Category Archives: Book Reviews

SciFi Book Review: Star Trek: Seekers 3: Long Shot

Star Trek: Seekers 3: Long Shot by David Mack

Synopsis:
SCIENCE GONE MAD…Bizarre sensor readings lead the Starfleet scout ship Sagittarius to an alien world where efforts to harness a dangerous and unstable technology have thrown the laws of probability out of balance. Now, events that might have occurred only one time in a trillion are hap­pening constantly—to deadly and dazzling effect.

A PLANET IN PERIL…As disasters and miracles multiply globally at an ever-increasing rate, it’s up to Captain Clark Terrell and his crew to shut down the experiment-gone-wrong before its storm of chaos causes the planet’s destruction. But the odds against their success—and their survival—might be too great to overcome.

Review:
The Sagittarius crew is new and unfamiliar. They are more down-to-earth and disrespectful of authority. They have more levity and inappropriate joking during staff meetings – nothing the captains we know would accept. It makes for added humor, if awkward, among the crew.

Long Shot is the third exciting installment in the Seekers series. As an alien planet succumbs to an experiment of cataclysmic proportions, the Sagittarius forgoes the Prime Directive in order to assist the friendly aliens. From the suspenseful scenes of characters on the planet to the tireless work of the scientists and crew aboard the Sagittarius, the events build to a climactic and satisfying finale. I thoroughly enjoyed this latest installment in a fun, new series.

SciFi Book Review: Tracked

Tracked by Jenny Martin

Synopsis:
On corporately controlled Castra, rally racing is a high-stakes game that seventeen-year-old Phoebe Van Zant knows all too well. Phee’s legendary racer father disappeared mysteriously, but that hasn’t stopped her from speeding headlong into trouble. When she and her best friend, Bear, attract the attention of Charles Benroyal, they are blackmailed into racing for Benroyal Corp, a company that represents everything Phee detests. Worse, Phee risks losing Bear as she falls for Cash, her charming new teammate. But when she discovers that Benroyal is controlling more than a corporation, Phee realizes she has a much bigger role in Castra’s future than she could ever have imagined. It’s up to Phee to take Benroyal down. But even with the help of her team, can a street-rat destroy an empire?

Review:
Phoebe is following in her father’s footsteps a racer, even after he disappeared from her life. She is forced into racing for the nefarious Benroyal in order to avoid jail time. But the more she learns about him and the organization, the more she realizes just how dangerous it is to work for him.

Tracked is an exciting debut that incorporates racing and scifi for young adults. There is a sweet and heartbreaking love triangle. And the racing scenes are thrilling. But the most engaging part of the story is Phee learning more about her past and about Benroyal – and the subsequent intrigue. This was fast-paced and completely enjoyable from beginning to end. I look forward to more from this new author.

SciFi Book Review: Deceptive

Deceptive by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Synopsis:
You don’t belong with us.

These are the words that echo through the minds of all immune Americans-those suffering the so-called adverse effects of an experimental vaccine, including perfect recall, telepathy, precognition, levitation, mind control, and the ability to change one’s appearance at will.

When great numbers of immune individuals begin to disappear, fear and tension mount, and unrest begins to brew across the country. Through separate channels, superpowered teenagers Ciere, Daniel, and Devon find themselves on the case: super criminals and government agents working side by side. It’s an effort that will ultimately define them all, for better or for worse.

Review:
Ciere and Alan have been working together for one of the syndicates, and suddenly targeted, even as they hunt for a murderer as well. Meanwhile, Daniel is hunting a woman who has been kidnapping immunes.

Deceptive is the second installment in the Illusive series. As before, there is plenty of fast-paced adventure, suspense, mystery, super-powered abilities, and a bit of romance. The plot of this sequel is quite a bit more complex with many more characters to keep track of. I found myself getting a few characters mixed up, a couple times along the way, but mostly because of similar names. The most interesting characters are the most developed – Ciere and Devon, who find out about each other’s current predicament in an fun twist. And the excitement doesn’t let up, making it nearly impossible to put down. I look forward to the next in this fun and unpredictable series.

SciFi Book Review: Star Wars: Dark Disciple

Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden

Synopsis:
In the war for control of the galaxy between the armies of the dark side and the Republic, former Jedi Master turned ruthless Sith Lord Count Dooku has grown ever more brutal in his tactics. Despite the powers of the Jedi and the military prowess of their clone army, the sheer number of fatalities is taking a terrible toll. And when Dooku orders the massacre of a flotilla of helpless refugees, the Jedi Council feels it has no choice but to take drastic action: targeting the man responsible for so many war atrocities, Count Dooku himself.

But the ever-elusive Dooku is dangerous prey for even the most skilled hunter. So the Council makes the bold decision to bring both sides of the Force’s power to bear—pairing brash Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos with infamous one-time Sith acolyte Asajj Ventress. Though Jedi distrust for the cunning killer who once served at Dooku’s side still runs deep, Ventress’s hatred for her former master runs deeper. She’s more than willing to lend her copious talents as a bounty hunter—and assassin—to Vos’s quest.

Together, Ventress and Vos are the best hope for eliminating Dooku—as long as the emerging feelings between them don’t compromise their mission. But Ventress is determined to have her retribution and at last let go of her dark Sith past. Balancing the complicated emotions she feels for Vos with the fury of her warrior’s spirit, she resolves to claim victory on all fronts—a vow that will be mercilessly tested by her deadly enemy . . . and her own doubt.

Review:
The Jedi make the surprising decision to assassinate Count Dooku, and assign Jedi Voss to manipulate former Sith apprentice Ventress into helping him. All goes according to plan, at first – as Voss easily charms Ventress and they become partners. But their partnership becomes more than professional, and Voss’ loyalties are put to the test. Voss and Ventress are incredibly complex and vivid characters. I’d love to see more of them going forward.

Dark Disciple is a fast-paced, action-packed adventure that’s very hard to put down. Star Wars novels are always entertaining, and this is no exception. This latest installment is packed with intrigue, suspense, drama, mysticism, romance, and humor. I’ve enjoyed Golden’s numerous Star Trek novels and now feel like I need to go back and read all of her previous contributions to Star Wars as well. Fans shouldn’t miss this exciting read.

Fantasy Book Review: Thrones & Bones: Nightborn

Thrones & Bones: Nightborn by Lou Anders

Synopsis:
Karn Korlundsson is a gamer. Not a riddle solver. But in order to rescue his best friend, Thianna Frostborn, he will need to travel to the faraway city of Castlebriar (by wyvern), learn how to play a new board game called Charioteers (not a problem), decipher the Riddle of the Horn, and tangle with mysterious elves.

Meet Desstra. She’s in training to join the Underhand—the elite agents of the dark elves. When she crosses paths with Karn, she is not all that she appears to be.

Everyone is chasing after the horn of Osius, an ancient artifact with the power to change the world. The lengths to which Karn will go in the name of friendship will be sorely tested. Who knew that solving a riddle could be so deadly?

Review:
Nightborn is the second installment in the Thrones & Bones fantasy series. Karn embarks on another adventure – this time to save his friend Thianna from dark elves. Thianna is searching for a second horn, and the dark elves will stop at nothing to get to it first.

Desstra is an interesting new character, an Underhand trainee agent, with a conflicting nature to those she’s trying to emulate. Karn’s friendship with Thianna confuses and fascinates her. Desstra definitely adds a unique twist to the story. This sequel doesn’t disappoint – friendship, intrigue, riddles, action, clever characters, and plenty of humor. Unlike the last book, this ends in a bit of a cliffhanger – which will make readers eager for the next in this exceptional series.

Fantasy Book Review: Working for Bigfoot

Working for Bigfoot by Jim Butcher

Synopsis:
Chicago wizard-for-hire Harry Dresden is used to mysterious clients with long hair and legs up to here. But when it turns out the long hair covers every square inch of his latest client’s body, and the legs contribute to a nine-foot height, even the redoubtable detective realizes he’s treading new ground. Strength of a River in His Shoulders is one of the legendary forest people, a Bigfoot, and he has a problem that only Harry can solve. His son Irwin is a scion, the child of a supernatural creature and a human. He’s a good kid, but the extraordinary strength of his magical aura has a way of attracting trouble.

In the three novellas that make up ”Working For Bigfoot,” collected together for the first time here, readers encounter Dresden at different points in his storied career, and in Irwin’s life. As a middle-schooler, in ”B is For Bigfoot,” Irwin attracts the unwelcome attention of a pair of bullying brothers who are more than they seem, and when Harry steps in, it turns out they have a mystical guardian of their own. At a fancy private high school in ”I Was a Teenage Bigfoot,” Harry is called in when Irwin grows ill for the first time, and it’s not just a case of mono. Finally, Irwin is all grown up and has a grown-up’s typical problems as a freshman in college in ”Bigfoot on Campus,” or would have if typical included vampires.

Review:
I am a big fan of the Dresden Files, so I was happy to read this set of novellas about Chicago’s most famous Wizard. Each story centers on a mystery involving Bigfoot’s son, who’s raised by his human mother. These stories are fast-paced, fun reads that are over too quickly – but none of them disappoint. With Harry’s humor, a bit of mystery, new engaging characters, and plenty of magic – Working For Bigfoot is a must-read for all Dresden fans.

SciFi Book Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Armageddon’s Arrow

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Armageddon’s Arrow by Dayton Ward

Synopsis:
It is a new age of exploration, and the U.S.S. Enterprise is dispatched to “the Odyssean Pass,” a region charted only by unmanned probes and believed to contain numerous inhabited worlds. Approaching a star system with two such planets, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his crew find a massive alien vessel, drifting in interstellar space for decades. Sensors detect life aboard the derelict—aliens held in suspended animation. Thought to be an immense sleeper ship, the vessel actually is a weapon capable of destroying entire worlds…the final gambit in a war that has raged for generations across the nearby system. Captain Picard is now caught in the middle of this conflict and attempts to mediate, as both sides want this doomsday weapon…which was sent from the future with the sole purpose of ending the interplanetary war before it even began!

Review:
The Next Generation continues with a new mission of exploration, getting back to its roots. There are some original characters as well as new crew members with developed stories throughout the series. This latest story involves new interstellar conflict, time travel, and mysterious ship.

Armageddon’s Arrow is an exciting and engaging installment. Full of mystery, suspense, action, drama, and intrigue – this author’s contributions are always a must-read for me. The time travel aspect and intriguing alien conflict were the highlight for me. This story is well-paced with plenty of surprises that builds to a climactic finale that doesn’t disappoint. Fans won’t want to miss this latest TNG novel.

SciFi Book Review: Lois Lane: Fallout

Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond

Synopsis:
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.

Review:
Lois Lane is one of my favorite fictional characters. I even named my dog after her. She’s brave, smart, strong, and will go to any lengths to get to the truth. And like her future colleague, she feels the need to protect the weak. So, when I saw that she was the central character in this new series, I knew I had to read it. And while there is mention of “SmallvilleGuy” he’s really only in the background. Lois Lane is the star here.

Fallout is a mystery novel with a modern-day, teenage Lois Lane. Blending science fiction, mystery, and adventure – this was pure fun from beginning to end. From the well-developed characters to the interesting communication with the mysterious “SmallvilleGuy”, teens and adults alike will appreciate this fantastic DC Comics novelization. And I hope there are many more to come.