SciFi Book Review: Starfleet Academy: The Assassination Game

Starfleet Academy: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz

Jim Kirk has convinced Bones to play the Assassination Game simply because Bones has a crush on the game’s leader. Each person draws a name and has to hunt down and “kill” their target with a metal spork. Meanwhile, Starfleet Academy is on edge with its latest visitors the Varkolak, a violent dog-like race. And Cadet Uhura has been invited to join a secret society at the Academy with an unclear agenda. When a bomb explodes, almost killing the President, clues lead to the Varkolak. But Kirk has reason to believe they are being set up.

The Assassination Game is the fourth installment in the Starfleet Academy series marketed for teens and based on the most recent Star Trek film. And this may be my favorite installment yet. Certain parts of the mystery are a bit predictable to those who read closely and pay attention to details. But the plot is so complex; there are still plenty of fun twists and surprises along the way. Kirk, Bones, and Uhura get the most “face time” in this story. But there are some great cameos by Sulu, Chekov, and Spock as well.

Fans of the original series and latest film will want to check out this exciting and highly entertaining story. With plenty of adventure, intrigue, and humor – this latest installment is captivating. Each of the Starfleet Academy series are stand alone, without any overlying arc, so they don’t need to be read in any order. This series has become just as much as a must-read for me as the rest of the Star Trek novels, if not moreso.

Fantasy Book Review: Tin Swift

Tin Swift by Devon Monk

Cedar Hunt has been traveling with the Madder brothers, Mae, Rose, and his brother Wil. Cedar has promised to lead the Madder brothers to the mysterious Strange weapon called the Holder. Cedar can track it, thanks to his curse. Every full moon Cedar feels the call of the beast within himself. Mae is a witch and once they find her coven, she has promised to free Cedar and Wil from their curse. But when they come across a town that stinks of the Strange and all the people are dead, Cedar will have to make hard decisions that will alter their course.

This is the sequel to last year’s Dead Iron, bringing back some great characters. Cedar has blossoming feelings for Mae, the recent widow who is slowing going insane because of her link to her coven miles away. Unfortunately, the Madder brothers aren’t in this story very much, but we’re introduced to an airship full of new, fun characters.

Monk flawlessly blends fantasy, steampunk, and western in this fantastic series. And surprisingly, I enjoyed this one even more than the first. With swashbuckling adventure, mysterious artifacts, magic, and imaginative steam-powered technology – Tin Swift is not to be missed. Fast-paced and exciting, I flew through this one and couldn’t put it down. I’m certainly looking forward to future installments in this incredible series.

Mothership Prize Pack Giveaway!

One (1) winner will receive a Mothership Prize Pack:
• A copy of Mothership by Martin Leight and Isla Neal
• $25 VISA gift card
A John Hughes DVD box set

All prizing & samples provided by Simon & Schuster
Giveaway open to US addresses only

MOTHERSHIP
By Martin Leicht and Isla Neal
In Stores July 10, 2012

ABOUT THE BOOK
Pregnant. In space. Yeah, things are really looking up.

It’s 2074 and Elvie’s unplanned pregnancy (with Cole Archer, who bolted out of town half a millisecond after hearing the news, not that Elvie’s bitter about it or anything) forces her to leave her best bud back on Earth and spend her junior year aboard a corny old space cruiser with forty-five other hormonal teen girls (one of whom just happens to be her arch-nemesis). Getting shipped off to the Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers was not how Elvie imagined spending her junior year, but she can go with the flow. That is, until a team of hot commandos hijacks the ship—and one of them turns out to be Cole.

Mothership is the first installment in a new trilogy from Martin Leicht and Isla Neal that has been described as Juno meets Pretty In Pink…but in space.

LINK UP!
‘Like’ Mothership on Facebook

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 27. I’ll draw names on July 28, and notify winners via email.

Good luck!

Read more

Mystery Book Review: The Harry Houdini Mysteries: The Houdini Specter

The Harry Houdini Mysteries: The Houdini Specter by Daniel Stashower

Harry Houdini is a struggling performer, trying to become famous. Houdini and his brother Dash will agree to just about anything to get on the stage. Dash and Houdini are asked by an old friend to expose a conman holding séances and claiming to speak to a wealthy widow’s recently deceased husband. But during their séance, even Houndini can’t manage to immediately figure out how the conman, Lucius Craig, created a ghost-like figure that seems to have murdered one of the guests. And Craig was completely tied up to a chair, which Houdini himself secured the ropes.

This is the third installment in the Harry Houdini Mysteries, though is wholly standalone. As a fan of the famous escape artist, I love reading about Houdini – even fictional accounts. Stashower’s atmosphere and dialog feels like an exciting Sherlock Holmes novel, set in a slightly later time period and with a seemingly unsolvable mystery. In this series, Houdini is an outrageously eccentric and flamboyant performer who is always “on.” He obviously appreciates Sherlock Holmes, but is significantly more showy and absolutely believes that he is one of the world’s greatest performers and escape artists. Dash plays straight man to Houdini’s over-the-top hilarity, and the two are incredibly funny and charming.

The mystery within The Houdini Specter was inspired and engrossing. The characters are completely loveable. And the final climactic showdown was suspenseful and thrilling. Fast-paced and a quick read, I couldn’t put this down and devoured it in just a couple hours. I will definitely be picking up the rest in this fantastic series.

Exclusive Author Interview: SJ Kincaid

On this latest stop for the Dark Days of Summer tour, SJ Kincaid joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about her latest book Insignia.

Can you tell us a bit about Insignia in your own words?

Insignia is the story of Tom Raines, a teenaged video gamer who’s recruited to become a government weapon in a future world war fought over resources and territory in space.

Tom Raines is gifted at virtual reality gaming. Are you into gaming? Did you have to do much research for the subject?

I’m not a gamer myself, but my best friends in college were (and still are) very into videogames, so I definitely drew a lot of my inspiration from them. They spend a lot of their days playing games like league of legends and I know a few buy league of legends accounts, so I asked them lots of questions to learn about it. I had a lot of fun making up the scenarios for the videogames featured in the story.

In your future Earth, countries are at war in space, instead of traditional wars fought with a huge loss of life. How did you come up with this vision of the future?

I actually came up with it after reading the article that gave me the idea for Insignia. I was reading about likely future technological developments, and one development mentioned was the increasing use of unmanned drones, especially for warfare. This image came into my mind of two great powers fighting a vast battle with fleets of these unmanned drones, and it struck me that with the human element removed, it was almost like a videogame. I wondered exactly what two superpowers would have to fight over in the future, and immediately concluded it would have to be resources and territory in the solar system. Why? Because it makes sense, and because it’s much more awesome.

Are there any sequels planned for Insignia?

Yes! I have a contract for three books.

What’s next for you after Insignia? Any other stories on the horizon?

I get ideas now and then, but I’m someone who thinks obsessively about the manuscript I’m working on, and I can’t really put any mental energy into anything else until I’m done with my current love. I’m always writing, though, so I assume there will certainly be something after Insignia.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience in writing.

It took me a while to get published-seven manuscripts in fact. I’m very grateful it was such a long, difficult road, because I feel I appreciate this opportunity far more than I would have, had I hit a homerun my first manuscript. I’m also far more confident about my writing than I was starting off.

What inspires you?

Everything does. A lot of the ideas I had for Insignia I had while studying the human brain in a class. When my brain’s occupied with something completely unrelated, I seem to have this steady stream of ideas for fiction.

Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?

There are two authors I love above all else: Susan Kay, who wrote a fantastic Tudor novel called Legacy, and Joseph Heller, who wrote Catch-22. It’s not for everyone, but for me, it’s pure hilarity, and strangely moving, too. In YA, I’m enjoying the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, and I really enjoyed Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.

What do you do when you’re not writing? In your spare time?

Waste tons and tons of time on the internet.

Thanks for your time! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for featuring Insignia, SciFiChick!


Insignia releases from Harper Teen on July 10th.

YA Thriller Book Review: Cold Fury

Cold Fury by TM Goeglein

Sara Jane Rispoli is part of a close-knit Italian family. Her father, uncle and grandfather all run a bakery. But when her uncle’s jealousy of her father causes a rift in the family, Sara Jane learns that her family has been keeping some dark secrets. Then her house is broken into and her parents and brother disappear, and Sara Jane discovers, courtesy of a hidden notebook, that her family has been rooted in the Chicago mafia since the days of Al Capone. Now, Sara Jane is on the run from a determined, hooded pursuer and a dirty cop, while desperately trying to find out what happened to her family.

Sara Jane is a smart sixteen-year-old with a good heart. She doesn’t have any desire to join any cliques at school and would rather hang out with her family. As a result, she doesn’t have many friends. But she excels at boxing, her favorite past time, that seems to fuel a strange “cold fury” that burns within her in times of distress.

I love being surprised by new authors. And this was a breath of fresh air. Goeglein’s story of Sara Jane’s family is fascinating, weaving in Chicago’s mob history back in the days of the prohibition. I found myself completely caught up in the excitement and suspense. Cold Fury is YA thriller with a complex plot, fascinating characters, and fast-paced adventure. This riveting story was impossible to put down. The climactic ending, left on a bit of a cliffhanger that left me wanting more. Thankfully, this is just the first in a planned trilogy from an obviously talented new author. YA adventure fans as well as adults should check out this outstanding debut.


Cold Fury releases from Putnam Juvenile on July 24, 2012.

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com