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Author Guest Post and Giveaway: Chris Howard’s NIGHT SPEED

NightSpeed_BlogTour

Chris Howard joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about what super power he would chose to have and what he would do with it…

Pick your own super-power!?

If I could have any super-power at all?! Whoa. For a long time, I’d have said “flying”. Kinda obvious… but, come on, flying! How awesome?! But we all kinda know how that would work. So I’m gonna mix it up and say the super-power I pick is… the “ability to freeze time”.
Right?!

I’d love this. Heck, I’d never run late again! Well, I would run late, because I always seem to push it so I can get more things done before I set off wherever it is I’m trying to go, but now I’d just freeze time, and go zipping through the static world (on my bike, I guess, or I could just walk because there’d be no hurry). That’s the beauty of this super-power… there’d never be any hurry. At all.

So let’s think about this…

Continue reading Author Guest Post and Giveaway: Chris Howard’s NIGHT SPEED

Received in April

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

Mystery Box:
Espionage Cosmetics BOOM!Box
The BAM! Box

Ace:
Night Shift by Charlaine Harris

BenBella Books:
Boarding the Enterprise edited by David Gerrold and Robert J Sawyer

Del Rey:
The Revelation Code by Andy McDermott
Alight by Scott Sigler
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray
The Last Days of New Paris by China Mieville

Disney Hyperion:
What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein
Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano

Gallery Books:
The Map of Bones by Francesca Haig

Harper Teen / Belzer + Bray:
Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima
The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele
Unplugged by Donna Freitas
Ruined by Amy Tintera
Island of the Sun by Matthew J. Kirby
The Hunt by Megan Shepherd

Harper Voyager:
Grim Tidings by Caitlin Kittredge

Necro Press:
Unity by John Leahy

Nesfa Press:
The Grimm Future edited by Erin Underwood
Conspiracy! by David L.Clements

Night Shade Books:
The Edge of Worlds by Martha Wells

Penguin / Putnam:
Extreme Prey by John Sandford

Penguin Teen / Philomel / Putnam:
The Nethergrim by Matthew Jobin
The Skeleth by Matthew Jobin
Legend: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu
Prodigy: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu

Roc:
To Kill a Kettle Witch by Barb Hendee

Scholastic:
Spirit Animals: Fall of the Beasts: The Return by Varian Johnson
The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury

Simon and Schuster Children’s / Aladdin:
Valkyrie by Kate O’Hearn
Five Kingdoms: Death Weavers by Brandon Mull
The Tale of a No-Name Squirrel by Radhika R. Dhariwal

Subterranean Press:
Dead on the Bones: Pulp on Fire by Joe R Lansdale
A Long December by Richard Chizmar

Titan Books:
The High Ground: Imperials by Melinda Snodgrass
Escapology by Ren Warom
Duskfall by Christopher B. Husberg
The Race by Nina Allan
New Pompeii by Daniel Godfrey

Tor Teen:
Vicarious by Paula Stokes
Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

Book Excerpt and Giveaway: Invision

Excerpt of Invision:

He’d just gotten comfortable again when the door opened to admit a new student. Something that didn’t happen often in their small private, parochial school. And it wasn’t just because St. Richard’s was hard to get into due to its high academic standing. But rather from the fact that the school had been set up as a place for preters to learn how to mingle with humans and not let the stress throw them into their animal states.

While there were a handful of baretos, or “normal” humans who had no idea that they were attending school with shapeshifters, the majority of the student body here was either shapeshifters or the children of Squire families. Squires who had been in service to Dark-Hunter like Kyrian and Acheron for generations.

As such, the Squires usually sent their kids to private school together so that they could be watched by older Squires to ensure that no one messed with them. Especially since their enemies might want to take their kids hostage, or kill them to get back at their parents or the Dark-Hunters in retaliation for the centuries of protecting humans from their supernatural predators.

It also allowed the shapeshifter families a controlled environment for their children so that they could have playtime with humans where if they had an accident and shifted into their animal bodies, the humans wouldn’t flip out and call the authorities. As Squires or their children, they all knew about Were-Hunters, and they could help cover for them with the humans here who didn’t know about them.

Continue reading Book Excerpt and Giveaway: Invision

Book Review: DC Comics Secret Hero Society: Study Hall of Justice

DC Comics Secret Hero Society: Study Hall of Justice by Derek Fridolfs

Synopsis:
Young Bruce Wayne is the new kid at Ducard Academy, a prep school for gifted middle school students. Bruce finds out pretty quickly that he doesn’t fit in: the faculty seems to not just encourage villainous behavior from its students, but reward it. He makes friends with two other outsiders, farm boy Clark Kent and the regal Diana Prince. The three band together to form a detective squad to find out why all of these extraordinary kids have been brought together at Ducard Academy, and to see just what the faculty is plotting.

Review:
Study Hall of Justice is the first in a fun new series for young readers. This has a different, comic book-like feel, intermingled with notes, emails, chat sessions, etc. It reminded me a bit of Diary of a Wimpy Kid with nicer drawings. This story follows a young Bruce Wayne as he tries to discover the truth behind this strange school.

Of course, this story doesn’t follow origin stories from the comics at all. But it’s a humorous, light-hearted adventure with many familiar faces that children will enjoy. It’s an easy read for children to lead up to full-length novels. With the popularity of super hero children’s books right now, this is a clever, unique take.

Book Giveaway and Excerpt: Books of Ore


Cam Baity and Benny Zelkowicz are excited that their Second Book of Ore novel, Waybound, is now available from Disney-Hyperion! To celebrate, here is an excerpt from the first volume of the trilogy, The Foundry’s Edge. Take a look!

The day was worse than Phoebe had anticipated. Normally, she could endure Miss Castella’s annoying enthusiasm for punctuation, she could even stomach Mr. Pomeroy’s wretched frog-puke breath. But not today. Every class was like being trapped in a sauna. The renovations on the building were causing the air-cooling units to fail, which meant long stretches of sweltering muck interspersed with rare bursts of heavenly breeze.
They wheeled a bunch of brand new Flurrys into every classroom, but even the Foundry’s top-of-the line fans, chrome devices built to resemble spinning snowflakes, did little more than stir the air like a hot, boring soup.

As the end of the day oozed closer, Phoebe shuffled down one of the gleaming remodeled hallways toward Mrs. V ondell’s dreaded history class. She saw a boisterous group of girls and locked her eyes on the ground. Two or more geese were called a gaggle, she knew, but what was the term for two or more shallow, stuck-up, catty know-it-alls? A squall? A shriek?

Yeah, that sounded about right.

She wove through the crowd and snuck past the shriek of snots, hoping to go unnoticed. No such luck.

“Seriously, that can’t be for real.”

“I would just shave my head if I were her.”

“Was it cut by a drunk?”

“More like a blind man.”

This last dig came from Candice, and it stung the worst.

Back when they were kids, Phoebe and Candice had been inseparable. But when Phoebe needed her best friend most of all, Candice had abandoned her as if she thought tragedy was contagious or something.

Phoebe’s breath felt fiery in her nostrils, and her face tingled with humiliation and outrage. She raked a hand through her butchered hair and fussed with its ragged, uneven edge.

She strode into Mrs. Vondell’s classroom and flopped into her chair by the window, more irritated than ever that she had to sit directly behind Candice. As the waddling hippo that was Mrs. Vondell began her history lesson, Phoebe envisioned all the terrible accidents that might befall her ex–best friend.

Perhaps the workers would hit a weak spot in the roof, and the ceiling would collapse on her. Or maybe Candice’s necklace would get caught in the blades of a Flurry. But between the sweaty classroom and Mrs. Vondell’s monotonous voice dripping in her ear like a drug, Phoebe’s mind drifted.

“That’s correct. By 1646, the Alloy War had been going for sixteen years, claiming over thirty million lives,” Mrs. Vondell droned, her multiple chins wagging to and fro. “And on October twelfth of that year, Meridian brought about a cease-fire by introducing . . . the what?”

Nobody raised a hand, but Mrs. Vondell carried on as if she hadn’t noticed the class’s profound disinterest. She turned back to the enameled metal whiteboard, angling her ample rump to the class, and wrote the answer.

“The Ferro-nomic Treaty, which finally permitted international trade of Foundry goods. A free market emerged for the other nations of the world, who lacked our spirit of innovation.”

Phoebe’s eyelids were heavy. She knew Mrs. Vondell expected her students to regurgitate all this stuff word for word on the test, but the day was nearly at an end.

Candice’s muffled snort of laughter snapped Phoebe awake. She stared at the nauseating waves of perfect blond hair that that cascaded down Candice’s back. The girl tittered at some private joke and flung her locks with a showy toss of her head. A handful of her curls spilled across the frame of the open window.

And an immensely satisfying snipe sprang to her mind.

Continue reading Book Giveaway and Excerpt: Books of Ore

SciFi Book Review: Dark Energy

Dark Energy by Robison Wells

Synopsis:
Five days ago, a massive UFO crashed in the Midwest. Since then, nothing—or no one—has come out.

If it were up to Alice, she’d be watching the fallout on the news. But her dad is director of special projects at NASA, so she’s been forced to enroll in a boarding school not far from the crash site. Alice is right in the middle of the action, but even she isn’t sure what to expect when the aliens finally emerge. Only one thing is clear: everything has changed.

Review:
Alice thinks she’ll feel out of place at her new school of geniuses and ultra rich. But she meets sociable students who become fast friends right away. The Big Reveal of the aliens who crash landed on Earth is quite a surprise. And eventually, the feel of the story reminded me a bit of the Roswell series. However, there is a darker mystery here.

Dark Energy is an engaging standalone science fiction novel for teens. There is a bit of romance, though there wasn’t any chemistry between the Alice and her beau. I don’t think there was any mention of her even being attracted to him, so it felt a bit awkward. I still enjoyed the characters, especially Alice and her roommates. The mystery and pacing made this an exciting and fun read. And the climactic finale didn’t disappoint.

Book Giveaway: Crossing the Line

crossing the line

Courtesy of Penguin Young Readers, I have a copy of Crossing the Line by Meghan Rogers 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 May 6. I’ll draw a name on May 7, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Crossing the Line

SciFi Book Review: Railhead

Railhead by Philip Reeve

Synopsis:
The Great Network is an ancient web of routes and gates, where sentient trains can take you anywhere in the galaxy in the blink of an eye. Zen Starling is a nobody. A petty thief from the filthy streets of Thunder City who aimlessly rides the rails of the Network. So when the mysterious stranger Raven offers Zen a chance to escape the squalor of the city and live the rest of his days in luxury, Zen cant believe his luck. All he has to do is steal one small box from the Emperors train with the help of Nova, an android girl. But the Great Network is a hazardous mess of twists and turns, and that little box just might bring everything in this galaxy and the next to the end of the line.

Review:
I’m a fan of Reeve’s steampunk series, so I was excited to check out this standalone science fiction novel. Like Reeve’s other series, this new world/universe is well-developed and unique. Instead of spaceships, people travel by trains to other worlds. With sentient A.I. and mysterious Guardians who govern humans, this galaxy is full of interesting characters.

The story is fast-paced and full of drama and intrigue. While Zen is a thief, he’s likable and relatable. Science fiction fans from teens to adults will enjoy this fantastic adventure.