Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

31458203Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Fairy Tale Retelling
Published by: Macmillan Children’s Books
Pages: 460
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★
We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It’s no secret that fairy tale retellings are my favourite genre, and The Lunar Chronicles is my favourite series of all time. Marissa Meyer was a goddess when it came to weaving so many well-loved fairy tales together in this sci-fi universe and I couldn’t have loved it more. So, Heartless, obviously, made my list of most anticipated releases of 2016. I was so excited to see her tackle another fairy story, even if Wonderland and I don’t really get along. Marissa Meyer had also proved that she knows how to write a prequel, before-the-villain story with Fairest, so my expectations were high, and I was satisfied…eventually.  Continue reading “Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer”

Review: Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

25689074Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
Fairy Tale Retelling
Published: Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 369
Format: e-book
Rating: All individually rated

Let’s go through, one by one, my thoughts on all the stories collected in the Lunar Chronicles anthology, Stars Above. Spoilers: Marissa Meyer saves the best until last!

This is a story of Michelle Benoit, when she’s given Cinder as a charge. We also get little hints of preteen Scarlet and it is the sweetest thing. I loved knowing more about her character, and what made her so important to Scarlet and the series as a whole. A worthy edition to the storyline!

Cinder’s origin story, it does a really great job of showing Peony’s passion for her new sister, and Adri’s disgust. This is also satisfying. It deals with the root of Adri’s dislike and starts to show how Cinder is in such a subservient place at the beginning of her book. Glorious.

Wolf has a name??? This was also great. I’d read Glitches and this one prior to the anthology coming out, so I knew what to expect. Getting backstory to the Lunar army, and what caused such a rift between Wolf and his brother was important to understanding their actions in Scarlet. It fleshed out my knowledge of the army, and the lengths Levana was willing to go to ensure her ultimate power. It was really short, though, so probably could have been added as a backstory chapter in Scarlet itself.

This was one of the weaker stories. Essentially, what we have here, is a tale of high school Carswell Thorne, being all flirty with girls who aren’t Cress. Of course, he didn’t know her at this point but it disturbed me to think of him with anyone else but my precious darling. We get a bit more information about his motives for wanting the Rampion ship and being a captain, but it’s a story I could have lived without.

Again, I thought this one was weak. It’s the tale of Cress being taken to her satellite by Sybil. Nothing we didn’t already know, so it felt like a bit of a filler story. It’s a shame that the stories of my two favourite characters were the weakest, but Cress was my favourite of the main four books, so, I have that to be thankful for. Cress and Carswell are just the best when they’re together, and these two stories prove that.

This was the story that was most disassociated from the main gang, so if you’re interested in reading a The Little Mermaid retelling, in a sci-fi setting this is for you. Cinder makes a little cameo, but all together, it was a nice retelling of the Hans Christian Anderson version that worked extremely well. No voice box in the android to reason with the lack of voice? Excellent.

Now, apart from the final story, this was the one I was MOST interested in. It gave backstory for Winter, why she doesn’t use her magic power and how she got those three scars on her face (that do nothing to mar her beauty!) This is probably the story that’s most worthy of reading because I think it was one of the most excellent explanation of things we already found out throughout the series. Getting to see more of Jacin and Winter’s relationship is always a plus, and we knew from Fairest that they were close basically from birth. Such a lovely couple. What a great short story.

Knowing what Kai was thinking when he first met Cinder was a dream of mine, and I’m glad it’s realised in this tale. It’s extremely short, but so is there first meeting, so…It was just lovely to see the little seeds of their relationship develop, and that Kai was interesting in her from the very beginning.

And here’s what I was waiting for. A WEDDING. OH MY GOODNESS. I was expecting it to be Winter and Jacin, immediately assuming it was a royal wedding, but I want all my babies to get married one day, so I wasn’t disappointed with any kind of union. And it was BEYOND cute. All the gang, in one place, my dreams literally came true. Marissa Meyer explained this short story as like fan fiction with her own characters, and I definitely got that vibe. Everyone deserves a happy ending, even if it’s two years after the end of Winter, and finally Cinder and her Prince are together forever after!

Top Series I Can’t Wait To Complete!

head over heelswinter queen of shadows
Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness. Does this even need explanation? The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favourite series, and I love any opportunity to read a fairy tale retelling. I can’t wait to see how everyone’s stories end, and hopefully, I’ll have another OTP to add to my list by the final page of this book! (Also, that cover though. The apple looks magnificent.)

Head Over Heels (Geek Girl #5) by Holly Smale

Both Bee and I have always been huge Holly Smale fans from the very beginning. ‘Geek Girl’ spoke to me in a way no other book had. I can’t believe that a few years later, Harriet’s had five different adventures, and is possibly about to have her last? I hope this series goes on forever, literally. ‘Head Over Heels’ is going to be such a treat.

Queen Of Shadows (Throne Of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas

After not being that impressed by ‘Heir of Fire’, I can’t say this book is at the top of the list. BUT, I’m still interested enough in the series to read on. Well, that was before Bee read it and I think it’s fair to say that hate isn’t a strong word when it comes to her review. Maybe I’ll delay reading this one for a bit in that case…

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The Raven King (The Raven Cycle Quartet #4) by Maggie Steifvater

The series finale! Ahhh! I’ve had mixed feelings about this series. I thought it was progressing too slowly and not enough was happening, but really, all the other books were building up to this moment. Gainsey’s fate was sealed from the very first book…I just hope Maggie Steifvater has some tricks up her sleeve so she doesn’t break too many hearts!

The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy #3) by Marie Rutkowski

This has been one of the most intriguing and successful trilogies I’ve read. I’m not really a huge fan of high fantasy, and this gave me a beautiful taster into the genre. Hopefully, Kestrel will discover her heart in the final book and all will be OK. I think ‘The Winner’s Kiss’ is a very promising title indeed!

Revenge, Ice Cream and Other Things Best Served Cold (Broken Hearts & Revenge #2) by Katie Finn

Bee loves Morgan Matson, not matter what name she’s writing under. Although this series isn’t her favourite of Katie Finn’s books, she’s still going to read the heck out of it. (and let’s be honest, nothing can beat her beloved ‘Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour’!)

Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

fairestFairest by Marissa Meyer
Genre: Sci-fi, Fairytale Retelling
Published by: Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 220
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★
Where to Find: Goodreads | Author | Amazon

Let me be the first to say I LOVE ‘The Lunar Chronicles’ and that they embody everything good and righteous in this world. BUT, I’m a little tied up over ‘Fairest’, the prequel to the series, giving you a look into Levana, the wicked queen’s backstory. *cue rippling harp music*  It was interesting to find the root of Levana’s wickedness, however, Levana’s actions throughout the book made me feel very uncomfortable, leading me to give this a quite low rating. As she is the villain, I guess the book was doing its job, and so deserves a high rating…I don’t know, though I do know Marissa Meyer is an excellent story teller, which warrants at least a star alone.  Continue reading “Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer”

Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

cressCress by Marissa Meyer
Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure, Romance
Published by: Puffin
Pages: 550
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★
Series: Cinder (#1) | Scarlet (#2)
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

I was expecting a lot for Cress. 550 pages? I could do this! Except…I couldn’t. Cress put me in one of the longest reading slumps. It took me over a week to read, which is strange since I normally manage to finish a book every two or three days. I think I struggled with this story because Maddie had hyped it up so much (it’s one of her favourite books of all time!) so of course I was under quite a bit of pressure to enjoy the story. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it! But the middle was rather slow and I was sad that the characters didn’t become a proper team until the very end! Cress was an adorable character, and I loved that we got more Thorne, but I think the book could’ve been at least 100 pages shorter. Continue reading “Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer”

Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

13206760Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure, Romance
Published by: Puffin
Pages: 452
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★
Series: Cinder (#1) | Cress (#3)
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

I read Cinder quite a while ago, and Maddie had been encouraging me to continue the series for ages, so I thought it was about time I did! She’s always said that Scarlet and Wolf were her least favourite pairing, but let me tell you they were my FAVOURITE. They have all the elements that I love in a good YA romance, so yay! Although I didn’t enjoy Scarlet as much as I did the first book in the series, it was still a page-turner and definitely worth a read! Continue reading “Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer”

T5W: Books I’d Save In A Fire

For any book-lover, this is the worst case scenario! It’s like asking a mother to chose between the children: its impossible to pick the ones you love the most. I think it would almost be easier to answer the opposite question, as I definitely know which books I’d leave for kindling. But, there are definitely some books on my shelves that I couldn’t imagine leaving behind:

cresslove lies and lemon piesmark of athena
1. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

This is by far my favourite of ‘The Heroes of Olympus’ series – where the gang are all together for the first time! (And who wouldn’t love the moment when Annabeth and Percy are reunited? They’re just precious.) Although ‘The House of Hades’ is beautiful, I don’t think I could live through the cliffhanger a second time. That’s why Annabeth’s solo quest is my first save!

2. Love, Lies and Lemon Pies by Katy Cannon

This is my favourite contemporary – I could re-read it multiple times and never get bored. There’s something about this book that takes me back to my days of reading solely Cathy Cassidy books, whilst equally giving me the same feeling that ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ left me with. I hadn’t read a book that dealt with family orientated issues in a long time, so this one was a real stand out for me.

3. Cress by Marissa Meyer

I’d save cutie ‘Cress’ for the same reason as ‘The Mark of Athena’. I love when teams come together, but I also love a good fake-boyfriend plot. I really think that the ‘Lunar Chronicles’ has everything you could possibly want from a series: romance, adventure, threat and more romance.

paper townsAnnaFrenchKiss
4. Paper Towns by John Green

My favourite of his works. It’s been a while since I read ‘Paper Towns’ and I definitely think a re-read is necessary before the movie is released. This book really sparked my love of road-trips and fuelled my love of a good mystery.

5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

No doubt the best of the companion series, Miss Perkins knows how to put a good romance together. I wish there was less confusion between Anna and Etienne and Etienne’s insignificant girlfriend (I didn’t like her so much I’ve forgotten her name.) However, Anna really sparked my interest in contemporary books, so it would be a crime to leave her behind.

It might be surprising that ‘Inkheart’ didn’t make this list, but I do have four copies. One of them is bound to escape the flames. (I only hope it’s one of the English editions!) Plus, Bee’s got a copy of ‘Fangirl’, so we’d be set on that front.

(Mild Spoiler) Review: The 100 by Kass Morgan

The 100

The 100 by Kass Morgan
Genre: Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Romance
Published by:
Little, Brown Books
Format: Paperback
Sequel: Day 21 (#2)
Where to Find:
Goodreads | Amazon

‘The 100’ is probably the first legitimate science fiction I’ve read. Of course, all the dystopian novels I’ve completed could also be categorized as sci-fi, but this story takes place in space. My very first space opera. (I wonder if there’s a card for that?)

This was the first book in a series about a colony of humans that had been evacuated from Earth to live in the safety of a spaceship. Because I’ve read ‘Cress’ by Marissa Meyer, I could guess something would go wrong with the ship. I wasn’t disappointed. Therefore, one hundred juvenile delinquents (because ninety-eight just doesn’t have the same ring to it) are sent to Earth nearly a century later to see if Earth had become inhabitable.

Written in third person and following the storylines of four characters, who are very well linked together, ‘The 100’ has a lot to offer. There’s always something going on, even if it is only for a sentence at the end of the chapter. My general opinion was that each story line could have been told in a much shorter timespan, or with lots more detail.

Let me set the scene.

So, Clarke was in love with Wells, and Wells committed a felony just to go to Earth with her, but it turns out Clarke isn’t in love with Wells anymore, she likes Bellamy. Bellamy likes Clarke too, but he has to protect his sister Octavia. Later he doesn’t like Clarke, and then he does again, then Clarke likes Wells, and then settles for Bellamy…. meanwhile aboard ship, Glass, Wells’ best friend, loves Luke but Luke doesn’t love her, he loves Camille, but then he actually loves Glass and Glass still loves him.

Is anyone else thinking these characters are completely unable to make up their minds?

When it came to the romantic relationships between the characters, the same cookie-cutter pattern was followed: one person in the couple is unhappy because they are hiding a HUGE secret that could tear their relationship apart. When the secret finally comes out, as it inevitably will, the relationship fails because of mistrust and dishonesty. I can read about this once, but not on eight separate occasions.

I’d definitely say that the romantic relationships drove the plot more than I thought they would. I know ‘The 100’ has been made into a popular TV show, though haven’t seen an episode. My friend, Sarah (‘The 100’ super-fan) says that the show focuses more on the survival element of the book because that’s actually quite interesting. Just under 100 teenagers, (about ninety three after a few deaths to prove the scene was important) with no experience of Earth, trying to survive without many resources? That sounds killer! I can see why it didn’t chose repetitive romance to draw in the viewers.

So you know what I said about no survival experience? Well, it turns out Bellamy is a dead shot with a bow and arrow, without any earlier practice and having only read about hunting in books. If only Tudor History was that easy to master!

The book ends in quite a cliffhanger, but let’s see if you can guess it! A colony of humans think they’re the only people alive and that Earth is uninhabited. They stress this fact quite a bit. What are they completely not expecting to find on Earth? Other humans.

What do they find on Earth? You guessed it. Other humans.

I severely hope this conflict is played up to it’s full potential in the second book. (More on that later!)

Overall, I’d give ‘The 100’ 2.5 stars. It didn’t impress me as much as I wanted it too because I was expecting something more like the TV show and what that offered. However, Kass Morgan has left the story relatively open ended so it could get better. Fingers crossed.

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Macinderrissa Meyer
Genre: Sci-fi, Adventure, Romance
Published By: Puffin
Pages: 390
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★★
Where to Find:
Goodreads | Amazon

I have recently become very interested in fairy tale retellings, and knew that there was a lot of hype surrounding the ‘Lunar Chronicles’ series by Marissa Meyer, containing four books: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter.

‘Cinder’, the first book in the series, is a retelling of Cinderella, who is my second favourite princess (the first being Jasmine from Aladdin) so I was super excited to dive into this book. I’ve never really read any science fiction before, but was intrigued by the cyborg/android element of the novel, which was a really good addition to the original tale.

One of the reviews in the front of the novel described ‘Cinder’ as a “fractured fairy tale”, which I think is the perfect way to describe it. There is no doubt that the content of the story is grounded within the fairy tale and your favourite parts can be found within this book, such as, the missing shoe (or foot in this case), the handsome prince, the wicked stepmother (politically correct term being ‘legal guardian’.)

Cinder, because of it’s sci-fi basis, is wonderfully fast paced. One of the story arcs is that there is this plague that is affecting the whole world and Cinder provides key scientific information about an antidote. This illness helped to add tension and fear to the novel, as Cinder’s sister, Peony, is claimed by the pestilence.

Both the reader and Cinder know little about where Cinder came from. It’s excellent to see her past unfold and her struggle with being a cyborg, a second class citizen that is bound to be looked down upon by the rest of society. There is quite a big twist in the story at the end, though the reader feels prepared for this, as they are fed little tidbits of information.

There are some extraterrestrials in the story, which want to wage war on Earth. (Seriously, there is so much going on, I can’t wait to read the next books in the series to see how it all pans out!) These aliens, called Lunars because they inhabit the moon, have brainwashing powers which can only lead to disaster.

All characters are wonderful. My favourites include Cinder (obviously because what’s not to love about that kick-ass girl?), her android friend Iko, who adds some light relief and the prince, Kai, who Cinder meets within the first chapter making for some great romantic tension all the way through the book.

It’s told in third person perspective, so a lot of the time the reader is with Cinder (the best place to be, she’s got a lot to do) but is sometimes in the presence of the prince, who has to diplomatically deal with the Lunars and their demands. Tough stuff.

My favourite part of the whole thing was probably the ball scene at the end of the novel. So much drama! So much excitement! What’s even better, there was no fairy godmother. Cinder went to the ball like a raggedy doll, with a foot that was too small for her and a dress coated in grease stains. Perfect. I loved how Cinder didn’t have to be beautiful like a princess and wasn’t treated like one. Don’t get me wrong, I love Cinderella, but it felt like Cinder was more deserving of a happy ending than she was.

What’s worse was that Cinder was left on a cliffhanger. The book ended in a ‘Darth Vader is Luke’s father’ kind of way before leaving Cinder imprisoned in the palace with a small hope of escape. I’m so glad that we’ll get to read more about Cinder and her *hopefully* happily ever after more in ‘Scarlet’. Speaking of which, Winter, Cress and a small mention of Scarlet was made within Cinder, leading to a few excited squeals from myself and Bee (we were reading this wonderful book together.) These small mentions will go a long way to ensure that the whole series flows together nicely from start to finish.

Bring on ‘Scarlet’!

Overall, I’d give this beautiful book five out of five stars, no question. It’s definitely made my favourites list and probably top 14 books of 2014 as well. I’d recommend this book to anyone who has read any Jackson Pierce books or just like fairy tales in general. They sure make for excellent reading!