The Whimsical Mama

<3 Such is the life of a stay at home mommy and Army wife (:

Tot Time Thursday #1: Ladybug Girl Feels Happy by David Soman and Jacky Davis May 15, 2014

“Tot Time Thursday” is a weekly event hosted by Punk & Bug, here, on The Whimsical Mama. They showcase some of their favourite children’s books. This week’s book is:

 

Pub date: 6 September 2012
Publisher: Dial
Genre:Children’s book, picture book
Format: hardcover, via public library

Summary:

New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl explores the concept of emotions in this adorable board book

Ladybug Girl feels all different kinds of things–happiness when playing with Bingo, fear when there is loud thunder, and excitement when Grandma comes to visit. This concept board book for the youngest Ladybug Girl fans explores these emotions and more with Lulu and Bingo.

Mama’s questions & Kids’ thoughts (Punk – red, Bug – purple):

Do you feel happy when you play with Sheldon (Grammy’s dog) & Maggie (our dog)?

YES! Throw the ball to Sheldon!

*claps and squeals* SHEL SHEL SHEL!

 

What makes booboos better?

Mama kiss it better! I have a booboo on my leg too!

*blows kisses*

 

Do you love when your grandparents visit? What do you like to do with them?

Yes! Grammy – play with Sheldon. Papaw – go for rides. Skipper – Go fishing! Grandma & Pa – play cars!

*runs to door and gets upset grandparents aren’t here*

 

What do you do when you’re scared?

I scared of thunder. I stay in bed. I eat goldfish. Sissy go to bed!

*hides her face*

 

Do you like playing with sissy?

YES! We play soccer ball. I read to sissy. I love sissy.

*grins*

 

What do you like most about reading?

Read dogs! (Go, Dog, Go!) Go to “libary!” We go “libary” now?

*claps and squeals* *brings another book*

 

*Review* Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein April 27, 2014

Rating:5 stars
Pub date:7 May 2013
Publisher:Disney Hyperion
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction
Format:paperback, personal copy
Status:Book one of the Code Name Verity companion duology

Summary:

Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called “a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel” in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.

My thoughts:

The next book in my World War II binge is back in the Allied perspective. In a way, it was comforting to return to it. Code Name Verity is the harrowing tale of British (not English, mind you) best friends, Julie and Maddie. One is a pilot, the other is a spy and this two part book covers the beginning of their friendship through an operation in France in 1943. Remember, this is classified. Careless talk costs lives. (World War II OPSEC – operation security – for Britain) This MilSo LOVED that reference throughout. I think I’ll encourage anyone who asks details about hubby’s future deployments to look up World War II propaganda.

The first narrator of Code Name Verity refers to herself as ‘Queenie’ through her tale. She has been captured by the Gestapo in France. She agrees to tell them information about the British airfields in exchange of ending torture. In the way she gives the information is through the story of how she and Maddie became best friends.

You can tell through her mannerisms and speech that ‘Queenie’ comes from a privileged background. At times she seems flippant, which may be how she protects and isolates herself from her situation, but it was a bit grating. Not enough to deter me from finishing. I was far to interested to see the outcome to let a bit of snarkiness get me down! I can be quite snarky myself.

Queenie’s tale is also very heavy with technical details. It can be a bit overwhelming, but you have to remember she is doing her job. She agreed to give details on Britain’s air front war movements and that’s what she does.

There are some very tedious parts through her tale as well as some heartbreaking ones. She has little interaction with the other prisoners, but what she does is hard to stomach. She has to witness torture and an execution. She also has to deal with them hurling insults at her because she has agreed to work with and help the Germans in order to save her own skin – if only temporarily. Spies don’t survive capture and she understands that. She doesn’t sit and dwell on rescue. She remains realistic and determined to carryout her mission.

“It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.”

The second half is narrated by ATA pilot, Maddie Brodatt. You already feel a connection with Maddie because you watched how her friendship with Julie unfolded in the first half.

Maddie survives the crash in France, but is in more danger than ever because she is a Jew. Obviously, German occupied France is not the best place to be a Jew. From Maddie, we get some missing pieces of time that Julie didn’t know what happened. She visits Julie’s home and sparks start smouldering between Maddie and Jamie, Julie’s beloved brother who survived an aeroplane crash in the North Sea.

Once Maddie knows Julie has been captured, she wants to do something to help free her. While she’s stuck underground, waiting to be extracted from France, she gets to experience life with a French Resistance family. (So, now I’ve had poor German, Hitler’s inner circle German, German Jews, British pilot, British spy, and now French Resistance family – just making my rounds through all involved parties!)

I enjoyed Maddie’s part a lot more than I enjoyed Julie’s. Despite Julie’s situation which should’ve been rife with emotion, it keeps you a bit at arm’s length. It wasn’t a bad thing by any means. I’m a very emotional reader, so I connected to the emotion driven Maddie more than I did with the cool and calculating, Julie. I loved both characters dearly, I just happened to connect with Maddie more.

In reading a few blurbs, I saw one mentioned that mentioned a ‘tear stained copy.’ I was concerned that Code Name Verity wasn’t striking me as deeply as it had others until the end. I was very glad that I was outside alone and the kiddos were down for naps so I could week in peace. Elizabeth Wein did such an incredible job creating two incredibly inspiring heroines. She did an amazing job of thrusting me smack dab in the middle of war torn Britain and France. I will say that ever since I saw Pearl Harbor, I’ve wanted to read more about the RAF/Allied pilots and just never have. I’m glad I went on impulse to order this after hearing great things about it. I’m always on the lookout for strong female leads and Elizabeth Wein delivers two in Code Name Verity. This is a book I gladly recommend to historical fiction fans, those looking for a good copy tale, and those who are plane enthusiasts. Looking down the road to when my kiddos are older, I plan on encouraging them to read Code Name Verity. It’s THAT good! Now, “Kiss me Hardy! Kiss me quick!”

About the author


Elizabeth Wein has lived in Scotland for over ten years and wrote nearly all her novels there.  Her first five books for young adults are set in Arthurian Britain and sixth century Ethiopia.  The most recent of these form the sequence The Mark of Solomon, published in two parts as The Lion Hunter (2007) and The Empty Kingdom (2008).  The Lion Hunter was short-listed for the Andre Norton Award for Best Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction in 2008.  Elizabeth also writes short stories.


Elizabeth’s latest novel for teens is a departure in a totally new direction.  Code Name Verity, published by Egmont UK, Disney-Hyperion and Doubleday Canada in 2012, is a World War II thriller in which two young girls, one a Resistance spy and the other a transport pilot, become unlikely best friends.  Code Name Verity has received widespread critical acclaim. Among its many laurels it is shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal; it is a Michael Printz Award Honor Book, a Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards Honor Book, and an SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Book. It is also a New York Times Bestseller in young adult fiction.

 

 

*Review* Insurgent by Veronica Roth April 13, 2014

Rating:5 stars
Pub date:1 May 2012
Publisher:HarperCollins, Katherine Tegen Books
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic
Format:e-book, audiobook, borrowed via library
Status:Book two of the Divergent trilogy

Summary:

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.


Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

My thoughts:

By waiting so long to read Divergent, it meant waiting even longer to read Insurgent and that was a grievous mistake. The action that was building gets ramped up even higher in Insurgent. Terrible things happened at the end of Divergent and sacrifices were made that tore Tris’s world to shreds. In Insurgent, she’s left to deal with the fallout and try to figure out how to move forward.

One of my favourite things about Insurgent is that we get a better look at/interaction with other factions. It helps with the world building and bring further understanding to why things are happening the way they are.

Along with a better look at the factions, there are massive layers of guilt, grief, reflection, and betrayal woven into each intricate part. The betrayals come from all over and you won’t be prepared for them. Due to events, there is a lot of reflection. Tris questions if she’s made the right choices along the way. It helps further her character development because it helps her mature, but it also leaves her rife with guilt. The guilt also tore her apart and I think it made her grieve more than she had to grieve. My heart ached so bad for her grief and the grief of other characters.

There to help hold her together and stand by her is Four. Four is also dealing with a lot of issues after the events of Divergent. We also get to learn more about his seemingly good guy dad who was abusive to Four and Four’s mother. A shocking discovery is that not only is his mother alive, but a leader of the Factionless. It was nice to see the Factionless, but the conditions of their station is appalling. It’s not at all surprising that the Factionless want to better themselves.

The action builds until it explodes at the end with an expected (for me, it was one of two theories I had right off the bat in Divergent) revelation. I was happy to see that I was right about one of two theories I’ve had. We’ll have to wait until Allegiant to see if I’m right about the second. I’m glad I was a bit late to the party on reading, because that cliffhanger was a doozie! I enjoyed Insurgent more than I enjoyed Divergent and I’m looking forward to continuing my binge with Allegiant. Veronica did a great job of continuing the world building she started in Divergent. She also did a great job of continuing character development of the characters we met in Divergent and introducing us to more characters in Insurgent. This is still a world I wouldn’t want to live in, but she makes believable characters that are easy to relate to. I still highly recommend this series and hope that I’m one of the people who actually likes Allegiant and don’t end up disappointed!

 

 

About the author

Veronica Roth is from a Chicago suburb. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University, and wrote DIVERGENT (Katherine Tegen Books, May 2011) and INSURGENT (May 2012). The third and final book in The Divergent Trilogy, ALLEGIANT, will come out on October 22, 2013. In the meantime she will spend endless hours browsing Wikipedia in her pajamas as she eats corn flakes. (Or some other kind of bland breakfast cereal.)

 

*Review* My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris November 3, 2013

Rating:  4 stars
Pub date: 18 September 2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format:paperback, via library
Status: Book one of the My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century series

Summary:

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore. Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

My thoughts:

I first came across MSSSC hen Mary posted about it with a picture. Based off the cover and title, I remarked that it looked like it could be epically fantastic or one helluva flop. It definitely was the former!

This was my first YA novel by Rachel. I reviewed Seven Day Fiance for her and knew I had to bump up MSSSC on the TBR list. I’m so glad I did! I’ve read a lot of books taking place around the world, but not many have made me miss the country like Rachel made me miss Italy. I’ve never been to Florence (I hope to go one day!), but the way Cat reacts to Florence is totally how 18 year old Maura reacted to Rome! I still need to go back through my pictures. *sigh* THAT was a trip of a lifetime!

I can relate a lot to Cat. Only I was a loner type with a few close friends instead of a complete loner. My parents are divorced and I built walls up to protect myself. For more details on how those walls were torn down check out my Seven Day Fiance review! (:

I think it’d be interesting to walk out a door into a different time period. Not sure I can say I want to go to the 16th century though. I like modern medicinal practices! (:

“Caterina, a great adventure is in store for you.”

That’s definitely the case for Cat! I’m interested in knowing what my ancestors were like and Cat actually gets to experience it!

Not only does she meet her family, she falls for the ultimate 16th century hottie – Lorenzo. Rachel strikes again with her swoon worthy, cold shower needing boys! (: And not just any boy, but one who is willing to give up his dreams to be with her! Thankfully, Cat doesn’t let him do that. She knew she was coming back to the future and she knew he wouldn’t be happy if he have up his dream.

I was happy to see Cat make up with her soon to be step-mom. I think she deserves a great relationship with her! I wasn’t so sure about my step-dad when he and my mom first started dating. He and I now have a great relationship!

I have only great things to say about this! I highly recommend it! (:

 

*Review* Timepiece by Myra McEntire October 20, 2013

Rating:  5 stars
Pub date: 12 June 2012
Publisher: Egmont USA
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format:e-book, via library
Status: Book two of the Hourglass series

Summary:

A threat from the past could destroy the future. And the clock is ticking…

Kaleb Ballard was never supposed to be able to see ripples – cracks in time. Are his powers expanding, or is something very wrong? Before he can find out, Jonathan landers, the man who tried to murder is father, reappears. Why is he back, and what, or whom, does he want?

In the wake of Landers’ return, the Hourglass organization is given an ultimatum. Either they find Jack and the research he’s stolen on the people who might carry the time gene, or time will be altered – with devastating results for the people Kaleb loves most.

Now Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the other Hourglass recruits have no choice but to use their unusual powers to find Landers. But where do they even start? And when? And even if they succeed, it may not be enough…

My thoughts:

I blew through Hourglass and quickly jumped into Timepiece. Even though I was enjoying being away at the beach, reading about TN warmed my heart.

I fell in love with Kaleb when he first met Em. Adorable and lost Kaleb. For a heartbeat, I really loved the thought of him and Em together. Then I realised Em and Michael were too perfect together. Also because Kaleb really meets his match in Timepiece. Kaleb is also in touch with what could be considered his feminine side. He knows his way around a kitchen. What girl doesn’t love a guy who knows his way around a kitchen? C’mon, ladies, fess up!

“I’m a badass. A badass who bakes when he’s depressed.”

Love it!

Kaleb’s match is Lily. She’s the fierce and protective best friend of Emerson. She reminds me of my childhood best friend, Brydget. She’s fiercely loyal, has a mind of her own, and knows what she wants. Very admirable. She also makes Kaleb work for her affections. Guys need to learn that a girl isn’t just gonna give it up because you give her the time of day! Lily also brings out the best in Kaleb by letting himsee he doesn’t have to drown his pain.

“I’m simply remind you that you’re worth more than what you’ll find at the bottom of a bottle.”

Rips are becoming more common place and everyone with the time travel gene is now able to see them. Rips are also becoming more defined. Not just one at a time, but multiple people. The gang also learns about the Infinityglass that may be the solution to help heal the time continuum. They are threatened by Chronos to bring Jack Landers to them or the time continuum would be fixed and no one knows what the implications would be.

Kaleb is surprised to discover Lily also has an ability. She can find things, and also has a latent time travel gene because she too can see the rips. They journey to discover just how powerful she could be. Everyone is surprised to find out she is more powerful than any of them could imagine. Her grandmother tells her that each generation the ability becomes stronger and that’s why they fled from Cuba – to protect her.

In the end we discover more about the Infinityglass and that it isn’t an object, but a person.

I really enjoyed reading from Kaleb’s POV. It’s a nice change from the continuous streams of girls’ POVs I’ve been reading lately. This was a spectacular sequel which continued the magic from Hourglass, just switched gender perspectives.

Recommended for: Time travel enthusiasts, those who love swoon worthy boys and another kickass heroine!

Not recommended for: Those who dislike time travel.

 

*Review* Everneath by Brodi Ashton August 23, 2013

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins/ Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA, Mythology, Romance, Fantasy
Format: paperback, obtained from the Public Library

Summary:
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen.

Everneath is a captivating story of love, loss, and immortality from debut author Brodi Ashton.

Oh wow. All the feels for sure with this one! I could hardly put this one down. I am a HUGE fan of Greek mythology so when this came recommended and I looked into it, I immediately requested it from the library.

I’ve always been interested in the Persephone myth. Then again, anything involving Greek mythology, I’m fairly interested in. Some more than others. I have a statue of Artemis on my desk that I bought in Greece. I LOVE Artemis.

I’ve always found the thought of immortality intriguing. Cultures around the world have different myths about the search for immortality. Various creatures have obtained immortality.

From page one, Ashton pulled me into this new telling of an old myth. The Greek underworld is called the Everneath. There are the Everlivings (the immortals) and the Shades. We are soon introduced to Cole who is the Everliving with the claim over Nikki Beckett who is his Forefeit. It starts with her last moments in the Everneath before she Returns to the Surface. I was immediately curious about what could possibly drive a 17 year old to want to give up everything to have her emotions drained from her. I’ve had my fair share of struggles with depression. It started when my parents divorced when I was in 8th grade and I’ve struggled with it ever since. The worst it got is when it went from depression to full blown horrendous postpartum depression after my son was born. I was consumed with all of the “bad” emotions. I cried all the time, I didn’t want to get out of bed, I didn’t want to hear my baby cry. It was a dark, dark time in my life. I didn’t want to feel anything anymore. Finally, once I was close to being pushed over the edge of getting on my own nerves with my overly caustic sarcasm, I asked for help. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I’d been in Becks’ place. Would I have asked to have the pain taken away or would I have sought out the help I did.

Becks’ struggle to regain control of her emotions felt very similar to my struggle to balance my emotions as I adjusted to my antidepressant. It took a while for things to balance out. For me, it was a matter of weeks compared to Becks’ months.

I admire Becks’ strength to return even though she knew she was facing leaving again and for good this time. I would probably do the same. Just to see my family and friends one last time. It’s not a thought I like, but I have letters written to my two children and my husband in the event something ever happens to me. I would want them to have something to always remind them of my love. Leaving our loved ones is never an easy thought, and being constantly reminded that you’re a ticking time bomb wouldn’t make it any easier.

I loved the relationship between Jack and Becks. I loved that they were friends before they gave their relationship a chance to develop into something deeper. It’s a refreshing change from the puppy love that is in a lot of YA. I had a relationship like this in HS, but the result was not as good as Jack and Becks. We realised we were better as friends and nothing more. Their struggle to understand what happened to their relationship and to rebuild it, was amazing. Despite having undeniable facts thrown in his face, Jack kept coming back trying to help Becks. Definitely a true love relationship.

I thought it was very interesting having the before the Feed and after the Return aspect of the story. It let us see what led Becks to her decision to go to the Everneath with Cole. It let us see the consequences of that choice. It was a constant reminder that even if we try to run a way from something, it doesn’t just effect us, it effects everyone around us. Jack suffered the most by Becks’ disappearance. Even though he was destroyed by her leaving, he was willing to understand and work through her Return.

The ending. Whoa. All sorts of feels. For about the last 40 pages I went from tearing up to all out bawling. True love wins out. Such a sacrifice. Wow. I’m still in awe and shock. I can’t wait to see where Neverfall and Everbound take Jack, Becks, and Cole!

Funny side note: While I was reading this, my baby girl kept trying to swipe the book from me. It became her inspiration to “creep” across the bed to get it. If I put it down, she was after it. What can I say? Kid’s got good taste in books already! (:
Recommended for: Lovers of mythology retellings, immortality, quests for redemption, and a bit of romance
Not recommended for: Those who dislike fantasy or think the immortality thing has been played out.

 

*Review* Across the Universe Series by Beth Revis August 16, 2013

Rating: 4.3 for the series
Pub date: 2011, 2012, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: YA, Futuristic, Sci-Fi
Format: paperbacks, obtained from the Public Library

Summary:
Across the Universe: A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone – one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship – tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

A Million Suns: Godspeed was once fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos. It’s been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. Everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He’s finally free to act on his vision—no more Phydus, no more lies. But when Elder learns shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a mystery that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier. Their success—or failure—will determine the fate of the 2,298 passengers aboard Godspeed. But with each step, the journey becomes more perilous, the ship more chaotic, and the love between them more impossible to fight.
Beth Revis catapulted readers into the far reaches of space with her New York Times bestselling debut, Across the Universe. In A Million Suns, Beth deepens the mystery with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

Shades of Earth: Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They’re ready to start life afresh–to build a home–on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience. But this new Earth isn’t the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed’s former passengers aren’t alone on this planet. And if they’re going to stay, they’ll have to fight. Amy and Elder must race to discover who–or what–else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed–friends, family, life on Earth–will have been for nothing. FUELED BY LIES. RULED BY CHAOS. ALMOST HOME.

This series was suggested to me, and I decided that it sounded great. I took Across the Universe with me on vacation and devoured it. It was nice and refreshing. I’m not usually big into the space scene (unless it’s Star Wars), but this was definitely nice for something different. Sometimes as a stay at home mom, I feel like Amy felt on Godspeed. There are times that I feel trapped and isolated behind walls. It really felt that way this past week after a straight week of rain with a whiny toddler who is missing his daddy. I can’t imagine being stuck in space. At least when I feel trapped here, I can step out in the rain for a few seconds just to catch a breath of fresh air.

As a parent, I can’t imagine having to face the choice Amy’s parents did. They were so ready to go to the new planet, but didn’t fully realise (at least it felt that way to me) what they were asking teenage Amy to give up. She’s a high schooler, she doesn’t know what’s out there for her. I know I wouldn’t want to be separated from my children, but I would want to help decide what is best for them. Even though the prospect seems horrible, I believe I wouldn’t put my children in a situation to have to choose between me and the world they’d be leaving behind. Hopefully, I will never be in that situation.

It seemed so strange in reading that the people of Godspeed didn’t seem to be that advanced. You would think three hundred years in the future, the intelligence level would be higher, not lower. Yes, the technology has advanced, but the people are no where remotely more advanced. the discovery of why they behave the way they do is incredible. A drug that keeps them docile and submissive. It also intrigued me how they were all monoethnic and zero diversity. I was excited to read through the series to see if the reason behind this would be explained.

When I started A Million Suns, I got distracted with the Matched series and ended up not reading for a while. I reread the part I had read and it quickly went by to the end. I was advised to have Shades of Earth on hand for when I finished. I’m very glad I heeded this advice.

The discovery that they were already at their destination was a HUGE surprise. I had an inkling that was where things were going, but I wasn’t expecting it. I was very excited to see how Revis would display this new world. I was pleased and displeased with it. I was hoping for something vastly different from Earth. Pink grass or something like that would’ve been a nice throw in.

It was great getting to meet the “Frozens,” but I was a bit disappointed with the portrayal of Amy’s father. He was the stereotypical soldier. As a military wife, I know that not all military personnel are like this. I feel if he’d been a bit more personable, his actions would’ve made more sense. But that’s just me as a military wife. Amy’s mother seemed a bit blase too. Just their personalities made them seem like an odd fit and strange that they had a child. They both appeared much too attached to their professions to have wanted a family. Don’t get me wrong, I used to be the type that was career hell or high water before a family. My priorities changed. I just seems to me that people with this personality set usually don’t have kids. They do appear like a close family in a way. I dunno. the family dynamic just felt off to me a bit.

Not wanting to spoil the ending (I want you to read it for yourself!), that plot twist was HUGE. It blew my mind and was fantastically done. I was hoping things would be explained and it was laid out just like I was hoping. I’m sad I came into the series after it was finished, but the cliffhanger between two and three, I don’t think I would’ve been able to handle a year wait! I will definitely read this again!

 

*Review* Cinder by Marissa Meyer July 30, 2013

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 Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles

Rating: 5/5 stars
Pub date: 3 Jan 2012
Publisher: Square Fish by Macmillan
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale, Science Fiction
Format: Paperback, special edition, signed, obtained through giveaway on Mary Had a Little Book Blog

Disclaimer This is entirely my own opinion of this work and in no way is affiliated with Marissa Meyer or Square Fish. I have not been compensated for reading or reviewing this work. I review based on the Goodreads rating system of stars.

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.

Growing up, I loved Disney. I loved several of the Disney princesses. I HATED Cinderella. I always thought she was a great priss. However, when I started hearing the hype over Cinder, I was greatly intrigued. When Mary announced her giveaway, I was instantly drawn to Legend and Cinder. Being the third winner, I expected I wouldn’t get either, but was ecstatic to see Cinder was still on the list. I immediately picked it. I had a few other things to read first, but seeing how popular Cinder and Scarlet were, I went ahead and requested Scarlet from the library. I was surprised how quickly I received it. I hit a lull in Reached and needed to step back for a bit. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to renew Scarlet, I quickly pounced on Cinder. I’m glad I did!

I’m always fond of strong female protagonists, but it is quite refreshing to see a female in a typically male dominated profession. Even when Prince Kai comes along to bring his broken android to her, he is expecting a man. His reaction reminded me a lot of Neo and Trinity. Whoa, whoa, whoa, you’re a GIRL?! A nice change from the classic tale, Cinder is more of a tomboy. I can relate to this. I’ve never been a girly girl, even now as a mother of a daughter, I like girly things occasionally, but not overly girly things.

Cyborgs. I’ll admit, I wasn’t terribly crazy about this idea at first. I dislike the Terminator movies, except for the last one with Christian Bale, but I only watched it FOR Christian Bale. I’ve never really been into the whole robot thing. It works with this world. It’s hard to estimate just how far into the future this is set. It takes place almost 130 years after World War 4. (I’m happy to say) World War 3 hasn’t even occurred yet in 2013. I’m feeling this is probably set in the 3000s. That being said, that much robotic technology and advances is acceptable to me. Forcing too much technological advances in novels irritates me.

New Beijing. This really interested me. I’ve read several reviews that were upset with the location setting saying that it wasn’t true to the Chinese culture. I didn’t go into it expecting a true Chinese culture representation because the name of the city is NEW. Two more world wars have occurred since the founding of this city. Obviously a lot has changed in the world. Each day cultures are blending more and more. I like the idea that Cinder is still assumed to be European, but raised in an Asian family. The idea of the Commonwealth and the other global conglomerates really interests me. I hope there is further detail in the future books. Just the basic detail of the rulers of each nation just intrigues me more. The Eastern Commonwealth is ruled by a monarchy. Some of the others are monarchies, some are elected, some aren’t quite clear how the ruling process is. I also like the idea of a colony on the moon. It’s crazy to think that here in 2013, the farthest man has ever been has been to the moon. The universe is infinite and we have explored so little. Even though it’s cliched and I’m not a Trek fan, space really is the final frontier.

The architecture also interests me. After so much time passing from now to the time of Cinder, it is interesting to think how things have changed architecturally and what they think of things we’ve built recently (if any still exists after two world wars and a new plague)

Letumosis. Of course, it’s expected that travelers will bring about new diseases to locations never before exposed. Letumosis is carried by Lunars (moon inhabitants) much like smallpox was carried by the Spanish/English/French settlers brought to the New World when they traveled and how the rats carried the fleas that carried Bubonic plague. It sounds as though travel between Earth and Lunar is strictly monitored and rarely allowed, so it makes Letumosis all that more mysterious. No cure is known and Lunars have developed an immunity to it. It sounds as if few families haven’t been struck by the plague at some point since it started wreaking havoc on Earth.

Princess Selene. No major spoilers, but I called it. Meyer really pulls a good one with this twist. It’s as obvious as it can be, but still leaves that feeling of doubt in your mind. When it clicks, you still ponder if it really could be THAT obvious. After that passes, the legend of the missing princes really feels like the legends of one of the princes in the Tower surviving the War of the Roses or the Grand Duchess Anastasia or one of the other sisters surviving the assassination of the Russian family. Supporters of a side will always cling to rumours when they spread like wild fire.

The ball. Really, what would a Cinderella retelling be if there wasn’t a ball involved? I think it’s a nice twist on the traditional tale, though.

It’s very interesting that there are two “evil” figureheads in this book. Directly, Cinder must deal with her “evil step-mother” who is actually her legal guardian. She despises Cinder and is absolutely horrid to her. The second figurehead is the Queen of the Lunar. With the Lunar gifts, she is overly mysterious and corrupt. She constantly lies and rumours abound about her.

It is interesting with the approach of Cinderella and her Prince Charming. It isn’t love at first sight, love because of who he is, or smushy overly romantic crap. It feels like an actual relationship beginning. Reluctance, friendship, attraction. It will be interesting to see how the relationship will play out. Happily ever after as man and wife or just friends?

I’m rarely a fan of cliffhangers, but this one was well done! Will Cinder run? If she runs, where will she go? Will she accept her fate? What does she do know that she knows what she does? So many questions are spinning, but it is interesting to have them spinning and not be upset over the cliffhanger. Maybe it’s because I have book two in my hands. I may change my tune once I finish Scarlet and have to wait til 2014 for the continuation if the cliffhanger is set up the same way.

I enjoyed this book very much, and it is definitely to be re-read and shared with my daughter when she gets bigger. I’ll share it too, with my son, if he’s interested. That’s another wonderful thing about this, it’s not overly girly and isolationist in it’s style. It easily could be enjoyed by a guy too. Or at least, in my opinion it could be.

Recommended for: Readers who like science fiction, modern tellings of fairy tales, female protagonist in a male dominated field
Not recommended for: Readers who prefer true retellings of fairy tales, futuristic technology, someone expecting lots of Chinese culture due to the setting

 

 
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