Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (Unearthly #1)

unearthly cynthia hand

“Unearthly” by Cynthia Hand

5 out of 5 stars.

Clara Gardener is an angel blood, which makes her life infinitely more complicated than your average teenager’s. Ever since she found out, her life has never been the same; she had always known she was different from other kids her age, but, really, an angel? Adding to the weight of this burden is that all angel-bloods have a certain purpose (or purposes) that they have to fulfill, and bad things happen when an angel-blood decides not to complete it. At least that is what Clara’s mother says. Clara has decides to follow her calling, which leads her and the rest of her family to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Traveling to Jackson Hole was even more unglamorous than expected, and Clara is now experiencing the full-fledged fury of an angry teenage boy. The more time goes by, the more Clara wonders about her purpose. Is this really what she is meant for? Did she somehow misinterpret something and uproot her family for some teenage fantasy? And even if she is on the right track, how can she really fulfill her life’s calling when the boy she is supposed to protect won’t allow her to get close enough to actually help him?

Nothing is made easy for Clara, but she is determined to finish it! Nothing and no one is going to get in the way of protecting the boy from her visions, but life throws her yet another curveball, and Clara doesn’t know quite how to deal with it, with him. Can she finish what she started, or was she doomed to fail from the start?

I was really surprised by this book. My sister had read it last summer and she had enjoyed it quite a bit; I, however, did not read it because I was drowning in new books at the time, and I was a bit wary of the angel aspect of this series. Well, here I am seven or eight months later and in love with a new series that I was originally pooh, pooh on. Yeah, I am eating crow, and just so you know, it tastes delicious.

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The month of February has been good and bad for me; I was a bit overwhelmed with all the FEELS that certain books gave me, and it was a lot to process in such a short period of time.

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I really just wanted something enjoyable to read that was interesting while still being lighthearted, and this book came to mind. I am so glad it did because it panned out so well, and I had a blast reading “Unearthly” by Cynthia Hand.

“Unearthly” takes place in Wyoming, and I just loved that! Me and my family used to travel through the midwest to come and see extended family. So the setting of this book was familiar, but still new and I loved that about this book. I felt like I was actually there and I could really get into this book because of that. Beside the setting being absolutely beautiful, I ended up really enjoyed the characters in “Unearthly.”

I like the struggle that Clara went through trying to figure out who she was and who she needed to become to fulfill  her purpose. I think that this is very relatable for anyone who is alive; we are all just trying to find out who we truly are and what we’re meant for in this life, angel or not. That aspect of this book really intrigued me and it caused me to think about my life’s purpose, and, whether the author intended to or not, I felt like I came out at the end of the book knowing a little bit more about myself than I had before, and it has gotten me thinking about my future and who I want to be.

Purpose aside, Clara also had a lot of other things she had to deal with; family, friends, and possible romantic relationships. I thought it was interesting how Cynthia Hand dealt with all those things in “Unearthly.” I admired that, even when Clara was avidly pursuing Christian so she could get to know him, Cynthia never made it too obsessive; it was a bit of insta-love with them, but I could deal with it, which says a lot. While reading this book I felt like it had a more realistic approach to romantic relationships, and that the characters were more mature in the fact that they didn’t become super obsessive, and that they didn’t just drop everything because they thought they were going to be together “forever.” Instead of falling prey to the Edward/Bella syndrome, said couple still lived their lives, but enjoyed being with each other, and I really liked that about this book. It is very rare in teen fiction to see that kind of relationship; granted, it is still fictional, but I thought it was still a much better approach to that kind of relationship than is commonly written these days. Okay, with Clara out of the way, let’s talk about some of the other characters.

Christian Prescott, the boy Clara is supposed to save, was a very good character. I thought that he was well written and I didn’t mind him at all. With that said, I thought him to be a bit too perfect (my sister and I discussed this after I had finished “Unearthly”)…I don’t know why but I still feel that way. He was super nice, popular, attractive, and seemed like perfect boyfriend material. What’s wrong with him to make me not be in love with him? I can honestly say, I don’t know! He is a great character and he and Clara have some really sweet moments together, but he just wasn’t my romantic cup of tea. I would like him to be good friend to Clara, just not a romantic interest for her. But alas, he is one, so I have to deal with it if I am to read the rest of this series and enjoy it!

The last character I want to talk about is Tucker Avery: A.K.A amazing Wyoming farm boy.

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Cynthia Hand did a number on this character (in a good way). Tucker is a very minor character in “Unearthly” for the first three-quarters, but then he really arrived with a BANG! At first he’s just the brother of Clara’s new friend, Wendy, and quite the jerk at first; he has issues with people from California, apparently. But as the story goes on, you discover that he is actually a really, really good guy. He reminded me a lot of Logan from “Defiance” and “Deception” by C.J. Redwine.

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If you enjoyed that character, I think you might really like Tucker. Besides the fact that he reminded me of another one of my favorite characters, I just LOVED Tucker. I loved the way Clara’s and his relationship turned into a kind of truce and then turned into a sort of friendship. There was no insta-love involved here. Yay! I just get a big old smile on my face whenever I think of Tucker or one of his and Clara’s sweet moments.

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Cynthia Hand did a fantastic job of creating a genuinely good guy character, while still making him dynamic and fun to read about. He didn’t have to be a bad boy to be interesting, which was refreshing.

Overall, this is a great read! I am very excited to have found a new series to read, and I look forward to future works of Cynthia Hand’s. Well done!

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Cress by Merissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #3)

cress by marissa meyer

“Cress” by Marissa Meyer

5 out of 5 stars.

Cress has been held captive for seven long years on an orbiting satellite. She has a lovely view of earth from her small “bedroom” window, and the occasional sight of her home planet, Luna. Despite her ancestry, Cress avoids the sight of Luna whenever she can; as a shell, she is thought to be a traitor just by having been born and was declared to no longer be a citizen of Luna. She is a cast off, the product of Queen Levana’s cruel reign, and some not so pleasant memories come back to Cress unbidden whenever she sees the surface of what should be called home. Cress, however, has found the perfect solution to avoid seeing Luna completely: she hides under her computer desk whenever the satellite passes by the planet. Not the greatest solution, but a solution of sorts.

Despite her shell status on Luna, Cress is still of great value to the Lunars; as one of their most gifted computer hackers, she can get into any data base on earth and make all of Luna’s space ships undetectable to the earthens’ radar. Cress is a very handy tool to the Lunars, but what they couldn’t ever anticipate is that all of her time spent orbiting earth and watching earthen soap operas (don’t ask), has made her sympathetic towards the human race. With no place to really call home, Cress has deemed herself protector of the earthen rebel and cyborg, Cinder, the Lunar Queen’s most feared enemy. Cinder has the opportunity to stop Queen Levana from destroying earth and her on planet, and Cress will use all of her technological skills to aid the female cyborg in her cause. And maybe along the way, Cinder and her friends will find a way to save Cress, too.

Dreams become reality for Cress when Cinder finds a way to contact her, and offers to take Cress with them. Could this really be happening? Could she be free of this satellite prison forever in only a matter of hours? Soon the Rampion spaceship is within sight of her satellite and Thorne is coming to get her. Cress is positively giddy, just awaiting the moment when she can cast off her chains (hypothetically) and be free, but sooner than she could have ever imagined her plans for escape are thwarted, and she, as well as the dashing Captain Thorne, are trapped on the satellite, plummeting down to earth with no hope of surviving.

Cinder, Wolf, and Scarlet are all fighting for their lives as the Rampion is attacked. How could so much go wrong in such a short time? Surviving by the skin of their teeth, Cinder and part of her crew are still alive, but with Thorne gone and Scarlet captured, she would not call today’s battle a win. If Cinder can’t even protect her own crew, how can she save Luna and earthens? Is she just kidding herself, or can she become strong enough to make her friends’ sacrifices worthwhile? Can Cinder and what remains of her crew take down Queen Levana, or are they destined for failure?

All I can say is…WONDERFUL! I am so happy this pre-order worked out. Me and my sister have been waiting forever for “Cress” to come out, and it was so exciting to get it in the mail, looking all pretty and such.

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I think it is my favorite cover for the month of February. Besides the cover being amazing, the book itself is fantastic and so enjoyable to read. It is light and fluffy while still being substantial, and I just love that about this series. Nothing is too crazy and serious, but it isn’t mindless either. Another reason why I loved this book so much was the characters.

Captain Carswell Thorne is flippin’ fantastic. He is such a great, and massively entertaining, character. Granted, he may not be the most upstanding guy, but he seems to have a good heart, and he is quite funny. He actually reminds me a lot of Captain Hook on “Once Upon a Time” and Flynn Rider from “Tangled”; those two might be the reason why I love him so much. They are all just so cheeky, charming, and awesome that I can’t get enough of them! I have kept watching “Once Upon a Time” for no reason but Hook, “Tangled” because it’s “Tangled”, and I will keep reading “The Lunar Chronicles” because of Thorne and Thorne alone.

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Thorne deals with some pretty big issues in this book, but I never felt like he lost his Thorne-ness. I feel that some authors create too many problems, sometimes, for a character and then nothing gets resolved and you end up losing the character along the way; change and growth are good (I look forward to it in books), but when the character(s) becomes compromised and they’re no longer them, that’s when I feel like an author has taken it too far. To make a long story short, Marissa Meyer kept the integrity of each of her characters while still making them move forward, for a lack of better words. I felt quite satisfied at the end of “Cress” with the direction Marissa was taking Carswell as a character, and as long as he gets to keeps his funny, cheeky, charm, I’m cool with the growth and changes she may have in store for him.

Cinder was also a really good character. I felt that she wasn’t SUPER present in “Scarlet” and that I didn’t really get to know her all that well (I haven’t yet read “Cinder.” Oops!). However, in “Cress” she really came out as a strong lead character despite the fact that the title is another girl’s name. I really enjoyed her perspective and seeing how she navigated her newfound abilities. Cinder had to decide whether she would use her powers (which can be harmful to those she imposes them upon), or if she should decide not to use them even if it will stop Levana from hurting others? Cinder goes through a lot of ups and downs in “Cress”, and it was interesting to see her inner struggle between right and wrong, and what makes us different from those who terrorize others. I am looking forward to seeing her grow and become even stronger, while still keeping her conscience and humanity, because those are the things that make her a better person than Levana to lead.

Cress will be my last character to write on (the others are more in the background, and don’t have a huge effect on the overall plot). Cress is a cute character. She’s a smart computer girl with a penchant for daydreaming, and those daydreams tend to include Captain Thorne. I felt that she was a cute character, but I wasn’t particularly endeared to her in any which way. I didn’t at all mind being inside her head, but she doesn’t quite have Cinder’s inner struggle or Scarlet’s spunk, so I wasn’t passionate about Cress, but I also wasn’t dispassionate about her. I am looking forward to, though, “Winter” because I really want to see her mature and become a strong female character that can hold her own.

Okay, so overall, “Cress” is a fantastic book. It is a lighter read, with an interesting and well thought out plot, and a kick butt crew of characters to back it all up; there are quite a few characters to choose from, so you are bound to find at least one you can follow around in this series. I had so much fun getting to know all these characters and I can’t wait to see what Marissa Meyer does next, and I believe this author totally succeeded in what she was attempting to do. Wonderful job!

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Cover Reveal: Deliverance by C.J. Redwine

Hey, everyone!!!!! Today C.J. Redwine released the cover for her third and final book in the “Defiance” trilogy. This is very exciting news for me because she is one of my most favorite authors, and I have been waiting (not so patiently) for her next book to come out; it is not yet out, but at least I have the cover now to comfort me until that day comes. Okay, here it is….

Deliverance by C.J. Redwine

Isn’t it just AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love HARPER/Balzer + Bray, people, and I don’t care who knows it.

let me love youI love Logan…

supernatural a lot…

faband that cover, oy!…

pass outI think I might puke or hyperventilate right now…

win!

this cover is a WIN! Love ya, C.J. and Harper!