Stars Above: My Review

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This book was basically the perfect ending to one of the best series I have ever read. It was so good to go back in time with all these characters, to learn more about them, and just to be with them one more time.

The Lunar Chronicles #4.5
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publication year: 2016
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retellings, Companion short stories
My rating: ★★★★★

Contents:

The Keeper: A prequel to Cinder, about Michelle Benoit and how she came to be a guardian for her granddaughter Scarlet, and the Lunar princess Selene.

Glitches: A second prequel to Cinder, this one a few years later, when Cinder wakes up, is adopted by Linh Garan, and moves to New Beijin.

The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we follow Ze’ev Kesley on his journey to becoming a Lunar Special Operative.

Carswell’s Guide to being Lucky: This one seems to be a favourite to loads of people, as it follows a young Thorne trying to gather money to buy a Rampion ship.

After sunshine passes by: In this prequel to Cress, we get to see how Cress grew up, and got to leave alone on her satellite, with Sybil Mira being her only contact to the outside world.

The Little Android: This one is a retelling of classical tale The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, and follows an android who develops feelings for a human.

The Mechanic: This scene shows Kai and Cinder’s first meeting (at the beginning of Cinder) but this time it’s from Kai’s perspective.

Something Old, Something New: In this last tale, the Rampion crew gather together a few years later, for a much anticipated wedding…

My opinion:

One more time, I was transported to this magical world I love so much. Though magical is probably not the most appropriate terme, but it feels that way to me because I love it so much…

I can’t pick a favourite short story, honestly, I loved them all so much. I didn’t want this book to end. It was really interesting to get prequels, and learn once again more about those amazing characters and how they got to be who they are in the rest of the series. We had gotten glimpses of the events through the rest of the series, things mentioned about their childhoods, but it was great to go more in depth about it. It was also interesting to read from other character’s points of view (yes, I’m talking about The Mechanic here…)

And at the same time, we also got new content, like with The Little Android and of course, Something Old, Something New, which was the perfect way to end this series.

There’s not much more to say about this book, honestly, but I still wanted to make this post to tell you all how much I loved it. If you enjoyed The Lunar Chronicles, and haven’t read those short stories yet, I would definitely recommend you pick up this book ASAP. If you haven’t read The Lunar Chronicles, then what are you waiting for?

You can check out my reviews for CinderScarletCressWinter and Fairest by clicking the titles of the books. And if that’s not enough to make you want to read them, you can check out this video I made about 5 reasons why you should read this amazing series!

Leurs Contes de Perrault: My Review

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First of all, I want you to know that I’m going to review this book in English, because this is what I always do on here. However, it has not been translated in English (yet?) or any other language for that matter. But if you speak French you can (and should definitely) check it out as I highly recommend it!

Genre: Short stories, Adult Fiction, Retellings
Released in 2015
My rating: ★★★★☆

Why did I read this book?

I have mentioned it here and there on the blog, I am going to write a paper on retellings for my Master’s degree and I wanted to work on fairytales. I eventually chose Cinderella because my tutor said I could work on The Lunar Chronicles (EXCUSE ME BUT ISN’T THIS AWESOME I AM SO EXCITED) and this book includes a retelling of Cinderella so that’s the first reason why I picked it up.

The second reason is (and I probably mentioned this as well) that when I went to Paris’s annual bookfair, I attended a meeting with Michael Cunningham and another French author, Nathalie Azoulai, where they talked about fairytales and retellings, and she just so happened to have written a short story retelling of Cinderella, and long story short, it was the one included in that book and will be part of my work next year!

What else do you need to know about this book?

It’s written by a collective which means that 11 different authors participated, and each wrote a short story. Each of these stories is a retelling for one of Charles Perrault’s fairytales (including Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Puss-in-Boots, Blue Beard, Sleeping Beauty and more.)

My opinion:

The last similar book I have read was The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, and if you have read my review, you know that I found it rather disturbing and overall didn’t really enjoy it. However, this was not the case for this book, as I did really like it. It was not the absolute best book ever however I found myself trapped in this book without being able to put it down for most of the stories.

Unlike The Bloody Chamber it does not take a dark twist on the stories, however it adds a modern touch to them, which was probably my favourite part of it. Let me take two examples: the cat for Puss-in-Boots is actually a virtual cat, living in a computer. And Cinderella’s retelling concentrates on the condition of women and how we are not allowed freedom (it also included an unexpected LGBT character, which was a surprising touch that made the story even better in my opinion).

I felt that the authors also managed to bring more diversity to the tales, by making them more modern. It also has touches of One Thousand and One Night and The Odyssey in some of the stories, nicely mixing up different part of your heritage in a way which I really enjoyed.

Overall, I felt that the authors each stayed very faithful to the original story, each in their own way, and bringing it a very pleasant modern touch. It’s a book I would recommend if you are looking for something new and different. I would not say it is exactly refreshing as some stories are darker than others, however it is definitely an interesting and pleasant read, and a must-read if you are a fairytale lover and craving for more retellings!

Four: My Review

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I really liked Divergent but I was a bit disappointed by both its sequels, so I didn’t really have high expectations when I started reading Four. However, I was taken by surprised as I absolutely LOVED it. I read it in a day yesterday, and now here I am, hoping for more.

Publication year: 2014

Genre: YA, Dystopia, Short Stories

Rating: ★★★★★

The story:

Four is a prequel to the Divergent series, told from Four’s point of view instead of Tris’s. The first short stories evolves around his Choosing Ceremony, the second one  is about his life as an Initiate, the third one about bits and pieces of his life after the Initiation, and how he notices the Dauntless are slowly changing and drifting away from their original ideals. The last one takes place when Tris has arrived in Dauntless. The book also includes three scenes from Divergent retold from Four’s point of view.

Warning:

Four is supposed to be a prequel to the series, however it is supposed to be read after them, as it includes spoilers for the rest of the books!

My opinion:

Surprisingly, I really loved this book. As much as Allegiant disappointed me, I really loved to read about Tobias before he met Tris, and what led him to make the choices he did, etc. His narrative voice was really pleasant and enjoyable to read – actually I liked him better here than in Allegiant.

It was interesting to read more and learn more about the concept of Divergent, because it really is such an interesting world. This book completes the story very well and is a must read for fans of Tobias/Four!

I think Veronica Roth did an excellent job here. Four is really endearing and feels relatable. We get to understand a bit more the complex backrgound of everything that happens in Divergent and the rest of the series. It’s also great to read more about characters whom we meet in the rest of the books, such as Tori, Zeke and Uriah as well as the rest of their friends, and of course, the unbelievably annoying Eric.

Overall, it was a great read, and the fact that it was short stories was no problem at all, as they more or less followed one another. Highly recommended for fans of the series who still want to read more about it! And I know some may say that this doesn’t add anything to the story, but is that really important? In the introduction, Roth says that when she first got the idea for Divergent, it was a story from Tobias’s point of view, so I think it makes this book even more interesting. Anyway, I really enjoyed it, so I’m happy…

Please share your opinion below if you have read it, I would love to talk about it!

The Bloody Chamber: My Review

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I have to admit, I started reading this book with really high expectations, as several people recommended it, and I love retellings, and in the end, I was really disappointed. I don’t like it when I don’t like books, but really, I couldn’t help it this time. I struggled a lot, and in the end, gave up on finishing some of the short stories because I didn’t care. Okay, I feel really bad for not liking this book. But I can’t lie to myself.

Genre: Adult Fiction, Short Stories, Retellings

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

What is it about:

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories is a series of short stories by Angela Carter which was originally published in 1979. The first tale, the one which gave its title to the collection, is a retelling of Blue Beard, and it’s followed by two retellings of Beauty and the Beast. The collection also contains a retelling of Puss-in-Boots, one of Snow White, two of the Little Red Riding Hood, as well as vampire and werewolf stories.

Carter took a new twist on the stories of our childhood, and turned them into dark and sensual tales. She made them more modern, and more mature, and also made the leading ladies more powerful and important.

That sounded good, right? I don’t know why, but it didn’t work on me…

My opinion:

Maybe it just wasn’t the right time for me, but this book didn’t work on me. It’s not the fact that I’m not a fan of short stories – I’m actually liking them more and more – or the fact that these are not the stories I remember, because I know what a retelling can do. I liked the idea of this book, and the first stories were actually okay, but the more I read, the more I just wanted to discard the book and not finish it. I have to admit I just read the last pages diagonally. And I don’t even regret it. Maybe I will come back to it, but for now it is a huge disappointment. (Sorry book, I hate saying this. But really. Yes, I know, I have a problem.)

The first story was good. It was dark, but that really fits the original story. Yes, it was disturbing, but Blue Beard is really a horrible tale, and this retelling was really well-done. I found it a bit draggy (and predictable) but overall, I enjoyed it.

The retellings of Beauty and the Beast were interesting, I especially liked The Courtship of Mr Lyon, however in both tales, I didn’t really like the leading ladies. But let’s say that so far, I enjoyed the book.

My favourite was, I think, the retelling of Puss-in-Boots. Even if it had a cruel side to it, I really liked how it was narrated, and found it rather funny (though again, it was predictable, but we know the outcome of those fairytales so that doesn’t really matter).

But then, the retellings of Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood were plain disturbing, and I didn’t really care about the rest, the stories didn’t grab my attention, or interest me.

Maybe this book was not made for me, and maybe I just didn’t enjoy it because I found it too dark, I don’t know. If you have read it and enjoyed it, please tell me why because it really pains me! I’m not usually this disappointed when I read a book… Well, maybe the problem is that my expectations were to high actually.

Recommended for:

Retellings lovers who like stories with a dark side!

Kindred Spirits: Short Review

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Kindred Spirits is a short story written by Rainbow Rowell and published on World Book Day earlier in March.

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★★

The story:

The new Star Wars is about to be released and Elena decides to wait in line in front of the cinema with other fans for a few days. Except when she arrives, there are only two people waiting in line, Troy, who has already waited in line for all the previous Star Wars movies, and Gabe, who seems to be around Elena’s age, but doesn’t really seem to be keen on talking to her. And that’s all. However, Elena doesn’t give up, and decides to sleep on the spot, as she had planned (even if her mother keeps driving by and insisting she comes home). And Elena is weirdly having a great time, even if things don’t go exactly as planned (especially when she needs to pee in the middle of the second night!)

My opinion:

This book was adorable. I would recommend it to pretty much anyone who is part of a fandom, even if it’s not Star Wars (I think it’s time I admit I’ve never seen any of the Star Wars movies… I know, shame on me). It reminded me of the line I did to wait for Sum 41 earlier this year (we arrived at 11am, the concert was at 7pm, and they were playing the third part) or the time I waited like 4 hours for John Green, and that time earlier this year when I waited in line for James Dashner and I thought I’d never get to see him. Yes, this is not as spectacular as what Elena did, but  there is still the spirit of the line and it is amazing.

Anyway, back to the book. The three main characters are all very different and yet endearing in their own way. Really, if you’re a fangirl/fanboy you can’t not like this book. It has its little ups and down and undying love for Star Wars. A bond is created between the characters, and they just feel so human, it’s perfect…

My only regret is that it was a short story, I would have loved to read more of Elena and Gabe!

The Survivor: Short Review

The Survivor

Author: Sara Elizabeth Santana

Publication: May 2016

Genre: YA, dystopia, post-apocalyptic, zombies

My rating: ★★★★☆

The Survivor is a novella from The Awakened universe, which basically retells the story of the first book from Liam’s point of view. It is meant to be read between book one and book two for a better understanding! It is also meant for Liam fans, but overall it can be read by any fan of the story. Book to in the series, The Sanctuary, should be released in December.

Warning: May contain spoilers for The Awakened! Read at your own risk!

The story:

Liam wanted to take some time away from his fiancée, Kat, and went on a hunting trip with his parents during Christmas break. In the middle of their trip, he received weird calls from her and talk about “the Awakened”. They decided to head back to Atlanta, but the city was on a quarantine, and every access forbidden. At the same time, Liam heard from Kat that the city was going to be bombed.

With a heavy heart, the family decides to head back to the Sanctuary, after checking on Liam’s aunt and her kids. Except things obviously don’t go as planned, as the Awakened set their car on fire.

And then, as you saw in the first book, they meet Zoey, Ash and Frank. And I won’t tell you more to keep some suspense!

My opinion:

First of all, can we all take a moment to appreciate the amazing cover?

Second of all, if you want to check out my review for book 1, here it is.

Now let’s get back to business.

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Liam (okay, I’m Ash trash, you got me) so I wasn’t really sure what to expect from that book. I decided to read it anyway since I was curious, and I think it was definitely the right thing to do!

The good thing about this novella is that it goes through events where Liam and Zoey weren’t together, so first, we learn more about Liam, and then, we also get to see more of the catastrophy, and things that Ash and Zoey didn’t get to see, so that was rather interesting!

Overall, it was a quick and enjoyable read, and it got me even more curious for The Sanctuary! (And yes, I’m still #TeamAsh after reading this book. Definitely.)

Recommended for:

People who read and liked The Awakened, obviously. And otherwise, I recommend this series to people who like YA, dystopian and apocalyptic stories.

Into the Forest: Short Review

Into the Forest (Curses of VIII, #0.5)

Into the Forest is the prequel novella to the “Curses of VIII” series by Freedom Matthews, and it was released earlier in May. The first book in the series, Inherited, will be published in June by Oftomes Publishing.

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Faerys and Pirates

Rating: ★★★★☆

The story:

On the day of Ravenzara’s coronation as the Sorceress of the faerys, deep in the forest, her bitter sister casts her a curse, which will bring her unhappiness.

Ravenzara is not only a faery, but also in love with a human, Gaspard, who takes her away on his ship, to see the world, and they promise each other that nothing can separate them.

The ebook also includes a preview for Inherited.

My opinion:

Before I say anything, I just wanted to point out how gorgeous this cover is.

Now, back to business. It was a really beautiful and quick read, that got me curious for Inherited! Freedom Matthews created an amazing world for her books, and you should definitely check them out, you won’t regret it. This novella has faerys and pirates, which is already amazing. It mixes love, magic and adventure in the best possible way.

The only thing I regretted is how short it was! I would have love to read more about Ravenzara, especially what happened after the end of the story. But I suppose the point of a prequel novella is to show you little and get you curious…

Recommended for:

People who love fantasy and adventures, and want to be transported to amazing imaginary worlds!