The Beyonders: Chasing the Prophecy by Brandon Mull
Jason and Rachel were not born in Lyrian. They did not grow up in Lyrian. But after all of the battles and losses, the triumphs and adventures, and most of all, the friendships forged in this fantastical world, Lyrian has become home to them in a way they never could have imagined.
And so, armed now with the prophecy of a dying oracle, they have gone on their separate quests—each surrounded by brave and powerful allies—knowing that the chance for success is slim. But Jason and Rachel are ready at last to become the heroes Lyrian needs, no matter the cost.
After a prophecy foretold that the only way to defeat the evil emperor was to embark on separate quests, Jason and Rachel and their friends are divided once again. Their quests seem insurmountable, yet everyone is willing to sacrifice everything to make Lyrian free again.
This is the final installment in the Beyonders trilogy. Their adventures this time are quite a bit darker and somber. There is still some humor, thanks to Jason’s personality. And the sense of wonder and excitement is just as intense and full of suspenseful. This epic fantasy saga concludes in a satisfying way as the events build to a big show down. Readers of all ages should enjoy this eventful, and often surprising, trilogy. And each installment is better than the one before. Mull is one of my top favorite children’s book authors – from the exceptional Fablehaven series to the Candy Shop Wars, his stories are always a must-read for me.
Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
Seventeen-year-old Zoel (Zoe) is living in a Community where everyone is Linked by computer ports in their brains. Chips are implanted to repress all emotion, so everyone can focus on logic and community. All anomalies are supposed to be reported to the authorities. But when Zoe starts to glitch, the feelings and sensations are so new and exciting there’s no way she can go back to being an emotionless zombie. But even more surprising, her glitch has given her a telekinetic power. And she’s not alone.
Zoe and the other teens that are glitching have X-Men-like powers that make for some exciting reading. She gets in the middle of a tense love triangle involving her friend Max who can change his appearance and Adrien who has visions of possible futures – specifically one involving Zoe. It’s clear right away who Zoe will choose, as the other gets so jealous and selfish he becomes over-the-top villainous. People like him are the reason the V-chip was created. It’s an interesting premise that Anastasiu has developed – a dystopian world where humanity has become fueled by logic alone. Spock from Star Trek, anyone? But the V-chip isn’t a choice, and Zoe soon views it as slavery.
I was hooked from the start with the intense suspense and danger of being caught, and Zoe is a likeable heroine who puts other above her own wellbeing. This science fiction thriller is geared towards young adults, but older adults who enjoyed Hunger Games, Matched, or Insurgent should check this out as well. Glitch is a fast-paced, dystopian adventure that was entirely riveting, surprising, and unpredictable. This is has certainly made my list of favorites of the year. First in a new trilogy, this impressive debut is off to a promising start.
Glitch releases from St. Martin’s Griffin on August 7, 2012.
Courtesy of Warner Brothers, I have a copy of Spawn Blu-ray Edition 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 August 17. I’ll draw a name on August 18, and notify winner via email.
Continue reading SciFi Blu-Ray Giveaway: Spawn
First time on Blu-ray – get Coma, Outland, Altered States, Brainstorm, The Astronaut’s Wife, Frequency, and Spawn: Director’s Cut on July 20th!
Frequency Blu-ray Edition
A phenomenon allows police officer John Sullivan (Jim Caviezel) to save the life of his long-dead father (Dennis Quaid). But changing the past leads to a string of brutal, serial homicides. Now, they both must race across time to stop the killer.
Caviezel and Quaid star in this fantastic 2000 scifi flick. The story is unique and inspired. John Sullivan (Jim Caviezel) begins to communicate with his deceased father (Dennis Quaid) in the past via an old radio as the northern lights seem to be affecting the instrument. But as Caviezel begins sharing with his father, the past begins to change. And a serial killer that was once stopped is now on the loose again. Full of heart-wrenching drama, suspense, and danger – this is a must for any scifi fan’s movie library. I previously owned the DVD, and the blu-ray edition is quite a bit clearer and sharper.
Outland Blu-ray Edition
A federal marshal on an outer-space mining colony uncovers deadly secrets, triggering a showdown. Oscar(R) winner Sean Connery lays down the law in Peter Hyams’ sci-fi sizzler.
This 1981 scifi thriller is obviously outdated with its early 80’s technology and cheesy special effects. But the story and drama is still intense and suspenseful. Connery plays a marshal new to the mining colony where he’s completely on his own against a powerful and corrupt corporation. Despite the story lags and slow start (with way too much reading about the details of the colony), this was still a fun and exciting film that fans of retro scifi will enjoy now on blu-ray.
Courtesy of Pocket Books, I have a copy of The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper (on sale July 31st) for one (1) lucky winner!
Set in the world of Half Moon Hollow, made famous in Molly’s Nice Girls Don’t… series, this stand-alone comedic novel features a daytime vampire concierge who helps the undead take care of errands and appointments during sunlight hours. Iris Scanlon’s only rule: relationships are for business, not pleasure. But when she finds newest client, Cal, poisoned on his kitchen floor, her quiet life gets turned upside down. Could it be that what she really needs is some intrigue and romance—and her very own stray vampire?
Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 27. I’ll draw a name on July 28, and notify winner via email.
Continue reading Book Giveaway and Spotlight: The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires
Changeling by Kelly Meding
Dahlia “Ember” Perkins is the new Meta (superhuman) on the team and has the ability to absorb and manipulate fire. The super-heroes-for-hire have done everything they can to welcome and accept Ember into their group, but she still feels like she doesn’t fit in. The Metas are called in to help local police with a bizarre murder where only the victim’s skin is left behind. And when clues lead to an old case of Ember’s, she soon finds herself the target of a killer.
This is the sequel to last year’s Trance. While Trance felt more like a super hero/super villain showdown, Changeling feels more like a mystery/paranormal cop show. While still in the same series, the point of view shifts to another team member as well. Meding has done a great job with character development. No shallow cardboard cut outs here. And I was surprised that the drama was just as interesting as the action-packed adventure scenes. This fantastic sequel is packed with suspense, thrills and plenty of surprises. Urban fantasy, scifi, and super hero fans alike will enjoy this dark, intense series.
Starfleet Academy: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz
Jim Kirk has convinced Bones to play the Assassination Game simply because Bones has a crush on the game’s leader. Each person draws a name and has to hunt down and “kill” their target with a metal spork. Meanwhile, Starfleet Academy is on edge with its latest visitors the Varkolak, a violent dog-like race. And Cadet Uhura has been invited to join a secret society at the Academy with an unclear agenda. When a bomb explodes, almost killing the President, clues lead to the Varkolak. But Kirk has reason to believe they are being set up.
The Assassination Game is the fourth installment in the Starfleet Academy series marketed for teens and based on the most recent Star Trek film. And this may be my favorite installment yet. Certain parts of the mystery are a bit predictable to those who read closely and pay attention to details. But the plot is so complex; there are still plenty of fun twists and surprises along the way. Kirk, Bones, and Uhura get the most “face time” in this story. But there are some great cameos by Sulu, Chekov, and Spock as well.
Fans of the original series and latest film will want to check out this exciting and highly entertaining story. With plenty of adventure, intrigue, and humor – this latest installment is captivating. Each of the Starfleet Academy series are stand alone, without any overlying arc, so they don’t need to be read in any order. This series has become just as much as a must-read for me as the rest of the Star Trek novels, if not moreso.
Tin Swift by Devon Monk
Cedar Hunt has been traveling with the Madder brothers, Mae, Rose, and his brother Wil. Cedar has promised to lead the Madder brothers to the mysterious Strange weapon called the Holder. Cedar can track it, thanks to his curse. Every full moon Cedar feels the call of the beast within himself. Mae is a witch and once they find her coven, she has promised to free Cedar and Wil from their curse. But when they come across a town that stinks of the Strange and all the people are dead, Cedar will have to make hard decisions that will alter their course.
This is the sequel to last year’s Dead Iron, bringing back some great characters. Cedar has blossoming feelings for Mae, the recent widow who is slowing going insane because of her link to her coven miles away. Unfortunately, the Madder brothers aren’t in this story very much, but we’re introduced to an airship full of new, fun characters.
Monk flawlessly blends fantasy, steampunk, and western in this fantastic series. And surprisingly, I enjoyed this one even more than the first. With swashbuckling adventure, mysterious artifacts, magic, and imaginative steam-powered technology – Tin Swift is not to be missed. Fast-paced and exciting, I flew through this one and couldn’t put it down. I’m certainly looking forward to future installments in this incredible series.