WWW Wednesday 13.08.14

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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?

Holy Crap! How is it Wednesday again already?

That aside, here are my answers this week.

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Currently Reading:
I’m almost finished with Ever Near by Melissa MacVicar, which is a really easy and enjoyable read about a girl who is being troubled by ghosts.

Recently Finished:
Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon. I didn’t get on with it at all and gave up about 50 pages before the end. My rather grumpy review will be up tomorrow.

Up Next:
I really don’t know what I’m in the mood for, but probably either Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead, She’s Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick or Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence.

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

February Finds!

This is a monthly post where I share some of the books that I’ve found through fellow bloggers that I HAD to add to my wishlist immediately. I’m hoping I’ll look back on these posts and remember to buy/request the books (wishful thinking!).

My TBR Pile is out of control so I was a very good girl in February; I only made a note of two books that I want to buy:

Click on the links to go to the original posts.

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Found on: Just a Normal Girl in London
Why: Fairy Tales; The Cover!

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Found on: Cleopatra Loves Books
Why: I say all the time that I should read more Thrillers or Crime novels because I enjoy them so much when I do, but I get side-tracked by other genres. I really love the look of this one!

Favourites Friday #17: The Book Of Lost Things by John Connolly

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This one of my favourite books to read in the winter. It is a dark reimagining and fusion of various fairy tales and the whole thing is just a bit sinister yet magical! Plus how epic is that cover!?

There’s Wolf-men, trolls, slutty Red-riding Hood and evil Snow White, a girl in a jar, a great villian in The Crooked Man and a whole lot more.

Goodreads Synopsis:
High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.
Taking readers on a vivid journey through the loss of innocence into adulthood and beyond, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives.

What People Are Saying About The Book of Lost Things:

This was one of the best books i’ve read in a long while. every single page was amazing…the characters rich and full of life.

Beth Anne (Goodreads)

“The Book Of Lost Things” can at times be extremely violent as Connolly seems to enjoy twisting and taking apart various fairy tales.

Brandon (Goodreads)

John Connolly, a Dubliner, is best known – celebrated, indeed – in America, where he sets his supernatural crime fiction. Evidently The Book of Lost Things represents a major departure for him, and Heaven forbid we should discourage ambition. His publisher claims it’s “a novel to transcend genre”: positive spin for what a less partial commentator might call uncertainty of address. Who is this book for? Generic boy hero, schematic adventure plot, heavy-handed explicatory narrative tone: all would try the patience of any reader no longer juvenile. Yet the material is as grim as Connolly’s customary horrific fare. The torture chambers, martial dismemberments and surgical miscegenations, the continual nervous drift towards themes of sexual corruption: all firmly indicate adults only.

Colin Greenland (The Guardian)

Fantasy & Foliage: Words Once Spoken by Carly Drake

YA meets high fantasy in this lush series debut about a girl who never quite fit in — and the reason why…

Evelyn might not love the confines of her village life, but she takes her small freedoms where she can get them. But everything changes when her parents decide it’s time for her to wed. Suddenly she loses her tunic and breeches, her bow, her horse, and gains rigid gowns, restrictive manners, and carriage rides.

The best way to escape is through her dreams, but as they become more and more real, Evelyn begins to worry that she is losing her grasp on reality. It is only when she makes two new friends that the truth is revealed: she is destined for far, far more than even she could imagine.

Words Once Spoken was a book of two halves for me. I was so blown away by the cover and loved the synopsis so I was really looking forward to it. And from the off I was delighted.

The story of a girl frustrated by the restrictions and expectations placed on her growing up in medieval England isn’t a new one to me, but I loved the simplicity of the writing which flowed like a fairy tale and what made it for me was the characterisation of Evelyn herself.

She was different in that she needed freedom with a capital N! She hates confined spaces and even being inside with the windows shut is a big no-no for her. Evelyn also can’t stomach regular food and instead nibbles on flowers and other foliage. I found it quite cute, especially her mother’s exasperation of her daughter’s odd habits (including sleeping on a pallet of moss rather than a bed). This was a great way to introduce magic into the story and I could tell from the beginning that Evelyn clearly wasn’t going to turn out to be human. I was banking on a nymph or the like.

Evelyn arrives at court (where she’s forced to go to be married off, of course) leaving behind her horse because she can’t side-saddle, and her mother has burnt all of her ‘boys’ clothes and packed only dresses. Which she rebels against, obviously. Her ‘odd habits’ can be seen as yet another portrayal of female oppression if you want to go down that route, which I don’t. Moving on.

It’s not long before Evelyn has caught the eyes of both Lord Devon and the Prince and a pseudo-not quite- love triangle ensues. Unfortunately this is where Words Once Spoken started to lose me.

This book is ridiculously fast-paced. A little bit too fast-paced, which I don’t think I’ve ever used as a criticism before. The second half of this book was just too simple. At some point it turned into thishappens, thishappens, this,this,this, boom, the end. I felt a bit shell-shocked by the end of it.

Not only do we found out what Evelyn really is, all of a sudden there are vampires and werewolves, good faeries, bad faeries and everything in between all thrown together for i’m not really sure what reason. You can’t just tell me that that guy is a vampire when he has shown NO SIGNS of being anything but human.

Alas, Words Once Spoken is still a nice, uber quick read that is definitely enjoyable; it’s lots of fun. I’m hoping this is just the introduction to Evelyn’s new world that will grow into something great. The ending certainly makes it seem possible.

Disclosure: I received a copy from the Author/Publisher for an HONEST review. Thanks!
Details: ebook, published October 2013 by Escape Publishing
My Rating: 3 out of 5 Unicorns
If you liked this try: Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely

Favourites Friday #11: Peter Pan (curse you, Peter!)

Peter Pan was probably the first book I really loved and I generally read it at least once a year. I don’t even know what it is that I love about it so much, it’s just such a comforting read. It warms me up in winter.

A few years ago the lovely Dianne over at Icefloe gave me this amazing copy for my birthday (or maybe Christmas) and I love love love it.

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We are also both big fans of the 2003 live action adaptation mainly because Jeremy Sumpter is the perfect Peter and nailed the arrogant ‘oh the cleverness of me’ side to the character. Leading to the inscription below which cracks me up every time I see it.

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Curse you Peter. You totally led poor Wendy on. And put some clothes on!

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Top Ten Tuesday #1 (Castles)

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

This is my first ever Top Ten Tuesday post! I’ve been meaning to jump on the wagon for a while…better late than never. Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting.

This week’s topic was Top Ten Books With X Setting and I’ve decided to go for my Top Ten books with a castle setting (or at least featuring a castle)…because, y’know, I’m a bit obsessed with castles. Click on the images to go their Goodread pages.

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1. The Enchanted Castle – E. Nesbit A rose garden, a maze and an enchanted castle…what’s not to like.

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2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardbrobe – C.S Lewis Two castles for the price of one! There’s the White Witch’s icy castle with ‘long pointed spires, sharp as needles’, and Cair Paravel with its four empty thrones.

1911374 3. King Arthur and his Knights at the Round Table Camelot is clearly the king of all castles!
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4. The Neverending Story – Michael Ende The Ivory Tower definitely counts as a castle, right?

14976 5. Return to Labyrinth – Jake T. Forbes I LOVE this Manga series of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. The Castle beyond the Goblin City is epic!

13519397 6. Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Maas The protagonist Celeana thought the idea of a glass castle was ridiculous – I think it’s amazing.


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7. Seraphina – Rachel Hartman The Kingdom of Goredd not only has a beautiful castle but also some pretty unique Dragons.

7180320 8. Castle of Shadows – Ellen Renner I’ve only read the first book in this series but I loved it. The Royal Castle of Quale is as grand as it sounds.

1635042 9. Beauty & the Beast I’ve had this book for years and it’s every bit as beautiful as the film.

237012 10. The 10th Kingdom – Kathryn Wesley I love this book, it brings so many different fairy tales together set in a fantasy world and also modern day New York.

What would be in your top ten books featuring castles? Leave a comment with your TTT link!

A Snow White tale for Adults: Poison by Sarah Pinborough

Sexy Snow White?
Sex and the Snow White

A beautiful, sexy, contemporary retelling of the classic Snow White fairy tale, illustrated by Les Edwards.

Poison is a beautifully illustrated retelling of the Snow White story which takes all the elements of the classic fairy tale that we love (the handsome prince, the jealous queen, the beautiful girl and, of course, the poisoning) and puts a modern spin on the characters, their motives and their desires. It’s fun, contemporary, sexy, and perfect for fans of Once Upon a Time, Grimm, Snow White and the Huntsman and more. Image & Synopsis from Goodreads.

If you’ve read my blog posts over the last week or so you’ll know that I was really excited about Poison. I love fairy tales, I love retelling of fairy tales and this being an ‘adult’ version of Snow White appealed to me. Not to mention how awesome the cover is. Basically, I set myself up for a massive let down didn’t I? Damn, not again.

I didn’t hate Poison, but I didn’t love it either. Which makes me sad because it’s too pretty to get rid of.

We start with Lilith, Snow’s step-mother who we expect to be evil but she’s just kind of sad. As is traditional, she’s jealous of Snow White’s beauty and charm but also of how free and wild she is. Snow White is out partying with the dwarves and getting drunk whilst poor old Lilith is stuck in her castle being a lady. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to feel sorry for her with this new back story but it didn’t really work for me.

Snow White herself is fun. She drinks the Dwarves under the table and basically just does what she likes but I didn’t feel any investment in her or her well being. I was glad the huntsman didn’t kill her but not because I liked her but because I liked him. And the Prince…don’t even get me started on him. What a waste of space he turned out to be.

I did like some elements of Poison though. I liked that no one was quite what they seem, and definitely not what you’d expect them to be, Pinborough did a good job in that sense. And I liked that Snow White was just a normal girl. A normal beer-drinking, curvy girl who has family issues. But on the other hand, that realism took away a lot of magic from the story which is a shame. I guess you can’t have the best of both worlds.

I also liked that Pinborough took elements from different fairy tales and integrated them into this one story. Apart from the Aladdin part…really, what was the point in that??

Overall, I think Poison is a great idea in theory but just didn’t quite work, for me. Pinborough could have really taken ownership of the source material but it was just a bit too thin to really get your teeth into. I think I’ll give the next book, Charm a go just to see if she manages to do this…I still live in hope.

Plus, they really are very very pretty books.

I give Poision 3/5 unicorns…just. It was published by Gollancz, April 2013