Posted in Bite-Sized Reviews, Book Reviews, Graphic Novels

COMBO REVIEW: Star Wars Edition


Star Wars: Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I feel like I really became a fan of Star Wars when I started watching the Clone Wars series on Netflix. I think they did an excellent job making it a good entry point for casual and hardcore fans. This story picks up shortly after that show leaves off. Ahsoka is left in the aftermath of Order 66, everyone she’s ever known is dead. So, she starts hopping from planet to planet trying to keep a low profile and hide from the Empire. However, she finds herself staying on this tiny moon and teaching farmers how to defend themselves against Stormtroopers and their battle droids.

Master Yoda had taught her that sometimes you found things you weren’t expecting, and it only made sense to use them when you did.

E.K. Johnston; Ahsoka

I enjoyed this novel. Ahsoka is one of my favorite characters from the Clone Wars era, and it was nice seeing what she gets up to after that tragic moment in Star Wars lore. I would recommend you watch the Clone Wars show before jumping into this story, although I think Ahsoka stands on its own as well.


Star Wars: Brotherhood by Mike Chen

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Now, let’s say you like the Clone Wars, but was annoyed by Ahsoka. This is the prequel book for you. This takes place shortly after Anakin becomes a Jedi Knight and is no longer a Padawan under Obi-Wan. Shortly after the ceremony, a neutral planet has just been struck by a terrorist attack. The Jedi Council send Obi-Wan on a solo mission to secure the planetary leaders to trust the Republic/Jedi and not trust what the Separatists/Sith are saying about the attack.

“This was Skywalker and Kenobi as they should be: a team built on emotion and intellect, bravado and control, fire and ice. And despite no longer having the formal bond of Master and apprentice, they would always be connected. In fact, they were better this way.”

Mike Chen; Star Wars: Brotherhood

I also enjoyed Brotherhood. It was action-packed, filled with espionage, and a dash of soapy romance. I liked seeing the events not only from Obi-Wan and Anakin’s perspective, but their new found companions too.

Anakin forms a bond with a youngling who has Force abilities, but she feels others emotions so intensely that it causes her emotional distress. After talking with Anakin about how she feels differently than her fellow younglings regarding becoming a Jedi, she decides to learn how to use her abilities in healing and medical training. I am glad that the Jedi Council was understanding and accepting of her differences.

I would recommend Brotherhood for fans of Star Wars, and even for people not so familiar with the franchise. This novel stands on its own really well, just like Ahsoka, and I think it’s fun to read them back-to-back.


Vader by Kieron Gillen

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This comic takes place shortly after the Death Star has been destroyed. Emperor Palpatine is disappointed that Vader couldn’t handle a handful of rebels. So, Vader sets off to gather intel about who the rebels are and if they’re a real threat to the Empire’s missions and goals.

Along the way he meets this renegade droid repairperson called Doctor Aphra and Vader uses her droids and tech for nefarious deeds. I liked Doctor Aphra. She is independent and she’s not afraid to do what she thinks is the right thing. Even when Vader is using her talents, she’s cracking jokes and being friendly with Vader even she knows he’ll kill her as soon as he’s finished with her.

Overall, I think this was a great start to this storyline, I hope I can continue this series in the future. I am a fan of Darth Vader, and I enjoy seeing him have depth and not just be this evil guy who kills everyone in his path.


Posted in Book Reviews, Non-Fiction

REVIEW: Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases by Paul Holes


*Do Nonfiction Books Have Spoilers?*

Trigger Warning for Murder, Death, Divorce, and Grieving

When I look back at my long career, there is a lot I am proud of. I have caught some of the most notorious killers of the twenty-first century and brought justice and closure for their victims and families. I want to tell you about a lifetime solving these cold cases, from Laci Peterson to Jaycee Dugard to the Pittsburg homicides to, yes, my twenty-year-long hunt for the Golden State Killer.

But a deeper question eats at me as I ask myself, at what cost? I have sacrificed relationships, joy—even fatherhood—because the pursuit of evil always came first. Did I make the right choice? It’s something I grapple with every day. Yet as I stand in the spot where a young girl took her last breath, as I look into the eyes of her family, I know that, for me, there has never been a choice. “I don’t know if I can solve your case,” I whisper. “But I promise I will do my best.”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

When I’m not listening to audiobooks, or reading on my Kindle, I’m listening to podcasts. I discovered this podcast called “Jenson and Holes: The Murder Squad”, it features investigative journalist Billy Jenson and retired cold case investigator Paul Holes. They would discuss cold cases, and explain police procedure to their audience who might not know how a murder investigation works in real life.

So when I saw Unmasked on the pre-order on Books-a-Million, I was so excited. I am a fan of true crime. I try to read more of it, but sometimes fiction is just what the doctor ordered. So now let’s dive into Unmasked.

Most of this autobiography talks about the Golden State Killer case. It was a lot of detectives’ Moby Dick, their elusive white whale. However, it was breakthrough in forensic technology that uncovered the truth in the end. I think this technology will go a long way and possibly clear up more cold cases.

You can’t finish a puzzle without all of the pieces.

Paul Holes; Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases

Seeing how Mr. Holes’ career morphed and grew over time is interesting. You see him want to be more of a lab rat, and less of a politics-driven supervisor of the labs. He wants to process evidence, and leave the politics to those who can handle that.

The discussions of divorce, love fading, and regrets for how things turned out brought back memories of my parents’ divorce. It was difficult for me to listen to however, it was nice hearing him reflect on it and realize what went wrong. A lot of ex-couples seem to be too prideful to realize what went wrong in their failed relationships.

Overall, I really enjoyed this true crime audiobook. It was informative as well as personal and relatable.

Posted in Audiobooks, Bite-Sized Reviews, Book Reviews, Graphic Novels

COMBO REVIEW: Doctor Who Edition


*No Spoilers*

So this is going to be more of a test than anything, I have read a lot of books that I thought were great, but I didn’t have enough for a full or rapid review. So, I’m going to rate and give my thoughts on these Doctor Who books I’ve recently read.


Empire of the Wolf by Jody Houser

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The art style was interesting, all of the speech bubbles were placed where characters had their mouths closed. It looked like they were communicating telepathically. Not sure if this is common or if I’m just noticing it in this comic story. Seeing the Eleventh Doctor interact with Rose has been a bit strange. In this storyline, Eleven just lost Amy and Rory and is in a major depressive episode. However, I thought he would be over the moon to see Rose again.


Doctormania by Cavan Scott

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a collection of stories, two small ones and one big story. I think the bigger story was the best out of this collection. However, I think Rose sounded whiney and annoying throughout the collection.


The Krillitane Storm by Christopher Cooper

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It’s always interesting seeing the Doctor on a solo adventure, and even if he’s by himself, he won’t be for long. The Krillitane are a returning enemy, and the episode they were featured in gets referenced a bit throughout this story. This story had a good twist ending, and I kind of wish we could learn more about the Krillitane. They are an interesting villain and can almost go toe-to-toe with The Doctor.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Infinite (Ghostland #3) by Duncan Ralston


*No Spoilers*

Ghosts wreak havoc in the streets of Duck Falls, and Lilian Roth has gone underground, hiding in the Laramies’ backyard bunker. With the town under military quarantine, the death toll continues to rise. And Hedgewood’s massive infrasound array stands to wipe out every “ethereal” within its radius, Ben Laramie and his friends at the Temple among them.

Setting the ethereals free from Ghostland was only the beginning for Rex Garrote. He’s returned to the remains of his house to tear open the Dark Rift – a realm of terrifying impossibilities between the living and ethereal planes – and unleash its nightmare creatures upon the world.

The End of Everything is on the horizon, and Lilian and Ben are humanity’s last hopes. Facing their greatest fears and insurmountable odds, they must return to Ghostland through the Dark Rift’s deadly, ever-changing landscape for a final confrontation between good and evil, to stop Rex Garrote once and for all.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I can’t begin to describe the exhilaration I felt when I started this audiobook. It is quite rare for me to finish a series/trilogy these days with books to distract me. So, let’s dive into the long-awaited Ghostland finale, Infinite.

One thing I’d like to mention, I would recommend reading Afterlife and Infinite back to back, or at least not a month apart like I did. This book picks up more or less where we left off, and it can be jarring at first. However, it didn’t take too long to get my sea legs back (or should I say my Ghost legs haha) and we’re off to the final battle between Rex Garrote, Ben and Lillian, and the Hedgewood Foundation.

I also advise note taking, not on the characters per say, but more of the rules of how this supernatural world works. I listened to Infinite on audio, and I suggest not multitasking while listening. This needs 100% of your attention.

Still more perplexing was that this cadaver smelled not of smoke but of the foulest stench of rot and putrescence I have ever borne witness to, as if his remains had been excreted from the very bowels of Hell.

Duncan Ralston, Infinite

But, I feel like I’m critiquing myself more than I am this novel. This novel is fast-paced, and rewards you for reading Afterlife. The dominos continue to fall as all the characters are seemingly and unknowingly playing right into Rex Garrote’s plan.

However, Ben, Lillian, and Ghosts are People Too aren’t going to take this laying down. Seeing everyone fight for what they perceive as right is moving. Seeing the leader of the Ghosts are People Too realize how much she messed up and how she was possibly betrayed was satisfying.

Overall, I enjoyed Infinite. The final battle is epic and the anticipation while getting there is palpable. I am thrilled to finally say I finished a trilogy! This has been an amazing ride, and I can’t wait to dive into Duncan Ralston’s other works *cough* Woom *cough*.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews

REVIEW: Rogue Protocol (Murderbot Diaries #3) by Martha Wells


*No Major Spoilers*

Sci-Fi’s favorite antisocial A.I. is again on a mission. The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah’s SecUnit is.

And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Continuing on with the Murderbot Diaries series, we have Rogue Protocol. Now I wasn’t that impressed with the previous entry, Artificial Condition. So I was going into this novella with cautious optimism. So let’s secure this review for Rogue Protocol.

We are continuing on Murderbot’s mission to find evidence against the company that tried to kill their team, while also trying to figure out its past before it became self aware. Murderbot is finding itself going to another mining planet where GrayCris had a contract. Now, a different exploration crew is going to evaluate this mining spot and clear it before the next mining team moves into the spot.

There needs to be an error code that means “I received your request but decided to ignore you.”

Martha Wells, Rogue Protocol

However, things go awry and it’s up to Murderbot and her newfound friend, Miki, to save Miki’s crew from combat bots. Miki is more of a “old school/traditional” robot as Murderbot describes it. Miki is close to his guardian, Don Abene, and it makes Murderbot have emotions about how its been treated in the past.

Overall, I found this adventure to be a lot more exciting than the previous entry to the series. Miki and all his crew are likeable, the action is intense, and I felt like there was a lot at stake. The mystery and saga continues and I’ll be sharing my thoughts on it soon!