When you’re a reader, you might be interested in certain things. For example, you might want to be able to track the number of books you read. You might want to time yourself on how long it takes you to read one book. You might want to be social and share your reads with someone.
Luckily, the Internet exists and has provided us with numerous apps to keep us bookish folks updated and organized. I know that I have three very favorite bookish apps that keep my reading life pretty simple and organized. Here’s what I use:
A little side note: I didn’t know that Christina Lauren was two people! This was such a well written book knowing that two people contributed to the story. I kept trying to think about how they each contributed to both. Other books I’ve read written by two authors usually have two main voices. For this one, it was so consistent that you can’t even tell.
I was so excited to read Mary Ting’s newest book ISAN (International Sensory Assassins Network) because it’s been a while since I read a good dystopian YA. I also loved the idea of women assassins kicking butt and taking names. It was a great read and I can’t wait to chat more about it.
When I first started reading this book, I honestly thought this was going to be one of those super YA stories about a young woman who is on the brink of growing up and falls in love. Yes, it is all those things, but there is so much more to this than just vapid annoyance.
Trigger warning. Please note that this book has themes of:
I know I’m eons behind when it comes to reading this series, but I’ve been making a conscious effort to incorporate more books from my TBR into my regular reading. Hello, book buying ban. Goodbye, new reads that I’m slightly excited about but not enough to actually want to read and not hoard the book forever.
So I decided to read CINDER by Marissa Meyer because it’s been sitting in my TBR for years and I’ve heard so many good things. Don’t you hate it when you hear so many good things about a book that you haven’t read? Does it feel like you’re cheating yourself for not reading it when the hype with up?
Here’s some more about the book:
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.
CINDER is the first book in the Lunar Chronicle series. Much like the other stories in this series, it’s loosely based on the story of Cinderella except in this story she’s part cyborg living in the futuristic Beijing as a mechanic. The story has all the trappings of the fairy tale; there’s the evil stepmother with her wicked stepdaughters. There’s the handsome prince that she stumbles across randomly. There’s even a fairy godmother, but she’s also an android and one of Cinder’s only best friends. However, that’s where the book stop resembling Cinderella.
It’s set in the future. There’s a wild plague killing thousands of people and the Moon (Luna) and the Earth do not get along.
I love a good story with a strong female lead who is more determined to save herself than wait around for the handsome prince. Cinder was definitely the girl that saves herself in the end. Being adopted by her stepmother who didn’t love her, she had to fend for herself. I think in the fairy tale, I found that to be off the mark. Why would someone who doesn’t have anyone who loves her so desperate to find love? You would think that she would grow a thick skin and learn to love herself.
That’s what CINDER delivers here. You’re reading about a girl who was abandoned by everyone that loved her and come to live with someone that couldn’t stand her. Instead of crying about it and desperate to fall in love and get away from those people, Cinder is often found looking for ways to escape. She’s fixing up an old car so that she can use it as a getaway car. She’s trying to make some money behind her stepmother’s back so she has some funds to take care of herself. This seems much more on par with a modern feminine story than the old fairy tale.
I will say that this story was a bit on the predictable side. I figured out early on in the book that Cinder was who she was and her function in the entire story. However, predictability never means that the story is going to suck. It just means that it’s not going to be shocking when you find out that twist.
Marissa Meyer did a great job incorporating the predictable parts right at the moments when you needed to hear it. At one point, I thought my predictions were wrong and then the next chapter revealed everything.
Predictability aside, I didn’t really find that many flaws in this book. I was upset when Cinder was upset. I was rooting for her when she was championing against her enemies. I was also squinting my eyes in hopes of seeing past Queen Levana’s glamour and seeing just how ugly she really is. All in all, a solid story that will definitely run for the next one in the series. I already have the second one in my shopping cart.
I don’t normally include a song to go with my reviews, but the entire time I was reading this book I kept thinking of this Selena Gomez song Wolves. I’m also a huge fan of hers and well, thought it would make sense for a book like this.
When I was younger, I would concentrate super hard on the tops of trees. I would try to control the wind with my mind and a true test of that would be to make the branches sway. I did this up until I was in my teens always believing that the wind was on my side. The day that the branches did sway cemented in me that magic is real and we all have a little bit of it in us.
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is the story of Weylyn Grey told through the eyes of the people who encounter him. Weylyn Grey was born with magical powers; powers that allow him to speak with animals, grow plants, and change weather patterns with his emotions. The only power Weylyn’s ever wanted was to feel normal. When his parents inexplicably die, he was raised by wolves and only to be caught by the police and brought to live with the rest of society. You could only imagine the kind of life a wolf boy may have lived.
This book was honestly one of my favorite reads of the year. It uses magical realism to an extent that it’s whimsical. I’ve read a lot of heavy magical realism where strange things happen to people and those stories always seem so depressing. Instead, the magic depicted in this book makes you wish that magic was real. I guess in some ways, magic is always real.
The story is told in several different parts from the point of view of various different characters. Each part is from a different point in Weylyn’s life and the people he comes across. There’s always one new person he meets and they get to experience his magic for the first time. I can only imagine the awe on their faces when they see him grow a tree back or harness the power of fireflies. And each time I read a new thing he was doing, I felt like a little kid again excited to go to Disney World because that’s where Mickey Mouse lived.
I was confused at first and it might have been the copy I was reading, but I couldn’t place the timelines. It first takes place in present day, but then it jumps back to the early 90s. Then it’s back up to 2017 and it was at that point that I realized that the story begins with Weylyn meeting a new friend. He tells him his story and how he came to be and the people he remembers from that life. After that point, it was smooth sailing as I voraciously read the rest of the book.
I think the story brings out the child in you; that one little being that doesn’t remember what responsibilities are and finds the sun glittering in water to be a gift. Of course the story has its skeptics and life wasn’t all that easy for Weylyn, but the people who did believe helped him out. And I think my favorite part in all of this is that Weylyn never let the opinions of other people keep him from being himself. This goes double for the years he spent alone in the woods.
I was so surprised to see this book not get as much hype as it deserved. I didn’t see a lot of people bring it up and especially as a follower of Book of the Month Club, I was surprised that most people focused on the other books that month. Honestly, I feel like I stumbled upon The Neverending Story and I was Bastian and the only one who can know about its richness.
So I decided to look into some of the feedback other people provided. Maybe I was missing something that other people noticed. While mostly positive, I did see some comments on how the main character, Weylyn, fell flat for them. Because he wasn’t well developed or explained, people gave some negative feedback about it.
I can see where people can make that conclusion. It’s a story about a guy with magical powers, yet you find out very little about his life with the wolves or how he’s managed to live with such a power.
However, I’d like to beg to differ here. While I understand that people wanted to know more about Weylyn, I think the author purposefully left out the details of his life to keep him a mystery. The story is in the perspective of the other characters and those other characters don’t know much. All they know is a boy who can control the weather, has a pet pig, and lived with wolves.
I loved hat the author used this as a literary device to under-explain why Weylyn did what he did and what he was capable of doing. He’s just a man that comes and goes as he pleases. He’s caring and still carries the same childish exuberance for life that he did when he was a kid raised by wolves. Asking for more than that almost reveals the wizard behind the curtain. Knowing this might actually change the way Weylyn knows himself and almost cheapen the story. I’m happy to not know anything about him other than the tidbits the characters reveals. We’re all on that same journey together.
I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not paid to review this book.
This took me a little bit longer to read than I’d like to admit. I don’t think it has anything to do with the story itself, but with me being so busy with work and living that I don’t have time to read. I can’t believe I’m admitting that.
Synopsis (from Goodreads.com) – When her mother’s incessant matchmaking hits an all-time high, Georgie Archibald does what any sensible woman would do: she flees the country.
Seeking refuge in the picturesque seaside village of Vernazza, Italy, Georgie’s only plan is to lie low, gorge herself on gelato, and let the wine and waves wash her troubles away… that is until she wakes up in a bed that belongs to the most romantic-looking man she’s ever seen.
After going out of his way to rescue her, the former London financier turned mysterious recluse makes it clear that despite acting as her white knight, he has no plans to co-star in her fairytale.
But Georgie isn’t asking for his heart—she’s merely intrigued. After all, Gianluca isn’t just gorgeous—tall and tan from days spent in the sun—his touch sets her world on fire. With him, Georgie experiences the most intoxicating passion she’s ever known, and it only takes a few steamy nights for her to realize that sometimes running away from trouble is the best way to find it.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
My thoughts – I love R.S. Grey. I could probably read anything by her and enjoy it. Why? Because it’s like reading a little snippet into someone’s life without it being ridiculously tragic or overwhelmingly anxiety inducing. You read because you want to know that love is still a possibility in the world. You want to know that sometimes you can have your Happily Ever After.
This one is no exception. As we journey off to Cinque Terra in Italy, our girl Georgie experiences some once in a lifetime views, beaches, food, and men. However, the one she chooses is sort of a dud. I’m talking about heartache to the extreme.
However, what I love about R.S. Grey is that you’re not reading some sexy romance where all you want to do is get to the good stuff. No, you invest your time into knowing whether or not Georgie and Gianluca actually get together in the end.
I think the only thing I wanted to fault here (and basically the only reason why it got a 4.5 rather than the full 5 stars) is that the language and dialects didn’t seem accurate to the place they were in and the people they were encountering. Yes, Georgie is British and there were enough “blokes” and “mates” and “bloody hells” to really enforce that. However, I wasn’t sure of Gianluca’s character. He’s originally from Italy, but he lived in England for quite some time. Now he’s back in Italy and I couldn’t really imagine the right accent with his dialogue. It almost just felt American?
Anyway, that could just be a symptom of my brain and not something you all will face when reading this. I strongly suggest it especially in these cold months when all we can do is dream of a warm summer day in Italy.