Saturday, November 27, 2021

Book Review: Three Swords

While helping some rebels overthrow their tyrannical king, the Warriors Three meet an old mystic who claims to have been waiting for them. He describes to them the threat posed to Asgard by three sorcerous brothers, the Enchanters, who are each working to create an army to conquer Asgard. But the Enchanter’s towers are scattered across time and space, and the Warriors Three will have to risk life and limb to stop these sorcerers before they can overthrow Odin’s rule. But things are not quite as they seem, for in the shadows, someone is plotting against these heroes.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Book Review: Reign of the Devourer

Victor von Doom saw his future for an instant, and now he cannot rest. His obsession with regaining those memories leads him into the arcane science of geomancy. As he delves into the ancient memories that lie beneath his land, Doom discovers a tremendous concentration of power... one that should never be explored. Doom's excavations and necromancy fracture the prison of something awful: the Devourer of Souls. Now free to roam Latveria, the Devourer spreads a plague of soul-hungry vampires. Doom must choose between seizing this power for himself or destroying it, before his realm is no more.

Coming in January of 2022 is the latest in the series of Marvel Untold novels. I was given the opportunity to review an early galley for Reign of the Devourer, written by David Annandale.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Book Review: The Violin Conspiracy

Coming in February of 2022 is The Violin Conspiracy, the debut novel by Brendan Slocumb. I had the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the galley in exchange for an honest review.

Growing up Black in rural North Carolina, Ray McMillian’s life is already mapped out. If he’s lucky, he’ll get a job and earn more than minimum wage. But Ray has a gift and a dream—he’s determined to become a world-class professional violinist, and nothing will stand in his way. Not his family nor the racism inherent in the world of classical music. When he discovers that his great-great-grandfather’s beat-up old fiddle is actually so much more, all his dreams suddenly seem within reach. But on the eve of the renowned and cutthroat competition, the violin is stolen, a ransom note for five million dollars in its place. Ray doesn’t know who he can trust—or whether he will ever see his beloved violin again.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Book Review: The Insecure Mind of Sergei Kraev

The year is 2100. The lack of trust that characterized the early Internet era is long behind us. Mathematical proof ensures neural implants can't be hacked, and the Board of Reality Overseers blocks false information from spreading.

When undergraduate Sergei Kraev, who dreams of becoming a professor, is accepted into the Technion's computer science graduate program, he throws himself into his research project: making it possible for neural implants to transmit information directly to the brain. If he succeeds, he'll earn a full professorship. But Sergei falls under the influence of Sunny Kim, the beautiful and charismatic leader of a K-pop dance cult. Sergei believes in Sunny's good intentions and wants to protect her from critics, leading him to perform a feat of engineering that leaves billions of brains vulnerable to attack.

With the clock ticking towards catastrophe, can Sergei see the truth about Sunny and undo what he's done?

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Book Review: The Harrowing of Doom

Every year Victor von Doom fights to rescue the soul of his mother from Hell. Every year he fails, but now plans to turn the tables. Blending super-science and sorcery, Victor focuses on creating a singular device, the Harrower, which will rip souls from the netherworld. With the obsessive genius distracted, the underground resistance seizes a chance to liberate Latveria. But they attack at the worst possible time, damaging the machine and inadvertently tearing a gateway into Hell. As demonic creatures and rebels besiege his castle, Doctor Doom must make an impossible choice – free his mother or save his people.

The Harrowing of Doom is a novel by David Annandale, part of the Marvel Untold line by Aconyte Books.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Book Review: School of X

Coming in December 2021 is School of X, a Xavier's Institute anthology in the Marvel line from Aconyte Books. I was given the opportunity for an advanced look in exchange for an honest review.

The New Charles Xavier Institute isn’t all it’s cracked up to be: the food is so-so, it’s cold eleven out of twelve months, not to mention the creepy bunker vibes with mysterious tech popping up all over the place. But for the next generation of X-Men, it’s home. Under the stewardship of Emma Frost, Cyclops, and Magneto, these new recruits learn to control their powers and defeat villainy. Yet, danger lurks within the academy and it isn’t just monsters or evil geniuses. Now, these fresh X-Men must understand what it means to fight not just yourself, but alternative shades of who they might have become in the past, present, and future.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Book Review: The Rebels of Vanaheim

The dead have returned.

Odin, All-Father of Asgard, dispatches the heroic warrior Heimdall and the Valkyrie Uschi to eliminate a mysterious infestation of draugr – the living dead – in the proud realm of Vanaheim. Yet his home is not as Heimdall remembers it. Anti- Asgardian sentiment is rife, and the arrival of just two warriors from Asgard to deal with the draugr threat only incenses its people further. With rebellion growing in Vanaheim, Heimdall must investigate this conspiracy and the undead, even if it pits him against his own kin, to preserve the peace of the Realm Eternal.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Book Review: Witches Unleashed (a Marvel Untold novel)

Coming in November is Witches Unleashed, a Marvel Untold novel by Carrie Harris.  The publisher Aconyte Books let me read an advanced galley in exchange for an honest review.

Johnny Blaze, aka the Ghost Rider, has accidentally released Lucifer from Hell. While hunting the 666 fragments of Lucifer’s soul now loose on Earth, Johnny enlists the aid of witches Jennifer Kale, Satana Hellstrom and Topaz to track down a sliver of the demon which is possessing the body of Jennifer’s cousin, Magda. Lucifer is looking for the Tome of Zhered-Na, aiming to release the demon within its pages and unleash hell upon the world. But the witches are the Tome’s protectors, and they aren’t going down without a fight.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Book Review: Dark Avengers - The Patriot List

Under Norman Osborn’s jurisdiction, the Avengers have been secretly re-formed with a cabal of deadly super villains. This is Osborn’s chance to finally put the Green Goblin behind him and become the Iron Patriot the world needs him to be. But villains aren’t easy to wrangle into the place of heroes – doing damage control for his new line-up constantly puts his empire at risk. When S.H.I.E.L.D. loyalists break into Avengers Tower and steal the secret list of replacements for his team of maniacs, the threat to his reign becomes intolerable. Osborn unleashes the worst of the worst to crush those responsible… It’s hard to be a hero!

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Book Review: Triptych (A Marvel: Xaxier's Institute novel)


Former super-soldier and master thief, Fantomex, stumbles upon one of his clones, Cluster, breaking into museums to steal priceless artifacts. Outwitted and intrigued, Fantomex decides to beat Cluster at whatever game she’s playing. But something is different about these artifacts.  And they aren’t the only ones looking for them… Their other clone, Weapon XIII, is on the hunt too. The cat-and-mouse heists test their burglary skills and push the boundaries of how much they can trust one another. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Book Review: Outlaw: Relentless

Coming in September from Aconyte Books is Outlaw:Relentless, the latest in the Marvel Heroines novel series, by author Tristan Palmgren. I had the pleasure of reading an advanced digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This adventure is a battle grudge-match between Outlaw (Inez Temple), a mutant with enhanced strength and stamina and armed with six-shooters, and some old enemies from her past.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Book Review: The Serpent and the Dead


Coming in September from Aconyte Books is The Serpent and the Dead, the latest in the Marvel: Legends of Asgard series, by author Anna Stephens.  I had the pleasure of reading an advanced digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This adventure is a high-stakes mission for Lady Sif and Brunnhilde the Valkyrie as they must discover why the souls of fallen warriors are not making their way to Valhalla as they should. Soon, these women find themselves in the midst of intense battles with armies of deadly enemies.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Book Review: All Of The Marvels by Douglas Wolk

I had the opportunity to read an early galley of the upcoming book All Of The Marvels by Douglas Wolk. He took on the herculean task of reading more than 27,000 Marvel comics in order to present a "traveller's guide" to those looking to dove into the rich tapestry that is the Marvel narrative. 
Being a life-long comic reader myself, one who discovered Marvel in the early 70's, I have my own winding history with their output. However, mine was even spotty - preferring Spider-Man and team titles like the Avengers, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men to others like Thor, Daredevil or Iron Man. Having a Marvel Unlimited subscription has helped me in recent years to correct that, allowing me to devour runs of titles I never picked up back in the day. 

Wolk does a good job in this book giving an overview of certain issues to vist, also hitting some spotlights on specific favorite characters (as much as 320 pages will allow). There is a stronger focus on runs post-2000 as well as the early years from the 1960's. The 70's and 80's get some mention too, while the 90's - a very rough period for comics in general - gets a deserved glossing over. 

One particular thing I really liked is the Appendix which gives a nice overview of the Marvel universe history in just a few pages. I would recommend highly for folks who might only know Marvel from the movies or TV shows to read that first. 

This book is scheduled for an October release. I had already tagged it for my to-order list for the library. I think it contains some solid advice on tackling a deep dive into the Marvel continuity that will benefit my patrons.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Book Review: Sweet Dreams - The Story of the New Romantics

Sweet Dreams: The Story of the New Romantics provides an in-depth look at a decade-long period of the music and cultural scenes of Britain. Author Dylan Jones zooms in on the period from 1975 to 1985 and the second invasion of British music. This study goes from the heyday of punk to the peak of new-wave, through the birth of MTV and the culmination of Live-Aid.

Written in a style reminiscent of a documentary script, Jones presents the reader with an eye-witness account of this period by those who were key to it. Through interviews, the reader hears from the likes of David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, Adam Ant, Martin Fry, Malcolm McLaren, Sade, the members of bands like Culture Club, Duran Duran, the Eurythmics, Heaven 17, Spandau Ballet, and so many more.

For someone like me who is a music-nerd that came of age during this particular decade, this book is a fascinating read. Even if you think you know a lot about these artists and their albums, I can guarantee you will find a number of interesting nuggets of trivia within these pages. It might even inspire you to revisit some of your favorite music from this period.