Category Archives: Book Reviews

SciFi Book Review: The Illuminae

The Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Kady has a problem with authority, but is a genius with computers. Ezra regrets his breakup with Kady, but after they have to evacuate their home planet the two are separated. And after a tragic attack, Kady and Ezra begin communicating again and look for answers to a strange sabotage from within.

The Illuminae is a uniquely written novel. Told from various interviews, emails, logs, chats, and more – the story follows both Kady and Ezra as their paths diverge and intersect. And a complex web of intrigue unfolds throughout this suspenseful science fiction story. The size of the book looks impressive, but reading is quick and easy with the stylized writing and often illustrated pages. It was visually fun to read, which added to the already intriguing story.

Fantasy Book Review: The Geomancer

The Geomancer by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith

The uneasy stalemate between vampires and humans is over. Adele and Gareth are bringing order to a free Britain, but bloody murders in London raise the specter that Adele’s geomancy is failing and the vampires might return. A new power could tilt the balance back to the vampire clans. A deranged human called the Witchfinder has surfaced on the Continent, serving new vampire lords. This geomancer has found a way to make vampires immune to geomancy and intends to give his masters the ability to kill humans on a massive scale.

The apocalyptic event in Edinburgh weakened Adele’s geomantic abilities. If the Witchfinder can use geomancy against humanity, she may not have the power to stop him. If she can’t, there is nowhere beyond his reach and no one he cannot kill.

From a Britain struggling to rebuild to the vampire capital of Paris, from the heart of the Equatorian Empire to a vampire monastery in far-away Tibet, old friends and past enemies return. Unexpected allies and terrible new villains arise. Adele and Gareth fight side-by-side as always, but they can never be the same if they hope to survive.

Following events in the Vampire Empire trilogy, The Geomancer is the first in a new series. Though, I do recommend reading the Vampire Empire trilogy first. Gareth and Adele have almost settled into a comfortable life, when vampire attacks reveal that a mysterious geomancer is working against them.

As in the Griffith’s Vampire Empire series, the characters are well-developed and engaging. This fascinating, unique world is an historic alternate Earth where vampires and magic exists. I can’t get enough of these characters and was thrilled that this story has continued. Full of mystery and suspense, this fantasy series is not to be missed.

SciFi Book Review: Ten Thousand Skies Above You

Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray

Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents’ invention, to cross through to alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurt the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked, and his consciousness is scattered across multiple dimensions.

The hunt for each splinter of Paul’s soul sends Marguerite racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each dimension brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with every trial she faces, she begins to question the one constant she’s found between the worlds: their love for each other.

Following events in A Thousand Pieces of You, Paul tries to find a cure for his friend in another dimension. But Paul is attacked by an individual who wants something from Marguerite in return. And Marguerite is forced with an ethical dilemma as she races to find and heal Paul. But Paul also isn’t the same man she knows in every dimension.

Ten Thousand Skies Above You is a fast-paced, suspenseful sequel that is nearly impossible to put down. Gray has created a unique and incredible universe of multi-dimensions and vivid characters. This scifi romance is full of mystery, intrigue, and surprising twists. Intensity builds to a big cliffhanger ending that will leave readers impatient for the next installment.

SciFi Book Review: Made to Kill

Made to Kill by Adam Christopher

Raymond Electromatic is good at his job, as good as he ever was at being a true Private Investigator, the lone employee of the Electromatic Detective Agency – except for Ada, office gal and super-computer, the constant voice in Ray’s inner ear. Ray might have taken up a new line of work, but money is money, after all, and he was programmed to make a profit. Besides, with his twenty-four-hour memory-tape limits, he sure can keep a secret.

When a familiar-looking woman arrives at the agency wanting to hire Ray to find a missing movie star, he’s inclined to tell her to take a hike. But she had the cold hard cash, a demand for total anonymity, and tendency to vanish on her own.

Plunged into a glittering world of fame, fortune, and secrecy, Ray uncovers a sinister plot that goes much deeper than the silver screen – and this robot is at the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Ray is the last of his kind – a robot. He and Ada solve crimes for the right price, as well as a secret darker pursuit. As Ray hunts down a missing man, he uncovers an incredible conspiracy.

Made to Kill is a unique, scifi noir novel. It’s a Raymond Chandler mystery crossed with an alternate history where robotics and artificial intelligence were developed in the early 20th century. Ray is a robot full of personality. And the setting is a captivating early Hollywood. The mystery is a wild ride that is unpredictable and full of suspense. It’s a shorter read at 240 pages, but a lot is packed into this fast-paced story. I would love to see more books about Raymond Electromatic – I thoroughly enjoyed him.

SciFi Book Review: The Ark

The Ark by Patrick S Tomlinson

Humankind has escaped a dying Earth and set out to find a new home among the stars aboard an immense generation spaceship, affectionately named the Ark. Bryan Benson is the Ark’s greatest living sports hero, enjoying retirement working as a detective in Avalon, his home module. The hours are good, the work is easy, and the perks can’t be beat.

But when a crew member goes missing, Benson is thrust into the centre of an ever-expanding web of deception, secrets, and violence that overturns everything he knows about living on the Ark and threatens everyone aboard. As the last remnants of humanity hurtle towards their salvation, Benson finds himself in a desperate race to unravel the conspiracy before a madman turns mankind’s home into its tomb.

Bryan Benson is a detective on a ship with very few violent crimes. So when a man goes missing, Benson is one of the few who believes he was murdered. And as the colony ship nears their new home planet, a group of separatists have their own agenda.

The Ark blends two of my favorite genres – science fiction and mystery. The story is well-paced and exciting. The mystery is unpredictable and complex. There are plenty of twists and turns that keep readings guessing. And the setting is like a character all its own. I love “wagon train to the stars” stories, and this is no exception. Mystery and scifi fans alike will enjoy this exciting novel.

Fantasy Book Review: The Girl Who Could Not Dream

The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst

Sophie loves the hidden shop below her parents’ bookstore, where dreams are secretly bought and sold. When the dream shop is robbed and her parents go missing, Sophie must unravel the truth to save them. Together with her best friend—a wisecracking and fanatically loyal monster named Monster—she must decide whom to trust with her family’s carefully guarded secrets. Who will help them, and who will betray them?

Sophie is a lonely girl with a unique talent. She can bring other people’s dreams into reality. Which is how she ended up with a pet Monster, who is as loyal as a dog – and can speak. Sophie helps her parents by collecting dreams from her fellow classmates. But when her parents disappear, Sophie, Monster, and a new friend try to track down the culprit.

The Girl Who Could Not Dream is a fun and exciting fantasy for middle readers on up. With fun and colorful characters, and plenty of mystery and suspense – this book was hard to put down. Durst’s novels are always a must-read for me. And this was another one to love – as it was a fun, light-hearted (yet with some dark imagery at times), and unique story.

Box Review: Supply Pod – November 2015 Box 1

Supply Pod

Supply Pod (by Outer Places) uniquely delivers products themed around upcoming sci-fi releases and scientific events.

The first box is based on the real-life science behind Andy Weir’s debut novel, The Martian, which inspired the movie starring Matt Damon about an astronaut stranded on Mars.

Supply Pod

There were two options available for this Martian-themed box, and more details are available at

The Essential Pod ($29.99 plus shipping, handling and tax) contains science and sci-fi items that would be great to have if stranded on Mars.

The Deluxe Pod ($39.99 plus shipping, handling and tax) contains all the items in the Essential Pod plus a paperback version of The Martian by Andy Weir, currently No. 1 on the New York Times Best Sellers list. received a free Deluxe Pod for review.

Supply Pod

The Martian by Andy Weir paperback (Retail $15) – I’ve read the book, so this may become a giveaway soon! If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend doing so before the movie.

Alien Vs Predator #1 (Retail $3.50) – I always love getting comics. And this movie tie-in is one I haven’t read yet.

Supply Pod

Where Is Your Next Home Poster – This is an informative poster about planets outside our solar system.

Mars Rocks Coupon

Supply Pod

Inflatable Solar Powered Lantern (Retail $14.95) – This is just awesome. Good to have in an emergency. And I may want to play with it when my nieces and nephews are over (for an excuse to try it out).

Astronaut Ice Cream Sandwich (Retail $3.95) – Speaking of wanting to try something out, when I was a kid I always wanted to try Astronaut packaged food. This was a great addition to this box.

Supply Pod

Green Science Weather Station (Retail $9.95) – I LOVE this little science kit as well. This will be such a fun project to do with the kids in my family. (Recommended for ages 8 and up).

Foam Space Glider (Retail $5.38)

Magnifier Spaceman (Retail $7.32) – This is another item that I love the novelty of, and will probably use quite a bit. Very fun.

Summary: The value is pretty good for the price of this box. But the curation is genius. The mix of science and science fiction is fantastic. Not one thing in here was a disappointment. I think this box has a specific niche that will appeal to a wide fan base. Well done.

November’s theme is: Star Wars: The Force Awakens! It costs $39.99 + $7.99 s/h.

Coupon Code:
To get 10% off use code: Chick10

Book Review: The Rangers Apprentice: The Early Years: The Tournament at Gorlan

The Rangers Apprentice – The Early Years: The Tournament at Gorlan by John Flanagan

When Halt and Crowley discover that the ambitious Morgarath has been infiltrating the Rangers in order to corrupt the Corps, the young Rangers travel north to find Prince Duncan, seeking a royal warrant to stop Morgarath before it is too late. By weakening the Rangers, the most powerful force in support of the King, Morgarath plans to steal the throne.

Yet when Halt and Crowley arrive in Gorlan, they discover just how close Morgarath’s scheme is to success. Morgarath has a plan to discredit the Prince and alienate him from his father. At the same time, the Baron of Gorlan has been conspiring to win the trust and admiration of the Council of Barons to further his plan. If the young Rangers are to prevent the coup from succeeding, they will have to tread a dangerous path, which leads them to a thrilling climax at the annual tournament at Gorlan, where a series of bitter duels must be fought and won.

Halt and Crowley are new Rangers in a land where traditionally-trained Rangers, like them, are being replaced. The evil Morgarath is at work, twisting the king’s ear, and framing the prince for thievery. So Crowley forms a plan to gather the remaining loyal Rangers and show everyone the truth at the tournament at Gorlan.

This new, prequel series is set before the Ranger’s Apprentice series, when Halt is a young, new Ranger. The Tournament at Gorlan is a fantastic series opener that Ranger’s Apprentice fans will definitely want to check out. While new readers will have no trouble starting with this series, the Rangers Apprentice gives much more depth into who the Rangers are and what goes into their training. I highly recommend reading at least the first in that series before beginning this story. Halt is not yet the hardened older man. And he and Crowly have a fun camaraderie. I loved every bit of this well-paced story full of danger, suspense, intrigue, and humor. The characters are fantastically vivid, and readers of all ages would enjoy this saga.