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.

Exclusive Book Trailer: Nightborn

Thrones & Bones: Nightborn releases today!

Synopsis:
From the author of Frostborn comes Book 2 in the acclaimed Thrones and Bones fantasy-adventure trilogy for fans of Lloyd Alexander and Brandon Mull.

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?

The novel includes instructions for playing the board game Charioteers. Visit ThronesandBones.com for additional games, maps, character profiles, and more!

About the Author:
Lou Anders drew on his adventures traveling across Europe in his teens and twenties to write Nightborn, combining these experiences with his love of globe-trotting adventure fiction. However, he has yet to ride a wyvern. With the addition of characters Desstra and Tanthal, Anders hopes that the second book in the Thrones and Bones series will continue to appeal to boy and girl readers equally. Anders is the recipient of a Hugo Award for editing and a Chesley Award for art direction. He has published over five hundred articles and stories on science fiction and fantasy television and literature. A prolific speaker, Anders regularly attends writing conventions around the country. He and his family reside in Birmingham, Alabama. You can visit Anders online at louanders.com and ThronesandBones.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter at @ThronesandBones.

Exclusive Excerpt: Spider’s Trap

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Spider’s Trap excerpt #1:
“I really want to stab someone right now.”

Silvio Sanchez, my personal assistant, glanced at me. “I would advise against that,” he murmured. “It might send the wrong message.”

“Yeah,” Phillip Kincaid chimed in. “Namely that you’ve reverted back to your deadly assassin ways and are going to start killing people again instead of hearing them out like you’re supposed to.”

“I never really left those ways behind,” I replied. “Considering that I could kill everyone here and sleep like a baby tonight.”
Phillip snickered, while Silvio rolled his eyes.

The three of us were sitting at a conference table that had been dragged out onto the deck of the Delta Queen, the luxe riverboat casino that Phillip owned. Normally, slot machines, poker tables, and roulette wheels would have been set up on the deck in preparation for the night’s gambling, but today the riverboat was serving as a meeting spot between some of Ashland’s many underworld bosses.

Supposedly, this meeting was to be a peaceful mediation of a dispute between Dimitri Barkov and Luiz Ramos, two of the city’s crime lords, who were disagreeing about who had the right to buy a series of coin laundries to, well, launder the money that they made from their gambling operations. Not that there was anything peaceful about the way that Dimitri and Luiz had been standing nose-to-nose and screaming at each other for the last five minutes. Their respective guards stood behind them, fists clenched tight and shooting dirty looks at each other, as though they would all love nothing more than to start brawling in the middle of the deck.

Now that would be entertaining. I grinned. Maybe I should let them have at each other, gladiator-style. Winner take all. That would be one way to settle things.


coverSynopsis:
Keep your friends close but your enemies within stabbing distance.
One important lesson I’ve learned in the assassination business is that to be the best you have to roll with the punches. Now that I’m queen of Ashland’s underworld — by default, not by choice — a lot more punches are being thrown my way. But I suppose that’s the price of victory for taking down some of the underworld’s top dogs. Good thing I have my Ice and Stone magic to help me survive my volatile new position. Just when I think things are finally settling down, someone tries to murder me during a hush-hush underworld meeting. But the real surprise is how strangely familiar my shadowy assailant seems to be.
My job is to maintain order among killers, crooks, and thieves, and soon I’m embroiled in a bloody game where the ability to keep secrets could be the greatest superpower of all. My enemies have all sharpened their knives and laid their traps, waiting for me to fall. But this Spider weaves her own webs of death…


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