Publisher: Feiwel and Friends


Stars Above by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

July 11, 2017 Book Review, Young Adult 1 ★★★★★

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer | Book ReviewStars Above by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4.5
Also in this series: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Winter
Published by Feiwel and Friends on February 2, 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Retelling, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 369
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought from Amazon
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
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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The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.
Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….
The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.
The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.
After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.
The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The Princess.
The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.
Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century...

I’ve never been a huge fan of the novellas that accompany full length novels. I rarely, rarely read them unless I love the world and the characters so much that I absolutely cannot let a story of theirs go unread. This was the case for Stars Above. I love The Lunar Chronicles so much that I wanted to know everything about everyone in them. The more info, the better! I knew about all the novellas as they were released, and I even got some of them on Kindle. I was never full motivated to read them, though, until I found out they were all being released together in a hardback bundle. It was then that I knew things were getting serious. I was also super heartbroken that the series was ending, so having another set of stories to anticipate helped me recover after finishing Winter, which I loved so much. Some of these stories really shine, whereas others were just ok for me.

My favorite story was Something Old, Something New, which is the epilogue to Winter. There’s a wedding of one of my favorite couples from the series, and oh the feels. I loved it. I also liked seeing Cinder and Kai’s first meeting in The Mechanic. And I love Thorne so much, so obviously I loved seeing a teenaged Thorne dream of his future in Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky. Oh, and I loved The Keeper! I loved learning about Cinder’s and Scarlet’s beginnings and Michelle’s part in all this. Several of the stories were quite sad, including Glitches and The Queen’s Army. They always say that heroes gain heroism by channeling their heartbreaking pasts, and that is clearly evident through these stories.

Really, I just loved the small snapshots into the pasts and side stories of the characters I’ve grown to love so much. This entire book, but mostly the epilogue, was a really special way to say goodbye to my favorite crew in the sky. I finished the series in January of last year, and read this book last summer, but I still can’t stop thinking about and missing these crazies and their shenanigans and intense love for one another. I think I need to re-read the entire series soon. I need to go back to the happy place that is the universe of the Lunar Chronicles.

How do you feel about companion novellas in series like this one?
If you’ve read these ones, which was your favorite?


Coutdown to Heartless by Marissa Meyer!! | Book Review + Challenge

October 15, 2016 Blog Tour, Book Review, Young Adult 0 ★★★½

Coutdown to Heartless by Marissa Meyer!! | Book Review + ChallengeHeartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel and Friends on November 8, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
AmazonBarnes & Noble Add to Goodreads
3.5 Stars
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.

You’d have to living under a rock to not know that the blogosphere is all a buzz with celebration as we count down the days to Marissa Meyer’s Heartless! Today is my day to share my review with you, however… let’s get something out of the way first:

There are only 24 days until Heartless!

 Are you excited to see what the evil Queen of Hearts was like before she became evil??
Well you should be!

heartless promo

 

So! What did I think of Heartless? Well… it was pretty insane. lol. Let me preface this review by saying that I am not a fan of Alice in Wonderland. I did not like the movie as a kid, and I’ve never read a retelling (or even been interested in reading one). I read this book based solely on my love for Marissa Meyer and The Lunar Chronicles, which is one of my very favorite series ever in life. We saw how she wrote Queen Levana’s backstory in Fairest, and I was super intrigued to see her write another villain’s story. Marissa did a wonderful job with the Queen of Hearts, and even though I’ve never been a fan of the Wonderland world I really enjoyed reading about it in Heartless. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Since when do I love a villain? Marissa is so good at making you fall in love with the characters who you know will end up doing nothing but breaking your heart in the end. Catherine is sweet and spunky and so full of innocence and hope. I just loved her personality and her quirky love of baking and her sarcasm. We all know how she turns out, but boy was I hoping for a different outcome.

2. Jest. *swoon* Oh my goodness. I love that court joker so much. He’s so witty and charming in a broody, nerdy, adorkable kind of way. Right at the beginning of the story the King of Hearts (who is the grossest, slimiest, giggliest, creepiest guy I’ve read about in a long while) throws a ball that Catherine attends. Partway through Jest makes a grand appearance, mesmerizing everyone there. He captured Catherine’s heart immediately, and he captured mine right along with it.

3. The supporting characters are all so much fun. I really liked the Hatter, and he was one of my least favorite characters from the old Disney movie. I also loved Cheshire and the turtle and the lion and Raven. What a fun little band of whimsical characters.

4. Speaking of whimsy, ho boy. Marissa is a wonderful writer, and I got so caught up in some of her scenes. Such beautiful storytelling. At the same time, though, the whimsy got to be a little much for me at times. We’re in Wonderland, though, right? When in Wonderland, expect over the top.

5. So many yummy treats adorn the pages of Heartless. I got so hungry reading about all of Catherine’s dessert creations!

6. The story is about so much more than the origin of the Queen of Hearts. We’ve got all these other characters (like Peter Peter the Pumpkin Eater) and characters from other kingdoms and a Jabberwock and we really get to see what all of Wonderland was like before Lewis Carroll’s story.

7. This story is SO heartbreaking. We all know that Catherine becomes the Queen of Hearts. How can anyone go into this not knowing that, right? Well… I knew, and I still kept hoping things would go my way. I wanted my perfect ending. Her decline to queendom and the reasons behind that decline just completely broke my heart. All the characters broke my heart in some way, but it had to happen. I don’t even know why I thought this wouldn’t happen. Haha.

All in all, this was a fun vacation from my comfort zone! Marissa Meyer was able to get me to enjoy a story that I was convinced I would not like. I’m not familiar enough with Alice In Wonderland and the other companion stories to really understand everyone’s role in Heartless, but I got the general idea and think Marissa did an awesome job of making a timeless classic her own. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves Alice, Wonderland, Marissa Meyer, great fantasy, and stellar writing. I can’t wait to see what Marissa does next!


About Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer is the USA Today- and New York Times-bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, and Fairest, a Lunar Chronicles Tale. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her husband.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest


Join the #HEARTLESSCOUNTDOWN!

Join Fierce Reads in celebrating all things Heartless by Marissa Meyer! Starting Monday, September 19, they will be counting down to on sale with daily challenges where you can show your love and excitement, AND where you’ll have the chance to win a special edition advance copy of Heartless and MORE every single day.

Enter for your chance to win each day from September 19 – November 8 on Twitter or Instagram using #HeartlessCountdown and #Sweepstakes. Check out the schedule to see all the challenges.

Today’s Challenge:

heartless-10-15-16-1024x512

Who can resist a perfect YA kiss? Share your favorite #yalit kiss for a chance to win today’s #HeartlessCountdown challenge!

To complete the challenge, share your favorite YA kiss! You can use words, fanart, gifs, emojis, whatever you want to share/describe/etc. Be sure to tag with #HeartlessCountdown and #sweepstakes!

 


Winter by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

January 19, 2016 Book Review, Young Adult 6 ★★★★★

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: Bought from Amazon
Add to Goodreads
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 Detour by S.A. Bodeen | Blog Tour Mini Book Review

September 28, 2015 Blog Tour, Book Review, Young Adult 0 ★★★

The Detour by S.A. Bodeen | Blog Tour Mini Book ReviewThe Detour by S.A. Bodeen
Published by Feiwel and Friends on October 6, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller
Pages: 224
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
On her way to a writer’s conference, a bestselling teenage author takes a detour that has been deliberately set up by her biggest fans—a mother and daughter who kidnap her.

Livvy Flynn is a big deal—she’s a New York Times-bestselling author whose YA fiction has sold all over the world. She’s rich, she’s famous, she’s gorgeous, and she’s full of herself.

When she’s invited to an A-list writer’s conference, she decides to accept so she can have some time to herself. She’s on a tight deadline for her next book, and she has no intention of socializing with the other industry people at the conference.

And then she hits the detour. Before she knows it, her brand new car is wrecked, she’s hurt, and she’s tied to a bed in a nondescript shack in the middle of nowhere. A woman and her apparently manic daughter have kidnapped her. And they have no intention of letting her go.

Welcome to my spot along the blog tour for The Detour by S. A. Bodeen! I really love thrillers and mysteries because they have the power to grab you immediately and not let go until the very end. When I’m in a reading slump, I pick up a thriller. That’s what I did in this case as well! It has been quite some time since I read a book that I was so excited about that I chose to read it instead of watching Netflix. lol. I’m in a major slump, and have been for the better part of the year. The Detour is a quick, fast-paced, tension-filled read that had me very curious and eager to answer my questions.

While the book was not scary, it was creepy and uncomfortable. The people who took Livvy are insane. I kept wondering what they were going to put her through next. And why did they kidnap her? I enjoyed the mostly believable plot, and I liked that Livvy is a teen author. I always love books that involve bookish characters. I just wish I liked her more. Livvy is stuck up and pretentious, not to mention downright rude, and I had a hard time hoping the best for her. I already mentioned I did not like the other characters, so… it’s hilarious that I enjoyed this book as much as I did! I cared more about the story than the characters, so my not liking them did not detract from my enjoyment of the book. The action is fast-paced and there were moments I was scared for Livvy. Luckily the book was a little shorter so I could power through and solve the mystery.

Overall, I enjoyed The Detour very much. It’s an entertaining, quick read that is perfect for getting you in the mood for Halloween… without keeping you up all night. Give it a shot if you’re looking for something to grab you immediately!


The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente | Mini Book Review

August 20, 2015 Book Review, Middle Grade 4

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente | Mini Book ReviewThe Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Series: Fairyland #1
Published by Feiwel and Friends on May 10, 2011
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 247
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
Amazon Add to Goodreads
1 Stars
Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.
 

This is one strange little book, with language I’m not sure I would have understood at age 11 or 12, which is the age I would recommend this book to. I think it’s too young for teenagers, but I don’t think I would have liked is as a tween, but I was not a fan of fairy tales at that age. I’m sure I would have liked the wyvern’s (dragon) humor and the cute illustrations at the beginning of each chapter, though. As an adult, I found myself being bogged down by purple prose (and too much of it!) and so many details that I was unable to actually keep track of what was going on.

The writing style is very pretty and ornate, but too much so and the language is too advanced for the age group the book is marketed to. September’s voice is very strong and dynamic, but she does not act her age (12) because of the way she talks and the way she acts (she uses an advanced vocabulary, but at the same time is naïve enough to run away with the Green Wind). There were too many details and it was so overly stylized that I found myself spacing out and losing focus. It made me tired. I also felt that referring to September as being “Ravished” was a bit odd and sexual. Overall, I just wasn’t a fan and am not sure who I would even recommend it to because it does not fit into one specific age group.


Fairest by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

June 25, 2015 Book Review, Young Adult 6 ★★★½

Fairest by Marissa Meyer | Book ReviewFairest by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Also in this series: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, Stars Above
Published by Feiwel and Friends on January 27, 2015
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Retelling, Science Fiction
Pages: 222
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought from Amazon
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3.5 Stars
In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

I’ve never really been a fan of the villain in any story because I don’t usually like the villain! Sure, there have been some exceptions to that rule, but I really wasn’t sure I wanted to learn about Levana and her excuses for being such an awful person. But I love Marissa Meyer and The Lunar Chronicles, so of COURSE I wanted to read Fairest. While I did not love it as much as the full-length novels in this series, I enjoyed Levana’s back story, I feel prepared to read Winter, and I also learned quite a few things about Cinder that surprised me. Bottom line, this book was certainly worth reading! So if you’re on the fence as to whether or not you should, definitely do it. You’ll learn things and more pieces will start to fit into the puzzle.

Levana is EVIL. I mean wow. Pure evil. At times I felt bad for her, but she is seriously a psychopath. I felt bad for her. She went through a lot in her youth, and all of these things helped shaped her to be a ruthless, evil witch she is. She had a horrible upbringing. We hear the heartbreaking story of why she must hide behind an artificial glamour, we hear her experience with being rejected by the man she loved, and her inner feelings and compulsions are brought to light. It’s a very interesting character analysis, and it adds a lot to the story, giving it more of a solid foundation. I do like knowing the why’s and how’s of any situation, and this book gives you that. I’ll never feel like Levana is justified in her actions, but at least I know why she is so crazy.

As always, Marissa Meyer’s writing is flawless and I loved being immersed in this world once again. I’m even more excited for Winter now!


Of Neptune by Anna Banks | Book Review

June 10, 2015 Book Review, Young Adult 1 ★★½

Of Neptune by Anna Banks | Book ReviewOf Neptune by Anna Banks
Series: The Syrena Legacy #3
Also in this series: Of Poseidon, Of Triton
Published by Feiwel and Friends on May 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 330
Format: Hardcover
Source: Goodreads first read
Amazon Add to Goodreads
2.5 Stars
Emma, who is half human and half Syrena, and her Syrena love, Galen, need time together. Alone. Away from the kingdoms of Poseidon and Triton. Emma’s grandfather, the Poseidon king, suggests the two visit a small town called Neptune.

Neptune is home to both Syrena and Half-Breeds alike. But Emma and Galen didn’t sign up to be peacemakers between the ocean-living Syrena and the land-dwelling, freshwater counterparts. They didn’t bargain for meeting a charming Half-Breed named Reed, who can barely disguise his feelings for Emma. And they especially didn’t expect to find themselves in the middle of a power struggle that threatens not only their love, but their ocean kingdoms.

In this stunning conclusion to her bestselling Syrena Legacy, Anna Banks thrills fans with more action and romance than ever.

I really, REALLY loved the first two books in The Syrena Legacy, Of Poseidon and Of Triton. I was excited for this third book because I loved the characters. At the same time, I felt like there wasn’t really a need for a third book. Of Triton wrapped up everything for me, and I felt like there really was nothing left I needed from the series. For this reason, I was also worried I would not love Of Neptune. Sadly, I was right. I almost didn’t even finish it and that broke my heart.

I don’t know if I’m tired of Emma or what, but her little wacky idiosyncrasies really bugged me this time around. I feel like in areas of her life, she has grown and changed and matured. In other areas, though, she’s stayed the same silly little teenager she was before she discovered herself and her family and her destiny. Things I found funny in book one, like Emma’s “ohmysweetgoodness” and “fan-freaking-tastic” and sarcastic quips were not funny this time. I wanted her to grow up a little and show me that she has changed over the years. I didn’t even like her in this book. She’s selfish (SO SELFISH) and inconsiderate and petty. She acted too young to be in a relationship. They both did, really.

I didn’t love Galen this time, and that surprised me. Hs uses of marine words inserted into human phrases is not endearing anymore. He calls Emma “Angel Fish” and that really started to bug me! He has also gotten way too broody. I loved the romance in the first book, but things really fizzled in book 2 and even more in book 3. I’m not sure why, after everything we’ve been through with Emma and Galen, a brand new love triangle was necessary in this final book. Emma goes to a town of Half-Breeds called Neptune and meets Reed, who is immediately infatuated with her. He is immediately in love with her. He immediately wants to break Galen and her up. It feels so forced and awkward. And Emma actually considers this and I’m like, “WHAT!?” How can this even happen after it is decided that Galen and Emma are destined for one another. I don’t even believe their love story anymore if she is so easily swayed to leave him for someone else. And REED? He’s a very weak, rather useless addition to the story.

To be honest, the entire Half-Breed town fell a little short of my interest level.I did not enjoy this new storyline that had nothing to do with the other two books. I wanted the magical underwater romance that I got with the first book, and there is none of that. Galen and Emma don’t even get much time with one another. There’s a lot of pouting, brooding, jumping to conclusions, and immaturity and it just bothered me that it was coming from two people who hold a lot of responsibility and who I have invested so much time into. I missed Rayna, Nalia, Toraf, and Grom. They made small cameo appearances, and I did not get their fun personalities. They were the ones I was so excited to see again! I don’t care about these new Half-Breeds and their hidden agendas. I wanted my Syrena family back!

I will admit that I loved the epilogue. If this epilogue had been placed at the end of Of Triton, I would have been a happy girl. If you enjoyed Of Poseidon and Of Triton and are looking for a little something more, definitely read the epilogue because it is very sweet and wraps things up nicely. Of Neptune is not necessary, though, and it pains me to say that more than you might expect.


Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn | Book Review

August 14, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 3 ★½

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn | Book ReviewBroken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn
Series: Broken Hearts & Revenge #1
Published by Feiwel and Friends on May 13, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 339
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
Amazon Add to Goodreads
1.5 Stars
Hot sun. Blue waves. New romances. Old secrets.

Gemma had her summer all planned out, but it takes a sharp turn when she gets dumped and finds herself back in the Hamptons after a five-year absence.

Being there puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friends (that is, before Gemma ruined her life). But people don't hold grudges forever. Do they?

Gemma intends on making amends, but a small case of mistaken identity causes the people she knew years ago—including Hallie and her dreamy brother, Josh—to believe she's someone else. As though the summer wasn't complicated enough already.

Filled with summer sun, boys, and friendships gone sour, Katie Finn's first novel in the Broken Hearts and Revenge series sizzles and delights.

I was very excited to read Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend, because I was expecting a fun summer romance in the Hamptons. I knew Katie Finn was a pen name for Morgan Matson, and since I had not read any of Morgan’s books I was looking forward to seeing what kind of an author she is. Sadly, this book was not at all what I was hoping for. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. We’ve got Gemma, a 16-year-old girl who has been haunted by the fact that she literally ruined the life of her best friend, Hallie, and Hallie’s family when she was 11 years old. Oh. My. Gosh. When I say ruined, I mean RUINED. When I heard the story of what Gemma selfishly did this poor family, I lost all respect for her and never gained it back. Some might argue that she was just a kid, but she was not 5 or 6. She was 11. She totally knew what she was doing and the ramifications behind it.

She runs into Hallie and Hallie’s brother, Josh (who she had no idea was Hallie’s brother–seriously?), during a return trip to the Hamptons and decides to lie about who she is in order to “make amends”. I’m sorry, but in what universe does lying about who you are and lulling your friends into a false sense of security before dropping the bomb on them that you’re the life ruiner equal making amends and living happily ever after? How can anyone in their right mind think this is going to work? So, Gemma becomes Sophie for the summer and becomes besties with Hallie and a love interest for the romantically scarred Josh. My mind is screaming at this point.

2. I can’t like a book character who continually lies. Sophie’s (Gemma’s) cover is almost blown multiple times, and I kept wishing it would be. I wanted her to be caught in her lies because I just could not stand how she was manipulating and lying to two people she claimed to care about. I kept hoping she would grow up, buck up, and fess up. But she kept weaving this hugely tangled web of lies that became way too much.

3. I kept thinking that the entire story was extremely childish and immature. I felt too old for the story. I rarely feel this way with YA books because I can almost always find something to relate to, either from my younger years or my current life situations. I just could not this time, and that was disappointing.

4. Obviously, I did not connect with Gemma/Sophie, but I did not connect with anyone. I liked Josh and thought he was way too good to be mixed up in all this. But I was never privy to what he was feeling or thinking. I liked Hallie ok, but never trusted her. Maybe all the lies prevented connections, but that’s not a good thing.

5. The only redeeming part of the book was Gemma’s dad’s boss, Bruce. Bruce is hilarious. He’s trying to lose weight in really weird ways, yet sneaks junk food when his helpful assistant is not paying attention. I really, really liked him, and he brought a lot of humor to the story that needed to be there.

6. I had the ending pegged from the beginning. I’m very surprised that Gemma didn’t.

7. The ending was one of the worst, most frustrating endings I’ve read and left me mad at every character.

8. There was NO resolution whatsoever. I have no problems with trilogies, but when the first book ends having given me absolutely nothing, it leaves me with very little motivation to continue on to book 2.

All in all, the shenanigans that ensued as a result of Gemma’s lies were funny, but only because they were so absurd and a touch infuriating that I had to laugh. I was hoping for so much more from this book, with its cute cover and a synopsis that screamed summer fun. I’m come away with the realization that I like reading about nice characters, not characters who lie, plot revenge, and hurt other people. If you’re looking for a light summer read, I would suggest looking in to some other titles. I’m still very interested in Morgan Matson’s books, but will most likely pass on other Katie Finn books.


Cress by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

January 2, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 39 ★★★★★

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: From the Publisher
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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.


Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2) by Emmy Laybourne (Book Review)

June 17, 2013 Book Review, Young Adult 13 ★★★★

Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2) by Emmy Laybourne (Book Review)Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne
Series: Monument 14 #2
Also in this series: Monument 14
Published by Feiwel and Friends on May 28, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic, Survival
Pages: 212
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
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4 Stars
Trapped in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, including a monster hailstorm and terrifying chemical weapons spill, brothers Dean and Alex learned how to survive and worked together with twelve other kids to build a refuge from the chaos. But then strangers appeared, destroying their fragile peace, and bringing both fresh disaster and a glimmer of hope.

Knowing that the chemical weapons saturating the air outside will turn him into a bloodthirsty rage monster, Dean decides to stay in the safety of the store with Astrid and some of the younger kids. But their sanctuary has already been breached once. . . .

Meanwhile, Alex, determined to find their parents, heads out into the darkness and devastation with Niko and some others in a recently repaired school bus. If they can get to Denver International Airport, they might be evacuated to safety. But the outside world is even worse than they expected. . . .

If you read my review of Monument 14 last summer, you know I got quite attached to the children in this series. I’m not sure if it’s because I work with children all the time, or what, but I just had to know what happened to all of them–especially the ones who drove off in search of help at the end of the last book. What a cliffhanger to end on! Luckily, Sky on Fire picks up right where we left off and it does not take too much time to refresh your memory before being thrown right back into the action. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. I feel like there was a lot more action in this installment. Half the kids are driving a torn up bus through the ravaged towns and cities in search of a way to a safer world. Their goal is to make it to the Denver airport. All the while, they are trying to keep exposure to the atmosphere at a minimum, due to the dangerous effects of the chemicals in the air. This part of the story was the most exciting, and had me flying through the pages. The kids get attacked, their bus gets stolen, they find a little humanity left in the world, and they really get pushed to the limits. I was SO scared for them as I read.

2. And then we have the kids who stayed back at the store. Most of them become aggressive, murderous monsters when exposed to the chemicals, so they end up waiting things out in the hopes that their friends bring back rescuers. They are faced with their challenges as well including walls being torn down and letting the chemicals in, losing their electricity, and dealing with intruders.

3. I really like how the story flips back and forth between the two brothers, Alex and Dean. Alex, the younger brother, decided to go off in the bus with Niko and the others, while Dean stayed back with a pregnant Astrid and the little ones. We get to read Dean’s story as it happens, and Alex’s in the form of a journal he kept as a letter to Dean in case they didn’t make it.

4. Because such a huge part of the story takes place outside of the store, we finally get to see what’s really going on in the world during this time. The chemicals have absolutely decimated the place. These chemicals are so powerful, that they dissolve rubber after a few hours. The few remaining survivors are pretty much insane, heartless, or not even human anymore. The world has been plunged into complete darkness. Scary! I really liked seeing what’s been going on outside the store.

5. Alex really shown in this novel, whereas I hardly remember him as being anything more than annoying in the first one. He has had to grown up, mature, and learn to remain level-headed. I liked reading his thoughts much more than Dean’s this time around.

6. Dean’s chapters were rather monotonous. There’s only so much that can happen in a store, and though some more intruders arrive and a romance blooms (one I’m not so sure I like, for that matter), I really looked forward to getting back to Alex.

7. Our supporting characters do not play the same dynamic roles this time around, and I really did not get to hear much about them. I missed little doomsday priest Batiste, although he is there piping in every once in a while. I think a little character development had to fall to the wayside since Alex was writing about his impressions, not giving us a play-by-play of what everyone is up to. Honestly, I didn’t mind much. I was so interested in what was going on, and how things would turn out, that I didn’t crave the dialogue between characters as much as I would have if they had all stayed in the store.

8. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. SO much happened! I had to keep reminding myself that these kids had only been living like this for a couple of weeks, because it’s insane how much happens to them and how long it takes to get places.

9. I was super satisfied with the ending (holy crap, it was tense and insane) until the last paragraph or so. I was thinking we were done, but BOOM. Cliffhanger! We are not done with kids of Monument yet, and I’m kind of excited to see where things go next.

All in all, Sky on Fire is a great read. It’s fast, action-packed, and I love those kids! I just want to squeeze them and save them from their world. They still have the strong determination to survive that they did in Monument 14, and I just LOVE watching children being portrayed in books as strong. I still love how much they care for each other. They are tenacious and smart, and they work with what they have. I just loved reading about them. Definitely read this book if enjoyed Monument 14, because I’m pretty sure I like this one better!