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Just me, a fast ship, and a fair galaxy. )
feeling: ecstatic
traveling to: Sherwood Forest
calliope tune: "Forever"-Rex Smith
22 August 2030 @ 02:06 pm
TV seasons to watch/finish watching

X Company s3
Highlander s4&5&6
The Librarians s3
Mutant X s3
CHiPs s5&6
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis s4
Xena Warrior Princess s2&3&4&5&6
Bewitched s3&4&5
Bronco s3&4
T.J. Hooker s4
Lawman s2&3&4
Zane Grey Theatre s4&5
Little Men s1&2
Bourbon Street Beat s1
Lancer s1&2
Seven Days s1&2&3
Surfside 6 s1&2
The Collector s1&2&3
The High Chaparral s1&2&3&4
The Ponderosa s1
The Second Hundred Years s1

Upcoming TV I want to try/watch

The Good Doctor - premieres - September 25
Scorpion - s4 - September 25
Seal Team - premieres - September 27
Inhumans - s1 - September 29
Z Nation - s4 - September 29
The Gifted - premieres - October 2
Lucifer - s3 - October 2
Once Upon A Time - s7 - October 6
Legends of Tomorrow - s3 - October 10
The Flash - s4 - October 10
Supernatural - s13 - October 12
The Shannara Chronicles - s2 - October
Godless - premieres - November 22
Knightfall - premieres -
The Alienist - premieres -
The Terror - premieres -
The Frankenstein Chronicles - s2 -
Daredevil - s3 -
Britannia - premieres -
Humans - s3 -
The X-Files - s11 -
When Calls the Heart - s5 - February
IZombie - s4 -
The Originals - s5 -
12 Monkeys - s4 -
Anne - s2 -
Carnival Row - premieres -
Outlander - s4 -

Upcoming Films & Miniseries I want to try

Lewis and Clark
Man At Arms
A Gown Of Spanish Lace
Wreck It Ralph 2
How To Train Your Dragon 3
Oz the Great and Powerful 2
Sherlock Holmes 3
Thor 3
World War Z 2
Prince Charming
The Sword In the Stone
Maleficent 2
Star Trek 4
Robin Hood: Origins
The Avengers: Infinity War part 1
The Avengers: Infinity War part 2
The Legend Of William Tell
Hansel and Gretel: Death's Messengers
War for the Planet of the Apes
The Death Cure
The Little Mermaid
A Court of Thorns and Roses
Rose Red
Tinker Bell
Tulip Fever
Black Widow
Mary Poppins Returns
Pacific Rim 2
The Greatest Showman
Now You See Me 3
A Storm in the Stars
Deadpool 2
New Mutants
Devil in the White City
Justice League
The Silver Chair
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them 2
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Ashes In the Snow
The Beguiled
The Man From UNCLE 2
War of the Worlds
12th Man
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Goodbye Christopher Robin
A Wrinkle In Time
The Shape of Water
The Snowman
Skammerens Datter 2
feeling: lonely
calliope tune: "Red Rubber Ball"-Cyrkle
I saw a recommendation on tumblr for Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller and checked it out.

Summary on the back: Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map - the key to a legendary treasure trove - seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship. More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

My thoughts: This book had a slow start, and at first glance Alosa had most of the characteristics I dislike in a YA protagonist - too young, far too talented for her age, a violent, unnaturally good fighter, and annoyingly sassy - but I enjoyed the setting so I kept on reading. And before long it captured my interest. Yes, Alosa is all of the things I thought she was, and she is full of herself, but she does improve, and get layers - a tragic childhood of abuse, and a revelation as to exactly why she's so talented and unnatural - that helped change my opinion of her, and even grudgingly admit she wasn't so bad by the end. Similarly Riden starts out as relatively unlikable, but quickly grew on me, with layers of his own to uncover, and some impressive moments of self-sacrifice and honor.

The writing isn't perfect - a bit cheesy and occasionally bland - but there is some witty humor and several moments had me giggling or emotional. The darker moments don't blend well with the overall story - the writer couldn't seem to decide if she wanted a light-hearted swashbuckler or a gritty tale of a very unique girl trying to navigate a man's world - and the brief instances of torture and blood seemed entirely out of place. The real strength of the book, to me, was it's delightful concept, putting a fresh spin on the interactions of pirates and sirens. I'm actually surprised that both don't have more of a presence in YA fiction, but I'm always pleased when they appear, especially with the creativity in this plot. It was also refreshing to see a dash of the darker side of pirate and siren life, even if unpleasant - dubious consent/treatment of both women and men by the opposite gender, and violence. I did have one major issue with the way the topics were handled: while the violence/unwanted behavior of the male pirates to Alosa (and hinted at regarding other women) is rightfully and strongly condemned, the rape/murder of male sailors by female sirens is strangely romanticized as merely the way they reproduce (and one character is praised within the narrative for not trying to fight them off), which made me very uncomfortable, despite the briefness of the scene. But hopefully it's something that will addressed better in the sequel.

Despite its occasional side-eye worthy moments and imperfections, Daughter of the Pirate King was a mostly entertaining, relatively fun read that, if nothing else, left me wishing for more YA pirate books. Particularly ones with sirens.
calliope tune: "Hurt So Bad"-Lettermen
feeling: grumpy
Next on my reading list was Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George which looked endearingly old-fashioned and fun. And for the most part, it was.

Summary on the back: Poor Creel. She can't believe her aunt wants to sacrifice her to the local dragon. It's a ploy to lure a heroic knight so that he will fight the dragon, marry Creel out of chivalrous obligation, and lift the entire family out of poverty. Creel isn't worried. After all, nobody has seen a dragon in centuries. But when the beast actually appears, Creel not only bargains with him for her life, she also ends up with a rare bit of treasure from his hoard, not gold or jewels, but a pair of simple blue slippers-or so she thinks. It's not until later that Creel learns a shocking truth: She possesses not just any pair of shoes, but ones that could be used to save her kingdom, which is on the verge of war, or destroy it.

My thoughts: At the start, this was exactly what I'd hoped for: an offbeat and whimsical story with a dash of fairytales and a lot of humor. The plot hit a bit of a slump in the middle - and the revelation about the origins of the shoes made me wince a little - but it picked up again, and the ending was lovely and perfect. Creel (dreadful name, but oh, well) was a likeable heroine, Luka and she were cute together, and the dragons - all vividly unique and easy to adore - were completely delightful, as was Creel's relationship with them. The other supporting characters were unfortunately a little lacking - I almost forgot Creel's brother by the end of the story.

The strength of the book was the wonderful writing style which I fell in love with - kind of vintage and occasionally adorable - as well as the world-building of the dragons. Unlike the somewhat uninteresting figures in most fantasies with them, these dragons were all distinctive and very human-like - I especially loved the glass collecting, and having a pet - and probably my favorite characters (especially Shardas). Some of the political scheming/interactions lost me (I have a huge dislike for royals/royal plotting), but otherwise the plot was also, quite refreshingly, original, and I appreciated the lack of modern tropes such as love triangles. And, not as important, but I really love the retro looking cover.

Overall, Dragon Slippers was a quirky, largely enjoyable read that left me wishing more people would write dragon books like it.
feeling: hyper
calliope tune: "Skin Divin'"-Avons
After my last disappointments (including a few books I never got past the first couple chapters of), a dear friend recommended Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken to me, with the hope that, based upon my favorite books, I would enjoy it. And she was happily correct.

Summary on the back: Just as the rains come after ten long, dry years, a young wizard, Wayland North, appears, to whisk Sydelle Mirabil away from her desert village. North needs an assistant, and Sydelle is eager to see the country - and to join him on his quest to stop the war that surely will destroy her home. But North has secrets - about himself, about why he chose Sydelle, about his real reasons for the journey. What does he want from her? And why does North's sworn enemy seem fascinated by Sydelle himself?

My thoughts: *incoherent flailing* I absolutely adored this book. It has been years since I've so completely relished reading a book to the point that I put off watching tv to finish it, and it's the first book I can think of that I genuinely wanted to be longer, even as perfect as the ending was. Someone described it as "chocolate" and I can't think of a better description - warm, delicious, and 100% addictive.

The characters are fabulous. It made my day to find no trace of the usual, eye-rolling description of the male character's "gorgeous looks", and even more refreshingly, North is described as a man, rather than a boy (I'm so weary of fourteen year old protagonists). Even Sydelle, despite being a teenager and having the occasionally - albeit understandable - pouting moments, never felt like the annoying teenage YA heroine. Yes, she's "special" but it's never treated the way typical YA novels handle it, but rather equal parts curse and gift that she doesn't fully understand and can't really control. I also looove North's name - it's fairytale-ish and just delightfully offbeat, and his entire description - his unkempt clothing, drunkenness, and disgruntled attitude - is such a perfectly, wonderfully fairytale real wizard, like the old German books I read as a kid, that I kept grinning ear to ear through the pages. I liked how his personality shifted over the book as more layers and backstory were revealed, and we saw him through Sydelle's eyes. It was also nice to have a chronically ill (cursed, but still) protagonist.

I really enjoyed the love story aspect of the plot. Enemies to allies/friends/lovers is my favorite relationship trope and this book had so much of it, followed by the sweetest, most trope free romance I've had the pleasure of coming across in a very long time. There were several moments that had me tearing up, others giggling, and the ending was just lovely. But more than anything, I loved how the romance wasn't the main focus of the story, and how their relationship grew slowly, as opposed to instant love. I would have liked a lot more world-building - so much of the hedge witches and how magic worked at all was left largely unexplained - but what there was (magic out of the air! with cloaks! and colors!) was fascinating and completely creative.

Overall, I had zero true complaints about Brightly Woven. It was a complete gem, and I can only hope to discover more books like it in the future.
feeling: happy
calliope tune: "Billy Bayou"-Jim Reeves
Someone recommended The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton on tumblr, and the summary intrigued me so much I added it to my list. And while it was something of what I'd hoped for, I was left dissatisfied.

Summary on the back: Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava, in all other ways a normal girl, is born with the wings of a bird. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration. That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava's quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.

My thoughts: This was a very strange and frustrating book. On one level, it was near perfection: breathtaking gorgeous prose, striking imagery, whimsical, extremely unique and vivid characters - even the most minor ones gave of a Dickens vibe and were memorable - an entirely likeable protagonist, and a completely original plot. The villain was very unique and believable, and the different ways the people viewed Ava - from evil to good - was very interesting. I adored Ava, and several of the surrounding characters, and the entire concept of a child born with wings was completely delightful, from the matter of a fact way her birth was presented, to the nearly logical science behind it all. I loved the historical feel of the setting, and all the small and touching details of Ava's world.

But beneath all the good, there was several things that troubled and unnerved me: the sometimes shocking moments of violence and grotesque scenes - from animal harm to rape to a graphically gruesome attack, and unexpectedly grim themes, particularly concerning death, loss, and religious fanaticism. In many ways the story felt like a fable, or lovely fairytale, lulling me into a sense of ease before rattling me with twists of horror out of nowhere, before dropping the entire plot in a final, strange twist. It might be that I didn't quite understand the author's message and whether it was supposed to be depressing or optimistic - is it that the world will destroy everything pure and good or is it a message of hope, and triumphing over the worst tragedies? - but in either case the two emotions the book stirred never came together, leaving the entire plot with a patchwork, unsettling tone. Even the wistful, often beautiful writing was undermined by the unevenly interwoven darkness.

Overall, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender was a disappointment, leaving me in awe of the excellent parts and disturbed by the bad.
calliope tune: "Faithfully"-Journey
feeling: frustrated
Next on my list was Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin, an alternative historical thriller with a bizarre, but intriguing premise. And, despite my reservations, I ended up being quite impressed.

Summary on the back: The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's Ball in Tokyo. Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

My thoughts: This was another hard book to define. The premise is fascinating, and despite my initial reservations - the entire concept seemed slightly disrespectful - the historical background was handled quite well, even if it was occasionally difficult to read. There were a few moments that made me very uncomfortable, but for the most part I felt the writer did a good job balancing the realistic horror with sometimes inspiring fantasy. I do usually love alternative history, so the concept caught my attention from the start. Several moments, particularly in the flashbacks, were haunting and poignant. And the writing style was often lovely.

Yael was both likeable, and easy to relate to, and her ability was very interesting. Most of the supporting characters were a little bit lacking and indistinctive to me. The world-building was quite well done, and despite a few overly imaginative elements, much of the story felt believable. The ending felt abrupt, and a little bit of a letdown after all the buildup (hopefully the sequel will be better resolved), but for the most part I enjoyed the plot.

Overall, Wolf By Wolf was a very good, if somewhat unsettling book that left me planning to read the sequel.
feeling: recumbent
calliope tune: "Duke of Earl"-Gene Chandler
My latest reading was The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black. I enjoyed her The Darkest Part of the Forest, so when I learned that she'd written a vampire novel, I had to add it to my list.

Summary on the back: Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave. One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

My thoughts: This book was...difficult to describe. It had an odd and unpredictable tone that kept giving me whiplash - from humor that had me giggling to jarringly violent and tragic moments, and the plot kept veering between utterly brilliant and disappointingly predictable YA fantasy. The urban gothic feel appealed to me highly, but the lack of details left me wanting more. I really loved the concept of the Coldtowns, but found the world-building annoying vague - I wanted so much more backstory and explanations! - with the most interesting parts teased but barely explored, particularly the vampires who choose to end their lives. Tana was, by turns, a perfectly interesting character and so naively stupid I wanted to shake her - most of the time, she reminded me of the character who goes into the dark room in a horror movie and gets killed off early. Seriously, most of her choices were questionable, to say the least, even taking into account her childhood trauma and age. Aidan seemed to be a completely unnecessary character - or maybe it's just the way I saw him? - and Midnight and Winter were intensely unlikable, right from the start.

But, I loved Gavriel. While I would have liked more of his past, motives, and even his romance with Tana to be fleshed out, his character was by far the very best thing about the book. I like my literary vampires unquestionably non-human, and dangerous, and Gavriel hit every trope I love and then some. His backstory was fascinating and tragic, and I liked the ending, and the choice he made.

Overall, The Coldest Girl In Coldtown was a strange book, that I couldn't decide if I truly liked or not, a disjointed mix of the excellent and the disappointing.
calliope tune: "Don't Fear the Reaper"-Blue Öyster Cult
feeling: apathetic