Wizard World Comic Con Nashville is Coming!

wizardworldnashville-300x243Wizard World has held a Comic Con in Nashville for three years – and for the third year BookGateway.com will be there! We will be live blogging the events, sharing pictures here and on our twitter account @BookGateway and publishing videos of events and interviews. Check it out in September!


Jewel Staite, John Schneider, Erik Estrada, Lori Petty Among Top Celebrities Scheduled To Attend Wizard World Comic Con Nashville, September 25-27

Tom Wopat, Catherine Bach, Jim Cummings, Adam Baldwin, Larry Wilcox Also Headline Guest Roster; Talented Comics Creators, Variety of Exhibitors, Cosplayers, Robust Programming At Music City Center

NASHVILLE, Tenn., July 27, 2015 – Wizard World, Inc. (OTCBB: WIZD) continues its 2015 schedule with its third visit to the Music City Center at Wizard World Comic Con Nashville, September 25-27. Jewel Staite (“Firefly,” “Stargate: Atlantis”), Lori Petty (“Orange is the New Black,” A League of Their Own), the “Dukes of Hazzard” trio of John Schneider (“Smallville”), Tom Wopat (Broadway hits “Guys and Dolls,” “Chicago”) and Catherine Bach (“The Young and the Restless”), the “CHiPs” tandem of Erik Estrada (“Sealab 2021”) and Larry Wilcox (“Lassie”) and Jim Cummings (“Winnie the Pooh,” “The Lion King”) headline the roster of celebrity guests scheduled to attend the pop culture extravaganza.

Staite, Schneider, Wopat, Bach and Estrada will appear Saturday and Sunday, September 26-27; Petty, Cummings and Wilcox will attend all three days.
Other well-known guests at Wizard World Comic Con Nashville include Adam Baldwin ( Full Metal Jacket, “Serenity”), Lou Ferrigno (“The Incredible Hulk,” “King of Queens”), Jason David Frank (“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”) and Chris 51 along with the cast of “Epic Ink.”

Wizard World is also the home of the most creative comics artists and writers on the planet. Artist Alley at Wizard World Comic Con Nashville will feature Michael Golden (“Spider-Man,” “Daredevil”), Howard Chaykin (“New Avengers,” “JSA”), Ken Kelly (KISS Album covers, “He-Man”), Larry Elmore (“Magic: The Gathering,” “Dungeons & Dragons”), Sara Woolley (“Los Pirineos the Mostly True Memoirs of Esperancita Gomez,” “Charlotte and the Quiet”), Chris Stevens (“Skull Kickers,” “Hulk”), Genese Davis (author, The Holder’s Dominion), Victor Dandridge (Vantage: Inhouse editor in chief), Danny Fingeroth (group editor, “Spider-Man”), Greg Horn (“Marvel: War of Heroes,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”), Renee Witterstaetter (“She Hulk,” “Avengers”) and many others.

In addition, all full-price Wizard World Comic Con Nashville attendees will receive a limited edition exclusive variant cover “The Walking Dead #1” comic, drawn by one of Wizard World’s talented artist guests (to be announced shortly). Comics will be issued at registration while supplies last and VIP attendees will receive an additional black & white sketch version.

Wizard World Comic Con events bring together thousands of fans of all ages to celebrate the best in pop-fi, pop culture, movies, graphic novels, cosplay, comics, television, sci-fi, toys, video gaming, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more. The 19th of 24 events currently scheduled on the 2015 Wizard World calendar, Nashville show hours are Friday, September 25, 3-8 p.m.; Saturday, September 26, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, September 27, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Wizard World Comic Con Nashville is also the place for cosplay, with fans young and old showing off their best costumes throughout the event. Fans dressed as every imaginable character – and some never before dreamed – will roam the convention floor and participate in the famed Wizard World Costume Contest on Saturday night.
For more on the 2015 Wizard World Comic Con Nashville, visit www.wizardworld.com/home-nashville.html .

About Wizard World (OTCBB: WIZD)
Wizard World, Inc. (http://www.wizardworld.com) produces Comic Cons and pop culture conventions across North America that celebrate the best in pop-fi, pop culture, movies, television, cosplay, comics, graphic novels, toys, video gaming, sci-fi, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more. A first-class lineup of topical programming takes place at each event, with celebrity Q&A’s, comics-themed sessions, costume contests, movie screenings, evening parties and more. Wizard World has also launched CONtv, a digital media channel in partnership with leading independent content distributor Cinedigm™ (NASDAQ: CIDM), and ComicConBox™, a premium subscription-based monthly box service. Fans can interact with Wizard World on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and other social media services.

The 2015 Wizard World Comic Con schedule is available at: www.wizardworld.com/wizcon.html .

This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison

harrietchanceHarriet Chance has always taken a back seat in her life.  As described in the novel, she’ “cheap” with herself.  She decides to take a chance on a trip, not knowing that she’ll soon discover everything she’s known is turned upside down.

This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!
by Jonathan Evison
Algonquin Books
September 2015

Harriet Chance just spent the last two years of her life caring for her husband during his rapidly declining mental health.  Two years after his passing, she gets a call telling her he’s won a cruise to Alaska.  Against what’s normal for her, she decides to go and invites her spontaneous best friend on the trip.

At the last minute, her friend backs out.  Sending a cryptic letter explaining the absence.    What follows are glimpses into Harriet’s past and the way that Harriet has justified her life and treatment from Bernard during their marriage.  The picture painted is very different than what Harriet has created in her mind.

The tale that Jonathan Evison weaves in this novel is in turns hilarious and tragic.  You meet Harriet’s adult daughter and learn things about Harriet that change your view of her.  Overall, I think younger generations get the idea of the “cute little old lady,” and Evison tosses that to the wind.  You get to know Harriet as an individual, you see how she’s treated as a senior citizen, and you are challenged in the way YOU treat those in generations before you.

As the novel unfolds, Evison uses flashbacks that are tied to what’s occurring in Harriet’s present.  This is the PERFECT way to incorporate flashbacks into a novel.  It’s relevant to what you’re reading, and it doesn’t feel jarring like flashbacks used in other novels I’ve read recently.

No spoilers, but the ending left me floundering.  I was expecting something completely different, and Evison threw me for a loop.  While I LOVED the novel as a whole, the end left me unsatisfied.

The Galaxy Pirates: Hunt for the Pyxis by Ferraris

galaxypiratesFrom the publisher: On the night Emma Garton’s supposedly boring parents are kidnapped, she is forced to face the truth that they’ve been lying to her about many things. The most important of which? They aren’t even from planet Earth.

The Galaxy Pirates: Hunt for the Pyxis
by Zoe Ferraris
Crown Books for Young Readers
August 2015

To find her mom and dad, Emma and her best friend, Herbie, must leave Earth and enter the Strands—the waterways of space, where huge galleons ply the intergalactic seas. But a journey through the constellations won’t be easy—not with every scoundrel in the galaxy determined to find them and the pyxis, a mysterious amulet that holds the key to saving their world.

REVIEW: I really enjoyed this book! I think that there was a lot of thought put into this book, and a lot of creativity, and that’s why I personally love it so much! I was of the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading because I was so excited to find out what would happen next! It’s a very adventurous and imaginative book, so I think that anybody who likes adventure and intensity will love this. I really enjoyed reading or watching the characters really come to life from the pages. They are so well described and thought out and all their personalities are amazingly put together! When I was done reading I felt as if I knew them as real people. They felt so alive to me, after reading that book I just feel very inspired to go out and do something fun or adventure somewhere with friends. I really think this could be considered enjoyable to all ages I’d say around 12-13 and up due to some of the language. Overall all I can really say that I didn’t enjoy about it was all the bad language they used. Because the characters come out to be so young…I didn’t really expect that from them, but I guess I can’t blame them…the were basically living with pirates haha. My personal favorite part is when they go to space for the first time and they get to explore everything and they just seem so astonished by their surroundings! I wish that I could live in this book. I really hope a second one comes out soon! I just know everybody will really love reading this amazing story.

Sunshine is a 12 year old avid book reader who we love to ask what she thought of the books she reads so we can share a young reader’s perspective with you!

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

blackeyedTessa is the lone survivor of a serial killer. The only Susan to survive several brutal murders. She helped put the killer behind bars. Years later, as his execution date approaches, Tessa finds messages left for her. Is the wrong man behind bars?

Black-Eyed Susans
by Julia Heaberlin
Ballentine Books
June 2015

 At seventeen years old, Tessa was subjected to pain and torture, left blinded by psychosis, and survived the rampage of a serial killer.  She fought to put the pieces of her life back together, slowly but surely.  She’s even been able to heal enough to have her own daughter.

Many times over the years, Tessa was approached by an inmate’s advocate who questioned the guilt of the man sentenced for the crimes.  It’s not until his exectution approaches that Tessa also begins to question.  And she only questions based on “gifts” that are being left for her.

I really wanted to like this.  The premise seemed solid, as did the characters.  The flaw in Julia Heaberlin’s novel is really in the formatting.  I don’t mind flashbacks as a general rule.  However, every other chapter in this novel flashes back to Tessa’s past, followed by a chapter in present day.  This continues through the entire book.

After a few chapters, it gets cumbersome to wade through.  I want to be able to enjoy fiction and focus on the building suspense in thrillers.  For me, this jumping back and forth only served as a disruption, never really allowing that suspense to build.

In the end, it became so disruptive to me that I couldn’t finish the novel.   I wasn’t left like I NEEDED to find out what happened.

So I didn’t.

Robin Gwaro is the Young Adult and Women’s Literature Editor at Bookgateway.com. She currently spends her days wrangling her 8 year old science nerd and 7 month old busy body.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Darth Vader and Friends by Brown

darthvaderStar Wars and satire fans rejoice! Like the amazing William Shakespeare’s Star Wars books, here is another book in a series that takes what we love and pokes fun at it in a way that is never hurtful, but always hilarious.

Darth Vader and Friends
Star Wars
by Jeffrey Brown
Chronicle Books
April 2015

This collection of comics runs the gamut of “awww” (like Lando, Leah, Han and Luke sitting together watching the suns set, saying, “I’ve got a good feeling about this!”) to the silly (ghosts Yoda and Obi Wan telling Darth Vader, “Look Anakin. If you want to hang out with us you’re gonna have to take off the helmet.) Most of the comics are from the perspective of the kids and they do childish things (drawing all over attack maps, etc). Some take favorite phrases from the original trilogy and flip them on their head through the mouths of children.

This is a whimsical, easy read that makes for a perfect gift book for fans of either humor or Star Wars.

@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

The Adventures of Mickey Matson and the Pirate’s Code

piratesThe movie is about a boy and a girl who join a secret pseudo-governmental society (that they have unbeknownst family ties to) and quickly find themselves fighting against a shadowy plot to take over the world using sci-fi tech and cleverness. The film is filled with former A or B level actors who fill in as aging comedy relief, evil geniuses or beloved mentors. If you were thinking about Spy Kids (or any of the sequels) you’d pretty much be right.

The Adventures of Mickey Matson and the Pirate’s Code
Pure Flix
June 2015

In this movie it is Mickey and Sully who stop the plotting of the “pirate” Ironsides with the aid of Mickey’s [SPOILER] grandfather (who was supposed to be dead; and sadly looks it). Former bigger name or bigger recognition actors fill up the movie: Christopher Lloyd (Grandpa), Frank Collison (Ironsides), Tia Carrere (Lynch – she is oddly not listed in IMDB or Amazon, but she is in it), etc.

As far as family films go this is standard fare. It’s clean, fun, cheesy, a little action and drama but no death or fear instilling moments… and most importantly – loved by kids. My boys (5 and 9) loved this. Just like they love Spy Kids, Sky High, or Sharkboy and Lavagirl and other very similar films. It’s tolerable for parents as well.

If you’re looking for a fun, family night movie I recommend this one to you.

Congrats to Robert B. of Smyrna, TN for winning a copy of this movie!

@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This film was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Cassidy’s Guide to Everyday Etiquette (and Obfuscation) by Stauffacher

cassidyEleven Cassidy gets sent to etiquette school to rub off some of her rough edges. The plotline of a troubled kid who gets sent to class to refine her sounds like the premise of a dozen Disney movies, but there are three problems with this story in my opinion. First, it’s very tough to root for bratty Cassidy and second, there isn’t a real payoff at the end, and third, it is slow moving and in my opinion is downright boring at times.

Cassidy’s Guide to Everyday Etiquette (and Obfuscation)
by Sue Stauffacher
Knopf Books for Young Readers
June 2015

Since I’m not the target audience for this book, after I was done with it, I decided to give it to my daughter (11 years old – so right in the target demo) to see what she thought. Here’s what she said, “I didn’t really like this book a whole lot. I think it was very dragged out, and it had a lot more details than necessary. I liked the way the plot was laid out, but towards the end of the book or kinda got boring. I was very happy with how the characters where created, because characters are supposed to be detailed, I think they turned out very well. This book is definitely one for around the ages of 13-14 years due to some of the language. (“Big words”). This book is more for people who have a very high reading level, like they read the Harry Potter books and things like that. I think I would’ve enjoyed the book a whole lot more if it was just a little more straight forward. Overall I enjoyed it, but I think it’s not really normally the type of book I would like to read.”

My final thoughts: Cassidy and her antics are definitely in the love or hate category. How she acts, whether we root for her or even like her is really dependent on the reader. I didn’t. My daughter kinda did. We both thought it was boring at times and neither of us really liked the book. With so many really good books out there I find this one hard to recommend.

@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

Sunshine is a 11 year old avid book reader who we love to ask what she thought of the books she reads so we can share a young reader’s perspective with you!

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Firewall by DiAnn Mills

firewallCan Agent Grayson and Taryn Young put aside their differences and work together to save thousands of American lives?

DiAnn Mills
Tyndale House

Taryn Young, a software developer, is on her way to her dream honeymoon when a bomb destroys the airport terminal, killing dozens. Injured, she wakes up at the hospital. After learning that she and her husband are prime suspects, she decides to takes matters into her own hands and clear their name. Agent Grayson Halls wants to find those responsible for the attack at all means, but upon looking at the beautiful women suspected of the attack he can’t seem to believe she is responsible. Then watching her confusion and bewilderment of her learning that her husband isn’t who he said he was, confirms it more. Is she innocent or just pretending? What exactly are the bombers after? How does she fit in? These are the questions that the FBI and Agent Grayson are scrambling to answer. But when her life and thousands of American lives are put on the line, will they put their differences aside and work together to unravel the plot and work out their growing attraction?

This was a mystery thriller impossible to put down. The story is filled with suspense, mystery, acts of valor, surprising betrayals, forgiveness, and courage, sprinkled with a little romance. The book moves fast and has plenty of twists and turns. This book will keep you drawn from beginning to end. If you like a good thriller this is the book for you.

Myra Ovalle is your average typical girl. She loves to read. Her favorite types of books are historical fiction, biblical fiction and action adventure fiction. She would love to share her love of books and all the wonderful books she have read with you. Check out her new blog: From a Book Worm To You

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Empires by Hillsong United

unitedHillsong United is responsible for Oceans, Hosanna, Lead Me To the Cross, The Stand, The Desert Song and others that have for some defined the last decade or so of Christian Worship. The question is how does Empires stack up as a worship album? For me, I’m not sure.

Hillsong United
May 2015

In my opinion, this album is a mixed bag of a few really good songs and a lot of mediocre songs that don’t resonate for various reasons, like, some low key performances, issues with lyrics, and a performance focus.

Many of the songs fail to find crescendo after build up for several minutes of slow, deliberate and low key singing. Very introspective but after a long time – and many songs on this album are very long – they fail to pay off. The music tends to build, but the singing really doesn’t. Other songs are excellent in this regard. Touch the Sky, Prince of Peace, and Even When It Hurts all build and pay off and are the best songs on the album in my opinion.

Many songs have complicated, non-rhyming verses. I’m all for this for songs I listen to. But for songs I want to sing along to, I prefer ones I can anticipate the next verse and learn after hearing only a few times. See Prince of Peace for a very popular song on this album that exemplifies this. It’s gonna take a while to learn all the words and even more if you try to translate this for church service. This is a problem for several songs: they are catchy but ultimately not something easily translatable to a church setting in my opinion because they are too heavily produced with electronic noise to make the jump to Sundays. Great performances, but tough to sing along to and play along with. We’ll end up with acoustic versions if at all. (For an example of what I mean, search YouTube for “Touch the Sky acoustic.” It was recorded in Nashville and has several plugged in electronic devices needed to give the song its produced sound. It’s not acoustic at all.)

One song SHOULD be the big single but may fail to find a place in church: Even When It Hurts (Praise Song). This is a song that has a message that fits very well in American churches, a sort of updated worshipful Praise You in the Storm. It builds to a satisfying conclusion. It has a great beat. The words are easy to learn and fun to sing. And it cusses. Yeah, it cusses on the album version. Most of us won’t have an issue with this in our cars or homes singing along, but in a church service we tend to be more conservative than when we step outside the walls.

(Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8tvOKMp5u4 – the live version is much easier to listen to than the album version, which has a lot more electronic noise that can at times make it hard to hear. The live version is also a clean version. Yeah, a clean version of a worship song. I didn’t think I’d ever say that.)

Every album has hits and misses. This one has several hits and time will tell if any of them rise to the level of the great United songs.

@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Forty Days of Celebration by Baxter

CelebrationI’m a big fan of devotionals. And too often in our society I feel we focus more on the negative than the positive and when we focus on the positive we focus on false positives. True joy, though, is something we Christians need more of – and should be known for. Does this Scripture Journal help us with joy? Maybe.

Forty Days of Celebration
A Scripture Journal
by Elizabeth T. Baxter
Common English Bible
January 2015

Each day the “journal” has two to three passages from the Bible, all in Common English Bible version, with a meditation question. The verses focus on the goodness of God and our response to him in the Bible. Lots of praise the Lord, promises of God’s love and character. The meditations tie the passages together and then ask us to consider some questions. For me, I’m expecting these to be about joy and celebration, but many just aren’t. And some are confusing. Day 22, for instance, we are asked to think of those who are “vulnerable and powerless in our world today” and then how we can “responsibly use power to respond to” them. What power? I’m not sure. Shouldn’t this ask us who we should pray for? Maybe support financially? But then, how is this tied to celebration? I’m just not sure I get the connections between the meditations and the passages and topic.

But there’s another question of whether or not I should buy this at all. Like all devotional publishers, I believe that the hurdle you have to get over in order to entice buyers is to somehow show more value in the paid product than all the free devotionals available online (via email lists, websites or great apps like Bible by LifeChurch.) In this case, I just don’t see the need. Some good stuff here, but I’m not convinced as a consumer to spend $10 when I can get daily devotionals for free on my phone – where I can also make notes and highlight, see the verses in different translations and see what popular authors and teachers have to say about the verses?

Like another Scripture Journal (Meditation also by Common English Bible) there is very little room for “journaling.” There is no room set aside on the page for your thought and if you just want to write you’ll have less than half a page on the majority of days. This devotional is 124 pages (the previous one is 122), which makes it very short and pricey (at the $9.99 publisher suggested price.)

@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

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