Tag Archives: sci-fi

DVD Review: Manifest: The Complete First Season

Manifest: The Complete First Season
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD. I reviewed in this post. The opinions I share are my own.

Synopsis:
A plane inexplicably disappears on a trans-oceanic flight and returns five years later after being presumed lost at sea. While no time has passed for those on the flight, years have gone by for their loved ones who have learned to live with their loss. In addition to the outward mystery of what happened on that flight, there’s also an inward mystery of what has happened to the passengers…and why. Nothing will ever be the same as you follow the unexpected journey full of hope, heart and destiny!

Own Manifest: The Complete First Season on DVD July 23rd.

Review:
At first, this series feels like a slightly less complicated version of The 4400. However, the Manifest returnees don’t have cool abilities other than a creepy version of their own voice giving them cryptic warnings of the future. But I enjoy the mysterious premise.

After the first few episodes, I got bored with the characters and storyline. There are 16 episodes with the story stretched a bit too thin. And far too little character development. However, in the 3rd part of the season, the excitement picks up with the introduction of a new important character and young Cal’s connection to some returnees who have been abducted.

I like the actors and their various characters. How the returnees are treated after their return is very dramatic and realistic. And there is quite a bit of intensity and danger looming. There’s still a big mystery of what happened to the returnees and the tension is only building. I look forward to season 2.

Book Giveaway: Rotherweird

Courtesy of Jo Fletcher Books, I have a copy of Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott 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 July 26. I’ll draw a name on July 27, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

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Blu-Ray Review: Shazam!

Shazam! (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Combo Pack)
Own Shazam! on 4K UHD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD Special Edition on July 16, or Own It Early on Digital on July 2.

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.

Special Features Include:
– Shazam Exclusive Motion Comic
– The Magical World of Shazam
– Super Fun Zac
– Carnival Scene Study, Shazamily Values
– Who is Shazam?
– Deleted Scenes
– Gag Reel

Book Review: Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town

Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher

Synopsis:
Christmas, Hawkins, 1984. All Chief Jim Hopper wants is to enjoy a quiet first Christmas with Eleven, but his adopted daughter has other plans. Over Hopper’s protests, she pulls a cardboard box marked “New York” out of the basement—and the tough questions begin. Why did Hopper leave Hawkins all those years ago? What does “Vietnam” mean? And why has he never talked about New York?

Summer, New York City, 1977. Hopper is starting over after returning home from Vietnam. A young daughter, a caring wife, and a new beat as an NYPD detective make it easy to slip back into life as a civilian. But after shadowy federal agents suddenly show up and seize the files about a series of brutal, unsolved murders, Hopper takes matters into his own hands, risking everything to discover the truth.

Review:
Darkness on the Edge of Town is a standalone, original novel from Hopper’s past. The story is told by Hopper to Eleven, with bits of conversation between the two throughout the novel. As a new police detective in New York, Hopper is given a new partner just as cagey government agents seize the case they had just started working.

As young Hopper and his partner investigate ritualistic murders, they stumble upon something bigger. And Hopper has to infiltrate a cult undercover. This story is a mix of murder mystery and thriller. Loaded with suspense and intrigue, I read this one quickly. The excitement builds to a climactic ending that doesn’t disappoint. This novel was a great way to keep me eager for this new season.

Book Giveaway: The Hound of Justice

Courtesy of Harper Voyager, I have a copy of The Hound of Justice by Claire O’Dell 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 July 26. I’ll draw a name on July 27, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

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Book Giveaway: Alpha and Omega

Courtesy of Del Rey, I have a copy of Alpha and Omega by Harry Turtledove 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 July 26. I’ll draw a name on July 27, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Alpha and Omega

Graphic Novel Review: Before Houdini and After Houdini

Before Houdini by Jeremy Holt

Synopsis:
The exciting second volume of the After Houdini saga explores the origins of the elusive master of magic, the man who would become…Houdini.

London, 1888. A shadowy killer stalks the streets of London, his appetite for blood unleashed upon the city’s lower classes. To defeat him, MI6 turns to its most top-secret team: four teenage agents with extraordinary gifts—including a young American immigrant with a talent for illusion . . .

After Houdini began the story of Josef Houdini, son of the famous Harry Houdini—brillian illusionist, acclaimed escape artist, and top-secret covert operative. Now we turn back the clock and meet Ehrich Weiss, a young man whose skill at picking locks is about to land him the adventure of his dreams, and pull him into a war that will affect his life—and his son’s—for years to come. This is the story of Ehrich’s strange beginnings, from before he was a world-famous magician. Before he was a master of espionage. Before he was…Houdini.

After Houdini by Jeremy Holt

Synopsis:
Harry Houdini, master magician and covert spy for the United States, has been kidnapped. The only man who can save him is his estranged son Josef, who, like his father, knows the power of magic—and how it can be more than just an illusion.

Josef Houdini takes after his father: A gifted escape artist, there’s not a jam he can’t get himself out of. Then again, when your father is one of the greatest illusionists of all time, that comes as no surprise. What does come as a surprise is the fact that Harry Houdini is not only the world’s greatest magician, but also a top-secret operative for the US government during World War I. In rare form he finds himself trapped—stuck on a mission he is unable to escape from. That’s why the government needs his son to fill his shoes and complete the mission—but does Josef have the wherewithal to do it? Or is the possibility of success just an illusion?

Review:
I was able to read these graphic novels back-to-back with no prior knowledge of the series. And even though After Houdini was published first, I read Before Houdini first. The villain is the main connection between the two stories. Young Ehrich Weiss (Houdini) is recruited to a secret organization within MI6 that deals with the paranormal. Then, in After Houdini, his son is recruited. I actually enjoyed the prequel a bit more because of there were other fascinating characters with abilities. And the story was even more thrilling.

While the stories are different, they both have the same mix of mystery and horror. And the suspense builds to dark but satisfying finales. The artwork certainly adds to the nostalgic feel, hard and edgy. Though, I had a hard time telling a couple of the older gentlemen apart in After Houdini, which was a bit confusing at times. I also wish we learned something more about the monstrous villain. I hope there is a planned continuation of the story in Before Houdini, as there seems to be a lot left to explore.

Fantasy Book Review: The Chosen

The Chosen by Taran Matharu

Synopsis:
Throughout history, people have vanished with no explanation. A group of teenagers are about to discover why.

Cade is settling into a new boarding school, contemplating his future, when he finds himself transported to another realm. He soon discovers their new world is populated with lost remnants from the past: prehistoric creatures, ancient relics, and stranger still―people. Overwhelmed by his new surroundings, Cade has little time to adjust, for soon he and his fellow classmates are forced to become contenders in a brutal game, controlled by mysterious overlords.

Review:
Cade is a misunderstood kid with no friends. Then suddenly, he arrives in a strange land along with some of his classmates in what seems to be a brutal game. There are few answers, and Cade has to rely on his knowledge, as well as the kindness of others, just to stay alive.

The Chosen is the first in a new YA science fiction series. This first novel is action-packed, dramatic, and mysterious. We’re introduced to many characters from several time periods – as well as some strange and dangerous creatures. Cade is a smart and likable boy. And he’s painfully relatable when he makes a selfish decision that he regrets later. We finally get some answers at the end of the book. Though the big reveal is quite strange, I look forward to reading more. This dark and suspenseful story is fast-paced and over too quickly. I will be impatiently waiting for the next in this engaging series.