Winter by Marissa Meyer

Title: Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel andFriends 2015

Genre: YA Scifi

Pages: 827

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Fairytale Retelling; I Love Libraries

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

A fitting conclusion to The Lunar Chronicles. While I really enjoyed the previous books, this one really caught my attention. I was drawn into the story on page one. Winter is hands down my favorite character of the entire series. I loved the chapters that were from her point of view. The other chapters were good, but Winter stole the show. I was on pins and needles waiting to see if Winter survived and if she and Jacin finally got together. I was riveted by the build up to the confrontation between CInder and Levana. Oh my it was so stressful! But it was such a great ending. While the last chapter was a bit rushed, I still really really enjoyed it.

The Lunar Chronicles

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Title: Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel andFriends 2015

Genre: YA Scifi

Pages: 220

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Fairytale Retelling; I Love Libraries

Pure evil has a name, hides behind a mask of deceit, and uses her “glamour” to gain power. But who is Queen Levana? Long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress in The Lunar Chronicles, Levana lived a very different story—a story that has never been told . . . until now. New York Times –bestselling author Marissa Meyer reveals the story behind her fascinating villain in Fairest, an unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes a special full-color image of Levana’s castle and an excerpt from Winter, the exciting conclusion to The Lunar Chronicles.

 

In a sense, I didn’t like this book. Levana is such a horrible person that of course I didn’t want to have any sympathy for her. And I don’t have any sympathy for her even after reading her story. She has always been a cruel person manipulating people to cover her own insecurities. On the other hand, I did enjoy getting more story featuring the characters we know now including Jacin, Winter, and Selene. Overall, a very interesting story…

The Lunar Chronicles

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Title: The Girl with All the Gifts

Author: M.R. Carey

Publisher: Orbit Books 2014

Genre: Fiction

Pages: 409

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Popsugar – Pseudonym; I Love Libraries

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.
Our book club selection for March and it was my pick! The main character is a zombie, or is she? The central question is very intriguing. I love books that raise interesting questions and this one centers on a big one. What does it take to be human? My favorite parts of the book were the interactions between Melanie and Ms. Justineau. Their conversations add so much to the book. Instead of just a zombie book, we get an interesting examination of the human condition. Plus I loved the explanation of what caused the zombies. The reasoning was much more plausible than most zombie origin stories. Overall I really enjoyed the book.

A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor

Title: A Symphony of Echoes (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #2)

Author: Jodi Taylor

Publisher: Night Shade Books 2013

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 307

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Popsugar – Involving travel; I Love Libraries

In the sequel to Just One Damned Thing After Another, Max and company visit Victorian London in search of Jack the Ripper, witness the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, and discover that dodos make a grockling noise when eating cucumber sandwiches. But they must also confront an enemy intent on destroying St. Mary’s—an enemy willing, if necessary, to destroy history itself to do it.

Another great installment of the Chronicles of St. Mary’s, although I must say I was worried with the first 25 pages. The entire sequence with Jack the Ripper was extremely unsettling and very open-ended. I hope they revisit the unanswered questions later in the series. Beyond that, I really dove into the book and didn’t come up for air until I had finished. Max is just a great main character: flawed yet likable. I couldn’t wait to see where the historians visited next. The sequence dealing with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon was perfect! Can’t wait to pick up the next volume.

The Chronicles of St. Mary’s:

  • #0.5 The Very First Damned Thing
  • #1 Just One Damned Thing After Another
  • #2 A Symphony of Echoes
  • #2.5 When A Child is Born
  • #3 A Second Chance
  • #3.5 Roman Holiday
  • #4 A Trail Through Time
  • #4.5 Christmas Present
  • #5 No Time Like the Past
  • #6 What Could Possibly Go Wrong
  • #6.5 Ships and Stings and Wedding Rings
  • #7 Lies, Damned Lies, and History
  • #7.5 The Great St. Mary’s Day Out
  • #7.6 My Name is Markham
  • #8 And the Rest is History

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Felwel andFriends 2014

Genre: YA Scifi

Pages: 552

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Perpetual (365 Days of YA); Fairytale Retelling; I Love Libraries

Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only 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 goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

This may be my favorite book of the series. I loved the continuation of Cinder and Thorne and Wolf and Scarlet and Kai. But even more I loved Cress’s story and growth. And we get to see more from Sybil and Levana, an appearance from Dr. Erland, and an introduction to Jacin and Princess Winter. So many characters in this one! If felt like the story was finally coming together. Plus we get some real movement in the plot to overthrow Queen Levana. I sped through this volume in a matter of three days. Can’t wait to get to the library and pick up the next volume!

The Lunar Chronicles

The Very First Damned Thing by Jodi Taylor

Title: The Very First Damned Thing (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #0.5)

Author: Jodi Taylor

Publisher: Accent Press 2015

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 74

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mount TBR

Ever wondered how it all began? It’s two years since the final victory at the Battersea Barricades. The fighting might be finished, but for Dr Bairstow, just now setting up St Mary’s, the struggle is only beginning. How will he assemble his team? From where will his funding come? How can he overcome the massed ranks of the Society for the Protection of Historical Buildings? How do stolen furniture, a practical demonstration at the Stirrup Charge at Waterloo, students’ alcohol-ridden urine, a widowed urban guerrilla, a young man wearing exciting knitwear, and four naked security guards all combine to become the St Mary’s of the future?

Loved learning how St. Mary’s was founded. We get bit of time travel adventure, a fun appearance by Max, and more importantly, introductions to most of the major players. A short short story, but definitely a good addition to the series. Now to move on to book #2 in the series.

The Chronicles of St. Mary’s:

  • #0.5 The Very First Damned Thing
  • #1 Just One Damned Thing After Another
  • #2 A Symphony of Echoes
  • #2.5 When A Child is Born
  • #3 A Second Chance
  • #3.5 Roman Holiday
  • #4 A Trail Through Time
  • #4.5 Christmas Present
  • #5 No Time Like the Past
  • #6 What Could Possibly Go Wrong
  • #6.5 Ships and Stings and Wedding Rings
  • #7 Lies, Damned Lies, and History
  • #7.5 The Great St. Mary’s Day Out
  • #7.6 My Name is Markham
  • #8 And the Rest is History

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

Title: Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #1)

Author: Jodi Taylor

Publisher: Night Shade Books 2013

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 336

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Popsguar – Set in two different time periods; New to Me

At St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, the historians don’t just study the past, they revisit it.

Behind the strait-laced façade of a conventional academic institution, the secret of time travel is being used for ground-breaking and daring historical research taking the historians on a rollercoaster ride through history: from the destruction of Pompeii to the Normandy trenches; from the Great Fire of London to Bronze Age Troy and even to the time of the dinosaurs…

Meanwhile, within at St Mary’s itself, there are power struggles and intrigues worthy of a book in themselves.

A friend told me I had to read this one and lent me her copy. She was right! This was such a fun adventure story. I loved the main character of Max, but all the side characters were also great. I fell right into the fun storyline in the first chapter and almost couldn’t put the book down to sleep. The pace is fast and the twists and turns just keep coming. There are some pretty far out happenings, but the way this book is written, I didn’t stop to shake my head at the crazy. I was fully immersed in the world. So much fun and a great needed escape from the events of the past few days. Now I need the second book.

The Chronicles of St. Mary’s:

  • #0.5 The Very First Damned Thing
  • #1 Just One Damned Thing After Another
  • #2 A Symphony of Echoes
  • #2.5 When A Child is Born
  • #3 A Second Chance
  • #3.5 Roman Holiday
  • #4 A Trail Through Time
  • #4.5 Christmas Present
  • #5 No Time Like the Past
  • #6 What Could Possibly Go Wrong
  • #6.5 Ships and Stings and Wedding Rings
  • #7 Lies, Damned Lies, and History
  • #7.5 The Great St. Mary’s Day Out
  • #7.6 My Name is Markham
  • #8 And the Rest is History

2017 Wired into Sci-fi Reading Challenge

wiredintoscifi-1 Sci-Fi Reading Challenges

From Sci-fi and Scary:

This challenge was inspired by Abe Book’s 50 Essential Sci-Fi Novels list.

This challenge has 3 levels. Dabbler, Dreamer, and Connoisseur .

Choose a tier to aim for, and read an appropriate number of books from the Wired Into Sci-Fi bookshelf/list below.

Dabbler– Read 10 out of 30 of the Wired Into Sci-Fi Books. May DNF at the 33% point 2 times, and still have it count as a read. Any more after that, you must select an another book from the list to read instead.

Dreamer – Read 20 out of 30 of the Wired into Sci-Fi Books. May DNF at the 33% point 5 times, and still have it counted as a read. Any more after that, you must select another book from the list to read instead.

Connoisseur – Read 25+ books of the Wired into Sci-Fi Books. May DNF at the 33% point 7 times. Any more after that, you must select another book from the list to read instead.

Should you read all 30 books, you don’t get a special prize, but you will know you are completely awesome.

  • You may note that most of these books are fairly well-known. That’s a deliberate choice, as they’re meant to be ones that are accesible. Not books you have to pay 15 or 20 bucks to get your hands on.
  1. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
  2. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
  3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy #1 by Douglas Adams
  4. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  5. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
  6. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
  7. Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
  8. Ringworld by Larry Niven
  9. Tau Zero by Poul Anderson
  10. 1984 by George Orwell
  11. Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
  12. Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement
  13. Ring Around the Sun by Cliffard D. Simak
  14. The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
  15. The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett
  16. When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie
  17. The Death of Grass by John Christopher
  18. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  19. Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
  20. The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
  21. The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard
  22. Make Room! Make Room! by Henry Harrison
  23. Logan’s Run by William F. Nolan
  24. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  25. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick
  26. The Female Man by Joanna Russ
  27. Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks
  28. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
  29. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  30. Life by Gwyneth Jones

Chance to Win: (*age 18+, legal resident of the US)

Tier One:  A e-copy of Sci-Fi & Scary’s favorite science fiction novel.

Tier Two: Prize pack of 3  indie pubbed sci-fi novels that have received at least a 4* rating from Sci-Fi & Scary.

Tier Three: $25.00 GC to Thriftbooks.com

Challenge Ends: Dec 31st, 2017.

Participants have until Jan 15, 2018 to confirm  their completion.

Winners will be announced January 19th, 2018.

I’m going with the Dabbler level of 10 books. I would go for more, but I have so many reading challenges this year that I don’t want to overwhelm myself.

High Rise by J.G. Ballard

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Last book of 2016!

Title: High Rise

Author: J.G. Ballard

Publisher: 1975

Genre: Science Fiction?

Pages: 208

Rating: 4/5 stars  Movie: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Book to Movie

When a class war erupts inside a luxurious apartment block, modern elevators become violent battlegrounds and cocktail parties degenerate into marauding attacks on “enemy” floors. In this visionary tale, human society slips into violent reverse as once-peaceful residents, driven by primal urges, re-create a world ruled by the laws of the jungle.

Wow! I am still reeling from this slim volume. Ballard packs a seriously intensive punch in this story. At first everything thing in the high rise seems about right. But quickly things break down and then things get crazy. I was not expecting the intensity or pace of this one. Reminded me of a more adult version of Lord of the Flies. Ballard raises some very interesting questions about the nature of humanity and constructs of society. I would not recommend this book to everyone, but I very much enjoyed the journey.

high-rise-posterMovie:

The movie definitely changed some aspects of the books, but kept the spirit of the story. I think the changes made sense when it came to adapting a very strange book to the screen. The movie created a bit more plot to move along the storyline and character development. You get a little less introspection and narration, but make up for it with more screen time for some of the other characters. My favorite parts of the movie were the set dressing and overall look and the editing. The super imposing structure of the high rise is carried through to the interior sets. Very eye catching! I especially loved Laing’s apartment juxtaposed with Wilder and Helen’s apartment. Finally, the editing was fantastic. The movie starts with traditional-length scenes and slowly devolves into almost a montage-like pace. As the society in the high rise devolves we get more and more sharp cuts and fragments of scenes. Definitely an interesting movie! I can’t believe that it only got two stars on Netflix.

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The Lunar Chronicles Stories – Part 1

518glH0BM0LTitle: Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5); The Little Android (The Lunar Chornicles #0.6); The Queen’s Army (The Lunar Chronicles #1.5)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Felwel andFriends 2012

Genre: YA Scifi

Pages: 31; 35; 47

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Popsugar – Romance set in the future; Fairytale Retelling; 52 Books – W49

The enchantment continues. . . .
The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories – and secrets – that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?
With six stories – two of which have never before been published – and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

After reading Cinder, I decided to pick up Stars Above so I could read the short stories that take place before the first book or right after. “Glitches” was a fun little introduction to Cinder and her life before the events of the first book. We get to find out how she arrived in New Beijing and met her new family. It also drops some great hints are to who she really is. “The Queen’s Army” gave us a glimpse into the creation of Levana’s Lunar army. Very interested to see more of the Lunar side. And finally, “The Little Android” was a great retelling of The Little Mermaid. Now I can move on to reading Scarlet.

The Lunar Chronicles

  • #0.5 Glitches
  • #0.6 The Little Android
  • #1 Cinder
  • #1.5 The Queen’s Army
  • #2 Scarlet
  • #2.5 Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky
  • #3 Cress
  • #3.5 Fairest
  • #3.6 Stars Above
  • #4 Winter

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