Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

November 2021 Wrap-Up 🥧

Hey again, bibliophiles!

Jeez, it’s still so hard to believe that 2021 is almost over. It doesn’t feel like it should be over, but really…good riddance. As of now, there were good parts, but the burnout from online school, precalc, taking the SAT, and everything else in this mess deserves to go in the trash with 2020.

Okay, maybe I went too negative there. But this year did sort of suck. The first half, at least.

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

Lenny Busker from Legion | Aubrey plaza, Aubrey plaza legion, Legion

As a whole, I’d say November’s been alright. The pinkish-purple part of my hair has faded to this cool silvery color, and I’m liking it a lot.

NaNoWriMo has been a major part of this month, and it was a wild ride! There were times that I felt, in the words of Colin Robinson, “like I [had] the power of a thousand cowboys running through my veins,” but there were major slogs as well. But through it all, I managed to reach my word count and finish up the draft of that particular WIP! Looking at it now, it’s fairly short (only around 150 pages), but I’m more comfortable with it at a novella length like that. I feel like anything else that I could put in there would be filler.

And this is the last year of NaNoWriMo that I’ll be doing in the Young Writer’s Program…by the time next year comes around, I’ll be doing the full 50,000…

Other than NaNo, November has felt…strangely slow. I guess it’s the calm before the storm, since I have a big project coming up for my AP Gov class very soon [screams into the void], but it’s been an alright month; I finished up season 3 of What We Do in the Shadows (I’m sorry WHAT WERE THOSE LAST TWO EPISODES), saw Soccer Mommy live, drew more frequently, and listened to the abundance of new music that came out! Snail Mail, Spiritualized, Radiohead…life is good, folks. Life is good. Plus, Aurora’s End finally arriving brought so much joy into my life, and I’ve been gushing about it ever since.

this gifset doesn't do that scene justice | Explore Tumblr Posts and Blogs  | Tumgir

It’s been strange, though…we’ve had almost no snow this fall here in Colorado; by now, we’re usually having a little bit of snow almost every week, but since October, we’ve seen…maybe only three or four snows? And out of all of them, only one of them accumulated, and even then, it melted the next day, and it was barely an inch. It better snow come Christmastime. It better. I’m not much of a cold weather person, but you just can’t have Christmas without snow.

READING AND BLOGGING:

Counting my re-read of Aurora’s End, I read 21 books this month! Pretty good, all things considering. Also, I’m counting the fact that I’ve only re-read Aurora’s End once as a step in the right direction.

2 – 2.75 stars:

Amazon.com: Gods & Monsters (Serpent & Dove, 3): 9780063038936: Mahurin,  Shelby: Books
Gods & Monsters

3 – 3.75 stars:

Amazon.com: The Soul Keepers (The Soul Keepers, 1): 9781250309136: Taylor,  Devon: Books
The Soul Keepers

4 – 4.75 stars:

Amazon.com: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle: 0760789273384: Turton,  Stuart: Books
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

5 stars:

Aurora's End eBook by Amie Kaufman - 9781524720902 | Rakuten Kobo Canada
Aurora’s End

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Aurora’s End5 stars

Aurora's End eBook by Amie Kaufman - 9781524720902 | Rakuten Kobo Canada
Aurora’s End

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I’VE ENJOYED:

great album! this is one of my favorite songs from it, but also a song that I can’t listen to frequently…tugs at the heartstrings
NEW SPIRITUALIZED NEXT FEBRUARY THIS IS NOT A DRILL
we are blessed by a truly FANTASTIC Snail Mail album!!
KID A MNESIA gave me an excuse to finally listen to Amnesiac…great stuff!
I’ve listened to this an alarming number of times since August but I haven’t fit it into any of my wrap-ups, so
historian was a pretty fantastic album!
this came on my shuffle the other day and I forgot how AMAZING it was

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY NOVEMBER GOALS?

Snail Mail - Thinning [4K 60FPS] (live @ Brooklyn Bazaar 1/26/18) GIF |  Gfycat
  • Read at least 20 books: 21, counting the Aurora’s End re-read!
  • Enjoy Thanksgiving Break: good, AP Gov homework notwithstanding.
  • Keep the progress on my current WIP: the draft is finished!!

DECEMBER GOALS:

Funny Gifs : rudolph the red nosed reindeer GIF - VSGIF.com
  • Read 20 books
  • Survive that AP Gov project [heavy breathing]
  • End 2021 on a good note!

Today’s song:

I know I’ve already posted once today and put in a different song, but since I didn’t have time to post yesterday, I figured I’d put in an extra song. love this one

That’s it for this month in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: November 15-21, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

Most of this week has just been “getting through to Friday because break starts after that,” but it hasn’t been a bad week. In fact, I’d say it’s been a good one—chiefly because I got to finally read Aurora’s End! Even though some of the books I read this week weren’t as good, Aurora’s End brightened everything, and my heart is so, so full for Squad 312. As always. But more than usual.

I’ve been chugging along through NaNoWriMo as well; it’s felt a little more like a slog this week, but I’ve still been able to reach my daily word count every day. [knocks on wood]

Other than that, I’ve just been volunteering at the library, drawing some aliens, and notifying everybody I know who’s into the Aurora Cycle that my school library stocked two copies of book 3. I am nothing if not extremely predictable. And now it’s Thanksgiving Break! It’s nice to have a week off here.

Finding Nemo Todays The Day GIF - Finding Nemo Todays The Day The Sun Is  Shining - Discover & Share GIFs

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

City of Shattered Light – Claire Winn (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

City of Shattered Light by Claire Winn, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Aurora’s End (Aurora Cycle, #3) – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (read twice) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Aurora's End eBook by Amie Kaufman - 9781524720902 | Rakuten Kobo Canada

The Ghost Seekers (The Soul Keepers, #2) – Devon Taylor (⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: The Ghost Seekers (The Soul Keepers, 2): 9781250168337: Taylor,  Devon: Books

Gender Queer – Maia Kobabe (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Gender Queer: A Memoir : Kobabe, Maia: Amazon.in: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton (for book club)

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Six Wakes – Mur Lafferty

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

Gods & Monsters (Serpent & Dove, #3) – Shelby Mahurin

Gods & Monsters by Shelby Mahurin | Hardcover | Epic Reads

Death Prefers Blondes – Caleb Roehrig

Amazon.com: Death Prefers Blondes: 9781250155825: Roehrig, Caleb: Books

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (11/16/21) – Aurora’s End (Aurora Cycle, #3)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

Wow. The day has finally come, folks. 1 and a half years of waiting, and now I have answers. My favorite series has come to a close, and yet it doesn’t feel like the end. It’s surreal to think that this may be it—the series that changed the course of my life, finally capping off. But if this really is the end, then Aurora’s End is the best conclusion that I could have ever asked for, and a book that I will no doubt cherish just as fervently as the first two books.

Now, TREAD LIGHTLY! If you haven’t read Aurora Rising or Aurora Burning and intend to, beware of spoilers! If you want to read my previous reviews, look no further:

Enjoy this week’s review!

Aurora's End by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | Penguin Random House Canada
F I N

Aurora’s End (Aurora Cycle, #3) – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

my copy ft. Aurora Burning and Aurora Rising, plus a cool filter and some crystals (not Eshvaren crystals oop)
last picture, I promise—here’s Finny boy with Hobbes, one of my cats

For all intents and purposes, the Battle of Terra was the end for Squad 312. They failed to stop the Starslayer from harnessing the Eshvaren’s Weapon, and intergalactic war is imminent. Meanwhile, the Ra’Haam slips in through the chaos, threatening to cover the entire universe in its spores.

But by a cosmic twist of fate, Tyler, Auri, Kal, Zila, Scarlett, and Finian are unscathed. They’ve been separated by time, and the only chance they have at thwarting the Ra’Haam is turning history itself inside out. Time is not on their side, though, and it may not be enough to save civilization itself from being wiped out.

karlmordo - This is how things are now! You and me. Trapped in...
Aurora’s End without context

TW/CW: graphic violence, mild sexual content, blood, near-death situations, severe allergic reaction, emergency medical procedures, loss of loved ones, death, descriptions of injury, body horror

[WARNING: this review may contain spoilers for Aurora Rising and Aurora Burning!]

I still haven’t come to grips with the fact that this is really the end of the Aurora Cycle. But as someone whose life was permanently altered for the better by this trilogy, I can say with certainty that this is the best end to the series that I could have ever asked for. My heart is so, so, so full of love.

There were so many factors that went into the separate situations that Squad 312 got themselves into, but Kaufman and Kristoff have once again proved that nothing is impossible. Time is distorted, there are future selves to be dealt with, technology and ancient aliens races are as complicated as ever, and of course, Past Pete is here to kill Future Pete. Lucky for us, Kaufman & Kristoff have been rapid-firing Chekhov’s gun, and every detail from the past two books comes full circle. After how mind-boggling the plot and cliffhanger of Aurora Burning were, Aurora’s End brings everything back in superbly clever and surprising ways, making for a trilogy that’s more cohesive than ever before.

And my emotions…MY EMOTIONS! After so long apart, reuniting with Squad 312 felt like reuniting with long-lost friends. Despite this being the last book, the development that many characters got was such a beautiful way to bring them all the way back and display the enormous growth many of them have had over the course of the series. Out of all of them, though, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see Finian and Scarlett’s relationship develop; they’re such an unlikely couple, but the love they have for each other is so consistently tender and heartwarming. Plus, a) NORMALIZE BI PEOPLE IN STRAIGHT PASSING RELATIONSHIPS! STRAIGHT-PASSING RELATIONSHIPS ARE SO VERY VALID!, and b) DISABLED PEOPLE!! IN LOVING RELATIONSHIPS!! WE NEED MORE OF THOSE!! Nothing can top Kalauri, but Fin and Scar come very, very close. I LOVE those two. Power couple. Finian is the once and future disaster bisexual.

Also, Tyler trying to be all “space pirate”-y after an entire lifetime of being Captain America was a train wreck…comedy gold

One aspect of Kaufman and Kristoff’s writing that I haven’t often touched on is how they build tension. Their skill at developing heart-pounding tension is especially evident in Aurora’s End; they did such a masterful job of raising the stakes over the course of these three books, and bringing it all to a nail-biting cataclysm towards the end. The last 100 pages of Aurora’s End had me stressed out to no end, but…in a good way? It made me genuinely worried for everybody involved. Look, I’ve gotten way to attached to my space misfits over the past two years. Let me off the hook this once.

Along with all that, Kaufman and Kristoff once again more than delivered with everything that made the first two books so strong. The universe was expanded upon in surprising ways, the characters were more fleshed out and lovable than ever, the chemistry was impeccable, the action sequences had me clutching the book in a vice grip, and the dialogue hit the perfect balance of levity, tenderness, and solemnity. The found family of Squad 312 is stronger than ever, and my heart is still bursting with love for all of them.

It’s hard to end this review. It isn’t every day that a series changes my life, but the Aurora Cycle truly did. These books taught me so much about moving through this world as an outsider; Auri taught me that I didn’t have to be brave or strong to be a hero, and that people with the fate of the world on their shoulders can have their big feels too. She was the first time I’d really seen a mixed-race hero, and having a character like her means the world to me. I’ve come to see myself in Finian, and he’s taught me that I deserve love just as I am. And Squad 312 has taught me that no matter who you are, there will always be a home for the outsiders. It cemented, more than ever, that even if you think that you are alone in the world, somebody out there loves you, and will give you a home.

All in all, the perfect ending for a series that changed my life for the better. 5 stars for the sake of Goodreads, but realistically, however many stars there are in the known universe.

Squad 312 forever. 💗

never again shall we submit

Aurora’s End is the final book in the Aurora Cycle, preceded by Aurora Rising (#1) and Aurora Burning (#2). Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff have also written the Illuminae Files together; Amie Kaufman is also the author of the Starbound trilogy (co-written with Meagan Spooner) and the Elementals series, and Jay Kristoff is also the author of the LIFEL1K3 trilogy and Empire of the Vampire.

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: November 8-14, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

Emotionally, it hasn’t been an ideal week, but it’s picked up in the last few days. To make things better, though, I had a string of great books in my library haul (minus one of them), and I had some time to read this week. I also held my school’s book club meeting this month, and everybody seemed really excited about A Darker Shade of Magic!

NaNoWriMo has also been going steadily! I’m at nearly 20,000 words, and my goal is 45,000 by the end of the month. (I’m still in the Young Writer’s Program.) It’s been a lot of fun to give myself time to write every day, and though getting 1,500 words in every day has been a little difficult, I’m getting used to it.

Other than that, I’ve been listening to Snail Mail on repeat, playing my guitar, drawing aliens, and waiting for my package of Aurora’s End to arrive. (!!)

AND IT ARRIVED TODAY

I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF AKAKDAFKHDJFKFSJSAHJK

AAAAAAAAAAA | Motion Blur | Know Your Meme

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardy – C.M. Waggoner (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Ruthless Lady's Guide to Wizardry: Waggoner, C. M.: 9781984805867:  Amazon.com: Books

The Soul Keepers – Devon Taylor (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Soul Keepers (The Soul Keepers, 1): 9781250309136: Taylor,  Devon: Books

The Way You Make Me Feel – Maurene Goo (⭐️⭐️)

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Trouble the Saints – Alaya Dawn Johnson (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Perfect on Paper – Sophie Gonzales (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Perfect on Paper: A Novel eBook : Gonzales, Sophie: Kindle Store

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

City of Shattered Light – Claire Winn

Amazon.com: City of Shattered Light eBook : Winn, Claire: Kindle Store

Aurora’s End (Aurora Cycle, #3) – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (!!!!!!!!!!!)

Amazon.com: Aurora's End (The Aurora Cycle Book 3) eBook : Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Kindle Store

Gender Queer – Maia Kobabe

Gender Queer: A Memoir: Kobabe, Maia: 9781549304002: Amazon.com: Books

The Ghost Seekers (The Soul Keepers, #2) – Devon Taylor

Amazon.com: The Ghost Seekers (The Soul Keepers, 2): 9781250168337: Taylor,  Devon: Books

Today’s song:

this song has been stuck in my head since Thursday and I LOVE it

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags

3 Bookish Things Book Tag

Hi again, bibliophiles!

I was in the mood for a book tag today, so I figured I’d give this one a shot. I was tagged by Riddhi @ Whispering Stories (thank you!), and I’m not sure who created the tag, so if you know, please let me know so I can credit them!

Let’s begin, shall we?

📘3 BOOKISH THINGS BOOK TAG📘

3 READ-ONCE-AND-LOVED AUTHORS

Amazon.com: The Sound of Stars eBook: Dow, Alechia: Kindle Store

Just so I don’t sound like a broken record, here are three that I’ve discovered more recently and loved…

3 TITLES I’VE WATCHED BUT NOT READ

The High Fidelity Cultural Reference Guide, Vol. V: Great Scenes and Lines  -- Dry The Rain | High fidelity quotes, Soundtrack to my life, Pixies songs

3 SERIES I HAVE BINGED

Ooh, I rarely binge series, so this one’s probably a little harder…

Amazon.com: The Young Elites (9780147511683): Lu, Marie: Books

3 CHARACTERS I LOVE

OOH, lots to choose from…I’ll think of some that I haven’t talked much about in other book tags…

Kaliis-768×1060 – Amie Kaufman
character art by @kiranight_art

3 CURRENT FAVORITE COVERS

I wouldn’t say that I have a favorite book cover, but here are a few recent reads that had covers that I ADORED

Victories Greater Than Death | Charlie Jane Anders | Macmillan
Victories Greater Than Death
Amazon.com: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea (9781536204315):  Tokuda-Hall, Maggie: Books
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea
REVIEW: 'The Ones We're Meant to Find' by Joan He will take readers to a  futuristic world that hits close to home - Bookstacked
The Ones We’re Meant to Find

3 THINGS YOU HAVE USED AS BOOKMARKS

Uh…I just use bookmarks, and I have no memory of using anything else…

3 UNPOPULAR BOOKISH OPINIONS

Amazon.com: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, 1) (9780316310314):  Black, Holly: Books
  • The Cruel Prince wasn’t that good, and Jude and Cardan’s relationship was all kinds of toxic
  • Wings of Ebony wasn’t that great either, but I will say that a) I loved the unapologetic approach to racism and colonialism and b) the cover was really pretty
  • Alina from Shadow and Bone shouldn’t have been paired off with the Darkling or Mal – both options weren’t great, and why did she need to be paired off in the first place? (But if I could pair her off with anyone, I’d say Genya.)

3 BOOK GOALS FOR THE YEAR

Page to Screen: The Handmaid's Tale | Arts | The Harvard Crimson
  • Read at least 250 books (I’m at 130 right now!)
  • Actually get around to reading The Handmaid’s Tale bc it’s been sitting on my Kindle for over a year
  • Don’t cry that hard during Aurora’s End (because it’s a given that I’ll cry at some point)

I TAG:

Love Reading GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Since I’ve already posted once today, check out this week’s Goodreads Monday for today’s song.

That’s it for this book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books

Sci-Fi Tropes: Cryosleep, Unhinged AI, and everything in between 🪐

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

I’ve been trying to think of more original posts to do, and I figured that this one would be something really fun to explore. I’ve seen a lot of posts talking about tropes, but genre-specific ones are always interesting to think about/discuss, and in much of the YA book fandom, I feel like sci-fi doesn’t get as much love. So I decided to look at six tropes that are specific to sci-fi (for the most part). Sci-fi is my favorite genre, so I got super excited thinking about all of these different tropes, and some (mostly) YA books that use them in different ways.

So let’s begin, shall we?

These Are Not The 130 "Star Wars" GIFs You Are Looking For | Star wars gif,  Star wars characters, Star wars episodes

WARNING: This post may contain some book spoilers (Aurora Cycle & Dare Mighty Things series), so read at your own risk!

🛸SCI-FI TROPES🛸

CRYOSLEEP, BUT FOR WAY TOO LONG

Quiz: Ripley, Our Lady of Survival | Bookmans Entertainment Exchange

Ellen Ripley – and Aliens in particular – probably set the blueprint for this one, but as the trope gets more popular, authors have started to push the limits on this one, which I think is a really cool move.

It’s most often the protagonist that this happens to – our hero, on the eve of something great, is put into cryosleep for an interplanetary mission, only for something to go terribly awry and stay in cryosleep for longer than they were supposed to. Ripley got an accidental 50 years, Auri from Aurora Rising got 200 years, and Andra from Goddess in the Machine got a whopping 1,000 years.

This trope presents two main advantages for writing: a vehicle for exploring the novel’s world through fresh eyes, and internal conflict within the character. If your cryosleep character is completely unfamiliar with the world, seeing it through their eyes gives the reader a more in-depth look at the world than they’d get with a character that’s already familiar with it. They’ll inevitably notice more things and fixate on different things than another character might, which gives the reader more insight about what’s unique about the world that the author has crafted.

As for the internal conflict piece, this part’s always touched on, but in most of the novels I’ve read with it, it’s a lot more shallow than you’d think. There’s the existential crisis that inevitably occurs when the character realizes that everything they know and love is all but gone, but beyond the first few chapters from their POV, they get over it…relatively quickly? It seems like the kind of trauma that would leave lasting psychological scars, and probably physical health repercussions as well. I’ve yet to read any book that explores all that in depth, but it seems like the perfect setup for a sci-fi novel.

So this one’s a trope that can make for a lot of creative choices, but often has a lot of untapped potential.

BOOKS WITH THIS TROPE: Aurora Rising (Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff), Goddess in the Machine (Lora Beth Johnson)

GOTTEN INTO A SITUATION YOU CAN’T GET OUT OF? TIME TRAVEL!

Best Avengers Endgame GIFs | Gfycat
“Time travel!”

Apparently this one is a lot more common than I thought, but I’ve only started to see it in YA more recently. (Well, there’s Avengers: Endgame, but it took me a while to realize how common of a trope it is…)

This trope has the possibility of ENDLESS freaky hijinks whilst traversing through time. Sometimes it’s just pushing the events of the past so that everything lines up a little bit nicer, and sometimes it’s rocketing back to another time period entirely. It usually happens only with the last book in a trilogy or duology, just so everyone can fix the mess they got into in the first books.

I have mixed feelings on this one; one the one hand, there’s never a dull moment – time travel jokes, fitting VERY badly into a different time period, and very high stakes, most of all. If the first books have followed a similar formula, it might be good to try for something else to end the series with a bang.

On the other, though, something about it almost feels…lazy to me. Often, this trope arises from The Gang™️ getting a situation so bad that there may not be a feasible way out of it, but…maybe they could? If done wrong, it can feel like lazy writing – an easy way out, and one that provides instant comic relief. And often, the means of said time travel are vague, and often reduced to technobabble from The Smart Character™️, which, hey, I don’t know much about the science of it either, but maybe at least put a little time into it?

So this one’s a double-edged sword: instant plot, or lazy writing? The choice is yours!

BOOKS WITH THIS TROPE: Sword in the Stars (Once & Future, #2) (A.R. Capetta and Cori McCarthy), Aurora’s End (Aurora Cycle, #3) (Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff)*

*this one doesn’t come out until November [screams] but we know that time travel will play a big part in this one, so…

ALIENS THAT BASICALLY JUST LOOK LIKE HUMANS (BUT WITH A FEW MINOR DIFFERENCES)

Pin on Asteria Academy
I know Jean Grey isn’t an alien, but most of the aliens mentioned below have similar powers to her, so…

Most of the other tropes I’m going to be discussing in this post are ones that I like on some level, but…this one gets on my nerves. For the most part.

Far too many times, I’ve fallen into the trap of picking up a sci-fi book that promises aliens, only to discover that the aliens just look like humans, but with either a) unusual eye colors, b) some sort of powers, or c) a combination of both. And of course, they have to be ✨ridiculously attractive✨ as well. 🙄

Now, I completely get making your aliens humanoid (hey, I’m doing it with some of my aliens for my sci-fi WIP), but there’s a certain point where it feels a bit lazy. Unless there’s some way you can back it up, it seems weird to me that in this entire universe, the only other intelligent beings, by some cosmic chance, are similar to us in almost every way.

But I’ve seen some authors use it to their advantage – in particular, One Giant Leap (the sequel to Dare Mighty Things) does this especially well. The main alien civilization there look exactly like humans, but it’s because of genetic modifications performed so that they could survive on Earth. See? That’s actually a really good way of turning the trope on its head, and doing so in a practical way!

For the most part, this trope never ceases to bug me, but there’s a few ways to turn it on its head.

BOOKS WITH THIS TROPE: One Giant Leap (Dare Mighty Things, #2) (Heather Kaczynski), Amid Stars and Darkness (Chani Lynn Feener)

UNHINGED A.I.

David - Prometheus --- ah! DON'T TELL ME THAT!!! (lol) | Michael  fassbender, David 8, Sebastian moran
BREAKING: Michael Fassbender Sustains Fatal Back Injuries from Carrying all of the Alien Prequels

For me, at least, this trope is the most fun – and it presents some of the scariest and most formidable antagonists in sci-fi.

Villainous AI are some of the most fascinating characters to explore – they have unmatched power, in some cases, and whether they’re a pre-installed ship AI or an android, it’s always interesting to hear their perspective on all of us puny mortals.

Given that humans trust AI a bit *too* much in most sci-fi novels, they often have a fearsome amount of power at their disposal. AI installed inside of a ship? Access to all the security footage, navigation, communications, and controls of the ship. They know their crew up and down, and have the possibility to play everybody’s weaknesses against each other. They have the power to sabotage anything and everything, and more often than not, they do. WITHOUT HESITATION. A corrupt AI often harbors a hatred or jealousy of human beings, and if it’s not that motivating them, it’s some sort of technologically-stemmed god complex, which is always terrifying to watch play out. (Lookin’ right at you, David…) It’s even more of an interesting development if their moral compass shifts over the course of the series – if there’s one thing I’ve learned from sci-fi, it’s that benevolent robot overlords never stay benevolent for very long.

Corrupt AI as antagonists are often more compelling than human or alien ones (for me, at least) partly because so much is left up to the imagination about the inner workings of their minds. We’ve never developed any kind of artificial intelligence that’s become intelligent enough to have devious tendencies like many sci-fi villains, so a lot of it is the author’s personal choice. There are endless possibilities – but more often than not, they’re all terrifying.

And even if they aren’t main antagonists, the addition of a slight unstable AI as a character is always amusing; for all of its flaws, I loved Gregorovich’s existential musings in To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, and his character added some much-needed flavor to the rest of the cast.

TL;DR: There’s nothing more terrifying than a villain that knows everything about everything, and uses that power for its own gain at whatever the cost.

BOOKS WITH THIS TROPE: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars (Christopher Paolini), Illuminae (Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff), Scythe (Neal Shusterman)

HIGH-STAKES COMPETITIONS TO GO TO SPACE…WITH SOME SERIOUS ULTERIOR MOTIVES

artoo, that way

Scared to send your experienced, highly intelligent scientists to space? Send some teenagers instead!

This one tends to crop up the most in YA, as it’s primed for a book that has a primarily teenage cast. The ones I’ve read do tend to follow a formula, but for the most part, it’s one that’s actually a lot of fun!

The worldbuilding/motives behind it are always a little bit messy (again: sending teenagers into space! What could possibly go wrong?), but often times, you just have to hang in there; it’s a given that whatever program is funding the competition is doing something astronomically shady. (No pun intended.) Part of the fun with this trope is the mystery of it; slowly but surely, the competition starts dropping like flies, and things go very wrong very quickly.

More on the mystery aspect – the mystery that often occurs in these types of novels is very slow-burn, building on itself before the heartstopping reveal at the end (often a cliffhanger). From program superiors lying to scheming androids to deaths under mysterious circumstances, there are endless possibilities for many, many things to go wrong. Add in the not-so-friendly rivalries between the competitors (also scheming, along with everybody else), and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a nail-biting sci-fi mystery.

And once/if they get to space? Everything gets way worse. There’s bound to be aliens, but whether they’re intelligent or just parasitic, things are bound to go way, way south. But there’s never a dull moment – there’s no shortage of suspense, and our protagonist is often at a loss as to how to escape their situation.

Plus, for reasons I’ve yet to figure out, these ones always tend to have the most clever pop culture references. (See: all of the Radiohead songs in the Final Six duology)

BOOKS WITH THIS TROPE: The Final Six (Alexandra Monir), Dare Mighty Things (Heather Kaczynski)

EXPLORING OTHER PLANETS GOES VERY, VERY WRONG (Or, “Don’t do intergalactic colonialism, kids”)

Large yacht passes by gargantuan yacht - boing - Boing Boing BBS

Here’s another common – but by no means overdone – trope that’s always open to endless possibilities!

Because our planet was never enough, apparently (or if we destroyed it…probably), there’s a whole host of sci-fi stories that are set on entirely new planets, with the sole goal of making them a new home for humankind. But just like with our planet, it’s always unpredictable, whether you’re dealing with a foreign contagion, carnivorous wildlife, or superiors who aren’t what they seem.

I’m always a nerd for creature design in sci-fi, and life on other worlds presents all sort of possibilities for creatures lurking in the bushes. Whether it’s flora or fauna, exploring these sci-fi worlds along with the characters is an adventure, especially if the author is particularly creative. Of course, most of the wildlife ends up being carnivorous, or malicious on some level, so there’s all sorts of danger lurking.

But beyond that, this trope is often a great commentary on colonialism. Human history is rife with frightening periods of raping and pillaging land that wasn’t ours to begin with at the cost of those who originally lived there; telling the same story on alien planets serves as a particularly potent comment on the malicious tendency of our species to overstep and overstay our welcome. Books like A Conspiracy of Stars and The Pioneer explore what happens when humanity comes in contact with intelligent life and unlawfully sets foot on their land; both of them do an amazing job of exploring the intricacies of the political implications, as well as the tense conflict that results. I think sci-fi as a genre is one of the best mediums for raising commentary on this kind of thing. Exploring new frontiers in space is bound to happen once we get the technology, but we must always ask ourselves if it’s the right thing to do. Just because we can doesn’t necessarily mean that we should. (Let’s be real: I would be SO excited if we found evidence of life elsewhere in the universe, but…let’s not have a repeat of all of human history, okay?)

BOOKS WITH THIS TROPE: The Pioneer (Bridget Tyler), A Conspiracy of Stars, (Olivia A. Cole), Tangled Planet (Kate Blair)

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! What are your favorite/least favorite tropes in sci-fi? Have you read any of the books I listed, and what were your thoughts? This’ll probably be one of several posts on the subject, so I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

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Today’s song:

That’s it for this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags

The Last 10 Books Tag

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

I have a whole load of book tags that I want to do soon, and I figured I’d give this one a go, it sounds like a lot of fun! I was tagged by Stephanie @ My Book Throne, (thanks so much!) and the tag was originally created by Marc Nash.

Let’s begin, shall we?

🔟THE LAST 10 BOOKS TAG🔟

LAST BOOK I RE-READ

Amazon.com: Crooked Kingdom: A Sequel to Six of Crows (Six of Crows, 2)  (9781627792134): Bardugo, Leigh: Books

The Netflix adaptation of Shadow and Bone made me go back and read the Six of Crows duology. Needless to say, tears were shed.

LAST BOOK I GAVE UP ON

Amazon.com: Falling Kingdoms: A Falling Kingdoms Novel (9781595145857):  Rhodes, Morgan: Books

I haven’t DNF’d anything in a while, but I got to about the 70% mark in Falling Kingdoms (on my Kindle) before I couldn’t take it anymore.

LAST BOOK I BOUGHT

The Ones We're Meant to Find by Joan He

I went down to my favorite bookstore on Thursday morning and got three books that I’ve been really excited to read! The Ones We’re Meant to Find is one of them.

LAST BOOK I SAID I READ BUT DIDN’T

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I…never really do that, and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t remember…

LAST BOOK I WROTE IN THE MARGINS OF

Let the Great World Spin: A Novel: McCann, Colum: 9780812973990:  Amazon.com: Books

In most cases, I’m firmly against writing in books, but we’re supposed to annotate while we read for school books, so…

Let the Great World Spin was the last book that I read for AP English, and there’s lots of pen marks in there…

LAST BOOK THAT I HAD SIGNED

Amazon.com: Aurora's End (The Aurora Cycle Book 3) eBook: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Kindle Store

Weeeeeeeeell…this doesn’t *really* count since it isn’t out yet, but I preordered a signed copy of Aurora’s End, so that’s about as close as I can get. I haven’t really been to a whole lot of book events other than Denver Pop Culture Con, and I can’t remember the last trade paperback that I got signed off the top of my head…

LAST BOOK I LOST

Macbeth (Folger Shakespeare Library) - Kindle edition by Shakespeare,  William, Mowat, Dr. Barbara A., Werstine, Paul. Literature & Fiction Kindle  eBooks @ Amazon.com.

(Why do I keep putting books I read for school in this tag?)

I rarely lose books, but I panicked for a bit last year when I lost my copy of Macbeth for a short time. I think I found it behind the headboard of my bed, or something…

LAST BOOK I REPLACED

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Uh…I’ve never really replaced any of my books…I rarely lend them to other people and I try very hard not to damage them, so…

LAST BOOK I ARGUED OVER

Amazon.com: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, 1) (9781599906959): Maas,  Sarah J.: Books

I mean, I don’t remember the last time I’ve full-on argued with somebody about a book, but I’ve had several people insist that I try reading Throne of Glass again, and…nah. Not for me. True, I was grumpy and sick when I read it, but I really don’t think that contributed to the low rating.

LAST BOOK I COULDN’T FIND

Dark Days (Skulduggery Pleasant): Derek Landy: 9780007325979: Amazon.com:  Books

Whew, here’s a throwback…

I LOVED the Skulduggery Pleasant books in middle school, but I had to stop at book 3 because I just couldn’t find Dark Days anywhere. ANYWHERE. Such a shame, these were so much fun…

I TAG:

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Today’s song:

That’s it for this book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: March 22-28, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! Whew, it feels like I haven’t done an update in a while…

Luckily, this week has been fairly light school-wise, seeing as it was the last week before everything let out for Spring Break. It was one of the interim weeks where I checked out whatever feels right from the Kindle library before my physical library books came in, but everything that I read (and re-read) was great! March has been a great month for reading, for the most part. Perfect time for it, too – we’ve had a super snowy March this year, so all the better to stay inside and read.

Reading Night — Amita Sevellaraja

I’ve had more time to post stuff here too, and I’ll definitely be doing more over Break before I have to prepare more for the SAT, so that’s been a lot of fun. I have a whole bunch of book tags laying dormant in my blog sticky note, so…

AND THE AURORA’S END COVER REVEAL! AAAAAH!

Other than that, I’ve been drawing a bit, working out the kinks on my short story, watching Falcon and The Winter Soldier (alright? I guess?) and the first half of the Snyder Cut of Justice League (AAAAH), and volunteering at the library. I definitely need a break…

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WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley (re-read) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Looks from Books: Fashion Inspired by Frankenstein - College Fashion

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness – Austin Channing Brown (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness: Channing  Brown, Austin: 9781524760854: Amazon.com: Books

Girl, Serpent, Thorn – Melissa Bashardoust (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Girl, Serpent, Thorn (9781250196149): Bashardoust, Melissa:  Books

The Light at the Bottom of the World – London Shah (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss, 1)  (9781368036887): Shah, London: Books

Chlorine Sky – Mahogany L. Browne (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Chlorine Sky by Mahogany L. Browne: 9780593176399 | PenguinRandomHouse.com:  Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Other People’s Weddings – Noah Hawley

Other People's Weddings: Noah Hawley: 8601417156438: Amazon.com: Books

Salvaged – Madeleine Roux

Salvaged by Madeleine Roux: 9780451491831 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

The Future is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin – Lisa Yaszek et. al. (anthology)

The Future Is Female, Edited by Lisa Yaszek • Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

These Violent Delights – Chloe Gong

Amazon.com: These Violent Delights (9781534457690): Gong, Chloe: Books

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Random

Aurora Rambling, Revisited: AURORA 3 HAS A COVER AND A TITLE AND NOW I’M EXCITED AND REALLY SCARED

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Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

Back in August, I made a rambly little post about my theories for the cover of the third Aurora Rising book. Of course, back then, I thought I’d get answers by October or November, since that’s what happened with the reveal for Aurora Burning, but alas, it seems the pandemic (I think?) has pushed it back from the May release date I thought it would have to early November. So now I have to let that horrendous cliffhanger fester in my mind for about 7 more months…

Paolo 🩸 on Twitter: "I'M LITERALLY THIS CAT RIGHT NOW… "

But there’s more good news than bad! On Wednesday, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff announced that there would be a cover and title reveal on Friday, and yesterday afternoon, it came! So without further ado…

AAAAAAAAAAA | Motion Blur | Know Your Meme
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via Rock the Boat News

OH

MY

GOD

I CAN’T HANDLE THIS ALL AT ONCE THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL

FINIAN???? KING OF THE SPACE BISEXUALS??? FINALLY GETTING THE COVER HE DESERVES! AND THE RA’HAAM IN THE BACKGROUND

But can we talk about that title too? I certainly didn’t see it coming, but I guess we were foolish to think that Kaufman & Kristoff would stick to the Aurora [blank]ing formula for the past two books…either way, I am very excited. I’m also very frightened.

So as you can imagine, my brain has pretty much sounded like this since Friday afternoon:

…wait for it

And here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

The squad you love is out of time. Prepare for the thrilling finale in the epic, best-selling Aurora Cycle series about a band of unlikely heroes who just might be the galaxy’s last hope for survival.

Is this the end?
What happens when you ask a bunch of losers, discipline cases, and misfits to save the galaxy from an ancient evil? The ancient evil wins, of course.
Wait. . . . Not. So. Fast.
When we last saw Squad 312, they working together seamlessly (aka, freaking out) as an intergalactic battle raged and an ancient superweapon threatened to obliterate Earth. Everything went horribly wrong, naturally.
But as it turns out, not all endings are endings, and the team has one last chance to rewrite thirs. Maybe two. It’s complicated.
Cue Zila, Fin, and Scarlett (and MAGELLAN!): making friends, making enemies, and making history? Sure, no problem.
Cue Tyler, Kal, and Auri: uniting with two of the galaxy’s most hated villains? Um, okay. That, too.
Actually saving the galaxy, though? 
Now that will take a miracle
.

The Muppets Screaming Gif - IceGif

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

So let’s see how this all matches up with my cover predictions from my Aurora Rambling post.

My main three contenders for the cover were Scarlett, Finian, and Zila, though Tyler was in the mix there. I also had a dream at some point about Tyler being on the cover, and that it was green.

…well, I’m glad that the green part came true and not the Tyler part.

But anyway, here were some of my original thoughts, circa August 2020:

PERSONALLY? I’d like to have either Scar, Finian, or Zila, but more so the latter two. 

SEMI-LOGICALLY? I think that Zila or Tyler have the best chance of being on the cover, judging from their previous roles. Of course, they’d face the wrath of the Finian side of the fandom, but will that stop them? I doubt it…

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[insert an infinite string of clown emojis here]

Welp. Sort of screwed that up. But let’s revisit what I thought about Finian’s chances:

Finian: At this point, a good 80% of the fandom is willing to hand over their entire life’s savings to Kaufman and Kristoff for the chance to have him on the cover, so the chances here are…interesting. 

And to be honest? I ABSOLUTELY understand the sentiment. Aside from Auri and Kal, he’s my favorite of the Squad, and such a wonderful balance between comic relief and a genuinely complex character. Beyond that, I think he might have an important role to play–after all, we haven’t seen how he uses the ballpoint pen, and how the “tell her the truth” note plays into that. 

Also, as with Zila, wouldn’t it be great to have his representation on the cover? He’s bisexual and has impaired mobility, so that would be amazing to have him front and center.

But hey, now we can rejoice, because we DO have a disabled, bisexual character on the cover! And I think we all adore Finian, myself included. (Plus, I’m glad we didn’t have to see the Finian side of the fandom go feral if he didn’t make the cut…) I’ll fully admitting to freaking out when I saw his face on the cover. I would’ve freaked out either way, but he’s one of my favorite members of Squad 312, so…

Now you can all join me in anxiously trembling and ferociously re-reading until November 9th of this year, I guess…(hey, I actually have an excuse for Aurora Burning…one of my friends suggested it for our my school’s book club and he’s amazing for it…) Also, I’ve preordered a signed copy, because I am nothing if not impatient and predictable.

So there you go. I guess I’m as bad at predicting covers as I am at predicting plotlines. Doesn’t matter, though. All that matters is that we have more Aurora Cycle content coming our way in November!

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Today’s song:

That’s it for yet another rambling, incoherent post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!