Star Wars: Ahsoka

1200334096Written by E.K. Johnston, this prequel book is set between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV: A New Hope. If you’ve watched the animated series, this story takes place between the shows Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels. It follows the story of Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Sywalker’s padawan that left the Jedi Order during the events of the animated television show Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

If you’re a fan of the animated series then this is a novel that will definitely pique your interest. The character of Ahsoka Tano has never graced the big screen in any of the nine films and has only been seen in the animated series. With the exception of Bail Organa, the Grand Inquisitor, and a few flashback cameos there are only new faces to the Star Wars Universe.

Having escaped the Jedi mass murder known as Order 66, the reader gets a sense of how Ahsoka has managed to escape capture and remain hidden from the Empire’s grasp. She settles on a moon called Raada and does her best to blend in to the farmers on the outer rim as an engineer. Of course, the Force has something else planned for her and eventually, the Empire makes its way to the moon with the intent of hijacking the farming operation and using the farmers as a workforce to farm food for Imperial Stormtroopers. Ahsoka must make the choice of aiding the disgruntled farmers face off against the Empire or fleeing the moon in order to evade being discovered.

For fans of Star Wars: Rebels, we all know that Ahsoka becomes the Resistance’s Spymaster known as Fulcrum. This book ends leading straight into the Rebel’s television show. For fans of the character of Ahsoka Tano, this is an amazing book that captures the voice and personality of the palawan. Johnston really pulls this off by having moments where Ahsoka struggles with trying to conceal her Force powers and trying to decide what the best course of action is. In order to decide, she reminisces about what Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, or even R2-D2 would do in that situation. Even though the readers know that all of Ahsoka’s mentors are still alive, Ahsoka doesn’t and simply by remembering them she grieves for their loss.

The story builds to the scene where Ahsoka decides to fully embrace the Force and become part of the fight against the Empire and it’s such a brilliant scene. I’m not sure that even Dave Filoni could create as vivid a scene than Johnston did in her book. This is a fitting bridge that explains the lost Ahsoka era that fans so desperately craved when Star Wars: The Clone Wars ended so abruptly.

This is a book that you’ll want to read if you’ve seen the animated series and ever wondered what happened to Ahsoka. Even if you’ve never seen the animated series, this is absolutely a novel to at least read through once or twice.

I would encourage you to purchase and read this great entry into the Star Wars Universe. You can purchase it here in eBook or physical.

Review of “Dragon Teeth”

While perusing the book aisle of Wal-Mart one night, I was stopped by the cover of a horse mounted rider on top of a humongous dinosaur skull. The book was called Dragon Teeth. When I first saw it I thought that it looked like the cover of Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. Then I noticed that the author of the book was in fact Michael Crichton. I both was intrigued and saddened. For those that might not know, Michael Crichton has been dead since 2008. Since his death, he has published three novels including  Pirate Latitudes (2009), Micro (2011), and Dragon Teeth in 2017.

DragonTeeth-Cover-LiveWhile Pirate Latitudes was very good, I was really let down by Micro. While Pirate Latitudes was found in manuscript form, it was still essentially completed by Crichton himself. In the case of Micro, this was not the case. It was found only roughly 33 percent completed and had to be completed by Author Richard Preston. While Preston is a decent author, Micro was still two-thirds Preston and not Crichton. And you could tell. So when I saw that Dragon Teeth had been published, I was a little more than nervous about reading it. The prospect of another tale about dinosaurs written by Crichton swayed me into placing it into my shopping cart.

When I got home, I started reading the book and found out that it wasn’t exactly another tale about the dangers of cloning dinosaurs and putting them in cages so that people might get to watch them. Dragon Teeth is a tale set during the Bone Wars in 1876 and centers around the rich and snobby Yale student William Johnson. Johnson talks his way into a bet that has him spending a summer with Othniel Charles Marsh, a professor and paleontologist. What Johnson doesn’t know is that Marsh is in a heated battle of his own against rival Paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope. Johnson must face betrayal, love, and even death as he attempts to survive his trip into the wild west.

Othniel Charles Marsh (left) and Edward Drinker Cope (right). Photo Credit: click here.

What I love about this book is the amount of detail Crichton puts into each of the historical characters and settings he uses. Both Marsh and Cope were enemies in real life and did engage in the Bone War, a search for dinosaur bones. Along the way, Crichton also integrates other historical figures including George Custer, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Wyatt Earp.

The description that Crichton uses to describe the harsh sands or the way Johnson proves a murder is remarkable. It’s almost as if you are watching a documentary instead of reading a historical fiction novel.

The plot itself didn’t seem to lag either. Johnson was thrown from one predicament to the next and it always was entertaining trying to see how he got himself out of them.

The protagonist of the novel, Johnson, was one that I didn’t like at first. He was a snobby elitist that came from a family of money and wasn’t really keen on using his family’s riches to learn anything form Yale. Over the course of the story, you see Johnson grow as a person. You see him taking a stand in causes he believes in, learning an honest living, and what it means to be a man during the wild west. As a reader, you also transform from a reader that wants him to be killed off to a reader that’s rooting for him to get back home in one (more or less) piece.

Overall, there wasn’t much that I disliked about the novel. I would recommend this book for anyone that enjoys historical fiction as well as those that enjoy western books about gunfighting and treasure hunting.

Book Review of Chasing Shadows: The Initiative Book One by Kindra Sowder

The best way to describe this book is that it is a cross between the movie “Men In Black” (1997) and the television show “Supernatural.” The book is set in a world where Abraham Van Helsing isn’t just a fictional character

Clicking the cover will take you to the book’s Amazon page. Just saying…

in Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” In this book, the descendants of Van Helsing are carrying on the family tradition by hunting down supernatural forces, but now they are funded by the government and are known as The Initiative.

The story centers on Isabelle Van Helsing, a fierce warrior against all things supernatural. Everything is business as usual for her until a friend and coworker is brutally murdered by a supernatural entity. This sets her down a path that will challenge her skills as a fighter as well as test her humanity. Joining her is her lover McGrady, a Scottish version of Gerard Butler.

This book is a paranormal romance and therefore contains some ‘romantic’ scenes that surpass some other paranormal romances I’ve read.

The best part of this book isn’t the creatures, cool weapons, sex scenes, or the characters. The thing that makes this book so great is the way Kindra Sowder weaves her tale together. Anyone can throw Van Helsing and monsters together and try and make it look cool, if you don’t believe me check out the movie “Van Helsing” (2004), but Sowder delivers where others have failed.

Sowder creates such rich characters that makes the reader believe that they are real. McGrady for example talks with a heavy Scottish accent and when you read it, you’ll find yourself speaking out loud in that same accent. Sowder makes the reader care about the characters. If they live you’ll cheer, if they die you’ll most likely cry or even curse Sowder. You’ll keep reading though, because the writing hooks you from page one.

The action scenes are intense and fast paced while the ‘romantic’ scenes are steamy (I dislike this word but there’s no other way to say it) and just as intense as the action scenes.

I won’t spoil anything else with this review, but I would encourage readers of all genres, not just paranormal romance, to check out “Chasing Shadows.” It has a little bit of everything.

Review of “A Mighty Rolling Thunder”

Review of “A Mighty Rolling Thunder” by Kerry Alan Denney.15492191_1266531520070518_6717308674849786678_n

This being my first time reading Denney, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I wasn’t disappointed though with what I found within the pages of the book. If you want a short description of “A Mighty Rolling Thunder” I would say that it’s like Stephen King’s “The Stand” if King was more brutal in his writing.

The premise of the two stories are basically the same. An apocalyptic event happens, good guys and bad guys are defined, and a battle between good and evil occurs. They differ, however, when you actually sit down and read the two. They both have their similarities and differences and one of the differences in Denney’s novel is the fact that it’s shorter than King’s novel.

According to Amazon’s Kindle stats, “A Mighty Rolling Thunder” weighs in at 313 pages while “The Stand” sits as the behemoth between the two at 1,348 pages. Being a Stephen King fanatic, if I were forced to pick one to read again it would have to be “A Mighty Rolling Thunder” hands down. The size of the book does not factor into the choice either.

Denney crafts a world similar to our own, but immediately throws that world into disarray when forces both good and evil invade it. Denney is a master when it comes to descriptive writing. The following is an example of such writing: “The universe was trying to regurgitate its cosmic bile, with Earth as its toxic waste dump.”

The characters in the novel are so well written that you’d almost expect them to spring forth from the pages. It’s a good thing that they don’t however, because I would cringe to see Victor van Danz in real life.

The first character the reader is introduced to is Livi DeSilva. Immediately, the reader sympathizes with her because she is suffering from a douchebag of a boyfriend. As the world around her collapses into darkness, she is infused with what Denney calls “twinkle-people” and “sparkle-angels.”

On the other side of the spectrum, readers are introduced to the antagonist of the story Victor van Danz who is infused with “shadow-mans” who are also known as “night-people.” Before the reader meets van Danz, Denney has Livi and the other protagonists encounter several people that are filled with “shadow-mans” and find that those people are insane, murderous, or a combination of the two. The frightening thing about van Danz is that he is in complete control of his newly granted power.

Another character the reader encounters is Conor McLain, a man that’s literally waging a war inside of himself. Infused with both “sparkle-angels” and “shadow-mans” Conor questions what type of person he is. He is a perfect counterweight to Livi’s “good” and Victor’s “bad” natures.

The most interesting and unique aspect of “A Mighty Rolling Thunder” is the relationships between man and man’s best friend. I won’t spoil the surprise in this review so if you want to know all about it, then I suggest you read the book.

As far as what I disliked about the book, I can’t say that I have any complaints. The story was well written, the characters were fleshed out and the reader cared about them as well as disliked them (in terms of the antagonist), and nothing really pulled the reader out of the narrative. The ending was somewhat predictable, but there were times along the way where I thought that my predictions were going to be proved false. There have only been a handful of novels that I would rate a 5 out of 5 stars and “A Mighty Rolling Thunder” is one of them.

If “A Mighty Rolling Thunder” is the measure of Denney’s writing then I will be looking for his past novels as well as his future ones.

“A Mighty Rolling Thunder” is published by Burning Willow Press.