Category Archives: Book Reviews

Book Review: The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Haunting of Torre Abbey

The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Haunting of Torre Abbey by Carole Bugge

Synopsis:
Sherlock Holmes receives a request for aid from Lord Cary, whose family home, Torre Abbey, is seemingly haunted. While skeptical, Holmes believes that the Carys are in danger, a belief that proves horrifyingly accurate when a household member dies mysteriously. As strange sightings and threatening apparitions become almost commonplace, Holmes and Watson must uncover the secrets of the abbey if they are to have any hope of protecting the living and avenging the dead.

Review:
The Haunting of Torre Abbey is a fun and suspenseful mystery with everyone’s favorite detective. This has the feel of the original The Hound of the Baskervilles. Holmes makes astute observations and always seems miles ahead of everyone else. Though Watson is brilliant as well, as we get his point of view. When I thought I had the mystery figured out, I was only partially right. There are several surprises and overall an intriguing mystery that I won’t soon forget. I can’t get enough of Sherlock, so I’m grateful for this Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series.

SciFi Book Review: The Echo Room

The Echo Room by Parker Peevyhouse

Synopsis:
The only thing worse than being locked in is facing what you locked out.

Rett Ward knows how to hide. He’s had six years of practice at Walling Home, the state-run boarding school where he learned how to keep his head down to survive.

But when Rett wakes up locked in a small depot with no memory of how he got there, he can’t hide. Not from the stranger in the next room. Or from the fact that there’s someone else’s blood on his jumpsuit.

Worse, every time he tries to escape, he wakes up right back where he started. Same day, same stranger, same bloodstained jumpsuit.

As memories start to surface, Rett realizes that the logo on the walls is familiar, the stranger isn’t a stranger, and the blood on his jumpsuit belongs to someone―or something―banging on the door to get in.

Review:
Rett keeps waking up in the same place, with no memory of his current situation nor the young woman in the bunker with him. Dangers lurk all around. Each time Rett wakes up, something different happens, and the mystery slowly unfolds.

The Echo Room is a science fiction, thriller geared toward young adults. Fans of the Maze Runner will definitely want to check this one out. With intense suspense and an engrossing mystery, this story is best read in one sitting. Because it’s very hard to put down. While it may seem a bit like Groundhog Day at first, individuals make different choices which lead to different outcomes and the reader, at least, can begin to fit the pieces together. This post-apocalyptic read is very unique and unpredictable. And the exciting finale does not disappoint. This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year.

SciFi Book Review: Light Years

Light Years by Kass Morgan

Synopsis:
Reeling from the latest attack by a mysterious enemy, the Quatra Fleet Academy is finally admitting students from every planet in the solar system after centuries of exclusivity.

Hotshot pilot Vesper, an ambitious Tridian citizen, dreams of becoming a captain–but when she loses her spot to a brilliant, wisecracking boy from the wrong side of the asteroid belt, it makes her question everything she thought she knew. Growing up on the toxic planet Deva, Cormak will take any chance he can get to escape his dead-end life and join the Academy–even if he has to steal someone’s identity to do it. Arran was always considered an outsider on icy Chetire, always dreaming of something more than a life working in the mines. Now an incoming cadet, Arran is looking for a place to belong–he just never thought that place would be in the arms of a Tridian boy. And Orelia is hiding a dark secret–she’s infiltrated the Academy to complete a mission, one that threatens the security of everyone there. But if anyone finds out who she really is, it’ll be her life on the line.

These cadets will have to put their differences aside and become a team if they want to defend their world from a cunning enemy–and they might even fall in love in the process.

Review:
Vesper, Cormack, Arran, and Orelia are all very different young adults that are put on a team together at the Quatra Fleet Academy. Each have different reasons or motivations for being there. But when they can work together as a team, they’ll be able to prove themselves. And when the enemy arrives, this team may be the best to stop them.

Light Years is the first in a new Young Adult scifi series from the author of The 100. This is a character-driven story with plenty of drama, suspense, and romance. Orelia’s background is fascinating and full of mystery that I can’t wait to see unfold in future installments. It’s thrilling with plenty of surprises along the way. The story builds to an exciting, climactic ending with a cliffhanger that left me wanting more.

Fantasy Book Review: The Coincidence Makers

The Coincidence Makers by Yoav Blum

Synopsis:
What if the drink you just spilled, the train you just missed, or the lottery ticket you just found was not just a random occurrence? What if it’s all part of a bigger plan? What if there’s no such thing as a chance encounter? What if there are people we don’t know determining our destiny? And what if they are even planning the fate of the world?

Enter the Coincidence Makers―Guy, Emily, and Eric―three seemingly ordinary people who work for a secret organization devoted to creating and carrying out coincidences. What the rest of the world sees as random occurrences, are, in fact, carefully orchestrated events designed to spark significant changes in the lives of their targets―scientists on the brink of breakthroughs, struggling artists starved for inspiration, loves to be, or just plain people like you and me…

When an assignment of the highest level is slipped under Guy’s door one night, he knows it will be the most difficult and dangerous coincidence he’s ever had to fulfill. But not even a coincidence maker can see how this assignment is about to change all their lives and teach them the true nature of fate, free will, and the real meaning of love.

Review:
Guy, Emily, and Eric are a group of new Coincidence Makers. They organize chance meetings and help inspire artists. Guy is given a new assignment that he may not be able to fulfill. Meanwhile, Emily tries to orchestrate her own coincidence, taking charge of her own life.

The Coincidence Makers is a unique and inspired story, unlike any story I have read before. While it jumps around a bit in time, it’s never hard to follow. In fact, it’s completely engrossing and hard to put down. With steady pacing and a story full of drama, suspense, and love – this fantasy will appeal to a wide audience. It’s a sweet and intricate tale. And there are several big twists that I didn’t see coming. This will definitely make my list of favorite books of the year.

Fantasy Book Review: Grump

Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by Liesl Shurtliff

Synopsis:
Ever since he was a dwarfling, Borlen (nicknamed “Grump”) has dreamed of visiting The Surface, so when opportunity knocks, he leaves his cavern home behind.

At first, life aboveground is a dream come true. Queen Elfrieda Veronika Ingrid Lenore (E.V.I.L.) is the best friend Grump always wanted, feeding him all the rubies he can eat and allowing him to rule at her side in exchange for magic and information. But as time goes on, Grump starts to suspect that Queen E.V.I.L. may not be as nice as she seems. . . .

When the queen commands him to carry out a horrible task against her stepdaughter Snow White, Grump is in over his head. He’s bound by magic to help the queen, but also to protect Snow White. As if that wasn’t stressful enough, the queen keeps bugging him for updates through her magic mirror! He’ll have to dig deep to find a way out of this pickle, and that’s enough to make any dwarf Grumpy indeed.

Review:
Borlen is a dwarf who doesn’t quite fit in. He gets sick anytime he goes too deep underground, and dreams of going to the surface. While he gets the nickname “Grump,” he really isn’t. He’s just misunderstood. Borlen is has a good heart and wants to do the right thing. But the queen is conniving. And while he tries to protect the spoiled Snow White, magic pulls him in different directions.

Grump is another fantastic, standalone installment in Shurtliff’s inspired, fairy tale series. The characters are vibrant and engaging. And the story is full of humor, magic, and heart. I love this series, and this latest installment is no exception. The world of the dwarves is unique and well-developed. And I enjoyed the familiar story told from one of the dwarf’s perspective. This sweet and funny story is great for all ages.

Book Review: Star Trek: Lost Scenes

Star Trek: Lost Scenes

This is a great coffee table book or gift for any Original Series fan. This book has 272, full-color pages dedicated to unique trivia and images. The book is packed with:

Behind the Scenes:

Deleted Scenes:

and Bloopers:

This is an impressive collection! It’s certainly hours of reading and a lot of fun.

Fantasy Book Review: The Door to the Lost

The Door to the Lost by Jaleigh Johnson

Synopsis:
There was no warning the day magic died in Talhaven. It happened with a giant explosion and the arrival of a skyship full of children, all with magic running through their veins and no memory of home.

Rook and Drift are two of those children, and ever since that day, they’ve been on the run, magical refugees in a world that doesn’t trust magic. Because magic doesn’t die right away–it decays, twists, and poisons all that it touches. And now it’s beginning to poison people.

Try as they might, Rook and Drift can’t remember anything about their lives before Talhaven. But it’s beginning to look like they’re the only ones who can save their adopted world . . . if that world doesn’t destroy them first.

Review:
Rook and Drift survive by selling use of their magical services. However, most people condemn anything magical as it has begun to kill their world. When a job goes wrong, Rook and Drift find themselves outside of the city and in dangerous land where magic is chaotic. And the friends have to find a way to stop a magical explosion from destroying their new world.

The Door to the Lost is a standalone middle reader fantasy. There is a fascinating backstory with a big mystery that is finally revealed at the end. There is plenty of danger, suspense, and drama. And the characters are engaging as well. This is an exciting fantasy story with individuals who have unique abilities. It’s unpredictable and well-paced. I hope to read more novels set in this captivating world.

SciFi Book Review: Sanctuary

Sanctuary by Caryn Lix

Synopsis:
As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.

But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.

At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.

As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows.

Review:
Kenzie lives with her parents aboard a prison in space. This prison contains teens with abilities that make them a danger to people on Earth. When the teens try a prison break, Kenzie is caught in the middle. But an even bigger danger looms as Sactuary is invaded by an unknown presence.

Sactuary is an impressive, YA science fiction debut. Kenzie is a relatable girl, who is conflicted between duty and this group of teens who she begins to sympathize with. The characters are diverse and complex. And the story is action-packed and full of suspense, mystery, and drama. This is definitely one of my favorite reads of the year. Super-powered teens meets an alien invasion – the plot alone is fantastic. Don’t miss this exciting, thriller.