Friday, August 10, 2018

July Monthly Recap


Well, it's August, so it's time for a new monthly recap. I technically should have had this up last week, but better late than never.




Books Read



Once Upon a Dream: A Twisted Tale – 3.5/5 stars

This book was enjoyable just like A Whole New World, but I didn't care for it quite as much. To be fair, Sleeping Beauty isn't really one of my favorite Disney movies and Aurora isn't a favorite Disney Princess of mine. I do have to say that I did really enjoy her characterization in this book though. She really had a chance to grow and come into her own, something she didn't get to do in the movie. Phillip got a little bit of character growth as well, but he still felt kind of flat. I do have to say, that I think the author of these books enjoys killing characters.


Movies Watched


Ant-Man and the Wasp

Marvel movies are my favorite movies, and this one is no exception. I really enjoyed the first Ant-Man movie and this one was just as good as the first in my opinion. It was a great adventure with some good laughs along the way. That mid-credit scene though… Marvel, you're killing me here.


Travels


I enjoyed a nice week at the beach with one of my best friends in July. It's always nice relaxing by the ocean, especially when you get to see dolphins swimming by. I also had fun shopping and playing mini-golf. Got to say that I'm not the best at mini-golf, though I was able to get one hole-in-one.


August's Book of the Month


As Old As Time: A Twisted Tale



What if Belle's mother cursed the Beast? When Belle touches the Beast's enchanted rose, memories flood through Belle's mind-memories of a mother she thought she would never see again. And, stranger still, she sees that her beautiful mother is none other than the enchantress who cursed the castle and all its inhabitants. Shocked and confused, Belle and the Beast will have to unravel a dark mystery about their families that is 21 years in the making.

I had meant to get this book read and finished in July, but it didn't happen, so I've decided to just go ahead and do it for my monthly book review. This was the Twisted Tale book that I thought sounded the most interesting. Beauty and the Beast has been one of my favorite Disney movies for a long time, so I'm curious how this will actually measure up in the end.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Book of the Month: A Whole New World



What if Aladdin had never found the lamp? This first book in the A Twisted Tale line will explore a dark and daring version of Disney's Aladdin. When Jafar steals the Genie's lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish. To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war. What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

Rating: ****


I love Disney. I love fairytale retellings. So finding a retelling of one of Disney's movies had me intrigued.

This story goes over a few events from the movie before it diverges into the twisted tale aspect. Revisiting parts of the movie was nice, because it does give you a chance to get into the heads of Aladdin and Jasmine before everything goes bad for them. Because things obviously go bad when Jafar has the Genie under his control.

The characters were all enjoyable. Aladdin and Jasmine aren't too far off from their original Disney version, but they still go through some changes – Jasmine more so than Aladdin. Genie is pretty similar, but slightly more subdued in my opinion. Actually we learn a little bit more about his history in this book, which I found to be pretty interesting. Genie's past isn't something I'd thought much about before. Jafar is Jafar. There's really not much else to say there expect that he teeters on the edge of losing his mind on occasion and there are a few tidbits about his past as well. Abu, Rajah, and Carpet are all around too, though with smaller roles for the most part. There are also a few new characters from Aladdin's past, and they were a nice addition.

There was a notable absence in this book however. Jafar's sidekick, Iago, is mentioned a few times, but never actually makes an appearance. His absence is explained, but I found myself actually missing him. Part of me kind of wonders if the author kept him out of the story in an attempt at being more realistic. It sounds weird considering we have Genie, Carpet, and magic in this story, but the author does seem to be keeping things more grounded to an extent. Of the animal characters in the movie, Iago was pretty different than Abu and Rajah in the fact that he can verbally communicate more than a normal parrot. It might would be easier to keep him out of the story than trying to find a way to realistically explain it, but that's just speculation on my part.

Of negatives, I really only had two complaints. The first is the lack of interactions between Aladdin and Genie. In this story, Jasmine is the one who really befriends Genie and Aladdin has one or two meetings with them, only one of which where they actually talk. Aladdin thinks that the two of them could have been friends in another life, which we all know is true. Aladdin and Genie's friendship is one of my favorite things from the movie, and I found myself really disappointed that we couldn't have it in this book. My other complaint is the fate of a few characters. I won't say more than that, because it heads into spoiler territory.

Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable retelling of Disney's version of Aladdin. If you've ever wondered what it would have been like if Jafar had been the one to use the lamp first instead of Aladdin, I'd recommend this book.

Monday, July 2, 2018

June Monthly Recap


July is here and summer is in full swing, which means it's time to take a look back on June.


Books Read



I didn't do a lot of reading in June, something I'm hope to change in July. I have a lot of books on my TBR list, and I'm hoping to start making a dent in it.

Movies Watched


Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

This movie was better than I thought it'd be. I enjoyed the first Jurassic World movie, but things I had heard about this one had made me a bit iffy on it. While it did have it's problems, it was still an enjoyable movie. Also, Blue is the best dinosaur and I wish she'd had more scenes in the movie.

The Incredibles 2

The Incredibles was one of my favorite Pixar movies growing up, and I have been so excited for it's sequel. And I have to say, it was worth the wait. It was so nice to see these characters again and to see the improvements in animation. Also, Jack-Jack was great, but I kind of pity his family. With all of the powers he has, he's going to be a handful as he grows up.

Travels


I had a nice time spending a few days in Pigeon Forge, TN in June. I had the opportunity to ride through Cades Cove, which is something I hadn't done in a long time. It's always nice seeing all of the scenery in that area. I also got to spend a day at Dollywood, which is always fun.

July's Book of the Month


A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale



What if Aladdin had never found the lamp?

When Jafar steals the Genie's lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish. To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war.

What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

I stumbled across these Disney Twisted Tales books while looking in a bookstore in June and decided to buy the first three books in the series. I love just about everything Disney and I have to admit that the premise of these books sounds interesting. I plan on reading all three during July (while relaxing at the beach), but I decided that for my monthly book review I would stick with the first book in the series. The ratings on these books seem pretty mixed, so I'm curious to see whether or not I'll enjoy them.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Book of the Month: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World



Fourteen-year-old Doreen Green moved from sunny California to the suburbs of New Jersey. She must start at a new school, make new friends, and continue to hide her tail. Yep, Doreen has the powers of . . . a squirrel! After failing at several attempts to find her new BFF, Doreen feels lonely and trapped, liked a caged animal. Then one day Doreen uses her extraordinary powers to stop a group of troublemakers from causing mischief in the neighborhood, and her whole life changes. Everyone at school is talking about it! Doreen contemplates becoming a full-fledged Super Hero. And thus, Squirrel Girl is born! She saves cats from trees, keeps the sidewalks clean, and dissuades vandalism. All is well until a real-life Super Villain steps out of the shadows and declares Squirrel Girl his archenemy. Can Doreen balance being a teenager and a Super Hero? Or will she go . . . NUTS?

My Rating: ****


The first thing that needs to be said about this book, is that it's meant for younger teens/kids. The only other Marvel book I've currently read is Black Widow: Forever Red, which was more of an older teen novel. To make another comparison, Black Widow would be like the MCU and Squirrel Girl would be like the Marvel cartoons. This is something that I've tried to keep in mind when it comes to my rating and review.

Overall, I found The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World to be an enjoyable read. It's funny, energetic, and lighthearted – much like it's protagonist. Doreen is a sweet kid. She's very optimistic and upbeat, and she's the type of person who would be a great friend to have. She's a big fan of heroes, which is something I think a lot of us can relate to. She's also pretty naive, which kind of got old after a while for me, but I'm willing to overlook it.

The formatting/style of the book is nice. It's primarily told in 3rd person POV, with occasional chapters being 1st person. It also will switch between Doreen/Squirrel Girl, her friend Ana Sophia, the book's villain, and Tippy Toe (Doreen's squirrel friend). Tippy Toe's chapters are the ones told through 1st person. There are also occasional chapters that are text messages, and these are where you can find some appearances from some of the other Marvel heroes. Also, throughout the book you can find footnotes from where Doreen is reading the story with you. These footnotes provide some entertaining insight and additional information about some of the characters – like the fact that Ana Sophia reads comic books about made up heroes who are angsty, brooding, grown men who wear tights. Hmm, that sounds kind of familiar…



While the book is entertaining and it is meant for a younger audience, there were some areas I had a few issues with.

For one thing, the book can be pretty cliché/stereotypical at times. In the high school, you have the stereotypical popular girls. They're not nice, and you can only speak to them if they acknowledge you first. They're called the Somebodies, and even though there's nothing related between the two, the fact that they're called that made me think of Kingdom Hearts.



The villain, the Micro-Manager, is also pretty much a cartoon style bad guy right down to the fact he actually goes “Mwa ha ha”. His main goal is to be recruited into Hydra, and he thinks beating Squirrel Girl is the way to do it. That's about all there is to him, minus a small bit of backstory that did make me feel a little bad for him. Even though this is a book for younger audiences, I still think that the Micro-Manager could have been fleshed out a little bit more. From how the book ended with him, I suspect that he probably appears again in the second book, so maybe they'll do more with him then.

Another part that I didn't 100% like was the treatment of some of the other Marvel characters. Some of the characters were fine, like Black Widow and Thor. Rocket (and by extension Groot) provided some of the most entertaining text messages and was ultimately the most helpful to Doreen, which was a little surprising. The main issues I had were with Winter Soldier and Iron Man. I don't even know how to describe Winter Soldier except as intense. His idea of helping is to tell you to tell him where to go kill a guy and then for you to go change your name with something that starts with a 'Y', which just seemed sort of weird to me. In Iron Man's case, Doreen doesn't think he's a real hero. She think he's the Avengers errand boy. Her reason for this is explained, and while it does make me laugh, it's a pretty weak explanation. Considering how popular all of the heroes are, to the point where paparazzi follows Thor on occasion, I have a hard time seeing how Doreen is clueless about Iron Man being a hero.

I also didn't really care for Tippy Toe's chapters, and I didn't really see what the point was for a good chunk of them. This is a more minor problem though, as her chapters were usually on the shorter side and there wasn't a whole lot of them.

Despite these few problems, I still like this book and it gave me some good laughs. There is a sequel to it, and I think I might try to read it sometime, though it's not going to be a book I'd be in a hurry to read.

If you're looking for a fun Marvel read, or you have a younger cousin, sibling, or child who enjoys Marvel, I would recommend picking this book up.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Bibliophile Sweater Tag


Jameson from Lovely Whatsoevers tagged me for the Bibliophile Sweater Tag! Thanks, Jameson!


Here are the rules:



1.) Give the person who tagged you a never-ending supply of cookies (or just thank them - either works).
2.) Answer all the questions and use the blog graphic for this tag somewhere in your post (the original graphic is above).
3.) Pass along the tag to at least five other people wear a sweater (okay, this is optional...but why wouldn't you want to??)

Okay, here we go!

Fuzzy Sweater

(a book that is the epitome of comfort)


There a lot of books that could fall under the comfort category, but if I have to choose just one it would be Echoes. This is the third book in The Glenbrooke series (all of which are comfort books), and I'm choosing it as the epitome of comfort because it was the book in the series that introduced me to Irish Breakfast Tea. I mean tea pretty much goes with comfort, right?

Striped Sweater
(book which you devoured every line of) 


I've mentioned it before, but I adore Harlan Coben's books. If I'm being completely honest, I devour every line of pretty much all of them. They are addicting. But since I have to pick one, I'm going with The Stranger. It's not my favorite novel of Coben's, but it is one of the ones I've read the fastest.

Ugly Christmas Sweater
(book with a weird cover)


I don't really own many books with weird covers, so this was a hard one. Ultimately, I'm going with Gone for Good. It's yellow and the title is embossed (it's like that on the spine as well), so it's not always the easiest to read from a distance. Is it the weirdest cover out there? No, but it's one of the weirdest that I own.

Cashmere Sweater
(most expensive book you've bought)


Yeah, there's no contest here. Hardcore Twenty-Four is the most expensive book I've bought.

Hoodie
(favorite classic book)


Treasure Island is one of the few classic books that I've read, so it's kind of my favorite by default. Thanks to Pirates of the Caribbean, I was kind of obsessed with pirates for a while (they still fascinate me to this day), so I think it's pretty fitting that this is one of the classics I've read.

Cardigan 
(book you bought on impulse) 


The Lacemaker and the Princess is a book I bought on impulse years ago when I was on vacation. It takes place around the French Revolution and is about a girl who befriends Marie Antoinette's daughter.

Turtleneck Sweater 
(book from your childhood) 


I've always had a fondness for fairy tales (thanks Disney!), so I think it's fitting that one of my favorite books from my childhood is Fairest, which is a Snow White retelling. It's by the same author as Ella Enchanted, and I've read this one multiple times.

Homemade Knitted Sweater
(book that is indie-published)


The vast majority of the indie-published books that I own are e-books, so the only ones that I have physical copies of are my own book and Dragon Lyric.

V-Neck Sweater & Argyle Sweater
(book that did not meet your expectations and book with a unique format)


Two in one! While Black Widow Forever Red is a book that I enjoyed for the most part, it definitely didn't meet my expectations. When I heard about this book, I expected more Natasha Romanoff and less Ava and Alex. I'm also choosing this as my book with a unique format, because I don't have many books with unique formats. In this one, on occasion, you have transcripts from where Natasha is having to give a debrief about the events of the book, so I thought that was pretty unique.

Polka Dot Sweater
(a book with well-rounded characters)


This was a hard one. I really don't know which books have the best well-rounded characters, because it's been a while since I've read a lot of them. I'm going with Heist Society though, because I did really enjoy all of the characters that are in this book and the ones that follow it.


As far as tags go, I'm not tagging anyone in particular. If you see this and want to have a go at it, feel free! Here are the questions:

Fuzzy Sweater (a book that is the epitome of comfort)
Striped Sweater (book which you devoured every line of)
Ugly Christmas Sweater (book with a weird cover)
Cashmere Sweater (most expensive book you've bought)
Hoodie (favorite classic book)
Cardigan (book that you bought on impulse)
Turtleneck Sweater (book from your childhood)
Homemade Knitted Sweater (book that is indie-published)
V-neck Sweater (book that did not meet your expectations)
Argyle Sweater (book with a unique format)
Polka Dot Sweater (a book with well-rounded characters)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Six Month Anniversary Giveaway

Today marks six months since I first published Iridescent, and I believe that calls for a celebration. And what better way to celebrate than with a giveaway?


In honor of Iridescent's six month birthday, I'm hosting a giveaway. One lucky winner will receive a copy of Iridescent, and a $10 Amazon gift card. All you have to do is enter below. The giveaway will end on January 19, so don't forget to enter!


a Rafflecopter giveaway