Friday
Apr182014

Trailer Park Friday: Animated Batman, Badass Scarlett Johansson & Book to Film Translations

Welcome back to Trailer Park Friday, the irregular feature here at Working for the Mandroid where I post a bunch of videos that have caught my eye. Some of them are trailers, some are clips from shows, some are animated shorts that are just awesome.

This is the 75th anniversary of the very first Batman comic, so DC is doing tons of Batman things this year. They recently had Bruce Timm, one of the guys behind the early 90s Batman: The Animated Series, create a two minute short in a similar style. Yay Batman!

Fernando is responsible for this next one. It's a Game of Thrones parody version of "Let It Go" from Frozen. Please note that there EPIC SPOILERS through the end of this last episode that aired last Saturday. Watch at your own risk.

When we went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier (which is brilliantly awesome, by the way), there were a couple of cool trailers. One of them was a movie I'd heard about, but didn't really know much about. This is Lucy and I hope it's as surprising and badass as the trailer makes it seem. The film comes out August 8.

This is the trailer for another book that I probably won't ever read because it's just going to make me horribly despressed. This is Chloe Moritz in If I Go, which comes out August 22.

Tom Peretta's The Leftovers is a book I've heard quite a lot of vague praise towards, so toss in Damon Lindeloft (one of the crazy guys behind Lost) as a producer and this is a new HBO series that I'm interested in despite this trailer being vague. The Leftovers starts on HBO on August 30.

And finally the trailer that I was scared to watch. The Giver is one of the books that turned me into an obsessive book reader and it's one of those touchstones that I have watch too much nostalgia towards. Despite not being in black and white, the trailer looks like maybe they didn't screw this adaptation up completely. The Giver comes out on August 15.

And that's all from me this week. Hopefully we'll return next week with more trailers and videos. In the meantime, what videos have caught your interest recently? Post link in the comments!

Thursday
Apr172014

Mini Review: Wonder Woman Volume 4: War by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang & Goran Sudžuka

Wonder Woman Volume 4: War
Written by Brian Azzarello
Art by Cliff Chiang & Goran Sudžuka

DC Comics
I received an advanced e-ARC of this comic from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Released March 18, 2014
144 pages

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

Wonder Woman's father, Zeus, has disappeared. Her family - aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, gods and demigods - form a pantheon of the most powerful beings in the universe. Intent on seizing Zeus' throne, they will destroy anyone who can stand in their way - including Zeus' infant son, who might just have the power to ignite the apocalypse.

But even as Wonder Woman and her few remaining friends scramble to protect the life of her youngest brother, her eldest has arisen. Known only as the First Born, he has spent an eternity in exile, his might and malice growing by the millennium. Now he will burn Earth and Olympus alike if it means he can be king of the ashes.

The final battle is about to begin! The New York Times best-selling team of Brial Azzarello (Joker, 100 Bullets), Cliff Chiang (Green Arrow/Black Canary), and Goran Sudžuka (Y: The Last Man) cry havoc in Wonder Woman: War (collects issues #19-23) - a high-octane, heartbreaking blend of action and emotion that's made Wonder Woman one of the most acclaimed comics in the industry!

I’ve really enjoyed the New 52 reboot of Wonder Woman even if I have a hard time connecting in with the version of WW in the New 52 Justice League. I like how they’ve filled her story with mythology and gods personified, giving her real adversaries with power and strength to match her own.

The storyline has been fairly straight forward: Zeus has yet another love child with a human and then disappears, assumed dead. This new baby now stands to fulfill a prophecy about taking over Olympus and gaining complete control over the entire pantheon, perhaps ending the world. Of course that makes all the other children of Zeus upset and everyone wants to kill the baby. Wonder Woman refuses to let that happen.

The first three volumes had some fun action bits, twists and turns, and even a couple of surprise plot twists that caught me off-guard. But for some reason this fourth volume left me a bit unimpressed. It introduced the first son of Zeus as the major advisory and he’s a pretty bad dude. Because this set of comics focused on him and Wonder Woman’s inevitable clash, it was missing the snark and fun interactions between Wonder Woman and her mythological allies or the fun plotting of seeing the bad guys now led by Apollo.

This volume just left me with a “meh” feeling, giving me nothing to get excited about, though that won’t stop me continuing the series. Wonder Woman and her friends are still great characters. This First Born thing just might be one of the plot points that might drag a bit more than I’d like, a phase that all comics go through. The final pages opened a giant door for interesting storylines in the next volume that I’m looking forward to reading.

 

I received an electronic ARC of this graphic novel from the publisher in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday
Apr162014

Cover Reveal & CONTEST: Dream Stalkers by Tim Waggoner

WARNING: If you're not a fan of clowns, you might want to skip this post.

Angry Robot is one of the best publishing companies and it makes me sad that more people don't know about them. They put out tons of great science fiction, fantasy and a genre they like to refer to as WTF. Today we have a cover reveal for an upcoming release that can probably be put in that final catagory. I'm happy to present to you the official cover reveal for Dream Stalkers by Tim Waggoner.

Cover art created by amazing15

A new drug – Shut-Eye – has been developed in the dreamland, and smuggled into our world. It’s addictive, and dangerous, and Shadow Watch agents Audra and Mr Jinx are on the case, preparing new recruits to deal with the problem.

Meanwhile, a wave of ancient, bodiless Incubi are entering the dreams of humans in an attempt to possess them and live new lives. Only the criminally insane would ever risk a confrontation with them.

Thank goodness, then, for Mr Jinx: clown, Shadow Watch agent, psychopath.

 

Enter below to get your hands on a shiny copy of the first book in the Shadow Watch series called Night Terrors, courtsey of Tim and Angry Robot. The contest will end at 12:01am on April 26 and is opened INTERNATIONALLY!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday
Apr162014

Author Blog Tour Review & CONTEST: Prisoner of Night & Fog by Anne Blankman

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Anne Blankman's blog tour for Prisoner of Night & Fog, her debut historical fiction novel set in Germany as the country heads towards World War II. The tour is being hosted by the lovely ladies at The Unofficial Addiction Book Fanclub and runs through April 20. You can follow the entire tour over at their site here. Below you'll find my review as well as a contest hosted by Anne to win a hard copy of Prisoner of Night & Fog.

Prisoner of Night & Fog
Anne Blankman

Balzer + Bray
I received an e-ARC of this book in return for an honest review.
Releases April 22, 2014
416 pages

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Itunes

In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.

And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she's ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

Hello, historical fiction, my old friend. I’ve been avoiding you for eons now while I played in spaceships, used steam-powered gadgets, went on epic journeys and trudged through vast wastelands. You’ve been hanging out, acting coy, waiting for me to come back to realty – or at least a fictionalized version of a past reality. I kept putting you off, but you were patient, bidding your time until just the right book came along to hook me back in.

I used to devour historical fiction as a kid, but abandoned it for the most part when I discovered science fiction. I am so glad that A Prisoner of Night & Fog was my choice of novel to return to genre. It has all the things I love the most and wraps it into a murder mystery with plenty of heart-pounding sequences with deadly consequences, a star-crossed lover romance and left that lingering sense of wonder which characters were real people and which were figments of the author’s imaginations.

I’m not a big history fan, mostly because in school you jump from one war to the next, memorizing dates and important causalities and political ramifications and a bunch of things that I don’t care about. I wanted to learn about the lives of the people left behind, how everyone not on the battlefield was effected by a changing world and of all the wars taught in schools, there was really only one where the history books touched on the home front. That’s why I’ve always been fascinated by World War II and Blankman’s novel just pulled me right back in to my obsession with the details of events that would eventually lead up to it.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr142014

Mini Review: Burn Out by Kristi Helvig

Burn Out
Kristi Helvig

EgmontUSA
I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Released April 8, 2014
272 pages

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

A futuristic blend of Beth Revis's Across the Universe and Lenore Appelhans's Level 2, Burn Out will satisfy the growing desire for science fiction with a thrilling story of survival, intrigue, and adventure.

Most people want to save the world; seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to get the hell off of it. One of the last survivors in Earth's final years, Tora yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns "red giant," but discovers her fellow survivors are even deadlier than the hostile environment.

Holed up in an underground shelter, Tora is alone--her brilliant scientist father murdered, her mother and sister burned to death. She dreams of living on a planet with oceans, plants, and animals. Unfortunately, the oceans dried out ages ago, the only plants are giant cacti with deadly spines, and her pet, Trigger, is a gun--one of the bio-energetic weapons her father created for the government before his conscience kicked in.

When family friend, Markus, arrives with mercenaries to take the weapons by force, Tora's fury turns to fear when government ships descend in an attempt to kill them all. She forges an unlikely alliance with Markus and his rag-tag group of raiders, including a smart but quiet soldier named James. Tora must quickly figure out who she can trust, as she must choose between saving herself by giving up the guns or honoring her father's request to save humanity from the most lethal weapons in existence.

Oh, Burn Out, you started with so much potential. Our heroine Tora is potentially the last living person on a burned up and abandoned Earth beneath a sun on the verge of dying. She lives in a bunker beneath the wasted landscape that her father built before his unfortunate with her only company being her memories of her younger sister and an arsenal of guns that her father developed for the government before hiding them away. It’s the beginning of a potentially interesting story of a girl who is all alone in possession of some of the most destructive weapons in the galaxy.

Then an old sketchy associate of Tora’s father shows up to take her to another world if only she’d turn over the arsenal for him to sell to the same government, now relocated, that destroyed her family. When she refuses, he returns a little while later with a crew of mercenaries to take the weapons by force. This is the point where any potential this book might have was demolished in the laser crossfire.

Tora is set up as a headstrong independent young woman with a strict moral code that will prevent her from ever allowing her father’s weapons to end up in the hands of the enemy (and in this case, anyone other than her is an enemy). The world has been described as deadly in every way, and she’s survived within it on her alone for years. That she suddenly goes from potential badass to whishy-washy damsel in distress is unfortunate.

None of the characters in Burn Out manage to maintain any sense of personality or motivation for very long before they do complete 180s and become someone else. One moment these mercenaries are attempting to kill Tora, the next they want to be buddies with her and she is a-okay with it. One minute she’s adversaries with a character, who tries to throw her out of a moving spaceship, and then the next chapter they are besties. It’s all very confusing and impossible to the point where all the characters feel like masks put on different character traits as the plot dictated rather than an actual person filled in by their personalities.

I also felt the pacing was off, never really getting up and running before it came to the end. This could have potentially be from my e-ARC having two copies of the book back to back so that as I came to the conclusion of the book, my Kindle showed that I was hitting 50% and I assumed there was much more to the story. Even if that hadn’t set me up for thinking there was much more story ahead, Burn Out ends just as it hints of a plot actually really beginning.

The lack of consistent characterization and the rotating motivations made this a very difficult book to get sucked into. It’s a short, fast read that could potentially lead to a series with much more meat, but this first volume lacks any hook to keep me reading further.