Cinder Book Review

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This review was done based on a recommendation of Erin from That One Geek Girl. You can check out her list on why you should read the book here

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My Review:

Cinder was one of those books that kept popping up on my radar, either on other blogs or just spotting the cover on shelves at bookstores. But I had never really thought to actually pick it up. I’m not really sure why. It just wasn’t on my radar that way. It wasn’t until Erin from That One Geek Girl asked me to read it, as a personal recommendation from her, for a contest, that I really took it seriously and read it.

And it took me a few days, being so wrapped up in NaNoWriMo and Catching Fire and Doctor Who that I was.

However, I just finished, not even twenty minutes ago, and I’m so glad I was finally able to get into it.

I’m not quite sure what I expected from this book, but it definitely defied my expectations. I’m not huge on fairy tale retellings, because I find that most of them just aren’t done very well at all but this is so definitely NOT the case in Cinder. Cinder builds its own world, a beautiful, scary, calculating and thrilling world that sometimes, for a moment, you’ll forget you’re even reading a book that’s based off of Cinderella.

I love Cinder as a character. She’s a cyborg, part human and part machine, and forced to work and live under the rule of her guardian/stepmother. She’s a lower class citizen, not just because her stepmother makes it so but because she’s a cyborg. But I think the strength and intelligence that she possesses throughout the novel, the courage and determination, really makes her so much better than any other Cinderella character I’ve ever met. She both accepts who she is, but fights it at the same time. And she doesn’t wait for someone to come and save her, she does everything she can to save herself. She’s incredibly unique. I also love the twist that comes at the end of the book for. I think it sets up so much for her growth and for her future. I can’t wait to dive into the next book.

I also think the mix of science fiction and classic fairy tale is truly inspired. It helps to carry the story along. The mix of the plague and the cyborgs and the mysterious Lunars and the sort of dystopian world that Earth has become. It is an incredible example of world building. You recognize the world but its been tugged and pulled into something else. There’s sort of elements from the past and then brand new elements from a future. Its brilliant. I love that we get these sort of old school markets, where Cinder is a mechanic and fixes things, and we have the future feel of hovercrafts, and then she finds a gasoline car in a junkyard and is determined to fix it. So many familiar things and yet things that we’ve only dreamed of. I like the idea that there is still a Europe, and an Africa and all that, but wars and other things have also made it kind of unrecognizable.

Also, the characters! We see those familiar characters/archetypes of the familiar story: Cinderella, the prince, the stepmother, the stepsisters, and so forth, but they are so different too. They are super deep and rich characters and so much better than any other characters I’ve seen in a story like this. You really get a sense of all of them. You understand all of them, even the ones you aren’t supposed to root for.

I think Marissa creates a compelling familiar story in a mixed up world, and creates enough mystery and romance and action and tension to keep anyone reading. The conflict between Earth and the Lunars, the relationship Cinder begins to build with Prince Kai, and the mystery of Cinder herself is really what holds this book together, and I can’t wait to read more about all of it in the second book, Scarlet.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

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Burn for Burn Book Review

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

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You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY…
THEY GET EVEN.

Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, purchase when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.

Kat is tired of the rumours, about it the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she’s ready to make her pay.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she’s not the same girl anymore. And she’s ready to prove it to him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won’t stop until they each had a taste.

My Review:

I felt like this book left a lot to be desired. This was the first book that I had read from either author. I have heard good things about both of them, and just haven’t really had the chance to read either one of them, so when I saw this book, I decided to pick it up.

I felt like there was a story there. Obviously there’s a lot more going on under the surface than we just think. At first, Jessica Brody’s The Karma Club came to mind, and I had preconceived notion that it was a contemporary novel about three girls ready to get even with those who have harmed them in the past, but as the story went along, I started to see that there was more to it, especially with Mary, something a bit supernatural. Unfortunately I just didn’t get to see much of that in the actual story and it left a lot to be desired. Obviously Mary is struggling with something but we don’t really get to see what’s she struggling with. I think they wanted to leave it as a sort of mystery, but its so mysterious that’s its almost bewildering. I am kind of wondering how that plays in the story and whether it’ll be important because it really doesn’t seem to be important in the first book in the slightest.

The characters also felt very one-dimensional to me. i didn’t really get the feeling that they were real people. They just felt too…typical to me. You had the popular, smart, pretty Lillia. The punk, poor, outcast Kat. The once-fat, shy, lacking of confidence Mary. But there wasn’t a whole lot of depth to those characters. You can definitely have those archetypes and still create characters that are memorable and still create characters that a reader can fall in love with. In fact, I think with writing YA, all or most of your characters fit some sort of archetype because in high school, its like you’re always trying to fit into something like that. You haven’t quite figured out that you are so much more than a simple label. But I feel like neither Han or Vivian really gave these characters depth. You can *kind of* understand why they want the revenge but not fully. All the reasons seem sort of superficial. Mary gets a little more depth than the other two, but we really don’t get a real story out of it, and I felt myself wanting to know more about these characters that I didn’t get.

I didn’t think that either Han or Vivian were bad writers. In fact, I was impressed that a book that was written by two authors had a nice flow to it. Sometimes you can tell the difference between the two writers while writing a similar story but it didn’t seem that way. I don’t know if that is because I haven’t read either author before so I don’t have previous experience with their “voices” but that part seemed to be done with ease (though I know it probably wasn’t). I feel like it could be one of those sort of easy reads, an enjoyable light read but it was TOO light. There just wasn’t enough story, enough background for me to really be invested in this book. In a week or so, I probably will have forgotten a lot of the book, and maybe some of the characters’ names. Overall, I just wasn’t overly impressed.

Rating:

3 out of 5 stars

Shadow Kiss Book Review

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

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You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

It’s springtime at St. Vladimir’s Academy, erectile and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn’t been feeling quite right. She’s having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all… might be seeing ghosts.

As Rose questions her sanity, new complications arise. Lissa has begun experimenting with her magic once more, their enemy Victor Dashkov might be set free, and Rose’s forbidden relationship with Dimitri is starting to heat up again. But when a deadly threat no one saw coming changes their entire world, Rose must put her own life on the line – and choose between the two people she loves most.

My Review:

Note: This review will NOT contain spoilers for THIS novel, however there WILL most likely be spoilers for the first two novels of the series. 

I think this is the book that finally sold me fully and completely on the Vampire Academy series. I have thoroughly enjoyed the first two novels, and have enjoyed them enough to continue to read them, especially since everyone keeps telling me to read them, and keeps applauding me the further that I venture into the series. However, I think that with the first two books, I was merely reading them and enjoying them, and marveling at the fact that I was so enjoying books about vampires (gasp!) but after this third book, I can say, officially that I’m converted.

I am a fan. I’m a fan of the Vampire Academy series and I haven’t even finished it yet. This book was incredible. From beginning to end, it had me hooked. There was SO much going on in this book and it was hard to keep track of what was going to happen, what could possibly happen. Richelle Mead has completely mastered the idea of a red herring. She has your attention for so long on something and then suddenly, wham! Something happens that you honestly would have never expected and it leaves you wanting to throw the book against the wall. Not in a bad way though, in the best way. I was left absolutely flabbergasted, unaware that this was the way the book was going to end. I am COMPLETELY broke right now and am unable to purchase the fourth book right now, and I hate that. I want to know what happens next!

I really like that in this book, you really start to see more of Rose’s personality outside of her duty. Because of the events that have taken place in previous novels, she’s kind of a wreck in this novel but she refuses to believe for a moment that she is. She continues to stand tall, and straight and she refuses to ever let anyone think something is wrong because of her duty. She doesn’t want Lissa to know because Lissa will feel anxiety and Rose is extremely protective of Lissa and is her future guardian and doesn’t want to cause burden on her. She doesn’t want to share it with Dimitri, I feel, because it makes her look weak and it makes her look maybe younger, and that’s the last she wants. She’s in the last stages of her guardian training and its so hard for her. But as she starts to sort sift through the things going on in her life, she starts to focus more on herself and less on everyone else. She starts to question all the things she’s been taught is 100% law her entire life.

And I really like that direction that she’s going in, even if I’m confused and scared and anxious about where it will take her. I appreciate that Rose is dhampir, a guardian and that she wants to protect Lissa, but I’ve always felt like everything in the world gets set aside for that, including her own personal choices and life. She doesn’t really get to choose where to go to school; she’ll go to school wherever Lissa goes to school. She can’t choose to be with the one she loves because of her duties as a guardian. There is a lot holding her back and I feel like there is a huge part of this novel where she starts to question that and I like that. I like that Rose is not stuck in her ways, but she questions and she changes and she challenges and its going to be interesting to find out where this goes in the next few books.

I don’t want to say too much more because I fear that I will spoil it all but I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. There was so much that Richelle Mead put into this novel. There was a TON of action, there was friendship and romance and there were loyalties tested, and there was the psychology of what was going on with Rose that causes a lot of tension and anxiety and there’s just a lot going on in this book. From page one to the very end, it had me absolutely hooked and I can’t wait to speed through the rest of it to find out what happens next to the characters. She has a beautiful world built and a wonderful, exciting and gripping story going on and I am already so addicted.

So call me a fan. I’m a bandwagon fan, but I’m here. These books are SO good so far.

Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Book of the Week-Just One Day

So I miss my blog. I know to most of you, page you guys are seeing posts, stomach so you’re okay, diagnosis you don’t realize but not having a computer and not being able to be there for my blog every day is driving me absolutely insane. Yes, I have this attachment to a piece of technology. Sad, but very true. I just love this blog and not being able to work on it SUCKS  big time.

So basically what I’ve been doing, thanks to my amazing and wonderful and PATIENT boyfriend, is borrowing his laptop when I can and writing out as many posts as possible. This is already my second post of the night, and I’m hoping to get a couple more in there. We’ll see how that goes.

But one thing that has come from this lack of technology is that I’m also not on the computer doing completely useless stuff as well! So that means I’ve been getting a lot of reading done; I’ve read 3 and 1/2 books in the last few days. Yes, yes I have. So expect a lot of reviews coming your way, including today’s Book of the Week.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

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GoodReads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Genre:

young adult, contemporary, coming of age

Part of a Series?

Yes. The second book, Just One Year, is expected in 2014.

You May Like if You Liked:

Gayle Forman’s If I Stay and Where She Went, Morgan Matson’s Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

Plot Summary:

Good girl Allyson is in Europe, a tour of Europe that was a gift from her parents before she heads off to college. So far, it has been absolutely everything opposite of what she is expected, and as she heads back to London before heading home, she is feeling kind of defeated. That is, until two chance encounters with a handsome Dutch boy named Willem, who entices her to spend a day with him in Paris. She goes, even though this is something she would never do in a million years, and they spend a crazy, but amazing day together in Paris. When Allyson wakes up the next morning, however, Willem is gone, without a word and she has no way of finding him, and she goes home.

The story then picks up with Ally at college, still reeling from that one day in Paris. She knows that it was only one day, and that she didn’t even really know Willem, but its changed her, and she can’t remember who she is anymore. She needs to figure out why this one day has changed her so much, and what she can do about it.

The Bad:

I had an issue with how badly Allyson reacted to “losing” Willem. It was not so bad as the story went along but at first, it seemed more and more about this boy, and I hate when a story is all wrapped around a boy, and that really annoyed me at first. When she is just completely devastated and changed because of this one day, I was seriously irritated. As someone who broke up with her boyfriend of two years (we got back together) and that was painful. One day? I just wanted her to buck up and handle it. But when you realize that it is more than just the actual connection between Willem and how he kind of challenged the way she was living before, it made a lot more sense. It was more than just losing a boy, it was also about losing who she was with that boy. 

The Good:

Gayle Forman is absolutely beautiful writer. She is just straight up a really wonderful writer. She spins a great story, and a fairly believable one, at that, considering she created this crazy story of two teenagers running away to Paris for a day. Her writing itself is just so beautiful. She captures the simplicity of being a teenager and those sorts of feelings and thoughts, and so its so young adult but she’s also so rich and descriptive and she also doesn’t soften the truths of being a teenager. I think most people would qualify her as young adult but I would say she is new adult, and I really like this subcategory of new adult, that really takes it a step further (like in Tammara Webber’s novels) and isn’t afraid to show the grittier, more realistic sides of things. And she really accomplishes all of that with having such a talent for concise and beautiful writing, and the ability to tell a great story. 

I picked this up, and struggled a little bit in the first chapter. Sometimes when you pick up a book, its not what you want to read. Its nothing against the book itself; its just not what your  brain is craving at the moment. So I picked up a different book and read it (review on Friday!) and then I was able to return to this book. Once I did, it was time, and I fell into it as quickly as I did with “If I Stay”. 

The thing about Gayle that impressed me the first time around was her ability to create such an engrossing story with such well developed characters in SUCH a short novel, in If I Stay. I noticed this was the same with Where She Went, as well. I saw Just One Day and noticed it was longer and I wondered if it would be the same. She had already proven to me that she could write a great novel in a smaller amount of pages than most authors. But she really built a story. She told two different stories. She told the story of one day, and she told the story of Allyson’s life after that one day. That could easily have been two different novels, really but she put it together and it was amazing. 

It also leads to the sequel. What a horrible, terrible, amazing cliffhanger, Gayle. You did that with If I Stay too, and I want to shake you, happily, for that, because there aren’t many people who can really accomplish that more than once. I was racing to the finish, hoping to see what would happen and then it just ended and I was left with a desire to rush out to the bookstore and purchase the next book in the series. Unfortunately it is not released yet but I am now anxiously waiting because such a great book. 

Lastly, I want to commend Gayle for her characters. She’s writing contemporary fiction, which is in the minors nowadays with paranormal and dystopian and fantasy and science fiction, and if you aren’t John Green, you have your work a bit cut out for you. But the thing about contemporary is that you have to have this really great story, with well-developed characters because that is your entire novel. There are no fantasy elements to bring it all together. But Gayle creates all these believable and fantastic characters. Allyson, Willem, Allyson’s best friend Melanie, Willem’s former love Celine, Allyson’s parents and her friends at school. She really captures them all so well. She isn’t just great at creating these young adults, but her adult characters, even just her minor characters, all shine individually and its just so impressive and lovely to see. I seriously can’t wait to read the sequel. 

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars 

Recommended or Not?

Definitely. I love Gayle Forman and I’ve only just recently read her three books. It makes me sad because I had a chance to meet her with Morgan Matson and Sarah Dessen at the LA Festival of Books but I skipped her because I hadn’t read anything by her. Now I’m disappointed because I would have loved to have a chance to talk to someone who writes such wonderful and compelling new adult literature, in the contemporary genre. This is exactly what I want to do and I’d love to pick her brain. 

Got off topic a bit there. The point is, Gayle is a wonderful writer. You should definitely pick up this book, if you’ve never read anything by her. If you’ve read If I Stay and Where She Went, and you enjoyed those, you’ll definitely enjoy this one. 

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Hope you guys enjoyed this edition of the Book of the Week!

Don’t forget you can always check out older posts here, and to check out last week’s review on Emmy Laybourne’s Monument 14!!

Happy reading!

Book of the Week-Struck

I am really excited to share this week’s Book of the Week with you guys today.

I first met Jennifer Bosworth at the Ontario Teen Book Fest in May and I was really impressed by her. One, tadalafil she’s absolutely gorgeous and tall and totally stood out but in a totally good way. But she made a mention, while talking about her book, about her beliefs (or nonbeliefs) and how they came across in her novel.

And that really intrigued me, it made me think that her book was going to be good, and that it was going to be different from anything else that I’ve read recently in the young adult genre.

I was very happy when it did just that for me. It was a good book, that made me think, that left be with a full brain. It wasn’t like any other book that I’ve read in this genre so far.

So that’s why its this week’s Book of The Week, because its a book that’s begging to be reviewed and begging to be read and begging to be discussed and I’m ready for it.

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

Struck

Genre:
young adult, dystopian-ish?

Part of a Series?:
nope, single novel

You May Like if You Liked:
I’m not really sure. This novel really stands alone to me. Not to say that none of you would like it based on your book tastes, its just hard to pick a book that feels similar to it.

Plot Summary: 

In this story, you meet Mia Price, her mother and her brother, Parker. Mia Price lives in Los Angeles, after leaving her home in Lake Havasu City, because of her addiction to lightning and the consequences that come along with that.

Its been four weeks since the Puente Hills earthquake shattered through California and leveled Los Angeles. The city is in disarray, people are starving and living in tents on the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice. Mia is struggling to keep her family together, fed and safe, when her mom checks out after the earthquake.

Then Mia starts to learn she has powers, powers she wasn’t acutely aware of that come from the lightning shocks that hit her so often. And she’s wanted. There’s the Prophet, a religious figure, who predicted the earthquake minutes before it happened, and has an insane following. Then there’s the Seekers, another cult group, comprised of those who were struck by lightning in the freak earthquake/storm and suddenly had powers they didn’t have before.

Then there’s Jeremy, a boy sworn to protect her, from both the Seekers and the Prophet, but Mia doesn’t know if she can trust him either. While she’s trying to help her family, and decide what’s the best thing to do, the Prophet predicts another storm, and she can feel it brewing under her skin. She has to make a decision on who and what is important, and how she can save her family and herself.

The Bad: 

Mia and Jeremy’s relationship seems…I don’t know, it didn’t flow as well as the rest of the book did. I liked them together, I would “ship” them, so to speak but it didn’t kind of have that smoothness that most book relationships had. I honestly didn’t expect them to work out and when they did, I was surprised. Pleasantly so, because I did like Jeremy a lot. It just wasn’t the main focal point of the novel (which I’ll get to in the good part of this post) so it didn’t feel as natural. I think the novel probably would have been just fine without the love story, but that was okay, because it was NOT a romance story. But that’s all I can really think of.

The Good: 

I want to give some major props to Jennifer Bosworth for this book. She may have issues with people reading her book with the kind of material that is brought forward in her story, the kind of questions it asks, the morals and ideals it tests, but I loved it. There aren’t a lot of young adult books out there that are going to push the boundaries and talk about things that are risque or topics that we tend to avoid. She brings in religion and politics and all sorts of squirmy topics that would make most people go nuts.

Because here’s the thing: I’m a nonbeliever. I am an atheist. I have a respect for any and all beliefs because you have the freedom to believe or not believe as you choose. I don’t judge anyone, because that is what I’ve always been taught and that is one that has always stuck with me my whole life. But I do find that people tend to stray away from these topics in young adult novels because it might challenge their beliefs or make them feel uncomfortable.

But I loved it. The kind of things that were going on this book, with Prophet and his followers and then the Seekers, it just challenges us to explore a different part of religion that I think we sometimes like to ignore, the hidden parts or the ugly parts that we tend to sweep under the rug. Jennifer Bosworth creates a story that makes you think, really think. So many books today are all about entertainment, and I don’t want to sit here and tell you that I’m high and mighty and I don’t like books for entertainment because that would be a lie. I love to read everything. But I do like a book that leaves me reeling, that leaves me with a thousand different jumbles in my head and all I want to do is sit and tackle each and every thought in my head…but in a good way. I like books that challenge me to think outside the box and that challenge me to think about my own morals and values. If an occasional book doesn’t do that for you once in awhile, you aren’t getting as much out of your reading as you could be.

I won’t go too much into the sort of thinking that it brought from me because its based on my own experiences, values, morals, beliefs and non-beliefs but I will say that I liked how everything going around the Los Angeles area and affecting Mia made her think herself. Her own beliefs were challenged and her own belief in herself and what she was capable of was challenged. I liked that she becomes more aware of herself and less aware of others and what they want and expect from her. So much of it boiled down to what she was capable on her own and what she decided on her own, trusting her own thoughts and instincts. Without ruining the book, I realized that Mia made so many decisions on her own, without the direct influence of everyone else. Her mother, brother, Jeremy, Prophet, the Seekers all were there and taught her but it all boils down to her.

I don’t want to ignore the story either. Its not just about the challenging ideas she presents or the way she makes you think, but she does create a great story. It seemed so…real. Its OUR Los Angeles, its our world, and an earthquake, a BIG one like that is entirely possible, and us Californians know that so its a little scary as well. Its scary to think that this sort of thing could happen and what the aftermath would be like. You’re holding on for dear life as Mia tries to make all the right decisions for herself and for her mother and brother, while still trying to avoid

I also really like that this takes place in Los Angeles. California, you are my home. I have lived here my entire life and I love it here. I want to explore the world, and live in other places but I know one day I’ll return to Los Angeles because I just love it. And I loved having this sort of dystopian, science fiction, fantasy, weird but amazing novel take place in a city I was so familiar with. Its why I’m getting so crazy excited about reading The Dark Artifices, a Shadowhunter series taking place in Los Angeles. I liked that I was able to recognize different places that Mia was going to, different landmarks. It makes the book that much more fun.

But really, this book may not be something that you’re entirely comfortable with, if you’re one of closed mind or someone who is very 100% firm in your beliefs. If you’re looking for a book that has a great story

Rating: 

4 out of 5 stars

Recommended or Not?: 

Yeah, definitely! Honestly, I really recommend it, more than I may recommend other books. The reason I say this is because its a book that may force you to think outside of the box, may force you to look at things a different way or even just read something that makes you a little uncomfortable. But really good books do that and I think this book accomplishes that. I think teens really could do with a book like this, that can bring about a discussion and can get some cognitive thinking going. So definitely pick up this book if you’re ready for that.

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I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Book of the Week!

Don’t forget to check out last week’s post on Andrew Smith’s Winger, and to check out previous Book Reviews.

And tune in next week for more!