Tag Archives: scifi

Blog Tour Interview: Jessica Cluess on A Shadow Bright and Burning

jessica-cluess

Author Jessica Cluess joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about her novel A Shadow Bright and Burning!

Tell us a bit about Henrietta.

Henrietta is a sixteen-year-old schoolteacher who is desperately trying to keep her secret magic fire power under wraps. As you do when you’re a teenage girl in the Victorian era. That changes when she’s declared the prophesied one, destined to save England from its longstanding war against seven monsters. So she’s whisked off to London, where she makes another alarming discovery: she’s not the prophesied one after all. All of this makes Henrietta intelligent, brave, someone who is a little too comfortable with lying, and deeply untrusting. However, she also yearns to look after the people in her life, so that’s one very positive quality.

What is this fantasy world like?

Magic is out in the open and very much accepted in this version of Victorian England. The three main branches of magic are sorcerers, who are predominantly wealthy and powerful, magicians, who are scattered and have been relegated to permanent second-class citizen status, and witches, who are killed outright when they’re found. The sharp class division has come about because a decade before the story begins, a magician named Howard Mickelmas and a witch named Mary Willoughby opened a portal to another dimension and let seven horrible monsters through. That stared the war, and got both their magical races imprisoned and killed. There is a reason that sorcerers want to kill witches and only keep magicians downtrodden, but that reason will be revealed later on in the series, so I can’t say too much now.

Can you tell us about your journey in publishing?

My first time querying a manuscript was hell. I’d spent two years teaching myself to write and edit a novel for publication, and after six months of querying I’d had maybe two full requests. It was so dispiriting, and I stopped writing for adults and decided to write for the YA market. I found an idea that I loved, spent a year working on it, and then queried again. This time, the process was pretty much a dream. One week after I queried the man who became my agent, he offered to represent me. A few months after that, we went on submission, and less than two weeks later we had an offer. In some ways, the grueling and painful first attempt at publishing made the later success so much sweeter. I’m extremely grateful that I had that challenging beginning.

This will publish a few days after, but how do you plan on celebrating release day?

I’m going to force myself to sleep later than seven o’clock! Also, I’m planning on getting together with a group of friends that evening, and even though it’s a Tuesday we’re going to have a few drinks. You can’t go too crazy. Everyone has work the next day!

Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?

The big inspiration for this series, and for me in general, is Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. I call that book my Lord of the Rings in terms of its influence on me, and my writing. Growing up, my parents didn’t keep many fantasy books in the house, but my dad was a big horror guy, so I was weaned on Stephen King. It is the kind of book I didn’t appreciate as much when I was younger, but now that I’m an adult I see its power. Neil Gaiman and Ray Bradbury were two of my biggest influences as an adolescent, and nowadays I love Diana Gabaldon. There are some great YA fantasy books from up and coming writers like Alwyn Hamilton, Traci Chee, Tara Sim, Audrey Coulthurst, and Roshani Chokshi. And even though I’m not a huge sci-fi person, Dune was one of the most important reads of my life. It was the book that made me want to write speculative fiction professionally, and I’ll always be grateful to it.

SciFi Book Review: Star Trek: Prey: Book 1: Hell’s Heart

Star Trek: Prey: Book 1: Hell’s Heart by John Jackson Miller

Synopsis:
When Klingon commander Kruge died in combat against James T. Kirk on the Genesis planet back in 2285, he left behind a powerful house in disarray—and a series of ticking time bombs: the Phantom Wing, a secret squadron of advanced Birds-of-Prey; a cabal of loyal officers intent on securing his heritage; and young Korgh, his thwarted would-be heir, willing to wait a Klingon lifetime to enact his vengeance.

Now, one hundred years later, while on a diplomatic mission for the United Federation of Planets, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the USS Enterprise are snared in the aged Korgh’s trap—and thrust directly in the middle of an ancient conflict. But as Commander Worf soon learns, Korgh may be after far bigger game than anyone imagines, confronting the Federation-Klingon alliance with a crisis unlike any it has ever seen!

Review:
I’ll admit that Klingons aren’t my favorite race. The honor-bound, often violent people have never really held my interest. So I really only picked up this book because I enjoyed the film the trilogy is based on… and it’s Star Trek – so I knew I’d still be entertained.

However, I was pleasantly impressed that the plot held many twists and surprises along the way. It’s full of adventure, mystery, and very diverse Klingon characters. The characters, especially the villains, are intriguing and engaging. I also love that the story spans the two Enterprise crews. What we learn about past events with Kruge’s people helps to understand what’s going on in the future. I even enjoyed the Kahless clone character more than previous stories about him. Excitement and suspense builds to a cliffhanger ending that made me eager for the next book.

TeeBlox Giveaway!

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 & TV, Games, Hot Meex, or Disney!

See reviews of past months here:

Box Review: TeeBlox – September 2016

Box Review: TeeBlox – August 2016

Box Review and Giveaway!: TeeBlox – July 2016


Courtesy of TeeBlox, I have a code for a free shipment for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. Make sure to leave a valid email! To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends October 7. I’ll draw a name on October 8, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading TeeBlox Giveaway!

Box Review: TeeBlox – September 2016

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 & TV, Games, Hot Meex, or Disney!

*SciFiChick.com received a box for review purposes.

TeeBlox

Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back T-shirt – It’s a simple, official, white logo on black shirt. But I love it just the same. Hey, it’s the best movie from the franchise.

TeeBlox

Planet of The Apes Comic – I love comics and love Planet of the Apes! Awesome – except it may mean I have to go collect #1 and 2 now…

Super Mario Coaster – This is a cardboard coaster with Mario Bros on the back. Fun little item if you like retro gaming.

Summary: The shirt and comic combo is fantastic. The shirt is well made, yet soft. And this is another great design! Can’t have too many Star Wars or Star Trek shirts in my opinion!

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

Fantasy Book Review: The Scourge

The Scourge by Jennifer A Nielsen

Synopsis:
As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor’s wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive, and she is sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge — and quarantine colony — for the ill. The Scourge’s victims, Ani now among them, can only expect to live out short, painful lives there. However, Ani quickly discovers that she doesn’t know the whole truth about the Scourge or the Colony. She’s been caught in a devious plot, and, with the help of her best friend, Weevil, Ani means to uncover just what is actually going on.

But will she and Weevil survive long enough to do so?

Review:
Ani and Weevil are loyal friends that would do anything for each other. Ani is a strong and hard-headed girl with a lot of pride. Unfortunately, this gets her in trouble with authority figures; and she winds up in the Colony for Scourge victims. Weevil follows just because he’s loyal and thinks he can help.

This is a fantastic stand-alone story set in a fictional world where a deadly Scourge has the population terrified. The plot is pretty predictable, but it doesn’t make the suspense any less thrilling. The characters are vivid and the story is captivating. The pacing and excitement make it a hard book to put down. Events build to a climactic conclusion that doesn’t disappoint. The Scourge is an engaging story for young adults and adults alike.

Book Giveaway: Frost

Courtesy of Scholastic, I have a copy of Frost by M. P. Kozlowsky 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 October 14. I’ll draw a name on October 15, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Frost

Spotlight: Edgar Allan Poe: An Adult Coloring Book

Edgar Allan Poe: An Adult Coloring Book

If you’re into adult coloring books and classic Edgar Allan Poe stories, check this out. Artist Odessa Begay has created a clever collection of coloring pages inspired by several of Poe’s works. The pages are very thick and printed on front and back. From eerie settings to skulls and creepy imagery – this will be a very fun book to color with Halloween approaching!

Edgar Allan Poe Coloring Book

Edgar Allan Poe Coloring Book

Edgar Allan Poe Coloring Book

Edgar Allan Poe Coloring Book

Box Review: DC’s Legion of Collectors – September 2016

Legion of Collectors

This is the 2nd box from DC’s Legion of Collectors and the theme was DC TV. The Legion of Collectors offers these boxes starting at $25 plus s/h.

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Like the other mystery boxes from Funko, each box comes with an exclusive badge and pin.

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And this detailed card of everything included in the box is handy.

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DC Villains Tshirt – There was a chance of this one or a Heroes shirt. I was extremely bummed I didn’t get the Heroes one as it was the only one I liked of the two. The retro Harley Quinn outfit is so corny, I would never wear this out in public.

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Batgirl Comic #35 – I LOVE that they are include comic variants in these boxes. And the Batgirl run is great. I already read this series, so I’ll probably pass this on to my niece.

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EXCLUSIVE Hawkgirl Funko POP! – I love this retro Hawkgirl design. And it’s a character I don’t have yet, but

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EXCLUSIVE Wonder Woman Invisible Jet and Action Figure – This was an extremely fun bonus. I would have loved it even more if it was a POP style instead of just an action figure. But this way, I’ll let my niece and nephew play with it.

SUMMARY: This was a great box, despite the tshirt disappointment. It’s still better than a POP-style shirt. I would have just preferred all female heroes vs having any villains spotlighted. My favorite item in the box was the Wonder Woman and invisible jet exclusive.

The next theme is: Batman Villains – so I’ll be skipping that one.