Category Archives: Book Reviews

Graphic Novel Roundup: Back To The Future, Ghostbusters, Star Trek, and BSG

Back To The Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines

Back to the Future creator/screenwriter Bob Gale returns with all-new tales from the twisting and turning timeline that made Back to the Future a, well… TIMELESS pop-culture phenomenon! Take a trip back to 1985 and be there when Doc Brown and Marty McFly first meet, and then jump even farther back, to 1945, to witness Doc’s involvement in the super-secret Manhattan Project. Collects issues #1–5.

This is a fun collection of humorous tales told from mostly Doc’s point of view. In many time periods and alternate realities, this is an eclectic mix of stories. It’s definitely word-heavy rather than action. And the artwork is great and colorful and fits the light-hearted feel. I really enjoyed this book.

(I received free electronic copy from NetGalley for review.)

Ghostbusters International

There’s something strange in the neighborhood… and whether that neighborhood is in New York City or Venice, Italy, the Ghostbusters will be there! After a bust at the United Nations, the boys in gray are engaged to investigate an Old World haunting, where they begin to unravel a mystery that sends them around the globe (while still trying to keep their contract with the City, County, and State of New York!).

I know there have been Ghostbusters comics for a while now, but this is the first I’ve read. I have no idea who some of the main characters were. But it was still a fun, suspenseful story with plenty of humor and bizarre, supernatural creatures. The artwork is more comical than I prefer. It took me a while to figure out who Peter and Ray were supposed to be. No one looked remotely like the actors from the films. But if you can get past that, it’s an enjoyable story – and I look forward to reading more.

(I received free electronic copy from NetGalley for review.)

Star Trek: Manifest Destiny

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the STAR TREK franchise with this all-new adventure! At the edge of explored space, Captain Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise come face to face with a new Klingon threat… with the fate of the galaxy at stake! Also includes the Klingon Language version of issue #1!

The e-galley I received only included the first 24 pages of this graphic novel. But from what I read, I definitely want to buy the full copy to read the rest. The artwork is fantastic! The characters and scenery are stunning. And the story is full of suspense… and Klingons. Fans of the new films will want to check these new stories out.

(I received free electronic copy from NetGalley for review.)

Battlestar Galactica (Classic): Starbuck

Finally, the origin of Lt. Starbuck can be told! Battlestar Galactica’s roguish Viper pilot, unbeatable gambler, and notorious womanizer has always been a mystery. How did he wind up a feral child on the planet Umbra, and when did he first fight Cylons alongside Commander Adama? What early adventures solidified his friendship with Apollo, and how will Starbuck react once he discovers the identity of the traitor responsible for destroying his family? It’s the world-shaking origin story that fans have been begging over thirty years for, as revealed by #1 New York Times best-selling author Tony Lee and artist Eman Casallos.

This is one I bought, as I want to read anything I can get my hands on of the classic Battlestar Galactica. Of course, Starbuck is a favorite character, so I was excited to read his origin story. This was a fun, fast-paced adventure from his boyhood days up to his swashbuckling heroics as a young pilot. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The artwork fit well, with only minor complaints. And I enjoyed the new (villain) characters as well.

Fantasy Book Review: To Kill A Kettle Witch

To Kill A Kettle Witch by Barb Hendee

Powerful prince Malcolm is facing ruin in the wake of a curse that has destroyed his harvest. He blames the band nomadic Móndyalítko who summer in the meadow below his castle—and he is determined to root out the people who caused the blight by any means necessary.

When Céline and Amelie Fawe, descended from the Móndyalítko, learn that their mother’s people are under suspicion of sabotage and treason, they set out to use their magical gifts to save their estranged relatives and learn about their own origins.

Now it’s up to the sisters—along with their motley escort, including a prince’s lieutenant, a shape-shifter, and an old woman with a murky past—to discover the source of the curse to restore life to the ravaged land and protect the innocent from unfair vengeance.

Céline and Amelie utilize their gifts once again to uncover a saboteur in a far away kingdom. The Móndyalítko are also the people their mother came from, so they have a special incentive to help out their kin.

To Kill A Kettle Witch is the fourth installment in the Mist-Torn Witches series. Though, these are mostly stand-alone stories that can be read independently, save for some romantic entanglements. Hendee is a master story-teller and creates incredible characters. Mysterious pasts, an imposing shifter, and secrets within the royal family – there is plenty of intrigue and suspense in this captivating story. My favorite scenes are the flashes of backstories from a couple of the characters. They are incredibly vivid and emotional. I will read anything by this author, but this is a definite standout fantasy series.

SciFi Book Review: Alight

Alight by Scott Sigler

M. Savage—or Em, as she is called—has made a bewildering and ominous discovery. She and the other young people she was chosen to lead awoke in strange coffins with no memory of their names or their pasts. They faced an empty, unknown place of twisting tunnels and human bones. With only one another to depend on, they searched for answers and found the truth about their terrifying fate. Confronted by a monstrous enemy, they vowed never to surrender—and, by any means, to survive.

The planet Omeyocan may be the sanctuary Em and her comrades seek. But the planet for which they were created turns out not to be a pristine, virgin world. Vestiges of a lost civilization testify to a horrifying past that may yet repeat itself. And when a new enemy creeps from the jungle shadows, Em and her young refugees learn there’s nowhere left to run. They face a simple choice: fight or die.

In the midst of this desperate struggle, their unity is compromised from within—and a dangerous zealot devoted to a bloodthirsty god moves to usurp Em’s command, threatening to lead them all down a path to violent doom.

Alight is the second installment in a heart-pounding science fiction series. Alive was completely unique and exceptional. I wasn’t sure how this sequel could measure up. However, I was once again completely pulled in to the story. Now that Em and the rest of the children are on the surface of new and foreign planet, the the feel is very different. But there are still many questions left to answer and many more once they start exploring the planet. And just when I thought I knew what was going to happen, a major plot twist took me by surprise. This incredible fast-paced, suspense-filled adventure is only rivaled by the vivid and captivating characters. Teens and adults alike will enjoy this dramatic, science fiction series.

Fantasy Book Review: Five Kingdoms: Death Weavers

Five Kingdoms: Death Weavers by Brandon Mull

Since arriving in the Outskirts, Cole and his friends have fought monsters, challenged knights, and battled rampaging robots. But none of that has prepared them for Necronum.

In this haunting kingdom, it’s hard to tell the living from the dead, and secret pacts carry terrifying risks. Within Necronum lies the echolands, a waystation for the departed where the living seldom venture.

Still separated from his power, Cole must cross to the echolands and rely on his instincts to help rescue his friends. With enemies closing in, Cole risks losing everything to find the one thing that might save them.

Cole and his friends visit the strange Necronum kingdom, searching for missing princesses, in this latest installment in the Five Kingdoms series. It’s a land of ghost-like echos and strange rules.

The Death Weavers is the fourth installment in this epic fantasy series for middle readers. It’s full of danger, suspense, drama, and plot twists. There are also some familiar and beloved characters from another series who make an appearance. This is by far the most unique land that Mull has created – vivid and immense. I’m a big fan of his novels, and these just continue to impress. I look forward to the final installment in this exciting and captivating series.

Fantasy Book Review: Demigods & Magicians

Demigods & Magicians by Rick Riordan

Magic, monsters, and mayhem abound when Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase meet Carter and Sadie Kane for the first time. Weird creatures are appearing in unexpected places, and the demigods and magicians have to team up to take them down. As they battle with Celestial Bronze and glowing hieroglyphs, the four heroes find that they have a lot in common-and more power than they ever thought possible. But will their combined forces be enough to foil an ancient enemy who is mixing Greek and Egyptian incantations for an evil purpose?

I’m a big fan of the Percy Jackson series, so I jumped at the chance to read Demigods & Magicians, where Percy and Annabeth meet the Kane siblings. I don’t read the The Kane Chronicles, so I’m not as familiar with the characters. But the characters (especially Sadie) are fleshed out well.

Demigods & Magicians is comprised of three short stories. The first, is an adventure with the two boys as they meet while fighting a monstrous creature. The second story involves the two girls in a similar way. In the third story they all team up to take down the big baddie. Fans of either or both of the series will enjoy this book. The stories are exciting and humorous as the kids all get to know each other and the Egyptian magic versus the Greek demigod powers. It’s fast-paced and a fun, quick read.

SciFi Book Review: Star Wars: Bloodline

Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray

When the Rebellion defeated the Empire in the skies above Endor, Leia Organa believed it was the beginning to a lasting peace. But after decades of vicious infighting and partisan gridlock in the New Republic Senate, that hope seems like a distant memory.

Now a respected senator, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy—from both within and without. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians, and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. Desperate to take action, senators are calling for the election of a First Senator. It is their hope that this influential post will bring strong leadership to a divided galaxy.

As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia faces with distrust the prospect of any one person holding such a powerful position—even when supporters suggest Leia herself for the job. But a new enemy may make this path Leia’s only option. For at the edges of the galaxy, a mysterious threat is growing.

Leia has been focusing on trying to keep the New Republic from falling back into their old ways. Some still prefer the old regime of the Empire, just without Vader and Palpatine’s influence. Meanwhile, Luke is teaching young Ben to be a Jedi. And Han Solo has gone back to what he knows best – smuggling.

Bloodline is a fascinating and engaging standalone story set years after Return of the Jedi but before The Force Awakens. This is a story of Leia’s path to the Rebellion. And we get a glimpse of the rising First Order.

Leia and an unlikely ally investigate shady dealings that puts them both in danger. Full of political intrigue, vivid characters, plenty of suspense – this novel was really hard to put down. This is a must-read for any Star Wars fan who wondered what happened after the Battle of Endor and the upheaval of the Empire that led to a new Rebellion. I didn’t think she could top her last Star Wars novel, but Gray surpassed my expectations!

Fantasy Book Review: The Tale of a No-Name Squirrel

The Tale of a No-Name Squirrel by Radhika R Dhariwal

Squirrel never expected to be anything other than a slave: the last animal slave in Bimmau. That is, until he is invited to a high profile wedding and takes a sip of the forbidden ceremonial wine, unlocking a mysterious riddle. The riddle reveals that there is a key which has the power to grant Squirrel his freedom (and a name!), but also could enslave anyone in Bimmau. Disastrous if it falls into the wrong hands! Squirrel and his friends find themselves in a race to find Brittle’s Key before the army of crows gets to him…and before the mysterious Colonel finds the key first.

Squirrel and his friends embark on a big adventure to several lands with diverse creatures. With fun clues and plenty of intrigue, this is a fun story that all ages will enjoy. And the accompanying illustrations are gorgeous. The feel of the story reminded me of Disney’s The Rescuers – with plenty of danger and adventure, but still light-hearted. I thoroughly enjoyed this world of talking animals and a sweet, Squirrel with a good heart.

Fantasy Book Review: Once Upon a Dream

Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell

It should be simple-a dragon defeated, a slumbering princess in a castle, a prince poised to wake her. But when the prince falls asleep as his lips touch the fair maiden’s, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over.

With a desperate fairy’s last curse controlling her mind, Princess Aurora must escape from a different castle of thorns and navigate a dangerously magical landscape-created from her very own dreams. Aurora isn’t alone-a charming prince is eager to join her quest, and old friends offer their help. But as Maleficent’s agents follow her every move, Aurora struggles to discover who her true allies are and, moreover, who she truly is. Time is running out. Will the sleeping beauty be able to wake herself up?

Aurora is caught up in a dream world that has replaced everyone’s memories. When she begins to find clues to outside the castle, she eventually discovers that everything she knows is a lie. Prince Phillip slays the dragon and kisses Aurora to awaken her, but instead falls asleep as well. While he fell in love (instantly) with her, Aurora has no memory of him. Still, the two work together to defeat Maleficent once and for all.

Once Upon a Dream is an inspired re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty. In fact, the author takes the original Disney story and expounds on it – building it to a darker, complex tale. The insta-love from the movie is expounded on here and made more realistic. This magical story is full of suspense and captivating characters. The setting and darker, twisted feel reminded me a bit of a Neil Gaiman fantasy. I thoroughly enjoyed this fresh take on a familiar fairy tale.