Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

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I read Cinder a long time ago and remember that I absolutely loved it and could not wait for the sequel. Knowing that Scarlet had come out, I re-read Cinder so I was sure to remember every last detail and then Launched into Scarlet immediately. I think I read them both in four days. 

Cinder – I fell in love with Cinder immediately, both the book and the title character. I loved that she was a renowned mechanic and that the Prince liked her immediately. Her relationship with Iko was so interesting. Really, the mere idea of Iko was awesome. I was also really impressed with Cinder’s relationship with Peony. I was neat to see what Meyer did to make slight changes to the original Cinderella tale and also what she kept the same. I was really impressed with the fact that I could clearly see the ties to the classic tale, but it did not feel like I was reading a retelling. After reading “Splintered”, I was worried that maybe when I revisited “Cinder” I would feel a similar disappointment, but I did not. I loved it as much as the first time. 

Scarlet – I actually liked Scarlet even more than Cinder. At the very beginning of the book, when Scarlett was being introduced, I was worried that the entire book would be dedicated to new characters and my beloved Cinder and Kai would be ignored. I need not have worried. Meyer masterfully kept Cinder involved in the story while still taking the time to paint a perfect picture of Scarlet and Wolf. Again, the ties to the classic story of Little Red Riding Hood were there, but were not overwhelming and still allowed the story to stand on its own. In the end, Cinder and Scarlet were perfectly integrated with each other and their stories were set up perfectly to continue on together.  

These books are definite must reads… but beware… having to wait another entire year to see what happens next is going to be VERY difficult!

 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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Growing up, I would spent multiple hours throughout the day watching my brother play video games. There were only certain games I enjoyed watching, however, as some were just not interesting. The games I enjoyed were games that had a storyline. I liked watching things unfold. I liked helping him on quests. From Zelda to Super Mario Brothers to Final Fantasy Seven. For me, it was like watching a movie that I could help shape. I could help my brother find items and tell him to look out when he was about to be pulverized by a Koopa. If you are anything like me, you will love this book.

Ready Player One is an incredibly well written book. My favorite part about it is that you know the ending before it begins. The first chapter tells you who will prevail in this battle of good versus evil. This takes some of the stress out of reading the book, yet somehow I was still on the edge of my seat throughout. The idea of video gaming progressing to the point where people can spend almost their entire lives inside a game is chillingly realistic. Somehow, Cline managed to paint a perfect picture of the dilapidated real world as well as the virtual world in which most people spend their time. I never once had any difficulty visualizing either of the two settings in this book. The characters were perfect and when they all met in real life… wow. Awesome. I definitely recommend this book. It was really fun to read and I loved every minute of it!

Splintered by A. G. Howard

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When I first heard about this book I thought, wow, what an awesome idea. A new twist on one of my absolute favorite books of all time. I could not wait to read it. 

I was so disappointed. It took me a long time to pinpoint why I was not enjoying it. The storyline was not bad. The characters were interesting. Still, I found myself distracted and had a hard time getting through it. Then, it finally occurred to me what the problem was… I couldn’t picture it. In my opinion, there just was not enough description of any of the settings in the story. I have a pretty good imagination and read ALOT so I don’t usually have this problem. I was constantly trying to imagine where the characters were and what they were doing. I had a really hard time with this. I will probably still read the sequel because I can’t stand not reading sequels but I will not be rushing out to get it!

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

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This book is one of the very few books that I have ever read AFTER seeing the movie. Although, I saw the movie a couple of years ago and didn’t entirely remember the story line so it was difficult to compare. I enjoyed the movie but I loved the book.

Halfway through the book, I was googling to find out whether or not it was based on a true story. It was so vivid, so detailed and believable that I could not imagine someone just making it up. I discovered that Sara Gruen had done a lot of research on the circus in general but had not based the book on any actual events that took place. Wow. She created a world that was entirely believable. Sometimes horrifying, but definitely believable. 

The main character was captivating, both as his younger self and when he was older. His experience in the nursing home was heartbreaking as I am sure there are many people out there at this exact moment that are in the exact same situation as him. When his family did not show up, I felt my heart break.

I loved so many of the characters and hated so many others, but all were expertly crafted. The settings made me feel like I was there; on the train,in the tents, in the speakeasy. I thought this book was magical… I most definitely recommend it.