Fantasy Book Review: Incarnate

Incarnate by Anton Strout

When Alexandra Belarus discovered her family’s secret ability to breathe life into stone, she uncovered an entire world of magic hidden within New York City—a world she has accidentally thrown into chaos. A spell gone awry has set thousands of gargoyles loose upon Manhattan, and it’s up to Lexi and her faithful protector, Stanis, to put things right.

But the stress of saving the city is casting a pall over Lexi and Stanis’s relationship, driving them to work separately to solve the problem. As Stanis struggles to unite the gargoyle population, Lexi forges unlikely alliances with witches, alchemists and New York’s Finest to quell an unsettling uprising led by an ancient and deadly foe long thought vanquished.

To save her city, Lexi must wield more power than ever before with the added hope of recovering a mysterious artifact that could change her world—and bring her closer to Stanis than she ever thought possible.

Following the events in Stonecast, Lexi and her friends are hunting down rogue gargoyles (grotesques). And the local police are catching on that something supernatural is causing multiple disturbances. Lexi will need all the help she can get in bringing down her latest adversary who is malevolent and mysterious.

Lexi is also trying to sort out her feelings for the men in her life. And the possibility of a pendant that could mean a future for her and Stanis gives her a clearer mind.

Incarnate is a fast-paced and thrilling finale to a great, fantasy trilogy. Though I’ll miss the characters, the storylines and overlying arc are wrapped up nicely. Always full of surprises, this was an enjoyable read that was suspenseful and dramatic. The climactic ending doesn’t disappoint. And this trilogy will always make me wish I lived in a city that had old buildings with gargoyles decorating the rooftops.

SciFi Book Review: The Revenge of Seven

The Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore

In Chicago, John makes the unlikeliest of allies: Adam, a Mogadorian who turned his back on his people. He has invaluable information about Mog technology, battle strategies, and weaknesses. Most important, he knows where to hit them: their command base near Washington, DC. During the assault, however, John and Adam learn the unimaginable truth: it is too late. The Mogadorians have commenced their ultimate invasion plans.
With a front-row seat to the impending invasion, Ella finds herself in the hands of the enemy. For some reason she’s more valuable to them alive, and they’ll stop at nothing to turn her.
Meanwhile, Six, Nine, and Marina make their way through the Florida Everglades, hot on the trail of the traitorous Five. With the development of a new Legacy, Marina finally has the power to fight back—if her thirst for revenge doesn’t consume her first.
The Garde are broken and divided once again, but they will not be defeated. As long as one still stands, the battle for Earth’s survival is not lost.

With an unlikely new ally, John and his crew may have a fighting chance against the invading force of aliens, despite their recent betrayal. And while the previous book’s title was a huge spoiler, the title of this is fairly misleading, as there is no spirit of revenge by Seven or any other character. At least not after they see how Five has been affected by the death at his hands.

Since readers have to wait a year in between each installment and several characters only go by numbers instead of names (making it confusing to keep track of to begin with), I always have to read a recap of what happened before. Thankfully, as I begin reading, most of what happened in the previous novels comes back to me. And these last two installments are easily the best so far.

The Revenge of Seven is the fifth book in the Lorien Legacies. The sixth is rumored to be the last, but there could still be more story left to tell. Each installment uncovers more of the intriguing backstory of the Loriens and the characters become more fleshed out as well. Fast-paced and full of suspense and drama – the intensity grew to another exciting, climactic ending. The next book can’t come soon enough.

SciFi Book Review: Lock In

Lock In by John Scalzi

Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent – and nearly five million souls in the United States alone – the disease causes “Lock In”: Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what’s now known as “Haden’s syndrome,” rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an “integrator” – someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated.

But “complicated” doesn’t begin to describe it. As Shane and Vann began to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery – and the real crime – is bigger than anyone could have imagined. The world of the locked in is changing, and with the change comes opportunities that the ambitious will seize at any cost. The investigation that began as a murder case takes Shane and Vann from the halls of corporate power to the virtual spaces of the locked in, and to the very heart of an emerging, surprising new human culture. It’s nothing you could have expected.

Scalzi’s latest future world is another inspired and unforgettable one. A horrifying disease leaves a large portion of the world’s population paralyzed. But the technology has been created to use robotic bodies or “borrow” the rented bodies of willing donors. Shane is one of these “Lock In” victims who uses a synthetic body to stay mobile and work for the FBI.

Lock In is another fantastic standalone novel by one of today’s best scifi authors. The characters are engaging and the pacing is spot on. Full of mystery, intrigue, suspense, and fascinating technology – this novel is hard to put down. Scalzi’s novels are always a must-read and this is no exception. From a chilling idea to a thrilling execution and several fun plot twists – Lock In will certainly be making my top reads of 2014 list.

Fantasy Book Review: The Jewel

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel means wealth, the Jewel means beauty—but for Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Born and raised in the Marsh, Violet finds herself living in the Jewel as a servant at the estate of the Duchess of the Lake. Addressed only by her number—#197—Violet is quickly thrown into the royal way of life. But behind its opulent and glittering facade, the Jewel hides its cruel and brutal truth, filled with violence, manipulation, and death.
Violet must accept the ugly realities of her life . . . all while trying to stay alive. But before she can accept her fate, Violet meets a handsome boy who is also under the Duchess’s control, and a forbidden love erupts. But their illicit affair has consequences, which will cost them both more than they bargained for. And toeing the line between being calculating and rebellious, Violet must decide what, and who, she is willing to risk for her own freedom.

Violet is a poor girl who is genetically attractive to the elite, ruling class and is subsequently sold as surrogate for the Duchess of the Lake. She is treated less as a slave, and though she acts subservient, she maintains her sense of self and craves freedom. Violet meets someone who claims to be able to help her escape, but her plans of fleeing the Jewel are complicated when she falls in love.

The Jewel is first in a new trilogy set in a futuristic fantasy world ruled by a harsh caste system. More about the surrogacy and its need is uncovered throughout the story. This was a fast-paced and thrilling debut from a talented new author. With vivid characters, a plenty of suspense and drama – I was captivated till the very end. There is a bit of a cliffhanger ending that left me wanting more. Readers will be eagerly awaiting the next in the series.

Blu-Ray Giveaway: Arrow The Complete 2nd Season

Courtesy of Warner Bros., I have a copy of Arrow: The Complete Season 2 Blu-ray for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends October 10. I’ll draw a name on October 11, and notify winner via email.


Good luck!

Starling City has been torn apart by the Undertaking, so the need for the hooded vigilante– now known as The Arrow – is more urgent than ever in the explosive second season of the hit action series based on DC Comics’ Green Arrow. After retreating to the island on which he was once stranded, Oliver Queen returns to protect his mother, sister and besieged company – , but comes to realize that allies and enemies have switched sides, and the stranglehold of evil on family, friends and city is diabolically linked to his fateful shipwreck. A once-tight comrade-at-arms and a strength-enhancing, yet mind-warping serum may prove to be the mightiest adversaries The Arrow has ever encountered. Can justice find its target in this breathlessly exciting, 23-episode Season Two? Or will all fall before the fury of Deathstroke?

Read moreBlu-Ray Giveaway: Arrow The Complete 2nd Season

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