Category Archives: Mary E. Pearson

Space-set Stories Appeal to Me. Have Yet to Identify WHY Exactly.

(Image via Wikipedia.)

NOTE: Though there are discussions about specific films and books, there are no spoilers.

Had a bout of unexpected melancholy this afternoon, which was a bit troubling since I couldn’t identify a definite trigger. So I tried to think of what I’d done differently today…which was going to the local cinema to see Interstellar.

When it comes to commenting on films, I always feel the need to qualify my opinion with, “I rarely watch films – maybe once or twice a year at most.” Which is true. (2013 was an anomaly, because not only did I watch two films, but I watched the second movie the very next day after watching the first. As a result, I may have used all up all my emotions – I cried – during Rush, so when I watched Gravity the next day I…felt kind of blank in comparison.)

Generally speaking, film is not an easy medium for me to connect with. The circumstances have to be right: I have to watch alone, in a half-full cinema at most, so I can properly immerse. I have to really want to see a particular film at the cinema, or else I just won’t see it. (DVDs at home just aren’t immersive.)

So about the melancholy: I wasn’t sure if it was because of the film. Others may (and will) disagree, but the last third of Interstellar is schmaltz. It’s laughable, and I heard someone else in the cinema laugh, so it can’t have just been my opinion. I did rather enjoy the film overall, especially the first two acts, but the final part…I think it required too much suspension of disbelief, and that’s something that pulled me out of the immersive experience.

So why the melancholy? Maybe I wasn’t quite ready to leave the world of Interstellar. It goes for almost three hours, which is long enough, but I found myself more interested in Amelia Brand’s story, from that glimpse at the very end. And maybe that sparked my belated melancholy – there were still more stories to be told. I wanted to remain immersed.

And I think it’s good to analyse why we like what we like, because that may help us find more things to enjoy. Here are all the films I remember seeing in recent-ish years (the order may be incorrect):

Lars and the Real Girl
Black Swan
Melancholia
Rush
Gravity
Interstellar

If you see a pattern there, you’re not alone. Rush is an obvious anomaly, but you can see my tastes change from psychological to…space? Melancholia is the perfect bridge – weird, fascinating science with psychological trauma to make it relatable.

Also, Melancholia, Gravity, and Interstellar have another factor that makes them appeal: interpersonal relationships that aren’t romantic. In film, storytelling is more condensed, so it makes sense that there’s no romantic subplot. Interstellar easily could’ve forced a romantic relationship, but it didn’t and I’m glad it didn’t.

So while I didn’t love Interstellar, I certainly got value from it. Even though the last third is ridiculous 😉

My reading also tends toward science fiction. It may have been Mary E. Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox that taught me that sci-fi isn’t always military battleships in space against aliens (which was the stereotype of sci-fi that I had, for better or worse). My first book set in space was Tess Gerritsen’s Gravity (have you heard about the legal action?), and I absolutely loved it – reading it anywhere and everywhere, because I didn’t want to NOT read it. Albeit, that was in the days of dial-up Internet, so I had fewer distractions, but still…an immersive experience.

And Amy Kathleen Ryan’s Glow that taught me that stories set solely in space can work for me, too. Since then, I’ve read and enjoyed more space-set books (Maria V. Snyder’s Inside Out duology, Imogen Howson’s Linked duology, and Alexandra Duncan’s Salvage), with many more on my wishlist. (Beth Revis’s Across the Universe, to name just one.)

But why space? Why is it calling me? I know nothing about physics or quantum mechanics, or whatnot. Is it because I like the pretty photos taken by the Hubble telescope? Because shiny coloured lights appeal to me? Because I like science, even though I don’t necessarily understand it? Because it’s “other”?

But maybe I don’t NEED to understand why I like what I like. So I’ll just go with it, and see where my tastes might lead me to in the future…

Now Available for US Pre-Order

Ann Aguirre: FORBIDDEN FRUIT: 8th May 2013: Buy (US)
Julianna Baggott: BURN: 4th February 2014: Buy (US)
Megan Crewe: THE LIVES WE LOST (paperback): 7th January 2014: Buy (US)
Megan Crewe: THE WORLDS WE MAKE: 11th February 2014: Buy (US)
Rhiannon Held: REFLECTED: 18th February 2014: Buy (US)
Melissa Landers: ALIENATED: 4th February 2013: Buy (US)
Karen Mahoney: HUNTING THE DARK: 6th February 2014: Buy (UK)
Mary E. Pearson: FOX FOREVER (paperback): 18th February 2014: Buy (US)
Jennifer Rush: ERASED: 7th January 2014: Buy (US)
Kristen Simmons: BREAKING POINT (paperback): 7th January 2014: Buy (US)
Kristen Simmons: THREE: 11th February 2014: Buy (US)
Angie Smibert: THE MEME PLAGUE (paperback): 13th August 2013: Buy (US)
Amanda Sun: SHADOW: 1st June 2013): Buy (US)
Carol Lynch Williams: THE HAVEN: 4th March 2014: Buy (US)

6 New Covers (Aguirre, Cremer, Levithan, Hopkins, Pearson, Reisz, Sun)

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September 2011 Releases

Finished August 2011 Releases? Here are September 2011 Releases. To see further titles, check Reading Wishlist.

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August 2011 Releases

Done with July 2011 Releases? Here are August 2011 Releases. To see future releases, check Reading Wishlist.

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[COVER ART] Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box, The Eleventh Plague, Bloodstone, Juliet Immortal & The Fox Inheritance

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Persnickety Snark’s FIVE Challenge, Day 5: Most Anticipated

Today, December 25, is the fifth day of Persnickety Snark’s FIVE Challenge (I skipped Day 4: Re-reads), and today’s particular challenge is…Most Anticipated (2011 titles)!

Adele’s list may be YA only, but I’m including all age brackets.

Anyhoo, here we are, counting down from 5 to 1 – yes, I do play favourites:

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[COVER ART] Demons Not Included – Cheyenne McCray; Cybils Nominations & Meme

Cover for Cheyenne McCray’s June 2009 release, Demons Not Included. The character’s hips are sticking out further in front than her tummy, which signals that it’s mealtime. (Well, that’s how I tell when I need to eat.)

The Cybils nominations have been released. Lot of stuff I haven’t read, a few I have, and a handful of stuff I own or want to own. Am mighty pleased that Mary E. Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox and Rachel Cohn’s You Know Where to Find Me are nomiees in the Science Fiction & Fantasy (Young Adult) and Young Adult categories, respectively.

Annoying when sites are made with Flash, so I can’t link directly to certain pages. Anyway, go to HarperTeen’s Pitch Black, click on “I’m a Fighter”, then click on “Which Evernight character are you?” Apparently, I’m Raquel. Having not read the book, I don’t know if it’s good to be like Raquel. And the quiz results don’t go into detail; just told me I’m Raquel. And they didn’t even provide HTML code, so you can share your results on your blog. Poor form, Pitch Black – but at least now I’ve told you where you can improve, and how.


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Young Lady Owner Needs to Get Over Herself

Just a lazy day on the patio…until your annoying Young Lady Owner carries you inside. And then waits for you to lounge on the kitchen lino, and then introduces you to her recent acquisitions.

Ooh, a book. Like she’s never had one of them before. Well, she’s never had this particular one before. (Anya Bast’s The Chosen Sin – and if you look closely, you can see the top of a Witch Heart bookmark. Usually Young Lady Owner photographs before she begins reading. But Young Lady Owner is slow.)

Then Young Lady Owner presents you with a cover flat, and it’s tolerable. More than tolerable, enough to make sure part of your paw is on it. Just so everyone knows: MINE.

Young Lady Owner loves cover flats, likes looking at and owning pretty, shiny things; she’s superficial that way. She particularly loves the kooky-looking lads amongst the trees on this one; they look like fun. But why’s she showing you only part of the back cover?

Oh. Okay. Once upon a time, Young Lady Owner reviewed for an urban fantasy website. And the bottom quote on the back of this cover flat is from the review Young Lady Owner wrote for the author’s previous novel, Happy Hour of the Damned: Worth a look; priceless, really. Road Trip of the Living Dead can’t come soon enough.

Oh. Young Lady Owner’s name isn’t even on it, yet she knows they’re her words, and this is the closest she’s likely to get to print publication. So she’s chuffed. Thinks this is a big achievement, or something. Owners, eh? That’s why cats like you exist: to put their Young Lady Owner’s ego back in place. Yeah, get over yourself, girl…

Read Young Lady Owner’s full review of Mark Henry’s Happy Hour of the Damned here. The snippet also appears on Kensington Books’ website. And this isn’t the first time a snippet of one of Young Lady Owner’s reviews for an urban fantasy site has made it onto a publisher’s website: visit the site for Mary E. Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox. (Full review here.)

Purchase/pre-order Happy Hour of the Damned, Road Trip of the Living Dead and The Adoration of Jenna Fox. And The Chosen Sin, while you’re there…


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My Top 10 Books Published in 2008

Weekly Geeks is doing a thing where everyone compiles their own list of the best books they’ve read that were published in 2008. Admittedly, my list kind of skews to the ones I’ve read more recently, because I remember them better. So hard to pick just 10. But here there are:

Michelle Maddox
Countdown
Dorchester SHOMI (US: 29th July 2008)
Buy
Review

THREE. Kira Jordan wakes up in a pitch-black room handcuffed to a metal wall. She has 60 seconds to escape. Thus begins a vicious game where to lose is to die. TWO. The man she’s been partnered with – her only ally in this nightmare – is a convicted mass murderer. But if he’s so violent, why does he protect her? And stranger still, what is it behind those haunted sea-green eyes that makes her want to protect him? ONE. No one to trust. Nowhere to run. And the only hope of survival is working together to beat the COUNTDOWN.

Mary E. Pearson
The Adoration of Jenna Fox
US: Henry Holt & Co. BYR (29th April 2008); AU: Allen & Unwin Children’s (February 2009)
Buy
Review

Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn’t remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?

Stephenie Meyer
The Host
Hachette (US, UK, AU: 6th May 2008)
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Review

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind. Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves – Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body’s desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she’s never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.

Rachel Cohn
You Know Where to Find Me
Simon & Schuster (US: 4th March 2008)
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Review

First cousins Laura and Miles grew up like sisters. Miles thought of Laura as the golden one – smart, beautiful, rich, and popular – while Miles considered herself the unwanted one – an unattractive, underachieving outcast. Laura’s suicide shatters Miles and leaves her feeling completely alone, and sets Miles on a dangerous downward spiral. But in the strength Miles finds in herself and in those she didn’t believe cared about her, she is able to rebuild her life in unexpected ways.

Jes Battis
Night Child (OSI, Book 1)
Penguin Ace (US: 27th May 2008)
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Review

Tess Corday soon realises that there is not going to be anything ordinary about this case. Not the lab results on the cause of death. Not Mia Polanski, the teenage girl living at the address found in the vamp’s pocket, who may well be in thrall to a demon. And certainly not Lucian Agrado, the necromancer who is liaison to the vampire community. Agrado is supposed to be part of the solution, but Tess suspects he might be part of the problem. Under pressure from her boss, Tess is trying to go by the book on this one. But when Mia reaches out to her, she risks her career to help the girl. And finds herself in the middle of a paranormal conspiracy that will change her life forever. Or possibly end it…

Kristopher Reisz
Unleashed
Simon & Schuster Pulse (US: 19th February 2008; AU: 17th April 2008)
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Review

Daniel Morning seems perfect – handsome, charismatic, intelligent. But living up to everyone’s expectations has cost him the right to make his own decisions. The urge to shatter those expectations is beginning to gnaw at his insides. Then Daniel meets Misty. She’s smoky, rebellious, tender…and much more. She decides to let him into her pack of outcasts – and in on their little secret: She and her friends have learned to shape-shift, and have been prowling the night as wolves. Daniel soon falls in love with the primal sensation of shifting, just as he’s falling in love with Misty. The freedom to follow his most basic instincts is like nothing he’s ever felt. But Daniel will slowly come to realise that such freedom comes at a price…

Jeri Smith-Ready
Wicked Game (WVMP Radio, Book 1)
Simon & Schuster Pocket (US: 13th May 2008)
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Review

Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin is trying to live the straight life, even if it means finding a (shudder!) real job. She takes an internship at a local radio station, whose late-night time-warp format features 1940s blues, ’60s psychedelia, ’80s Goth, and more, all with an uncannily authentic flair. Ciara soon discovers just how the DJs maintain their cred: they’re vampires, stuck forever in the eras in which they were turned. Ciara’s first instinct, as always, is to cut and run. But communications giant Skywave wants to buy WVMP and turn it into just another hit-playing clone. Without the station – and the link it provides to their original Life Times – the vampires would “fade,” becoming little more than mindless ghosts of the past. Suddenly a routine corporate takeover is a matter of life and un-death. To boost ratings and save the lives of her strange new friends, Ciara re-brands the station as “WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” In the ultimate con, she hides the DJs’ vampire nature in plain sight, disguising the bloody truth as a marketing gimmick. WVMP becomes the hottest thing around – next to Ciara’s complicated affair with grunge vamp Shane McAllister. But the “gimmick” enrages a posse of ancient and powerful vampires who aren’t so eager to be brought into the light. Soon the stakes are higher – and the perils graver – than any con game Ciara’s ever played…

Eve Kenin
Hidden (Northern Waste, Book 2)
Dorchester SHOMI (US: 1st July 2008)
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Review

Tatiana has honed her genetic gifts to perfection. She can withstand the subzero temperatures of the Northern Waste, read somebody’s mind with the briefest touch, and slice through bone with her bare hands. Which makes her one bad-ass chick, all right. Nothing gets to her. Until she meets Tristan. Villain or ally, she can’t be sure. But one thing she does know: he has gifts too – including the ability to ramp up her heart rate to dangerous levels. But before they can start some chemistry of their own, they have to survive being trapped in an underground lab, hunted by a madman, and exposed to a plague that could destroy mankind.

Michele Lang
Netherwood
Dorchester SHOMI (US: 26th February 2008)
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Review

THERE’S A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN…And her name is Talia Fortune. Her mission: capture the cyber outlaw, Kovner, a man who knows she is more than just a sheriff – Talia is also a woman, with a woman’s desires. Scion of the Fortune family and primary shareholder of the mega-conglomerate FortuneCorp, she is the Hand of Fate…or at least of the Home Office. With the power to punish, she’s been sent to Fresh Havens – a corporate off-world colony run by her uncle. But the colony is full of hidden danger. Sabotage, deception, destruction…it will take every ounce of Talia’s strength and courage, fighting skills honed in the Amphitheatre and knowledge learned at the Academy, just to survive. Her ability to love and trust will be sorely tested, especially in the clutches of her quarry, the Outlaw of Fresh Havens, her cyber-lover and now her enemy. He and the answers lie in the Gray Forest, in a reality beyond the bubbledome, the Grid, and everything she’s ever known. Her future lies in…NETHERWOOD.

Marta Acosta
The Bride of Casa Dracula
Simon & Schuster Pocket (US: 16th September 2008; AU: 1st October 2008)
Buy
Review

Milagro De Los Santos is having serious problems planning her wedding to fabulous Oswald Grant, M.D. Her future in-laws loathe her, her dog just died, and Oswald’s family has a genetic anomaly that makes them crave blood. Then her extravagant best friend hijacks the role of wedding coordinator, and the secretive Vampire Council assigns conniving Cornelia Ducharme to guide the couple through the ancient vampire marriage rituals. To top it all off, Milagro’s career is on the skids. She’s reduced to ghost-writing the memoirs of a loony little man who claims to be a shape-shifter. And why does Cornelia’s decadent, way too attractive brother, Ian, always show up whenever Milagro is away from Oswald? When a series of accidents interferes with wedding plans, Oswald worries that Milagro is cracking under the pressure. Is she just paranoid, or is a hidden enemy trying to make sure Milagro doesn’t wed the un-dead?

Random Stats
Books published by Dorchester SHOMI:
3
Books published by Simon & Schuster: 4
YA fiction: 3
Futuristic: 5