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Reflections by Seanan McGuire Audiobook {3.5 Stars}

Reflections by Seanan McGuire Audiobook {3.5 Stars}

Reflections by Seanan McGuire
Narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal
(Indexing #2)
Published by 47North, Brilliance Audio on Jan 12th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Fairytale Retelling, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 325 pages
Audio Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
How I got my copy: Purchased
Amazon - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

“For her to love me, she had to be willing to kill me. Anything else would show that her heart was untrue.”

The struggle against not-so-charming storybook narratives isn’t the only complicating factor in Henrietta “Henry” Marchen’s life. As part of the ATI Management Bureau team protecting the world from fairy tales gone awry, she’s juggling her unwanted new status as a Snow White, dealing with a potentially dangerous Pied Piper, and wrangling a most troublesome wicked stepsister—along with a budding relationship with Jeff, her teammate.

But when a twisted, vicious Cinderella breaks out of prison and wreaks havoc, things go from disenchanted to deadly. And once Henry realizes someone is trying to use her to destroy the world, her story becomes far from over—and this one might not have a happily ever after.

Indexing: Reflections is New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire’s continuing new urban fantasy, where everything you thought you knew about fairy tales gets turned on its head.

3.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Hunted by Meagan Spooner ARC {5 Stars}

Hunted by Meagan Spooner ARC {5 Stars}

Hunted by Meagan Spooner
Published by HarperTeen on March 14th, 2017
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, YA
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

5 Stars

Hope you all are still enjoying my bare-bones, just-notes reviews when I must!

Note: I received an advanced copy of Hunted from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Strengths:
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Indexing by Seanan McGuire Audiobook {5 Stars}

Indexing by Seanan McGuire Audiobook {5 Stars}

Indexing by Seanan McGuire
Narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal
(Indexing #1)
Published by 47North on Jan. 21st, 2014
Genres: Adult, Fairytale Retelling, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 404 pages
Audio Length: 12 hrs and 5 mins
How I got my copy: Purchased
Amazon - IndieBound - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

“Never underestimate the power of a good story.”

Good advice...especially when a story can kill you.

For most people, the story of their lives is just that: the accumulation of time, encounters, and actions into a cohesive whole. But for an unfortunate few, that day-to-day existence is affected—perhaps infected is a better word—by memetic incursion: where fairy tale narratives become reality, often with disastrous results.

That's where the ATI Management Bureau steps in, an organization tasked with protecting the world from fairy tales, even while most of their agents are struggling to keep their own fantastic archetypes from taking over their lives. When you're dealing with storybook narratives in the real world, it doesn't matter if you're Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or the Wicked Queen: no one gets a happily ever after.

Indexing is New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire’s new urban fantasy where everything you thought you knew about fairy tales gets turned on its head.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier ARC {4 Stars}

Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier is the third book following my favorite wise woman and strongman: Blackthorn and Grim. I love how each book tells its own new tale that feels like it could easily fit alongside the Brothers Grimm tales, while continuing to build Blackthorn and Grim’s story. If you’ve enjoyed the first two or been considering starting this series, don’t miss this addition!

Note: I received an advanced copy of Den of Wolves from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier ARC {4 Stars}

Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier (Blackthorn and Grim #3)
Published by Roc on Nov. 1st, 2016
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 448 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Feather bright and feather fine, None shall harm this child of mine...

Healer Blackthorn knows all too well the rules of her bond to the fey: seek no vengeance, help any who ask, do only good. But after the recent ordeal she and her companion, Grim, have suffered, she knows she cannot let go of her quest to bring justice to the man who ruined her life.

Despite her personal struggles, Blackthorn agrees to help the princess of Dalriada in taking care of a troubled young girl who has recently been brought to court, while Grim is sent to the girl’s home at Wolf Glen to aid her wealthy father with a strange task—repairing a broken-down house deep in the woods. It doesn’t take Grim long to realize that everything in Wolf Glen is not as it seems—the place is full of perilous secrets and deadly lies...

Back at Winterfalls, the evil touch of Blackthorn’s sworn enemy reopens old wounds and fuels her long-simmering passion for justice. With danger on two fronts, Blackthorn and Grim are faced with a heartbreaking choice—to stand once again by each other’s side or to fight their battles alone...

4 Stars

Strengths:
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The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp Audiobook {3 Stars}

The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp is a book I had my eye on for a long time. It is a strange fantasy that wanders and pulls on classic fantasy tropes like fairy princesses and witches and things. I had hoped to love it from the title (the full title is The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides), but didn’t find the humor that I had been expecting and got annoyed with the amount the plot wandered. It reminded me a lot of Stardust by Gaiman though, so if you liked that one, maybe try this?

The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp Audiobook {3 Stars}

The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp
Narrated by Steve West

Published by Tor Books on Oct. 14th, 2014
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 304 pages
Audio Length: 9 hrs and 56 mins
How I got my copy: Borrowed
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
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The Accidental Highwayman is the first swashbuckling adventure for young adults by talented author and illustrator, Ben Tripp.

In eighteenth-century England, young Christopher "Kit" Bristol is the unwitting servant of notorious highwayman Whistling Jack. One dark night, Kit finds his master bleeding from a mortal wound, dons the man's riding cloak to seek help, and changes the course of his life forever. Mistaken for Whistling Jack and on the run from redcoats, Kit is catapulted into a world of magic and wonders he thought the stuff of fairy tales.
Bound by magical law, Kit takes up his master's quest to rescue a rebellious fairy princess from an arranged marriage to King George III of England. But his task is not an easy one, for Kit must contend with the feisty Princess Morgana, gobling attacks, and a magical map that portends his destiny: as a hanged man upon the gallows….
Fans of classic fairy-tale fantasies will find much to love in this irresistible YA debut by Ben Tripp, the son of one of America's most beloved illustrators, Wallace Tripp (Amelia Bedelia). Following in his father's footsteps, Ben has woven illustrations throughout the story.

3 Stars

Strengths:
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Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier Audiobook {4 Stars}

Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier is the second book in the fantasy series Blackthorn and Grim, though it could easily be read as a standalone (and then compel you to go get book one, Dreamer’s Pool, because it rocks!). I continue to absolutely adore this pair of prickly adventurers that are past their prime, but still helping the world when they are needed. The classic fairytale feel of Dreamer’s Pool is back, but with a whole new third character in case you weren’t a fan of Oran ;-).

Note: I listened to Tower of Thorns on audio. Listening to a book impacts my reading experience.

Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier Audiobook {4 Stars}

Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier
Narrated by Natalie Gold, Nick Sullivan, Susannah Jones
(Blackthorn and Grim #2)
Published by Audible, Roc on Nov. 3rd, 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 448 pages
Audio Length: 15 hrs and 59 mins
How I got my copy: Purchased
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Disillusioned healer Blackthorn and her companion, Grim, have settled in Dalriada to wait out the seven years of Blackthorn’s bond to her fey mentor, hoping to avoid any dire challenges. But trouble has a way of seeking out Blackthorn and Grim.

Lady Geiléis, a noblewoman from the northern border, has asked for the prince of Dalriada’s help in expelling a howling creature from an old tower on her land—one surrounded by an impenetrable hedge of thorns. Casting a blight over the entire district, and impossible to drive out by ordinary means, it threatens both the safety and the sanity of all who live nearby. With no ready solutions to offer, the prince consults Blackthorn and Grim.

As Blackthorn and Grim begin to put the pieces of this puzzle together, it’s apparent that a powerful adversary is working behind the scenes. Their quest is about to become a life and death struggle—a conflict in which even the closest of friends can find themselves on opposite sides.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani Audiobook {3 Stars}

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani is a fun spin on traditional fairytales with lots of tongue-in-cheek humor and a delightful friendship. The narration for the audiobook of The School for Good and Evil is enjoyable, but might not be the best way to be introduced to this book for various reasons. The School for Good and Evil obviously tries to turn traditional tropes of good and evil on their head, but I struggled at times since those tropes are upheld for a large portion of The School for Good and Evil and only thoroughly turned upside down at the very end. This is one of those reviews that is a little tricky for me to write, since I can see the objective merit of The School for Good and Evil, but my personal experience was lessened by various factors. For a more positive opinion, check out Tabitha’s review :D. Also, there are gorgeous interior illustrations that I completely missed when I listened to the audiobook, so be sure to at least peek at a physical copy so you don’t miss out!

Note: I listened to The School for Good and Evil on audiobook, which definitely influenced my experience; I just can’t help it.

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani Audiobook {3 Stars}

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani (The School for Good and Evil #1)
Published by HarperCollins on May 14th, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, MG, YA
Page Length: 488 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?

3 Stars

Strengths:
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Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen {4 Stars}

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen is a retelling of the story of Robin Hood, where Will Scarlet is actually a girl in hiding :D. I haven’t read any Robin Hood retellings, so I was really excited to hear of this series, plus breaking gender-norms is the best! Scarlet did not disappoint. I so thoroughly enjoyed this one despite a couple of hang-ups and can’t wait to start on Lady Thief!

Note: I borrowed Scarlet from my library. All opinions are my own.

Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen {4 Stars}

Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen (Scarlet #1)
Published by Walker Childrens on February 14th, 2012
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, YA
Page Length: 292 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • Omg Robin Hood retelling :D. Possibly one of my favorite Disney movies, even without foxes, Robin Hood is a wicked fun story and deserves more retellings. I love the noble thieves trope and Robin Hood is basically the quintessential noble thief after all!
  • Scarlet is narrated in first-person from Scarlet’s perspective (the girl pretending to be Will Scarlet) and she narrates in dialect! It was just so wonderfully authentic feeling to start saying “I were running” in my head when I slipped into Scarlet’s story. This narration style really brought a lot to Scarlet’s character <3.
  • Speaking of Scarlet’s character! I love Scarlet so much! She is such a great kick-butt heroine, standing up to the “lads” of the gang and rolling her eyes at their advances. She is bull-headed to a fault and determined to help people despite how damaging she believes her thieving is to her soul. I want to be this girl’s friend so badly!
  • We know early on that Scarlet has a dark past, but we don’t find out until pretty far into the book exactly what that past is. When we do it is really quite tragic and thoroughly explains Scarlet’s actions. I just want to hug her and make her feel better :(.

Weaknesses:

  •  John Little (ie Little John) is so freaking annoying! He’s just a huge asshole really. He is constantly hitting on Scarlet and insisting that she will start liking him even when she says she isn’t interested in him. On top of that, there are a couple of times when the boys of the band blame Scarlet for things they have absolutely no right blaming her for and I just want to knock their heads together!
  • While I ended up loving the dialect, it takes a fair amount of getting used to ;-).
  • Scarlet is a fairly short book, and this translated into not enough time to really develop the secondary characters. I point this out not because I expect this of all books, but because I found myself specifically wanting to get to know the lads and townspeople as well as Scarlet knows them.

Summary:

If you enjoy the tale of Robin Hood and can get behind a book in dialect, you simply must pick up Scarlet! Annoying boys aside, I loved every minute reading this one. I’m so glad I was finally able to nab it from the library and actually read it, since it’s made the trip back and forth a couple of times now >.>. Don’t make my mistake and continue to put Scarlet off! Reeeeaaaad iiiiiiit!

4 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Cress by Marissa Meyer ARC {4.5 Stars} + SIGNED Giveaway!

Cress by Marissa Meyer is the third in the Lunar Chronicles. If you haven’t heard of this series, be sure to check out my reviews of the first book, Cinder, and the second book, Scarlet, because this series is freaking fantabulous! I felt that Scarlet was even better than Cinder, and Cress does not disappoint this trend. While Cress was a slightly different book than the first two, it made my brain feel all warm and fuzzy every time I sat down to read. We meet new characters and get to know old ones better, there is epicness on so many levels, and I am EVEN MORE excited about the fourth book, Winter, than I was before! Also, be sure to check the end of the review for the giveaway of… ALL THREE CURRENT BOOKS SIGNED AND PERSONALIZED to you!

Note: A friend gave me an ARC of Cress to review. Some things may change in the final version.

Cress by Marissa Meyer ARC {4.5 Stars} + SIGNED Giveaway!

Cress by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #3)
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 4th, 2014
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Sci-fi, YA
Page Length: 560 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

4.5 Stars

Strengths:

  • I feel that I must start with the title character: Cress! *squeals* I love her so much! I imagine that many of us are going to have Tangled flashbacks while reading Cress but I honestly think it totally works. Cinder and Scarlet are both kick-butt heroines, but Cress brings something new to the table. She has obviously led a pretty sheltered life with a skewed perspective on things (mostly from watching net dramas….) and Meyer captures this wonderfully. Cress is a brilliant hacker but also adorably naive about a lot of things. She is a perfect edition to our fairy tale cast specifically because she isn’t the typical kick-butt heroine who is too tough to cry!
  • Omg ya’ll, the twists! You know I love a good plot twist and I consider Cress to have more than one. They were the great kind, too, where they are kinda stressful because you know the characters’ lives are going to get more difficult, but also make perfect sense, but also just make you have to know what is going to happen! My pulse is rising just thinking about them >.>.
  • The feels, wow, the feels. Scarlet definitely destroyed my emotions, but Cress doesn’t pull any punches. They are made all the worse because you kind of know something has to happen, but it’s still so freaking emotional. There aren’t just sad feels though! Thorne and Cress had me squeeing and literally laughing out loud quite often ;-).
  • I love clever epic battles! You know when the hero saves the day against impossible odds not through luck or magically discovering some deep inner power but through being so dang clever?? That! That is awesome and that is what you get in Cress.
  • We get little torturous hints about the character Winter and I am so freaking excited! Even though this is Cress, I am already impressed with how multi-faceted Winter the character is going to be, not to mention the epicness of Winter the book’s plot….
  • Iko gets a couple of chapters from her perspective <3!

Weaknesses:

  •  There are three couples now for those playing along at home and that is two more than most stories that we are used to have. All of the characters work great (yey epic fantasy adventuring party!), but each of the romance pairings being so neat and tidy is a little annoying. I want a single fairy-tale princess, who needs boys?!
  • Cress melted my heart, but I didn’t get the white-knuckle, edge-of-your-seat feel that I had with Scarlet. I hit a point with Scarlet where I was literally getting white knuckles gripping the hardcover, and that just didn’t happen with Cress (which is probably good since it was a rather floppy ARC). I have very high hopes for Winter though ;-).

Summary:

Really, at this point, you probably already know if you are going to read Cress or not. If you loved Scarlet, you will love Cress and I’m so excited and a little jealous that you get to read it for the first time still :D. If you read Cinder and were only meh and not sure about continuing the series, continue the series! I cannot emphasize enough how much each book’s writing has grown and I love it. I’m very impressed by how skillfully Meyer has weaved together three (four in the end) fairytale retellings, keeping each of the couples involved in the overarching storyline, and building this amazing sci-fi world to boot. Amaze-balls if you ask me.

Book Giveaway

Signed and Personalized Copies of All Three Books!

That’s right folks! I’m super excited to let you know that Marissa Meyer will be stopping in my town for her tour in February and so in addition to getting some signed copies for myself, I’ll be getting personally signed copies for one of you! Since you of course want a nice matching set, I’ll be giving away Cinder, Scarlet and Cress all signed and personalized :D.

Signed Cress Giveaway

Gah, I’m just so freaking excited that Marissa Meyer is touring *hyperventilates*. I’m okay! Let’s get this giveaway started! This is going to have to be US only since shipping three books will be expensive. As usual, the winner will have 48 hours to respond (strictly enforced since I need a name for the signing!). Please don’t cheat since I check entries and it sucks having to pick a new one.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

4.5 Stars

 Cress by Marissa Meyer

4 Stars: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer was exceedingly popular last year, so it had to go on my Christmas wishlist ;-). I however had a massive number of books that I needed/wanted to read, so it wasn’t until the sequel Scarlet was set to come out that I finally got my butt in gear, haha. I’m a bit late to the game, but I agree with what many have said before: Cinder rocks! Who would have thought to combine cybords, moon people, a plague, and a Cinderella retelling all together?? Marissa Meyer, that’s who :D.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer Goodreads Amazon
Free Chapters 1-5
Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Length: 387 pages (hardcover)
Genre-ish: Sci-fi/Fairytale retelling YA (with cyborgs!)
Rating★★★– so original, slowed in the middle

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. — Goodreads

Strengths:

  •  Cinder has cyborgs and moon people who have separated from Earth’s population long enough to develop some interesting traits. How awesome of a future is that :D. Sure, maybe I don’t want to live there, but I sure want to read about it!
  • In addition to the awesome sci-fi elements, there is a plague; nothing says compelling like a plague.
  • Omg the crazy plot twists! I can’t actually count all the cool plot developments in Cinder right now. Nothing is as it seems >.> <.<.
  • I always worry with retellings that the story will be predictable because the book will follow the retelling too closely. This is not the case with Cinder!
  • The romance is so adorable *sighs*.

Weaknesses:

  • I am probably in the minority here, but I found that the pacing slowed in the middle of Cinder. I had to push a bit to get to the good stuff at the end.
  • There is only so much bad news that I can take at one time, and Cinder started pushing my limit. It’s not really a happy book at times….
  • Wow, such a cliffhanger. You’ve been warned.

Summary:

If you are craving a fresh and amazing sci-fi with a touch of Cinderella retelling and a hint of dystopia, get Cinder. I know that it might seem like a crazy combination of story elements, but there is a reason so many people have been raving about this one folks! I will admit that I’m not actually addicted to Cinderella or cyborgs, but even beyond the cool ideas thrown together, Cinder is a solid story about a girl kicking butt against adversity and making friends in the most unusual places.

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Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings – A

 

 Cinder by Marissa Meyer