Tag Archives: ya

SciFi Book Review: Assassin’s Creed: Last Descendants: Tomb of the Khan

Assassin’s Creed: Last Descendants: Tomb of the Khan by Matthew J Kirby

Synopsis:
Owen and his friends have lost. When they located the first piece of an ancient and powerful relic long considered a legend – the Trident of Eden – it seemed little could stop them. This piece was sought by the Brotherhood of Assassins and the Templar Order, but before either organization could take the piece, it was stolen by an unknown third party. The relationship between the teens fractured-Owen and his friend Javier taking sides with the Assassins, the others with the Templars.

Now there are still two pieces of the Trident of Eden to find, and both are determined not to repeat their mistakes. The next piece is said to have been buried with the Mongol warlord Mongke Khan, whose tomb has never been found. Teens on either side of the conflict will have to go into simulations in war-torn Mongolian China in a race against time to discover the next piece, and ensure their safety before their enemies find it first.

Review:
Owen and Javier are working with the Brotherhood of Assassins to find the missing relics before the Templars. Meanwhile, the rest of their friends were taken by the Templars and have been helping them. But young David is wise and begins to question the Templars and their true motives.

Tomb of the Khan is a direct sequel to Last Descendants, and is much more exciting than the first in the series. From action-packed ancestor scenes, to intrigue involving the Templars, Assassin’s Creed fans of all ages will enjoy this youth series. Though, I’m not a gamer, I have become a fan of the books – in fact, I can’t get enough of them. The combination of history and science fiction – a kind of time travel that can’t be altered. The characters are incredibly engaging as well as the fast-paced story that leaves off in another cliffhanger. The next in the series can’t come soon enough.

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: 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.

Received in February

The following are the books, movies, television shows, etc. I received in February for review and/or giveaways:

Mystery Boxes:
TeeBlox
Bam Box

Abrams:
Star Wars Topps Classic Sticker Book by The Topps Company

Ace:
Vanguard by Jack Campbell

Daw:
The Holver Alley Crew by Marshall Ryan Maresca

Del Rey:
Star Wars: Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig
Radiate by C. A. Higgins
Eagle and Empire by Alan Smale

Disney Hyperion / Marvel:
The Zodiac Legacy: Balance of Power by Stan Lee
Night Night, Groot by Brendan Deneen
Starfall by Melissa Landers
The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari

Harper Teen:
The Release by Tom Isbell

Harper Voyager:
The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst
Talon of God by Wesley Snipes
The Bones of the Earth by Rachel Dunne
The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
The Dastardly Miss Lizzie by Viola Carr
The Malice by Peter Newman
The Bones of the Earth by Rachel Dunne

HMH / Clarion Books:
Journey Across the Hidden Islands by Sarah Beth Durst
Fish Girl by David Wiesner

Little, Brown:
Humans, Bow Down by James Patterson

Macmillan Children’s / Feiwel and Friends:
Vanguard by Ann Aguirre

Penguin / Putnam:
The Wanderers by Meg Howrey

Pocket Books:
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Long Mirage by David R. George Iii

Pyr:
Worldshaker by J. F. Lewis
Black City Demon by Richard A. Knaak

Random House Books for Young Readers / Delacorte Press:
Disruptor by Arwen Elys Dayton
The Sand Warrior by Mark Siegel

Scholastic / Chicken House:
Backstories: Batgirl: New Hero of the Night by Matthew Manning
Frogkisser! by Garth Nix
Time Shifters by Chris Grine
George Brown, Class Clown: Return to the Scene of the Burp #19 by Nancy Krulik

Subterranean Press:
The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch
Mightier than the Sword by K. J. Parker
The Unorthodox Dr. Draper and Other Stories by William Browning Spencer

Titan Books:
The Blacklist: The Beekeeper No. 159 by Steven Piziks
Flash: The Haunting of Barry Allen by Susan Griffith

Tor:
Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey
Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis
A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab

Tor Teen:
Night Magic by Jenna Black

Ubisoft:
Assassin’s Creed: The Official Movie Novelization by Christie Golden

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on Digital HD March 24 and Blu-ray April 4!

Star Wars fans, rejoice!

From Press Release: “Announced today on The Star Wars Show and StarWars.com, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” will be coming home on Digital HD on March 24th and Blu-ray on April 4th. This news comes on the heels of the start of production announcement of the untitled Han Solo Star Wars Story. “Rogue One” has established its place within the Star Warsuniverse and the hearts of moviegoers, becoming the seventh highest-grossing film of all time in the U.S.

Arriving early on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on March 24, and on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD and On-Demand on April 4, the release includes never-before-seen “Rogue One” bonus material that will take fans behind the scenes with the movie’s diverse, dynamic cast and inspired team of filmmakers. An intimate collection of stories reveals how the film came to life, as well as hidden Easter Eggs and film facts that audiences may have missed in the theater.

Bonus features include*:
• A Rogue Idea – Hear how ILM’s John Knoll came up with the movie’s concept – and why it’s the right film to launch the Star Wars stand-alone films.
• Jyn: The Rebel – Get to know Rogue One’s defiant, resourceful survivor, and hear what it was like for Felicity Jones to bring her to life onscreen.
• Cassian: The Spy – Diego Luna shares insights into his complex, driven character, who becomes a hero through selflessness, perseverance and passion.
• K-2SO: The Droid – Explore the development of this reprogrammed Imperial droid, from initial pitch and character design through Alan Tudyk’s performance.
• Baze & Chirrut: Guardians of the Whills – Go deeper into the relationship between these two very different characters, with Chinese superstars Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen.
• Bodhi & Saw: The Pilot & The Revolutionary – Forest Whitaker and Riz Ahmed reflect on Saw Gerrera, the broken Rebel leader, and Bodhi Rook, the Imperial pilot who defects.
• The Empire – Meet a dangerous new Imperial adversary…and cross paths once more with the most iconic villain of all time.
• Visions of Hope: The Look of “Rogue One” – The filmmakers describe the challenges and thrills of developing a bold new look for the movie that can fit within the world of the original trilogy.
• The Princess & The Governor – See what it took to bring the vibrant young princess of “Star Wars: A New Hope” – as well as one of her most memorable foes– – back to the screen.
• Epilogue: The Story Continues – Filmmakers and cast celebrate Rogue One’s premiere and look forward into the future, to the Star Wars stories yet to be told.
• Rogue Connections – Uncover Easter eggs and film facts hidden throughout the movie that connect “Rogue One” to the Star Wars universe.
* Digital bonus offerings may vary by retailer. ”

SciFi Book Review: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World

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

Synopsis:
WHO RUNS THE WORLD? SQUIRRELS! Fourteen-year-old Doreen Green moved from sunny California to the suburbs of New Jersey. She must start at a new school, make new friends, and continue to hide her tail. Yep, Doreen has the powers of . . . a squirrel! After failing at several attempts to find her new BFF, Doreen feels lonely and trapped, liked a caged animal. Then one day Doreen uses her extraordinary powers to stop a group of troublemakers from causing mischief in the neighborhood, and her whole life changes. Everyone at school is talking about it! Doreen contemplates becoming a full-fledged Super Hero. And thus, Squirrel Girl is born! She saves cats from trees, keeps the sidewalks clean, and dissuades vandalism. All is well until a real-life Super Villain steps out of the shadows and declares Squirrel Girl his archenemy. Can Doreen balance being a teenager and a Super Hero? Or will she go . . . NUTS?

Review:
Doreen is a sweet and naive girl, just trying to make some new friends in her new school. But besides her different personality, she also hides a big secret – she has a big, bushy tail and can talk to squirrels. I’m a big fan of the comics, so I couldn’t wait to check out this novel.

Squirrel Meets World is a quirky and fun book, very similar to the comics – even including comments at the bottom of every page. The plot is very predictable, but it is written for a younger audience. And it only reinforces how sweet and innocent Squirrel Girl is. My favorite parts were when she messaged various Avengers as well as Rocket Raccoon for advice. The humor makes this series standout. Fans of all ages will enjoy this fun-filled adventure.