Sunday, June 17, 2018

Weekly Recap: 6/10 - 6/16


TRACY'S HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

ALA IS COMING!! You guys, I am so excited to be heading back to ALA for the 2018 annual conference! I know I'll be meeting some of you there and I can't wait! I'm already dreading the traveling part of the trip, but I know it'll all be worth it. Outside of preparing for ALA, I've spent this week doing a whole lot of nothing, to be honest. I've become obsessed with a couple new podcasts, specifically S Town and Serial. I've started reading my first Nordic Noir, which is taking forever because it's an audiobook and I'm dividing my time between that and the aforementioned podcasts... Whoops! My puppy went to the vet this week for his 1 year shots and his vet was super impressed with his progress on Prozac, although he did try to eat my husband's ear while his nails were being cut. Baby steps!


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK



THIS WEEK I READ




CHELCIE'S HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Hi everyone!  I’m so happy my horse is finally home!  She definitely missed both me and her buddies, and was super excited to get to eat all the grass she wants. I worked a ton this week which is good for my wallet, but very tiring. Other than that, I had a pretty relaxed week. Nothing too special happened lol.


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK



THIS WEEK I READ

  



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The topic was fantasy worlds I'd like to visit for Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday ARC review of Sweet Black Waves
On Thursday Chelcie did the Book Blogger Confessions Tag
Friday book review of Restore Me
I was underwhelmed for Saturday Screen Time


UPCOMING REVIEWS

 


We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, June 16, 2018

Saturday Screen Time #19: I Am Underwhelmed


It has been a few weeks since I've done a Saturday Screen Time post, so today I'm sharing the films I've watched since then! Of course, this doesn't include rewatches, and there have been a couple of those. I haven't been to the theater recently, so all of these have depended on Netflix DVD! Honestly, am I the only one who still uses that? 


THIS WEEK IN SCREEN TIME


Fight Club - So... I know I'm a little late on this one, but I finally watched it! Hurray! I don't know what I was expecting going into this. All I knew was that it was supposed to have a huge twist, so I was waiting for that the entire time. Fight Club turned out to be a movie that I think I would've enjoyed more as a teenage boy, to be honest. I didn't dislike this movie, but I definitely didn't love it either, and I think that's partially because I had such high expectations. I've heard nothing but hype about this movie for years! I do feel like it would be better on a second watch, but I'm not sure when I'll feel like rewatching it. (3/5 stars)

Lady Bird - This is another one I had been insanely hyped for, but didn't love it as much as I'd hoped. Lady Bird is an interesting movie that follows one character as she grows up a bit. I did enjoy Lady Bird and her various friends, but I just felt underwhelmed once it ended. There were definitely some funny moments and the acting was amazing! Sadly, this will not be filed under my favorites. (3.5/5 stars)

I Am Love - I couldn't even make it all the way through I Am Love. :/ I decided to watch this when i saw that it was by the director of Call Me By Your Name and was supposed to be part of a (not really related) series of films, of which Call Me By Your Name is the last. This felt similar to that movie in that it's a meandering film about a forbidden love, but it honestly felt like a lesser version of Call Me By Your Name. It was SO slow and I was so incredibly bored, that I barely made it more than halfway. Tilda Swinton was fantastic, but I just couldn't force myself to finish. I'll be giving A Bigger Splash a try sometime soon, but I'm hoping it's significantly better than I Am Love. (DNF)

Insidious: The Last Key - A horror movie to wrap up the week! I loved Insidious 1 & 2, although I really can't remember if I saw 3, so I figured I'd give this a try. I didn't look at the ratings, so I went in with no expectations, but this still managed to be super disappointing. I love the main character, so that was enough to keep me watching, but the story this time was weak. I did like that it was as much about real monsters as supernatural ones, but I definitely couldn't recommend this to anyone. (1.5/5 stars)



Have you seen any of these? What did you think?
What movies have you watched lately?
Let me know in the comments!
Friday, June 15, 2018

Book Review: Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Restore Me (Shatter Me #4)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 435
Add to Goodreads

Reviews for book 1 and book 2

Juliette Ferrars thought she'd won. She took over Sector 45, was named the new Supreme Commander, and now has Warner by her side. But she's still the girl with the ability to kill with a single touch—and now she's got the whole world in the palm of her hand. When tragedy hits, who will she become? Will she be able to control the power she wields and use it for good?

It has definitely been a while since I've read the Shatter Me series, but with not having much time I figured I would skip a reread and just jump right into this book.  It only took me a few chapters to catch onto what was happening, but this book starts off just days after the events in Ignite Me.

I was so happy to have more Kenji in my life!  I absolutely love him as a character.  Out of all the characters in all of the books that I've read I would forever choose to have Kenji as my best friend.  He literally has to be one of the best supporting characters that I have ever read.  Not only is he amazing to Juliette, but he also goes out of his way to try to get to know and befriend Warner just to appease her.  And it just goes to show that girls and boys can be just friends.

One thing that I absolutely loved about this book is the fact that we get to read from Warner's point of view.  I repeat.  WARNER'S. POINT. OF. VIEW.  My poor, tortured Warner.  God, I love him!

I am so glad that we finally get some world building in this book.  It only took four books to get there, but we finally got there.  Which, rightfully so, Juliette was so ignorant to the outside world that we didn't get to see too much of the world as she told her story.  And now that she got herself into this mess we get to see a bunch more countries that are all kind of interested in this little girl who is now the Supreme Commander.

It was really fun getting to dig deeper into these character's minds once again.  Juliette has a lot going on around her and stress levels are to the max as she tries to figure out her new position and her fairly new relationship with Warner.

I do have to say this was a very character driven book, but there were a LOT of plot twists.  Just when I thought something was going right for these characters it backfired.  That ending left me with so many questions that I desperately need answered like tomorrow.

All in all I have to say this book was really good, and I liked it as much if not better than the first few books in the series.  I cannot wait to see what Tahereh puts these characters through in the next book.  Hopefully there will be some happiness for them.


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Book Blogger Confessions Tag

I haven't done a book tag in forever on my own blog, nor have I done one here so I thought I would give this one a whirl.


WHICH BOOK MOST RECENTLY DID YOU NOT FINISH?

That would have to be Midnight Jewel.  I was able to read enough to grasp that it wasn't a continuation of the series, but just a book covering the same events in the perspective of a different girl.  It honestly was a bit boring after a while.


WHICH BOOK IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE?

I have a ton of guilty pleasure books, but the one I probably go back to the most would have to be Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater.  This is one of the books that got me into reading YA so it holds a special place in my heart.


WHICH BOOK DO YOU LOVE TO HATE?

Hate to say it but this one goes to Caraval.  I just couldn't get why people absolutely loved this book and I was so confused by what was going on.


WHICH BOOK WOULD YOU THROW IN TO THE OCEAN?

Plain and simple, Nerve by Jeanne Ryan.  This is another book that I had no idea what was going on, and I could not stand the main character.  Sad to say, but the movie was definitely better than this book.


WHICH BOOK HAVE YOU READ THE MOST?

That would probably be a toss-up between Shiver or City of Bones.  I have read both of these books so many times that I reluctantly had to replace both of my tattered paperback copies and purchase some more durable hardcovers to replace them.


WHICH BOOK WOULD YOU HATE TO RECEIVE AS A PRESENT?

This is such a bad question because there are so many books out there that I would not like to get, but I would have to say that I would hate to get any of the 50 Shades books.  I'm not a big romance fan, nor am I a fan of what goes on in these books.


WHICH BOOK COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?

Do I have to pick just one?  I couldn't even count on my fingers and toes all of the books that I love with my whole heart.  I would have to say I could not live without Obsido.  I love Amie and Jay's writing and how many plot twists are in this book, but I also get a bunch of Marie Lu's beautiful artwork to gaze at.


WHICH BOOK MADE YOU ANGRIEST?

I may have to opt out of this one as I can't really think of a book that made me that angry.  Oh wait..... Allegiant...  Need I say more?  I ended up denting my wall because I threw my copy I was that frustrated by it.


WHICH BOOK MADE YOU CRY THE MOST?

The Dire King by William Ritter.  I am a huge Sherlock fan and fell in love with this Sherlock retelling.  The last book in this series wrapped up everything so beautifully that I couldn't help but shed some tears for the characters I had grown to love over the years.


WHICH BOOK COVER DO YOU HATE THE MOST?

There are SO many of these that it makes it so hard to pick just one.  I am a big sucker for pretty covers so I hate when covers aren't up to snuff.  I'm going to have to go with a general author's covers because I have noticed a trend with their books, but I'm going to have to say Laini Taylor's books.  For some reason I cannot stand the US covers of her books.  I actually have all the UK editions of her books because I prefer those covers over the other ones.



Tag yourself! I would love to hear your answers to the questions above!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

ARC Review: Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez

Title: Sweet Black Waves (Sweet Black Waves #1) 
Author: Kristina Perez
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Imprint
Pages: 448
Add to Goodreads


//I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review//
Not you without me, not me without you.

Two proud kingdoms stand on opposite shores, with only a bloody history between them.

As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what's right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she's ever loved.

Inspired by the star-crossed tale of Tristan and Eseult, this is the story of the legend’s true heroine: Branwen. For fans of Graceling and The Mists of Avalon, this is the first book of a lush fantasy trilogy about warring countries, family secrets, and forbidden romance.

Sweet Black Waves caught my eye as soon as I saw that it was a retelling of Tristan and Eseult. I'll admit, my only other exposure to this story was the 2006 film Tristan and Isolde, starring James Franco... I had a rough idea of what the story was about and knew to expect instalove, so I went in willing to forgive that one trope that I usually despise.

Branwen is the heroine of this story. She's cousin of the princess and a healer-in-training, although she doesn't believe in the Old Ones or their magic. The story really begins once she finds a injured boy who has washed up on the beach, and takes it upon herself to heal him in private. Through a series of events, she finds out that he's her enemy, and their romance ensues. I'm pleased to report, however, that there is SO much more to Branwen's story than her instalove romance! Branwen was a wonderful, strong character, and probably one of the least annoying I've read about in awhile. I loved her relationships with her cousin and aunt, the queen, as well as watching her realize her power. That's not to say that she didn't make any dumb decisions, because she definitely did, but they're understandable dumb choices that I was willing to forgive.

I've mentioned briefly the other characters in this story, and I honestly loved almost all of them. Tristan is the enemy and love interest, and I fell in love with him as soon as he washed up on the beach! He was a little cheesy at times, but his loyalty was heartwarming and I can't wait to see more of him in book two. I also really adored the queen, Branwen's aunt, and loved her portrayal of a strong woman at the helm of a country. Her love for both Branwen and her daughter was unconditional and beautiful. Finally, there's Essy, Branwen's cousin and the one character I really couldn't stand for most of the book. She's young and incredibly selfish and stupid, although she did start to grow on me just a bit towards the end.

The setting of Sweet Black Waves is also fantastic! It felt both realistic and otherworldly, which I suppose fits pretty well with the story. The world the author has created is as easy to picture as a movie and the mythology was very well realized. I'm curious if the stories of the Old Ones and the Otherworld have roots in a real world mythology.

The one thing that wasn't perfect for me in this book was the story and the pace at which it moved. At nearly 500 pages, this book is long. Admittedly, there was a lot of information to fit into this book, but it did seem to drag at times and it took me a little longer than I would have liked to get through. Until the end I would have called it predictable, then the ending happened. There is a twist that literally made me sit up straight and caused my husband to ask what was wrong! I totally didn't see it coming and it immediately moved this book's rating back up to 4.5 stars.

Sweet Black Waves isn't a perfect book, but I loved it! Yes, there's instalove, but that's to be expected in a retelling of this particular story. It didn't diminish the romance in my opinion. I still came out loving both Branwen and Tristan! And there's a bright side: no love triangle! Although the story can get tedious at times, it's definitely worthwhile. I can't wait to read the next book in this series!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #191: Fantasy worlds I'd like to visit


Today's Topic: 
Top Ten Fantasy Worlds
I Would Love to Travel To

It took me about five minutes at staring at my Goodreads lists to realize that I absolutely do not have ten books worth of real life settings I could travel to. I rarely read books that aren't fantasy, so I decided to tweak the topic a bit and share ten fantasy worlds I'd love to go to instead!  


Velaris | A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Faerie | The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Rivendell & Lothlorien | The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Hogwarts | Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Valenda | Legendary by Stephanie Garber



Neverland | Never Never by Brianna R. Shrum
Asgard | Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Ravka | Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Wonderland | Splintered by A.G. Howard
The Night Bazaar | The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.