Monday
Sep082014

Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly Fire
Cassandra Clare

Margaret K McElderry
Released May 27, 2014
725 pages
YA / Fantasy / Magic

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!

Two volumes of boredom finally pay off with a more interesting story in the sixth and final book of Cassandra Clare’s The Immortal Instruments series. Too bad the more interesting story was bogged down by shoehorning in new characters to bridge to the forth-coming trilogy The Dark Artifices and tons of winks to readers who have read the other books. Also, if you haven’t read the Victorian London set prequel series The Infernal Devices, don’t read this book. It will spoil the ending to that story and then some.

Spoilers for… possibly a lot of things, including City of Heavenly Fire

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep052014

Trailer Park Friday: The Infinite Sea, Arrow Explosions, Frozen on TV & Zombie Comedy

It's the end of another week and it's time to watch videos on the internet!

The 5th Wave was one of my favorite books last year, so I'm eagerly anticipating the sequel that comes out in just a few weeks. A trailer was released through Entertainment Weekly earlier this week. The Infinite Sea comes out on September 16.

Oh Arrow, why can't you be on my television every night? Here's the newest trailer. The show returns October 8.

The newest season of Once Upon a Time will be featuring characters from Frozen because... well, why not? I'm not necessarily excited by the addition. I just hope that don't try to cram movie references into Storybrooke. Once Upon a Time comes back on September 28.

I don't know much about Burying the Ex, but I like Anton Yelchin and odd zombie movies are totally in my wheelhouse. There is no release date, but it's premiering at the Venice Film Festival which is happening right now.

 

Have you seen any great videos online lately? Do any of these trailers look appealing to you? Do you love Arrow as much as I do? The comment section awaits!

Thursday
Sep042014

Review: The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter
Cassandra Rose Clarke

Angry Robot
I received an e-ARC from the publisher in return for a review.
Released January 1, 2013
391 pages
Science Fiction / Romance / Robots / Feels

Find it on Goodreads

Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound | Angry Robot

"Cat, this is Finn. He's going to be your tutor."

Finn looks and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is now to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion...and more. But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world, and in Cat's heart.

I honestly can’t keep track of all these “Daughter” name books, so I wasn’t completely sure what book this was when I opened it up on my Kindle during our first of many hour-long lines at Comic Con. But then there was a robot and robots make everything better, so instead of moving on to something more action packed, I stuck with the slow burn part political, part romance, part sci-fi, all adult book and found myself getting lost in it while convention chaos went on around me.

I suppose the proper blogger phrasing would be that The Mad Scientist’s Daughter gave me feels, lots of feels. Like serious “my heart hurts what is happening” feels. It starts when Cat is a small girl and her scientist father brings home an associate named Finn who will be living with them, working in his lab and acting as Cat’s tutor. There is something a little bit off about him, so Cat immediately decides he’s a ghost and tries several experiments to confirm her suspicions. She is, of course, wrong because Finn is an incredibly lifelike android and he quickly becomes her only friend. The rest of the book follows Cat as she grows up and tries to reconcile her relationship with Finn with the feelings and political views of society in general.

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Wednesday
Sep032014

What We’re Watching: Nazis on the Moon & a Doctor Who Update

Hey, look! It’s two weeks in a row that I’m blogging on a Wednesday!

Last week, in the inaugural What We’re Watching post, I had on my grumpy pants. After a lackluster True Blood finale and a messy Doctor Who premiere, I was generally bummed about television. I’m happy to say that this week, my grumpy pants are folded up and tucked away in the back of my closet. First the Doctor Who update.

Thank Moffatt, the second episode was so much better than the first. I’m starting to get a feel for Capaladi’s Doctor and he’s moving away from general “asshat version of Matt Smith” into something more intriguing. He has that childlike hopefulness seen in the previous incarnations, but in a much more subdued manner. The episode itself was pretty silly, shrinking the Doctor, Clara and an assortment of red shirts so that they could go inside a Dalek to “cure it”. The execution was entertaining though.

It was also the first time I had ever seen Clara as an adult. This statement made Fernando sputter in disbelief, but for some reason, Clara has always read to me as being in her late teens. Seeing her with the new ex-soldier guy whose name I don’t remember, but who I am already quite fond of, finally took her from being an annoying bratty child to a palatable young adult. Perhaps I can grow to like Clara after all?

And now for the main event on this week’s What We’re Watching – MOON NAZIS.

For some reason, one Friday night we decided to watch Iron Sky after it had been suggested by Max, the Netflix robot. We’re quickly learning to not listen to him, but not necessarily because of Iron Sky. First of all, look at that poster. It’s Suckerpunch if that movie had been only the fun videogame cut-scene parts and not any of the pseudo-feminist bullshit. Yet somehow I missed the swastikas because I was surprised that, upon starting the film, some astronauts landed on the moon to find… a swastika-shaped compound ON. THE. MOON.

This was the point where I paused the movie and got some alcohol.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep022014

Random Tuesday: Leslie's Favorite Summer Movies

Summer is over. Or at least in a calendar sense it is now over. It’s still 100 degrees here in Texas and probably will be for the next month. The big summer blockbuster movie season is over though, and over the next few months, we’ll get a lot of quieter award bait films with fewer explosions. So how did this summer blockbuster season measure up? Well, I couldn’t come up with five films that I would willingly sit down and watch all the way through again, so not very well.

I also realized while compiling this post that I didn’t see a ton of movies this summer. A lot of the big budget films looked like bloated wastes of time, so I steered clear of Transformers 4 (even with the dinosaur robots) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (even – or possibly because of – my renewed love of the characters). I like entertaining films, but I’m not keen on ones that treat me like I’m stupid. There were also several that had been on my radar, like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Maleficent, where my interest waned as reviews started coming in. Those films quickly landed on my “wait until Netflix” list instead (as did The Fault in Our Stars because there is no way I will voluntarily go to something I know will make me ugly cry in public).

So I made a list of the films I did see and there were four gems on the list. These are movies I would purchase to own. These will become my next Scott Pilgrim or Pitch Perfect, where no matter where it is in the movie, I will watch the rest of it every. single. time. it comes on HBO. These made me happy and left me hopeful that there still could be good blockbuster films to be made. Here are my top four films from the summer of 2014:

Guardians of the Galaxy


I saw this during my doctor-induced blogging hiatus, so my sheer love for this film wasn’t as well documented as it would have been otherwise. This may be my favorite movie on the year so far, though I really don’t want to pit Pratt against Pratt, so I haven’t been thinking too hard about if this beats the nostalgic glee of The LEGO movie.

This movie should have been a mess of nonsense, but instead we got an authentically entertaining mix of action and heart. Is this a perfect movie? Absolutely not, but it’s a fun movie that left me smiling from ear to ear as I left the theatre. A month later and I still desperately want a baby Groot of my very own.

 

Lucy


WHERE IS MY FEMALE SUPERHERO MOVIE?! The Internet – or at least the parts of the web I travel – was screaming this over and over again after Lucy came out. It was fast paced and surprising with a bizarre twist ending that I never would have predicted. Scarlett Johannsson kicked some major ass and not a damsel in distress was seen after the first ten minutes. I just wish the commercials and trailers hadn’t given away all the big action-y bits, so that it would have felt newer. Even so I had high hopes for this movie and it fulfilled expectations.

 

Snowpiercer


I thought Snowpiercer was going to be a giant wreck. I’d followed the politics and drama with its US release, so I wasn’t even all that interested in seeing it. But the Internet promised me that it was the original director’s cut and not some nonsense Weinstein disaster, so we took a chance. And it was good. I never had any particular feelings towards Chris Evans before now, but I kinda want to see everything he’s ever been in. This movie is pretty straight forward with a predictable story, but it’s the details and the performances that make it so awesome. Don’t think too hard about the logic or plausibility for the setup of the film because you might start bleeding out the ears. Action mixed with some seriously bizarre visuals made this one of the most unexpected and entertaining hour and a half of my summer.


X-Men: Days of Future Past


I knew the basics about the comic storyline for Days of Future Past, and this movie wasn’t the comic. Instead it was a weird pseudo-political thriller action adventure dystopian whatsit taking place over two time periods drawn together by Wolverine. Even so, I would watch James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender stare at each other for two hours. Thankfully I didn’t have to and I got to watch a comic book movie instead. It’s not perfect, but at least I liked Jennifer Lawrence’s Rogue in this one. This barely made my list of favorites for the summer, but the ridiculous set pieces were thankfully overshadowed by some over-the-top-but-highly-entertaining performances from the main cast. Also Quicksilver = the best.


Honorable Mention: Captain America: The Winter Soldier


This movie made it feel like summer came early. I can’t wait to get my hands on the DVD, so I can watch it over and over again to see the things that I missed. The first Captain America movie verged on boring and it’s not one I’ve revisited since its release, but in this second one, Steve Rodgers has a lot more heart and having him paired up with Black Widow gave him a great opportunity for snark and great banter. I fell in love with Falcon and my heart hurt for Bucky, so all around this movie was filled with great characters that I want more from. The giant battle towards the end was way over the top, but it provided great opportunities for action sequences and impressive stunt work (that was probably all computer generated, but whatevs).

 

Movie I’m Scared to See: The Giver

I almost went to see this and then 7-year-old me started kicking me in the stomach and yelling,” NO NO NO NO!” The Giver is one of those literary touchstones in my life – a book that had such an impact on my life view as well as my reading habits that I couldn’t stand seeing it destroyed on screen. While I won’t say The Giver single-handedly turned me into a lifelong reader, it did introduce me to how to escape into a totally different world through reading (or in my case hearing) some words that were written down. I’ve heard mixed reactions to the movie, so I think I’m going to have to protect 7-year-old me and avoid this screen adaptation.

 

All right, friends. What were your favorite movies from the summer? Was there something glaringly missing from my list that I must dropped everything and go see right now? Will The Giver break my 7-year-old heart? Let me know if the comments.

 

Gifs were created by people more awesome than me. If they are yours, let me know and I'll be happy to credit.