watching, reading, and writing stories

The Lunar Chronicles

I just finished reading the Lunar Chronicles Series, or really 4 of the 5 books. My sister recommended them to me and I have to admit, they were extremely engaging. I had a hard time putting the books down, though the last book Winter I had to read over several days just because it was so long (over 800 pages). The only book I skipped was Fairest because my sister said it wasn’t her favorite and any of the plot points it gave were mostly covered in the other books. The series did a wonderful job of taking familiar fairy tale stories and making them fresh, new, exciting and adding some unexpected twists.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The series starts with Cinder, and as by the title you can probably guess that it is based on the story of Cinderella. However, there are some striking differences between the original story and this new book. One of the biggest ones is that Cinder isn’t just a peasant girl who catches the eye of a prince. She is actually a princess, though she doesn’t know it, and an evil queen had tried to kill her. In actuality she should be queen right now, but of course the usurper queen wants the throne for herself and would do anything in her power to kill Cinder. So even though the cruel stepmother is still a character in this series, the usurping queen is the real villain that remains through the whole series. By the end of Cinder, our happily ever after has not happened, but instead we are set up for an epic adventure where Cinder needs to confront this evil queen and get her throne back.


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The next book, Scarlet, is based on the Little Red Riding Hood story. It too follows a familiar story line with Scarlet searching for her Grandmother and encountering a wolf, or wolf-like person. However their adventure is tied up in Cinder’s and eventually they meet up and begin to work together to defeat the evil queen.



Cress is the third book in the series and is based loosely on the Rapunzel story. Her hero who comes to her rescue was actually introduced in the second book Scarlet and their story is again intertwined with Cinder and her plan to reclaim her throne.


And finally we come full circle to Winter, the basis of which comes from the story of Snow White. However the evil queen in this version is none other than the evil queen that Cinder has been up against this whole time. And this is the book that finally gives us the exciting climax and conclusion we’ve been waiting for. I don’t want to spoil anything, since this book did just come out, but it was well worth the read and I enjoyed the ending.

This series does a brilliant job of combining the familiar with the new, and I love that it is set in a future with the Earth battling a new country on the Moon (hence the Lunar Chronicles title). The characters are all well done, interesting, hilarious, and engaging. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys young adult fiction.


The Warriors Series

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Recently I’ve been rereading the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. I did not get to enjoy these books when I was a young reader, but in college when I worked with a 6th Grade reading program at a local middle school, I got to see a few kids enjoying this series. My younger sister got into them as well and so eventually I did read them too.

I don’t know why I got the urge to pick them up again this past week but it was fun to read the story again. I love the world the authors created and how they describe this world from a cat’s perspective. They call humans “two legs” and think of cars as “monsters.” I also enjoy the Clan life they’ve created with it’s different roles for cats. There are warriors that protect and hunt, a leader and deputy that run the clan, a medicine cat for treating the sick and injured, apprentices that are learning to be warriors, queens that take care of kits, and elders that are too old to fight or hunt but are still taken care of. Plus the intriguing story of a cat from the pet world entering into the forest cat’s home is perfect for helping us discover the new world with him. I’m really enjoying how the larger story of Fireheart, our protagonist, faces off against his nemesis Tigerclaw. That storyline is weaved throughout the book series.

If you’ve never gotten to read this series and you like a good quick read, or if you’re looking for a good gift for a younger reader, I’d highly recommend the Warriors series. However, there are several series that have been written within this “Warriors” collection. I’ve enjoyed the first series and so has my sister. I think it is both our favorite. There are at least 2 other series after this one and several stand alone books. From what my sister has told me the later series begin to lose their appeal. The writing isn’t as good and contain more misspellings and grammar problems . Also the storylines become less compelling and even seem to go against what we would expect from our favorite characters. It’s as if the authors were just trying to pump books out so fast that they could not keep up with the same quality. So if you do decide to read this series, definitely start with the first one. The first book in the first series is called “Into the Wild.”

And here’s what it looks like. Happy reading!

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The Ranger’s Apprentice

The Ruins of Gorlan

So now that it’s summer, I’ve gotten to spend some time reading a new young adult fiction series. Since these are the types of books I like writing, it’s always good to keep reading them too… plus it’s really fun. This summer I’ve started reading the Ranger’s Apprentice series. There are 12 books in all, and I’m about halfway through, still reading book 7 currently.

I’ve now fallen for all the characters and each new book has me engrossed in the adventures and bantering of characters throughout the story. The one thing that has confused, or bugged me about this series, is when the author ends a book. Several of the books end without a real climax, and the next book must be read in order to finish the founding plot. This has happened in several of the books, where it seems like it would have made more sense to make one longer book than two shorter books that straddle the same overarching story. I still love the books, but I think John Flanagan could have made some wiser choices about when to end his books.

Otherwise I love the books! I especially love the relationship between Halt and Will. Their bond grows steadily throughout the series and starts to look more and more like a father son relationship, than a teacher student one. Which is all the more heart throbbing when we know that Will is an orphan and has never had a real father, and Halt has never been married and so has never had children.

I might write another blog post about this series in the future, but for now, if you happen to be in the lazy days of summer and need something to read, this is a good series to get into. I highly recommend it. It has action, adventure, good characters, funny moments, intrigue and a little dash of romance too.

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