Tag Archives: fantasy

Box Review: TeeBlox – March 2018

TeeBlox

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*SciFiChick.com received a box for review purposes.

Continue reading Box Review: TeeBlox – March 2018

Fantasy Book Review: Wizard for Hire

Wizard for Hire by Obert Skye

Synopsis:
Fourteen-year-old Ozzy lives near Portland, Oregon, and is desperate for help. His scientist parents have been kidnapped after discovering a formula that enables mind control. Their work was so top secret Ozzy is afraid to go to the police, but without help, he fears he’ll never find his parents. Then he stumbles across a classified ad in the local newspaper that says “Wizard for Hire. Call 555-SPEL.” Ozzy has read about wizards in books like Harry Potter, but wizards couldn’t actually exist today, could they? After Ozzy meets the wizard Labyrinth–aka Rin–he’s even more skeptical.

Sure, Rin dresses like a wizard, but the short robe and high-top tennis shoes seem unorthodox, as does Rin’s habit of writing notes on his shoes and eating breakfast for every meal. Plus, Rin doesn’t even cast any magic spells, which means that the unexplained coincidences that start happening around Ozzy are just that–coincidences.

With the help of a robotic-talking raven invented by Ozzy’s father, a kind and curious girl at school who decides to help Ozzy, and, of course, a self-proclaimed wizard who may or may not have a magical wand, Ozzy begins an unforgettable quest that will lead him closer to the answers he desperately seeks about his missing parents.

Review:
Ozzy has lived alone in his home in the woods for years, after his parents were kidnapped. When he sees and ad for a Wizard for Hire, Ozzy seeks the wizard’s help in finding what happened to his parents. Rin doesn’t act or look like the wizards Ozzy has read about, but he’s the one person Ozzy can trust.

Wizard for Hire isn’t exactly a fantasy story, as there isn’t really any magic – other than an intelligent, mechanical bird. This middle grade novel has some wonderfully, colorful characters. While the story starts out a bit slow, as Ozzy grows up on his own and tries to go to school, there is a lot of fantastic character development. And there is still plenty of humor, mystery, adventure, and suspense as the story continues. I thoroughly enjoyed this start to a new series. And I appreciated that there wasn’t a cliffhanger ending and that the story seemed mostly wrapped up. But these characters are a lot of fun, which readers will love to read more about.

Received in March

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

Blu-Rays / DVD:
Justice League 4K Blu-Ray

Mystery Boxes:
TeeBlox
Bam Box

Amazon Press / 47North:
Bandwidth by Eliot Peper

Avon Press:
Twice Bitten by Lynsay Sands

Del Rey:
The Memory of Fire by Callie Bates
Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition by Jason Fry
Kill the Farm Boy by Kevin Hearne

Disney Hyperion:
Burning Magic by Joshua Khan
The Life and Death Parade by Eliza Wass
Chasing Helicity by Ginger Zee
The Storm Runner by J. C. Cervantes
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Star Wars: The Last Jedi Read-Along Storybook & CD by Elizabeth Schaefer
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Rose and Finn’s Secret Mission by Ella Patrick
World of Reading Star Wars: The Last Jedi Rey’s Journey (Level 2 Reader) by Ella Patrick

Harper Voyager:
Awakened by James S Murray

Hex Publishers:
Denver Moon: The Minds of Mars by Warren Hammond
Denver Moon Issues 1 and 2

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / HMH Teen:
Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne
The Stone Girl’s Story by Sarah Beth Durst
Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier
Your One & Only by Adrianne Finlay

Macmillan Childrens / Feiwel and Friends / First Second:
Wires and Nerve, Volume 2: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer
The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint McElroy

Night Shade Books:
Bash Bash Revolution by Douglas Lain

Pocket Books:
Star Trek: Voyager: Architects of Infinity by Kirsten Beyer

Pyr:
The Last Sun by K. D. Edwards

Scholastic:
A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Shadow Mountain:
Wizard for Hire by Obert Skye

Soho Press:
Plum Rains by Andromeda Romano-Lax

Subterranean Press:
The Future Is Blue by Catherynne M. Valente
A Voice in the Night by Jack McDevitt

Titan Books:
The Rig by Roger Levy

Tor:
Game of the Gods by Jay Schiffman
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
Head On by John Scalzi

SciFi Book Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition by Jason Fry

Synopsis:
From the ashes of the Empire has arisen another threat to the galaxy’s freedom: the ruthless First Order. Fortunately, new heroes have emerged to take up arms—and perhaps lay down their lives—for the cause. Rey, the orphan strong in the Force; Finn, the ex-stormtrooper who stands against his former masters; and Poe Dameron, the fearless X-wing pilot, have been drawn together to fight side-by-side with General Leia Organa and the Resistance. But the First Order’s Supreme Leader Snoke and his merciless enforcer Kylo Ren are adversaries with superior numbers and devastating firepower at their command. Against this enemy, the champions of light may finally be facing their extinction. Their only hope rests with a lost legend: Jedi Master Luke Skywalker.

Review:
Ren has gone to bring Luke back to help the Resistance. But he doesn’t want to go. Meanwhile, the First Order is closing in on the Resistance. And they have the ability to track them through hyperspace, as the Resistance tries to escape and survive.

The Last Jedi is a fun adventure wrought with suspense, betrayal, heartbreak, humor, and intrigue. I saw the film in the theater twice, so I’m very familiar with the story. But when I heard this novel would have additional content, I had to check it out. There is one (opening scene) of a vision Luke has of an alternate, what-if scenario that really has no bearing on the story but fuels Luke’s sadness. There are also minor differences to dialog, extended scenes, and brief additional inner dialog from characters – such as Maz Katana – which was very enjoyable. This novelization flowed well and felt like I was watching the movie for the third time. Fans will love the extra content and experiencing the story in another format. It certainly made me excited for the release of the film on Blu-Ray tomorrow.

Book Giveaway: Burning Magic

Courtesy of Disney Hyperion, I have an extra early copy of Burning Magic, by Joshua Khan for one lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends April 20. I’ll draw a name on April 21, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Burning Magic

Fantasy Book Review: Through a Dark Glass

Through a Dark Glass by Barb Hendee

Synopsis:
On her seventeenth birthday, Megan of Chaumont discovers she’ll be sold as a bride to the brutish Volodane family-within hours. Her father grants only that she may choose which one of the ruthless, grasping lord’s three sons she weds:
Rolf, the eldest: stern, ambitious, and loyal?
Sebastian, the second son: sympathetic, sly, and rebellious?
Or Kai, the youngest: bitter, brooding, and proud?

As shy, horrified Megan flees the welcome dinner for her in-laws-to-be, she finds an enchanted mirror that will display how her life unrolls with each man, as if she were living it out in a breath. But there is no smooth “happily ever after” in her choices.

Deaths and honors, joys and agonies, intrigues and escapes await her in a remote, ramshackle keep, where these rough but complex men reveal one side and then another of their jagged characters-and bring forth new aspects of Megan, too. But the decisions of one teenaged marriage-pawn reverberate much farther than any of them have guessed.

Review:
Megan is given the choice to marry one of three brothers. A magic mirror shows her what her life would be like and the consequences of each decision. But the choice isn’t easy, as each choice leads to a domino effect of different outcomes.

Through a Dark Glass is an unique fantasy with the feel of a dark, fairy tale. The first choice of suitors was so vivid and in-depth, I had forgotten that it was only one of 3 stories. So, I was surprised when the next one came along. I was afraid it’d be a bit like Groundhog Day; but it was fantastic storytelling with vivid characters. Each of Megan’s decisions affected the next decision she made. So, while there were similarities, the outcomes were very different at times. It was like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, where each choice leads to a different path. It was captivating and led to a wide range of emotions and surprises. I’m a fan of Barb Hendee’s novels, and this is no exception. I look forward to the next in this exciting series.

Book Giveaway: Isle of Blood and Stone

Courtesy of HMH Books for Young Readers, I have an extra early review copy of Isle of Blood and Stone, by Makiia Lucier for one lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends April 13. I’ll draw a name on April 14, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Isle of Blood and Stone

4K Blu-Ray Review: Justice League

Justice League 4K Blu-Ray

Synopsis:
Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

Review:
When the evil Steppenwolf arrives from another world, he threatens to remake Earth into a hellish landscape. And only a team of super heroes can hope to defeat him. Batman and Wonder Woman seek out Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg to help. But the newly formed team is awkward and disjointed. And Steppenwolf is unlike any villain they have fought before.

Justice League has been the culmination of several films to a big team-up movie. DC hasn’t had the best track record lately with films, Wonder Woman being the exception. The pacing is a bit disjointed. The gathering of the team slows the film down, when the pacing should be sped up as Steppenwolf is only growing stronger as he gathers the mysterious boxes (that resemble the tesseract from Avengers). In fact, it’s hard not to compare Justice League to the Marvel films. Thankfully, this wasn’t as dark as Batman v Superman and contained a lot more humor. Ezra Miller as The Flash was great comedy relief, and a great character with the role of an over-excited little brother. In fact, the three newest recruits have the most interesting backstories that demand standalone films. While there wasn’t any character-development in the villain, we were able to get more story from the team leading up to an exciting finale.

The most disappointing element – that just about ruined the film for me, was Henry Cavill’s ridiculous CGI-removed mustache. It was awful and hard to ignore. It would have been better if he was written out of the film altogether. Despite the faults, it was still an entertaining film with bits of promise for future films. It was certainly action-packed and full of suspense. I still look forward to future DC films, hoping they learn from past mistakes.

Own Justice League on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on March 13, or Own It Early on Digital on Now!