Category Archives: Fantasy

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.

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

Box Review: Teeblox – April 2019

TeeBlox

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Subscriptions start at $10/mo and use code: SCIFICHICK24 to get 24% off your first month!

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*SciFiChick.com received a box for review purposes.

Continue reading Box Review: Teeblox – April 2019

Megan Shepherd Writing Contest!

In her latest two books, Grim Lovelies and Midnight Beauties, Megan alludes to eight different fairy tales that grew out of the magical and dangerous world she meticulously built for her characters. Megan is giving writers of all kinds and backgrounds (high school age and older) the option to turn these short prompts into actual fairy tales. The best story written for each of the eight prompts will be included in a digital Grim Lovelies fairy tale collection entitled Beastie Tales.

For more info, please visit meganshepherd.com/beastietales

Book Giveaway: No Country for Old Gnomes

Courtesy of Del Rey, I have a copy of No Country for Old Gnomes by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson 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 3. I’ll draw a name on May 4, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: No Country for Old Gnomes

Graphic Novel Review: Mera: Tidebreaker

Mera: Tidebreaker

Synopsis:
Princess Mera is teenage royalty and heir to the throne of Xebel, a penal colony ruled by the other no-so-lost land under the sea, Atlantis. Her father, his court and the entire kingdom are expecting her to marry and introduce a new king. But Mera is destined to wear a different crown.

When the Xebellian military plots to overthrow Atlantis and break free of its oppressive regime, Mera seizes the opportunity to take control over her own destiny by assassinating Arthur Curry–the long-lost prince and heir to the kingdom of Atlantis. But her mission gets sidetracked when Mera and Arthur unexpectedly fall in love. Will Arthur Curry be the king at Mera’s side, or will he die under her blade as she attempts to free her people from persecution?

Review:
Mera is a rebellious teen, with hopes of her kingdom breaking free of Atlantis, in this standalone graphic novel. This fresh, new story is exciting and inventive. This is a coming-of-age story for Mera, as she has to decide what’s right – choosing to follow her father’s orders or believing in this surprisingly kind young man who is to become the future leader of Atlantis. This is a teenage Arthur as well, before he becomes Aquaman. The story is dramatic and suspenseful. And the artwork and coloring is fun and different. Aquaman and Mera fans will want to check this one out.

Movie Review: Shazam!

Synopsis:
We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam, courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana.

Review:
Billy Batson is a foster kid, constantly looking for his birth mother and getting into trouble. He has a chip on his shoulder, but has a good heart… deep down. When he becomes a magical superhero in an adult body, there is a definitely learning curve. He has to learn how to use his powers… and not abuse them. But Dr. Sivana is coming for him and tries to take Billy’s power before he realizes his full potential.

This is finally a DC film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s fun and exciting and loaded with laughs. It could have easily been a PG film and more family-friendly. But unfortunately, there are a couple scenes at the beginning that show how dangerous the evil entities are by getting a little gruesome as well as some language that earn the PG-13 rating. I was just disappointed as my niece and nephew enjoy Shazam comics, as they’re geared toward a younger audience. And my 11-year-old niece had to turn her head during the violent scene.

But I still really enjoyed the movie and story. Billy discovers he has a real family, and it had a great message. Full of humor, danger, suspense, fun abilities, and heartwarming drama – this was a great addition to the DC universe. I hope the future installments continue to live up to this quality and more lighthearted feel.

Received in March

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

DVD/Blu Rays:
Krypton Season 1 Blu-Ray
Bumblebee 4K Blu-Ray
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase Blu-Ray

Mystery Boxes:
TeeBlox

Angry Robot:
Hidden Sun: Shadowlands Book I by Jaine Fenn
Broken Shadow: Shadowlands Book II by Jaine Fenn

Berkley:
Salvation Day by Kali Wallace

Clarion Books:
Spark by Sarah Beth Durst

Daw:
Finder by Suzanne Palmer
The Master of Dreams by Mike Resnick

Del Rey:
Inspection by Josh Malerman
Alpha and Omega by Harry Turtledove
Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down: The Official Behind-the-Scenes Companion by Gina McIntyre
The Stiehl Assassin by Terry Brooks
Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond

Disney Hyperion / Freeform:
The Odd Sisters: A Villains Novel by Serena Valentino
Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
Where I End and You Begin by Preston Norton
The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi
Blastaway by Melissa Landers

Gallery Books:
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Available Light by Dayton Ward

Harper Voyager:
Markswoman by Rati Mehrotra
Mahimata by Rati Mehrotra
The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling
The Deepest Blue by Sarah Beth Durst
The Hound of Justice by Claire O’Dell
Becoming Superman: My Journey From Poverty to Hollywood by J. Michael Straczynski
The Dragon Republic by R. F Kuang
The Grand Dark by Richard Kadrey

Penguin / Dial:
This Book Is Not Yet Rated by Peter Bognanni

Scholastic:
The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad
Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

Shadow Mountain:
Wizard for Hire: Apprentice Needed by Obert Skye

Simon Teen / Simon Pulse:
Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody

St Martin’s Press:
We Are Mayhem by Michael Moreci

Subterranean Press:
Atmosphæra Incognita by Neal Stephenson
The Girl on the Porch by Richard T. Chizmar
In the Shadow of Spindrift House by Mira Grant
The Best of Greg Egan by Greg Egan
Fan Service by Gail Carriger

Titan Books:
Captain Marvel The Official Movie Special by Titan
Firefly: The Magnificent Nine by James Lovegrove

Tor:
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Uproar Books:
Wild Sun by Ehsan Ahmad and Shakil Ahmad