All posts by SciFiChick

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Book Giveaway: Magic for Liars

Courtesy of Tor, I have a copy of Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey for one lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends June 14. I’ll draw a name on June 15, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Magic for Liars

SciFi Book Review: The Kingdom

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Synopsis:
Welcome to the Kingdom… where “Happily Ever After” isn’t just a promise, but a rule.

Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom™ is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species—formerly extinct—roam free.

Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful “princesses” engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time… love.

But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty—and what it truly means to be human.

Review:
Ana is a bioengineered human, created to be a real Disney-like princess for The Kingdom. She is allowed certain privileges, but then begins to have thoughts and longings beyond her programming. But during a trial, lawyers will try to prove whether or not she is capable of murder.

The Kingdom is a Westworld version of Disneyland. People can visit for an escape into fantasy and see animals that might otherwise be extinct. The story is told from two separate points in time: the “present” as Ana and The Kingdom is on trial for murder and the past as Ana grows beyond her programming and even falls in love. I was captured from the start. The story is full of suspense, mystery, and drama. It’s inspired and beautifully written. I thoroughly enjoyed this surprising YA novel.

SciFi Book Review: This Mortal Coil

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Synopsis:
Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.

That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.

When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race.

Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself?

Review:
Cat has been surviving in a harsh, plague-ridden world for years. And when a young soldier arrives, Cat doesn’t trust him at all, even when he says he knew her father. When she discovers that she is the key to unlocking the cure, Cat and Cole embark on a dangerous trek to her father’s lab in hopes of saving humanity.

This Mortal Coil is the first in a apocalyptic trilogy. The plague in this novel causes humans to turn feral and zombie-like and eventually explode, causing the infection to spread further. As a unique twist, a temporary cure for the plague is to cannibalize and infected person before they rupture. It’s disturbing, but the darkest part about the story. The danger and suspense is non-stop. With a bit of romance, and a lot of fun plot twists – this impressive debut is was very hard to put down. I will definitely read the next installment soon.

Blog Tour: Snakeskins – Book Excerpt

Snakeskins by Tim Major

Synopsis:
Caitlin Hext’s first shedding ceremony is imminent, but she’s far from prepared to produce a Snakeskin clone. When her Skin fails to turn to dust as expected, she must decide whether she wishes the newcomer alive or dead.

Worse still, it transpires that the Hext family may be of central importance to the survival of Charmers, a group of people with the inexplicable power to produce duplicates every seven years and, in the process, rejuvenate. In parallel with reporter Gerry Chafik and government aide Russell Handler, Caitlin must prevent the Great British Prosperity Party from establishing a corrupt new world order.

Book Excerpt:

The images were almost entirely black, with only faint sources of light that illuminated the handful of figures. In the first photos the people were all in one corner, as if the photographer had been far away, or as if he or she hadn’t known quite where to point the camera. The people were arranged in a semicircle.
Despite herself, Gerry bent closer. In each successive picture, the figures grew in size. The photographer must have been sneaking towards them, hidden in the darkness.

All but one of the figures had their backs to the camera. Gerry realised that she recognised the woman facing the camera, standing before a fire in an ornate iron brazier. Her build was slighter than the people around her. Her shoulder-length hair shone white.

Continue reading Blog Tour: Snakeskins – Book Excerpt

Fantasy Book Review: Spark

Spark by Sarah Beth Durst

Synopsis:
Storm beasts and their guardians create perfect weather every day, and Mina longs for a storm beast of her own. But when the gentle girl bonds with a lightning beast—a creature of fire and chaos—everyone’s certain it’s a mistake. Everyone but Mina and the beast himself, Pixit. Quickly enrolled in lightning school, Mina struggles to master a guardian’s skills, and she discovers that her country’s weather comes at a devastating cost—a cost powerful people wish to hide. Mina’s never been the type to speak out, but someone has to tell the truth, and, with Pixit’s help, she resolves to find a way to be heard.

Review:
Mina is a quiet and polite girl. So when she hatches a lightening beast, even her parent’s think it’s a mistake. But Mina has already formed a deep bond with Pixit, and is determined to succeed despite everyone’s doubts. But while training, Mina and Pixit learn a devastating secret. And despite her nature, Mina must speak out to make things right.

Spark is a heartwarming, standalone fantasy novel for all ages. I’ll read anything by Sarah Beth Durst, but this is definitely one of my favorites. The dragon-like “beasts” were like the dragons in the book Eragon, as they communicate telepathically with their bonded human. I’m sure several fantasy series have this take, but I don’t typically read quite as much fantasy involving dragons. The human characters are engaging and believable. And the story is exciting, suspenseful, and dramatic. I didn’t really grasp the idea behind the lightning beasts and how their humans worked in tandem, but it didn’t affect my reading experience. I highly recommend this sweet and inspiring, middle reader novel.

Fantasy Book Review: Stepsister

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

Synopsis:
Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe . . . which is now filling with her blood.

When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she’s turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she’s a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a bold girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.

Isabelle has tried to fit in. She cut away pieces of herself in order to become pretty. Sweet. More like Cinderella. But that only made her mean, jealous, and hollow. Now she has a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.

Review:
Isabelle is a surprisingly likable and relatable young woman. She’s naive but has a good heart. She made some bad decisions when her heart was turned against Cinderella, but now she just wants to make amends. But Fate has other ideas.

Stepsister is an inspired take on one of Cinderella’s stepsisters. The story is a bit dark, with forces set against her happy ending. It’s full of suspense, drama, heartache, and a bit of romance. I absolutely loved this incredible story and the engaging characters. This standalone novel is a must-read for fairy tale fans from teens to adults.

Book Giveaway: The Rule of Many

Courtesy of Skyscape, I have a copy of The Rule of Many by Ashley Saunders for one lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends May 24. I’ll draw a name on May 25, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: The Rule of Many

Received in April

The following are the books, movies, television shows, etc. I received last month for review and/or giveaways:

DVD/Blu Rays:
Replicas Blu-ray

Mystery Boxes:
TeeBlox

Amazon / Skyscape:
The Rule of Many by Ashley Saunders

Clarion Books:
Briar and Rose and Jack by Katherine Coville

Daw:
Pariah by W. Michael Gear

Del Rey:
The Cruel Stars by John Birmingham
No Country for Old Gnomes by Kevin Hearne
Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray
Magic: The Gathering: War of the Spark: Ravnica by Greg Weisman

Disney Hyperion / Freeform:
Charlotte Brontë before Jane Eyre by Glynnis Fawkes
The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Charlie and Frog The Boney Hand by Karen Kane
Pencils, Pens & Brushes: A Great Girls’ Guide to Disney Animation by Mindy Johnson

Grim Oak:
Age of Legend by Michael J. Sullivan

Hachette / Grand Central:
Emily Eternal by M. G. Wheaton

Harlequin Teen / Inkyard Press:
Nexus by Sasha Alsberg
Zenith by Sasha Alsberg

Harper Voyager:
The Hound of Justice by Claire O’Dell

Holiday House:
Mayhem and Madness: Chronicles of a Teenaged Supervillain by J. A. Dauber

Macmillan / Swoon / Feiwel and Friends:
The Shortest Distance Between Love & Hate by Sandy Hall
Elon Musk: A Mission to Save the World by Anna Crowley Redding

Night Shade Books:
Million Mile Road Trip by Rudy Rucker

Random House Children’s:
5 Worlds Book 3: The Red Maze by Mark Siegel

Scholastic:
Cross Fire by Fonda Lee

Subterranean Books:
A Pilgrimage of Swords by Anthony Ryan
Houses Under the Sea by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Tor:
Knight: A Chronicle of the Sibyl’s War by Timothy Zahn