Tag Archives: sci-fi

SciFi Book Review: Children of Refuge

Children of Refuge by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Synopsis:
It’s been barely a day since Edwy left Fredtown to be with his parents and, already, he is being sent away. He’s smuggled off to boarding school in Refuge City, where he will be with his brother and sister, who don’t even like him very much. The boarding school is nothing like the school that he knew, there’s no one around looking up to him now, and he’s still not allowed to ask questions!

Alone and confused, Edwy seeks out other children brought back from Fredtown and soon discovers that Rosi and the others—still stuck in the Cursed Town—might be in danger. Can Edwy find his way back to his friends before it’s too late?

Review:
While Rosi was trying to escape their home city, Edwy is taken to Refuge City to live and study with his brother and sister. Refuge City is a lot different from Fredtown and the town where his parents live. But his siblings still wont answer Edwy’s questions about what’s going on. And worst of all, Edwy has no idea what has happened to Rosi.

Children of Refuge is the second installment in the Children of Exile series. The first novel was told in Rosi’s voice, but this second is told from Edwys’ point of view. Edwy was the trouble maker of Fredtown, but when faced with moral dilemmas, he still falls back on what he was taught from the Freds – and the difference of right versus wrong. Edwys turns out to be a more likable and relatable boy than I thought he would. While he has a bit of a rebellious streak (at least when it came to the Freds), he still wants to do what’s right and has a strong sense of loyalty. This sequel is another fast-paced, suspenseful read. We learn a bit more about what happened in the past. And the pulse-pounding finale doesn’t disappoint. The next in the series can’t come soon enough.

Received in July

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

Blu-Ray:
Rampage Blu-Ray
Ready Player One Blu-Ray
Counterpart Season 1 Blu-Ray

Mystery Boxes:
TeeBlox
Bam Box
ThinkGeek Apparel

Abrams / Amulet:
Ocean Renegades! Journey through the Paleozoic Era by Abby Howard

Ace:
Stars Uncharted by S. K. Dunstall

Apex Publishing:
Nexhuman by Francesco Verso

Berkley:
Shadow’s Bane by Karen Chance
Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill

Clarion Books:
Bluecrowne by Kate Milford

Daw:
Worldshaper by Edward Willett

Del Rey / Bantam:
Bright Ruin by Vic James
Dragon’s Code by Gigi McCaffrey
Star Wars: Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn
The Point by John Dixon
Seven Stones to Stand or Fall by Diana Gabaldon

Disney Hyperion:
Tales from the Haunted Mansion, Volume III: Grim Grinning Ghosts by Disney Book Group
Percy Jackson and the Olympians The Lightning Thief Illustrated Edition by Rick Riordan
Mother Knows Best: A Tale of the Old Witch by Serena Valentino

Pyr:
Keepers by Brenda Cooper
No Sleep till Doomsday by Laurence MacNaughton

Random House Children’s / Delacorte:
The Door to the Lost by Jaleigh Johnson
Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo Book 2: The Middle-Route Run by James Parks

St Martin’s Press:
Maze Master by Kathleen O’Neal Gear

Subterranean Press:
A Time to Scatter Stones by Lawrence Block

Titan Books:
Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan
Strange Ink by Gary Kemble

Tor:
Mystic Dragon by Jason Denzel
Arabella The Traitor of Mars by David D. Levine
The Razor by Jack Barton Mitchell
Privateer by Margaret Weis
An Informal History of the Hugos by Jo Walton

Box Review: TeeBlox – July 2018

TeeBlox

TeeBlox is all about providing our customers with the best graphic tees in today’s market. Over a 200 million t-shirt arts designed by artists. It’s time to show your lifestyle!”

Subscriptions start at $6.99/mo and use code: SCIFICHICK24 to get 24% off your first month!

Subscribers can pick from more than 20 categories!

*SciFiChick.com received a box for review purposes.

Continue reading Box Review: TeeBlox – July 2018

Fantasy Book Review: World of Warcraft: Before the Storm

World of Warcraft: Before the Storm by Christie Golden

Synopsis:
Azeroth is dying.

The Horde and the Alliance defeated the demonic Burning Legion, but a dire catastrophe is unfolding deep below the surface of the world. There is a mortal wound in the heart of Azeroth, struck by the sword of the fallen titan Sargeras in a final act of cruelty.

For Anduin Wrynn, king of Stormwind, and Sylvanas Windrunner, warchief of the Horde and queen of the Forsaken, there is little time to rebuild what remains and even less to mourn what was lost. Azeroth’s devastating wound has revealed a mysterious material known as Azerite. In the right hands, this strange golden substance is capable of incredible feats of creation; in the wrong ones, it could bring forth unthinkable destruction.

As Alliance and Horde forces race to uncover the secrets of Azerite and heal the wounded world, Anduin enacts a desperate plan aimed at forging a lasting peace between the factions. Azerite jeopardizes the balance of power, and so Anduin must gain the trust of Sylvanas. But, as ever, the Dark Lady has her own machinations.

For peace to be possible, generations of bloodshed and hatred must be brought to an end. But there are truths that neither side is willing to accept and ambitions they are loath to relinquish. As Alliance and Horde alike grasp for the Azerite’s power, their simmering conflict threatens to reignite all-out war—a war that would spell doom for Azeroth.

Review:
King Anduin’s number one goal is peace, though many think he’s young and naive. Meanwhile, Sylvanas Windrunner is approached with something that may give her the edge to defeat the Alliance. Anduin presents Sylvanas with an ambitious plan – one that could mean the first steps of peace or the start of another war.

I am a fan of the World of Warcraft novels and movie. Though, I am not familiar with these particular characters, as I don’t play the game. But knowing the world, this was an easy enough story to jump into. This installment has a lot of colorful individuals. Christie Golden is a pro at creating intriguing characters who pull readers into the story. The story is full of political intrigue, suspense, and drama. And the climactic ending left me wanting more. This is a prequel to a new game, that I’m now curious to know what happens next.

Author Guest Post and Giveaway: Ann Aguirre – LIKE NEVER AND ALWAYS Blog Tour

Author Ann Aguirre joins SciFiChick today to talk about strong female characters and to promote her latest release – Like Never and Always! And keep reading below for a chance to win a copy of the book!

You have so many strong female leads, can you tell me about writing/creating strong female characters?

I can’t imagine writing women any other way. All women are strong, even if their strength isn’t apparent to others. I’ve written multiple heroines who are physically fit and capable of fighting, but that’s not the only type of strength that matters. Clever women who outthink their enemies are fantastic, too.

Growing up, I read fiction written by authors who treated their female characters as damsels in distress or as prizes to be won. I didn’t like seeing women regarded that way, especially in fantasy and science fiction. When I was a little girl, I can remember reading The Hobbit at the hospital when one of my relatives was sick. Even then, I recall wondering, Where are all the women? In a story of such grand scope, why are there no female characters at all?

Tolkien wasn’t the only writer who erased women from his stories. Many of the epic fantasies I read followed suit, and if there was a woman mixed in, she almost always served as a reward for the hero or a love interest only. Rarely did I find female characters who had their goals, who lived with agency, and might even part ways with the hero to pursue her own ends.

I was so excited when I found Anne McCaffrey, Ursula LeGuin, and Tanith Lee. They were the first female SFF writers that I fell in love with, and I’d say they’re still shaping my work to this day. Later, I read greats like Kate Elliott, Barbara Hambly, Robin McKinley, and a bit later, Sharon Shinn. Those were the books I had been missing as a pre-teen, ones that told me that women didn’t have to be an accessory—that they could have their own adventures.

Growing up, I didn’t read a lot of science fiction because I couldn’t find the sort I wanted to read. I cared more about the people than the technology, and too often, men stole the spotlight and women didn’t get enough page time for my tastes, so more often, I watched my science fiction, both on television and the big screen. Eventually, I would write the sort of science fiction that I wanted to read, though I’m taking a bit of a break from that right now.

So naturally, when I started writing for teens, I wanted to continue what I’d started in speculative fiction, giving girls fierce heroines to root for and thrilling stories they could experience vicariously. In Like Never and Always, I set up a strange scenario, and it’s definitely a departure in some ways because while there’s definitely bad guys in the story, there’s no big war to fight. It’s dark and deep story, kind of down the rabbit hole, where the farther down you go, the stranger it all gets. I’d call it a thriller with supernatural elements, but that’s also dependent on whether you believe the body switch has actually occurred. I was so thrilled when Kate Elliott blurbed this book! Her work is iconic and brilliant, so it’s amazing to me that my words could be validate by someone who lit the path for me in terms of writing strong women.

Thanks so much for having me on the blog! I welcome all questions and comments.

Continue reading Author Guest Post and Giveaway: Ann Aguirre – LIKE NEVER AND ALWAYS Blog Tour

PBS Digital Studios: The Origin of Science Fiction

Check out: It’s Lit!, the new PBS YouTube series that aims to help people of all ages explore books in a new way.

The Origin of Science Fiction
It’s the literary manifestation of our anxieties and excitement surrounding technology. While science fiction is associated with Mars, robots, and cyberpunk, its origin story is shaped throughout several centuries. This includes The Age of Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and…Frankenstein? Check out the origin of science fiction in a brand new episode of It’s Lit!

Blu-Ray Review: Ready Player One

Ready Player One
Own Ready Player One on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on July 24, or Own It Now on Digital!

Synopsis:
In the year 2045, the real world is a harsh place. The only time Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) truly feels alive is when he escapes to the OASIS, an immersive virtual universe where most of humanity spend their days. In the OASIS, you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone—the only limits are your own imagination. The OASIS was created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance), who left his immense fortune and total control of the OASIS to the winner of a three-part contest he designed to find a worthy heir. When Wade conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends—known as the High Five—are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS and their world.

Review:
Wade Watts spends most of his free time on a virtual treasure hunt for a legendary prize to control the OASIS – the virtual world where everyone retreats. When Wade finds the first key, he soon finds danger from a powerful corporation that will do anything to seize control of the OASIS.

I had read the original novel years ago, but forgot enough to not compare the story too much. The retro, 80s references and music made this extremely fun and nostalgic for me. And even though I’m not a gamer, I enjoyed the unique landscape of the OASIS – and that it’s more integral to the story than the real world. The acting is great. But it’s the OASIS itself that steals the scenes – from immersion into movies to stunning landscapes and and endless variety of colorful avatars. The story is full of suspense, heartfelt drama, romance, and plenty of humor. This is definitely a film I’ll watch again and again.

Book Giveaway: Shadow’s Bane

Courtesy of Berkley, I have a copy of Shadow’s Bane by Karen Chance 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 August 17. I’ll draw a name on August 18, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Shadow’s Bane