My Summer Reads!

Even with my crazy busy summer I still managed to squeeze in some reading time. I read some really great books and discovered a whole new series that I fell in love with. Here are some of my favourites from the past couple of months!

Vanessa and Her Sister – Priya Parmar

vanessa-and-her-sisterThis was an absolutely beautiful book. The writing and imagery are just wonderful and I enjoyed drinking it in. Parmar did some major research for this one and it felt as though I got a true window into the lives of the Stephen sisters in a style that echoed that of Virginia Woolf herself. Definitely check this one out if you’re a fan of Virginia Woolf or this time period.

 

Mechanica – Betsy Cornwell

mechanicaI really enjoyed this Cinderella re-telling. Nicolette is smart and I loved the descriptions of the different machines that she made. She loved her work – and that made me love it too. She was very hands on with her work and I loved watching her plan out her creations and how every little piece went together. What I like most about this retelling is that Nicolette is driven to save herself and to make her dreams come true. She may get a little distracted by a good-looking boy, but she still wants to build a future for herself, by herself, and that solid determination is what I love about this story.

 

The Dresden Files – Jim Butcher

storm-frontThis summer I actually read the first 9 books of this series – which shows you how much I enjoyed them! These books have amazing action, awesome magic fights, and tackle hum-drum fantasy creatures like vampires in utterly refreshing ways. The books are absolutely gripping, but carry a genuinely satisfying amount of character building and big picture plot lines that made these the ideal package for me.

While the books don’t necessarily need to be read in order, it certainly is better for the usual reasons: world building; context; etc. Still, I’m going to highlight two of my favourites from the series:

 

Summer Knight (The Dresden Files #4)

summer-knightIf you are a fan of faeries, this is the book for you. This story has some serious bad ass, utterly terrifying, gorgeous faeries that are fighting an all out war – and I love them. Additionally, this book is full of some of the most beautiful imagery I have ever read. Butcher’s use of colours was staggering, and I am so in love with the scenery alone in this book.

 

Dead Beat (The Dresden Files #7)

dead-beatThis book for me was just an utter delight. Not only did this book have some solid bad guys, it had some serious big time magic that was absolutely thrilling to read, and showed me just how effing bad ass Harry Dresden is. Not to mention how many times this book made me laugh, and showed that no matter how ridiculous an idea is, Jim Butcher will do it and make it awesome.

 

To check out what other books I read this summer, visit my Goodreads page! What about you? Did you fall in love with any great books this summer? Leave them in the comments!

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Cinder – Marissa Meyer

CinderOn the Cover: 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.

Published: 2012

Why I Chose It: I absolutely love fairy tale re-tellings, and I was incredibly intrigued by the idea of cyborgs in the Cinderella tale. Ever since reading the description I have been looking forward to reading this book!

The Review:

My favourite part of this book is the world that Meyer creates. This is not just a world that happens to have cyborgs, this is a fully developed world that has a lot of interesting characteristics. First of all, I love the technology that is present throughout the book. A lot of it is simply part of the setting, with the characters being indifferent to the level of tech around them. This made the technology feel as though it was an authentic part of the culture. I also really liked Cinder’s interest in mechanics. It not only made Cinder feel like a unique character, but it also helped build the overall feel of this world.

In addition to the physical feel of the world, I really enjoyed the social system that exists in Meyer’s novel. Like the technology it is highly believable, and the characters simply exist within its bounds because it is the norm. Although we can see that Cinder does not like the system, and is treated badly by the system, there is little she can do because social standing is so entangled in their culture. I think Meyer does a really nice job balancing Cinder’s frustrations, but also her inability to confront and change the system herself, which I think helped to support not only the overall world but Cinder’s character as well.

Spanish Cover

In terms of fairy tale re-tellings, this was incredibly enjoyable. When someone says ‘it’s Cinderella with cyborgs,’ they aren’t doing the story justice. Meyer strives to create a bigger picture than the love story, and to create a complex social system to support that story. I loved the imagination and creativity that went into building this world – but on top of that, I love that the original story still shines throughout the book, and what we get is the best of both worlds.

This story is great because it delivers a lot but is still a quick and easy read. Is it a bit of a fluff read? Of course it is. It’s a love story that’s based on Cinderella. You can see the plot coming at you from a mile away. But even though it may not have great depth in surprises and plot twists it is still a very enjoyable read. If you like fairy tale re-tellings I would make time to read this one!

Rating: 4 / 5

Czech Cover

Quotations:

“The rumor that he’s looking for a bride at the ball is a lot better than what the other rumors are saying.”
“Let me guess. That Prince Kai is actually a martian? Or no, no – he had an illegitimate child with an escort, didn’t he?”
“Escort-droids can have children?”
“No.”
Peony huffed, blowing a curl off of her brow.” (Overdrive, 1st Edition 2012)

“The lingering moon caught Cinder’s attention, and a shock of goose bumps covered her arms. The moon had always given her a sense of paranoia, like the people who lived up there could be watching her, and if she stared for too long, she might draw their attention. Superstitious nonsense, but then everything about Lunars was eerie and superstitious.” (Overdrive, 1st Edition 2012)

“She […] had the hover’s blueprint downloaded in minutes, the display creating an overlaid image on top of the engine above her. “Seems to be fairly intact,” she murmured, running her fingertips along a cluster of wires over her head. She followed them with her eyes, tilting her head to trace the path from hoses to pulleys to axels, trying to decipher how it all fit together. How it all worked.” (Overdrive, 1st Edition 2012)