Friday, July 29, 2016

Once Upon A Time... Cinderella Was a Cyborg!!!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Goodreads Review: 

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 Take:

Oh my stars you guys!! This was definitely an unexpected excellent read.  I just recently read my first fairy tale retelling by a different author and was beyond impressed, so I decided to give the Lunar Chronicles a chance. I am so glad I did.  In the beginning I felt it to be a bit rough around the edges, but that seriously could've just been me because I'm not used to used to reading retellings in the slightest. 

Even though our dear Cinder, based upon Cinderella is a cyborg in this series, I still kind of expected to follow the same story as the classic fairy tale version.  Meyer only kept those key roles from the classic (evil step-mother, 2 step-sisters, and prince charming) nothing else really sticks to the classic.  Meyer takes this story and spins it into a fast-paced fantasy world with a spunky little Cinder who stands up for herself and fights for what she wants.   And I loved it!!

After wrapping my head around the fact that Cinder is a cyborg, I was able to really relate to this character.  The sensitivity to real world feelings really hit close to me.  Prince Kai, as dreamy as he is still holds a very down to earthness to him which I think helped me as a reader see him as not only Prince Charming, but also a young man, who wants the best for his people.  

The character and world building in Cinder are superb.  With little to no flaws in this story, I was captivated and drawn into Cinder's world, rooting for her every step of the way.  I was a little skeptical when I first picked this read but I was most definitely satisfied and left with wanting more!  Ready to start Scarlet now!!!  Definitely recommend this retelling!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A New Blog in a Blog Eating World

New Bloggers

This post is for all of the bloggers, who like myself, are either brand new or fairly new to the wonderful world of book blogging...

Hello to you beautiful blogger, you.  I'm so thankful that you've decided to stop here and read this review because as you are well aware by this point, it's fairly difficult to have people stop and take the time to parooze your blog.

My most important point of this blog, is to remind you, that you more than likely created your blog to review books!  Don't let the hype of receiving ARC's and gaining a thousand followers in a week discourage you. It's a lot easier said than done.  I know.  Let this time, be your time to have fun reading and reviewing!

I love to read!  As I'm sure you do as well.  Anything YA, mostly fantasy and science-fiction YA, draws me into a world that helps me escape from my every day life.  Whether you are 17 or 47, life get's hectic and we all need an escape.  I'm a mother of an awesome little boy and a wife to an amazing husband, but I need me time too!  

I think the ultimate goal of all book bloggers is to build a nice amount of followers and eventually proceed to requesting ARC's from publishers.   At least that is my goal and since I'm your average person, I imagine others have the same mind set.  We simply want to read them early before they're available to the public and be able to share our perspective on an amazing author's writing.  Well, take my advice and do not rush into this.  I've tried and failed miserably like many of you might have or might still if you decide to write into them anyway, without being established.

Take this time to build up your blog.  Read books and try to read the newest released one in order to draw the followers attention.  Older books great but with so many books being released on a regular basis, it's hard enough to keep up with them and your followers want to read reviews on them not on a book 10 years old.  Most of the time. I am no expert fellow bloggers, this is all only my opinion as I am, again, a fairly new blogger.  

There's always other tactics to building your blog like giveaways, guest posts, author interviews and more, but remember if you don't work on building your blog (reviews, blog posts)  there won't be much for the follower to be able to come back to.  Also, not many will enter your giveaways thus not spreading the word to your liking.

A Tip:  Just a little advice, I found that listening to audio books is a much faster way of still enjoying the books that you want to read but also enjoying them faster.  I can listen to an audio book on the way to and from work, and I'm lucky enough to be able to listen to them sometimes at work too.  Maybe you are too?  But there's also when you're cleaning or cooking or relaxing on your lawn chair!  And you can rent the audio books right from library and add them to your phone people!!!  

So, try to keep in mind why it is that you originally wanted to have a blog and don't let all of the Twitter feed, Instagram feed or any other feed discourage you in any way.  Learn from your more experienced bloggers, don't envy them.  Read their blogs and follow them, you will learn a lot.  I want to say thank you to all of you again for following me and taking the time to read any of my reviews/blog posts!  Comment below with a URL to your blog and I will follow you, because in a blog eating world, we bloggers need to be there for each other!   

Monday, July 25, 2016

Man Eating Horses and a Roguish Sean Kendrick

Goodreads Review:
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

My Feelings:

I must say that I wasn't quite sure what I was getting myself into picking up a book that was about water horses.  I was a little apprehensive to say the least.  However, after reading Stiefvater's Raven Boys, I knew that I had to give this standalone a shot because I pretty much was consumed by her writing style.  

Stiefvater is not afraid to be blunt and edgy with words.  I find it very refreshing from your normal girlie fantasy read, to pick up a book written by a YA female author and for some reason I feel like I'm reading a story by a dude.  Let's be honest, men tend to be more crude and willing to talk about blood and guts in their books.  Well Stiefvater isn't hesitant to talk about blood and her water horses crave just that.  Blood.

I wasn't a huge fan of Puck Connolly.  I did like that she cared about her brothers.  Her attitude on somethings was a bit annoying, but I will admit that she was a humorous character. As I listened to this on audiobook at work, my boss can attest to that.  I found this read to be pretty comical actually and I wasn't expecting that at all.

The Character I did love, was Sean Kendrick.  The boy who has nothing and needs nothing but the love of his horse.  I wanted to throw myself into the book at him a couple of times. Sean is keep his mouth shut and do what needs to be done, kind of guy.  But when he's crossed he's learns that there is a time to stay quiet and a time to raise hell.

This funny drama left me wanting more, that's for sure.  I really hope Stiefvater considers writing a spinoff/duology to this read. 

Not The Peter Pan You Remember! My First Retelling and Review!!

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Goodreads Review:
For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

My Thoughts:
 Hopefully none of you will hate me, when I say, that I've never liked the Disney version of Peter Pan.  It was a little annoying and when I was a child I didn't like pointy ears on anyone.  Needless to say, my take on point ears changed once I set eyes on Orlando Bloom as Legolas in Lord of the Rings.  Anyway! 

It took me a little while to finally get to this read on my TBR for two reasons.  One, I was in a huge reading slump and two, I was scared to read a retelling (yes, this is my first retelling! I know, right?).  As I got older, I felt that Fairy Tales were of the past, until I realized, that um... they're not!  I finally picked up Unhooked and read almost the entire thing in a day!  Stupid bed times, for stupid work :/

I loved how the story took off, in a more gloomy setting of London, preparing the way for a more unique way of telling a Peter Pan story.  It completely grabbed my attention because it wasn't your childhood fairy tale anymore.  It was a twisted version.  Some might say, a twisted and dark version?  I might say that haha!  And who doesn't like a twisted version of your classic fairy tale novel?  

Our main protagonist, Gwendolyn, is not your typical Wendy either.  She is curious and spunky.  She's ready to investigate and question things, which is my kind of character.  I don't like reading about young women who go with the flow of things, I have to do that myself enough of the time. And the other characters of Neverland?  Well, they're not who you might expect them to be either.  

In a Neverland where good was once bad and bad is now good, it's easy to feel that you are a bit turned around.  A dashingly handsome pirate will definitely make you swoon more than you would expect to, especially with his dark secrets and young Peter, well, Peter will draw you in, every moment he can, with that devilishly grin and boyish charm. The twists and turns in this book will have you second guessing your second guesses!!! But don't fret, because Maxwell wraps it all up in such a way that will make you love her for every minute of this exceptional retelling of your favorite flying Pan and infamous captain.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Salt To The Sea
Ruta Sepetys

Side Note:  Seriously guys, this author is talented and determined to share some of history's most well kept secrets. 

Goodreads Review:

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.

My Feelings:

What an exhilarating read, or story in my case! I am almost tearing up just beginning this review because of how much this book has touched me.  How amazing this writer portrays WWII refugees.  With Ukranian in my blood , (grandmother was full Ukranian), I felt that this book spoke a little to me as well, though Ukranians weren’t spotlighted here, so many people of Europe were targeted.I have to mention that I didn’t actually read this, instead I listened to it on CD in my car, in thanks to my library!  My boss had told me I can rent audio books from the library, and to my amazement, she was right!  I had been hearing about this historical fiction on Twitter and seeing many pics of the book on Instagram and something kept telling me to look into this one.  
I read the back cover and was sold.  I’ve always been a sucker for history on WWII but to listen to an audio version of a historical based YA fiction version, reached out to me and did not want to let me go.  So I picked it up and couldn’t stop.  The narrators of the book are phenomenal, although there is one of the four characters that just irked my nerves from the beginning and rightfully so!  I’m pretty sure Ruta meant for him to be that way, or at least I hope she did.  
Ruta’s world building is professionally done to say the least!  She knows how to write and completely engulfed me into this time period!  She created each character flawlessly.  Their back stories really helped the reader to get to know them and why they acted and thought the way they did.  With a more sorrowful tone throughout this read (as is expected) one might think, it would be depressing or melancholy at points.  But the history that backs up her characters stories, opens your eyes into the past!  At times you feel sad because this stuff really happened to people!  
Everything from the weather, to the sausages, to the expressions of a Nazi’s face, was so expertly written that once I began listening, I was there.  I was with Joana walking and with Emelia, looking at her pink hat.  I was with Florian as he fought to hold onto his own direction and not waiver even for a second.  I was with Alfred even if I didn’t want to be!! 
One of the best books I’ve ever read/listened to in my life!  I never knew that I loved historical fiction until now and I am so beyond grateful that I took a chance on my intuition and devoured this read.  For educational reasons, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in WWII and what the life of a refugee was like.  For a YA who wants to read something different, something worthwhile, something meaningful, this is the book for you!  
I could go on and on and on if I could give you details, but obviously I can’t be a party pooper!  As a YA reader, a strongly urge you to give this a try and I promise you won’t regret it!

One of the Best Historical Fiction Novels I've Ever Read!

You Will Not Regret Reading This One

Between Shades of Gray
Ruta Sepetys

Goodreads Review: 
It's 1941 and fifteen-year-old artist Lina Vilkas is on Stalin's extermination list. Deported to a prison camp in Siberia, Lina fights for her life, fearless, risking everything to save her family. It's a long and harrowing journey and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?

My Feelings:

Where to begin with this masterpiece?  
This historical fiction based on a tremendous disaster of imprisoning people in Europe and forcing them into slavery to work the lands of Russia, caused by Joseph Stalin was written delicately and expertly.  
Not a moment went by while reading, that I felt anything other than captivated.  I was there with Lina. 17 year old Lithuanian who was forced onto a train car with her family without even a hint of what was happening or where she was being taken.  Sepetys put me in the train cars in that moment.  The descriptive words used really drew me in and held on tight.  I could smell the smells.  I could hear the crying.
  Tears fell down my cheeks as I read through the harsh conditions these innocent people were forced to bare.  Sepetys brilliantly highlights some of the deepest secrets of Stalin’s deadly war path.
It’s hard to imagine that anyone could build friendships or even relationships during such a trying time, but that’s precisely what had happened.  Her characters come to life on the pages and and place you in that time, at those camps, starving with them.  Wishing you could reach your hand through the book and into the past and give them extra water, food and clothes.  All the while, reading that some of these victims still had kept forgiveness in their hearts for their captors and held onto this false hope of ever being released.
What’s most important to me, while reading a historical fiction, is that these fictional characters are based off of real people in real situations that had no outs, no escapes.  If anyone is looking to be completely and fully enveloped by a book, Between Shades of Gray is that book for you.

Strands of Bronze and Gold
      Jane Nickerson

Goodreads Review:

The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.

Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.

My Feelings:
I listened to this one on an audio book.  I couldn’t have been happier with my choice of reading.  After just finishing an exhilarating historical fiction novel, I was worried of falling into a reading slump. Needless to say, I’m so glad I came across this beauty by Jane Nickerson.  
I just recently discovered that I could borrow books from my library, that were audio books and I could download them right to my phone.  I now sit at work and listen to and from work different stories that help my work week to simply fly by.   
I’ve never been one to read a fairy tale novel because I’ve seen all the princess movies as a child, and Strands of Bronze and Gold is not a fairy tale as it is folk lore about Bluebeard.  I had heard the name but had no idea what the story about him was.  Also, I should mention, that I’m a little picky with my audio books.  I like the narrators voice to be a specific way.  As a I prefer to listen to a woman’s voice, I still hope for a steady tone.  No one high pitched and definitely not too low of voice either.  If I listen to a man, then I prefer an American accent and none other.  Needless to say, the narrator of Strands of Bronze and Gold, Caitlin Prennace, has a perfect voice for this story.  Very calm American for Sofia, our heroine, and a perfect french accent for Bluebeard or Monsieur Bernard,our antagonist. Prennace definitely kept my attention.  
Though I wasn’t entirely impressed with the main character Sofia’s personality, just a little to naive and that made me want to scream through the book at her, she was pretty well rounded character.  There are other times throughout the book that I felt she showed strength and bravery.  The story was different from most YA that is out now.  And though it’s a bit older of a book, Jane Nickerson has a unique way of world building that will draw you in and keep you hooked.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Young Elites
by Marie Lu 

Goodreads Summary:

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

My Feelings:

I listened to this on an audio book and I was very glad I did or it might not have held my attention in the beginning.  
Though I felt that Lu, did a good job of catching the readers up with what is going on in Adelina's world, it just wasn't very interesting to me.  I have mixed feelings on Adelina as well.  

Part of me felt it was a brave thing to do, to give the protagonist a deformity, it would definitely stand her character apart from others and help readers to connect on more of real level, but part of me felt like that branded her character in a negative way, because most other protagonists are perfect by reputation.  Adelina was not a very stable character but I hope to see her become more stable in books 2 and 3.  She has had a rough childhood and is just coming into her own.  However, it's still a little annoying to read about a girl who can't make up her mind, about anything.  

I thoroughly enjoyed some of the terminology in this book.  Malfetto's isn't a term I've ever heard before and it was a refreshing term to calling mutants, well, mutants.  Lu, has a way with words, that's for sure. 

The other protagonist Enzo, is a dream to have as a character to focus on.  Your heart is drawn to him and you only want to see him happy and prosperous. 

Teren, the antagonist however, is not one to be desired.  What a ruthless character with no real justification as to why he is the way he is, at least not one that I understood to well.  A Malfetto himself, he has turned on his own in order to complete a personal agenda.  I don't like him at all, though Lu wrote him rather well also.  I really felt like I knew him and at many times I wanted to jump right in and smack him through the pages.  

Many unexpected things happen and with this, The Young Elites has drawn me in.  The ending is one to make you ready and go buy The Rose Society, like right now.  I plan to.  Thank goodness The Midnight Star is due out soon, so I won't have to wait long for that one either.  I do recommend this read for those who love fantasy.  

 *Duh, duh duh duh!***
JusticeReads to the rescue!

Ink, Ivory and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare

Goodreads Synopsis: Can she write a world gone wrong? A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new wo...