Archive | September 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

So many covers! Top left – USA/UK/Sweden, Top right – Italy/Czech Republic, Bottom left – Spain, Bottom right – Spain (they’re in different languages)

Linh Cinder (surnames are said first) lives in New Beijing, is a sixteen-years-old mechanic and also happens to be a cyborg.  The ward of her stepmother that focuses only on her natural daughters Peony and Pearl, Cinder is forced to work to support the family. Her trade is so well known that even Prince Kai seeks her out for a royal android repair. The world is under attack by a mysterious plague that spreads in an unknown way and kills on a strict timeframe. There is no cure and cyborgs are used for test research.

Cinder’s stepmother Andri can’t resist sending her away to the royal palace as a test subject when her youngest stepsister falls ill with the plague. Devastated over losing and possibly infecting Peony, Cinder complies, desperate to do anything to save her life. Yet as the tests commence secrets and revelations come to light. Cinder’s crush on Kai seems light-years away as her past is uncovered and she fights for her right to exist in an anti-cyborg world.

I must give a shout out to Marissa Meyer who is from Tacoma, Washington State, my mom’s hometown. I was delighted after I finished the book to discover a Washington State writer wrote it. I think Meyer did a wonderful job at tackling the huge task of retelling the Cinderella fairytale. The basic story is still there which does make it a bit predictable but with a dystopian setting it’s a fun and refreshing read. As history repeats itself with this deathly plague, Meyer uses creative settings and impressive steam punk imagery to recast a modern Cinderella.

I loved the book; it had me on the edge of seat. Even when I knew a mile away certain things were going to happen, I think Meyer strategically worked the fairytale to her advantage. I’d be upset if she didn’t stick with the core story and she mixed other fairytale elements that succeed in a post apocalyptic world. I’d recommend Cinder in a heartbeat to anyone that wants a different, stronger Cinderella but isn’t ready to leave the dystopian genre.

There’s been a rumour going around that the second book, Scarlet isn’t going to be published. I’m happy to report that Amazon is already selling it in advance. Here’s the cover.

You can enter to win a signed advanced copy HERE: The contest ends September 30th.


My Night with EL James

EL James. A woman who has rocked the literary world for a multitude of reasons. As a Seattlite, when I saw that Waterstones was having a book signing with the (in)famous EL James I marked the date on my calendar.  As fan fiction from Twilight, James set her ‘stories’ in Seattle and her books have created a phenomenon, I had to go and document the event. Please click the photos to enlarge, apologies if they’re a bit blurry.

I didn’t attend to tell her what I thought of her writing. I didn’t attend to be mean. I attended because it was an event I couldn’t miss. I knew it would ridiculous, I knew there would be loads of people. I didn’t buy any of the books myself. I brought the one a friend had given me, charged my camera and off I went. I brought along a postcard from Seattle. I wrote EL James a nice message and included my business card. Cheeky.

I had planned to stake my place in the queue two hours beforehand. But I had things to do and time got away from me and I ended up getting to Waterstones at 5pm. The event started at 6:30pm. Here’s the queue when I got there and after standing around for an hour and a half.

A camera crew showed up and interviewed people, but not me. I was number 182 in the queue. There was a banana on a wall by a door too.

It was another hour and a half of standing and waiting until I got my chance to get my book signed. They herded us like cattle as we swarmed upstairs. It wasn’t practical because we were put in a huge group and then were slowly whittled down to single file for the signing. It made it seem like the process took FOREVER!

The weirdest thing about the event was that once people learned I was from Seattle, I became a little celebrity myself. They’re eyes got big and they exclaimed, ‘You’re from Seattle?! Wow!” I think I might have been the only person from Seattle there, but I had to go. We were also given the chance to have the first book personally signed. Most people had their names. I chose Seattle. The PR girls and EL James herself were surprised when it came to be my turn. I shook her hand, and gave her the postcard. I thanked her for her time and she was so sweet and genuinely kind. She signed my book and I took my leave.

People were asking me what number I had been when I left, there were LOADS more people waiting and it had been about two hours of signing already. Was it worth it standing for that long period of time? Not for my feet, (I have problems, see how small they are?) but nevertheless I’m glad I stuck it out. Thank goodness for the Kindle app on my ipod and overall it was a very interesting evening. The energy of those who bought the beautiful trilogy editions (they were stunning) was infectious. There was a universal look of embarrassment as well. I was most surprised by the range of ages. It wasn’t all middle aged women, there were girls younger than myself giggling over the spectacle of the event. It wasn’t about what I thought about the books, it was about being there and experiencing it all. It was my night with EL James.

The Blue Door by Christa Kinde

Pricilla ‘Prissie’ Pomeroy likes the color pink, lives in a small town, is the only daughter with five brothers and oh yeah she can see angels. Initially amazed, she struggles with accepting her new reality. When the angels show her their world behind the blue door Prissie accepts that God has destined a higher purpose for her. Mustering her strength in God, she continues her life but is always in the presence of angels. Where there are angels there must also be demons and the realm of the heavenly is in danger. This is only the beginning for Prissie, as trouble lurks at every step and she is the key the angels must protect.

A debut for author Christa Kinde, The Blue Door is an interesting read. I gave the book three and half hearts because on one hand, for the Christian market Kinde hit it out of the park. On the other hand I don’t think the story would translate well for the traditional market. I applaud Zondervan for branching out to the Young Adult genre and I hope the series continues. The book is fantastically written for its audience. The Christian aspects are woven wonderfully together within the narrative that even someone unfamiliar to the faith will still get the meaning of the story.

However, there were some issues. I felt that Prissie came off as younger than she was and for nearly three hundred pages it’s mainly setting and character development with a hint of conflict behind the scenes. Perhaps this is due to it being Christian fiction and as the first book of the series I can understand the importance of covering the strength of Prissie’s faith. I just kept waiting for a big event to happen and unfortunately Kinde has saved it for the second book. I’m still interested to learn more about Prissie’s journey and will keep an eye out for the next installment. I think Kinde is a brilliant writer for the Christian genre and it’s a great choice for young adults strong in their faith. I also recommend it for readers that want to stretch their reading by trying something different. Parents can rest easy with this book in their children’s hands and it was refreshing to read an age appropriate book!

This book was an ARC supplied by Zondervan from Net Galley for an honest review. Thank you so much!

Olympic Statues Part 2

Over the weekend I was lucky to go adventuring with my friend S at Regent’s Park for more Olympic statues! There were eleven overall on the ‘Green’ route, and Regent’s Park is HUGE. I haven’t had the chance to explore the park and it didn’t rain so it made for a fantastic day. The total count now is 32/84! I’ve got until the 9th of September (yikes!) to find the rest! I wish they could be around for longer, they’ve been enjoyable along the streets of London.

1) Sherlock Wenlock

2) Deckchair Wenlock

3) Rose Garden Mandeville

4) Midsummer Night’s Dream Wenlock

5) Birdy Wenlock

6) Safari Mandeville

7) Victorian Wenlock

8) Animal Wenlock

9) Regency Mandeville

10) Rainbow Mandeville

11) Union Flag Wenlock

It’s hard to be picture perfect when there are others waiting to take pictures with the statue. In the end it was a wonderful day with my friend and totally worth walking around for four hours. I hope I can find the rest!