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SciFi Book Review: Flying

Flying by Carrie Jones

Synopsis:
People have always treated seventeen-year-old Mana as someone in need of protection. She’s used to being coddled, being an only child, but it’s hard to imagine anything could ever happen in her small-town, normal life. As her mother’s babying gets more stifling than ever, she’s looking forward to cheering at the big game and getting out of the house for a while.

But that night, Mana’s life goes haywire.

First, the hot guy she’s been crushing on at school randomly flips out and starts spitting acid during the game. Then they get into a knockdown, drag-out fight in the locker room, during which Mana finds herself leaping around like a kangaroo on steroids. As a flyer on the cheerleading squad, she’s always been a good jumper, but this is a bit much. By the time she gets home and finds her house trashed and an alien in the garage, Mana starts to wonder if her mother had her reasons for being overprotective.

It turns out, Mana’s frumpy, timid mom is actually an alien hunter, and now she’s missing–taking a piece of technology with her that everyone wants their hands on, both human and alien. Now her supposed partner, a guy that Mana has never met or heard of (and who seems way too young and way too arrogant to be hunting aliens), has shown up, ordering Mana to come with him. Now, on her own for the first time, Mana will have to find a way to save her mother–and maybe the world–and hope she’s up to the challenge.

Review:
Mana is a likable girl, with a crush on her best friend. And it turns out he’s the only one she can trust when Mana comes home to a ransacked house and her mother missing. Mana’s mother has been keeping secrets from her – and a big one about Mana herself.

I had high hopes for this story, thinking it was a young superhero-type book of alien hunting. Instead, we only see Mana use her (never fully explained) ability once in the beginning and a second time further on. This is not an action-packed adventure. But it’s more of a search for a missing item and Mana’s mother, while fending off mysterious aliens and Men in Black. There is plenty of mystery, suspense, and drama. I just wish we could have seen Mana really use her abilities and kick butt. It’s still an engaging and fun story, just not quite what some may expect with the title of the book somewhat misleading.

Book Giveaway: My Gym Teacher Is an Alien Overlord

Getting back from vacation, means that I don’t have time to gather a unique post or review anything – so a week of giveaways it is!

Courtesy of Viking, I have a copy of My Gym Teacher Is an Alien Overlord by David Solomons 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 19. I’ll draw a name on August 20, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: My Gym Teacher Is an Alien Overlord

SciFi Book Review: Marvel’s Thor: Dueling with Giants

Marvel’s Thor: Dueling with Giants by Keith R. A. DeCandido

Synopsis:
During just another day for the God of Thunder, Thor is defending Asgard against invading trolls when the unthinkable happens―his hammer Mjolnir loses its enchantment. Thor is still more than a match for his enemies, and after vanquishing them he learns the secret to his sudden weakness. Mjolnir was switched without him knowing, and only one being would be cunning enough to carry out such a trick: Loki.

Review:
Dueling with Giants is the first in the Tales of Asgard Trilogy, this focusing on Thor and Loki. Loki make a deal with the frost giants all to trap Thor – but his plans never quite work out the way he hopes. His jealousy and trickery are very like his comicbook and film self. And he was really the highlight of the story. The archaic speech of Thor and the others are like the comics and film as well. So, it may slow readers down a bit, but it’s not confusing to understand. There is a good amount of action and Thor fight scenes – an especially exciting one near the climactic ending. This is a fast-paced, quick read that Thor (and Loki) fans ages 10 and up will enjoy. Books 2 and 3 will focus on Lady Sif and the The Warriors Three respectively.

Book Giveaway: Disney Parks Presents: The Haunted Mansion Picture Book and CD

Courtesy of Disney Press, I have a copy of Disney Parks Presents: The Haunted Mansion: Includes a CD with Song 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 12. I’ll draw a name on August 13, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Disney Parks Presents: The Haunted Mansion Picture Book and CD

Fantasy Book Review: Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians

Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

Synopsis:
On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry gets a bag of sand in the mail-his only inheritance from his father and mother. He soon learns that this is no ordinary bag of sand. It is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians who are taking over the world by spreading misinformation and suppressing truth. Alcatraz must stop them, using the only weapon he has: an incredible talent for breaking things.

Review:
Alcatraz is a seemingly average kid with a gift for causing destruction wherever he goes. This has led to him moving from foster home to foster home, until an old man shows up claiming to be his grandfather – and introduces Alcatraz to a world beyond his imagination.

Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians is the first in a fun and wacky children’s series, where Evil Librarians control the free world. Only a group of strangely-talented allies stand against them. This series debut is a weird and wonderful world that children (and the young at heart) who love silly humor and adventure will enjoy. And there are plenty of unanswered questions that left me ready to pick up the next in this engaging series right away.

Fantasy Book Review: Wings of Fire: Escaping Peril

Wings of Fire: Escaping Peril by Tui T Sutherland

Synopsis:
Peril has been loyal to Queen Scarlet, who used her fatal firescales to kill countless dragons in the SkyWing arena. Now, Peril is loyal to Clay, the only dragonet who has ever been her friend. So when Scarlet threatens Jade Mountain Academy, Peril sets off to find her former queen, stop her, and save the day, no matter what it takes.

There’s just one problem: a strangely persistent SeaWing, Turtle, insists on coming along, too. Turtle is worried about his friends, who left to search for Scarlet and haven’t returned. Peril is worried that she might accidentally burn Turtle – or burn him on purpose, for being so annoying – and frustrated that she keeps saying and doing the wrong things. She can’t escape her firescales, and she can’t escape her reputation as the deadliest dragon in Pyrrhia.

So when she’s offered a chance to trade everything for a second chance, Peril has to decide who she’s really loyal to.. and whether her own scales might actually be worth saving.

Review:
Escaping Peril is the 8th installment in the Wings of Fire series. This story focuses solely on Peril, a young dragon with a tortured past and an uncertain future. She is a fantastic character who goes through a lot of changes in a short time.

This is one of my top favorite children’s series. This story is a bit unique in that the main character is more than a bit conflicted about right and wrong. Her moral compass is certainly skewed. There is plenty of suspense, intrigue, and drama in this exciting fantasy. And the cliffhanger ending will leave readers eager for the next in this fantastic series.

SciFi Book Review: Unplugged

Unplugged by Donna Freitas

Synopsis:
Humanity is split into a dying physical world for the poor and an extravagant virtual world for the wealthy. Years ago, Skylar Cruz crossed over to the App World for a chance at a better life, and her family stayed behind in the Real World. Now Skye is a virtual teenager, surrounded by glamorous apps and expensive downloads—yet she’s never felt like she fits in, and all she wants is to see her mother and sister again.

Skye is desperate and ready to risk everything to unplug from the App World. But she soon learns that the only person she can trust—in either world, including friends and family—is herself.

Review:
Skye is a strong-willed young woman who will do anything to get back to the real world and her family. Even though her way home seems impossible. She makes a deal to get back in exchange for sending back a well-known, rich man’s son. But there is a mystery surrounding him as well.

Unplugged is the first in an exciting, science fiction series for young adults. This was a fast-paced story with mystery, intrigue, suspense, and drama. There are plenty of surprising twists along the way. And I thoroughly enjoyed this unpredictable story from beginning to the climactic end. I’ll be impatiently waiting for the next in this series.

Received in June

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

Blu-Ray/DVD:
Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan Director’s Cut Blu-ray
Star Trek 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Star Trek: Into Darkness 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
The X-Files: The Event Series Blu-ray

Mystery Box:
My Geek Box
Munch Pak
Bam Box

Amazon / 47North:
Enemy by K. Eason

BBC Books:
The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who by Simon Guerrier

Dabel Brothers:
Dark-Hunter Coloring Book 01 by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Dark-Hunter Coloring Book 02 by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Daw:
Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn
The Transference Engine by Julia Verne St. John

Disney Hyperion / Freeform:
Star Wars ABC-3PO: Alphabet Book by Calliope Glass
The Amateurs by Sara Shepard
Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken
In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken
Pete’s Dragon: Elliot Gets Lost by David Lowery
Pete’s Dragon Junior Novel by Disney Book Group
Pete’s Dragon: The Lost Years by Elizabeth Rudnick

First Second:
Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

Harper Voyager:
Lost Gods by Brom
The Rift Uprising by Amy S. Foster
The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst
Remnants of Trust by Elizabeth Bonesteel
A Shattered Empire by Mitchell Hogan

The Library of America:
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia by Ursula K. Le Guin

Penguin / NAL:
The Great Library: Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine
The Great Library: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Penguin Young Readers / Viking:
My Gym Teacher Is an Alien Overlord by David Solomons

Pocket Books:
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Force and Motion by Jeffrey Lang
Star Trek: The Original Series: Legacies: Book 1: Captain to Captain by Greg Cox

Pyr:
Gods of Nabban by K. V. Johansen

Random House / Doubleday / Ballantine:
The Devil’s Evidence by Simon Kurt Unsworth
The Last One by Alexandra Oliva

Scholastic:
The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

Simon & Schuster / Saga / Gallery:
Mechanical Failure by Joe Zieja
Zombies!: A Creepy Coloring Book for the Coming Global Apocalypse by Juscelino Neco
The Binding by Nicholas Wolff

Sterling Children’s Books:
Song of the Deep by Brian Hastings

Subterranean Press:
The Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne

Tor:
All Your Wishes by Cat Adams
Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine
Time Siege by Wesley Chu

Tor Teen / Starscape:
Flying by Carrie Jones
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians: The Scrivener’s Bones by Brandon Sanderson
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians: The Knights of Crystallia by Brandon Sanderson