Wires and Nerve, Vol. 1 by Marissa Meyer

*This review may contain spoilers if you haven’t finished The Lunar Chronicles.*

wires-and-nerve

Synopsis from GoodreadsIn her first graphic novel, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestseller Marissa Meyer follows Iko, the beloved android from the Lunar Chronicles, on a dangerous and romantic new adventure — with a little help from Cinder and the Lunar team.

In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new, action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold. When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers’ leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.

Feelings: I’m so glad to be back with this band of characters! This is one of my most favorite series of all time, ever ever amen. I’ve read the first 3 books in The Lunar Chronicles twice and then the 4th book once. And I read Levana’s story. And I read the short stories. I mean, it’s real.

I had this book preordered; that’s how excited I was. Not only because it’s Marissa Meyer, but because I love graphic novels and the way they tell different kinds of stories. I was so excited to visually see how Meyer intended her characters and their world to come across. Now that I’ve read this graphic novel, I almost want to pick Cinder back up again.

Issues: As you’ll see below, I was slightly disappointed by Thorne. This could be because I already loved him so much and had something set in my mind about how he presented himself and how he spoke. But still, he was just ever so slightly off.

Also, the overall tone of this story was different. I think it was partly because we were focused on Iko and she just generally sees the world in a different way, but also because of the formatting. We missed out on Meyer’s world building and character-driven insights.

Characters: Some of the characters were a little different than I’d imagined them in my head, but none of them were really way off base. Their personalities were all pretty well intact, too, which was something I was nervous about since the formatting of this story shifted to a graphic novel. Captain Thorne was just a bit off, in my opinion. I think I just imagined him being a little more enthusiastic and engaging.

I didn’t mind being shifted away from our usual main cast and focusing on Iko. I really loved her from The Lunar Chronicles, so I’m excited to see how this all plays out for her (and hopefully Kinney).

*sigh* I was so glad to see Wolf and Scarlet, even though their scenes were too short for me. Kai seems to be rocking his rule and I like that we’re seeing the in-between for Cinder and the future of the Lunar monarchy. Winter and Jacin are always a yes for me, too. We got snippets of these pairings, which like I said…I’m ok with, considering there’s so much previous material on them.

Final thoughts: I need more! It’s difficult to go from Meyer’s long-winded novels to this shortened, quick storyline. She does such a great job of getting you invested in her world, which worked well in those large page count books. But it made this story feel too short, like we were just getting started and were missing some real substance. Even so, I still enjoyed it and will probably read it again before the next volume releases. If you’re a fan of the original series, I would recommend this book. It’s fun and an easy to read continuation.

Pick this up if you liked:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Read my full review here!)

Goodreads rating: 4.39/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.5/5

My rating: 4/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

December 2016 Wrap Up

This is what I was able to read in December…I read 5 books, listened to 2 audiobooks, and read 0 graphic novels, for a grand total of: 7! (This count has been updated since I originally posted this. I managed to squeeze in one more book for the month!)

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

  • Nostalgia. Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.
  • My rating: 4.5 stars

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (audiobook read by Jennifer Ehle)

  • Second read/listen. Victorian Fantasy. Plot twist!
  • My rating: 4.5 stars

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

  • Second read. Better the second time. Plot twist again!
  • My rating: 4.75 stars

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Krisoff

  • Space adventure. So many plot twists!
  • My rating: 4.75 stars

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham (audiobook)

  • Narrated by BFF Lauren. Hilarious. Heartwarming.
  • My rating: 4.25 stars

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

  • Part boring. Part surprising. Questions.
  • My rating: 3 stars

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

  • Unique. Read in 1 sitting. Plot twists. 
  • My rating: 4.5 stars

What all did you read this month? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

*This review may contain spoilers if you haven’t read Illuminae.*

“And blood and tears and screams did not matter anymore, because at least they are together.”

gemina

Synopsis from GoodreadsMoving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed. The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminaecontinues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and theHypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands. But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

Feelings: I really like Illuminae. I read it a second time to prepare for this book and loved it even more. I was wondering how Gemina would accomplish the same things without it just being a repeat and was pleasantly surprised. There were new types of documents for us to read and dig through and a new cast of characters to get to know. Kaufman and Kristoff once again do an incredible job of allowing readers to understand characters without just reading paragraph after paragraph of description. We know who these people are, we feel what they feel, and can (sometimes) anticipate their actions.

Issues: We went from a zombie-making killer virus to drug-inducing slugs. Not quite as thrilling and creepy! The Phobos virus in Illuminae was legit nightmareish. I couldn’t really picture these worm things with 4 heads. And they just didn’t have the same scary tone.

While I find the formatting of these books to be really engaging and thrilling, Gemina felt a little more detached. We had more scenes from an outsider’s perspective (the camera records) rather than really living the story with our main characters.

The ending. It felt somewhat similar to Illuminae in the sense that what we thought had happened…didn’t. Without spoiling anything, in this book…things happened then it wasn’t true…like 5 times in a row.

Characters: What was so compelling about Illuminae was the way we were able to connect with Kady and Ezra. We were in their heads, understood their motivations, and were constantly in fear for their lives. In Gemina, it’s similar, but not quite as intense. I like Nik from the beginning. He’s charming and witty. And honest. Very, very honest. Hanna was a good character. I didn’t find her to be absolutely amazing and I was sad when things didn’t go her way, but not devastated. Finally, Ella. I liked that she was so different from the other characters in the sense that she was physically limited while Hanna and Nik were out there kicking butt. She added a different dynamic, in the way that AIDAN did in the first book. (Not comparing them…just saying they were both 3rd wheel POV characters.) Overall, interesting people to go on this journey with.

Final thoughts: I love a good plot twist. If you do, too, then you should absolutely pick up this series. They’re both thrilling and complex and make you want to go to space like…yesterday. Even with the issues I had, they weren’t enough to make me not enjoy this book from cover to cover.

Pick this up if you liked:

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Goodreads rating: 4.62/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.7/5

My rating: 4.75/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Final Reading Challenge Update

I’d planned on this being my 3rd of 4 total reading challenge updates for the year, but…I’M FINISHED. That’s right, friends. I have completed my reading challenge for 2016. This year, I was motivated to complete the challenge, but to BE challenged. This list didn’t encourage me to look for certain types of books, but rather to read what I wanted and see how I could fit it into the challenge.

I’m wanting to do something different for 2017. I don’t think I want to do a list of challenges like this for the third year in a row. Any suggestions?

In the meantime, check out the list of 50 books below! For books that I wrote full reviews on, I’ve included the link to that page!

Challenges completed: 50/50

  1. A winner from the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards – Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (read my full review HERE)
  2. A book about books – Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (read my full review HERE)
  3. A book from the Rory Gilmore Challenge – Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
  4. A book with one of the 5 W’s in the title (who/what/when/where/why) – What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  5. A book set more than 100 years ago – An Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers (read my full review HERE)
  6. A book whose main character is in a profession that interests you – The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay (read my full review HERE)
  7. A book by an author who writes under more than one name – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling  (read my full review HERE)
  8. A fairytale from a culture other than your own – The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan (I Googled “fairytale” and according to the world wide web, “myth” is a synonym for “fairytale”. So it’s a stretch, but I’m running with it.) (read my full review HERE)
  9. A historical fiction book – The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson (read my full review HERE)
  10. An award winning book (ex: Newberry Medal, National Book Award, etc.) – Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan (read my full review HERE)
  11. A book you’re embarrassed to read in public – Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (read my full review HERE)
  12. A book published in 2016 – Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (read my full review HERE)
  13. A book with a blue spine or cover – Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (read my full review HERE)
  14. A book with a horrible/ugly cover – Nothing But the Truth by Avi
  15. A book picked for you by someone else – Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (read my full review HERE)
  16. A favorite book you read for a second time – A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers (read my full review HERE)
  17. A book you feel that everyone has read but you – Wolf by Wolf  by Ryan Graudin (read my full review HERE)
  18. A book recommended by a famous person – For the Love by Jen Hatmaker (read my full review HERE)
  19. A book you know nothing about – Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  20. A book set in the country of your ancestors – An Honest Heart by Kaye Dacus (read my full review HERE)
  21. A book with a child as the main character – Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  22. A book with an unreliable narrator – The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (read my full review HERE)
  23. A book whose main character shares your name (first, middle, or last) – Dreamland by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  24. A book set during a war (historical or fictional war) – Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
  25. A chick-lit book – This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  26. A book written before you were born – Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (read my full review HERE)
  27. A collection of poems – The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan (While it may not be a “collection” of poems, there were poems throughout it. So I’m counting it. Ha!) (read my full review HERE)
  28. A book outside your comfort zone (genre, topic, number of pages, etc.) –The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin (read my full review HERE)
  29. A book about second chances – Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado (read my full review HERE)
  30. A prequel to a book series – Stars Above by Marissa Meyer (read my full review HERE)
  31. A book that has more than one author – Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
  32. A book by an author who is from a different country – City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (read my full review HERE)
  33. A book that’s an author’s debut novel – That Summer by Sarah Dessen
  34. A book that you got for free – Ms. Marvel, Vol. 4: Last Days by G. Willow Wilson
  35. A book that was made into a movie, TV series, or mini-series – Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen [Movie version = How to Deal] (read my full review HERE)
  36. A play that was adapted into a musical or a movie – Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw
  37. A book that’s on the bestseller list – Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  38. A book spun off from another book – The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis
  39. A book that made you laugh out loud – Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs (read my full review HERE)
  40. An audiobook –Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (read my full review HERE)
  41. A book your grandma (or other family member) loves – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  42. A book with a nonhuman protagonist – A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (read my full review HERE)
  43. A book that takes place at a university – The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright (read my full review HERE)
  44. A mystery or thriller – I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
  45. A book recommended by a blog or Booktube video – Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, & Maureen Johnson (read my full review HERE)
  46. A book that takes place during a holiday – Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier (read my full review HERE)
  47. A book you own, but haven’t read – The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  48. A book that you’ve “been meaning to read” – Ms. Marvel, Volume 3: Crushed by G. Willow Wilson
  49. A book you read with a friend or a book club – Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (read my full review HERE)
  50. A book you saw someone reading – Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs (read my full review HERE)

 Are you working towards completing a reading challenge? Do you have any recommendations for a 2017 Reading Challenge? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Wolf by Wolf – by Ryan Graudin

“Her self-reflection was no reflection at all. It was a shattered mirror. Something she had to piece together, over and over again. Memory by memory. Loss by loss. Wolf by wolf.”

wolf by wolf

Synopsis from GoodreadsThe year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball. Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

Feelings: Wow. Wow. Wow. This book was different from how I expected it to be. It wasn’t until I’d completely finished the book that I really understood it. I understood that it’s all about identity – how we shape our lives and our outlooks, and how we see others around us. Yael, as a skinshifter, had even forgotten what her real face looked like. This book follows her journey of self discovery and what her place is in the world.

The writing style was different from anything I’ve read in a while, so that was a breath of fresh air. Ryan Graudin has a unique voice; she has a beautiful way of describing a character’s feelings and fears. I felt with Yael and what she was going through, throughout the story. She writes with a heavy hands towards metaphors, which I know bothers some people, but I love it.

Issues: Sometimes the flashbacks took away from the action of the outside story. Historical fiction oftentimes has a number of flashbacks, helping build understanding and supporting character development. In this book, they were crucial to understanding who Yael was and what her motivations were, but sometimes they interrupted the flow of the story. The motorycle race was so action packed that when the flashbacks were over, it took me a minute to get back into the outside story. It felt kind of up and down.

Characters: Yael is a really complex character. Her motivations were so grounded in her past experiences, but then she starts to question herself. I thought that was very realistic and easy to relate to – you think you know what you’re doing and are confident that it’s the right path, but then life happens and you second guess everything. Yael quickly became one of my favorite fictional female characters ever. She’s a survivor and a she-wolf, intriguing and again…very complex.

I couldn’t figure Luka out and even after finishing the book I’m not sure how to feel about him. And Felix, I love. I’m all for those protective brother characters! The sequel comes out this November, so some of the things I’m looking for involve Felix’s involvement and hopefully nailing Luka’s character down.

Genre: What an intriguing twist on history! I really enjoyed reading the alternate to reality and the possibilities if the war had turned out differently. At the same time, this story was a little out of my comfort zone because this was a difficult future to want to imagine.

Comparisons: This book made me think of the Amazon show, The Man in the High Castle. It’s similar in the sense that the Germans have won the war and have peace with the Japanese, splitting the land between them.

Final thoughts: I really enjoyed this book, overall. It’s fast paced, has a lot of depth, and is set up nicely for a sequel! If you’re wanting to read something that’s truly unique and shakes up your reading palate a little bit, this is the book for you.

Pick this up if you liked:

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

The Man in the High Castle series on Amazon Prime (or the book)

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Goodreads rating: 4.33/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.5/5

My rating: 4.5/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

*If you haven’t finished The Lunar Chronicles, then this review will contain some spoilers.*

stars above

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

Below, I included my rating and wrote a mini-review for each of the novellas:

  1. The Keeper – 5 stars [I loved this! It was great to see things from Michelle’s POV and to get a glimpse of what it was like when Scarlet was younger. This was a great way to start this collection!]
  2. Glitches – 4.5 stars [Peony! *insert cry face* I thought this story was really interesting! I’d wondered what it was like for Cinder when she first arrived with the Linh family and this story fit that bill, answering all my questions.]
  3. The Queen’s Army – 4.5 stars [Wolf! i love how these stories are giving me a little more face time with some of my favorite characters. Getting a little bit more of his background info was helpful to really round out his character.]
  4. Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky – 5 stars [Thorne! Young Thorne, you dog, you. He’s so clever and determined, this story telling us just how far back that part of him goes. I remembered something from one of the previous books where Thorne said he’d defended a girl in high school and been suspended, so it was like AHA! to read about that.]
  5. After Sunshine Passes By – 5 stars [Cress! (are you sensing a trend, here?) I love Cress. She’s so naive and innocent, going along for the ride, seeing the best in everyone around her. This story shows us how she ended up on the satellite and gives us a glimpse of her early relationship with her Mistress Sybil.]
  6. The Princess and the Guard – 5 stars [Jacin ended up being a surprise favorite for me when I finished reading Winter. I loved his devotion and patience to/with Winter and enjoyed seeing their relationship develop. This story gave us a sweet picture of their friendship at a younger age and gave us insight into what made Winter decide to suppress her gift.]
  7. The Little Android – 4 stars [I’d heard ahead of time that this was a retelling of The Little Mermaid. I wouldn’t have guessed that, if I hadn’t known it before I even started reading. I saw the connections in that she saved the guy, and there was a necklace, and she couldn’t speak…but beyond that, I don’t see the similarities. I didn’t love this story, but it was interesting, even though the ending confused me a little. I liked the little Cinder cameo!]
  8. The Mechanic -4 stars [Kai! I really liked seeing Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from his POV. I wasn’t sure how he felt about her in the beginning, so it was really telling to have his thoughts and feelings right there, written out. It wasn’t terribly thrilling, but it was short and cute.]
  9. Something Old, Something New  – 5 stars [I picked up on the whole wedding thing pretty quickly, but it was not the wedding I expected! This should have been the epilogue to Winter, honestly. I was kind of frustrated with how that book ended and this novella made me feel better about Cinder’s decision regarding her political future. Plus, Scarlet & Wolf 5Ever!]

Final thoughts: I’m so glad I read these novellas! I love Meyer’s writing style and I so enjoyed getting some more time with so many beloved characters! If you’re a fan of The Lunar Chronicles, you should definitely read this collection!

Goodreads rating: 4.41/5 stars

Amazon.com rating: 4.8/5 stars

My overall rating: 4.5/5 stars

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

April 2016 Wrap Up

Within the first few days of this month, I’d finished off a few books. I was already more than halfway done with the first book by the end of March, so that was kind of cheating. The next 2, I gobbled up during a stay-in weekend. (Oh, you know those…the ones where you make excuses so you don’t have to see other people and stay in your PJs all weekend? Introverts unite.) Then I had an ear infection and was basically glued to my bed for 2 days. So much reading time!

This month, I managed to read a total of TEN books! Wow! I’m impressed by myself, but I also realize how badly I need to get a life…ahh nah. I’m good. This month isn’t even over, yet! I can still squeeze a book in. However, I predict that next month, I’ll read like 2 or 3 books because that’s how reading rollercoasters roll.

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer (Technically, I finished this on March 31, but my March Wrap Up had already been posted! I’m not counting it for April, though. I’ll be fair!)

  • Novellas. Variety. Favorite characters.
  • Rating: 4.5 stars

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

  • Better than the first. Spies. Intrigue.
  • Rating: 4.5 stars

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

  • Music. Compelling. Unique.
  • Rating: 4.75 stars

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

  • Perfection. Addicting. Action packed.
  • Rating: 5 stars

Wolf by Wolf  by Ryan Graudin

  • Truly unique. Action packed. WWII alterate ending.
  • Rating: 4.5 stars

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

  • Second read. Book club. Music.
  • Rating: 4.25 stars

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

  • Audiobook. Lin-Manuel Miranda. Need I say more?
  • Rating: 4.25 stars

That Summer by Sarah Dessen

  • Second read. Uneventful. Meh characters.
  • Rating: 2.5 stars

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

  • Friendship. Great lead characters. Real talk.
  • Rating: 4.75 stars

The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright

  • Prince & Me vibes. Quirky. Easy read.
  • Rating: 3.5 stars

Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

  • Friendship. Self-confidence. Beach.
  • Rating: 4.25 stars

What books did you read this month? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading! – Caitlyn