A Pop Culture Assignment for Kate!

Last year I assigned Kate a summer of horror. It was a last minute change. I originally planned on assigning her four first books in a series. It turns out that at least one of those titles, she read with her carpool partner (Mom), Red Queen by the Victoria Aveyard so I’m pretty sure she this is a challenge she will like. I do have a good taste in books if I do say so something. So here we go. Kate’s pop culture homework assignment.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer A new twist on the classic fairy tale Cinderella. This time Cinderella is a cyborg living in New Beijing and there’s a threat of Luna. A kingdom on the moon. Strong female character that looks at Cinderella in a different way and did I mention Moon people. I think you’ll like it. The first book in a four book series.

Firebug by Lish McbrideThis was one of my favorite books I’ve read in a long time. It is beyond hysterical and full of life and magic. Ava is a firebug. She can light things on fire and unfortunately, her special powers has got her caught up with the Coterie, a magical mafia organization. She has to go on the run when she refuses a job. I can’t wait to hear what you think. First book in a duology.

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow. This is a definitely different from the others. It was truly gripping. The world has fallen apart and is now ruled by an AI named Talos. To keep the world from going to war, they have taken an Medieval approach and demanding that every country give a hostage. If they decide to go to war, the hostage is killed. Morality tale and coming of age story. It’s a little trippy. First book in a duology.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. This one you are going to have to read because an audio book is not going to fully illustrate Juliette’s mental state. When we meet Juliette, she is imprisoned for being a danger to herself and others. A little dystopian story mixed in with supernatural powers. First book in a series of six.

Review: Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

stars above As you may have noticed.  Kate and I haven’t posted much lately.  I’ve been on vacation and had every intention of updating while I was gone but I was too busy enjoying doing nothing but hanging out with my parents and friends that blogging didn’t happen.  Oops.  Let’s try to make up.

Stars Above is a collection of short stories that takes place in the world of Lunar Chronicles.  Most of the them are prequels, giving readers more insight into who the characters were before the action the novels.  In the case of the first story, The Keeper, it fills in the story of how Cinder came to earth and how Michelle Benoit and Scarlett fit into her life before she became a cyborg.  Glitches follows Cinder as she meets her step family for the first time and how she went from the great hope to the just the mechanic.  In the Mechanic we get to read Kai’s first meeting with Cinder from his perspective and the final story, Something Old, Something New takes place a few years after the end of Winter where the whole gang comes back together for the wedding of two them.  I won’t say who because I don’t want to spoil it but you will be happy.  My favorite story was The Little Android. It’s the only story that doesn’t star anyone from the Lunar Chronicles but does feature a cameo by Cinder.  It’s about an Android like Iko that wants to be more then just an android.  She starts to have feelings with a human and buys an escort android body to pass herself as human to get closer to him.  The problem is that the man is in love with someone else.  We get a better view of what life is like for people living in New Beijing before Cinder’s revolution for androids, cyborgs and humans.  It’s a very bittersweet story but beautiful written.  This collection is worth it just for this story alone even if you are not a fan of the Lunar Chronicles.  For the fans, it’s a must read.

Series I said Goodbye to in 2015

For my last Series You Should Check Out post of the year I thought I would do something different. In the spirit of Award Shows In Memoriam segments.  I thought I would take the time to highlight and say goodbye to the series that I loved that came to their conclusion this year.  It was only 4 and I know that I have highlighted them once (or many times) before but all good things need a proper send off.  So without much further ado.  Here are the Series that I said Goodbye to in 2015.

  1. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
    What can I say about this series that I haven’t already said? I am truly going to miss this it.  The mix of fairy tales and sci fi was perfect. It never felt forced.  How Miss Meyer was able to incorporate this familiar stories into her own new world and combine them with such ease was truly impressive.  It all came off naturally and fun.  It was full of romance, action, wonderful heroines and even a little social commentary on how we treat those who are different and the difference between tyranny and freedom and the lengths one goes to lead.  Next year Meyer will release a collection of short stories that revolve around reverse perspectives of important scenes and even a wedding for one of our couples but it had the perfect ending for a fairy tale.  They all lived happily ever after.
  2. Penryn and the End of the Days by Susan Ee
    This series was very different in it’s look at Angels.  As they are not all that angelic like at all or at least how we have come to think of Angels to be like.  It touched on two major trends in YA of late with both it’s dystopian and fantasy elements and they blended nicely.  It also had a strong lady protagonist in Penryn.  She was brave, smart and fierce.  She had flaws though.  She had to get over her own fears and even prejudice to truly win the fight.  It was an uneven trilogy as the second book wasn’t as strong as the first but it was still a great read.  I’m curious to see what Susan Ee does next now that Penryn has come to a very satisfying ending.
  3. The Goddess War by Kendare Blake
    Greek Gods and Goddesses living in the modern world is not a new idea. We all know of Rick Riordan’s work but this was a little different.  Instead of Gods and Goddesses that live on top of the Empire State Building overseeing what is going on in the world.  These Gods and Goddesses actually live in it though barely does anyone know who they really are.  It was a twist on the Greek Champions.  Instead of them being the children of the Gods, they are the original Champions, reborn.  Once again, we are introduced to Odysseues, Hector, Achilles, Cassandra and more.  Instead of reliving the Trojan War they make their own paths to save the Gods and Goddess of Olympus.  It was fun, a little romantic, action packed and a new take on everything we have grown to love about Greek Mythology.
  4. Finishing School by Gail Carriger                                                                      In this steampunk version of England there is a girls finishing school that not only teaches girls to be the finest women in all of England but also the deadliest.  Sophronia is the best student at Madame Geraldine’s.  Through four books she has drove every teacher banners with her constant curiosity and always in the thick of things.  She knows every square inch of the ship that is her school and every secret there is to know in England.  From the inter-workings of vampire hives and werewolves clans to evil secret society of the Picklemen.  She has thwarted evil plans and made friends with those all over the class spectrum.  From the charming Soap who is black and one of the sooties who works on the ship to the devilishly handsome Felix who is a Duke’s son.  She may be a women in Victorian England but she is anything but helpless.  More then once she uses her own skills and intelligence to save the realm from treasonous acts.  It’s funny so funny and filled with action and excitement that I’m sorry it’s ending but good news is that Gail Carriger has other series set in this world.

So those are series that ended that year that I love.  What series did you love that ended this year?


Rereading Winter by Marissa Meyer

This is it.  I don’t want to say that this will be the last time I read Winter or The Lunar Chronicles but I am ready to move on.  This was a very lovely series that was just fun to read.  So here we go. My last few observations Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, Kai, Throne, Wolf and Jacin.

  1.  I liked all the romances but Scarlet and Wolf’s is the best.  Wolf is torn from his family, forced into the army, his body physically altered and none of this he wanted.  He spent the entire series fighting what was done to him so he could have his own choice.  That he wasn’t just a monster he was made to be and Scarlet saw him.  Maybe from the very beginning when he was just sitting in the tavern, maybe in the fight pit or maybe on the train but she saw HIM and even after everything, that’s all she ever saw.  That’s love.
  2. I do love Throne’s devious plan to prove he’s worthy of Cress’ love.  That my friend is a criminal mastermind.
  3. Winter is adorable.  I’m not sure what I think of Jacin.  He’s still a jerk but he does have his reasons.  If I was raised in the Lunar court I would probably be like that too.  I saw that they both truly cared for each other but I wasn’t quite connected with them as a couple as the others.  Maybe since I only really got one book with them and they spent most of the book apart from each other.
  4. Cinder is amazing.  After everything that she has been through.  She still finds away to be fair to Adri and  Peony when they had never been fair to her.  A lesson we all can learn.  She will make a great leader.  I think that best leaders are the ones who don’t want to but do when needed.
  5. I do hope that she and Kai do stay together
  6. I’ve said this before but I do love the friendship between Cinder and Throne.  He was the first to follow her and to go along with what she wanted and needed.  True at first he thought their would be money involved but he was game for everything.  I think that is what made he final battle that much more powerful.
  7. Levana is a terrible person but she also had a terrible upbringing.  I read Fairest, the prequel, and we find out that she was never shown love from her parents.  Her sister was cruel to her and was responsible for her own burn injuries.  She had always felt inferior and really just wanted to be loved.  She was the second daughter.  The second woman in his husbands life.  Well really the third after Winter.  She was never anyone’s first until she ascended to the throne and only because she manipulated everyone.  I’m not saying any of this excuses her behavior but terrible people are not created in a vacuum.
  8. Whatever Marissa Meyer will write next. I’m totally going to read it.

What did you all love about The Lunar Chronicles?

Rereading Cress by Marissa Meyer

Now on to Cress.  If you have been following along.  You can read my thoughts about my second readings on Cinder and Scarlet there and there. Again *Spoilers*

  1. I think I mentioned this before but I love how our heroines have non-traditional jobs.  Cinder is a mechanic, Scarlet is a pilot and farmer and Cress is a computer programmer and hacker.  They may be based on fairy tales but doesn’t mean that have be damsels in distress. (though I do love Cress’ line about being a damsel in distress instead of a being a prisoner)
  2. I do love the friendship between Cinder and Throne.  The bickering back and forth between the two is truly delightful.  It really sets up for the big ending.
  3. Cress’ reaction to seeing sand, trees and animals for the first time is just plain adorable.  I love the scenes where she is forced to describe their surroundings to Throne who has temporarily lost his eyesight.  It’s really cute.
  4. In Cinder Jacin is described as having a pony tail but is never described with one again.  Does he get his haircut?
  5. Also a lot of characters have blue eyes.  Cress, Throne, Jacin and Dr. Erland.  Okay that’s only 4 but that is half of them.
  6. When Jacin says he serves the Princess, did everyone just forget that Winter exits?  That might have been a good idea to say, hey how did you know?  I know there were a little unsure if they could trust him and for good reason but it probably might have been a good idea to let him in on the Princess Selene angle.  Sure, he might have did what he did anyway but maybe not.  Communication could have been a little better, that’s all I’m saying.
  7. Lunars can be real jerks.  They manipulate and torture Scarlet and then put her on display in the menagerie.  I do hope Cinder gets rid of the families when she takes over.
  8. I hope they make a movie or TV show because I want to see the scene at the end when Kai is looking for Cinder and sees Wolf sewing up his wound and looks up and says “Your Majesty”.  Classic.
  9. Wolf.  sigh

One more book to go.  I probably won’t have as many thoughts about Winter since I did just recently finished it but that doesn’t mean I’m any less excited about it.

Rereading Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

scarletNow on to Scarlet. I do love this book too.  I love the no nonsense of Scarlet.  The almost innocence of Wolf. Captain Thorne cockiness.  Cinder’s sarcasm. Kai’s sarcasm and Iko as a ship.  Just like I did with my rereading of Cinder, he’s a few observations I may have missed or didn’t think much of the first time around or just things that I love about this story. *Spoilers*

  1. Seriously, is there a better character as Iko ever.  Whether she is a regular android, a ship or an escort droid, she’s the best.  I mean that.  No way the team can accomplish anything if Iko wasn’t there.  She’s very Data like (Star Trek reference!) in her quest to be be and feel more human.  She’s a total optimist in the face of the immense odds and gets everyone going when they feel that can’t go on.  She’s the best!
  2.  When Kai starts to think that the Lunar’s are spying on him, why doesn’t he have his office swept then?  Why wait?  The worst thing that could happen is that there are no bugs and he was just paranoid but the best, he could have stopped  their spying a little sooner.  Of course, who knows what Levana’s reaction would have been then but she was probably going to attack anyway.
  3. Wolf not knowing what Tomatoes were and saying he was from Paris probably should have been a bigger red flag that he was not actually from Paris.  I’m not all that familiar with French food beyond pastries but I’m sure he would have at least seen a tomato before.
  4. How much time did Dr. Erland spend on building new hand and foot for Cinder?  Is that what he was doing when he was hiding from Levana instead of researching the antidote? Or did he have spare cyborg body parts at the ready and once he found her pulled out what he needed once he found her? And if Cinder hadn’t been arrested, when would he have given it to her?
  5. Anyone else want to talk about how creepy it was that Throne wanted to take an unconscious Emile hostage?
  6. How cute was Wolf when Scarlet suggested that she was his Alpha female?  Love seeing men blush.
  7. Let’s give props to Michelle Benoit.  She keeps the biggest secret the world has ever none for 11 years and still doesn’t give it up under severe torture.  Sacrifices herself and her son to do so and still was able to do some serious trash talking before she dies.

I feel like there was more  I wanted to say but I can’t remember.  I really should write these things done.  Next up, Cress.

Rereading Cinder by Marissa Meyer

cinderEarlier this month, we posed the question, should you reread the previous books before reading the final book in the series or just dive in.   Kate on the other hand has gone back to the beginning of The Raven CycleOf course, she still has five months until the final book The Raven King comes out.     I decided to go ahead and read Winter, the final book in the Lunar Chronicles.  Which was fantastic! I loved it so much that I decided to take my friend Valerie’s advice and read the last book and then go back to the beginning.  So I did and there were some things that I didn’t noticed or didn’t think were important at the time that now that I’ve read the whole series seems silly.  So let’s the observations begin. Obviously spoilers will follow.

  1. In almost every scene that has Sybil or Levana in it the narrative always points out that the blond guard behind them.  This of course is Jacin.  We don’t know that, in fact he is only named once in Cinder. It does bring up the question, if he’s just a guard then why spend so much time reminder the reader that he’s there.  It should have been the first clue that he would play a bigger role.
  2. How nonchalant Dr. Erland was in hearing that droids were harvesting id chips from letumosis victims. We learn in Cress that he is responsible for the genetics behind the Luna’s Wolf army so he probably knows or at least on some idea as to why the androids would be taking the chips, more then what he said.
  3. Adri selling off Iko.  She’s been sitting on a goldmine for years and didn’t know it.  I guess that is partly her husband’s fault for not telling her about his work, you know just in case something happens like catch the plague.  It also makes me wonder how involved she was in his work or in his life?  She seems to be like someone who married for comfort then love.  She is lucky that Cinder saved Iko.
  4. Why doesn’t anyone ask why Levana is so insistent on catching Cinder?  If Levana is so sure that she is just a shell or just another Lunar then why would she threatened war over her?  These are red flags people! did no one think, maybe we should look further into Cinder’s background, like how she got to earth in the first place.

Stay tuned for more observations for Scarlet.

Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Featured image*Beware of Spoilers*

This was everything that I wanted it to be.  It was thrilling, romantic, action packed and yes it had some happy endings.  It is a fairy tale after all.  Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, Kai, Wolf, Throne and Jacin go through quite a lot in this but I think even they would say it was worth it.  As a whole this has been a very satisfying.  I don’t think you can say one book was weaker then the other.  They were all pretty solid.  All the heroines were strong in their own way and can I give props to Marissa Meyer for giving them all jobs commonly associated with men.  Cinder is a mechanic.  Scarlet is a farmer and pilot and Cress is a computer programmer.  Winter is the only one that follows the stereotypical fairy tale occupation of Princess but it doesn’t diminish her in any way.  While they do have the help of their male love interests, the girls are not damsels in distress and in Winter they prove it.   Continue reading