Five Stars

Stalking Shadows

stalking-shadows Stalking Shadows by S.A. Hunter

Publication Date: October 27, 2011
Read Date: December 15, 2016

Series: Scary Mary
Book #2

Amazon, Goodreads

My favorite clairaudient, Mary. Well, she’s the only one I’ve ever read about but I have no doubt that she would still be my favorite. Mary has the perfect amount of sarcasm, wit, sass, however you want to put it, she’s badass and awesome. She’s just trying to survive high school while simultaneously having to listen to some ghosts.

Right off the bat we get my favorite part about this series: Mary’s humor.

“No, we’re dreaming.”
“No, you mean me. I’m dreaming, and you’re the monster in my nightmare.”

In this book, Vicky is in the hospital, in a coma, from a car accident after a date with Cy (gasp!). She’s able to reach out to Mary through her dreams to try to get help because there’s something in the hospital feeding the life source off of unsuspecting patients. She’s scared for her life, and as much as she hates to admit it, she needs Mary, even if they’re basically enemies.

“What made you decide to volunteer at the hospital?”
“Well, I heard Vicky was there in a coma, and I figure this will give me access to her room so I can Sharpie a mustache on her without getting caught.”

Yes, Mary. You get your revenge for the nickname of Scary Mary and every other hell Vicky has put you through.

Rachel is still the greatest best friend who always knows exactly the right words to make you feel better. Especially when the guy you really like starts dating the girl you thought both of you agreed on that you don’t like.

“If they were a couple, Vicky would’ve had T-shirts made. It was probably their first date, and she tricked him into going. He probably thought he was taking her grandpa to the airport or something, and she gave him directions to the movie theater instead, and since she already had pre-purchased tickets, why not go see the movie because both of Vicky’s grandfathers are dead.”

There is also more of Chowder, too, who is like the best ghost dog one could ever ask for!

“Chowder, get in your body. Get in your body now!”

Even if he is being unruly. Gran is also back with a force, helping Mary out even when Mary thinks she doesn’t need the help. There’s this wonderful scene in the hospital with Gran and I’d quote it, but it’s too long and it’d give away how much fun you would have reading it.

This is another awesome 5-star book with a great cast of characters to leave you laughing and crying and begging for more.

five-stars

A Court of Mist and Fury

a-court-of-mist-and-fury A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Read Date: December 31, 2016

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Book #2

Amazon, Goodreads

The sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses was definitely not what I had expected. To be honest, I was really despising this book and seriously considered not finishing it. That would have been a huge mistake. A lot of people you will have noticed stopped reading it because of how Tamlin seemed to have changed and how all of a sudden, Feyre’s with Rhysand. I felt the same way. I was pissed. We go through the entire first book where she literally DIED because of her love for Tamlin, only for her to go to Rhysand?!!

But Maas knew what she was doing. She had planned it all during the first book. It was never going to be Tamlin. I’ve accepted that, and now that I’ve finished the book, I couldn’t see it any other way. It was honestly genius. Rhysand is everything. If I ever get the chance to reread this, I will do so with way more excitement than before. Maas explained everything sooo well. She makes you see that there was really only ever Rhysand. And you know what? That’s OK too, because he has loads more of a personality than Tamlin ever did. Can you believe how often Tamlin would bow to others?! Such a turn off. In this book, Rhysand actually has tattoos on his knees and explains that he would never bow before anyone but his own crown. Now that’s a high lord.

The world building was even more spectacular in this, which played well amongst the plot line regarding the differences between Tamlin and Rhysand. Feyre getting to understand her powers was spectacular. There’s this really epic battle scene where she just kicks ass. I’m not even going to share one bit about it because everyone deserves to read that battle scene without an inkling of knowledge of what she does.

The ending is killer. I can’t wait for May to read the next one because this world is just phenomenal. The growth in the characters, new and old, is just so much fun to watch. I said “if” earlier, but when I’m able to read this book again, it’ll be 100% better knowing that everything happens for a reason and it’s genius.

five-stars

A Court of Thorns and Roses

a-court-of-thorns-and-roses A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Read Date: December 23, 2016

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Book #1

Amazon, Goodreads

This book kind of feels like a mashup between Beauty and the BeastThe Hunger Games, and Twilight. And you know what? That’s OK. I really enjoyed it. This is one where the main character, Feyre, is the youngest of her family, but the mightiest. She has had to learn to hunt in order to ensure her and her family’s survival. No easy task for a nineteen-year-old who used to come from money. But she made it happen. But now there’s this world that she has ever only heard horror stories about on the other side of the wall. The Fae live there, and they’re awful. Or are they? Her beast in this story, Tamlin, started out a little rough around the edges, but that’s how all beasts start out. And because we know it’s a take on Beauty and the Beast, I was like “Feyre! Just enjoy his presence!”

There’s this curse going on where everyone in the Spring court has masquerade masks stuck on their face and that’s hilarious. This has been optioned for a movie and I can’t wait to see how that’s done. I loved seeing Feyre’s growth throughout the story. She has only ever imagined what it would be like to not have to take care of her family, but then, as Tamlin starts to grow on her, she starts being able to paint, one of her absolute passions. But then in order to break the curse, she can’t be that person she had wanted to be, to not have a care in the world and just paint, she needed to be a hunter again and take care of her family.

This isn’t really a spoiler, but she has to accomplish three tasks to break the curse or solve a riddle and the whole thing will be over. Not even halfway through the riddle did I know what the answer was. I guess that means I’m well read. Or just literate. Or clever. So because I knew the answer, getting through reading the tasks was killer for me. However, if Feyre was clever and/or literate, we would have never known what the tasks were and it would have been a cop out.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and actually read it in just a day. This book is also a prime example of building a world without information dumping. It all felt effortless. By the way, did you know this is classified as New Adult? Basically the fantastical aspects of Young Adult, but for adults. This book has brought me to my new favorite genre. Thank you, Sarah Maas.

five-stars

Cinder

Cinder.jpg Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Read Date: January 11, 2017

Series: The Lunar Chronicles
Book #1

Amazon, Goodreads

Forgive me for bringing up Heartless again, but after reading that, I felt the need to devour everything Marissa Meyer has ever written. It was my personal goal to finish this book in one sitting, and that I did. I don’t regret one single minute. I loved this whole concept, fairy tale story meets The Terminator meets Star Wars. Inititally, when I first heard about the series, it didn’t sound too great to me. Sci-fi isn’t the easiest genre to get into, but this was perfect.

Cinder is a cyborg. What’s crazy is the struggle to fit in with a society that looks down on them while being perfectly fine with using the technology for their own benefit. Cyborgs just happen to have that technology inside of them as well as in the products they use. I would think that being a cyborg would make you cooler than your peers. Don’t feel like bringing a purse? I’ll just throw my lip gloss in my calf for when I need a touch up. Where did I leave that screwdriver? Oh, that’s OK, I have a spare in my palm. On top of all that usefulness, her user interface connected to her brain can show her news feeds, comms (text messages), and it can tell when someone is lying. She doesn’t even need to wear the Samsung VR for that. Yet this whole package of awesomeness is considered inferior. These people need a reality check. These robot parts have either saved humans’ lives or are making their lives easier (no more amputees), it doesn’t make them less human (just more robot/awesome).

“I think I have some oil in my calf if you’d like me to fix that wheel.” So thoughtful.

Cinder’s wit was right on point with the sense of humor I adore.

“I don’t actually remember anything from before the surgery.”
…”The cybernetic operation?”
“No, the sex change.”

“Speaking of eye surgery, do you realize you’re missing tear ducts?”
“What? Really? And I thought I was just emotionally withdrawn.”

Prince Kai was definitely adorable to me. I was excited whenever he showed up because I adored how assertive he is. Like when trying to get Cinder to go to the ball with him:

“Maybe you would change your mind? Because I am, you know.”
“The prince.”
“Not bragging,” he said quickly. “Just a fact.”

Swoon.

A complaint I had read prior to reading this was the lack of world building in a place that sounds absolutely fantastic. I can see that point of view. Marissa Meyer has actually grown in her writing skills because the world building in Heartless, her most recent novel, is superb (here I am, bringing up that novel again). Regardless, this book is clearly a series, it looks like the world will continue to be built amongst the books, which is nice because I am not a fan of information dumping. I can only handle so much before I need to go back and reread whatever the heck I just read.

This is an awesome spin on a fairy tale with a heroine who is very self-sufficient and is growing to become bad ass. There’s nothing like a heroine who decides to save the man, instead of being the damsel in distress. You go, girl.

five-stars

Heartless

heartless Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Publication Date: November 8, 2016
Read Date: January 5, 2017

Amazon, Goodreads

I haven’t had a book hangover quite like this one gave me in…I don’t even know how long. Too long. I couldn’t even think about picking anything else up when all I wanted to do was to be transported back to Wonderland.

My exact thoughts that I wrote down after reading the book were: I am so profoundly sad. Heartbroken; though my heart is more than broken, it’s actually gone. Which is eerily similar to what happened in the book.

I’m pretty sure I cried a couple of days after finishing this because it was just so good that I kept thinking back on it and then ended up becoming really sad all over again.

I know that so far all I’ve done is make you think that this book is sad, and that you probably don’t want to be sad when finishing a book, but that’s where you’re wrong. This made me feel so much emotion that I 100% plan on reading it again.

I purposefully went into this book without knowing too much about it. I knew it was a book in Wonderland, but I, shockingly, did not realize it was an origin story for how the Queen of Hearts came to be. I was perfectly content without having that information until I screwed it up for myself halfway through when I went on Goodreads to see if everyone else loved it as much as I was loving it. I tried to distance myself from the work then, knowing that it couldn’t have a happy ending, but I wouldn’t have ended it any other way. It was perfect. I wish it wasn’t a standalone book so I could get more from Wonderland and all of the awesome characters.

The Cheshire cat is awesome! Please allow me to share my favorite quotes from the book… all of which so happen to be from the Cheshire cat. Don’t worry, they’re not spoilers–they’re just incentive to read this.

Abigail told me that once she dreamed about a big glowing crescent shape hovering in the sky…and the next morning Cheshire showed up, all grinning teeth hovering in the air and begging for a saucer of milk. Years later and we still can’t seem to get rid of him.”

Cheshire’s head spun upside down. “How slow you are tonight. I was speaking of the rumors surrounding the new court joker.”
She perked up. “No. I haven’t heard anything about him.”
“Neither have I.”
She furrowed her brow. “Cheshire, that is the opposite of a rumor.”

“It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.”

“Why, yes, I would enjoy a cup of tea. I take mine with lots of cream, and no tea. Thank you.”

“I’m only saying that you might be the King’s wife, but who is to say you couldn’t also have more clandestine relations with the Joker?” (This in particular is what I had been wondering for myself throughout the whole book–it would kind of be a way to solve the problem. It’s not like kings and queens have never done it before!)

Unashamedly, almost all of the quotes I marked were Cheshire quotes. Such a clever cat. Here’s another quote (not from Cheshire!) that specifically speaks to me as an editor.

“Sir Hare?” asked Catherine.
“Haigha,” said the March Hare. “Rhymes with mayor, but spelled with a g.”
She stared, not sure how Hare could be spelled with a g. Before she could ask again, Jest settled a hand on her shoulder and whispered, “I’ll spell it for you later.”

Moving on, I loved watching how Cath went from the girl who could dream up six impossible things before breakfast to being all “Off with its head!” I thought it was perfect. Instead of thinking of the Queen of Hearts as this awful character, I will forever think of her as the girl who only ever wanted to open up a bakery with her best friend. She never stood a chance. Also, I loved how we learn just why she hates white roses–I would too.

In my notes, I wrote heavily about how perfect this was through my tears. I’ll just leave this at bringing up how clever it was to throw it other stories, such as “The Raven” from Poe, and “Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater.”

I just read this…but after writing this review, I think I might just read it all over again.

five-stars

Scary Mary

scary-mary Scary Mary by S.A. Hunter

Publication Date: August 18, 2010
Read Date: December 10, 2016

Series: Scary Mary
Book #1

THIS. I absolutely adored this short story. Mary is what is deemed a clairaudient. She can’t see ghosts, but she can hear them and speak to them. Growing up in a small town, everyone remembered when she was a kid and used to talk to herself on the playground. She is now labeled as a freak and is bullied in high school. She does her best to look past it, but she can’t help the snarky comments that come out of her from time to time. Who can blame her?

Her best friend, Rachel, is the only friend she has until a new boy starts at the school and takes a liking to her. This all goes downhill when a trip to his house makes her realize his house is haunted, and not by a very nice ghost either.

The humor is awesome; the sarcasm is spot on. Rachel is the greatest. This is honestly a story I would reread over and over because I enjoyed it so much. There’s an invisible dog she plays fetch with, how much more fun can this get? Also, the random ghosts that are anchored throughout the town that she can listen and talk to are so great.

I pulled out one of my favorite quotes from Rachel to Vicky, the resident mean girl:

“Hey Vicky,” Rachel called, “I’m sorry too, but I can’t make it either. I gotta be in Aspen this weekend. You understand, right?”

“So what?” She said. Her voice dripped with disdain.

“Oh, I just wanted to be a part of the rejection. Buh-bye,” she said giving her the beauty queen parade wave.

And then this one from Mary to Vicky:

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fakest of them all? Oh never mind, I see her.”

Those will be even funnier when you read the book, which I highly recommend doing. The only issue I have with it is that there are some spelling and grammar errors, but I loved this so much, I can’t even dock a star for that.

five-stars

Sinful Cinderella

sinful-cinderella Sinful Cinderella by Anita Valle

THIS STORY. I absolutely loved it the moment I started reading it. I even told a few of my friends about it right after I started it because I needed them to read it too. It’s a short story, which does have its disadvantages. While I love a quick read, there were some things I wish could have had more development, but because of what we have for the length, I can’t really complain.

I’ve seen some reviews that wish she could have been more evil, and I was completely inclined to agree with that point of view, except that it would counteract the white magic. She has to be good to get more white magic, which is how she makes herself more beautiful,and to do something bad would take away the magic she needs. So she actually can’t be more evil at all.

I just really loved this story. The different twists that were put on the Cinderella story are crazy and dark and awesome. I don’t even want to go in more detail because it’s so short that everyone should read it.

five-stars