Final LOGAN Trailer Released!

The final trailer for LOGAN is here.

In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hideout on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces. Check out the brand new trailer below.

LOGAN hits theaters everywhere on March 3, 2017!

MARTIANS ABROAD Blog Tour: Carrie Vaughn Guest Post

Carrie Vaughn joins SciFiChick.com today to promote her new release, Martians Abroad, and talk about the worldbuilding fantasy vs. science fiction!

The Details that Build a World
by Carrie Vaughn

Worldbuilding is the lifeblood of SF&F. We love these genres because we want to travel to other places, see new and amazing worlds, the more fantastical, futuristic, and amazing the better. And the more believable those worlds seem, the more we feel like we could buy a ticket on a starship or simply step through a wardrobe to see it all for ourselves, the happier we are. Build that world, readers will come.

I spent ten years writing an urban fantasy series in which werewolves, vampires, and all sorts of magic exist in our world. My new book, Martians Abroad, is about a third generation Martian colonist visiting Earth for the first time.

Was hard, switching gears? Was it a big leap to go from magic to space ships?

I gotta say, and this may come as a surprise to some people, worldbuilding in the science fiction book might just be little bit easier. Because all the information is right there. If you’re extrapolating from where we are now to where we might be in a couple of hundred years — colonizing the solar system, imagining what the technology might look like, considering what science tells us is possible — the choices are limited. Yes, you have to be accurate. People will fact check every word you write. But for most of the questions an author like me has about this science-fictional world I’m creating, there’s going to be a plausible answer. A more plausible answer, anyway. A scientifically reasonable one. We can make good guesses about the effects of low gravity on human anatomy. I know how to describe the Martian landscape because I can look up hundreds of beautiful pictures, thanks to the rovers Curiosity, Spirit, and Opportunity. After the last fifty or so years of solar system exploration and discovery, there’s surprisingly little I had to make up. And can I just gush about how utterly cool that is?!

In fantasy, authors often have to build their worlds from the ground up. Yes, I can make it all up by the seat of my pants. It still has to be believable. I still have to make choices that make sense and seem right and fit together to make a great story and a world my readers want to visit. And there are no real right answers. On the one hand, anything goes, right? Well, I’m not sure about that. I think this freedom from real-world data also means I need to be a lot more careful because there’s no good way to double check my work. No way to know if what I’m writing is believable until it ends up in front of a reader. The reader always has the final word on whether the worldbuilding in a book is successful.

In the end, both fantasy and science fiction require thoughtful world building and attention to details. The source material may be different, but the goal is the same: make the reader believe.

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About Martians Abroad:

Teenage Polly Newton has one single-minded dream: to be a starship pilot and travel the galaxy. But her mother, the director of the Mars Colony, derails Polly’s plans when she sends Polly and her genius twin brother, Charles, to Galileo Academy on Earth—the one planet Polly has no desire to visit. Ever.

Homesick and cut off from her desired future, Polly cannot seem to fit into the constraints of life on Earth, unlike Charles, who deftly maneuvers around people and sees through their behavior to their true motives. But when strange, unexplained, and dangerous coincidences centered on their high-profile classmates begin piling up, Polly is determined to find the truth, no matter the cost.

About the Author:
CARRIE VAUGHN, the New York Times bestselling author of the Kitty Norville books, is also the author of the stand-alone novels After the Golden Age and Discord’s Apple, and the young adult books Voice of Dragons and Steel. She holds a Masters in English Literature and collects hobbies—fencing and sewing are currently high on the list. You can visit her online at www.carrievaughn.com.

Fantasy Book Review: Ranger’s Apprentice: The Early Years: The Battle of Hackham Heath

Ranger’s Apprentice: The Early Years: The Battle of Hackham Heath by John Flanagan

Synopsis:
When the former Baron Morgarath escaped to avoid punishment for treason, an uneasy peace fell on Araluen. But Morgarath, now in hiding, is already planning his next move, recruiting an army of savage, overpowering beasts known as Wargals. Newly crowned King Duncan knows he must assemble his troops for battle.

To find out the full extent of Morgarath’s plan of attack, Halt prepares for a seemingly impossible task–climbing the deadly cliffs of the Mountains of Rain and Night and venturing deep into enemy territory to spy. After all, the winner of this war could be determined by one wrong move.

At the Battle of Hackham Heath, the fate of a Kingdom will be decided. This origin story of how Halt came to be Araluen’s most famous Ranger – and how war will decide the future of the next generation – will thrill Ranger’s Apprentice fans and new readers alike.

Review:
While Halt ventures into enemy territory to scout, Crowley is tasked with getting the Queen to safety as she delivers her baby. Morgarath is amassing an army of Wargals that threaten the kingdom.

The Battle of Hackham Heath is the second installment in the Ranger’s Apprentice: The Early Years prequel series. The Ranger’s Apprentice series is an incredible, epic series that I’m happy to see continue in these prequels. Halt and the rest of these established characters are intriguing – and the stories are always engaging. This installment is well-paced with plenty of suspense and intrigue. Events build to the big battle as the name suggests. And the Rangers play a big role as the invading horde approaches. I can’t get enough of this series. This latest installment is another enjoyable story, and the next can’t come soon enough.

Book Giveaway: Heartstone

Courtesy of Harper Voyager, I have a copy of Heartstone by Elle Katharine White for two (2) lucky winners!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends February 10. I’ll draw a name on February 11, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Heartstone

Fantasy Book Review: Wings of Fire: Talons of Power

Wings of Fire: Talons of Power by Tui T. Sutherland

Synopsis:
FOR EVERY VILLAIN, THERE IS A HERO…
Turtle isn’t one of the heroes he reads about in stories. If he were, he’d use his animus powers to help Pyrrhia—instead of keeping his abilities a secret, even from his own sister. Now that Darkstalker, the sinister and impossibly old dragon from Pyrrhia’s most notorious legends, has returned, Turtle knows his own role is simple: hide. And stay hidden.

The other dragons at Jade Mountain Academy, on the other hand, think Darkstalker is fascinating. He charms everyone he meets, including Turtle’s most skeptical friends. They all seem convinced that the ancient dragon has changed.

Turtle isn’t so sure. The more he watches Darkstalker from the shadows, the more Turtle knows that someone needs to stop the powerful dragon. A real hero. But Turtle is running out of time to find one, which means…he might have to try to save the day himself.

Review:
Turtle is content to hide and not let anyone know about his powers. If someone else can take down Darkstalker, Turtle is willing to let them do it. But unfortunately, he may be the only one who can follow Darkstalker, stay unseen, and make sure his friends stay safe.

Talons of Power is the latest in the Wings of Fire fantasy series for young readers. Dragons are the main characters. And these characters are complex and compelling and just plain fun to read. This latest story picks up immediately after the last cliffhanger, as Darkstalker wakes up. With plenty of drama, suspense, and a bit of humor – Turtle’s adventures build to another climactic cliffhanger that left me wanting more. As always, I eagerly await the next in this exceptional series.

SciFiChick’s Best of 2016

I read a total of 132 books this year, much less than years past. However, I was also a lot busier.
Here’s the list of my favorite SciFi/Fantasy titles (published in 2016) that I read and reviewed.

Science Fiction:

Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot: To Preserve by Mickey Zucker Reichert
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/02/01/scifi-book-review-isaac-asimovs-i-robot-to-preserve/

The Last One by Alexandra Oliva
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/09/13/scifi-book-review-the-last-one/

Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/01/18/scifi-book-review-star-wars-the-force-awakens/

Star Trek: The Original Series: Elusive Salvation by Dayton Ward
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/06/01/scifi-book-review-star-trek-the-original-series-elusive-salvation/

Quantum Night by Robert J Sawyer
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/04/28/scifi-book-review-quantum-night/

YA SciFi:

Starflight by Melissa Landers
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/02/04/scifi-book-review-starflight/

The Capture by Tom Isbell
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/03/03/scifi-book-review-the-capture/

Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/03/10/scifi-book-review-calamity/

Alight by Scott Sigler
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/05/18/scifi-book-review-alight/

The Diabolic by SJ Kincaid
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/12/12/scifi-book-review-the-diabolic/

Fantasy:

Arabella of Mars by David D Levine
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/10/28/scifi-book-review-arabella-of-mars/

Warcraft: Durotan by Christie Golden
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/06/07/fantasy-book-review-warcraft-durotan/

To Kill A Kettle Witch by Barb Hendee
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/05/20/fantasy-book-review-to-kill-a-kettle-witch/

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/06/22/fantasy-book-review-the-invisible-library/

The Night Voice by Barb & JC Hendee
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/01/14/fantasy-book-review-the-night-voice/

YA Fantasy:

The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/06/16/fantasy-book-review-the-trials-of-apollo-the-hidden-oracle/

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/02/15/fantasy-book-review-the-girl-from-everywhere/

Wings of Fire: Escaping Peril by Tui T Sutherland
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/07/11/fantasy-book-review-wings-of-fire-escaping-peril/

Ruined by Amy Tintera
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/06/09/fantasy-book-review-ruined/

Wings of Fire: Talons of Power by Tui T. Sutherland
Reviewed forthcoming

What were some of your favorites this year?

Blu-Ray Review: The Accountant

The Accountant Blu-Ray

Synopsis:
Christian Wolff (Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian un-cooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.

Review:
Ben Affleck does a surprisingly good job of playing an incredibly complex man with Asperger’s. He’s a fantastic character with a past that slowly unfolds through the movie, showing how he became the man he is today. Christian (Affleck) is a CPA with a hidden life. And when his latest job is cancelled before he’s finished, he decides to take matters in his own hands and find out the truth.

I really enjoyed The Accountant. The movie trailers didn’t do this movie justice. It’s a heart-wrenching drama mixed with pulse-pounding action and suspense. As the story unfolds, there are several surprises I didn’t see coming. And as the final piece of the puzzle falls into place, I was left with a smile on my face. I watched the short featurettes that confirmed my suspicions about the right amount research that went into making a movie about a man with Autism, who isn’t the victim but the hero. I thought it was a great film, with engaging characters and an exciting story.

“The Accountant” Blu-ray contains the following special features:
• Inside the Man
• Behavioral Science
• The Accountant in Action

“The Accountant” Standard Definition DVD contains the following special features:
• Inside the Man

Doctor Strange DVD/Blu-Ray Release Date

From Press Release:
From Marvel Studios comes Doctor Strange, the story of world-famous neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose life changes forever after a horrific car accident renders his hands useless. When traditional medicine fails him, he travels to the remote Kamar-Taj in search of a cure, but instead discovers the mystical arts and becomes a powerful sorcerer battling dark forces bent on destroying our reality. Bring Home The Mystifying, Mind-Bending Journey on Digital HD Feb. 14 and Blu-ray™ Feb. 28.
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On Feb. 14, “Doctor Strange” fans can bring home the critically acclaimed blockbuster early on Digital HD/3D and Disney Movies Anywhere, or on Blu-ray 3D™, Blu-ray, Digital SD, DVD and On-Demand on Feb. 28. The Blu-ray and Digital releases come packaged with over 80 minutes of fascinating, never-before-seen bonus materials, including five behind-the-scenes featurettes, five deleted scenes, hilarious outtakes, part two of the comical mockumentary “Team Thor,” audio commentary, and an exclusive look at the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The film boasts an award-winning cast, including Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game,” “Black Mass”) as Dr. Stephen Strange, Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave,” “Triple 9”) as Mordo, Rachel McAdams (“Spotlight,” “Southpaw”) as Dr. Christine Palmer, Benedict Wong (“The Martian,” “Prometheus”) as Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg (“A Serious Man,” “Steve Jobs”) as Dr. Nicodemus West, Benjamin Bratt (“Traffic,” “Piñero”) as Jonathan Pangborn, and Scott Adkins (“El Gringo,” “The Expendables 2”) as Lucian/Strong Zealot, with Mads Mikkelsen (“The Hunt,” “Casino Royale”) as Kaecilius and Academy Award® winner Tilda Swinton (2007 Best Supporting Actress, “Michael Clayton”; “Julia”) as The Ancient One.

Bonus Features (Bonus features may vary by retailer. The DVD does not include any bonus materials.):
DIGITAL HD & BLU-RAY:
-Featurettes:
o A Strange Transformation – Open your eye to a new dimension of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and see how the filmmakers brought one of comic books’ greatest characters to life.
o Strange Company – Find out what it’s like for the cast to work on a Marvel film, and how Director Scott Derrickson engineered one of the most ambitious, imaginative films ever.
o The Fabric of Reality – Take a closer look at the movie’s extraordinary sets, meticulously crafted costumes and amazingly detailed production elements.
o Across Time and Space – Explore the countless hours of dance and fight choreography the actors endured in preparation for their physically demanding roles.
o The Score-cerer Supreme – Join Composer Michael Giacchino and a full orchestra during live recording sessions, and experience the movie’s mind-bending music.
-Marvel Studios Phase 3 Exclusive Look – Get an early peek at Marvel’s spectacular upcoming films, including Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.
-Team Thor: Part 2 – See more of the hilarious partnership between Thor and his roommate Darryl in this satirical short.
-Deleted Scenes:
o Strange Meets Daniel Drumm
o Kaecilius Searches for Answers
o The Kamar-Taj Courtyard
o Making Contact
o Lost in Kathmandu
-Gag Reel
-Audio Commentary by Director Scott Derrickson

DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE:
-Through the Keyhole: The Science of the MCU – Discover how Marvel grounds all its films in real science, and explore the connection between science, magic and imagination.

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