Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5)

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Cinder
Scarlet
Cress

Synopsis:

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.

Thoughts:

I wasn’t sure what I was going to make of Fairest. I’m not the biggest fan of novellas, but I was easily won over with Fairest. I thought it was a great story to bridge the gap between Cress and Winter. I absolutely adored this story. I was torn between giving it four and five stars, but I’ve gone for five because, in my eyes, there was nothing wrong with it at all.

I seriously believe that The Lunar Chronicles is getting better with every single book. I loved learning more about Levana, who had popped up in the previous books. I had really mixed feelings about Levana. On the one hand I really disliked her and on the other hand I felt really sorry for her. You’ll have to read it to see why! I was easily engrossed in this story, and really didn’t want it to end… but Winter is coming… soon (ish!)

The romance in this book is creepy, the way Levana manipulates is scary but wonderful at the same time! Even though this book is a novella, I think it really helps to learn more about Levana and somewhat understand the reason why she is how she is, even if you don’t agree with her actions. Levana is an amazing villain. I loved this book!

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

This book gave me mixed feelings about Levana! So worth reading if you love The Lunar Chronicles!

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Awaken

Awaken (Awaken, #1)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.

Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.

In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.

Thoughts:

I have had this book on my radar for a while now. The synopsis intrigued me, and scared me at the same time. It definitely seems like our world seems to revolve a lot more around computers now. It’s a future that could be possible and that terrified me!

Awaken is set in 2060 and is centred around Maddie who lives in a world in which everything is done on the computer. She doesn’t even go to school. Maddie thought she was okay with the solitary, virtual, digital life, but then she meets Justin, who completely changes her views on things. Justin likes being with people. Justin encourages Maddie to be with people, to be with him. Maddie feels torn as society and her family (especially her Dad) are telling her the exact opposite. Maddie has to decide what’s best for her and her family and what’s best for the rest of the world.

I think the reason why the world building was so good in this book, is because it’s something that could totally happen. The thought of people not actually writing with a pen terrifies me. I can imagine us all just having to press buttons and that’s how we create our words. Much like I’m doing now, but at least I still take the time to actually write. What would a world be like without it? *shudders*

I really liked the characters as well, although I’m not so sure on the romance elements yet. I’ll see how it progresses as the series continues, as I’ll definitely be reading the next instalment!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Talking About ‘The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August’

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How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

The extraordinary journey of one unforgettable character – a story of friendship and betrayal, loyalty and redemption, love and loneliness and the inevitable march of time.

Harry August is on his deathbed. Again.

No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes.

Until now.

As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. ‘I nearly missed you, Doctor August,’ she says. ‘I need to send a message.’

This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

Thoughts:

CHRISSI: What did you make of the writing style?

BETH: I wasn’t sure I was going to get on with this book at all when I first started. Although I thought it was written absolutely beautifully, each chapter was relatively short and the time frame kept jumping about quite erratically. I felt like I really had to concentrate on the book to figure out what was going on (which was a bit difficult on a hen weekend…). However, about a third of the way in, I started to really appreciate what the author was trying to do. As Harry got older/more lives in, things seemed to move at a steadier pace and I started to love what I was reading and care about what was going to happen.

BETH: Do you think it is human nature to want to change the world?

CHRISSI: I definitely think it’s human nature to want to change the world. Many of us want to make an impact on the world. I think we’d all want to live in a world that’s a good, peaceful, happy place.

CHRISSI: What do you think that Harry learnt through the process of living his life over and over again?

BETH: I think that he learned a lot about human nature i.e. why we do the things we do, why we love, why we hate. I was expecting him to get slightly bored especially when he has to live the early part of his life over and over again – watching his father being buried, going to school and re-learning things he already knows but he seems to find a way to deal with this. For example, going into a different profession like law and learning something new for a change, or escaping his adoptive parents at a young age to live with people of his own kind. I think he also learns to be a bit more tolerant and understanding of others even when he doesn’t agree with them, you can definitely see this in his relationship with Vincent.

BETH: What would you do if you had to live your life over again?

CHRISSI: I try and think that everything happens for a reason, but I guess if I had the chance to live my life over again then there are some things that I would change or do differently. I don’t want this to turn into a depressing answer, so I’ll think of a few examples! I think my career would’ve happened sooner than it has, I would have tried harder at school and I would not let some people treat me the way I did. I wouldn’t change my sister though… I guess she’s ok! 😉

CHRISSI: What does the novel tell us about the nature of good and evil?

BETH: I feel like sometimes good and evil get a bit mixed up in this novel and perhaps the line between them is slightly blurry. One of the evil components in the story is a man called Richard Lisle who gets his kicks by murdering prostitutes. Harry as the “good guy,” cannot bear to see this occurring so life after life, he finds Richard Lisle before he has even started his killing spree and kills him himself. But what does that make Harry, good or bad, if he too turns to murder? Another is Victor Hoeness, who uses his knowledge of the future to build more advanced technology that is strictly against the rules of the Cronus Club and in return, on each life he returns to, the Club tortures him in a disgusting manner so that he will remember it in his next life before going on to abort him while still in the womb (this is the only way to kill a kalachakra). They argue that it is for the greater good, but isn’t what they are doing also evil. Hence my point that the line between good and evil is often blurred. There are many other characters I can talk about that blur this line, Franklin Phearson and Vincent Rankis but this answer would turn into an essay!

BETH: What did you think of Harry as a character?

CHRISSI: If I’m honest, I wasn’t immediately connected to Harry. I did appreciate that Claire North made Harry a flawed character. We all make bad decisions and mistakes at times. His mistakes definitely gave him more of a ‘real’ feel. I felt like Harry was an incredibly complex character that is interesting to try and make sense of.

CHRISSI: Would you want to live your life over and over again?

BETH: Definitely not! I can’t think of anything more hideous. Obviously we all have events in our lives that we regret or wouldn’t want to experience again and I think that part would be unbearable. Having the knowledge of our future however would be pretty amazing and would certainly influence some of the choices I have made in my life so far.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I think it would depend on the subject! I liked the writing style, but I wasn’t blown away by the story.

Would we recommend it?:

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Yes!

After Eden

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How did I get it?:
A Christmas present from my sister, Beth.

Synopsis:

When mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school Eden Anfield is intrigued. On the face of it, he’s a typical American teenager. So how come he doesn’t recognise pizza and hasn’t heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden most, however, is the interest he’s taking in her.

As Eden falls in love with Ryan, she stumbles across a book in Ryan’s bedroom – a biography of her best friend – written fifty years in the future. Unravelling Ryan’s secret, she discovers he has one unbelievably important purpose … and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.

Thoughts:

I’ve had this book since Christmas, but have only just got around to reading it. It’s an intriguing story, which is only 288 pages long, so it doesn’t take long to tear through it. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but what I got from After Eden was a sweet, short, well-written book with a sci-fi element.

After Eden follows Eden and her friends. Ryan is the gorgeous new boy at school that all the girls are swooning over. Eden notices that Ryan is not like the rest of her peers. He doesn’t recognise pizza and hasn’t heard of Hitler. She begins to think Ryan is part of a cult, but when she starts questioning Ryan, she’s determined to get to the bottom of his secret. After visiting his house, she accidentally picks up one of his textbooks. It’s a biography of her best friend, Connor. The trouble is it was written fifty years in the future. How did Ryan get this book? Why is Ryan interested in Connor? What are Ryan’s intentions with Eden?

I enjoyed After Eden. I’m not always a fan of time travel books, but this one is done particularly well by British writer, Helen Douglas. It was intriguing to find out why Ryan was involved with Eden and her friends.
Eden and Ryan have a fantastic, lovable relationship. Hooray for the author not using insta-love. There’s an attraction from the start, but their romance is a slow build. I loved the parts of the book where Eden and Ryan were together.

I’m really pleased to read there is a sequel (Chasing Stars) to this book. Some rather interesting developments happened towards the end, and I worried we’d be left hanging. I think After Eden is well worth reading!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars.

Comparing ‘Alienated’ by Melissa Landers

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Synopsis:

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class. Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life-not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

Click on the image to get to Luna's blog!

Click on the image to get to Luna’s blog!

Thoughts before you started reading Alienated?

CHRISSI:  The cover is so pretty! I want!

LUNA: “Oh look at the pretty cover.” I know that’s not a good way to pick a book but that’s what caught my attention, the synopsis sounded promising.

What did you think of Cara & Aelyx as characters?

CHRISSI: I took a while to warm to Cara and Aelyx.  They were both quite slow burning characters, but towards the middle of the book, I began to really like them both and overall I liked Aelyx a little bit more!

LUNA: I wouldn’t say I was overly fond of either at the beginning, though Cara is easier to like than Aelyx. She’s feisty and keeps her swooning to a minimum, which earns her extra points from me. Aelyx might be gorgeous but doesn’t have a lot going for him until Cara begins to crack through his armour. He’s a bit like Spock with a giant superiority complex.

Best bit?

CHRISSI: I thought Alienated was a really easy to read book. I think this is what made me like it so much. The writing flowed really nicely, the plot was good and the characters were likeable!

LUNA: Melissa Landers took me by surprise, the tension between the those for the alliance with L’eihr and those against, especially HALO, changes dramatically through the book.

Little references such has the exclusion Cara’s parents receive, the family having to travel outside of town to get groceries made more of an impact than HALO’s organised vandalism and protests – because these were not fanatics but ordinary people. Alienated is much darker than I anticipated, making the book so much more.

Worst bit?

CHRISSI: The relationship is predictable.

LUNA: When I finished the first chapter I felt I could have told you the plot of the book. I wasn’t completely right (thankfully) but Cara & Aelyx relationship pretty much turned out the way I predicted – which is a little boring. That being said I did believe the chemistry between them.

Favourite character / moment?

CHRISSI: I grew to really like Aelyx. I don’t know what it was about him. It’s definitely not a ‘book boyfriend’ thing. I just found him extremely likeable and loved his interactions with Cara.

LUNA: Despite the fact that he has a few appearances Eron really made an impact on the story. The communication’s he has with Aelyx when he talks about his host family, especially his little brother are so sweet. Apart from that I wanted more of Ashley, hopefully she’s got a bigger part in the next book.

I think my favourite moments are Cara’s attempts to cook for Aelyx. They did make me chuckle.

Was Alienated what you expected?

CHRISSI: I think I’m opposite to Luna with this one (which doesn’t often happen!) I expected more from it. I enjoyed reading it, but I was expecting to really be gripped by it from the start. That said, the writing did pull me in and keep me there once it got me!

LUNA: Actually it was better. The writing really pulls you in, I flew through the book in a few hours without any breaks.

Would you recommend it?

CHRISSI: Yes!

LUNA: Yes, I also want to see how this series turns out.

Comparing ‘These Broken Stars’ by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

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How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Disney Book Group

Synopsis:

It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder-would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

The first in a sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.

Click on the image to get to Luna's blog!

Click on the image to get to Luna’s blog!

Thoughts before you started reading These Broken Stars?

CHRISSI: I requested it on NetGalley, not really knowing a lot about it. Before I knew it everyone was talking about it. Luna and I decided to read it as one of our compare books. She got to it before I did and I noticed her rating it five stars. I was really, really anxious to read it then. We often share the same feelings about books, but I was worried that this time, we wouldn’t be on the same page.

LUNA: I wasn’t convinced. I nearly didn’t request it but out of habit I looked it up on Goodreads and saw how many bloggers I follow praised it so I thought it was worth a go. But I was worried it would be like a lot of the ‘hype’ books I’ve read this year, which are ok but I didn’t love.

What did you think of Tarver & Lilac as characters?

CHRISSI: I really liked them. I wasn’t sure of Lilac at the beginning. I thought she had the potential to be an annoying character. However Tarver and Lilac are amazing characters, who I really felt for.

LUNA: In a word; wonderful. I liked them from the beginning, which is just as well because I was half tempted to read something else from my TBR pile but after the Icarus crashes and they are alone Lilac and Tarver really come into their own.

Best bit?

CHRISSI: This question is so hard to answer with this book, because there were so many awesome moments. I liked Tarver and Lilac’s relationship with one another. I particularly liked when they began to like each other, I just wanted them to be together, even though I’m not a fan of Insta-love.

LUNA: Spoiler free: Well there was this bit, and then that happened. Oh and then, also, not to mention and omg when… Ok that’s mean. I’m kind of hard-pressed to think of one best bit. There was so much about These Broken Stars I loved.
One thing that does make this story stand out is Tarver and Lilac’s relationship. Not only did I completely buy into it (so much so I spent a good part of my reading time thinking “why aren’t you kissing yet” which fyi – never happens) but the dynamics worked. The only reason they are alive is because they are working together. Neither would make it on their own and finally here is a female protagonist who doesn’t cower and need a hunky hero to tell her what to do. They argue, both are stubborn but they also both learn to value the skills the other has. It’s a true partnership.

Worst bit?

CHRISSI: This is a really nit-picky thing as I really adored the whole book. The first chapter didn’t grip me. I love to be gripped straight away, and after the first chapter, I did suddenly have a moment of dread. I thought I was going to hate a book that Luna loved. I’m happy to say though, as soon as that first chapter was over, I began my love story with this wonderful book.

LUNA: This is not a ‘worst’ in I didn’t like but a ‘worst’ in it send me into an emotional tailspin. In the second half of the book something happens that just made me go. NO! What? You can’t do that to me. *wimpers* Didn’t expect it. When books take me by surprise they get bonus points.

Favourite character / moment?

CHRISSI: I have many favourite moments, so I’m not going to begin to try and explain all of them. Just read the book, okay? 😉 ) My favourite character was Lilac. She’s isn’t a pathetic female character that needs her man to save her. Her skills were just as important to Tarver as Tarver’s were to Lilac.

LUNA: There are many, most have to do with Lilac and Tarver’s relationship and character growth. I will admit I have a little bit of a book crush on Tarver.

Was These Broken Stars what you expected?

CHRISSI: It was a lot better than I was expecting. I know since I’ve started book blogging that my expectations of books have gone up. These Broken Stars exceeded my expectations. READ IT!!!

LUNA: No it was better. I did expect the writing and adventure part to be good but Tarver and Lilac’s relationship was so amazing.

Would you recommend it?

CHRISSI: No, of course not. Pah, who am I kidding? I’m totally fangirling about this book. READ IT!!!

LUNA:


= that means hell yeah.

Note To Self

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How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Diversion Books

Synopsis:

In a world where technology controls everything, sometimes your own handwriting is the only thing you can trust.

Richard Henley is an ordinary man leading an ordinary life, but when he finds strange notes in his own handwriting warning that someone is trying to kill him, he is sent on a journey to places he never knew existed. With an ominous and all-powerful organisation on his trail, his only hope is to trust unexpected allies, take control of his life, and uncover the truth about what happened to the girl he loved twenty years ago. A darkly humorous commentary on our app-obsessed culture, if Richard can stay alive, his world will never be the same again.

Thoughts:

This is a book that drew me in with the synopsis. I was incredibly intrigued. I’m glad I requested it because I thought Note To Self is an incredibly easy to read, well written book. It’s unfortunately another book I don’t want to say too much about, because I don’t want to ruin the reading experience for anyone else!

I thought the plot was fast-paced and interesting. I was confused for a lot of the book, but confused in a good way. I desperately wanted to know what was going on.

I thought the characters were well developed and three dimensional, they were believable despite the crazy things going on. Not all of them are likeable, but this just added to my experience reading the story. I loved to hate the nasty characters.

This book is science fiction, but if you’re not a fan of the genre, then please don’t be put off by it. It does include science, but it’s written in a way which is incredibly interesting and easy to read. I’m not a massive fan of science-y things, but when they’re written well, like in this book, I find it to be incredibly thought-provoking.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Reading next:
Songs of Willow Frost- Jamie Ford