Reading

Review: Peter Darling by Austin Chant

4/5 Stars

I have always adored Peter Pan stories. Growing up, Hook was one of my all-time favorite movies (it still is). So when I saw Silvia’s review of this little gem, I just had to get my hands on it. Peter Darling by Austin Chant is an enchanting, heart-wrenching, and delightful read. It was something my anxious little heart needed right about now.

Here is the blurb for those who aren’t familiar with the premise:

Ten years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up, leaving behind his adolescent dreams of boyhood and resigning himself to life as Wendy Darling. Growing up, however, has only made him realize how inescapable his identity as a man is.

But when he returns to Neverland, everything has changed: the Lost Boys have become men, and the war games they once played are now real and deadly. Even more shocking is the attraction Peter never knew he could feel for his old rival, Captain Hook—and the realization that he no longer knows which of them is the real villain.

This was the first book I’ve ever read with a trans character. I feel guilty for even saying it, haha. But it’s true. And I loved it. To me, this entire book was about Peter coming to terms with his own sexuality in the context of Neverland and his lifelong battle with James Hook.

The Characters

I just want to bundle Peter up and tell him, “I’ll be your family!” He was precious and daring and saucy and everything you’d expect a mostly-grown-up Pan to be.

James Hook was dashing and sexy and everything a good pirate ought to be. He was also tender, sweet, kind, and understanding.

There are other characters, Tinker Bell of course and the Lost Boys. There were also two additional characters called Ernest and Samuel who played intriguing roles in the overall story (but I won’t give their places away).

The Setting

Neverland has always been a fascinating place to me. As a child, I often wanted to run away to Neverland where you could be carefree and worry-less. I still do even as an adult! So, it was thoroughly enjoyable to see how Neverland bent and shaped itself to Peter’s shifting moods and will. The fae and mermaids were present along with a sense of overarching magic about the place. It was all beautifully rendered and described by Chant.

The Romance

Okay. Seriously, you guys. This was such a sweet love story. It was fluffy and soft and all the wonderful things that you want in a good romance. There were also no truly explicit scenes, which makes this appropriate for older teens in my opinion. Hook and Pan, and later Peter and James, were adorable together and I have absolutely nothing negative to say about them. At all. Ever.


Why 4/5 stars rather than 5? I WISH IT HAD BEEN LONGER!!!! I wish there had been more in depth explanations of both of their backstories. I wish that we could have seen the potential for conflict that might arise from Peter returning from Neverland and finding his body changed (of course, I would want this to be dealt with in a very sensitive manner). Either way, this book was fantastic and I am so glad I picked it up after Silvia’s recommendation!!

Go and check it out for yourself!

SPOILERY QUOTE BELOW.

Favorite Quotes:

“Recognition tugged again at the back of Hook’s mind, but he couldn’t place this man anywhere in his memories, and he thought he would’ve kept a record of that smile.”

 

“Peter wet his lips with his tongue. ‘This is is. You’re mine.’

‘Am I?’ Hook asked, as Peter drew back his sword. ‘Or are you mine?'”

 

“Haven’t you ever noticed that the sun comes out when he smiles?” the queen said. “It’s another thing he wished for when he was a boy.”

James laughed raggedly. “And all I wished for was a pirate crew.”

“He is a far bolder storyteller than you.”

My favorite quote of all, however, is the very very last line in the book. And you’ll just have to read it to find out!

Reading

T5W: Top 5 Underrated Books

I am really excited for this week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic! Not sure what T5W is? Check out the Goodreads group for more information.

This week, we’re discussing underrated reads that really deserve more love than they got. I’m counting books less than or just right above 4 / 5 stars in my list. Without further gilding the lily, here we go!

Give some love to those books that aren’t as widely talked about. Those hidden gems. Those books that maybe used to be popular but people have forgotten about and they still deserve some love.

The Other Guy by Cary Attwell

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Some say that the main character is cowardly, and maybe he is in some measure, but I found him to be delightfully honest, real, insecure like many of us, and riddled with flaws that made him seem more human to me. I loved Emory. I loved Nate. I loved Linnea. I loved these characters and the relationship that blossomed for Emory and Nate after their unlikely meeting in Thailand. Great fun read. Will look forward to more from this author.

 

The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan

I have always enjoyed Tan’s books and this one was no exception. Winnie and Helen’s story will haunt you with its beauty and make you ponder the hard life so many have led. It has been a LONG time since I read this book, so I don’t have a ton to say about it now, but as with all of Tan’s books, it left a lasting emotional impression.

 

The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley

I remember reading this book when I was in middle school. It looked interesting, so I picked it up and literally did not put it down until I had finished it. I read it in one day while sitting on a float in the pool. 🙂 I have read it two or three more times since then. GREAT book. There was such an air of mystery and beauty about this book. Even though it was clearly written for a younger audience, you can’t help but love it as an adult.

 

Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara

This book right here changed my middle schooler life. I adored this book and literally searched for it for years before I finally found it at Powell’s online bookstore in college. It was such a beautiful tale of light and dark essence and how they are not always what they seem. I will love Chihaya FOREVER. That is all.

 

Scarlet and White Wolf by Kirby Crow

This book was an enchanting introduction to the world crow has built around the protagonists, Scarlet and Liall. Scarlet was instantly likeable to me. Sassy and yet unsure of himself. Liall was a swaggering type with charm and assertiveness that contrasted with Scarlet’s character. Their slow-building relationship was a breath of fresh air in a genre that often throws characters together too quickly. It’s clear that Crow put in a TON of background world building. The world felt rich with a variety of languages, religions, and cultures all jampacked together in one continent. I look forward to uncovering more about this place in subsequent books. I really enjoyed Kirby’s lyrical prose. It gave the book some of the “old style” feel. I really enjoyed the book and had a hard time putting it down. Looking forward to the next one! (Purchased it right after I read this one.)

 

What are your top 5 underrated reads? Do you have a number one out of those 5? I’d love to hear about it!

Reading

Book Review: Deep Magic by Gillian St. Kevern

I’ve already read 17 books in January (most of which have been novels!) I think this is hands down the most I’ve ever read in one month. Seeing if I can break 20 before the month is over.

My 17th book for January was Deep Magic by Gillian St. Kevern. I try to review every book I read on Goodreads, but don’t always share those reviews on my blog. But this book definitely needed a blog and GR review.

4 Stars

 

If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be whimsical.

I instantly fell in love with the wild landscape of Wales and the quaint small town our protagonist Oliver Evans inhabits.

Oliver is a wanderer–plagued by an insatiable Longing for home. When his grandmother passes away, he inherits her cottage up on a set of cliffs overlooking the sea. So many memories in this place haunt him and he is drawn into the history of his own life while searching for a long lost friend named Myrhydion.

As the story progresses, we are pulled into a world of cunning magic and mythology about sea dwelling creatures called morgen. I was utterly fascinated by it all.

Olly and Myrhydion’s relationship was so sweet and yet still full of fun. The only reason I knocked off a star for this book was because of the sensual scenes. In my opinion they did absolutely nothing for the story and though they were short, they still drew me out of the overall sweet and epic tone of the story.

If you are looking for a book about mermen or selkies, I would highly recommend this one. Though the morgen are different from the previously named mythical creatures, you get a similar feel.

I am very much looking forward to book 2, Morgen’s Curse.

Reading

January 2017 To Read

I can’t believe it’s already January 2017!!! How does time go by this fast? Seriously. Books always seem to go too fast, too. Since that’s the case, my January TBR pile is pretty ambitious. But! I’ve already read 8 books this month and it’s only the 7th. I’m doing pretty well. So far, I’ve read:

  1. Harmony by Jordan L. Hawk (short story)
  2. Hoarfrost (Whyborne & Griffin #6) by Jordan L. Hawk (novel)
  3. Maelstrom (Whyborne & Griffin #7) by Jordan L. Hawk (novel)
  4. Fallow (Whyborne & Griffin #8) by Jordan L. Hawk (novel)
  5. The 13th Hex (Hexworld 0.5) by Jordan L. Hawk (short story)
  6. The Summer Palace by C.S. Pacat (short story)
  7. Once Upon a Dream by Megan Derr (collection of fairy tales, begun in 2016)
  8. Restless Spirits by Jordan L. Hawk

As you can see, I’ve been a total Jordan L. Hawk fangirl this month. Her Whyborne & Griffin series is going down as one of my absolute favorites EVER. For Real. I will do a series review when it finishes up in the next year or so. But expect me to wax poetic about it here when I discuss favorite characters or “excited for” posts, etc.

My must-reads (not the entire list) for January are:

Magics Pawn by Mercedes Lackey

I’ve been looking forward to this series for a while and though it’s a bit older, I think I’ll enjoy it. It’s a YA fantasy novel about a young musician intent on becoming a bard, but his skills are a bit lacking. The story unfolds as his powers awaken and he becomes the last Herald-mage!

Hexmaker (Hexworld #2) by Jordan L. Hawk

I’m currently reading book 1 of this series (Hexbreaker) at the moment and am THOROUGHLY enjoying it. The magic system in this series with a witch + familiar + the utilization of hexes is fascinating. A definite fun read if you like shape-shifters, Alternate History, and a bit of romance thrown in!

The Crown’s Dog by Elise Kova

I am a huge Elise Kova fan. I was enchanted with her Air Awakens series and am super looking forward to jumping into this–one of the prequels to the AA series. Jax was one of my favorite characters in those books and he’s the star of this one. I’m way behind as the rest of the book bloggers have already read this, but I’m down for catching up! 😀

The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova

This is another Kova novel that has been much anticipated in the fantasy fandom. I’ve heard such good things about this steampunky YA fantasy and can’t wait to crack open my Kindle version when it comes out in just a few days.

What are you reading in January? What are your most anticipated reads? Can’t wait to hear!

Reading

T5W: Five Goals for the New Year!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is goals! Huzzah! To join us in Top 5 Wednesdays, just join the Goodreads group.

Most of these are reading goals, but a couple are general life goals. I’m typically a big goal setter, but the last few years, I’ve tried to keep goals simple and manageable (and realistically achievable). I find this helps boost confidence while also building up discipline toward the things I want to achieve. My goals for this year are definitely going to be a big challenge, but I’m ready to hit them hard!

 

  1. Read 100 books // I somehow managed to read 90 books in 2016 when my goal was originally 36, so I decided, why not? The only person holding me back from hitting the 100 mark is me! Onward we go! (I’ve already got 1 short story and 2 full novels under my belt, so we’re off to a good start.)
  2. Read more YA. // There are so many great YA authors and books floating around out there and the genre has always been a favorite. I read some YA last year, but not a ton. I’ll probably stick with fantasy YA, but it still counts. I’m not a huge fan of contemporary fiction unless it really grabs me.
  3. Get better at writing book reviews. // Sometimes I’m just lazy about writing extensive book reviews, other times I just have trouble expressing how amazing (or not amazing) a book was in so many words. This year, my goal is to significantly improve my reviewer skills and bring some pizzaz to them.
  4. Be able to watch anime without subtitles by the end of the year. // I’ve been slowly working on building up my Japanese skills for years and it is really important to me that I get conversational with the language before 2018. I’m trying to do a bit of study every day and it is starting to click. Anime is a top fave of mine and it seemed like a good, measurable goal to shoot for.
  5. Celebrate others and refuse to tear down myself. // Real talk. I get jealous and so down on myself when I look at other writers or readers who seem so much more talented than me. I think this is normal, but I don’t want to settle for bad habits like this. This year, I’m going to try to step up my positivity game and work hard to celebrate my fellow writers and readers for their amazing, unique skills and do the same in myself.

 

What are your goals for the new year?! Any series you’re particularly looking forward to reading or a specific number of books you’d like to read? Comment and tell us!

 

Reading

T5W: Character’s You’d Invite to Your New Year’s Eve Party

Top 5 Wednesday is a tag used by Goodreads readers and other bloggers weekly to discuss books and specific topics. For more information, check out the Goodreads group.

Hmm. I’ve never hosted an all-out New Year’s Eve party, but I’ve been to one of two in my day. This was actually a hard tag for me, as I certainly don’t want to copy the other choices I’ve seen folks make. We’ll see if I’m up for the challenge!

  • Jax from the Air Awakens series by Elise Kova
    • Jax is a beast and a major bag of cats. I think he would be a riot at parties with his wit and charm along with that slightly manic energy that has everyone in a room scratching their heads, feeling slightly uncomfortable, and entertained all at once.
  • Perival Endicott Whyborne from the Whyborne and Griffin series by Jordan L. Hawk
    • This precious little cinnamon roll would feel so awkward at a party and be a wallflower for sure. His shy nature and propensity to shun the spotlight would be a perfect example for fellow introverts. They’d have someone to gravitate towards and stand watching the merrymakers with.
  • Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
    • I mean, he’s a wizard, right? Think of all the magic tricks he could do to wow the crowd! As much of a ham as he is in any situation, he’d be sure to hog the spotlight.
  • Bob from the Hearstrikers series by Rachel Aaron
    • Similar to Jax’s manic energy, Bob would be a must-have addition to any party. The Seer would no doubt be attempting to orchestrate the outcome of every situation to his satisfaction, all while delivering witty, pithy, cryptic remarks that leave everyone baffled and frustrated.
  • Yokozawa Takafumi from Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai by Miyako Fujisaki and Shungiku Nakamura
    • Because every party needs a tsundere in attendance.

Who would you invite to your New Year’s Eve party? Share one of your picks in the comments!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

-Leah

Reading · Tags

TBR Book Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Jess at Beacoup Books. So excited to participate in this fun tag! Without further ado, here we go!

 

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

I use Goodreads! I’m a total Goodreads junkie. I have a giant TBR list but I divide it up into years. I’m currently building up my 2017 TBR list.

 

Is your TBR mostly print or ebooks?

Ebooks all the way baby. I actually get pretty distracted reading print books now. I love having one “page” to focus on and being able to adjust sizes and light (on my Kindle Paperwhite or my phone).

 

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

I definitely go by mood. I’m a huge mood reader. That’s partially why I read multiple books at a time. Depending on my mood I’ll switch around from several books, but I try to read one at a time.

 

A book you recently added to your TBR?

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The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. A friend gifted me this book for Christmas, so I’ve placed it on my TBR list for 2017. It’s well-reviewed on Goodreads and I’m looking forward to checking it out! It’s an epic fantasy that seems super long, but that’s not always a bad thing. I love fantasy and even epic fantasy, unless it gets dry or too convoluted in the plot and too far away from character development. I’m a big character-person and love character-driven stories. I have a feeling this one will be plot heavy, so we’ll see.

 

A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?

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The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Therese Walsh. That cover is seriously gorgeous.

 

A book on your TBR you never plan on reading?

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The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I tried. Twice. I just can’t get into it.

 

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for?

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The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova! I am seriously stoked about this book and have it preordered for my Kindle. I adored the Air Awakens series by the same author and have been looking forward to this new release for months!

 

A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you? AND A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you? AND A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

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Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. Everybody and their brother has read this book and I need to get on the ball and get this one read! It looks like an enchanting and exciting read!

 

How many books do you have on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

Currently, 422. Not too shabby but there is probably no way I’ll get around to all of them. I should probably go through and clean them out for REALS.

 

Tags

Basically, whoever wants to do this tag, you should go for it! This has been a fun little post and I can’t wait to see all of your answers!