Category Archives: Book Reviews

Fantasy Book Review: The Invisible Library

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen.

London’s underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.

Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself.

The premise sounds a lot like the tv show, The Librarians, so I had to check this out. But instead of artifacts, this library is strictly for books – from alternate realities. Irene has to train a new recruit on a difficult first mission that takes a detour for which neither are prepared.

The Invisible Library is an inspired novel with plenty of mystery, magic, and humor. I’m hoping this is just a start of a long series, as it has so much potential. From vibrant characters to unique and mysterious worlds – book lovers will enjoy this highly enjoyable story. This story centers on a fantasy world of magic where mythological creatures are real. Events build to a big and surprising finale with plenty of excitement. And I look forward to the next adventure.

Fantasy Book Review: Bright Blaze of Magic

Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep

As a thief, I’m good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls.

Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families–and kill every last Sinclair. What they don’t know is that I’m on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I’ve got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side…

Bright Blaze of Magic is the final installment in the Black Blade trilogy. The events in the first two novels have built to the big showdown with Victor Draconi and his lust for power and control.

Lila is a strong, fun character. She has grown a lot, yet is still a thief at heart. This is a fantastic conclusion to this exciting, YA fantasy series. With plenty of magic, colorful characters, humor, and a bit of romance – this is a fast-paced read that doesn’t disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed this story from a talented author who knows how to write strong female heroines with an edge.

Book Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: The Art of the Film

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: The Art of the Film

While I didn’t enjoy the the actual story (and loathed this version of Lex Luthor), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a visually appealing film. I’m always fascinated by these art books from blockbuster movies with elaborate cinematography. I thought this would be more sketches and early, rough ideas that led to what we see in the film. But most of the book is artistic renderings and nice shots from the film. With many character bios, particular places in the film, and Batman’s toys – this book covers a lot of ground. It’s a nice collector’s item for fans of the film. I would have preferred to see more behind-the-scenes images and early sketches. But it’s still a beautiful book that I enjoyed for the artistic renderings alone.

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Fantasy Book Review: The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle

The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disoriented, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favor.

But Apollo has many enemies-gods, monsters, and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go . . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

The ambitious Rick Riordan has begun yet another new series, set in the same world as the Percy Jackson series. Apollo has become a normal, human boy – acne and all. Since this isn’t the first time Zeus has punished him, Apollo assumes all he needs to do is find a demigod to help out for a while to get back in his father’s good graces. Of course, it can’t be that simple.

This new series focuses on a great character. Apollo is very complex – arrogant yet humiliated, powerful now weak, ancient yet losing some memories. Since this is set in the same world as the other series, we get to see several familiar characters. Though, this is about Apollo, so the story focuses on him. And his quest will be about him and his new friends. The story is fun and full of mystery, danger, and suspense. There were a couple major plot twists I didn’t see coming. And the ending came too soon and left me wanting more. I can’t wait for the next in this fantastic new series.

Fantasy Book Review: Ruined

Ruined by Amy Tintera

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war; her parents were killed and her sister was kidnapped. Even though Em is only a useless Ruined—completely lacking any magic—she is determined to get revenge.

Her plan is simple: She will infiltrate the enemy’s kingdom, posing as the crown prince’s betrothed. She will lead an ambush. She will kill the king and everything he holds dear, including his son.

The closer Em gets to the prince, though, the more she questions her mission. Her rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.

Em comes from a race of powerful people who have been overthrown and hunted down. Though Em is without the powers of her Ruined people, she decides to get revenge for the murder of her parents and hopes to rescue her sister from the royal family. Em pretends to be Mary, the fiance of the prince and take them all out from within. It’s a genius plan – until she starts to form feelings for the prince.

Ruined is the first in a new young adult, fantasy series. I was hooked from the first exciting chapter. The characters, especially Em, are engaging. And the plot is full of incredible suspense and intrigue. My only hangup was the land of Olso (which is too much like Oslo, Norway). For several chapters, I wondered why an actual land was in a part of a story where everywhere else was mythical – until I noticed the actual spelling. It’s not a big deal, but I imagined Viking warriors up to that point. Since it’s just the first in a trilogy, the story builds to an big climax and leaves off in a minor cliffhanger that left me wanting more. I highly recommend this fantastic new fantasy.

Fantasy Book Review: Warcraft: Durotan

Warcraft: Durotan by Christie Golden

In the world of Draenor, the strong and fiercely independent Frostwolf Clan are faced with increasingly harsh winters and thinning herds. When Gul’dan, a mysterious outsider, arrives in Frostfire Ridge offering word of new hunting lands, Durotan, the Clan’s chieftain, must make an impossible decision: abandon the territory, pride and traditions of his people, or lead them into the unknown.

Disclaimer: I have never played World of Warcraft. But the movie trailers made the upcoming film look so appealing, that I had to read this movie prequel.

Durotan is an Orc from the Frostwolf Clan. The clan are noble, but fierce warriors. They do not tolerate weakness, but have no taste for cruelty to their prey. Durotan is a fantastically vivid character – and thrust into a role of leadership in an impossible situation.

This prequel doesn’t disappoint. It’s the story of how Durotan (a main character in the movie) and his clan must flee their land just to survive. It’s a survival story full of mystery, mysticism, and adventure. It definitely made me more excited to see the movie. If the character development is half as good as it is in this prequel, I’ll enjoy the film. I have a feeling that I’ll be reading more in this series.

SciFi Book Review: Star Trek: The Original Series: Elusive Salvation

Star Trek: The Original Series: Elusive Salvation by Dayton Ward

The Arctic Circle, 1845: Escaping the tyranny under which their people have lived for generations, aliens from a distant planet crash land on Earth’s inhospitable frozen wastes. Surviving the harsh conditions will pose a challenge, but over time the aliens will migrate to more populated areas, with decades passing as they work to conceal their presence from their former oppressors, who continue to hunt them at any cost.

San Francisco, 2283: When a mysterious craft is detected entering the solar system, Admiral James Kirk is dispatched by Starfleet to confront the vessel. He meets with an emissary from the Iramahl, a previously unknown alien race who have come in search of their brothers and sisters thought to have gone missing in this area of space centuries earlier. Having recently thrown off the last chains of subjugation by another species, the Ptaen, they now believe their lost people hold the key to saving their entire race from eventual extinction.

New York, 1970: Roberta Lincoln, young protégé of the mysterious agent Gary Seven, is shocked when she receives the oddest request for help—from the future…

Elusive Salvation had me at Roberta Lincoln – I knew there’d be time travel involved. Kirk at the Enterprise meet a new alien race who need their help. The only problem is that they’ll need the help of friends from the past. This story jumps back and forth in time, but follows a logical pattern with specific characters that is easy to follow. New aliens, time travel, and a cameo from Guinan – this story had some of my favorite things from the Star Trek universe. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the familiar characters, with plenty of mystery, intrigue, and suspense. It was so fast-paced at times, that I found myself reading faster in excitement. Fans of the original series wont want to miss this latest, fanastic installment.

SciFi Book Review: Lois Lane: Double Down

Lois Lane: Double Down by Gwenda Bond

Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over–and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy.

Double Down is the second installment in this Lois Lane series for young readers. Lois is a high school student who works part time as a student reporter for the Daily Planet. She is the same young woman from the comics – loyal, smart, fearless, with plenty of gumption.

This story involves her friend’s twin sister and a mysterious medical experiment that happens to tie into a conspiracy involving another friend’s father. The story is fun, fast-paced, and a great mystery with a science fiction twist. It’s loaded with suspense, drama, humor, and a bit of romance (even if it is online with a certain “SmallvilleGuy). I love reading about strong, female leads; and Lois Lane is one of my top favorites (my dog is her namesake). This series is a great reinvention of the character in her early years in a slightly futuristic setting.