Category Archives: Book Reviews

SciFi Book Review: We Are Mayhem

We Are Mayhem by Michael Moreci

Synopsis:
Though the ragtag group of misfits known as the Black Star Renegades won a decisive battle by destroying Ga Halle’s War Hammer, the war is far from over. In response to losing the crown jewel of its fleet, the evil Praxis empire has vengefully reinforced its tyranny across the galaxy–but its rule won’t be had so easily. Led by hotshot pilot Kira Sen, a growing rebel force stands in the way of Praxis’s might. Not only do they possess the will to fight for galactic freedom, they also possess the ultimate ace in the hole: The mythical Rokura, the most powerful weapon ever known.

Too bad Cade Sura hasn’t figured out to use it.

As Kira wages an increasingly bloody war against Praxis, Cade is left with only once choice: With Ga Halle scouring every star system for the coveted weapon, Cade embarks on a dangerous mission into uncharted space to discover the Rokura’s origins. Only then can he learn how it can be wielded. Because if he doesn’t, all hope for the galaxy might be lost.

Review:
We Are Mayhem is the direct sequel to Black Star Renegades. Cade has an incredibly powerful weapon that he doesn’t know how to wield. And the ruthless Ga Halle will do anything to get her hands on it. Meanwhile, the rest of the Black Star Renegades fight against an evil empire and even Kira’s own father.

This sequel once again has the feel of “Guardians of the Galaxy” meets “Star Wars.” Cade, trying to learn how to use the Rokura, felt a lot like Luke going through his Jedi training. These are fallible characters with good hearts – they are likable and believable. And the story is a lot of fun – filled with suspense, drama, and intrigue. The excitement builds to a big showdown, and I found myself reading faster as the suspense built. This space opera is incredibly enjoyable and a great conclusion.

Graphic Novel Review: Mera: Tidebreaker

Mera: Tidebreaker

Synopsis:
Princess Mera is teenage royalty and heir to the throne of Xebel, a penal colony ruled by the other no-so-lost land under the sea, Atlantis. Her father, his court and the entire kingdom are expecting her to marry and introduce a new king. But Mera is destined to wear a different crown.

When the Xebellian military plots to overthrow Atlantis and break free of its oppressive regime, Mera seizes the opportunity to take control over her own destiny by assassinating Arthur Curry–the long-lost prince and heir to the kingdom of Atlantis. But her mission gets sidetracked when Mera and Arthur unexpectedly fall in love. Will Arthur Curry be the king at Mera’s side, or will he die under her blade as she attempts to free her people from persecution?

Review:
Mera is a rebellious teen, with hopes of her kingdom breaking free of Atlantis, in this standalone graphic novel. This fresh, new story is exciting and inventive. This is a coming-of-age story for Mera, as she has to decide what’s right – choosing to follow her father’s orders or believing in this surprisingly kind young man who is to become the future leader of Atlantis. This is a teenage Arthur as well, before he becomes Aquaman. The story is dramatic and suspenseful. And the artwork and coloring is fun and different. Aquaman and Mera fans will want to check this one out.

SciFi Book Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Available Light

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Available Light by Dayton Ward

Synopsis:
Section 31, the covert organization which has operated without accountability in the shadows for more than two centuries, has been exposed. Throughout the Federation, the rogue group’s agents and leaders are being taken into custody as the sheer scope of its misdeeds comes to light. Now Starfleet Command must decide the consequences for numerous officers caught up in the scandal—including Admirals William Ross, Edward Jellico, Alynna Nechayev, and Captain Jean-Luc Picard who, along with many others, are implicated in the forced removal of a Federation president.

Meanwhile, deep in the distant, unexplored region of space known as the Odyssean Pass, Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise must put aside personal feelings and political concerns as they investigate a massive mysterious spacecraft. Adrift for centuries in the void, the ship is vital to the survival of an endangered civilization which has spent generations searching for a world to sustain what remains of its people. Complicating matters is a band of marauders who have their own designs on the ancient ship, with only the Enterprise standing in their way….

Review:
This latest Next Generation novel combines political intrigue, exploration, suspense, and new alien cultures. Back on Earth, the Federation is dealing with the fallout of the take-down of Section 31. And the Enterprise discovers a seemingly abandoned ship with a culture of scavengers trying to stake claim. The story is complex and involved, yet easy enough to follow if you’ve been keeping up with the events in the most recent Next Generation novels. I thoroughly enjoyed this engaging read. A fascinating culture with advanced technology and time running out – the crew of the Enterprise do what they do best. As Picard tries to negotiate with a dangerous scavengers, Geordi and his team try to assist a mysterious people who have taken one of their own. The suspense builds to a thrilling finale that doesn’t disappoint. The long wait for this latest Star Trek release was well worth it.

Book Review: Captain Marvel The Official Movie Special

Captain Marvel The Official Movie Special

This movie special from Titan Books, has a lot of fun content from the recent film, all full-color pages. One of my favorites is the section on Kelly Sue DeConnick who was a consultant. As a fan, I was happy to see the inspiration for the movie coming from her line of comics.



There are 11 cast member spotlights that were engaging as well.

And a look behind the scenes! There are sections on production design, stunts, costumes, and Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios.

This is a fantastic wealth of content from the film. And this Captain Marvel fan has more to geek out on until the film comes to blu-ray.

Fantasy Book Review: Wizard for Hire: Apprentice Needed

Wizard for Hire: Apprentice Needed by Obert Skye

Synopsis:
When a mysterious package arrives in the mail containing a plane ticket and a thumb drive, Ozzy is certain it’s from Rin. But when Ozzy, Sigi, and Clark arrive in New York, Rin isn’t there. Instead they are met by the man who was the money behind the mind-controlling discipline serum created by Ozzy’s parents. Ozzy was the final test case and is now the key to discovering the serum’s secret. He is a very valuable boy. Once again, he’s on the run.

As fate would have it, Rin appears just in time. But Rin’s goal is more than a rescue mission. He needs an apprentice to cement his status and notoriety in the magical realm of Quarfelt assuming the place even exists. As Rin’s apprentice, Ozzy must complete five tasks to receive the Gift of Wonder. Ozzy is willing to help, but is now really the best time to enter a contest for wizards when something is controlling his mind? Especially when someone is out to destroy the people he loves?

Review:
Ozzy, and his metal bird Clark, are living at Sigi and her monther’s place now. It’s been a long time since anyone has heard from Rin who supposedly left for Quarfelt, a magical land for wizards. So when Ozzy received a package in the mail to a hotel with the letters R-I-N in the name, they assumed it came from Rin. However, the person ultimately responsibly for Ozzy’s parents death is behind it all. And he’ll stop at nothing to get the secrets that Ozzy’s parents held.

Apprentice Needed is the 2nd installment in the unique Wizard for Hire series. As before, the story is exciting and fast-paced and full of quirky humor. The AI bird, Clark, is easily the most entertaining character. I love the wizard Rin too. It’s easy to doubt his abilities because of his eccentricities and lack utilizing magic when it seems most prudent. But he has a calm, confident demeanor too. And everything seems to work out his way. There is still a lot left unanswered by the end of the novel. And readers will be eager for the next in the series. This is another solid installment in this fun fantasy series for middle readers on up.

Fantasy Book Review: The Revenge of Magic

The Revenge of Magic by James Riley

Synopsis:
Thirteen years ago, books of magic were discovered in various sites around the world alongside the bones of dragons. Only those born after “Discovery Day” have the power to use the magic.

Now, on a vacation to Washington, DC, Fort Fitzgerald’s father is lost when a giant creature bursts through the earth, attacking the city. Fort is devastated, until an opportunity for justice arrives six months later, when a man named Dr. Opps invites Fort to a government run school, the Oppenheimer School, to learn magic from those same books.

But life’s no easier at the school, where secrets abound. What does Jia, Fort’s tutor, know about the attacks? Why does Rachel, master of destructive magic, think Fort is out to destroy the school? And why is Fort seeing memories of an expelled girl every time he goes to sleep? If Fort doesn’t find out what’s hiding within the Oppenheimer School, more attacks will come, and this time, nothing will stop them!

Review:
Fort Fitzgerald will do anything to find his father, and learning magic against all odds seems to be his only option. But something strange is happening to Fort. And everyone seems to blame him for the bizarre attacks. Even his teachers are against Fort staying at the school and learning anything.

The Revenge of Magic is the first in a new, inspired fantasy series for middle readers on up. The worldbuilding is intriguing and a fresh idea. The story is full of mystery, drama, betrayal, and suspense. This fast-paced novel was hard to put down and refreshingly unpredictable. Excitement and adventure builds to an surprising finale as Fort searches for answers. This first installment lays the ground-floor, and the sequel can’t come soon enough.

SciFi Book Review: Captain Marvel: Liberation Run

Captain Marvel: Liberation Run by Tess Sharpe

Synopsis:
Carol Danvers–Captain Marvel–narrowly stops a spacecraft from crashing. Its pilot Rhi is a young Inhuman woman from a group who left for a life among the stars. Instead they were imprisoned on a planet where an enslaved Inhuman brings her owner great power and influence. Horrified by the account, Carol gathers a team–including Ant-Man, Mantis, and Amadeus Cho–and they set out to free Rhi’s people.

Review:
Carol helps a young woman as she crashes to Earth. Rhi is a refugee Inhuman who has been living as a slave on a distant family. She fled only to get help to free her friends and family. So, Captain Marvel gathers a small team of Mantis, Ant-Man, and Brawn and forms a plan to free Rhi’s friends. Unfortunately, the power inhibitor on the planet affects most of Captain Marvel’s team – and they need a new plan.

Liberation Run is a standalone adventure set in the recent Marvel comic universe. The story is dramatic and poignant. Yet when Captain Marvel and friends arrive, the danger doesn’t seem as intense – even without some of their powers. I thoroughly enjoyed this well-developed story with plenty of colorful characters and humor to round out the grim situation. I love comics, but prose novels like this can cover more ground and have a bit more depth sometimes. Sure, it’s a bit predictable (superheroes have to win, right?) but it’s a lot of fun and was another great story to get my Captain Marvel fix.

Fantasy Book Review: An Easy Death

An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris

Synopsis:
Set in a fractured United States, in the southwestern country now known as Texoma. A world where magic is acknowledged but mistrusted, especially by a young gunslinger named Lizbeth Rose. Battered by a run across the border to Mexico Lizbeth Rose takes a job offer from a pair of Russian wizards to be their local guide and gunnie. For the wizards, Gunnie Rose has already acquired a fearsome reputation and they’re at a desperate crossroad, even if they won’t admit it. They’re searching through the small border towns near Mexico, trying to locate a low-level magic practitioner, Oleg Karkarov. The wizards believe Oleg is a direct descendant of Grigori Rasputin, and that Oleg’s blood can save the young tsar’s life.

As the trio journey through an altered America, shattered into several countries by the assassination of Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Depression, they’re set on by enemies. It’s clear that a powerful force does not want them to succeed in their mission. Lizbeth Rose is a gunnie who has never failed a client, but her oath will test all of her skills and resolve to get them all out alive.

Review:
Lizbeth is a Gunnie – an armed-guard escort. Her latest hire are two Russion magicians who are deadly in their own right. The Russians are searching for a descendant of the tsar’s, so the relative can offer up blood donations to save his life. But it’s soon clear that Gunnie and her charges are being targeted – in hopes they are not successful.

An Easy Death is the first in the new, Gunnie Rose series. The setting is an alternate reality of a modern day Old West where the US has been broken into several territories run by different countries. It’s a fun mix of a Western and fantasy. I am grateful that there isn’t a data dump explanation of this alternate world, as it isn’t needed. Lizbeth is a likable and relatable character. She’s strong but knows her limits. This first installment is a well-paced adventure with plenty of action, mystery, and a bit of romance. And I look forward to the next in this intriguing new series.