Top Ten Tuesday: YA Books for YABC

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

The topic for this week is: Ten Books I’d Love to Read With My Book Club/If I Had A Book Club (or you could pick a specific kind of book club — like if you had a YA book club or an adult book club or a science fiction book club etc.)

My friend Di and I have an unofficial YA book club (YABC) where we meet up, drink wine, exchange books and rant/swoon over them. It’s pretty awesome. Therefore, I am choosing the books that have been the most successful YABC topics in the past.

Oh the rants we’ve had…

(Links go to related posts)

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1. The Hunger Games: Well, durrr. There was a period of time where myself and Di were banned from talking about THG in public because we just couldn’t stop, and it always ended in the same very heated (but y’know, friendly..) argument.

Mainly because it turns out that Di likes NICE BOYS like Peeta and is therefore WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING. I mean really, Peeta over Gale…?? SERIOUSLY. Other topics included why I hated the first movie (because I’m right) and why Di didn’t (because she’s wrong).

2. Vampire Academy: Oh, we are not even close to be being done with VA YABCs! But the series so far (we are up to book 3 I believe), has already provided us with so much good ranting material.

There’s been the obvious Dimitri-in-my-pants rants and girl crushing all over Rose Hathaway and her complete awesomeness. And then there’s the hilarity that ensued when we realised we couldn’t pronounce any of the vampire species so anyone listening in to our convo in the bar at Waterloo station probably thought we were having a stroke.

And lastly, there’s the fact that it’s impossible to discuss VA without comparing it to our favourite topic ever – Buffy!! So good!

3. Twilight: Possibly the first ever YABC-type rant in the history of Di and Lipsy book rants.

Topics mainly revolved around how ridiculous it is but quickly descends into how much we want to have sex with control freak Cullen, and ultimately how much we COULDN’T STOP READING. There has also been a lot of discussion over the TERRIBLE fashion choices Meyer made – if there’s ever a BEIGE POLO-NECK shortage just head to Forks, yeah!

Oh and in case you were wondering, I’m the lion and Di’s the lamb. LOLZ.

4. The Selection Series: The big debate here is clearly Team Maxon Vs Team Aspen but for once I think me and Di actually agreed (we did, right?). Team Maxon to the max…see what I did there. There was also a lot of talk about how this series helped with our post-Hunger Games blues, and how much we want GILES to play the king in the TV Series. What ever happened to that?

5. Graceling: Oh so much swooning went on at the Graceling edition of YABC. We swooned over the pretty much perfect Prince Po, and at how AWESOME Katsa is. We just love her. KATSA & PO 4EVA.

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6. The Chaos Walking Trilogy: This wasn’t so much a YABC meet-up as it was a constant texting/tweeting/ranting/raving/crying over how amazing, heartbreaking, and just plain HORRIBLE this series is. I think at one point I declared how much I hate Di for giving it to me. IT HURT MY IMPENETRABLE HEART. We cried over poor Todd. And how cute him and Viola are. And let’s not even mention the dog. I just can’t.

7. Uglies: After giving this to Di to read and hearing her thoughts on it I can’t even think about the book without bursting into laughter. I liked it. Sure, the protagonist was annoying, but I thought it was a really brave book that covered some important teenage issues. Di did not. Di hated it with a firey passion which naturally led to a particularly loud edition of YABC.

8. Divergent: There were only really a few topics we managed to focus on when discussing Divergent. First…back to The Hunger Games. Second, HOT MAKE OUT SCENES ON TRAINS. We did manage to briefly discuss which faction we’d be before quickly returning to swoon over Four and his tattoos. Sigh.

9. The Mortal Instruments: Let’s face it. There’s only really one topic in discussion where TMI is concerned – whether Jace and Clary will EVER get it on (I only got up to book 3). And not forgetting the whole possible incest thing. INCEST IS BEST. Ahem. I have a brother – It is NOT. Shudder.

10. The Lunar Chronicles: This is only so far down the list because for once we pretty much agree on everything about these books. Mainly, that they are beyond awesome. We’ve swooned over Prince Kai, Captain Thorne and even Wolf – or maybe that was just me? We love Cinder, and Scarlet and Cress and want to poke Levana’s eyes out. And now we’re just waiting for more.

One more thing: I feel the need to include Narnia here too. I don’t think we’ve even had an actual Narnia YABC but it’s never really far from our thoughts to be honest. Whether we’re discussing if it’s OK to fancy High King Peter, or laughing at Ben Barnes’ accent in the Prince Caspian movie….it’s always a Narnian life for us. For Narnia!

Lazy Saturday Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Cress
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Author: Marissa Meyer
Edition: Paperback, 550 pages
Published: February 6th 2014 by Puffin Books
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy; Sci-Fi
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

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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 high 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.

What can I say about Cress that hasn’t been said already? Very little probably! Is it amazing? YES. Is it a compelling, satisfying continuation of what I’ve already declared to be my favourite new series? YES. But is it too long? Hell YES.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved this book. I loved Meyer’s galactic take on Rapunzel, I loved the dynamics between Scarlet and Wolf, and Cress an Captain Thorne (bless her) but I do think it went on a bit in places, no?

To be fair, it might be because I was really busy at the time of reading it, so I was grabbing just a few minutes here and there to read, but sometimes I felt myself skimming parts.

However, that just makes me want to read it again in more substantial sittings because ahhhhhh, on the whole, I can’t stop fangirling over this series.

I still can’t get over how it shouldn’t work. Fairy-tale retellings meets Star Wars, with a bit of Dystopia thrown in…I mean it sounds ridiculous, but it’s just not. Cress, felt even more Star Wars-y to me than Cinder did, and that’s not a bad thing. I’m just trying to figure out who Darth Vader is, Sybil or Levana?

(Anywaaayyyyy) Towards the end of Cress, we’re introduced to Princess Winter. And wow, how batshit is she!? I’m quite upset how long we have to wait for the next book. I have no doubt in my mind that it’s going to be amazing.

I need to know what happens with Cinder and Kai RIGHT NOW!

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The Lunar Chronicles is now available in paperback from Waterstones. See how you can get 10% off here.

A Cyborg, A Red Head and Some Wolf-Men…

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

www1 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.

I never expected to love this series as much as I do. I am a fan of fairy tale retellings and reimaginings, but I thought the idea of Cinderella being cyborg was going a bit far. Oh how wrong was I!? It’s not too far. It’s exactly far enough, and it’s amazing.

In this, the second book, we continue where Cinder left off – with Cinder captured and imprisoned – and so naturally the first port of call is for our head-strong protagonist to escape, which she does with the help of loveable if not slightly stupid Captain Thorne (not even a captain).

I really liked the introduction of Thorne. He’s one of those hopeless rogues with a good heart, and he bounces off Cinder well. I was so glad this didn’t turn into some kind of love triangle between him, Cinder and Prince Kai as well. There’s a bit of initial flirting, but I think we can always tell his attempts are going to be futile, and it’s amusing.

At the same time we are introduced to Scarlet, a feisty, humble farm girl who’s had a bit of a rough ride. Her mother died and her father left and now her grandma has disappeared. With the help of the mysterious Wolf, she sets out to find her and discovers that her grandma is not quite the person she thought she was, and maybe Wolf isn’t either.

Oh seriously guys, I just loved this. Meyer did such a great job at intertwining these two stories. I never felt annoyed about the changing POV like I usually do with multiple perspectives, probably because I was equally as in love with both of them.

The action in Scarlet is constant, the pace is fast and it’s written beautifully, I can’t find anything bad to say about it. I thought the Wolf-Men army was genius, the relationships are all so realistic and refreshing, and Queen Lavana – even with little page space is truly, truly evil.

I wanted more Kai action, but this wasn’t his story so it made sense that he had a smaller role. I think we needed that distance between Kai and Cinder to further the plot. This book reminded me a lot of Graceling in that way. The protagonist’s relationship is not what’s important in the plot, they are their own people, working on their own agendas and without that it wouldn’t be nearly as compelling.

Meyer also continues to do an amazing job at using fairy tale elements and completely turning them on their head. Scarlet in her red hoodie, being taken in by Wolf makes you think of Little Red Riding Hood in a different light, just as cyborg Cinder does with Cinderella; it’s genius. A lot of people have tried to retell fairy tales, but I’ve read none as successful as this series.

And seriously, how awesome is Wolf!? Being a fan of his is not without its ups and downs in this book, but…I can’t help it…LOVE!

I am champing at the bit to get my hands on Cress. Scarlet ends on a ‘arrrrrrrrrrrrrrghhhh what’s going to happen now’ moment and I can’t wait to see what Cinder and Scarlet will do next! Will they stop the war? Will they save Kai from Levana? ARGH!

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Disclosure?: Nope, I bought it.
Title: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)
Author: Merissa Meyer
Details: Paperback, 452 pages
Published: February 7th 2013 by Puffin Books
My Rating: 5/5

Cinderella meets Star Wars? Err YES! (Lazy Saturday Review)

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

11235712 (1)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.

Every review I’ve read for Cinder, gushes about it, which is probably why it took me so long to get round to it. I’m weird like that. But this is another one of those books that I can’t believe I didn’t pick up sooner. STUPID, STUBBORN ME.

This review will be no different to everyone else’s out there. THERE WILL BE GUSHING.

It really shouldn’t work: A re-imagining of Cinderella set in the future? Cinderella as a Cyborg? Interplanetary crisis and impending war… starring Cinderella? It should be ridiculous, but it’s not. It’s pretty Amazing with a capital A!

I literally couldn’t find a single thing I disliked about this book. Nothing.

Cinder is an awesome protagonist. She’s feisty but vulnerable, she’s not particularly happy that she’s a cyborg, and worries about certain hot princes finding out (OK just one), but she’s not whiny, and she doesn’t let it rule her life.

Enter Prince Kai, he’s stuck in an impossible position. He’s about to become King and the only way of keeping peace between his kingdom and the powerful, menacing Lunars is to marry the sinister Luna Queen. Not only that, but a plague is striking people down left, right and center and the evil Queen has a cure. At a price, of course.

I completely fell in love with Kai. He’s not conceited, or stubborn like most princes in YA novels are. He’s afraid for his country, and afraid that he can’t rule it, but again, there’s no whiny self degradation here. He doesn’t particularly want to be a martyr either, but he’s willing to do anything to stop his people from dying.

The action was constant, the romance was a breath of fresh air, and the ties to Cinderella really fit into the narrative.

I’m going to stop here because… GUSHING.

Just get me the next book, STAT!

Cinder, have all the unicorns, take them all!

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Disclosure?: Nope, I bought it!
Title: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Details: Paperback, 387 pages
Published: January 5th 2012 by Puffin
My Rating: 5/5

WWW Wednesday! 05.03.2014

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

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Currently Reading: I’ve just started The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh, not much to report so far, but I think I’m going to like it. Needed a break from all the YA/Vampire stuff I’ve been reading lately. (See below for more)

Recently Finished: I finished Cinder, which I loved! Review should be up soon! And Eden Forest by Aoife Marie Sheridan for her book tour, stopping here tomorrow!

Up Next: I’ve said it 3 weeks in a row now (things keep coming up!!), but either Blood Orange Soda or Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking Trilogy #3) by Patrick Ness

The Weight of Blood – Laura McHugh

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For fans of Gillian Flynn and Daniel Woodrell, a dark, gripping debut novel of literary suspense about two mysterious disappearances, a generation apart, and the meaning of family-the sacrifices we make, the secrets we keep, and the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love.

The Dane family’s roots tangle deep in the Ozark Mountain town of Henbane, but that doesn’t keep sixteen-year-old Lucy Dane from being treated like an outsider. Folks still whisper about her mother, a bewitching young stranger who inspired local myths when she vanished years ago. When one of Lucy’s few friends, slow-minded Cheri, is found murdered, Lucy feels haunted by the two lost girls-the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t protect.

Everything changes when Lucy stumbles across Cheri’s necklace in an abandoned trailer and finds herself drawn into a search for answers. What Lucy discovers makes it impossible to ignore the suspicion cast on her own kin. More alarming, she suspects Cheri’s death could be linked to her mother’s disappearance, and the connection between the two puts Lucy at risk of losing everything. In a place where the bonds of blood weigh heavy, Lucy must decide where her allegiances lie.

Leave a comment with your link and I’ll come visit!

WWW Wednesday 26.02.14

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

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Currently Reading: I’m fiiiiiinally reading Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Loving it so far!

Recently Finished: Kissing with Fangs by Ashlyn Chase. I’m totally behind on reviews but I’m hoping to catch up over the weekend!

Up Next: Same as last week as I forgot I had Cinder and wanted to start it so bad! So either Blood Orange Soda, Monsters of Men, or Eden Forest.

Leave the link to your post and I’ll do my best to come visit!

Incoming!

Don’t you just love book arrival day?

I know I keep saying how out of control my TBR pile is, BUT I had some vouchers for my birthday so it doesn’t count, right!?

I really wanted to buy these last year but didn’t get round to it. So pretty!

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The Immortal Rules was £1 in my local supermarket so I couldn’t resist and the other three were all gifts for Christmas or my birthday.

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Too many books, so little time.

I’m especially excited about Zombies Vs Unicorns!

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It’s a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths–for good and evil–of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

Stupid Question!!