First Lines Friday #2

Good [insert your time of day here]!! I started partaking in a new weekly feature last week and I really liked it, so here it is again for week two! First Line Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers that I saw over at One Book More, but it was formerly hosted by Wandering Words.

What if instead of judging a book by the cover, author or most everything else, we judged it by it’s content? It’s first lines?

If you want to join in, all you gotta do is:

  • Take a book off your shelf and open it to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Here’s the first line…

Dear Evangeline,

Eventually you will see him again, and when you do, do not be fooled by him.

Ooh, what book could it be…? Here’s some pictures of lovely books to stare at while you think.

And the book is… The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber!

(Did you get it right?)


first lines friday - the ballad of never after

The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber

Series: Once Upon a Broken Heart (Book #2)

Length: 403 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA, Fiction

Release Date: September 13, 2022

Book Description:

Stephanie Garber’s The Ballad of Never After is the fiercely-anticipated sequel to the Once Upon a Broken Heart, starring Evangeline Fox and the Prince of Hearts on a new journey of magic, mystery, and heartbreak

Not every love is meant to be.

After Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, betrays her, Evangeline Fox swears she’ll never trust him again. Now that she’s discovered her own magic, Evangeline believes she can use it to restore the chance at happily ever after that Jacks stole away.

But when a new terrifying curse is revealed, Evangeline finds herself entering into a tenuous partnership with the Prince of Hearts again. Only this time, the rules have changed. Jacks isn’t the only force Evangeline needs to be wary of. In fact, he might be the only one she can trust, despite her desire to despise him.

Instead of a love spell wreaking havoc on Evangeline’s life, a murderous spell has been cast. To break it, Evangeline and Jacks will have to do battle with old friends, new foes, and a magic that plays with heads and hearts. Evangeline has always trusted her heart, but this time she’s not sure she can….


I’ve been looking forward to reading this since I read the first one a year ago. Now, I haven’t ever read the Caraval trilogy, but this new spin-off intrigued me. It really seemed like my type of book, even though I’ve never had any interest in Caraval or its sequels.

And I ended up really, really liking Once Upon a Broken Heart. It just hit a lot of the stuff that I like in romance. It also had a relatively unlikable protagonist, but she grew bit by bit as a character throughout the novel. And I love it when characters are like that, and I don’t see it that often because it’s hard to pull off well.

But yeah, I’m pretty freaking excited to read the sequel, but I kinda pushed it back on my TBR because of other stuff. But I’m definitely still planning to read it and soon – hopefully in time for a Valentine’s Day post or before!

As always, thank you to everyone so much for reading, and I’ll see y’all on the flip side for more bookish things! (As well as another First Lines Friday next week!)

~ Mar ~

“Scarlet” by Marissa Meyer: Book Review

Good [insert your time of day here]! It’s been a few days since the last one, and because of time constraints due to some medical stuff on the horizon, I haven’t had time to finish my current -current read, so I’ve decided to do another retrospective book review. This one’s gonna be on Scarlet (you’ll never guess what I’m gearing up for…).

As I’ve mentioned before, a retrospective book review is when I review a past read of mine, after skimming through it again. Today, I’m gonna talk about Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. (I recently did a review on Cinder, which you can check out here.)

She did not know that the wolf was a wicked sort of animal, and she was not afraid of him.


scarlet - marissa meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Book #2)

Length: 454 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA, Fiction

Release Date: February 5, 2013

Book Description:

The #1 New York Times Bestselling Series

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.


My Review

Then: ★★★★✯ • 4.5 / 5 stars

Now: ★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars

“I lied to you about a lot of things….but I meant every apology.”

Out of all I’ve read in The Lunar Chronicles so far, Scarlet has to be my absolute favorite in the series. To me, it was like Cinder but better, which is a bit of a feat in itself, cuz I loved Cinder.

But yeah, there’s so much that I adore about this book. And because of that – and to save my sanity – I’m gonna divide up this review with some lovely headings.

The Characters

A relieved grin filled up Thorne’s face. “We’re having another moment, aren’t we?”

“If by a moment, you mean me not wanting to strangle you for the first time since we met, then I guess we are.”

The characters are definitely my favorite thing about this book. Scarlet is, at least to me personally, a much better protagonist (or co-protagonist) than Cinder is. She’s a couple years older than Cinder and she’s also got a little more life experience, and you can tell.

Carswell Thorne is also a very entertaining member of the supporting cast. He was introduced near the end of the first book, but you really get a feel for him and his personality in this novel. He’s the kind of character that I like to call a “stupid genius” – a character that appears stupid most of the time and frequently acts like an idiot, but also has some smarts hidden inside. (This character type is also sometimes naturally talented at a certain skill, as is the case here.)

Wolf is one of my favorite new characters introduced in Scarlet. He’s very mysterious initially (though I think most readers will get what’s up – Scarlet certainly did), but he opens up as the story progresses. His and Scarlet’s relationship is one of the defining pillars of the novel, and it’s also one of my favorite things about it.

The Story

This is another thing about Scarlet that I preferred over its predecessor. But it’s not that the plot of this book is better than Cinder’s.

Nope. I just like Little Red Riding Hood more than Cinderella is all.

But yeah, the futuristic, science-fantasy, retelling is an amazing spin on a classic fairytale.

The Setting

I’m going to sound like a broken record soon, but this is yet another thing I preferred over the first book. Because of Cinder’s state as a fugitive (spoiler), the book has finally moved out of future sci-fi China and expanded the setting.

Also, Scarlet lives in France, and spends a lot of time in a more rural area compared to the city slicking Cinder of the first novel. And I really liked that. It made the world feel both large and lived in, and it also further accentuated the differences between Scarlet and Cinder.

The Romance

“We met less than a week ago and in that time I’ve done nothing but lie and cheat and betray you. I know. But if you give me a chance…all I want is to protect you. To be near you. For as long as I’m able.”

Now, if you’ve read some of my other posts, you’d know that I’m pretty anti-insta-love. And that’s because most insta-love stories are written like shit.

But this one isn’t. This is (a very rare case of) insta-love being done properly.

Wolf and Scarlet have an awesome dynamic. Despite Wolf being both physically bigger and stronger than her, their relationship never feels unbalanced in any way. And despite how he initially appears, Wolf really isn’t a bad boy. He’s kind and protective, and he just wants to love and support his girl.

And Scarlet cares for him in a very similar way. They just work together so well: they’re kind of a perfect team.

(The Very Few) Things That I Didn’t Like

There’s really only like one or two things that I didn’t care for, honestly. First: the POVs are numerous. Not as many as I’ve seen in other books (looking at you ASOIAF), but still climbing. And yeah, I get that it’s necessary for the story progression, but I would’ve liked more focus on Scarlet. The book really makes it feel like she’s less of a protagonist, and more of a girl who’s just gonna join and support Cinder eventually.

The other thing I didn’t care for: the insta-love. I know, I know, I just said that I actually enjoyed it for once here and just sang Wolf and Scarlet’s relationship praises. But, I dunno… I guess I just have a natural aversion to the trope, even if it’s done fantastically. I just prefer a good slow-burn is all.

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, I really don’t have much more to say except go read this book/series right now! It’s truly an amazing set of books (so far), and I’ve pretty much only heard good things about the ones I haven’t read yet, too.

Also, Scarlet’s tenth anniversary is coming up later next week, so if you’ve already read it, why not reread it to celebrate? And if you haven’t, well I say that a tenth anniversary is as good a reason as any to read it!

As always, thank you for reading, and have an excellent day/night! Join me next time for more bookish things!

~ Mar ~

WWW Wednesday #2

Look! It’s a double post! I’ve been wanting to post stuff more often, so I’ve been looking for different blog posts to take part in. I tried WWW Wednesday last week and immediately loved it, so I think it’s here to stay!

WWW Wednesday is a meme that used to be hosted at A Daily Rhythm, but has been taken over by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. Now, without further ado, let’s get into the 3 Ws!

The 3 Ws of WWW Wednesday

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?


What I’m Currently Reading:

www wednesday - deeplight

Title & Author: Deeplight by Frances Hardinge

Length: 432 pages

Genres: Fantasy, YA, Fiction

Release Date: April 14, 2020

Description:

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea meets Frankenstein in Frances Hardinge’s latest fantasy adventure

The gods are dead. Decades ago, they turned on one another and tore each other apart. Nobody knows why. But are they really gone forever?

When 15-year-old Hark finds the still-beating heart of a terrifying deity, he risks everything to keep it out of the hands of smugglers, military scientists, and a secret fanatical cult so that he can use it to save the life of his best friend, Jelt. But with the heart, Jelt gradually and eerily transforms. How long should Hark stay loyal to his friend when he’s becoming a monster–and what is Hark willing to sacrifice to save him?


What I Recently Finished Reading:

www wednesday - spinning silver

Title & Author: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Length: 466 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction

Release Date: July 10, 2018

Description:

With the Nebula Award-winning Uprooted, Naomi Novik opened a brilliant new chapter in an already acclaimed career, delving into the magic of fairy tales to craft a love story that was both timeless and utterly of the now. Spinning Silver draws readers deeper into this glittering realm of fantasy, where the boundary between wonder and terror is thinner than a breath, and safety can be stolen as quickly as a kiss.

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk–grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh–Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. She will face an impossible challenge and, along with two unlikely allies, uncover a secret that threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike.


What I Might Read Next:

www wednesday - what moves the dead

Title & Author: What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher

Length: 165 pages

Genres: Horror, LGBTQIA+, Fiction

Release Date: July 12, 2022

Description:

When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania.

What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.

Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.


What are your 3 Ws for the week? Are any of these books part of it? Have you been enjoying what you’ve been reading lately?

Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic day/night! Join me next post for more bookish things, and next week for another WWW Wednesday!

~ Mar ~

Shelf Control #9

It’s Wednesday, so you know the drill. It’s Shelf Control time! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies.

It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, go ahead and check out BookshelfFantasies.com.

This week, I’m talking about a book I’ve had for a couple years. It’s a science-fantasy called The Other Side of the Sky, and it’s written by Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman.


shelf control #9

The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Series: The Other Side of the Sky (Book #1)

Length: 480 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA, Fiction

Release Date: September 8, 2020

Description:

New York Times bestselling author duo Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner have crafted a gripping tale of magic and logic, fate and choice, and a deadly love. Perfect for fans of Laini Taylor and Brandon Sanderson.

Prince North’s home is in the sky, in a gleaming city held aloft by intricate engines, powered by technology. Nimh is the living goddess of her people on the Surface, responsible for providing answers, direction–hope.

North’s and Nimh’s lives are entwined–though their hearts can never be. Linked by a terrifying prophecy and caught between duty and fate, they must choose between saving their people or succumbing to the bond that is forbidden between them.


Why It Languishes on My Bookshelf

When I Got It: July 2020

Why I Wanted to Read It: I just saw it at the bookstore and it had a nice cover and the summary looked interesting.

Why I Haven’t Read It Yet: I kept having some issues (not with books or anything), that I will not get into here. It was very distracting at the time, before I started to get them resolved. But yeah, because of this I kind of forgot about it after a few weeks.

Will I Ever Read It?: I don’t know. I kind of still want to, but I’ve got so much on my TBR at the moment that I’m leaning closer to “maybe not” at this time.


Have you read this book? What did you think of it? What books are languishing on your bookshelf?

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day/night! Join me for my next post for more bookish things, and next week for some more Shelf Control!

~ Mar ~

Book Review: “Spinning Silver” by Naomi Novik

The real story isn’t half as pretty as the one you’ve heard.


Spinning Silver

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Length: 466 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction

Release Date: July 10, 2018

Description:

With the Nebula Award-winning Uprooted, Naomi Novik opened a brilliant new chapter in an already acclaimed career, delving into the magic of fairy tales to craft a love story that was both timeless and utterly of the now. Spinning Silver draws readers deeper into this glittering realm of fantasy, where the boundary between wonder and terror is thinner than a breath, and safety can be stolen as quickly as a kiss.

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk–grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh–Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. She will face an impossible challenge and, along with two unlikely allies, uncover a secret that threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike.


My Review

Star Rating: ★★★★☆ • 4 / 5 stars

And at the end of the day she would pour a lake of pennies onto the floor and roll them into paper to turn them into silver.

I really enjoyed this book. I had hoped that it would be so, but I’m usually not into slower paced novels. But I did like it. A lot.

The Characters

The characters were the real stars of this book. Yes, there’s a plot too, and a very compelling one; and the setting is very interesting. But the characters were what carried Spinning Silver.

There are several character POVs here, all of which are in first person, but there are three that stick out to the most. Miryem, the main protagonist, as well as Wanda, and Irina. They all have their own crucial part to play in the narrative, and I loved seeing their individual B Plots intersect and build on one another, weaving together the much bigger A Plot.

I realize that I just made it seem like this is a pretty complicated story, but trust me, it actually isn’t really. It’s actually a relatively simple main plot. The characters and setting are just so well-realized that it seems a bit more complex than it actually is.

“There are men who are wolves inside, and want to eat up other people to fill their bellies. That was what was in your house with you, all your life. But here you are with your brothers, and you are not eaten up, and there is not a wolf inside you. You have fed each other, and you have kept the wolf away. That is all we can do for each other in the world, to keep the wolf away.”

Getting back to before my little tangent: the characters. As I said, out of the three girls’ POVs, Miryem is definitely what I’d consider to be the main character. She seems cold-hearted without context, and she definitely has hardened her heart some. But that’s a result of years of frustration, mistreatment and prejudice by her village, and near-starvation. In reality, she’s one of the kinder characters in the novel.

Wanda was also a very interesting point of view, because of all the ways her family-life (and just life in general) differs from Miryem’s. The same can absolutely be said for Irina. All three young women lived very different lifestyles growing up, due to their differing statuses, and it molded them into the characters that we read about.

I also liked seeing how all three of their lives and stories ended up colliding. Novik carefully wove an incredible story wherein the threads of the plot are cleverly woven into each of the characters in the book. Even the ones that don’t have many point-of-view sections, or any whatsoever. (I especially 100% stan Stepon. And anybody who doesn’t stan that adorable child is wrong.) Novik made sure that none of the characters were unnecessary or extraneous. Everyone felt like they had their own roles to play.

The Romance

He let go both my hands and stepped back and in a deep graceful courtesy went down on one knee before me and bowed his head, and said, “Lady, though you choose a home in the sunlit world, you are a Staryk queen indeed.”

And I absolutely have to talk about the romance. Or lack thereof. It’s complicated, okay? It’s not really apparent at first – okay, for anyone who’s familiar with romance tropes, it totally is. What I actually mean is, it didn’t feel like a slow-burn, or really romantic at all, until rather close to the end. But the love interests were very interesting and complex, and it’s very obvious from the get-go that there’s sot more going on under the surface for the boys than it seems. I’m not going to spoil anything though.

I also appreciated how unnatural the Staryk (the ice fairies) appeared to behave compared to the humans. Their dialogue seemed so archaic compared that between the humans, and the way they were described to move, and carry the cold with them. Not to mention the magical environmental changes that would happen every time the Staryk king would show up. But yeah, after ACOTAR, this was refreshing to read.

Stuff I Didn’t Like As Much

But yeah, before I wrap up this review, I guess I should mention any criticisms I had with Spinning Silver. Hmm… Well, I guess the writing style slowed down the read for me. And it made the book difficult to come back to, every time I went back to read a chunk of it.

But that’s kind of a me thing, only. Those who enjoy slower paced books with wordier prose will probably love this. But that’s kind of my only gripe with the novel.

Final Thoughts

So yeah, I really liked Spinning Silver and I definitely recommend it to fantasy lovers, and those who enjoy fairytale retellings. (Cuz this is also a Rumplestilskin retelling. Forgot to mention that. Whoops.) (I also adore how unique it and Gilded are from one another, despite how both are retellings of Rumplestilskin.)

I also didn’t really have a chance to mention it above, but the ending was my favorite thing about this novel. It was just so good. I can’t say anything about it, because that would spoil absolutely everything, but I will say that the character development really shines through, and all of the little plot threads appear to be neatly tied up. But yeah, this is an absolutely fantastic book, with great prose, and a really wonderful wintery read.

Thanks for reading, and gave an awesome day/night! Tune in next time for more bookish things!

~ Mar ~

Majestic Monday #8: The House Witch, Gideon the Ninth, For the Wolf

It’s still Monday, but I wanted to start strong. And since it’s Monday, it’s time to look at awesome book covers. That’s right, here it is: another Majestic Monday post!

This week, the three book covers that I’m highlighting are The House Witch by Delemhach, Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, and For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten.

majestic monday

The House Witch (Book #1) by Delemhach

A heartwarming and humorous blend of fantasy, romance, and mystery featuring a witch with domestic powers and the royal household he serves…dinner.

When Finlay Ashowan joins the staff of the King and Queen of Daxaria, he’s an enigma. No one knows where he comes from or how he came to be where he is, which suits Fin just fine. He’s satisfied simply serving as the royal cook, keeping nosy passersby out of his kitchen, and concocting some truly uncanny meals.

But Fin’s secret identity doesn’t stay hidden for long. After all, it’s not every day a house witch and his kitten familiar, Kraken, take to meddling in imperial affairs. As his powers are gradually discovered by the court, Fin finds himself involved in a slew of intrigues: going head-to-head with knights with less-than-chivalrous intentions, helping to protect the pregnant queen, fending off the ire of the royal mage, and uncovering a spy in the castle. And that’s only the beginning—because Fin’s past is catching up with him just as his love life is getting complicated . . .

Filled with fascinating characters, courtly intrigue, political machinations, delicious cuisines, cuddly companions, magical hijinks, and will-they-won’t-they romance, The House Witch is the first in a captivating new series, guaranteed to satisfy the tastes of any listener.

The first volume of the hit romantic-fantasy series—with more than a million views on Royal Road!

The House Witch: Plot Synopsis

Now, even though I DNF-ed this last year, I can acknowledge that it has a beautiful cover, even if the book itself wasn’t for me.

I love the way that the foodstuff looks, and the way that Fin’s magic swirls around the broom and the kitchenware. And Kraken the cat looks so furry and adorable! It’s no wonder that this book cover attracted me, honestly. It’s gorgeously drawn.

Cover Rating: ★★★★☆ • 4 / 5 stars

majestic monday

Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #1) by Tamsyn Muir

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense.

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as arcane revenants. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

Gideon the Ninth: Plot Synopsis

I will admit, this isn’t exactly a pretty cover, but I think that it’s a great one nonetheless. Now,I haven’t had the pleasure of reading this (yet), but I can imagine that this captures the novel’s vibe pretty well.

I love the black backdrop and all of the skeletons everywhere on the cover. My favorite thing, though, has to be the font of the title. I just love the way that it looks, and how it stands out so much compared to the rest of the cover.

Cover Rating: ★★★★✯ • 4.5 / 5 stars

majestic monday

For the Wolf (The Wilderwood #1) by Hannah Whitten

The first daughter is for the Throne. The second daughter is for the Wolf.

For fans of Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale comes a dark, sweeping debut fantasy novel about a young woman who must be sacrificed to the legendary Wolf of the Wood to save her kingdom. But not all legends are true, and the Wolf isn’t the only danger lurking in the Wilderwood.

As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he’ll return the world’s captured gods.

Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can’t control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can’t hurt those she loves. Again.

But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.

For the Wolf: Plot Synopsis

First off, I love how wintery this background looks. I love the way the bare black and white trees are drawn, as well. I also really like the wintery background because of how it contrasts Red’s red cloak.

The shadowy castle and sword also looks cool, especially since Red’s face is shadowed too. As someone who hasn’t read this book either, I wonder if there’s some correlation there, or if it is merely an artistic choice? Nonetheless, it’s a fantastic cover.

Cover Rating: ★★★★✯ • 4.5 / 5 stars


What did you guys think of these covers? Which one did you like best? Did any of them (and/or their synopsis’) give you any interest in reading them? (Or have you read any of these books already?)

Thank you so much for joining me, and have a great day/night! Tune in next time for more bookish things. And join me next week for another Majestic Monday!

~ Mar ~

Weekly Wrap-Up: 1/16 – 1/22

And here we are! Another week, another Weekly Wrap-Up!

This week, I tried participating in a couple of new memes/features. It was tons of fun! I’ll definitely keep up with them. It’s also been a week filled with The Lunar Chronicles posts, courtesy of one of the books I’m currently reading, and me attempting to be “very subtle” with buildup, haha.

But yeah, it was a pretty great week, even if I would’ve liked to get at least one more post, er, posted. But I tried some new stuff too, so that has softened the blow a bit. (Though that was entirely my own fault. I spent a little bit (read: I actually mean a lot) more of my free time than I should’ve, reading fanfiction. …No regrets though, honestly. (Good) Fanfiction is fantastic.)

So now, without further ado, I’m gonna break down the past week on The Blog That Nobody Knows!

Tuesday 1/17: Majestic Monday Tuesday #7

It’d been a couple of weeks, and since I’ve kindled a desire to be more proactive and consistent, I decided to do another Majestic Monday.

Majestic Monday (or Tuesday in this case, cuz I posted late *cough*) is when I admire three pretty book covers that I’ve come across in the interim. Because pretty covers deserve recognition! If you missed the post, you can check it out here.

Wednesday 1/18: WWW Wednesday #1

On Wednesday, I decided to start participating in another feature. It’s hosted by the blog, Taking on a World of Words, and is a thing that happens every Wednesday.

If you missed the post and wanna know what the 3 Ws are, you can read it here! (And you can also check out the original potter’s post. Cuz I link everything, as you shall see.)

Thursday 1/19: Cinder Review

On Thursday, I reviewed Cinder, the first novel in The Lunar Chronicles series, by Marissa Meyer. It’s an utterly fantastic book, and part of an even more fantastic series. If you like fairytales (and fairytale retellings) then this is the book for you!

It’s also an awesome science fantasy, so if you’re into that as well, definitely check it out! If you missed the review, you can read it here!

Friday 1/20: First Line Fridays #1

First Line Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers, (formerly) hosted by Wandering Words. It’s where you post the first line of a book, and then have your readers try to guess what book it is, before revealing what book it is.

It was the other of the new things that I wanted to try out this week, and I also loved it. So yes, I will be doing it again, haha. If you missed my (very first) post, you can check it out here.

Goals for 1/23 – 1/29

Annnd that’s all for this week. Almost.

For about two or three weeks when I first started this post, I posted about my blogging goals for the next week. And then I stopped doing it because I got stressed or something, I don’t know.

But, I’ve decided to start doing it again! So yay, I can say I’m gonna do things, and then you guys can judge me and hold me accountable. Awesome. So looking forward to that. (Just kidding, it’s totally gonna be something to keep me motivated!)

So this week, my goals are:

  • (spoiler alert) post my Spinning Silver review
  • post another Majestic Monday
  • finish at least one book and post a review on it
  • do another Shelf Control, as well as particular in WWW Wednesday again
  • start this new series/feature I’ve been thinking about (a lot) on my blog
  • First Line Fridays again
  • at least one retrospective book review
  • …maybe something else, idk?

So yeah, that’s quite a few goals this week. But I actually think that it looks like more than it actually is – at least it feels like that to me (for whatever reason). Either way, I’m very excited about what’s to come.

As always, thank you all so very much for reading, and I hope you have an amazing day/night! Tune in next time for more bookish things.

~ Mar ~

First Line Friday #1

I was looking for a fun Friday post to do, and after discovering First Lines Fridays, I knew it was the one. First Line Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers (formerly) hosted by Wandering Words (I don’t know why I posted the link, it’s defunct… 😳😣), but I saw it over at One Book More.

What if instead of judging a book by the cover, author or most everything else, we judged it by it’s content? It’s first lines?

If you want to join in, all you gotta do is:

  • Take a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open it to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Here’s the first line…

Her satellite made one full orbit around planet Earth every sixteen hours. It was a prison that came with endlessly breathtaking views – vast blue oceans and swirling clouds and sunrises that set half the world on fire.

Can you guess what book it is?

(Here’s some pictures of books to stare at while you think.)

And the book is… Cress by Marissa Meyer!

(Did you get it right?)


Title & Author: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Book #3)

Length: 552 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA, Fiction

Release Date: February 4, 2014

Description:

In this third book in Marissa Meyer’s bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, 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 prevent her army from invading Earth.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped 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 being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she’s just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she’d ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.


I’ve been trying to finish this book for years. Like, the first time I tried to read it, there was a personal life issue that came up, and the second time (last year) life just kinda got in the way (in a different way than the first time).

This time I’m 66% of the way through it, and I’m determined to finish it. It’s one of the three books I’ve marked as Currently Reading (the other two being A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab and Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik) on Goodreads and The StoryGraph. Let’s hope that I can finally finish it, cuz I really want to finish The Lunar Chronicles and see how the series ends.

What book are you currently reading, or looking to read next? What are your favorite first lines, and from which book? Thanks for reading and have an amazing day/night!

~ Mar ~

Cinderella, But She’s a Cyborg | “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer [Retrospective Book Review]

Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.


Title & Author: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Book #1)

Length: 448 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA, Fiction

Release Date: January 3, 2012

Description:

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.


My Review

Then: ★★★★✯ • 4.5 / 5 stars

Now: ★★★★☆ • 4 / 5 stars

She was a cyborg, and she would never go to a ball.

I love this book so much. I first read it like… around five-ish years ago, I guess? Cinder was originally a 4.5 star rating, but then I read its sequel, Scarlet, which I liked even more, so I bumped it down half a star after I read that one. But it was 4.5 / 5 for a time.

(Glancing over it again, I still think it’s a 4 star book today, by the way. But it did change at one point, so that’s why the star ratings are different.)

Anyway, the book’s main character is Linh Cinder, a futuristic version of Cinderella, but with an actual personality and also happens to be a cyborg. I liked how smart and good with mechanical stuff, which was nice to see in a female character, and I really like how it tied her being a cyborg.

Prince Kai is TLC’s version of Prince Charming (he doesn’t have a name in the original version, to my knowledge). And he also has a personality. This is also a much less insta-lovey version of the original fairytale, which was also nice. I really liked how active he was in the plot, and how he had his own POV chapters.

It’s not just a sci-fi retelling of the classic story though. There’s definitely been a few other kinds of alterations here. Like Cinder’s stepsisters Pearl and Peony. Pearl is a pretty standard interpretation – she’s kind of a bitch. But Peony isn’t, and she and Cinder are actually quite close. I adored how sweet their relationship was. Cinder’s stepmother, Adri, is also closer to her original character, but she also has her reasons, even though she’s still a bitch.

My favorite alternation – and character, incidentally – was Iko, Cinder’s android BFF. She’s the definition of “being extra” before being extra was a thing. She’s sassy and funny. And let’s not forget horny. Very horny.

Cinder twisted up her lips. “Do you think it could have a virus?”

“Maybe her programming was overwhelmed by Prince Kai’s uncanny hotness.”

This quote here encapsulates the humor vibe for this book pretty well. (And this series, now that I’m thinking about it.) But there are series parts to the plot as well.

Dr. Erland is another character that I rather like. I liked his dynamic with Cinder, and how she kept sassing him. Erland is also a gray character, at least for most of the book, and you didn’t really know whose side he was on until the very end.

My favorite part of Cinder, though, definitely had to be all of the little bits of foreshadowing littered throughout the book for its sequels. An important character from later in the series has a cameo here, and another character here was introduced, whose name is a clue to their future role. And all kinds of other stuff.

Before I move on to my criticisms, I also wanna mention how good the writing is. Not only is the dialogue absolutely fantastic, but the prose and descriptions are also really great. I love the way that Marissa Meyer writes.

Vanity is a factor, but it is more a question of control. It is easier to trick others into perceiving you as beautiful if you can convince yourself you are beautiful. But mirrors have an uncanny way of telling the truth.

I didn’t really have any gripes with this novel, except for a thing or two. The first is that I wasn’t super into Cinder (the character). I didn’t hate her or anything – not even close! – she just seemed kind of like a generic sort of protagonist. I preferred Scarlet (the character), introduced in book two, as a protagonist.

The other thing is a bit spoilery, so if you don’t want to be spoiled skip this paragraph. *SPOILERS* I didn’t like how Peony was fridged. Though it wasn’t as soon as some fridgings I’ve read, I wish she had more time on the pages. *SPOILERS END*

So yeah, I definitely recommend Cinder to anyone and everyone, especially those who love the original fairytale. I love how the whole series flows together, and how it appears like the entire thing was mostly plotted out before all of the books were out. But yeah, read this book.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day/night!

WWW Wednesday #1

So, I’ve decided to start taking part in another meme on The Blog That Nobody Knows. It’s called WWW Wednesday!

This meme used to be hosted at A Daily Rhythm, but has been taken over by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. Now, without further ado, let’s get into the 3 Ws!

The 3 Ws Are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What Are You Currently Reading?

Length: 466 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction

Release Date: July 10, 2018

Description:

With the Nebula Award-winning Uprooted, Naomi Novik opened a brilliant new chapter in an already acclaimed career, delving into the magic of fairy tales to craft a love story that was both timeless and utterly of the now. Spinning Silver draws readers deeper into this glittering realm of fantasy, where the boundary between wonder and terror is thinner than a breath, and safety can be stolen as quickly as a kiss.

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk–grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh–Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. She will face an impossible challenge and, along with two unlikely allies, uncover a secret that threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike.

What Did You Recently Finish Reading?

Length: 416 pages

Genres: Fantasy, YA, Fiction

Release Date: January 10, 2023

Description:

In a world where anyone can create a life-destroying curse, only one person has the power to unravel them.

Kellen does not fully understand his talent, but helps those transformed maliciously – including Nettle. Recovered from entrapment in bird form, she is now his constant companion, and closest ally.

But Kellen has also been cursed, and unless he and Nettle can remove his curse, Kellen is in danger of unravelling everything – and everyone – around him…

What Do You Think You’ll Read Next?

Length: 448 pages

Genres: Fantasy, YA, Fiction

Release Date: April 2, 2020

Description:

The gods are dead. Decades ago, they turned on one another and tore each other apart. Nobody knows why. But are they really gone forever?

When 15-year-old Hark finds the still-beating heart of a terrifying deity, he risks everything to keep it out of the hands of smugglers, military scientists, and a secret fanatical cult so that he can use it to save the life of his best friend, Jelt. But with the heart, Jelt gradually and eerily transforms. How long should Hark stay loyal to his friend when he’s becoming a monster—and what is Hark willing to sacrifice to save him?


What books have you been reading? Do you know what you want to read next?

Thanks for reading! Have a great day/night!

~ Mar ~