Book Review

#Fantasy Worth Reading: A Starlet’s Secret to a Senstational Afterlife #BookReview #fantasybooks #Booklover


Looking for a fun and fantastic read with a bit of the supernatural and a little romance? A Starlet’s Secret to a Sensational Afterlife by Kendall Kulper is the novel you need.

fantasy worth reading A Starlet's Secret to a Sensational Afterlife

A Starlet’s Secret to a Sensational Afterlife is a mesmerizing tale that effortlessly blends the unglamourous side of Hollywood with a touch of mystery and a sprinkle of romance.

Set during the golden age of Hollywood, the novel introduces us to the charismatic protagonist, Henrietta. She announces to her family over dinner once evening that she’s going to be a star and leaves Chicago. As a newcomer to Hollywood, Henrietta finds it’s not so easy to get into pictures. Then she starts seeing dead starlets. Wha??

This mystery of the many, many dead girls gets entwined with her shot at stardom. What’s a girl to do?

Then she meets Declan, who has his own secrets. He can’t die. At first this serves him well as a stuntman. Then, it becomes a problem when there’s an accident where he should have died and he’s not even injured. He had a hard life and came to Hollywood hoping to find his mother. She had run off to try her hand at stardom when he was a boy.

The pacing is well-balanced, keeping the reader engaged with a combination of suspenseful revelations and heartfelt moments.

I loved the balance of supernatural, mystery, history, and romance. I highly recommend this book.

Here’s the blurb:

A budding starlet and her handsome-but-moody co-star go from bitter enemies to reluctant partners when they get tangled up in the disappearance of a beautiful young actress in 1930s Hollywood.

Eighteen-year-old Henrietta arrives in Los Angeles in 1934 with dreams of trading her boring life for stardom.

She’s determined to make it as an actress, despite her family’s doubts and rumors of would-be starlets gone missing. And by the skin of her teeth, she pulls it off! A serendipitous job offer arrives and Henrietta finds herself on a whirlwind publicity tour for a major film role—with a vexingly unpleasant actor tapped by the studio to be her fake boyfriend.

But fierce Henrietta has more in common with brooding Declan than she realizes. They both have gifts that they are hiding, for fear of being labeled strange: he is immune to injury and she can speak to ghosts. When the co-stars get tangled up in the disappearance of a beautiful young actress, they go from bitter enemies and pretend lovers to reluctant partners—and possibly even friends.

Together, they might be the only people in Hollywood who can do something about these poor missing girls. And in doing so . . . they might just fall in love for real.

This whip smart, seductive caper by the author of Murder for the Modern Girl has the perfect combination of romance, vengeance, and a hint of the supernatural, set in the Golden Age of Hollywood.


#SciFi Worth Reading: Saturn Run #BookReview

Saturn Run by John Sandford and Ctien

I love a great space mystery. This one starts with an alien space vessel spotted entering orbit around Saturn.

The race begins. The US and China compete to get to Saturn first, to be the first to meet the aliens, to be the first to gain new technologies. Then, the ship leaves. But the race is no less intense.

What did the alien ship do at Saturn? Did it leave something there? Is there something there we can’t see by telescope?

Well, I really wanted to know. So I kept reading.

The character interactions are really captivating, and the characters have layers that get peeled away as the story goes on. I thought a really, really long time was spent on how the engines and propulsion worked. Too much time. However, that didn’t take away from me enjoying the story.

Once the ship finally gets to Saturn, the thrills and twists keep going. I wish more time had been spent at Saturn and the mysteries there. But again, I still really liked this book. A lot.

A lot of the plot was pretty intense, pushed along by the race with the Chinese, the politics, and the issues with building a vessel that could get to Saturn in a relatively short time frame. Very well done.

Here’s the official description:

The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope – something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate. Spaceships do.

A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: Whatever built that ship is at least 100 years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. A conclusion the Chinese definitely agree with when they find out.

The race is on, and an remarkable adventure begins – an epic tale of courage, treachery, resourcefulness, secrets, surprises, and astonishing human and technological discovery, as the members of a hastily thrown-together crew find their strength and wits tested against adversaries both of this earth and beyond. What happens is nothing like you expect – and everything you could want from one of the world’s greatest masters of suspense.



#ScienceFiction Worth Reading: Starter Villain #BookReview #scifi #sciencefiction #booklover


A riotous rollercoaster that delivers a fresh and uproariously funny take on the world of supervillainy.

science fiction worth reading Starter Villain

Warning: This book often made me laugh out loud!

Packed with wit, charm, and unexpected twists, this novel isdelightful and had me laughing from start to finish.

Charlie, a divorced substitute teacher with dreams of opening a pub, finds himself thrust into an unimaginable situation. When his long-lost uncle Jake dies, he bequeaths Charlie a supervillain business complete with an island volcano lair. What follows is a madcap adventure that turns Charlie’s life upside down.

Scalzi’s comedic genius shines through every page with clever humor and witty dialogue. From the absurdity of giant laser death rays to the complexities of managing a lair with unionized dolphins, Starter Villain keeps the laughs coming. Scalzi’s ability to blend humor with depth and heart makes this novel a standout in the genre.

The plot, filled with unexpected twists, takes readers on an eccentric journey. The cast of characters, including hyperintelligent talking spy cats and a terrifying henchperson, adds layers of charm.

Charlie’s reluctant journey into the supervillain world is a joy to follow. Scalzi deftly explores themes of identity, family, and the choices that define us, all while maintaining a lighthearted and humorous tone. The pacing is spot-on, with each chapter delivering new and hilarious challenges for Charlie to navigate.

In a genre often filled with clichés, “Starter Villain” stands out as a refreshing and original take on the superhero/supervillain dynamic. It’s a testament to Scalzi’s storytelling prowess that he can inject so much humor into a tale that also explores the complexities of power and morality.

I definitely recommend. This is now my favorite Scalzi read. Here’s the blurb:

Inheriting your uncle’s supervillain business is more complicated than you might think. Particularly when you discover who’s running the place.

Charlie’s life is going nowhere fast. A divorced substitute teacher living with his cat in a house his siblings want to sell, all he wants is to open a pub downtown, if only the bank will approve his loan.

Then his long-lost uncle Jake dies and leaves his supervillain business (complete with island volcano lair) to Charlie.

But becoming a supervillain isn’t all giant laser death rays and lava pits. Jake had enemies, and now they’re coming after Charlie. His uncle might have been a stand-up, old-fashioned kind of villain, but these are the real thing: rich, soulless predators backed by multinational corporations and venture capital.

It’s up to Charlie to win the war his uncle started against a league of supervillains. But with unionized dolphins, hyperintelligent talking spy cats, and a terrifying henchperson at his side, going bad is starting to look pretty good.

In a dog-eat-dog world…be a cat.



#Fantasy With Reading: Murder for the Modern Girl #BookReview

best-selling fantasy

Murder for the Modern Girl by Kendall Kulper

Another supernatural fantasy set in a bygone era. In this book, the main character, Ruby, is a killer. It’s the 1920s in Chicago, and Ruby has the ability to read minds. She uses this skill to kill horrible people. The book opens with her committing a murder. That certainly caught my attention and kept me reading. Despite this deadly flaw, Ruby is a likable character that I ended up rooting for.

Her father is the district attorney and becomes the victim of violence. Will he live? However it turns out, Ruby is determined to continue his work fighting corruption in the city. Her proclivities and investigation take her to the morgue where she meets Guy. Guy isn’t his real name and he can change his appearace. Yes, he can shift his face and his body to appear like someone completely different.

He’s a scientist and is on the trail of a serial killer… Ruby. He ends up helping her with her investigation, which puts them together and in conflict from the moment they meet.

This was a fun read with some twists and turns. It’s the second in this series, and I liked it as much as the first.

Here’s the official description:

A ravishing young mind reader stalks the streets at night in kitten heels, prowling for men to murder.

A soft-spoken genius toils away in the city morgue, desperate to unearth the science behind his gift for shape-shifting.

It’s a match made in 1928 Chicago, where gangsters run City Hall, jazz fills the air, and every good girl’s purse conceals a flask.

Until now, 18-year-old Ruby’s penchant for poison has been a secret. No one knows that she uses her mind-reading abilities to target men who prey on vulnerable women, men who escape the clutches of Chicago “justice”. When she meets a brilliant boy working at the morgue, his knack for forensic detail threatens to uncover her dark hobby. Even more unfortunately: Sharp, independent Ruby has fallen in love with him.

Waltzing between a supernaturally enhanced romance, the battle to take down a gentleman’s club, and loyal friendships worth their weight in diamonds, Ruby brings defiant charm to every spectacular chapter of Murder for the Modern Girl—not to mention killer fashion. An irresistible caper.


#ScFi Worth Reading: System Collapse #BookReview

best-selling science fictionSystem Collapse by Martha Wells.

This is the 7th installment in the Murderbot Diaries series. I loved, loved, loved this book so, so, so much. If you love Murderbot, you won’t be disappointed by this new novel.

Murdbot is its usual snarky self. It’s humorous commentary keeps pace with the action and the fast pace of the story. This novel pretty much picks up where the last one left off, except Murderbot is having a bit of a personal crisis.

The way Murderbot develops and grows and questions whether it wants to be more human is the beating heart of this series. This book continues Murderbot’s journey. And yay! ART is back too. I wasn’t at all disappointed, except there’ll be a long wait until the next one. Siiigh.

More please, Martha Wells!

Here’s the description:

Everyone’s favorite lethal SecUnit is back.

Following the events in Network Effect, the Barish-Estranza corporation has sent rescue ships to a newly colonized planet in peril, as well as additional SecUnits. But if there’s an ethical corporation out there, Murderbot has yet to find it, and if Barish-Estranza can’t have the planet, they’re sure as hell not leaving without something. If that something just happens to be an entire colony of humans, well, a free workforce is a decent runner-up prize.

But there’s something wrong with Murderbot; it isn’t running within normal operational parameters. ART’s crew and the humans from Preservation are doing everything they can to protect the colonists, but with Barish-Estranza’s SecUnit-heavy persuasion teams, they’re going to have to hope Murderbot figures out what’s wrong with itself, and fast!

Yeah, this plan is… not going to work.



#Fantasy Worth Reading: Bookshops and Bonedust #BookReview

Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree

If you loved Legends & Lattes, you’ll love this second novel just as much. At least, I did. The first novel was so good, I feared not enjoying this new installment to the series. But I did. I loved it so, so much.

The story centers around the orc, Viv, once again. She’s just as lovable as in the first novel. This story takes place earlier in her life but has all the elements that made the first book so loveable. While in pursuit of a necromancer with her mercenary group, Viv gets injured and is left to recuperate in a quaint seaside town. Bored out of her mind, she enters a bookshop.

The story unfolds as beatifully with rich, loveable characters, lots of fantasy originality, and lots of charm. Returning to this cozy and comfortable world was pure joy.

My only complaint is I’ll have to wait quite a while for the next in this series. So yeah, I highly recommend Bookshops & Bonedust.

Here’s the description.

Viv’s career with the notorious mercenary company Rackam’s Ravens isn’t going as planned.

Wounded during the hunt for a powerful necromancer, she’s packed off against her will to recuperate in the sleepy beach town of Murk—so far from the action that she worries she’ll never be able to return to it.

What’s a thwarted soldier of fortune to do?

Spending her hours at a beleaguered bookshop in the company of its foul-mouthed proprietor is the last thing Viv would have predicted, but it may be both exactly what she needs and the seed of changes she couldn’t possibly imagine.

Still, adventure isn’t all that far away. A suspicious traveler in gray, a gnome with a chip on her shoulder, a summer fling, and an improbable number of skeletons prove Murk to be more eventful than Viv could have ever expected.

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