Friday, October 31, 2014

All Things Halloween Review - The Infinite Sea

The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave, # 2)

By: Rick Yancey

Published: September 16th 2014 by Putnam Juvenile

480 pages

Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic

Source: Personal Library

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*Note: The above links to Amazon, Book Depository, and Booksamillion.com are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--The riveting follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The 5th Wave, hailed by Justin Cronin as “wildly entertaining.”

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

*Deep sigh*. Oh my. That was a roller coaster. The Infinite Sea felt like a George R R Martin novel because absolutely nothing good happens to these characters. That’s not me spoiling this book. That’s me trying to prepare you for this ride because just when things are looking up…….WHAM! Not so much. Even though The Infinite Sea was an exhausting book, it still was a great second installment to The 5th Wave series.

We pick up The Infinite Sea a little while after The 5th Wave ended. I don’t remember how much time actually passed, maybe two weeks, but regardless, I didn’t feel out of the loop or like too much happened between the end of the first book and the beginning of this one. Like The 5th Wave, Rick Yancey writes from multiple POVs. The largest portions were Cassie, Ringer, Evan, Ben/Zombie, and then Poundcake had a few short sections similar to the sections Sam had in the first installment. I really enjoyed Ringer’s sections even though I wasn’t excited about reading from her POV at first. And even Poundcake’s short little sections added to the depth of the entire story.

When we start The Infinite Sea, Ringer has been tasked with the job of scouting ahead. The group has plans to travel to a more permanent hiding place for the winter because the hotel they’re staying now just isn’t far enough from Camp Haven where everything went down at the end of The 5th Wave. The hotel was supposed to be Evan and Cassie’s rendezvous location, but Evan has yet to show up. Zombie/Ben is ready to move on assuming that Evan is dead, but Cassie isn’t ready to give up yet. Thus Ringer has been sent out to scout out these caves as a potential winter shelter. Without giving too much away, Ringer finds herself back in the hands of the enemy, and eventually Evan finds his way to Cassie. But life isn’t blue skies and rainbows for any of these characters. More terrible things continue to happen as the enemy closes in around them.

Anyone who wasn’t digging the Cassie/Evan relationship from The 5th Wave can relax because their relationship is not the focus of this book. But don’t relax too much because there still is a relationship to be had. I personally love Cassie and Evan. I see no difference between them and Wanderer and what’s-his-face from The Host. And they’re probably less creepy than Katie and Daemon from The Lux series. At least Evan’s DNA is human. Anyway…loved them as individual characters and loved them together. Cassie surprises me sometimes with her temper. She isn’t as timid as you might think. And that spark inside her is what drew Evan to her to begin with. When everyone else would have hid, Cassie stood up to fight. Evan’s fighting his nature at every step. Or maybe he’s actually following his nature, depending on how you look at it. But it’s a battle nonetheless, and one he doesn’t always understand. He has Cassie set at # 1 for every single turn. Everything, for him, always comes back to her. And I love that.

I was hoping for a Zombie/Ringer hook up, but that didn’t really happen since Ringer is not even with the group through 99% of the book. Remember from The 5th Wave that Ringer shot Ben so he’s injured now. That being the case, he is not at the top of his game throughout The Infinite Sea, but even still, Zombie is not a character to mess with. Speaking of Ringer, as what typically happens with me…now that I was allowed a glimpse inside her head she became a much more likeable character. She, like the others, is just trying to cope in a very broken world, and she’s trying to survive. She easily has the toughest road out of all the characters in this book, and I liked her more and more the further along things went.

Enter a new character…everyone say hi to Razor. *Waves* I wasn’t sure, at all, what to think about him. He’s charged to essentially take care of Ringer while she’s in the enemy’s clutches and you can see him transform from stoic soldier, to confused pawn, to potential help, to more, and back again. It’s a process that truly kept me guessing. And I should have seen some events surrounding him coming but I just didn’t. He surprised me through and through.

As with The 5th Wave, I just really enjoyed Rick Yancey’s writing. He’s smooth, free-flowing, and poetic. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

-Five men and two women, strangers to one another on the eve of that final growing season, now bound by the unspoken promise that the least of them was greater than the sum of all of them.

-He was squeezed between what the world had been and what the world had become, who he was before and who he was now, and the cost of all the unspoken promises weighing on his heart.

-Promises are the only currency left. They must be spent wisely.

-“What’s the first priority?”
”No bad thoughts,” she answers dutifully.
”Because bad thoughts do what?”
”Make us soft.”
”And what happens if we go soft?”
”We die.”
”And do we want to die?”
She shakes her head. “Not yet.”

-“One day, Private Ringer, you’re going to smile at something I say and the world will break in half.”
”I’m not prepared to take on that responsibility.”

-When you look death in the eye and death blinks first, nothing seems impossible.

-Promises are priceless, and a kiss is a kind of promise, too.

-I’ll find you, Cassie. Don’t I always find you?

-You never know when the truth will come home. You can’t choose the time. The time chooses you.

-“Who is Cassiopea?” … “The one who stood up when anyone else would have stayed down”…

-He’s violated more than my memories. He’s molesting my soul.

-My reaction is months in the making. And instantaneous.

-Lies within lies within lies. Feints and counterfeints. Like a desert mirage, no matter how hard you ran toward it, it stayed forever in the distance. Finding the truth was like chasing the horizon.

The Infinite Sea was a great second book in The 5th Wave series. It was packed. It was emotional. It was exhausting. It was great. The Infinite Sea gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read The Infinite Sea? What did you think? Let me know!

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

All Things Halloween Review - Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, # 3)

By: Laini Taylor

Published: April 8, 2014 by Hodder & Stoughton

613 pages

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal

Sourece: Birthday Present

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Booksamillion.com )

*Note: The above links to Amazon, Book Depository, and Booksamillion.com are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

I felt like I missed a good bit of Days of Blood and Starlight while I was listening to it on audio. And so in an attempt to prevent that from happening with Dreams of Gods and Monsters I did two things: 1) I took notes. 2) I progressed slowly and only listened when I felt like I could really pay attention. And I still came out of Dreams of Gods and Monsters feeling a little like I missed some important parts, but not nearly to the level of Days of Blood and Starlight. I say all this to say that this is a complicated series, and while I would definitely recommend this series to lovers of fantasy, I would not really recommend the audio version. Khristine Vham does a great job with the narration. I applaud her pronunciation, and I even like the voices that she does for the characters, specifically Zuzana. It's just that there is a lot to absorb, and I think it's probably better done through actually reading it.

As I said, there's a lot that happens in this book, and it's one of the more complicated stories with pieces coming in from all angles. Coming in at 613 pages, Dreams of Gods and Monsters has a lot to wrap up and bring together. I dealt with frustrations in the beginning with story lines that felt like they didn't have anything to do with what's happened so far. And that's true to some extent, but mostly they were there to pull everything together for the ending. But it took quite a while for the events to begin to make sense. And most of the time, I just wanted to get back to Karou and Akiva.

Karou is one of those characters that has it all. She experiences almost every emotion you can think of throughout this book and especially over the entire course of the series. Zuzana is still one of my favorite best friend characters, and probably one of my favorite characters period. She brings the humor and I heart her. Akiva...poor Akiva. He's been through so much and Dreams of Gods and Monsters doesn't really give him a break either. Ziri shines in the parts that are focused on him. I was fearful of his affection towards Karou, but I didn’t have to worry. Liraz softens as a character throughout Dreams of Gods and Monsters, and I’m so glad because she was a throwaway character for me before.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters does wrap up all the loose ends so no worries about a cliffhanger. I was especially stressed out about the ending there for a while, but everything worked out in a way that I was completely okay with. This series as a whole has been an extremely enjoyable fantasy and I look forward to going back through it whenever I have a chance—maybe then more of the details will sink in. I definitely recommend Dreams of Gods and Monsters and the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series as a whole. Dreams of Gods and Monsters gets 4 stars from me. Have you read Dreams of Gods and Monsters? What did you think? Let me know!

*Having not actually read this book, I didn't see the spelling for each character's name and may have misspelled some above. If you notice any misspellings, please let me know in the comments. Thanks!

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Waiting on Please Remain Calm

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Please Remain Calm (This is Not a Test, # 2)

By: Courtney Summers

Expected Publication: January 20th 2015 by St. Martin's Griffin

Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Zombies, Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic

( Goodreads )

Goodreads description--In this gripping sequel to THIS IS NOT A TEST, Rhys and Sloane are headed for a safe haven when they get separated along the way. Rhys is determined to reunite with Sloane until he discovers people who might need him more--people who offer him the closest he'll get to everything he's lost, if they can just hold on long enough.

Rhys thinks he has what it takes to survive and find the girl he lost, but in a world overrun by the dead, there are no guarantees and the next leg of his journey will test him in unimaginable ways ...

AH!!!!! A sequel!!!! YAY!!! Loved This is Not a Test! What are you waiting on this week? Let me know!

This feautre is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top Ten Movies to Spark the Halloween Spirit

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten Movies to Spark the Halloween Spirit.

  1. Practical Magic starring Sandra Bullock & Nicole Kidman
  2. Hocus Pocus starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, & Kathy Najimy
  3. 28 Days Later starring Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston
  4. The Craft starring Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, & Neve Campbell
  5. The Walking Dead (TV show) starring Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Chandler Riggs, & Steven Yeun
  6. Blade starring Wesley Snipes
  7. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV show) starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, & Alyson Hannigan
  8. The Sixth Sense starring Haley Joel Osment & Bruce Willis
  9. The Village starring Joaquim Phoenix & Bryce Dallas Howard
  10. The Grudge starring Sarah Michelle Gella

  11. And an honorable mention of:
  12. Casper starring Christina Ricci & Bill Pullman

What are the movies/tv shows that you go to in order to get into the Halloween Spirit? Let me know!

This feautre is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.

Monday, October 27, 2014

All Things Halloween Review - Touch of Frost

Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy, # 1)

By: Jennifer Estep

Published: August 1st 2011 by K-Teen

350 pages

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Mythology, Paranormal

Source: Personal Kindle Library

( Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Booksamillion.com )

*Note: The above links to Amazon, The Book Depository, and Booksamillion.com are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy; a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest. But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why; especially since I should have been the one who died...

I’m not sure that I have much to say about Touch of Frost. This was a fairly easy read for me to get through. I liked the different take on the supernatural/mythology with this story being centered around an academy to Amazons, Valkyries, Spartans, Vikings, etc. learning how to battle against Reapers and others in an epic battle spanning the ages. I don’t often read about modern day Spartans or Vikings so I appreciated the new (to me) approach to paranormal/fantasy YA.

Gwen was an okay character in the beginning. She’s new to Mythos, and she’s different from all the other students in that she’s a Gypsy and she’s the only Gypsy at Mythos. During the teenage years there’s just about nothing worse to a kid than being different. And Gwen is no exception. She feels like an outcast, but just as much as she blames that on the other kids, it’s her fault as well. Gwen doesn’t seem to have made much of an effort to make friends up until this point. Granted, her mother only passed away six months ago, so we’ll give her a pass for being depressed and antisocial. It was nice to see Gwen branch out and grow over the book, and I’m looking forward to seeing how much more she changes over the coming books. The slow changes she makes in thinking, action, and relationships was enjoyable and realistic.

Because Gwen feels like an outcast in the school, she looks at the other students very negatively. It’s warranted in some cases and in some cases not. Jennifer Estep writes an overly clichéd group of mean girls that are even mean to each other. As a matter of fact there was much of Touch of Frost that felt clichéd to me when it came to plot and characters despite the unique overall concept of descendant-warriors of these ancient groups of people. None of the twists were really a surprise for me, and I felt like the social aspects of Mythos were so stereotypical that I found myself rolling my eyes a good bit.

All of that said, I felt like Touch of Frost was still a decent first installment to a series that I see some real potential in enjoying. Logan, of course, is a hottie even if he behaved stereotypical as well. Touch of Frost gets 3.5 Stars from me. Have you read Touch of Frost? What did you think? Let me know!

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.