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Archive for August, 2014

The Lunar Chronicles: Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress by Marissa Meyer

Posted by Caitie F on August 28, 2014

Title: Cinder11235712
Author: Marissa Meyer
Hardcover: 390 pages
Pub Date: Jan 3, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

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

Review:

I read all three of the books that are out in the series within about three weeks of each other, so I thought i would do small reviews of all three. Also, i don’t want to spoil things for people who haven’t read, so each review will get shorter than the last.

The first book has such great characterization. It is a retelling, but it is a very loose retelling. Cinder is a mechanic, which is so cool, is brave, and is the most loving friend anyone can find. The prince was such a better character than the usual boring prince charming. There is political tension and he has to make real decisions that affect his entire kingdom.

That political tension makes this entire series more complex and interesting than many other series or retellings. There is depth and layers at every turn. The book is also so exciting and fun to read as well. I knew I had to read more

 

Title: ScarletScarlet
Author: Marissa Meyer
Hardcover: 452 pages
Pub Date: Feb 5, 2013
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Rating: +++

Summary from pub:

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her.

As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner

Review:

Scarlet is my least favorite book in the series, but it was still good. I really liked Scarlet, – is smart, strong, and pretty fearless…but I wasn’t crazy about Wolf. I don’t really see the appeal of his character. He is interesting, especially when you learn more about his origin, but I didn’t see the spark.

Cinder’s story is really fascinating in this. She has to come to terms with what she learned in the first book and find out more about herself. There is also another really great character who is introduced early in the book.

 

Title: Cress13206828
Author: Marissa Meyer
Hardcover: 550 pages
Pub Date: Feb 14, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

Review:

This was by far my favorite in the series.

Cress is absolutely brilliant and I loved every moment i was reading about her. Cinder is increibly complex and interesting. She is being pushed so many different directions and situations and has to learn to navigate tricky moral questions. Thorne is incredible

Queen Levena is the perfect villain and the prince is the perfect hero to his kingdom. He is always torn on what to do and he doesn’t always do what everyone else might. But that is what makes him interesting and that is what makes him a great leader.

Read all three books in this series soon. You won’t be sorry!

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The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

Posted by Caitie F on August 27, 2014

Title: The Winter Sea8495173
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Paperback: 527 pages
Pub Date: Jan 1, 2008
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.

Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write.

But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth-the ultimate betrayal-that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her

Review:

A couple years ago, I was told that this is a time travel historical romance and was immediately interested. It just took me far too long to get it.

And now I have to read every other book this author has written because it is one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read. I loved the history. It is a time period I knew nothing about, but I was so interested with it the moment it was introduced. The time travel aspect was not what I expected, it was better. It was like it was two books – the present day and historical story overlap, but both have their own characters, storylines, and brilliance

Carrie was a fantastic main character. I loved reading about what it was like to write a book for this character and how strange she sometimes seemed to those around her. I also loved her agent and family, even if they were just side characters. All of the secondary characters added so much to the story and the setting. I felt like I was in that small Scottish town in both time periods as i was reading because it the scene and characters were so rich.

There is also romance in the story and it is realistic and swoon-worthy. The characters are well-matched together and it develops naturally – in the historical time period and the present dayy. I was rooting for the romance and it made me want more!

This is just a fantastic book and you should all read it!

 

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TSS: Big Update

Posted by Caitie F on August 24, 2014

tss-badge

Happy Sunday evening everyone! I have had a very busy weekend, so I haven’t been abel to get this up until now.

You may have noticed I am posting even less than usual, and there is a reason for that. Almost two months ago, I started a new job. I am now the assistant at Liza Dawson Associates literary agency and I LOVE it. Everyone I work with is amazing. I have learned so much already and I know I will continue learning more and more each day. It is literally a dream job and I am just so happy.

I will never review any of our authors’ books on this blog, which is too bad because our authors are so incredible and you would love so many of their books. But I shouldn’t so I won’t.

This new job means a lot of reading for work and less reading for fun. It means a lot of reading our client’s backlist which I will not be reviewing. I am still reading for fun and have several book reviews scheduled, but I will be posting less. There are only so many hours in a day.

BUT I have rejoined goodreads, so I now have a libraything, which can be found at https://www.librarything.com/profile/caitief and a goodreads account which you can find at https://www.goodreads.com/caitief, so please add me on whichever you use! I am always looking for more books to add to my to-read list!

Other than that I have had a great summer of spending time with my amazing husband and our awesome friends. Next weekend we are heading for a quick weekend in Ohio where we get to see the whole family and I cannot wait!

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Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Posted by Caitie F on August 21, 2014

Title: Goldfinch17333223
Author: Donna Tartt
Hardcover: 771 pages
Pub Date: Oct 22, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle

Review:

I finally finished this monster of a book a month ago, and it has taken me that long to figure out how I feel enough to write a review.

I liked that book, and I liked it a lot. The writing had me reading sentences several times because they were just that good. The language was beautiful, while still moving the story and being clear.

Theo was a strong character, often really unlikable, but still interesting. Unlikable characters can be some of the most fascinating characters and I would put Theo in that group. There were plenty of times it became too much and I was just super frustrated with him and wanted him to just get his shit together, but it always made sense in the bigger picture.

It wasn’t a perfect book though. There were sections where it really dragged, especially in Vegas. Yes, he needed to befriend Boris for things to move forward, but I really hated Boris. He was not unlikable but interesting, he was just so unlikable. It took me over three weeks to get through the middle section that featured Boris.

This book is not one of my favorites of all time, but I did like it and think it is worth a read. You may often be frustrated. You may want to give up. The writing made it worth it, which is not something I often say.

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Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Posted by Caitie F on August 20, 2014

Title: Ruin and Rising14061957
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Hardcover: 417 pages
Pub Date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for

Review:

Okay, to make this a spoiler free review is going to take some work because I have thoughts and they are very full of spoilers. So I will not share those thoughts.

Instead, I will say if you think Alina is complex, powerful, and a fantastic character, you are going to want to read this book. She grows even more. She is smart and strong, but vulnerable and at time too forgiving. You will find yourself thinking “Why did you DO that? Don’t you know it will have consequences?”. To me, that is a sign of a character that is not too perfect. Because humans do things against their own self interest a lot. And leaders make mistakes that have awful consequences, yet it doesn’t make them bad people.

Leigh Bardugo knows how to make readers keep going. I can sometimes read on the bus, but most of the time I start to feel a little queasy. I pushed through on this book because I needed to know what happened. Luckily, it was on a day where i had a fantastic driver on my commute who knew all the potholes to avoid, so I was okay. I just had to finish the book that much. It is exciting and nerve-wracking. I gasped a few times. I may have shed a tear or two.

Okay, this paragraph is about the end but I won’t say any direct spoilers. But if you don’t want to have any clue about how one may feel at the ending, please stop reading and let me know in the comments if you are going to read the series.

 

 

I feel like the end was a cop-out. I know readers don’t like bad things happening to characters they love, just look at the reactions to a certain series that ended last year that some people still are angry about, but sometimes, it just fits the story better.

So have you read this series? You really should, it is pretty fantastic and I am excited to read whatever Leigh Bardugo does next.

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Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling Me I Need to Read

Posted by Caitie F on August 19, 2014

Thanks as always to the lovelies over at The Broke and Bookish for hosting!

This week’s topic is books people have been telling me to read. This is going to be a MUCH different list than it would have been two months ago, because I have recently read five or six books that people have been telling me to read for a long time! So I have to dig a little deeper for this one and there is not much YA on here.

1. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

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It is my husband’s favorite book. It is one of my favorite musicals. But…it has, no joke, over forty pages on the Paris sewer systems. I want to read it…but how be it be a great book if you can skim hundreds of pages!

2. 11/22/63 by Stephen King

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We bought this book the day it came out and I really love Stephen King. I just need to finish my library books! And not request anymore…

3. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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This is a newer book, but everyone I know who has read it has loved it.

4. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

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One of my best friends read this book a couple months ago and mentions it every time I see her! I have a feeling once I read it I will want to read ALL the books Mary Roach has written.Though I hate the cover.

5. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente

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Another friend of mine LOVES Catherynna Valente. I have read some of her adult work and she is incredibly talented. I think I will love this series even more.

6. Night Owls by Lauren Roy

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A friend of mine is the editor of this book, so obviously I want to read it. But I also want to get into urban fantasy and several people said this is a great starting point!

7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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I know the retellings. I fangirled over Lizzie Bennet Diaries. But I still haven’t read the source and everyone says I must!

8. The Map of Time by Félix J. Palma

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All of my friends that like science fiction and fantasy have told me to read this book. It sounds right up my alley too!

9. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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SO many friends have told me to read this. I know I will love it, so I should just get on it already!

10. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

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Another book that has been recommended by a ton of IRL friends.

 

Do people constantly recommend any of these books to you? Do you recommend any of these books to me as well? Let me know in the comments!

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Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Posted by Caitie F on August 14, 2014

Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After9627755
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Hardcover: 352 pages
Pub Date: Aug 14, 2014
Publisher: Dutton
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new

Review:

I loved Anna. I adored Lola. I think Isla is just incredible. And, like the others she is sometimes frustrating and I just want her to realize how awesome she really is. But she is a teenager and I felt a lot of the things she felt as a teenager. She is so smart and caring, but insecure and imperfect just like all of us

 

Isla’s friendship with Kurt was fantastic. He has high-functioning autism. Sometimes he  doesn’t get sarcasm and he gets really excited about certain things. He is also an incredible friend and he and Isla watch out for each other.

I adored the characterization of Josh. I really like how readers gradually get to know him. At first, the reader just sees him as Isla does, good looking, talented, and mysterious, but not a full person. Reading her thoughts about Josh reminded me of how it felt to have a high school crush. Perkins really got that right. As readers get to know Josh, they will see he is a full and completed character and Isla needed to see him a little more complexly to really get who he was.

The relationship felt really realistic. We mainly got to see the infatuation stage, then things happened and everything started falling apart due to so many insecurities. Everyone feels insecure, but at that age, it is even more. The whole course of their relationship was realistic, but a little more romantic than what most of us have. But we don’t get to live at a Parisian boarding school.

This is a really good book and the end made me so freaking happy. Stephanie Perkins knows how to write fantastic characters and wonderful romances.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books I’m Not Sure I Want to Read

Posted by Caitie F on August 12, 2014

Thanks to the lovely bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish for hosting!

My TBR is a mile long, so I start looking at it a little more closely. Do I REALLY want to read this book/series? Here are ten I am starting to be on the fence about…

1. The Diviners by Libba Bray

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This may surprise a lot of you. I ADORE Libba Bray. I think she is a brilliant writer. I just don’t want to be in the middle of yet another ongoing series.

2. More books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Yep, I have read SO MANY of these books. It is my guilty pleasure series, my go to when I want a little happiness or tears. But they are just so cheesy and cliche that I feel like reading them makes me lose my reputation (not even sure why I am admitting to it here!).

3. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

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These books are monsters – about 1000 pages each! But I have heard such wonderful things about them. But that is a LOT of pages.

4. Fallen by Lauren Kate

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this is still on my list because i have heard good things from some people I trust, but I do NOT like angel books.

5. Classics

I have been working on the 1001 Books You must Read Before You Die list for a while (and am not doing so well on it). Part of me wants to give up because there are SO many books, but I wouldn’t have read some books and authors that have become my favorites without it.

6. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

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I have read so many great reviews of this book and I think I will like it, but it is long and seems like it will be very time consuming.

7. Richelle Mead’s series.

Again, a lot of people I trust love these books, but I feel kind of over vampires. I don’t know if I should start. And if I do, there are a LOT of books in the series!

8. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

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This is another really long book that i Haven’t gotten to. On this one, I feel like I just missed it by not reading it when it came out. People talked about it so much then. I may love it, but I missed all the buzz and excitement.

9. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

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This has been on my list for years and I almost took it off a while ago, werewolves tend to not be my thing. But then I read The Inventor’s Secret and was blown away, so I am thinking I want to try her previous books.

10. The Selection by Kiera Cass

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I have heard so many hit and miss things about this series that I should just decide for myself, but I just don’t pick up the first book when looking for my next read.

What should I do? Should I keep them on my list and my shelves or are there any i can just give up on?

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Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Posted by Caitie F on August 8, 2014

Title: Ignite Me13188676
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Hardcover: 416
Pub Date: Feb 4, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.


Review:

In a word: wow. Wow wow wow wow wow. 

This final book in the series is incredible. I couldn’t really rate the second book until I read the last because I knew it may be setting up some amazing characterization and growth and it totally did. Juliette is a different person in the best way possible. Everything that has happened to her changed her. 

i don’t want to spoiler anything for you because that would just be mean, so I will keep this review short.

If you want an exciting series with complex characters, mind-blowing writing, and a plot that will leave you begging for more, go pick up this series now. 

I have read several series this year and they have all been fantastic, but this one really blew me away.

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Blind by Rachel DeWoskin

Posted by Caitie F on August 6, 2014

Title: Blind18667798
Author: Rachel DeWoskin
Hardcover: 416 pages
Pub Date: Aug 7, 2014
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Rating: ++++++ (it gets an extra one)

Summary from pub:

Imagine this: You are fourteen, watching the fireworks at a 4th of July party, when a rocket backfires into the crowd and strikes your eyes, leaving you blind. In that instant, your life is changed forever. How do you face a future in which all your expectations must be different? You will never see the face of your newborn sister, never learn to drive. Will you ever have a job or fall in love? This is Emma’s story. The drama is in her many small victories as she returns to high school in her hometown and struggles to define herself and make sense of her life, determined not to be dismissed as a PBK – Poor Blind Kid. This heartfelt and heart wrenching story takes you on Emma’s journey and leaves you with a new understanding of the challenges to be faced when life deals a devastating blow.

Review:

This book. The moment I finished reading it, I found out how to contact the author and sent her an email. I have never done that before. But a book has never done this to me before. Instead of a traditional review, I want to post part of what i sent her

“I got an advanced reader’s copy of your book Blind and felt like I had to write to you. When I was 12, I had an accident and lost vision in my right eye. My senior year of high school, I lost vision in the other. It wasn’t total, but it was to the point that I need the cane when I went out and lost all of my newly gained independence.

I am lucky, I got a new cornea and can see out of one eye with a contact. But for almost a year, I couldn’t see and I felt so many of the things Emma felt. I wish this book had been around then. I have the best family and they were really there for me, but sometimes I felt like they didn’t get it. I had good friends, but couldn’t really talk to them anymore. I felt like I always had to be strong and never get upset. If I had this book to listen to, I would have felt less alone. I would have learned a lot and been less afraid of going for that cornea transplant and done it sooner.

I am so glad that this book is going to be out there for anyone who is in my or Emma’s situation. Her thoughts and feelings were so accurate – you really did an astounding job. I could relate to wanting to just open her eyes once more. I wish just once I could see my husband with both eyes. That I could drive again. I wish I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night weekly from a nightmare that I was totally blind.

But this book makes me appreciate what I have – a job, the best husband in the world, and one eye that usually works pretty well.”

This book obviously really affected me, but I think it will affect others just as much. In the book, a classmate of Emma’s dies and no one will talk to the teenagers about it. The community wants to protect them, but they want to talk about what happened, why, and how they can look out for each other. Teens feel that all the time.

It is also about her struggles with her family and friends, which you don’t have to be blind to relate to. Readers who are shy will get her. Readers who have had friends that drifted away when times got hard will be able to relate. The struggles in the book are not just the struggles of being blind, they are the struggles of being human.

This is one of my favorite books of the year and I hope you all go out and buy it.

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