Book Reviews

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

My edition: Library paperback
Pages: 387
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance, Sci-fi, Dystopia
Published: Jan. 3, 2012
Rating: DNF


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.


One of the problems with me reading a book like this is that I’m not huge into sci-fi. Every now and then I will dabble in it. Most times I give a three-star rating. I have the rare occasion when I five-star a sci-fi book. I have tried to read this book twice before. The first time I tried to read it, I wasn’t in the mood for it. The second time the first two chapters didn’t captivate me and once again I fell out of the mood to want to read it. This time I told myself to suck it up and get through the book.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked it. I was going through the motions. I thought I figured out the ending in the first nine chapters. I got 268 pages in when I finally pulled the plug and said, I’m done. I can’t do it. This book just could not reel me in. I can’t tell you half of what went on.

I liked Cinder being a mechanic. It’s awesome to read about women in man-dominated careers. So kudos to the author for that. Also, cool story plot of her being a cyborg. I really don’t have a feel for Kai. The doc, I wasn’t a huge fan of, he gave me creeper vibes. The romance is meh. I didn’t really get the threat of Levana. The reveal of Queen Levana was a bit unclimactic. I just wasn’t fully invested so nothing seemed to be what people said it was going to be.

This book did not live up to the hype for me.

Book Reviews

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

My edition: Library hardback
Pages: 417
Series: The Grisha Trilogy #3 final book
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Romance
Published: June 17, 2014, by Henry Holt and Company
Rating: 3.5 star


The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.


To be honest, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the ending. I didn’t like the “twist”. There was something about this book that was going so good, then the end with the third amplifier and how they face the Darkling that I found was anticlimactic. Quite frankly, I thought more people were going to die in this book. Kind of like the other books.

Also, this one pointed out a fact that I don’t remember it being in the second book. The scar on Alina’s hand. In the first book, it was important. I don’t remember ever reading about it in the second book, which looking back on it, in the second book it should have been brought up more. In my opinion, of course. When it was brought up in this book, I thought was it in the second book? If it was drop a comment.

Now looking at the whole series, I’m not a fan of the Darkling. He wanted to control Alina. He didn’t like that she went against him. Also, the hint of a certain connection between Alina and the Darkling was kind of gross. I understand it for the plot but at the same time I can’t help to think, could that have been written differently.

I liked the pace of this book. I got through it faster than the first two books. But that ending is what brought it down a half-star. I really don’t know what I was expecting but it was not the twist with the third amplifier.

I’m going to start Six of Crows on Saturday. I need a quick break from the Grishaverse.

Book Reviews

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

My edition: Library paperback
Pages: 432
Series: The Grisha Trilogy #2
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Romance
Published: June 4, 2013, by Henry Holt and Company
Rating: 3 stars


Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.


Spoilers if you haven’t read the first book.

“You know the problem with heroes and saints, Nikolai?… They always end up dead”

Mal is the reason why this has a three-star rating. He was insufferable to me after Nikolai was formally introduced. I wanted to scream at him. He has a strong female in his life and is seriously insecure. I even think someone points it out in this book. I think that someone is Nikolai. Don’t quote me on that.

I like Alina more than I thought I would. I obviously like Nikolai. I loved his introduction. By the way, I really don’t think Alina should be with Mal. Not the whole fact of he’s annoying and insufferable. But based on Alina has the power for light. The Darkling has the power for the dark. I don’t know about you but that sounds almost like fated love.

To be honest, I didn’t like the fact that the Darkling did the betrayal trope. I really was hoping that the Black Heretic was someone else and he had somehow been raised from the dead. Alina and the Darkling have to fight him. They win, and Alina and the Darkling live happily ever after. To me, that would have been an awesome story.

BUT NOOOO!!! We have to have Mal! What is so likable about Mal?

This book suffered also from the second book syndrome.

Book Reviews

The Winter King by Christine Cohen

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 352
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Middle Grade
Published: Nov. 19, 2019, by Cannonball Books
Rating: 5 stars


A village trapped in winter, a tyrannical god, and a girl who will do anything to keep her family alive…

Ever since Cora’s father disappeared through the ice, whispers about her family’s “curse” have grown increasingly louder. Desperate to help her mother and siblings survive another bleak season in the Winter King’s frozen grasp, Cora begins to bend (and even break) the rules she has kept since she was a little girl. But when she discovers a secret that’s much bigger than herself, she realizes too late that she has put herself—and those she loves—in even greater peril.


Cora’s father passed away when ice fishing. The town thinks her family is cursed. When it’s time for winter and the Winter King’s return, Cora becomes desperate to help her family make it through the winter.

I rarely read standalone fantasies. When I came across this one, I decided I would give it a go. I want to add more standalone to my collection. This book I will most definitely be buying a physical copy.

I didn’t think I would get sucked into the story as I did. I almost read this in one sitting. If I didn’t have a few things to do yesterday, I would have finished it. I think it has been a while since a book thoroughly sucked me in the way this one did. I loved it.

It didn’t turn out the way I thought. I loved the pacing. I loved the world-building. The hardship that the MC goes through. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I do have another book by this author. I can’t wait to dive into more of her writing.

With it being middle grade, I can’t wait for my son to be old enough to read this. I may even read it to him.

Book Reviews

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

My edition: Library Hardback
Pages: 356
Series: The Grisha Trilogy #1
Genre: Fantasy, YA, High Fantasy
Published: June 5, 2012, by Henry Holt & Company
Rating: 4 star


Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.


Funny enough, I liked this more than I thought I would. There are many mixed reviews, but either way, it’s a hyped book. If y’all know me, I tend to be on the minority side when it comes to a hyped book. I liked it. I am a bit surprised.

Now I didn’t give it a full five stars due to it having the “betrayal” trope and a love triangle. I love the world Leigh built. Alina isn’t my favorite but she isn’t the worst that I have read. It is a very easy read, I would say this would be a good beginner’s fantasy into High Fantasy.

I knew the Darkling would be one of those male characters I shouldn’t root for yet here I am going after Mr. Toxic because when it comes to book boyfriends I fall for the ones I shouldn’t. (i.e. Psychopathic, sociopath, power-hungry, dominating, etc.)

Mal grew on me at the end. At first, I didn’t like him. He was the typical male character that doesn’t realize what he has until it’s gone. But still, he ended up growing on me in the end.

I really hope my library has the other two books. But I have one more book to read before I go back to the library.

Book Reviews

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My edition: Owned Paperback
Pages: 374
Series: The Hunger Games #1
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Romance
Published: July 1, 2010, by Scholastic Inc.
Rating: 5 star



In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weight survival against humanity and life against love.


No one will forget me. Not my look, not my name. Katniss. The girl who was on fire.

This book came out the year before my junior year in high school. I didn’t pick it up until 2014. I loved it and gave it five stars. Recently, I have been watching people see all the movies for the first time on youtube. It’s been giving me the motivation to pick it up for a reread.

After reading this I have come to the conclusion that the movie has done all the characters dirty. Especially Peeta. I forgot how much I love Peeta and Katniss’s relationship. I think I love this book more now than I did back when I first read it. I forgot how much I love Collins writing in the series. So much detail and world-building that was sadly left out of the movies.

I can’t wait to get into the second book. That book is my favorite. I can’t wait to get more of Peeta and Katniss. Not a big fan of Gale. I think I somewhat liked him when I first read this book, but now looking at it, he’s okay. I am just glad for Peeta.

MCs: 5 stars
Side Characters: 5 stars
Plot: 5 stars

Book Reviews

The Nerd & the Quarterback by M.L. Collins

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 230
Series: Jackson High #1
Genre: YA, Football, Sports, Romance
Published: March 11, 2020, by Nancy’s Daughter Publishing
Rating: 3 stars


I had a plan to survive my senior year.
Too bad Jackson High’s star quarterback BLEW. IT. UP.

Last year, I was the most hated girl at my old school.
This year, my plan was to lay low, keep to myself and graduate.

My plan was working. Until the day I ran into Dax DeLeon.

It’s impossible to stay invisible when the most popular guy at school claims I’m his girlfriend.
Did I mention his ex—the head cheerleader and the most popular girl in school—wants him back?


Now I’ve got a fake boyfriend.
And a target on my back. Again.

But what’s scaring me the most…
If this thing with Dax is fake—why does being with him feel so real?

The Nerd & the Quarterback is a *Standalone*clean YA romantic comedy about a nerdy bowler, a hot quarterback, a possible case of mistaken identity, a bunny-napping, ransom notes, a failed ransom drop, thievery, and mean girls being mean.

But mostly about a boy and a girl learning to trust.

*Warning: this book has a romance so sweet you’ll get an urge to call your dentist.*


I needed a cheesy, teen, Romcom to cleanse for a more serious book. I have been reading historical fiction so much these last few weeks that I need something light and airy to be able to get out of a reading slump.

This book contained several of my pet peeves.

  1. “Quirky” or different from other girls (Though I will give Dax credit when he said different from the girls he hangs out with.)
  2. A person who talks in the third person.
  3. The guy’s POV is not as well written as the girl’s POV (While Ali comes off snarky, Dax comes off as annoying.)
  4. No communication

I liked Ali and if this book was told from Ali’s POV alone I would have liked this more. I will say the one thing I didn’t like about Ali was the positive affirmations. I’m not one for affirmations. I know they work for some people but to me, it’s hogwash, and apparently for Ali as well because normally she is thinking something snarky after having said affirmation. The other thing about Ali was how she faked being okay around her dad.

Ali isn’t that nerdy. Like at all. But I still think the banter between her and Dax was cute in some areas. Also, I want to say thank you to Ms. Collins for writing a parent who doesn’t live vicariously through their child. Thank you!!

The beginning of this book was a mess, but the ending was cute. Not going to continue on with the series because it doesn’t have any couples I look forward to getting to know.

Book Reviews

The Selection by Kiera Cass

My edition: KU
Pages: 331
Series: The Selection #1
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Romance
Published: April 24, 2012, by HarperTeen
Rating: 2.5 stars


For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.


When this book came out, I was probably worried about the senior prom and graduation. I avoided this book for a long time. I have seen a lot of hate thrown its way. So why am I picking it up now? That is a very good question. I read a copious amount of books that are a fight to the death to be queen or something along those lines. With such books, they are a hit or miss. I thought I really need to read the book that started off the pageant-like contest to be queen. I stumbled across this on the KU list.

With that being said, on to the review.

I didn’t want to be royalty. And I didn’t want to be a One. I didn’t even want to try.

I have many problems with The Selection’s first book. I do not like her mother. I really don’t like the non-supportive parent trope that is heavy in YA. Also, don’t like the trope that tends to follow it which is the other parent not standing up to the non-supportive parent.

My next problem with this is Aspen. How he entered the book was eh. I did not get a build-up with this character. He and America’s relationship was thrust upon us in the second chapter. I could not buy into their relationship because Cass doesn’t explain any of their relationship until the halfway mark. The little bit of him that was shown was toxic masculinity.

That was my great ambition. Not to be Illéa’s princess. To be Aspen’s

Y’all this was said on page 14 of the book. Now it is said that America has been in love with Aspen for two years. But he is a caste lower than her which is not a good thing. Especially with America’s gold-digging mother.

America… I’m not going to mention my thoughts on the name American Singer. But the character herself, I am not a fan of. It took me twenty-two pages to hate the character. Now did she redeem herself? I would say yes and no. At times she would be funny and other times a whiny teen.

Maxon, I kind of like him. He wasn’t as bad as Aspen. I really liked his relationship with America. America wasn’t as insufferable when she was with him. I was thoroughly enjoying this book until the author brought Aspen back into the scene. Like why? Why do we have to have a love triangle? Can’t we just have a brokenhearted girl finding herself after a break-up and learning to move on in a healthy way?

Is that too much to ask for? I went ahead and spoiled it for myself to see who she ends up with. And since that happened I am done with The Selection.

Book Reviews

The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 218
Series: The Ugly Stepsister #1
Genre: YA, High School
Published: August 15, 2012
Rating: 2 stars


Everyone knows how those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—pretty, smart, and, worst of all, nice—stepsister is dating the charming, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her online. The school mean girl has made it her mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister is the most popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against Jake.

Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school.

And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.


I almost DNFed this but I read some reviews from friends and others. That encouraged me to continue. I wasn’t a fan of Mattie. I wasn’t a fan of Jake. So I really wasn’t a fan of their story.

Fair warning: Spoilers!!!

Jake is supposed to like Mattie, but he dated her sister… Still trying to get my head around that and the dumb excuse that was given for it happening. I didn’t like the story retold from Jake’s perspective at the very end. If that is what you wanted to do why not do dual POVs?

Also, why does Mattie have glasses if they aren’t prescription? There isn’t even get an explanation. Early on in the story, it is told that Mattie has glasses, but when she is getting her makeover, she asks what to do with her glasses, Ella then proceeds to tell her that they aren’t prescription and she won’t need them. So why does she wear them?

Mattie is lazy and way too obsessed with Jake. (Even when he’s dating her sister.) She rambles on and on about Jake. It got annoying. There is so much overexplaining and retelling of details that it got old fast quick and in a hurry. For me, there is no reason to root for Mattie.

I hate that my first read of the year is a low rating but the more I think about this book the lower the rating goes.

Book Reviews

Pippa of Lauramore by Shri L. Tapscott

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 334
Series: Eldentimber #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Published: March 15, 2015
Rating: 3 STARS


Act like a lady. Don’t swim in the waterfall. And whatever you do, never steal into the woods for a romantic, moonlit ride.

For as long as Pippa can remember, she’s looked forward to her eighteenth birthday. The number represents freedom—and the end of her boring lessons with dreary tutors. Unfortunately for the princess, it’s also the age she is expected to marry Lionel, the stern prince of Vernow.

Eager to escape her future with the Lionel, Pippa convinces her Father to hold a traditional marriage tournament. Thirty men travel to Lauramore to compete, including Galinor, the dark-haired, blue-eyed prince of Glendon.

Galinor is everything Pippa dreams a prince can be. He’s handsome and strong, virtuous and true. Immediately smitten, Pippa decides she will do everything in her power to ensure Galinor wins the tournament—even if she must convince her friend Archer to win it for him.

Dragons and fairies, poison and lies—Pippa will let nothing stand between her and Galinor’s future.

But despite how well the tournament begins, Pippa may soon learn even the right prince can be the wrong man.


It’s a great honor to receive the two extra points a princess may give to her chosen, and it has made the difference in dozens of close tournaments. Winning means prestige, honor…and me.

Pippa has talked her father into hosting a tournament for her hand. She did this so she wouldn’t have to marry Lionel. So during the opening banquet, she looks for a man who could beat Lionel and she can be okay with marrying.

For the most part, Pippa is an annoying heroine. Besides her, some of the other characters don’t make the best decisions. I am a little upset because she doesn’t end up with the guy I wanted her to end up with, but whateves. I don’t know if I am going to move on with the rest of the series. I might read Lord Rigel’s book. He was the one that stole my heart for sure.