Tag Archives: ya

Fantasy Book Review: Ink



Ink by Alice Broadway

Synopsis:
There are no secrets in Saintstone.

From the second you’re born, every achievement, every failing, every significant moment are all immortalized on your skin. There are honorable marks that let people know you’re trustworthy. And shameful tattoos that announce you as a traitor.

After her father dies, Leora finds solace in the fact that his skin tells a wonderful story. That is, until she glimpses a mark on the back of his neck… the symbol of the worst crime a person can commit in Saintstone. Leora knows it has to be a mistake, but before she can do anything about it, the horrifying secret gets out, jeopardizing her father’s legacy… and Leora’s life.

Review:
Leora lives in a land where everyone is tattooed with their life story. People without tattoos are considered “blanks” and outcasts. When she realizes that her deceased father had a mark on his neck that labeled him a traitor, everything she believes is put into question.

Ink is a thought-provoking, dramatic fantasy for teens and adults. This inspired world is fascinating and beautifully written. It’s a quick read with plenty of intense suspense. There are some fun and surprising twists along the way. And this gripping story had me hooked until the surprising finale.

Fantasy Book Review: Markswoman

Markswoman by Rati Mehrotra

Synopsis:
Kyra is the youngest Markswoman in the Order of Kali, one of a handful of sisterhoods of highly trained elite warriors. Armed with blades whose metal is imbued with magic and guided by a strict code of conduct, the Orders are sworn to keep the peace and protect the people of Asiana. Kyra has pledged to do so—yet she secretly harbors a fierce desire to avenge her murdered family.

When Tamsyn, the powerful and dangerous Mistress of Mental Arts, assumes control of the Order, Kyra is forced on the run. She is certain that Tamsyn committed murder in a twisted bid for power, but she has no proof.

Kyra escapes through one of the strange Transport Hubs that are the remnants of Asiana’s long-lost past and finds herself in the unforgiving wilderness of a desert that is home to the Order of Khur, the only Order composed of men. Among them is Rustan, a disillusioned Marksman whose skill with a blade is unmatched. He understands the desperation of Kyra’s quest to prove Tamsyn’s guilt, and as the two grow closer, training daily on the windswept dunes of Khur, both begin to question their commitment to their Orders. But what they don’t yet realize is that the line between justice and vengeance is thin… as thin as the blade of a knife.

Review:
Kyra is a Markswoman, an assassin who has a psychic link to her sword. When her mentor dies under mysterious circumstances, Kyra immediately suspects her cruel Mental Arts instructor, Tamsyn. Kyra flees and finds herself among a separate order of male Marksmen. And they agree to train her to duel Tamsyn when they hear her story.

Markswoman is the first in a dramatic, new fantasy series. The worldbuilding is intriguing, with magical weapons and a mysterious history. The pacing is steady. And the story and characters pulled me in. Full of intrigue, drama, action, and a bit of romance – this first installment sets a high bar. It’s an impressive debut. The suspense builds to a cliffhanger ending that left me eager for the next in the series.

SciFi Book Review: Black Panther: The Young Prince

Black Panther The Young Prince by Ronald L Smith

Synopsis:
Black Panther. Ruler of Wakanda. Avenger.

This is his destiny. But right now, he’s simply T’Challa-the young prince.

Life is comfortable for twelve-year-old T’Challa in his home of Wakanda, an isolated, technologically advanced African nation. When he’s not learning how to rule a kingdom from his father-the reigning Black Panther-or testing out the latest tech, he’s off breaking rules with his best friend, M’Baku. But as conflict brews near Wakanda, T’Challa’s father makes a startling announcement: he’s sending T’Challa and M’Baku to school in America.

This is no prestigious private academy-they’ve been enrolled at South Side Middle School in the heart of Chicago. Despite being given a high-tech suit and a Vibranium ring to use only in case of an emergency, T’Challa realizes he might not be as equipped to handle life in America as he thought. Especially when it comes to navigating new friendships while hiding his true identity as the prince of a powerful nation, and avoiding Gemini Jones, a menacing classmate who is rumored to be involved in dark magic.

When strange things begin happening around school, T’Challa sets out to uncover the source. But what he discovers in the process is far more sinister than he could ever have imagined. In order to protect his friends and stop an ancient evil, T’Challa must take on the mantle of a hero, setting him on the path to becoming the Black Panther.

Review:
T’Challa and his best friend M’Baku are sent to school in Chicago when Wakanda becomes too dangerous. But M’Baku drifts away as he chooses different, cruel friends. And T’Challa discovers a dangerous plot that he feels compelled to investigate and protect those he cares about.

Black Panther: The Young Prince is a great introduction to T’Challa as a youth. This story is geared towards middle readers, but is a fun read for older fans as well. There are some fun, believable characters that pull the reader into the story. And the plot is an exciting mystery, with drama and suspense. I thoroughly enjoyed this fast-paced, engaging novel. And it’s a great book to tide over fans until the Black Panther film releases.

SciFiChick’s Best of 2017

Only 109 books read this year. I was slacking!
I’m also a month behind on compiling this list! But here is the list of my favorite books that I read that were published in 2017:

SciFi

Star Wars: Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden
Reviewed here.

Star Trek: Discovery: Desperate Hours by David Mack
Reviewed here.

Invictus by Ryan Graudin
Reviewed here.

Star Trek: Section 31: Control by David Mack
Reviewed here.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Headlong Flight by Dayton Ward
Reviewed here.

Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
Reviewed here.

Fantasy

Besieged by Kevin Hearne
Reviewed here.

Nightshift by Charlaine Harris

Youth/YA SciFi

Star Wars: Rebel Rising by Beth Revis
Reviewed here.

The Release by Tom Isbell
Reviewed here.

Alone by Scott Sigler
Reviewed here.

Replica by Lauren Oliver
Reviewed here.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale
Reviewed here.

Youth/YA Fantasy

Wings of Fire: Darkness of Dragons by Tui T Sutherland
Reviewed here.

The Adventurer’s Guild by Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos
Reviewed here.

Have Sword Will Travel by Garth Nix and Sean Williams
Reviewed here.

The Quest to the Uncharted Lands by Jaleigh Johnson
Reviewed here.

Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull
Reviewed here.

The Dragon’s Price by Bethany Wiggins
Reviewed here.

SciFi Book Review: Assassin’s Creed: Last Descendants: Fate of the Gods

Assassin’s Creed: Last Descendants: Fate of the Gods by Matthew J. Kirby

Synopsis:
Only one piece of the Trident of Eden remains – Isaiah, a rogue Templar agent, has discovered both the faith prong and the fear prong of this powerful relic. Should he possess the devotion prong, there is little that can stop him. For the time being, Owen and his fellow teens have established an uneasy alliance across Assassin and Templar lines in order to stop Isaiah while they still can.

Over a thousand years earlier, Styrbjorn the Strong, a Danish warrior, leads the Jomsvikings against the Danish king, Harald Bluetooth. It is on those Viking battlefields that the secrets of the devotion prong lie. It is there that the fate of the world, the truth behind the teens’ collective unconsciousness, and their ancestral links to one another lie. History has already been written. The rest is up to Owen, Javier, and the other members of their unlikely alliance. The actions they take will change the world of Assassin’s Creed forever.

Review:
Fate of the Gods is the final installment in the Last Descendants trilogy set in the Assassin’s Creed universe. This group of teens have been through several ancestors’ memories that have tested their mental resolve. And Owen decided to stay with the megalomaniac Isaiah – which puts Owen’s life at risk and Isaiah close to having all three pieces of a powerful artifact.

The final piece of the trident, has been traced to ancient Scandinavia. So the teens get to experience their ancestors as Vikings. The Viking ancestors are pitted against each other in a brutal battle that culminates to a surprising ending. This was my favorite book in the trilogy – full of action, intrigue, and drama – both in and out of the Animus. The story arc concludes in an exciting way. But I will certainly miss some of these characters.

Book Giveaway: Scythe and Thunderhead

Thunderhead-PlannerPrize_preview

Simon & Schuster is partnering with SciFiChick.com for a new giveaway!

Live As If You’ll Never Be Gleaned
Start the new year living life to the fullest! One (1) winner receives:
• Copies of Scythe and Thunderhead
• Plus a 2018 planner and colorful pen set to kick-start the new year!

Prizing and samples provided by Simon & Schuster.

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends January 19. I’ll draw a name on January 20, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Book #1 Synopsis: Scythe
Two teens must learn the “art of killing” in this Printz Honor–winning book, the first in a chilling new series from Neal Shusterman, author of the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Scythe is the first novel of a thrilling new series by National Book Award–winning author Neal Shusterman in which Citra and Rowan learn that a perfect world comes only with a heavy price.

Book #2 Synopsis: Thunderhead
Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the chilling sequel to the Printz Honor Book Scythe from New York Times bestseller Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

The Thunderhead cannot interfere in the affairs of the Scythedom. All it can do is observe—it does not like what it sees.

A year has passed since Rowan had gone off grid. Since then, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. His story is told in whispers across the continent. As Scythe Anastasia, Citra gleans with compassion and openly challenges the ideals of the “new order.” But when her life is threatened and her methods questioned, it becomes clear that not everyone is open to the change.

Will the Thunderhead intervene? Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?

Author Bio:
Neal Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, including The Unwind Dystology, The Skinjacker trilogy, Downsiders, and Challenger Deep, which won the National Book Award. Scythe, the first book in his newest series Arc of a Scythe, is a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows. The father of four children, Neal lives in California. Visit him at Storyman.com and Facebook.com/NealShusterman.

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Scythe and Thunderhead

Book Review: Gunslinger Girl

Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely

Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Serendipity “Pity” Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She’s been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great.

Review:
When Pity learns she is about to be sold off by her father, she decides to escape to the West. However, the place she flees to has it’s own set of rules. And earning her keep may destroy her soul. Pity is talented with her mother’s hand-me-down pistols. But she’s never had to kill a man.

Gunslinger Girl is set in an alternate world of a Wild West, after America had a second Civil War. The land is harsh, and still allows for backward and cruel treatment of women. I was hesitant with the first couple chapters, but the story picked up and wasn’t as dark as it initially felt. Pity and her love interest are sweet and relatable. The story is fast-paced and full of drama, intrigue, suspense, and a bit of romance. Events build to a surprising and action-packed finale. And this captivating debut leaves off in an interesting way that will leave readers eager for the next in the series.

SciFi Book Review: The Last Girl On Earth

The Last Girl on Earth by Alexandra Blogier

Synopsis:
Li has a father and a sister who love her. A best friend, Mirabae, to share things with. She goes to school and hangs out at the beach and carefully follows the rules. She has to. Everyone she knows–her family, her teachers, her friends–is an alien. And she is the only human left on Earth.

Review:
Li is a human, raised by an alien father. She has to hide what she is for fear of death. Even her best friend doesn’t know the truth. She has to work harder than anyone to earn a place as an officer. But when she meets Ryn, her heart trumps what her head tells her to do.

At just 256 pages, with fast pacing, The Last Girl on Earth almost felt like a short story. This YA science fiction story had an intriguing premise that pulled me in right away. However, it wasn’t too hard for Li to fit in as the only difference between the aliens and humans are gills – and physical activity and intelligence come easier for the aliens. Though a quick read, it a sweet and enjoyable read. Though, I would have liked more of a backstory or more depth to the aliens. This debut has plenty of suspense and romance that culminates with a surprising twist finale.