Sunday, July 24, 2016

Weekly Recap: 7/17 - 7/23

My Super Exciting Life 

First, the blog has gotten a makeover this week! It has been a long time coming and I played around with my old design a lot before finally taking the plunge. If you have my button displayed on your blog (I love you!!) please change it to the new one if you get a chance! Thank you!!

This was a good week for trading and in general! I was able to trade for three new ARCs - two Rosamund Hodge ARCs to add to my collection and an ARC of Replica, which I actually haven't heard much about, but am excited to read! Back in the real world, I finally got to make a trip to Epcot last Sunday and, even though it was brief, I had a lot of fun! I got a chance to rid the new Soarin' and loved it! On Thursday I saw Star Trek Beyond at the first showing and really enjoyed it, although Into Darkness is still my favorite.

Next week I may have jury duty, but who knows? As of now I'm scheduled, but I have to call on Sunday night to see if I actually have to be there. I've only been called for jury duty once before and wasn't selected, so here's hoping my luck holds out! At least it would give me a ton of time to read!

New Books

Audible Credit:

Traded ARCs:


In Case You Missed It

Monday DNF review of Ice Like Fire
The topic was books set outside the US for Top Ten Tuesday
I featured Timekeeper for Waiting on Wednesday
Friday movie review of Star Trek Beyond
Saturday audiobook review of Tiger Lily

This Week I Read

Upcoming Reviews

I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Audiobook Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Title: Tiger Lily
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Narrator: Cassandra Morris
Publication Date: July 3, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books

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Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair...

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.

Peter Pan retellings are one of my absolute FAVORITE things to read, although I have a preference for Captain Hook, if I'm being honest. I've had Tiger Lily on my TBR shelf for over a year now, but was afraid to pick it up after loving Never Never so much! I didn't think anything could ever live up to it. My other hesitation was that this book was an actual Pan retelling, romance and all. I was hesitant, but when I got the chance to listen to the audiobook, I snagged it in hopes it would be incredible!

Tiger Lily is a unique retelling in that it is actually told from Tinker Bell's point of view, which I hadn't realized going in. I'll admit that her voice initially turned me off from the audio until I realized it was actually the fairy who was speaking and then I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. I really enjoyed that, while this was the story of Tiger Lily and Peter Pan, it was also Tinker Bell's story. I always like to see how each author will handle this feisty little fairy and Jodi Lynn Anderson did not let me down! Tink was hilarious and surprisingly easy to sympathize with for someone who is well-known for her tantrums. Of course, the other characters were equally well done.

As a child, I wasn't sure how to feel about Tiger Lily's character. In every Pan movie ever made, Tiger Lily is a very minor role and doesn't usually even speak. The author here had a lot of room to create a fantastic main character and I really feel that she did. Tiger Lily was a strong female protagonist who found herself in a difficult situation between her tribe and Peter, but managed to find herself in the midst of it. I loved that she stayed true to herself while also branching out from the closed off mindset of the tribe she was a member of. Her relationship with Peter was sometimes adorable and sometimes heartbreaking and almost always perfect.

The story of Peter Pan has been retold in so many ways that sometimes retellings are, well, boring and predictable. This book manages to incorporate new aspects of Neverland with the old lore that we all know and love. There is an interesting blend of the real world with Neverland that is just a little bit different than what has been seen before. I enjoyed learning the ins and outs of Tiger Lily's people and as a whole and individually. The secondary characters in the tribe and their personal stories were all nearly as interesting as the main plot.

Something I found surprising was that, while Neverland did maintain some of its magic in the form of mermaids, fairies, and near-immortal people, it also seemed much more rooted in the real world than a lot of other Pan retellings I've come across. While I did appreciate Jodi Lynn Anderson's take on Neverland, I did find myself missing some of the more fantastical aspects that I'm used to at times. A Peter Pan that doesn't fly is just... sad. I did still really enjoy exploring the world though.

The end of Tiger Lily was the kind of ending that I can get behind. Although it was (really) sad, I also thought it was realistic within the story I was reading. My only really complaint is that, while I enjoyed the characters and thought they were really well done, I sometimes found myself feeling a little detached because of the way the story was told. I still thought they were great, but I did miss the first person POV I've become so used to.

Overall, I thought Tiger Lily was a wonderfully unique take on the Peter Pan story! I did have minor issues with it, but really enjoyed almost everything about it. At the moment I would rate it my second favorite, after Never Never. If you're a fan of Pan, this is definitely one you should make time for!

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond

Title: Star Trek Beyond
Release Date: July 22, 2016
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban
Director: Justin Lin
Runtime: 120 minutes
Rated: PG-13
View on IMDb

Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise encounter an alien warrior race when marooned on a distant planet after the destruction of their spaceship in this thrilling sequel directed by Fast & Furious director Justin Lin.

Little known fact about me: I'm a huge fan of the new Star Trek universe. No, I didn't grow up with The Original Series and yes, Star Trek (2009) was my first foray into the universe of Star Trek. I immediately fell in love with it and did make an effort to go back to TOS, which I also really enjoyed. But (unpopular opinion time) Star Trek: Into Darkness remains one of my favorite movies. Other than Captain America: Civil War, Star Trek: Beyond was my most anticipated movie of the year, so obviously I was there at the first showing on opening night!

The movie opens three years after Into Darkness ended, with the crew of the Enterprise continuing their mission into deep space. When they are asked to rescue a crew that has been stranded on an unexplored planet, they find themselves in the midst of trouble (shocking, I know). In the process of getting out of the situation they've found themselves in, Captain Kirk and Co. prove yet again that unity is the best way to overcome adversity.

Old characters and new make up the amazing cast of this third installment. As you may have noticed from the poster I chose for this post, Spock has always been my favorite character. That hasn't changed in this movie either! Spock is unintentionally hilarious throughout the film and, although I may be the only person in the world who cares, I am still heavily invested in his relationship with Uhura! I really enjoyed the friendship (?) between Spock and Bones as well and hope to see more of that dynamic in the future. The newest member of the gang is Jaylah, a super badass woman who has been stuck on the planet the crew is marooned on for most of her life. She quickly becomes vital to the plot and, although the ending doesn't make it clear, I'm really hoping she'll be back for the next movie.

I will go ahead and say that, while I did enjoy Star Trek: Beyond, it was not my favorite of the series and much of it had to do with the way it was filmed. The story itself was interesting enough and kept me on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately, I was dizzy or had a hard time keeping track of what has happening for half of the movie. It seemed like there was a never ending supply of wide shots that circled around and upside down to focus in on something and after a few of them I had to start looking away from the screen because I was so dizzy. Every single action scene or fight between two characters was filmed with shaky cam and so close up that I couldn't keep track of who was doing what. I know it was done on purpose but I can't figure out why.

Of course, the somber note of Star Trek: Beyond was watching Chekov being absolutely fantastic and knowing he won't be coming back. He has been such a vital member of the crew for the last three films that I am devastated that he's gone, but I'm also glad that, from what I've heard, Anton Yelchin won't be replaced by a new actor. Although Beyond was dedicated in memory of Leonard Nimoy, there was a tasteful "For Anton," after the credits.

Overall, I loved the story and the characters. I loved exploring the new locations that were introduced and seeing how relationships had evolved in three years. I've actually seen a lot of fans say this new film is the closest to The Original Series, and I can definitely see the connection. My only real issue with this movie is that it literally made my head hurt to look at it. If you're a Trekkie or just enjoy Sci-Fi, this is the movie for you! (Just maybe take some Dramamine first.)

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #106: Timekeeper by Tara Sim

Happy Wednesday, fellow book lovers! This week's "can't wait to read" is:

by Tara Sim
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Two o’clock was missing.

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

The stunning first novel in a new trilogy by debut author Tara Sim, Timekeeper is perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Victoria Schwab.
Although I really, really wish they didn't compare this book to Cassandra Clare, I cannot wait to get my hands on Timekeeper! I've really enjoyed almost every steampunk novel I've gotten a chance to read and this one sounds incredible!

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #105: Books set outside the US

Today's Topic: 
Ten Six Books Set Outside The US

Well, as it turns out I don't read many books that are set outside of the US that aren't set in fantasy worlds, so... Some are still fantasy, but set in the real world... and I could only come up with six! 

And I Darken by Kiersten White
Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
Withering Hope by Layla Hagen

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
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Monday, July 18, 2016

DNF Mini Review: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

Title: Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2) 
Author: Sara Raasch
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 479
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Review for book 1

It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.

Last year I read Snow Like Ashes after about a hundred people insisted I would love it. I did not love it. There were a lot of things I didn't like about the first book in this series and I really never thought I would read Ice Like Fire, but then I saw book three at ALA and decided to give it one more chance. Maybe the second book would draw me in where the first one couldn't and then I could be excited about Frost Like Night with everyone else! It was only after I had started that I noticed the warnings around Goodreads that this book wasn't as good as the first, so... the outlook was not good.

Ice Like Fire picks up shortly after Snow Like Ashes leaves off. Meira is (grudgingly) the queen of Winter and is working to come up with a plan to gain support for her kingdom in order to keep the dangerous chasm of magic closed. Of course, the king of Cordell wants it opened because he's all about the power, and Meira doesn't know where Theron, prince of Cordell (love interest #2, because there are always two) stands in the whole thing.

I'll admit, I only made it 35% into this book because I was so damn bored. I couldn't tell you half of what happened because I kept zoning out and having to go back to re-read if I wanted to see what I missed, but most of the time I just didn't care. Why didn't I care? Because the characters were still awful. (And by characters I mean Meira.) For the first 35% of this book, at least, Meira continues complaining about how much her life sucks now that she's queen even though she wanted to be throughout book one. Mather is equally annoying with his non-stop whining. I just cannot deal with whiney characters.

So I can confidently say I gave this series a second shot. I made it 1/3 of the way through Ice Like Fire, but I had to call it quits. I know everyone loves this series, but it's not for me. I still find the world building to be unconvincing. Even after traveling around the world a bit this time, I still only got that Summer was hot and Winter was cold. It just wasn't enough! Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be reading Frost Like Night after all.

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