Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

CinderTitle: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Genres: Young Adult Fantasy Science Fiction
Links:

Blurb:
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.

My Review:

This book has a very interesting premise – a modern twist on a classic fairy tale. Intriguing, right?

While I liked it, I didn’t love it; though, I’m interested enough to continue the series as I want to see where the author takes the story from here.

Cinder is a sought-after highly skilled cyborg mechanic in New Bejing. While she feels emotions, she often can’t express them (she can’t cry or blush though the latter is a major bonus point in my view.)

Her step-mom is a prize cow and her eldest step-sister is a nasty piece of work. Cinder is close with Peony, her younger step-sister, and she is fond of her android assistant Iko.

Cinder crosses path with Prince Kai and they strike up a friendship which develops into a flirtation and possibly something deeper. Cinder suffers from huge self-doubt as a result of her cyborg status and she goes to great lengths to hide her true nature from Kai.

Character development is strong and Cinder is a likable MC. Some of the scenes at the end were difficult to read, but that’s only because the emotion was dripping off the page and it was easy to cringe at the awkwardness of it all. These scenes were very well executed.

The writing is good, but there was nothing stand-out about it for me. I thought the pacing was a little off in the middle and I found myself skimming some sections. It reminded me a little of the Legend Series by Marie Lu in parts (A love-interest Prince who becomes Emperor and has to juggle a minefield of global politics, technology-driven future world, and a crippling plague that forces the Emperor to make some difficult choices.)

I really enjoyed the technology of this future world and it was right up my street.

The biggest issue I had was with the plot; I felt it was too predictable. I figured out Cinder’s true identity pretty early on and that took away from my enjoyment of the story.

The plot, flow, and writing, all improved in the last quarter of the book and the last few chapters, in particular, were brilliant.

There is no way I’m not continuing with this story given that ending and I’ve already started Scarlet.

Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

Review The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our StarsTitle: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Links:

Blurb:
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

My Review:
This book is total genius, I absolutely loved it and I have read it four times at the last count. I adore John Green’s writing, he is so witty and eloquent and there are so many quotes that stand out for me. I personally really liked the dialogue between Hazel Grace and Gus and it was so easy to get invested in these characters. I’ll happily admit that I spent parts of this book laughing out loud and others sobbing into my pillow (always the sign of a brilliant book in my view). I have seen some criticism which has stated the dialogue is unbelievable for kids of their age and I couldn’t disagree more. While I appreciate that not every teenager would converse like that, I think to assume that some aren’t capable of articulating in such a fashion is insulting to the intelligence of teenagers. I found it very refreshing. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book.

New Blog

Hello, Everyone!

My YA&NA Book ObsessionI’ve decided to start a new blog! I’m an avid reader, and I love YA and NA books in particular and I wanted to find a way to share my reviews with you all. I will still use my blog to post updates about my own books, and to share guest posts and interviews and any general news, but this will be interspersed amongst reviews of other author’s work.

I’d like to thank Michelle from My Limabean Designs for the awesome banner she’s created for this new blog, and Lola, of Lola’s Reviews for all her help with my blog set-up. All my previous posts are imported from my old blog, and effective immediately, all new posts will be posted on this blog only. I had always intended on posting my book reviews on my author blog but was unable to find the time to set it all up, until now!

I’m aiming to post book reviews every couple of days, mixing some of my older reviews with more recent reviews.

Blog posts will be shared on my author social media accounts as standard. So you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date with the blog or follow me on Bloglovin. There’s also an option to follow by e-mail in the sidebar.

Thanks for stopping by,

Siobhan.

Release Date Light of a Thousand Stars

Today is the release day for Light of a Thousand Stars (True Calling #2.5)! This novella is about Zane and Ariana when they were still on earth, so chronologically it takes place before True Calling, but as reading order I recommend to read this book after Beyond Reach (True Calling #2)

LOATSLight of a Thousand Stars (True Calling #2.5)
by Siobhan Davis

Ariana Skyee has been the center of Zane Anders’ world for years. They got together as a couple ten months ago, so Zane finally has the girl of his dreams. Life should be peachy.

But it isn’t.

Haunted by a shared secret that threatens to destroy their relationship and claim their sanity, Zane is on a one-man mission to prevent Ari from falling apart.

Then Commander Skyee drops the biggest bombshell of all, and everything Zane has taken for granted about the future is shattered overnight.

Always and Forever: That’s what Zane has promised Ari.
Keeping that promise is about to become the hardest thing he will ever do.

Links:

Release Day Beyond Reach

Today is the release day of Beyond Reach, the second book in my True Calling series! I am really excited to share this book with you!

BeyondReachBeyond Reach (True Calling #2)
by Siobhan Davis

Back on Earth, Ariana is caught in a dangerous crossfire between clandestine rebel organization Clementia and the power-hungry government. Refusing to divulge the location of the secret information entrusted to her by her late father, she desperately tries to bargain for her Mom, Lily, and Cal’s rescue. She’s fighting a losing battle, and the clock is ticking.

Presented with evidence of her fiancé Cal’s apparent betrayal, she loyally defends him despite her concerns. With her emotions in turmoil, matters become even more complicated as she grows closer to her ex-boyfriend Zane.

When the stakes are raised, a succession of shocking revelations rocks her world, setting her on a path that will not only change her destiny but the fate of humanity.

Confronted by a memory so abhorrent comes a truth she would do anything to forget.

But some things just can’t be undone.

BLOGGERS LOVE BEYOND REACH!
“There was not a single page in this book that was not full of excitement and adventure. I loved True Calling but Beyond Reach has taken the story to a whole new level. Best book of 2015 so far for me.” Emma. coxy88.blogspot.co.uk

“Once again the author took me inside the book and made me feel what the characters felt… I was hooked from start to finish. I loved this story and I can’t wait for book 3 to come out!” Kim. Superbookgirl13.

“This book managed to surprise me quite a few times and the twists towards the end might have been the most surprising of them all, it was really well done.” Lola. Lola’s Book Reviews.

“Trying to think of words to describe this book. Wow, epic, brilliant, OMG, just don’t cover it. If you liked Book 1 you will love this book.” Karla, Goodreads Reviewer.

“OMG. That is pretty much all I can say to properly express this book. I loved the first book very much, but this….*input words when thought of.* Even if I give a book 5 stars, it doesn’t mean that it completely floored me, however, this book sucked me in and left me speechless.” Amber. Paradise Of Pages.

“Page one and the action, characters, twists and tension just kept bursting out…..Talk about a story coming to life under the skill of a brilliant author! Siobhan Davis’ world goes beyond gripping, nail-biting and gut-clenching into a realm of action and atmosphere on steroids.” Dianne, Tome Tender.

“It’s been so long since I’ve been this emotionally invested in a book/series. Beyond Reach is fast-paced and heart-wrenching. In other series, it feels as though love triangles are just thrown in for the heck of it but Davis doesn’t do that, and it’s really quite refreshing. ” Danielle. RamblingB00ks.wordpress.com

“This was a really awesome sequel! So much happened in this book and I was very surprised with every page. If you enjoy great sci-fi dystopias, I recommend this series.” Jessica. Psychoticnerd.blogspot.com

Links:

True Calling FREE to download this week only

TRUE CALLING FREE TO DOWNLOAD ON AMAZON UNTIL APRIL 17TH

“True Calling is a dystopian-sci-fi-romance that is FABULOUS! Siobhan did not fail to impress me with this debut novel.” Ashley Colby. The Caffeinated Booknerd

If you loved Matched, The Selection, The 100 or The Hunger Games then you will love True Calling. Pick up a copy while it’s free! And don’t forget you can download a free Kindle app from Amazon – for iPAD, tablet, desktop, laptop or mobile phone.

This is the second edition released in Jan 2015 so if you have already read TC this is a good opportunity to download the latest version free of charge!

Is it wrong for adults to read young adult literature?

There has been a lot of controversial articles, blogs, posts and heated online discussions over the course of the last year on the topic of adults reading literature intended for young adults. I was particularly incensed by this inflammatory article  in Slate.

As an author of young adult fiction and an avid reader of the genre, I wanted to share my thoughts on this rather heated subject matter.

It’s only fair that I should point out upfront that this post comes with a pretty hefty ‘rant warning’.  You have been forewarned!

Eighty percent of my time, I am a responsible wife, mother, employee and quite strait-laced! I relish the other twenty percent where I give in to my inner-teenager and indulge my passion for teenage books, music, and movies. For me, it is pure escapism and a way to chill-out. I think life is about diversity in our choices and our interests, and we should never be afraid to show who we truly are.

Harry Potter and The Twilight saga were the stories that hooked me on the YA genre though at first I remember feeling embarrassed that I was reading them, until I realized that I was not alone. I read the same survey quoted in the Slate article, where the analysis identified that fifty-five percent of people who purchase YA books are adults. I wasn’t in the least bit surprised.

Now, I don’t just read YA books, I am also a voracious reader of murder-mysteries/crime/suspense novels. Tess Gerritsen is one of my all-time favorite writers, alongside Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs, and Michael Connelly, to name a few. I also read other adult genres; I’ve read a lot of the classics, plenty of corporate non-fiction books and I do not discriminate in my choices.  If I like the sound of a book or I have received a recommendation then I’ll read it.

However, there are certain times when all I want to read is YA. Because I love-love-love the action/adventure, kick-ass heroines, swoon-worthy romance, and the pure fantasy of the worlds created by some of my favorite YA authors. I don’t tend to read much contemporary YA stuff though I adore John Green’s TFIOS, and I disagree completely with Ruth Graham’s observations of this book in the Slate article. I found the dialog between Hazel and Gus to be very compelling, emotive and refreshing, and yes, it was a little cheesy at times, but I still loved it. Seriously, who doesn’t love a bit of cheese every now and then? Moreover, how is that ending a typical satisfactory ending? Or Allegiant’s ending? That had the entire Divergent fan base split right down the middle.

So if it’s seemingly wrong, as an adult, to read books ‘written for teenagers’ then does that logic apply to movies as well? Some of the greatest, and most successful, movies of all times have been children’s and teen movies. Back to the Future, Rebel without a Cause, ET, Harry Potter, etc., etc. Does going to see the latest Avengers Assemble movie with my children (one is a teenager) set a bad example? In the same way it’s suggested that my reading of Laini Taylor’s ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ Trilogy or Jennifer L. Armentrout’s ‘Covenent Series’ would imply? To suggest, as Ruth Graham does in her article, that reading YA fiction sends out the wrong message to our teenage children, is absurd in my view. Surely the point is this: If children see their parents reading, they are more inclined to read themselves, irrespective of what genre the content is. Anything that encourages the youth of today to read more is a positive in my book (pardon the pun). Sharing some of the same reading material opens up opportunities for parents to engage in meaningful discussions with their children about these books, and to explore the issues/themes.

Rant almost over.

Some commentators have said that the writing quality in YA literature is questionable in the extreme. I disagree. While I do not pick up a YA book expecting it to be a literary work of art, I am often pleasantly surprised at the exceptional talent of so many who write in this genre. Many of these books surpass the quality of a lot of so called ‘adult literature’ that is out there in the market.

In my opinion, readers should be allowed to make their own decisions regarding books they choose to read, without risk of vilification. Because the pleasure of reading is what it is all about, and that is purely subjective. If we start expecting people to restrict their reading material, based on a narrow societal categorization of what’s deemed appropriate, then ultimately fewer people will read, and that is not a good thing.

Are you an adult who reads young adult books? If so we’d love to hear from you! What do you feel about all the controversy? Why do you enjoy reading YA books and what is it in particular that attracts you to this genre?

Indie Love Event

SSIL
I’m delighted to be participating in the Indie Love Event being organised by Debdatta of http://b00kr3vi3wtours.blogspot.in The event is all about showcasing Indie Authors and their work, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to showcase my exciting YA Science Fiction/Dystopian Romance series – True Calling.

True CallingTrue Calling (True Calling #1)
By Siobhan Davis
Release Date: August 1, 2014
Format: Paperback & E-Book
Price: $2.99

Blurb:
Planet Novo, nestled in space twelve hundred miles above the surface of the Earth, is the new home of 17-year-old Cadet Ariana Skyee. Confused by the government-sanctioned memory erase and distressed at her impending forced marriage and motherhood, Ariana’s plans for the future are thrown into complete disarray.

As the traumatic events within her family life enfold, Ariana grows increasingly alarmed at the authorities apparent pre-occupation with her and feels progressively more isolated and alone.

Her growing feelings for fellow Cadet Cal Remus intensify as the recently announced pageant, ‘The Calling’, gets underway. Struggling to comprehend the continuous, inexplicable dreams of the mysterious Zane, discovering the past helps shape her future, with devastating personal consequences.

You can find True Calling on Goodreads

Book purchase links:
Amazon USA
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia
Amazon India

Beyond ReachBeyond Reach (True Calling #2)
By Siobhan Davis
Release Date: April 30, 2015
Format: e-Book
Price: $2.99

Blurb:
Back on Earth, Ariana is caught in a dangerous crossfire between clandestine rebel organization Clementia and the power-hungry government. Refusing to divulge the location of the secret information entrusted to her by her late father, she desperately tries to bargain for her Mom, Lily, and Cal’s rescue. She’s fighting a losing battle, and the clock is ticking.

Presented with evidence of her fiancé Cal’s apparent betrayal, she loyally defends him despite her concerns. With her emotions in turmoil, matters become even more complicated as grows closer to her ex-boyfriend Zane.

When the stakes are raised, a succession of shocking revelations rocks her world, setting her on a path that will not only change her destiny but the fate of humanity.

Confronted by a memory so abhorrent comes a truth she would do anything to forget.

But some things just can’t be undone.
***
Beyond Reach is the gripping second novel in the True Calling trilogy, continuing the story of Ariana Skyee in the weeks after she arrives back on Earth.

You can find Beyond Reach on Goodreads

Book pre-order links:
Amazon
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia
Amazon India
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
iBooks

And there’s a giveaway you can enter. These are the prizes you can win:
– 3 advanced e-copies of Beyond Reach by Siobhan Davis
– 2 amazon gift cards of 20$

For a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And make sure to check out the other blogs that are part of this hop as well:

Why I love Science Fiction

The Oxford Dictionary defines Science Fiction as, “Fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets.”

I’ve been an avid science fiction fan since I was a little girl, though it is fair to say I was mainly into films and TV shows back then. I can still remember going to the cinema to see the ‘Empire Strikes Back’ when I was only 8 or 9, and I was hooked on the Star Wars series from that point. My mom loves to recount tales of how I used to hide behind the sofa, with a cushion obscuring my face, as I braved glimpses at Dr. Who on the TV. She says I refused to allow let her switch it off, though it clearly terrified me! (On a side note, excellent parenting Mom!!)

I’ve been a voracious reader my whole-life, and I exasperate my husband as I constantly have a book in my hand or my trusty kindle by my side. However, I only got into reading science fiction as an adult. A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley was one of the first classic sci-fi books that I read, and it is still up there at the top of my list of all time sci-fi greats. Written in 1931 it describes a frightening vision of the future, and I think Mr. Huxley was ahead of his time in his thinking, and analysis. I also love The Hunger Games series; those books just blew me away.

When I first started writing fiction, in my early thirties, I wrote lots of chicklit/romance, and I secretly harbored an ambition to write crime/thrillers. Mostly because those were the genre’s I was reading back then. Around this time, I commenced employment with an IT company and my interest in technology piqued. Then I got sucked into the YA genre, and I’ve read lots of dystopian science fiction and for me, and my writing, it was organic from that point.

In 2010, the CEO of the company I work for gave me a book to read called the 2020 Workplace. It is written by Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd and is intended for human resource professionals like myself. Essentially it is about innovative ways to attract, retain and develop the employees of the future. It describes the future workplace in some detail and draws an analysis between technological advancements of the last ten years, and planned developments for the next ten years. To see how far we have advanced in such a short period is breath-taking, as is visualizing the future and how far we will develop technologically in my lifetime. While this book added value in my corporate life, it also set my creative juices flowing.

I love imagining what the futuristic world will be like, and trying to second guess how technological and medical advancements will shape the culture and society of the future. The universe is vast, and so much is still unknown and unexplored and as a writer, that opens up limitless creative opportunities. I am particularly enamoured with stories that are set in space and those involving alien races—I think it all stems back to my early childhood obsession with the Star War series. To think that regular space-travel is being realized during my life-time is truly incredible.

A good science fiction story for me (whether it is a book, TV series or movie) has to strike the right balance between technology and human emotions.  Particularly, showcasing how human nature evolves and deals with advances in technology and medicine, and the impact of that on human relationships and their environment. Unless it has a good mix of those things, it will not hold my attention for long. In writing True Calling I’ve tried to achieve these aims, and completely given in to my reader-sci-fi-geekiness.

I don’t think I’ll ever tire of science fiction stories and with some interesting new releases coming to our cinema screens and bookshelves soon, I know I’ll have plenty to indulge my passion.

Star Wars