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SciFi Book Review: The 100: Homecoming

The 100: Homecoming by Kass Morgan

Synopsis:
Weeks after landing on Earth, the Hundred have managed to create a sense of order amidst their wild, chaotic surroundings. But their delicate balance comes crashing down with the arrival of new dropships from space.

These new arrivals are the lucky ones-back on the Colony, the oxygen is almost gone-but after making it safely to Earth, GLASS’s luck seems to be running out. CLARKE leads a rescue party to the crash site, ready to treat the wounded, but she can’t stop thinking about her parents who may still be alive. Meanwhile, WELLS struggles to maintain his authority despite the presence of the Vice Chancellor and his armed guards, and BELLAMY must decide whether to face or flee the crimes he thought he’d left behind.

It’s time for the Hundred to come together and fight for the freedom they’ve found on Earth, or risk losing everything-and everyone-they love.

Review:
Homecoming is the third installment in the 100 series. The tv show (based on these novels) is completely different in story and feel. I much prefer the books, as the show has gotten to be extremely dark and depressing with little hope or good feelings. The novels also have some great characters that I thoroughly enjoy. This latest novel is packed with drama, suspense, romance, and mystery. And events build to an exciting and satisfying conclusion. Young adult science fiction fans will want to check out this engaging series.

Book Giveaway: A Book of Spirits and Thieves

Courtesy of Penguin Young Readers, I have a copy of A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes 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 July 24. I’ll draw a name on July 25, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: A Book of Spirits and Thieves

Fantasy Book Review: The Originals: The Resurrection

The Originals: The Resurrection by Julie Plec

Synopsis:
Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah Mikaelson had won it all, only to lose it again by 1788. Control of New Orleans is split between the vampires and the werewolves, much to Klaus’s displeasure. In a dangerous attempt to reclaim his home, Klaus decides to build a vampire army to take out the werewolves once and for all. If he can’t have love, then he’ll settle for power. Elijah lets his brother take the reins as he turns his attentions to a beautiful and mysterious woman. But Rebekah has had enough of her brothers’ love of bloodshed and begins a journey to find her first home and the key to her family’s immortality. As the battle rages on, the siblings must come together and fight for what they believe in most: family.

Review:
More time has passed since the last novel. Elijah has stepped back and become less emotionally involved, and lets Klaus take control as he likes. And Rebecca has run off with yet another beau, in search of a tree that has the means to end her and her brothers. Meanwhile, someone seems to be manipulating the relationship between Klaus and the uneasy truce with the werewolves.

The Resurrection is the third novel in this first (but hopefully not last) Originals trilogy, a novelization of the hit tv show. This final installment may be my favorite of the three. Full of twists and surprises, new villains, and magic – it’s thoroughly captivating from beginning to end. I’d love to see The Originals visit a new city next time and explore new stories.

Fantasy Book Review: Cold Burn of Magic

Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Synopsis:
It’s not as great as you’d think, living in a tourist town that’s known as “the most magical place in America.” Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.

I try to keep out of it. I’ve got my mom’s bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend’s pawn shop, and I have to make a call–get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn’t. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I’m stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I’m going to end up just like her.

Review:
Lila is a smart, independent young woman who has lost a lot. When she’s offered the job of bodyguard for a family she despises, her first instinct is to leave. But she’s an orphan without much of a future, and it’s hard to pass up the money. And she definitely excels at the job.

Cold Burn of Magic is the first in a new YA fantasy series, by a favorite author. If you haven’t read the Mythos Academy series, stop right now and go pick it up. This latest series debut feels like a teen version of her Elemental Assassin series – a bit dark and full of action, suspense, fun characters, and unique magical abilities. I thoroughly enjoyed this story from beginning to end. There is a big, exciting finale with plenty of twists along the way. I look forward to the next in this engaging new series.

Fantasy Book Review: Summoner: The Novice

Summoner: The Novice by Taran Matharu

Synopsis:
He can summon demons. But can he win a war?

Fletcher is working as a blacksmith’s apprentice when he discovers he has the rare ability to summon demons from another world. Chased from his village for a crime he did not commit, Fletcher must travel with his demon, Ignatius, to an academy for adepts, where the gifted are taught the art of summoning.

Along with nobles and commoners, Fletcher endures grueling lessons that will prepare him to serve as a Battlemage in the Empire’s war against the savage Orcs. But sinister forces infect new friendships and rivalries grow. With no one but Ignatius by his side, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of the Empire is in his hands

Review:
Fletcher is an orphan with a rare gift. He’s a Summoner, able to summon a powerful creature on his first attempt, untrained. Though, most Summoners are nobility, and Fletcher is looked down upon from many fellow students.

The Novice is first book in The Summoner series. This fantasy debut was engaging from the start was nearly impossible to put down. It reminded me of a cross between The Golden Compass meets a Role Playing Game. The addition of mana (energy) levels is a nice take on a familiar fantasy genre with elves, dwarves, and orcs. Though, there is plenty of unique and fascinating worldbuilding. The story was well-paced with suspense, intrigue, drama, and (of course) plenty of magic. I look forward to the next in this impressive new series.

Science Fiction Book Review: The Trials

The Trials by Stacey Kade

Synopsis:
After being on the run, Ariane Tucker finds herself back where she started-under Dr. Jacobs’s cruel control. Now she must participate in the upcoming trials: a deadly competition pitting her against other alien hybrids, each representing a rival corporation.

But Ariane is no one’s weapon, and she is prepared to die if it means taking down those involved in Project Paper Doll. They destroyed all that she holds dear, including Zane Bradshaw, the one person she trusted and cared for the most. The person she was forced to leave behind, bleeding and alone.

As her plan takes shape, Ariane will need now more than ever to depend on the other side of her heritage-the cold, calculating instincts born from her alien DNA. With Zane gone, she has nothing left to lose.

Heart-pounding action and thrilling twists will lead Ariane down a dangerous path, where shocking truths and the chance for revenge await.

Review:
The Trials is the third installment in the Paper Dolls trilogy. Ariane must participate in “trials” against other hybrids to see which corporation will win the funding. But the trials themselves are a mystery. Meanwhile, Ariane doesn’t trust anyone, and rightly so. Every choice presented to her seems too good to be true. The pacing slowed down a bit in the middle, during the actual “trials” when Ariane tries to figure out which path to take. But their missions are stirring and dramatic. I wish the alien aspect of the story was explored more, it felt like just an afterthought, but it’s half of what Ariane is. Events lead to a big finale. With several twists along the way, this fast-paced, thrilling finale was satisfying and an exciting ride.

Blu-Ray Review: Project Almanac

Project Almanac Blu-ray Edition

SYNOPSIS:
PROJECT ALMANAC follows a brilliant high school student (Jonny Weston) and his friends who discover blueprints for a machine that can send them back in time. They soon rewrite history to win the lottery, ace exams, and party like there’s no tomorrow. But by changing the past, they have threatened the future of our world. Can they undo the damage they have unleashed before it’s too late?

REVIEW:
David is a brilliant young man who gets accepted to MIT. But the scholarship money isn’t enough, so David looks through his father’s old things to see if he can use something to impress MIT. He discovers a time machine that he believes can fix everything. Instead, things go horribly wrong.

I’m not a fan of the way this was shot, seemingly from one of David’s friends or sister the entire time. Thankfully, it’s not a shaky camera – so it’s not bad. And at the end, there’s a clever way that the camera ties into the story. The story itself is a teenage and not-so-dark version of The Butterfly Effect. There were times the pacing lagged, specifically when the kids were working on the machine and testing it. Though, they suddenly jump to testing it on themselves after it has proven unsafe, so this shows how these are just kids and they aren’t thinking things through. They have several fun, time travel adventures to improve grades, win a lottery, and witness a concert. It’s a cute, light-hearted, science fiction adventure that younger viewers may enjoy. As a fan of time travel stories, I guess I was expecting more science and suspense and not so much teen angst. It does build up to an exciting and (somewhat) satisfying conclusion. Though, several questions are left unanswered which were bothersome as well.

Blu-ray Combo Pack Includes:
Blu-ray
• Feature film in high definition
• Alternate Opening
• Deleted Scenes
• Alternate Endings
DVD
• Feature film in standard definition

Fantasy Book Review: Nil Unlocked

Nil Unlocked by Lynne Matson

Synopsis:
On the island of Nil, the rules are set. You have exactly 365 days to escape–or you die. Rives is now the undisputed Leader of Nil City, but keeping the City united is tougher than ever.

Raiders have grown bolder, supplies are dwindling, and non-human inhabitants have taken a turn toward the deadly. New arrivals cause rifts within the City, putting the Search system at risk, and calling everything Rives knows into question. Desperate for answers, he teams up with the only other person searching for them: Skye, a new arrival with a mysterious past of her own. Soon the duo find themselves locked in a desperate race to save all the residents of Nil–and possibly destroy the island forever. But at what cost? And who will pay the price?

Review:
Skye is smart, fearless and driven. She follows her father in a search for the mysterious island called Nil. When she arrives, she has a new perspective and the best ideas for getting all the teens on the island home – once and for all. It’s easy to compare the story to Lost, which has a similar premise and feel.

Nil Unlocked is the sequel and exciting conclusion to the events in Nil. Finally, the secrets are revealed slowly throughout the story, as time begins to run out for Rives. Rives and Skye make a sweet couple – who bond at a much more believable and relatable pace than the teens from the first book. Once again, the story is full of mystery, suspense, drama, and a bit of romance. While the pacing slowed toward the middle, it was still a captivating read from beginning to end.