Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Movie Trailer Bonanza!

Hello, everyone! I've been gone for a while. Sorry about that! My computer started having some major issues and long story short, it died. Luckily, I was able to get all my documents, music and pictures off of it before it bit the dust completely, but I had to purchase a new one. So I'm writing to you from the new one! I'm still working on getting it all set up again, but in the meantime, I decided to take a break from the bookish things again and bring you my thoughts on some recently released movie trailers!

As you might know, I'm a HUGE movie junkie. I'm usually the first in my family/friends to hear about major movie news. So when new trailers get released, I am ALL over them. Today, I thought I'd share four recently released trailers for upcoming movies and tell you my thoughts on them!


Release date: March 13, 2015
Starring: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter

Thoughts: We've known about this new live-action adaptation for over a year, so it's nice to finally see a glimpse of the finished product. It looks positively gorgeous. The colors, the costumes, the whole feel is just magical, which is perfect for a fairy-tale princess. Richard Madden is delightful as the Prince and I almost didn't recognize Cate Blanchett at first, but she looks perfect as the Wicked Stepmother. Helena Bonham Carter is a blonde, but it totally works and I'm super excited to see her Fairy Godmother. I don't know much about Lily James, but she does make quite a perfect Cinderella, so I am excited to see this. However, the trailer shows us almost the entire plot (minus the happily-ever-after), so unless director Kenneth Branagh has some fun tricks up his sleeve, it doesn't look like this will be life-changing. But it still looks like a fun way to bring the magic of Cinderella back to the screen for new generations! 

Pitch Perfect 2

Release date: May 15, 2015
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Skylar Astin, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow

Thoughts: First reaction: AHHHHHHHHH. OH MY GOD. Because I love Pitch Perfect so much and I just can't wait for more. Really, my only problem with this is that Anna Camp and Brittany Snow's characters were seniors in the last movie, and they had graduated by the very end. are they back? Is this not technically a school event? Is this just a free-for-all? Because I'm totally okay with that, but I just need a little bit more clarity people! Otherwise, brilliant. Cannot wait.

Actually, on second-watching, it does look like this isn't a school thing. It's just a big a capella thing. Period. So, YAY. I'm totally down with that. MORE AWESOME MASHUPS. 

Jurassic World

Release date: June 12, 2015
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio

Thoughts: Oh. My. Goodness. You may not know this about me, but I will pretty much watch Jurassic Park every time it's on TV. Even if I just saw it the night before. I LOVE Jurassic Park. The characters, the concept, the dinosaurs, THE MUSIC. I love it. So suffice it to say that I'm SUPER DUPER EXTRA EXCITED for this movie. It's been a long time coming, my friends. Chris Pratt is on a roll, and I love Bryce Dallas Howard. And the park looks AMAZING. I'm definitely hoping we get to explore that park even a little bit more in the movie before it all goes to hell, because it looks like a veritable playground. And of course, the dinos. I have to admit that I'm partial to the half-CGI/half-animatronics from the 90's, but I was pleasantly surprised by the new dinosaurs. They don't look nearly as bad as I was imagining. The stripped-down piano version of the theme song in the second half of the trailer totally made me feel nostalgic for the old movies, and excited for the new one at the same time. Can't wait! 


Release date: July 17, 2015
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Levi Miller, Rooney Mara 

Thoughts: I am a big fan of Peter Pan. It's just one of my favorite classic stories, and I have loved almost every screen adaptation. So let's just say...I'm not sure about this one. I'm a little...dubious? That's a good word for it. Dubious. The whole Blackbeard thing might be a cool idea and I adore Hugh Jackman, but it looks a little...cartoony. The whole thing surrounding this movie was that it was supposed to be a slightly darker take on a Peter Pan origin story. Nothing about this trailer looks dark. Except maybe the clown pirate involved in the kidnapping. What was with the clown pirate? 

Levi Miller is a perfect Peter Pan. He is totally my favorite part of this trailer because he is SPOT ON. I was SO excited for Garrett Hedlund as Hook...until I saw the trailer. What IS that accent? Can someone PLEASE identify that accent for me? I can tolerate a lot, but I really don't appreciate the changes they made to Hook. James Hook is supposed to have gone to ETON. He is supposed to be cultured and value honor and good form above all else. So WHAT IS THIS? 

And don't even get me started on Rooney Mara. I love her as an actor, but casting her as Tiger Lily is still pissing me off. She is SO WHITE. I suppose that Neverland is a fantasy setting and "Indians" there don't have to be the same as "Indians" in real life, but still. Would it have KILLED them to get a Native American actress? Or at least a POC? And what is that big headdress she's wearing? Help me, I'm confused. 

Wow. I didn't realize how mad at that trailer I was until I started blogging about it. So I guess the next move is just to sit and wait for the next trailer and the movie itself. We will see how I feel about it then! 

Tell me: what are YOUR thoughts on these new trailers? Did they make you excited for these movies, or put off? Let me know in the comments below! 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (9): Sequels I Can't Wait to Get

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish

This week's topic is pretty self-explanatory. BUT, I had a problem. Looking through my Goodreads, I sensed a pattern. All upcoming sequels that I had on my shelves were either for series that haven't even begun releasing yet (A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas), or for series that I own but haven't started reading yet. So in the end, I could only come up with five examples. 

Lark Ascending by Meagan Spooner 

This is the third book in the Skylark trilogy and it has released in October. But I haven't been able to pick it up, yet! I LOVE this series, and I feel like not many people share my sentiments. But I'm dying to know how the trilogy ends! 

Please Remain Calm by Courtney Summers

This is the sequel to Courtney's novel This is Not a Test. And as stated in my review, I absolutely ADORED that book. Unfortunately, this sequel is only an e-novella rather than a full-length, print novel. But I will definitely be buying this and reading it ASAP when it is released in January!

Throne of Glass #4 by Sarah J. Maas

This one doesn't even have an official announced title or cover yet, but I need it. I NEED this book. Seriously. We have three TOG books so far, and we get three more. And I'm just dying for the rest of the series. 

Forged by Erin Bowman

This is another series that I feel hasn't received nearly enough hype. I LOVE this series. I finally read the first book last winter and read the sequel almost immediately when it was released, so it feels like I'm waiting for this FOREVER. I can't wait to see how it wraps up!

Echoes of Us by Kat Zhang

This is another sequel that has already been released, but I haven't had time to buy it yet. But this is yet ANOTHER series that I feel isn't well-known, though I can't wait to finish it and see how it ends. 

Tell me: what sequels are YOU dying to get your hands on? 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Series Review: WOLVES OF MERCY FALLS by Maggie Stiefvater

Series title: Wolves of Mercy Falls
Book titles: 
1. Shiver
2. Linger
Author: Maggie Stiefvater 

Summary (Shiver): the cold. Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why. 

the heat. Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace...until now. 

the shiver. For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it's spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human--and Grace must fight to keep him--even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future. 

Why I read it: I heard about this series a long time ago and thought it sounded awesome. So it got put on a "to buy" list, and my mom picked up the hardcover boxed set a couple years ago. She read them immediately and loved them, but I just haven't had the urge to get to them. But this summer, I learned that Maggie Stiefvater was coming to my area in November, so I decided to read the series before I got to meet her. (This event happened last Monday, so click here to view pictures on my Instagram account!) Also, her other series (The Raven Cycle) has gotten a LOT of hype, especially since the third book was released just a couple weeks ago. So I thought it was about time! 

Thoughts: First of all, I really enjoyed this series. These were the first werewolf books I've ever read, and it was a good introduction to the creature. However, I had some problems with the series that luckily did not diminish my enjoyment too much. I will start with those, and then tell what I did like about it. 

Let's start with our main characters, Grace and Sam. Grace is a girl who was attacked by the werewolves as a child, but never turned into one. Sam is the yellow-eyed wolf that she's always felt connected to who suddenly turns back into a boy that she falls in love with. Yes, it's a little insta-lovey. Her connection and almost obsession with the wolf at the beginning of the book borders on creepy. It's like she's in love with the wolf before she even knows he's a boy and it's super weird. 

Grace is a very straightforward, no-nonsense character, which is refreshing for a young adult novel. She is not constantly plagued by daydreams or romantic fantasies, and I really appreciated that. Sam, however, has taken on all of those qualities. He is a sensitive, guitar-playing, song-writing, poetry-reading boy. And while I do like the musician side of him, Sam often writes songs in his head. And they seem spontaneous, four to six lines coming to his mind immediately when the situation arises. And that is super annoying. It's a pet peeve of mine. Sam and Grace and their romance are cheesy enough on their own, but the song lyrics make it almost unbearable. And just to drive that point home, we are introduced to another musician in the second book, and he is the complete opposite of Sam. 

In fact, let's move on to the other characters in the books. The aforementioned second musician is Cole St. Clair, and he is undoubtedly my favorite character in the series. Which is upsetting, since he isn't introduced until the second book. He is the angsty, angry, sarcastic, bad boy, and I absolutely LOVE HIM. Especially when he meets Isabel, a friend of Grace's, and sparks fly. I enjoyed Cole and Isabel infinitely more than Sam and Grace. 

I also feel like the pacing was inconsistent throughout the series. All three books feel a little slow, with a large chunk of action happening at the end, and a lot of build-up happening until then. All three endings are very abrupt, but in different ways. The ending of Shiver feels like an indie movie, with a climax and an extended denouement with a very sudden turn on the last page. Though the first book is my least favorite in the series, it may have my favorite ending. It left me wanting more, but it could be read on its own. 

The ending of Linger is even more abrupt, with the climax happening in the last few pages and very little denouement happening afterward. I enjoyed the majority of Linger more than Shiver, but I did not love the ending. 

The ending of Forever, and of course the end of the trilogy, had a very open ending. By the end of the story, we were still left wondering what happens to our favorite characters, and not in the best way. I usually don't mind open endings, but this one left me feeling a little unresolved.  

Now, I said that I enjoyed the series, despite the problems I had with it. And I really did. I believe that my favorite part about this book is the mythology. This is the first werewolf series I've ever read, but I absolutely loved the mythology and the science behind the werewolves. We're told that the werewolves change to wolves when it is cold outside, and that during the summer, they get to be human again. This explanation changes a bit throughout the series, with characters making new discoveries, but I loved all of it. It's so unique and different from other werewolf stories out there. 

The dialogue is fantastic, especially between Cole and Isabel. Their relationship is more believable than Sam and Grace. And I suppose that's a good thing, since Maggie Stiefvater recently released a companion book to the trilogy entitled Sinner, which is all about Cole and Isabel. YAY. I would read about Cole and Isabel forever, so I'm hoping to read that soon. And hopefully it will provide us with a little more closure about Sam and Grace and I can feel at peace about the Mercy Falls world. 

Best of all, even though this series wasn't my favorite, it has convinced me to pick up more Maggie Stiefvater. I just purchased The Scorpio Races, and I bought Blue Lily, Lily Blue at the signing, so I just need to get the first two books. 

If you haven't picked up this series, I would still definitely recommend them, especially if you have an inclination towards paranormal romance stories that are heavy on the romance. 

Individual ratings: 
Shiver: 3/5 stars
Linger: 3.5/5 stars
Forever: 4/5 stars 

Rating overall: 3.5/5 stars 

Tell me: have YOU read the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments below! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (8): Books I Want to Reread

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish!

Disclaimer: I RARELY reread books. In fact, I honestly don't remember the last time I reread a book. But there are some that I really wish I could, if I had the time! I don't reread books if I remember exactly what happened, so these are all books or series that I haven't read in so long that I have a hard time remembering exactly what the plot was!

10. Gone and Hunger by Michael Grant (because I need to finish the series, and I have NO idea what happened in the first two books anymore...

9. Eragon series by Christopher Paolini (because I need to finish the series, again!)

8. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

7. His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman

6. Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray

5.  Inkworld trilogy by Cornelia Funke

4. Cold Awakening trilogy by Robin Wasserman

3.  Peeps and The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld

2.  Midnighters trilogy by Scott Westerfeld

1. Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld (sensing a theme, here?)

Tell me: what books or series would YOU like to reread? Let me know in the comments below! 

Book Birthdays! -- November 4, 2014

*Note: when celebrating birthdays for books in a series other than Book 1, I will not list the summary, in the interest of avoiding spoilers. If you've read the first books in the series, or are just insanely curious, follow the book title link to the Goodreads page to read the summary there!

Series Starters

Author: Claudia Gray
Series: Firebird #1

Summary: Marguerite Caine's physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite's father is murdered, the killer--her parent's handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul--escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him. 

Marguerite can't let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul's guilt--and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father's death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined. 

Series Continuers

Author: Miriam Forster
Series: Bhinian Empire #2

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Naturals #2

Series Enders

Title: Mortal Heart 
Author: Robin LaFevers 
Series:  His Fair Assassin #3

Author: Michelle Hodkin
Series: Mara Dyer #3

Tell me: what new releases are YOU excited for? Let me know in the comments below!