SciFi Book Review: Star Wars: Tales From a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens Volume 1

Star Wars: Tales From a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens Volume 1 by Landry Q Walker

Synopsis:
The worlds of Star Wars are full of countless alien species, each stranger and more fascinating than the last. Here you’ll find six stories for kids about just some of the amazing aliens who appear in the smash-hit movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Featuring a dashing tale of piracy and double crosses, the story of a wise Jakku constable and an unfortunate droid, and a mystery that can be solved only by the gruff cook at Maz Kanata’s castle, this collection will bring thrills and chills as it takes you deep into the corners of your favorite galaxy far, far away. . . .

Review:
In “High Noon on Jakku,” Constable Zuvio searches for the truth behind a robbery committed by a droid. This first, exciting short story is fast-paced, with a fund twist.

“The Face of Evil” is a darker tale. A thief goes under the knife to change her appearance by shady surgeons. This is a creepy, fun shorty story.

“True Love” centers on two thieves who try to swindle Unkar Plutt. Fans get a deeper look at this character from the latest film. It’s a unique story with a surprising twist.

“All Creatures Great and Small” centers on a story of daring adventure as a distraction from an outside frightening scene. This was another fast-paced adventure, if a little predictable. It was still a cute story within a story that young readers will enjoy.

“A Recipe for Death” is a dark, murder mystery at Maz Kanata’s. This was a great whodunit that kept me guessing.

“The Crimson Corsair and the Lost Treasure of Count Dooku” is a race to Count Dooku’s lost treasure from the Clone Wars. This was the longest short story, but with a larger cast of characters so the character development wasn’t as much as some of the other stories. Which is a shame, as I’d love to have seen more about the Crimson Corsair. Instead, he’s left as a mystery.

This was a fantastic set of short stories, each very different with colorful characters and exciting plots. I’m not usually one for anthologies, but I’ll definitely be picking up any future installments in this series.

Box Review: Loot Pets – March 2016

Loot Pets - March 2016

Loot Pets is a monthly mystery crate for pets and the people that love them, delivering apparel, accessories, toys, treats and more. You get a $50+ value in every crate! For every crate purchased, Loot Pets will donate $1 to a local, national, or international animal welfare charity.

Use this link to get $5 off your first month!

Loot Pets - March 2016

This was our first Loot Pets box… and Lois Lane somehow knew this box was for her. She made sure to try to get in every picture after the box was open.

Loot Pets - March 2016

Each box comes with a cute mini mag, as the regular box does.

Loot Pets - March 2016

Loot Crate Pin – This box comes with the same monthly pin as the standard box.

Loot Pets - March 2016

Ruff ‘Em Ups! Fruity Protein Puffs for Pups (Retail $6.49) – She smelled these, but turned away in disinterest right away. So, I’m not sure if she’ll try these. Lois Lane is very picky when it comes to dog food and treats.

Loot Pets - March 2016

Turduck’NStein Menacing Meat Treats for Dogs (Retail $7.29) – Both of these treats are labeled as Made in the USA. The ingredients on the back are simple and not bad!

Loot Pets - March 2016

These were a hit!

Loot Pets - March 2016

EXCLUSIVE Captain America: Civil War Collapsible Dog Bowl Set (Retail $5?) – These are stylish and large, and each comes a carabiner to latch on to a bag or clothing for travel and treks.

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Phunny Batman v Superman Plush (Retail $16.94) – While this is a cute plush to promote the new movie, Lois Lane is team Superman. So she wanted nothing to do with it. Just kidding. It’s not actually dog toy, so there’s no squeaker in it. And that’s why she really didn’t care for it. She did bite on it later, but she usually shows little interest in any toy that doesn’t squeak.

Loot Pets - March 2016

Spock Mirror Universe Tshirt (Retail $10?) – These dog shirts match the ones in the standard Loot Crates, so I now have a matching shirt with my dog! And it’s Star Trek! Love it!

Loot Pets - March 2016

For sizing purposes, go larger. This is a Large, and Lois Lane is just a bit larger than a standard Beagle. At first, I thought it’d be too small for her, but it’s a nice stretchy, soft material that fit her well.

Loot Pets - March 2016

Lois Lane loves trying on clothes and bandannas, so this round of pictures was too fun to narrow down…

Loot Pets - March 2016

Summary:
I absolutely love this Loot Pets box. I will definitely be ordering more in the future. Not next month, as the items listed below don’t interest me. But the value and curation of this box was a lot of fun for both my dog and me – much more fun than regular dog subscription boxes. If it included a Funko POP for me, it just may be the perfect box. But then, I am all about my dog.

April’s theme is: QUEST (with items from Adventure Time, Battlepug and more)

Book Giveaway: Golden

Courtesy of G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, I have a copy of Golden by Melissa De la Cruz and Michael Johnston 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 April 22. I’ll draw a name on April 23, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Golden

Box Review: Loot Crate & Level Up – March 2016

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“Loot Crate™ delivers the best in geek + gaming gear. From collectibles, apparel, tech gadgets, art, and other epic gear, it’s like Comic-Con in a box!”

LootCrate is $13.95 plus $6 shipping and handling for month-to-month subscription. Less for multiple month purchases. They also now offer “Level Up,” 3 apparel upgrades at different pricing levels that you can add to your monthly subscription.

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This month’s theme was Vs.

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Each box comes with a nice mini mag that gives details about the items, interviews, and more.

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Star Trek: Mirror, Mirror Tshirt (Retail $10?) – This is a pale yellow color and a great design. And my favorite – Star Trek! I’ll definitely be using this one.

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EXCLUSIVE Reversible Daredevil/Punisher Knit Hat (Retail $20-25?) – Having just binge-watched Daredevil Season 2 on Netflix, this is very cool. It’s almost a shame I have to wait another 7-8 months before the weather gets cold enough to wear.

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Standard Loot Crate Pin.

Batman V Superman Wallet (Retail $10+) – This is the exclusive B/S item in the box. Pun intended. It’s a Tyvek (synthetic paper) wallet. Bummer. I was really hoping for something Funko. As is, I’ll still probably keep the wallet and give to a niece or nephew to play with. See next picture for a view of the inside of the wallet.

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Harley Quinn #1 Loot Crate Variant (Retail $5+) – Pretty cool variant. I love the cover.

Just one advertisement for a free app download.

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EXCLUSIVE Alien vs. Predator Titan Vinyl Figure (Retail $10+) – I’m not a fan, so I’m not bothering to open mine to show you whichever of the 2 figures I received. I plan on just selling it off eventually.

Summary: This was a great theme. I just wish the Bats vs Supes item was better. I was really hoping for a Funko item. Still the value isn’t bad.


P.S. I decided to upgrade to get the featured Accessories Level Up item this month! I had a coupon.

Loot Crate Accessories Level-Up (Cost: $15 per month, shipping included):

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Batman and Superman Necklaces (Retail $15-20?) – These fit on top of each other to form the movie logo, or can be worn separately to show your support for your favorite. #TeamSupes

DC Trinity Hair Ties (Retail $8.85) – These are super cute. They’ll get a lot of use this summer.

Summary: If I see another coupon, I’ll probably get another one of these Accessories Level Ups again!

SciFi Book Review: The Rule of Mirrors

The Rule of Mirrors by Caragh M O’Brien

Synopsis:
The entire country was watching when Rosie Sinclair was expelled from Forge, the prestigious arts school that doubles as a reality TV show. But few know how Dean Berg was mining students’ dreams in laboratories deep below the school. And no one, least of all the Dean himself, knows that when Rosie’s dreams were seeded into the mind of another patient, Rosie’s consciousness woke up in that body-a girl far from Forge, a girl with a completely different life from Rosie, a girl who is pregnant.

Review:
The Rule of Mirrors is a direct sequel to the scifi thriller The Vault of Dreamers. Rosie is now two people. One is stuck in a lab, “farmed” for her dreams and forced to live a horror, in sleep state as the world passes by. Meanwhile, Rosie’s dream seed is implanted in a coma patient (Althea) and awakens to a completely different body and faces a terrible reality.

This exciting sequel is decidedly different than the first, but no less suspenseful and dramatic. In fact, I enjoyed this even more than the last novel. The psychological drama is intense, from Rosie trying to escape to Thea/Rosie trying to hold onto something of her “real” life with an over-bearing new family pushing their will onto her. An exciting finale leaves off in quite a bit of a cliffhanger. I wait excitedly for the next in this unique series with captivating characters.

Box Review: Smuggler’s Bounty – March 2016

Smuggler's Bounty

“Star Wars and Funko are proud to present Smuggler’s Bounty, the only OFFICAL Star Wars subscription box in the galaxy! Featuring 100% exclusive collectibles, apparel and accessories from the Star Wars universe, each box is carefully curated for Star Wars fans and shipped directly to your doorstep. Every box is themed specifically around the Star Wars films with collectors in mind. For just $25 (plus shipping) every other month, members will receive a box full of exclusive Star Wars-themed Funko collectibles and a host of other surprises valued at over $50. Each box will focus on a different part of the Star Wars universe and include memorabilia exclusive to the program, perfect for any Star Wars fan.”

Smuggler's Bounty

Star Wars Cantina Patch and Pin – these are small collectibles included in each box.

Smuggler's Bounty

Momaw Nadon WANTED Tshirt (Retail $10?) – It looks like this was just one of the options subscribers could receive. It looks like I lucked out getting the Hammerhead version vs Muftak or Ponda Baba.

Smuggler's Bounty

EXCLUSIVE Red Snaggletooth Funko POP! (Retail $20) – This was one of 2 versions offered. 1 in 5 received a rare BLUE Snaggletooth. I’m fine with either since they’re both exclusives.

EXCLUSIVE Ben Kenobi Funko POP! (Retail $25) – I LOVE this exclusive, especially since I don’t have a Kenobi POP yet. I’ve been holding off buying too many Star Wars POPs, since I subscribe to this.

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Chewbacca Pen (Retail $5-8?) – This is a bit of filler. But since they aren’t including comics, at least it’s something else that’s kind of fun.

Summary: I love anytime we receive 2 exclusive POPs! And getting two so different than others was really great. Since there are Star Wars comics out right now via Marvel, it would be nice to get variants in these boxes like the Marvel and DC boxes. But if not having comics means we get 2 POP’s more often, I’m all for that.

Graphic Novel Review: X-Files: Season 11 Volume 1

X-Files: Season 11 Volume 1 by Joe Harris (Author), Matthew Dow Smith (Artist)

Synopsis:
For years, FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully toiled in the X-Files Unit, a one-office division of the Bureau dealing with cases deemed unsolvable and related to unexplained phenomena. Eventually, both agents left the FBI and began a new life together in peaceful anonymity. However, recent events prompted them to return to the Bureau and the X-Files.

Since then, Mulder has seen his work with the FBI discredited and has found himself a fugitive from the U.S. government―all thanks to the mechanizations of a former ally, Gibson Praise, who now wields powers far beyond even what Mulder can imagine. Meanwhile, Scully remains at the FBI under the watchful eye of Gibson, as she works to prevent the government from falling further into his clutches and to clear her partner’s name.

Review:
The artwork was an immediate disappointment when starting this graphic novel. It’s unfortunately really rough, and hard to pick out characters. There is very little contrast and just looks sloppy. It detracted from the story to the point that it was hard to tell what was even going on at times.

The story was okay, very suspenseful as we follow Mulder, now a fugitive. Not enough is explained though. It all felt disjointed and confusing. I’ve seen some of the artist’s other work, but I just didn’t care for this at all. If the drawing doesn’t get tighter and clearer (as well as the pacing and plot), I probably won’t continue with the series.

SciFi Book Review: The Infinite Sea

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

Synopsis:
How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

Review:
The Infinite Sea is the sequel to The Fifth Wave, and I enjoyed this story much more than the first. Still told from alternating viewpoints, including Ringer this time, it was a bit confusing again at first. But as Ringer goes her own way, it becomes easier to follow.

The characters are incredibly vivid and complex and are put in impossible situations that threaten their humanity let alone their lives. The suspense is intensified, with even more big reveals. And Ringer’s adventure was the highlight for me, with plenty of psychological drama, suspense, and mystery. I look forward to the third and final volume coming soon.

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