Tag Archives: sci fiction

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!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Rotherweird

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!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: The Hound of Justice

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.

Received in June

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

DVD/Blu Rays:
Captain Marvel Blu-Ray

Mystery Boxes:
TeeBlox

Ace:
Salvaged by Madeleine Roux

Del Rey:
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge by Ethan Sacks
Alpha and Omega by Harry Turtledove
Salvation Lost by Peter F. Hamilton
Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

Disney Hyperion / Freeform:
The Odd Sisters by Serena Valentino
#MurderFunding by Gretchen McNeil
The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake
Elizabeth Webster and the Court of Uncommon Pleas by William Lashner
Sanity & Tallulah, Book 2: Field Trip by Molly Brooks
Star Wars Who’s Who in the Galaxy by Ella Patrick
Tales from the Haunted Mansion, Volume IV: Memento Mori by Amicus Arcane
The Fire Keeper by J. C. Cervantes
Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee
The Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer

Harper Voyager:
The Grand Dark by Richard Kadrey
Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep
The Hound of Justice by Claire O’Dell

Insight Comics:
Before Houdini by Jeremy Holt
After Houdini by Jeremy Holt
The Invisible Empire: Madge Oberholtzer And The Unmasking Of The Ku Klux Klan by Micky Neilson

Jo Fletcher Books:
Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott

Little, Brown:
Rise by Ellen Goodlett

Penguin Books:
The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson

Scholastic:
Spark by Alice Broadway
Skyjacked by Paul Griffin

Subterranean Press:
The Best of Uncanny by Naomi Novik
A Very Scalzi Christmas by John Scalzi

Tor:
Spine of the Dragon by Kevin J. Anderson
The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht
Lent by Jo Walton
The Hive by Orson Scott Card
The Red-Stained Wings by Elizabeth Bear