Winter

13206900Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer

5_stars

In the conclusion to the Lunar Chronicles series, the girls and their beaus come together for a final stand against Levana and her rule on Luna and impeding rule on the Common Wealth. Though they all come from different backgrounds, have their own skills, and have their own end goals, they somehow band together against a tyrant that has been destroying their lives.

The Story– I absolutely adore these books, and the last one didn’t let me down at all. If you like a happily ever after, than these retellings definitely have it for you. The best part is that even though we all (probably) know the basic outline for these stories, Meyer has developed them into their own plot, and the story unfolds in such an exciting way that I could just not put it down till I had my happy ending – which at some points I thought was feeble. By the end though, I was happy and giddy and every other feeling a princess story usually gives me

The World Building-This book gave us a LOT more Luna, in fact a majority of the book is spent there. It was interesting to see how the Lunars were apart from just the thaumaturges, as in not everyone was power hungry narcissists.

The Characters– At first I wasn’t exactly sold on Winter & Jason, but by the end I found them just as swoon worthy as the other three princess/prince couples. I love how Levana ended up being the key villain along many platforms, even though there were a few different fairy tales interwoven.

The Soundtrack– Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll

scrill sig

 

Related Reviews:

13206828Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

 

Advertisements

The Final Empire

6547258The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson

5_stars

“The Hero of Ages shall be not a man, but a force. No nation may claim him, no woman shall keep him, and no king may slay him. He shall belong to none, not even himself.” 

Within the Final Empire the skaa have been enslaved for centuries by the Lord Ruler. Though the ashes still fall and the mists they fear still roil in each night, a rebellion has started to grow. A crew of thieves, each with their own unique specialty, have plans to turn this rebellion into a full on revolution.

The Story-I was fortunate enough that Bentley and Chelsea let me jump in on their buddy read. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much without their feedback, ideas, and understanding throughout the book. I seriously am so excited to start the next book. I have to admit, the long prologue and first few chapters weren’t the most exciting chapters ever, but from there the story really unfolds from slow burning to a full blaze. The story itself primarily follows Vin, who is a lowly thief, and her endeavors after she has been recruited by Kelsier, a man known as The Survivor of Hasinth for the biggest, craziest job he has ever planned. Mostly told between Vin & Kelsier the team is constantly berated by obstacle after obstacle that keeps you wondering if they will ever pull off the job or not. While an uprising isn’t some the most exciting, original idea, Sanderson did a wonderful job of introducing it as new through his wonderful world building.

The World Building– I thought that as the story progressed Sanderson did an excellent job of unfolding more and more about the world as well as character development. The world building for me was by far the best part for me. While I have a lot of questions about some aspects, I can tell by the way Sanderson unfolded information in this book, that we will most likely have them answered in due time throughout the rest of the series. With that being said, I’d like to point out some of my favorite bits that I found incredibly intriguing.
The Special Abilities– I loved how in depth all of this was. There wasn’t just one type of power. In fact the major ability, metal burning, wasn’t even as straight forward as just having it. There were levels of ability, uses, checks and balances, using up and refilling, and tricks unique to each type of ability. At first I was a little overwhelmed by the different types of metal and what they did. I thought I might have to memorize all of them to keep up with the story, but Sanderson flawlessly reminded me of their uses as the actions were performed without sounding redundant.
Creatures, Races & Histories-There are a few different races mentioned in the book, and each had their own history, special abilities, religions etc. In fact, I loved how Sanderson created multiple religions within the one people as part of the world building, even if it wasn’t relevant to the particular world they were living it, it still helped support the story, and it was these small details that really put this book above the rest. The creatures were so eerie & unnatural. First of all, the Inquisitors off the bat were so creepy I got chills reading about them. The mistwraiths have all their superstitions wrapped around them along with the fact that they only roam around in the mists just made them über creepy too. These creatures along with the superstitions really set the mood for the world.

The Characters– Okay, there are too many characters to really do all of them any justice, so I am only going to mention Vin (who I consider the main character) and my favorite from the whole crew.
Vin-Now while Vin turns out to be a super bad ass chick, my favorite parts of her were her weaknesses. Despite her growth as a character in skill, confidence, and trust, she was still vulnerable to dangers, loss and disappointment. She never stops second guessing herself, she just pushes through because she simply has to. Just because she was certainly stronger and bolder by the end of the book, she could still cry out with relatively normal reactions.
Sazed-I loved this guy because he was entirely selfless. He only sought out the best for his friends, particularly in this book Vin, and even when they were stupid he did nothing but support them all. He is steadfast in his word and true with his friendship. For me he turned out to be one of the most intriguing characters, and I honestly think it was meant to be that way. He is shrouded in mystery for most of the book, despite his prominent presence, and I can only hope that he continues to play a big role in the upcoming books.

The Soundtrack
Radiohead – Daydreaming
Muse – Uprising
Thrice – For Miles

scrill sig

Cress

13206828Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

 

5_stars

Cress has been in her satellite doing the bidding of Queen Levana for many years. But this is her chance to redeem herself for all that she was forced to do. Imprisoned on a Satellite with only the occasional supply visit she has little interaction with the outside world (errr universe). That is until she requests an escape from none other than Cinder, the fugitive she has been ordered to find for the Queen. This unlikely crew of rebels soon find out that they not only need to stay out of the clutches of the Queen but are probably the only hope of stopping her.

The Story-I can’t believe I put this book off so long. These books are just so stinking cute, I don’t even care if they’re cheesy or anything. They just make me feel good and sometimes you just need that in your life. Fairytale retellings in space? Seriously, so much fun. I know I am ridiculously late to this bandwagon, but I don’t even care.

Anyway, the pacing in book three stays steady with espionage, escapes, and even kidnapping. Along with all the sweetness these girls bring, the situations they find themselves in only keeps you on the edge of your seat with excitement.

The World Building-In Cress we start to get a little bit more of the Lunar perspective and it’s quite disturbing. It’s really quite chilling to learn what they are willing to do to hold and gain more as much power as they can. It was really interesting to see more of Earth and how they interact and handle Lunars as well. I am really curious how Earth is going to react in the next book with all that has happened in this book.

The Characters-So since we are starting to really collect a huge cast, I am going to focus on our title heroine, Cress. I am pretty sure she’s my favorite thus far and I think it’s purely for her sweet naiveté. Unlike our other retold heroines, she remains to be the girl you want to save. Not because she is exactly helpless, because let’s be honest, the crew would not be alive without her. It’s because I feel like there is something about her that needs to be persevered. I hated seeing her go through more and more troubles, but her relationship with Thorn is just so stinking cute. Despite the fact that she is the one being “saved” it was incredibly endearing how their friendship developed as he had to rely on her.

The Soundtrack
Anya Maria – Satellite Heart
Justin Bieber – Hit the Ground
The Chainsmokers feat. Daya– Don’t Let me Down

 

scrill sig

Just Friends

25876985Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock

5_stars

“Their past might be fake, but their future was real. It was theirs to build. It was real, unscripted and unplanned.” 

When Jenny and Chance are paired together for an assignment for Oral Communication, they end up winging the whole thing and making up lies about how they have basically been best friends forever. After the class is over, they just go with it, pretending to be best friends. As time goes on, they learn to trust and rely each other like it’s all true. The more real memories they create the closer they get until their need for each other by their side is undeniable to everyone.

The Story– Pitcock mentions in her acknowledgements that Reality Bites played a part of inspiration for the book, but I honestly have never seen it. However, the entire time I was reading this I had actually wondered if it was a When Harry Met Sally retelling. Which, I completely adore.

Let me be completely candid here. I started this book last night and read till 2AM, woke up and finished it in bed before getting up for coffee. If you knew anything about me there are two things important to me in the morning – washing my face & drinking coffee. So the fact that I just had to finish before marking these tasks off my morning routine has got to show how much I adored this.

I have to admit that the first chapter or two had me wondering if this was the type of book that would talk about how great Chance is with enough cheese factor to put Tillamook out of business. Fortunately after the initial meet-cute it tempered down a bit to a steady and consistent feel goodness. While the whole story wasn’t just cutesy scenes, I think it’s also important to point out that it did have some familial issues that are addressed though they weren’t a heavy influence to the vibe to the book. The issues were used as a way to reinforce the friendship that was so needed between Chance and Jenny. Other common teen issues are lightly used as well, including rumor mills, double standards, and relationship expectations.

I just loved how this book deals with friendship and how they were there for each other first before their feelings became an issue. That’s to say that sparks didn’t not fly from their initial reaction, it just didn’t quite take off in a steamy or confusing romance. Just read this, it’s a good balance of romance and comradery.

There was just one bit that I felt could have been done just a smidge better and that was how many 90’s or 00’s references that were used throughout the book. I think it really dated the Pitcock’s generation, which was okay, but probably could have been a more relevant if it also included some more recent references. Don’t get me wrong, it is the same era that I reference most, but just saying for the target audience that the book is for…

The Characters-Jenny & Chance were stinking cute. I seriously loved their interactions and the stories they came up for their fake past were super cute too. They made it super nostalgic for my childhood best friend. It was incredibly endearing how Jenny & Chance would put the other’s needs before their own over and over despite their own personal issue.

The Soundtrack– At the end of this book Pitcock had already supplied playlists from Jenny & Chance, so I’m not going to list a bunch here. You just have to get the book to see hers for yourself.
Taylor Swift – State of Grace (this was also on Pitcock’s Jenny & Chance playlist)
Rooney – If It Were Up to Me
Feist – Secret Heart

scrill sig

Lies Jane Austen Told Me

34525559Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright

5_stars

I received a copy from Netgalley for a fair review. 

Publish Date: November 7, 2017

“This was all her fault. If I hadn’t spent half my life wanting to be Elizabeth Bennet, I wouldn’t have held my own prejudices so dear. I wouldn’t have taken pride in my own clever snap judgements to like and dislike at a whim.” 

Emma has broken up with Jane Austen. Despite all the happiness her novels and movie adaptations have brought into her life, she has decided that Jane essentially was a fraud – being that she had ended up an old spinster in the end and not happily married to her own love of her life. Except Emma can’t just rid herself of Jane, and her personality that that has been derived from constant interaction with the novels can’t just go away – her pride, prejudices, assumptions, and expectations all get in the way of her life and quite possibly, her happily ever after. Emma is caught between Blake, who she thought was going to propose, and his brother Lucas who is doing his best to reunite the two all the while confusing Emma when she feels a connection to him.

The Story-I blew through this book in one day, and by the end all I wanted to do was pick up my Pride and Prejudice and devour that next. I definitely need a copy of this book to shelf next to the rest of my Austen novels and inspired novels.

pride and prejudice GIF

With inspirations from Jane Austen’s novels (and a quote, seemingly a lie Jane has told us all, to start each chapter) we are given a well-rounded novel that not only emanates the type of story Jane would give us, but also something modern and fresh. For me there wasn’t really much in wanting for this book, it delivered exactly what I expected – a story of a girl who had had enough of Jane Austen ideals, but still ends up having her own Austen style romance, full of misunderstandings and missed chances. Really, this was such a subtle combination of a lot of the best aspects of Jane Austen Novels.

The Characters– I am only going to talk about two of the characters (Emma & Lucas) despite the fact that Blake and her best friend are also great characters and the perfect amount of interaction to actually help the plot without taking away from the obvious main characters.

Emma-First of all, she loves Jane Austen, so she gets 100 points there. She exudes a strong character that still has wants and needs. She’s a successful and beautiful woman, but can still be a swoony romantic. So yes, you can be strong but still be incredibly vulnerable with your heart. I loved that she could be sure of herself, but at the same time question her own heart.

Lucas-To me, he was so much like Edward Ferrars (Sense and Sensibility) – always doing right by his promises and for his brother. But then again, he just isn’t Edward either. I loved that everything we want to hate him for putting Emma through is nothing that we can really actually hate him for. He was noble without overdoing it. Which of course does nothing but make us expect men to be so valiant in our own lives, but who cares, that’s why we read this stuff.

scrill sig

Illuminae

23395680Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Audiobook Review

5_stars

 

 

 

 

“And while the irony holds some base appeal. There looms in my heart.
<error>
The inescapable notion that has brought us all to this.
Protect. Prioritize.
Better I should kill them when I am done. Better I should kill them all.
<error>
Am I not merciful?”

Okay I get it. I understand why this book won an Audie Award in 2016 for Multi-Voiced Performance. But it was more than just that. There were sound effects and just….spectacularness.

I have always believed that in order to get the full experience of the Illuminae Files you would have to read the physical book, see the physical pages. But I’ve changed my mind. In order to get a full experience of this book, you need to listen to the audiobook while reading it. I know, that’s a little excessive. But both versions have their own contribution to the story. The audiobook only increases my anticipation for the movie…that will come out when???

I am super excited to listen to the Gemina adaptation now. I obviously can’t wait until the Obsidio comes out, and will certainly re read the first two books again probably in February and March, because let’s be honest, I cannot get enough of these books. Let’s play desert island, yes, I would bring these books.

 

scrill sig

 

Related Reviews:

01cb5-23395680Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Illuminae Files #1) *Book review

 

 

 

29236299

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Illuminae Files #2)

 

The Dragons of Nova

31686500

The Dragons of Nova (Loom Saga #2) by Elise Kova

5_stars

“She had always seen tools of destruction as the way to gain control. Hope was a much more dangerous weapon.”

The story continues with Ari & Cvareh on their way to Nova to coerce with his family and Florence in the Alchemists guild working away towards a new rebellion against the dragons. The Dono is aware of a rebellion arising from Loom as well as the Xin House and is taking measures to hold is rule over it all.

The Story-You know, I really do read a lot of YA fantasy. So now that I am reading just a regular fantasy series, it really makes you appreciate how the story falls without something like romance or a singular person’s ideals. The fact that this book is told from both sides gives it a sort of a GoT-y. Mind you, I can’t really say that with authority because I have only read the first half of the first book….But I hope you can imagine the fact that we could all be rooting for Loom, but understand why Nova is operating the way it does. I just love how as the story goes a long, another layer is peeled back to show more adversity for our characters.

The World Building-In tDoN we get to spend a lot more time in Nova where the Dragons reside – and what a beautiful colorful world it is. I love that while Arianna spent time in Nova she was slowly introduced into the things that Dragons do not for practicality that she is used to, but for beauty, and just because it was nice. Like extra pillows & wind chimes. Further indicating how different the world on Loom is from Nova, function versus beauty.

“You build for beauty before function. You spend countless hours on adornments. You make noises with your mouth and tools, calling it song, moving to it and calling dance, but it serves no greater design.”

As the story progressed we got a further understanding of the functions of each guild on Loom. The way that Kova describes the world is poetic without being ostentatious, and it still offers us a super cool steampunk vibe.

It was as if the Harvesters had peeled back the surface of the earth to find its soul. And its soul was the very lifeblood of Loom: iron, minerals, oil, and coal.”

The Characters-

Arianna- Could this girl get any more cooler? Ari’s has this confidence that makes me want to think she is full of herself, but I just end up admiring her badass-ness.

“Far below, a pale blue woman stood with eyes like late sunset and hair the color of morning’s first light. She cut her place in the world with foolhardy arrogance, standing as though she were the personified herald of the Death Lord himself.”

Cvareh- I love Cvareh and his role in the story. He is what is connecting Loom to Nova as he battles between what Arianna wants from him and his duty as Ryu to the Xin House. The chemistry that he has with Arianna is sweltering and his need for her is almost tangible.

Florence-Flor’s development in this book was really strong. Without Arianna as a crutch, Flor really blossomed into a brave, independent girl with her own ideals and dreams.

“She had struggled for so long trying to find a place where she belonged that she had never stopped to see the innate benefits of belonging to nowhere. She could do things no one else could do. She could be things no one else could be.”

Petra- Petra is fierce.  ‘Ends before ideals‘. I love how Petra is unshakable in her hatred for house Rok and her expectation for every Xin dragon to sacrifice everything for House Xin.

I completely adore the covers for this series. The artist is Nicholas Grey, and more of his art can be found here.

scrill sig

 

Related reviews:

The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga, #1)

The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga #1) by Elise Kova

 

 

A Gathering of Shadows

20764879A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V. E. Schwab (Victoria Schwab)

5 Stars

AGoS picks up months after where ADSoM left us– on a boat with Lila and her new fellow shipmates aboard the Night Spire. Kell meanwhile is not adjusting to life that is tied to the royal prince. Essentially under house arrest, Kell is getting restless living day to day under constant supervision and without anything to distract him from the one person who manages to find their way back into his thoughts; Delilah Bard. While the rest of Red London is preparing for the Element Games, Prince Rhy devises a scheme to allow Kell to release some steam. Caught up in their own lives, Black, White, & Grey London seem to be flourishing in their own ways.

The Story-This book was so much better than the first one! In fact, it made me appreciate the first one even more! The first book felt more like character development and world development – the background story that brings our characters together, I mean sure there is a lot that does actually happen, but for some reason I feel like the adventure really started here.

The World Building-AGoS really brought in a deeper understanding into the magic that Kell uses. Introducing rules and consequences to the magic, how magic is used combatively, and even how the other countries surrounding Red London view magic. Aside from that we didn’t get much more world building, as we really are returning to our beloved London’s.

The Characters-I feel like the characters really came to life in this book – especially Delilah. Her mannerisms and actions really helped drive her character as she had to prove to herself as well as the world that she is no ordinary girl.

In aGoS we get extra points of views as well. So all those who were going gaga over Rhy in the first book, be happy because you got what you asked for. Unfortunately, Rhy isn’t the charming prince that he comes off to be, and as we delve into her POV we get an understanding of how he feels in the aftermath of Kell linking their lives together.

 

If you haven’t already seen, there is quite a bit of awesome fanart out there for the SoM series.

Kell by Merwild

Delilah Bard by Freiheit

One of my favorites is Merwild. (Kell) The other is Freiheit. (Delilah Bard)

As always, I would be careful scouring the internet for any fan art, as it might unintentionally give away spoilers.

 

 

scrill sigHannah sig

Related reviews:

22055262

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V. E. Schwab

 

 

 

 

Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab

Gemina

29236299Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

The Illuminae Files #2

5 Stars

“Patience and Silence had one beautiful daughter. And her name was Vengeance.”

THIS BOOK WAS PERFECTION!!

}==>>=>

[       {

\___  \,-‘//              `–

@_/ ~ |  |, – – – – – *\   \ \_

*******@_}     >|  |++++++++(  |    )~[ |||>

@_\_~|  |` – – – – – *    / /

/       /` – . \\_____,–‘==(-CAPSCAPSCAPSCAPSCAPS

[       {

}==>>=>

Gemina continues the epic story that Illuminae started. From Jump Station Heimdall we meet a whole new crew of ass-kicking and hacking characters to continue the prosecution against BeiTech.

The Story– I didn’t quite believe people when they told me Gemina was better than Illuminae. But OH. MY. GOSH. It truly was so much better. It did NOT suffer from that second book syndrome we know as “this sucks”. I don’t even need to say much about how awesome the story is, if you loved the first one, you will most definitely love this one, if not even more like I did (and obviously so many other people). I don’t know how the story was able to come up a notch, but it did and I cannot wait to see what happens in the next one!

The World Building– How do you expand the world on a space ship? Kaufman and Kristoff have introduced some elements that, frankly, scared the shit out of me. I’m not going to say what said element was, but let’s just say that my (irrational) fear of air vents has been rekindled. Yes. Freaking. Air. Vents.

Even though we the story is in a futuristic multiuniverse there are still some familiar attributes to be found in this book. Annoying double entendre pop songs that are way over played, culture (such as Russian), drug dealers, instant messaging. It’s all stuff that isn’t too crazy sci fi for the average person to get behind. So even if you aren’t really into sci fi, you can still enjoy the non stop action this book provides.

The Characters-Kady & Grant << Hanna & Nik << AIDEN.

I know, right? Yay for more Kady, Grant, & AIDEN!!! I am so glad that they did have a come back, at first I was slightly worried since we were on a completely different location in space.

Hanna-Such a bad ass! I love that even though she was all prim & proper spoiled could still live a little. She had a journal to draw out her feelings. Her dad had her in combat training. And above all else, she still had a little sense of adventure or a spark for the wild side. Despite all that, she still had her moments where she was a broken girl, and it was such a relief to see a hero still be able to feel despair, failure, and anger.

Nik-Can I have one please? I love that Nik is not who you expect him to be. His character has such excellent development from what Hanna’s preconceived opinion of him. There’s never a moment where I wasn’t cheering him on. I always have been a rooter for the underdog. & I am love a story with the most unlikely companions.

scrill sig

 

The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

5 Stars

Much to my friend’s amazement, I knew pretty much nothing about the Percy Jackson series before starting this book. I think I enjoyed it a lot more because I didn’t really know any of the little factoids that a lot of other people know, heck, I hardly even knew the synopsis before opening the book. I knew that my 11 year old nephew was reading the series, and that I wanted to read it with him. I really wish that I was his age reading the book for the first time. The thing about Percy Jackson that would probably make it so appealing to as young as a 5th grader is that they probably have a lot of recent education on Greek mythology in school. At least, I think I learned about that stuff around the 4th or 5th grade, to be honest it was so long ago it mostly mashes together. Regardless, it should be taking a lot of information that they would be familiar with.

TLT tells the story about Percy Jackson a modern day kid who finds out that his dad is Poseidon (HA! I didn’t even know this going into the book, but apparently it’s in the synopsis so I don’t count this as a spoiler). There is trouble with the Greek gods as someone seems to have stolen Zeus’ thunder lightning bolt. Someone, Percy to be precise, must find the lightning bolt before the wrath of the gods starts WWIII.

The Story-Obviously, kids like to have stories where ordinary people find out they are destined for greater things. When we are young we like to let our imaginations get away with us (heck, I still do). TLT delivers what is familiar and makes it into something exciting. Throughout the book, I am reminded of familiar mythology as it is reincorporated into Percy’s quest.
The writing style in the book is so easy and flows well enough that any young reader will enjoy the book because it reads like someone telling a story. A story full of twists and turns and never a dull moment.

The World Building– There isn’t a lot of new world building as this is set in a modern day setting. However, Riordan does a spectacular job of modernizing the Greek gods into Western civilization.

The Characters-Percy really is such a lucky boy. I mean, yeah, his life leading up to his quest was pretty awful, however, he should pretty much be dead. There were so many opportunities where he could have easily died, the end. It really was right place & right time plus a little dash of help form his friends (and dad).

 jane levy GIF
I’m not going to go too in depth into all the people and friends Percy meets. But I will say that I love how the gods are depicted in this story. They are supposed to be this revered being, but they’re just a bunch of selfish, snotty brats. It’s funny how entitled they are because of their power.

scrill sig