Fantasy Book Review: Demigods & Magicians

Demigods & Magicians by Rick Riordan

Synopsis:
Magic, monsters, and mayhem abound when Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase meet Carter and Sadie Kane for the first time. Weird creatures are appearing in unexpected places, and the demigods and magicians have to team up to take them down. As they battle with Celestial Bronze and glowing hieroglyphs, the four heroes find that they have a lot in common-and more power than they ever thought possible. But will their combined forces be enough to foil an ancient enemy who is mixing Greek and Egyptian incantations for an evil purpose?

Review:
I’m a big fan of the Percy Jackson series, so I jumped at the chance to read Demigods & Magicians, where Percy and Annabeth meet the Kane siblings. I don’t read the The Kane Chronicles, so I’m not as familiar with the characters. But the characters (especially Sadie) are fleshed out well.

Demigods & Magicians is comprised of three short stories. The first, is an adventure with the two boys as they meet while fighting a monstrous creature. The second story involves the two girls in a similar way. In the third story they all team up to take down the big baddie. Fans of either or both of the series will enjoy this book. The stories are exciting and humorous as the kids all get to know each other and the Egyptian magic versus the Greek demigod powers. It’s fast-paced and a fun, quick read.

SciFi Book Review: Star Wars: Bloodline

Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray

Synopsis:
When the Rebellion defeated the Empire in the skies above Endor, Leia Organa believed it was the beginning to a lasting peace. But after decades of vicious infighting and partisan gridlock in the New Republic Senate, that hope seems like a distant memory.

Now a respected senator, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy—from both within and without. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians, and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. Desperate to take action, senators are calling for the election of a First Senator. It is their hope that this influential post will bring strong leadership to a divided galaxy.

As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia faces with distrust the prospect of any one person holding such a powerful position—even when supporters suggest Leia herself for the job. But a new enemy may make this path Leia’s only option. For at the edges of the galaxy, a mysterious threat is growing.

Review:
Leia has been focusing on trying to keep the New Republic from falling back into their old ways. Some still prefer the old regime of the Empire, just without Vader and Palpatine’s influence. Meanwhile, Luke is teaching young Ben to be a Jedi. And Han Solo has gone back to what he knows best – smuggling.

Bloodline is a fascinating and engaging standalone story set years after Return of the Jedi but before The Force Awakens. This is a story of Leia’s path to the Rebellion. And we get a glimpse of the rising First Order.

Leia and an unlikely ally investigate shady dealings that puts them both in danger. Full of political intrigue, vivid characters, plenty of suspense – this novel was really hard to put down. This is a must-read for any Star Wars fan who wondered what happened after the Battle of Endor and the upheaval of the Empire that led to a new Rebellion. I didn’t think she could top her last Star Wars novel, but Gray surpassed my expectations!

Fantasy Book Review: The Tale of a No-Name Squirrel

The Tale of a No-Name Squirrel by Radhika R Dhariwal

Synopsis:
Squirrel never expected to be anything other than a slave: the last animal slave in Bimmau. That is, until he is invited to a high profile wedding and takes a sip of the forbidden ceremonial wine, unlocking a mysterious riddle. The riddle reveals that there is a key which has the power to grant Squirrel his freedom (and a name!), but also could enslave anyone in Bimmau. Disastrous if it falls into the wrong hands! Squirrel and his friends find themselves in a race to find Brittle’s Key before the army of crows gets to him…and before the mysterious Colonel finds the key first.

Review:
Squirrel and his friends embark on a big adventure to several lands with diverse creatures. With fun clues and plenty of intrigue, this is a fun story that all ages will enjoy. And the accompanying illustrations are gorgeous. The feel of the story reminded me of Disney’s The Rescuers – with plenty of danger and adventure, but still light-hearted. I thoroughly enjoyed this world of talking animals and a sweet, Squirrel with a good heart.

Box Review: DC’s Legion of Collectors – May 2016

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This is the 2nd box from DC’s Legion of Collectors and the theme was DC TV. The Legion of Collectors offers these boxes starting at $25 plus s/h.

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Like the other mystery boxes from Funko, each box comes with an exclusive badge and pin.

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The Flash #123 Legion of Collectors Variant (Retail $4+?) – Not sure what the retail price is, as it’s not on the comic itself. But I was happy to get a Flash comic

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Arrow Tshirt (Retail $10?) – Yet another black shirt. But I do like this design! I’ll be keeping this one.

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EXCLUSIVE Jay Garrick Funko POP! (Retail $15+) – I LOVE this Jay Garrick exclusive! It’s unique looking and one I don’t have… a nice surprise.

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EXCLUSIVE Rock Candy Supergirl (Retail $15+) – While I was a bit bummed this wasn’t a POP, I really like the look of these Rock Candy figures. And they aren’t ones that I’d buy for myself. Here’s a comparison of the exclusive versus the regular version available in stores below.

Summary: I enjoyed this 2nd box even more than the first! The value is great. And I loved the choices this month. I only wish they could have incorporated Legends of Tomorrow with more than just a pin, since I’m a big fan of the show. Hopefully, down the road, we’ll see some Funko POPs from the show.

The next theme is Suicide Squad, which is appropriate with the new film coming.

Prize Pack Giveaway: The Last Star

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Extended Sampler: https://issuu.com/penguinteen/docs/the_last_star_sampler

Courtesy of Penguin Teen, I have a prize pack consisting of a tote bag, poster, and a finished copy of The Last Star by Rick Yancey 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 May 20. I’ll draw a name on May 21, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Prize Pack Giveaway: The Last Star

Fantasy Book Review: Once Upon a Dream

Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell

Synopsis:
It should be simple-a dragon defeated, a slumbering princess in a castle, a prince poised to wake her. But when the prince falls asleep as his lips touch the fair maiden’s, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over.

With a desperate fairy’s last curse controlling her mind, Princess Aurora must escape from a different castle of thorns and navigate a dangerously magical landscape-created from her very own dreams. Aurora isn’t alone-a charming prince is eager to join her quest, and old friends offer their help. But as Maleficent’s agents follow her every move, Aurora struggles to discover who her true allies are and, moreover, who she truly is. Time is running out. Will the sleeping beauty be able to wake herself up?

Review:
Aurora is caught up in a dream world that has replaced everyone’s memories. When she begins to find clues to outside the castle, she eventually discovers that everything she knows is a lie. Prince Phillip slays the dragon and kisses Aurora to awaken her, but instead falls asleep as well. While he fell in love (instantly) with her, Aurora has no memory of him. Still, the two work together to defeat Maleficent once and for all.

Once Upon a Dream is an inspired re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty. In fact, the author takes the original Disney story and expounds on it – building it to a darker, complex tale. The insta-love from the movie is expounded on here and made more realistic. This magical story is full of suspense and captivating characters. The setting and darker, twisted feel reminded me a bit of a Neil Gaiman fantasy. I thoroughly enjoyed this fresh take on a familiar fairy tale.

Box Review: Comic Bento – August 2016

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Comic Bento is a subscription Graphic Novel Box – A surprise selection of fantastic Graphic Novels with at least $60 worth of comics in every box and mailed right to your door!

Pricing starts at $20/month plus shipping. Sign up now and save 15% with code SAVE15 and this link!

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This month’s theme was Elementals. Each box comes with a nice card describing each of the month’s picks.

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Fantastic Four Season One (Retail $24.99) – I enjoy this Season One series, and this is one I don’t have yet! I’m a big Fantastic Four fan. And I always appreciate hardbacks and the added value.
Publisher: Marvel (February 22, 2012)

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Book of Death (Retail $14.99) – I enjoy these characters from what I’ve read of Valiant titles so far. So I’m looking forward to this one too.
Publisher: Valiant (February 2, 2016)

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Surface Tension (Retail $19.99) – This looks like an interesting premise. I look forward to reading this one as well.
Publisher: Titan Comics (March 8, 2016)

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Four Points: Horsemen EXCLUSIVE Cover (Retail $12.99) – Not only did we receive this before it hit stores, but it’s an exclusive cover.
Publisher: Aspen (May 4, 2016)

Summary: The value (as always) is great this month. And I’m interested in reading all of the titles! I appreciate the variety in the publishers as well. I usually only read Marvel and a few DC titles. So, this gives me some exposure to the smaller pubs.

Author Guest Post and Giveaway: Chris Howard’s NIGHT SPEED

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Chris Howard joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about what super power he would chose to have and what he would do with it…

Pick your own super-power!?

If I could have any super-power at all?! Whoa. For a long time, I’d have said “flying”. Kinda obvious… but, come on, flying! How awesome?! But we all kinda know how that would work. So I’m gonna mix it up and say the super-power I pick is… the “ability to freeze time”.
Right?!

I’d love this. Heck, I’d never run late again! Well, I would run late, because I always seem to push it so I can get more things done before I set off wherever it is I’m trying to go, but now I’d just freeze time, and go zipping through the static world (on my bike, I guess, or I could just walk because there’d be no hurry). That’s the beauty of this super-power… there’d never be any hurry. At all.

So let’s think about this…

Continue reading Author Guest Post and Giveaway: Chris Howard’s NIGHT SPEED

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