Category Archives: Dystopian

In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3) – Alexandra Bracken

In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3) – Alexandra BrackenTitle: In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3) by Alexandra Bracken
Publishing Info: April 24, 2018 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Amazon, Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian
Date Completed: April 23, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1), Passenger (Passenger #1), Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2)

Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

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Mehhhhh. I just did not enjoy the conclusion to this series at all. I’m so far past my dystopian fascination that I just wasn’t really interested after so much time went by but. I really did want to finish the series but I was worried about all of that going in.

Aside from the genre qualms, I really did feel like this series didn’t really need to be a trilogy. I think it could have done fine at two books, maybe even one depending on editing. Things felt incredibly dragged out in IN THE AFTERLIGHT and there were a lot of things that I thought could have been addressed in NEVER FADE, and things that I really wanted to be addressed the previous book, like more about the cause of the abilities. As far as action and content, I think a lot could have been cut to be a two book series but I guess trilogies were really hot at this point in time.

The thing I feel with a lot of dystopians nowadays is that that everyone feels whiny and everyone feels SO dramatic. I get it — it’s the literal end of the world, but things like that tend to need a bit more comic relief or a little less “dude that I love is my life and soul.” Teenagers are dramatic as well bu sometimes it’s just too much for me.  Ruby took on a lot of this for me and characters like Chubs and Vida were more fabulous and provided some of that relief, but the drama still took the spotlight. Liam was maybe TOO good for my tastes. It felt a little too polarizing for Liam to be GOOD and Cole to be the BAD boy. At least Cole had more going on. The villain became a bit too villainous and everyone was just so black and white when I would have loved more human grey areas, as is natural. I found myself just wanting to be done so I could finally be done and move on. If I hadn’t listened to these as audiobooks, it would have taken me forever or I may have not even finished.

But at last, it’s done and I am happy that I did finish the series. Dystopians have just lost their sparkle and appeal to me. I’ve read so many books since I fell in love and out of love with dystopian that it’s just all so tropey to me. Plus, this was Alexandra Bracken’s debut series and I think her writing was still growing. (Although I didn’t love Passenger either…)

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Kept Me Hooked On: The last of my dystopian loves. I really did LOVE dystopians — hardcore — back in 2011 and 2012. I wanted to inhale them. I liked heading back to THE DARKEST MINDS after all these years.
Left Me Wanting More: Developed characters. I just didn’t feel like anyone had depth! I actually feel like Chubs was the more relatable character. I didn’t connect with Ruby, Liam was too good, and everyone was so black and white.

Addiction Rating
Finish it

I think it’s worth finishing the series to find out why everything happened but I just had a really hard time with it.

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BOOKS LIKE IN THE AFTERLIGHT

              

Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) – Alexandra Bracken

Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) – Alexandra BrackenTitle: Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) by Alexandra Bracken
Publishing Info: October 15, 2013 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Audible, BEA 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian
Date Completed: April 18, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1), Passenger (Passenger #1), In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3)

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?

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After many, many years, I finally re-read THE DARKEST MINDS and then continued on with the rest of the series. I hadn’t loved THE DARKEST MINDS on my re-read as much as I did the first time around and it’s been a long time since I’ve really been interested in dystopian so I had no idea how the rest of the series was going to go for me.

A FIVE QUESTIONS REVIEW

In an attempt to do a quick review style, and not get hung up on a traditional sense, here’s a review in five questions!

WHO? NEVER FADE separated our crew for a bit and you know how much I struggle with that. I enjoyed getting to know more about Ruby and following her story more in this book. We also learn a whole lot more about the Children’s League and their loyalties as well as meeting new characters who play an important part like badass Vida and sweet Jude. And then, of course, there’s Cole who teaches us a whole lot about… well, I guess I won’t get into all of that because of spoilers!

WHAT? The actual concept of the disease played a lot bigger part in this book and I liked how that added to the overall series development. I was glad we got to know more about why the kids started developing abilities but I also wish that we had gotten a bit more in this book as well. We also get to know more about Reds and what happened to them, and if any of them really still exist.

WHERE? A lot of this book takes place with the Children’s League and their territory. There are a lot of mixed feelings about them and their cause and I felt myself going back and forth trying to pick apart the true intentions.

WHEN? There’s a little time after the end of THE DARKEST MINDS and we pick up with Ruby after she’s been working with them for a while.

WHY? This book is clearly a bridge to the finale and it did feel like a middle book. I don’t really like when series separate main characters like this one did so it kind of really stuck that middle-book feel.

This story was okay but I did notice myself tiring of the dystopian factor already, even before book three. I had a hard time wanting to finish the series but it was so close anyway. NEVER FADE wasn’t as appealing as THE DARKEST MINDS and it kind of didn’t go in the direction that I was expecting, but I also should have expected it.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Liam. Liam really is one of the best parts of this series. He’s so good and he truly has a good heart which is so refreshing compared to the nice guy who picks fights or turns bad.
Left Me Wanting More: Book One Feel. I missed the chemistry between Ruby and Liam from the first book, which I loved so much!

Addiction Rating
Continue on

The series is worth continuing but this really wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped it would be.

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BOOKS LIKE NEVER FADE

              

Mini-Review: Cruel Crown (Red Queen #0.1 – #0.2)

Mini-Review: Cruel Crown (Red Queen #0.1 – #0.2)Title: Cruel Crown (Red Queen #0.1 - #0.2 by Victoria Aveyard
Publishing Info: January 5, 2016 by HarperCollins
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopian
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 7, 2016
Related Posts: Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1)

Two women on either side of the Silver and Red divide tell the stories no one else knows.
Discover the truth of Norta’s bloody past in these two revealing prequels to #1 New York Times bestseller Red Queen.
Queen Song
Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.
Steel Scars
Diana Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow.
Plus a Glass Sword sneak peek!
An exclusive excerpt of the hotly anticipated second book in the Red Queen series, Glass Sword, transports readers to the world of Silver tyranny, a Red dawn rising, and one girl’s resolve to break down the system that will hold her back no longer.

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I wanted to check out CRUEL CROWN before I started GLASS SWORD as a sort of memory refreshed and to throw me back in that world. Even though I had only liked RED QUEEN and not loved, I still found myself sucked in that world so I figured it was a great opportunity to read the novellas! The two novellas in this bind-up (in my case, audio bind-up — thanks, HarperTeen, for the review copy!) were QUEEN’S SONG about Coriane, the first wife of King Tiberias and STEEL SCARS which was about Farley.

QUEEN’S SONG ended up being incredibly interesting but it did have quite the slow start for me. I felt like it took a little bit to really establish what the overall plot of the novella was and me and my bad memory didn’t quite remember what had happened to Coriane as we had learned it in RED QUEEN. I remembered the gist but I had a hard time remembering details so this was actually a great chance to see things from Cori’s POV. I really liked her a lot and although I didn’t connect with her personality as much as I had hoped, her story did keep me hooked the whole time. The ending was really interesting and I loved how there was a little twist there.

STEEL SCARS did not go as well. I had an incredibly hard time getting into this story at all. I wasn’t sure where it was going and I just really didn’t care about Farley’s story at all. I felt like not a whole lot was happening and to be totally honest… I didn’t even bother to finish it. I didn’t feel like it was important to the overall plot of the RED QUEEN series and I was just so bored.

I’m glad I ventured into the novellas but I also don’t feel drawn to pick up more should more come out. I guess that could change if I end up loving GLASS SWORD but now I’m sort of meh about starting GLASS SWORD too. Kind of a bummer that the novellas ended up having the opposite effect on me than I had hoped.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Dystopian. Technically this series is more fantasy than dystopian but it always has that dystopian feel for me. I’ve really fallen out of love with dystopia lately but the RED QUEEN books have had me hanging on.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot. I just felt like QUEEN’S SONG took a while to go anywhere and STEEL SCARS didn’t have much going on at all.

Addiction Rating
Skip them

Unless you’re a BIG fan of the series, I wouldn’t really recommend these two novellas. They didn’t really go well for me and I just wasn’t as hooked as I had hoped.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE CRUEL CROWN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 CATCHING FIRE    THRONE OF GLASS

Unraveled (Crewel World #3) – Gennifer Albin

Unraveled (Crewel World #3) – Gennifer AlbinTitle: Unraveled (Crewel World #3) by Gennifer Albin
Publishing Info: October 7, 2014 by Macmillan
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: November 24, 2015
Related Posts: Crewel (Crewel World #1)

Autonomous. Independent. Dangerous. They tried to control her. Now she’ll destroy them.
Things have changed behind the walls of the Coventry and new threats lurk in its twisted corridors. When Adelice returns to Arras, she quickly learns that something rotten has taken hold of the world and Cormac Patton needs her to help him reestablish order. However, peace comes at a terrible price. As the Guild manipulates the citizens of Arras, Adelice discovers that she’s not alone, and she must let go of her past to fight for mankind’s future. She will have to choose between an unimaginable alliance and a deadly war that could destroy everyone she loves.

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Poor UNRAVELED. This was another series I just waited too long to finish and I totally lost steam with it. I ended up actually grabbing the audiobook for this to make some progress and finally finish out this series but I just couldn’t quite get into it. I also do feel like a good book is still a good book and even though I took a long time to read UNRAVELED, that wasn’t the only issue. I really wasn’t able to fall back into it and this book really lost the familiarity for me. I felt like the characters had changed — which isn’t a bad thing at all — but I did miss the banter and sarcasm that I felt was much more prevalent in the first two books.

I also had a bit of trouble with the fact that there were some things that popped up in this book that I don’t remember at all from CREWEL or UNALTERED. Yes, they were things that would have popped up later in the series and especially in a conclusion but I love when authors are able to layer their books/series so things so huge and series-changing at least have a small mention before they alter the entire course of a book. I did struggle with a few things like that with UNRAVELED and I just wish there was at least some mention of some of these really large concepts before they came into play. 

I was actually fairly disappointed with the ending. I suppose it’s more of a personal preference but the way that everything played out seemed abrupt and unsatisfying. I was working on catching up to all of these major ideas and concepts and then once it was all over, it took a bit too long to wrap up. Without spoiling anything, it really there was one final question to answer and I just wasn’t happy with how it was answered and how long it took for the one final reveal.

There were things that I enjoyed about the book while reading/listening but looking back on it now, I feel like I barely remember what happened and everything else was more of a memory of what I had read in CREWEL and ALTERED. Again, I think it was mostly the fact that I just took so long to finish this series. I think I could have been in a higher rating-range had I read it sooner but I also think it still wouldn’t have been a stellar finish for me no matter what. view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Adelice // Character Obsessions: Saving the world, love, family. 
I felt so disconnected from Adelice in this book. I just really felt like she lost all of her personality and although she still had that drive to save the world, I just couldn’t click with her at all here. I just really struggled.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Finishing series. I really am trying to catch up on some of the series that Just need to finish and soon!
Left Me Wanting More: Connection. It just wasn’t there for me. Between waiting to finish, the characters, new concepts, slow pacing… This one just didn’t do it for me.

Addiction Rating
Read it?

I suppose if you’re read books one and two and enjoyed them, then it’s worth reading to finish up the trilogy. If you weren’t a fan of the first two, I don’t know if this one will convince you.

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BOOKS LIKE UNRAVELED

(Click the cover to see my review!)

DIVERGENT    THE VAULT OF DREAMERS

10 Things I Felt About This Book | Cress by Marissa Meyer

I’ve been re-reading The Lunar Chronicles in anticipation of WINTER’s release in November and I’m having the best time! (Pssst check out the Lunar Chronicles (Re)Read Along if you want to join in for WINTER!) I’m re-reading each book on audio and I’ll be reading WINTER in print when it comes out and it’s been so much fun reliving one of my favorite series!

Since I’ve already done one formal review of CRESS back when I first read it, I’m switching things up a bit with a bit more feeling and a little less analyzing with “10 Things I Felt About” CRESS!

10 Things I Felt About This Book | Cress by Marissa MeyerTitle: Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3) by Marissa Meyer
Publishing Info: February 4, 2014 by Macmillan
Source: Audible
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 25, 2015
Related Posts: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1), Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2), , Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5), The Queen's Army (The Lunar Chronicles #1.5), Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky (Lunar Chronicles #3.1), Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1), Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2), Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4), Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection), Heartless, Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerve #1), Renegades (Renegades #1)

In this third book in Marissa Meyer's bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, 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 prevent her army from invading Earth.
Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped 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 being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she's just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she'd ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

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10 THINGS I FELT ABOUT CRESS

  • AMPED UP. I’ve been loving re-reading these books and I was so excited for the start of CRESS which was my favorite of the series after my original read. This book sure is action-packed and (once again) I forgot how much goes on!
  • SYMPATHETIC. I remember Cress being naive but not in a bad way to where it could come off as annoying. I thought she was sheltered (naturally, given her situation) but she wasn’t AS naive as I thought she could have been which was awesome. It was enough to keep me sympathetic to her and not frazzled that she was so far behind in terms of life outside of the satellite!
  • DISCONNECTED. The re-reads have become a bit weird for me and I’m not sure why. I want to blame the audios and that some of the voices are super different than how I pictured them in my head, including intonation and phrasing, but I can’t be 100% sure that it’s the audio’s fault. For some reason I felt a bit of a disconnect with the characters and I wasn’t AS invested as I was the first time around, which is really opposite for me and re-reads.
  • THORNE-HUNGRY. I think I built it up so much in my head how much Thorne was in the series that I expected him to be in like… every scene haha! I just loved him so much that I wanted him to be a main character and while he is, he’s not AS important as characters like Cinder and Cress. He spends a lot of time with Cress and we see him on his own too but… well, I can’t get enough of him! I wanted more!!
  • FEELING ALL THE FEELS. I adore the romance between Cress and Thorne in this book and how it develops and I really feel for Wolf throughout the book too. This was the book (in my first read) where I finally felt that connection between Cinder and Kai and it definitely sky rockets in CRESS!
  • NERVOUS. This is the LAST THING before we read WINTER. I’m so nervous for how it ends!!
  • HOOKED. One thing I really loved about CRESS was just how cinematic it is. It starts off with some awesome action and it really maintains a level of high-stakes excitement all the way throughout!
  • SURPRISED. I really shouldn’t have been surprised at anything… but there was something in the middle that I totally forgot about and I did a little gasp!
  • COMFORTABLE. I loved falling back into Cress’s story line in this book. I think it is my favorite because I love Cress (and her relationship with Thorne) and I really admire how much Cinder comes into her own in this book. She accepts some real responsibility and starts to really insert herself.
  • RELIEVED. The audios for these books are great but to be honest, I’m kind of glad I’m reading WINTER in print. Rebecca Soler does a great job with Cinder, Cress, and pretty much all of the boys but I didn’t like her Scarlet and I couldn’t stand her Winter. I don’t know if I really want to listen to WINTER on audio (ever?) because I just don’t like her voice at all. 

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Re-read it!

It’s a close call whether CINDER or CRESS is my favorite of the series so far but I think CRESS takes the lead by a nose! It’s honestly so jam-packed full of action. Even with a re-read I was totally hooked!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE CRESS

             UNDER THE NEVER SKY

#WickedReads | Nightfall by Jake Halpern & Peter Kujawinski

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I recently read NIGHTFALL (and hosted a Twitter chat with one of the authors, Peter Kujawinski) as a part of Penguin Teen’s WICKED READS campaign! I’m a huge fan of Halloween (as you’ve seen from the past two weeks of A Fortnight of Fright posts) so I was especially excited to join in on the Wicked Reads fun! A really big thanks to Penguin Teen for having me be a part of the Wicked Reads feature and hosting the Twitter chat!! It’s be a total blast so far and there’s still a lot more fun to come!

Today I’m sharing my review for NIGHTFALL along with some other “Wicked Reads” that I enjoyed this Halloween season. Whether you’re reading to get in the Halloween spirit or just because you enjoy some scary books, these were all some really fun books that will put you in a horror or spooky mood so make a note if you’re looking for a few good recs!

First things first, let’s get into the review of NIGHTFALL!

#WickedReads | Nightfall by Jake Halpern & Peter KujawinskiTitle: Nightfall by Jake Halpern, Peter Kujawinski
Publishing Info: September 22, 2015 by Penguin
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Dystopian
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 9, 2015

The dark will bring your worst nightmares to light, in this gripping and eerie survival story, perfect for fans of James Dashner and Neil Gaiman.
On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.
Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.
Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.
Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and  Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.
And it may already be too late.

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I read NIGHTFALL for Penguin Teen’s Wicked Reads campaign and I’m really glad the timing for this worked out so well! I always enjoy a good, creepy read around Halloween (which I pretty much start reading for in September!) and NIGHTFALL was such a good creepy read for me because I’m a total chicken when it comes to horror. It was much more suspenseful with a little bit of horror and a whole lot of mystery so it made for an excellent selection for a scaredy cat like me!

Right away, I was intrigued by the plot of the book. The concept of years of day and years of night is really neat and I was hooked from start to finish in anticipation of what really happens on this island at night. I thought the authors did a great job of keeping the readers interested by giving out enough clues but still keeping the questions open. I sped through the pages to try to get all of the answers because I just had to know what was going on!

NIGHTFALL really reminded me of a mix of M. Night Shayamalan and The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry. It had all of that great suspense that you find in Shayamalan movies and the setting and characters really reminded me of The Giver Quartet, specifically GATHERING BLUE and MESSENGER. The feel of The Giver Quartet did make the book feel a bit younger than the YA range I typically read (usually on the higher end of YA and I tend to read more adult than middle grade) so I did find myself a bit less connected to the characters than I had hoped because they felt a bit young. That really wasn’t a bad thing but more of a personal preference. I really did enjoy the character dynamics but they didn’t feel quite as developed or dynamic as I had hoped.  The book was a really fun mix and I loved that it was one of those books that was so easy to explain in terms of feel. If you’re craving either one of those, NIGHTFALL is probably an excellent book to pick up next!

I will say, I wasn’t AS into the big picture answer as I had hoped. I really enjoyed that the reveal of what happened to this island at Night and who comes there was slowly revealed but I wasn’t super crazy about the answer. Again, this was more of a personal preference since it’s just not something I usually personally connect to but it was an exciting and interesting conclusion! (Sorry that’s a bit vague… I don’t want to spoil anything!)

NIGHTFALL was a quick and gripping read and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough! The suspense was really great it was a fun read, especially for Halloween! It wasn’t totally the book for me but I thought it was well done and with just a bit more world-building and explanation, I think I could have really loved it!

MORE WICKED READS

I love mood/seasonal reading for Halloween and it’s the one season I really read for every year! Here are some more of my favorite books that put me in a Halloween mood and some excellent “Wicked Reads”! 

THE ACCIDENT SEASON by Moira Fowley-Doyle

The Accident Season

THE ACCIDENT SEASON is another one of Penguin’s selected Wicked Reads (see the full list on their Tumblr!) and it was one I really enjoyed! It had such an amazing atmosphere, a great mystery, and some lovely character development. I was so hooked from start to finish and it really put me in a fall mood even though I read it in the summer! | REVIEW


PAPER VALENTINE by Brenna Yovanoff

Paper Valentine

I haven’t read the other two Brenna Yovanoff books on the Wicked Reads list yet but I have read PAPER VALENTINE and I thought it was so great! This is another book with a fantastic atmosphere and a little bit of a murder mystery. The book is quirky, interesting, and unique and it really made me anxious to read more of Brenna Yovanoff’s books! | REVIEW


THE FALL by Bethany Griffin

The Fall – Bethany Griffin

I read THE FALL last year for Halloween and it was so delightfully creepy. It was just the perfect amount of horror for me to be excellently creeped out but not too scared! THE FALL is an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher and I thought it was so  well done! | REVIEW


THIS DARK ENDEAVOR by Kenneth Oppel

This Dark Endeavor (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein #1) – Kenneth Oppel

THIS DARK ENDEAVOR is an adaptation of Frankenstein but not all of it takes place in book one! I’ve only read the first book so far but I really want to continue with this series because I was definitely intrigued by the happenings in book one and like THE FALL, I loved the gothic horror feel! This was such a fun adaptation and I really want to get even more into the Frankenstein’s monster portion! | REVIEW


Don’t miss Penguin Teen’s #TwitterGhostStory feature on Twitter! It’s a week-long event from Monday, October 26th to Saturday October 31st in which you can write a spooky story in 140 characters or less using #TwitterGhostStory! Participants using the hashtag will be entered for the chance to win a prize pack of the featured Wicked Reads titles.

There is also still one more #WickedReads Twitter chat left! It’ll be this Friday the 30th at 4pm Eastern with some awesome Wicked Reads authors! Hope to see you there!!

That’ll do it for my Wicked Reads recommendations! Have you read any of these? Which books would you recommend for some great Halloween or fall reads? I always love to hear of some more books that are perfect for horror-chickens like me!!

A Non-Review: Rebel (Reboot #2) – Amy Tintera

A Non-Review: Rebel (Reboot #2) – Amy TinteraTitle: Rebel (Reboot #2) by Amy Tintera
Publishing Info: May 13, 2014 by HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss, Purchased
Genres: Young Adult, Zombies, Dystopian
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 3, 2015
Related Posts: Reboot (Reboot #1)

Wren Connolly thought she'd left her human side behind when she dies five years ago and came back 178 minutes later as a Reboot. With her new abilities of strength, speed, and healing—along with a lack of emotions—Wren 178 became the perfect soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation). Then Callum 22 came along and changed everything.
Now that they've both escaped, they're ready to start a new life in peace on the Reboot reservation. But Micah 163, the Reboot running the reservation, has darker plans in mind: to wipe out the humans. All of them. Micah has been building a Reboot army for years and is now ready to launch his attack on the cities. Callum wants to stick around and protect the humans. Wren wants nothing more than to leave all the fighting behind them.
With Micah on one side, HARC on the other, and Wren and Callum at odds in the middle, there's only one option left...
It's time for Reboots to become rebels.

One of my blog policies is that I will write a review for every single book I finish, no matter what my final opinion was. I’ve been growing a bit more lax with holding myself to reviewing but I still feel the draw to review almost every book, simply because I enjoy sharing my feelings about what I read and how I felt when I read it… but when it came time to review REBEL by Amy Tintera, I was at a total loss for words.

REBEL became victim of several unfortunate reading decisions that ended up with a sadly unfortunate overall impression of the book. I read REBOOT back when it first came out — no, before it first came out because I read it as an eARC — back in the spring of 2013. And yes, if you do that math, you’ll see that means that I didn’t get to REBEL until two and a half years later. Sometimes that gap is okay if I’m reading a big, epic fantasy series that I’m already invested in and may not even have the book available to read until a few years later (*cough*A Song of Ice and Fire*cough*) but I really screwed myself and any hopes I may have had of enjoying REBEL as much as I did REBOOT by waiting so long to read it. That’s just too many years to put in between the first and last books of a duology and by the time I read REBEL, not only had I forgotten a ton but my reading tastes had even changed a bit. I knew that I enjoyed REBOOT so I didn’t want to kick REBEL to the curb but I think I lost that prime reading opportunity about a year and a half ago.

This is one of the many hardships of being an avid reader and/or book blogger. (First world problems, I know.) There are just so many good books and series out there that it’s just so hard to pick what book I want to read next and perfectly good books/series tend to sit on my shelves while I start new ones. Then I put it off because I’m not in the mood for that genre or I have a book I need to read for a deadline or I need to catch up on ARCs and shove my backlist books to the side. This isn’t the first time this has happened to a series and I’m sure that sadly, it won’t be the last.

I tried to get back into REBEL by reading the Recaptains recap of REBOOT and everything sounded familiar all right but that feeling and connection to the characters was close to gone by the time I got to book two. I wanted to enjoy the book as much as I had enjoyed the first and it was really easy to read but that connection just wasn’t there. It could be that I just wasn’t into the book but I think most of it was that I waited too long.

This poor, poor book also didn’t stand a chance because it was the last book I read before I picked up QUEEN OF SHADOWS. I had the choice to read one more book before starting the latest in this epic fantasy series from Sarah J. Maas or I could just wait patiently and you know, wait. But any time that I could be reading and am NOT feels wasted so I grabbed REBEL off the shelf to try and finally finish this series and put another check mark on the never-ending list of series that I need to complete. Bad, bad move. I started REBEL and then didn’t have enough time to read before QUEEN OF SHADOWS arrived and before you knew it, the precious was in my hands and I was still reading a book all the while staring at this new pretty. So, shame on me, I ended up rushing through REBEL to finish so I could start a different book and continue on in one of my favorite series. That made me feel even more detached and I felt the pressure and was anxiously trying to finish so I could start reading QUEEN OF SHADOWS before the spoilers started hitting Goodreads. Poor, poor REBEL.

I tried to come up with some thoughts once I finished and I felt… Ambivalent. The book was okay. The writing was okay. The plot, romance, action, and characters were all okay. And “okay” doesn’t really make for a great review. When it comes down to it, it could have just been a middle-of-the-road book but I also think I did it an injustice by waiting too long to read it and then on the flip side, rushing through it. I know there are cases where a book can be better or worse depending on your mood (*raises hand as a mood reader*) and that a book may be better for you at one time in your life versus another but this is something that I’ll never know! I may have rated it higher had circumstances been different but the fact is that this is how my read went and all I can do is reflect on what I did read and how it made me feel at the time. And there you have the non-review.

10 Things I Felt About This Book | Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

I’ve been re-reading The Lunar Chronicles in anticipation of WINTER’s release in November and I’m having the best time! (Pssst check out the Lunar Chronicles (Re)Read Along if you want to join in for CRESS and WINTER!) I’m re-reading each book on audio and I’ll be reading WINTER in print when it comes out and it’s been so much fun reliving one of my favorite series!

Since I’ve already done one formal review of SCARLET back when I first read it, I’m switching things up a bit with a bit more feeling and a little less analyzing with “10 Things I Felt About” SCARLET!

10 Things I Felt About This Book | Scarlet by Marissa MeyerTitle: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer
Publishing Info: February 5, 2013 by Macmillan
Source: Audible
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 9, 2015
Related Posts: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1), Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2), , Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5), The Queen's Army (The Lunar Chronicles #1.5), Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky (Lunar Chronicles #3.1), Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1), Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3), Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4), Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection), Heartless, Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerve #1), Renegades (Renegades #1)

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-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 and 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 has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.
As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

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10 THINGS I FELT ABOUT SCARLET

  • CAUTIOUS. I’ve loved all of the books (of course) BUT I remembered that Scarlet was my least favorite heroine and I couldn’t remember why. I was a bit nervous to find out where that feeling came from!
  • FORGETFUL. Ummmm, I forgot a LOT about Scarlet’s story line. I pretty much remembered the train scene and the action at the end haha! Okay, that’s exaggerating — I did remember more than that but everything was super fuzzy so I was excited to sort of re-discover it!
  • DOE-EYED. Oh, hello again, Thorne. How I love you so.
  • WOLF-INCLINED. I forgot how much I really liked Wolf in this book. I’m not sure why he didn’t seem to make a more lasting impression on me during my first read. Possibly because he’s more reserved, closed-off, and less in the spotlight. Wolf’s got a lot more history and secrets than Kai so seeing him as the love interest for Scarlet was a very different experience and I loved his protectiveness! I can’t believe I forgot that.
  • FRUSTRATED. Not gonna lie… This was my reminder why I didn’t like Scarlet as much as the other heroines and I think the audio didn’t help. Scarlet is very “head towards a goal at full speed”. I’m not saying in her situation that I wouldn’t be but that’s something that the more I read, the harder it is witness. Scarlet really has a one-track mind to save her grandmother and it started to wear on me when she really started making very bad decisions and easily losing her cool. (Maybe it annoys me because that’s probably how I would actually act haha! But still — hard to read sometimes.)
  • INVOLVED. Another silly thing that I don’t know why I thought it… From my first read, I felt like there was a lot less Cinder in the book but from my re-read, I felt like it was about half Cinder’s story, half Scarlet’s. I think when I read SCARLET for the first time, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect so to lose part of Cinder’s POV was probably more noticeable. Now that I’m more comfortable with the story being split up amongst the heroines, I feel like Cinder was much more prominent in SCARLET!
  • AMUSED. The banter between Cinder and Thorne is delightful. You know I love snarky guys and Thorne is absolutely perfect. Charming and funny — oh yes. Cinder has a sarcastic sense of humor and doesn’t take any of Thorne’s crap so the back and forth between her and Thorne cracks me up!
  • HORRIFED. I forgot how violent some of these scenes actually are!! I’m usually okay with some gore but eeek, it was a bit cringey. Not in a bad way but woo boy, you gets some gory details!
  • AWESTRUCK. I love, love, love how these story lines come together throughout this series. More and more pieces fall into place how these seemingly un-related girls all share pieces of the same story. Marissa Meyer is a master storyteller and the pieces fall into place flawlessly!
  • EXCITED. I think CRESS might be my favorite book of the series so far so finishing SCARLET just made me even more excited to continue on with the series!! 

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Re-read it!

I don’t think SCARLET tops CINDER for me but it’s a very small adjustment there — I love all of these books and I adore the stories they tell. This series is so worth the read and re-read!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SCARLET

             UNDER THE NEVER SKY

Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1) – Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1) – Victoria AveyardTitle: Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1) by Victoria Aveyard
Publishing Info: February 10, 2015 by HarperCollins
Source: ALAMW15, Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 14, 2015
Related Posts: Cruel Crown (Red Queen #0.1 - #0.2

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the center of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

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RED QUEEN was a hard book for me to start. At first I was wary of the dystopian feel, then I was afraid of the hype, and then I was afraid of all of the comparisons that popped up as people were reading. The reviews were mixed and my expectations were sort of all over the place… But when I saw that my library had a copy of the audiobook, I thought it would be a great time to start the book and find out for myself!

I can’t sugar coat it… the comparison thing was sort of an issue for me too. RED QUEEN sort of felt like a cookie-cutter dystopian with some fantasy elements and I could not stop the comparisons from popping into my head as I was reading. The Hunger Games feel was very prevalent along with Throne of Glass with a little Divergent and Shadow and Bone. I do read so much and have read so many dystopians that it’s not uncommon to be reminded of another book but RED QUEEN felt too similar at times to the point where I could pick out specific settings, scenes, and characters from other books. Now I am not at ALL saying that Victoria Aveyard is ripping any other series off. I think RED QUEEN really fit into that dystopian mold and sometimes that mold is hard to break. For me, RED QUEEN just didn’t quite break out of that formula.

I wonder if the fact that is was so similar to these other popular series may have boosted its success with the general population. It’s easily pitchable as that true comparison to The Hunger Games and Divergent and Throne of Glass and readers who are looking for books just like their favorite series will find that comfort within the pages of RED QUEEN.  I know when I first finished The Hunger Games, I really was looking for a book very similar to it and I enjoyed so many other dystopians that I picked up afterwards. I appreciated the differences but I kept on hunting for that one book or series just like it so seeing a similarity in RED QUEEN, I think, makes it easy for fans of big blockbuster series really able to identify with this new series while still enjoying a new world and concept and then they’re also able to pass it along to their friends with the same idea in mind.

That being said, I actually really did enjoy RED QUEEN from start to finish. I was always engaged, the action and plot were always moving, and I really got to know the characters. Granted, I saw other characters in them and maybe that’s why I felt like I could know them more intimately — I had met someone just like them before — but really, the novel was entertaining from start to finish and I always felt curious, involved, and excited. I think Victoria Aveyard’s writing was really accessible for readers of many audiences and I can see why it’s gotten so much buzz. She really did put together an interesting and action-filled novel.

I didn’t have issues with the romance but it was kind of all over the place for me. Not always in a bad way… but it’s sort of triangle-y… but not really, but it is, but it’s not? (HA have fun with that description if you haven’t read the book yet. If you have, you may understand.) I was never quite sure which side I was “supposed” to be on and actually now that I’m finished, I really still not sure. The only issue that I really had was that towards the end, it seemed like Mare had an extreme reaction to one guy and then totally kind of forgot about it once things started changing. I understand that the situation changed and she was seeing someone in a different light but her feelings were strong and I think it’s hard to switch to the opposite spectrum after that. Even if it is a realistic reaction, it was hard for me as a reader to forget.

Because of the constant reminders of other series, I was ready for a vanilla ending or something that I saw coming but I was actually pleasantly surprised at how the book wrapped up! The ending actually really did take me by surprise and I was kind of hooked for the last 20% or so. I honestly wasn’t sure how it was going to end and what that ending would mean for these characters. Some things that happened I really did see coming but there’s a sort of major conclusion that happens that I was like, “HUH. Okay then! This is what I needed out of this book.” Of course by that time I was ready to for a different ending so it did boost my feelings towards the book but it was almost too little too late to really hook me or wow me.

Long story ermmm, even longer, I did enjoy RED QUEEN from start to finish. I had issues with how cookie-cutter it seemed but the writing really was engaging and the story kept me interested the whole time. The elements I had issues with weren’t anything more specific than the ghosts of YA books past (no issues with world-building or characters which THOSE are the things that really tend to leave me with a sour taste in my mouth) so I guess I leave this book with more of a positive feeling! I was honestly iffy if I was going to read the rest of the series when I was halfway through but knowing the ending, I do want to see where it goes. I’m also interested to see if this starts to break the mold a bit more in book two. Clearly Victoria Aveyard has plans and I found myself curious to see where those plans lead! I’m definitely interested in more of this story but I’m not sure it’ll be an urgent read for me.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

I actually really enjoyed this audiobook! The book was narrated by Amanda Dolan and this is the first book I’ve listened to of hers but I hope it’s not the last! I really enjoyed her narration and thought she did a great job of portraying each character not only in different voices but also different personalities. I had no issues with the phrasing of things as I sometimes do and I really enjoyed her overall performance. I think she was an excellent choice for this book with Mare as the main character! She really did a great job with her especially.

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

red queen gr updates

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Mare // Character Obsessions: Family, stealing, self-preservation.
I really liked Mare! She reminded me of some of my favorite strong heroines (Katniss, Celaena, Alina) and she had that same sort of attitude that all of those girls did too. Sometimes it’s too much for me to watch a scared or weak heroine so I’m always drawn to the strong, sassy ones!
Cal // Character Obsessions: Duty, strength, family.
I was really all over the place about Cal… but I guess so was Mare! It was so hard to pin him down and figure out what he was really all about… But I ended up liking him a lot throughout the book! There were some pieces of him that ended up being a little rougher and Mare was very turned off by some things but I kind of liked that the book didn’t shy away from the fact that not everyone is all good.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Dystopian. I started my YA reading habits with almost all dystopian and I sort of burned myself out on the genre so I’m really glad that RED QUEEN made it exciting again!
Left Me Wanting More: Originality. I just can’t get over how much of other books I saw in RED QUEEN. That did instantly give it a defined feel and I felt like I knew the characters well already but I couldn’t shake it and sometimes it got on my nerves. I don’t think it was intentional on Aveyard’s part but I think it just fit really well with what I expect from a dystopian novel. I am excited to see where the second book goes though.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

I actually really enjoyed RED QUEEN. I didn’t fall in love with it like some did but I was wholly entertained from start to finish.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE RED QUEEN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

CATCHING FIRE     THRONE OF GLASS

10 Things I Felt About This Book | Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I’m sure by now you know that The Lunar Chronicles is one of my all-time favorite series out there. I’ve grown obsessed over the years and yet somehow, I hadn’t re-read any of the books. With Winter coming out this November and bringing the series to a close, I knew I wanted to stack up some re-reads back to back to back to refresh my memory of the details of the series and also just to enjoy the books all over again.

I’ve already done one formal review of CINDER back when I first picked up the series in January 2013 so I thought I’d compile a mini-review with some more feeling-related thoughts since you can see my initial review for my first reactions!

10 Things I Felt About This Book | Cinder by Marissa MeyerTitle: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer
Publishing Info: January 3, 2012 by Macmillan
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 20, 2015
Related Posts: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1), Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2), , Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5), The Queen's Army (The Lunar Chronicles #1.5), Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky (Lunar Chronicles #3.1), Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2), Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3), Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4), Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection), Heartless, A Week of Mondays, Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerve #1), Renegades (Renegades #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.

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10 THINGS I FELT ABOUT CINDER

  • NERVOUS. Why nervous? It’s always a scary thing for me to re-read a book or series that I fell in love with. The great thing about this is that it wasn’t one single book — Since The Lunar Chronicles is a series, I’ve been falling more and more in love with these books and these characters over the years, but it’s always a big deal to re-read a favorite for the first time! I’m scared it won’t be as good as when I first read it. (I totally had nothing to fear. It’s still awesome.)
  • FAMILIAR. I loved starting this re-read and totally falling back into this world. It’s always so wonderful to revisit a world that I love so much and it was really fantastic to have that feeling again!
  • FRESH. Despite the fact that I’ve read this book before, it still felt like a very fresh tale to me. It’s been more than two years since I actually read CINDER so it was really fun to start the series over from the beginning! It was nice to rediscover all of these things again.
  • IN-THE-KNOW. Of course I already knew the big surprises scattered throughout the book so they didn’t seem as epic to me… But it was really neat to read the book already knowing what they were! It allowed me to pick up on things that I hadn’t seen on my first go around.
  • IMAGINITIVE. My mind wandered a bit more while I was listening (I read the book on audio) because I was already familiar with the world-building and the characters. I think I got to dig deeper into everything and let connections form and ideas expand!
  • SASSY. I don’t remember Cinder being such a sassy and sarcastic character! Maybe I didn’t read her voice in that tone when I was reading the print version but… I kind of liked it! Rebecca Soler narrates the audiobooks and she was just fantastic! I’m really excited to listen to her portrayal of other characters.
  • SWOONY. I’ll admit that Cinder and Kai were my least favorite couple throughout the series but I finally got into their romance in CRESS. Re-reading CINDER? I don’t know why it took me so long! Did the narrator really bring everything to life that much more? Is it because I already know about their relationship and I finally got to the point of swoons? Whichever way you slice it, I really got into their romance on my re-read! They seemed to have so much more chemistry than I initially felt!!
  • EXCITED. I still love all of the action that takes place here! Cinder is a fantastic heroine and I love her attitude and determination. She loves her family (well, the family that treats her well) fiercely and she will stop at nothing to help and protect them… which creates some very high-tension moments!
  • AMAZED. I still love how this story comes together and everything it sets up for the rest of the books. Knowing what I learned from SCARLET and CRESS really allowed me more insight and I love seeing how much of those books are already established in CINDER but it’s hard to see until you read them. The layers are really fantastic and I’m constantly impressed with Marissa Meyer’s writing!
  • IN LOVE. Yes, I’m still in love with this book! And this series! It just makes me even more excited to read all of them all over again and I’m even MORE excited for WINTER. (Is that even possible???)

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Re-read it!

Let’s all let out a huge sigh of relief that CINDER was just as wonderful as when I first read it. WHEWWWW. Okay! (Not that I really doubted it that much but you know.) This series is just so well done and it’s one of the few that I’m SUPER impressed with as far as plotting goes. There are so many elements that have been established from the beginning and the sequels aren’t just extra books — they’re really extra layers, exposing secrets that were there from the start and expanding on current plots.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE CINDER

             HARRY POTTER 1