse, are “Punished” by disfiguring ugliness or even death if the infraction is bad enough. Then, she meets a boy who is able to do bad things and not be “Punished” by ugliness which causes her to question everything.

Sinless is a captivating debut novel. The challenging premise will make readers think and question. It’s unpredictable with great pacing. Full of suspense, intrigue, and drama – this story is captivating from beginning to end. I look forward to the next in this exciting series.