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Update: April 22, 2016

Hello!!

So I just wanted to give a quick update. I’m moving into my own apartment April 30th!!!!!

excited tao

I’m so excited and I can’t wait to live on my own and be a real, fully functioning adult. But this move means I’ll be pretty absent for the next 2-3 weeks. I won’t have a lot of time for reading let alone writing.

Anyway, I just wanted to give that quick update so I don’t just disappear and hopefully I’ll be back in full force mid May reading tons and writing tons.

Felicia

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science fiction, scifi, short story, young adult

Book Review: Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Stars Above
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Length: 400 Pages, Hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Short Stories
Rating: 3.5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
The enchantment continues. . . .
The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories – and secrets – that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?
With nine stories – five of which have never before been published – and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

Review:
As with Fairest I found these short stories to be nice but unnecessary. I could have done with or without them. Of the 9 short stories I only really enjoyed three of them. The rest were kind of boring and I was pretty bored reading them.

Honestly, the only short stories I thought to be worth while to the series was “The Mechanic” the scene where Kai met Cinder but from Kai’s point of view and “Something Old, Something New” the only story about after the series.

I also enjoyed “The Little Android” which was a short story retelling of The Little Mermaid but I liked it as it’s own separate short story not necessarily as something connected to The Lunar Chronicles as a whole.

I would have given this a 2.5 if not for “Something Old, Something New.” This last short story had me smiling like a fool one minute and tearing up the next.

I will say that reading these short stories made me really miss the series. I almost stopped reading these short stories and picked up Cinder to reread.

I like that Marissa Meyer has been fleshing out the series but I wish the stories were more relevant or added more to the world. These almost felt like fanfiction for the series, not official stories from the author.

Podcast

Podcast Review: Fansplaining

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Title: Fainsplaing
Hosts: Flourish Klink and Elizabeth Minkel
Producer: Self-published
Length: Typically an hour
Genre: Education, culture
Rating: 4 Mics

Summary:
Fansplaining is a podcast about fandom: not a fandom, but fandom and fan culture in general. How are fans making an impact on pop culture? On industry? How has fandom changed over the years? And what truly is the best fanvid ever? Fansplaining features fan, academic, and entertainment industry guests, and it’s hosted by Flourish Klink and Elizabeth Minkel. New episodes come out every two weeks.
Taken from the Fansplaining About page

Review:
It’s no secret that fandom has been a huge part of my life for almost as long as I can remember. So you can imagine just how jazzed I was when I found out about this podcast. Basically they discuss fandom and fan culture in an academic way. It’s interesting and I enjoy analyzing something I love in an academic way.

Flourish and Elizabeth are great hosts. They have great chemistry and the friendship between them is obvious. They also have great podcast voices. Each voice is distinguishable and they generally speak slowly enough to catch but fast enough to not feel boring.

I love their transitions as well. The music they use is relevant and I’ve found many a good band through the transitions. Also, since it’s a small podcast you don’t have the annoying and/or tired commercials that a lot of podcasts tend to have.

I do think that some of the episodes could be a little more focused. Also, since it is self-produced there are some parts that could be better. There have been some audio issues and sound quality issues that will hopefully be fixed as they become more experienced and get better.

On a better note, both of the hosts have a good sense of humor that keeps the podcast from getting too serious. There have been many times where I laughed outloud. They also transcribe all their episodes if listening to podcasts isn’t for you!

I also have to applaud their interactions with the listeners. I tagged them in a post on my tumblr asking a question and they answered it in the most recent podcast (I’m still stoked Senpai noticed me!!!). They try to get to all the questions they get from fans and I’m super glad that they try to address the topics brought up by their listeners.

Overall, I’m super into this podcast and I can’t wait to see where it goes. Fandom and fan culture is a relatively new topic of study and it’s not very accessible to people who aren’t in the academic world. I’m glad Fansplaining is around to help bridge the gap and allow fans everywhere to think critically about their fandoms and fan culture.

Here are two of my favorite episodes:
Episode 15: ~Fanspeak 
As an English major, my favorite episode would be the one where they talk to a linguist about the language fans use and how it came to be. I’m super interested in how the language fans used developed and the different lexicons of different fandoms. This episode helps explain some aspects.

Episode 4: Buncha Lawyers
This episode is super interesting. One of the biggest topics in fandom is copyright and this episode addresses it. It talks about plagiarism vs copyright infringement and what’s covered under fair use. I think this topic is super interesting especially being a book fandom and how authors typically view fanfiction.

science fiction, scifi, young adult

Novella Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Fairest
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Length: 272 Pages, Hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Novella
Rating: 3 Folded Pages

Blurb:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall.
Who is the Fairest of them all?

Pure evil has a name, hides behind a mask of deceit, and uses her “glamour” to gain power. But who is Queen Levana? Long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress in The Lunar Chronicles, Levana lived a very different story―a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Review:
I’m sad that I didn’t enjoy this more. Maybe it’s because I read it after I read Winter or maybe it’s because it followed Illuminae. Either way, this novella was kind of eh for me. It wasn’t great but it wasn’t awful.

I definitely enjoyed being able to see why Levana was the way she was. However, I don’t think it evoked the feelings in me that Meyer intended. I didn’t feel sorry for Levana. In fact, this made me dislike Levana even more.

Warning: Spoilers are ahead.

This novella clearly shows that Levana was not mentally stable. All of her problems were non-existent or self created. I think her mental instability might stem from Channary using the lunar gift on Levana when she was young alongside the trauma she faced as a child. Either way, I didn’t really feel for Levana the way I wanted to. I wanted to understand her and feel bad for her but I just couldn’t.

Spoilers over

Overall, this novella was nice for fleshing out Levana and adding to the world building of the Lunar chronicles but I could have lived without it.

Horror, romance, science fiction, young adult

Book Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Title: Illuminae
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Length: 608 Pages, Hardback
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance, Young Adult, Horror (kinda)
Rating: 5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Review:
I’m like 95% sure this book almost pushed me into a book slump and not in the bad way. This book was so good it had me contemplating what I would do with life while I wait for the sequel. I was a little unsure going into this book. I’d heard great things but typically I don’t do well with weird formats. I was extremely surprised by just how much I loved the unusual way of storytelling in this.

Even though the book was not told through normal conventions, the characters were SO well developed. Kady was sassy and fun even when facing big issues. Her character shined even when she was nervous or scared. Ezra was confident and it was obvious with how quickly he took to being a pilot.

I won’t go further into characters to avoid spoilers, but I generally loved how each character was built and shown. With how the story was told, it would have been very easy to tell and not show but Kaufman and Kristoff managed to do more showing with their unconventional point of views than a lot of the novels I’ve read.

I do have to give a warning for some pretty hardcore gore. The novel isn’t technically labeled as Horror but for me it definitely reads like it. I haven’t read any horror but parts of it felt like I was watching a horror movie so I wanted to add that warning to any who might be squeamish.

The plot was super interesting. Again, I won’t be detailed about it to avoid spoilers but I felt like plot twists just kept coming at me and almost none of them were expected. On a side note, homosexual relationships were thrown in very nonchalantly and treated as normal. I appreciated this. As always, it would have been nice to have LGBTQ+ stuff at the forefront. I’m still glad that this kind of thing was included and that they didn’t make a big deal of it.

This book was such a breath of fresh air. I’ve been struggling to find books to read since finishing this because it was so good. It also took me much too long to write this review. I don’t think words could justify just how much I loved this book. If I can convince you to read one book, it’d be this one. It’s the best book I’ve read in a very long time.