Tag Archives: fantasy

Fantasy Book Review: The Darkdeep

The Darkdeep by Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs

Everyone in Timbers knows Still Cove is off-limits, with its creepy Beast sightings and equally terrifying legends. But when a bullying incident sends twelve-year-old Nico Holland over a cliff and into Still Cove’s icy waters, friends Tyler and Emma–and even Opal Walsh, who usually runs with the popular kids–rush to his rescue . . . and discover a mysterious island hiding in the murky, swirling mists below.

Though the island appears uninhabited, the kids can’t shake a feeling that something about it is definitely not right. Their suspicions grow when they stumble upon an abandoned houseboat filled with all sorts of curiosities: odd-looking weapons, unnerving portraits, maps to unknown places, and a glass jar containing something completely unidentifiable. And in its lowest depths churns a dark, deep secret.

As the group delves deeper into this mysterious new clubhouse, their lives begin to intertwine in weird and dangerous ways. For something ancient has awakened . . . and it can detect not only their wishes and dreams, but also their darkest, most terrible imaginings. Do they have what it takes to face the shadowy secrets lurking within their own hearts?

When his new drone crashes into the cove, Nico goes after it, despite the danger. His friends follow, and they stumble upon an abandon cabin on an island. Here, they find the Darkdeep that brings their darkest fears to life for a time. At first, it’s a novelty. But then, something begins to change.

The Darkdeep is a dark fantasy for middle readers. It’s narrated from alternating characters, which helps the reader feel what they feel. Nico feels bullied and betrayed. And Opal has a good heart, but is a bit naive when it comes to her friends. People have compared this to Stranger Things, and I can see it – the dark, creepy feel and group of kids who are in over their heads. But this is definitely not scary. It’s more silly, though still deals with drama, friendship, and bullying. There is plenty of suspense and mystery. And readers are left with more questions than answers by the end – hopefully to be resolved in a sequel before too long.

Received in January

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

Mystery Boxes:

Angry Robot:
The Beast of Nightfall Lodge: The Institute for Singular Antiquities Book II by SA Sidor

Del Rey:
Sisters of the Fire by Kim Wilkins
The Memory of Fire by Callie Bates
The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Soul of Power by Callie Bates

Disney Hyperion / Marvel:
Swap’d by Tamara Ireland Stone
Prosper Redding The Last Life of Prince Alastor by Alexandra Bracken
Chasing Helicity Into the Wind by Ginger Zee
Marvel Powers of a Girl by Lorraine Cink
The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
Mirror, Mirror: A Twisted Tale by Jen Calonita
Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

Grim Oak:
Unfettered III edited by Shawn Speakman

Harper Teen:
The Cerulean by Amy Ewing

Harper Voyager:
Phoenix Falling by Laura Bickle

Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

Random House / One World:
A People’s Future of the United States by Charlie Jane Anders

Random House Kids:
Hilo Book 5: Then Everything Went Wrong by Judd Winick

Saga Press:
An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris

Wings of Fire Graphic Novel 2: The Lost Heir by Tui T. Sutherland
Undaunted by Kat Falls
The Deceiver’s Heart by Jennifer A. Nielsen
The Erth Dragons: The New Age by Chris D’Lacey

Simon and Schuster Children / Aladdin:
The Unwanteds Quests: Dragon Ghosts by Lisa McM
The Revenge of Magic by James Riley

The Iron Codex by David Mack
They Promised Me The Gun Wasn’t Loaded by James Alan Gardner
Vengeful by V. E. Schwab
The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

Tor Teen:
Ship of Smoke and Steel by Django Wexler
Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

Fantasy Book Review: Adventurers Guild: Twilight of the Elves

Adventurers Guild: Twilight of the Elves by Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos

Zed, Brock, and their friends may have saved Freestone from destruction, but the fight against the Dangers is far from over. No one knows what to expect next from the dark power that forced the elves to abandon their city. And the influx of elf refugees in Freestone strains resources and brews resentment among the townspeople. Things have shifted between best friends Zed and Brock, as well, with their friendship crumbling under the weight of the secrets they’re keeping from each other.

When tensions reach an all-time high, Queen Me’Shala, leader of the elves, approaches the Adventurers Guild with a mission. She wants a small group of adventurers to go behind the king’s back on a covert mission to save her city, and Zed, Brock, Liza, Jett, Micah, and their elven friend Fel join the quest. To face a powerful form of magic thought to be extinct, the adventurers will have to learn how to rely on each other and fight harder than ever before.

Zed and Brock’s friendship becomes strained as they keep secrets from each other. Brock feels like a traitor. And Zed has a secret magic that he can’t explain. Meanwhile, they join a quest to help the elves reclaim their city, as they have been mistreated in Freestone.

Twilight of the Elves is the second installment in the Adventurers Guild trilogy. This fantasy for middle readers on up is inspired and fantastic. I really enjoy this magical world straight out of a RPG with colorful characters and intense suspense. This quest takes them on a journey of adventure, mystery, and magic. I didn’t want this one to end. I wish this series would last longer than just the 3 books planned, as there is so much potential here. There is plenty of heart and drama and humor with the friendship between Zed and Brock. And the vast fantasy world has plenty of stories to tell.

Fantasy Book Review: Let Sleeping Dragons Lie

Let Sleeping Dragons Lie by Garth Nix and Sean Williams

Odo and Eleanor are excited to be knights. Only . . . nobody’s asking them to go on a quest. So they’re stuck at home, using their trusty and talkative swords to defend their village when there’s cause for defense. But mostly it’s just . . . waiting for something bigger to come along.

That “something bigger” comes to them in the form of an old man named Edga, a warrior named Hundred, and an ancient chant:
Dragon, dragon,
heed our call . . .
Come to aid us,
one and all.

Odo, Eleanor, and their swords, Biter and Runnel, are plunged into a quest that will take them (as all good quests must) to unfamiliar lands, where they will fight unseen enemies and unlock unbelievable secrets in order to prevent an unbearable impostor from taking the crown.

Also, they will need to keep an eye out for dragons.

Let Sleeping Dragons Lie is the second installment in the Have Sword, Will Travel series. Odo and Eleanor are young knights with talking swords. The children are eager for adventure, when a new quest finally sends them against magical beasts and an unfit king. As before, the characters are fantastic – especially the swords and their unique personalities. And this sequel is full of excitement, suspense, and humor. Though a bit predictable, it’s still a lot of fun. Fantasy fans of all ages should pick up this exceptional series.

Box Review: Teeblox – January 2019


“Our TeeBlox shirts are all 100% official and licensed, guaranteed. Our CommunityBlox shirts are printed with 100% independent and original designs submitted by community artists.”

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

Subscribers can pick from 3 categories right now.

*SciFiChick.com received a box for review purposes.

Continue reading Box Review: Teeblox – January 2019

Fantasy Book Review: Potion Masters: The Transparency Tonic

Potion Masters: The Transparency Tonic by Frank Cole

It has been nine months since Gordy and his friends, Max and Adilene, stopped Esmerelda from destroying B.R.E.W. and the Vessel. Gordy is starting the eighth grade, where he meets another Dram, Sasha Brexil, whose mother is the new President of B.R.E.W. Gordy has also been practicing new brewing techniques, and has even taken some of his potions to school—something expressly forbidden—but when he starts zoning out during practice, he knows something is wrong.

Strange things are also happening at B.R.E.W., because after Wanda confronts the dark Elixirists, she is unexpectedly fired by Mrs. Brexil. And in Greenland, Mezzarix is offered a chance to escape by an old friend, who is working for the mysterious Ms. Bimini. The woman reveals that she needs Mezzarix to replicate an unusual solution known as “Silt.” Mezzarix agrees on one condition: that Ms. Bimini uses the power of Silt to destroy B.R.E.W. forever.

Both B.R.E.W and the Vessel are in danger, and with the potion world in chaos, it’s up to Gordy, Max, and Adeline to rally the remaining Potion Masters before it’s too late.

Gordy has a new principal this year. And his daughter, Sasha, happens to be a Dram as well, studying to be an Elixirist. But Sasha’s mother takes over as the new president of B.R.E.W. and is particularly ruthless. Meanwhile, Adilene meets a new, mysterious, young friend as well who acts very strange. And a new force helps Mezzarix escape with a new endgame in mind.

The Transparency Tonic is the second installment in the Potion Masters series. This clever fantasy series is just as fun as the previous book – with plenty of adventure and suspense. B.R.E.W. is under attack again, but this time from a mysterious outsider. And Gordy’s new “friend” is extremely annoying and obnoxious. But the other characters were engaging – even the villainous ones. This story builds to a surprising conclusion and a bit open-ended. I look forward to the next in this exciting middle grade series that can’t come soon enough.

Book Giveaway: Sinless and Fearless

Courtesy of Harper Voyager, I have a copy of Sinless and Fearless by Alec Nevala-Lee 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 January 25. I’ll draw a name on January 26, and notify winner via email.


Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Sinless and Fearless

Box Review: TeeBlox – December 2018


“Our TeeBlox shirts are all 100% official and licensed, guaranteed. Our CommunityBlox shirts are printed with 100% independent and original designs submitted by community artists.”

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

Subscribers can pick from 3 categories right now.

*SciFiChick.com received a box for review purposes.

Continue reading Box Review: TeeBlox – December 2018