Tag Archives: sci fiction

Box Review: TeeBlox – September 2017

TeeBlox

TeeBlox is a t-shirt subscription service that brings 100% authentic licensed geek and gamer shirts to your doorsteps every month. No hidden fees. Cancel anytime. Satisfaction Guaranteed.”

Get 1 shirt and 2 other items starting at $12.99/mo and use code: SCIFICHICK24 to get 24% off your first month!

Subscribers can pick from the following categories: SciFi, Marvel, DC Comics, Cartoons, Movies and TV, Games, Hot Meex, or Disney!

*SciFiChick.com received a box for review purposes.

Teeblox

Back to the Future Shirt – I love Back to the Future, and I love this design. My biggest reservation is that there’s a note to hang dry rather than tumble dry. So, it’s obviously not pre-shrunk. If it’s too wrinkled, I still may toss it in my dryer on low.

Teeblox

Comic and Pin – The Sheena comic will be passed on. And I think I’ve gotten this pin before.

Summary: I like that this month’s shirt was Back to the Future and incorporating both the catchy phrase and the DeLorean. It’s not soft or pre-shrunk though.

Remember, use code: SCIFICHICK24 to get 24% off your first month!

TO GUARD AGAINST THE DARK Excerpt and Giveaway!

Excerpt from To Guard Against the Dark:

Chapter 1

STARS.

Fingers interlaced, her hair stroking his cheek, they’d walked the nights of ninety-nine worlds. Floated in space to watch planets spin. Lain naked on mossy ground, lost in one another, under so many stars—

Those had been real. These couldn’t be. The ceiling lay be¬neath a covering of formed concrete, plas, and a significant amount of natural stone, a roof he’d built to keep out more than the night sky. Could be a dune curling overtop as well, it being sandstorm season.

Yet, still, stars twinkled overhead, wheeling in formation as if he watched them through time.

A dream. That was it. He shut his eyes, fingers straying to the cool metal band around his wrist. Touch seemed odd, for a dream.

He opened his eyes. Looked up. Surely only in a dream could a segment of that starry scape flex . . .

Bend . . .

Lean down, closer and closer, those stars about to crush him—

/need/~location?~/urgency/

For the— “No more!” he shouted, furious. “Get out of here!”

A heavy arm—something arm-ish— lopped across his chest and slid away. Jason Morgan squirmed in the opposite direction. “On! On full!”

The portlights obeyed, blazing into every corner of the room.

He was alone.

***

Continue reading TO GUARD AGAINST THE DARK Excerpt and Giveaway!

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

SciFi Book Review: Star Trek: Discovery: Desperate Hours

Star Trek: Discovery: Desperate Hours by David Mack

Synopsis:
Aboard the Starship Shenzhou, Lieutenant Michael Burnham, a human woman raised and educated among Vulcans, is promoted to acting first officer. But if she wants to keep the job, she must prove to Captain Philippa Georgiou that she deserves to have it.

She gets her chance when the Shenzhou must protect a Federation colony that is under attack by an ancient alien vessel that has surfaced from the deepest fathoms of the planet’s dark, uncharted sea.

As the menace from this mysterious vessel grows stronger, Starfleet declares the colony expendable in the name of halting the threat. To save thousands of innocent lives, Burnham must infiltrate the alien ship. But to do so, she needs to face the truth of her troubled past, and seek the aid of a man she has tried to avoid her entire life—until now.

Review:
The Shenzhou assists a Federation colony under attack from a suspicious juggernaut that came from the planet’s own sea. Captain Georgiou is immediately suspicious, with good reason. Meanwhile, Captain Pike and and the Enterprise soon arrive, but with strange orders from Starfleet.

Desperate Hours is a prequel to the new show, now available on CBS All Access. Michael Burnham is newly promoted as first officer and her rival Lt. Saru has to deal with her promotion over him. The two were my favorite characters after watching the first couple episodes, so I was happy to see this relationship fleshed out more. In fact, we get to know Lt. Saru a lot better, and learn more about his unique heritage.

And as the Shenzhou and Enterprise jointly investigate the origins of the juggernaut and the ancient original inhabitants of this world, Burnham is reunited with an officer from the Enterprise. Their relationship is strained, awkward, and eventually leads to a fantastic, revealing scene.

Mack has written numerous, outstanding novels in various Star Trek series, so I had high hopes for this. And I’m happy to say it exceeded my expectations. The story is exciting, with plenty of drama and intrigue. I loved delving deeper into these new characters. And the meetup with the Enterprise was a fitting passing of the baton to this new series. It is a bit strange that we still haven’t seen the Discovery, but the series will focus on Michael Burnham, and this is a prequel story that gives some insight into characters and relationships that we only had a glimpse of during the first two episodes. I am very excited for the future of this new series. And I thoroughly enjoyed this prequel novel and look forward to more.

TV Review: Star Trek: Discovery

About Star Trek Discovery:
Star Trek, one of the most iconic and influential global television franchises, returns 50 years after it first premiered, with Star Trek: Discovery. The series will feature a new ship, new characters and new missions, while embracing the same ideology and hope for the future that inspired a generation of dreamers and doers.

Star Trek: Discovery is available to watch on CBS All Access:
http://www.cbs.com/shows/star-trek-discovery/

Review:
CBS has kept details of the show secretive. After production and release delays, and the disappointment of the show only airing online via yet another paid service, I still remained optimistic. After all, the small glimpses, casting, and setting all looked great. And this is the first time that a Star Trek series will be serialized, rather than individual, one-hour storylines. Discovery is set 10 years prior to the Original series of Kirk, Spock, and Bones. It stars Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham – a human first officer who was raised on Vulcan by Spock’s father Sarek.

What stands out the most on first-watch is the amazing set designs and special effects. Especially with the Klingons, who have been revamped and look very different than the ones from the previous series. From costumes and prosthetics to the set details – it’s stunning and impressive. In fact, as I watched the first episode it felt like I was watching a big budget blockbuster, not a television show. The bridge design and uniforms are not unlike the recent JJ Abrams Star Trek films, yet they have their own spin. I especially liked the spacesuit design.

My biggest complaint has to do with the Klingons – and it’s the subtitles. I can’t stand reading subtitles for long periods of time, and it’s really not necessary unless it’s a foreign film. We know they’re speaking another language, so phasing to English should’ve happened at some point.

The casting and characters are fantastic as well. Michael Burnham is a tremendously complex young woman, brilliantly cast, and an intriguing main character. Doug Jones as Lt. Saru, of a new alien race, is already a fan favorite as he has a great rivalry with Burnham. And Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou of the Shenzhou is flawless as Burnham’s mentor and boss. Unfortunately, episodes 1 and 2 only show the Shenzhou, so we haven’t even met the crew of the Discovery yet. But with Jason Isaacs as the captain, I’m already excited.

Episode 1 ended in a major cliffhanger, making fans like me scramble to sign up for CBS All Access to watch the next episode. And I enjoyed the second installment even more. In fact, as I watched it I realized I immediately wanted to rewatch as soon as possible. The heart of what Star Trek about is here – optimism for the future. Though we do get to see the grittiness of having Klingons as definitive adversaries for the first time. There is plenty of suspense, adventure, drama, hi-tech gadgets, techno babble, and questions of morality. “The Vulcan Hello” itself is a wonderful example of a scenario that will make viewers think and question. It has been a long time since I found myself so giddy and geeked out about a new show. And I can’t wait for the next episode.

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.

SciFi Book Review: Star Wars: Phasma

Star Wars: Phasma by Delilah S Dawson

Synopsis:
One of the most cunning and merciless officers of the First Order, Captain Phasma commands the favor of her superiors, the respect of her peers, and the terror of her enemies. But for all her renown, Phasma remains as virtually unknown as the impassive expression on her gleaming chrome helmet. Now, an adversary is bent on unearthing her mysterious origins—and exposing a secret she guards as zealously and ruthlessly as she serves her masters.

Deep inside the Battlecruiser Absolution, a captured Resistance spy endures brutal interrogation at the hands of a crimson-armored stormtrooper—Cardinal. But the information he desires has nothing to do with the Resistance or its covert operations against the First Order.

What the mysterious stormtrooper wants is Phasma’s past—and with it whatever long-buried scandal, treachery, or private demons he can wield against the hated rival who threatens his own power and privilege in the ranks of the First Order. His prisoner has what Cardinal so desperately seeks, but she won’t surrender it easily. As she wages a painstaking war of wills with her captor, bargaining for her life in exchange for every precious revelation, the spellbinding chronicle of the inscrutable Phasma unfolds. But this knowledge may prove more than just dangerous once Cardinal possesses it—and once his adversary unleashes the full measure of her fury.

Review:
Phasma had a small but powerful presence in The Force Awakens, so many fans were looking forward to her backstory and learning more about her. Her story is told by a captured rebel, Vi, in short, drawn out bursts, to her captor. Cardinal is jealous of Phasma and wants to find some dirt on her to bring her down.

Phasma is born on a harsh world and makes her own way. And she will do anything to survive. Basically, Phasma is a psychopath. I would have liked to hear her story and get her point of view, to see if she feels any empathy. But her ruthlessness is evident. It was a clever way to tell her story from a third party, giving this origin story another level. As Vi finishes Phasma’s story, the even more suspense builds. This action-packed, dramatic story is dark and revealing. And I can’t wait to read more of these individual stories leading up to the next film.

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.