Category Archives: Book Reviews

SciFi Book Review: The 100: Homecoming

The 100: Homecoming by Kass Morgan

Weeks after landing on Earth, the Hundred have managed to create a sense of order amidst their wild, chaotic surroundings. But their delicate balance comes crashing down with the arrival of new dropships from space.

These new arrivals are the lucky ones-back on the Colony, the oxygen is almost gone-but after making it safely to Earth, GLASS’s luck seems to be running out. CLARKE leads a rescue party to the crash site, ready to treat the wounded, but she can’t stop thinking about her parents who may still be alive. Meanwhile, WELLS struggles to maintain his authority despite the presence of the Vice Chancellor and his armed guards, and BELLAMY must decide whether to face or flee the crimes he thought he’d left behind.

It’s time for the Hundred to come together and fight for the freedom they’ve found on Earth, or risk losing everything-and everyone-they love.

Homecoming is the third installment in the 100 series. The tv show (based on these novels) is completely different in story and feel. I much prefer the books, as the show has gotten to be extremely dark and depressing with little hope or good feelings. The novels also have some great characters that I thoroughly enjoy. This latest novel is packed with drama, suspense, romance, and mystery. And events build to an exciting and satisfying conclusion. Young adult science fiction fans will want to check out this engaging series.

Fantasy Book Review: The Originals: The Resurrection

The Originals: The Resurrection by Julie Plec

Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah Mikaelson had won it all, only to lose it again by 1788. Control of New Orleans is split between the vampires and the werewolves, much to Klaus’s displeasure. In a dangerous attempt to reclaim his home, Klaus decides to build a vampire army to take out the werewolves once and for all. If he can’t have love, then he’ll settle for power. Elijah lets his brother take the reins as he turns his attentions to a beautiful and mysterious woman. But Rebekah has had enough of her brothers’ love of bloodshed and begins a journey to find her first home and the key to her family’s immortality. As the battle rages on, the siblings must come together and fight for what they believe in most: family.

More time has passed since the last novel. Elijah has stepped back and become less emotionally involved, and lets Klaus take control as he likes. And Rebecca has run off with yet another beau, in search of a tree that has the means to end her and her brothers. Meanwhile, someone seems to be manipulating the relationship between Klaus and the uneasy truce with the werewolves.

The Resurrection is the third novel in this first (but hopefully not last) Originals trilogy, a novelization of the hit tv show. This final installment may be my favorite of the three. Full of twists and surprises, new villains, and magic – it’s thoroughly captivating from beginning to end. I’d love to see The Originals visit a new city next time and explore new stories.

Fantasy Book Review: Cold Burn of Magic

Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

It’s not as great as you’d think, living in a tourist town that’s known as “the most magical place in America.” Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.

I try to keep out of it. I’ve got my mom’s bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend’s pawn shop, and I have to make a call–get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn’t. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I’m stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I’m going to end up just like her.

Lila is a smart, independent young woman who has lost a lot. When she’s offered the job of bodyguard for a family she despises, her first instinct is to leave. But she’s an orphan without much of a future, and it’s hard to pass up the money. And she definitely excels at the job.

Cold Burn of Magic is the first in a new YA fantasy series, by a favorite author. If you haven’t read the Mythos Academy series, stop right now and go pick it up. This latest series debut feels like a teen version of her Elemental Assassin series – a bit dark and full of action, suspense, fun characters, and unique magical abilities. I thoroughly enjoyed this story from beginning to end. There is a big, exciting finale with plenty of twists along the way. I look forward to the next in this engaging new series.

Fantasy Book Review: Witches with the Enemy

Witches with the Enemy by Barb Hendee

When seers Céline and Amelie Fawe fled Shetâna under threat of death, they vowed never to return. Yet, less than a year later, they are summoned back—to aid the man who once tried to kill them.

The cruel prince Damek is on the verge of closing marriage negotiations with the powerful family of a young noblewoman when his intended’s sister is murdered. To keep the engagement from falling through, Damek must expose the killer quickly—and he needs the seers’ powers to do so. Though the Fawes’ patron, Prince Anton, fears that bringing Céline and Amelie to Shetâna places them in grave danger, he is honor-bound to help his brother Damek.

Only none of them is prepared for the peril that awaits them at Castle Kimovesk—for someone in the court is determined to prevent the marriage from happening, no matter how deadly the cost.

Céline and Amelie are needed to solve a murder at prince Damek’s castle. Damek is a psychopath, often referred to as something is “broken inside of him.” It’s very surprising that Anton would agree to Damek’s request, knowing that the sisters may be in danger. But, to both princes, their future as ruler comes first in all decisions.

Witches with the Enemy is the third installment in the Mist-Torn Witches series. Though, each can be read as a standalone mystery. There is character development throughout the series, but no embedded story arc that prevents them from being read out of order. I absolutely love Hendee’s characters, especially Céline and Amelie – two very different sisters. They each have some romantic interests too, though that is only touched upon briefly at times. Full of suspense, drama, intrigue, and eccentric characters – this mystery is inventive and captivating. And as always, I look forward to the next in this highly enjoyable fantasy series.

Fantasy Book Review: Summoner: The Novice

Summoner: The Novice by Taran Matharu

He can summon demons. But can he win a war?

Fletcher is working as a blacksmith’s apprentice when he discovers he has the rare ability to summon demons from another world. Chased from his village for a crime he did not commit, Fletcher must travel with his demon, Ignatius, to an academy for adepts, where the gifted are taught the art of summoning.

Along with nobles and commoners, Fletcher endures grueling lessons that will prepare him to serve as a Battlemage in the Empire’s war against the savage Orcs. But sinister forces infect new friendships and rivalries grow. With no one but Ignatius by his side, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of the Empire is in his hands

Fletcher is an orphan with a rare gift. He’s a Summoner, able to summon a powerful creature on his first attempt, untrained. Though, most Summoners are nobility, and Fletcher is looked down upon from many fellow students.

The Novice is first book in The Summoner series. This fantasy debut was engaging from the start was nearly impossible to put down. It reminded me of a cross between The Golden Compass meets a Role Playing Game. The addition of mana (energy) levels is a nice take on a familiar fantasy genre with elves, dwarves, and orcs. Though, there is plenty of unique and fascinating worldbuilding. The story was well-paced with suspense, intrigue, drama, and (of course) plenty of magic. I look forward to the next in this impressive new series.

Science Fiction Book Review: The Trials

The Trials by Stacey Kade

After being on the run, Ariane Tucker finds herself back where she started-under Dr. Jacobs’s cruel control. Now she must participate in the upcoming trials: a deadly competition pitting her against other alien hybrids, each representing a rival corporation.

But Ariane is no one’s weapon, and she is prepared to die if it means taking down those involved in Project Paper Doll. They destroyed all that she holds dear, including Zane Bradshaw, the one person she trusted and cared for the most. The person she was forced to leave behind, bleeding and alone.

As her plan takes shape, Ariane will need now more than ever to depend on the other side of her heritage-the cold, calculating instincts born from her alien DNA. With Zane gone, she has nothing left to lose.

Heart-pounding action and thrilling twists will lead Ariane down a dangerous path, where shocking truths and the chance for revenge await.

The Trials is the third installment in the Paper Dolls trilogy. Ariane must participate in “trials” against other hybrids to see which corporation will win the funding. But the trials themselves are a mystery. Meanwhile, Ariane doesn’t trust anyone, and rightly so. Every choice presented to her seems too good to be true. The pacing slowed down a bit in the middle, during the actual “trials” when Ariane tries to figure out which path to take. But their missions are stirring and dramatic. I wish the alien aspect of the story was explored more, it felt like just an afterthought, but it’s half of what Ariane is. Events lead to a big finale. With several twists along the way, this fast-paced, thrilling finale was satisfying and an exciting ride.

SciFi Book Review: Unexpected Rain

Unexpected Rain by Jason Lapier

In a domed city on a planet orbiting Barnard’s Star, a recently hired maintenance man named Kane has just committed murder. Minutes later, the airlocks on the neighbourhood block are opened and the murderer is asphyxiated along with thirty-one innocent residents.

Jax, the lowly dome operator on duty at the time, is accused of mass homicide and faced with a mound of impossible evidence against him. His only ally is Runstom, the rogue police officer charged with transporting him to a secure off-world facility. The pair must risk everything to prove Jax didn’t commit the atrocity and uncover the truth before they both wind up dead.

A mass murder is unusual, especially in this city. And the police are quick to place blame on Jax. And Runstom seems to be the only one who thinks the investigation was rushed and botched. When Runstom is visiting Jax in a remote prison, they are attacked and the two have the opportunity to escape and track the real killer.

Unexpected Rain is an unexpectedly unique, science fiction, mystery novel. Techies will enjoy the attention to detail in the science and technology described. And mystery buffs like me will enjoy the intrigue and fun, plot twists. There is strong character development in this solid debut novel. And the engaging plot kept me pulled in to the very end.

SciFi Book Review: Snatched

Snatched by David Saperstein

Six single, semi-retired, “older” women are inseparable friends. But their lives start to go haywire when mischievous Rosie submits her friends’ names to an ad soliciting “Mail Order Brides for Farmers & Miners—Distant Locations.” A few weeks later, as the six women are driving along a lonely beach road, their vehicle suddenly begins to shake, the sky grows dark, an eerie light envelops the van, and ZAP—it’s gone!

Exactly three years later, the van reappears on the same road. But this time, the women appear to be thirty years younger—and they’re all pregnant!

Fans of Cocoon will definitely want to pick up this latest science fiction novel by the same author. The six residents of a retirement community are all unique, engaging characters that are incredibly fun and vivacious. The tone is very similar to Cocoon, which is definitely a good thing.

Snatched is a fun, light-hearted alien abduction story with a twist. Once the ladies return from their interstellar adventure, their stories are a bit silly seemingly out of a science fiction romance novel. But it fits the mood – full of whimsy, adventure, humor, and a bit of suspense. The story builds to the births of the alien babies, though it’s not explained why three women are giving birth at the same time. But it’s easy to suspend disbelief for this heart-warming and amusing story.