Book Giveaway: Spirits From Beyond

Courtesy of Ace, I have a copy of Spirits From Beyond by Simon R. Green for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US and Canadian residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends September 27. I’ll draw names on September 28, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

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TV Clips: Haven Preview Trailer

Haven premieres Friday, September 13 at 10/9c.

Real Troubles – Season Four Trailer
SUMMARY: Haven premieres Friday, September 13 at 10/9c.

Darkside Seekers, Exhibit 14x – Teaser
SUMMARY: We’re the Darkside Seekers – paranormal investigators. This video came from an anonymous source in Haven, Maine. Tweet #DiscoverHaven to tell us what you think.

Fantasy Book Reviews: Hollow Earth and Hollow Earth: Bone Quill

Hollow Earth and Hollow Earth: Bone Quill by John Barrowman & Carole E Barrowman

Synopsis:
Hollow Earth: Lots of twins have a special connection, but twelve-year-old Matt and Emily Calder can do way more than finish each other’s sentences. Together, they are able to bring art to life and enter paintings at will. Their extraordinary abilities are highly sought after, particularly by a secret group who want to access the terrors called Hollow Earth. All the demons, devils, and evil creatures ever imagined are trapped for eternity in the world of Hollow Earth—trapped unless special powers release them.

The twins flee from London to a remote island off the west coast of Scotland in hopes of escaping their pursuers and gaining the protection of their grandfather, who has powers of his own. But the villains will stop at nothing to find Hollow Earth and harness the powers within. With so much at stake, nowhere is safe—and survival might be a fantasy.

Bone Quill: In the Middle Ages, an old monk used his powers and a bone quill to ink a magical manuscript, The Book of Beasts. Over the centuries the Book, and the quill, were lost.

Twins Matt and Emily Calder are Animare—just like their ancestor, the monk. The things they draw can be brought to life, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Now Matt and Em are being watched—hunted—because only they can use The Book of Beasts and the bone quill to release the terrible demons and monsters their ancestor illustrated.

And someone is tracking down the lost Book of Beasts, page by page, and reassembling it. Matt and Emily have no choice: They must get to the bone quill first…before somebody gets to them.

Review:
Matt and Emily are precocious twins with amazing abilities. Emily is the more level-headed and mature of the two. And Matt would rather pull dangerous stunts and deliberately disregard authority. The first novel focuses on the secret society, as Matt and Emily learn more about their heritage. While opposing forces close in on them. In the sequel, we learn why we’re reading what’s happening in the past at the same time events in the present are unfolding. And Matt and Emily get to do a little time traveling to stop the theft of the Bone Quill.

This fantasy adventure series for middle readers is fast-paced and exciting. The blending of art and magic is unique and clever worldbuilding. With plenty of mystery, magic, supernatural creatures, and intrigue – fantasy fans of all ages should enjoy. And the sequel was even better than the first. Bone Quill leaves off with a fairly big cliffhanger that will leave readers itching for the next in the series.

SciFi Book Review: Fringe: The Burning Man

Fringe: The Burning Man by Christa Faust

SYNOPSIS:
As a child, Olivia Dunham is “Subject 13,” exposed to the experimental drug Cortexiphan. It has strange effects upon her—effects that manifest when her stepfather assaults her mother—with dire consequences.

All of her life, Olivia hides the strange things Cortexiphan has done to her. But the older she gets, the more difficult it becomes to suppress them. And when faced with a life-or-death situation, she can no longer deny her true nature. For if she does, someone close to her will die.

REVIEW:
This second novel in the Fringe series takes us back to Olivia’s teen years. Years ago, her ability caused an accident that left a man bent on revenge. Unfortunately for Olivia, she has no idea that he’s coming for her. There are a lot of discrepancies between this novel and the series. For those who are big fans of the show, this may be a problem if you’re nitpicky about details. One problem was that I believe her abilities from the Cortexiphan trials were blocked after childhood until her breakthrough as an adult during the TV series. Not sure that she would be causing electrical surges as a teen. And Olivia makes some decisions totally out of character that I had a problem with at the end. However, it is an exciting, dark story. Thrilling and full of intrigue, in spite of its problems I look forward to the next in this series.

Fantasy Book Review: Gregor the Overlander

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

SYNOPSIS:
When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats, cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This world is on the brink of war, and Gregor’s arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland’s uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it until he realizes it’s the only way to solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance. Reluctantly, Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever.

REVIEW:
Gregor is a young boy forced to into maturity beyond his years as his aging grandmother can’t look after him and his little sister as they need. When his little sister falls through a grate in the laundry room, Gregor immediately follows, trying to get her back. They meet a strange group of humans living underground who seem convinced that Gregor will help them fight against the deadly giant rats threatening war. All Gregor wants to do is find his father and get back home.

From the author of The Hunger Games, Gregor the Overlander is a fun, exciting tale for middle readers. The first in a series, this adventure under the Earth with giant talking cockroaches, rats, bats, and spiders reminded me a bit of City of Ember (which I highly recommend as well). This is a fast-paced, light-hearted adventure with great characters. And I certainly look forward to Gregor’s next story.

Blu-Ray Spotlight: Star Trek: Enterprise Season 2


Star Trek: Enterprise – The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray Disc August 20 from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Media Distribution.

Synopsis:
STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE recounts the adventures of the pioneers of space travel who ventured into the universe 100 years before the events of Star Trek®: The Original Series. Set in the 22nd century, in a time when interstellar travel is still in its infancy, ENTERPRISE follows Captain Archer and his crew of brave explorers as they set out to chart the galaxy on a revolutionary spacecraft and experience the wonder and mystery of the final frontier as they seek out new life and new civilizations.

Review:
Picking up after the season 1 cliffhanger finale, “Shockwave, Part II” where Captain Archer is stuck hundreds of years in the future. My favorite stories from Enterprise involve time travel, the Temporal Cold War, and the beginnings of Section 31. And I was one of the theme song haters at first, but by this season I had come to appreciate “Where My Heart Will Take Me” as it just fit the theme of the show. It really had a great cast and great storylines, up until the arguable Xindi debacle. This season had some great episodes – first contact with alien races, “Carbon Creek”, and “Regeneration” (with the Borg). Unlike the other Star Trek series, this ship is full of inexperienced and optimistic crew members who are on the front lines of space exploration. Every experience is new and exciting for them. The addition of the featurettes makse this a must for any Enterprise fan. Brannon Braga hosts a fun, new cast reunion – “In Conversation: The First Crew” as the cast shares memories and stories from the set.

Disc One:

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