Genre: Steampunk

Winter by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

Posted January 19, 2016 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 6 Comments

Winter by Marissa Meyer | Book ReviewWinter by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4
Also in this series: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Stars Above
Published by Feiwel and Friends on November 10, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction, Steampunk
Pages: 832
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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5 Stars
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?

Friends Jumping
I don’t know what to say!!! I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY! I LOVED this conclusion to The Lunar Chronicles. Marissa knew just what I wanted to know and she answered all my questions and tied up all the loose ends. Boy, does she know how to end a series.

Cress and Thorne are so unbelievably cute, I can’t even handle it. Thorne is still my very favorite character in this story. He can make me laugh, he can make me swoon, and he can make me crazy. Scarlet and poor, tortured Wolf go through everything you could possibly think of and I’m amazed at their strength and their ability to push through it all. Their love was written in the stars, and I think they might be my favorite couple ever (but don’t make me choose because I won’t!). Readers are not given as much time to fall in love with Winter and Jacin, but you do anyway. I keep thinking of Buttercup and Wesley and Corey and Topanga when I think of those two. Cinder and Kai are overshadowed by the epic love stories of our other characters, but it’s so good to see them happy. And Iko… Iko, Iko, Iko… she is still hilarious and sweet and tender and flirtatious. No android will ever be able to take her place in my heart. I miss everyone already. How am I going to live without my band of misfits in the sky?

Marissa Meyer has outdone herself, and I’m almost afraid of reading any of her future works because how can she outdo herself again? (Of COURSE I’m going to read everything she writes forever.) This book is LONG, but I needed every page. Every word. I was either swooning over this romance, or screaming at that revelation, or crying over that moment, or flipping out over WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?!, or cheering because YAY I LOVE THEM THEY RULE. The action is cataclysmic, the suspense unending, and the romance breathtaking. There’s so much of everything you could ever hope for and more. The tension never lets up, and you never feel totally safe until the very end. Can we all drive off into the sunset together?

Bottom line, thanks for reading my review because I have no coherent thoughts.

In summary: Read The Lunar Chronicles. 


The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross | Novella Review

Posted July 3, 2015 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 2 Comments

The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross | Novella ReviewThe Strange Case of Finley Jane Published by Harlequin Teen on May 1, 2011
Genres: Alternate History, Fantasy, Steampunk
Pages: 83
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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3.5 Stars
Finley Jayne knows she's not 'normal'. Normal girls don't lose time, or have something inside them that makes them capable of remarkably violent things. Her behavior has already cost her one job, so when she's offered the lofty position of companion to Phoebe, a debutante recently engaged to Lord Vincent, she accepts, despite having no experience. Lord Vincent is a man of science with his automatons and inventions, but Finley is suspicious of his motives where Phoebe is concerned. She will do anything to protect her new friend, but what she discovers is even more monstrous than anything she could have imagined.

My Kindle copy of The Girl in the Steel Corset has this short prequel novella at the beginning, and I had no idea what I was reading until it was over and it was time to move into the full-length novel! I was a tad annoyed that I was not told I was reading the novella, but I can only assume it will be helpful as I move into The Girl in the Steel Corset at a later time.

I think I was fortunate with this novella, even though I was annoyed I was reading it instead of the book (The Girl in the Steel Corset was a required reading for my YA lit course, and so I was frustrated that I had spent 83 pages on the wrong book. But oh well. Moving on.). The Strange Case of Finley Jayne was actually pretty entertaining and has a plot that it not too big or too small for the book. It felt just right to me. We were not rushing through events and details, but it also did not feel like an unnecessary addition to the series. The characters are well developed even though 83 pages is not long enough to get attached to any of them. I like Finley, and am intrigued by her story. I also liked the writing style, and feel like this book was a nice introduction to the series. I know some people read this novella after Steel Corset, so I’m not sure which was the better option. Regardless, I enjoyed it and am planning to read The Girl in the Steel Corset soon.

So. Do you like this series? Have you read this novella? I’m curious how it relates to Steel Corset because I read a review that says that the events in this books are never referenced in Steel Corset, and that Steel Corset contradicts some of the events in Strange Case. So is it even worth reading it in the grand scheme of things? I’d love your opinions!


Cress by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

Posted January 2, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 39 Comments

Cress by Marissa Meyer | Book ReviewCress by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Also in this series: Cinder, Scarlet, Fairest, Winter, Stars Above
Published by Feiwel and Friends on February 4, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Retelling, Romance, Steampunk
Pages: 560
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

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

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only 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 goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

When I think of Cress, I have a very hard time containing the love I have for it. And then I think, “HOLY CRAP. SO GOOD.” I loved Cinder, and I loved Scarlet. But Cress? Oh my. It’s in a league all its own. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Cress is the most creative Rapunzel retelling I have read in my entire life. Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite? What? And the book takes place in the Sahara Desert? Whoa. And Rapunzel is a hacker? YES. And THEN it’s all smashed together with Cinder’s and Scarlet’s stories? Yes please! I love that these three fairytale ladies are kicking butt, taking names, and reclaiming their world from the evil Queen Levana. Marissa Meyer is a genius.

2. I’ve said it once (actually, twice), and I’ll say it again. Thank you, Marissa, for giving us amazingly strong heroines. While Cress is more naive and awkward, as any Rapunzel should be, she is still brave and feisty and strong. I just loved her. Cinder is just as freakin’ amazing as ever, but MORE. We’re getting down to the wire. It’s wedding time, and she has to do something to stop Kai from marrying Queen Levana and ruining the world. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Cinder went crazy. She is discovering her lunar abilities even more, and really pushing herself beyond her limits. I am so proud of her. And Scarlet, wonderful Scarlet. It was so nice to see her again.

3. Don’t get me wrong. I love the ladies, but the MEN. Oh my. Thorne has swept me off my feet countless numbers of times, but he completely stole my heart in Cress. He’s full of so much snark and sarcasm. I just know his one-liners will be referenced forever. He gets knocked down a level of two in Cress, and experiences some weak moments. I loved seeing this new side of him, all vulnerable and caring. And Wolf, be still my heart. What a big teddy bear. He also struggles in this book, and I had ALL THE FEELS for him. Kai. *swoon* We are finally getting to know him better. He’s so charming and realistic. I love how concerned he is for Cinder, watching her pop up on the news as a wanted criminal and hoping she never gets found.

4. There is so much action and drama packed into Cress’s 560 pages that I could hardly handle myself. Bam, bam, bam. Something huge is either happening, or has just happened. The recovery time between jolts is so short that I felt like I was on this never-ending roller coaster of emotions and feelings. So much happens! And when something REALLY crazy happens and the group gets split up, not even knowing if everyone is alive, I tore through those pages like you wouldn’t believe. Cress is definitely the most action-packed novel of the three, and even though it’s so long I wanted more and more.

5. There are still so many mysteries we are left with. The plague. The state of the planet. What’s going to happen to everyone? Who can be trusted? I’m being really careful not to give anything away here, so forgive my vagueness.

6. Marissa’s writing is flawless. I feel like I’ve seen a lot of growth in her since Cinder, and I am so proud of her.

I have so much love for Cress, and can’t imagine Marissa Meyer topping this one. She has proven to us before, though, that she can and she will. The Lunar Chronicles series is my absolute favorite. I don’t know whether I should pine for Winter or dread it, because I never want to leave these characters and their amazing world.


Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Book Review)

Posted February 14, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 38 Comments

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Book Review)Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Also in this series: Cinder, Cress, Fairest, Winter, Stars Above
Published by Feiwel and Friends on February 5, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Retelling, Romance, Science Fiction, Steampunk
Pages: 454
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (ALA)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

I have been thinking about how much I loved Cinder for over a year now, and Scarlet picks up right where Cinder drops off. The exact day, actually. I loved that! We get to jump right back in and pick up where we were, while learning new things about this crazy world, the Lunars, and our favorite characters!

1. For some reason, I had no idea that Cinder was going to be in this book! I was delighted when I learned what a huge role she was actually going to play in it. And her android, Iko, was there… and we even got some Kai time! Yay! So glad to see them all again. :)

2. It was also so much fun learning about some new characters: Scarlet and Wolf. Scarlet is a strong, confident character who makes a great team mate for Cinder in this ongoing quest against the Lunar Queen. I love the emphasis placed an female heroes in this series. Marissa has created two equally feisty, brave, determined, charismatic, and smart ladies to drive the story on. Wolf is sexy and swoonworthy, and exactly the kind of bad boy this story needed. His sensitive nature and core instincts make him both a ticking time bomb and the most loyal companion you could ask for. Do not get on his bad side, though. Cinder has her own male counterpart, Captain Thorne, and he’s kind of hilarious. I just kept picturing this completely oblivious, clumsy, cocky guy who is always slightly drunk. He lightened things up quite a bit, and also became a character I really loved.

3. I enjoyed the balance of humorous dialogue and serious, sometimes heartbreaking moments. Scarlet’s banter with Wolf was utterly charming, while her discussions with her grandmother pulled at the heartstrings.

4. This is not your typical book 2 of a series, where nothing important happens. Scarlet has SO much going on! There’s space flights, running from the law, romance, Lunar attacks, kidnapping, fights, and NEWS. So much news!

5. Yet again, the world building is immaculate. Last time, Beijing. This time, Paris. Yes, people. Paris in the future is amazing.

Overall, Scarlet is just as wonderful and captivating as Cinder. Clearly, Marissa is not a one hit wonder. I can’t wait for the next book!


Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Book Review)

Posted January 3, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 51 Comments

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Book Review)Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1
Also in this series: Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Winter, Stars Above
Published by Feiwel and Friends on January 3, 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Retelling, Science Fiction, Steampunk
Pages: 387
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
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.

Reviews of Cinder are storming the blogosphere right now, in anticipation of today’s release date! They are everywhere! I’m jumping on the “Cinder-lovers” bandwagon and seriously have no idea how to approach this review. Haha! My thoughts feel so unorganized and are conflicting with one another. What can I say that will make my review different? So many people have already covered everything. Oh well! Here goes!

Last year with my first grade class (I taught reading and phonics to a 1st grade class while their other teacher did small group tutoring), we had a fairy tale week and I spent the week reading them different Cinderella picture books. We had a zombie Cinderella, and an Indian Cinderella… and a very modern spin on the story. The kids LOVED it. At the end of the week, we wrote and illustrated our very own Cinderella story called, “Mrs. Bellarella and Miss Janarella.” (I’m Miss Jana, obviously. Mrs. Bell was their other teacher.) The story was absolutely hilarious. Needless to say, I’m pretty familiar with Cinderella, and I was pretty excited to hear about a more “grown-up” retelling. I thought that cyborgs and androids were pushing the envelope a little too far, though. I was SO wrong! I loved how Cinder tied in all the elements of the original story, but put a modern sci-fi spin on it! And even though we’re talking about a dystopian society with cyborgs and aliens, Cinder was still a completely magical fairy tale. :)

I loved Marissa Meyer’s writing style, and very creative imagination! The world she created left me with no questions. The detailed descriptions of the scenery, futuristic mechanics and medicine, people, etc. were captivating to read. I got totally lost. I loved Cinder’s character. She’s a tom-boy mechanic, and has grease stains all over her ALL the time. Her idea of getting dressed up is putting on a shiny new foot, not a glass slipper. She’s spunky, and realistic. She sticks up for herself when it counts, and is not afraid of anything! I pretty much adore the fact that she’s always got her head on straight. Perhaps her internal programming is what keeps her grounded, but she just gets it. She knows what needs to be done, no matter what, and she does it! She lets nothing cloud her judgement. You go, girl! Her quirky android friend/assistant, Iko, is hilarious. She’s a machine, but there’s some kind of glitch in her that makes her more human than most androids. I was enthralled by their story, and really loved reading about their latest projects and schemes.

Prince/Emperor Kai is a little… eh right now. Don’t get me wrong, I like him. It’s just that as the male lead in the story, we don’t know much about him. His conversations with Cinder are mostly small talk, with a few intimate details shared every once in a while. Perhaps he’ll become more rounded in the next three books. I do appreciate that there’s no insta-love. They both know that there’s a connection, but they’re not going crazy about it. Meyer is giving them time to develop their relationship, which we will hopefully be able to see in the next books.

My favorite parts were the hidden Cinderella details, and the awesome futuristic settings and technology. Oh, and the ending is pretty breathtaking as well. Twists and turns keep you guessing until the last sentence. I would have enjoyed seeing a little more character development in Kai. Right now, I’m not seeing what Cinder sees in him. Also, the story takes place in New Beijing, but I never would have known if it had not been continually mentioned. I would have liked more Chinese cultural elements, even futuristic ones. Finally, the ending was a bit too rushed for me, and then I fell off a cliff all of a sudden. I’m hanging by a thread here, wondering how the ending snuck up on me so fast!

Regardless of my tidbits of constructive criticism, I can’t deny how much I loved the story. Sometimes we have to make allowances and just enjoy the ride, forgetting what we would have preferred. Plus, I’m trying to remember that there’s 3 more books in the series! Marissa has plenty of time to turn Emperor Kai into Prince Charming. She has plenty of time to explain more details to me. I kind of like the mystery I’ve been left with. If we were given too much with this book, the others would end up being fluff. I’m sad I have to wait so long for Scarlet (Book #2). I guess that’s the downside of getting ARCs: more time to wait for the next one! Haha!

Oh, and for your pure reading enjoyment, here is the story my class and I wrote together. We illustrated it and had it published, so the kids could order hardback copies if they wanted to. Everyone wanted a special part in the story, so please excuse the MANY names. :) I ran into one of my kids at the grocery store a few weeks ago, and his mom told me that this is his bedtime story every night. Presh! I melted a bit.

Mrs. Bellerella and Miss Janarella

“Once upon a time there was a girl named Mrs. Bellerella, and she really wanted to go to the ball. She had two evil stepsisters named Emily and Lesly and an evil stepmother named Tamaraleen. They were very mean to her. All day long she cleaned up their messes and cooked for them. She spent her free time looking out the windows at the Castle.

Her mouse friends named Alyssa, Morgan, Pamela, Ninel, Paul, Joel, Nathan, Andrew H., and Andrew V. locked up her evil family members so that Mrs. Bellerella could escape to visit her fairy Godmother named Taylee. The fairy Godmother said, “Give this flower to the one you love, and he will love you too! Here’s an extra one, just incase you lose it or want to give one to a friend.” Mrs. Bellerella said, “Thank you! Can you help me make a dress?” The fairy Godmother, Taylee, said, “Yes. We’ll make it out of red and blue roses. Let’s get started!” Her dress was huge and puffy. It was covered with red and blue roses. She had gloves and make-up on and she looked so pretty.

Mrs. Bellerella called her sister, Miss Janarella to go to the castle ball with her. A limo came to pick up Mrs. Bellerella, and then they got Miss Janarella. Miss Janarella’s dress was yellow with yellow roses all over it. On the way to the ball, the limo ran out of gas!! The knights named Ayden, Hunter, Oli, and Gates came and took Mrs. Bellerella and Miss Janarella to the castle on their horses. They got to the ball and danced with princes and lots of boys. They danced with their favorite princes. Mrs. Bellerella danced with Prince Matthew and Miss Janarella danced with Prince Alexander. The princes liked Mrs. Bellerella and Miss Janarella so much that they wanted them to meet their parents, King Leo and Queen Hayley.

Mrs. Bellerella’s evil family broke out of their home and went to the castle to break the spell and steal the magic flowers. Meanwhile, the knights were back at the castle practicing their sword fighting and had to stop and rush to capture the evil stepmother Tamaraleen and the evil stepsisters Lesly and Emily. They saved Mrs. Bellerella and Miss Janarella! The magic flowers were destroyed, but the princes loved Mrs. Bellerella and Miss Janarella anyway. They got married in the front of the castle. They kissed. And they lived happily ever after. Oh, and by the way, they each had two kids who were cousins and liked to play together. The End!!”

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