Category Archives: Book Reviews

Fantasy Book Review: Thrones and Bones: Skyborn

Thrones and Bones: Skyborn by Lou Anders

Synopsis:
The chase continues for the legendary Horns of Osius. Thianna and Karn’s quest to retrieve the horns from those who wish to abuse their power takes them to Thica, an ancient land where two tyrant queens reign supreme and where years earlier Thianna’s mother was labeled a traitor. Soon the two heroes are caught up in an epic battle for control of the kingdom, one that puts their very lives at stake. The only way to overthrow the queens is to beat them at their own game. But with an entire empire against them, how can Karn and Thianna hope to compete—or better yet, survive?

Review:
Skyborn is the third installment in the Thrones and Bones trilogy. Two malevolent queens have joined forces to control the dragons by use of the horns. And Thianna is discovers more about where her mother came from.

Desstra, who has gone through tremendous change since the last installment, has some wonderful interactions with her companions. I adore these characters as well as the fascinating worldbuilding. This children’s series is a fantastic and unique take on Norse mythology. Full of adventure, suspense, drama, and humor – I highly recommend the books for fantasy fans of all ages. I only wish the series would continue past just the trilogy.

Book Review: Star Trek Beyond Collector’s Edition

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Star Trek Beyond – The Collector’s Edition published by Titan Comics

Star Trek magazine has compiled a Collector’s Edition for Star Trek Beyond film. In fact, the pages are glossy, if a bit thicker than a magazine. I used to subscribe to the Star Trek magazine as a teen, so this was somewhat nostalgic too.

This full-color hardback book has interviews with each of the cast members and director, as well as interesting facts about the characters. There are behind-the-scenes looks at the costumes, make-up/prosthetics, and more. There is an impressive amount of stunning photos that have been assembled. The articles are diverse, fascinating, and entertaining. As a huge fan of the film, I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of images and stories.

Book Review: Hotel Valhalla: Guide to the Norse Worlds

Hotel Valhalla Guide to the Norse Worlds: Your Introduction to Deities, Mythical Beings, & Fantastic Creatures by Rick Riordan

Synopsis:
So you’ve made it to Valhalla. Now what?
This “who’s who” guide to the gods, goddesses, and other important figures of Norse mythology was commissioned by Helgi, who, after more than a millennium as manager of Hotel Valhalla, became fed up with answering the same questions from newly deceased heroes at check-in. The profiles provide essential stats, interviews, and personal reflections so you can identify the gods and avoid those awkward introductions. Handy facts about other beings round out this go-to tome. You’ll never see Ratatosk as a cute little rodent or confuse a dwarf with an elf ever again!

Review:
This is a fun handbook for fans of the new Magnus Chase series. There are detailed descriptions, illustrations, and more of the Norse gods that make an appearance (or mention) in the books. There is also a spotlight on various mythical beings such as giants, elves, dwarves, Valkyries, and the Norns – as well as creatures like Fenris wolves, Thor’s goats, and more. The illustrations are fantastic. And the bits of lore, mixed with plenty of humor, make for fun reading. This is a great little reference book for those who want to read more about Riordan’s unique take on Norse mythology.

Graphic Novel Spotlight: Days Missing Volumes 1, 2, & 3 (Enox)

Days Missing Volume 1

Synopsis:
Since the beginning of time, there has existed a being whose interaction and interference with mankind has shaped human history. His powers of time and intellect have allowed his secrecy and resulted in certain days being absent from any historical record. Their stories have never been told. Their details have never been documented. Their existence is not remembered. But, the occurrences of these days have forever changed the course of humanity’s evolution. These are the “Days Missing” from our existence, and they are about to be revealed.

Days Missing Volume 2: Kestus

Synopsis:
This thrilling sequel to the critically acclaimed series adds another layer to the story of The Steward, a mysterious being whose ability to “fold” days of time has resulted in critical human events being absent from our historical record. Their existence is not remembered…but the occurrences of these days have forever changed the course of our evolution. Since humanity’s birth, The Steward has stood alone as a guiding force for our species. But now, he is about to learn that that he is not the only one influencing our evolution! The emergence of the ancient being, Kestus, may put everything he knows in question, and the future of those he means to protect in jeopardy.



Days Missing Volume 3: Enox

Synopsis:
Days Missing: Enox concludes this saga of The Steward, an ancient being whose ability to “fold” time has resulted in critical human events being extracted from our memories and absent from any historical record. Their existence is not remembered, but the events of these days have forever changed the course of human evolution. In this epic finale, the haunting voice of Enox materializes, giving form to the Steward’s nemesis and unquestionable purpose to his existence.
The unprecedented battle that ensues will bring humanity to the brink of extinction and readers to the edge of their seats.

Review:
I was able to read all three graphic novels back-to-back. The first volume introduces The Steward and his goal of protecting humanity. The stories jump around in time among various ages. The second volume introduces Kestus, another immortal without Steward’s penchant for helping humanity. Instead, she’s a selfish woman who considers herself a goddess – until the influence of Steward begins to cultivate. And the recent third volume – Enox is bent on humanity’s destruction. And he seems to be even more powerful than Steward, and begins to affect the present day and future. This time-jumping, adventure series was fast-paced and exciting. The climactic scenes with Enox were dark, emotional, and surprising. The artwork did a wonderful job reflecting the mood and action. I highly recommend this graphic novel series for science fiction fans – even those new to comics.

Fantasy Book Review: The Librarians and The Lost Lamp

The Librarians and The Lost Lamp by Greg Cox

Synopsis:
For millennia, the Librarians have secretly protected the world by keeping watch over dangerous magical relics. Cataloging and safeguarding everything from Excalibur to Pandora’s Box, they stand between humanity and those who would use the relics for evil.

Ten years ago, only Flynn Carsen, the last of the Librarians, stood against an ancient criminal organization known as The Forty. They stole the oldest known copy of The Arabian Nights by Scheherazade, and Flynn fears they intend to steal Aladdin’s fabled lamp. He races to find it first before they can unleash the trapped, malevolent djinn upon the world.

Today, Flynn is no longer alone. A new team of inexperienced Librarians, led by Eve Baird, their tough-as-nails Guardian, investigates an uncanny mystery in Las Vegas. A mystery tied closely to Flynn’s original quest to find the lost lamp. . . and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Review:
I’ve been a huge fan of the Librarians show as well as the original movies from the very beginning. So, I had to check out this new trilogy based on the show. The Librarians are a team of highly skilled individuals who hunt magical artifacts for safekeeping.

This first installment in the Librarians series is told partly as Flynn hunts for Aladdin’s lamp ten years ago and also in present day as the team of Librarians investigate a man in Las Vegas with too much of a winning streak. With the connecting story told in two different time periods, it might sound confusing. But it wasn’t at all. In fact, I loved Flynn’s story even more than the present-day one. The author really captured the characters eccentricities. And Flynn is just one of my favorite characters. Full of adventure, mystery, and humor – this novel has everything great about the tv show. Suspense builds to an exciting finale. And the next in the series can’t come soon enough while the show is on hiatus.

Graphic Novel Review: Grave Surprise

Charlaine Harris’ Grave Surprise

Synopsis:
Harper Connelly, a psychic capable of finding dead people and reading their last thoughts, discovers a grave in Memphis with two bodies: a man centuries dead, and a girl recently deceased. How the two bodies ended up together would be perplexing enough… but the sudden appearance of a third body the next morning makes this a mystery that perhaps even Connelly can’t solve!

Review:
This is official graphic novel adaptation of the novel of the same name by Charlaine Harris. I’m not as familiar with this series as I am the Southern Vampire series, but I have read the first in this series so I was somewhat familiar with the characters. Harper has the ability of seeing the last moments of the deceased.

Grave Surprise is a suspenseful mystery. And the characters are well-developed for a graphic novel as well. I thoroughly enjoyed this well-paced and dramatic story. And the artwork fit the dark tone. I’d definitely pick up more in this series.

Tolkien Adult Coloring Books!

A Bestiary of Tolkien Coloring Book

The Bestiary of Tolkien Coloring Book is a collection of stunning images inspired by the classic world of Tolkien’s novels. The talented artist, Mauro Mazzara, has assembled an impressive variety of characters and animals. From darker, evil beasts to beautiful elves – there is over 90 pages of detailed coloring pages.

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Tolkien’s World: A Fantasy Coloring Book

As the one above, this is an unofficial Tolkien-inspired coloring book. This one, however, includes over 90 pages of artwork from 5 different artists: Victor Ambrus, John Davis, Mauro Mazzara, Ian Miller, and Andrea Piparo. There is even more variety in this book, including fantastic scenery. One of the artist’s renderings I don’t care for as it’s more feathery and a bit hard to color in. But the number of artists means that there are still a great amount of fun images – characters, landscapes, and much more.

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SciFi Book Review: Arabella of Mars

Arabella of Mars by David D Levine

Synopsis:
Since Newton witnessed a bubble rising from his bathtub, mankind has sought the stars. When William III of England commissioned Capt. William Kidd to command the first expedition to Mars in the late 1600s, he proved that space travel was both possible and profitable.

Now, one century later, a plantation in a flourishing British colony on Mars is home to Arabella Ashby, a young woman who is perfectly content growing up in the untamed frontier. But days spent working on complex automata with her father or stalking her brother Michael with her Martian nanny is not the proper behavior of an English lady. That is something her mother plans to remedy with a move to an exotic world Arabella has never seen: London, England.

However, when events transpire that threaten her home on Mars, Arabella decides that sometimes doing the right thing is far more important than behaving as expected. She disguises herself as a boy and joins the crew of the Diana, a ship serving the Mars Trading Company, where she meets a mysterious captain who is intrigued by her knack with clockwork creations. Now Arabella just has to weather the naval war currently raging between Britain and France, learn how to sail, and deal with a mutinous crew…if she hopes to save her family remaining on Mars.

Review:
Arabella is a smart and talented young woman, unfortunately trapped in a society that doesn’t appreciate women’s potential. When her brother’s life is in danger, Arabella risks everything to return to him – even masquerading as a boy to gain passage on a privateer ship.

Arabella of Mars was a pure joy to read. It’s one of those stories I hated to see end. This fascinating world is inspired, and I hope to read companion novels, at the very least, in the future. From the unique Martians to the swashbuckling adventure aboard the airships – this novel was incredibly fun. This fantastic adventure will be my new recommendation to all of my steampunk, fantasy, and/or alternate history-loving friends.