Category Archives: Book Reviews

SciFi Book Review: Starflight

Starflight by Melissa Landers

Synopsis:
Solara Brooks needs a fresh start, someplace where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. The outer realm may be lawless, but
it’s not like the law has ever been on her side.

Still, off-world travel doesn’t come cheap; Solara is left with no choice but to indenture herself in exchange for passage to the outer realm. She just wishes it could have been to anyone besides Doran Spaulding, the rich, pretty-boy quarterback who made her life miserable in school.

The tables suddenly turn when Doran is framed for conspiracy on Earth, and Solara cons him into playing the role of her servant on board the Banshee, a ship manned by an eccentric crew with their own secrets. Given the price on both Doran and Solara’s heads, it may just be the safest place in the universe.

Review:
Solara is a smart and capable young woman who just needs help getting started out. But her plans go awry when her past is revealed. So, she resorts to kidnapping her former “master,” making him think he’s the servant. But the ship they purchase passage on has it’s own share of problems.

Starflight is a fresh and fun, science fiction novel that reminded me a lot of the feel of the Firefly/Serenity crew. This exciting, standalone novel is fast-paced and thrilling. I loved the complex characters, especially Solara and Doran. Doran goes through an impressive amount of character development – from a spoiled brat to an actual sympathetic character. I loved every bit of this fantastic space adventure for young adults. And as much as I appreciate standalone novels, I’d really love to read more adventures from this crew.

SciFi Book Review: Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot: To Preserve

Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot: To Preserve by Mickey Zucker Reichert

Synopsis:
N8-C, better known as Nate, has been Manhattan Hasbro Hospital’s resident robot for more than twenty years. A prototype, humanoid in appearance, he was created to interact with people. While some staff accepted working alongside an anthropomorphic robot, Nate’s very existence terrified most people, leaving the robot utilized for menial tasks and generally ignored.

Until one of the hospital’s physicians is found brutally murdered with Nate standing over the corpse, a blood-smeared utility bar clutched in his hand. As designer and programmer of Nate’s positronic brain, Lawrence Robertson is responsible for his creation’s actions and arrested for the crime.

Susan Calvin knows the Three Laws of Robotics make it impossible for Nate to harm a human being. But to prove both Nate’s and Lawrence’s innocence, she has to consider the possibility that someone somehow manipulated the laws to commit murder.

Review:
When Nate is seemingly framed for murder, Susan will stop at nothing to help her friend. But Susan is also targeted for knowledge that someone thinks she has. And a new love interest adds complications.

To Preserve is the third installment in Reichert’s captivating series based on Asimov’s I, Robot. Once again, the story is full of mystery and suspense. The characters are engaging and the pacing makes it hard to put down. Events build to a big finale that doesn’t disappoint. However, since this was a trilogy, it’s a bit sad knowing this may be the last. I really enjoyed these characters and future world.

Coloring Book Review: Deadpool and Age of Ultron

Deadpool Coloring book

Color Your Own Deadpool

With adult coloring books all the rage right now, Marvel has their own line. And I, of course, had to buy them.

This Deadpool coloring book states that it isn’t for children. There are some violent scenes, but that’s the extent. There are plenty of humorous images. And the fantastically-drawn images range from incredibly detailed to more simplistic. I love the variety in this book.
It’s definitely one of my favorites.

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And then, there’s:

Age of Ultron Coloring Book

Color Your Own Age of Ultron

The Age of Ultron book is great too. But the number of intricate artwork far outweighs the more simplistic. And it wouldn’t be bad, but some of the scenes are a bit repetitive. And my gray markers/coloring pencils got a LOT of workout from all the dull images of destruction in the first few pages. Thankfully, the superheroes wear colorful clothes.

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Marvel will be releasing Color Your Own Civil War in April 2016 (I’ve already pre-ordered as the price is discounted right now) and Color Your Own Little Marvels in June 2016.


Graphic Novel Review: Grayson Volume 2: We All Die at Dawn

Grayson Volume 2: We All Die at Dawn

Synopsis:
Grayson and Helena Bertinelli, a.k.a. Huntress, join together and take on some of their toughest foes yet. Dick is on a mission to stop Paragon from using the body parts of a dead villain to create something far more sinister, he goes toe-to-toe with the Midnighter, and he and Helena battle foes from their past–the Fist of Cain.

Review:
We All Die at Dawn collects GRAYSON #5-9, and GRAYSON: FUTURES END #1. Grayson has infiltrated Spyral, a mind-altering covert organization. Grayson uses all of his past experience and diverse abilities to stay on the side of right, despite his nefarious connections.

I really enjoyed Grayson Volume 1, so I was looking forward to this one. Volume 1 was an exciting spy thriller with a fun mystery. Unfortunately, I found this second installment to be a choppy, confusing mess. Some of the new characters are never explained, so I wasn’t sure who they were supposed to be. The scenes jumped around too much to confusing interactions. The only saving grace was a fantastic ending. The humor, action, and artwork helped end this story on a good note.

Book Review: The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Phil Szostak

This is an incredible look at the history and evolution of characters, worlds, ships, and more for this latest Star Wars film. There is an extensive amount of beautiful images and artwork. And most with accompanying descriptions explaining the vision and choices made. I especially loved the scenery artwork of various unique worlds and new characters. Many of them I wish had made it into the final film. From early concepts of “the Jedi Killer” to stunning images of Jakku, I was awestruck.

Even more impressive is the sheer number of pieces included in this compilation of 256 pages. It’s well worth the price for collectors and fans of the film.

Check out some of the pages from this fantastic collection below:

Graphic Novel Review: Batman/Superman Vol. 4: Siege

Batman/Superman Vol. 4: Siege

Synopsis:
It’s the Man of Steel’s worst nightmare: an obsessed villain who knows all of Superman’s secrets and is willing to kill all of his allies in order to destroy his true target.

It falls to Batman to track down this murderous madman-but with no clues left behind and no leads to follow, will this killer outwit the World’s Greatest Detective?

Review:
This is a self-contained story arc collecting BATMAN/SUPERMAN #16-20, BATMAN/SUPERMAN ANNUAL #1 and BATMAN/SUPERMAN: FUTURES END #1. When various connections to Superman are attacked, Batman figures out that Superman has his own maniacal Joker-like villain. And worst of all, there are no clues left behind as to who it could be.

This graphic novel is a great mystery, with action-packed adventure. It’s a new and fresh story that I really enjoyed. The artwork was rough, which fit the tone of the novel. When the Siege story ended and switched to the Annual or Future’s End #1, it picks up at a strange place and was a bit confusing. But I enjoyed that storyline as well. I’d definitely keep reading this line of Batman/Superman if the stories stay this strong.

SciFi Book Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster

Synopsis:
More than thirty years ago, Star Wars burst onto the big screen and became a cultural phenomenon. Now the next adventures in this blockbuster saga are poised to captivate old and new fans alike—beginning with the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And alongside the cinematic debut comes the thrilling novel adaptation by New York Times bestselling science fiction master Alan Dean Foster.

Set years after Return of the Jedi, this stunning new action-packed adventure rockets us back into the world of Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2,and Luke Skywalker, while introducing a host of exciting new characters. Darth Vader may have been redeemed and the Emperor vanquished, but peace can be fleeting, and evil does not easily relent. Yet the simple belief in good can still empower ordinary individuals to rise and meet the greatest challenges.

So return to that galaxy far, far away, and prepare yourself for what happens when the Force awakens. . . .

Review:
If you’ve seen the movie, then you know the story here. But if you loved The Force Awakens as much as I did, you’ll want to read the novel and experience this fantastic story in a different medium. I was hoping for a bit more behind the characters and maybe some extras – and I wasn’t disappointed. Granted there aren’t a lot of dialog changes here. Most were noticeable since I’ve seen the film three times so far.

Foster is a master at movie novelizations. His characters are vivid and true to the film. The pacing transferred well, and good choices were made on what to edit. This book was just as riveting and exciting as the film. And 8 pages of movie stills were a nice addition that all fans will love. I thoroughly enjoyed this novelization of one my favorite new movies.

Fantasy Book Review: The Night Voice

The Night Voice by Barb & JC Hendee

Synopsis:
With much relief, Magiere, Leesil, and Chap prepare to hide the last two of the powerful orbs. Once this last great task is completed, Magiere can take Leesil home to a life of peace.

Then, rumors reach them that a horde of undead creatures, slaughtering everything in their wake, are gathering in the far east regions of the Suman desert. This gathering could only be caused by the Ancient Enemy awakening.

With no other choice, Magiere tells Leesil they cannot go home yet. They must go to the desert and seek to learn if the rumors are true . . . and if so, face an awakening evil: The Night Voice.

Review:
Magiere and all of her companions have finally come together to plan what to do with the orbs that they have found. Meanwhile, a traitor among them is leading them right to the Ancient Enemy.

The Night Voice is the final installment in the Noble Dead saga. This finale is well-paced and full of drama, suspense, and magic. As the group divides up on their various final quests, there are some interesting pairings that made for some humor and conflict. And the big finale did not disappoint. There was a bittersweet epilogue that follows the lives of the remaining characters. It was a fantastic ending to an incredible, epic saga.