Book Reviews

The Lunar Chronicles – In review

lunar post

I finished The Lunar Chronicles over the last year, and I loved them all!  I enjoyed these books so much, that I wanted to share a little about each book and what I loved about them. If you haven’t read them yet, maybe this will convince you to. 🙂

For those who don’t know: The Lunar Chronicles is set in a futuristic world where some people live on Earth.  Some more powerful people called Lunars, who can create glamours and control humans, live on Luna. The Lunar Queen is evil and she is determined to rule all of earth as well as Luna.

There are four main books. Each book introduces a heroine and a hero based on a fairytale. I love they way their stories intertwine and each one’s story continues until the very end of the last book.

Cinder – A retelling of Cinderella. Cinder is a cyborg girl who serves as a servant to her mean stepmother and her two stepsisters, one cruel, one kind. In a nod to the original fairytale, Cinder goes to the ball and falls for the prince. When she rushes out she leaves behind her robotic foot instead of a slipper. (I lent out my copy of Cinder which is why it’s missing in the picture.)

Some of the things I liked best about this book: I loved Cinder’s courage and resilience. When things weren’t going well, she took action to try to change them. Also, I loved Iko, Cinder’s android friend. Iko was full of personality and was incredibly entertaining.

Scarlet – A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, with hints of Beauty and the Beast as well. Scarlet lives on a farm with her grandmother. She meets Wolf, a beast-like man trained to be a special operative for the Lunar army. In a nod to the original fairytale, Scarlet always wears a red hoodie.

Some of the things I liked best about this book: I loved Scarlet and Wolf’s relationship. Even though he was trained to kill, Scarlet’s love for him and his love for her kept him from turning into a beast. I also enjoyed the many different locales visited in this book, a trend which continued into the next book as well.

Cress – A retelling of Rapunzel. Cress is trapped in a satellite, and has to do the Lunar Queen’s bidding. In a nod to the original fairytale, a guy named Thorne frees her from the satellite, and is blind for a period of time. (In the original story, it was a thorn that made the prince blind). Cress also has really long hair that she ends up cutting.

Some of the things I loved about this book:  This book was my favorite of the Lunar Chronicles. I could relate to Cress with her small stature and her anxiety about new things. I also loved Cress and Thorne’s relationship.

Winter – A Snow White retelling. Winter is the stepdaughter of the Lunar Queen. She is beautiful and well-loved by the people, so of course the queen hates her. Winter refuses to use her glamour to control others even though  doing this makes her see things and gives her nightmares. In a nod to the original tale, the Queen tries to kill Winter by glamouring herself as an old woman and offering Winter toxic apple candies.

Some of the things I loved about this book:

It ended happily ever after!  It tied everyone’s stories together so well. We really get to see Winter’s strength and personality. Prior to this book, she seemed to just be crazy, so I had been wondering how Meyer was going to have a whole book about her. It was the perfect ending to a great series.

lunar extras

Some companion books to the series include  a shorter book that tells the Lunar Queen’s origin story, a book of short stories, and a coloring book. There are also two graphic novels that tell about Iko’s escapades after the main books end. I just finished the first one and enjoyed it just as much as the other books.

The Lunar Chronicles has made Marissa Meyer an autobuy author for me. 🙂

If you’ve read the series, which book is your fave? What’s your favorite thing about the Lunar world? If you haven’t read the series, why not?! Let me know in the comments!

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Book Tags

Chocolate Book Tag

chocolate book tag

Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, I decided it was the perfect time to do the chocolate book tag. I’ve seen this floating around on a few different book blogs and though it looked liked fun, so here are my picks:

1. Dark chocolate: A book with dark content/theme – Heartless by Marissa Meyer. This is the origin story of the Red Queen. She didn’t just decided to chop off heads – so many things happened to her to make her that way. This is a must read if you love villain stories.

2. White chocolate: A light-hearted, humorous read – From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon. This is such a fun, uplifting read, and it made my top ten reads of 2018!

3. Milk chocolate: A hyped/popular book you really want to read – The Blood Spell by C.J. Redwine. I love Redwine’s books, and I’ve heard so many great things about this book. It comes out later this month. It’s a retelling of Cinderella, one of my favorite fairy tales!

4. Chocolate with a Caramel Centre: A book that made you feel gooey on the inside – To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han.  This was another fun read, and the relationship between Lara Jean and Peter was adorable.

5. A wafer-free kit-kat: a book that surprised you – To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. This is a Little Mermaid retelling, so I was immediately interested in it. Before I had a chance to read the book, I saw some negative reviews, so I lowered my expectations and hoped I wouldn’t be disappointed. I needn’t have worried.  I could hardly put the book down. (Just FYI: it is a darker retelling, so that may be why some people gave it a lower rating.)

6. A Snickers Bar: a book you’re going nuts about – Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco. I love this series for so many reasons – it’s set in the Victorian era, it’s a suspense series, and the romance between Audrey and Thomas is superb. Each book gets better and better and I can hardly wait for the final book which comes out later this year.

7. Hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows: a comfort read you turn to time and time again – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  I recently read the edition I had read so many times as a child, and  I still love it just as much as I did back then. The family dynamic reminds me a bit of mine own, and I can relate to so many of the experiences Jo,Meg, Beth, and Amy have.

 8. A box of chocolates: a series that has a lot of things readers will like – The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. If you’ve been following my blog long, you know I’ve recommended these books over and over. They are just so good! The world building is magical, the characters are dynamic and the settings are memorable. Even if you think you not into the whole space thing, you may be surprised to find you still like these books.

What about you? What books would you pick for these chocolates?

Reading Challenge

Series to Finish #SeriesTF2019

seriestf2019

So I’ve found another reading challenge to participate in. It’s called Series to Finish and the goal is to finish all the series you’ve started. It’s hosted by Anna at Reader and Proud, and you can find all the details here: https://readerandproud.wordpress.com/2018/12/29/series-to-finish-2019/

So to start with, I’m planning to finish The Heirs of Watson Island series by Martina Boone. I’ve only read the first book so far.

Also, I want to read the Caraval series by Stephanie Garber. I  haven’t actually started this series yet, but have had it on TBR since I first received the first book, Caravel.

Throne of Glass  and A Court of Throne and Roses have also both been on my TBR lists for awhile, so I’d also like to finish these series.

I’d like to finish up all the books I own in the Stephanie Plum series. This is not YA, but it is a suspense series. I really enjoyed the first book, One for the Money. If you like the movie of the same name, you’d probably enjoy the books too.

I’m sure I’ll have more series to add to this list as the year goes on, but these are the ones I’m going to try to finish first. How about you? Are there any series you want to try and finish this year? Are you participating in this challenge? Let me know in the comments.

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Books You Wanted to Read in 2018

I read a lot of books in 2018, but as any bookworm knows, there are always more books to read. So here are ten books I wanted to read last year, but didn’t get to.

top ten shoulda read 2018

 

So, I’m going to read this year!) 🙂

And bonus perk – most of them are books I own, which will help me meet my #unreadshelfproject2019 goals. If you interested in reading about the reading challenges I’m participating in this year, check out this post.

1. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton.  I put this book on my TBR list as soon as I first heard about and before it even came out. I received a copy for my birthday, and, as often happens with my own books, it got pushed down my TBR list so I could finish library books that had to be returned. (I’ll be reading this book next month as part on my local library’s reading challenge.)

2. Caraval by Stephanie Garber.  I’ve heard so many good things about this book. I’ve had it on my TBR awhile, but I sort of hate waiting for the next book in a series, so sometimes I hold off on series until I know I’ll be able to read all the books.

3. Legendary by Stephanie Garber. This is the second book in the Caraval trilogy, and since the final book comes out this May, I’ll have just enough time to read both books before the final book releases.

4. Fierce by Aly Raisman. This is another book that’s been on my TBR list. Aly Raisman is an Olympic gymnast and her story is inspiring. She competed as a teen in the 2012 Olympics and then came back even better (at 22 yrs. old) for the 2016 Olympics.

5. Persuasion by Martina Boone. I’ve already read the first book in the Heirs of Watson series, and really enjoyed it. I purchased the next two books in the series and have had them on my TBR since.

6. Illusion by Martina Boone. This is the third book in the Heirs of Watson series.

7. Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer. I love The Lunar Chronicles, and Iko is such a great character, so of course, once I finished the series I added the graphic novels (starring Iko) to my TBR.

8. Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer. This is the second graphic novel about Iko.

9. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I’ve heard so much about this series as well, and I know it’s wildly popular. So hopefully, it lives up to it’s reputation. 🙂

10. A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Same thing with this series. It seems that a lot of people actually like this series better that the Throne of Glass series. So, I guess I’ll have to read them both and see what I think.

What about you? What books did you mean to read in 2018, but didn’t get to? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments!

 

#authortoolboxbloghop, For Writers

Connecting With Your Readers Through Twitter – #authortoolboxbloghop

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So before the New Year, I did a series on connecting  with your reader as part of the blog hop. (You can see my last toolbox post here.) I wanted to share some tips for using Twitter to connect with readers, so I decided to go ahead and add another post to this series.

As with all the other venues of social media, you want to be commenting and liking your readers’ posts. Just like with Instagram, hashtags are key for finding like-minded people on Twitter, but there are also other ways you can use Twitter. Here are a few ways to use Twitter to connect with your readers:

  1. Share articles or quizzes that your readers will enjoy. This can be your own content or content you’ve found from somewhere else. For instance, I share a lot of things from the Epic Reads site. They have quizzes about YA books, and articles about the newest YA releases. Just remember to credit who or where you got the content from.
  2. Share the same things you share on Instagram or on other social media sites. You get the best use of your content when you share it on all your social media platforms. To help with this, there is even a slider button on Instagram that allows you to share your post to Twitter or Facebook. However, sometimes I find it more effective to share your content separately. When you share posts via the IG button, the picture doesn’t actually post directly to Twitter,  it’s just a link to the photo. If it is something you really want your followers to see, it is more effective to post directly to Twitter.
  3. Use your hastags! Like I said earlier, hashtags are how people find your posts. Find some relative hashtags for your genre (#yalit, #yabooks ect.) to use with your posts. Also, just like on Instagram, there are challenges you can participate in using specific hashtags. (#fridayreads, #yearofepicreads ect.)
  4. Share what you are reading.  Your readers love to hear about new books.  They also enjoy hearing about the kind of books their favorite authors like. Sharing what you are reading is one of the best way to connect with readers.
  5. Make use of the poll option. One of the cool options Twitter has is the poll capability.  (When you go to post a tweet, it is the button on the bottom that looks like a little bar graph.) You can use the poll option to find out what your readers like most about your books, what their favorite genre is, or which of your books they enjoyed most.

These are just some of the ways you can use Twitter to connect with your readers. You can connect with me @charityrau1 on Twitter. What are some you favorite ways to use Twitter? Let me know in the comments!

NanoBlogandSocialMediaHop2

This post is part of the #authortoolboxbloghop. It’s hosted by Raimey Gallant. For more details and to join in the fun, go here.

 

Top Ten Tuesday

2018 Top Ten Reads

top ten 18

So, I know this was a Top Ten Tuesday post for last Tuesday, but I didn’t have time to get it up by then. I really wanted to do this one, so I decided to do it for today. Hope you enjoy!

I read a total of 160 books in 2018, and it was hard to choose my ten favorite, but I finally narrowed them down. Here they are:

  1. To All The Boys I Ever Loved by Jenny Han and From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon I put these two together, because they are both fun YA contemporary reads, and I couldn’t decided which one I liked better.
  2. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kirsten White This was a clever retelling of Frankenstein. Perfect for an October read, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  3. A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L’Engle by Sarah Arthur The new Wrinkle in Time movie came out this year, and sparked several new books about the author. This was a nice look at L’Engle’s life and faith, and how it influenced her writing. It was inspiring, and the title was taken from my favorite L’Engle quote:                  light so lovely
  4. Ghost by Jason Reynolds This is a middle grade book, which I read as part of The Great American Read, and I really liked it. I’ve found I really enjoyed anything Jason Reynolds has written.
  5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood I was inspired to read this after seeing the TV show based on it, and was surprised to find out it was written in the 1980’s. Of course, it is better than the show.
  6. Becoming Madeleine by Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Lena Roy This book was a biography of L’Engle’s life written by her granddaughters. A really nice tribute, it was a shorter book aimed for a YA/MG audience, but was great to read even as an adult. It was inspiring and I’d recommend it to any aspiring author.
  7. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson This was the best YA mystery I read during the past year, and I can’t wait to read the next book. I already have it on hold at my public library.
  8. Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows This was one of the best fantasy books I read, and I was able to meet the author and get the second book in the series signed. 🙂 

  9. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie I also read this book as part of The Great American Read. I can’t believe I hadn’t read it before, because it is Agatha Christie at her best! Typically, I figure out the ending before I get to it, but this one had me still trying to figure out what was going on until the end. If you love mysteries, you need to read this one.
  10. Cress by Marissa Meyer And last but not least, one of Marissa Meyer’s books! I love her books and she is an auto-buy author for me. Truthfully, I could have put all of the books in the Lunar Chronicles on here, but I decided to just choose my favorite. If you love YA fantasy, this series is a must read.

What about you? What were your favorites reads of 2018? How many of these have you read? Let me know in the comments!

Reading Challenge

Reading Challenges for 2019

Happy New Year! I can’t believe 2019 is here. It seems like 2018 just flew by.  I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays! I know I did. I was able to spend some quality time with family, as well as welcome a new nephew to the world. 🙂

Now I’m focusing on my goals for the New Year. Part of that includes my reading goals. I’ve set my Goodreads challenge at 175 books. I read 160 in 2018, so I wanted to up it a little. Besides that, I ‘ve also chosen four other challenges to participate in.

First, I’m participating in my library’s challenge – they provide a theme for one book per month. I’ve already finished the book for January. I read Mother Knows Best by Serena Valentino.

aacpl challenge

I’m also participating in the #grimmreads2019. The goal is to read all the way through Grimm’s Fairy Tales, by reading a few stories each week. I have an abridged version of the fairy tales, so I may also do an abridged version of the challenge where I just read through the book I have. I’m starting with “The Frog King”.

grimm reads challenge

I’m also participating in the #YearofEpicReads challenge sponsored by Epic Reads. They have three tracks – monthly, quarterly, and weekly. I’m going to try the weekly challenge. Each week Epic Reads posts a theme for your read. The first theme is “Read a Book with Your Favorite Color on the Cover”.  I’m reading The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser.

epicreads challenge

The last challenge is one I did last year as well – Unread Shelf Challenge. I’m going to focus on reading mostly my own books (ones I haven’t read yet), try not to buy very many more books this year, and not go crazy checking stuff out at the library. 🙂

There’s a prompt for each month for this challenge. The Book Jumper will also fulfill my requirement for January’s theme. 🙂

January – any unread book
February – a book gifted to you
March – the book that’s been on your shelf the longest
April – the book you most recently acquired
May – a book you bought because of the movie/TV/theater adaptation
June – a book about travel or set in a country you’ve never been to
July – a book from a series on your shelf
August – a book voted for you to read by Bookstagram
September – a book you can buddy read with someone
October – a book that scares you, whether because of length, content, or actual horror level!
November – a book from your favorite genre
December – the shortest book on your shelf

unread shelf 2019

How about you? What reading challenges are you doing this year? Let me know in the comments.