Thursday, February 11, 2016

Winter by Marissa Meyer [Joint Review!]

4 out of 5 Robots!
Winter By Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles #4
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release: November 15, 2015
Paperback:  824 Pages
Publisher: Fiewel & Friends
My Copy: Library
Reviewer: Julia & Shannon

Book Summary:
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.(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Julia & Shannon - Joint Review! 

1. Winter - What did you think? 
Shannon:  Overall, I really really liked it.  This whole series has been very strong from start to finish.  It was a lot of fun.  The character are all very different, but inventive and unique.  They stick with you for awhile.  But I'm not sure this last book needed to be 800 pages.  There was a lot of stuff going on, but some of it felt like filler to the big showdown...which was a pretty easy showdown, all things considered.

Julia: WINTER is a great story and a fantastic end to a super fun, adventurous series. I did feel like this book is a little longer than necessary, but it is still awesome. So much fun! Going to miss these characters!  

2. Let's talk characters and couples. Is your favorite couple different from your favorite character?
Shannon:  My favorite couple was Scarlet and Wolf.  They felt the most "real" to me, the most "earned".  But I, in general, liked all the couples.  I like Cress and Thorne better in the previous book when it was more focused on them...this time around their romance felt a little squeezed in.  Cinder and Kai were a forgone conclusion from the start, so I liked to see that progression.  And while I liked Jacin and Winter, I felt the least from them.  Probably because I couldn't get a good feel for either.  I think Winter and Thorne are my favorite characters overall.  They bring a lot of humor and interest to the story.  You never really know what they are going to do.

Julia: I enjoyed all the couples, but couldn't stand the Cress and Thorne sappy stuff towards the end of the book. It didn't feel legit... I don't know. But Thorne is probably my favorite character in the entire series. SO yeah my favorite couple is also Wolfe and Scarlet. They're the only ones that made sense to me, felt like I could understand their relationship and saw it "grow." Everyone else was kinda like, instalove? I don't know. 

3. How did you feel about the romances? Did all those romances detract from the storytelling? 
Shannon:  On one hand, I like the romances.  I do.  I liked the swept away feeling and seeing the couples finally come together.  But, I can't deny that it was a lot to work out in the last book.  I think the problem was this: we have 4 couple and only one (Scarlet and Wolf) are established.  But Scarlet and Wolf spend most of the book apart.  Then we have three other couples in varying states of coupledom.  Kai and Cinder are together, as much as they can be...which is not much.  Cress and Thorne are still dancing around their kiss from the previous book and Jacin and Winter have a forbidden romance that is so forbidden that there isn't one for much of the book.  Like I said, that is a lot to work out and still deal with the rest of the plot.

Julia: Don't get me wrong, I enjoy romances, but these overpowered the story sometimes. I didn't need all that. I wanted action (of the fighting kind) and plot twists. Mostly the only couple that distracted from the story and was a little like, really? Now? Could have been Cress/Thorne because stuff goes down with them near the end. There were just too many all at once all apart of the same crew. I loved Jacin and Winter and Wolf/Scarlet. 

4. The plot work for you? What about compared to the previous stories?
Shannon:   Yes, I think so.  I'm pretty satisfied for the most part.  I have a few small quibbles, but that's it.  I think the biggest thing was for all the lead up to the ending, it felt a little easy.  No big sacrifices, only a couple fingers.  I think Scarlet was my favorite out of the four books, and the strongest one too.  But I would definitely recommend this series!

Julia: Yes! Though there are a few things that distracted me from it a bit, I loved the plot itself. And I loved all the character lives intertwining. 

5. That conclusion... 
Shannon: It was a definitely a "Happily Ever After", which is fine and good.  At least it didn't rip my heart out like a Sarah J. Maas book.

Julia: I liked the showdown, the happily ever after is great. This is a fairy tale retelling, after all. Do wish there was a little more sacrifice, I'm satisfied though!

6. Rating? Recommending? Will we read the novellas?
Shannon: I give it 4.5 stars and I would definitely recommend it.  We read Fairest and it was actually really good.  I generally don't like reading novellas, but I will probably read the new one that comes out.

Julia: I give it a 4 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend reading this book and all the other ones in this series. You won't regret it! I don't usually give novellas the time of day, but I miss this world and characters so much that I'm definitely reading the novellas. 

The Lunar Chronicles in the order they should be read:
0.1 Fairest
0.2 Glitches
0.3 The Little Android
1.0 Cinder Our Review
1.5 The Queen's Army
2.0 Scarlet - Our Review
3.0 Cress Our Review
3.1 Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky
3.5 The Princess & The Guard
4.0 Winter  

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tell Me Tuesday #43

Tell me Tuesday is a weekly feature that where you talk about what you are currently reading and what you have on deck!  Let's begin, shall we?


Julia and I are starting this one. I'm very proud of us for starting a review book before the pub date:
The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1)

I am almost half way done with this audiobook.  It's good so far, but doesn't hold my attention as some others have.  There is a mystery of sorts and I want them to start getting to it.  Then it might be more interesting.  
 Moon Over Manifest

Kaylee (age 5) and I almost done with this one.  It's not my favorite of the series, but Kaylee just really likes Magic Treehouse:
Dark Day in the Deep Sea (Magic Tree House, #39)

On a pure recommendation from La La, I am reading this one next.  I had hoped to get to it a couple weeks ago, but between moving and girl scout cookie season, I got behind: 

The Night Parade


Monday, February 1, 2016

2016 Reading Challenges - January Wrap Up

Goodreads:  18/150
I'm ahead by 6!

Goal: 30 Fantasy Books
1. Iron Warrior by Julie Kagawa

Levels: (how many series enders you are planning to read)
Level 1: 1 – 5
Level 2: 5 – 10
Level 3: 10 – 15 
Level 4: 15+

1. Iron Warrior by Julie Kagawa

Smiling Shelves

3 points for a Newbery Medal Winner
2 points for a Newbery Honor Book
1 point for a Caldecott Medal Winner 
L'Engle: 15 - 29 points
Spinelli: 30 - 44 points
Avi: 45 - 59 points
Lowry: 60 - 74 points
Konigsburg: 75+ points

1. Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (2 pts)
2. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George (3 pts)
3. M.C. Higgins, The Great by Virginia Hamilton (3 pts)
4. Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos (3 pts)

  • Goal: Read as many books from as many different places as possible.  
  • Mini-Challenges
  1. Read one book for each continent: Asia, North America
  2. Read one book for each state in the US: Alabama, Connecticut, Colorado, Kentucky, Pennsylvania
  3. Read one book for each ocean (the character travels across the ocean, no matter how): Pacific Ocean
  4. The mountaineering challenge: climb the Seven Summits
  5. Three Poles Challenge: visit North Pole, South Pole and Mount Everest
  6. Visit a certain number of extreme points of Earth
  7. Read a certain number of books set in capital cities 
  8. Read a certain number of books set in at least 5 different places (e.g. road trip books)
  9. Read a certain number of books that are set in two places from different continents: Inside Out and Back Again (Asia/N. America)
  10. Read a certain number of books within a 100km/1.5 Mile radius of where you live
  11. Visit a certain number of the most famous landmarks in the world
  12. A to Z challenge: Find a place for each letter in the alphabet: Alabama, Barbados, Connecticut, Denver, Kentucky, Norvelt, Vietnam
  13. Visit a certain number of countries: US, Vietnam, Barbados
  14. Read books from authors from a certain number of different countries: USA
  15. Read a certain number of books set in places you’ve visited yourself: Denver


Welcome to the 2016 Sequel & Prequel Challenge, hosted by Novel Heartbeat and Writer Grrl Reads!  The goal: To read as many prequels and sequels as you can. You set your goal at whatever number works for you.

For each prequel and sequel read this year, points will be awarded as follows:
  • 1 point for each prequel or sequel novella read and reviewed
  • 2 points for each full-length sequel read and reviewed
  • 10 points for completing and reviewing a full series (doesn’t require novellas)*†
  • **You do not get points for the first book in a series
10-25 points: Newbie
25-50 points: Amateur
51-75 points: Advanced
76-100 points: Professional
101+ points: Veteran

January: 2pts

The Sweetest Dark Trilogy by Shana Abe - Untitled (#3)
Wrath and the Dawn series by Renee Adheih - The Rose and the Dagger (#2)
Six of Crows series by Leigh Bardugo - Crooked Kingdom (#2)
The Midnight Thief Series by Livia Blackburne -  Daughter of Dusk (#2)
Prisoner of Night and Fog series by Anne Blankman -  Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke (#2)
Born of Illusion Series by Teri Brown -  Born of Deception (#2)
The Gold Seer Trilogy by Rae Carson - Untitled (#2)
The Girl at Midnight series by Melissa Grey - The Shadow Hour (#2)
Rebel Belle Series by Rachel Hawkins  - Lady Renegades (#3)
The Paper Magician series by Charlie Holmberg - The Glass Magician (#2)/The Master Magician (#3)
The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten by Julie Kagawa - JAN: The Iron Warrior (#3)(2 pts)
Talon Series by Julie Kagawa - Soldier (#3) 
The Starbound Series by Amy Kaufman:  Their Fractured Light (#3)
The Young Elites series by Marie Lu - Untitled (#3)
In the After Series by Demitria Lunetta - In the End (#2)
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah Maas - A Court of Mist and Fury (#2)
Throne of Glass Series by Sarah Maas - Untitled (#5)
The Falconer series by Elizabeth May - The Vanishing Throne (#2)/Untitled (#3)
Dont Get Mad series by Gretchen McNeil - Get Dirty (#2)
Arclight Series by Josin McQuein - Meridian (#2)
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows - The Mirror King (#2)
Lunar Chronicles Series by Melissa Meyer - Winter (#4)
Ruined Series by Paula Morris - Unbroken (#2)
Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson  - The Beauty of Darkness (#3)
Snow Like Ashes Series by Sarah Raasch - Ice Like Fire (#2)/Frost Like Night (#3)
The Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski - The Winner's Curse (#3)
The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melissa Salisbury  - The Sleeping Prince (#2)
Darker Shade of Magic  by V.E. Schwab - Gathering of Shadows (#2)
The Bone Season Series by Samatha Shannon - The Song Rising (#3)
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater - The Raven King (#4)
Reboot Series by Amy Tintera - Rebel (#2)
The Elemental Trilogy by Sherry Thomas - Immortal Heights (#3)
The Keeper's Chronicles by Becky Wallace - The Skylighter (#2)
Heartland Trilogy by Chuck Wendig - Blightborn (#2)/Harvest (#3)
Miriam Black Series by Chuck Wendig - Mockingbird (#2)/Cormorant (#3)
The 5th Wave Series by Rick Yancy The Last Star (#3)

How many books are you planning to read for this challenge?
1-10 A Firm Handshake
11-20 A Friendly Hug
21-30 First Kiss
31-40 Sweet Summer Fling
41-50 Could This Be Love?
50+ Married with Children

None this month!
  1. The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfarer by MG Buehrlen
  2. 99 Days by Katie Cutugno
  3. Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes
  4. Another Little Piece by Kate Quinn
  5. Arclight by Josin McQuien
  6. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
  7. The Bees by Laline Paull
  8. Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
  9. Between the Notes by Sharon Hass Roat
  10. Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel
  11. Beware the Wild by Natalie Parker
  12. Blackbird by Anna Carey
  13. Blackbird by Chuck Wendig
  14. Blacksad by Jose Canales
  15. Blightborn by Chuck Wendig
  16. Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
  17. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
  18. Born of Deception by Teri Brown
  19. Born of Illusion by Teri Brown
  20. Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman
  21. Constable and Toop by Gareth Jones
  22. Cormorant by Chuck Wendig
  23. The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman
  24. Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan
  25. Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey
  26. The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott
  27. Dark Place by Gillian Flynn
  28. Daughter of Dusk by Livia Blackburne
  29. Dead Wake by Erik Larsen
  30. Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes
  31. Dodger by Terry Pratchett
  32. Don't Touch by Rachel Wilson
  33. Don't You Forget About Me by Kate Quinn
  34. Dreamland by Robert Anderson
  35. Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway
  36. Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
  37. Entwined by Heather Dixon
  38. Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot
  39. Every Last Promise by Katherine Halbrook
  40. Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  41. Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay
  42. Exquiste Captive by Heather Demetrios
  43. Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
  44. Faking it by Cara Carmack
  45. Fan Art by Sarah Tregay
  46. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  47. Finding It by Cara Carmack
  48. Finding Paris by Joy Preble
  49. Garden of Stone by Sophie Littlefield
  50. Get Dirty by Gretchen McNeil
  51. Get Even by Gretchen McNeil
  52. Glass Magician by Charlie Holmberg
  53. Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
  54. Green Rider by Kristen Britain
  55. Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno
  56. The Harvest by Chuck Wendig
  57. Haunting Violet by Alyzandra Harvey 
  58. How To Tell Toledo From the Night Sky by Lydia Netzger
  59. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
  60. Ice Like Fire by Sarah Raash
  61. If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
  62. Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
  63. The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas
  64. In the After by Demitiria Lunetta
  65. In the End by Demitiria Lunetta
  66. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larsen
  67. In the Woods by Tara French
  68. Intangible by J. Meyers
  69. Kill Kiss Vanish by Jessica Martinez
  70. Kingdom of Rarities by Eric Dinerstein
  71. Kissing in America by Margo Raab
  72. Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke
  73. The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
  74. The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
  75. Let's Get Lost by Ali Alsaid
  76. Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker
  77. The Lies About the Truth by Courtney C. Stevens
  78. The Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
  79. Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu
  80. Lock and Mori by Heather Pretty
  81. Little Wolves by Thomas Maltman
  82. Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke
  83. Made You Up by Francesca Zappia 
  84. Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu
  85. Master Magician by Charlie Holmberg
  86. Meridian by Josin McQuien
  87. Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig
  88. Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  89. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
  90. More Than This by Patrick Ness
  91. Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings
  92. Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
  93. A New Darkness by Joseph Delancy
  94. Night School by C.J. Daughtery
  95. The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
  96. No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown
  97. Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  98. The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon
  99. Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
  100. Orphanage of Miracles by Amy Neftzger
  101. The Paper Magician by Charlie Holmberg
  102. Parallel by Lauren Miller
  103. Pretty Girl 13 by Liz Coley
  104. Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link
  105. Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer
  106. Rebel by Amy Tintera
  107. Reboot by Amy Tintera
  108. The Rest of the Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
  109. Revived by Cat Patrick
  110. Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt
  111. River Secrets by Shannon Hale
  112. Ruined by Paula Morris
  113. Ruthless by Carol Lee Adams
  114. Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
  115. Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos
  116. Shakespeare on Toast by Ben Crystal
  117. Ship of Brides by Jojo Meyers
  118. Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike
  119. Speechless by Hannah Harrington
  120. Stolen Magic by Gail Carson Levine
  121. Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
  122. Summerland by Eli Hilderbrand
  123. Ten by Gretchen McNeil
  124. Trouble With Flirting by Claire LaZebnick
  125. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
  126. Unbroken by Paula Morris
  127. Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin
  128. The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett
  129. The Vanishing Island by Barry Wolverton
  130. Wait for Me by Elizabeth Naughton
  131. What's Broken Between Us by Alexi Bass
  132. What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler
  133. The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian
  134. The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
  135. The Winterling by Sarah Prineas
  136. Woodcutter by Kate Danley
  137. You Had Me at Hello by Mahairi McFarlane
  138. You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle


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