Category Archives: Book Reviews

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.

SciFi Book Review: Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster

Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster by Liza Palmer

Synopsis:
Carol Danvers kicks off her U.S. Air Force career with her first year at flight school, where she’ll be tested in ways she never thought possible-and make a lifelong friend, Maria Rambeau, in the process-in this atmospheric and exciting prelude to the upcoming Marvel Studios’ film, Captain Marvel!

Review:
Carol’s dream is to be a fighter pilot. When she meets Maria Rambeau, she finds a kindred spirit. But the two will have obstacles, not only from their peers, but from chauvinist superiors as well.

Higher, Further, Faster is the story of Carol’s time in Air Force training. It’s marketed for young adults, but it’s appropriate for all ages. Carol hasn’t received her powers yet; so it’s a pre-origin story. But I thoroughly enjoyed this look at her early life and struggles to make her dream come true. The story is more dramatic than adventurous; but it’s a nice intro to the characters of Carol and Maria. This was a fun, standalone novel to tide me over until the new movie release.

SciFi Book Review: Captain Marvel: Starforce on the Rise

Captain Marvel: Starforce on the Rise by Steve Behling

Synopsis:
Before Carol Danvers was Captain Marvel, she was Vers, a key member of the elite Kree Starforce warriors who wage their war against the equally formidable Skrull aliens. This middle-grade novel will focus on key adventure of Vers during her time with Starforce, setting up the perfect entry point for readers to Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel, in spring 2019.

Review:
Vers (Carol Danvers) is a Kree Starforce warrior along with Minn-Erva. The two women have very different personalities, and Vers’ bold nature makes it hard for Minn-Erva to relate. But after several missions together, Minn-Erva begins to respect her colleague. And a dangerous mission to gather plans on a secret weapon will test everyone’s resolve.

Starforce on the Rise is a fast-paced middle grade novel that introduces the Kree Starforce to young Marvel fans. This exciting story is told mostly from Minn-Erva’s perspective, which is nice as we’ll see her in the upcoming Captain Marvel movie as well. The Starforce missions are exciting and suspenseful. I only wish the novel was a bit longer and involved more of the Starforce members. But this was a fun and engaging quick read for fans of all ages. This would make for a great series of Starforce adventures – getting to know the Skrull and more of the Nova Corp along the way.