Saturday, July 30, 2016

Weekly Recap: 7/24 - 7/30

My Super Exciting Life 

This week started low and ended on a high note! I had jury duty on Monday and didn't end up getting picked. I ended up reading and playing online for seven hours and I guess I'll get paid $15 later... For the rest of the week I worked and watched Breaking Bad.

Now I'm writing the rest of this post from the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child midnight release party!! I was able to meet up with some blogging friends and we've spent the night gathering swag and doing trivia. The book is going to be released in a little over an hour! Hopefully I'll be reviewing it soon!

New Books



In Case You Missed It

On Monday two Phantom sequels battled in Paper to Popcorn
The topic was books that sent me to Google for Top Ten Tuesday
On Wednesday I posted my ARC August TBR
Thursday book review of Six of Crows
On Saturday I shared a list of best and worst audiobooks

This Week I Read

Upcoming Reviews

I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!

The Best and Worst of Audiobooks, Revised

Fun fact about me: I love audiobooks! I have loved them for years and can be found listening to audiobooks pretty much any time I don't have the TV on. I listen to audiobooks in the car, while cooking, and getting ready for bed. I listen to audiobooks while walking around theme parks and while working on this blog!

Early last year I shared my favorite and least favorite audiobooks. Since then I have listened to A LOT of books. A lot. I thought it only fair, after so many days spent listening to voice actors, that I share with you the best and worst audiobooks (and narrators, by extension) out there.

» My Lady Jane - This hilarious audiobook is narrated by Katherine Kellgren, who I was unfamiliar with before reading My Lady Jane. I'll admit, I wasn't sure about her narration style at first. As the book went on, though, I realized that she was PERFECT for this story. Her take on the characters actually had me laughing out loud. If you're planning to read My Lady Jane, I highly recommend listening to it instead!

» Salt to the Sea (review) - One of my favorite things is an audiobook with a (nearly) full cast, which Salt to the Sea has. It is narrated by Jorjeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris, and Michael Crouch, and each does a fantastic job of bringing their character to life! Sometimes hearing each character's words can bring that much more emotion to a story and I think I really benefited from listening to these incredible actors. 

» Shadow and Bone (review) - This is one of my favorite books whether I'm reading or listening, but Shadow and Bone introduced me to Lauren Fortgang, who is one of my favorite narrators. Accents can be really tricky and bad ones can ruin a good audiobook, but Lauren does a really great job pulling off distinct voices and accents for each character (in my American opinion). 

» Talon (review) - Talon is yet another audiobook with multiple narrators, one for each main character. Caitlin Davies, MacLeod Andrews, and Chris Patton bring this book and those that follow it to life. The two men's voices are a little similar at times, but overall having distinct voices for each character was a really great way to experience this book! 

» Alive (review) - This one really surprised me by making the list. I actually LOVE The Generations Trilogy (well, the two that have been published), but almost didn't because of Emma Galvin's narration. I was constantly irritated by the way she ends almost every sentence on a high note. I still enjoyed the book enough to rate it four stars and loved book two as well, but it definitely wasn't thanks to the voice acting...

» Shatter Me (review) - Well, here's something different! While Kate Simses' high pictched voice actually did almost scare me off immediately, it did grow on me. What didn't grow on me was that this book should never had been made into an audiobook. If you've read it, you know about all of the strikethroughs that fill Shatter Me. They're in the audio too. There is also a ton of repetition, which you can't easily skip with audio. By the end of it I was ready to pull my hair out.

» Uglies (review) - The copy of Uglies I listened to was different than the one that's currently on Audible and I'm guessing that's because the author, the publishers, or someone finally wised up. The narrator I was stuck with was Carine Montbertrand. I truly don't want to be mean, but her voice grated on my nerves from chapter one. Still, I stuck it out because I was doing a group read. Luckily, it sounds like the new narrator is a much better choice.

» Snow Like Ashes (review) - I picked up this audiobook when Snow Like Ashes was recommended to me by almost everyone I know. Bad decision. Kate Rudd puts. Unnecessary pauses. Everywhere. Listening to her read this book kind of made me want to break my iPod, to be honest. I stuck it out to the very end. I'm not sure if I would have liked the book more had I read it instead of listening, but I guess the world will never know.

Do you love audiobooks too? Have you listened to any of these books? 
What's your favorite audiobook? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Book Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Pages: 465
Add to Goodreads

Review for book 2

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

So here's the thing: I am obsessed with The Grisha Trilogy. It is probably my favorite series and the only one (besides Harry Potter) that I own multiple copies of from multiple countries just because it's pretty. But something about Six of Crows made me wary when it first came out and, although I bought a signed copy soon after release, it has taken me until now to read it. I just wasn't sure I could love it as much as Alina's story.

Six of Crows is about members of a gang called the Dregs in Ketterdam, a trade city set in the same universe as The Grisha Trilogy. Each member has unique abilities that makes them valuable to the team, which has been chosen by Kaz Brekker to pull of a deadly heist. I'll admit, this is not a description that really appeals to me, which is part of the reason that I took so long to finally read this. Still, just about every single blogger I know has recommend this book to me and Leigh Bardugo did write it, so I fully expected to be blown away.

One of the aspects of this book that people have gone on and on about is the characters and how incredible each of them is. Six of Crows is told from five points of view (with a couple others thrown in for good measure). In general, I hate books with switching POVs, especially when there's an excessive number, but I'll admit it worked here. The viewpoint changed to keep the most important events at center stage and it also really helped in getting to know each character. I wouldn't go as far as saying I loved all of them though.

The characters I most enjoyed were Nina, Matthias, and Jesper. I loved Nina's fire and wit and loved each of her chapters! I liked the struggle I saw in Matthias and felt he had the most growth of all the characters. Jesper was just the most fun to read about! The other characters I didn't quite connect with and, honestly, I'm still unsure what to think of Kaz. I know a lot of people absolutely adore him but he didn't seem to change much from beginning to end and I'm still waiting for Crooked Kingdom to see if he has any redeeming qualities. People have also gone on and on about the romance and how wonderfully swoon-worthy it all was. Now that it's over I'm really just wondering what I missed. Could someone please point me to the swoony romance?

Something I did really enjoy was the world building, which was almost as incredible as it was in The Grisha Trilogy! I loved getting to explore new parts of the Grishaverse that I'd never seen before. I especially loved Fjerda and the Ice Court. That being said, I had a really hard time coming to grips with Ketterdam belonging to the same world as Ravka. The city itself was really well done, but it all seemed so far removed that it took me awhile to make it work in my head. Leigh Bardugo said the world of Six of Crows would be familiar to fans of The Grisha Trilogy, but Ketterdam seemed way more like a modern city than the fantasy world of the Grisha.

But let's talk about the plot - there's a super amazing, dangerous heist, right! Well, um... Eventually? Kind of? The first 75% of this book is getting ready to carry out the heist and backstory, about 15% is the actual heist action, and the last 10% is finding out whether they were successful and setting up a cliffhanger for Crooked Kingdom. To put it simply, I was bored. A lot. The pacing of Six of Crows almost killed me. If Leigh Bardugo hadn't written this book, I would have probably DNF'd it really early on. It did finally pick up at around page 350 and the last 100 pages were really interesting, but it should not take 350 pages to feel invested. There were some really good twists, which I always appreciate, but it just wasn't enough to blow me away.

I wanted to love this book SO much! I wanted it to be an incredible addition to the Grishaverse. I wanted to buy it in multiple languages and have an entire Grisha shelf in my library, but Six of Crows just wasn't everything I'd hoped it would be. Were the characters great? Half of them. Was the world incredible? Parts of it. Was the plot fantastic? Some of it. And that's really my problem with this book. Some of it was really good, but some of it was incredibly underwhelming. I still have every intention of reading Crooked Kingdom because it's a Grisha book and I want more of the universe, but I'm really sad to say I can't add this series to my favorites shelf.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

ARC August Sign-up

So... as you may know, I'm absolutely TERRIBLE at read-a-thons, but I'm going to try to do better and I think this time I will. Why? Because I kind of have to. I was super lucky in getting to go to ALA this year, but I came away with a ton of ARCs I need to read before their release dates. This challenge couldn't have come at a better time!

So what is ARC August? It's a way to read ALL THE ARCs! Past or future ARCs, it doesn't matter! Just read them! Sign ups will open July 1st and close July 31st. Each week in August a linky will go up where you can share your progress. At the end submitted books will be confirmed so you must review them somewhere. If submissions can't be verified you may be disqualified so you have to leave leave something, even if it’s just a sentence or two!

Below is my tentative TBR list! As you may have picked up on if you frequent my blog, I'm a bit of a mood reader, so this list may change, but I'm going to try to stick to it! 

Are you participating in ARC August? What are you hoping to read? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #106: books that sent me to Google

Today's Topic: 
Top Ten Five Books That Made 
Me Want to Know More

I have a horrible time reading books with factual information inside because I'm constantly running to Google to learn more! The worst books are historical fiction and books about natural disasters. These are five of the books that I've had to take a break from to Google and what made me go digging for information. 

And I Darken by Kiersten White - Vlad the Impaler
Ashfall by Mike Mullin - Supervolcanoes
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows - Jane Grey
Prisoner of Night and Fog by Ann Blankman - Hitler's inner circle
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys - Wilhelm Gustloff & the Amber Room

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
Monday, July 25, 2016

Paper to Popcorn #8: The Phantom of Manhattan vs. Love Never Dies

Welcome to Paper to Popcorn! Paper to Popcorn is not be your typical book vs. movie comparison. The focus is on retellings, although there will be some features of movie vs. the source material.

Each chosen book/movie combo will battle it out in a showdown to prove which one is the best on its own merits. Posts will feature reviews of both the film and book, rating scales, a brief outline of differences between the two, and characters, and ultimately a victor will be chosen.

This week I'm featuring two Phantom of the Opera sequels, one book and one musical. While both have received their fair share of criticism, I was determined to give both a chance since I love the Phantom so much!

The Book

Title: The Phantom of Manhattan
Author: Frederick Forsyth
Narrator: Roger Rees & a full cast
Publication Date: June 1, 1996
Publisher: Martin's Press
Add to Goodreads

The stunning continuation of the timeless classic The Phantom of the Opera.

In The Phantom of Manhattan, acclaimed, bestselling suspense novelist Frederick Forsyth pens a magnificent work of historical fiction, rife with the insights and sounds of turn-of-the-century New York City, while continuing the dramatic saga which began with Gaston Leroux's brilliant novel The Phantom of the Opera...

More than two decades have passed since Antoinette Giry, the mistress of the corps de ballet at the Paris Opera, rescued a hideously disfigured boy named Erik from a carnival and brought him to live in the labyrinthine cellars of the opera house. Soon thereafter, his intense, unrequited love for a beautiful chorus girl set in motion a tragic string of events, forcing him to flee Paris forever. Now, as she lies dying in a convent, Madam Giry tells the untold story of the Phantom and his clandestine journey to New York City to start anew, where he would become a wealthy entrepreneur and build the glorious Manhattan Opera House...all so he could see his beloved, now a famous diva, once again. But the outcome of her visit would prove even more devastating than before-- and yet, would allow the Phantom to know, for the first time in his brutal life, the true meaning of love...

I have been eying this sequel to The Phantom of the Opera for years, but had been very hesitant to pick it up because of the awful rating on Goodreads. Upon further inspection, it seemed the rating was largely due to the arrogance of the author in his introduction to the book. My love for Phantom has stemmed largely from the musical, so I'm not too terribly upset by another author saying he could basically do it better than Gaston Leroux. I went into The Phantom of Manhattan not knowing what to expect, but fully intending to give it a fair chance!

This book is... strange. I'll start by saying the audiobook production of The Phantom of Manhattan is fantastic! It's performed by a full cast and each narrator truly acts their part. Throughout the reading experience, I'll admit I got excited every time Eric was present. Strangely enough, this didn't happen often. The majority of book is told in exposition and dialogue and most of it is told by random, new, inconsequential characters. Although this is the continuation of Christine and Eric's story, they are barely involved at all other than a mention here and there.

As you can see, my main issue with The Phantom of Manhattan is that there are way too many new characters and too few of the old. There are a couple reporters, one of whom basically tells us his entire life story. There is an Irish priest who we get to know way too intimately than we need to. Then there's the strangest character of all - Eric's business partner, Darius. I didn't understand his purpose at all. At. All. Similarly, there is a huge focus on gods - the Catholic God and the god of gold, who (I'm pretty sure) has an actual name. Both of these gods speak back to their worshippers in really weird dialogue that seemed totally out of place.

Along with the strange new characters, old characters are missing and are definitely missed. Meg Giry has a very brief part as Christine's maid, which... what now? Meg's mother dies in the very first chapter and is the ball that gets the whole story rolling. I can't even believe I'm saying this, but I absolutely HATE what the author has done to Raoul. I have never liked Raoul as a character, but I at least want him to be a decent rival for the Phantom instead of what he has become here. (Let me know if you want spoilers.)

The story itself is just all over the place. I did like that there was some background on how Eric came into his wealth, but that is about where the positive notes end for this one. I really feel that if there had been more focus on Christine and Eric, this would have been much, much better. The ending was far too abrupt and just didn't make sense when taken as part of the whole.

Unfortunately, I can't really recommend this as a sequel. If you're looking for more Phantom in book format, I definitely recommend Of Metal and Wishes, an amazing Phantom retelling.

Characters Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Setting Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Writing Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Storyline Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Cover Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Overall Rating 1/5 2/5 3/5 4/5 5/5

The Movie

Title: Love Never Dies
Directors: Brett Sullivan, Simon Phillips
Actors: Ben Lewis, Anna O'Byrne
Release Date: April 11, 2012
Runtime: 121 minutes
View on IMDB

The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris Opera House and the Phantom has escaped to a new life in New York where he lives amongst the screaming joy rides and freak-shows of Coney Island. In this new electrically-charged world, he has finally found a place for his music to soar. All that is missing is his love – Christine DaaĆ©. Now one of the world’s finest sopranos, Christine is struggling in an ailing marriage to Raoul. So, it is with excitement she accepts an invitation to travel to New York and perform at a renowned opera house. In a final bid to win back her love, the Phantom lures Christine, her husband, and their young son Gustave from Manhattan; to the glittering and glorious world of Coney Island... not knowing what is in store for them...

I will admit, I was wary about Love Never Dies simply because there were new actors and new music and I adore The Phantom of the Opera! Still, how could I say no to watching Andre Lloyd Webber's official sequel?

This sequel begins ten years after the fire at the opera house. Christine and Raoul are still married with a son, but they aren't happy as they once were. Christine has been invited to sing at a new New York opera house, which is owned by the mysterious Mister Hammerstein. Although Raoul doesn't particularly want Christine singing at an American opera house, they desperately need the money because Raoul has a gambling problem and they're hurting for money. Not long after they arrive, Christine realizes that the owner of the opera house is none other than the Phantom, who she has long thought dead. And thus my evil grin appears...

I have always been #teamphantom since day one. I love Eric so much and I was so excited to see the rivalry between Eric and Raoul begin again! I was not let down. The Phantom is just as he was before, desperately seeking love and approval from those he loves. This time the stakes are higher and, although he's still a little bit insane, he's just as heartbreaking and perfect. I've seen people say that Raoul is too out of character, but I didn't think so. I feel like ten years is a lot of time for someone to change, especially with gambling problems weighing them down.

There were things I didn't love about this sequel though. After the first time I watched it, I've fast forwarded most of Meg's scenes as well as those with the three clowns (?) from Coney Island. I don't particularly love what was done with Meg and Madame Giry in this story, but at least it was believable. The Coney Island characters seemed mostly unecessary when watching the blu ray, although I can see why they might be needed in the stage production.

But this is the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera Broadway musical! Let's talk about the elephant in the room: the music. I'm going to be honest and say that I enjoyed some of the music in Love Never Dies more than that in the original show. Ben Lewis is especially fantastic as the Phantom. I'm pretty sure he was made for this role! Perhaps my favorite song in the entire show is Devil Take the Hindmost, the Phantom/Raoul duet in which they place their bets and is just fantastic.

The music combined with the story and the characters makes this sequel just incredible and heartbreaking. After watching several times, I can confidently say I basically tear up from the opening number just knowing how tragic the Phantom's story is. Yes, this show has its weird bits, but overall I think it's close to being a masterpiece!

The only reason this isn't getting 5 stars from me is because I do skip over some of the weirder bits of the story, but even those songs are really good, honestly. I've actually watched it more times than The Phantom of the Opera at this point and even my husband loves it. I definitely recommend this to every Phantom fan!

Cast Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Cinematography Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Story Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Performances Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Music Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Overall Rating 1/5 2/5 3/5 4/5 5/5

Notable Differences
  • » Meg has strong feelings for Eric in Love Never Dies, but seems afraid of him in Phantom of Manhattan.
  • » In PoM, Madame Giry dies immediately. In LND, Madame Giry and Meg have accompanied Eric to NY.
  • » PoM gives backstory on how Eric became wealthy, while LND doesn't give any backstory. 
  • » The big twist is revealed almost immediately in PoM, but is revealed about halfway into LND. 
  • » In PoM, Eric works with Hammerstein, but in LND, I got the impression that he WAS Hammerstein. 
  • » Eric writes an opera for Christine to sing in both. The opera is about the Civil War in PoM, but we never really learn what it's about in LND. 
  • » The rivalry between Eric and Raoul is a huge plot point in LND, but I never got this feeling when reading PoM. 
  • » The characters on Coney Island are a big part of LND, but are barely mentioned in PoM.
  • » The endings are similar, but come about because of different characters. 

The Bottom Line

While these sequels are similar (The Phantom of Manhattan was one of several inspirations for Love Never Dies), Love Never Dies is clearly the better of the two. If I could cut out some of the scenes with Meg, I would give it 5 stars with no hesitation! The Phantom of Manhattan suffers from unnecessary characters and really weird writing. Love Never Dies is close to being perfect, in my opinion!

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!
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

Add to Goodreads

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!

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.)

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.
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.