Graphic Novel Review: Siberia 56 (Volume #1-3) by Christophe Beck & Alexis Sentenac

29430580Author: Christophe Bec
Illustrator: Alexis Sentenac
Release Date: 14th March 2017
Series: Serbia 56 (Volumes 1-3)
Genre: Science-Fiction, Space Exploration, Graphic Novel, Sequential Art
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 156
Publisher: Insight Comics

Rating: ★★★

Blurb:

Trapped on a planet millions of light years away from Earth, five scientists must survive sub-zero temperatures and horrific alien creatures as they make their way across the dead, frozen landscape to their base in this action-packed graphic novel.
It is the age of space exploration, and five scientists travel 80 million light years from home to study the planet of Siberia, the location of Earth’s 56th colony. Completely covered with dense snow and steep mountains, Siberia’s poles reach temperatures of -300° F with icy winds of close to 200 mph.
After their shuttle crashes, the surviving scientists must walk across hundreds of miles of frozen wasteland to find the terrain basecamp. Between the biting cold, devastating snow storms, and horrific alien creatures, their chances of survival are close to absolute zero. In Siberia 56, author Christophe Bec imagines a hostile and fascinating world that harkens to the very best of the science fiction and horror genres. Superbly illustrated by Alexis Sentenac, this stunning work offers a chilling tale of survival in the vast recesses of a dying planet.

Review

The concept was pretty awesome and the graphics were really impressive too, but after the first 20 pages, the story started to feel uninteresting, flat and even predictable. At times it also felt like a slog as I did not like the main character at all.
Overall, the concept was really, really good and I was genuinely looking forward to reading this book as it had some pretty good theme going on, but unfortunately the characterization and the pacing and tension of the story ruined it.
I had problems with some of the dialogues too, but that’s okay given that the ebook is a translated edition.
I wish this book had a dynamic cast of characters and that at least the main character was likable, as it would have been a really strong read then. But alas, it was what it was.


Goodreads and NetGalley

Book Review: Esper Files by Egan Brass

32493342Author: Egan Brass  
Release Date: 26 October 2016
Series: Esper Files
Genre: Science Fiction Fantasy, Steampunk, Supernatural, Paranormal
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 
Publisher: Inkitt

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Set in London during the latter part of the 19th century. An experiment goes wrong at The Oxford Academy of Science, giving certain people extraordinary powers which turns them into ‘Espers’. An institute is set up to teach Espers how to control these power, and stop corrupt Espers from abusing theirs. Nathan and James, two agents from the Institute team up with Freya, a young Esper whose brother (gifted with the strange ability to manipulate emotions) is abducted by a ruthless Baron. The group has to fight against a dark threat to protect the fragile peace of Victorian London… And the rest of the world.

Review

Esper Files by Egan Brass is the first book in the series of the same name and is an enjoyable supernatural fantasy read.

I had no idea what to expect from this book when I was first asked to review it, but when I started reading it and was only a few pages in, I knew it for fact that I was in for a fun ride. And as it turned out, I wasn’t wrong.

Even though the entire concept was quite similar to the X-men team – Professor X, Logan, and Magneto, still I was able to enjoy the new take on the whole “being different” thing.

The writing was captivating and the story was really engrossing. The concept was not unique but it was definitely good. The story progression was really good and I really liked reading this book. I was pulled into the story from the very start right till the end. It was a fast-paced read which proved to be a quick one (another plus for me.)

In this book, I liked the story better than the characters. I won’t say the characters were completely one-dimensional because I liked them, but I wasn’t able to feel a striking connection with any one of them. It was one of those books that made me take enough interest in the characters to want to know what happens in the end and also what happens after it. So I’ll be definitely looking forward to reading the sequel (hoping that now that I know the characters well, I might feel a connection with them.)

I’d recommend this book to fantasy lovers and to anyone who is looking for a light and quick supernatural series to read.


Goodreads and Amazon

Novella Review: The Unfortunate and Odd Life of Bennett Monroe by S.M. Baker

32451619
Book Cover

Author: S.M. Baker
Release Date: 15th November, 2016
Series: The Wayfarers Chronicles
Genre: Science-Fiction – TIme Travel,
Edition: Ebook (EPUB)
Pages: 
Publisher: Self

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Time, such a fickle and immovable thing. Everyone is bound to it will and pull; unless you happen to be Bennett Monroe, time traveler by consequence, not by choice.
For as long as he cares to remember Bennett Monroe has been able to travel through it time. Forced to work for a madman he reluctantly calls his master Bennett and his companion Cynthia twist and change events throughout time in order to realize their masters goal, of which Bennett remains uncertain.
The past has a way of haunting you, Bennett’s however has a tendency towards trying to kill him.
Join Bennett and Cynthia as they stumble and rip their way through time; acquiring the knowledge of who Bennett is, and what they both will become.

Review

The Unfortunate & Odd Life Of Bennett Monroe is a really enjoyable novella.

It is a story of a not-so-common young man who lives a life full of adventures, filled with odd situations and circumstances. Bennett Monroe has the ability to travel through time and works on assignments given to him by the master that are responsible for keeping the timeline from ripping itself and the whole world apart.

For these strange, and sometimes dangerous, assignments he occasionally works with Cynthia, another time-traveller and a friend of sorts. But now that Monroe has failed in an assignment, he is left with no other option but to take drastic actions with the help of his only friend and confidante.

I liked the unique plot and storyline and enjoyed reading about Bennett and Cynthia’s adventurous lives. This is a time-travel story, but the author has done a great job in adding a new twist to it and making it all the more interesting. So I’m pretty sure that no matter how many time-traveling stories you’ve already read, this one will not fail to fascinate you.

The simplicity of the author’s writing style made this book a very quick and a reasonably pleasant read. I was drawn into the story right from the beginning and was not able to put it aside until the time I finished reading the last sentence.

This book has a very simplistic plot, but the characterization was really well done. I obviously liked the main character, Bennett Monroe, but I also liked Cynthia’s character a lot. And to top it all off, Bennett’s backstory was really well done and made this book all the more interesting and emotionally engaging.

I absolutely loved reading this book! It is a light-hearted Science-Fiction read and I’d highly recommend it to everyone who wants to read a decent time-travel novella.


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Conveyance by Brian W. Matthews

29985686Author: Brian W. Matthews
Release Date: June 17, 2016
Series: 
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 260
Publisher: JournalStone

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Beneath the calm waters and pastoral fields of Emersville, a deadly secret lurks. But when psychologist Dr. Brad Jordan stumbles upon the odd happenings in the town, he sets off a series of tragedies that threatens to expose a danger long kept hidden from the world. Relentlessly following a trail of madness, suicide, and murder, he soon finds himself confronted with a massive conspiracy, and a sinister device known as the Conveyance.

REVIEW

The Conveyance by Brian W. Mathews is a splendid Supernatural Thriller novel.

The author has cleverly used his background as a psychiatrist to use in the novel as the protagonist’s profession. The struggles and the conflicts of the main lead were so realistic that i was able to connect with him right away and the bond only deepened as the story progressed further.

I was literally pulled into the book right from the very beginning, where the main lead is shown talking to one of his patients (a kid,) and I wasn’t able to put down the book right till the very end when everything goes to hell.

The pacing and the timing were brilliant and so was the fast paced plot. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and some of the parts really creeped me out! This book is a brilliant example of how a good super natural story can be written without having any of the stereotypes in it (yes, I talking to the Vamp and Werewolf lovers.) The author took the concept of creepy dolls to another level. It really blew my mind off!

I found the author’s writing really easy to follow and it made reading this book a really pleasant experience. It was fresh, clever and had a distinctness that I really liked.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who has a liking and an appetite for a creepy supernatural book that actually crosses its path with Sci-Fi genre. So, all in all, if you like Stephen King books and the likes then you really have to read this book!

My copy of The Conveyance:

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-2-35-11-pm
The Conveyance by Brian W. Matthews

Goodreads | Amazon

Book Review: Mercer Street by John A. Heldt

27258807Author: John A. Heldt
Release Date: October 21, 2015
Series: American Journey
Genre: Science-Fiction>Time Travel, Historical Fiction
Edition: Ebook (Kindle)
Pages: 431
Publisher: Self-Published

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Weeks after her husband dies in the midst of an affair in 2016, Chicago writer Susan Peterson, 48, seeks solace on a California vacation with her mother Elizabeth and daughter Amanda. The novelist, however, finds more than she bargained for when she meets a professor who possesses the secret of time travel. Within days, the women travel to 1938 and Princeton, New Jersey. Elizabeth begins a friendship with her refugee parents and infant self, while Susan and Amanda fall for a widowed admiral and a German researcher with troubling ties. Filled with poignancy, heartbreak, and intrigue, MERCER STREET gives new meaning to courage, sacrifice, and commitment as it follows three strong-willed souls on the adventure of a lifetime.

Review

Mercer Street by John A. Heldt is the second book in the American Journey Series. As a fan of Mr. Heldt’s books I had a lot of expectations for this book, and as expected, this book lived up to each and every single one of them.

I always find Mr. Heldt’s novels very meticulous, gripping and heart-warming. There’s a unique quality about his writing that makes you feel eerily happy and content while reading his books that you simply can’t put them down. His story-telling is so beautiful that his writing puts tons of ‘big-time’ authors to shame in comparison.

This story is about three females of varied ages –  a daughter, a mother and a grandmother. I loved the assortment of memorable characters and their deliciously distinct backgrounds in this book. They were so compelling that I found myself thinking about them for days, especially about the way things ended.

The vivid imagery, the complex emotional battles each character fights, the moving story and the gut-wrenching situations the characters go through make this book an unforgetful read.

There are some books that are not simply read, but experienced, and this one is one of those. When you read each and every chapter, you feel like you’re not just reading them but savoring them and feel like doing it slowly so as to enjoy the experience for a long time.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, no matter what genre you read.


Goodreads | Amazon

Book Review: Sixth Prime (The Prime Saga #1) by Dan O’Brien

31111615Author: Dan O’Brien
Release Date: July 22, 2016
Series: The Prime Saga
Genre: Science-Fiction
Edition: ebook (kindle)
Pages: 240
Publisher: 

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

2.3.5.7.11.13.

A war brews as a galaxy struggles to maintain a peace treaty signed in haste. The Commonwealth boasts sprawling cities built upon slums. The Sovereignty has placed the yoke of industry upon its citizens. Sixteen men and women are connected in a way they cannot yet understand. A murder of a prominent artist begins a chain of events that will ultimately determine the fate of the universe.
Only thirteen will remain.
In the end, there can be only one Prime.
Are you a Prime?

Review

Sixth Prime by Dan O’Brien is one of the best science-fiction novels I’ve read this year. It is not only intense and wildly engaging, but also the concept was so unique that it has easily become one of my favorite Sci-Fi novels.

I was drawn into the story right from the beginning and with each and every chapter I found myself reading faster and faster unable to contain my anxiousness. I was sucked into the plot right away and it proved really difficult for me to put down this book even for a second.

This book has a wide variety of inter-galactic species and the main cast is do diverse that I loved each and every character and wanted to know more about all of them! The characters were easily relatable and, though this is just the first part in The Prime Saga Series), I already have my favorites.

The writing is really good and the smooth flow of it made reading this book an absolute pleasure. The pacing was exceptional and kept me glued to the book right till the very end.

The ending was absolutely mind-blowing and I cannot wait to read the next part. I’d recommend this book to all the Sci-Fi lovers and also to those who are looking was an exceptional new series.


Goodreads | Amazon

Book Review: Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)

25733990

Author:  Sylvain Neuvel
Release Date: April 26th, 2016
Series: Themis Files
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy > Robots | Speculative Fiction | Thriller
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 320
Publisher: Del Ray
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb: 

World War Z meets The Martian. This inventive first novel will please devoted fans of sci-fi as well as literary readers hoping a smart thriller will sneak up on them.

17 years ago: A girl in South Dakota falls through the earth, then wakes up dozens of feet below ground on the palm of what seems to be a giant metal hand. Today: She is a top-level physicist leading a team of people to understand exactly what that hand is, where it came from, and what it portends for humanity. A swift and spellbinding tale told almost exclusively through transcriptions of interviews conducted by a mysterious and unnamed character, this is a unique debut that describes a hunt for truth, power, and giant body parts.

Review:

 

This book is a MASTERPIECE. I mean I don’t even know where to start and what to say about this book…

*Sigh* Let’s begin here… At first I had only a faint idea of what this book would be like, but trust me, it wasn’t even 1% of what it turned out to be (in a good way.) It totally BLEW my mind OFF!!!

First off the format is super intriguing and very, very clever. The transcripts, interviews, personal entries, a few random conversations, newspaper articles etc, were not only intelligently constructed but also mixed deftly in what can only be called a really, really impressive combination. The sequencing was brilliant and made this book an epic read. Hats off to the author for pulling this off with such perfection.

I can’t even begin to express how impressed I am with this book’s format and writing. I mean, as an author myself, I can understand how difficult it would have been and for that alone, kudos to the author.

Coming to the story, I was expecting it to be something different. But saying that I was surprised by the direction the plot took in the second half would be an understatement. I mean it was a whole lot different from what I could have expected. The story itself is an outstanding piece of work in itself.

If it’s not obvious already, then let me state it clearly. I LOVE THIS BOOK! I mean really love it. It’s a really, really intelligent book with a very strong plotline and astounding characterization.

The end of this book completely caught me off guard. So yeah, it was good through and through.

And the nameless interrogator cum adviser cum whatever the hell you wanna call him, was simply wow! I love him… I mean he is indeed a real softy (an inside joke for anyone who reads this book.)

In the end, I’d just like to say one thing: If you want to read only 1 book this year, make sure Sleeping Giants is the ONE.

And I just found out (while writing this review) that this book is the 1st book in series, Themis Files. So, now I’m eagerly waiting for the second part… Hope it comes out soon!

Other Stuff

Opening Line: It was my eleventh birthday.

Memorable Quotes: 

If you fall in love with someone, there’s a good chance the person won’t love you back. Hatred, though, is usually mutual. If you despise someone, it’s pretty much a given they’re also not your biggest fan.

There I was, this tiny little thing at the bottom of the hole, lying on my back in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Highlights: Format and characterization.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: If you want to read only 1 book this year, make sure Sleeping Giants is the ONE.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: From A Distant Star

24036086

 

 

 

 

Author: Karen McQuestion
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Series: None
Genre: Science-Fiction | Young Adult | Romance | Contemporary
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 256
Publisher: Skyscape
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

 


Blurb

When Lucas Walker inexplicably recovers from a terminal illness, everyone is astonished –except for his girlfriend Emma, who never gave up hope. However, as friends and family celebrate the miracle, Emma becomes alarmed: Lucas has changed. He speaks haltingly, can’t recall past events, and even his own dog doesn’t recognize him. Emma begins to suspect something is terribly wrong. What happened to the Lucas she loved? Does his strange behavior have something to do with the shooting light that fell into Lucas’s backyard the night he recovered?

As the two set off on a road trip in search of the truth, the journey takes an unexpected turn. First they’re shot at by unknown enemies and then helped by unlikely allies. Before long, Emma and Lucas are plunged into a desperate life or death race against time.

Packed with intrigue and emotion, FROM A DISTANT STAR is a riveting novel about loyalty and the power of love.

Review

4 Stars Black

 

I enjoyed this book from start to end. It was a light read and had some really fun elements. In spite of being a Sci-Fi, it was more on the side of Romance fiction (other than a stranded alien.) I loved the characterization and felt a connection with the lead character, Emma, and even Scout (to some extent.)
I loved the plot line and though it felt a little off at a few places, it managed to pull me inside the story from the beginning till the end. I even loved the other characters. They felt very realistic and that’s where this book scored for me. That and the fact that it was a fast read.

I liked the writing style as well because it flowed nicely and wasn’t complicated like most of the Sci-Fi books. And unlike most of the YAs these days, this book is standalone, which is a big plus for anyone who wants to read a nice little piece of fiction.

It also had a great ending, one that I predicted when I was less than half through the book. But the author still managed to keep me second guessing it right till the end. So, it was a pleasant reading considering everything.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: A Piercing light flashed across the sky and plunged to the earth, landing in a farmer’s field.

Highlights: Storyline.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: A fast YA read.

Book Review: Nirvana (Nirvana #1)

26164334

Author: J.R. Stewart
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Series: Nirvana
Genre: Young Adult|Sci-Fi|Dystopian|Fantasy|Mystery|Romance
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 186
Publisher: Blue Moon Publishing
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

When the real world is emptied of all that you love, how can you keep yourself from dependence on the virtual?

Animal activist and punk rock star Larissa Kenders lives in a dystopian world where the real and the virtual intermingle. After the disappearance of her soulmate, Andrew, Kenders finds solace by escaping to Nirvana, a virtual world controlled by Hexagon. In Nirvana, anyone’s deepest desires may be realized – even visits with Andrew.

Although Kenders knows that this version of Andrew is virtual, when he asks for her assistance revealing Hexagon’s dark secret, she cannot help but comply. Soon after, Kenders and her closest allies find themselves in a battle with Hexagon, the very institution they have been taught to trust. After uncovering much more than she expected, Kenders’ biggest challenge is determining what is real – and what is virtual.

Nirvana is a fast-paced, page-turning young adult novel combining elements of science fiction, mystery, and romance. Part of a trilogy, this book introduces readers to a young woman who refuses to give up on the man she loves, even if it means taking oan entire government to do so.

Rating

TRb 3 half star

 

Review

Plot/Story:

Nirvana is an amazing YA read with a really fresh plot line and a great new dystopian world setting. I loved the characterisations and the fast pace of the story.

I was really impressed with the storyline and the world-building concept of Nirvana, though, it lacked a little behind when it came to the execution of these two concepts. I enjoyed the book (no doubt about it) but somewhere I felt that if the second half of the book can be tweaked a little bit then it can be at par with the best-selling YA reads of today.

Characters:

I loved the lead character, Kenders, and was able to feel a connection with her. Though, in the second half of the book I felt that connection slipping (as soon as Serge comes into picture.) I loved Andrew, the male lead, as well but sadly the same thing  happened with him.

Romance/Kills:

This book falls in the romance genre as the plot depends on the romantic relationship between Kenders and Andrew. And like any other dystopian book there is a love triangle (Kenders, Andrew and Serge) but thankfully it’s not a farfetched one. It starts and ends within an acceptable time frame and now I’m really looking forward to the next instalment of this series.

Writing:

I enjoyed the easy flow of author’s style of writing. It’s simple yet relatable and makes reading this book a pleasant experience. Having said that, I’d like to point out that I felt that the first half of the book was excellent whereas the second half lagged a little behind not only in terms of the plot line but also in terms of the characterisation and flow of the story.

Beginning:

I started enjoying Nirvana right from the first sentence and continued to do so halfway through the book. Everything was just amazing and I had no issues with anything (but only till the first half.)

Ending:

The second half of the book along with the ending felt quite weak to me. The plot went on to some other uninteresting tangent and ruined an otherwise excellent story. I really hope that the sequel will be better than this one.

Blurb:

The blurb is good, but I felt that it actually revealed a major spoiler about Andrew’s fake death. I would have liked it better to have come across  it while reading the book instead of the blurb.

Cover Art:

The cover art is marvellous. I really like the eerie feeling it radiates. It’s just perfect.

You can also read this review at:
Goodreads, Amazon and NetGalley.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Eight-year-old Larissa Kenders pulls a doll tighter toward her and opens one eye.

Highlights: Plot line.

Lowlights: Second half of the book.

Final Thoughts: A decent dystopian read with a rather weak ending.