Category Archives: Book Reviews

SciFi Book Review: Starfall

Starfall by Melissa Landers

Synopsis:
When Princess Cassia Rose fled her home world of Eturia to escape an arranged marriage, she had no idea her sudden departure would spark a war. Now after two years hiding as a ship hand, she is finally returning to her beloved home but not in the way she imagined. Shackled by bounty hunters, she is violently dragged back to account for her crimes. Her only solace is that the Banshee crew managed to evade capture, including Kane Arric, her best friend…with occasional benefits.

Meanwhile, Kane and the rest of the crew of the Banshee plan a desperate rescue mission. But when they arrive on Eturia, Cassia isn’t exactly in need of heroics–she’s claimed her birthright as Eturia’s queen, but has inherited a war-torn planet simmering with rebellion. Cassia must make alliances, and Kane, the bastard son of a merchant, isn’t a choice that will earn her any friends. Kane knows he will never find someone to replace Cassia–and is certain she returns his feelings–but how can he throw away his own promising future waiting on a queen?

When the outer realm is threatened by the dangerous Zhang mafia, Cassia, Kane and the rest of the Banshee crew uncover a horrifying conspiracy that endangers the entire universe. In the face of unspeakable evil, Cassia must confront her own family’s complicated legacy on Eturia and decide once and for all who her real family is.

Review:
Cassia is abducted and returned to her home planet. But through cunning, she’s able to overthrow an evil dictator and re-take the throne. Suddenly, Kane doesn’t feel needed, and Cassia’s adviser sews mistrust between the two. Meanwhile, the Banshee captain stumbles upon his old love at a time that seems too coincidental.

Starfall is a companion novel to Starflight – a sequel of sorts, but also focuses more on different crew members of the Banshee. Cassia and Kane have an incredibly immature relationship and can’t express their feelings to each other. So, both end up hurting each other. It gets really frustrating at times. But the adventure and suspense don’t disappoint. Once again, this action-packed, science fiction novel is an exciting and fun read. While I prefer the plot of Starflight a bit more, there were still plenty of great twists in this installment. Melissa Landers has found a great niche for herself in these YA scifi, romance novels (see also her Alienated series), and I look forward to reading more.

Book Review: Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure

Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure by Brandon Mull

Synopsis:
In the hidden dragon sanctuary of Wyrmroost, Celebrant the Just, King of the Dragons, plots his revenge. He has long seen the sanctuaries as prisons, and he wants nothing more than to overthrow his captors and return the world to the Age of Dragons, when he and his kind ruled and reigned without borders. The time has come to break free and reclaim his power.

No one person is capable of stopping Celebrant and his dragon horde. It will take the ancient order of Dragonwatch to gather again if there is any chance of saving the world from destruction. In ancient times, Dragonwatch was a group of wizards, enchantresses, dragon slayers, and others who originally confined the majority of dragons into sanctuaries. But nearly all of the original Dragonwatch members are gone, and so the wizard Agad reaches out to Grandpa Sorenson for help.

As Kendra and Seth confront this new danger, they must draw upon all their skills, talents, and knowledge as only they have the ability to function together as a powerful dragon tamer. Together they must battle against forces with superior supernatural powers and breathtaking magical abilities.

Review:
Kendra and Seth are back to a peaceful life, living at Fablehaven with both sets of grandparents. But then the siblings suddenly called away to help at Wyrmroost to stand against the rebellious dragons threatening the sanctuary. The two must use their cunning and skills to hunt for an artifact and stand up to dangerous foes.

Fablehaven is one of my top favorite children’s series. So, I was ecstatic to hear Brandon Mull was continuing the series and bringing back these beloved characters. Dragonwatch is the first in a new Fabehaven series. It has the same tone of adventure, suspense, and humor. While we’re introduced to many colorful new characters, the story still focuses on Kendra and Seth. The author excels at character development – each new creature that the siblings meet is an adventure in itself. The finale is big and exciting and will leave readers eager for the next in this fantastic fantasy series.

SciFi Book Review: Last Year

Last Year by Robert Charles Wilson

Synopsis:
Two events made September 1st a memorable day for Jesse Cullum. First, he lost a pair of Oakley sunglasses. Second, he saved the life of President Ulysses S. Grant. It’s the near future, and the technology exists to open doorways into the past but not our past, not exactly. Each “past” is effectively an alternate world, identical to ours but only up to the date on which we access it. And a given “past” can only be reached once. After a passageway is open, it’s the only road to that particular past; once closed, it can’t be reopened. A passageway has been opened to a version of late 19th century Ohio. It’s been in operation for most of a decade, but it’s no secret, on either side of time. A small city has grown up around it to entertain visitors from our time, and many locals earn a good living catering to them. But like all such operations, it has a shelf life; as the “natives” become more sophisticated, their version of the “past” grows less attractive as a destination. Jesse Cullum is a native. And he knows the passageway will be closing soon. He’s fallen in love with a woman from our time, and he means to follow her back – no matter whose secrets he has to expose in order to do it.

Review:
Time travel has been discovered. And for a hefty price, people from the future can visit the past and immerse themselves. Of course, this has changed the past and created an alternate realities wherever the gates are opened. Jesse is a native of the late 1800s who works for people from the future – for as long as they remain. But his final job for them, hunting down “runners” from the future leads Jesse to be confronted from events from his past.

I love books about time travel and alternate history, so Last Year was immediately appealing. But besides the immersive world, the characters were incredibly engaging as well. The story has elements of science fiction (of course), mystery, adventure, and intrigue. While people and things come from through the future, we have Jesse’s point of view from the past of what the future looks like to them. It’s an interesting and believable take. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the fantastic worldbuilding. And the thrilling finale doesn’t disappoint.

SciFi Book Review: The Flash: The Haunting of Barry Allen

The Flash: The Haunting of Barry Allen by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith

Synopsis:
Speeding through Central City, Barry Allen is met with a startling sight—the Flash, older, battered, and badly injured. Before he can speak, the doppelgänger is gone.

Then Barry begins experiencing glitches in his powers—moments that leave him ghostly and immobile in the middle of missions. When a group of his enemies—including Pied Piper, Weather Wizard, and Peekaboo—chooses this time to launch a new assault, the Flash seeks help from his most trusted ally. Oliver Queen – the Arrow.

Review:
This story seems to be set earlier in season 2. I like that it’s a bit vague, yet ties in some familiar faces from Barry’s past. As Barry’s powers begin to glitch, several former adversaries show up at one time – but thankfully, Oliver Queen and his team are more than willing to help out.

I’m a fan of Clay and Susan Griffith’s Vampire Empire series, so I was excited to check out this tie-in novel. They do a great job of keeping the characters true and as believable as if we were watching an episode of The Flash. I especially enjoyed that Iris and Caitlin had some girl time. This story flowed well and built to an exciting finale. Yet the overarching story of Barry seeing an older version of himself is pushed into an Arrow sequel A Generation of Vipers by the same authors. This, again, felt like a well-developed 2-part tv show with enough of unanswered questions to make me want to read the sequel even though I don’t enjoy Arrow as much as Flash.

Harper Voyager Super Reader Application

Calling all SciFi/Fantasy readers!
Spreading news from Harper Voyager…

ARE YOU A HARPER VOYAGER?

Are you a fan of Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy or Horror? Would you like special access to e-galleys, author interactions, and swag? If so, the Harper Voyager US team invites you to apply to become a “Harper Voyager” super reader!

As a Harper Voyager super reader, you’ll get special access to early review copies, special entry to an exclusive online forum where they can post reviews and thoughts about the exclusive book previews, engage in private author chats, and special interactions with Harper Voyager authors at regional events. Most of all, we hope our super readers will help generate excitement for our stellar authors!

Please Note: This program is asking super readers to post honest reviews on Goodreads and consumer sites, participation in online Voyager events; virtual support of Voyager authors across social media. If you chose to post these reviews online at consumer websites, you must disclose in the review that you received your copy for free and send us a link to the review.

Entry period: March 14, 2017 – May 4, 2017

Twenty Harper Voyager US super readers will be selected by May 19, 2017.

Terms and Conditions:
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SciFi Book Review: Star Wars: Aftermath: Empire’s End

Star Wars: Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig

Synopsis:
As the final showdown between the New Republic and the Empire draws near, all eyes turn to a once-isolated planet: Jakku.

The Battle of Endor shattered the Empire, scattering its remaining forces across the galaxy. But the months following the Rebellion’s victory have not been easy. The fledgling New Republic has suffered a devastating attack from the Imperial remnant, forcing the new democracy to escalate their hunt for the hidden enemy.

For her role in the deadly ambush, Grand Admiral Rae Sloane is the most wanted Imperial war criminal—and one-time rebel pilot Norra Wexley, back in service at Leia’s urgent request, is leading the hunt. But more than just loyalty to the New Republic drives Norra forward: Her husband was turned into a murderous pawn in Sloane’s assassination plot, and now she wants vengeance as much as justice.

But Sloane, too, is on a furious quest: pursuing the treacherous Gallius Rax to the barren planet Jakku. As the true mastermind behind the Empire’s devastating attack, Rax has led the Empire to its defining moment. The cunning strategist has gathered the powerful remnants of the Empire’s war machine, preparing to execute the late Emperor Palpatine’s final plan. As the Imperial fleet orbits Jakku, an armada of Republic fighters closes in to finish what began at Endor. Norra and her crew soar into the heart of an apocalyptic clash that will leave land and sky alike scorched. And the future of the galaxy will finally be decided.

Review:
Empire’s End is the final installment in the Aftermath trilogy set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Events build to the final battle at Jakku, which explains the evidence of wrecked ships in The Force Awakens.

This trilogy has been great about filling in gaps as well as building an engaging cast of new characters and adventures. The interludes are particularly fun with brief snippets into other characters who aren’t the main focus of this series. With plenty of political intrigue, revenge, and colorful characters – this is an impressive and exciting finale.

SciFi Book Review: The Release

The Release by Tom Isbell

Synopsis:
Two months have passed since Book, Cat, Hope, and the others rescued the remaining Less Thans from Liberty, but they aren’t safe yet, and soon they’ll have to risk everything in order to defeat their enemies.

The group must leave the camp for good and escape the wolves, the Brown Shirts, and the Hunters. Most important, they need to stop Chancellor Maddox before she executes her Final Solution and grows even more powerful.

While the others are seeking freedom, for Hope, the battle has become personal. She wants revenge, no matter what the cost—and she’s willing to sacrifice anything standing in her way. The group may still be weak, but they don’t have time to wait. They must overthrow the Chancellor, even if it means joining forces with those who once betrayed them.

Review:
The Release is the final installment in The Prey trilogy. This post-apocalyptic series has built to a pulse-pounding, climactic ending. Book is focused on the future, while Hope is focused on revenge. The two still struggle with their uneasy relationship. And the group faces seemingly insurmountable odds as their own government has turned a blind eye to atrocities against their own. This has been a fantastic trilogy with a roller coaster ride of emotions and suspense.

This finale has been bittersweet. I’m sad to say goodbye to these intriguing characters, but happy that we got a satisfying (if dramatic) ending. This is a series I recommend to fans of Hunger Games and Maze Runner.

Fantasy Book Review: The Dragon’s Price

The Dragon’s Price by Bethany Wiggins

Synopsis:
When two warring kingdoms unified against a deadly menace laying waste to both their lands, they had to make a choice: vow to marry their heirs to one another, or forfeit their lives to the dragon.

Centuries later, everyone expects the sheltered princess Sorrowlynn to choose the barbarian prince over the fire-breathing beast—everyone, that is, except Sorrow, who is determined to control her own destiny or die trying.

As she is lowered into the dragon’s chamber, she assumes her life is over until Golmarr, the young prince she just spurned, follows her with the hopes of being her hero and slaying the dragon. But the dragon has a different plan. . . .

If the dragon wins, it will be freed from the spell that has bound it to the cave for centuries. If Sorrow or Golmarr vanquish the dragon, the victor will gain its treasure and escape the cave beneath the mountain. But what exactly is the dragon hiding?

There are no safe havens for Sorrow or Golmarr—not even with each other—and the stakes couldn’t be higher as they risk everything to protect their kingdom.

Review:
Sorrowlynn is a sad, sheltered girl. When the time comes to choose to marry a stranger or take her chances against a dragon – she chooses possible death. Golmarr sees her spirit and decides to follow her, to slay the dragon.

The Dragon’s Price is the first in an exciting fantasy trilogy for young adults. I’ve read other books by Wiggins, so I was excited to pick this one up. Once again, her characters are engaging and the story completely captivating. I hope to see Sorrowlynn grow to be more assertive and not rely so much on a man to save her in the upcoming novels. Her actions in the dragon’s cave made for the best scene in the story. The story is full of suspense, magic, and a bit of romance. And a dramatic twist leads to a mildly climactic ending that left me wanting more. The next in this trilogy can’t come soon enough.