SciFi Book Review: Starsight

Starsight by Brandon Sanderson

Synopsis:
All her life, Spensa has dreamed of becoming a pilot. Of proving she’s a hero like her father. She made it to the sky, but the truths she learned about her father were crushing. The rumors of his cowardice are true–he deserted his flight during battle against the Krell. Worse, though, he turned against his team and attacked them.

Spensa is sure there’s more to the story. And she’s sure that whatever happened to her father in his starship could happen to her. When she made it outside the protective shell of her planet, she heard the stars–and it was terrifying. Everything Spensa has been taught about her world is a lie.

But Spensa also discovered a few other things about herself–and she’ll travel to the end of the galaxy to save humankind if she needs to.

Review:
When an alien crash-lands on their planet, Spensa decides to take her place in order to steal vital technology for humanity. But Spensa isn’t trained for espionage. And she only has her secret AI to keep her company.

Starsight is the second book the Skyward series. This story is very different from the first as far as the setting goes. But there is still a lot of flight action and suspense. And there were several surprising twists along the way. I really enjoyed the new, diverse characters. In fact, I enjoyed this sequel even more than the previous novel. With plenty of danger, suspense, intrigue, and drama – this well-paced story left me excited for the next installment.

Blu-Ray Review: Gemini Man

Gemini Man [Blu-ray]

Synopsis:
Will Smith stars as retired hitman Henry Brogan, forced on the run by a young, highly skilled operative who will stop at nothing to eliminate his target. Now on a race around the globe, Henry must outsmart the mysterious assassin at every step – but how far will he go once they finally come face to face?

Review:
Will Smith plays the two main characters in this action film. However, the CGI of his younger clone is as cringe-worthy as Superman’s CGI’s mustache removal in Justice League. It’s so bad that it’s detracts from every scene he’s in. It would have been better to get a younger actor who resembles him and just do some minor tweaks like Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Looper to look like a young version of Bruce Willis.

As for the story, it’s fun and fast-paced. And it’s a lot like Bruce Willis in RED, though this movie isn’t as well-rounded. The characters are mostly one-dimensional, except for Brogan. The fight scenes are a lot of fun though. And there is plenty of suspense that builds to an exciting finale. I just wish the CGI’d Junior wasn’t so distracting.

BONUS FEATURES ON 4K ULTRA HD COMBO, BLU-RAY COMBO & DIGITAL**
• Alternate Opening
• Deleted Scenes
• The Genesis of Gemini Man
• Facing Your Younger Self
• The Future Is Now
• Setting the Action
• Next Level Detail
• The Vision of Ang Lee

ONLY AVAILABLE ON 4K ULTRA HD DISC
• Visual Effects Progression presented by WETA—In 60FPS, Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range

Blu-Ray Review: Terminator Dark Fate

Terminator: Dark Fate [Blu-ray]

Synopsis:
Decades after Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) prevented Judgment Day, a lethal new Terminator is sent to eliminate the future leader of the resistance. In a fight to save mankind, battle-hardened Sarah Connor teams up with an unexpected ally (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and an enhanced super soldier to stop the deadliest Terminator yet. Humanity’s fate hangs in the balance in this action-packed thrill ride from Tim Miller, the Director of Deadpool, and Producer James Cameron.

Review:
This is the Terminator sequel I’ve been waiting for. Linda Hamilton has been missing in all the films since Terminator 2, so it’s only fitting that we ignore all the previous sequels for this storyline. And it works. It’s heart-pounding suspense with heartbreaking drama that only these leading ladies can supply. Arnold is back as well, as Terminator “Carl” who has moved on with life and sees the error of his ways. As a Terminator fan, I thoroughly enjoyed this installment. Certainly more than the previous several installments. There is plenty of fan service, and that’s okay. The action is non-stop and intense. The CGI is fantastic. And there is plenty of heart that keeps viewers invested.

Book Giveaway: Riot Baby

Courtesy of Tor, I have a copy of Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi 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 31. I’ll draw a name on February 1, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Read moreBook Giveaway: Riot Baby

What to Watch Before Star Trek: Picard

Star Trek: Picard | NYCC Trailer | CBS All Access

What to Watch (or Re-Watch) Before Star Trek: Picard

Only 2 weeks until the premiere of Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access!

I have been rewatching TNG and Voyager episodes in preparation and excitement.
The buzz has been surrounding Data, the Borg, and Romulan-centered episodes, as well as Picard’s background.

I’ve compiled my own Must-Rewatch List among key episodes and movies, and why:

Star Trek: TNG Epsiodes:

“Datalore” (Season 1, Ep 12) -- When we meet Data’s brother Lore.

“The Measure of a Man (Season 2, Ep 9) -- When Picard defends Data in a trial to prove his sentience.

“Q Who” (Season 2, Ep 16) -- When Q shows Picard the Borg for the first time.

“The Offspring” (Season 3, Ep 16) -- When Data creates his own child.

“The Best of Both Worlds” Parts 1 & 2 (Season 3, Ep 26 and Season 4, Ep 1) -- When Picard has his experience as Locutus of Borg.

“Family” (Season 4, Ep 2) -- We learn about Picard’s family and also the vineyard where the new show will be starting off.

“Brothers” (Season 4, Ep 3) -- When Lore takes the emotion chip meant for Data.

“I, Borg” (Season 5, Ep 23) -- When we’re introduced to Hugh, a Borg who experiences his individuality.

“Tapestry” (Season 6, Ep 15) -- When we learn more of Picard’s backstory and how he lost heart (literally, not figuratively).

“Descent Part 1 & 2 ” (Season 6, Ep 26 and Season 7, Ep 1) -- Data feels his first emotion after a confrontation with the Borg.

“All Good Things…” (Season 7, Ep 25) -- The final episode of TNG, when Picard finds himself shifting through time.

Episodes focusing on the Romulans:
“The Enemy” -- (Season 3, Ep 7)
“The Defector” -- (Season 3, Ep 10)
“Unification I and II” -- (Season 5, Ep 7 & 8)
“Face of the Enemy” -- (Season 6, Ep 14)

Must-Watch Movies:
Star Trek: First Contact
Star Trek: Insurrection
Star Trek: Nemesis

Star Trek: Voyager episodes focusing on Seven of Nine and the Borg:
“The Gift” -- (Season 4, Ep 2)
“The Raven” -- (Season 4, Ep 6)
“One” -- (Season 4, Ep 25)
“Drone” -- (Season 5, Ep 2)
“Infinite Regress” (Season 5, Ep 7)
“Dark Frontier, Parts 1 & 2” -- (Season 5, Ep 15 & 16)
“Collective” -- (Season 6, Ep 16)
“Unimatrix Zero Part 1 & 2” -- (Season 6, Ep 26 and Season 7 Ep 1)
“Endgame” -- (Season 7, Ep 25) -- The final episode of Voyager -- finally getting home!

Bonus:

Star Trek: TNG “The Inner Light” (Season 5, Ep 25) -- It probably won’t have any reference in the new show, but it’s a fantastic and dramatic episode focusing solely on Picard and a lost civilization.

Fantasy Book Review: Potion Masters: The Seeking Serum

Potion Masters: The Seeking Serum by Frank L. Cole

Synopsis:
Gordy’s grandfather, Mezzarix, who is a powerful, evil elixirist, stole the Vessel, the source of power for all potion masters. He fled to Florida to establish a headquarters, declare his manifesto: No More Prisons. No More Rulers. No More Secrets – and launch his final attack. Gordy, an apprentice elixirist, has been hiding in a safe house with his family and friends, but his mom has become increasingly concerned for their safety. Despite her worries, Gordy and his friends enter the underground network known as the Swigs, a haven for renegade potion masters and black-market potions to secure support in the fight against Mezzarix.

Scourges, the name given to potion masters imprisoned by B.R.E.W but who have recently been freed by Mezzarix, attack the Swigs, and Gordy barely escapes with this life. He has to leave his family behind. He heads to the house of his best friend, Max, where his other friends, Sasha and Adilene, join him in making a plan to help find Mezzarix’s secret location.

As the fight intensifies between B.R.E.W and the Scourges, it falls to Gordy and his friends to find Mezzarix and prevent him from corrupting the Vessel, which would plunge the world back into the Dark Ages. With some help from new friends, Gordy realizes it will take a new way of thinking about magic and the art of brewing potions in order to stop his grandfather, save the world, and unite the potion-making community.

Review:
The Seeking Serum is the final installment in the Potion Masters trilogy. The villain Mezzarix now has the upper hand and Gordy and his friends are in hiding. But the young apprentices form a haphazard plan to find Mezzarix and steal back the powerful Vessel and save humanity.

This 3rd novel is fun and excitement from beginning to end. The danger and suspense has intensified. Gordy and his friends make a great team with enjoyable characters. And I love the unique worldbuilding of potion-making instead of just magic. This series will appeal to middle readers on up. It’s fresh, engaging, a bit dark, and sometimes silly to lighten the mood. This finale was hard to put down.

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