SciFi Book Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Available Light

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

Synopsis:
Section 31, the covert organization which has operated without accountability in the shadows for more than two centuries, has been exposed. Throughout the Federation, the rogue group’s agents and leaders are being taken into custody as the sheer scope of its misdeeds comes to light. Now Starfleet Command must decide the consequences for numerous officers caught up in the scandal—including Admirals William Ross, Edward Jellico, Alynna Nechayev, and Captain Jean-Luc Picard who, along with many others, are implicated in the forced removal of a Federation president.

Meanwhile, deep in the distant, unexplored region of space known as the Odyssean Pass, Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise must put aside personal feelings and political concerns as they investigate a massive mysterious spacecraft. Adrift for centuries in the void, the ship is vital to the survival of an endangered civilization which has spent generations searching for a world to sustain what remains of its people. Complicating matters is a band of marauders who have their own designs on the ancient ship, with only the Enterprise standing in their way….

Review:
This latest Next Generation novel combines political intrigue, exploration, suspense, and new alien cultures. Back on Earth, the Federation is dealing with the fallout of the take-down of Section 31. And the Enterprise discovers a seemingly abandoned ship with a culture of scavengers trying to stake claim. The story is complex and involved, yet easy enough to follow if you’ve been keeping up with the events in the most recent Next Generation novels. I thoroughly enjoyed this engaging read. A fascinating culture with advanced technology and time running out – the crew of the Enterprise do what they do best. As Picard tries to negotiate with a dangerous scavengers, Geordi and his team try to assist a mysterious people who have taken one of their own. The suspense builds to a thrilling finale that doesn’t disappoint. The long wait for this latest Star Trek release was well worth it.

LEGO Review: Marvel Avengers War Machine Buster 76124

LEGO Marvel Avengers War Machine Buster 76124

I’m so excited for the new Endgame film, that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on these new LEGO sets. This 362 piece set came in 3 bags, with 4 minifigs (including Ant-Man, War Machine, and 2 “Outriders”) and the large War Machine Buster.

This is the first stage of completion from the first bag.

This is the next stage from the second bag.

And the final build, with all completed. And as I looked at the right foot, I realized I messed something up. So, I’ll need to go back and fix that. There was just the one section of the War Machine feet that I had a problem with. Otherwise, it was a quick, easy build. There are a lot of guns and projectiles that will be fun for my niece and nephew to play battles. And the War Machine Buster itself is pretty sturdy. I look forward to checking out some of the larger sets as well now!

Book Review: Captain Marvel The Official Movie Special

Captain Marvel The Official Movie Special

This movie special from Titan Books, has a lot of fun content from the recent film, all full-color pages. One of my favorites is the section on Kelly Sue DeConnick who was a consultant. As a fan, I was happy to see the inspiration for the movie coming from her line of comics.



There are 11 cast member spotlights that were engaging as well.

And a look behind the scenes! There are sections on production design, stunts, costumes, and Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios.

This is a fantastic wealth of content from the film. And this Captain Marvel fan has more to geek out on until the film comes to blu-ray.

Box Review: Marvel Collector Corps – March 2019 – Captain Marvel

This is the March 2019 box from Collector Corps, which you can now buy through Amazon for $29.99/box (shipping included).

The card now only details the contents of the box.

Captain Marvel Tumbler – I love this – and use it at my desk at work.

Captain Marvel Funko POP! Tshirt – Really bummed. I don’t care for black shirts (have way too many of them) and really don’t care for the cheesy POP designs. So, this will probably be given to a niece.

EXCLUSIVE Captain Marvel Funko POP! – This one is supposedly glow-in-the-dark and a really fun design – love it!

AND EXCLUSIVE Nick Fury with Goose Funko POP! – And I love this Nick Fury holding Goose!

Summary:
It’s been a couple years since I bought a Funko POP box. But this was Captain Marvel, so I splurged with this and the LootCrate box. The value was definitely there – always happy for a double POP box, but the tshirt was really disappointing. I wish they’d put more thought into them.

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

Fantasy Book Review: Wizard for Hire: Apprentice Needed

Wizard for Hire: Apprentice Needed by Obert Skye

Synopsis:
When a mysterious package arrives in the mail containing a plane ticket and a thumb drive, Ozzy is certain it’s from Rin. But when Ozzy, Sigi, and Clark arrive in New York, Rin isn’t there. Instead they are met by the man who was the money behind the mind-controlling discipline serum created by Ozzy’s parents. Ozzy was the final test case and is now the key to discovering the serum’s secret. He is a very valuable boy. Once again, he’s on the run.

As fate would have it, Rin appears just in time. But Rin’s goal is more than a rescue mission. He needs an apprentice to cement his status and notoriety in the magical realm of Quarfelt assuming the place even exists. As Rin’s apprentice, Ozzy must complete five tasks to receive the Gift of Wonder. Ozzy is willing to help, but is now really the best time to enter a contest for wizards when something is controlling his mind? Especially when someone is out to destroy the people he loves?

Review:
Ozzy, and his metal bird Clark, are living at Sigi and her monther’s place now. It’s been a long time since anyone has heard from Rin who supposedly left for Quarfelt, a magical land for wizards. So when Ozzy received a package in the mail to a hotel with the letters R-I-N in the name, they assumed it came from Rin. However, the person ultimately responsibly for Ozzy’s parents death is behind it all. And he’ll stop at nothing to get the secrets that Ozzy’s parents held.

Apprentice Needed is the 2nd installment in the unique Wizard for Hire series. As before, the story is exciting and fast-paced and full of quirky humor. The AI bird, Clark, is easily the most entertaining character. I love the wizard Rin too. It’s easy to doubt his abilities because of his eccentricities and lack utilizing magic when it seems most prudent. But he has a calm, confident demeanor too. And everything seems to work out his way. There is still a lot left unanswered by the end of the novel. And readers will be eager for the next in the series. This is another solid installment in this fun fantasy series for middle readers on up.

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