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Strange Things, Indeed (Season 3 Review)

SPOILER ALERT. DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED WATCHING SEASON 3! 

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Eleven and the gang are back for another season, only this time around there’s way more hair and bad outfits to go around. Everyone’s been busy since we last saw them: Eleven and Mike have been busy sucking face, Dustin has been off at summer camp, and Steve landed a job slinging ice cream at the brand spanking new mall, Starcourt.

Everyone is ready to have a normal summer, filled with teen love and angst when shit gets weird…again. Russian communists have infiltrated Hawkins and are trying to re-open the portal to the Upside Down, which had been closed by Eleven last season. On top of that, Max’s big brother Billy seems to be acting more douche-y than usual…

This season was amazing. I was worried that it was going to be lame, with all the teenage drama and whatnot, but I actually ended up liking this season better than the previous one. Despite the weird and sometimes horrific stuff going on, the writers managed to add comedy and lightness to this season that hadn’t been there before. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just watch any scene with Steve and Dustin.) The younger characters were a little more mature (except Mike, he was whiny and kind of annoying) and complex this time around, dealing with real-life issues that all teens experience: romance, strained friendships, boundaries, standing up for your friends, etc. There were some great new characters thrown into the mix, as well, like smart and sarcastic Robin. Of all the relationships we’ve seen evolve on the show, the big brother/little brother relationship between Steve and Dustin is by far my favorite. They are absolutely hilarious together and I just love them.

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The girls were more front and center this time around, too, which I really liked. Eleven finally gets to have a somewhat “normal” life and figure out who she is. It was fun to watch the friendship blooming between Eleven and Max and see how much Eleven changes throughout the course of the season.

Overall, this season was a huge win for me. I have some theories on that last scene we saw and what it all means, but I guess we’ll  have to wait and see if there is going to be another season.

Are you a Stranger Things fan? What did you think of season 3? 

 

Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Sci-Fi · Young Adult

Book Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer…

Emika Chen is pretty down on her luck when she accidentally glitches into the biggest Warcross tournament in the world. To her surprise, her small mistake is a ticket to the streets of Tokyo and a personal relationship with Hideo Tanaka. Emika was a great protagonist, with her badass hacking skills and funky appearance. She made some really good decisions and didn’t get overly wrapped up in the potential romance blossoming in front of her, which made me appreciate her even more.

Hideo is a fascinating character. The chemistry, the frustration, and the mystery surrounding him made it hard to tell if you were supposed to love or hate him. (I’m pretty sure this was intended though.) I enjoyed getting to see his relationship with Emika unfold and present some unexpected surprises. I liked the other characters of the story, also, but to be honest none of them blew me away. We didn’t get to know any of them particularly well, but it didn’t seem to hurt the story.

This was such an intriguing read. The way Lu blends the modern world (at least, I’m guessing it’s somewhat modern. We’re never really told this.) with a world set in a virtual reality really blew my mind. At times I found myself envious of Emika, wishing that my own life paralleled that in which she lived.

The ending surprised me and left me yelling at the book. You know, because I didn’t want it to end yet. I may or may not have already rushed out to the bookstore and purchased a copy of Wildcard. 

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Fiction · Sci-Fi · Young Adult

T5W: SFF Authors on My Auto-Buy List

So, I got physically stuck behind the copy machine at work today and someone had to come free me. I’m still asking myself why they let me supervise other people…That was my day in a nutshell. How are you all doing today? Anybody get stuck anywhere interesting?

I finished up A Darker Shade of Magic and I can’t wait to share my review with you all, after I finish writing it, that is. In the mean time, let’s talk about authors!

This week’s T5W category is Sci-Fi/Fantasy Authors on my “auto buy” list. While there are several authors that I really like, there are only a select few on my auto-buy list.

Neil Gaiman – You guys already know how I feel about Mr. Gaiman and his work. If he decided to publish the phone book I’ll be the first one on the waiting list.

V.E. Schwab – I’ve only read one of her books now, but I’m pretty sold. I can’t wait to read the rest of her books and see what’s in store.

Leigh Bardugo – I love the unique worlds and the complex characters she creates.

Patrick Rothfuss – Still eagerly awaiting the third installment of the Kingkiller Chronicle series. If he puts that or anything else out in the next decade I’m in.

Colleen Oakes – I love the way Colleen re-tells stories. Dare I say, she makes them even better than the originals!

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Sci-Fi · Young Adult

Top Ten Tues: Books on My Spring TBR

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It’s Top Ten Tuesday again! (Check out The Artsy Reader Girl to see what each week’s theme is going to be.) This week’s theme is “Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR List.” Now, I will be the first to admit that I am terrible with actually sticking to my lists when I make these, but I figure I’ll manage to read at least some of them before summer rolls around. Here’s the current list. (Ask me about it again in 2 weeks and it will be completely different.)

  • Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  • Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman 

  • The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
  • A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Armored Saint by Myke Cole
  • The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
  • Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
  • How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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Adult · Books · Fantasy · Sci-Fi

Book Review: Robots vs. Fairies

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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

It’s a showdown between nature and science. Who will reign victorious: the robots or the fairies? 

I was SO excited to find this book in Asheville a few weeks ago. While I am a fan of both robots and fairies, I will admit that I’m Team Fairy all the way.

Robots vs. Fairies is a collection of short stories written by various popular fantasy/sci-fi authors. Rather than being stories of actual warfare between the two entities, each author chose a side (Team Fairy or Team Robot) and told their story accordingly. The layout and alternating views made this a fun read. It was easy to get wrapped up in a particular “side” based on the story you were reading, then do a complete 180 by the time you reached the next one.

The fairies were portrayed in all sorts of manners. Some were the fun, whimsical fairies of our childhoods, while others were dark and malicious. The robots gave you a glimpse at both the good and bad of technological advancement. While both sides were painted in an intriguing manner, the fairies were more diverse. The fae, Seelies, banshees, brownies, and pixies were all represented throughout the anthology. The robots were creepy and felt widely similar in nature after a while. (Which I suppose makes sense, as they’re programmed machines with no feelings or real human-like tendencies.)

My favorite story in the book was Sarah Gailey’s haunting “Bread and Milk and Salt.” (Seriously, this one will keep you up at night.) Some other favorites were Seanan McGuire’s “Build Me a Wonderland,” Kat Howard’s “Just Another Love Song,” Jim Hine’s “Second To the Left. And Straight On,” and John Scalzi’s “Three Robots Experience Objects Left Behind From the Era of Humans For the First Time.” The introduction to this book (a greeting letter, written sometime after the robot or fair overlords have already won and have taken over the human world) is unique and captivating. I was hooked immediately.

Definitely check this one out, whether you’re Team Fairy, Team Robot, or new to the world of sci-fi/fantasy.

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Are you Team Fairy or Team Robot?

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Sci-Fi

It’s Monday! How you doin’?

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I hope you’re all doing well on this rainy Monday morning. I’m a bit on the sleepy side. Boyfriend woke me up in the middle of the night to inform me that I was yelling in my sleep. Since injuring my shoulder a few months ago I’ve had to learn to sleep on my back more often. Apparently, when I sleep on my back I do weird things, like yell, laugh, and talk in my sleep. (Not too long ago I attempted to warn Boyfriend about the “tiny trolls” in our bedroom. I believe get me in my sleep last night and this is why I was yelling.)

So, what’s everyone reading this week?

I’m currently a little more than halfway through Good Omens. Even though I’ve read this one before I’m excited to review it for the blog. I also read a few stories in the new book I picked up while I was in Asheville this weekend, Robots vs. Fairies. I was so excited to see this one on the shelf! I didn’t even realize it had come out already.

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When I die, please put “Beware the Tiny Trolls” on my tombstone. People really need to know what they’re up against.

 

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Sci-Fi

Book Review: Shada by Gareth Roberts

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My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

When The Doctor’s old friend, Professor Chronotis, retires to Cambridge University he brings some souvenirs with him that he should have left behind. One of them, “The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey,” is far too dangerous to be left unguarded. Even worse, it’s fallen into the hands of the sinister Skagra. 

The Doctor, Romana, and K-9 must figure out what Skagra’s up to and get the book back before something terrible falls upon the universe. 

Shada is based upon some of Douglas Adams’ original scripts for Doctor Who that never made it to air. Like the previous Doctor Who novel I read, this one is based off the 4th Doctor.

The story invoked some of the quirkiness of Tom Baker’s character, which is always entertaining. It was nice having Romana and K-9 present, also, even if it’s just for nostalgia purposes. The rest of the characters didn’t do enough for me though. Even the villain was kind of lackluster.

Some of the “details” of the backstory were a little shoddy. I understand that there’s a lot to explain as far as the history of Doctor Who goes, but I still felt like there could have been less half-assed explanations.

Aside from those things, the story was enjoyable. It was’t as good as City of Death, but it wasn’t terrible either. The novels are a fun way to kill time while I wait for season 11 to come out.

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