Winter by Marissa Meyer

It’s safe to say that the Lunar Chronicles has been one of my favorite series. Yes, I was late to the bandwagon, but I’m very glad I read them!

I would agree with Madeline in saying Winter was the fantastic ending that we all hoped it would be. However my favorite book was Cress. She’s also my favorite character. As much as I liked all the action Winter had to offer, the book felt dragged out in certain spots. Normally having all the main characters end up in a relationship is cheesy and unrealistic to me, but I’m so thankful Marissa didn’t break up any couples! I honestly ship them all! Cress and Thorne are my OTP though. The end fight scene was everything I wanted it to be and more. I sort of felt frustrated on Cinders whole speech to Kai about how she plans on ending the monarchy. I get it, she doesn’t want to be queen. But Cinder, come on! You just risked everyone’s life  to take back the throne and now you’re already talking about giving it up again. Enjoy those queen perks Cinder. So pleased our characters ended up with a happy ending just like in the fairy tales. Hopefully some time in the future I’ll be watching the cyborg world we all love play out on a movie screen.

Winter by Marissa Meyer

To get ready for the release of Heartless, coming out this November, Megan and I thought it appropriate to do a review of the last book in the lunar chronicle series! This may contain spoilers from all four books in the series and the novella Fairest, and the collection Stars Above.

Winter was by far one the best books in the series. I was internally freaking out when it came out that the series wouldn’t have the epic ending that it had been building up towards. I was very satisfied with the ending of this book and the series. Now I’m going to give my rating and recommendations before I jump into the goodies. I would give this book a higher rating than 5 if I could, but 5/5 will have to suffice. I would recommend this book to YA readers, sci-fy readers, fantasy readers, and any fan of fairy tales.

Now for the fun part! I will first rank my favorites in the series starting with the best, and ending with the still really amazing and dazzling but not as good as the others. Then comes favorite characters and favorite moment.

1. Winter – Of coarse this was my favorite. Yes I really like beginnings but this ending was absolutely marvelous. I enjoyed every bit of this book especially the epic showdown with Levanna.

2. Cinder – What can I say? I love Cinderella. And this story was one of my first re-tellings of this story. I completely fell in love with Cinder and Kai and who could forget Iko. The story played out in a way that I really enjoyed and that’s why it is second on my list.

3. Fairest – Unexpectedly I really enjoyed this novella. The backstory I found was really interesting and it really created a battle in my mind between two questions. Are people borne evil? Or do they become evil? Levanna was a very interesting character, and being put in the environment she was in from birth, even I’m not sure if there was any other path for her.

4. Cress – I thoroughly enjoyed this book but it wasn’t my favorite for a couple reasons. First, I can only have one favorite. Second Cress as a character fell a little flat for me. I just wished that the character development occurred faster or showed itself a little more. Every time I thought of her I could never picture her as a “strong” character, even when she was being perhaps one of the strongest.

5. Stars Above – This collection of novellas also gave a lot of backstory to the series. I really enjoyed most of the short stories, but one didn’t sit with me as well as the others. The little android. I appreciated the twist on the Little Mermaid story, but the ending just felt a little unfinished. I wished that little android got her fairy tale ending like her Disney counterpart.

6. Scarlet – There is basically only one reason this is last on my list. I could not stand the fact that the main focus was on Cinder. And yes I obviously got over that considering my favorite of the series has stories from every character. But after the occurance of that ball I was itching for the next part of Cinder’s story. Scarlet was just as magnificent as the rest, but I do wish I went into that book with the same clarity as I did with Cress and Winter.

And now for my favorite character!

……..WINTER!

Yes. Winter was by far my favorite character of the series. I enjoyed every aspect of her and thought she was the most interesting. Before I read Winter, Cinder was my favorite character because she was also very complex, but I feel like Winter brought it to a whole new level. I absolutely adored how strong she was. How she was able to be kind and trusting even when she was constantly tormented by Levanna, and her lunar sickness was eating away at her thoughts. This is not only one of my favorite characters in the series but of all time. Winter is right up there with Dobby and Katniss.

Final thoughts: I’d just like to say how much I loved this book. I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite moment. But one that I really enjoyed was the end. Scarlet’s secret ceremony was beautifully written and I loved the friendship between the characters. The series came to a close in such a lovely way, that I don’t think I could have come up with anything I’d like better. So. Quick overview of the madness I just spewed out. Favorite book, Winter. Favorite character, Winter. Favorite moment, the end…(of Winter).
-Madeline

Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

Summary: As Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts–and the love of her life. When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe. Part epic fantasy, part twisted fairy tale, this dazzling saga will have readers shivering as Dinah’s furious nature sweeps Wonderland up in the maelstrom of her wrath. Familiar characters such as Cheshire, the White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter make their appearance, enchanting readers with this new, dark take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But be warned…not every fairytale has a happy ending. This is the story of a princess who became a villain. (Books.google.com)

Queen of Hearts was a very solid read. I was intrigued by each character. As much as this book was a fantasy it was a mystery as well. Every character has a secret agenda, or hidden past waiting to be revealed which makes predictions all the harder. I wish there were more interactions with certain characters. I also would have liked to see into the mind of Dinah, the main character, to really understand her snappy personality. The ending took an unpredictable turn which in fact was my favorite part of the book. The biggest aspect that really makes this book interesting is the dramatic irony (I actually remembered an English term!). If you have seen the Disney movie Alice in Wonderland or any other depictions of this fascinating tale, then you may already know where the characters end up. BUT this book does bring up many interesting plot twists that I hope and expect to be answered in the next book. And although it felt that this book was setting up the rest of the series the build at the end was worth it. I would definitely recommend this book to YA readers, fantasy lovers, and even mystery geeks. Even I’m still trying to piece together how the next book is going to start off and the true fate of these beloved characters I’ve known since childhood. I give this book a solid 3.5/5, and will definitely continue with this series. I can’t wait to watch the rest of this series unfold, and pick up where the epic ending of this book left off!

-Madeline

Twilight Review by Stephenie Meyer

Yes, it is true. I am reading the Twilight series, something I told myself I’d never do. I 100% do not regret it. I actually can’t believe it took me this long. The answer to the burning question I’m sure you were all dying to know (probably not though)  is I AM TEAM EDWARD! As a child, having no idea about any of the characters actual personalities, I was team Jacob… regrets.

Now for the actual book review. I am honestly not sure why this series gets so much hate. It’s pretty dang fantastic. I absolutely love all the characters, except Bella. The fact that she just seemed totally unafraid that Edward was a vampire and had an overwhelmingly strong urge to suck her blood, really bothered me. How did she come to terms with that so normally beats me. The story line was actually very interesting and trust me I had very low expectations going in. For as thick as these books are, they are a quick read. I’m already on Eclipse and I’m loving it. The movies are great as well. Boy is Rob perfect. What a man, what a man. So far I’ve rated both Twilight and New Moon five stars on Goodreads. My expectations have raised immensely and I don’t doubt they will be met. I highly highly recommend to everyone really. Remember, No shame.

-Megan

The Inquisitor’s Tale or the three magical children and their holy dog :)

Brief summery (blurb): On a dark night in 1242, travelers at an inn begin to tell stories of three children: Jeanne, a peasant girl who has visions of the future; William, a young monk with supernatural strength; and Jacob, a Jewish boy who can heal any wound. Their powers will be tested by demons and dragons, cruel knights and cunning monks. From small villages to grand banquet halls, these three unlikely friends-and their faithful greyhound-lead chase through France to a final showdown at Mont-Saint-Michel. Featuring manuscript illuminations throughout by illustrator Hatem Aly and filled with Adam’s trademark style and humor, The Inquisitor’s Tale is a bold storytelling that’s richly researched.

 

My thoughts 🙂

What an interesting story! If you haven’t read Adam Gidwitz’s other middle grade series, A Tale Dark and Grimm, then I highly recommend to do so before diving into this book just to get a feel for the writing style. The Inquisitor’s Tale was nowhere near as dark and gory as his last series but just as enjoyable. Because I received the arc of this book, the illustrations weren’t yet complete, but from the few that were provided I could tell how much more fascinating this book would be because of them. I really enjoyed this book and would give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I really think a great majority of people could enjoy this book. It provides an interesting and fun story for middle grades, yet more profound themes for older readers. If you’re at all interested in this book it will be available on September 27, and is available for pre-order. 🙂

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Wow, my review’s really late. Whoops. Also apparently Madeline is forcing me to add spoilers even though there were going to be spoilers already. SO WARNING, SPOILERS BELOW!

Alright, I’m assuming all of you reading this have either read the book, seen the movie, or frankly don’t care about hearing the ending of books. Me Before You is without a doubt my favorite book. The character development was outstanding, and not a single part of the plot felt drawn out unnecessarily. Now, not a single part of me thought Will was going to live. Before I picked up the book and started to read, I knew the Quadriplegic man would not reach the end of the story.  Me Before You is in no way the romance novel everyone has made it out to be. Lou and Will do not end up admitting their feelings towards each other to the last few chapters. My favorite scene in both the book and movie was the whole red dress/concert section. The way Jojo told the tale of how Will wanted to be just a man who had been to a concert with a girl in a red dress broke my heart. Will would never live a life of just a normal man. The scene where Louisa lays her heart out to Will on the beach, telling him she loves him only to be told back that it’s not enough, is so painful. I just wish we could have seen that in the movie. I still have a  hard time putting my thoughts into words about Will choosing to end his life. I can’t even begin to understand how awful and hard his life was, but at the same time he had Lou and they could have been happy. But of course he could never truly be happy and as you all can see I could go back and forth for hours. Overall Me Before You is incredibly moving and a must read. The movie was fantastic and it couldn’t have been better in my mind. Now before I go, I leave one last bit of advice- “Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live.”

-Megan

Me Before You (a little bit over-do)(That rhymed!) no spoilers

And now ladies and gentlemen it’s time for the me before you book review! (nailing the rhymes today) Due to some technical difficulties this is a little late, but late is better than never. We are gathered here today to talk about Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Just a fair warning, I find that people who read the book before they see the movie don’t carry the “downer” vibe when they walk out of the theatre as, much as those  who do it vise versa. Now the book! FANTASTIC! I deeply enjoyed this book. The main characters are lovable and fluffy once the outer layers are scraped away as the book progresses. Reading about Lou was very entertaining to say the least. The story line and plot really opened my eyes to things I never fully knew about or understood which I was glad about because now I can understand decisions from different points of views. All parts of this book was enjoyable, although be careful about the second hand embarrassment because in a not bad way, it is in some parts of the story 🙂 I would recommend this book to adults and MAYBE young adults (probably like high school age) who enjoy powerful but cute stories. Do not, I repeat DO NOT go into this thinking it is going to be happy-feely. because no. just no. This book was one of my favorites and I would give it 5/5 stars. And just a little bit of extra advice, to those of you who can and do listen to music while reading, I highly recommend listening to the Me Before You movie playlist on Spotify. It’s gold.

If you want a spoiler review and have already read the book or seen the movie that should be coming soon 🙂

-Madeline

 

Mosquitoland spontaneous review!

Mosquitoland. This has been one of my favorite reads this year. David Arnold’s writing was so captivating and his style made the book so much fun to read! Having nothing in common with any of the main characters from this novel, I was taken back by how connected I felt to them. I don’t know if this is the reason they had such a big impact on me, or if they are just too lovable to forget. Throughout the whole book I had no idea what the endgame was for these characters, or how Mim’s journal entries would tie in with the end of the story (which was done beautifully by the way). I LOVED (notice all caps) how the characters weren’t the run of the mill generic people you might find in a book, but flawed in their own way which added a certain “fullness” to the novel. The strong presence of friendship was also a reason this book made me so happy, which made me so sad when it was over! No more book 😦 I never have read a book quite like Mosquitoland, which in my mind sets it apart from all of the other stories I’ve read. Falling in love with the characters like Walt and Mim took milliseconds of reading due to their wonderful contrasting personalities. I really liked how the romance aspect of the novel took a backseat to the obviously more important theme of friendship. I definitely don’t think this book is for everyone, but if you’re looking for a comical, happy-feely read this might be the book for you!  Five out of five stars! Now one of my favorite quotes from the book. (which is kinda long)(but still good)(parentheses overload)(haha get it)(just read the book you will).

-Madeline

“Home is hard. Harder than reasons. It’s more a storage unit for your life and its collections. It’s more than an address, or even a house you grew up in. People say home is where your heart is, but I think maybe home is the heart. Not a place or time, but an organ, pumping life into my life. There may be more mosquitos and stepmothers than I imagined, but its still my heart. My home”-David Arnold (Mary Iris Malone)

Blogging endeavors

Ok, so we have decided to change things up! Each one of us will put up a blog whenever we want for the current books we are reading. And every month we will be reading the same book and doing separate reviews for it. Similarly to the Red Queen blog(s).

Red Queen Review Numero Dos (includes major plot twist spoilers. Be wary!)

I was honestly shocked by how much I enjoyed this book. I’ve never been too into fantasy/sci-fi aside from Harry Potter, but I really had my opinion of the genre changed. The book had such an interesting concept and I loved learning about the Silver world as Mare did. To me Red Queen had some The Selection moments, but The Selection didn’t entertain me nearly as much as Red Queen! For me, I did not connect to any of the female characters and at some points Mare just felt boring and frustrating. However, the male characters were fantastic! Cal, Maven, and Lucas brought so much life to the story (not Kilorn. I hated him). Maven was my favorite by far and I’ll admit he still is even after the plot twist. THAT PLOT TWIST! Maven being evil was so predictable, and yet I never saw it coming. Victoria really developed Mavey (loved that nickname) and I instantly fell in love with him. My heart is still slightly broken. Overall I loved Red Queen. It’s something so different and I cannot wait to read Glass Sword! I it four out of five stars. Even though she was a pain in the butt about it, I’d like to thank Madeline for forcing me to read it. 😉

-Megan