Cress and Fairest – Marissa Meyer Reviews

Hi friends! I’m almost done with the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer!

When we talked last, I had paused reading Cress, the third novel in the installment, so I could read the newest Harry Potter book (!!! – I’ve already done my review if you’d like to read it!) Well, once I finished reading that, I picked up where I left off, and boy was it good.

For those who don’t know, the series is a play on different fairy tales, for example, the first book is centered around Cinder – a well known mechanic who is trying to save her sister from the worldwide plague, Letumosis. The story gets crazy from there, but let me just say: this is no fairy tale story. Unless you’re counting the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales, in which case – yeah, that seems about right.

The other books are Scarlet (a play off of Little Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel), Fairest (a prequel following around the evil Lunar queen, Levana), and lastly Winter (Snow White) which is the last of the series.

So since we last talked, I read both Cress and Fairest and holy shit. Let’s do this one at a time:

Cress:

cress-final-e1378337072559This story follows a girl named Cress. She’s been kept in isolation for her whole life spying on Earth for Queen Levana. She’s awkward, anxious, socially inept, and totally in love with Carswell Thorne – a friend of Cinder’s. I don’t want to give too much away because I really think you should read this series, but she and Carswell have to go on an adventure together, while Cinder is left to deal with a huge amount of problems and worries with the rest of their crew.

This book hit me harder than the two previous novels. As an awkward, anxious and socially inept person myself, I fit in with her. I also have a shit ton of hair, so I feel like she and I have a connection.

This book was written spectacularly, and I thought the story was above most fiction I’ve read recently. The character development was not only great to watch unfold but felt really genuine. I really feel like I’m watching these characters develop before my eyes and love it!!!!!

This book was pretty big, over 400 pages I think. But it went by so quickly. It’s just such a great read!

Fairest:

5119ihf8lulThis book is fucked up. I’m putting that out there now. It’s fucked up, but it’s awesome. This is the fourth book in the series and serves as a prequel to everything we know from the beginning of Cinder on.

It follows Levana back when she was just a princess, and her jerk sister, Channary, was Queen. It follows her path of destruction, her manipulation and basically slavery of the man she “loves”.

My boyfriend can tell you: I said aloud quite a few times while I was reading, “Wow, that’s really fucked up.”

Seriously I don’t want to ruin everything, but one thing that we know from the beginning of the series (it’s not a surprise) is that Levana killed her niece by burning down her nursery because the young Princess Selene was too powerful. She burned down a nursery to kill her niece. Legitimate murder. Straight up, no remorse, killing an innocent child murder. Dat’s fucked up.

This whole book was just one horrible thing after another, but I thought it was incredible. It was a great way to actually get inside the mind of this horrible Queen and what her justifications are for doing such horrendous things.

I’ve mentioned before that I love crime books, serial killer books, and things that really let you get inside a messed up person’s mind. I like to hear their reasoning and try to understand why someone would do something so terrible: this book did not disappoint. I felt like this book was almost as messed up and as amazing as the book I read about Carl Panzram (Panzram: A Journal of Murder Review) which was an incredibly messed up book. I think because it’s fiction it’s not as terrible and disgusting to read, but the way that Meyer writes the story feel so real that I was sitting there like, “someone better kill this bitch. Oh wait, she’s just misunderstood. Nope. Nevermind, BURN HER!”

highly, highly, highly recommend this book series. I’m about 250 pages in the last book, Winter, and it’s sooo good. It’s incredible. And I just can’t praise this series highly enough.

This series appeals to not just the young adult fans, but also the fans of science fiction, of war, of fantasy, of fairy tales, of romance – it has everything. It’s one of the most exciting series’ that I’ve read in a very long time, and I just absolutely love it!

Marissa Meyer, keep up the good work.

10/10 for both books. 8 thumbs up! 12/10 dentists would recommend.

Until next time,

Rachel

If you have any opinions on the series, or any questions, or even just want to chat – you can leave a comment down below or you shoot me a message to rachel@booksandcleverness.com

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Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles) – Marissa Meyer Review

Hi! I finished another book, holy crap! I’m like a five foot speed reading demon over here! I can’t help it, I absolutely LOVE this book series.

I just finished Scarlet which is the second book of five in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I told you guys about her first book, Cinder which is a futuristic, science fiction version of ye ole tale Cinderella.

The first book is basically about a young cyborg who is one of New Beijing’s most renowned mechanics. She’s so excellent at her job that she finds herself helping out the Prince just days before the royal ball. Unfortunately, The Plague gets in the way before the fairy tale can take on the usual story. The plot unfolds from there into all kinds of twists and turns, a lot of them sinister and creepy.

Well, let me say this: this series, although it’s technically for young adults, is not for kids. I would not recommend a young kid reading these. Throughout the first book and the second book, which I’ll get into in a minute, there are extremely graphic descriptions of situations, of how certain people look, of bloody battles, of death, of people dying of a horrible plague, basically just some kinda gross stuff. So if that’s not your thing, then maybe take that into consideration before reading it.

The second book, Scarlet, follows both Cinder and a French farmer named Scarlet. Cinder is on the run, and Scarlet is searching for her lost grandmother. Her grand-mère has disappeared – something that would never happen for this stubborn farmer. She would never have left her granddaughter, and yet – three weeks after she’s reported missing, no one is understanding just how serious this could be.9780312642969_fc

Michelle Benoit (grandmother) was an eccentric woman. She was different than the rest, and was often thought of as crazy and kooky, but to her granddaughter she was everything. So what does Scarlet do? She goes on a search for her, with the help of a random street fighter she just met named Wolf, who seems to have an idea of where she might be – and who might be keeping her.

Now when I was first reading this book, I was really enjoying it, but kinda thought that it was too much to go from one story following one character to the next book following two characters and two different stories. Granted, they meet up at the end, but when I first started it I didn’t know that.

However, I was so invested that I didn’t even care. This writer, Marissa Meyer, is phenomenal. She seems to write with the greatest of ease. I know from being a writer myself that writing about character’s different personalities is hard enough without making each chapter from a different perspective. That takes a lot of skill and a lot of care. There’s a lot that she could have done that would have made this series total crap just by having so many different stories going on at once, but she does it so seamlessly that I didn’t even mind.

I love the fact that Meyer takes all of these old fairy tales and turns them into something completely different. She takes the old Cinderella and turns it into this extreme fantasy world thats crumbling down, or Little Red Riding Hood and makes it a novel about these grotesquely animalistic humans. It’s just fantastic.

I could say so much more, but I think it’s probably safer of me to just stop there before I start giving away the whole story!

But I would definitely recommend this book. Anyone who has been here for a while knows that I’ve been reading at an extremely slow pace recently, and in 20 days I have finished two books that were either almost or over 400 pages. They’re fantastic books and it feels wonderful to get back into the swing of things.

So if you like fairy tales, you’ll love these books. If you like science fiction, you’ll love these books. If you like fantasy worlds, you’ll love these books. The only way you won’t love these books is if you don’t like stories that tie in dysfunctional relationships. Otherwise, go to your bookstore and buy these freakin’ books!!!!!

If you want to talk to me about any of these books, or if you have any questions or opinions, you can comment below or you can send me an e-mail at rachel@booksandcleverness.com. I’d be MORE than happy to talk to you about it!

Seriously – go get this book.

Until next time,

Rachel

Cinder – Marissa Meyer… Just Read It!

I just finished the BEST book. I’ll preface this by saying that it is a young adult novel, but it really doesn’t read like one.

The book is called Cinder by Marissa Meyer. It’s a spin on, obviously, Cinderella. But unlike the fairy tale, this book does not have a happy ending.cinder_book_cover

Okay okay, I won’t spoil anything. But here’s some info:

So this book takes place in the future, after World War IV, in New Beijing. Cinder, a cyborg mechanic, lives in a world filled with plague brought on by the race of “Lunar” people on the moon. Much like when Europeans explored the new world and brought Smallpox, the Lunar people would escape the moon because of their tyrannical ruler Levana, and come to Earth, bringing new diseases that Earthen people were not used to – the plague is called Letumosis.

The whole of New Beijing is excited for the ball that Prince Kai is the special guest for – they’re even suspecting that he’ll find a new bride there! Cinder’s stepsister loves Kai. Poeny is one of Cinders best friends, and would do anything for her, despite the fact that her cruel mother and other stepsister don’t care anything about Cinder and even blame her for the death of Garan, the father of the girls and husband of Adri.

As a very well known and renowned mechanic, even though she is only 16, she gets the attention of Prince Kai, who needs one his androids fixed. But the prince doesn’t know she’s a cyborg and the story progresses from there and takes some insanely crazy turns.

It’s been a little while since I’d read a young adult novel, and I was not disappointed at all. I’ve mentioned quite a few times that I’ve been reading quite slowly recently, but I read through this novel in 7 days, despite the fact that it’s over 400 pages.

This book is the first in a series of five books, and I’m so excited to read more. The day before I finished the book I bought the next in the series, called Scarlet which incorporates a Red Riding Hood theme.cover-set-2-1024x253

So far, I can not rave highly enough of this book. Anyone who has been reading my posts for any amount of time knows how much I love fairy tales, how much I love young adult novels and how much I love science fiction. This book is all three, and is basically my perfect novel.

If you like any one of those three things, you will undoubtedly like this book. It’s fantastic.

Go read it!

If you have read it and want to talk about it as much as I want to talk about it, leave a comment or send me an e-mail at rachel@booksandcleverness.com

Until next time!

Rachel

Top 3 Books I Want To Read

Hi friends! So this week I’m in a funky mood. I’ve been wanting to buy more books but I don’t have enough money and I already have a ton of books that I haven’t read yet that I need to read. It pains me to want to buy books so badly and not do it, but it’s for the best, I’m sure.

I have a pretty big collection of books. Most of them I’ve read but some of them I haven’t. Recently I’ve been trying to read all the books I own instead of going out and buying new books. This is great for my bank account, and it’s super difficult for me. So rather than pine and think of all the books I want to buy, I’m going to get myself excited about the books that I already own.

So without further ado, let’s begin:

  1. The Revenant – Michael PunkeTheRevenant_Poster

I actually just saw the movie based on the book and it was fantastic! I had no idea that this movie was a book first (published in 2015) and the second I saw the cover at Barnes & Noble I had to buy it. This is my most recent purchase and I’m just itching to read it. For those who haven’t heard of the book or the movie, the premise is about a trapper in the 1800s who is mauled by a bear and left for dead, but not before his son is killed before his eyes with no way to stop it. This book/movie is the ultimate book of revenge and vindication, and I can’t wait to read it.

Side note: The movie was incredible (yes, I will eventually do a Book vs Movie on this one). And I love Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s easily one of my favorite male actors. Everything he touches turns to gold (except his Oscar…. poor Leo.)

2. The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City – Jennifer Toth

This is a book I’ve wanted to read since the mid-2000s but was a little too scared to. As someone who lives relatively close to New York City, I’ve walked those streets many-a-time and don’t really like thinking that there could potentially be an entire race of people who live beneath your feet in total squalor, but with a somewhat advanced society. I don’t know, it just always scared the living daylights out of me.

molepeopleBut recently I’ve wanted to learn more. I’ve been told that this book is fiction, but nearly everything I’ve read has said that this book is categorized under “non-fiction” and “history” and that fascinates me even more. This book and the stories told within it could be fiction or they could be facts.

It’s one of those things where when I think of it, my brain logically goes into “oh please, this is totally fiction” but slowly changes to, “hold up. Of course it’s true!” I mean let’s just discuss the possibility here for a second: New York City is completely overpopulated. Years and years ago it was so crowded that they couldn’t build outward anymore, only upward. Who’s to say that they couldn’t built downward as well?

Looking at an entire city filled with more than 8 million people spanned over 305 square miles, where are they all going to live? Let’s assume that each person has an apartment – that’s 400 square feet that they need to live in. At a certain point you can’t build flat anymore – you have to start building up. There’s unlimited space in the sky. Maybe having the world’s tallest apartment building isn’t the greatest idea, but hell! It gets people to be off the streets and in their own space!

So if you agree with the fact that you can’t build on the ground anymore, and can only go up, what makes you think you can’t go down? What in the world would stop people who don’t have the money to afford a NYC apartment from inhabiting the tunnels hundreds of feet below the surface? Nothing! They’ve already been excavated, you can continue to excavate the area, and you’re free of the windy air pummeling down on the other NYC homeless. And that’s why I absolutely can’t wait to read it. It’s just so interesting!

    3. The Lost Symbol and Inferno – Dan Brown

I know I’ve already discussed reading the first of the Robert Langdon series Angels & Demons but I’m just so so so excited to finish this series. I’m halfway through the second book, The DaVinci Code, and I’m absolutely loving it. My boyfriend was sweet enough to surprise me with the last two RobertLangdonbooks of the series so that I wouldn’t have to go out and buy them. (He’s a good man who knows the way to my heart!) And since then, they’ve been sitting on our coffee table just whispering, “read me! we love you! you know you’re curious! read me!” and damn is it hard to resist!

I’m not even halfway through the entire series and I’m already thinking this is one of the best mystery/adventure/historical fiction-ish series I’ve read. It has everything: history, murder, bad guys, guns, an awesome symbologist, super smart women, and conspiracy theories (that honestly make a hell of a lot of sense)! It’s amazing!

I highly recommend reading these books if you haven’t already (I know, I’m late to the Dan Brown game).

So those are the top three books that I have in my possession right now that I absolutely can not wait to read!!!!!!

If you have any books that you think I should read, or any books that you think I should add to my collection please feel free to let me know!

Until next time!

Rachel

e-mail: rachel@booksandcleverness.com

Angels & Demons – Dan Brown Review

Hi friends! I’ve been meaning to write this post for the last week, so I’m really excited that I get to write it now. “Rachel, why are you so excited to write this blog?” Because, friends, I have finished the very first book in my quest to read all of the Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown. angelsanddemons

I know, I know. I’m super late to this party. Here’s how it happened:

On New Years Day I watched The DaVinci Code on Netflix. My boyfriend and I hadn’t watched this movie since it came out in theatres (2006, holy shit!), so I was really excited to watch it. I’m a huge fan of history, a huge fan of secret societies (hay, Masons, haaaay!) and a huge fan of adventure movies, particularly when there’s a mystery involved.

What I remembered about the movie was minimal, so I really had an open mind going in… I was enthralled the entire time. My boyfriend not so much, but I loved it. So I immediately decided I needed to read the series and we took a late night trip to Barnes & Noble and picked up Angels & Demons and The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown.

I think I’ve mentioned that recently – maybe in the last year or so – I’ve been reading at a much slower pace than usual. Well, when I started reading Angels & Demons on New Years Day night, I read 75 pages which is basically a full 50 more pages than I’ve been reading per night (A fact that I’m incredibly ashamed about – I’m sorry! I just get sleepy!)

To say that I was excited about these first 75 pages is an understatement. I wasn’t just excited, I was involved. I was in Rome with Robert Langdon and I was seeing a dead scientists on the floor with a brand on his chest. In fact, I was so involved that for the next four weeks I read A&D almost every night and finished the more than 700 page book and was so incredibly proud of myself. Again, I hadn’t been reading more than TWENTY-FIVE PAGES PER NIGHT. I don’t know if you know how long it takes to finish a book by reading twenty pages per night, but the answer is: a long time. A lot longer than I want. It really is almost a shameful amount because I had been reading 100 pages per night easily for a very, very long time.

Anyway, finishing the book was awesome and sad. It was an amazing book and I got to start the next one in the series, but it was also a great book that I didn’t want to end.

So let’s get into the review. 5 stars. 100%. A+. Seventeen thumbs ups.

Seriously, I have not read a book that I have enjoyed this much since The Martian back in July 2015. That’s a long ass time, man.

This book, for starters IS the first book in the series. Why The DaVinci Code movie came out first, I have no idea. My only guess is that it was more popular than the first book and could easily be an independent story, separated from the rest. But nonetheless, it is, in fact, the first book of the series. It goes:

  1. Angels & Demons
  2. The DaVinci Code
  3. The Lost Symbol
  4. Inferno

Now, A&D was incredible. Again, I know I’m way too late jumping on the bandwagon, but honestly I’m really glad that’s happened because now I know that there’s a solid movie series to go along with the books when I’ve completed them.

I remember when the movie Angels and Demons came out and I remember loving it. But I don’t remember anything else. There were little snippets of memory that I thought might be from the movies but I wasn’t sure (like some guy being branded by a fire) but I didn’t remember who was good and who was bad. That made reading this book even better.

I know that I’ve discussed this, but I actually don’t mind seeing the movie version before the book version because then I get an idea of how someone looks, I can really imagine their features and facial expressions. I’m not saying it’s great for every movie, but I’m never really upset that I saw the movie first. That’s only happened a handful of times.

That’s why when I was reading A&D I had so much fun following around Robert Langdon. Not only is the character strong, funny, intelligent and fun to follow, he also looks exactly like Tom Hanks in my brain and I’m A-OK with that. Who doesn’t want to think about Tom Hanks before bed? He has such a soothing presence.

This book was witty, funny, sad, emotional, thrilling, and every other adjective under the stars. It was an absolute joy to read and it made me really look into the historical side of the societies Brown brings up. He’s a phenomenal writer and a brilliant man when it comes to intertwining historical and factual references into completely fictional situations. Not to be confused with historical fiction. He is not a historical fiction writer. He is simply wonderful at using facts about history to support his own crazy fictional adventure.

I would liken this book to something a little more for young adults: the movie National Treasure with Nicolas Cage. I don’t care what anyone says, I really like Nic Cage. Rage Cage is awesome, and he might not be the best actor but he sure is fun to watch. My boyfriend and I have been saying we’re going to watch Pay The Ghost for a while now, and maybe we just will this weekend! (Note: my boyfriend and I are people who really enjoy B movies and not great movies/movies with maybe not so great actors. We also like to be entertained. If you are like my sister and her husband, this movie, or anything with Rage Cage in it may not be suitable for you. You’ve been warned.)

Anywho, I really highly recommend this book to people who love history and who love to be challenged when reading a book. This book will keep you on your toes the entire time and I guarantee that if you don’t mind a reading a huge fucking book (700+ pages) with a lot of plot twists before you get the truth, you will LOVE this book. Go get it!

I’ve also just begun The DaVinci Code and I can’t wait to finish it. It’s about 500 pages, and I’m about a third of the way through, but it’s already amazing. I even remember the plot from the movie and it’s still good. I’ll keep you all posted on my thoughts of that book and the next books.

I’m instituting The DaVinci Code as the February book for the Books and Cleverness book club, but you can read whatever you want. Just get those books under your belt!

Well, that was a long one.

Until next time!

Rachel

e-mail: rachel@booksandcleverness.com