Fantasy Book Review: Crewel

Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Synopsis:
For generations, Spinsters have been called by Arras’s Manipulation Services to work the looms and determine what people eat, where they live, how many children they have, and even when they die. Gifted with the rare ability to weave time with matter, Adelice is exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But once you become a Spinster, there is no turning back. Now caught in a web of lies and intrigue, Adelice must decide who to trust: her kind mentor, Enora; the handsome and mysterious valet Jost; or the charismatic Guild ambassador Cormac Patton. They each have secrets, but Adelice is about to unravel the deadliest one of all, a sinister truth that could destroy reality as she knows it.

Review:
Albin has created an incredibly inspired and unique fantasy world. In this dystopian tale, readers learn along with Adelice about the true ruling structure and details about Arras. Adelice is a strong, sympathetic character who puts others safety and well-being before her own. But this quality isn’t a good one to have in the cut-throat ranks of the Guild. Adelice also begins to form relationships with the few men in her life. The lowly valet Jost is soon her ally and a romantic interest as well as the mysterious Erik, forming a bit of a love triangle.

The plot was intense and suspenseful and made for a highly enjoyable read. Crewel is a beautiful and charming story, both captivating and imaginative. With plenty of mystery, drama, suspense, and just a bit of romance – this is an impressive debut and the first in a promising new trilogy. Fans of vibrant dystopian novels will definitely want to pick up this latest release.

SciFi Book Review: TimeRiders: The Doomsday Code

TimeRiders: The Doomsday Code by Alex Scarrow

Synopsis:
When a British computer hacker finds his name coded into a centuries-old manuscript, TimeRider Maddy recognizes it as the same message she had also been sent. Sure it must be communication from other TimeRiders agents, she sends Liam and the two support units back to Robin Hood’s time to search for the fabled document-possibly the Holy Grail. But as a war begins to brew between King Richard and his brother John, Liam unwittingly takes on the role of the Sheriff of Nottingham and discovers that the mythical Robin Hood may have been another support unit all along.

Review:
This is the third installment in the TimeRiders series, though mostly standalone adventure. In order to investigate a strange change in the timeline and a message sent to them from the past, Liam, Bob and Becks travel back to the time of the Crusades. Even Maddy gets a chance to travel back in time to learn more about the computer hacker who discovered the encoded message. For some reason, Maddy continues to hold things back from her team, even when she overdramatizes about it. I’m not sure why she doesn’t trust the others, especially when she brings an outsider into their base and reveals everything. That was more than a bit strange. I also think it’s funny how the support units are so violent and willing to kill random people in the past. You would think they would be worried with messing up the timeline by preventing the birth of some important person. Instead, they seem to maim and kill first and think about mission priorities later.

Nitpicking aside, I love this young adult, science fiction series. Each is just as fun and exciting as the last. And I really enjoyed this new twist on the Robin Hood and Holy Grail legends. More mystery, legends, adventure, and clever secret codes make this a riveting and thrilling read. I eagerly await the next in this exceptional series.

SciFi Book Review: Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Brinkmanship

Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Brinkmanship by Una McCormack

Synopsis:
The Venette Convention has always remained independent, but it is about to become the flashpoint for a tense military standoff between the two power blocs now dominating interstellar space—the United Federation of Planets and the recently formed Typhon Pact. The Venetan government turns to the Typhon Pact’s Tzenkethi Coalition for protection in the new order, and has agreed to allow three of their supply bases for Tzenkethi use. But these bases—if militarized—would put Tzenkethi weapons unacceptably close to Federation, Cardassian, and Ferengi space. While Captain Ezri Dax and the crew of the U.S.S. Aventine are sent to investigate exactly what is happening at one of the Venette bases, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the U.S.S. Enterprise are assigned to a diplomatic mission sent to the Venette homeworld in order to broker a mutually acceptable resolution. But the Cardassian delegates don’t seem particularly keen on using diplomacy to resolve the situation, which soon spirals out of control toward all-out war.

Review:
Captain Picard and Dr. Crusher join talks with the Venetans along with the Cardassians and Ferengi to discuss relations now that the Typhon Pact threatens to infringe on Federation space. Meanwhile, Captain Dax and her crew investigate the Venetan starbases close to the border where there are rumors of a threat to the Federation. While the focus jumps from ship to ship, as well as following a Cardassian spy, it’s never hard to follow. Though, to be honest, I was confused who the Tzenkethi were. But I have only read a couple of the previous Typhon Pact novels.

Brinkmanship is a well-paced, complex story with plenty of twists and surprises along the way. My favorite storyline was actually the Cardassian spy and her adventure. Politics, conspiracy, espionage, and a unique alien culture made this latest Star Trek installment a gripping fascinating read.

2012 Syfy Digital Press Tour: Dinner with Cast of Being Human and Haven

With the cast of Being Human

This year’s Syfy Digital Press Tour was in Toronto. And I jumped at the chance to be able to attend when I heard we’d be going on a set tour of Warehouse 13, one of my favorite shows! The tour started off with cocktails and dinner with the cast of Being Human and Haven on Sunday evening.

Cast of Being Human

Sam Witwer sat down with me for a one-on-one chat about the upcoming 3rd season of Being Human (premieres January 14th). He was really excited to talk about the direction this season will take. His character, Aidan, has been buried since the end of season 2, so he’s in for a whole new set of challenges once he’s finally free. He also mentioned this season will be a bit lighter, with more humor. And I was happy to hear that the show has taken a definite turn in the storyline from the British version and is making it their own.

Eric Balfour, of Haven, asked me, “Where are we sitting?” So, we grabbed the closest table. Turns out he’s gifted at taking pictures with iPhones without being able to see the screen.

Eric Balfour and I With front-facing camera.
Eric Balfour and I Without seeing the screen.

He also ordered shots for the whole table. We had a great time chatting about everything from life in Nova Scotia to the latest political debates.

Then, before heading out, I had to grab Haven’s Adam Copeland (Edge) and Lucas Bryant for a quick photo… which turned into a long one with the bad lighting and glares. So Adam Copeland grabbed my iPhone and took a close one. I didn’t mind at all.

With cast of Haven Untitled With the men of Haven

It was a fantastically fun night and a great start to an amazing tour!

More to come: On the set of Warehouse 13 and Defiance.

Mockingbird Lane, Grimm, Haven, and Revolution Clips

MOCKINGBIRD LANE – Airs Friday on NBC
Grandpa and Lily Arrive!
Watch Grandpa and Lily’s dramatic transformations.

GRIMM – Airs Fridays on NBC
Juliette Lends a Hand
Juliette helps out as a translator in the case of La Llorona.

A Pattern Emerges
Valentina shares her research on the suspect known as La Llorona.

Haven – Airs Fridays 10/9C on Syfy
“Real Estate” – Sneak Peek
Summary: Watch a sneak peek of the next all-new episode of Haven, Friday at 10/9c.

Miles vs. Neville
Whose side are you on?
Watch Revolution, Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.

SciFi Book Review: Sapphire Blue

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

Synopsis:
Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood, she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean. At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

Review:
Gwen must continue to make regularly scheduled trips back to the past for certain lengths of time, otherwise she’ll be forced back at any random time in any random point in history. This dependency on the secret society of time travelers means she and Gideon will never truly be free to live their own lives. But when Gwen is sent back to a secure room for her regularly scheduled trip back in time, she meets her own grandfather as a young man – and discovers a way for the two of them to communicate and share information. And when has doubts about her cousin’s supposed traitorous activities, her grandfather may be the only one she can talk to about it.

The romance and teen angst is built up a bit more in this installment. Gwen is an emotional girl, and every move Gideon makes affects her mood. But thankfully, she slowly begins to stand up for herself when others treat her badly. I hope her character continues to grow throughout the third book as well. Despite Gwen being such a pushover, she is still easy to like and engage with – while her cousin Charlotte and her mother are easy to hate. Sapphire Blue has the feel of a drama rather than time travel adventure. Yet as secrets gradually unfold, the suspense builds to a surprising ending that left me wanting more.

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