A SERIES A MONTH REVIEW: THE DARKEST MINDS

seriesmonth

I finally finished my first book for the Series challenge! I’m almost positive I’m not going to finish the whole series before the month is over, but I’ve been doing pretty good reading this month, at least. I finish my TBR book for January, which is exciting, and I’m going to have the house to myself this weekend, so that could be promising for some serious reading! But anyway, I wanted to throw up a review of The Darkest Minds, the first book of Alexandra Bracken’s series of the same name.

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SUMMARY

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.’

THOUGHTS

Okay! I finally read The Darkest Minds, and it only took me three years to do it. Three cheers! Well, I’m happy, anyway. So, I gave it 4 stars for mainly this reason: I thought it was a great book, really chunky and interesting (I binged it in a day), but I was really confused through a lot of it. I couldn’t figure out why she was so upset about  being what she was. I thought it was really cool, and an advantage, but about halfway through the book when you find out what her powers did, I understood. But I didn’t quite get it at the beginning. Also, the action sequences came hard and fast, which I would usually love, but since my brain was still trying to figure out what Ruby’s deal was, I ended up being confused even more. Of course, I was also sick, and that could have contributed to it. 

In any case, I did really like this book, especially when I got everything straight in my head. I loved the slow-burn romance (I am NOT happy about the ending), I loved the secondary characters- Zu especially- and I didn’t predict much of what happened. There were some things that you could kind of see coming, but I’m not one for trying to figure out a book before I read it- I just let the book carry me along, for the most part, unless it’s super obvious. So I liked that part of it. I thought all the character development, especially Ruby’s, was really good, and I can’t wait to see where Alexandra takes her in Never Fade, book two. 

WHAT TO WATCH

That was another bonus for this book- it was exciting, fun, had a romance, but there was nothing to make it inappropriate for younger teens. Aside from some violence (which was never graphic) this book was clean and appropriate for everyone. I would recommend it even for younger teens who are looking for a thicker book that tackle.

So there it it! Book one is done, now on to book two!

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WoW: THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine! This week, I’ve chosen a beautiful book with a beautiful author. Emily Henry is funny, imaginative, and one of the kindest people you could hope to meet. January 26th, 2016, welcome the debut novel from the girl with amazing hair:

 

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(And, I mean, that cover is my absolute fav)

SUMMARY:

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

WHY I’M WAITING

Gosh. I wish I didn’t have to wait for this lovely thing to come my way. It’s romance and time travel, two of may favorite things. It’s a molasses drawl in the tune of Bone Gap, one of my favorites this year (or so I’ve heard) and that kind of slow-burn book is just my type. I like to read fast, but I can’t wait to just sit down and savor every word of this genre mix. It takes a special breed of writer to write something so thoroughly genre-bending, and to write it in a way that makes you ache for more, but I believe this will be one of them. Along with a few other 2016 releases I’ll be featuring later on, The Love That Split the World definitely deserves the hype that few books receive.

Need I say more? Because you all know that you want it, too.

 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

PREORDER FROM AMAZON OR BARNES AND NOBLE

EMILY’S  AMAZING TWITTER

What’s your WoW?

 

 

REVIEW: ILLUMINAE

SUMMARY

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

THOUGHTS

This is just going to be a bunch of gifs, because what can you really say about a book this good?

So then, I’m sitting there, nearing the end of the book, and I kid you not- for the last 150 pages or so, this was my expression:

But then, just as all was winding down, the final blow was delivered, leaving me feeling like

So that’s that. Illuminae one of the (if not THE) best book I’ve read all year. Go read it now. You won’t regret it.

ARC REVIEW: INHERIT THE STARS

SUMMARY

Three royal houses ruling three interplanetary systems are on the brink of collapse, and they must either ally together or tear each other apart in order for their people to survive.

Asa is the youngest daughter of the house of Fane, which has been fighting a devastating food and energy crisis for far too long. She thinks she can save her family’s livelihood by posing as her oldest sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the throne of the house of Westlet. The appearance of her mother, a traitor who defected to the house of Galton, adds fuel to the fire, while Asa also tries to save her sister Wren’s life . . . possibly from the hands of their own father.

But as Asa and Eagle forge a genuine bond, will secrets from the past and the urgent needs of their people in the present keep them divided?

Author Tessa Elwood’s debut series is an epic romance at heart, set against a mine field of political machinations, space adventure, and deep-seeded family loyalties.

THOUGHTS

I’ll be completely honest- I didn’t remember a lot about this book when I started it and since I hadn’t heard a lot, I didn’t expect much in terms of ‘Everyone says I’m going to love it!’

All of that was blown away.

The writing was amazing- not in the fantasy-elegant way that we’ve been seeing a lot of, but clean, fast, and engrossing. The characters- oh, my heart. Each one was round, dynamic, and nothing you could call stereotypical. There was good and bad in each of them, and you never could quite tell which was going to take over in any given situation.

Every time I thought the plot was going to veer in a direction that most stories of this kind do, it changed, twirling off into a completely different universe and making me excited and surprised all over again.

The romance is understated, subtle, and presses ever closer before you realize it, because you’ve been holding your breath waiting for the other shoe to drop on Eagle and Asa. Gosh, Eagle. Imperfection and wonder in a gorgeously damaged being- but not damaged like you might think. I won’t ruin the surprise, but don’t think that it’s another of those messed-up relationships where the girl still loves the guy even though he’s awful. No, the romance sets the background and keeps everything in motion even when you don’t think it will, and has that sort of quiet tension without 80 pages of teenage angst. I loved it. LOVED IT.

Inherit the Stars is a book I’m already eager to read again, and if there’s no more, I’ll be crying, for sure. I’ve fallen in love with the characters, the universe, and the potential for greatness only hinted at in the first book. Five stars, wholeheartedly.

Release Date: December 8, 2015 by Running Press Kids

I was provided a digital ARC of this book before the release date through NetGalley and Running Press Kids, but this in no way affected my review of the work.

WoW: PASSENGER

WEDNESDAY IS HERE

I’ve been awful about my blog these past two months, and I have to apologize again. I’m going to do my best to get going with it again, and hopefully the creative juices will flow! Anyway, Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, and you all know that it’s for books we can’t wait for. This week’s selection will kick off our 2016 reading year, with a release date of January 5, 2016. Without further ado, here’s

SUMMARY: (goodreads.com)

Violin prodigy Etta Spencer had big plans for her future, but a tragedy has put her once-bright career at risk. Closely tied to her musical skill, however, is a mysterious power she doesn’t even know she has. When her two talents collide during a stressful performance, Etta is drawn back hundreds of years through time.

Etta wakes, confused and terrified, in 1776, in the midst a fierce sea battle. Nicholas Carter, the handsome young prize master of a privateering ship, has been hired to retrieve Etta and deliver her unharmed to the Ironwoods, a powerful family in the Colonies–the very same one that orchestrated her jump back, and one Nicholas himself has ties to. But discovering she can time travel is nothing compared to the shock of discovering the true reason the Ironwoods have ensnared her in their web.

Another traveler has stolen an object of untold value from them, and, if Etta can find it, they will return her to her own time. Out of options, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the mysterious traveler. But as they draw closer to each other and the end of their search, the true nature of the object, and the dangerous game the Ironwoods are playing, comes to light — threatening to separate her not only from Nicholas, but her path home… forever.

WHY SHOULD YOU BE EXCITED?

Personally, I’m pumped! Even though I haven’t read A.B.’s Darkest Minds series, I’ve heard a lot of good things about her writing and storytelling. And when you combine music, pirates, and time travel, you’ve got an automatic fan! I’m really excited to see how this one plays out- there’s a lot of possibilities, and I’m trying not to let my expectations get too high, but I’ve got my eye on this one and can’t wait to read it when it comes out in January.

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Alexandra Bracken’s Twitter

What’s your Waiting On Wednesday? Are you looking forward to Passenger?

ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA

“If they didn’t take you seriously, they would never see you coming.”  

OFFICIAL SUMMARY:

Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

MY THOUGHTS:

Did that synopsis confuse you as much as it did me? I mean, it sounds kind of interesting, right? But all those new words and the whole Reduction premise seem so confusing. I’ve read Peterfreund’s other books (most of them, anyway) and they were

Well, let me tell you, it doesn’t get any less confusing. The entire book, I struggled to keep straight the Reduced, the post-Reduced, the terminology- everything. I liked the book, when I did understand it, but I feel like I missed out on a lot of important plot points that could have made a really big impact- that could have made me love the book- because the backstory was explained in such a roundabout way.

The characters I liked. They were dynamic, they changed, they served a purpose, and especially Persis didn’t give up her purpose because ‘that there Helo is pretty cute. He’s my mortal enemy, but whatever. My country doesn’t matter anymore.’ That was refreshing. Persis was a strong lead, and I really liked her personality and the fact that she was willing to sacrifice her reputation to serve a greater cause. Most heroines won’t do that, at least not to this extent. And the princess regent was also not swayed by what her friends thought- a true depiction of what a ruler should be. So I really did enjoy the character interaction when they weren’t talking about all the details of Reduction and forced Reduction and whatnot.

As for the length, normally I like a good, long book, but this felt like forced length. Too much time was spent on describing the math and science of the genetic mutations- and that’s big, coming from me, because I love the details of things like this. I usually want to know the logic behind the genetics, but this time it fell flat to me- too much roundabout explaining and never a solid, direct, ‘This is what happened.’ So that was a problem for me, but to others, maybe it was great. I’m just one person.

Overall, I might recommend this book to a select few people that I think could enjoy the details and the deep world-building that was done (impressive, but confusing) but to the general public, I would say to find another book that isn’t this intense. It’s not a light fluff read, and you should only read it if you’re ready to really put thought into it.

WHAT TO WATCH:

This was a solidly clean read. The only thing that I would even consider is the fact that the descriptions of the Reduced and the violent lengths the Galateans are willing to go to for their revolution. Other than that, I can’t think of anything that I found objectionable to my sense of morality. Kudos to Diana P. for that!

Questions? Comments? Books you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and I’ll be sure to check it out!

THE WINNER’S CURSE

“…People in brightly lit places cannot see into the dark.”

Official Summary: (goodreads.com)

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

My thoughts: This book. Wow. And again, wow. I understand the praise on the back of this one, which is from two amazing authors. This book made time explode for me. I thought I was reading for about ten minutes, but nearly forty-five had passed. I finished this one in half a day, and I don’t regret that time for a moment. I would do it again. Here’s why.

     A lot of these books- the forbidden love, the dangerous elite society catching on, etc. are predictable. You know the love story will happen in the first three or so chapters, and what’s left is all secret meetings and soft glances, maybe a stolen liaison or two. Not so in The Winner’s Curse. The romance develops in the challenges, the angry truths, the realization that even though they can infuriate each other, there’s an understanding that overreaches the world they live in, and they will change the world for each other.

     And the writing. Oh, the writing. I am in raptures. Sweeping, elegant, beautifully painful at times, Rutkoski captures what it means to write a novel that takes you into its world. Some authors have a hard time describing a foreign world in a way that makes it both understandable and yet still uniquely beautiful, but this author certainly does not, capturing the essence of the Valorian world and the beautiful, rich culture of the Herrani.

     While I loved the conflict between Arin and Kestrel, the conclusion of the book tugged at me, confused me just a little, and left me…unsatisfied. While we see the reasoning, of course, it still feels just the slightest bit forced, like Rutkoski herself was pained to write it. Contrary to popular belief, if your writing is as good as Rutkoski’s, you don’t need to end with a cliffhanger, but she did, and it felt so…wrong that I just couldn’t appreciate the thrill.

What to Watch:

     The most unsettling thing in this book is the way the Herrani are treated as the slaves of the Valorian, and the descriptions of their rebellion. Many people die, by the sword or by poison, and a popular punishment is the cutting off of the ears and nose. Slaves are also beaten and verbally mistreated, spoken to like animals and insulted to their face. When the Herrani take revenge, they do it with a bloody overthrow, and the violence does continue when the Valorians return to attempt to retake the city.

     This is also a romantic novel, and while there are no scenes of a sexual nature between Arin and Kestrel, they do kiss a few times. Additionally, after the (SPOILER) Herrani revolution, their leader, a man called Cheat, makes unwelcome advances toward Kestrel until Arin comes in and kills him.

    I have a lot of respect for Rutkoski, coming out with a book as stunning as this one. Although the sequel didn’t impress me nearly as much (review coming soon), The Winner’s Curse will remain in my memory as one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Of course, you may have a different opinion, and I would love the feedback!

     Questions? Comments? Have a book you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and tell me what you think!

FAIREST: LEVANA’S STORY

“Maybe the princess could save herself.”

My Rating: PG-13 for some sexual themes, violence, disturbing images, and just plain craziness.

Official Summary: (From goodreads.com)
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.

My thoughts: Levana is psycho. I mean, we knew that before, with all her scheming and the insanity that is the Lunar Queen, but this book draws out just how twisted she really is. It was much darker than the previous three books, with little humor and a lot of painful realizations. It’s almost difficult to read, and I’ll admit that I nearly put it down at a few points and didn’t pick it back up because I was so uncomfortable. But that just goes to show how deep Levana’s insanity really goes, and has been so deep since she was just fifteen years of age. Anyway, I never put it down, and while it was horrifying in places, it was also a very eye-opening read, letting you see the reasoning behind Levana’s cruelty and solving the mystery- finally– of what she really is behind the glamour and the veil.

What to Watch: (SPOILER ALERT)

There are a lot of sexual references in this book. Channary loves to flirt and makes many comments about it, Levana is obsessed with an older man and eventually marries him after his wife’s death, and there are many instances where it speaks of them ‘going to the bedroom’ or engaging in sexual activities, even when there are no graphic details. There is kissing, too, which is unsurprising considering the characters go farther than that.

As far as violence/disturbing images goes, there are some, as mentioned. Channary is very cruel, and used the bioelectric manipulation to hold Levana in a fire, scarring her very badly. The ability to know the inner workings of Levana’s mind is in itself a disturbing fact, because her twisted obsession with Evret Hayle goes beyond a childish crush and into a dangerous delusion. And she does not know where the line is, brainwashing Hayle into a mindless drone and forcing him into romantic situations, and finally marriage, all the while believing that he loves her of his own accord.

They do drink some wine (or their equivalent), but there is no drug use and no foul language in this book, which is at least one plus.

Of course, the decision is always yours what to read or leave on the shelf, but I hope this helped in your decision, or at least left you a little more enlightened. I did like this book, but not nearly as much as I enjoy the full novels- Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress. It was a decent filler for the wait for Winter, though, out in the fall of 2015.

Questions? Comments? Have a book you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and tell me what you think!

AVALON

“Stealing a spaceship shouldn’t be this easy.”

https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1371481016l/17149396.jpg

My rating: PG-13 for some suggestive wording, a spot of language, and violence throughout.

Official Summary: Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they’re damn good at it. Jeth doesn’t care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents’ ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he’ll go to get the freedom he’s wanted for so long.

Avalon is the perfect fit for teens new to sci-fi as well as seasoned sci-fi readers looking for more books in the YA space-and a great match for fans of Joss Whedon’s cult hit show Firefly.

My thoughts: While it took a little while for this one to catch my interest, once it did, I was swept away. Holy moly. This book…When it says it’s a match for fans of Firefly, it isn’t kidding. I love that show, and I loved this book. It picked up fast, and no one can trust anyone, leading to all kinds of betrayals and twists just when you think everything is finally going to work out. The writing is gorgeous, descriptive enough to give you a complete picture but not so detailed as to bore you with the never-ending sci-fi talk. While it does take some getting used to, what with the new terms that always come with a science fiction novel, it ultimately is a wild joyride of action and weird happenings in the Bermuda Triangle- of space.

What to watch:

     As far as language goes, there was very little cursing, and that only happened in the most dire of situations.

     As far as romance, one of the ruses they use to sneak by guards is two crew members in ‘passionate embrace’, and there is a touch of romance with the leader and another girl, but it’s nothing too extreme, just kissing, and most of the detail is what they’re thinking (even though it’s slightly cliché- “hearts beating in harmony” and so on). There are some suggestions from the bad guys about putting the girls in a brothel, as a threat to the main character.

     The biggest issue in this book (if the small amount counts as an issue) was some of the violence. The main character works for the cruelest man around, and he is willing to torture anyone to get what he wants. That includes our hero, and there are some mentions of child abuse by someone who is supposed to be good. There’s a lot of fighting, shooting, and some killing, including a few semi-graphic deaths of influential characters in the story.

     Overall, I thought this was a great read, and I recommend it for anyone, not just lovers of science fiction and interstellar pirates. But of course, everyone reads what they want to read, so go for the gold, whatever that gold is to you!

Questions? Comments? Have a book you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and tell me what you think!

CINDER

Magic. Ghosts. Sex. Demons. Everything you don’t want in your reading material. It’s so hard to find good books in this day and age, ones that don’t bother your conscience because of the contents. This blog is to help you find good, clean books that don’t totally twist what’s wrong into something that’s right- but they aren’t books for little kids. I promise, there are teen books that fit this criteria. You just have to look hard. 

Let’s begin.

CINDER cover

Rating: PG-13, for descriptions of the plague, some romantic themes, and some violence (but not much)

Cinder is exactly what I always wanted- an action-packed, uniquely told spin on a classic tale- one that makes an old fairy tale even better. It’s the first book of the Lunar Chronicles (the other two will be covered later, as well as the 4th book when it is released in 2015) and the entire series is devoted to merging and putting new, sci-fi twists (without magic) to classic fairy tales, including Cinderella (Cinder), Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf (Scarlet, book 2), Rapunzel (Cress, book 3), and Snow White (Winter, book 4).

The official summary:
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.

My Thoughts:

Yes, it is as good as it sounds. What I love about this book is that it takes a beloved classic story that I can’t enjoy because of magical elements (Fairy godmothers, magic pumpkin carriages, etc.) and turns it into a story that seems tailor-made for us to enjoy, no magic necessary. And even though there is a little bit of romance (enough to fulfill my girly side) at no point does it overtake the main plot, or even the series. There’s no explicit sex scenes, or even non-explicit ones, not even a mention of it, because, for once, the relationship is not the focus of the story! And Cinder stays a true heroine- she doesn’t become some crying wretch who needs Kai to save her all the time, she doesn’t start relying on people to do everything she needs, and she does what she needs to do to save her friends, despite humiliation and hurt and a lot of misunderstandings. It’s action-packed, but no gory scenes make you want to poke your imagination out with a spork. The only thing that might do that is the description of the plague quarantine area, where Cinder ends up going for reasons I will not disclose (no spoilers here!) And don’t let me forget the Lunar people- they have a special power that has come from centuries of moon inhabitance, called a glamour, that alters people’s perception of them, and their own empire that the Queen, Levana, is trying to expand to Earth. But she’s bad news, and Cinder has to find a way to keep Kai from having to marry her for an alliance- which will surely end in his death, because she’s ruthless. And Cinder is just the beginning. Scarlet and Cress are even better, entwining fairy tales and loveable characters without a hitch, using the old classics (we’re talking Hans Christian Andersen-type here, not so much Disney) to weave a new tale of intrigue, betrayal, and courage that you won’t soon forget.

My personal rating for Cinder: Four stars. I love it, but I prefer the main characters from Scarlet and Cress (even though Cinder and Kai are all in the rest of the books, of course) over the ones that predominate in Cinder.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions on books I should review? Leave a comment below and I’ll get to your book as soon as I can.