Tag Archives: fantasy

Fantasy Book Review: Sorcery for Beginners

Sorcery for Beginners by Matt Harry (Author) and Juliane Crump (Illustrator)

Synopsis:
Five-hundred years ago, sorcery began to fade from the world. As technology prevailed, combustion engines and computers replaced enchanted plows and spell books. Real magicians were hunted almost to extinction. Science became the primary system of belief, and the secrets of spell-casting were forgotten. That is … until now.

Sorcery for Beginners is no fantasy or fairy tale. Written by arcane arts preservationist and elite mage Euphemia Whitmore (along with her ordinary civilian aide Matt Harry), this book is a how-to manual for returning magic to an uninspired world. It’s also the story of Owen Macready, a seemingly average 13-year-old who finds himself drawn into a centuries-long war when he uses sorcery to take on a school bully. Owen’s spell casting attracts the attention of a ruthless millionaire and a secret society of anti-magic mercenaries, all of whom wish to use Sorcery for Beginners to alter the course of world history forever.

Review:
Owen is dealing with his parent’s divorce and his mother’s absence. He’d do anything to turn back time and fix things. So, when he is presented with Sorcery for Beginners, he sees it as a chance. But when a secret group finds Owen, they’ll stop at nothing to get the book from him.

Sorcery for Beginners is the first in a new fantasy series for young teens. There is plenty of danger, suspense, magic, and humor. I would like to see more character development with Owen’s friends in future installments. The strength of the story is definitely the pacing and intense suspense. And the accompanying illustrations add to the story, making it feel like you’re reading the book of magic along with the students. The engaging world-building will definitely keep me reading future installments.

Box Review: Bam Box – September 2017

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 nice mini mag, describing all of the included items.

Bam Box

Space Ghost Pin and Watchmen Patch

Bam Box

Signed BB-8 Photo – These are signed by actor Brian Herring who worked as the droid performer in the recent film. It’s a very cool image that I’ll probably keep and display.

Bam Box

Goonies Doubloon – I wonder if One-Eyed Willy cursed this?

Bam Box

Defenders Art Print – I’m a fan of the Netflix show and love these characters. I received a rare, 1-up version in black and white. But it’s a shame as the color version looked cooler.

Bam Box Bam Box

Deadpool Replica Mask – Just in time for Halloween! Fans of the wise-cracking anti-hero will love this spot-on Deadpool mask.

Summary:
Besides the pin and patch filler, I think I’m keeping all the items in this box – which rarely happens! I really like both of the prints – especially BB-8. And the Goonies Doubloon and Deadpool mask replicas were the highlights for sure. This was probably one of my favorite boxes from Bam Box so far!

Fantasy Book Review: Guardians of the Gryphon’s Claw

Guardians of the Gryphon’s Claw by Todd Clagi Gallicano

Synopsis:
Haunted by a dream of a mythical gryphon, Sam London uncovers an ancient secret that will change the way he sees the world forever. Recruited by Dr. Vance Vantana, an eccentric zoologist and park ranger sent by the government, Sam is whisked away on an adventure that takes him to the farthest reaches of the globe. Along this journey, Sam learns an incredible truth: mythical creatures are real and living among us in our national parks. A special department in the U.S. government ensures that their existence remains hidden.

But Sam’s dream is an omen that the secret may now be in danger. Someone seeks the power to expose these creatures and overthrow humankind—and that power can only be found in a magical talisman known as the gryphon’s claw.

Review:
Sam has vivid dreams. And his latest has him obsessed with finding more answers about the mythical gryphon he keeps seeing. When he hunts down the place from his dreams, Sam’s life will never be the same.

Guardians of the Gryphon’s Claw is the first in an exciting fantasy series for middle grade readers. Sam is an average boy who doesn’t feel exceptional at anything. But he has a gift that sets him on a course for adventure. There are loads of fun and vibrant characters and mythological creatures. And the hunt for the powerful grypho’s claw builds to an exciting and surprising ending. I look forward to the next in this promising series.

Received in September

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

Blu-Rays:
Wonder Woman Blu-ray Edition
Wonder Woman 3D Blu-ray Edition

Mystery Boxes:
TeeBlox

Baen:
Chain of Command by Frank Chadwick
The Spark by David Drake

Daw:
To Guard Against the Dark by Julie E. Czerneda

Del Rey / Bantam:
Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson
The Core by Peter V. Brett
Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View by Renée Ahdieh
The Book of Swords by George R. R. Martin
A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne

Disney Hyperion:
Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray
Rapunzel and the Lost Lagoon: A Tangled Novel by Leila Howland
Star Wars: Join the Resistance Escape from Vodran: (Book 2) by Ben Acker
The Percy Jackson Coloring Book by Rick Riordan
Tales from Adventureland The Keymaster’s Quest by Jason Lethcoe
Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy by Serena Valentino
Lockwood & Co., Book Five The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud

DK:
Star Wars Made Easy by Christian Blauvelt

Gallery Books:
Star Trek: Discovery: Desperate Hours by David Mack

HMH / Mariner:
The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp
Your One & Only by Adrianne Finlay
Machine Learning: New and Collected Stories by Hugh Howey

Little, Brown:
Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely

Macmillan Teen / Feiwel and Friends / Imprint / Swoon:
The Greed by Scott Bergstrom
Losing Leah by Tiffany King
Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda
White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare

Pocket Books:
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Original Sin by David R. George Iii

Pyr:
The Genius Plague by David Walton

Random Houses Children’s / Schwartz and Wade / Knopf / Delacorte Press:
Ben Franklin’s in My Bathroom! by Candace Fleming
Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones
Everything You Need to Know About NIGHTMARES! and How to Defeat Them by Jason Segel

Scholastic:
The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury
Don’t Cosplay With My Heart by Cecil Castellucci
Have Sword, Will Travel by Garth Nix

Simon Teen / McElderry Books / Simon Pulse:
Freefall by Joshua David Bellin
Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster

St Martin’s Press:
Black Star Renegades by Michael Moreci

Subterranean Press:
Penric’s Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold

ThinkGeek:
Star Wars Necklace

Titan Comics:
Assassin’s Creed Uprising Volume 1: Common Ground by Alex Paknadel

Tor:
Horizon by Fran Wilde
The Midnight Front by David Mack
The Tiger’s Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera
Children of the Fleet by Orson Scott Card
Deadlands: Boneyard by Seanan McGuire
The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear

Fantasy Book Review: Wings of Fire: Darkness of Dragons

Wings of Fire: Darkness of Dragons by Tui T Sutherland

Synopsis:
Qibli knows Darkstalker must be stopped. And he knows he could stop him – if he had magic. With even a sliver of the ancient dragon’s all-powerful scroll, Qibli could rewrite history the right way: end war forever; make every dragon happy; perhaps even cast a very small spell so that everyone would like him.

Instead, as Darkstalker’s dangerous influence spreads across Pyrrhia, entrancing or killing every dragon in the seven tribes, Qibli can only grasp the small animus objects he’s borrowed from Turtle. With some clever thinking, Qibli’s talons finally hold the power to make a difference.

But prophecies are not easy to rewrite. Can Qibli be the magical force Pyrrhia needs, or will he be the one to bring Jade Mountain – and his family, his friends, his whole world – crashing down?

Review:
This is the 10th book in the Wings of Fire series, not including the standalone Darkstalker novel. This final book in the Darkstalker arc focuses on Qibli. He’s easily the most humble and clever of the dragonets. Though he has dreams, he doesn’t feel he deserves them. This is most likely due to his harsh upbringing from a mother who clearly didn’t love him, though he craved her love and acceptance.

Each installment in this series I say is my favorite, and this is certainly no exception. The character of Qibli is so amazing that you want to reach into the book and hug him. His story is full of danger, suspense, drama, and intrigue. With Darkstalker, you never know how he’ll respond, yet Qibli is the perfect dragonet to come up with a plan to take him down. There is a surprising and satisfying resolution to this 2nd story arc that was even better than the first. This fantastic series is a must-read for fantasy fans of all ages.

Fantasy Book Review: The Silver Mask

The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Synopsis:
A generation ago, Constantine Madden came close to achieving what no magician had ever achieved: the ability to bring back the dead. He didn’t succeed . . . but he did find a way to keep himself alive, inside a young child named Callum Hunt.

Now Call is one of the most feared and reviled students in the history of the Magisterium, thought to be responsible for a devastating death and an ever-present threat of war. As a result, Call has been imprisoned and interrogated. Everyone wants to know what Constantine was up to-and how he lives on.

But Call has no idea.

It is only when he’s broken out of prison that the full potential of Constantine’s plan is suddenly in his hands . . . and he must decide what to do with his power.

Review:
When a surprising prison break frees Call, he finds himself in an even worse situation. Call must decide whether or not to follow in Constantine’s studies in order to bring back his best friend from the dead.

The Silver Mask is the fourth book in this exciting fantasy series for middle school on up. This installment definitely takes a darker turn as Call confronts a big choice that will have consequences. Meanwhile, he wonders if his friends trust him anymore. Full of suspense, danger, and magic – this latest story builds to an exciting finale. I love this unique series and the complex characters. The protagonist of the story happens to have the soul of the villain living inside him.

Box Review: Smuggler’s Bounty – September 2017

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.”

The theme this month was Jedi!

Smuggler's Bounty

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

Again this month, there was no card detailing the items included.

Smuggler's Bounty

Star Wars Young Luke Skywalker Tshirt – Yet another black tee. And it’s not a great rendering of Luke.

Smuggler's Bounty

Plush Yoda – This is really cute. I don’t collect the plush dolls, but they are cute!

Smuggler's Bounty

EXCLUSIVE Obi-Wan Kenobi – I only have an older Obi-Wan, so this younger version is nice.

EXCLUSIVE Aayla Secura – Here’s a more obscure Jedi from the prequel films. I don’t care for those, so I barely remember her. But it’s still fun to have a different looking POP, instead of all humans.

Summary:
I still miss the detail card about the items included. This was another great 2 Funko POPs in a box month! Both characters were from the prequel films that I didn’t care for. But there were way more Jedi’s to choose from in those films!