Review: The Infinite Sea

After reading and enjoying The 5th Wave early in the summer, I was anticipating The Infinite Sea.

sfm_banner_02b (1)The start was slow for me. And confusing, because I wasn’t quite sure what was going on POV-wise, but I finally figured it out (I also remembered after a while that The 5th Wave had been in similar at first in these regards). What also often confused me were the action sequences. I would get lost with who was where and what exactly what was happening, but this happens to me frequently when I read action in books, so I don’t necessarily blame Rick Yancey so much for this.

Again, my favorite parts of The Infinite Sea, like The 5th Wave, were the psychological parts. There’s a really big plot reveal late in the novel that is a big game-changer for everything that happened and it really made my mind race with all the psychologicalness of it (yeah, I totally just made that word up). I think this is also the reason why my favorite part of the book ended up being the large section of the book that was from Ringer’s POV. At first I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it, but she is mentally processing a lot and trying to figure out the mind games, and after a while I really got into it.gr-the-infinite-seaThe 5th Wave is a pretty dark and gritty book, but I think this one is even darker and grittier. I definitely would not recommend it for young teenagers. It’s not solely for reasons of language or violence (though both are present), but because it just feels so hopeless and hard.

From a science fiction perspective… while this book continues the plot about aliens, it is so much more about humanity. But really, I think that’s really common in science fiction and why so many of us love and enjoy the genre. This book will definitely make you ask questions about ourselves.

Between the beginning and the fact that it was SO dark, I ended up not enjoying this one as much as the first installment, but I am definitely still really curious about how it will conclude and excited about the movies.

4stars2Content Advisory: Language (including strong language), violence, and off-screen sex. 

What are your thoughts on The Infinite Sea?

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The Top 10 Books on My Winter TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR. I am a little less sure of what I plan to read this winter than I have been the past couple of seasons, but here are some I know I want to get to… in no particular order…

Catching Up

1. The Young Elites by Marie Lu

gr-youngelitesThis is my next book club read and I’ve heard positive things, so I’m hoping to enjoy it!

2. In Between by Jenny B. Jones

in-betweenI downloaded this YA Christian fiction title for either free or cheap a little while ago and would like to read it soon.

3. Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

gr-insigniaA YA science fiction story I remembered Kelley mentioning, I got a deal for the Nook book on this one as well, but of course I found out five seconds later I could have borrowed the e-book from my library. Fail. But if I enjoy it, then I’ll borrow the sequels! I’m also much more likely to read it now that I own it.

4. Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

gr-goblet-of-fireI’m reading The Prisoner of Azkaban right now, so obviously I want to read the next installment pretty soon.

5. The Land Uncharted by Keely Brooke Keith

gr-the-land-unchartedThis is a “risky read” since none of my blogger friends have read it and I think it might be self-published, but it has positive reviews on Goodreads and it sounds SO ME that I had to download it on Nook when I saw it for a good price. Plus the author is local! I hope I end up enjoying it!

6. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

gr-mistbornI put this on my Christmas list because, FINE, I GET IT, YOU PEOPLE LOVE IT.

7. Short Stories & Novellas, Possibly Including My True Love Gave to Me, Poison Dance, & This Night So Dark

novellasI am terrible at getting around to reading short stories and novellas, despite my intentions, especially if they are online. But the last two have been on my Nook for a while (and I got them both for free!), and the former I put a hold on with my library. I haven’t read anything by ANY of the authors in My True Love Gave to Me (yes, despite the fact that so many of them are so well-known), so at first I wasn’t very interested, but then I thought, hey, they’re short stories! And if I don’t like how one’s starting, I’ll skip and go to the next one. It might be fun to read some cute, contemporary holiday stories this season.

New Releases Coming Before March 20 (AKA the start of spring)

(Let’s face it, I won’t read all these by then since I don’t get ARC’s, but still…)

8. Fairest by Marissa Meyer

gr-fairestDo I need to explain this? I think not.

9. Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

gr-shadow-scaleDid you read Seraphina? If you did, you understand.

10. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

gr-winners-crimeI really enjoyed the mind games in The Winner’s Curse, so I’m excited for more.

What’s on your winter TBR list?

The Top 10 Star Trek Characters I’d Want With Me on a Deserted Planet

It’s happened on many an episode of Star Trek… you crash land on a planet and… now what? There are usually dangers involved… generally weird alien life forms… some friendly and some not… and of course you want a top-notch group of folks to help you get through it. I got this idea months ago after doing a Top Ten Tuesday topic on the book characters I would want with me on a deserted island. But when Star Trek characters are involved, it’s got to be a deserted planet! Will we be able to make it home? I think with this crew we can…

sfm_banner_02b (1)This list is in no particular order…

1. Spock 

SpockHe’s obviously the logical choice. Spock’s intelligence would come very much in handy while on a deserted planet.

2. Ezri

Ezri_arrivalOut of all the characters in all the series of Star Trek, Ezri is the one I feel I could be BFF’s with, so I need her to keep me company on the planet. (Note to Charlene: Do not Google Ezri – it will only end in major spoilers!)

3. Chakotay

chakoty-resolutionsThe man will build you a bathtub, simply because you miss bathtubs. Or maybe he’ll only do that for Janeway. I don’t know, but his deserted planet building skills would come in handy!

4. Trip

trip-tuckerI love Trip’s personality, and he would try to keep the mood upbeat. Also, he should be able to fix our abandoned ship in no time.

5. Scotty

tos_scottyScotty and Tripp would make a dynamic duo for fixing things, plus I love Scotty’s no-nonsense attitude!

6.  Picard

picardSomeone’s gotta be in charge, and I think Picard might be able to handle this situation the best.

7. Troi

Marina_Sirtis_TNGIt’s easy to become frazzled while on a deserted planet, so Troi’s counseling could come in handy.

8. Dr. Bashir

bashirWe need a doctor, and I’m picking Dr. Bashir because he’s my favorite.

9. Data (+Spot)

spot-dataAs an android, Data can do things the rest of us humanoids can’t do. Plus, he’s knowledgeable and entertaining and he has an awesome cat.

10. Phlox

BILLINGSLEYPhlox is… eccentric… but he is also a doctor, plus knows a lot about animals and plants (mostly in terms of medicinal use) that might come in handy. I think he would also help generate a positive attitude on the planet.

Which Star Trek characters would you want to be with you if stranded on a deserted planet?

Review: Edge of Tomorrow

Note: This movie seems to suffering from a title identity crisis, because in some places I’ve seen it’s called Live. Die. Repeat., which to my knowledge, is/was the tagline. I like the name Edge of Tomorrow better, and that’s the title the movie was originally presented to me as, and what it was titled as in the credits, so that is what I am calling it. 

sfm_banner_02b (1)Between my disappoint with Tom Cruise’s sci-fi flick Oblivion and not hearing too much (positive or negative) about this movie, I went in with somewhat low expectations, but hoping I would enjoy it. Thankfully, Edge of Tomorrow proved to be a well-told (not tiring) loop story with fascinating science fiction elements, featured in a world I wanted to learn more about, and with two protagonists I cared about.

edge_of_tomorrowAt the opening we see that the world is at war with aliens who have come here and invaded us. The focus isn’t on the aliens, though they are the reason the loop occurs. I won’t give away all the details with that plot element, but Rita acquired the ability to loop from a previous battle with the aliens, and then Cage acquires it this time around. And with this looping comes the objective to completely dismantle the aliens to where they lose the war and, hopefully, Cage nor anyone else will have to relive the bloody slaughtering over and over again.

Cage is not the most sympathetic character at first, which is intentional, but he certainly becomes one as he is forced to relive this battle over and over again, and then is finally able to train with and talk to Rita and they get further into their mission. Of course everything we see is abbreviated, but based on what we hear, I think it’s safe to say that Cage has to go through these couple of days for at least a year’s worth of time. Can you imagine how tiring that would be? Thankfully, they portrayed that as well. Cage is not a born hero. Rita isn’t either. They have been put in circumstances in which they are forced to survive and hopefully save the world.

I appreciated that the repeated content never grew stale, but Catge’s different choices and reactions helped make it always feel new. This can definitely be a problem with loop stories, and luckily this one was well-handled.

I don’t have any real complaints,  though my initial reaction to the ending made me go, “What?! That’s it?!” because it was quite abrupt. But really, what would have been the point of dragging it out at that point? Did I want this movie to turn into The Return of the King or something? Overall, the movie was definitely worth a watch, and I found it enjoyable and thought-provoking.

4stars2Have you seen Edge of Tomorrow? What are your thoughts?

 

Leigh Bardugo Event!

I went to what felt like my first legit YA author event on November 9: Leigh Bardugo at Parnassus Books in Nashville! It’s about a 45 minute drive for me and it was completely worth it! (Not to mention that I got to pick up a slice of my absolute favorite cheesecake before I headed home… but anyhow…) Last year I saw Kat Zhang at a local Barnes & Noble when she was part of a local author signing, so I got her to sign the first two books of The Hybrid Chronicles, neither of which I had read yet at the time, and chatted with her briefly. This event was more like what I have seen other bloggers post about, and I was glad to finally have one of these experiences of my own, especially since I just came to love the Grisha trilogy so much this year!

Some bloggers take good notes during these events, but I didn’t, so here’s just a quick recap:

  • She shared about what her younger self thought via some  of her old diary entries. I have to say that was brave; I can’t imagine sharing my old journals with a crowd of people like that! But then again, maybe I would share a snippet or two to make a point, just as she did. She used it as a segway to discuss…
  • She talked about why she’s proud to write genre fiction. One thing younger Leigh pleaded with older Leigh was to remember how important young people are, which I thought was so neat for someone who grew up to YA fiction. She talked about how while, yes, genre fiction may be escapist, really so is ALL FICTION. She talked about how readers of genre fiction are the ones who will always be waiting for that letter from Hogwart’s or looking for the door to lead to Narnia, and considering when I was younger I was always hoping to find that door to Narnia, that really resonated with me. Some people (probably not anyone reading this now though) might think that’s silly and childish, but it’s about imagination. Anyhow, I just really appreciated it.
  • She read a decent-length excerpt from Six of Crows. It was hard for me to pay attention to the whole thing just because I’m bad at listening to things being read in general, but the concept is definitely interesting (a heist in an underworld trade society within the Grisha universe) and I’m looking forward to it.
  • She answered questions about characters and writing. I don’t have anything specific to note here, except it’s always nice to hear authors share their struggles with writing.

When it was all over it was time for the signing part! So, if you follow Leigh on social media you know about the dice you could get if you bought one of her books from the hosting bookstore. So of course I wanted to get on that, so I bought another PB copy of Shadow and Bone as a present for a family  member. Well, apparently everyone else who was buying their books did it beforehand (smart), but since I waited until after, I ended up the back of the signing line. BUT I did get the dice, which is important, and I still got to meet Leigh and get my stack of books signed plus other swag, also important! I had not really thought of what to say to her, but I decided at the last moment to mention my Grisha wedding inspiration post that I knew she had seen (thanks to tumblr), and she remembered it and said she loved it! I told her it made my day when I saw she liked the link, and she said it made her day when she saw the post! So that was a cool moment. (Then recently I tweeted her a link to the other posts because she said she wanted to see more and she tweeted me back saying she loved them all!)

And of course, pictures or it didn’t happen…

IMG_2136

Leigh and me!

IMG_2140

Leigh asked for my favorite character before she started writing book quotes inside. I said Sturmhond was my favorite, of course.

DSC_7361

Books + swag, picture obviously not taken with my phone. So the band around the first two books was described to me as a bookmark/headband. 🙂

DSC_7366

A better look at the dice and pins.

Have you ever gotten to meet one of your favorite authors? What’s your favorite memory from an author meeting?

Review: Interstellar

If you know me, you know how much I love Christopher Nolan. Inception has been my favorite movie probably since the day I first saw it in the theater, I loved what he did with Batman in The Dark Knight trilogy, and I loved the twisty-turny mind games of The Prestige. I am happy to report that Nolan is still at the top of his game with Interstellar. In one word, I would describe this movie as profound. In a few, I’d say it’s a deeply moving look at humanity. It both does and does not feel like a typical Nolan film; in many ways it looked and felt different, but the themes of love and tragedy and triumph and humanity that are present in all his films certainly resounded in Interstellar.

sfm_banner_02b (1)I went into this movie virtually blind. Everything I knew was from the trailers, and there is a lot missing from the trailers, including some of the casting that ended up totally surprising me when they showed up on screen. And since I’ve mentioned the casting, it was incredibly perfect. I am not a Matthew McConaughey fan by nature. I blame it on the movie The Wedding Planner and the fact that he is just very hyped and if I don’t love someone who is hyped I sometimes end up disliking them. That’s terrible, I know, but anyways, he really delivered in this film, along with everyone else.

interstellar2I want you to go into this movie mostly blind too, so I don’t want to give away too much. What I will say is that the future that Nolan created was scary, and not in some dystopia way, we’re talking in a the-Earth-is-dying way. There is this certain mysterious element going on, and to my surprise, I actually figured it out (the generalities, not the specifics) really early in the movie. However, it did not hinder my enjoyment of the film, and my husband did not figure it out. For those of you who have seen it, I will be curious to hear if you knew what was going on before the reveal. Despite having an idea of what was happening, the getting there and the how was still quite the ride.

I have heard a few murmurs about this film possibly getting Oscar nods, and I really, really hope it does. I don’t watch many Oscar contender movies, which I’m sure some people would say makes my taste in movies unrefined, but anyway, I could tell this movie was more of an Oscar-esque movie than most of the other movies I watch. There were several gratuitous space shots and other beautiful shots that really deserve recognition in addition to the great story and acting.

My biggest complaint against Nolan in the past has been his underdeveloped female protagonists, or at least me failing to connect with them. I did like Ariadne a good bit in Inception, and I thought Mal was a good character too, but otherwise, I have always been underwhelmed with the ladies in his movies. That is totally not the case with this movie. I LOVED Murphy, and I also liked Anne Hathway’s character Dr. Brand.

As I mentioned before, I had an idea of what generally might be happening, but before/during that reveal came some elements that, as my husband put it, were on the edge of going off the “deep end.” Yes, it’s science fiction, but it also seemed they were trying to make it pretty close to real science, and some of it started to feel like it might be a little hard to swallow. But thankfully I felt the “line” wasn’t crossed. I know that threshold is different for everyone, and heck, this whole paragraph might not even make sense to you, but I thought it was worth noting because it factors into my rating.

Lastly, I’ll vaguely mention the ending. The Prestige and Inception have the make-you-gasp, not-what-I-really-wanted-but-wow, open-ended sort of endings. The Dark Knight Rises ended so beautifully perfect (minus a certain someone in a cafe but I won’t go there now…). This is closer to a Prestige/Inception ending, but it plays out a little slower and doesn’t feel as shocking, if that makes sense. I didn’t dislike it, but it wasn’t his strongest ending.

This is a really fantastic story, and I am so pleased Nolan shared it with us. And of course, I am already eagerly anticipating what’s next from him. (Not Superman vs. Batman, which he is just producing, not writing/directing. Doesn’t count.) Not a perfect film, and not my favorite of his, but still very noteworthy. And it is definitely an experience in the theater, so go and watch it ASAP!

4-5stars-editHave you seen Interstellar? What are your thoughts on it?

Book Talk: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Since I am lazy lame, I did not prepare well for Sci-Fi Month and forwent an intro post. If you want to learn more about me and my history with sci-fi, check out my intro post from last yearsfm_banner_02b (1)I read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? about three months ago, but I thought I would wait to review it for Sci-Fi November. What I really intended to do was to write the review before but schedule to post it in November. That’s not what happened. I don’t feel like the book is fresh enough in my mind for me to give it a proper review, however, I want to talk about what I do remember (with some help from Wikipedia since I only remembered one character’s name from this book).

gr-doandroidsdreamI know it started off a little slow for me. The main character, Rick Deckard, is hooked up to a mood machine and wakes up happy. His wife, not so much. She seems to enjoy being crabby. Then there’s all this stuff about how they have an electrical sheep, which isn’t as good as having a real sheep, because animals are status symbols. I found the ideas semi-interesting but wasn’t really hooked, and I didn’t care much for the characters so far.

Then Rick goes to work (we might have gotten some John Isidore stuff before Rick’s work, I can’t remember, but we’ll get back to him) and we find out he bounty hunts androids, and androids can blend in with humans pretty well. But their big flaw is that they lack the empathy that humans do. I found this a lot more interesting.

We also learn about John Isidore, who I was confused about for a while because I thought he might be an android, but apparently he was just a not-so-bright human. He ends up helping some androids who take refuge in his apartment building as Rick attempts to track them down.

Most of Rick’s bounty hunting stuff was interesting, and there was one particular part I really got into where he was dealing with another “bounty hunter” that he had never heard of, and I won’t spoil anything there, but I was expecting quite a plot twist there, and was kind of disappointed when I didn’t get one. And unfortunately, after the non-plot twist, the story kind of went downhill for me. The John Isidore stuff was less interesting, and I felt so bad for him the whole time.

Then the ending was especially strange for me. Throughout the story there is talk of this guy named Mercer, and of his philosophy, which is known as Mercerism. I never really understood what the point of this man’s philosophies were, or why people cared about them, and I really don’t know why the novel ended with a strong emphasis on it. There were so many interesting aspects of the story, like colonization in space, the decaying of Earth, androids that pass as humans, and then it all ends with this dumb Mercer/electric animal subplot that I never actually understood in the first place. For all the things I have heard about this book and about Blade Runner, I was really disappointed by how flat it all felt in the end. I felt like I missed the point, because this is regarded as one of THE stories of science fiction. Afterwards I also felt no desire to watch Blade Runner, which I have heard so much about and thought I might want to watch after reading the book.

As I mentioned, I think there are certainly interesting aspects of the novel, and I rated it 3 stars on Goodreads, which still feels right to me as a book with potential but didn’t quite work for me personally.

So for those who have read it, I would love your thoughts on what really stands out to you about this novel. Did you get more from the ending than I did? 

Top 10 Books I Want to Reread

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Books I Want To Reread. Rereading seems like such a luxury. Like when will I ever have the time to put aside my ever-growing TBR pile and revisit an old book love? But, I want to get better at it in the next year. I doubt I will actually reread all these soon, but maybe in my lifetime. Here’s my list, in no particular order.

1. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

hunger_games_trilogy

I think I am going to try to reread the trilogy before the second Mockingjay movie comes out next year. I hope it really pulls me into the story again as it did the first time.

2. A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

gr-walktorememberI read this back in high school, and I’m really curious if I would like it as much now as I did then.

3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

GR-littlewomen2One of my all-time favorite stories that I really want to revisit via the book.

4. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

chroniclesI like some of these books more than others, but I think I would like to reread all of them again sometime.

5. Rebecca by Daphene de Maurier

GR-rebeccaI really enjoyed this one in high school and really want to read it again.

6. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

GR-thepictureofdoriangrayAnother read from high school.

7. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

GR-seraphina

I wanted to reread this book right after I finished it. That’s pretty rare, especially for a book I gave 4.5 (not 5) stars to.

8. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

gr-thehobbitI read this back in middle school! I wanted to reread it before the first of the movies came out, but didn’t. But maybe one day…

9. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

GR-tokillamockingbirdAnd one last read from high school I feel I really ought to revisit.

10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

GR-bookthiefBecause I can never get enough of Rudy.

What books do you want to reread? 

The 777 Challenge

Annie mentioned this challenge that to me that she did on her blog, and so I was curious to see how it might look for me.

How it works: 7th page of current WIP, 7 lines down, 7 lines.

This didn’t work out in as neat of a spot as I hoped, so I bent the rules a little, but it’s close enough.

Also, I’m terrified of doing this.

There is nothing profound in these 7 lines. No extraordinary writing. And despite this, I also have the fear of someone stealing the words anyway.

But my first draft didn’t even contain all these lines. Some of this was written recently as I’m going trough revisions for my NaNoWriMo story Earthbound from last year. At least I’m not revealing a section of my story that I feel is super special. Yet at the same time, these lines do say something that moves the story froward.

I want to become more serious about putting myself out there as an aspiring author, which is why I decided to do this. So without further ado and without context of the story (I’ll tell you one thing: Noa is a girl), here’s my 777:

Dad sighs, and I turn around so I don’t have to see the disappointment on his face. “Noa,” he says steadily before I can walk away, and I look back to him and realize he doesn’t actually look disappointed, just sad.

“I’m sorry. Your mother is right. We never intended to stay up here so long without a visit to Earth. But ultimately, the decision is yours. OK?”

I nod before I turn back and head for my room to wait for Dr. Avett’s arrival and my final sentence.