Fantasy Book Review: Poison

Poison by Bridget Zinn

About the Author:
Bridget Zinn was a writer, librarian, and teen literature enthusiast who lived with her husband and two feisty cats in Portland, Oregon, until her untimely passing in 2011. Poison was her debut novel.

Synopsis:
Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

Review:
Kyra is a very likeable character, despite having tried to kill the princess. She’s a brave heroine who risks everything to save the kingdom. She meets a young man along her journey who challenges her and begins to break down the walls she has put up. And Kyra’s personality further developed thanks to her cute, tracking (dog-like) pig. It’s a darling character that gives Kyra a bit more humanity.

This is a charming fantasy with the feel of a fairy tale. I enjoyed every bit of this fantastic adventure for all ages. Full of mystery, suspense, humor, a bit of romance, and several surprises – I didn’t want this story to end. I was sorry to see that the author passed away, especially so young. But she has left behind a beautiful legacy. Poison is an impressive debut by an obviously talented author. I highly recommend this sweet and captivating fantasy, which has made my list of favorites for the year.

SciFi Book Review: Red Planet Blues

Red Planet Blues by Robert J. Sawyer

Synopsis:
Alex Lomax is the one and only private eye working the mean streets of New Klondike, the Martian frontier town that sprang up forty years ago after Simon Weingarten and Denny O’Reilly discovered fossils on the Red Planet. Back on Earth, where anything can be synthesized, the remains of alien life are the most valuable of all collectibles, so shiploads of desperate treasure hunters stampeded to Mars in the Great Martian Fossil Rush.

Trying to make an honest buck in a dishonest world, Lomax tracks down killers and kidnappers among the failed prospectors, corrupt cops, and a growing population of transfers—lucky stiffs who, after striking paleontological gold, upload their minds into immortal android bodies. But when he uncovers clues to solving the decades-old murders of Weingarten and O’Reilly, along with a journal that may lead to their legendary mother lode of Martian fossils, God only knows what he’ll dig up…

Review:
Lomax is a typical private investigator in the strange environment of Mars, where everyone wants to be a treasure hunter. And anyone who can afford it trades their body in for an almost indestructible synthetic one. Lomax is still fully human, however, making him extremely vulnerable in dangerous situations.

Red Planet Blues is a noir-like mystery set on Mars. While Lomax’s first case of the novel seems to wrap up fairly quickly, it soon sets in motion a complex series of events and a deeper mystery. Mystery and science fiction fans alike will enjoy this fast-paced adventure. Gritty and a bit dark, this thriller is a fun read with plenty of surprises along the way.

New Featurettes of Oblivion Starring Tom Cruise

OBLIVION releases in theaters and IMAX® on April 19

Synopsis:
Tom Cruise stars in Oblivion, an original and groundbreaking cinematic event from the visionary director of TRON: Legacy and producers of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. On a spectacular future Earth that has evolved beyond recognition, one man’s confrontation with the past will lead him on a journey of redemption and discovery as he battles to save mankind.

2077: Jack Harper (Cruise) serves as a security repairmen stationed on an evacuated Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying alien threat who still scavenges what’s left of our planet, Jack’s mission is almost complete. In a matter of two weeks, he will join the remaining survivors on a lunar colony far from the war-torn world he has long called home.

Living in and patrolling the breathtaking skies from thousands of feet above, Jack’s soaring existence is brought crashing down after he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Drawn to Jack through a connection that transcends logic, her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he thought he knew. With a reality that is shattered as he discovers shocking truths that connect him to Earth of the past, Jack will be pushed to a heroism he didn’t know he contained within. The fate of humanity now rests solely in the hands of a man who believed our world was soon to be lost forever.

Book Giveaway: 3 New Doctor Who Novels

Courtesy of BBC Books, I have copies of:
Doctor Who: Shroud of Sorrow by Tommy Donbavand
Doctor Who: Plague of the Cybermen by Justin Richards
Doctor Who: The Dalek Generation by Nicholas Briggs
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 3. I’ll draw a name on May 4, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Read moreBook Giveaway: 3 New Doctor Who Novels

SciFi Audio Book Review: Fox Forever

Fox Forever by Mary E. Pearson

Synopsis:
Locke Jenkins has some catching up to do. After spending 260 years as a disembodied mind in a little black box, he has a perfect new body. But before he can move on with his unexpected new life, he’ll have to return the Favor he accepted from the shadowy resistance group known as the Network. Locke must infiltrate the home of a government official by gaining the trust of his daughter, seventeen-year-old Raine, and he soon finds himself pulled deep into the world of the resistance—and into Raine’s life.

Review:
Locke is still coping to his new life hundreds of years in the future. Everyone from his old life but Jenna is gone now. And he’s still dealing with unresolved feelings for Jenna, when he begins to form a relationship with Raine. But his blooming relationship with Raine is incredibly complicated as everything he has told her has been a lie. And he has been using her to get information on her father for the resistance.

This is the final installment in the The Jenna Fox Chronicles trilogy. Jenna’s story is ending and this almost entirely focuses on Locke and his story. This novel is also written in first person from Locke’s point of view.

This is an epic science fiction saga for teens and adults alike. Jenna and Locke have their same mind, but their bodies are completely synthetic. They are enhanced and built to live longer lives, but aren’t completely human from the world’s standards. Fox Forever is a dramatic and exciting finale to an impressive trilogy. With engaging characters, mystery, emotional drama, and a bit of romance – this futuristic tale is an unforgettable adventure.

I received an audio (and hardcopy) of this novel, narrated by Matthew Brown. Once again, he does a great job giving the characters a distinct voice. He’s clear and easy to listen to, an enjoyable presentation overall.

Defiance Set Tour

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Last October, I was able to visit the set of Defiance! Here’s a slideshow of the extensive set tour from a complete small town to inside several buildings. It’s impressive to see how much time and energy they’ve put into the set designs on such a massive scale when so much will be created with CGI as well. And there are a couple shots of a sampling of alien characters in full makeup and costumes. Enjoy!

Defiance premieres on Monday, April 15th on Syfy.

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