All posts by SciFiChick

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Box Review: TeeBlox – May 2017

TeeBlox

TeeBlox is a t-shirt subscription service that brings 100% authentic licensed geek and gamer shirts to your doorsteps every month. No hidden fees. Cancel anytime. Satisfaction Guaranteed.”

Get 1 shirt and 2 other items starting at $12.99/mo and use code: SCIFICHICK24 to get 24% off your first month!

Subscribers can pick from the following categories: SciFi, Marvel, DC Comics, Cartoons, Movies and TV, Games, Hot Meex, or Disney!

*SciFiChick.com received a box for review purposes.

TeeBlox

Star Trek Shirt – This artwork from the Balance of Terror episode is nostalgic and fun. I love that it’s on a dark gray shirt as well. I’ll definitely get use out of this one.

TeeBlox

Comic and Wonder Woman Chain – I’ve never actually read Hawk & Dove, so I look forward to checking this out. And I love the Wonder Woman chain! Great extras this month.

Summary: I love the retro shirt this month! And the extras were a nice surprise as well. If you need to replenish your geek wardrobe with nice quality tees, look no further. This month’s makes up for last month being a duplicate!

Remember, use code: SCIFICHICK24 to get 24% off your first month!

Book Review: And Then There Were Four

And Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin

Synopsis:
When a building collapses around five teenagers—and they just barely escape—they know something strange is going on. Little by little, the group pieces together a theory: Their parents are working together to kill them all. Is it true? And if so, how did their parents come together—and why? And, most importantly, how can the five of them work together to save themselves? With an unlikely group of heroes, sky-high stakes, and two budding romances, this gripping murder mystery will keep readers guessing until the last page.

Review:
Five very different teenagers are drawn together by a traumatic experience with a suspicious cause. They aren’t sure who messaged them all to the meeting where the all could have died. But one of their parents had the means of bringing the building down. As crazy as it sounds, the teens start with a theory; and pieces begin falling into place as they investigate.

And Then There Were Four is a fast-paced thrilling whodunit. The character development was exceptional – especially for the narrators. The narrative itself is a bit strange – with one speaking in first person past tense and another in second person present tense – every other chapter. I’m not sure why that distracting choice was made other than to make the two voices more distinct. Thankfully, I was able to get used to it and enjoy the story that proved to be heart-pounding suspense with several fun twists along the way.

SciFi Book Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Hearts and Minds

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Hearts and Minds by Dayton Ward

Synopsis:
2031: United States Air Force fighter jets shoot down an unidentified spacecraft and take its crew into custody. Soon, it’s learned that the ship is one of several dispatched across space by an alien species, the Eizand, to search for a new home before their own world becomes uninhabitable. Fearing extraterrestrial invasion, government and military agencies which for more than eighty years have operated in secret swing into action, charged with protecting humanity no matter the cost…

2386: Continuing their exploration of the Odyssean Pass, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise discover what they at first believe is a previously uncharted world, with a civilization still recovering from the effects of global nuclear war. An astonishing priority message from Starfleet Command warns that there’s more to this planet than meets the eye, and Picard soon realizes that the mysteries of this world may well weave through centuries of undisclosed human history…

Review:
As soon as the Enterprise reaches it’s latest area of unexplored space, Picard discovers that crucial information has been withheld from him but disclosed to a member of his crew. This betrayal mars contact with these new beings. But hundreds of years ago, these aliens came to Earth, and humans may have damaged relations beyond repair.

Hearts and Minds is the latest voyage of the Starship Enterprise. Though, I do miss the original Next Gen crew, I thoroughly enjoy this new lineup of a mixture of original and new crew members. They are diverse and engaging. This latest story is told in two eras, side by side. The pacing flows well. And suspense builds to a surprising and satisfying finale. Ward’s Star Trek novels are always a must-read, and this unique story is another fun and exciting read.

Book Excerpt: Scourge: A Novel of Darkhurst

An Excerpt from Scourge: A Novel of Darkhurst
By Gail Z. Martin
Chapter One

A HEAVY IRON candleholder slammed against the wall, just missing Corran Valmonde’s head.

“Son of a bitch!”

“Try not to make her mad, Corran.”

Rigan Valmonde knelt on the worn floor, drawing a sigil in charcoal, moving as quickly as he dared. Not quickly enough; a piece of firewood spun from the hearth and flew across the room, slamming him in the shoulder hard enough to make him grunt in pain.

“Keep her off me!” he snapped, repairing the smudge in the soot line. Sloppy symbols meant sloppy magic, and that could get someone killed.

“I would if I could see her.” Corran stepped away from the wall, raising his iron sword, putting himself between the fireplace and his brother. His breath misted in the unnaturally cold room and moisture condensed on the wavy glass of the only window.

“Watch where you step.” Rigan worked on the second sigil, widdershins from the soot marking, this one daubed in ochre. “I don’t want to have to do this again.”

A small ceramic bowl careened from the mantle, and, for an instant, Rigan glimpsed a young woman in a blood-soaked dress, one hand clutching her heavily pregnant belly. The other hand slipped right through the bowl, even as the dish hurtled at Rigan’s head. Rigan dove to one side and the bowl smashed against the opposite wall. At the same time, Corran’s sword slashed down through the specter. A howl of rage filled the air as the ghost dissipated.

You have no right to be in my home. The dead woman’s voice echoed in Rigan’s mind.

Get out of my head.

You are a confessor. Hear me!

Not while you’re trying to kill my brother.

“You’d better hurry.” Corran slowly turned, watching for the ghost.

“I can’t rush the ritual.” Rigan tried to shut out the ghost’s voice, focusing on the complex chalk sigil. He reached into a pouch and drew a thin curved line of salt, aconite, and powdered amanita, connecting the first sigil to the second, and the second to the third and fourth, working his way to drawing a complete warded circle.

The ghost materialized without warning on the other side of the line, thrusting a thin arm toward Rigan, her long fingers crabbed into claws, old blood beneath her torn nails. She opened a gash on Rigan’s cheek as he stumbled backward, grabbed a handful of the salt mixture and threw it. The apparition vanished with a wail.

“Corran!” Rigan’s warning came a breath too late as the ghost appeared right behind his brother, and took a swipe with her sharp, filthy nails, clawing Corran’s left shoulder.

He wronged me. He let me die, let my baby die— The voice shrieked in Rigan’s mind.

Continue reading Book Excerpt: Scourge: A Novel of Darkhurst

Hawthorn Moon Guest Post with Gail Z. Martin

Gail Martin, Dreamspinner Communications

The Allure of the Outlaw
By Gail Z. Martin

What is it about bad boys, girls who break the rules, and outlaws that hooks us into stories over and over again?

Maybe part of it’s wish fulfillment–a chance to escape the confines of ‘appropriate’ behavior by proxy without fearing the consequences. Perhaps some of it is trying out our rebel wings before we fully commit to burning bridges. Often, it’s just sweet to see the outsider win, the outcast show everyone up, the misfit save the world.

Think about some of the outlaws we love the best: the crew of the Serenity, Captain Jack Harkness, Han Solo, the Winchester Brothers, Butch and Sundance, the Doctor, and even, eventually, the command team of Babylon 5 and many more. They do the right thing, even if it’s in the wrong way, even if their methods don’t fit with what society expects. We wish we had their courage, and sometimes, we do.

In my Chronicles of the Necromancer/Fallen Kings Cycle, we saw a couple of kinds of exiles. Prince Martris (Tris) Drayke became an exile along with his friends when Tris’s half-brother seized the crown and killed the king. Jonmarc Vahanian went on the run after raiders murdered his family and he double-crossed a vyash moru blood mage. Cam and Carina’s father threw them out of their home because of Carina’s magic and the bad luck thought to accompany twins.

The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga finds disgraced lord Blaine McFadden exiled to the Velant prison in the harsh arctic expanse of Edgeland for a murder he doesn’t regret. His circle of close friends–Kestel, Dawe, Piran and Verran–have been sent into exile for their own crimes. When they return to a devastated homeland where even magic no longer works, they find themselves strangers in a hostile land.

Scourge is the first book in my new Darkhurst series for Solaris Books (launching July 15). Undertaker brothers Corran, Rigan and Kell Valmonde become outlaws when they refuse to obey the laws forbidding them from killing the monsters that are murdering friends and neighbors, and that would kill or jail Rigan for his unsanctioned ability with magic. It’s medieval monster hunters in a corrupt and dangerous system. It’s Supernatural meets Game of Thrones.

One of the things I think we like the best about outlaws is that they take risks and defy the powers that be in ways we often wish we could in the real world. They actually tell off the bully, fight against the unfair system, and bring about a rough sort of justice. We cheer for their victories because those wins are so hard to make happen in real life. Watching them win gives us hope, and makes us believe there is a reason to continue resisting.

Sometimes, the heroes we read about inspire us to do the right thing even if society disapproves. Whether it’s standing up for something who is being harassed, voting against laws that unjustly target vulnerable groups, or refusing to go along with an institutionalized injustice, our fictional heroes give us courage to be our better selves. There’s a little bit of outlaw in all of us.

About the Author:
Continue reading Hawthorn Moon Guest Post with Gail Z. Martin

Book Giveaway: Amatka

Courtesy of Vintage Books, I have a copy of Amatka by Karin Tidbeck for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 14. I’ll draw a name on July 15, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Amatka

ThinkGeek: Firefly Jewelry Review

ThinkGeek has new officially-licensed Firefly jewelry for Browncoats! I was able to check out a stunning necklace and earring set.


Firefly Sterling & Citrine Serenity Charm Necklace by RockLove Jewelry

The amount of detail in this dainty, sterling silver ship is fantastic. And the stone in the Firefly drive is a nice touch. I love the amber color. The 20″ chain is a bit short for my taste. You can see where it falls on my image below. So, I may end up replacing the chain eventually.

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Firefly Sterling & Citrine Serenity Charm Earrings by RockLove Jewelry

These matching earrings are my favorite! They are the same size and detail of the necklace, with matching citrine stones. They drop at just the right length.

As a huge fan of Firefly, I absolutely love these. The attention to detail and the addition of the flattering stone make for some incredible, collectible accessories. The set is dainty enough that I can wear them just out and about with casual wear or at my next scifi convention.

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This jewelry was sent to me at no cost for review.

Graphic Novel Review: Nightwing Vol. 2: Back to Blüdhaven (Rebirth)

Nightwing Vol. 2: Back to Blüdhaven (Rebirth)

Synopsis:
Former Robin and retired superspy Dick Grayson has returned to Gotham and stepped back into his life as Nightwing–the blue-and-black clad vigilante known for going where others won’t. Fresh off a deep cover operation to infiltrate the Parliament of Owls, Nightwing must come to terms with secrets of his past that will forever change his destiny.

Review:
Dick is easing back into life in Blüdhaven and trying to get involved in the community as more than just Nightwing. But a support group turns out to be a shocking twist. And Dick finds a new love interest.

Volume 2 is better than the last installment. With a cast of colorful characters and a fun and exciting plot, this story arc was certainly memorable. Though, I’m not crazy about Dick’s new girlfriend (mostly because I want him either with Batgirl or Starfire), she is still an interesting character. There is plenty of humor as well as action, culminating in a surprising twist ending. I look forward to the next volume and hope to see most of these supporting characters return.