Book Review – Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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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 centre 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.

Author Hazel

Cinder is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series. It is a young adult, sci-if romance/fairy tale retelling.

Cinder is based on the popular fairy tale of Cinderella, and has a similar basic plot. Cinder is treated like a slave by her stepmother and stepsister, there is a young, handsome Prince to fall in love with, an enchanting ball and then the pivotal plot point of Cinder losing her glass slipper. Now imagine this beloved story, but in Cinder, Cinderella is a cyborg! She lives in New Beijing, part of the Eastern Commonwealth, created after world war IV. She is a mechanic, and instead of animals as friends, she has androids.

New Beijing is an emergent new society rising from the destruction of world war IV. Earth is plagued by a lethal disease called letumosis. It is also teetering on the edge of another war with Luna. Luna is obviously the moon, but in this story, it is inhabited by Lunars. The leader of this race is the evil Queen Levana, who supposedly killed her own sister in order to take the throne. Lunars have special abilities known colloquially on Earth as magic but scientifically it is explained as manipulation of the bio-chemical electrical signatures within the brain or ‘glamouring’. The emperor of New Beijing has letumosis, so Prince Kaito (Kai) is desperately seeking a cure whilst trying to avoid a political marriage with the evil Queen Levana. He first meets Cinder when he brings his beloved android to be repaired and the fantastic plot and budding romance begins there.

I absolutely loved this book. Marissa Meyer has woven in such a fantastic and intricate plot within the basic story of Cinderella. I love the sci-if aspect of the story and the futuristic time the story is based in. I loved and hated the characters. Iko, Cinder’s android sidekick was brilliant. I loved how she had an almost human personality and her and Cinder’s friendship was lovely. Although Peony was one of Cinder’s stepsisters, they had a lovely sisterly relationship. Dr Erland was an eccentric and a little weird side character, who lends a scientifically heroic hand to Cinder. He was really interesting. Then of course there’s Cinder and Prince Kai. An almost opposites attract relationship, I loved his gentle persuing of Cinder, even when she kept turning him down.

Marissa Meyer wrote Adri and and Queen Levana so well, I hated them(almost as much as Joffrey from GoT lol). Adri was greedy and manipulative and used poor Cinder almost to her death. And Queen Levana is the epitome of evil, leading an entire people with brain washing and manipulation, only succeeding in getting what she wants through these methods.

The story is so gripping and imaginative even with it being a retelling. The story is plot and character driven, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. The characters were so well written, all with distinctive personalities and relationships with each other. It will be interesting to see who else we meet during the rest of the series.

Overall, I loved this book, so much I want to read the next one, Scarlet, straight away, and I rarely read a series back to back. I highly recommend this book and I gave it 5 🌟. Happy reading :mrgreen:📖

Wednesday Wonderings

Author – Laura

It’s hard to believe, but we could be considered an odd bunch here at The Bookspa. Fortunately we know each other pretty well, and aside from a knowing wink or two when Yasmin starts talking about the Black Dagger Brotherhood :), we could spend hours talking about our favourite book characters.

fictional character quote

If you’re a kindred spirit, and you’re happy while away hour after hour discussing the not insignificant virtues of heroes and heroines like Akiva and Karou, then you’re welcome at The Bookspa any time!

Friday Book Tag

Author – Laura

Book Blog Confessions Book Tag

We have done Book Tags before here on The Bookspa, (read post) but this one delves a bit deeper into our likes, dislikes and guilty pleasures. Hate is a very strong word that we try really hard not to use, so we are going in with hate, and out with love…

1. Which book, most recently, did you not finish? I started reading The Confessions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House, by Kate Summerscale. Although I was really enjoying it, I made the fatal mistake of putting it down, and I completely lost the thread of the plot. I will pick it up again, but it’s slipping down the TBR list…

2. Which book is your guilty pleasure? Twilight. Easy. But I need a blanket and chocolate when I’m reading it. It’s a whole sensory experience 😉

3. Which book do you love to hate? I think I have to say 50 Shades of Grey. It’s not a brilliantly written book, and the similarities between it and Twilight are quite distracting. That being said, I enjoyed reading a completely new genre and read all three books in a week, so it couldn’t have been that bad!

4. Which book would you throw into the sea? You don’t get books wet. Ever. But if I really had to pick, I’d say Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Ugh.

5. Which book have you read the most? The Harry Potter series. And I never, ever get bored of them.

6. Which book would you hate love to receive as a present? A signed copy of Good Omens. I think I would spontaneously combust.

7. Which book could you not live without? I’d be sad if I could never read Good Omens again, but there are so many beautiful books in the world that I’m sure I could manage. Just.

8. Which book made you the angriest? I don’t think I’ve ever been really angry at a book, but I’ve definitely been angry on behalf of a character. I remember being pretty mad at Brimstone when it looked like he’d left Karou all alone in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and I hate anything to do with hurting animals. But nothing is ever as it seems, and things normally work out for the best. I do like a happy ending!

9. Which book made you cry the most? It’s a toss up between The Green Mile and The Deathly Hallows. Proper sobfests both of them!

10. Which cover do you hate love the most? Hmm. There are so many beautiful covers. We wrote about our favourites a while back… Read Post I think the Angelfall series has beautiful covers, as does the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, and the Dark Heroine series. I’m a sucker for a pretty book. I picked up The Hourglass Factory by Lucy Ribchester, which was just gorgeous.

Feel free to tag yourselves in and share your answers with us, we’re nosy and we love to know which books people love and love less…

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday Wonderings

Library Card Cartoon

You heard it here first – books are making a comeback. Personally I’m not fussy when it comes to reading. Whether it’s my Kindle, a paperback or even (in desperate times) on my smartphone I’m happy as long as I can read. There is something to be said for a physical book though, especially a second hand one. I’m a sucker for floppy pages and worn spines – it feels like the book has been enjoyed and I think thats a good thing. There are others that prefer to keep their books pristine and beautiful, and that’s ok too!

Here in Swindon we have an abundance of libraries, from the very small to the very grand tea-and-toast-serving multicoloured mothership in the centre of town. The beauty of a library is that you can try genres and authors you wouldn’t normally pick up, with no real commitment. If you don’t like it, you can take it back without worrying that you’ve spent a whole £7.99 that could have been spent on wine. I tend to go armed with my ‘To Be Read’ list from Goodreads, then competely ignore it for a pretty cover.

I would encourage everyone, whether you’re a casual reader or a serial book devourer, to join your local library. They often have great kids clubs (perfect for 5 minutes peace perusing the YA shelves) and many also provide tea and cake for a lot less than the local coffee shop. All this and free books? Sounds like a winner to me…

Laura
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Book & Movie review – The Duff

Author-Hazel


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Book or movie? This question always comes up when a film (or sometimes book) adaptation comes out. But is it always as simple as choosing one or the other? I don’t think it is. Sometimes they can be very different but equally enjoyable. And that is the case for The Duff…

 

 

The book

This book had been on my radar for a while and when I heard it was being adapted into a film, I bumped it up my TBR pile. I loved it! It was gritty, realistic, funny and at some points, dark. The story was fast paced and never boring. The writing was brilliant and engaging and it felt that the author had a very good and realistic grasp on what it is to be a teenager. The unique way they speak and respond to each other and situations is sometimes difficult for a an adult to pull off but Kody Keplinger did it very well. When I researched the author, I found out she was only 17 when she wrote this book! I think that’s a very impressive feat for such a young person and to do it so well too is fantastic. I’m definitely going to check out some of her other work. So after reading this and loving it, I had high hopes for the movie.

The movie

At 31, this kind of film is really a guilty pleasure for me (especially as there was a reference to 30 being old). It was a lot of fun, a light-hearted feel good movie with a good moral message. Plus Robbie Amell, shirtless – need I say more!

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The basic plot was the same but it had many differences. Some of the heaviness of the book was replaced with humour and light-heartedness.

 

 

 

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience of reading the book and watching the movie. Luckily I’m not a stickler who expects the adaptation to be exactly the same as the book. I appreciate that the story is being presented in a different medium and from a small collection of people’s perspectives. In conclusion, the book was great and the film was a lot of fun. They were different but equally enjoyable. I recommend checking both out if you enjoy YA Contemporary stories, you won’t be disappointed. Happy reading 📖:)

 

 

 

Friday Favourites – Standalones!

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Author – Hazel

This was a tricky one. I discovered that I tend to read books that are part of a series. But having said that, if I could, I would choose Standalones over books in a series. I like the excitement of delving into a new book. I like the story being wrapped up in a 400 page novel as opposed to sometimes having to get through several or more books to get to the conclusion.

Here are my favourites.

Pretty Girl Thirteen by Liz Coley

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This was one of my Book Club picks of 2013. It’s a young adult psychological thriller that kept popping up in various recommendation pages and the synopsis sounded like the story might spark some interesting discussions. Although the story was gripping and easy to read, the content was heavy and upsetting. Liz Coley did a great job of weaving a disturbing and unpleasant story in a way where younger people can read and appreciate the complexity and understand the distressing situations, without having to read graphic scenes of a horrible nature. I found the psychological aspect of the story fascinating.

Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan

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This book was recommended to me by someone on Goodreads. It’s a new adult novel about a girl running away from her past and a guy living with a disability. They meet and a beautiful romance begins. I loved this book, I couldn’t put it down and it gave me all the feels. And this book had a happily ever after ending.

My other favourites have already been mentioned in Kiera’s Standalone Favourites, or they already have a review on our blog.

Happy Reading 📖😊

Friday Favourites – Standalones!

Author – Laura

Standalones SML

So. Standalones. This was a surprisingly hard list to write. It turns out I read A LOT of series, not always intentionally but it seems to be the way of things. A lot of the storylines in the books I read are so epic that to do them justice the books would have to be bigger than my head, so I’m not complaining.

Here is my humble little list of my favourite standalone novels.

The Railway Children – E. Nesbit

“Daddy! My Daddy!”

This is one of my childhood favourites. I love the simplicity of life, the slightly grubby outdoor playtime and the strength of the familty unit.

It was the first time I remember being sad reading a book, and the relief when Bobbie’s Daddy arrives at the railway station still gives me goosepimples. I sometimes use this phrase when I see my own Dad; even though I’m (mostly) a grown up, the feeling of coming home is something that just can’t be matched.

A Gathering Light – Jennifer Donnelly

This is a beautiful and sad book. I might have stolen it from my sister, but we won’t mention that. Sharing is caring. I’m not exactly sure what genre you would put this book into; it’s a YA historical horror romance. However you want to describe it the story is powerful and it feels like an understated epic. A must read.

IT – Stephen King

I read this book as a kind of ‘kill or cure’ treatment. When I was far too young to know better I watched the movie, and for months (ahem, years) afterwards I was terrified of clowns and washing lines. I decided, not that long ago actually, to get over it and read the book that the film was based on. I’m really glad I did, because not only is it a fantastic read (if a little trippy), it’s also less about The Clown and more about a group of friends overcoming their childhood fears. I love it. Not so much the film though, even now it gives me the creeps!

The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

If you haven’t read this I’d be surprised. It’s one of those books that appears on a lot of Top 25 lists on Goodreads. I read it because the movie was about to be released and I have a thing about wanting the full story before I watch the film, just so I can fill in the gaps myself. It’s definitely worthy of its plaudits. Beautiful and horrifying, you feel like have to keep reading and almost hold Susie’s hand until it’s all over.

Good Omens – Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

I have written about this book before. It’s my most favouritest book in the whole entire world. You can read my review here. I love the characters, the humour and I love how the fate of the world hangs on an 11 year old boy who doesn’t really know what all the fuss is about. Amazing, amazing book.

NB – Not forgetting The Night Circus, The Prince of Mist and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. All of which have been reviewed here on The Bookspa Blog.

Book Review – The Breeders by Katie French

Author – Laura

Sixteen-year-old Riley Meemick is one of the world’s last free girls. When Riley was born, her mother escaped the Breeders, the group of doctors using cruel experiments to bolster the dwindling human race. Her parents do everything possible to keep her from their clutches – moving from one desolate farm after another to escape the Breeders’ long reach. The Breeders control everything – the local war lords, the remaining factories, the fuel. They have unchecked power in this lawless society. And they’re hunting Riley.

When the local Sheriff abducts the adult members of her family and hands her mother over to the Breeders, Riley and her eight-year-old brother, Ethan, hiding in a shelter, are left to starve. Then Clay arrives, the handsome gunslinger who seems determined to help to make up for past sins. The problem is Clay thinks Riley is a bender– a genderless mutation, neither male nor female. As Riley’s affection for Clay grows she wonders can she trust Clay with her secret and risk her freedom?

The three embark on a journey across the scarred remains of New Mexico– escaping the Riders who use human sacrifice to appease their Good Mother, various men scrambling for luck, and a deranged lone survivor of a plague. When Riley is shot and forced into the Breeder’s hospital, she learns the horrible fate of her mother—a fate she’ll share unless she can find a way out.

So there are a couple of things to note about this review. For starters this is the very first YA Dystopian story I’ve ever picked up and read by choice. The second thing is that I read it in two sittings.

The Breeders is set in a future where females are scarce, thanks to a scientific discovery that affected the ability to produce female fetuses. Girls are kidnapped by the Breeders and artificially inseminated with genetically created females in the hope of repopulating the world.

Riley is a 16 year old girl who has been hidden by her parents on a farm in the middle of nowhere. Her life is lonely, but living under the ever present threat of capture by the Breeders prevents her from visiting town or seeing anyone other than her family. I absolutely loved her, and there was none of the bratty teen angst that is so common in YA literature. She is vulnerable but brave, and would risk everything to save her family. Which is good, because from the very beginning of this book the action never stops. Riley and her little brother, Ethan, are so close and the author does a great job of making sure the little moments between them are just as important and poignant as the big moments. The world-building is subtle but fantastic. Every new place they come to feels both familiar and strange, and creates a clear picture of the devastation of the land after the past events.

Considering this book is aimed at young adults it doesn’t pull its punches in the darkness stakes. There are more than a few moments of serious tension, and a couple of scenes that might make the more squeamish among us grimace a little. The premise is really sinister, and the scenes in the hospital are actually quite frightening – the author really captures a sense of the hopelessness of Riley’s situation. Having said that, with Clay’s steadying presence and the help they receive from some unlikely sources, this is an unexpectedly hopeful story which had me racing through the pages to find out what happened next.

This is a really great book, with fabulous writing and real atmosphere. I’m so pleased I stepped out of my comfort zone and chose something different to read; it was definitely worth it!

Check out The Breeders on Goodreads

Buy the book on Amazon

Wednesday Wonderings

This week I have been trying to read Linger, the second book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve been really busy, so I’ve been catching a moment here and there; before dinner, after dinner, on my lunchbreak at work…

I finally finished it today, sat on a bench in the beautiful sunshine, surrounded by ducks and flowers. It sounds idyllic, but actually it was a short 30 minute break in which I also had to eat my lunch and buy some tights. Oh the glamorous life I lead.

It led me to think how wonderful life would be if there was a whole day in the week that we could spend just sitting, reading and daydreaming. It seems Lena Dunham feels the same way.

Whatever you’re doing this week, make sure you save some time to get lost in a good book. You won’t regret it!

Laura x

Eighth day

Friday Favourites – Book Boyfriends!

Author – Hazel

So it’s my turn this week to share my favourite book boyfriends. Laura and Kiera have chosen some swoon-worthy guys and hopefully I’m adding to the best looking list in the history of lists.

Damon – The Vampire Diaries

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Honestly, I have a thing for a bad boy. I seem to gravitate towards dark, moody and brooding bad boys. Damon is at the very top of that list. I favoured him over Stefan in the books but when I saw Ian Somerhalder cast as Damon, I fell in love 😍 I’m definitely a ‘Delena’ fan and I hope Ian’s beautiful blue eyes and naughty grin keep us entertained on the TV show for a long time.

Wrath – Black Dagger Brotherhood

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It’s no secret that us Bookspa girls love J.R Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood books. Luckily, we all melt over a different brother and mine is Wrath. I fell in love with Wrath as soon as I started reading the BDB books and even with the introduction of a lot of hunky, gorgeous brothers, my heart belongs to Wrath. Again he’s dark, moody and brooding, but above all he’s the type that would pick you up, sling you over his shoulder, show you an unforgettable time and take care of you too. From the very beginning I imagined Wrath as the one and only Jason Momoa.

Cam – Wait for you 

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J Lynn (Jennifer L Armentrout) writes some deliciously sexy male leads. I’m a fan of all the men I’ve read about in her books, but my favourite is Cam. He’s gorgeous, sexy, confident but sweet, caring and loving. And let’s face it, would you say no to a sexy guy, shirtless, cooking you breakfast and baking you cookies!

Cam definitely had me at ‘sweetheart’.

Daemon – The Lux series

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OK, I lied. Jennifer L Armentrout just writes men that I like. A lot. Daemon is an alien! But there’s no little green men here. Oh no, Daemon is a glorious hunk of deliciousness (sorry all this book boyfriend talk is leaving me swooning). Daemon is arrogant. He has a cocky attitude and is downright horrible sometimes. But as another reviewer put it, he has a beautiful face, a beautiful body and a horrible attitude. The holy trinity of (in my opinion) a hot guy! I think you can see the pattern here. I like bad guys and Daemon is no exception to this.

Alcide – Sookie Stackhouse books (True Blood)

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Last but certainly not least, Alcide. When reading the True Blood books, I didn’t have a clear favourite guy until Alcide came along in book three. He’s a hunky werewolf. The perfect amount of a ruggedly rough male and a sweet and caring man. Alcide became my favourite very quickly and I absolutely love the cast of him in the TV show.

So there you have it. A pretty hot list, I think you’ll agree. Happy reading 📖:D