Book Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

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?

Be sure to check out my review of Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Fairest.

After reading this novel, can I just say that I am super thankful that Bloomsbury announced the collection of Lunar Chronicles short stories?  Especially since one will expand upon the epilogue from Winter.  But, I am getting ahead of myself.  I need to go back to the beginning and review the entire book.

We open Winter not long after Cress finished off, which Scarlet captured and kept as a pet for Princess Winter on Luna, Prince Kai is aboard the Rampion as a “prisoner,” Thorne is still blind, and everyone is trying to scramble to figure out how to move forward.

Cinder and Kai shippers will be very happy with the opening chapters as they are filled with lighthearted flirting and a fair amount of kissing before they are separated in order to try and defeat Queen Levana and take Luna for the true heir.  There will be some heartrending places in the novel for these two, but don’t worry, true love does prevail regardless of the outcome.

Cress remains hopelessly in love with Thorne, who is still his generally douchey self.  I really wish she would have the guts to tell him how she feels without it taking away from the climactic takeover scene in the novel, because it really just bogged down the narrative at that point.

Overall, I will say that this novel felt like it had a lot more exposition than should have been needed for a final installment.  However, I can kind of understand why when the readers are finally getting Princess Winter’s point of view and with that, an inside view of the Lunar kingdom.  This is especially important for readers who haven’t read Fairest, which serves as the prequel to the Lunar Chronicles.

There are a few twists and turns along the way, and while the length could have been shortened, I think that Winter was an extremely solid conclusion to the Lunar Chronicles and could have done without the additional short coming in February 2016.  Selfishly, of course, I just want to live in that world a bit longer (and see where our favorite heroes and heroines end up).

I’m giving Winter 4 Bards, and for die hard fans this is the ending we’ve all been waiting for.  Be sure to pick up a copy.

fourbards

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

undeniable

 

Release Date: November 24, 2015

After Gabi’s relationship with her long-time boyfriend Max falls apart, she just needs to get away—and she finds the perfect escape in a summer internship for her favorite TV show in London. All the gorgeous actors in the cast will more than distract her from the Break-Up.

Then she meets Spencer Black: student, show extra, expert flirt. Spending time with him is fun, intoxicating, and uncertain. Their relationship is heating up when he lands a featured role on the show. Will his newly found fame break them apart, or is Spencer the one?

In this steamy love story, the drama is just as real off-screen as it is on.

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

ACOTARWhen nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

So when I decided to re-read the Throne of Glass series when I was on vacation, I should have taken A Court of Thorns and Roses with me too.  I’ve had this book since it was released back at the beginning of May but for some reason put off reading it until this past week! I never said I was the smartest.

Anyway, I’m so glad I finally picked up this book and read it.  Fair warning to those who are picking up this novel, there is a lot of exposition.  However, I do not think this is a drawback in any way, because it really puts you in the middle of the story immediately.  There is so much detail that Maas puts into her world-building that makes everything so wonderfully realistic.  I actually felt like I was actually apart of the scenery when reading this, and her descriptions make everything come alive.  I don’t know about anyone else, but world building is my number one love in fantasy novels.  It is something that I think Maas has improved upon since the first Throne of Glass novel, although even that novel was seriously strong.

Feyre, at first glance, is definitely more approachable as a character than Celaena.  Feyre is pretty beaten down by her life supporting her ungrateful family.  She is uneducated and had to work for everything she had or did, whether it be a small rabbit to feed her family, or the paints she couldn’t afford to feed her passion.  She willingly accepts her fate when she is forced to atone and still manages to be unbeaten by those circumstances that took her away from her family.

Tamlin, oh my.  He certainly has his hands full with Feyre, who is full of fire and spits insults at him almost constantly.  It’s easy to see in his actions that he is trying to make this whole experience bearable for her, but she continually shuts him down.  It’s pretty entertaining to read.  But he definitely grows on you as a character just as much as Feyre begins to see what a good man he is.  Now, there has been some debate that I’ve seen about Tamlin’s actions during the Fire Night ceremony, when he sleeps with another Faerie within a few hours of coming and expressing his desire for Feyre.  I will say that yes, it does seem like something sketchy to do.  However, this is a fictional world where these Faerie practices are considered the norm.  In addition, it is mentioned that the Faerie women wait to be chosen, so they are willing participants in this.  If anything, I really thought that Tamlin desiring Feyre so much that he searched for her instead of choosing one of the Faeries at first really shows where his heart lies.

Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox.  Now, the secondary characters in A Court of Thorns and Roses are just as strongly written as the others.  I adored Lucien, for his undying loyalty to his best friend, for his rapier wit, and even for the times he decided to trick Feyre into doing something stupid.  Alis for being so loyal to Tamlin, her nephews, and to Feyre in the end.  Rhysand I haven’t decided on yet.  He obviously has some devious motives, but he also saved Fayre’s life more than once.  What is his angle?

I’m extremely excited about the second installment, which has (for now) just been named A Court of Thorns and Roses #2, but will have to wait until 2016.  It’s a good thing the fourth Throne of Glass novel comes out in a little over a month, because I will have to get my Maas fix!

5 Bards.

fivebards

Book Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

openroadsummerAfter breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own.

Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking.

Taylor-Abigail-467

Taylor and Abigail

It was absolutely impossible for me to not draw some kind of comparison between Dee (Lilah) and Reagan’s friendship and what the media knows about Taylor Swift and Abigail’s relationship.  I mean, both Reagan and Abigail are mentioned in their respective best friend’s tunes, and they attend award ceremonies as their best friend’s dates.  So yeah, I imagined them as Taylor and Abigail at first.

However, Reagan, as a character, defines herself fairly early on.  She is an individual who is completely rough around the edges, which is partly from her life experience but also from walls she has constructed for herself.  Dee, on the other hand, I would describe as kind of a circle with a few dings taken out.  Dee is strong in another sense, but is definitely more well rounded and adjusted than Reagan seems at the beginning of the novel.

I’ve seen a number of reviews of this novel that mention the negative attitude that Reagan takes toward other female characters (other than Dee), and I’d like to comment on that.  Reagan reveals that her mother left her as a child.  Not only does this realistically provide an intrinsic distrust of other females, but it does explain the origin of her trust issues as well.  It would be natural for a person in her shoes to dislike a lot of females and I think that Lord portrayed this realistically.  I do understand that in today’s world it is absolutely necessary for women to uplift other women, but since this is a novel set in reality, we have to think realistically.  Not all teenagers are in that frame of mind yet and Lord depicts it.

Lord is practically my narrative godmother at this point, because both Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You are so well paced and structured that they kept me on the edge of my seat wanting more, while also having satisfying endings.

The romance aspect of Open Road Summer is much more pronounced than in The Start of Me and You, and I think that it works both ways for Lord as a writer.  I absolutely adored the slow smolder of obvious attraction between Reagan and Matt in Open Road Summer, but I also loved the sudden realization of love between Paige and Max in The Start of Me and You.  Since I mentioned Matt I think it is only fitting to say that if you do not swoon over this wounded character at least once or twice throughout the story then I think something is wrong!

Lord also did a phenomenal job with writing song lyrics to accompany the story, and each one I could almost sing along with in my mind.  Can someone sell these to a singer so we can have some of these on our iPods?

Going home to my guitar now. 4.5 Bards

four.fivebards

 

 

 

BUY THIS BOOK

Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound

 

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: March 31, 2015

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for a year, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

Book Review: One Past Midnight by Jessica Shirvington

For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she Shifts to her ′other′ life – a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she′s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she′s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.

With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments which bring her dangerously close to the life she′s always wanted… But just what – and who – is she really risking?

Release Date: July 22, 2014

Now, this book had a really cool premise.  The idea that a person could wake up in a different life, different WORLD, really, every 24 hours is absolutely fascinating.  (Now all I can think is that maybe we ALL do this but we don’t remember it like Sabine does) It does really play with the whole idea of fate and whether or not one specific life may be the best for her.

So, Sabine has two separate worlds, and a lot of the novel is her trying to decide which life she hates less enough to stay in it permanently (presuming that if she dies in one life, that she doesn’t die in the other).  This brings up all kinds of questions about suicide, mental health facilities, terminal illness, patient/doctor relationships, true personalities, and nature versus nurture.

That’s a lot of things, right?! So much jam packed into a book that has a really cool premise…it can almost be overwhelming. There is also a crazy love story that takes place in one of the worlds that really makes the reader to avoid the other life, much like the character. I don’t know about anyone else who read it, but I would have had a super hard time choosing based on the circumstances of both worlds, just like Sabine did. Kudos to Shirvington for making me feel all of the feels.

In addition, just when you think it’s going to end completely in your tears, Shirvington gives you a glimpse of hope that makes you wish there was a second novel so you can continue Sabine’s unique story.

Even if you haven’t read Shirvington’s other novels (I’ve only read one), this novel can easily make you a fan, and I think you should put this on your To-Be-Read list.

4 Bards.

fourbards

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

 

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: September 2, 2014

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. 

Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy. 

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love? 

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