SciFi Book Review: Polaris

Polaris by Mindee Arnett

Jeth Seagrave and his crew are on the run. The ITA, still holding Jeth’s mother in a remote research lab, is now intent on acquiring the metatech secrets Jeth’s sister Cora carries inside her DNA, and Jeth is desperate to find the resources he needs to rescue his mother and start a new life outside the Confederation. But the ITA is just as desperate, and Jeth soon finds himself pursued by a mysterious figure hell-bent on capturing him and his crew—dead or alive.

With nowhere to run and only one play left, Jeth enters into a bargain with the last person he ever thought he’d see again: Daxon Price, the galaxy’s newest and most ruthless crime lord. Dax promises to help Jeth, but his help will only come at a price—a price that could mean sacrificing everything Jeth has fought for until now.

The crew of the Avalon return for a new adventure in deep space. Jeth is working to save his mother. But she offers a surprising trade that will put everyone at risk in a daring attempt to save an enslaved alien race.

Polaris is the sequel and conclusion to Avalon, an exciting Firefly-like adventure. The crew are outlaws with various specialties that make them good thieves and conmen. This exciting conclusion doesn’t disappoint with plenty of danger, suspense, heart-wrenching drama, and intrigue. Adult and young adult science fiction fans will enjoy this space romp duology. It’s a lot of fun. I only wish it was a longer series that continued past these two novels.

SciFi Book Review: Firefight

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

Newcago is free.

They told David it was impossible, that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet Steelheart–invincible, immortal, unconquerable–is dead. And he died by David’s hand.

Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life simpler. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And no one in Newcago can give him answers.

Babylon Restored, the city formerly known as the borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic Regalia, Babylon Restored is flooded and miserable, but David is sure it’s the path that will lead him to what he needs to find. Entering a city oppressed by a High Epic despot is risky, but David’s willing to take the gamble. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David’s heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic–Firefight. And now he will go on a quest darker and even more dangerous than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.

David and his team travel to the former New York, where the Epic in charge of the city has drawn them for some mysterious reason. Regalia can control water and has flooded the city, but has seemed to become an almost benign ruler of late. Unless you count the murderous Epics she has hired to entrap the Reckoners. David is suspicious, but even more so of the assumption that all Epics are evil. He hasn’t given up on Firefight and refuses to consider that she’s beyond saving.

Firefight is the second installment in The Reckoners series. I enjoyed this sequel even more than the first. With creative and complex characters and backstories, an unpredictable and twisted plot, and plenty of action – this book is hard to put down. I highly recommend this fantastic series to fans of superheroes (and villains). It’s a captivating and inspired series of which I can’t get enough.

Fantasy Book Review: Spell Blind

Spell Blind by David B Coe

Justis Fearsson is a private investigator on the trail of a serial killer in Phoenix, Arizona. Justis is also a weremyste—a person with a wizard’s gifts and the ability to see into the paranormal world. Unfortunately, weremystes also tend to go crazy on the full moon—which is why Justis is no longer a cop. Hard to explain those absences as anything but mental breakdown. But now an old case from his police detective days has come back to haunt him, literally, as a serial killer known as the Blind Angel strikes again. His signature stroke: burning out the victims’ eyes with magic. Now the victims are piling up, including the daughter of a senator, and Justis must race to stop the Blind Angel before he, she, or it kills again. There’s only one clue he’s got to go on: the Blind Angel is using the most powerful magic Justis has ever encountered, and if he doesn’t watch his own magical step, he may end up just as dead as the other vics.

Justis is a relatable, likeable guy who happens to have magical abilities, that in turn cause a mental instability. He is called in by his former partner to help investigate an unsolved case of his from years ago. And as Justis follows the killer’s trail, he realizes the killer is watching him.

Spell Blind is the first in a new urban fantasy series. Fans of the Dresden Files may enjoy this magical PI. He even has a magical familiar who helps train and prepare Justis for this impossibly powerful foe. It’s a creepy supernatural thriller with plenty of colorful characters, suspense, and even a bit of romance. The drama builds to an exciting showdown that doesn’t disappoint.

Fantasy Book Review: The Originals: The Rise

The Originals: The Rise by Julie Plec

Family is power. The Original vampire family swore it to each other a thousand years ago. They pledged to remain together always and forever. But even when you’re immortal, promises are hard to keep.

Arriving in New Orleans in 1722, Original vampire siblings Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah Mikaelson believe they’ve escaped their dangerous past. But the city is lawless, a haven for witches and werewolves unwilling to share territory. The siblings are at their mercy…especially after Klaus meets the beautiful and mysterious Vivianne. Her impending marriage is key to ending the war between the supernatural factions—and Klaus’s attraction to her could destroy the uneasy alliance. As Elijah works toward securing a piece of the city for his family, and Rebekah fights her unexpected feelings for a French captain, will Klaus’s volatile desires bring their world crashing down—and tear them apart for good?

The Originals is not only a fantastic spinoff of a popular series, but with such exceptional characters and writing that it surpassed the Vampire Diaries, in my opinion. I was very excited to learn that these novels were releasing, giving a glimpse back to the first time the Mikaelson’s arrived in New Orleans.

Klaus is as complex as ever, falling hard and fast for Vivianne, a half witch/half werewolf. Poor Rebekah falls for the captain she’s supposed to be manipulating. The Mikaelson’s romances always seem doomed from the start. Fans of the show will devour this fast-paced exciting story. As the show, this first original (no pun intended) novel is full of romance, mystery, suspense, and heart-wrenching drama. The next in the series can’t come soon enough. These immortal, Originals are a favorite of mine. And I just can’t get enough of them.

Guest Post: Author Sarah Remy

Guest Post by Author Sarah Remy

Are you watching ABC’s Agent Carter? I am, with great interest. I’m also paying very close attention to the show’s ratings. Not necessarily because I’m attached to the story – although I do love Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter – but because so many people out there seem to think ABC’s offering is a sort of 21st Century litmus test: is the comic book culture ready for a woman in the lead role of a super hero series?

I’m honestly not a huge comic book geek, but I happen to be married to someone who is, which means I know the comic book industry does not in fact rely on Marvel’s Peggy Carter as an example of a minority main character written right. Have you met Natasha Irons? Kate Bishop? Have you read Strangers in Paradise, a classic and one of my all time favorites? And surely you’ve fallen into the pages of Jeff Smith’s Rose?

I’d like to suggest that the question is not really is the comic book culture ready for a woman in the lead role of a super hero series? but is the MAINSTREAM MEDIA culture ready for a woman in the lead role of a super hero series?

In spite of Hayley Atwell’s fine performance in the lead role, Agent Carter’s ratings are steadily dropping. Do I find this concerning? Yup. But I’m not quite ready to point a finger and blame latent misogyny for the dip in viewership. Could be the writing’s faltering some. Could be Agent Carter’s suffering from new kid on the block syndrome, just as its predecessor, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., did in 2013. Only time will tell.

Yeah, I’m not a huge comic geek but I’m watching Agent Carter very carefully. Why?

Because I write stories about minorities in a genre (like the comic book industry) that has been – in general and up until some years ago – heteronormative white male dominant. I write about princesses that don’t grow up and marry the prince. I write about Latino boys who kill the dragon and save the kingdom. I write about non-binary characters in traditional fantasy and scifi roles. And I write about CIS adults who fall in love and realize that maybe romance won’t secure the throne after all, and hey, let’s put work before family even if that’s not necessarily the ‘best choice’.

I write real people into unlikely worlds because I think that’s what the next generation of scifi and fantasy wants to be.

And I’ve got fingers crossed that Peggy Carter will prove the point.


About the Author:
Sarah Remy is a proud hybrid author. She writes for herself, for various small presses, and for HarperCollins.
Sarah can be found at
Her latest HarperVoyager release, Stonehill Downs, debuted in December 2015.
Art for The Manhattan Exiles courtesy of Taija Kovalainen.

About Stonehill Downs:
Malachi is the last of his kind—a magus who can communicate with the dead, and who relies on the help of spirits to keep his kingdom safe. When he’s sent to investigate brutal murders in the isolated village of Stonehill Downs, he uncovers dangerous sorceries and unleashes a killer who strikes close to home.

Avani is an outsider living on the Downs, one of the few survivors from the Sunken Islands. She has innate magics of her own, and when she discovers the mutilated bodies of the first victims, she enters into a reluctant alliance with Malachi that takes her far from home.

But Mal is distracted by the suspicious death of his mentor and haunted by secrets from his past. And Avani discovers troubling truths about the magus through her visions. She could free Malachi, but first they must work together to save the kingdom from the lethal horror that has arisen.

Received in January

The following are the books I received in January for review and/or giveaways:

Gemini Cell by Myke Cole

Amazon Publishing / 47North / Skyscape / Little A:
Ourselves by S.G. Redling
Blackout by Meredith McCardle
(R)evolution by PJ Manney
The Thing About Great White Sharks by Rebecca Adams Wright

Spell Blind by David B. Coe

Candlewick Press:
True Son by Lana Krumwiede

DC Comics / Vertigo:
Earth 2: World’s End #14, #15
The New 52: Future’s End #36, #37

The Deep by Nick Cutter
The Glittering World by Robert Levy

Harper Teen / Katherine Tegen / Greenwillow:
Pretty Wanted by Elisa Ludwig
The Memory Key by Liana Liu
Death Marked by Leah Cypess
Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay
Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Harper Voyager:
Beyond Redemption by Michael R. Fletcher
The Clockwork Crown by Beth Cato

Hyperion / Disney:
Invaded by Melissa Landers

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers:
Reborn by Jennifer Rush

Macmillan Teen / Henry Holt / Feiwel and Friends / Swoon / FSG:
Nil Unlocked by Lynne Matson
The Novice: Summoner: Book One by Taran Matharu
Velvet by Temple West
Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein
Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson
School for Sidekicks by Kelly McCullough
Lost by S. A. Bodeen
Secrets of Selkie Bay by Shelley Moore Thomas
Buckle and Squash: The Perilous Princess Plot by Sarah Courtauld
The Churchill Club: Knud Pedersen and the Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip Hoose
Sweet by Emmy Laybourne

Pocket Books:
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Takedown by John Jackson Miller

Random House Teens / Delacorte Press:
Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

Cherry Bomb by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Simon & Schuster / Saga Press:
City of Savages by Lee Kelly

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers:
The Incredible Space Raiders from Space! by Wesley King

St. Martin’s / Thomas Dunne Books:
The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen

Titan Books:
The Silence by Tim Lebbon

Tor / Forge:
Unbreakable by W. C. Bauers
Inside a Silver Box by Walter Mosley
Mark of the Beast by Adolphus A. Anekwe
Corsair by James L. Cambias
The Revolution Trade by Charles Stross

Tor Teen:
A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin
The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons
The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

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