It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? 5/25/30

Happy Memorial Day!

This week I’m going to try to read a little more before I go back to work next week.

This week I’m going to read an e-arc that a Publisher sent (My Favourite Author), an e-arc for a blog tour, a book that I picked up at ALA Midwinter, and a highly anticipated sequel.

What are you reading?

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The Invention of Sound- Chuck Palahniuk

50358503A father’s decades-long search for a missing daughter.
A young woman about to perfect the darkest art.
The most dangerous secret Hollywood has ever kept.

Gates Foster lost his daughter, Lucy, seventeen years ago. He’s never stopped searching. Suddenly, a shocking new development provides Foster with his first major lead in over a decade, and he may finally be on the verge of discovering the awful truth.

Meanwhile, Mitzi Ives has carved out a space among the Foley artists creating the immersive sounds giving Hollywood films their authenticity. Using the same secret techniques as her father before her, she’s become an industry-leading expert in the sound of violence and horror, creating screams so bone-chilling, they may as well be real.

Soon Foster and Mitzi find themselves on a collision course that threatens to expose the violence hidden beneath Hollywood’s glamorous façade. A grim and disturbing reflection on the commodification of suffering and the dangerous power of art, THE INVENTION OF SOUND is Chuck Palahniuk at the peak of his literary powers–his most suspenseful, most daring, and most genre-defying work yet.

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Royal Decoy (Fate of Eyrinthia #1)- Heather Frost

51585276. sy475 A SERVANT blackmailed into becoming a princess’s decoy.
A BODYGUARD determined to keep her alive.

A PRINCE forced to execute his father’s brutal laws.
A PRISONER used to keep him compliant.

A WORLD on the brink of war.

In one horrible night, Clare goes from kitchen maid to royal decoy. She has three months to become the princess’s perfect double so she can ensure her betrothal to an enemy prince. Desperate to survive, Clare throws herself into self-defense training, taught by her distractingly attractive bodyguard. The danger increases when a ruthless assassin begins stalking her, intent on ending the tenuous peace.

Across the northern mountains, Prince Grayson is his father’s ultimate weapon. He carries out the king’s harsh orders because the one person he cares about is his father’s prisoner. Grayson’s silent obedience is tested when his father plans to exploit the marriage alliance between two of their greatest enemies. If Grayson submits, the blood of thousands will spill. If he resists, the girl who means everything to him will die.

The fate of Eyrinthia hangs in the balance. Some want peace. Some want war. All will be thrown into chaos.

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The Girl From Widow Hills-Megan Miranda

52265515. sy475 Everyone knows the story of “the girl from Widow Hills.”

Arden Maynor was just a child when she was swept away while sleepwalking during a terrifying rainstorm and went missing for days. Strangers and friends, neighbors and rescue workers, set up search parties and held vigils, praying for her safe return. Against all odds, she was found, alive, clinging to a storm drain. The girl from Widow Hills was a living miracle. Arden’s mother wrote a book. Fame followed. Fans and fan letters, creeps, and stalkers. And every year, the anniversary. It all became too much. As soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and disappeared from the public eye.

Now a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden goes by Olivia. She’s managed to stay off the radar for the last few years. But with the twentieth anniversary of her rescue approaching, the media will inevitably renew its interest in Arden. Where is she now? Soon Olivia feels like she’s being watched and begins sleepwalking again, like she did long ago, even waking outside her home. Until late one night she jolts awake in her yard. At her feet is the corpse of a man she knows—from her previous life, as Arden Maynor.

And now, the girl from Widow Hills is about to become the center of the story, once again, in this propulsive page-turner from suspense master Megan Miranda.

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Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2)- Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

52691509. sx318 sy475 Our heroes are back… kind of. From the bestselling co-authors of the Illuminae Files comes the second book in the epic series about a squad of misfits, losers, and discipline cases who just might be the galaxy’s best hope for survival.

First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.

Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.

And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.

Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.

When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.

Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes—and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well.

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stacy

*First Lines Friday 5/8/20* Dark Skies (Dark Shores #2)- Danielle L. Jensen

52715971. sx318 sy475 A RUNAWAY WITH A HIDDEN PAST
Lydia is a scholar, but books are her downfall when she meddles in the plots of the most powerful man in the Celendor Empire. Her life in danger, she flees west to the far side of the Endless Seas and finds herself entangled in a foreign war where her burgeoning powers are sought by both sides.

A COMMANDER IN DISGRACE
Killian is Marked by the God of War, but his gifts fail him when the realm under the dominion of the Corrupter invades Mudamora. Disgraced, he swears his sword to the kingdom’s only hope: the crown princess. But the choice sees him caught up in a web of political intrigue that will put his oath – and his heart – to the test.

A KINGDOM UNDER SIEGE
With Mudamora falling beneath the armies of the Corrupter, Lydia and Killian strike a bargain to save those they love most—but it is a bargain with unintended and disastrous consequences. Truths are revealed, birthrights claimed, and loyalties questioned—all while a menace deadlier and more far-reaching than they realize sweeps across the world.

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“Killian:

Killian dusted sand across the report, taking care not to smear the ink of what was already lackluster penmanship. Not that it mattered. The correspondance was nearly identical to what he’d sent the week prior. And the week prior to that. All quiet on the wall…”

stacy

Interview with KayLynn Flanders, Author of Shielded

Shielded

Title: Shielded

Author: KayLynn Flanders

Release Date: July 21, 2020

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary:

For fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Furyborn comes a thrilling new fantasy about a kingdom ravaged by war, and the princess who might be the key to saving not only those closest to her, but the kingdom itself, if she reveals the very secret that could destroy her.

The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It’s losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans.

As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn’s–her brother’s–magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace.

Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong–the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it’s too late–for her and for her entire kingdom.

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Preorder Today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound 

Book Depository

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Author Information

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KayLynn Flanders is a graduate of Brigham Young University, with a degree in English Language and a minor in editing. When she’s not writing, she spends her time playing volleyball, reading, and traveling. She lives in Utah with her family, and thinks there’s nothing better than a spur-of-the-moment road trip. Her debut novel is Shielded. To learn more about KayLynn, go to kaylynnflanders.com or follow @kaylynnflanders on Twitter and Instagram.

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My Interview with KayLynn Flanders, author of Shielded

Thank you so much for stopping by the blog for this wonderful interview, KayLynn! And for anyone who is interested in more information about Shielded, check out my ARC review!

Congratulations on your debut book coming out this summer! What was your inspiration for Shielded?

Thank you! Shielded actually started from a dream. I won’t share spoilers, but there were people in trouble, and I woke up before they were safe. My heart was pounding so hard at the cliffhanger, and I needed to find a way for them to be safe so I could go back to sleep. So I came up with a solution, but the characters stayed with me. I let that idea grow over a few months, asking questions about who the characters were, why they were in danger, and how they got out of danger. The dream was wildly different than what my book ended up being (there were neon yellow tanks in the dream??), but the core emotion of that scene is one of the key parts of the book that hasn’t changed over the drafts.

Describe your book in 6 words or less.

Making choices. Finding your place.

What can you tell readers about your main character, Princess Jennesara?

She’s been keeping a secret for a long time from everyone but her brother. She doesn’t trust easily, but she’s got a strong sense of duty—for her brother (who’s the heir to the throne), and for her kingdom. That sense of duty wars with her desire for independence, and we get to see her struggle with that.

I love how unique the magic system is in How did the idea for that magic system come about?

Jenna’s magic was clear to me from the beginning, and I built the rest of the system around hers. I loved the idea of magic having consequences and opposites, of being almost a living thing on its own.

What was your favorite part of your writing process?

I love revising. I studied editing in college and have worked as a freelance editor for over ten years, so it’s not a huge surprise to me that I enjoy revising over drafting new words. Once the words are on the page, I love seeing them get better—communicating emotion and tying little plot pieces together. Shielded went through about twenty massive revisions!

What was the hardest part of your writing process?

Keeping the little subplot pieces tightly weaved throughout every chapter is hard for me. I forget things really fast (which can be good, but not always). I’m working on finding a way to keep track of the details so I don’t have to revise quite as much—unless everyone wants to wait three years for book two. 😀

If you could have Shielded adapted into anything (film, TV show, Broadway musical, dance, etc.), what would it be and why?

I would love to see the characters get to explore the world more in a TV series. Or, and this is a close second, I’d love an instrumental score to go along with it. Like a movie soundtrack, but for my book!

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Keep at it! Being an author takes a lot of patience and work. It takes loving your book enough to re-write it twenty times, and enough drive to keep trying when the odds are stacked against you. Learn all you can about writing and about the publishing industry, and go for it.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about your book?

I wrote Shielded because the world we live in is dark and messy, and I wanted a book that was hopeful. I wanted a hero who confronts hard situations and makes the best of them. So if you’re looking for a fun escape from the stress of the world, I hope you enjoy this adventurous fantasy with magic and friendship and a dash of love.

nikole

*ARC Review* Shielded by KayLynn Flanders

Shielded

Title: Shielded

Author: KayLynn Flanders

Release Date: July 21, 2020

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary:

For fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Furyborn comes a thrilling new fantasy about a kingdom ravaged by war, and the princess who might be the key to saving not only those closest to her, but the kingdom itself, if she reveals the very secret that could destroy her.

The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It’s losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans.

As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn’s–her brother’s–magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace.

Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong–the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it’s too late–for her and for her entire kingdom.

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Preorder Today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound 

Book Depository

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Author Information

18515282

KayLynn Flanders is a graduate of Brigham Young University, with a degree in English Language and a minor in editing. When she’s not writing, she spends her time playing volleyball, reading, and traveling. She lives in Utah with her family, and thinks there’s nothing better than a spur-of-the-moment road trip. Her debut novel is Shielded. To learn more about KayLynn, go to kaylynnflanders.com or follow @kaylynnflanders on Twitter and Instagram.

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My Review

Shielded is a fast-paced, adventurous read with strong characterization and beautiful world building. This was a book I could not put down.

Shielded is one heck of a debut, and I say that in a really good way. I loved this story so much. The world is phenomenal, the magic is unique and interesting, and the characters and relationships are wonderfully constructed. Plus, I loved the epic journey Jennesara went on to get to her destination. The author’s writing is breathtaking and a breath of fresh air. I have nothing but absolute praise for this fantasy debut.

The character development for the main character is so well-crafted. Jennesara is easily a likeable and relatable character. She’s strong and puts her family and kingdom above anything else. Though she originally refuses the arranged marriage to a neighboring kingdom, she ends up accepting it when her father explains how it will help save her kingdom. She’s brave and skilled in sword fighting (I loved the intense fighting scenes), which comes in handy, especially as she finds herself in constant danger with unimaginable magical beings. She’s also been hiding a dangerous secret for almost her whole life, a secret that could turn the tides of the war, but also puts her and those she loves in the front lines of danger, which she is not willing to risk. Jennesara is easily the embodiment of what a true heroine should be.

Jennesara isn’t the only character I loved. To be honest, I loved almost every character, even the villains (yes, you heard that, there’s multiple villains and it’s amazing and I’m here for it). I loved how the author included some chapters from the villains’ point of view; it allows the reader to see their backstory and understand why they’re the villains in this story. It also allowed the reader to see just how cruel each villain could be. Besides the villains, the side characters were amazing additions. I especially loved Chiara and Mari, sisters who would do anything to protect one another and Jennesara. It was beautiful watching all the relationships form.

And the romance is so swoon-worthy. It’s kind of (but not entirely) an insta-love story, but it works so well. It felt real and the attraction between Jennesara and her love interest was undeniable. I looked forward to every scene between the two characters; I could not get enough of them (and I’m beyond excited for more of them in book two!). It’s the romance like this in fantasy books that I look for – indisputable attraction, an instant yet fierce connection, and one worth protecting.

The world building absolutely blew me away. The world is magnificently crafted and beautifully described. Though this book was action-packed, the author took her time introducing the readers into new parts of the world, which I really liked. It wasn’t overwhelming at all and really molded well with the story. And the magic system was so unique. Not everyone is born with magic, mainly those part of the royal line and usually the first born. But what hooked me with the magic is how different it was from most magic systems. I loved the history of the magic and how, by the end of the book, it all came together. This book truly was a sensational read in every way.

Overall, Shielded is easily a favorite read of mine for 2020. It’s a strong and remarkable read, which left me feeling so much love for these characters and, of course, left me feeling in need of book two. If you are looking for an epic fantasy journey filled with intense action, believable characterization and strong relationship development, then definitely check out Shielded. 

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

nikole

 

*Cover Reveal* All the Tides of Fate (All the Stars and Teeth #2)- Adalyn Grace

The ​thrilling sequel to instant New York Times bestseller All the Stars and Teeth, called “captivating” by Tomi Adeyemi, “Vicious and alluring” by Hafsah Faizal, and “phenomenal” by Adrienne Young. Now author Adalyn Grace is back with more high seas adventure in this electrifying fantasy, perfect for fans of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series.

Through blood and sacrifice, Amora Montara has conquered a rebellion and taken her rightful place as queen of Visidia. Now, with the islands in turmoil and the people questioning her authority, Amora cannot allow anyone to see her weaknesses.

No one can know about the curse in her bloodline. No one can know that she’s lost her magic. No one can know the truth about the boy who holds the missing half of her soul.

To save herself and Visidia, Amora embarks on a desperate quest for a mythical artifact that could fix everything―but it comes at a terrible cost. As she tries to balance her loyalty to her people, her crew, and the desires of her heart, Amora will soon discover that the power to rule might destroy her.

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You get really excited about lame stuff, like low interest rates ...

 

I Love You Hearts GIF by The Valentines - Find & Share on GIPHY

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stacy

It’s Monday (On a Tuesday), What Are You Reading? 2/24/20

Happy Tuesday!

I know that I usually post this on Monday but I was feeling kind of crummy yesterday. So here is what I’m going to try to read this week.

What are you reading?

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Be Not Far From Me- Mindy McGinnis

46139175The world is not tame.

Ashley knows this truth deep in her bones, more at home with trees overhead than a roof. So when she goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. But people are not tame either. And when Ashley catches her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends her running into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine. Morning brings the realization that she’s alone – and far off-trail. Lost in undisturbed forest and with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley must figure out how to survive despite the red streak of infection creeping up her leg.

 

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The Princess and the Fangirl- Ashley Poston

39725622. sy475 The Prince and the Pauper gets a modern makeover in this adorable, witty, and heartwarming young adult novel set in the Geekerella universe by national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.

When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

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The Dilemma- B.A. Paris

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It’s Livia’s fortieth birthday and tonight she’s having a party, a party she’s been planning for a long time. The only person missing will be her daughter, Marnie.

But Livia has a secret, a secret she’s been keeping from Adam, her husband, until the party is over. Because how can she tell him that although she loves Marnie, she’s glad their daughter won’t be there to celebrate with her?

Adam is determined everything will be just right for Livia and the party is going to be perfect… until he learns something that will leave him facing an unbearable decision.

 

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Vampironica- Greg Smallwood

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When Veronica is bitten by a centuries-old vampire, her thirst for blood threatens to turn Riverdale into a haven for the undead. Will she put an end to the vampire threat or give in to her blood lust? Archie Horror’s latest series paints Riverdale red in the vampiric first collection by siblings Greg & Megan Smallwood.

 

 

 

 

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*ARC Review* Second Star by J. M. Sullivan

SS_JMSullivanTitle: Second Star (Neverland Transmissions #1)

Author: J. M. Sullivan

Release Date: March 5th, 2019

Publisher: Bleeding Ink Publishing

Page Count: 352 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary:

Wendy Darling worked her entire life to rise through the ranks of the prestigious Londonierre Brigade. Now as a Captain, she has everything she’s always wanted, including a ship and crew of her own. But when the Brigade receives a strange transmission from the legendary James Hooke, lost a hundred years earlier in uncharted space and presumed dead, Wendy is willing to risk it all to rescue her hero. She races to the planet known only as Neverland; her mission to find the long-lost crew and bring them home.

But there is more to Neverland than meets the eye, and more to Hooke than what was written in history books. When Wendy crash lands on the ominous planet, she quickly discovers Neverland’s dark secret; a malevolent being known as The Shadow that’s looking for a host body to escape its eternal prison. To fulfill her mission, Wendy must decide whether to trust the dashing Hooke or the mysterious Fleet mechanic who goes by the name of Pan–and she has to decide quickly…

Before the darkness consumes them all.

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Preorder Links

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository   |  Indie Bound

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My Review

What I love about this Peter Pan retelling is how unique and captivating the story is. The original characters are there, but in fragments of who they were portrayed as in the Disney movie. And I loved that, because the author took a classic story and weaved it into something old and new. The author kept the characters but gave them new back stories and compelling attributes.

In this reimagining of Peter Pan, Pan is stuck in a place that quickly becomes called Neverland, with a wrecked spaceship and a Captain that’s out for his blood. And then there’s Wendy, a newly-appointed Captain of the ship dubbed Faith & Trust sent to rescue Captain Hooke and his crew from Neverland. She, and everyone else at the Academy, thought Captain Hook and his crew died many years ago, but when Wendy intercepts a transmission call, her and the Academy staff are in for an awakening. She sets out to rescue the crew, only for her ship to crash land on Neverland. Now she will have to work with Peter Pan to find Captain Hooke, find out the truth, and escape Neverland and go back home to London or risk being trapped in Neverland forever.

As the reader, I saw a lot of development in Wendy. The beginning chapters focus on her younger years and how she gets accepted into the Academy. Jump forward several years and she’s nineteen, about to lead a rescue team to Captain Hooke. She is the top of her class, which is one of the many reasons she is picked to rescue Captain Hooke. Wendy is a strong leader/individual and she wants to succeed at the Academy and finishing this mission would be a great start for her. She just never saw the dangers of Neverland coming; but those said dangers help her develop as a person and a Captain and that’s where Wendy really shines.

Peter Pan’s character is everything and he’s just as fun and enchanting as he was in Disney’s version. Him and his crew work to find a way to escape Neverland, while also dodging Captain Hooke and unfamiliar dangers. I enjoyed how much older he acted; he didn’t fully act like a kid and I really enjoyed that. He’s also caring when it comes to his crew and Wendy; he wants to protect them all, even if that means sacrificing his own life. And, of course, his relationship with Tinc is wonderful; I found myself chuckling at some of their interactions and it reminded me about my relationship with my best friend. Granted, Tinc is an advanced mini robot, but her personality and interactions with Pan were so much fun to see.

I really enjoyed the aspect of Peter Pan’s story involving space and a more technologically advanced world. The idea added to the world building and made the world fascinating to read about. I also liked how the romance came later into the story and didn’t overpower the plot and story line of the book. It was great to see the world developed first before introducing Wendy’s potential love interest.

Overall, Second Star is a great Peter Pan retelling and one I would recommend. I’m looking forward to reading the second book and seeing what is in store for the characters.

nikole