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Book Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Winter by Marissa Meyer

Titles: Winter

Author: Marissa Meyer

Series: Lunar Chronicles #4

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Rating: 2/5 stars

The Overview: Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mark her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana. Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long. Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? -Goodreads

The Review:

Dear YA,
I think we need to see other people. It’s not you, it’s me.
Love, Niki

There was nothing wrong with Winter – it was a perfectly delightful conclusion to the Lunar Chronicles. I just found myself struggling to finish it. Maybe it could have been a bit shorter, as there were a few repetitive elements, but then I’d probably be complaining that it needed to be more robust. I did end up really appreciating how Meyer infused the fairytales so seamlessly, and that goes for the series as a whole. Overall, despite my incredibly conservative, perhaps unfair rating of Winter, I actually do consider this series one of the easiest to recommend. It’s filled with a lot of fun, several organic romances, and a unique storyline.

It’s clear I’m just not feeling YA lately. I knew this day would come eventually. I’m not hating on the genre, by any means. Some of my all-time favorites have come from it. I just need to break up with it for a while. ;P

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Cress and Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Titles: Cress & Fairest

Author: Marissa Meyer

Series: Lunar Chronicles #3 & 3.5

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has. -Goodreads

The Reviews:

Cress [4 stars]: Even though I liked Cinder and Scarlet, Cress took the series to the next level. It also happens to be one of the few rare YA books I’ve actually enjoyed lately (I’m going through a phase). Part of the reason I found it (and the series as a whole) so successful has to do with Meyer’s plot construction. Although each book focuses on a different title character, Meyer doesn’t push the others into the background, but continues their storylines with the same momentum. Cress was a convergence of stories which produced plenty of action, romantic tension, and plot progression. Many of my fellow blog buddies say it was the best of the series, and I can’t say I disagree (I’m almost finished with Winter – RTC). My favorite elements were the creativity and the organic semi-atypical love stories. Overall, this series makes itself easy to recommend – it’s a lot of fun.

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Fairest [3 stars]: Even though I didn’t particularly enjoy FAIREST, as the story components were a bit unsavory, I did think it essential to my enjoyment of the series as a whole. Before reading it, Queen Levana was an enigma, but a rather shallow one. I could never really take her seriously because her motives weren’t evident. Fairest provided that much-needed insight as to why Levana’s brain ticks the way it does. It also gave crucial information as to why she’s not just evil, but totally off her rocker (it was a really subtle drop-in that explained what’s wrong with her mind… Did you catch it?). In any case, after reading it, I then had the backstory I needed to fully enjoy Levana’s role in Winter. I believe Fairest is required reading to get the full experience out of the Lunar Chronicles.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review Cinder by Marissa Meyer

cinderTitle: Cinder

Author: Marissa Meyer

Series: Lunar Chronicles #1

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: 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.

cinder 2

The Review:

I’d always intended to read Cinder, but it wasn’t very high up on my priority list. Then the blogosphere exploded after the third book, Cress, was released at the beginning of the year. I swear it was a solid three months of rave reviews left and right. Thinking this series was a trilogy (it’s not), Cress was going to be the last installment (it’s not), and wondering what I was missing out on, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. From what I can tell, most people enjoyed the first book and then went on to absolutely love the second and the third. Having read (and liked) Cinder, I can definitely see the potential it has to go somewhere amazing.

First of all, the concept for the story was out of this world. I am definitely not a fan of fairytale retellings, but found this one oddly compelling because it had so many unique twists. Even though the story is a classic and I already knew where it was heading, Meyer made it feel new and exciting at every turn. If the cyborg twist wasn’t cool enough, then the “alien” Lunars and the beginnings of an apocalyptical pandemic certainly tipped it over the edge. Even though it stayed true to all the classic fairytale elements of Cinderella, it always felt like I was reading a detail-rich urban fantasy… I loved it.

You wouldn’t think a girl who is half human, half machine would’ve been relatable, but Cinder was honestly the best part of the story. I liked her from the first page and was totally invested throughout the whole book. Although she was in tough situations, she was anything but a simpering little girl. I love how resourceful, compassionate, and brave she was and sincerely hope she has a strong role in the next two books.

Overall, I really enjoyed Cinder and am looking forward to continuing on a series. I can honestly say it’s unlike anything I’ve read before, so Meyer gets some major originality kudos. If you’re a fan of YA and Urban Fantasy, check this one out – it’s an awesome hybrid of the two.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

I Love New Books! (Noteworthy Releases 2/4/2013)

Not a huge release week overall, but definitely a strong week for the teen category. My favorite: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer!
feb 5Title: Scarlet

Author: Marissa Meyer

Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Overview: Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Feb 5Title: Unravel Me

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Series: Shatter Me #2

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Overview: tick tick tick tick tick it’s almost time for war. Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance. She’s finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch. Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible. In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam’s life.

a3Title: The Kiss

Author: James Patterson

Series: Witch and Wizard #4

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Overview: Whit and Wisty Allgood have finally triumphed over the evil that has long overshadowed their world with their defeat of The One Who Is The One. Now they move on to their next mission: becoming members of a governing Council that will return the Overworld to a place of creativity, magic, and freedom from persecution. But it isn’t long before the city is threatened from inside and out. The adults on the Council want to control the use of magic in the city, and a fearsome Wizard King threatens war. As Wisty begins a new relationship with an intense and mysterious boy and the pressures of leading the city bear down on them, Whit and Wisty find themselves growing apart. Will they be able to come together to fight the mounting threats that could return their world to the hands of a tyrant? James Patterson delivers what the fans have been asking for–the story of what happens next–with an epic fourth installment about the heroic teen witch and wizard that have captured our imaginations.

a5Title: Perfect Scoundrels

Author: Ally Carter

Series: Heist Society #3

Genre: Teen Fiction

Overview: Katarina Bishop and W.W. Hale the fifth were born to lead completely different lives: Kat comes from a long, proud line of loveable criminal masterminds, while Hale is the scion of one of the most seemingly perfect dynasties in the world. If their families have one thing in common, it’s that they both know how to stay under the radar while getting—or stealing—whatever they want.

No matter the risk, the Bishops can always be counted on, but in Hale’s family, all bets are off when money is on the line. When Hale unexpectedly inherits his grandmother’s billion dollar corporation, he quickly learns that there’s no place for Kat and their old heists in his new role. But Kat won’t let him go that easily, especially after she gets tipped off that his grandmother’s will might have been altered in an elaborate con to steal the company’s fortune. So instead of being the heir—this time, Hale might be the mark.

Forced to keep a level head as she and her crew fight for one of their own, Kat comes up with an ambitious and far-reaching plan that only the Bishop family would dare attempt. To pull it off, Kat is prepared to do the impossible, but first, she has to decide if she’s willing to save her boyfriend’s company if it means losing the boy.

a4Title: A Natural History of Dragons

Author: Marie Brennan

Series: N/A

Genre: Fantasy

Overview: You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.

a6Title: Dead Space: Salvage

Author: Christopher Shy & Antony Johnston

Series: Deep Space Saga

Genre: Graphic Novels

Overview: Anticipating the release of Dead Space 3, we collect Dead Space: Salvage #1-6 in a stunning graphic novel, including never-seen before materials!When a group of freelance miners find the abandoned USG Ishimura in deep space, their once-fortunate luck turns into a catastrophe. With the Earth Government racing to reclaim the ship and an army of Necromorphs wreaking havoc on board, do the miners have any hope of surviving?

*Photos and Overviews taken from bn.com

Coming Soon: Scarlet

feb 5Title: Scarlet

Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2

Author: Marissa Meyer

Release Date: February 5, 2013 Now Available!

The next book in a interesting new series is almost upon us! With a great combination of classic fairytale storyline combined with the futuristic technological edge that I loved so much in “Partials” (Dan Wells) and “Uglies” (Scott Westerfeld), this is a series definitely worth picking up!

Here’s more information about book #1:

1Title: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)

Extras: For an excellent synopsis of this book, read the bn.com overview below then go to the blog Finding Me in Words to check out the great review and summary that talked me into picking this one up!

Overview: 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.