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Heartless – Marissa Meyer

Heartless – Marissa MeyerTitle: Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Publishing Info: November 8, 2016 by Macmillan
Source: BEA 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 5, 2016
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), Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3), Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4), Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection)

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.
Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

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If you know me or my blog, I’m sure you know how big of a Lunar Chronicles fan I am! I’ve basically grown obsessed with Marissa Meyer’s books so naturally when I heard about HEARTLESS, I was freaking out. When I received a glorious, glorious copy of HEARTLESS at BEA this year (as well as getting the chance to meet and chat with Marissa), I knew it was the first book from BEA that I was going to start! I was a bit apprehensive but wholly excited, as one usually is when starting a new book by their favorite author. I really love prequel and sequel adaptations of classic novels as well as the “what might have happened” retellings but prequels have a special place in my heart for some reason. I was doubly excited to start HEARTLESS because of this reason and also because it promised to be a little bit darker since the book revolved around the beginnings of the Queen of Hearts!

The first thing I’ll say is that this not The Lunar Chronicles… But I’m glad that it wasn’t! I think it’s easy for a writer to stick to a style or tone that they know and that’s definitely great to sort of make a name for yourself with a specific style. You could say that Marissa Meyer is getting that niche of fairy tales and retellings since HEARTLESS is different in so many ways but it still is a fairy tale adaptation. I’m really glad to be able to read such a different tone, setting, and context for this retelling than what we had see in The Lunar Chronicles! I’m impressed with how different this book was and how it really stood on its own, even after following such a massive series. Marissa really did an amazing job at bringing HEARTLESS to life and having it stand on its own!

I’m not a huge Alice in Wonderland fan so I don’t know the story inside and out, but from what I do know, I feel like the book followed the general story quite closely. This was nice to see so many things from the original tale pop up throughout the book and yet I felt like I was missing that sense of originality that I felt in The Lunar Chronicles (as an easy example) that really developed a story of its own and wasn’t just a straight retelling. Even though HEARTLESS is a prequel of sorts, it still really felt quite similar to Alice in Wonderland in many ways and I would have loved to see a few more original aspects that truly had the book standing out from Alice. On the flip side, it was cool to see how something could be used in the Queen’s time as a teenager/young adult that later comes back when Alice enters Wonderland. HEARTLESS was much more of a closely-following adaptation than just an inspiration.

One thing I worried about with an Alice adaption is how whimsical the original story is and that’s not something I always get along with in books. I enjoy adaptations so I was hoping HEARTLESS would be like The Lunar Chronicles in that way — the fairy tale inspires the book but it’s a bit more modern. HEARTLESS was definitely more like Alice than The Lunar Chronicles in this sense. The tone, content, and whimsy were all reminiscent of the original book. Rather than being a prequel concept, this was written as a true prequel to mimic the original Alice story itself. I did have a hard time with some of the whimsical fantasy in the book (as I have with Alice). Well, I shouldn’t say that I had a hard time. More like it wasn’t something that I particularly enjoyed. I didn’t dislike it but sometimes those things end up feeling more silly to me than fun.

The characters were really quite lovely. We get to see pre-madness Hatter (who was always one of my favorite Alice characters) and glimpses of characters like the White Rabbit and other Tea Party guests. Cath was so interesting throughout the book and I kept trying to take a peek at what might turn her into a heartless queen later on in the book. It actually did make me rather anxious because I just knew that the book couldn’t have a happy ending!! Every hope she had I was nervous for and of course that went doubly for the romance. Jest (the romantic interest) fought for my favorite character (against Hatta) in HEARTLESS and I didn’t know whether I was supposed to be wary of him at first or fall in love with him! And the King of Hearts was just so bumbling and cringe-worthy that it truly made every scene with him unbearable and nerve-wracking since you know that Cath is supposed to end up as the Queen!!

I really did enjoy HEARTLESS from start to finish. I thought the tale of the (future) Queen of Hearts was quite interesting and very well done. I liked how Catherine was a seemingly normal girl right from the start of the book and I spent the entire read really wondering how this whole thing was going to flip and turn back on itself to inspire a personality change. The concept was handled really well and even though I was expecting this to read a bit more sinisterly as if from a villain’s point of view, I did enjoy that I was really kept guessing until the end how that switch was going to happen!
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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!

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Catherine // Character obsessions: Baking, friendship, love, avoiding the king.
I’m not gonna lie… I was hoping this book would have Catherine as a villainous character right from the start. I was excited to read something a little dark and sinister… But I also did appreciate seeing the “true” history behind the Queen of Hearts and how she came to end up so ruthless when she was once normal Catherine. Marissa Meyer did a great job with her character and I really loved that slow creep of doubt slip in and then the sudden flip!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Prequels. Prequels are SO cool. I really, really love seeing what a world was like before the story even begins ad all of the backstories of everything. It also adds a whole separate level of world building that I LOVE.
Left Me Wanting More: Originality. I know that it’s a fairy tale retelling and this definitely felt more like a retelling than an adaptation, which I was surprised to find in a prequel since those usually build their own stories a bit more. Granted, I’m not SUPER familiar with Alice so I’m not sure what changed and what was the same but I did feel a lot of Alice elements that I did know and I just wanted more of the Queen’s story than Alice’s adventures in Wonderland.

Addiction Rating
Read it

It wasn’t my favorite book from Marissa Meyer so far but it was fun and absolutely enjoyable. I loved reading a different fairy tale adaption and like always, she did a great job with the characters and really pulling a story together! It’s also so nice that it’s a stand alone so you won’t have to wait for future books!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE HEARTLESS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

NANTUCKET BLUE    TIGER LILY

My Lady Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

My Lady Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi MeadowsTitle: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton
Publishing Info: June 7, 2016 by HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss, Subscription Box
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Historical Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 23, 2016
Related Posts: Everneath (Everneath #1), Everbound (Everneath #2)

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.
At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.

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MY LADY JANE is such a fun and unique concept. There isn’t a lot of satire out there in YA right now and this was such a fun way to bring both history and humor together. The book is told by narrators who frequently interrupt their own story-telling to add notes for the reader and inform them of historical inaccuracies, fun facts, or just silly tidbits. It was a lot of fun and really reminded me some of wonderfully comedic Mel Brooks movies in which characters often break the 4th wall to address the audience directly. It’s even more fun to incorporate satire with a historical account (or rather, a quite fictionalized historical account) because of all the anachronisms and pop culture references that really make the book even more funny!

Admittedly, I don’t know a lot about the story of Lady Jane Grey. Obviously by now, I know the broader points of history (and I still blame my middle school and high school education for a seriously lack of historical knowledge) so I think the book could have been a bit more fun if I was more of a history buff. I know a few friends who love history and have an extensive knowledge on historical events who took a little more joy from the story overall, so that’s really just a personal experience that unfortunately can’t helped. I will say, though, that the book was enjoyable whether you know the history or not! I had a basic understanding but details are explained and even if you don’t care about the true story, the book will carry you through with a fun historical-fiction romp (and they change the ending anyway so I suppose it doesn’t matter too much in the end)!

The concept of Eðians (people who magically change to and from an animal form) was so much fun! I loved how it was incorporated in to the book in so many ways — from selecting to change to being cursed, the support and blatant rejection, the people in disguise — it was a great way to incorporate magic from start to finish. I liked that it was the only real form of magic in the book so it brought that magical element but didn’t turn into a full-out fantasy. It was the perfect way to alter history just a bit and keep things tied to the actual facts.

I just loved the collaboration from Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton, and Cynthia Hand. They really put together a fun and unique book and MY LADY JANE easily found a place in so many readers’ hearts. MY LADY JANE easily appeals to fans of The Princess Bride with its historical feel and slight satire, Disney fans for its animal magic and pop culture references, and historical fans who love a twist on history. There are direct references to books and movies like The Princess Bride, A Game of Thrones, Monty Python, and I’m pretty sure I saw Tangled in there! It also had the magic of all of seeing everything combined and so many loves in one place. I laughed out loud so many times and the book was just so clever!

I had a weird experience in which reading this book was so enjoyable and yet it felt really long! The book is over 500 pages so it’s no speed-read but the content was so light and fun that I feel like I should have finished it fasted. Maybe it was just my reading schedule… but I do feel like it could have been a little bit shorter. A lot of people said the book just flew by and it didn’t feel to long until I was nearing the end and it still wasn’t over. Don’t get me wrong — I was enjoying the whole thing — but there was just something that was off that was making me anxious for things to wrap up. That’s seriously one of my only qualms, though. MY LADY JANE was always fun and these authors did a great job of putting things together!

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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!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Satire. I’ve barely read any satire but when it’s done right, it’s SO much fun! These authors totally nailed it.
Left Me Wanting More: Swiftness. At some points I felt like the book was a bit long. I was hoping for a couple things to be wrapped up a bit quicker but I still enjoyed it all around!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

MY LADY JANE was just so much fun. No matter if you enjoy history or not, this is such a great read and will definitely make you laugh out loud!

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BOOKS LIKE MY LADY JANE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA    

Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection) – Marissa Meyer

Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection) – Marissa MeyerTitle: Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection) by Marissa Meyer
Publishing Info: February 2, 2016 by Macmillan
Source: Publisher, Amazon
Genres: Young Adult, Retelling, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: February 2, 2016
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), Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3), Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4), Heartless

The enchantment continues....
The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?
With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

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By now, we all know how much I love The Lunar Chronicles so it was definitely a bittersweet read for me knowing that this was the very end of new content for the series. (Although now we do have graphic novels to look forward to so that helps!) Some stories worked better for me than others and I had really hoped for more than just one piece of a story that took place after the end of WINTER. I suppose I should have known since we were talking about only one epilogue here but really everything else came before CINDER happened. Actually, correction: I was looking for more present-day to post-WINTER stories… Like stories from another character’s POV or extra tidbits or deleted scenes. Once story was Kai’s first meeting of Cinder from his POV so that was fun but you know me — I’m just greedy for more new things! Anyway, here are my thoughts for each short story!

 

THE KEEPER: This was such a lovely way to kick off this collection of stories! I know that STARS ABOVE is an anthology of some previously released stories and some new ones and I loved that it started off with a new one! I believe these go in chronological order according to the Lunar Chronicles time line (that would make sense) so it was awesome to see even more backstory before GLITCHES. Without giving away spoilers, THE KEEPER mainly tells the story Michelle Benoit and when Scarlet first permanently locates to her grandmother’s house. It spans about seven years from when Scarlet is six until she is thirteen. I loved this added backstory and extra knowledge! It was also fun to see how Scarlet acquired some of her trademarks like her hoodie… and gun.

GLITCHES: This isn’t a new story (I first read it on Tor.com a few years back) but I wanted to read all of the stories, no matter if they were old or new. This one really tugs at my heartstrings! It’s the story of when Cinder first arrived at the Linh residence and (among other things), my heart just breaks for her. She didn’t choose to be a cyborg and she’s categorized as inhuman just because has some robotic limbs and enhanced abilities. I always love learning more about Cinder… And I’m reminded again how awful Adri is.

THE QUEEN’S ARMY: This is another story that I’ve already read thanks to its release on Tor.com! It’s definitely a much different experience reading it now than when I first had. I feel like my first read, I didn’t really know this was about Wolf somehow? Maybe I didn’t know his real name until later and then it dawned on me… Either way, obviously I have everyone’s full stories now so I am quite aware! Again, this is another situation — like THE KEEPER — where knowing what I know from WINTER (and the rest of the series), my heart just goes out to these characters even more. I feel so bad for Ze’ev and what was done to him and it’s wild to see the beginning of his story and what leads him to his job with the Queen’s army and ultimately, how he ends up with Scarlet. Quick and enjoyable.

CARSWELL’S GUIDE TO BEING LUCKY: This story doesn’t quite bowl me over, which is funny because it’s Throrne! I think I want more sarcasm and humor whereas this shows more of his natural charm (also endearing but not as snarky and funny). I do like this story though! It shows a nice soft side of Thorne that even he didn’t know he possessed. I love his obsession with Rampions. I feel for him and his relationship with his parents. His background really sets him up for the person he becomes (or I suppose it’s a good backstory from what we already know of “Captain” Carswell Thorne)! Very endearing and lovely.

AFTER SUNSHINE PASSES BY: Awwww, I feel so bad for Cress! I do love how really everyone is getting their own back stories here… But I’m also anxious for the epilogue!!! Ahem. Anyway, this was another new one and we see little nine-year-old Cress, as we learn from the books, heading off to her satellite. Most of this has already been laid out in CRESS but it was very touching to see it directly from Cress’s POV. Sybil is heartless, as always, and I just felt so bad when Cress got left there for the first time! Nine is YOUNG. The little song in here was quite delightful and that’s where this story gets its name.

THE PRINCESS AND THE GUARD: I think this was the longest novella so far and I absolutely loved it! Obviously this is the story of Winter and Jacin, their childhood together, and the events mostly lead up to WINTER. We find out exactly how Winter got her scars and witness the specific event, learn more about her decision not to use her Lunar gift, and more about the incident that led to that decision. I also fell even more in love with Jacin. I LOVE his protectiveness of Winter and I think a big part of that is because they’ve also always had a good friendship… and you know how much I love best-friend-to-more stories! He also has some pretty smooth moments. I was so glad to see more of him and even more of Winter’s and Jacin’s friendship/relationship. Absolutely touching.

THE LITTLE ANDROID: This had even more Little Mermaid parallels than I remember! Maybe I was looking for the more thoroughly this time now that I knew how the story went. Still not quite my favorite, possibly because the main focus isn’t one of the main characters though we do see mention of Kai and an actual appearance of Cinder herself. I think I would have liked a longer story so we could enjoy more plot! But isn’t that always my request with short stories from my favorite authors!?

THE MECHANIC: “The mechanic that was going to change everything”… Little did he know! This story was just plain adorable. It’s Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s point of view and I just loved his instant attraction to Cinder not in spite of but because she was different from the other girls that usually fawn over him. You know me, I love a good tomboy and it’s always great to see a character appreciate a tomboy and love her for who she is! This was just adorable to see and I love how many little things are slipped in there that made me think of the rest of the series and smirk. Just you wait, kids!

SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW: This epilogue was absolutely PERFECT. It was everything I could have dreamed of and just filled my heart with so much happiness. I had several guesses for who was getting married but this actually wasn’t the first wedding I expected but it was of course, absolutely perfect. I truly teared up during the ceremony because it was just so lovely and I’ve become so invested in these characters throughout the series. It was also so wonderful just to see everyone all together again and NOT in grave peril! Their friendships are truly touching and I just love this crew and I always will. What a fabulous way to close out the series.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Anthologies & collections. It’s so great to have a bind-up of all of these novellas in a beautiful hardcover! I’m usually not one to read a bunch of short stories but I think that’s growing on me!
Left Me Wanting More: New content. There were a bunch of new stories included but I was super duper hoping for more content that took place during/after the series. That epilogue though!!!

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

I always love more additions to The Lunar Chronicles. These books just make me so happy and the epilogue was the absolutely perfect way to wrap up this series!!

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BOOKS LIKE STARS ABOVE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

GRAVE MERCY    STEELHEART

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) – Marissa Meyer | Review + Giveaway!

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) – Marissa Meyer | Review + Giveaway!Title: Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer
Publishing Info: November 10, 2015 by Macmillan
Source: Purchased
Genres: Young Adult, Retelling, Dystopian
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: November 28, 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), Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3), Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection), Heartless

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.
Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.
Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? (less)

bookreview1How does one read the last book in one of their favorite series much less REVIEW it? Actually, as highly anticipated as WINTER was, I really do have some coherent thoughts. (They’re much more coherent than I was with CRESS, I think, because I’ve been preparing for this!)

Let’s start off with the amazing, shall we? I absolutely love that this series adds layer upon layer with the story and the characters. We finally get to meet and spend time with Winter in this book and it was so awesome to have that final piece of the puzzle fall into place. This book had some serious #squadgoals when this team comes together and I adore how they just fit together as a crew so well. Their personalities just mesh, their stories collide, and it’s absolute perfection.
I also love how much these characters evolve over the course of the series. It’s really about getting to know each one of them as they’re simultaneously going through the most complicated things of their lives. I really got to see their true character and how much each one of them grew throughout these experiences.

ALL THE SHIPSSSS. Cress and Thorne are my absolute favorites and they have some really, really great moments in this book. I’ve been rooting for them since CRESS and their relationship is just too adorable. Things really start to amp up with another one of my new favorites ships — Cinder and Kai. Yes, yes, I know. You guys have been on board since CINDER but I didn’t quite get into their relationship as much until CRESS and then I fell in love all over again with my re-reads. I just love their banter and how much strength each of them has not only individually but together. They had some super sweet moments and some really serious ones as well that really pushed my love for them over the edge! I actually do wish there had been a few more swoony moments? Oh boy were there some big ones… But I’m such a sucker for these relationships that I just want more!

The second half of the book really started to bring everything together and this is where the action was at! I actually wished a few more “holy cow” moments had happened in the beginning/middle because as exciting as all that action was, I didn’t quite feel stunned until later on in the book. Naturally, though, the halfway-point is where it’s at! The pacing really picked up and the book took off running and I was so excited and scared and happy all at the same time! I rather enjoyed the take on Snow White and it was really fun to see some very obvious comparisons (especially after hearing Marissa tell us the tale at her WINTER signing!) and then realize much later on that something was totally fairy-tale related and I hadn’t even realized it the whole time (the mining sector, right)! I just loved the ending and how much non-stop action there was. These characters came into their own and really proved how brave they were to stop crazy old Levana from tearing the world apart.

So as we know, I’m a huge fan of The Lunar Chronicles. To start reading the final book was a mix of emotions with excitement and sadness dominating them all. I think because I was really not ready to say goodbye, I MAYBE ended up distancing myself from the book so I wouldn’t be too heartbroken when it ended and that could be the reason why I didn’t feel AS connected as I had with the other books. There’s also the fact that there’s just so much going on throughout this finale (it IS over 800 pages, after all) that it is a lot to take in. That’s not a bad thing but there is a whole lot of action, many characters, high stakes, and final countdowns so it really is putting that final sense of urgency on everything. I also have to say that Winter was my least favorite leading lady. It was just really hard to connect with her because of her visions and illness. It’s just a thing for me where I have a hard time connecting to characters who are more childlike or fanciful. Cress was definitely on the naive side but she wasn’t childish, and I felt like it was hard for me to connect with her the way I had with the other girls. Obviously she’s incredibly strong for being able to keep from using her Lunar gift all these years and that’s the reason why she’s been going mad but that aspect still was a bit hindering for me to really love her as much as the other girls.

WINTER was absolutely wonderful and while I don’t think it was my favorite of the series (honestly, I don’t think series-enders are EVER my favorites of the series — too much pressure!), I still absolutely loved it. I will forever be in love with the world that Marissa Meyer created and I can’t thank her enough for this beautiful series. It’s brought me so much happiness, allowed me to work with so many awesome people, and has even presented me with amazing opportunities to become more involved in the book community. I’m so joyful that I read it (thanks, Alyssa!) and I’m sure I’ll keep re-reading it for many years to come!

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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Winter // Character Obsessions: Loyalty, delusions, strength, honor. 
Winter is actually a total badass. She may not seem like it but she’s incredibly strong to resist her Lunar gift for so many years and allow her delusions to take over. She’s always stood her ground against Levana (to the best of her ability) and she’s always been determined to see the right thing through to the end. I didn’t connect with her as much because it was a bit hard, I’ll admit, but I really did love her.
Jacin // Character Obsessions: Brooding, Winter, duty. 
Jacin, oh broody Jacin. He really only has one true interest in mind and that’s Winter. It definitely felt different than Scarlet’s one track mind to find her grandma and I’m not sure if it was because it was romantic? Because it was approached differently? But I loved his dedication to Winter and how their romance was portrayed throughout the book!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Space. I wouldn’t think I would really enjoy books set in space. I enjoy sci-fi but usually it’s more “light sci-fi”. I really enjoyed the colonization of the moon and the Lunar-Earthen conflicts/unions throughout this series!
Left Me Wanting More: Swoons. I just LOVE these characters and their romances. I felt like I could have totally used more swoons. I don’t know if I’m just being greedy there though!!

Addiction Rating
Buy it! Love it!

You know I’m such a huge advocate of this series. I’ve just loved it from start to finish and WINTER was such a fun ending. Thank goodness we still have STARS ABOVE though, am I right?

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BOOKS LIKE WINTER

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THRONE OF GLASS    UNDER THE NEVER SKY

GIVEAWAY!

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Long story short, I ended up with an extra copy of WINTER… that I was also able to get signed when I went to meet Marissa back in November! Since everyone is so excited about the series, all of my friends had already purchased a copy and this poor, lonely book didn’t have a home. Since I know you book lovers take GREAT care of your books and would love to own a signed copy, I thought I’d do a giveaway for this copy of WINTER!
As a bonus, the lucky winner will also receive a Winter-inspired candle! It’s one of the Lunar Chronicles-themed candles that I came up with for my new Etsy shop called Novelly Yours! I thought it would be a fun thing to add in there for the winner.
US entries only, please! (Sorry int’l! I just can’t afford the shipping.) Must be thirteen years of age or older to win. Please only fill out proper entries as I will be checking the winner! Cheaters never prosper. Xo! 

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Lock & Mori (Lock & Mori #1) – Heather W. Petty

Lock & Mori (Lock & Mori #1) – Heather W. PettyTitle: Lock & Mori (Lock & Mori #1) by Heather W. Petty
Publishing Info: September 15, 2015 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 11, 2015

In modern-day London, two brilliant high school students—one Sherlock Holmes and a Miss James “Mori” Moriarty—meet. A murder will bring them together. The truth very well might drive them apart.
Before they were mortal enemies, they were much more…
FACT: Someone has been murdered in London’s Regent’s Park. The police have no leads.
FACT: Miss James “Mori” Moriarty and Sherlock “Lock” Holmes should be hitting the books on a school night. Instead, they are out crashing a crime scene.
FACT: Lock has challenged Mori to solve the case before he does. Challenge accepted.
FACT: Despite agreeing to Lock’s one rule—they must share every clue with each other—Mori is keeping secrets.
OBSERVATION: Sometimes you can’t trust the people closest to you with matters of the heart. And after this case, Mori may never trust Lock again.

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LOCK & MORI was really interesting and quite the fun book! Sherlock Holmes is one of the classics that I truly appreciate (I’m a mystery girl. What can I say?) and I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for Sherlock Holmes because A STUDY IN SCARLET was the first book review that I ever posted on my blog (and what an embarrassing review it is)! Though I’m not Sherlock-obsessed (no TV shows for me and yes, I know I need to read Ellie Marney’s books soon), I still try to jump onto the Sherlock adaptations that I see because it seems that they’re always just so enjoyable!

LOCK & MORI really hooked me right from the beginning! It was just such a fun read and I really appreciated how the characters, their personalities, and their roles in the books were adapted to fit a more contemporary setting and for the young adult age range. I usually have a hard time not picking YA mysteries apart because I feel like there are so few situations where a teenager wouldn’t turn to authorities for assistance so I really liked how LOCK & MORI handled how that all played out! It was fairly logical how Mori and Sherlock ended up on the case and kept it hush-hush between them.

The mystery itself was interesting as well! I’m always guilty of trying to solve a mystery and sniffing out the culprit so it was great to read about a plot that really kept me guessing and kept just enough clues hidden so that I was still interested but the secret wasn’t handed to me. I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out why these murders were happening and how it tied into the characters. I really love when the mystery ties back into the main story line so that was a lot of fun to see how it all connected!

The romance between Mori and Sherlock was cute but I wasn’t totally sold on it. I felt like it just sort of happened and I didn’t really feel the chemistry before it did. They had some nice banter which I always love but it didn’t charge the chemistry for me so when the characters started getting romantically involved, I wasn’t totally feeling it. Throughout the book I started to feel a bit more connection to their romance and I looked fondly upon their time together and how their relationship evolved but I couldn’t shake the fact that it just didn’t quite feel natural. I am excited that this is just the first book in a series (I’m not sure how many yet?) and that I’ll get to see more of their relationship in future books because I was really enjoying it in the last quarter!

I really did forget that this wasn’t a stand alone so the ending was shocking in its own right and also left me hanging a bit… but not enough to be a cliffhanger! I love endings like this where the plot resolves but the book leaves you wanting more. Just perfect! I think it could have done really nicely as a stand alone but I’ll definitely be looking forward to the next book! Now that I know the characters and their personalities, I’m excited to explore relationships a bit more — especially after how the book ended — and I’m always up for more mysteries!
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!

lock & mori gr updated

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Mori // Character Obsessions: Her brothers, intelligence, protecting.
Mori has a lot going on with her family and I really admired her strength and tenacity! My heart broke for her several times over and the abusive scenes were just so hard to read (as they always are). She was a great female lead and I really enjoyed her character overall!
Sherlock // Character Obsessions: Science, logic, mysteries, resolutions.
I really enjoyed this adaptation of Sherlock! I liked how he really was not suave — he’s so intelligent and shows little regard for emotion in the beginning until he comes to care for Mori. Even then, it’s emotion in a much different and less conventional way. It was really interesting to see and I think it made his emotional moments and strong moments that much more flooring.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Sherlock Holmes. I feel like I always love a good Holmes retelling or adaptation! I’m excited to continue this series and it makes me want to sink my teeth into even more.
Left Me Wanting More: Platonic… ness. Is that a word? I don’t know what the proper word is… but I did wish that Lock & Mori were more of just friends instead of their romantic feelings happening so fast. I would have loved to see them learn how to be friends in this book and then start to develop feelings over time.

Addiction Rating
Read it

This was a nice, solid read for me. I really enjoyed it from start to finish and it had a wide range of feelings from serious to light, shocking to funny. It was a really fun book and I’m excited to read more of the series!

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BOOKS LIKE LOCK & MORI

(Click the cover to see my review!)

CLOCKWORK SCARAB    The Madman’s Daughter (The Madman’s Daughter #1) – Megan Shepherd

A Fortnight of Fright 2015 | Book Review: The Fall by Bethany Griffin (Angela from Angela’s Library)

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Welcome to our third annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2015

Thanks for checking out the THIRD annual edition of FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT where Alyssa (Books Take You Places), Amy (Tripping Over Books), and I bring you two full weeks of Halloween-related posts! We’ve invited bloggers, authors, and book lovers alike to share their favorite things about Halloween and we feature a new person and post each day. 

Today, Angela from Angela’s Library is sharing her review of THE FALL by Bethany Griffin!


A Fortnight of Fright 2015 | Book Review: The Fall by Bethany Griffin (Angela from Angela’s Library)Title: The Fall by Bethany Griffin
Publishing Info: October 7, 2014 by HarperCollins
Source: Library
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 26, 2015
Related Posts: The Fall

    Madeline Usher is doomed.
    She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.
    Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.
    In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down? The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.

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Hi everyone! For today’s post for A Fortnight of Fright, I’m excited to share with you a review of one of my favorite Halloween reads, The Fall by Bethany Griffin. This book combines two things I absolutely love: a retold classic and a seriously creepy haunted house.

The Fall is a novel-length retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Madeline Usher, the protagonist, has always known there is something not quite right about her ancestral home. It seems to have a will of its own and a desire to impose that will upon its inhabitants. The house lives through the Ushers, feeding off of their emotions and doing everything it can to ensure the family stays on the property and under the house’s control.

This tie between the Ushers and their home takes a heavy toll on the family. It’s the fate of all Ushers to slowly go mad, and Madeline and her parents suffer from strange fits and trances. They experience fainting spells and fevers and are plagued by extreme sensitivity to light, sound, and even the touch of clothing on their skin. Time and memories slip, and reading is impossible because the words swim on the page. The family’s strange condition is so acute that they keep their own staff of live-in doctors, who are a little mad themselves and prey on the Ushers in their own way.

As Madeline grows up, she learns more about her house’s dark power and becomes more and more determined to escape it. She knows there must be a way to outsmart the house and free her family from its horrific legacy; she just has to figure out what that way is. The harder she struggles against the house, though, the harder the house fights back, finding ways to trap her and confuse her.

Each chapter is written from Madeline’s perspective, but the chapters aren’t in chronological order and jump back and forth between Madeline’s point of view at age 9, 18, 12, etc. This may sound like a strange way to tell a story, but it makes sense for the book. It lets the reader experience the story just like Madeline does – piece by piece, confused and disoriented. Like Madeline, just when you think you’ve caught the thread of the story you’re interrupted, taken off of your path and turned in a different direction. It throws you off balance, and you have to get your bearings again and figure out which Madeline you’re dealing with. Is it the Madeline who suspects the house is trapping her like a fly in a spiderweb? The Madeline who loves the house and trusts it to keep her from harm? The Madeline who is trying to escape? You don’t know what to expect from one chapter to the next.

Griffin does a fabulous job of making the house sentient and terrible, building it into as much of a character as Madeline, her family, and her physicians. The house thinks, feels, and is capable of taking action. It listens to the stories its occupants tell, redirects them when they get too close to the secrets it doesn’t want discovered, and occasionally throws tantrums, tremoring and convulsing and locking people in rooms. It can even influence people and put thoughts in their head, using them to fulfill its own purposes.

I love The Fall’s spooky gothic vibe. There’s an oppressive undercurrent of horror and dread that never completely goes away. The house corrupts everything within it: bright new dresses fade overnight, lace crumbles, and previously normal visitors slowly grow mad and twisted. Children’s swings sway eerily of their own accord, suits of armor fling axes at hapless passersby, and ghosts of long-dead Ushers lurk in the shadows. There are even old messages, presumably from the house, transcribed by Ushers of years gone by:

“The surface of the desk is covered with scraps of parchment. I read the first. I love you. […] I pick up another. I know you. […] The next one: I watch you. Dozens of scraps of parchment are scattered over the desk. I love you, I know you, I need you.”

If you want a book that will give you shivers this Halloween, The Fall will certainly do the trick. It’s creepy, atmospheric, and a worthy homage to Poe’s original. Just make sure not to read it before bed – it might just keep you up at night.


 

 

Thanks, Angela! Great review. I really enjoyed this one as well and I really loved how atmospheric it was! 
I reviewed THE FALL last year for A Fortnight of Fright too! You can see the full review here: The Fall by Bethany Griffin

10 Things I Felt About This Book | Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

10 Things I Felt About This Book is a mini-review feature to give you a quick run-down of a book without those long, lengthy paragraphs. It’s designed to give you a concise impression without bogging you down and a way to keep reviews creative!

10 Things I Felt About This Book | Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley PearsonTitle: Peter and the Starcatchers (Peter and the Starcatchers #1) by Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson
Publishing Info: August 30, 2004 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Fantasy, Retelling
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 15, 2015

    Don't even think of starting this book unless you're sitting in a comfortable chair and have lots of time. A fast-paced, impossible-to-put-down adventure awaits as the young orphan Peter and his mates are dispatched to an island ruled by the evil King Zarboff. They set sail aboard the Never Land, a ship carrying a precious and mysterious trunk in its cargo hold, and the journey quickly becomes fraught with excitement and danger.
Discover richly developed characters in the sweet but sophisticated Molly, the scary but familiar Black Stache, and the fearless Peter. Treacherous battles with pirates, foreboding thunderstorms at sea, and evocative writing immerses the reader in a story that slowly and finally reveals the secrets and mysteries of the beloved Peter Pan.

10 THINGS I FELT ABOUT THIS BOOK

  • CURIOUS. A Peter Pan adaptation? I’m in! Peter Pan actually isn’t one of my favorite fairy tales or Disney movies, but I really enjoy seeing how people have adapted it. PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS was a sort of prequel.
  • IMPATIENT. The beginning of the book was fairly slow for me. It was good enough but I felt like not a lot happened for a long time.
  • AMUSED. There are some really fun scenes with the pirates out on the water! I really liked seeing Smee and Black Stache’s interactions!
  • ANXIOUS. I wasn’t sure how “faithful” of an adaptation this book was so I kept trying to align the current story with what I knew of Peter Pan. It was both fruitful and pointless all at the same time. Not everything was a parallel but some of those things that didn’t line up turned out to be a good thing!
  • OLD. Not that the story was old but I felt old at times reading it. It’s really hit or miss with middle grade because sometimes I just fall right into the story and other times I feel like things are a bit too silly or unbelievable for me.
  • SENTIMENTAL. I do have fond memories of movies like Hook and the musical version of Peter Pan that carried me through my childhood. Maybe that’s why I enjoy adaptations so much! I wasn’t a huge fan of the Disney version but I keep seeking out other adaptations because they were some big parts of my childhood!
  • CONFUSED. I tried to line things up again! We see characters who are obviously a part of the Peter Pan we know (Peter Pan, Smee) but there are also characters who I don’t (or didn’t) understand (Molly, Black Stache). How does it all come together? Will I find out in future books? Or are they not supposed to be characters from the original Peter Pan? (Some do get explained a bit more towards the end.)
  • IMPRESSED. I really loved how the ending all came together! I actually think I wouldn’t have been as satisfied if the beginning and middle had both been direct retellings of Peter Pan. And again, I’m taking from the movie versions (I know, I know. I haven’t read the book so I can’t really tell you what else might have been there. I’m going off the pop culture knowledge here.) so most of the first half was all brand new to me. I really loved how all of the little things worked themselves out and everything was explained. It was really quite clever!
  • SATISFIED. Again, the ending was really, really great. It just left me feeling so happy and content.
  • INTERESTED. I THINK I want to read the second book in this series. I really didn’t love the first half and I think it would have been a bit hard if I hadn’t been listening on audio, but the way that it ended was really so perfect that I think I want to see where the next part of the story goes!

Have you read PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS? Or another Peter Pan adaptation? Which is your favorite?

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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BOOKS LIKE PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

RED PYRAMID     HARRY POTTER