Cinderellarama!!!

After watching the live action Cinderella in September, I fell back in love with what can easily be considered the most classic fairy tale princess story of all time. I decided that it would be the perfect time to read a book that had been on my TBR list for over a year, so I picked up Cinder by Marissa Meyer. While I was reading that book, I stumbled across another Cinderella retelling story — Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell. That’s when it hit me! I needed to hold my own battle of the books to determine the ultimate Cinderella retelling story! Cinder and Mechanica are our first two contenders. Let’s get to it!

I already have a review of the amazingness that is Cinder, so I’m not going to talk about the specifics of it here. If you want to read that review you can find it here.

With that being said, let’s take a look at Mechanica. I was very excited to start reading this book. The cover is stunning and the synopsis totally had me wanting more. I mean just listen to this description on Goodreads.

“Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn’t want a fairy tale happy ending after all.”

I went into this book thinking that it was going to be a cool, almost steampunk version of the classic story with a very independent protagonist making a new life for her all by herself. The book did accomplish some of that, however it left a lot to be desired. I did enjoy the overall plot of the story. It was a nice, refreshing take on what is a very well-known story. I thought the story would be very similar to Cinder, but there really aren’t many similarities between the two. The ending was unexpected and is something I haven’t seen in many fairytale retellings. Some people might not love it, but I don’t really have a problem with it. My big problem with the book is that nothing really ever happened and a lot of problems were still unresolved by the end of the book. The first half of the book was pretty much spent building this world and the characters, but it could have easily been summarized in two or three chapters at the most. It was really hard to get through the book because I was so bored. There was no real character development and I didn’t really care for any of the characters. Overall, I feel like the book had potential to be very innovative retelling, but it really missed the mark.

With this in mind, it is obvious that we have a very clear winner. **Drum roll** Cinder is the champ! It was innovative and fun with very nicely developed characters and a unique setting.

If you know more Cinderella retellings that you would like to see face off against the winning book from this round, please let me know in the comments. Also, if you want to see more book battles, let me know which ones you would like to see. Until next time! 🤓

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Defeating the Dreaded Reading Slump

With the start of the fall season, I had a plan. I was determined that this would be the time to make a dent into my ever-growing TBR pile. I picked out about eight books to start with and was going to pick out another eight when I finished those. I started off strong in September. I flew through the first three books with ease, but suddenly, everything changed. The oh so dreaded reading slump had arrived. I find that this happens to me about twice a year; once in  the beginning of the year and once towards the end.  I haven’t been able to read more than a few pages of anything since the middle of September. That’s a month and a half of practically no reading! Oh, the shame! The horror! 😱 That being said I am proud to announce that the slump is officially over! I finally finished a book (well, graphic novel, but it’s something) and have started going through my TBR quest once again. Here are three things that helped me to get back into reading.

  1. Don’t read.

I know what you’re thinking. How will not reading help me to start reading again? Some smart person once said, “Distance makes the heart grow fonder,” and that couldn’t possibly be any truer when it comes to reading. My reading slumps usually occur after a good old-fashioned binge reading session. It’s like a little food coma after a massive lunch. (Lunch🍡….yummmmm!!…. food …. pizzaaaa🍕…. fries🍟…. cookies🍪…. 🍩mmmmmm!!.. I think I’m hungry..) You need to let the lingering feels from your recent reading expedition subside and come to terms with themselves. We all know how authors like to scar their readers’ hearts and souls and we need to give time for our wounds to heal before we open up new ones. We need to start to miss the gut-wrenching heartache of having our favorite character killed off or our favorite couple being tragically torn apart. We need to crave the adventure that reading offers and sometimes that requires us to take a step back from reading in order to come back full force. Instead of reading, try binge watching your favorite show on Netflix or work on some crafty DIY Pinterest projects that never come out how it is in the picture or if you’re really desperate you can even do something productive like cleaning.

2. Read something fun and short.

When you are in a slump, you need something that reminds you about just how much excitement can come from reading. The best way to do that is with a book that is short and lighthearted, like a good cartoon. Try reading a fun graphic novel or some short stories. The plot progresses quickly and you feel accomplished and motivated after finishing a book.

3. Surround yourself with book related content.

Excitement is contagious. I find that when I see how excited other people get over reading, it makes me excited to pick up a book and start reading it too. Start browsing some new books, watch some fun book tags on Youtube, read some reviews on a blog, or buy some cute new bookmarks. You want to refocus your attention on your ultimate goal of reading.

Theses are what helped me to finally get out of my slump and I hope they help some of you when you find yourself in your own little slump. Do you guys have any  tricks of your own?

Review: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

In this series, Marissa Meyers retells some of our favorite childhood fairytales with a uniquely futuristic twist.  Let me preface this by saying that I loved loved LOVED this series. I have been putting off writing this review because I was having a hard time trying to put all of my excitement into words. Whenever I started talking about this series, my explanations came out in squeals, grunts, and all sorts of incomprehensible noises. This series was really fun and completely caught me off guard. I was not expecting to love it so much.

There are currently three books, Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, in the series and a companion novel Fairest that provides a different point of view. This review does not include the companion novel as I will be reviewing that separately.

With that said, let’s dive into the books.

The first book in the series is Cinder. Like the name implies, this book is a retelling of the classic tale of “Cinderella” except Cinder is a cyborg.  She lives with her stepmother and her two stepsisters. Cinder is a renowned mechanic, who slaves away for her stepmother. There is a deadly plague that is terrorizing the world and people are desperately trying to find a cure. After Prince Kai asks her to fix his droid, Cinder becomes entangled in intergalactic politics that can change the fate of the universe as she knows it.

This book was a very fast read. I got sucked in from the beginning and enjoyed every minute of reading the book. There was action, suspense, romance, and mystery, basically everything that makes a good page turner. I absolutely loved Cinder as a character. She was smart, resourceful, and independent, while also being vulnerable. I gave it a solid 5/5 stars.

Next, Scarlet is the retelling of the story of “Little Red Riding Hood”. Scarlet lives on a farm in France with her grandmother. Her grandmother has been missing for two weeks and Scarlet is trying everything to find her. She meets a street fighter named Wolf who unlocks secrets about her grandmother’s whereabouts and more. Their story actually becomes intertwined with Cinder’s story becoming different parts of one cohesive plot. I absolutely loved how the two stories connected. It is very well written and creative. This book was my least favorite in the series because the beginning was a little slow for me. However, the ending left me excited for more. I gave it 4/5 stars.

Cress is the third installment in the series and it is based off of the story of “Rapunzel”. Cress is stuck in a satellite orbiting the Earth for many years. She is an amazing hacker and programmer. Her story becomes entangled in the stories of Cinder and Scarlet in the beginning only to be separated from them later. I can’t say much more without spoiling the first two books, so I’ll just leave it at that. This book was a very exciting read. A lot of loose ends start to get tied in this book, while some new problems are also introduced. The book reminded me of the movie Tangled, which is one of my favorite movies. The dialogue between Cress and her love interest was very reminiscent of Flynn Ryder and Rapunzel, which made me thoroughly enjoy reading it.  Overall, I gave this book 5/5 stars.

This series is amazing and I can’t wait for the fourth book Winter to come out this winter.

If you’re looking for a fun young adult sic-fi book with fantasy elements, this series is perfect. I don’t always read sic-fi books and I often take a while to get through them because I start to lose interest. That wasn’t the case with this series. I wouldn’t classify this as a true sci-fi book, but it definitely has elements that sic-fi readers will enjoy. I loved how the book retells stories that are so nostalgic to us in a way that is completely different from the original story, while still having the base plot of the story woven in. It even has little excerpts from the original texts of the stories inserted before each part of the book, which I really enjoyed. You have to pick this up and read it for yourself to truly understand how beautifully written this book is.

What Happened to the Library?

I love buying new books. The feeling you get when you get a brand new book, take in the sweet smell of freshly printed paper, and turn the first crinkly pages is ultimate bliss. With the rise of Booktube and book bloggers there has been a bigger push of constantly buying brand new books. There is no denying that having a large book collection is a dream come true for any book lover. However, sometimes that dream is not attainable for everyone. Let’s face it. Books are expensive and they take up quite a bit of room. While I would love to be able to have a library like the one in Beauty and the Beast (can you say library goals?), I just can’t afford to buy all the books I want nor can I afford living in a place with enough room to store them (broke student life).  That’s where my favorite place in the world comes in — the library.

Just think about it. The library is a place with thousands of books at your fingertips that you can check out  (my library lets you have 30 books checked out at a time, 30!!) and read completely free! I feel like the book community has kind of turned away from the library and used book stores, in favor of shiny new releases. Don’t get me wrong. I love shiny new releases. They are amazing and beautiful, but there is a certain charm in reading a book that is so “well-loved”. The wear and tear of the books reveals the countless times this book has told its story and impacted people’s lives, which is a beautiful thought when you think about it. It makes you feel like part of a community because you know someone else has picked up and read that same book you’re holding in your hands and has had some sort of reaction to it like you are having at the moment.

I love going to the library. It allows me to read as much as I want. It is a place for people who love reading. It doesn’t matter what your status in life is. At the library, we are all one thing– readers. It is the great equalizer of the book world. That being said having a  book collection is great. The library helps me find books I want to add to my collection. When I fall in love with a book I’m reading and I know that it is something I would like to reread at some point or share it with others, I buy it and add it to my collection. At the end, when I look at my book collection I see books that really mean something to me and remind me of a time in my life.

What do you guys think? Is the library a thing of the past?

September TBR!

Fall is finally here! Sort of. I love everything about fall and while it doesn’t necessarily feel like fall where I am, I am determined to make it come as quickly as possible. The books, the cold weather, the scarves, the coziness…. ahh, it’s so amazing. Anyway, moving on…

I recently watched Disney’s live action Cinderella and in honor of that I have devoted my reading for this month to fairytale retellings. I have two other books on the side to act as palette cleansers between the books to give me a bit of a break in between fairytales. Without further ado, here is my September TBR! 

  
First up, I have Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress from the Lunar Chronicles. Next, is Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell, which is another Cinderella retelling. I have a manga called Assassination Classroom Vol. 1 by Yusei Matsui and I will finally FINALLY be ready Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I’m super excited for my TBR and I have plenty of reading time this month, which means I might even be able to read more than what’s on here! Woohoo!

I will be doing a comparison/battle of the books review between Cinder and Mechanica in the near future as well as a review of all the books in my TBR, so look out for that. 

Happy Reading!

Review: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

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I had never heard about this book before I saw it in the book aisle of Target. The cover immediately caught my attention. It’s just so cute and girly and fun. I thought it would be a fast little read in between reading several different series.

I think the summary of the book on Goodreads really explains what the book is about without giving anything away. “The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together….”

The other thing that intrigued me was that it is written in 14 different perspectives, none of which are the two main characters. It’s even written in the point of view of a squirrel and a bench. At first, I thought it might be a little too overwhelming to have so many different narrators, but the author made it very easy to keep up. Each time the narrator changes, there is a little subheading with the name of the narrator and who they are (for example, it would say “Catherine (barista)). My favorite narrators are the squirrel and the bench. It could have gone horribly wrong, but the narration is written in such a cute and funny way. I was pleasantly surprised that neither of the main characters ever narrated the story. It was new and refreshing.

In terms of plot, this book needs to be appreciated for what it is. It is not a deep, insightful book about our societal roles or anything like that. It is a simple, cute love story. It is funny and heart warming. The plot isn’t anything revolutionary, but it is well-written. This book is like a piece of plain milk chocolate. It isn’t fancy or elaborate. It’s just sweet and simple. If you really like books like Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, I think you will enjoy this book.

It is a fun, summer read and is a nice palette cleanser between books. I give it 3/5 stars. I don’t love it, but I did enjoy the story.