Fantasy Book Review: The Stone Girl’s Story

The Stone Girl’s Story by Sarah Beth Durst

Mayka and her stone family were brought to life by the stories etched into their bodies. Now time is eroding these vital marks, and Mayka must find a stonemason to recarve them. But the search is more complex than she had imagined, and Mayka uncovers a scheme endangering all stone creatures. Only someone who casts stories into stone can help—but whom can Mayka trust? Where is the stonemason who will save them?

The Stone Girl’s Story is a sweet story with the feel of a fairy tale. Mayka and her friends are living stone creations. Their creator has long passed, and now the stone creations need fixing to go on living. So, Mayka and her friends go on a quest to find a gifted stonemason. The characters are likable and engaging. And while a bit predictable, the story has plenty of adventure, suspense, humor, and heart. This coming-of-age, middle reader novel is fun for all ages. Durst’s novels are always unique and must-reads for me. And this novel is one of her more feel-good, light-hearted stories.

FearlessWomen Tour: Book Excerpt: Vicious

fearless women banner

About #FearlessWomen:
Women are shining in every genre of speculative fiction, and it is no longer enough to say “Women are here.” Instead, #FearlessWomen everywhere are taking a stand to say “Women will thrive here.”

Highlighting major titles from bestselling authors V.E. Schwab, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jacqueline Carey as well as titles from acclaimed and debut authors such as Mary Robinette Kowal, Tessa Gratton, Sam Hawke, and Robyn Bennis, #FearlessWomen will be a coordinated social media celebration encouraging fans to start a dialogue about women in publishing, their worlds, their voices, and their unique stories.

Tor Books’ handles across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@torbooks) will be using the hashtags #FearlessWomen (and #FearlessFantasy and #FearlessSF) to promote excerpts, exclusive content, quizzes and giveaways beginning in May. There will also be exclusive giveaways at BookCon, San Diego Comic-Con, and New York Comic Con. Follow Tor Books online, join the conversation – and get reading!

Vicious Schwab

About VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab:
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

About V.E. Schwab:
VICTORIA (V.E.) SCHWAB is the author of the NYT bestselling Shades of Magic series, as well as a number of MG and YA novels, including This Savage Song. She has been called “the heir to Diana Wynne Jones.” Her dynamic work has caught the attention of major TV and film studios. Schwab has a Masters degree in Art History from the University of Edinburgh. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, but frequents Edinburgh. You can visit her at

VICIOUS Excerpt –


“You’re not a bad person,” repeated Sydney, flinging dirt onto the moonlit grass. “But Eli is.”

“Yes. Eli is.”

“But he didn’t go to prison.”


“Do you think he’ll get the message?” she asked, pointing at the grave.

“I’m pretty sure,” said Victor. “And if he doesn’t, your sister will.”

Sydney’s stomach twisted at the thought of Serena. In her mind, her big sister was two different people, two images overlapping in a way that blurred both, and made her feel dizzy, ill.

There was the Serena from before the lake. The Serena who’d knelt on the floor in front of her the day she left for college— they both knew she was abandoning Sydney to the toxic, empty house— and who used her thumb to wipe tears from Sydney’s cheek, saying over and over, I’m not gone, I’m not gone.

And then there was the Serena from after the lake. The Serena whose eyes were cold and whose smile was hollow, and who made things happen with only words. The one who lured Sydney into a field with a body, cooing at her to show her trick, and then looking sad when she did. The one who turned her back when her boyfriend raised his gun.

“I don’t want to see Serena,” said Sydney.

“I know,” said Victor. “But I want to see Eli.”

“Why?” she asked. “You can’t kill him.”

“That may be.” His fingers curled around the shovel. “But half the fun is trying.”

Blu-Ray Review: Annihilation

Annihilation 4K UHD Blu-Ray + Blu-Ray + Digital HD
On Blu-ray™ Combo Pack & DVD May 29, 2018
On Digital May 22

Biologist and former soldier Lena (Natalie Portman) is shocked when her missing husband (Oscar Isaac) comes home near death from a top-secret mission into The Shimmer, a mysterious quarantine zone no one has ever returned from. Now, Lena and her elite team must enter a beautiful, deadly world of mutated landscapes and creatures, to discover how to stop the growing phenomenon that threatens all life on Earth. The film also stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, and Tuva Novotny.

Lena enters The Shimmer to get answers about what happened to her husband. Out of everyone who has entered so far, only he has returned alive but has changed somehow. The story is told after Lena returns – an interrogation to get her take on the events during her time in The Shimmer. Then, to make it a bit confusing, we keep getting glimpses of Lena’s earlier life with her husband. I’m guessing it’s to build sympathy for the characters, but instead it’s jarring and confusing.

Annihilation is a sci-fi, psychological thriller. There is plenty of drama and suspense. And several scary, graphic scenes push this into rated-R territory. But it’s certainly not action-packed. In fact, it was much to slow and drawn-out for my taste. I prefer movies with either more character development or a strong story. This was somewhere in between. And Lena has very little personality. The whole Shimmer area and affects of the zone are slowly revealed, but never fully explained what it is or where it came from. I really wanted to like this film more based on other reviews. I did enjoy the final scene of the film. And the ending did have me thinking about it long after the movie ended.

Special Features Include:
• Feature film in high definition
• Bonus Content:
-Refractions – See how director Alex Garland created the tone, textures and color palettes for the various film environments on set.
-For Those That Follow – Listen to the cast’s perspective on their roles and learn why they found the story so intriguing.
o Part 2 – AREA X
-Shimmer – See how filmmakers transformed real set locations to create the world of Annihilation.
-Vanished into Havoc – Check out all the action as cast and crew walk you through the mind-blowing stunts and special effects.
-Unfathomable Mind – Learn why the visual effects are integral to achieving director Alex Garland’s overall vision for Annihilation.
-The Last Phase – Listen to the cast and crew share their fondest memories from filming Annihilation.

• Feature film in standard definition

SciFi Book Review: Avengers of the Moon

Avengers of the Moon: A Captain Future Novel by Allen Steele

Curt Newton has spent most of his life hidden from the rest of humankind, being raised by a robot, an android, and the disembodied brain of a renowned scientist. Curt’s innate curiosity and nose for trouble inadvertently lead him into a plot to destabilize the Solar Coalition and assassinate the president. There’s only one way to uncover the evil mastermind―Curt must become Captain Future.

Curt is a young man who was orphaned at a young age and raised by his parent’s creations and the brain of a former colleague. When his wards reveal the truth of his parents’ deaths, Curt decides to enact justice. However, his plan is foiled by an assassination attempt of the president.

Avengers of the Moon is a science fiction pulp adventure. The clever and colorful characters make for a lot of humor and fun. And the fast-paced plot is full of mystery, intrigue, and suspense. This is an extremely entertaining read from beginning to end. I would love to see this series continue, as I love these characters and the pulp feel.

Book Review: Avengers: Infinity War – The Official Movie Special

Avengers: Infinity War – The Official Movie Special

Avengers Infinity War: Official Movie Special

This movie special is great for fans who want to read more about the film – from details about each infinity stone to character spotlights and interviews from all of the main characters. I would’ve liked to see more behind-the-scenes stuff, but this book is already packed with 23 characters from the film. This 96-page, full-color book makes for a great gift or coffee table book.

Avengers Infinity War: Official Movie Special Avengers Infinity War: Official Movie Special

Avengers Infinity War: Official Movie Special Avengers Infinity War: Official Movie Special Avengers Infinity War: Official Movie Special Avengers Infinity War: Official Movie Special Avengers Infinity War: Official Movie Special Avengers Infinity War: Official Movie Special Avengers Infinity War: Official Movie Special Avengers Infinity War: Official Movie Special Avengers Infinity War: Official Movie Special Avengers Infinity War: Official Movie Special

LEGO Review: Jurassic World: Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape

LEGO Jurassic World Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape 75929 Building Kit

Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape

This new Jurassic World set has 577 pieces and has 2 instruction booklets and numbered bags that open in order. The first booklet builds everything you see above. It’s all straight-forward and fairly easy to assemble.

Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape

The second booklet builds the overgrown gyrosphere station. This was a little more challenging and a lot of fun.

Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape

This new Jurassic World set contains 3 mini figs, a large dinosaur, a truck and trailer (that can hold and launch the gyrosphere), and an overgrown gyrosphere station (that can hold and launch the gyrosphere, as well as spill “lava”). This took me a couple evenings in front of the tv to assemble. I love that scenes/vehicles can be completely built before starting the next booklet. And the bags can be opened in order so as not to make too much of a mess – and makes sorting easy.

**I received this product for free, in exchange for an honest review.**

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