The Whimsical Mama

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

*Review* Cress by Marissa Meyer March 30, 2014



Rating: 4 stars
Pub Date: 4 February 2014
Publisher: Macmillan, Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Fairy Tale Retelling
Format: hardcover, signed, personal copy
Status: Book three of The Lunar Chronicles series


Summary:
In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.


Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

My Thoughts:
After much lusting over Cress, I finally got my hands on a copy. I was supposed to be a part of an ARC tour, but the ARC was lost in the mail mid-tour. Very devastating and disappointing! My wonderful hubby and incredible BFF Mary (Mary Had A Little Book Blog) concocted a surprise for a fourth wedding anniversary gift. I love Marissa Meyer. She did a signing in Texas. Mary lives in Texas. I got signed books for my present! I did have to wait til I got to hang out with Mary when she came in to visit family and go on her epic book events tour, but it was worth the wait. Plus I got to see my Mary! (:

I absolutely love the retelling/remaining Marissa has done. I love the Disney princess movies, as does my toddler daughter, but I adore that Marissa is taking these timeless classics and turning them into pretty kickass heroines. As a mama, I want heroines my kiddos can look up to and Marissa has delivered on that three times now.

Of the heroines so far, Rapunzel is probably my least favourite in origin. Cress, however, is perfect. She’s more than slightly off her rocker, but 1.) that’s to be expected after essentially growing up in solitary confinement and 2.) it adds depth to her character and gives her tons of room to grow. I loved seeing her relationship develop with Thorne after being a bit obsessed with him. It was nice to see a portrayal of how a one sided infatuation can develop into a budding friendship.
I was very happy to see everyone back from Scarlet. Cinder seems to be adjusting slowly to the idea of her identity and is striving to learn all she can about her gifts. Scarlet is still spunky as ever and I can’t wait to see how things go between her and Princess Winter. After seeing the vicious side of Wolf, it was a great relief to see a tenderness fully develop between him and Scarlet. I love how devoted he is to her and how determined he is to save her. Queen Levana is as wickedly evil as ever and I get a sick enjoyment out of her wickedness. Haha. And Emperor Kai. Oh, I love Kai. The events that transpire at the end had me in a fit of giggles. I really, really, REALLY hope things work out for him and Cinder. REALLY.

What kept this from being a 5 star review is jumping around from the points of view. It’s a necessary evil for the story, and Marissa does a great job, but it just felt a bi disruptive to me this time around. I’m not sure why. Probably because I have two toddlers running around who live to keep mama on her toes.

Cress definitely moves the action and story along as well as sets up for the series finale, Winter. It’s going to suck waiting for a year, but I’m sure Marissa will make it worth it! From the teasers she’s been putting up on Twitter, it definitely feels like it will be! Weaving together four fairy tales is a Herculean task, but Marissa Meyer is making it look easy. I highly recommend Cress and the rest of The Lunar Chronicles without a single bit of hesitation.

About the author:
I live in Tacoma, Washington, with my fiancé and our two cats. In addition to my slight obsession with books and writing, I’m big on road-tripping, wine-tasting, and hunting for antiques. I’m represented by Jill Grinberg.

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*Review* Evertrue by Brodi Ashton March 13, 2014

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date:
8 January 2014
Publisher:
HarperCollins, Balzer+Bray
Genre:
Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Mythology
Format:
hardcover, personal copy, signed
Status:
Book three of the Everneath trilogy

Summary:

Now that Nikki has rescued Jack, all she wants is to be with him and graduate high school. But Cole tricked Nikki into feeding off him, and she’s begun the process of turning into an Everliving herself… which means she must feed on a Forfeit soon — or die.

Terrified for her survival, Nikki and Jack begin a desperate attempt to reverse the process using any means possible. Even Cole, who they expected to fight them at every turn, has become an unlikely ally — but how long can it last? Nikki needs to feed on Cole to survive, Cole needs Nikki to gain the throne in the Everneath, Jack needs Nikki because she is everything to him — and together, they must travel back to the Underworld to undo Nikki’s fate and make her mortal once more. But Cole isn’t the only one with plans for Nikki: the Queen has not forgotten Nikki’s treachery, and she wants her destroyed for good. Will Nikki be forced to spend eternity in the Underworld, or does she have what it takes to bring down the Everneath once and for all?


In this stunning conclusion to the Everneath trilogy, Brodi Ashton evokes the resiliency of the human spirit and the indomitable power of true love.

My thoughts:

After an excruciating wait, the conclusionhas arrived for Brodi Ashton’s incredible trilogy. Evertrue picks up where Everbound leaves off. Nikki has successfully rescued Jack from the Tunnels of the Everneath and they are now trying to sort out the aftermath of Cole’s betrayal and deception. Oh, Cole. I still can’t go there. Sneaky devil.

Nikki and Jack decide that the Everneath must be destroyed – a Herculean task if there ever was one. Brodi does a nice job weaving in numerous elements of Greek mythology. Hercules was incapable of telling good from evil in all things and to me, Cole has always been blind to it, like his morality is gone.

I love a good redemption and as much as I swore I would NEVER let Cole weasel his way back into my heart, it happened. I tried to resist, but the things Brodi does to him… Man, I am GLAD I am not Nikki. Never dear, there are lots of scoundrel motives with angelic moments.

Jack also still has a hold on my heart. Not many guys would go through all of the things he does for the girl they love. Jack is simply incredible and I love that he has his bright and dark moments. Brodi is definitely on the Evil Authors Are Evil list with Jodi Meadows!

Over and over, Brodi does a fantastic job of amping up the dangers and action. I had some things figured out due to it being in first person, but others, Brodi definitely kept me guessing.

I’m still reeling with everything Nikki dealt with in the series. She definitely is one strong girl! I do not envy her situation or choices though. Cole or Jack? Definitely not a choice I would want to make. I really admire the lengths she was willing to go to protect the ones she loved.

I am very pleased with how things wrapped up. My one complaint for the series would be wanting to know more about the other members of the band. We had a glimpse into Cole’s thought line in Neverfall, but I would love to know more about the band.

I am happy to recommend Evertrue and the whole Everneath series. It’s a fantastic read. It’s great for a mythology lover, but not so heavy in the mythology that if you don’t have the background you won’t understand it. Brodi does such a great job with taking the Persephone myth and making it her own. I’m sad the series is over, but I’m glad I had the chance to read it!

About the author

I write Young Adult novels. I eat cinnamon bears. I love me some Diet Coke.


My debut book EVERNEATH (the first in a trilogy) comes out Winter 2012 with Balzer and Bray (Harper Collins).


I’m represented by Michael Bourret at Dystel and Goderich Literary Management.

 

*ARC Review* Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott February 24, 2014

***I was granted permission to read Fire & Flood by the publisher (Scholastic Press) in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Scholastic Press!***

Rating:4 stars
Pub date:25 February 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre:Young Adult Fiction
Format: ARC via publisher
Status:Book one of Fire & Flood series

Summary:

A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother’s life—and her own.

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying — and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

My thoughts:

I was very excited when I first heard about this title. Victoria had a request form up on her page that she passed along to Scholastic. I immediately filled it out and pushed it from my thoughts. I didn’t want to dwell on it in case I didn’t get approval. My hubby brought in a package one day and held it out to me. It was from Scholastic. I was ecstatic. I wanted to dive in first thing, but I had some other things I had to read first. Mary over at Mary Had A Little Book Blog and I decided to read it at the same time. This was my first book by Victoria Scott and I do plan on continuing this series in the future and checking out her Dante Walker series.

The pacing felt a little slow to me in the beginning. After an initial lull, the pacing rapidly picks up and became a page turner until I finished. I felt a very strong similarity to The Hunger Games if the stakes were even higher. Instead of competing for themselves, the Contenders are competing for a loved one. At a first glance, you would think this was a dystopian, but it is very much a modern day thriller (confirmed by Victoria).

Tella’s world was rocked when her parents uprooted their family from Boston to Montana after her brother fell ill. It’s not clear what is wrong with her brother, just that he’s sick and seems to be fading rather quickly. Tella receives an invitation to the Brimestone Bleed, but her parents try to play it off like a joke and attempt to destroy the evidence of the invitation. She manages to get a hold of the device and listens to the full invitation. Her mom catches her before she leaves and they have a quick talk. Tella leaves to pursue the cure.

The first challenge in the jungle felt a little disappointing. There were a few dangers, but nothing out of the ordinary of if she had gotten lost in the jungle. The biggest question that remained in my mind is what happens if you lose the race? One person gets the cure, but what happens to the other Contenders?

I was not really able to connect with Tella for the better part of the book. She came off as spoiled and selfish even though she was there for her brother. Her internal dialogue was very immature and bratty. I know not all 17 year olds are not all created equal. I was often told I was mature for my age and sometimes I forget that not all teenagers think like I did. Once she hooked up with a group, I started to connect with her more because she started to grow as a person.She still has her moments of wishing she hadn’t come, but who wouldn’t? It’s not an easy thought potentially risking your life for someone. It’s human nature to prefer preserving yourself than others.

I really enjoyed the other characters (Guy, Ransom, Levi, etc) and I can’t wait to see if more of their backstories are included in the future. I’m also excited to see where their budding friendships take them. It’s an every man for himself situation and new friendships will only last for so long… right?

With the first race behind, things really began to pick up and it made me very happy. Right at the end of the jungle race is when it really became a page turner for me. The twists were very well done and I really enjoyed the desert race. The desert race was definitely a five star section. My toddler kept asking me to read to him before his nap and there were sections that I had to skim as I read because they were totally not suited for a toddler’s ears. Once he was asleep, I devoured the last 100 pages.The action and danger shot through the roof and it was amazing.

I loved the idea of Pandoras. They were simply incredible and it was a very well done idea. In a way they felt like the daemons from the His Dark Materials series, but DEFINITELY more badass.Maddox is incredible. His power – whoa. I really hope we get to learn more about how the Pandoras are created in the next installment!

The ending will definitely leave you wanting more. Keep in mind that this race is in four destinations and Fire & Flood only covers two of them. So much more excitement and challenges away in the Brimestone Bleed.

I’m proud to recommend this as a great read! It does not disappoint and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

About the author:

Victoria Scott is a teen fiction writer represented by Sara Crowe. She’s the author of the FIRE & FLOOD series published by Scholastic, and the DANTE WALKER trilogy published by Entangled Teen. Her books have been bought and translated in eleven foreign markets including the UK, Turkey, China, Poland, Germany, Australia, Israel, Taiwan, Brazil, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.


Victoria lives in Dallas with her husband and hearts cotton candy something fierce.

 

 
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