Received in May

The following are the books, movies, television shows, etc. I received in May for review and/or giveaways:

Blu Ray/DVD:
The Shannara Chronicles: Season 1

Mystery Box:
1Up Box
Bam Box

Del Rey / Ballantine Books:
The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
Infernal by Mark de Jager

Disney Hyperion:
Return to the Isle of the Lost by Melissa De la Cruz
The Trials of Apollo: Book One The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty
Munchem Academy: The Boy Who Knew Too Much by Commander S. T. Bolivar III
Race the Night by Kirsten Hubbard
Forever, Again by Victoria Laurie
Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia
Shutter by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Spindle by E. K. Johnston
The Killer in Me by Margot Harrison
This is Our Story by Ashley Elston
Waterfire Saga: Sea Spell by Jennifer Donnelly
The Drake Equation by Bart King
Gabby Duran: Troll Control by Elise Allen

Harper Voyager:
Urban Allies by Joseph Nassise
Breath of Earth by Beth Cato
The Perdition Score by Richard Kadrey

KTeen:
Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Macmillan Teen / Henry Holt / Feiwel and Friends / Roaring Brook Press / Imprint:
The Ones by Daniel Sweren-Becker
Rebel Genius by Michael Dante DiMartino
Flashfall by Jenny Moyer
Nemesis by Anna Banks
A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith

Penguin Teen / Putnam:
Lotus and Thorn by Sara Wilson Etienne

Pocket Books:
Star Trek: The Original Series: Elusive Salvation by Dayton Ward

Roc:
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Scholastic:
Harry Potter Artifacts Coloring Book by Scholastic
Wings of Fire: Darkstalker by Tui T. Sutherland

Subterranean Press:
Resume Speed by Lawrence Block
The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred by Greg Egan

Titan Books:
Warcraft: Durotan: The Official Movie Prequel by Christie Golden
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: The Art of the Film by Peter Aperlo

Tor/Forge:
Chapel of Ease by Alex Bledsoe
Awakenings by Edward Lazellari
Eternity’s Mind by Kevin J. Anderson

Tor Teen:
Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin

SciFi Book Review: Star Trek: The Original Series: Elusive Salvation

Star Trek: The Original Series: Elusive Salvation by Dayton Ward

Synopsis:
The Arctic Circle, 1845: Escaping the tyranny under which their people have lived for generations, aliens from a distant planet crash land on Earth’s inhospitable frozen wastes. Surviving the harsh conditions will pose a challenge, but over time the aliens will migrate to more populated areas, with decades passing as they work to conceal their presence from their former oppressors, who continue to hunt them at any cost.

San Francisco, 2283: When a mysterious craft is detected entering the solar system, Admiral James Kirk is dispatched by Starfleet to confront the vessel. He meets with an emissary from the Iramahl, a previously unknown alien race who have come in search of their brothers and sisters thought to have gone missing in this area of space centuries earlier. Having recently thrown off the last chains of subjugation by another species, the Ptaen, they now believe their lost people hold the key to saving their entire race from eventual extinction.

New York, 1970: Roberta Lincoln, young protégé of the mysterious agent Gary Seven, is shocked when she receives the oddest request for help—from the future…

Review:
Elusive Salvation had me at Roberta Lincoln – I knew there’d be time travel involved. Kirk at the Enterprise meet a new alien race who need their help. The only problem is that they’ll need the help of friends from the past. This story jumps back and forth in time, but follows a logical pattern with specific characters that is easy to follow. New aliens, time travel, and a cameo from Guinan – this story had some of my favorite things from the Star Trek universe. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the familiar characters, with plenty of mystery, intrigue, and suspense. It was so fast-paced at times, that I found myself reading faster in excitement. Fans of the original series wont want to miss this latest, fanastic installment.

Box Review: Bam Box – May 2016

Bam Box

The Bam Box was founded in 2015 by Bloof, the same team of geeks, comic book lovers and pop culture collectors that started ComiconAuction.com. We love collecting. We love the thrill of it, the mystery of it and especially that feeling you get when you have a collectible in your hands that you are really excited about. So we set out to bring something different to everyone.

There are some great subscription boxes on the market, but we felt there was still something missing. We went to the drawing board with the goal of creating the box we would want to show up on our doorstep. After a lot of ideas and prototypes we arrived at the Bam Box. From the design of the box to the items inside to the instant winners we send out, we accomplished what we wanted to do: give you the subscription box we would be jealous of.”

Cost: 1 month plan starts at $24.99 plus $7.99 s/h

SciFiChick.com received a box for review purposes.

Bam Box

The box comes with a half sheet, full-color information on what’s in the box.
This month’s theme was ABILITIES!
Right away, I knew I was going to enjoy this one!

Bam Box

Spider-Mander Pin – One of the unique and fun things about this box is that they offer 1-Up variants of some of the items in the box! I scored a Gold version of the pin (limited to 250).

Bam Box

Tony Todd “Zoom” Signed Photograph (Retail $20?) – Signed prints usually go for about $20 each at conventions. And signed items in Bam Boxes always come with a card of authenticity. Fans of Flash will appreciate this cool item.

Bam Box

EXCLUSIVE “The Wolverine” Print, signed by Rick Martin This is a very cool piece, signed and numbered by the artist. I love this one.

Bam Box

“One Ring” from the Lord of the Rings (Retail $10-15?) – 600 lucky people received a 1-Up for a gold-plated version! Still, this is a fun replica even as the black variant.

Bam Box

Google Cardboard VR Viewer (Retail $15) – I’ve had a lot of fun with this little gadget. It took me a while to find a QR code that worked to stop double-vision, but now it works like a charm. There are several free VR apps that work with it that I can’t wait to try out.

Bam Box
Bam Box

Magnetic Thinking Putty (Retail $10) – This was another great item too. The texture of the putty is like silly putty, but magnetic. So, when you get the little magnet close to it, the magnet snaps to the putty and slides through – embedding itself. It’s fun for all ages – I’m sure my niece or nephew will try to confiscate it.

Summary:This month was a great month of curation and value! At first glance, there didn’t seem like much in the box. Surprisingly, I liked both of the signed prints and the cardboard VR viewer was not something would’ve ever bought for myself but ended up really enjoying it. Finds like this are what makes mystery boxes so much fun.

SciFi Book Review: Lois Lane: Double Down

Lois Lane: Double Down by Gwenda Bond

Synopsis:
Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over–and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy.

Review:
Double Down is the second installment in this Lois Lane series for young readers. Lois is a high school student who works part time as a student reporter for the Daily Planet. She is the same young woman from the comics – loyal, smart, fearless, with plenty of gumption.

This story involves her friend’s twin sister and a mysterious medical experiment that happens to tie into a conspiracy involving another friend’s father. The story is fun, fast-paced, and a great mystery with a science fiction twist. It’s loaded with suspense, drama, humor, and a bit of romance (even if it is online with a certain “SmallvilleGuy). I love reading about strong, female leads; and Lois Lane is one of my top favorites (my dog is her namesake). This series is a great reinvention of the character in her early years in a slightly futuristic setting.

Graphic Novel Roundup: Back To The Future, Ghostbusters, Star Trek, and BSG

Back To The Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines

Back to the Future creator/screenwriter Bob Gale returns with all-new tales from the twisting and turning timeline that made Back to the Future a, well… TIMELESS pop-culture phenomenon! Take a trip back to 1985 and be there when Doc Brown and Marty McFly first meet, and then jump even farther back, to 1945, to witness Doc’s involvement in the super-secret Manhattan Project. Collects issues #1–5.

Review:
This is a fun collection of humorous tales told from mostly Doc’s point of view. In many time periods and alternate realities, this is an eclectic mix of stories. It’s definitely word-heavy rather than action. And the artwork is great and colorful and fits the light-hearted feel. I really enjoyed this book.

(I received free electronic copy from NetGalley for review.)

Ghostbusters International

There’s something strange in the neighborhood… and whether that neighborhood is in New York City or Venice, Italy, the Ghostbusters will be there! After a bust at the United Nations, the boys in gray are engaged to investigate an Old World haunting, where they begin to unravel a mystery that sends them around the globe (while still trying to keep their contract with the City, County, and State of New York!).

Review:
I know there have been Ghostbusters comics for a while now, but this is the first I’ve read. I have no idea who some of the main characters were. But it was still a fun, suspenseful story with plenty of humor and bizarre, supernatural creatures. The artwork is more comical than I prefer. It took me a while to figure out who Peter and Ray were supposed to be. No one looked remotely like the actors from the films. But if you can get past that, it’s an enjoyable story – and I look forward to reading more.

(I received free electronic copy from NetGalley for review.)

Star Trek: Manifest Destiny

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the STAR TREK franchise with this all-new adventure! At the edge of explored space, Captain Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise come face to face with a new Klingon threat… with the fate of the galaxy at stake! Also includes the Klingon Language version of issue #1!

Review:
The e-galley I received only included the first 24 pages of this graphic novel. But from what I read, I definitely want to buy the full copy to read the rest. The artwork is fantastic! The characters and scenery are stunning. And the story is full of suspense… and Klingons. Fans of the new films will want to check these new stories out.

(I received free electronic copy from NetGalley for review.)

Battlestar Galactica (Classic): Starbuck

Finally, the origin of Lt. Starbuck can be told! Battlestar Galactica’s roguish Viper pilot, unbeatable gambler, and notorious womanizer has always been a mystery. How did he wind up a feral child on the planet Umbra, and when did he first fight Cylons alongside Commander Adama? What early adventures solidified his friendship with Apollo, and how will Starbuck react once he discovers the identity of the traitor responsible for destroying his family? It’s the world-shaking origin story that fans have been begging over thirty years for, as revealed by #1 New York Times best-selling author Tony Lee and artist Eman Casallos.

Review:
This is one I bought, as I want to read anything I can get my hands on of the classic Battlestar Galactica. Of course, Starbuck is a favorite character, so I was excited to read his origin story. This was a fun, fast-paced adventure from his boyhood days up to his swashbuckling heroics as a young pilot. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The artwork fit well, with only minor complaints. And I enjoyed the new (villain) characters as well.

Box Review: 1Up Box – May 2016

1Up Box

1Up Box is a monthly swag distributor that offers something remarkable, something creative, and something unique in which all geeks and gamers can fancy. We connect our subscribers to the best companies producing gear, snacks, toys, art, and just about anything that spells awesome. Each month we assemble a mystery collection of 5-8 items, all of which are kept secret until the boxes are delivered.

Our mission is to bring smiles to the curious, to the epic, and to all the magnificent geeks and gamers of our time by delivering value and creativity.”

USE COUPON: AWESOME to get your first month for just $9.92 + S/H

*SciFiChick.com received a complimentary box in exchange for an honest review.

1Up Box

This month’s theme was RPG!

1Up Box

The box comes with a nice flyer detailing the items included in this month’s selection.

1Up Box

World of Warcraft: Sylvanas Funko POP! (Retail $10.79) – There were 3 options that subscribers could receive from WOW. This was my favorite of the 3, so I was happy to get this one.

1Up Box

EXCLUSIVE Viking Pin (Retail $2-3?) – Cute little design that my niece or nephew may want to pin on their backpack.

Vault Bookmark – This is a fun, holographic bookmark.

1Up Box

Assassin Emoji Stickers (Retail $1?) – A page of 6, large stickers for the young gamer in your life. My niece loves emojis, so she’ll get a kick out of these.

1Up May 2016 RPG Pin – This is a little collector pin that must come each month.

1Up Box

EXCLUSIVE 1Up Buddies TShirt: The Furry Assassins (Retail $10?) – This is a super-cute design on a nice shade of pale blue. And the shirts come in women’s (junior) sizing! They do run small, so order a size or two larger than normal.

Summary: This month’s box was really small, but I was surprised they were still able to fit a POP and shirt in it. The value comes in just over the $20 price tag, so it’s a decent value. And it’s one of the most inexpensive geeky boxes I’ve see so far. Cheaper, if you buy multiple months at a time. And, of course, I’m partial to boxes that include Funko POPs!

Remember, use Coupon: AWESOME to get your first month for just $9.92 + S/H of 1Up Box!

Blog Tour: Ada Palmer Guest Post

Ada Palmer

Author Ada Palmer joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about the world from her latest release Too Like The Lightning!

Too Like the Lightning: A World of Diaspora

The flying cars on the cover of my science fiction novel <em are more than just a promise that this will be a classic, energetic science fiction setting, with dazzling futuristic cities reminiscent of golden age SF. They’re also the center of the political system in my version of the 25th century. This future is linked together by a system of flying cars so fast that you can commute from anywhere on Earth to anywhere else in two hours, close enough to bring the whole planet into practical commuting distance.

Imagine if such a system came in as suddenly as smart phones, and within a few years it came to be effortless to commute from continent to continent. There would be political and even military consequences (we hear about that phase of history in the background of the story), but it’s easy to see how it would also revolutionize lives, and families. No one would have to choose where to live based on a job anymore, since you could in Bermuda, work in Tokyo and lunch in Paris while a spouse or roommate worked in Buenos Aires and you met for dinner in Antarctica. It’s easy to imagine the real estate upheaval as people rush to buy homes to the most beautiful and exciting parts of the Earth, but that generates another political consequence: a world of expats.

With these flying cars, suddenly living in another country wouldn’t be any impediment to still working and socializing primarily in your birth nation, and a huge portion of Earth’s population would suddenly start living in another country. Or is it really living in another country when you spend only a third of your time there, another third working in a second country, and the rest having fun in every corner of the Earth? And what about children born of parents who are Japanese but bought a home on the French Riviera to grow the view? This happens today with expat couples and immigrants, but if the flying car system came in it would suddenly happen to half or more of all the children in the world, within a generation.

This is the birth of the world of Too Like the Lightning, a world of diaspora, in which all cultural groups are spread all around the Earth, and living in the region where your ancestors lived is the exception, not the rule. It is a world of diaspora, much like the world of the internet where we have friends scattered around dozens of cities, and many of our most important relationships are unrelated to geography. In this 25th century, nations as we know them—geographic nations—are a thing of the past, since now that virtually no children grow up in a place that corresponds to their languages and cultures, a fully mobile global population finds it absurd that, in the olden days of people were governed by the laws the splotch of dirt where they happened to be born. Instead, as part of coming of age, young adults choose freely among several globe-spanning borderless nations, selecting the ones whose culture, policies and ideology are most personally appealing. Adults live by the laws of their chosen nations no matter where on Earth they reside, and what is legal or illegal in one house may be completely different from the house next door, depending on the choices of the family.

This world of diaspora is a fantastic place to explore political interaction, and especially cultural interaction. When you start Too Like the Lightning you’re plunged into a whirlwind mix of different races and languages, a detective from Alexandria investigating a break-in in Chile affecting a family with Chinese, Indian and Mestizo members and political effects on Japan and Paris. But this isn’t an exotic jet-set, this is normal life in this world of diaspora, when there are no majorities anywhere on Earth, just dozens of minorities mixing coequally in every space. It’s an amazing plunge, and an amazingly dynamic space in which to see how one mystery can sweep through and touch every corner of such an interconnected world.

About the author:
Ada Palmer is the author of the recently released sci-fi novel Too Like the Lightning and a professor in the history department of the University of Chicago, specializing in Renaissance history and the history of ideas. Her first nonfiction book, Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance, was published in 2014 by Harvard University Press. She is also a composer of folk and Renaissance-tinged a capella music, most of which she performs with the group Sassafrass. Her personal site is at adapalmer.com, and she writes about history for a popular audience at exurbe.com and about SF and fantasy-related matters at Tor.com.

Author Interview: Larry Correia

Author Larry Correia joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about his latest audio book for Audible: Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent! The book is narrated by Adam Baldwin (Firefly, Chuck)!

– Can you tell us a bit about The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent in your own words?

It is a comedy about colliding universes, and the insurance agents who have to put things right.

– Who is Tom Stranger?

He is number one in customer satisfaction, three years running. Tom’s life is insurance. His home universe was totaled because it had insufficient coverage, so he’s pretty hard core about helping his clients. He’ll do absolutely anything to provide good customer service, and in the multiverse that means everything from zero-G kung-fu to dinosaur wrestling.

– Where did this idea come from?

I was driving down the street one day with Mike Kupari (who is also a novelist) and we passed a sign for Tom Stanger Insurance. Mike read Stanger as Stranger, and said out loud what kind of insurance would you buy from a guy name Stranger? And it kind of spiraled out of control from there. Authors are weird like that.

– What is this universe like?

That is the fun part. It is all the universes, smooshed together. If you can think of something, it is out there somewhere. And when two universes collide, Tom will be there (well, unless neither one is covered, because then it isn’t his problem).

– What book genre do you prefer to read?

My main genres are science fiction and fantasy, but I read pretty much everything. I love westerns, thrillers, mysteries, and I read a ton of non-fiction.

– Is writing for a strictly audio book any different than writing for print?

Yes and no. I write the same for both, but I feel that listening to my own work in audio has made me a much better writer over the years. It teaches you to make your dialog and descriptions better, it helps with the pacing, and really drives home the unnecessary bits that you should have edited out. Above all, it teaches you to quit saying He Said or I Said or She Said too much. That drives me nuts.

– What are you working on next?

I’m currently putting together an anthology of short stories set in my Monster Hunter International universe, featuring writers like Jim Butcher, Jonathan Maberry, John Ringo, Faith Hunter, and Jessica Day George.


Order now, for free from Audible!

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