Category Archives: Book Reviews

Fantasy Book Review: The Killer In Me

The Killer In Me by Margot Harrison

Synopsis:
Hasn’t he lived long enough? Why not? I could take him like a thief in the night.
This is how the Thief thinks. He serves death, the vacuum, the unknown. He’s always waiting. Always there.

Seventeen-year-old Nina Barrows knows all about the Thief. She’s intimately familiar with his hunting methods: how he stalks and kills at random, how he disposes of his victims’ bodies in an abandoned
mine in the deepest, most desolate part of a desert.

Now, for the first time, Nina has the chance to do something about the serial killer that no one else knows exists. With the help of her former best friend, Warren, she tracks the Thief two thousand miles, to his home turf-the deserts of New Mexico.

But the man she meets there seems nothing like the brutal sociopath with whom she’s had a disturbing connection her whole life. To anyone else, Dylan Shadwell is exactly what he appears to be: a young veteran committed to his girlfriend and her young daughter. As Nina spends more time with him, she begins to doubt the truth she once held as certain: Dylan Shadwell is the Thief. She even starts to wonder . . . what if there is no Thief?

Review:
Nina is a troubled girl. She sees brutal murders through someone else’s eyes. And whatever she does, she can never seem to stop him. She’s not even sure if he’s real. But she has his name and residence, so she decides to trek across the country to find him and get answers.

The Killer In Me is an exciting and captivating psychological thriller. With a couple of shocking twists along the way, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The characters are vivid, and there is plenty of mystery, suspense, and drama. Young adults on up should enjoy this mind twister.

SciFi Book Review: Flying

Flying by Carrie Jones

Synopsis:
People have always treated seventeen-year-old Mana as someone in need of protection. She’s used to being coddled, being an only child, but it’s hard to imagine anything could ever happen in her small-town, normal life. As her mother’s babying gets more stifling than ever, she’s looking forward to cheering at the big game and getting out of the house for a while.

But that night, Mana’s life goes haywire.

First, the hot guy she’s been crushing on at school randomly flips out and starts spitting acid during the game. Then they get into a knockdown, drag-out fight in the locker room, during which Mana finds herself leaping around like a kangaroo on steroids. As a flyer on the cheerleading squad, she’s always been a good jumper, but this is a bit much. By the time she gets home and finds her house trashed and an alien in the garage, Mana starts to wonder if her mother had her reasons for being overprotective.

It turns out, Mana’s frumpy, timid mom is actually an alien hunter, and now she’s missing–taking a piece of technology with her that everyone wants their hands on, both human and alien. Now her supposed partner, a guy that Mana has never met or heard of (and who seems way too young and way too arrogant to be hunting aliens), has shown up, ordering Mana to come with him. Now, on her own for the first time, Mana will have to find a way to save her mother–and maybe the world–and hope she’s up to the challenge.

Review:
Mana is a likable girl, with a crush on her best friend. And it turns out he’s the only one she can trust when Mana comes home to a ransacked house and her mother missing. Mana’s mother has been keeping secrets from her – and a big one about Mana herself.

I had high hopes for this story, thinking it was a young superhero-type book of alien hunting. Instead, we only see Mana use her (never fully explained) ability once in the beginning and a second time further on. This is not an action-packed adventure. But it’s more of a search for a missing item and Mana’s mother, while fending off mysterious aliens and Men in Black. There is plenty of mystery, suspense, and drama. I just wish we could have seen Mana really use her abilities and kick butt. It’s still an engaging and fun story, just not quite what some may expect with the title of the book somewhat misleading.

SciFi Book Review: Independence Day: Crucible

Independence Day: Crucible by Greg Keyes

Synopsis:
Cities were crushed by the falling spacecraft—but one ship didn’t crash. It remained intact, and disgorged hordes of alien soldiers determined to fight to the death.

The abandoned vessels also contained a wealth of advanced technology. Led by David Levinson, the greatest minds of our world developed deadly new hybrid weapons. Bases were built on the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

A new generation of defenders had to be trained, for the invaders would return. In the headlong rush to prepare, however, not everyone would survive.

Review:
Crucible is set after the first Independence Day film, spanning the decades leading up to Independence Day: Resurgence. I loved both films, so this was a must-read for me to fill in those years. Very little was said in the film about Captain Hiller’s death and nothing about what happened to Constance.

My only complaint was that I felt this could have been a longer book or more than one book. To pack two decades into one book, meant that there was still a lot that could have been fleshed out more. I did love the early backstories of Jake and Charlie – they’re friendship was very endearing. And Dikembe’s story post-war was fascinating as well when he returns to Africa. It’s a fast-paced, captivating read that I only wish was longer.

Graphic Novel Review: Lantern City: Volume 2

Lantern City: Volume 2

Synopsis:
Sander Jorve thought that infiltrating the brutal Guard of Lantern City would help his family and his cause. He was wrong.

After a chance run-in with the Emperor of the city, Killian Grey, Sander finds himself promoted to the Grey Guard, working directly under Killian in the heights of Grey Towers. The luxury is unparalleled, but can Killian be trusted? Can Sander trust himself? Nowhere in Lantern City is safe…and the imperial court may just be the most dangerous place of all.

Review:
Sander left his family behind to try to make a difference within the Guard, cruel overseers of the poor, working class. While Sander continues to move up in the ranks, his loyalties still remain with those he left behind. Until he sees something shocking within a resistance group.

The second installment in this engaging, steampunk series is, once again, full of suspense, intrigue, and drama. The artwork is great – fitting the darker mood of the story. I look forward to future installments and, hopefully, learning more about the history of this city and how it became this dystopic society. The creators have developed a fascinating, steampunk world that I can’t get enough of reading.

SciFi Book Review: Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt

Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig

Synopsis:
The Emperor is dead, and the remnants of his former Empire are in retreat. As the New Republic fights to restore a lasting peace to the galaxy, some dare to imagine new beginnings and new destinies. For Han Solo, that means settling his last outstanding debt, by helping Chewbacca liberate the Wookiee’s homeworld of Kashyyyk.

Meanwhile, Norra Wexley and her band of Imperial hunters pursue Grand Admiral Rae Sloane and the Empire’s remaining leadership across the galaxy. Even as more and more officers are brought to justice, Sloane continues to elude the New Republic, and Norra fears Sloane may be searching for a means to save the crumbling Empire from oblivion. But the hunt for Sloane is cut short when Norra receives an urgent request from Princess Leia Organa. The attempt to liberate Kashyyyk has carried Han Solo, Chewbacca, and a band of smugglers into an ambush—resulting in Chewie’s capture and Han’s disappearance.

Breaking away from their official mission and racing toward the Millennium Falcon’s last known location, Norra and her crew prepare for any challenge that stands between them and their missing comrades. But they can’t anticipate the true depth of the danger that awaits them—or the ruthlessness of the enemy drawing them into his crosshairs.

Review:
This is a sequel to Aftermath, which takes place after Return of the Jedi. We were introduced to a group of new characters. This group is back along with Leia, Han, and Chewie and more familiar characters from the films. Aftermath was good, but this sequel was much more fun and engaging.

The plot is packed with political intrigue, mystery, drama, and betrayal. There is a lot going on, with several interwoven storylines – but somehow it doesn’t get convoluted or confusing. Han and Chewie’s story trying to free the Wookies, was of course a highlight. And the rise of the First Order, in the shadows, was fascinating as well. I thoroughly enjoyed this well-paced novel up to the fantastic, climactic ending. I’m looking forward to the exciting finale that can’t come soon enough.

SciFi Book Review: Star Trek: Legacies: Best Defense

Star Trek: Legacies: Best Defense by David Mack

Synopsis:
A debt of honor: One brave woman ventures alone into a parallel universe to save her old shipmates, exiled there decades earlier by a mysterious device called the Transfer Key. She soon learns the alternate universe harbors not just an alien invasion force, but a secret that underpins its very existence.

A mission of peace: A long-awaited Klingon-Federation peace conference convenes, led by Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan and Councillor Gorkon of Qo’noS. But both sides have enemies who would prefer the two great powers remain at war—and who will do anything to make certain hate wins the day.

An errand of justice: Captain Kirk and his crew seek the stolen Transfer Key that opens a door between universes, but their hunt is cut short by Ambassador Sarek’s plea for help. The Enterprise crew soon becomes targets in a deadly crossfire—one whose outcome will decide the fate of two universes.

Review:
Legacies is a trilogy celebrating Star Trek’s 50th anniversary. Spanning decades and several captains of the early Enterprise, I thoroughly enjoyed the first novel that left off with a major cliffhanger. Sometimes the second book in a trilogy can just turn out to be filler. But thankfully, this installment was action-packed and anything but just filler.

As the crew of the Enterprise tries to reclaim the Transfer Key, they also have to deal with a mystery and stop war from breaking out with the Klingons. Meanwhile, Una tries to rescue her old crew mates from a bizarre alternate universe. Full of suspense, political intrigue, and family drama – I enjoyed this story even more than the first in the trilogy. A lot was packed into this fast-paced story. We get to see Bones interact with his estranged daughter and see Sarek at work. There was so much I loved about the characters and story, that it was nearly impossible to put down. And the finale to this trilogy can’t come soon enough.

SciFi Book Review: Marvel’s Thor: Dueling with Giants

Marvel’s Thor: Dueling with Giants by Keith R. A. DeCandido

Synopsis:
During just another day for the God of Thunder, Thor is defending Asgard against invading trolls when the unthinkable happens―his hammer Mjolnir loses its enchantment. Thor is still more than a match for his enemies, and after vanquishing them he learns the secret to his sudden weakness. Mjolnir was switched without him knowing, and only one being would be cunning enough to carry out such a trick: Loki.

Review:
Dueling with Giants is the first in the Tales of Asgard Trilogy, this focusing on Thor and Loki. Loki make a deal with the frost giants all to trap Thor – but his plans never quite work out the way he hopes. His jealousy and trickery are very like his comicbook and film self. And he was really the highlight of the story. The archaic speech of Thor and the others are like the comics and film as well. So, it may slow readers down a bit, but it’s not confusing to understand. There is a good amount of action and Thor fight scenes – an especially exciting one near the climactic ending. This is a fast-paced, quick read that Thor (and Loki) fans ages 10 and up will enjoy. Books 2 and 3 will focus on Lady Sif and the The Warriors Three respectively.

SciFi Book Review: Practical Applications for Multiverse Theory

Practical Applications for Multiverse Theory by Nick Scott and Noa Gavin

Synopsis:
Carson High School seniors Scott and Davey don’t have much common ground―that is, until all universes begin collapsing into their school. Soon, the avowed loner and the mean-girl cheerleader realize that something is very wrong, and they’re the only two who are aware of what’s happening. Demon versions of their teachers roam the halls, a cowboy sloth appears sporadically, and some students randomly burst into flames, while angry interdimensional counterparts of other students destroy everything in sight.

Now it’s up to two seniors from opposite sides of the social spectrum to defeat this scourge and save not only their high school but also the world. Armed with little more than school supplies and Scott’s trusty copy of The NEW Multiverse Theory, can these unlikely heroes put their differences aside and stop the total chaos? If they can’t, the end of the world may just be beginning.

Review:
Scott is a relatable loner who has just a small group of unique friends. Davey is a self-involved “princess” who is not at all likable – at first. But for some reason both begin to see incredible things such as dead frogs who begin talking and begging not to be dissected. Things only get weirder from there.

Practical Applications for Multiverse Theory is a strange and wacky story. Full of bizarre creatures, colorful characters, and a big mystery – this story is fast-paced and a quick read. The quirky humor is what makes it work. It’s old school scifi meets a YA comedy – a lot of fun.